Quarterly Review: Pelican, Swan Valley Heights, Mark Deutrom, Greenbeard, Mount Soma, Nibiru, Cable, Reino Ermitaño, Cardinals Folly & Lucifer’s Fall, Temple of the Fuzz Witch

Posted in Reviews on July 8th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

quarterly-review

More computer bullshit this morning. I lost about 45 minutes because my graphics driver and Windows 10 apparently hate each other and before I could disable the former, the machine decided the best it could do for me was to load a blank screen. Hard to find the Pelican record on my desktop when I can’t see my desktop. The Patient Mrs. woke up while I was trying to fix it and suggested HDMIing it to the tv. When I did that, it didn’t project as was hoped, but the display came on — because go figure — and I was able to shut off the driver, the only real advantage of which is it lets me use the night light feature so it’s easier on my eyes. That’s nice, but I’d rather have the laptop function. Not really working on a level of “give me soft red light or give me death!” at this point. I may yet get there in my life.

Today’s the last day of this beast, wrapping up the last of the 60 reviews, and I’m already in the hole for the better part of an hour thanks to this technical issue, the second of the week. Been an adventure, this one. Let’s close it out.

Quarterly Review #51-60:

Pelican, Nighttime Stories

pelican nighttime stories

Split into two LPs each with its own three-minute mood-setter — those being “WST” and “It Stared at Me,” respectively — Pelican‘s Nighttime Stories (on Southern Lord) carries the foreboding sensibility of its title into an aggressive push throughout the album, which deals from the outset with the pain of loss. The lead single “Midnight and Mescaline” represents this well in directly following “WST,” with shades of more extreme sounds in the sharp-turning guitar interplay and tense drums, but it carries through the blastbeats of “Abyssal Plain” and the bombastic crashes of presumed side B closer “Cold Hope” as well, which flow via a last tonal wash toward the melancholy “It Stared at Me” and the even-more-aggro title-track, the consuming “Arteries of Blacktop” and the eight-minute “Full Moon, Black Water,” which offers a build of maddening chug — a Pelican hallmark — before resolving in melodic serenity, moving, perhaps, forward with and through its grief. It’s been six years since Pelican‘s last LP, Forever Becoming (review here), and they’ve responded to that time differential with the hardest-hitting record they’ve ever done.

Pelican on Thee Facebooks

Southern Lord Recordings website

 

Swan Valley Heights, The Heavy Seed

swan valley heights the heavy seed

Though the peaceful beginning of 13-minute opener and longest track (immediate points) “The Heavy Seed,” for which the five-song album is named, reminds of Swan Valley Heights‘ Munich compatriots in Colour Haze, the ultimate impression the band make on their Fuzzorama Records debut and second album overall behind a 2016 self-titled (review here) is more varied in its execution, with cuts like “Vaporizer Woman” and the centerpiece “Take a Swim in God’s Washing Machine” manifesting ebbs and flows and rolling out a fuzzy largesse to lead into dream-toned ethereality and layered vocals that immediately call to mind Elephant Tree. There’s a propensity for jamming, but they’re not a jam band, and seem always to have a direction in mind. That’s true even on the three-minute instrumental “My First Knife Fight,” which unfurls around a nod riff and simple drum progression to bridge into closer “Teeth and Waves,” a bookend to The Heavy Seed‘s title-track that revives that initial grace and uses it as a stepping stone for the crunch to come. It’s a balance that works and should be well received.

Swan Valley Heights on Thee Facebooks

Fuzzorama Records on Bandcamp

 

Mark Deutrom, The Blue Bird

Mark Deutrom The Blue Bird

Released in the wee hours of 2019, Mark Deutrom‘s The Blue Bird marks the first new solo release from the prolific Austin-based songwriter/producer/multi-instrumentalist through Season of Mist, and it’s a 50-minute run of genre-spanning outsider art, bringing ’70s folk vibes to the weepy guitar echoes of “Radiant Gravity” right before “O Ye of Little Faith” dooms out for six of its seven minutes and “Our Revels Now Are Ended” basks in 77 seconds of experimentalist winding guitar. It goes like that. Vocals are intermittent enough to not necessarily be expected, but not entirely absent through the midsection of “Hell is a City,” “Somnambulist” and “Maximum Hemingway,” and if there’s traditionalism at play anywhere, it might be in “They Have Won” and “The Happiness Machine,” which, toward the back end of the album, bring a sax-laden melancholy vibe and a straightforward heavy rock feel, respectively, ahead of the closer “Nothing out There,” which ties them together, somehow accounting for the 1:34 “On Fathers Day” as well in its sweetness. Don’t go into The Blue Bird asking it to make sense on any level other than its own and you should be fine. It’s not a minor undertaking at 50 minutes, and not without its indulgences, but even the briefest of pieces helps develop the character of the whole, which of course is essential to any good story.

Mark Deutrom website

Season of Mist website

 

Greenbeard, Onward, Pillager

greenbeard onward pillager

Austin bringers of hard-boogie Greenbeard reportedly issued the three-song Onward, Pillager as a precursor to their next full-length — even the name hints toward it being something of a stopgap — but its tracks stand well on their own, whether it’s the keyboard-laced “Contact High II,” which is presumably a sequel to another track on the forthcoming record, or the chunkier roll of “WCCQ” and the catchy finisher “Kill to Love Yourself,” with its overlaid guitar solo adding to a dramatic ending. It hasn’t been that long since 2017’s Lödarödböl (review here), but clearly these guys are committed to moving forward in neo-stoner rock fashion, and their emergence as songwriters is highlighted particularly throughout “WCCQ” and “Kill to Love Yourself,” while “Contact High II” is more of an intro or a would-be interlude on the full-length. It may only be pieces of a larger, to-be-revealed picture, but Onward, Pillager shows three different sides of what Greenbeard have on offer, and the promise of more to come is one that will hopefully be kept sooner rather than later.

Greenbeard on Thee Facebooks

Sailor Records on Bandcamp

 

Mount Soma, Nirodha

mount_soma_nirodha

Each of the three songs on Mount Soma‘s densely-weighted, live-recorded self-released Nirodha EP makes some mention of suffering in its lyrics, and indeed, that seems to be the theme drawing together “Dark Sun Destroyer” (7:40), “Emerge the Wolf” (5:50) and “Resurfacing” (9:14): a quest for transcendence perhaps in part due to the volume of the music and the act itself of creating it. Whatever gets them there, the trajectory of Nirodha is such that by the time they hit into the YOB-style galloping toward the end of “Resurfacing,” the gruff shouts of “rebirth!” feel more celebratory than ambitious. Based in Dublin, the four-piece bring a fair sense of space to their otherwise crush-minded approach, and though the EP is rough — it is their second short release following 2016’s Origins — they seem to have found a way to tie together outer and inner cosmos with an earthbound sense of gravity and heft, and with the more intense shove of “Emerge the Wolf” between the two longer tracks, they prove themselves capable of bringing a noisy charge amid all that roar and crash. They did the first EP live as well. I wonder if they’d do the same for a full-length.

