Quarterly Review: Rotor, Electric Octopus, Randall Dunn, Graven, Near Dusk, Svuco, Stonus, Acolytes of Moros, Lime Eyelid, Tombtoker

Posted in Reviews on December 13th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

quarterly-review

I’ve been doing this for a while, the whole Quarterly Review thing. Not just talking about the last two weeks — though that also feels like a while to be doing it — but over the last few years. And in so doing I have a couple running gags kind of with myself. One obvious one is the “(immediate points)” for bands who put their longest song first on their album. There is no point system. There will be no tally at the end. I don’t grade records. It’s just a way of noting a decision I almost always find to be particularly bold.

Another is the use of “penultimate.” I don’t even know how this happened, but I use that word all the time in these reviews, way, way more than I might in day-to-day life. Somehow I’m always talking about the second-to-last song. Keep an eye out today, I’m sure it’ll be in there.

Indeed, I bring it up because today is the penultimate day of this extended Quarterly Review. We’ll finish out with the last 10 records tomorrow, and no doubt by the end of it I’ll be doling out more “(immediate points)” and talking about the “apex of the penultimate cut” or whatever else it is I do. Hard not to repeat yourself when you’re writing about 100 records. Or, you know, one.

Quarterly Review #81-90:

Rotor, Sechs

rotor sechs

Long-running Berlin instrumentalists Rotor issue Sechs, their aptly-titled sixth album, as their second for Noisolution after 2015’s Fünf (review here), and in so doing blend the best impulses from where they started with where they’ve ended up. Fünf, not without its moments of heavy psych drift, was a deeply progressive album, and Sechs is likewise, but it also brings in a more natural, warmer production sound like some of their earlier material, so that songs like “Vor der Hern” or “Allmacht” come across as nuanced but welcoming all the same. “Allmacht” is a highlight for its classic prog elements, but that’s not to discount the centerpiece “Abfahrt!,” with its raucous second half or the nine-minute penultimate cut “Druckverband,” which finds Rotor pushing themselves to new heights some 20 years on from their beginnings. Or anything else, for that matter, because it’s all brilliant. And that, basically, is how you know you’re listening to Rotor.

Rotor on Thee Facebooks

Noisolution website

 

Electric Octopus, Line Standing

electric octopus line standing

Next-level naturalism from Belfast trio Electric Octopus means that not only does the digital-only-otherwise-it’d-be-a-box-set Line Standing top four and a half hours, but those four and a half hours bring the listener into the studio with the band — guitarist Tyrell Black, bassist/keyboardist Dale Hughes and drummer Guy Hetherington — as they talk between jams, goof around and discuss what they just played in quick interludes. Complementing cuts like 35-minute opener “Iliudi,” the 38-minute “Line Standing 23336,” the 24-minute “Room Move” and the three-minute funk-reggae vibe of “Inspired by a Chicken,” the chatter gives Line Standing an even more organic vibe not by trying to capture a live feel, like what they’d do on stage — they have plenty of live albums for that — but by bringing the listener into the studio while they pick up their instruments and improvise their way through whatever it is that’s coming next, which is something that everyone seems to find out together. It’s not always smooth, but neither should it be. This is pure sonic exploration — and not a little of it.

Electric Octopus on Thee Facebooks

Electric Octopus on Bandcamp

 

Randall Dunn, Beloved

randall dunn beloved

Randall Dunn, through his production work, collaborations with Sunn O))), founding Master Musicians of Bukkake, etc., is no stranger to experimentalism, and his first solo album, Beloved (on Figureight), finds him evoking cinematic landscapes one at a time in ambient tracks that range from minimalist to consuming by sheer will. His range as a composer means that “Mexico City” shimmers with a near-overwhelming post-Vangelis splendor while “Lava Rock and Amber” is barren enough to make each strike of the piano keys feel like a lifeline before the synth horror takes hold near the end. Dunn brings in several guest vocalists for spots on “Something About that Night” and closer “A True Home,” but there’s hardly a lack of human presence throughout the material anyway, as the nine-minute centerpiece “Theoria : Aleph” resonates with the creative drive that made it. Not by any means a record that’s going to be for everyone, Beloved casts a sound that’s impeccably broad.

Randall Dunn on Thee Facebooks

Figureight on Bandcamp

 

Graven, Heirs of Discord

Graven Heirs of Discord

Heirs of Discord, indeed. With guitarist/vocalist Peter Maturi and drummer Chris Csar from the much-missed Swarm of the Lotus and bassist Teddy Patterson of Burnt by the Sun and Human Remains in the up-and-down-the-Eastern-Seaboard lineup with vocalist Jason Borowy, there’s no shortage of discord to go around. Deathly extremity and a pervasive grinding sensibility is conveyed with tones that absolutely crush and a groove that, while not shy with the blastbeats on “I Dreamt You Were Dead” — or the bonus track Human Remains cover “Human,” for that matter — is no less comfortable locked in the nod of the nine-minute “Thieves of Rotted Ilk.” It reportedly took Graven over a year to make the six-song/28-minute LP at various studios (including one two towns over from where I grew up in my beloved Garden State), and one only hopes the no-doubt daunting nature of that task doesn’t dissuade Graven from a follow-up, because whether it’s the angular starts and stops of “Backwards to Oblivion” or the initial assault of “A Failed Mask,” they bring a stylistic nuance to extreme metal that goes beyond the often dry showcase of technical prowess the style can sometimes be. However long it might take to put together, a sophomore outing feels well justified.

