Great Electric Quest Stream New Split with Lords of Beacon House; Announce Midwestern Tour Dates

Posted in Whathaveyou on October 13th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

great electric quest

On Halloween, San Diego’s Great Electric Quest will release a new split via Glory or Death Records with L.A. compatriots Lords of Beacon House. It’s been in the works for a while — you might recall Lords of Beacon House had their track “Cadillac Daddy” premiered here back in May — but it’s actually coming out, and the very next day, Great Electric Quest will head out on a run they’ve dubbed the ‘Beer Vikings Tour,’ because well, you gotta call it something. As we get closer to the release date, it’s their turn to premiere a track, and you’ll find that below along with a stream of their righteous 2016 Chapter I full-length, which is due for a follow-up presumably sometime in the New Year.

Veterans of this year’s Psycho Las Vegas festival, it’s hard to decide which of Great Electric Quest‘s inclusions on the split is more classic metal in style: their cover of Iron Maiden‘s “Murders in the Rue Morgue” or the original “Ruling this World.” Pick one and run with it — turns out there isn’t a wrong answer — and either way you go, expect to be handed a vicious helping of grit to go with your riffage. As they showed all throughout Chapter I, their take on heavy rock is well informed by attitude and craftsmanship alike, but as right on and ready for tape-trading as cuts from that record like “Egypt” and “Cry of the Wolf” were, the new stuff has it beat. I don’t know if “Ruling this World” might show up on Chapter II when that surfaces, but it certainly bodes well for what’s invariably to come.

Tour dates and more info on the split follow, as well as the track premiere and exclusive download.

Enjoy:

great-electric-quest-tour-poster

Great Electric Quest – Split with Lords of Beacon House & “Beer Vikings Tour 2017”

Rock & Roll, Heavy Metal, Doom & Shredders GREAT ELECTRIC QUEST and Super Trippy, Kings of Cool, Groove Masters, LORDS OF BEACON HOUSE bring you a split to inhale…two WICKED LADIES jamming in the Caddy toking Spliffs and enjoying the tunes… sounds like a good time.

GEQ’s “Madam Elbib” the Gypsy Fortune Teller from their album CH.I and LOBH’s Black Majik Voodoo Woman from their to be released 2nd LP “Recreational Sorcery”, inspire this split brought to you by GLORY OR DEATH RECORDS and the ripping art work of AUSTIN BARRETT.

Pump the V’s, Puff a Spliff, and Cruise out to this 4 song split that’s just long enough to pick up another 12er from the Corner Liquor.

CHEERS! and Thank you to Midnite Collective and XYZ clothing for their support!

Album release date: 31 October 2017

Tracklisting:
1. Lords of Beacon House – Cadillac Daddy
2. Lords of Beacon House – Spliff Ripper
3. Great Electric Quest – Murders in the Rue Morgue (Iron Maiden cover)
4. Great Electric Quest – Ruling this World

GREAT ELECTRIC QUEST Beer Vikings Tour 2017:
11/01 Tucson AZ The Flycatcher
11/02 El Paso TX CJ’s W
11/03 San Angelo TX The Deadhorse
11/04 Austin TX Swan Dive
11/05 Dallas TX Gas Monkey
11/09 Oklahoma City OK Blue Note
11/10 Lawrence KS Replay Lounge
11/11 Savage MN Sword Metal Fest VI
11/13 Omaha NB Lookout Lounge
11/14 Wichita KS The Elbow Room
11/16 Albuquerque NM Launchpad
11/17 Tempe AZ Yucca Tap Room

Great Electric Quest is:
Tyler “T-Sweat” Dingvell – Vocals
Buddy Donner – Guitar
Daniel “MuchoDrums” Velasco – Drums
Jared Bliss – Bass

https://www.facebook.com/electricquest/
https://electricquest.bandcamp.com/
https://gloryordeathrecords.bandcamp.com

Lords of Beacon House & Great Electric Quest, Wicked Ladies split (2017)

Great Electric Quest, Chapter I (2016)

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Friday Full-Length: Harsh Toke, Light up and Live

Posted in Bootleg Theater on October 6th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

Harsh Toke, Light up and Live (2013)

Two vinyl sides. 38 minutes. That’s it. Then you’re done. It seems so simple, and yet, in that time, San Diego’s Harsh Toke stand tall in representing damn near every appeal of the Californian heavy boom that’s taken place over the course of the last eight or nine years, particularly the last half-decade, which has seen San Diego and San Francisco emerge as major epicenters of psychedelic and heavy rock. Separate and distinct in sound and ethic from the Pacific Northwest’s party spirit, no doubt Cali likes to get down as it always has, but as Harsh Toke demonstrate on their ultra-fluid 2013 debut, Light up and Live, it’s as much about how far out you can go as it is what kind of mushrooms you find sprouting up from the ground when you get there. Comprised of guitarist Justin “Figgy” Figueroa, keyboardist/vocalist Gabe Messer, drummer Austin Ayub and bassist Richie Belton, Harsh Toke released Light up and Live via Tee Pee Records, and with its four songs yo-dude-check-out-this-vibe vibe, seemed to signal that a new breed and a new generation was on the rise. Like several of their West Coast peers including Earthless, from whom they take a marked influence on the extended cuts “Weight of the Sun” (14:30) and “Plug into the Moon” (10:09), they have connections to the world of professional skateboarding, but their lysergic wash is unmistakable once conjured and though they seem to purposefully lose themselves in what one might be tempted to put in all-caps as ‘THE JAM,’ their flights from solid ground are never more indulgent than they are invigorating.