Mount Soma on Thee Facebooks

Mount Soma on Bandcamp

 

Nibiru, Salbrox

nibiru salbrox

One might get lost in the unmanageable 64-minute wash of Nibiru‘s fifth full-length (first for Ritual Productions), Salbrox, but the opaque nature of the proceedings is part of the point. The Italian ritualists bring forth a chaotic depth of noise and harsh semi-spoken rasps of vocals reportedly in the Enochian language, and from 14-minute opener “EHNB” — also the longest track (immediate points) — through the morass that follows in “Exarp,” “Hcoma,” “Nanta” and so on, the album is a willful slog that challenges the listener on nearly every level. This is par for the course for Nibiru, whose last outing was 2017’s Qaal Babalon (review here), and they seem to revel in the slow-churning gruel of their distortion, turning from it only to break to minimalism in the second half of the album with “Abalpt” and “Bitom” before 13-minute closer “Rziorn” storms in like a tsunami of spiritually desolate plunge. It is vicious and difficult to hear, and again, that is exactly what it’s intended to be.

Nibiru on Thee Facebooks

Ritual Productions website

 

Cable, Take the Stairs to Hell

Cable Take the Stairs to Hell

The gift of Cable was to take typically raw Northeastern disaffection and channel it into a noise rock that wasn’t quite as post-this-or-that as Isis, but still had a cerebral edge that more primitive fare lacked. They were methodical, and 10 years after their last record, the Hartford, Connecticut, outfit return with the nine-song/30-minute Take the Stairs to Hell (on Translation Loss), which brings them back into the modern sphere with a sound that is no less relevant than it was bouncing between This Dark Reign, Hydra Head and Translation Loss between 2001 and 2004. They were underrated then and may continue to be now, but the combination of melody and bite in “Black Medicine” and the gutty crunch of “Eyes Rolled Back,” the post-Southern heavy of the title-track and the lumbering pummel of “Rivers of Old” before it remind of how much of a standout Cable was in the past, reinforcing that not only were they ahead of their time then, but that they still have plenty to offer going forward. They may continue to be underrated as they always were, but their return is significant and welcome.

Cable on Instagram

Translation Loss Records webstore

 

Reino Ermitaño, Reino Ermitaño

Reino Ermitano Reino Ermitano

Originally released in 2003, the self-titled debut from Lima, Peru’s Reino Ermitaño was a beacon and landmark in Latin American doom, with a sound derived from the genre’s traditions — Sabbath, Trouble, etc. — and melded with not only Spanish-language lyrics, but elements of South American folk and stylizations. Reissued on vinyl some 16 years later, it maintains its power through the outside-time level of its craft, sliding into that unplaceable realm of doom that could be from any point from about 1985 onward, while the melodies in the guitar of Henry Guevara and the vocals of Tania Duarte hold sway over the central groove of bassist Marcos Coifman and drummer Julio “Ñaka” Almeida. Those who were turned onto the band at the time will likely know they’ve released five LPs to-date, with the latest one from 2014, but the Necio Records version marks the first time the debut has been pressed to vinyl, and so is of extra interest apart from the standard putting-it-out-there-again reissue. Collectors and a new generation of doomers alike would be well advised on an educational level, and of course the appeal of the album itself far exceeds that.

Reino Ermitaño on Thee Facebooks

Necio Records on Bandcamp

 

Cardinals Folly & Lucifer’s Fall, Split

cardinals folly lucifers fall split

Though one hails from Helsinki, Finland, and the other from Adelaide, Australia, Cardinals Folly and Lucifer’s Fall could hardly be better suited to share the six-song Cruz Del Sur split LP that they do, which checks in at 35 minutes of trad doom riffing and dirtier fare. The former is provided by Cardinals Folly, who bring a Reverend Bizarre-style stateliness to “Spiritual North” and “Walvater Proclaimed!” before betraying their extreme metal roots on “Sworn Through Odin’s and Satan’s Blood,” while the Oz contingent throw down Saint Vitus-esque punk-born fuckall through “Die Witch Die,” the crawling “Call of the Wild” and the particularly brash and speedier “The Gates of Hell.” The uniting thread of course is homage to doom itself, but each band brings enough of their own take to complement each other without either contradicting or making one or the other of them feel redundant, and rather, the split works out to be a rampaging, deeply-drunk, pagan-feeling celebration of what doom is and how it has been internalized by each of these groups. Doom over the world? Yeah, something like that.

Cardinals Folly on Thee Facebooks

Lucifer’s Fall on Thee Facebooks

Cruz Del Sur Music website

 

Temple of the Fuzz Witch, Temple of the Fuzz Witch

Temple of the Fuzz Witch Temple of the Fuzz Witch

A strong current of Electric Wizard runs through the self-titled debut full-length from Detroit’s Temple of the Fuzz Witch (on Seeing Red Records), but even to that, the outfit led by guitarist/vocalist Noah Bruner bring a nascent measure of individuality, droning into and through “Death Hails” after opening with “Bathsheba” and ahead of unveiling a harmonized vocal on “The Glowing of Satan” that suits the low end distortion surprisingly well. They continue to offer surprises throughout, whether it’s the spaciousness of centerpiece “329” and “Infidel,” which follows, or the offsetting of minimalism and crush on “The Fuzz Witch” and the creeper noise in the ending of “Servants of the Sun,” and though there are certainly familiar elements at play, Temple of the Fuzz Witch come across with an intent to take what’s been done before and make it theirs. In that regard, they would seem to be on the right track, and in their 41 minutes, they find footing in a murky aesthetic and are able to convey a sense of songwriting without sounding heavy-handed. There’s nothing else I’d ask of their first album.

Temple of the Fuzz Witch on Thee Facebooks

Seeing Red Records on Bandcamp

 

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The Munsens, Unhanded: When it’s Time to Let Loose

Posted in Reviews on February 19th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

the munsens unhanded

Though The Munsens call the mile-high environs of Denver, Colorado, home, their roots are along the Northeastern Seaboard in New Jersey, and sure enough, their debut full-length was recorded across the Hudson River from New York City in a town called Hoboken, which claims distinction as the birthplace of both Frank Sinatra and baseball. They’ve been looking for their sound over the course of the last five years, tracing their way through stonerly crunch on the 2014 Weight of Night EP (review here) and 2016’s moodier Abbey Rose EP (review here), but as Shaun and Michael Goodwin, who handle guitar and vocals/bass/cover photography, respectively, and drummer Graham Wesselhoff embark on their first album for Sailor Records, the five-track/38-minute Unhanded — which it’s worth noting is shorter than Abbey Rose by about two minutes — takes on a much more extremity-fueled approach, basking in sludgy groove and harsh, biting vocals.