Graven on Thee Facebooks

Graven on Bandcamp

 

Near Dusk, Near Dusk

Near Dusk Near Dusk

The cleverly-titled “Humboldt Pie” finds them dipping into bluesier fare with some psychedelic effect on guitarist Matthew Orloff‘s vocals, and “We are the Buffalo” has a distinct spaciousness, but the core of Denver trio Near Dusk‘s self-released, self-titled debut is in straightforward heavy rock, and Orloff, bassist Kellen McInerney and drummer Jon Orloff sound well schooled in the ways of following the riff. “That Bastard” chugs out behind a vocal echo and the six-minute opener and longest track (immediate points) “No More” introduces the steady factor that is McInerney‘s bass behind some initial guitar noodling that leads to the first of many rolling grooves to come on the seven-track/34-minute outing. The bass again gets to shine in the subsequent “Sweet Home,” setting up the final push for a moment before being joined by the drums and guitar, and the low-end tone is right on, though by the time they close out with “Furnace Creek,” all three of them seem to tease some jammier sensibilities. Near Dusk allow themselves room to develop their approach and perspective, but establish a strong root of songwriting to serve as their foundation as they move forward.

Near Dusk on Thee Facebooks

Near Dusk on Bandcamp

 

Svuco, El Gran Mito de SanSaru

svuco El Gran Mito de SanSaru

At least some of the material on Svuco‘s debut long-player, El Gran Mito de SanSaru, dates back a few years. The release includes what was the title-track of their 2015 Mizaru EP as well as the title-track of 2016’s Kikazaru, as well as a number of tracks that also featured on the Iwazaru EP shortly before the album actually arrived. Still, taken in this form and with these recordings, the Granada-based four-piece unfurl a varied 13-song full-length that’s crisp in its production and smoothly constructed to hit hard but with a sense of tonal presence that speaks to a heavy rock influence. That is, there might be a current of noise rock to the ’90s-style chug of “Llorarás,” but “Fuzzia” still has room for organ and acoustic guitar along with its central riff. Later cuts like “Nobogo,” the layered-vocals of “El Color del Sol,” and the almost-industrial pulsations (conveyed through organic instrumentation) of “El Dios del Nuevo Mundo” branch out, but there’s an underlying identity taking shape all the while.

Svuco on Thee Facebooks

Svuco on Bandcamp

 

Stonus, Lunar Eclipse

Stonus Lunar Eclipse

Welcoming in its tone and bordering on cosmic in its atmosphere, Lunar Eclipse is the second EP from Cyprus-based troupe Stonus, and for the sprawl of its eight-minute title-track alone, it showcases distinct potential on the part of the band. Intro and outro tracks help set up a flow, but as “Aspirin” and “Spiritual Realities” fuzz their way toward “Lunar Eclipse” itself, it’s hardly like Stonus need the help. The tempo of “Aspirin” tells the tale, taking desert rock to three-quarters speed for an extra laid back vibe, still pushed along by the drums, but chill, chill, chill as it goes. “Spiritual Realities” is a little more tripped out in its lumber, and its vocals are more forward in the mix, but once again, “Lunar Eclipse” is nothing but a joy to behold from front to back, and in large part it defines the short release that shares its name. They close out with the minute of experimentalism on “Euphoric Misery” and only make one hope they don’t lost those impulses by the time they get around to a full-length, because they’ll only help them further distinguish themselves.

Stonus on Thee Faceboks

Stonus on Bandcamp

 

Acolytes of Moros, The Wellspring

acolytes of moros the wellspring

Seven years on from playing their first show, Swedish doomers Acolytes of Moros present their first full-length, The Wellspring (CD on Nine Records), and if that might stand as an indication of their pacing overall, it would certainly apply to the album itself. Presented as four extended tracks with an interlude/instrumental near seven minutes dividing the two halves, it’s a rawly-produced take on doom-death traditionalism with an emphasis on the first part of that equation. Calling it “morose” feels too easy given the band’s moniker, but they’re nothing if not self-aware, and the miseries they portray in “Quotidian” and the 14-minute “A Yen to Relinquish and Evanesce” border on the dramatic without ever really tipping too far in that direction, coming through as much in the grueling riffs as in the vocal declarations and willfully repetitive rhythms. It’s a slog and it’s supposed to be, but Acolytes of Moros eschew the sometimes lush presentation of their genre in favor of a barebones take that loses none of its emotional impact for that.

Acolytes of Moros on Thee Facebooks

Nine Records website

 

Lime Eyelid, Week of Wonders

lime eyelid week of wonders

As regards recording narratives, it’s hard to beat the image of Traveling Circle drummer Josh Schultz recording Lime Eyelid‘s debut album, Week of Wonders (as in, The Wonder Weeks?), alone in his kitchen. The resulting limited LP is comprised mostly of numbered instrumental experiments in drone and languid groove, save for “I Saw Waves,” which brings to mind some of Six Organs of Admittance‘s far-out earlier fare, but psychedelia holds a prominent sway and if you ever want a lesson in doing something new with familiar elements, look no further than the watery guitar line of “1” or “3,” with its Earth groove gone processional. The 12-minute soundscape of “4” follows as Schultz moves deeper into the realms of cosmic minimalism — that big, mostly empty, galaxy — but “5” somehow sounds even more piped in from outer space, and closer “6” rounds out with swells of high-pitched volume that seem to be speaking their own language in tone. Pretty vast reaches for a record to hit, having been recorded in the kitchen. One awaits further adventures in the follow-up.