Markedly cosmic at the outset, Light up and Live starts out with the deceptively straightforward four-minute thrust-boogie of “Rest in Prince.” Of course, its organ-fueled groove was put to tape three years before the artist himself actually passed away, but what’s most interesting about the track is its verse/chorus structure. There’s still some feeling of the unhinged as it moves into okay-now-it’s-time-to-shred after about the first minute, but with the immediacy of Messer‘s early verses, the song nonetheless works to set up expectations on the part of the listener that Harsh Toke brazenly throw out the window of their shuttle en route out of the atmosphere. “Rest in Prince,” which might be the highlight performance from Ayub as regards the shuffle in the snare, effectively leads the audience into the band’s heavy psych tumult, but it does so while making Light up and Live more accessible than it might otherwise be if it simply started out with the rain sticks, percussion and rising theremin siren and flutes at the launch of “Weight of the Sun.” By the time Harsh Toke really decide to get weird — and once they go, man are they gone — they’ve already welcomed the listener into this molten universe of jamming. Vocals are left behind in favor of effects wash, and the engines kick in after the three-minute mark to launch “Weight of the Sun” toward its reaches, which the band will continue to explore through ebbs and flows for the hypnotic duration, drawing back late as the piece seems to disintegrate around its fade, leaving just the organ line to hold sway for its final minute around some rumbling noise.

Thus side A is capped, and with the 9:47 title-track led off by a flowing bassline, the reimmersion happens quickly on the second half of the record. Languid groove sets the tone early, with more rain stick to fill out the arrangement, but it’s that low end that most holds sway even as the guitar, drums and keys join back in, and that becomes the foundation of “Light up and Live”‘s central riff. Figueroa takes a massive, liquefied solo in the midsection, layers weaving in and out of each other in drawn out Iommic and/or Mitchellian modus with the firm rhythmic backing, and Harsh Toke surprise by bringing vocals back in deep-mixed echoing fashion somewhere after five minutes in. It’s a fast, there-and-gone moment, and not exactly an attempt to reorient the listener so much as another element brought in to add to the atmosphere, but it happens. It’s not an illusion. Still, once more the band execute a full sweep of brainstem-clearing hypnotantrics, slowing toward the end where they might otherwise just keep going but seeming to get out of their own way to allow the push of “Plug into the Moon” to take hold as grand finale. The swirl is immediate and given added Hawkwinded mentality via saxophone and a decided alignment toward interstellar reaches, and though a bit of the boogie spirit of “Rest in Prince” is revived, the closer is obviously working on a different wavelength entirely, driving toward its shred-topped ending that seems so right in nodding quickly at King Crimson‘s “21st Century Schizoid Man” in its last measures before suddenly cutting to a driftless silence, the effect of which after the trance-inducing churn of “Plug into the Moon” is jarring, like the four-piece did a countdown, snapped their fingers and said, “awake.”

Because it’s still a relatively recent release — and because Harsh Toke have yet to deliver a proper full-length follow-up — it’s hard to gauge what the longer-term impact of Light up and Live has been and can be, but no question its release marked a turning point in West Coast heavy psych, heralding the arrival of what has become arguably the most vibrant underground in the US. In terms of what they’ve done since, Harsh Toke have represented San Diego well. In my mind, I’ll forever associate them with the simply amazing set they played in collaboration with psych legend Lenny Kaye in the Netherlands at Roadburn 2014 (review here), and they returned to Europe in the next year to tour with French labelmates Sunder, playing Desertfest Belgium and more besides. 2016 found them releasing a the Acid Crusher / Mount Swan split with Earthless (review here), which they followed with a return to Roadburn earlier this year (review here) for two sets, one of which was comprised entirely of Roky Erickson covers. Upon returning to the States, in June they released an elaborately arranged split with compatriots Joy and Sacri Monti titled Burnout (review here), on which they once more took on Erickson material. Plenty busy, but no second long-player just yet. One holds out hope for 2018, though there’s yet to be any solid word of anything in the works that I’ve seen and members of Harsh Toke reportedly feature in the new group Age, so the future remains uncertain.

Whatever next year and beyond might hold, Light up and Live seems poised to stand the test of time by enacting an acidic spirit outside of it. As always, I hope you enjoy and thank you for reading.

No doubt I had West Coast stuff on my mind after reviewing the new Radio Moscow record earlier today, but whatever gets Harsh Toke posted is cool by me. Coming off the Quarterly Review last week which continued on Monday, you might note this week featured nothing but records that I thought were hyperbole-level awesome. To wit:

Young Hunter, Dayhiker (review here)
Enslaved, E (review here)
Black Mare, Death Magick Mother (review here)
Radio Moscow, New Beginnings (review here)

This is not at all coincidence, and don’t be surprised when all four of those releases feature on my year-end list in December. This week and next I’m trying to get stuff done ahead of the baby’s Oct. 15 due date, which, hey, we might completely blow a few days past or he might decide to come early — and either way is totally cool by me; whatever you wanna do, Pecan — but as I may be occupied for a while mentally in the immediate once he’s born, it made sense to me to get this stuff in ahead of time. Call it the manifestation of my nesting instinct.

I still have some stuff coming together, but next week is likewise slammed. Subject to change as always, but here’s how it looks:

Mon.: Full stream/review of the new Turn Me on Dead Man; might be another track premiere as well.
Tue.: Twingiant track premiere; Review of the new Øresund Space Collective.
Wed.: The Flying Eyes review; possible other track premiere.
Thu.: Nick Oliveri review/full album stream; The Road Miles video premiere.
Fri.: Long-overdue Egypt review, Opium Warlords track premiere.

Busy, busy. Scheduling-wise, I’m behind where I should be in sorting everything out, but I’ll get there over the next couple days and we’ll see what comes together. It’s kind of a crazy time on this end, as I’m sure you can imagine, while The Patient Mrs. and I wait for the arrival of The Pecan. Between doctor/midwife appointments and sundry other preparatory this-and-thats, there’s just a lot going on. Overwhelmed? Not nearly as much as I’m going to be, I expect. Still, I take my quiet moments where and when I can, and I’ve had some time each day to do a bit of reading, and that’s been helpful in sorting out my brain. Words, man. I frickin’ love words.