There are moments where their prior fuzz shines through, as in the early going of penultimate cut “Bleeding from the Ears,” but The Munsens seem to be bent toward plodding their way into a vision of sludge that’s informed by brutality as much as heft, and indeed the centerpiece track comes across like slowed-down Mantar, their deeply weighted tones as captured by Mike Moebius at Moonlight Mile/Hoboken Recorders coming through all the more tectonic for their lumbering pace. But tempo too is malleable, and even in the 10:54 album opener and longest track (immediate points) “Dirge (For Those to Come),” the three-piece offset plod with blasting intensity. The result there as in several places on Unhanded is a sonic brutalism that is clearheaded in its intent and striking in its fluidity. They are not by any means friendly-sounding, but “Dirge (For Those to Come)” underscores at atmospheric approach late in its going, topping the nod-paced cacophony with an airier guitar solo that skirts the border of the hypnotic. Having become multifaceted certainly doesn’t hurt them, and the prevailing vibe throughout Unhanded is that The Munsens are hereby laying claim to the sound they’ve been seeking for the last five years.

It’s a convenient narrative, if nothing else, but there is evidence in the songs to back it up. The four-minute pummel and sway of closer “Rivers of Error” showcases The Munsens at some of their nastiest before its long fade brings the record to its end, but in the downtrodden riffing of second track “Pitiful” leads to a fervent gallop that’s straight out of heavy rock, even if its tones are coated in filth and the earlier vocals are guttural shouts reveling in their viciousness. That might be residual influence from what they were doing a couple years ago on Abbey Rose, but I don’t think so. The prevailing spirit of Unhanded seems to be more about honing who The Munsens are as a band. Even the title could be read as speaking to this kind of liberation — a sense of letting go. That’s what The Munsens seem to be doing here, and it’s a riskier proposition than was Abbey Rose.

the munsens

Certainly that release and Weight of Night — also recorded by Moebius; it’s a partnership the bass tone alone proves they were correct to resume — were dark, but the shift in vocal style puts them in a different category of bands entirely, and the ease with which their material careens from its noise-caked mania to either a slowdown or even just as standalone guitar as in the midsection of “Unhanded” itself willfully takes on that risk. If they alienate some heads, well, screw it. Plenty of skulls in the sea. The sense of crush they bring to Unhanded is purposeful and they wield it well, but even the act of taking it on in place of some of the far-back cavernousness of Abbey Rose is a bold move. The Munsens could have easily continued the path they were on, but frankly, Unhanded comes across front to back as more honest, and as the trio bask in this newfound freedom, it provides them with an energy of performance that bleeds into even their most lurching moments, as well as the brash onslaught of a piece like “Pitiful” or “Dirge (For Those to Come)” at its most raging.

But that’s just one way of taking Unhanded. The fact remains that by reuniting with Moebius, the Goodwins and Wesselhoff may indeed just be indulging an experiment of sound, and as resolved as they feel here, may be carried elsewhere by creative whims or the demands of future craft — i.e., “where the songs take them.” Given the context of Unhanded set against Abbey Rose and Weight of Night, I wouldn’t speculate, and while it’s telling that the newer release earns the distinction of being their first album while the prior EP had a longer runtime, that’s only part of the presentation, and it’s just as easy to regard the aesthetic shift as working in kind with Unhanded‘s overarching thematic, which is focused on a modern decay of environment and discourse. Lines like, “Not in my most fiendish of dreams/Could I have foreseen/Revolt so toothless/Preoccupied while pockets get lined,” from the title-track are tied to the current American social sphere, and likewise “Mountains of mistakes, ‘the promised land’/Rivers of errors flow with no delay/Buried in shit on our judgment day” from the finale, but neither goes so outwardly political as to name names.

Maybe next time, maybe not. The point is not to know. The Munsens have made their way to where they are on Unhanded by means of a genuine creative exploration, and for being their first long-player, they sound remarkably sure of themselves and what they’re doing across the bleak five-song span, but one would be blind to think they’re finished growing or don’t have more to say in terms of style as well as substance. Will they end up blending some of the aspects of their past work with what they do here? Will they push further into extreme metal? Have they secretly been a black metal band all along and just not told anybody? It’s entirely possible their next offering could arrive and be as unrecognizable from Unhanded as Unhanded is from their earlier output. If this record proves anything, it’s that The Munsens are in their element when it comes to taking chances.

The Munsens, Unhanded (2019)

The Munsens on Thee Facebooks

The Munsens on Instagram

The Munsens on Bandcamp

Sailor Records on Thee Facebooks

Sailor Records on Bandcamp

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Greenbeard Release Onward, Pillager EP; Touring to Maryland Doom Fest 2019

Posted in Whathaveyou on December 28th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

greenbeard

As-yet-underrated Austin heavy rockers Greenbeard have released a new EP called Onward, Pillager. It’s three tracks and it’s cool. That’s about as simple as I can make it. Each song has its own kind of vibe, there is some guest synth, some guest vocals, and it all works pretty well to give an enticing showcase of where the three-piece are at. Worth your time? Worth your time. Stream it at the bottom of this post, via Bandcamp.

Greenbeard will tour their way out to Maryland Doom Fest 2019 next June. Right on for a few reasons. One, it means I’ll see them at MDDF. That’ll be fun. Two, it means they’re getting out on the road and a bunch of other people will see them at the other shows. Three, that itself means that the fest is having an effect even outside of itself on the heavy underground. Someone shows up to see Greenbeard on tour while Greenbeard are on tour to get to the fest? That’s awesome. That’s making things happen. Nothing but positive all around. And all the more so because the band is killer.

That’s my spiel. Not much critique, I guess, but I call’s ’em like I sees ’em, and to me this only seems like good news:

greenbeard onward pillager

OUT NOW! GREENBEARD’s new ‘ONWARD, PILLAGER’ EP available via Sailor Records; Confirming 2019 Tour Dates

Austin’s stoner/desert rock trio GREENBEARD launched their new EP ‘Onward, Pillager’ via the Denver, Colorado label Sailor Records on December 22nd. ‘Onward, Pillager’ serves as a teaser for an upcoming, full-length release on Sailor Records in 2019.

Both releases are produced, recorded, and mixed with Jeff Henson at Red Nova Ranch, in Austin, Texas. The EP is mastered by Alberto De Icaza. The band once again teamed up with long time collaborator Antoine Defarges of Headbang Design, to continue the Greenbeard tradition of elaborate, striking artwork for all their releases.

Greenbeard had this to say about their upcoming EP:

“It’s been great working with Jeff Henson on this EP! Aside from great recording quality, one of Jeff’s strengths that really works for us is his songwriting vision. We are all on the same page as far as rock and roll goes, and Jeff has been able to see our songs and give them a little extra shape to really make them stand out as some banging tunes. Because of this, we are very excited to release ‘Onward, Pillager’ and continue working more with Henson as we start getting things together for our next full length.”