Lime Eyelid on Soundcloud

Lime Eyelid on YouTube

 

Tombtoker, Coffin Texts

tombtoker coffin texts

I don’t know if the band’s moniker refers to one who actually tokes tombs or who tokes in tombs, but neither would surprise me. The Baltimorean five-piece Tombtoker unveil their 20-minute debut EP, Coffin Texts (on Seeing Red, tapes through Metal Swarm), with a melding of doom, sludge and metallic extremity that is righteous in its riffs and malevolent in its purposes. That is to say, they mean harm. “Warfare Revolution” and “Robo Cujo” demonstrate that plainly ahead of the centerpiece “Stenchsquatch” with its oh-you’re-gonna-have-to-play-that-at-all-the-shows lurching midsection of death, while the subsequent “Blood Freak” taps Eyehategoddy swing and closer/shortest track “Globster” (3:21) bludgeons its own riffs before a bit of Slayer-style ping ride late adds even more of that metal-for-metal feel. I’d call it promising, but maybe “foreboding” is a better word. Whether they’re smoking your corpse or just smoking near your corpse, Tombtoker bring a welcome sense of chaos to extreme sludge that hearkens to the genre’s original, unhinged appeal.

Tombtoker on Thee Facebooks

Seeing Red Records on Bandcamp

Metal Swarm website

 

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Quarterly Review: Sandrider, Witchkiss, Satta Caveira, Apollo80, The Great Unwilling, Grusom, Träden, Orthodox, Disrule, Ozymandias

Posted in Reviews on December 5th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

quarterly-review

Good morning from the kitchen table. It’s a couple minutes before 4AM as I get this post started. I’ve got my coffee, my iced tea in the same cup I’ve been using for the last three days, and I’m ready to roll through the next 10 records in this massive, frankly silly, Quarterly Review. Yesterday went well enough and I’m three days into the total 10 and I don’t feel like my head is going to explode, so I’ll just say so far so good.

As ever, there’s a lot to get through, so I won’t delay. I hope you find something here you dig. I certainly have.

Quarterly Review #21-30:

Sandrider, Armada

sandrider armada

Armada is the third full-length from Seattle noiseblasters Sandrider, and at this point I’m starting to wonder what it’s going to take for this band to get their due. Produced by Matt Bayles and released through Good to Die Records, the album is an absolute monster front to back. Scathing. Beastly. And yet the songs have character. It’s the trio’s first outing since 2015’s split with Kinski (review here) and follows 2013’s Godhead (review here) and 2011’s self-titled debut (review here) in melding the band’s West Coast noise superiority with a sense of melody and depth as the trio of guitarist/vocalist Jon Weisnewski, bassist/vocalist Jesse Roberts, and omegadrummer Nat Damm course and wind their way through intense but varied material. “Banger” has been tapped for its grunge influence. Eh. Maybe in the riff, but who cares when there’s so much more going on with it? “Brambles” is out and out brutal but still has a hook, and cuts like “Industry” and the closing “Dogwater” remind of just how skilled Sandrider are at making that brutality fun. If the record was six minutes long and just had “Hollowed” on it, you’d still call it a win.

Sandrider on Thee Facebooks

Good to Die Records website

 

Witchkiss, The Austere Curtains of Our Eyes

witchkiss the austere curtains of our eyes

Goodness gracious. Cavernous echo accompanies the roars of guitarist Scott Prater that are offset by the more subdued melodies of drummer Amber Burns, but even in the most spacious reaches of 11-minute second cut “Blind Faith,” Witchkiss are fucking massive-sounding. Their debut album, The Austere Curtains of Our Eyes, presents an especially crushing take on ritualistic volume, sounding its catharsis in a song like “Spirits of the Dirt” and sounding natural as it trades between a rolling assault and the atmospheres of its quieter moments. With the departure since the recording of bassist Anthony DiBlasi, the New York-based outfit will invariably shift in dynamic somewhat coming out of this record, but with such an obvious clarity of mission, I honestly doubt their core approach will change all that much. A band doesn’t make a record like this without direct intention. They may evolve, and one hopes they do just because one always hopes for that, but this isn’t a band feeling their way through their first record. This is a band who know exactly the kind of ferocity they want to conjure, and who conjure it without regret.

Witchkiss on Thee Facebooks

Witchkiss on Bandcamp

 

Satta Caveira, MMI

Satta Caveira MMI

Argentinian instrumentalist trio Satta Caveira make a point of saying they recorded MMI, their second or third album depending on what you count, live in their home studio without edits or overdubs, click tracks or anything else. Clearly the intention then is to capture the raw spirit of the material as it’s happening. The eight songs that make up the unmanageable 62-minute listen of MMI — to be fair, 14 of those minutes are opener “Kundalini” and 23 are the sludge-into-jam-into-sludge riffer “T.H.C.” — are accordingly raw, but that in itself becomes a component of their aesthetic. Whether it’s the volume swell that seems to consume “Don Santos” in its second half, the funk of closer “Afrovoid” or the drift in “Kalifornia,” Satta Caveira manage to hone a sense of range amid all the naturalism, and with the gritty and more aggressive riffing of the title-track and the rush of the penultimate “Router,” their sound might actually work with a more elaborate production, but they’ve got a thing, it works well, and I’m not inclined to argue.

