The Legendary Flower Punk Premiere “Wabi Wu” Live Video

Posted in Bootleg Theater on August 8th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

the-legendary-flower-punk

What began as a side-project from The Grand Astoria‘s Kamille Sharapodinov has and clearly still is expanding, as The Legendary Flower Punk has gone from exploring hippie psych textures to full-band-and-then-some progressive space rock. This Fall, the outfit will release Wabi Wu through Tonzonen Records, the follow-up to 2016’s Zen Variations, which will feature not only Sharapodinov and Michail Lopakov, who founded the project together, but a range of others including a swath of guests on keys and other arrangement elements. I haven’t heard the full thing yet — I don’t even know if it’s done — but they’ve got a live-in-studio video of the band as a four-piece playing the instrumental title-track “Wabi Wu,” and it sounds pretty awesome as far as album-teasers go.

You ever want to see what a locked-in band looks like? Just watch The Legendary Flower Punk play “Wabi Wu” in this clip. They’re not putting on a show. There’s no audience. This is just about four players in the room, facing each other, headphones on, experiencing the joy of something they’re making together. As regards the video, it’s a little unclear at first where Sharapodinov is in relation to the rest of the band, but it works out sooner or later, and indeed, it’s everybody just playing through the song. But look at their faces as they go. They’re concentrating, to be sure, but they’re also having an absolute blast. It makes the funky prog groove that much more infectious to see them so dug into it, and it’s an utter pleasure to watch someone so much enjoy what they’re doing. If you were going to be in a band, you would want to feel this way about it.

I don’t know how much “Wabi Wu” will ultimately speak for the album that bears its name when that arrives, but its sub-seven-minute uptempo push is right on and ready for digging, so do like they’re doing and enjoy it for what it is. When I hear more about the album release, I’ll post accordingly.

“Wabi Wu” was filmed at Galernaya 20 Studio in Saint Petersburg, Russia.

Have fun:

The Legendary Flower Punk, “Wabi Wu” live at Galernaya 20 premiere

Filmed on 17.01.2019 at Galernaya 20 studio by Julia Melikhova.
Live version from the album “Wabi Wu”
To be out in November 2019 via Tonzonen Records (Germany).

The Legendary Flower Punk on Thee Facebooks

The Legendary Flower Punk on Bandcamp

Tonzonen Records on Thee Facebooks

Tonzonen Records on Instagram

Tonzonen Records website

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Weltesser to Release Crestfallen Jan. 27 on Prosthetic Records

Posted in Whathaveyou on November 3rd, 2016 by JJ Koczan

The lumbercrush of Weltesser‘s aptly-titled Demo tape has been sold out since I don’t know how long from its 2015 release, but the news that the cave-echoing Floridian trio have been picked up by Prosthetic Records to release their impending debut album, Crestfallen, in January, wants little for justification. One can imagine the wash of low end from “Rats” or “Hate Worshiper” filling any number of small rooms throughout the unsuspecting Southeast over the last couple years and demolishing what a given audience might’ve thought they were getting from a live set, and as Prosthetic continues to wade into things slow and low — see also Spirit Adrift, past rockin’ experience with The Tower, Castle, and so on — the Saint Petersburg three-piece bring an extremity to the mix in which they’ve not yet basked.

Stream and download that demo below, name-your-price style. Here’s the info from Prosthetic:

weltesser

PROSTHETIC RECORDS SIGNS METALLIC DOOM TRIO WELTESSER

Band announce Jan. 27 release for debut album “Crestfallen” & upcoming appearances

PROSTHETIC RECORDS are pleased to reveal the signing of metallic doom trio WELTESSER to their ever expanding roster. Fueled by sour diesel and misery, WELTESSER is comprised of Ian Hronek (Rotting Palms, Landbridge) Nate Peterson (Rotting Palms, Sky Burial) and Mike Amador (Landbridge), who formed the band in Saint Petersburg, FL over Sabbath worship and Monolord. Roughly a year after their inaugural demo release – a syrupy four track cassette – WELTESSER are excited to announce the release of their debut full-length album “Crestfallen” with PROSTHETIC RECORDS on January 27, 2017.