‘Onward, Pillager’ is available on CD and Digital Download via Bandcamp and is now streaming on most digital outlets.

Order now at: https://greenbeard.bandcamp.com/

Track List:
1. Contact High II (synth by Conrad Keely)
2. WCCQ (background vocals by Felicia Andrews)
3. Kill To Love Yourself

UPCOMING DATES:

Greenbeard’s first confirmed tour dates for 2019 whirlwind around their appearance at the Maryland Doom Fest. More dates, details, and event links will be announced soon.

June 11 – Dallas, Texas
June 12 – Tulsa, Oklahoma
June 13 – Kansas City, Missouri
June 14 – Denver, Colorado
June 15 – Omaha, Nebraska
June 16 – Chicago, Illinois
June 17 – Fort Wayne, Indiana
June 18 – Lexington, Kentucky
June 19 – Cleveland, Ohio
June 20 – Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
June 21 – Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
June 22 – Frederick, Maryland – MARYLAND DOOM FEST
June 23 – Richmond, Virginia
June 24 – Raleigh, North Carolina
June 25 – Savannah, Georgia
June 26 – Jacksonville, Florida
June 27 – Atlanta, Georgia
June 28 – Nashville, Tennessee
June 29 – Knoxville, Tennessee
July 01 – Sheveport, Louisiana

GREENBEARD:
Chance Allan – Guitar/Vocals
Jeff Klein – Bass/Guitar
Buddy Hachar – Drums

https://www.facebook.com/greenbeardtheband/
https://www.instagram.com/greenbeardtheband/
https://greenbeard.bandcamp.com/
http://www.greenbeardtheband.com
https://www.facebook.com/Sailor-Records-359148970778780/
https://www.instagram.com/sailorrecords/
https://www.sailorrecords.com/

Greenbeard, Onward, Pillager (2018)

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The Munsens Set Feb. 15 Release for Unhanded

Posted in Whathaveyou on December 27th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

the munsens

I was lucky enough to be in the room this past August when The Munsens took the stage at Psycho Las Vegas (review here). It was an “oh shit!” kind of scenario. They’d timed the release of the single “Dirge (For Those to Come)” to the festival, but I hadn’t heard it, so the three-piece got going and started meting out scorched-sludge punishment the whole room knew what it did wrong and why it deserved it, and it was as much a surprise (to me) as it was killer. They owned the joint by the time they were done — or was it Vinyl; ha — and seeing them only made me look forward to what they’d do with their impending full-length debut.

We’ll find that out Feb. 15 as Sailor Records issues Unhanded, for which “Dirge (For Those to Come)” serves as the leadoff.

The PR wire brought the album art and details:

the munsens unhanded

THE MUNSENS: Denver’s Blackened Doom Trio To Release Debut Full-Length, Unhanded, Through Denver’s Sailor Records In February

Denver, Colorado’s THE MUNSENS will deliver their debut full-length album, Unhanded, on February 15th through their new cooperation with Denver’s Sailor Records. The LP comes following a productive 2018 Summer that included performances at Psycho Las Vegas, 71Grind IV, Austin Terror Fest, Electric Funeral Fest, and more. Album details and the opening track from Unhanded are now posted.

THE MUNSENS make noise from a Colfax Avenue dungeon, having carved out a place of their own in the much-lauded Denver metal scene over recent years. Their debut LP, Unhanded is a step in a new direction for the band, melding elements of the members’ early influences in punk, black metal, and hardcore. Offering a more complete representation of the outfit’s output from prior releases, Unhanded distinguishes THE MUNSENS as one of the more unique and enthralling bands on the metal touring circuit.

THE MUNSENS released the LP’s opening track for their Psycho Las Vegas performance over the Summer. Stream the monumental “Dirge (For Those To Come)” at YouTube RIGHT HERE, Spotify HERE, and Bandcamp HERE.

Produced by the band, Unhanded delivers nearly forty minutes of music through five mammoth songs, the album engineered by Mike Moebius at Moonlight Mile Recording, mastered by Dennis Pleckham at Comatose Studio, and finished with photography by Michael Goodwin. The record will see release on February 15th, 2019 via Denver’s Sailor Records through all digital platforms and vinyl formats, with both black and clear/black splatter variants.

Preorders for the album and additional audio samples from the LP will see release in the weeks ahead. THE MUNSENS will tour across the Southwest US for the first half of March in support of the album, with a hometown album release show on March 2nd. The band will also support Monolord on May 2nd. The remaining dates for the March tour and more live dates will be announced shortly.

Unhanded Track Listing:
1. Dirge (For Those To Come)
2. Pitiful
3. Unhanded
4. Bleeding From The Ears
5. Rivers Of Error

THE MUNSENS Live:
3/02/2018 The Hi Dive – Denver, CO *Unhanded release show
5/02/2018 The Hi Dive – Denver, CO w/ Monolord

THE MUNSENS:
Michael Goodwin – bass/vocals
Shaun Goodwin – guitars/vocals
Graham Wesselhoff – drums

https://themunsensnj.bandcamp.com
https://www.facebook.com/themunsens
https://www.instagram.com/themunsens
https://www.facebook.com/Sailor-Records-359148970778780/
https://www.sailorrecords.com/
https://sailor-records.bandcamp.com/

The Munsens, “Dirge (For Those to Come)”

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Quarterly Review: Carlton Melton, Horseskull, Dreadnought, Forsaken, Moon Rats, Son of the Morning, Jesus the Snake, Bert, Galactic Gulag, Band of Spice

Posted in Reviews on January 8th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

Lodewijk de Vadder (1605-1655) - 17th Century Etching, Landscape with Two Farms

Today begins the Quarterly Review. You know the deal by now. 50 records written up between today and this Friday, 10 per day. As always, it’s a huge swath of stuff, and by the end of it I’m usually ready to collapse in a heap, but I’ve yet to regret it afterwards, so we press on. I hope you find something you dig in all this. I say that every time, but it’s still true.

Speaking of digging, how about that new logo up there? Thanks goes out to the Lord of the Logos himself, Christophe Szpajdel, who took on the project. This is the second one he’s done for the site, and aside from being in a completely different style from the last — I like covering a good amount of ground, even in logos — I think it fits pretty well with a variety of aesthetics. Could be doom, could be heavy rock, psych, stoner garage, whatever. Anyway, I’m into it. Hope you are too.