Satta Caveira on Thee Facebooks

Satta Caveira on Bandcamp

 

Apollo80, Lizard! Lizard! Lizard!

apollo 80 lizard lizard lizard

Vocalized only by spoken samples of astronauts, the thrice-exclamatory Lizard! Lizard! Lizard! is the debut EP from Perth, Australia, three-piece Apollo80, who are given mostly to exploring an outpouring of heavy molten vibes but still able to hone a bit of cacophony following the “godspeed, John Glenn” sample in second cut “FFH.” There are four songs on the 26-minute offering, and its spaciousness is brought to earth somewhat by the dirt in which the guitar and bass tones are caked, but it’s more the red dust of Mars than anything one might find kicking around a Terran desert. Unsurprisingly, the high point of the outing is the 10:46 title-track, where guitarist Luke, bassist Brano and drummer Shane push farthest into the cosmos — though that’s debatable with the interstellar drone of closer “Good Night” — but even in the impact of “Apollo” at the outset, there’s a feeling of low-oxygen in the atmosphere, and if you get lightheaded, that’s exactly how it’s supposed to be.

Apollo80 on Thee Facebooks

Apollo80 on Bandcamp

 

The Great Unwilling, EP

the great unwilling ep

The prevailing influence throughout the untitled debut EP from Minnesota’s The Great Unwilling is Queens of the Stone Age, but listening to the layer of wah intertwine with the solo on “Sanguine,” there’s more to their approach than just that, however dreamy the vocal melodies from guitarist Jesse Hoheisel might be. Hoheisel, bassist Joe Ulvi and Mark Messina present a clean four tracks and 20 minutes on their first outing, and for having been together for about 18 months, their songwriting seems to have a firm grasp on what they want to do. “If 3 was 7” rolls along at a heavy clip into an effectively drifting midsection and second half jam before returning to the initial riff, while “Current” leads off with a particularly Hommeian construction, and soon gives way to the flowing pace and apparent lyrical references of the aforementioned “Sanguine.” They finish with the dirtier tonality of “Apostasy” and cap with no more pretense than they started, bringing the short release to a close with a chorus that seems to finish with more to say. No doubt they’ll get there.

The Great Unwilling on Thee Facebooks

The Great Unwilling on Bandcamp

 

Grusom, II

grusom ii

A prominent current of organ alongside the guitars gives Grusom‘s aptly-titled second album on Kozmik Artifactz, II, a willfully classic feel, and even the lyrics of “Peace of Mind” play into that with the opening lines, “I always said I was born too late/This future is not for me,” but the presentation from the Svendborg six-piece isn’t actually all that retro-fied. Rather, the two guitars and organ work in tandem to showcase a modern take on those classic ideas, as the back and forth conversation between them in the extended jam of “Skeletons” demonstrates, and with a steady rhythmic foundation and soulful vocals overtop, Grusom‘s craft doesn’t need the superficial trappings of a ’70s influence to convey those roots in their sound. Songs like “Dead End Valley” and “Embers” have a bloozy swing as they head toward the melancholy closer “Cursed from Birth,” but even there, the proceedings are light on pretense and the atmosphere is more concerned with a natural vibe rather than pretending it’s half a century ago.

Grusom on Thee Facebooks

Kozmik Artifactz website

 

Träden, Träden

traden traden

Having originated as Träd Gräs och Stenar, the group now known as Träden is the product of a psychedelic legacy spanning generations. Founder Jakob Sjöholm has joined forces with Hanna Östergren of Hills, Reine Fiske of Dungen and Sigge Krantz of Archimedes Badkar to create a kind of supergroup of serenity, and their self-titled is blissful enough not only to life up to Träd Gräs och Stenar‘s cult status, but to capture one of its own. It’s gorgeous. Presumably the painting used on the cover is the cabin where it was recorded, and its eight tracks — sometimes mellow, sometimes more weighted, always hypnotic — are a naturalist blueprint that only make the world a better place. That sounds ridiculous, I know. But the truth is that for all the terrible, horrifying shit humanity does on a daily basis, to know that there are people on the planet making music like this with such a genuine spirit behind it is enough to instill a bit of hope for the species. This is what it’s all about. I couldn’t even make it through the Bandcamp stream without buying the CD. That never happens.

Träden on Thee Facebooks

Träden on Bandcamp

 

Orthodox, Krèas

orthodox kreas

Last year, Spanish experimentalists Orthodox released Supreme and turned their free-jazz meets low-doom into a 36-minute fracas of happening-right-now creativity. Krèas, a lone, 27-minute track with the core duo of bassist Marco Serrato and drummer Borja Díaz joined by saxophonist Achilleas Polychronidis, was recorded in the same session but somehow seems even more freaked-out. I mean, it’s gone. Gone to a degree that even the hepcats who claim to appreciate free-jazz on anything more than a theoretical level (that is, those who actually listen to it) will have their hair blown back. The rest of the universe? Well, they’ll probably continue on, blissfully unaware that Orthodox are out there smashing comets together like they are, but wow. Challenging the listener is one thing. Krèas is the stuff of dissertations. One only hopes Orthodox aren’t holding their breath waiting for humanity to catch up to what they’re doing, because, yeah, it’s gonna be a while.