The band collectively commented on the signing and what to expect from their debut stating, “We are super humbled, and honestly very excited, to be working with Prosthetic. We’ve all been working very hard on our music for years. Once we all got together and started Weltesser, it was the most fluid we’ve ever played, but I think we were all pretty surprised about anyone taking interest in helping with putting out an album so early in the band’s life. “Crestfallen” is refinement and growth, we wanted to have the same depressive emotions that were in the demo, but branch out and pull some new sounds into it. Our music is very much about redundancy, not so much the repeat, just bringing you back to the same feelings from the beginning to the end. We are happy about how it came out and are excited about writing more music”

Self-produced and engineered by Dan Byers, “Crestfallen” is six tracks clocking in at 30 minutes of sickening, metallic doom. Having shared the stage with bands such as Primitive Man, The Body, Jucifer, Celeste and many more, they quickly became the go-to unsigned band in Florida for nationally touring acts. Their sound is inspired by Dystopia, His Hero is Gone, and Laudanum, lending a humble maturity beyond three years.

UPCOMING TOUR DATES
11/18-19 Saint Petersburg, FL – Destroyer Fest (w/ Cough, set and setting, Shroud Eater)
12/17-18 Orlando, FL – Florida is Loud Fest (w/ Yautja, Knife Hits)

www.facebook.com/weltesser
https://weltesser.bandcamp.com/
https://www.facebook.com/prostheticrecords
prostheticrecords.com

Weltesser, Demo (2015)

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The Grand Astoria, La Belle Epoque: Snakes in Paradise

Posted in Reviews on January 14th, 2015 by JJ Koczan

the grand astoria la belle epoque

Russian heavy rockers The Grand Astoria have only gotten more progressive and more prolific. La Belle Epoque, which was released last month by Setalight Records, is their first long-player since 2013’s Punkadelica Supreme (review here) and their fifth overall, but in the time between the two albums, the Saint Petersburg-based outfit have unleashed a barrage of outings, including singles, EPs, splits and live releases, plus side-projects from guitarist/vocalist Kamille Sharapodinov (The Legendary Flower Punk) and lead guitarist Igor Suvarov (Lucifer in the Sky with Diamonds). Their increasing tendency toward exploration has led them to a more metallic approach on La Belle Epoque, and what seemed on their earlier works like a defining core of stoner rock and punk has become only pieces of a puzzle to which, apparently, more is being added. Their first three records, 2009’s I (review here), 2010’s II (review here) and 2011’s Omnipresence (review here), showed an increasing tendency to look outside the band itself — a rotating lineup around Sharapodinov and Suvarov has been part of that; near as I can tell, keyboardist/floutist/vocalist/metallophonist Danila Danilov is the only other returning player from Punkadelica Supreme — and La Belle Epoque further extends that impulse stylistically. It is their proggiest work to date, though at seven-tracks/43 minutes it’s not like they’ve gotten so indulgent as to surpass an easy vinyl fit, but the range of their material and their ability to fluidly bring listeners along for the ride throughout is indicative of their growth. As much as it is exploring, La Belle Epoque is also a mature, not-at-all-confused offering.

Opener “Henry’s Got a Gun” makes a surprising first impression in calling to mind Faith No More sonically, and I find the more I listen to La Belle Epoque, the more that band fits as a comparison point. Not always in sound — The Grand Astoria aren’t limited to aping one group or genre at this point, if they ever were — but in method. The likeness comes more from the ability to translate experimental tendencies into traditional or semi-traditional forms of songwriting; that is, to take the experiment and develop it into a fully-realized song. Be it the slight country touch of guest banjo in “The Answer,” the Metallica groove early in “Gravity Bong,” the Devin Townsend-style harmonies and prog-metal range of the 14:05 “Serpent and the Garden of Eden” or the sweet melodicism of the clarinet-inclusive title-track and the brief, positive moment provided in closer “Charming,” each song offers something different, but La Belle Epoque does not overbake its ideas or push too far in one direction or another, instead keeping a balance sound-wise and through Sharapodinov and Danilov‘s vocals that guides the listener across the various movements on hand. Overarching flow winds up one of the great strengths of the CD — the vinyl presumably splits just before “Serpent and the Garden of Eden” — though that’s not really a surprise given it’s The Grand Astoria‘s fifth full-length. The tonal quality is a bit more of a surprise, the guitars having more bite and bassist Eugene Korolkov and drummer Vladimir Zinoviev following them on runs like those of “Lisbon Firstborn”‘s instrumental first half, which shifts after four minutes to an acoustic homage to Lisbon that in turn builds to organ-topped classic rock groove and soloing to finish out.