Quarterly Review #1-10:

Carlton Melton, Mind Minerals

carlton melton mind minerals

It might be decades before the dimension we live in has caught up to the plane from which Northern California’s Carlton Melton emanate their resonant transmissions of space-psych, but somehow time doesn’t seem to matter anyway when actually listening. To wit, Mind Minerals, the trio’s first LP since 2015’s Out to Sea, is an 11-track/76-minute whopper – unmanageable by any standard – but once it’s on, all you want to do is roll with it and by the time post-aptly-named intro “Untimely” has begat “Electrified Sky” has begat the droning “The Lighthouse” has begat the fuzzy swirl of “Eternal Return” has begat the 10-minute rumble-and-synth soundtracking of “Snow Moon,” etc., there’s neither escape nor the desire for it. Does it need to be a 2LP? Nope, but nothing needs to be anything, man. In the subdued boogie of “Basket Full of Trumpets,” the is-it-backwards slow freakout of “Sea Legs,” the experimental guitar ambience of “Way Back When,” headphone-ready minimalism of “Climbing the Ladder,” the shaker’s tension that sustains the otherwise wispy “Atmospheric River,” and the final fuzzy resurgence of “Psychoticedelicosis,” Carlton Melton thoroughly reaffirm their residency in the far, far out. Not that anyone was questioning their paperwork or anything.

Carlton Melton on Thee Facebooks

Agitated Records website

 

Horseskull, Chemical Winter Blues

horseskull chemical winter blues

With fluid shifts between Ripple-style straightforward heavy rock, rolling Sabbathian lumber and even some harsher sludge elements, the seven-minute “Black Dawn, Bright Day” sets a varied tone for Chemical Winter Blues, the second LP from North Carolina’s Horseskull. I’m not sure I’d declare any one side or the other the winner in the fight between them by the time the death ‘n’ roll of “Luckless Bastards” gives way to closer “Lost all I Had, then Lost Again” – itself a 17-minute noise-nodder triumph of, well, loss – but the trip through “Hypocrites and Pigs” and 10-minute centerpiece “The Black Flame of Cain” is unpredictable and fun to make in kind. Guitarist/vocalist Anthony Staton reminds a bit of Slough Feg’s Mike Scalzi in his cleaner delivery, which only adds to the album’s declarative feel, and the overarching groove surrounding from guitarist Michael Avery, bassist Robert Hewlett and drummer Steve Smith only reinforces the developing individualism.

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Dreadnought, A Wake in Sacred Waves

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There is very little beyond the reach of Denver four-piece Dreadnought. Their third album, A Wake in Sacred Waves (Sailor Records), blends open, psychedelic jazz, progressive black metal, folk and more into a sometimes-thrashing/sometimes-sprawling meld that recalls the promise of Grayceon and the poise of Opeth while at the same time casting its own impression in melody, arrangement, variety and scope. Opening with the 17-minute longest cut (immediate points) “Vacant Sea,” it brilliantly ties its elements together to present a story arc following in elemental theme from Dreadnought’s first two offerings in centering around the rise and fall of a water-born apex predator, the narrative of which plays out across its four intense, extended and resoundingly complex inclusions, which alternate between beautiful and terrifying in a way that leaves the line utterly blurred and irrelevant. Why this band isn’t on Profound Lore or Neurot, I have no idea, but either way, A Wake in Sacred Waves is a conceptual and manifest triumph not to be missed.

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Forsaken, Pentateuch

forsaken-pentateuch

A spirit of classic doom metal abounds on Forsaken’s fifth long-player, Pentateuch (Mighty Music), which is the long-running Malta-based outfit’s first offering since 2009’s After the Fall, but though righteous fist-pumpers like “Primal Wound” and “Decalogue” carry an epic and unflinchingly progressive underpinning in their layered vocal melodies, a harsh snare sound and awkwardly punching bass stifle complete immersion. It’s less an issue in a cut like “Saboath (The Law Giver),” which has a full swing surrounding, but it makes post-intro opener “Serpent Bride” sound like a demo (unless it’s my digital promo?) in a way that sets an unfortunate tone in contrasting the obvious class and high-level execution of Pentateuch as a whole. It should be noted that even a rough production can’t hold “The Dove and the Raven” back from making its Candlemassian intent clear, but a record of such overall high standard should feel as crisp as possible, and particularly for being so many years in arriving, Forsaken’s latest seems to want more in that regard, despite the quality of the material that comprises it.

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Moon Rats, Highway Lord

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I’ve already counted Highway Lord among my favorite debuts of 2017, but consider it’s worth taking a moment to underline the point of the heavy psych and stoner-fuzz wash that Moon Rats so vigilantly emit on cuts like the opening salvo of “Become the Smoke,” “The Dark Takes Hold” and “Heroic Dose,” balancing languid vibe and sonic heft atop gorgeously natural songcraft. Among the short-feeling 29 minutes and seven inclusions, with the title-track at the center shifting into “Overdose,” the deeply atmospheric “The Hunter” the and melodically spacious “Motor Sword” at the finish, there isn’t a weak spot to be found, and whether it’s the added dynamic of a key arrangement in the closer or the landmark feel of the hook to “Heroic Dose,” the Milwaukee five-piece tap into the there’s-no-rush-we’ll-all-get-there sonic sentiment that once made Quest for Fire so entrancing, while engaging subtle flourish of presentation that promises creative development to come. Bring it on. Please. The sooner the better.

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Son of the Morning, Son of the Morning EP

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Newcomer four-piece Son of the Morning, with the crisply-realized three tracks of their self-titled debut EP, would seem right away to be trying to stake their claim on a piece of the Midwest’s doom legacy. Coiling between heavy rock swing and classic doom tonality, each cut, from “Left Hand Path,” which rounds out after its welcoming hook with a sample of what sounds like somebody hanging in the breeze, through the post-Uncle Acid riffing of “Release,” and the more ethereal, organ-laced psych of “House of Our Enemy,” offers its own take in a clearheaded and efficient five minutes, getting in, leaving its mark and getting out to make room for the next piece in this initial sampling. Potential abounds from vocalist/organist Lady Helena, bassist Lee Allen, guitarist Levi Mendes and drummer H.W. Applewhite, and the core question is how they might tie these elements together across a first full-length. It should be noted they sound more than ready to embark on that project and provide an answer.

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Jesus the Snake, Jesus the Snake EP

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A 31-minute debut EP clearly meant to be heard in its entirety, Jesus the Snake’s self-titled treads some familiar ground in progressive heavy psychedelic instrumentalism throughout its four tracks – “Floyds I,” “Floyds II,” “Karma” and “Moment” – but with an inherent sense of mood and reach not unlike earliest My Sleeping Karma, its tonal warmth and emergent weight of groove find welcome all the same. Particularly for being the Portuguese outfit’s first public unveiling, the interplay of Joka Alves’ keys and Jorge Lopes’ guitar is immediately fluid, and as the bass of Rui Silva provides foundation to let drummer João Costa explore jazzy snare textures and stylistic nuance. It’s a beginning, and it sounds like a beginning, but Jesus the Snake also offers a richness and patience that many bands simply don’t have their first time out, and for that and the classic stoner fuzz of “Moment” alone, it’s easily worth the time and effort of thorough investigation.