Orthodox on Thee Facebooks

Alone Records webstore

 

Disrule, Sleep in Your Honour

Disrule Sleep in Your Honour

Danish bruisers Disrule run a brash gamut with their second album, Sleep in Your Honour (on Seeing Red). Leading off with the earworm hook of the title-track (premiered here), the album puts a charge into C.O.C.-style riffing and classic heavy rock, but shades of Clutch-y funk in “Going Wrong” and a lumbering bottom end in “Occult Razor” assure there’s no single angle from which they strike. “(Gotta Get Me Some) Control” elicits a blues-via-Sabbath vibe, but the drums seem to make sure Disrule are never really at rest, and so there’s a strong sense of momentum throughout the eight-song/29-minute EP, perhaps best emphasized by two-minute second cut “Death on My Mind,” which seems to throw elbows as it sprints past, though even shouted-chorus closer “Enter the Void” has an infectious energy about it. If you think something can’t be heavy and move, Disrule have a shove with your name on it.

Disrule on Thee Facebooks

Seeing Red Records on Bandcamp

 

Ozymandias, Cake!

ozymandias cake

First clue that all is not what it seems? The artwork. Definitely not a picture of cake on the cover of Ozymandias‘ debut album, Cake!, and accordingly, things don’t take long before they get too weird. “Jelly Beans” hits on harshest Nirvana — before it goes into blastbeats. “Mason Jar” scathes out organ-laced doom and vicious screaming, before “Hangman” gets all danceable like “All Pigs Must Die” earlier in the record. The wacky quotient is high, and the keyboards do a lot to add to that, but one can’t really call “Doom I – The Daisies” or the later “Doom II – The Lilies” anything but progressive in the Devin Townsend-shenanigans-metal sense of the word, and as wild as some stretches of Cake! are, the trio from Linz, Austria, are never out of control, and they never give a sense that what they’re doing is an accident. They’re just working on their own stylistic level, and to a degree that’s almost scary considering it’s their first record. I won’t claim to know where they might be headed, but it seems likely they have a plan.

Ozymandias on Thee Facebooks

StoneFree Records website

 

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Bell Witch Post Mirror Reaper Visual Album; European Tour Starts Nov. 28

Posted in Bootleg Theater on November 20th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

bell witch

I was fortunate enough to be in the room at Roadburn 2018 when Seattle duo Bell Witch played their 2017 album, Mirror Reaper (review here), in its entirety from front to back for the only time that, to-date as of this post, they’ve done so. They’re soon to embark on a European tour doing the same with visual backing from assembled archival footage by Taylor Bednarz that’s recently been posted as a “visual album” representation for Mirror Reaper‘s equal-parts-massive-and-mournful 83-minute single-song entirety, gorgeous and emotionally harrowing as it is. But the point is that, yeah, I saw that. You should go see that. That’s a thing you want to see. Talking to you, Europe. Make that happen.

Aside from the raw power of Bell Witch‘s performance, the inclusion of vocalist Erik Moggridge (Aerial Ruin) and Bednarz‘s visuals make the Mirror Reaper performance all the more resonant. To call its spacious downward reaches epic is to undersell them with cliché, as not only was the album a personal expression of grief on the part of bassist Dylan Desmond and drummer/vocalist Jesse Shreibman at the loss of one-time drummer Adrian Guerra, but further, it was a pinnacle achievement of what the band’s work up to that point has been leading toward, their 2015 outing, Four Phantoms (review here), widely lauded as a landmark in death-doom. Mirror Reaper is — if it’s nothing else — a bold forward step in that progression, so even without the emotional weight behind it, its sheer impact as a creative work sets slow-churning fire to any scrutiny one might want to place on it.

The tour starts Nov. 28 in Iceland and continues through Dec. 14 in Cork, Ireland. I don’t know what the future will hold for Bell Witch, who also toured earlier this year in the States alongside YOB promoting the album and played the Pool Party of all things at this year’s Psycho Las Vegas (review here), but whether or not they do this kind of thing again, the moment right now feels crucial for it as they’re taking the album out on tour for the first time, and even if they make a habit of it, to say you were there the first time will remain a special claim to make. If you doubt me, reread the first sentence of this post.

The entirety of the Mirror Reaper visual album is below, followed by the tour dates.

Enjoy:

Bell Witch, Mirror Reaper visual album

Ahead of their upcoming European tour where they will perform their album Mirror Reaper in full, BELL WITCH, are streaming the album’s accompanying video. The 83-minute opus was released via Profound Lore to widespread acclaim in 2017 – a repress of the album is now available with new colour variants. Director Taylor Bednarz created a visual accompaniment to the one-track album.

Although the band have played part of Mirror Reaper live at previous shows, the full album has only been performed once in full, at this year’s Roadburn Festival – complete with visuals created by Taylor Bednarz, and vocals from Aerial Ruin’s Erik Moggridge. This full scale performance will be replicated in its entirety at a number of special shows across Europe at the end of the year.

BELL WITCH’s Dylan Desmond comments:
“Taylor Bednarz created a fantastic film to fit Mirror Reaper using exclusively archived footage. During the writing process it became evident to us that the music invited a visual aspect. Bednarz’s interpretation captures much of the emotion we were trying to convey during the song and we are proud of the collaboration with him.”

The accompanying film is a video collage comprised of dozens of archival films. Each of these clips are woven together with the album to build a patient, heavy, and haunting narrative. The film aims to hold the viewer in the state of a lucid dream, feeling trapped as a specter drifting through places of darkness. All shows on the tour will be performed in front of the Mirror Reaper film.