Speaking of, I have more to write, so I’m gong to leave this one here and just wish you a great and safe weekend. Please make sure to check out the forum and radio stream.

The Obelisk Forum

The Obelisk Radio

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Radio Moscow, New Beginnings: Burn the Ground, Torch the Cosmos

Posted in Reviews on October 6th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

radio-moscow-new-beginnings

If you don’t already know Radio Moscow are one of the best and most vital bands currently boogieing their way around the planet, you’ve probably never seen them live. It’s cool — sometimes it’s hard to get out and there will hopefully be many more opportunities for you to do so, but the truth of the matter is that when it comes to on-stage energy, presence and delivery of classic heavy rock, frenetically cast into a one-of-a-kind bluesy shuffle, there’s no one who does it better than the San Diego-based three-piece of founding guitarist/vocalist Parker Griggs, bassist Anthony Meier (also Sacri Monti) and drummer Paul Marrone (also PsicomagiaBirth). They’ve had a tumultuous history to bring them to where they are, casting a wide influence second perhaps only to Earthless over the West Coast heavy boom of recent years, but as Griggs debuted the lineup with Meier and Marrone on 2014’s Magical Dirt (review here), it was clearly the start of a new era for Radio Moscow as a whole.

Their fifth album overall and first following a label change from Alive Records to Century Media — significant as the former had issued everything they’d done up to this point, from their 2007 self-titled debut through 2016’s Live! in California 2LP — New Beginnings continues their forward push into max-impact rock and blues with 10 new tracks and just under 40 minutes of genuine, bona fide scorch the likes of which, again, most other bands simply would not be able to conjure. Griggs‘ history of helming Radio Moscow recordings goes back to the early demos that were released in 2012 as 3 & 3 Quarters, and he once more steps into the producer role on New Beginnings, seemingly with a mission to bring an added sense of color to cuts like the instrumental “Woodrose Morning” or the later harmonica-and-tom-thudding swirl-and-stomper “Last to Know,” which highlights the blend of Echoplex-laden heavy psych and earthy blues on display throughout, operating, as ever, in top form.

A fast hi-hat count-in from Marrone sets the pace for the charge of opening semi-title-track “New Beginning,” which at just over four minutes is actually one of the longer cuts on the album that mostly shares its name. The sense of setting a vibe is quick as Meier‘s always-classy basslines and Griggs‘ furious guitar work unleash their barrage atop Marrone‘s jazzy snare rolls and impossible-sounding tom hits, some tambourine backing the first verse lines as guttural lines are meted out with the band’s trademark blue-eyed soul. It’s constant motion, and that’s no less a hallmark of Radio Moscow‘s approach than the hook that follows, the madcap pacing, reverb-soaked vocals or the head-spinning result of all these elements combined. Radio Moscow being Radio Moscow, in other words. “New Beginning” jams into the swirling start-stop boogie of “Deceiver,” which once again finds Griggs‘ voice drenched in effects atop his Hendrix-style guitar, but pulls back on the tempo to give more of a cyclical feel to its verse lines, punctuated by Marrone‘s drumming.

In its last minute, “Deceiver” builds from its comfortable fluidity into an all-out surge of groove, cutting to silence ahead of the relatively serene, atmospheric start of “Woodrose Morning,” the lysergic feel of which is hinted at in the title, and the effect of which is hypnotic enough that almost before one realizes it, the wash has given way to the subsequent “Driftin’,” which with its flourish of harmonica and bluesy shove reorients the listener back on solid ground despite a guitar solo that seems to maintain some of the echo from “Woodrose Morning” between its verses, a quick turn efficiently done in under three minutes to give way to the key-inclusive presumed side A finale, “No One Knows Where They’ve Been,” which rounds out the formidable momentum built up across New Beginnings thus far with a fervent shuffle, peppered-in string-tearing leads and a swaggering hook that anchors the first half while the second pushes outward into a jam, sounding like it’s about to fly off the rails which of course it never actually does. As if to remind that they’re songwriters after all, they move back into the chorus and cap “No One Knows Where They’ve Been” with fading Echoplex noise.

radio moscow

If this first half of New Beginnings is about building up that momentum, that forward push, with the trippy excursion of “Woodrose Morning” tucked neatly in the middle as the centerpiece of the initial five cuts, then side B would seem to be where Radio Moscow take that momentum and move it into even more expansive terrain. “Last to Know” leads off the back end of the tracklisting with toms at the outset, as swirl of guitar effects and harmonica, and briskly moves into its verse progression, with Griggs holding out the ends of his lines with the reverb that has by now become familiar. Like “Pacing” still to come, “Last to Know” offers one of New Beginnings‘ primo hooks, but in the molten guitar effects, added percussion and holding-it-all-together bass of the jam in its second half, it seems to border up to Afrobeat before its fadeout and so signals the wider berth of some of what follows nonetheless.

One might think of the instrumental “New Skin” as a relatively straightforward answer to “Woodrose Morning,” but the song ultimately proves Radio Moscow don’t necessarily need to go full-wash to draw the listener into a trance — the rhythm section leads the way and one can only delight in following the route toward “Pacing,” which follows the verse/chorus pattern of “Last to Know,” but pulls back from the jammy sensibility of the side B launcher — at least a bit — its bridge shorter and moving back to the hook after giving Griggs proper space to unleash yet another blinding solo. This also sets up the penultimate “Pick up the Pieces,” which serves as one of the most distinct departures New Beginnings makes as it digs into more laid back, airy blues. Gradually, tension builds in bass and drums behind Griggs‘ guitar and vocals, and before its 3:21 are up, the song explodes in about its last 40 seconds, but by then the mood is set, and a few final quiet notes underscore the point before giving ground to closer “Dreams,” also the longest inclusion at 5:57.