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BerT, The Lost Toes

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Officially defunct for some time now, Michigan’s BerT compile tracks from throughout their prolific and bizarre run in The Lost Toes (Madlantis Records), proffering a timeline of their post-Melvins avant weirdness that starts with their very first song, “Stuff,” and makes its way through various demos, lost tracks, noise experiments, etc., to the 11-minute drone-out “Return” at the finish line. The digital version on Bandcamp offers an origin story with each track – the 90-second noise rock blast “Human Bone Xylophone” was cut from 2012’s Return to the Electric Church for time concerns, and the subsequent “Commercial Break” (which, yes, is a commercial break) was a class project – but whether you engage the narrative or not, the enduring vibe remains strange and charming in its garage-fuckall, could-and-just-might-go-anywhere-at-any-moment kind of way. BerT were always good fun, and The Lost Toes serves as reminder of the personality they had together that was so very much their own.

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Galactic Gulag, To the Stars by Hard Ways

galactic gulag to the stars by hard ways

Brazilian instrumental troupe Galactic Gulag traffic in cosmic heft across the five pieces that comprise their first full-length, To the Stars by Hard Ways, but there’s ultimately little about the album that seems to be the hard way. If anything, it’s easy: Easy to groove on, easy to let it unfold over you in a spacious psychedelic drift, easy to nod along as the bassline of “Escape from Planet Gulag” picks up from 12-minute opener “Home.” Easy even to get lost in the sax-laden swirl-bounce off-kilterism of “The Hollow Moon.” So yeah, guitarists Breno Xavier and Pablo Dias, bassist Gabriel Dunke and drummer César Silva might be overselling a sense of difficulty, but as “Space Time Singularity” rolls into the shreddy-style fuzz of 15-minute closer “Eta Orionis,” there are clearly more important issues at hand. Like space. And riffs. And tone. And everything else that’s working so well for the Natal-based foursome on this jam-laden debut.

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Band of Spice, Shadows Remain

band of spice shadows remain

Former Spiritual Beggars and The Mushroom River Band vocalist Christian “Spice” Sjöstrand has been fronting the namesake act Band of Spice – formerly Spice and the RJ Band — for over a decade now, and Shadows Remain (Scarlet Records) follows 2015’s Economic Dancers (review here) as their fifth overall full-length. After the suitably-drunk-sounding vocals-only intro “Only One Drink,” the album rides the line between classically metallic tones and heavy rock riffing, a cut like “Don’t Bring Me Flowers” having little time in its 2:46 for brooking nonsense of any sort while later pieces like “Apartment 8” and “The Savior and the Clown” find time for more brooding and sentimental fare, and the penultimate “Take Me Home” and closer “Apartment 8 (Part II)” offer acoustic-strummed departure, so while the 51-minute runtime gives the 13-tracker something of a CD-era throwback feel and the songwriting the resolute in its straightforwardness, neither is Shadows Remain completely single-minded in its approach. A touch of grunge-funk in “Sheaf” goes a long way as well in lightening the mood, making the whole presentation all the more pro-shop, as it should be.

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Review & Full Album Stream: Greenbeard, Lödarödböl

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on June 23rd, 2017 by JJ Koczan

greenbeard lodarodbol

[Click play above to stream Greenbeard’s Lödarödböl in its entirety. Album is out July 1 via Sailor Records.]

One might have to stare a couple extra seconds at the title Lödarödböl before putting the proper long ‘o’ sounds where they should be, but once that’s deciphered, a good portion of Greenbeard‘s intent is revealed. The Austin, Texas-based three-piece of guitarist/vocalist Chance Parker, bassist Dan Alvarez and drummer Buddy Hachar follow-up their 2015 debut, Stoned at the Throne (discussed here), with six tracks of correspondingly weedian craftsmanship that balances straightforward hooks with jammier impulses in clear but fluid divide. That is, in listening, one looks at a song like the eight-minute “Lanesplitter” and can probably guess that Greenbeard are about to stretch out a bit, but the trio do well to tie their pieces together, whether it’s that song leading out of aptly-named opener “Swing” or into the driving “Young Concussion.”

All told, Lödarödböl comprises six tracks pulled off over a pretense-free 35 vinyl-ready minutes, and there isn’t a weak one in the batch. With subtle shifts in tone brought to bear through a production/mix job by Matt Bayles (Isis, Mastodon, so many others) — who also adds synth to “Swing,” “Lanesplitter” and 10-minute closer “Wyrm” — a few guest vocal appearances and variety of structure, Greenbeard keep a consistent groove from song to song while playing a kind of back and forth between shorter and longer-winded stretches. Momentum is built and well maintained, and ultimately, Lödarödböl succeeds in casting an amiable interpretation of modern stoner heavy: informed but not solely indebted to the likes of Kyuss and Queens of the Stone Age, and jammed out in all the right places.

With their road bowl loaded, Greenbeard set themselves in immediate motion with the introductory riff of “Swing,” calling to mind a fuzzier take on earlier Red Fang in their chug and straightforward, uptempo push. Even the verse is catchy, and the chorus itself is the first of several deceptively ear-worming melodies that Lödarödböl offers, but it’s also telling and somewhat foreshadowing that “Swing” moves into its second half with the aforementioned keys from Bayles and a more laid back, languid, semi-psychedelic spaciousness added on top of that initial core chug. That tension is essential to what makes Lödarödböl function, and to have it play out directly prior to the fadeout of the album opener shows consciousness on the part of the band in terms of informing their audience of their intent throughout. Was that what they had in mind when they wrote the song? Probably not, but it’s a crucial function “Swing” plays anyway, and likewise the transition into the nodding “Lanesplitter” is smooth enough that there’s no jarring moment where one track ends and the next one starts.

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Parker‘s vocals about a minute in remind of Chris Goss in Masters of Reality in how they top the bounce, but “Lanesplitter” is headed outward, and after a little more than three minutes, the track crashes out to a just-guitar progression as the founding element of the likely-plotted jam that will carry through the rest of its eight-minute runtime, some righteous half-time drumming from Hachar and Bayles‘ organ work setting up a guitar solo while Alvarez holds the proceedings together on bass so that as they move into the more-improv-sounding next stage of the jam and build toward the crashing apex, the sense of motion remains prevalent. That turns out to be pivotal as Greenbeard shift method again into the shorter and more structured “Young Concussion,” rounding out the album’s first half with a strong hook that speaks to the Songs for the Deaf influence, stops to make room for a bit of rock-gasm, and ably returns to its chorus to finish.

Lest they be accused of not being stoned enough, ParkerAlvarez and Hachar start side B with “Battleweed.” Like “Swing” at the outset, there’s a certain amount of blending impulses in the five-minute-plus second-half leadoff, but “Battleweed” functions doubly in reinforcing not only the two different sides of Lödarödböl, but how readily Greenbeard are able to unite them into a functioning singular presentation. There may be a certain tongue-in-cheek aspect to the lyrics, but with its turn into and subsequently out of midsection boogie and casual rhythm, it’s a highlight all the same, and it comes backed by the “Love has Passed by Me,” the penultimate cut and shortest at 3:33. A sans-frills swing-and-hook masher, it thick-shuffles through its verse en route to the maybe-Kyuss referential chorus (though that was “…Passed Me By,” not “…Passed by Me” as it is here) and holds its pace for the duration, playing effectively into the bass-thickened start of “Wyrm.”