BELL WITCH European Tour Dates:
November 28 – Reykjavik IS – Gaukurinn*
November 30 – London UK – The Dome
December 1 – Leeuwarden NL – Into Darkness Festival*
December 2 – Sint Niklaas BE – Darken The Moon X *
December 3 – Wiesbaden DE – Schlachthof
December 5 – Leipzig DE – UT Connewitz
December 7 – Wroclaw PL – Sala Gotycka
December 8 – Berlin DE – Zukunft
December 9 – Malmo, SE – Plan B*
December 10 – Oslo, NO – BLÅ
December 11 – Gothenburg, SE – Musikens Hus*
December 12 – Copenhagen, DK – Alice
December 13 – Dublin IE – Thomas House*
December 14 – Cork IE – Cyprus Avenue
*denotes show is not seated

Bell Witch on Thee Facebooks

Bell Witch on Twitter

Bell Witch on Instagram

Profound Lore Records website

Profound Lore Records on Thee Facebooks

Profound Lore Records on Bandcamp

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Shitty Person Premiere “Take Your Clothes Off” Video; Album out Now on Svart Records

Posted in Bootleg Theater on October 30th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

shitty person

I won’t tell you that you need to do this or that, but if you have a second, you should hit up Shitty Person‘s Bandcamp page and take a look at the lyrics of their debut album, Judgement. Released by Svart Records this past June, the eight-track post/heavygaze/whatever outing by the Seattle-based outfit does so much more to capture the truth of misanthropy in lines like “Nobody believes shit talk’s all true/Even god’s not an asshole like you/If you believe half this shit’s true/Fuck you” than any number of doom bands out there who write songs about killing ladies or some other faux-edgy crap like that. Self-loathing don’t come cheap, and it bleeds through the slow tempos, sax solos, airy tones and dual-vocal melodies of Judgement in songs like opener “Butthole,” in which the above lines appear, and the subsequent “Take Your Clothes Off,” in which the sole lyric amidst the rolling drones and lush tonal unfurling is, well, “Take your clothes off.” If that’s there at all — and I’m not sure it is. To call it anything less than punk rock would be cheapening it, I think.

Later in the record, the they take on Electric Wizard‘s “Behemoth,” but before that, there’s the sad ramble of “Champagne and Cakes,” which brings the vocals of guitarist Benjamin Thomas-Kennedy (see also: Lesbian and Fungal Abyss) forward in a Michael Gira-informed dark post-Americana shitty person judgementthat gives way to biting noise by its finish. It’s hard to think of “Nobody Likes You” and “Your God is Ending You” as anything other than the crux of Judgement, both for the fact that they comprise more than a third of the album’s runtime and the perspective from which they work, both of them saying a lot with not a ton of words in an efficiency that somehow doesn’t at all undercut the fuckall so rampant in the proceedings. “Nobody Likes You” makes an attempt at kind self-talk with “Relax and be nice to yourself/And don’t be that way” before the inevitable turn: “Nobody likes you/Nobody likes you/Like you don’t like you/Nobody likes you,” a voice that seems to be directed inward ahead of “Your God is Ending You,” which is more accusatory.

Either way, Shitty Person is a fucking slog and that’s exactly what it’s intended to be. The disaffection of “Dumbshit” I’m not even going to recount here, because it wasn’t really my intention to just quote lyrics for this entire post, but needless to say, it’s palpable. “Behemoth” is brought suitably into Judgement‘s sonic context, and closer “Dark Bear” is an effects-laden 47-second spoken story of loss that ends the downerism plunge with another low. It’s not so much about catharsis as it is an exploration of that moment where you’re in it and there’s that feeling of utter hopelessness. Where depression informs everything you see and how you see yourself seeing everything; that bleak narcissism that produces an endless cycle of self-loathing that you can’t see any way out of. The last line, “And when he passed, everything turned to blue,” sums up a lot of it, but even that is just a slice of the actual-misery portrayed throughout. Where it’s always been that way and there won’t ever be a time where it isn’t. People call death metal brutal. Ha.

You can watch the “Take Your Clothes Off” video below. It’s got bathrobes. The album is name-your-price on the aforementioned Bandcamp if you’re up for it, and more info follows the clip on the player here.

Please enjoy:

Shitty Person, “Take Your Clothes Off” official video premiere

The video for Take Your Clothes Off is the secord in a series of visual versions of songs from Shitty Person’s debut album Judgement (Svart Records). Directed by Seattle artist/photographer/musician Lauren Rodriguez, it mirrors the song’s ecstatic apathy and laces the senses with same drug-fueled lust that the song engenders. Shot on film, the footage was captured at Shitty Person’s album release show at Seattle’s Clock Out Lounge where the band performed in their bathrobes as they are wont to do. This work follows the band’s first visual effort Butthole (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=161tyF1Of0k) directed by I Want You (http://iwantyoustudio.com/).

Shitty Person is the latest solo-ish project from Benjamin Thomas-Kennedy (Lesbian, Fungal Abyss). Along with other members of Lesbian, Rose Windows, and Master Musicians of Bukkake, Shitty Person makes music about self-hatred and counterproductive self-reflection. It sounds like drugs, has lots of swears, and will probably make you feel terrible.