Have I mentioned “scorch” yet? Yes? Well, “Dreams” has plenty, just in case Radio Moscow haven’t burnt their own music to enough of a crisp yet. The tempo starts out smooth enough, but before long, the power trio put emphasis on the power and charge through verses into a tense build from which the guitar takes flight propelled by the bass and drums moving past the halfway point, disintegrating into Echoplex effects and finding itself in a wash of swelling volume — might be e-bow? — but feeling off-the-cuff and organically jammed out all the same. This psychedelic triumph spins in circles as the band hits five minutes and resolves itself in a peeling-the-paint-off-the-walls-distortion apex that does not so much cross a finish line as obliterate it. Righteously.

Clearly, the set is over. Radio Moscow have gone as far out as they’re going to go and after turning back multiple times along the way throughout “Deceiver” or “No One Knows Where They’ve Been,” they’ve finally decided to stay all the way gone. As a fan of the band, I can’t say I blame them. I don’t ultimately know if New Beginnings will go down as the record that fully captures the vigor of what they bring to their live show, but its emphasis on the chemistry between GriggsMeier and Marrone is unmistakable, and the songs that comprise it make a compelling argument for Radio Moscow‘s work in the studio being no less essential to their impact than what they do onstage. In either context, they are not to be missed.

Radio Moscow, “Pacing” official video

Radio Moscow website

Radio Moscow on Thee Facebooks

Radio Moscow on Instagram

Century Media website

Century Media on Thee Facebooks

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Radio Moscow Post Video for “Pacing”; New Beginnings out Sept. 29

Posted in Bootleg Theater on September 14th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

radio moscow

Frankly, if the aim is to promote a new Radio Moscow release — and it is; New Beginnings hits Sept. 29 as their first full-length for Century Media — I’d be hard pressed to think of a better way to do that than evoking the San Diego power trio’s live incarnation, which I very likely don’t need to tell you at this point is utterly unfuckwithable. Dudes just plug in and kill. So yeah, you got a new video for “Pacing” from the new album you need to make? Might as well film it live. That kind of tells the whole story right there. The footage is tripped out a bit for good measure, with the psychedelic wash and colors and whatnot, but they’re in there, doing what they do.

I’ve got a review slated for later this month of New Beginnings, so I’m not really going to dig into the album here, but suffice it to say that after 2014’s Magical Dirt (review here), they had their work cut out for them in my mind and with guitarist/vocalist Parker Griggs stepping (back) into the producer role and the new label behind them, it’s been all the more an intriguing prospect to see where Griggs, bassist Anthony Meier and drummer Paul Marrone go this time around. To put it simply, they go to Boogie Town. Where the people like to boogie down. They’ll be waiting for you by the merry-go-round.

And I suppose by that I mean — or do I? — that they’re about to hit the road on a massive European tour. I’ve already noted in posting these dates that the band will appear at Keep it Low 2017 (info here), Desertfest Athens 2017 (info here), Up in Smoke 2017 (info here) and Desertfest Belgium 2017 (info here) as they herald the arrival of New Beginnings in the company of Finland’s Kaleidobolt, and it looks like they’ve added even more to that routing since the last time I saw the list. The more the merrier. Go round.

Enjoy “Pacing” below, followed by more info from the PR wire:

Radio Moscow, “Pacing” official video

Southern Californian heavy psych power trio RADIO MOSCOW present the newest track off their forthcoming fifth studio album, “New Beginnings,” which is set for release via CENTURY MEDIA RECORDS on September 29, 2017.

Filmed in Dortmund, Germany at this year’s Junkyard Festival by Dirk Behlau, the video captures the band’s intense live performance.

“New Beginnings” was recorded at Lost Ark Studio in San Diego with Mike Butler, produced by the band’s own Parker Griggs and mastered by Mark Chalecki at Little Red Book Mastering.

“New Beginnings” will be released as regular black and special edition Mint Green colored LP+CD, limited to 500 copies, which also includes a poster designed by Robin Gnista, as well as on CD, and all digital/streaming platforms. Pre-orders are available now at http://smarturl.it/RMNewBeginnings.

Having just completed a mini tour alongside the West Coast, RADIO MOSCOW will make their way across the sea to Europe to kick off a headlining run starting September 26, just in time for the release date of “New Beginnings”. Dates can be found below.

RADIO MOSCOW “THE DRIFTING TOUR” 2017
9/26 Paris, FR – Backstage ^
9/27 Nantes, FR – Le Ferrailleur ^
9/28 Bilbao, ES – Kafe Antzokia ^
9/29 Gijon, ES – Casino Acapulco ^
9/30 Porto, PT – Hard Club ^
10/1 Lisbon, PT – RCA ^
10/2 Madrid, ES – Caracol ^
10/3 Barcelone, ES – Rocksound ^
10/4 Montpellier, FR – Secret Place ^
10/6 Pratteln, CH – Up in Smoke ^
10/7 Athens, GR – Desertfest ^
10/9 Roma, IT – Traffic ^
10/10 Altroquando, IT – Zero Branco ^
10/11 Torino, IT – Blah Blah ^
10/12 Stuttgart, DE – Goldmarks ^
10/13 Antwerpen, BE – Desertfest ^
10/14 Groningen, NL – Vera ^
10/15 Cologne, DE – Underground ^
10/16 Wiesbaden, DE – Schlachthof ^
10/17 Vienna, AT – Arena ^
10/18 Innsbruck, AT – PMK ^
10/19 Etagnieres, CH – Croc The Rock Festival ^
10/20 Munich, DE – Keep It Low ^
10/21 Dresden, DE – Beatpol ^
10/23 Hamburg, DE – Hafenklang ^
10/24 Copenhagen, DK – Stengade ^
10/25 Stockholm, SE – Undergangen ^
10/26 Gothenburg, SE – Sticky Fingers ^
10/27 Oslo, NO – Bla ^
10/28 Bergen, NO – Garage ^
10/30 Hannover, DE – Chez Heinz
10/31 Berlin, DE – Festsaal
^ with Kaleidobolt