The final portion of Lödarödböl earns its extended stretch-out with a patient opening and loosely hypnotic flow, a particularly impressive vocal from Parker when the vocals arrive and a break at the halfway mark into an abbreviated crescendo. This makes for an especially welcome ending, because rather than build and jam their way out, Greenbeard actually turn back to the chorus and the central progression of “Wyrm” and ride that to the album’s end, working in defiance of expectation and easing the listener back to reality with a return from Bayles on keys and a last churning hum. In some ways, Lödarödböl is a quintessential second full-length. It clearly has learned from its predecessor, and it demonstrates mindful growth on the part of Greenbeard without giving the sense that they’ve finished the process of becoming who they’ll be as a band. That’s a convenient narrative, but they play well to it, and their preaching should have no trouble finding welcome among the ears of the already converted or those looking to be.

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Six Dumb Questions with Abrams

Posted in Six Dumb Questions on June 16th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

abrams (photo chanelle leslie)

Denver progressive heavy rockers Abrams released their second album, Morning, exactly one week ago via Sailor Records, and immediately set about hitting the road to support it on a three-week West Coast tour. The remaining dates are below, and like what the trio have done with the videos for “Worlds Away” (posted here) and “Burned” (posted here), and even more than their 2015 debut, Lust. Love. Loss. (review here), the new collection seeks to capture the energy that Abrams bring to the stage. Recorded by Andy Patterson (SubRosa, Iota, etc.) and Dave Otero (Cephalic Carnage, Khemmis, etc.), Morning brims with sonic clarity, and balanced with a blistering performance from the three-piece, it not only emphasizes the development they’ve undertaken since getting together, but the varied approach to songwriting that’s been honed as a part of that.

One can readily hear progression in the vocals and the arrangements between bassist Taylor Iversen and guitarist Zachary Amster, who over the propulsive drumming of Geoffrey Cotton bring even more momentum as they trade back and forth in the lead role between tracks like “Rivers” and “Can’t Sleep,” shifting back and forth amid cleaner choruses and echoing shouts. Abrams credit this largely to working with Otero on vocal recording, and it’s an element they share with early-ish Mastodon that comes through more at some points than others, side B’s “Die in Love” taking this core influence and adding an edge of noise rock amid the winding riffery. Along with the clearheaded, crisp punch of the Patterson-tracked instrumentation, this is one more example of the underlying sense of purpose that drives every move Abrams make on Morning.

There isn’t a part that doesn’t serve the greater whole, or a change that doesn’t feed into making a given song better, and while I wouldn’t say they completely avoid indulgences — no one does in this style — Morning works fluidly to justify every turn it presents, and Abrams emerge from the atmospheric closing title-track having reached a new level in craft and delivery.

They’ve been on the road since June 9. Here are the remaining tour dates:

Abrams on tour:
Jun 16 – San Jose, CA @ The Caravan
Jun 17 – Santa Cruz, CA @ Caffe Pergolesi
Jun 18 – Sacramento, CA @ Starlite Lounge
Jun 19 – Reno, NV @ Shea’s Tavern
Jun 20 – Medford, OR @ Johnny B’s Tavern
Jun 21 – Eugene, OR @ Old Nick’s Pub
Jun 22 – Portland, OR @ The Kenton Club
Jun 23 – Seattle, WA @ Lo-Fi Performance Gallery
Jun 24 – Boise, ID @ The Shredder
Jun 25 – Salt Lake City, UT @ Club X
Jun 26 – Cheyenne, WY @ Ernie November
Jun 27 – Rapid City, SD @ West Dakota Improv
Jun 28 – Minneapolis, MN @ Triple Rock Social Club
Jun 29 – Chicago, IL @ Reggies
Jun 30 – Des Moines, IA @ The Fremont
Jul 1 – Denver, CO @ The Hi Dive

Iversen took time out to explain the band’s motives and writing methods. Please enjoy the following Six Dumb Questions:

abrams morning

Six Dumb Questions with Abrams

What lessons were you able to take from the first album? Tell me about incorporating them into these songs. What did you want to build on from the debut and what did you want to do differently?

Well, we wrote about 50 percent of Lust. Love. Loss. in three weeks’ time after a substantial but amicable personnel change, essentially on the eve of our 2014 West Coast tour. So with Morning, we really wanted to take our time with it. In a way, we’ve been writing Morning, since July of 2015, when the first songs began to take shape. We all entered into the writing process with the desire to create a more dynamic album.

We wanted to be less furious and driving from start to finish, and kind of take people on an emotional journey, though that sounds cliché as fuck. Still, you will notice many more “quieter” passages on Morning, and there is a much wider range to our vocal approach. Vocals were one of the things we wanted to improve upon most. We’re actually, you know, singing.

Talk about the writing process for Morning. How do songs like “18 Weeks” and “Can’t Sleep” come about?

When we wrote the songs, the actual instrumentation, I don’t think we consciously had any idea what we would be singing about. Everything kind of developed naturally in that way. Zach brings in most of the riffs, but we all then work together to make these ideas adhere into an Abrams song. Vocally, Zach and I just shouted nothings for a while. Slowly these nothings coalesced into words and passages that we found dealt with a lot of the same things.

For instance: I went through something like two breakups during the writing of this record, Zach had just gone through a difficult and prolonged breakup of his own, and to top it all off, Geoff‘s mother had just died. We were in a really odd place mentally. Songs like “Can’t Sleep” and “At the End” highlight a lot of that. All of these interpersonal relationships and the pain they caused are lyrically peppered throughout the album. “18 Weeks” is about an experience I had being dragged along by somebody I thought I loved, only to find out 18 weeks later they did not share these feelings. That’s also why, “I can’t sleep in this silence.” What’s beautiful though is I think each of us have our own interpretation of what each song represents. We really needed each other when we wrote this record. We needed these songs. So we made them.

You’ve mentioned duality as a theme for the album, and that “Morning” and “Mourning” are meant to complement each other because of the titles. Expand on that. What are you saying about duality, and what drove you to explore the idea in the first place?

I guess I’m lucky in that I still wake up every morning with a lot of hope for how things are going to go. “I’m going to kick today’s ass.” More often than not though, I lay my head down at the end of the day only to find that it very rightly kicked MY ass. What could have been if I’d just tried harder? Done better? Both songs, “Morning” and “Mourning,” feature that back and forth within them. I forget who mentioned the idea to whom first, but we were very pleased to find that we had all come to the same thematic idea on our own.