Although a relatively new band, Shitty Person’s roots run deep. “I’ve been playing drums for metal bands for almost two decades,” explains Thomas-Kennedy, “but before that, I used to front a couple of less heavy bands as the primary songwriter and guitar player. During the time I was touring with Lesbian-the-band, a lot of songs started kicking around my head that I didn’t know what to do with. As that project began to wind down, I had more time to start putting some of these ideas together. I bought a guitar and finalized a pile of songs. I decided to ask some of my favorite musicians if they would help me put a group together, and to my surprise, everyone I approached said they’d be into it. We played a live show to a sold-out crowd opening for Moon Duo in Seattle. It was the first time I had played guitar and sang in front of an audience in over 15 years. It went pretty well, so we made this album. I am extremely proud of it and honored that so much great talent jumped on board to pull it off.”

Benjamin Thomas-Kennedy – guitar and vocals
Daniel LaRochelle – rhythm guitar
Arran McInnis – lead guitar
Nicole Thomas-Kennedy – bass guitar
Dave Abramson – drums and percussion
Rabia Shaheen Qazi – vocals
Sam Yoder – percussion
Skerik – saxophone

Produced by Randall Dunn
Mastered by Jason Ward

Video directed by Lauren Rodriguez

Shitty Person on Thee Facebooks

Shitty Person on Bandcamp

Svart Records website

Svart Records on Thee Facebooks

Svart Records on Bandcamp

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Tad Doyle Releases Ambient Collection Experiments of the Spectral Order Vol. 1

Posted in Whathaveyou on October 29th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

thomas andrew doyle
I’m not, but if I was scoring one of those serial horror dramas or a film or even a short or something like that and I needed a creepy aural vibe to accompany, at least I know who I’d call. Working under his full name, Thomas Andrew Doyle, the creative force better known as Tad — he of TadHog MollyBrothers of the Sonic Cloth and copious production work at his Witch Ape Studio — hereby issues Experiments of the Spectral Order Vol. 1, a collection of five ambient pieces running 27 minutes that, if we’re talking about a spectrum, run from terrifying to, well, more terrifying. From the shocking burst in opener “Adorned in Maggots” to the eerie string sounds and swells of centerpiece “Mortality is the Rule, Life is the Exception” and into the depths of nine-minute finale “Outside of Reality,” Doyle makes Stranger Things sound like Strangers with Candy and brings to bear atmospheres of unremitting tension and darkness. Sometimes minimal, sometimes assaulting, it seems perpetually to be a downward trip into something bleak and consuming.

So yeah, good times.

And of course, as any quality work of horror should, it sets itself up for a sequel. Here’s Doyle‘s announcement of the release that came through last week:

thomas andrew doyle experiments of the spectral order vol 1

As of today, I have a new recording that I am releasing to the world.

Experiments of the Spectral Order Vol. 1 is the first in a series of music that is fit for the days we live in. Volume !, is composed of five songs from deep within the dark realms of the psyche that is taylored to those with a tasteb for the macabre. Best of all, it is completely free. You may download the full length on the Incineration Ceremony Recordings bandcamp here at this location.

Some people make joyous and happy music. I do not. However, this is the music that I love and it brings a smile to my face. May it be so with you.

Tracklisting:
1. Adorned In Maggots 04:39
2. Breeding “IS” Pollution 05:09
3. Mortality Is The Rule; Life Is The Exception 04:17
4. Bridge To Purgatory 03:56
5. Outside Of Reality 09:06

https://thomasandrewdoyle.bandcamp.com/
https://www.taddoyle.com/
https://www.facebook.com/Incinerationceremony/
https://incineration-ceremony.bandcamp.com/artists

Thomas Andrew Doyle, Experiments of the Spectral Order Vol. 1 (2018)

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Year of the Cobra Tour Starts Tonight; Playing Prophecy Fest USA in Brooklyn

Posted in Whathaveyou on October 10th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

year of the cobra

Seattle’s Year of the Cobra have a slot booked at the first-ever Prophecy Fest USA in Brooklyn on Nov. 3, and because they’re Year of the Cobra, they’re turning it into a tour of the East Coast and Midwest. The band signed to Prophecy Productions earlier this year after issuing 2017’s Burn Your Dead EP (review here) through Magnetic Eye Records, and they’re set to have their sophomore full-length out in 2019, for which the EP teased multi-directional growth in style and songwriting. The duo have put in massive amounts of road work over the last couple years at home and abroad, and it seems like they’re in a place where they’re ready to step up to the task ahead of them in their next record and see where it takes them. My guess as regards to that? More touring.

They’ll be playing new songs on the tour, and that’s nifty to be sure, but I’m really looking forward to hearing what they might bring to a new record with Jack Endino producing. I’m keeping my fingers crossed the album gets here on the earlier end of next year.

From the PR wire:

year of the cobra tour

SEATTLE DOOM DUO, YEAR OF THE COBRA, ANNOUNCE NORTH AMERICAN TOUR DATES

*BAND TO PERFORM AT INAUGURAL “PROPHECY FEST USA” IN BROOKLYN ON NOV 3RD*

Seattle’s heavyweight stoner doom duo, Year of the Cobra, has announced they’ll be hitting the road for a North American tour this fall. The band will kick of the excursion with a hometown show in Seattle on October 10th and will wrap up the run in Lawrence, KS on November 6th. The tour will include a performance at the inaugural Prophecy Fest USA, alongside labelmates 1476, Crowhurst, Eye of Nix and Alcest, at Knitting Factory in Brooklyn, NY on November 3rd. Tickets for the fest are available now at http://bit.ly/2OCPQ9P.