Radio Moscow website

Radio Moscow on Thee Facebooks

Radio Moscow on Instagram

Century Media website

Century Media on Thee Facebooks

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Earthless Sign to Nuclear Blast; October West Coast Tour Announced

Posted in Whathaveyou on August 21st, 2017 by JJ Koczan

This one comes right out of the day’s ‘Holy Shit!’ file. San Diego heavy psych forerunners Earthless have signed to Nuclear Blast for the early-2018 release of their fourth album, recorded by Dave Catching at Rancho de la Luna in Joshua Tree, California. The record doesn’t have a title yet, but it will follow the widely influential instrumentalist trio’s most excellent 2013 outing, From the Ages (review here), which was issued via Tee Pee Records and was their best-received work to-date, as well as their split with Harsh Toke (review here), which came out last year.

Earthless just appeared at Psycho Las Vegas, also returned to Freak Valley earlier this Spring, and made an appearance at Brant Bjork‘s Desert Generator in April, and no doubt that whatever it ends up being called, their next long-player just put itself on the most-anticipated list for many heavy rock heads when it comes to next year’s impending releases. I’m definitely happy to count myself in that number. Can’t wait to hear what kind of immersive sprawl Earthless have in store this time around.

Just off the PR wire:

earthless at rancho de la luna.

EARTHLESS sign to Nuclear Blast Entertainment + October headline dates announced

Nuclear Blast Entertainment is pleased to announce the worldwide signing of seminal psychedelic rock trio, EARTHLESS! The band–Isaiah Mitchell (vocals/guitar), Mike Eginton (bass) and Mario Rubalcaba (drums)–recently finished recording their new album with Dave Catching (EAGLES OF DEATH METAL) at Rancho de la Luna in Joshua Tree, CA, and took a moment to offer a few words about their upcoming album and new partnership.

“EARTHLESS is beyond stoked to join a label that has kept its independence and vision so strong for 30 years,” commented drummer Mario Rubalcaba “It’s crazy to think that I’ve bought Nuclear Blast releases since I was still in my teens. We are psyched to put out yet another extension of ideas, sounds and the long-going chemistry that this band has forged over the years. There are some new inspired paths musically and vocally on this next album and we are very excited to see it released on Nuclear Blast.”

“The vibe out at Rancho is one that gels very naturally for EARTHLESS and lends itself to get creative very comfortably,” continues Rubalcaba. “You have nothing else out there to do except absorb the heat, stare at the stars and get in the zone! Dave and I first started talking about doing this project together a few years ago now and it was great to finally make it happen.”

Adds guitarist Isaiah Mitchell:
“Dave was a great person to be around while making this record. Very cool dude. And the studio itself is like a candy store: you want to try everything because there’s so much great gear.”

EARTHLESS will release their 4th full-length studio album in early 2018. More details to be announced shortly. Until then, don’t miss the band on their upcoming headlining run this fall. Tickets go on sale everywhere this Wednesday, August 23rd, at 10 am local time.

Oct-18 Los Angeles – The Echoplex
Oct-20 Portland – Tonic
Oct-21 Seattle – Sunset
Oct-22 Bellingham – The Shakedown
Oct-24 Boise – Neurolux
Oct-25 Reno, NV – Jub Jub’s
Oct-26 San Francisco, CA – The Chapel
Oct-27 Felton, CA – Don Quixote’s
Oct-28 Sacramento, CA – Holy Diver
Oct-29 Santa Ana, CA – Constellation Room

https://www.facebook.com/earthlessrips
www.twitter.com/earthlessrips
www.instagram.com/earthlessrips

Earthless, From the Ages (2013)

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Old Man Wizard Premiere “Innocent Hands” Video; New Single out Aug. 25

Posted in Bootleg Theater on August 10th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

old man wizard

To be sure, the progressive metal stylings of Old Man Wizard make them an outlier among San Diego’s crowded heavy underground, which is overflowing with sunny Californian heavy psychedelia and even at its proggiest seems to maintain some loyalty to ’70s-style boogie rock, but the truth of the matter is one would be hard-pressed to find somewhere the three-piece wouldn’t stand out from the crowd. And that is very much part of the appeal. After touring to support their 2013 debut LP, Unfavorable (review here), guitarist/vocalist Francis Roberts, bassist/vocalist Andre Beller and drummer/vocalist Kris Calabio receded somewhat, but their new single Innocent Hands arrives this month in time for another stretch of West Coast dates and finds their quirk-laden prog-doom at a welcome next stage of its development.

That sense comes through quickly in the driving rhythm and melodic resonance of the titular cut. While it starts out with a blastbeaten thrust that feels derived from extreme metal, “Innocent Hands” is just as fast to set its foundation in Roberts‘ gentle vocals, giving a sense of contrast that lends breadth to what’s still a 7″-ready sub-five-minute runtime. A couple cycles through the verse leads to denser riffing that seems to old man wizard innocent handsplay Opethian and Enslaved-style impulses off each other while filtering the result through a rocker’s urgency, and as Calabio and Beller join Roberts in the chorus line, “Rain falls on innocent hands,” the harmonies make the song a distinct highlight worthy of carrying its own release. That is, it stands up as a single, and with “The Blind Prince” as a complementary B-side, the vibe is reaffirmed in a post-Ghostly melodicism and tense instrumental progression. Shorter and in more of a rush, “The Blind Prince” nonetheless braces “Innocent Hands” with a like-minded rhythmic engagement and energized delivery. While they haven’t been putting out a slew of offerings in the four years since Unfavorable, clearly Old Man Wizard haven’t been wasting their time either.