the grand astoria

In many other contexts, such shifts might come across as manic or disjointed, but by the time they get around to “Lisbon Fuzzborn,” The Grand Astoria have bent the rules far enough that they can more or less squeeze through whatever they want. Of course, at 14 minutes, “Serpent and the Garden of Eden” is a focal point, and from its grandiose opening build through the metallic tension that arises early, the tight groove, psychedelic vibe in Suvorov‘s first-half solo, and progressive changes and turns made from there on out, winding up in a second-half payoff for song and album alike, it’s a singular achievement in the band’s discography in its arrangement and execution. As an example of how far they’ve come since their debut six years ago, I don’t think there’s much more one could ask of it, though one could just as easily say the same of “La Belle Epoque” itself, which clocks in at a much shorter 3:19. So it’s not just about how they’ve written a long track, or found a metal-sounding production. It’s about how La Belle Epoque demonstrates a progression hard won through constant evolution of songwriting and work on the road. Most satisfying of all is how increasingly these elements belong solely to The Grand Astoria, and how they’ve carved an identity for themselves in their willful searching for their sound. They’re only going to keep moving forward, and while La Belle Epoque features their familiar cow-skull mascot on its cover by Sophia Miroedova, the tracks on the album itself are anything but repetitive. If anything, this is one in a series of ambitious adventures that character has had, and I’d be very surprised if it’s all that long before the next one arrives.

The Grand Astoria, La Belle Epoque (2014)

The Grand Astoria on Thee Facebooks

The Grand Astoria on Bandcamp

Setalight Records

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On the Radar: Sex Type Thing (RU)

Posted in On the Radar on February 2nd, 2011 by JJ Koczan

Not to be confused with an alternative rock band from San Francisco, the Sex Type Thing in question hail from Saint Petersburg (much different), in Russia, and play a straightforward type of heavy/stoner rock that they adopted in 2007 after years of development, lineup and style changes. Their first album, Southern Dreams from Northern Reality, came out in 2009, and in March, they’ll follow it with Checked up by Time, snippets from which are available for listening on the Bandcamp player below.

I suppose one doesn’t name a band after a Stone Temple Pilots song and not have some measure of ’90s commercial rock influence, but for anyone who’d care to visit their MySpace to hear tracks off the first album, Sex Type Thing filter any grunge leanings through a riff-heavy approach that’s aiming for something different entirely. The vocals of Michael Chigidin come across a little too forward in the mix on the older material — “Long Way Home Blues” and “Freeway Ride,” for example — but judging by the snippets, that seems to have been at least somewhat taken care of on the new cuts. Hey, at least he can sing.

Straight-ahead European-style stoner rock is nothing new by this point, but Russia‘s burgeoning scene (bands like The Re-Stoned and The Grand Astoria) is only now starting to make itself known internationally, so it’s worth a look and listen to acts like Sex Type Thing to hear what kind of influences are at work. Or, if you’d rather just groove on it, that’s fine too.

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Distorted Space and Literary Appreciation with The Grand Astoria

Posted in Reviews on August 10th, 2010 by JJ Koczan

With their origins in the chilly Russian climes of Saint Petersburg, The Grand Astoria are bound to bring something unique to their take on stoner rock, and sure enough, with their appropriately-titled second offering, II (R.A.I.G.), they do just that, eschewing a fuzzy sound for a harsher, noisier distorted jamming that occasionally goes full-cosmic. While some of the material on last year’s self-released self-titled effort seemed punkish, II comes from a less hurried place and shows The Grand Astoria as unafraid to experiment within their sound, adding samples or feedback to the mostly instrumental material as a way of engaging their audience.

Immediately noticeable about II is the way it’s organized. In terms of track length, the five songs that comprise the album would make a ‘U’ were you to graph them. Opener “Enjoy the View” reaches furthest at 14:50, then the cumbersomely-named “The Inner Galactic Experience of Emily Dickinson and Sylvia Plath” (Plath was referenced on the self-titled as well) clocks in at 7:40. “Visit Sri Lanka” gives a Siena Root-esque moment of Subcontinental Asian influence at 2:44, then it’s back to the longer material with “Wikipedia Surfer” at 9:02 and closer “Radio Friendly Fire” at 12:18. What was behind The Grand Astoria arranging the tracks this way I don’t know, but II does have a rich and smooth flow to it and “Visit Sri Lanka” breaks up the surrounding tracks in a way as to make the second half of the album as refreshing as the first, so no complaints.

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