So there’s all that emotional turmoil of losing somebody you once shared love with, it’s all over the album. But there’s also these snippets of joy. Life can only be beautiful because it’s so often very painful. So you’ll find in “Rivers” or “Morning” there’s this serenity, this peace, this bright, hopeful liveliness. Yeah there’s a lot of shit about breakups and going insane too, but then for instance, I met somebody right before hopping into the studio and we’re still together. She’s all over the album lyrically too. That’s what it’s all about, you know: Hope vs. Despair. A little bit of good. A little bit of bad.

How does Samantha Muljat’s cover art play into the theme for you?

We presented the idea to Samantha and she just ran with it in a big way. She went searching the woods one morning and found this lonely cabin, not abandoned, but far, far away from anything else. The lonely road leading up past the cabin evokes the thought of a journey. But to where? How far until we get there? The morning light playing through the mist sets such a beautiful scene, but there’s darkness there too. It’s a cold, lonely image, but there’s also warmth and peace throughout.

To me, on the back, the bread represents life, while the fallen leaves scattered around represents death. There is darkness surrounding everything, but at the center of it all there’s the candles casting light throughout.

Tell me about your time recording with Andy Patterson. How long were you in the studio, what was the atmosphere like, and since this was your second time working with him, did you feel more comfortable being more familiar with the process? You also worked with Dave Otero. Who recorded what and how did it all come together?

Recording with Andy for us was like fuckin’ summer camp! We were in the studio with Andy for about a week, and just like last time Andy and his wife Cindi opened their home to us. We’re such good buddies with them, it’s hard not to enjoy every single moment. It’s a full day of rigorous and focused recording in his studio, but we’re so in tune with each other it went slick as butter. As soon as we’re out, we go back to their place and just crush beers, take rips from the bong, make homemade pizzas and watch garbage television. Grey’s Anatomy was last time, and this time it was just dirty-ass reality shows. We all kind of teared up when we were getting ready to leave. It really felt like the last day of summer camp.

Andy recorded all of the instruments, and we laid down some scratch vocal ideas with him as well. We sent that to Dave, and we all ruminated on that from September to October when we entered the studio with him to track the finalized vocals. If Andy was summer camp, Dave was boot camp. The first day he gave us a lowdown just like,”no booze, no smoke, drink lots of water and tea, above all else get a good night sleep.” From there it was a literal nine-to-five job for seven days where our only responsibility was to sing, and sing, and sing. At the end of the day, we’d go home and go right to sleep; absolutely drained and exhausted. But, if anybody can get a good vocal performance out of you, it’s Dave Otero.

He’ll push you harder than you’ve ever been pushed, and he’ll throw in plenty of his own ideas, which are always amazing. That’s precisely why we went to him. We also had Dave do the final mixes and mastering, which he knocked out of the park. That guy is a monster of his craft.

It was great to get two really professional, really talented audio juggernauts like Andy and Dave to lend their ears to what we were trying to do.

I’ve heard Summer tour dates are in the works. Any other plans or closing words you want to mention?

Yeah! We’ll be doing two tours this summer. Three weeks on the West Coast, and two-ish weeks on the East. June and August respectively. In July we have hopes to get demos for our third album, for which we already have a lot of songs. We’re hoping to tour on Morning as much as possible, so there’s been tentative plans to hit the southern half of the country this winter. We’ll see what happens. Maybe we’ll finally find a booking agent, and they’ll put us the fuck to work.

Abrams, Morning (2017)

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Abrams Post “Worlds Away” Video; Album out this Week

Posted in Bootleg Theater on June 5th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

abrams

Leading up to the release this Friday of their second album, Morning — also their debut on Sailor Records — Colorado progressive heavy trio Abrams have thus far issued two videos. The first was for “Burned” (posted here), and then there’s the one you’ll find below for “Worlds Away.” Two. One never knows, but I doubt they’ll sneak in a third before the end of this week, and the reason I bring it up is because both video releases have arrived with impeccable timing.

In the case of “Burned,” it was the announcement that the band will hit the road on an extensive West Coast tour starting on — wouldn’t you know it? — the album’s release date. With “Worlds Away,” the occasion is of course the record itself coming out. This matters because it’s emblematic of the way Abrams work overall throughout the 10 included tracks. They are deeply purposeful. Their songwriting functions the same way in how it is measured, thought-out, and crisply executed. Captured on the recording so as to maximize its overall impact, yes, but geared in its intent toward building a momentum that, by no coincidence I’m sure, begins with “Worlds Away” itself.

That’s right. What’s effectively the last step Abrams take before unveiling the album as a whole is posting a video that introduces listeners to how it starts off. Even this would seem to be the result of the precise manner in which they operate, which one can hear too in the balance of turns and drive in “Worlds Away.” Aside from looking like it was filmed on a really nice sunny day — maybe in the morning? — the clip finds the band outside in the open air performing the track in a spacious environment. You might recall that for “Burned,” they were indoors. Once more, one doubts that’s happenstance.

Enjoy “Worlds Away” below. Morning is out on Friday, and the tour starts the same night. Dates and more info follow:

Abrams, “Worlds Away” video

With new album Morning set to be released June 9th, and with a US tour kicking off that same night, Denver trio Abrams drop the brand new music video for its song “Worlds Away,” off Morning.

Look for Abrams on tour all summer. Zach Amster says, “As always, we are excited to head back to the West Coast! Come out and show us a good time. East Coast, see you in August.”

Jun. 9 — Santa Fe, NM @ The Underground
Jun. 10 — Bisbee, AZ @ The Quarry
Jun. 11 — San Diego, CA @ Tower Bar
Jun. 12 — Long Beach, CA @ Blacklight District Lounge
Jun. 13 — Los Angeles, CA @ Five Star Bar
Jun. 14 — Ventura, CA @ The Garage
Jun. 15 — San Francisco, CA @ Hemlock Tavern
Jun. 16 — San Jose, CA @ The Caravan
Jun. 17 — Santa Cruz, CA @ Caffe Pergolesi
Jun. 18 — Sacramento, CA @ Starlite Lounge
Jun. 19 — Reno, NV @ Shea’s Tavern
Jun. 20 — Medford, OR @ Johnny B’s Tavern
Jun. 21 — Eugene, OR @ Old Nick’s Pub
Jun. 22 — Portland, OR @ The Kenton Club
Jun. 23 — Missoula, MT @ Monk’s Bar
Jun. 24 — Billings, MT @ The Railyard
Jun. 25 — Salt Lake City, UT @ Club X
Jun. 26 — Cheyenne, WY @ Ernie November
Jun. 27 — Rapid City, SD @ West Dakota Improv
Jun. 28 — Minneapolis, MN @ Triple Rock Social Club
Jun. 29 — Chicago, IL @ Reggies
Jun. 30 — Des Moines, IA @ The Fremont
Jul. 1 — Denver, CO @ The Hi Dive

Lineup:
Taylor Iversen – bass, vocals
Zachary Amster – guitar, vocals
Geoffrey Cotton – drums

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