They take to the hills in the clip for “Innocent Hands” that’s premiering below, or at very least to a hill, and with the sun behind them, and a hilariously unacknowledged druid walking past at about the two-minute mark and with at least Beller and Calabio in Witch Ripper t-shirts — Roberts might be as well, it’s kind of hard to see — they give a subtle sense of the tongue-in-cheek persona of the band, which does nothing to cut the progressive value of the songcraft at play. That is to say, just because they’re enjoying themselves doesn’t make Innocent Hands any less of an accomplishment.

Tomorrow they begin the alluded-to West Coast tour that will take them from Tijuana, Mexico, up to Washington State before coming to a close Aug. 23 with a hometown San Diego show. You’ll find the dates for that under the player that follows, which of course contains the video premiere.

To please enjoy:

Old Man Wizard, “Innocent Hands” official video

Progressive heavy rock band OLD MAN WIZARD return with their new single Innocent Hands. The track will be released on 7″ vinyl and will be sold on their upcoming tour in August. The “B” side will be “The Blind Prince”.

OLD MAN WIZARD TOUR DATES:
8/11 Tijuana, BC Mi Pueblito
8/13 San Francisco, CA The Hemlock
8/15 San Jose, CA The Caravan
8/17 Portland, OR The Highwater Mark
8/18 Seattle, WA The Victory Lounge
8/19 Anacortes, WA Kenelly Keys
8/20 Tacoma, WA The Valley
8/22 Los Angeles, CA The Lexington
8/23 San Diego, CA Soda Bar

Old Man Wizard is:
Francis Roberts – Guitar, Vocals
Kris Calabio – Drums, Backing Vocals
Andre Beller – Bass Guitar, Backing Vocals

Old Man Wizard on Thee Facebooks

Old Man Wizard on Twitter

Old Man Wizard on Bandcamp

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The Obelisk Radio Adds: Boris, Sólstafir, Desert Suns & Chiefs, Elara, Fungus Hill

Posted in Radio on July 31st, 2017 by JJ Koczan

the obelisk radio cavum

Some bigger releases going up to the playlist for The Obelisk Radio this time around, and that’s just fine by me. It’s five albums listed here, but there are a few others included as well that you can see listed on the updates page and it’s good stuff all the way around. It was all actually supposed to go up last week, but you know, life is chaos and all that. I hope as always that you manage to find something you enjoy, and if you haven’t heard some of this stuff as yet — I suspect you have, because you know what’s up and I’m perpetually behind on these things; more than just a week, on average — then all the better. Let’s dig in together.

The Obelisk Radio adds for July 31, 2017:

Boris, Dear

boris dear

If you were Boris and you were looking to celebrate a quarter-century of innovating heavy rock, noise, drone, J-pop, and genreless forays into bizarre sonic delights, how would you do it? If you said, “I’d release 69 heavy-as-hell minutes of rumbling tectonics and progressive scope making for one of the best albums of the year,” you’d seem to be on the money. The Japanese trio’s umpteenth full-length, Dear (on Sargent House in the US/EU and Daymare in Japan), begins with the appropriately-titled “D.O.W.N. – Domination of Waiting Noise,” setting forth a consuming six-minute onslaught of feedback and lumbering pummel before the SunnO)))-rivaling drone of “Deadsong” takes hold, shifting at its midpoint to a spaciousness all Boris‘ own. Then they chug out galloping riff triplets on “Absolutego” like it ain’t no thing. That’s Boris: the band who named themselves after a Melvins song and then utterly outdid their namesake on every creative level and have continued to do so throughout one of underground music’s most landmark tenures. Dear offers simultaneous melodic breadth and droning depth on its centerpiece duo of “Kagero” and “Biotope” after counteracting minimalist march with explosive crash on “Beyond,” but they’re still just getting started. The seven-minute “The Power” leads off the second of the two LPs and seems to stem upward from the same roots as YOB at their harshest, brutally feedbacking into the dronegaze of the shorter “Memento Mori” before the 12-minute “Dystopia – Vanishing Point” and the nine-minute title-track comprise a side D that’s nothing less than a triumphant lesson in how to meet your audience head-on right before you swallow them whole, setting its stage with keys and tribalist drums quickly before hypnotizing through five minutes of quiet stretch and bursting gloriously to life ahead of one last contrast of empty spaces and crushing tonality on “Dear” that gives way at last to the noise and feedback that’s always been so essential to their process. If Dear is a letter to Boris‘ fans, as they have said, it is also a willful embrace of the wide-open sensibilities that have made the last 25 years of their craft so uniquely their own. They can go anywhere stylistically and remain Boris precisely because they refuse to settle on a single idea that defines them.

Boris on Thee Facebooks

Boris at Sargent House’s website

 

Sólstafir, Berdreyminn

solstafir berdreyminn

Having now passed the 20-year mark since their founding in 1995, Iceland’s Sólstafir continue to reshape melancholy in their own image on their sixth album and third for Season of Mist, Berdreyminn. The Reykjavik-based four-piece keep the significant achievements of 2014’s Ótta (review here) close to the chest throughout the eight-track/57-minute offering, but songs like “Ísafold” have an upbeat push behind their emotional resonance, and even on a brooding piano piece like “Hvít Sæng,” the overarching sense of motion and the dynamic is maintained. The penultimate “Ambátt” — first of two eight-minute cuts in a finale duo — might be Berdreyminn‘s richest progressive achievement, with its lush opening vocal harmonies giving way to a patiently-delivered clinic on texture, build and payoff that borders on the orchestral. Of course, strings and horns to appear on the album, adding to already complex arrangements, but Sólstafir never lose their corresponding human center, and as “Bláfjall” closes with an intensity of thrust hinted at by the cymbal-crash wash of opener “Silfur-Refur” and the post-blackened push of “Nárós” but ultimately on its own level, they underline the realization and poise that is simply all their own. Berdreyminn is the sound of a band doing important work, and with it, Sólstafir only prove themselves more crucial on an aesthetic level, yet it might be their ability to somehow still feel in-progress that most defines what makes them so special. More than two decades on, they still come across like a group exploring their sound and finding new ways to develop their songwriting — which they are and which they do here. That in itself is an accomplishment worthy of every accolade they reap, and Berdreyminn lives up to that standard front to back across its engaging, encompassing span.

Sólstafir on Thee Facebooks

Sólstafir at Season of Mist’s website

 

Desert Suns & Chiefs, The Second Coming of Heavy – Chapter 5

second-coming-of-heavy-chapter-5-desert-suns-chiefs

Ripple Music has made its The Second Coming of Heavy series of split LPs an essential showcase of the variety in underground rock. The Second Coming of Heavy – Chapter 5 brings together San Diego heavy psych/blues rockers Desert Suns, who also reissued their debut long-player through Ripple in 2016 and followed it with the single “The Haunting” (review here) in conjunction with Ripple and HeviSike Records, and Phoenix, Arizona’s Chiefs, whose 2015 debut, Tomorrow’s Over (review here), arrived on vinyl via Battleground Records and whose five tracks included on side B here cast them among the best Ripple Music bands in the Southwest not currently signed to Ripple Music for their next album. More than some prior installments, The Second Coming of Heavy – Chapter 5 finds its two featured purveyors complementing each other’s work excellently, as Desert Suns offer three seven-plus minute tracks running from the harmonica-inclusive “Night Train” and the rolling, long-fading “Solitude” with the push of “Heavy” in between and Chiefs — though their individual runtimes are shorter — holding straightforward heavy/desert rock methods at their core in unpretentious fashion across “The Rhino,” the standout “Baron to Chancellor,” “Low Tide,” “Caroline” and “My Last Stand,” nodding initially at ’90s noise rock à la Helmet in “The Rhino” but in the end keeping to their sandy, well-structured mission. As ever, The Second Coming of Heavy asks nothing more of its audience than a basic exploration of the groups included, and certainly both Desert Suns and Chiefs earn that. Whether one takes it on in the context of the prior chapters or as a standalone split release, it delivers a collection of cuts from two outfits with a shared core of quality songcraft and the underlying message that sometimes the straight-line route is the way to go. Right on, once again.

Desert Suns on Thee Facebooks

Chiefs on Thee Facebooks

Ripple Music website

Ripple Music on Bandcamp

 

Elara, Deli Bal

elara deli bal

Both sides of Elara‘s PsyKa Records-released debut full-length, Deli Bal, are comprised of one shorter track on either side of eight minutes and one longer one, 12 and 17 minutes, respectively. Between that and the cover art, it should come as no surprise that heavy psychedelic drift is central to what the Stuttgart, Germany, trio of bassist/vocalist Daniel Wieland, guitarist/noisemaker Felix Schmidt and drummer Martin Wieland — who also stylize their name as the bracketed [Elara Sunstreak Band] — get up to in their first offering, but there’s an underlying progressive melodic sensibility as well, and Schmidt‘s guitar seems to have picked up a few lessons from My Sleeping Karma‘s minor-key solo mysticism, so one can hear a sound beginning to take shape early as the leadoff title-track gives way to “Amida,” which swaps back and forth between organ-laden krautrock meandering and fuller-fuzz thrust, and as “Quarantania” reinforces that classic vibe with a warm bass tone from Daniel. Whether you’re listening to the platter itself and switching sides or digitally or on CD, Deli Bal is clearly intended to be consumed as a whole work, and one can hear the vocal melody of “Harmonia” tying back to that in the opener as another example of the underlying structure with which it plays out, despite the broad feel of the songs themselves and the expanses they both intend and actually do cover. The LP has just the four tracks, but the digital version comes with the 9:42 bonus cut “Trimenon,” which builds around a core post-rocking guitar line to come to a fervent apex before receding again to let the listener go gently from Deli Bal‘s total 56-minute runtime; no minor undertaking, but effectively executed and a pleasure in its wandering mind and spirit.

Elara on Thee Facebooks

PsyKA Records on Bandcamp

 

Fungus Hill, Creatures

fungus hill creatures

This early-2017 psychedelic curio from Umeå, Sweden’s Fungus Hill begins by asking “Are You Dead?” The just-under-nine-minute opener and longest track (immediate points) of the groovy outfit’s four-song, self-released, 28-minute debut Creatures EP doesn’t sound overly concerned with whether the answer is yes or no so much as enacting a serene flow by posing the question over a laid back bluesy vibe. Arrangement? Fluid. With dual vocals from guitarist Gustav Orvefors and percussionist Jenny Isaksson — the five-piece is completed by guitarist Erik Sköld, drummer Nils Mörtzell and bassist Tom Westerlund — Fungus Hill are able to bring variety as they turn to post-Ghost straightforward ’70s chorus-leaning in the first half of “Beware of Evil in the Sky,” prior to a midsection trip outward on subdued shimmy and deceptively complex melodicism. The flute (or keyboard flute sounds) of the jazzy “Evolution” brings Isaksson to the floor with a smoky, even-bluesier feel, and the guitar answers back with fuzzy lead flourish that only enhances the soul on display, while a seven-and-a-half-minute closing title-track delves deepest of all into thicker riffing, a “Na na na na” hook taking hold quickly just in case you weren’t sure it was going to be a highlight. It is. More tonally dense than most retro boogie — and less retro, for that matter — Fungus Hill‘s Creatures nonetheless has its traditionalist elements, but across its individual pieces each one points to a different side of the band’s personality, and from the Alan Watts sample at the beginning of “Are You Dead?” to when we meet the troll later in “Creatures,” each side of that personality utterly shines.

Fungus Hill on Thee Facebooks

Fungus Hill on Bandcamp

 

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Radio Moscow Stream New Beginnings Title-Track; Announce More US and UK Touring

Posted in Whathaveyou on July 18th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

Keep your eye on late September. I have the feeling there’s going to be a lot going on and not the least of it will be the release of Radio Moscow‘s first album for Century Media, the suitably-titled New Beginnings. The blazing San Diego three-piece of guitarist/vocalist Parker Griggs, bassist Anthony Meier and drummer Paul Marrone — who are nigh on supergroup status, what with Meier‘s double-duty in Sacri Monti and Marrone‘s participation in Psicomagia, newcomers Birth (demo posted here), etc. — have posted a studio session clip of the opening title-track “New Beginning” from the record.

However, because the internet sucks, that can’t be embedded. It finds them nonetheless in top form and is linked below for your at-the-source viewing enjoyment. And because I’m stubborn, I found a different live clip of album-closer “Dreams” from Texas earlier this year and that’s at the bottom of this post.

In addition, the cover art and tracklisting for New Beginnings is unveiled today and more tour dates in the UK and US have been added. As ever, it’s a go-go-go kind of deal for these guys. That’s how they do, and they do it better than just about everybody on the planet.

The PR wire has it like this:

radio moscow new beginnings

RADIO MOSCOW Reveal Artwork & Debut Single off “New Beginnings”, Add Fall US & UK Tour Dates

Southern Californian rock trio RADIO MOSCOW has just delivered the masters of its fifth studio album, “New Beginnings”, which is set for release via their new label home, Century Media Records, on September 29, 2017.

The album’s striking cover artwork was created by artist Courtney Cole and photographer Dana Trippe with lettering coming from Robin Gnista. “New Beginnings” was recorded at Lost Ark Studio in San Diego with Mike Butler, produced by the band’s own Parker Griggs and mastered by Mark Chalecki at Little Red Book Mastering.

As a sneak peek at what to expect, check out a video of a radio session take of the album’s first track, “New Beginning”: https://www.vuhaus.com/videos/radio-moscow-new-beginning

“New Beginnings” Track Listing:
1. New Beginning
2. Deceiver
3. Woodrose Morning
4. Driftin’
5. No One Knows Where They’ve Been
6. Last to Know
7. New Skin
8. Pacing
9. Pick up the Pieces
10. Dreams

“New Beginnings” will be released as regular black and limited-edition colored LP+CD (including a poster designed by Robin Gnista) as well as on CD, and all digital/streaming platforms.

Right on time with the release of their new opus, the band has confirmed the “The Drifting Tour”, which will drown Europe from September 26 to October 31 in waves of fuzzy, hard rocking riffs and sweaty, cranked up blues!

Prior to that, RADIO MOSCOW will perform at several European festivals as well as head over to the UK for a mini tour in August with support coming from The Groundhogs. Furthermore, a US west coast tour has been recently added. Full dates can be found listed below.

RADIO MOSCOW LIVE DATES 2017
8/12 Dortmund, DE – Junkyard Open Air
8/13 Cernoy, FR – Celebration Days
8/14 London, UK – Borderline #
8/15 Hastings, UK – Paintworks #
8/16 Bristol, UK – Exchange #
8/17 Birmingham, UK – The Castle & Falcon
8/19 Saint-Nolff, FR – Motorculto Festival
8/25 Costa Mesa, CA – The Wayfarer
8/26 Los Angeles, CA – The Resident
8/27 San Francisco, CA – Bottom of the Hill
8/29 Portland, OR – Doug Fir Lounge
8/30 Vancouver, BC – The Cobalt
8/31 Seattle, WA – Chop Suey
9/1 Boise, ID – The Olympic
9/2 Salt Lake City, UT – Crucial Fest
9/3 Las Vegas, NV – Bunkhouse
9/26 Paris, FR – Backstage ^
9/27 Nantes, FR – Le Ferrailleur ^
9/28 Bilbao, ES – Kafe Antzokia ^
9/29 Gijon, ES – Casino Acapulco ^
9/30 Porto, PT – Hard Club ^
10/1 Lisbon, PT – RCA ^
10/2 Madrid, ES – Caracol ^
10/3 Barcelone, ES – Rocksound ^
10/4 Montpellier, FR – Secret Place ^
10/6 Pratteln, CH – Up in Smoke ^
10/7 Athens, GR – Desertfest ^
10/9 Roma, IT – Traffic ^
10/10 Altroquando, IT – Zero Branco ^
10/11 Torino, IT – Blah Blah ^
10/13 Antwerpen, BE – Desertfest ^
10/14 Groningen, NL – Vera ^
10/15 Cologne, DE – Underground ^
10/16 Wiesbaden, DE – Schlachthof ^
10/17 Vienna, AT – Arena ^
10/18 Innsbruck, AT – PMK ^
10/19 Etagnieres, CH – Croc The Rock Festival ^
10/20 Munich, DE – Keep It Low ^
10/21 Dresden, DE – Beatpol ^
10/23 Hamburg, DE – Hafenklang ^
10/24 Copenhagen, DK – TBA ^
10/25 Stockholm, SE – Undergangen ^
10/26 Gothenburg, SE – Sticky Fingers ^
10/28 Bergen, NO – Garage ^
10/30 Hannover, DE – Chez Heinz
10/31 Berlin, DE – Festsaal
# with The Groundhogs
^ with Kaleidobolt

Radio Moscow line-up
Parker Griggs (vocals, guitar)
Anthony Meier (bass)
Paul Marrone (drums)

http://radiomoscow.net/
www.facebook.com/radiomoscowband
www.instagram.com/radiomoscowband

Radio Moscow, “Dreams” live in Austin, TX

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