Year of the Cobra’s upcoming tour will give fans a taste of music to come from the band’s forthcoming 2nd full-length record that’s due out next year.

“We’ve been hermits since our last U.S. tour this past August and have hunkered down and written a ton of new music… going to road test quite a few new songs on this run. Jack Endino will be producing and engineering the next record, which will come out in 2019 on Prophecy Productions. Tours and other exciting news are in the works. Stayed tuned!” – Year of the Cobra

Formed in 2015, Year of the Cobra became a rapidly ascending, radiant star in the horizon of the doom/stoner-scene for a reason: This powerhouse duo, consisting of Amy Tung Barrysmith (vocals/ bass) and Jon Barrysmith (drums), use their limitation in instrumentation to their advantage. Leaving space for every instrument to breathe and to shine, they create a vast, larger than life sound aesthetic. Their songs drift relentlessly from classic epic doom laments into oppressive heavy riff architecture; from catchy, almost upbeat rock moments into transfiguring psychedelia.

Year of the Cobra Tour Dates:
10.10.18 – Seattle, WA. – El Corazon w/ Monster Magnet
10.20.18 – Boise, ID. – The Shredder
10.22.18 – Denver, CO. – Streets of London
10.23.18 – Omaha, NB. – Lookout Lounge
10.24.18 – Oshkosh, WI. – Reptile Palace
10.25.18 – Chicago, IL. – Cobra Lounge
10.26.18 – Toronto, ON. – Coalition: T.O.
10.27.18 – Jewett City, CT. – Altones
10.28.18 – Ottawa, ON. – Cafe Decuf
10.29.18 – Buffalo, NY. – Mohawk Place
10.30.18 – Providence, RI. – Alchemy
11.1.18 – Philadelphia, PA. – Barbary
11.2.18 – Washington D.C. – Altas Brew Works
11.3.18 – Brooklyn, NY. Knitting Factory – Prophecy Fest
11.4.18 – Pittsburgh, PA. – Gooski’s
11.5.18 – Indianapolis, IN. – Black Circle Brewing
11.6.18 – Lawrence, KS. – Replay Lounge

https://www.facebook.com/yearofthecobraband/
https://twitter.com/yearofthecobra
https://yearofthecobra.bandcamp.com/
https://www.facebook.com/prophecyproductions/
https://prophecy-de.bandcamp.com/
https://en.prophecy.de/

Year of the Cobra, Burn Your Dead (2017)

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Constant Lovers Premiere “Meow Meow Meow” from New Album Pangs

Posted in audiObelisk on October 10th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

constant lovers

Based in Seattle and Tacoma, Washington, good-time weirdo noisemakers Constant Lovers will release their third album, Pangs, on Oct. 26. It’s an 11-track outing, and from the sax-laced opening of “The Wound up Get Down” to the beach sounds of closer “Pang Time,” there are three ways you can listen to it. You can sit and pick apart every move the four-piece make, analyze and overthink every stop and shove in “It’s Electric” or the sharp rhythmic turns of “Lullaby,” and wax poetic as regards the intricacy of the interaction between the guitars of Joel Cuplin (also vocals) and Eric Fisher (also percussion) on the penultimate “Amouse Bouche.” You can do that. It’s fine. Or you can simply not. You can find the overarching groove — it’s there, to be sure — that locks in with funky aplomb on “The Wound up Get Down” propelled by the bass of Gavin Till-Esterbrook and drummer Ben Verellen, as well as that sax, and holds firm as “Meow Meow Meow” sets the go-where-the-hell-they-want-tone with a cast of PNW noise that’ll give silly comfort to ears who never quite recovered from the loss of Akimbo however many years ago and leads into the churn of “Ceiling Sweats” as Pangs unfolds along solid geometrical lines. You can go deep, or you can not. The third way? It’s a little bit of both.

I’m not going to advocate one or the other, frankly. With the play to anticipation in the we-dig-Fugazi-you-dig-Fugazi “Rally Cry for the Pang in Your” and the Rob Crow-style quirk of “Know the Knot” preceding, the mania in the lyrics of “You are Dinner” and its constant lovers pangsimmediate companion-piece “Bone Shard Fashion,” Constant Lovers make arguments on all sides. Any way you might want to go has its appeal, and far more important is that the depth of Pangs holds up to whatever level of scrutiny you might want to bring to your experience of it. In the intensity of “Lullabye,” the band resolve toward the frenetic, and one could point to any number of stretches throughout and hear hardcore punk roots growing up and — let’s face it — getting interesting along the way. But even as they let themselves draw down the tempo just a bit more on “Pang Time,” which is also the longest track at 5:29 and finishes with an ending so eased-out you wouldn’t be wrong to think of it as “gentle,” they don’t let the academic overcome either the adventurous spirit of the songwriting or the energy in their delivery of the material. A production that’s raw-er but still well broad enough to let their tones breathe — one has to wonder if they use Verellen amps — brings through the deceptive balance, sneaky balance, sometimes purposefully unbalanced balance, of elements instrumental and aesthetic, and, well, sometimes you want to have some fun. That’s legit. It’s okay to do that.

Clearly they are, so why not follow suit?

Or, more likely, t-shirt.

Not at all without a melodic presence despite the forward nature of its rhythms, Pangs arrives some four-years after the band’s second offering, Experience Feelings, which itself came just one year later as the follow-up to their 2013 debut, True Romance. Whyever the fourfold increase in span between their releases, Constant Lovers obviously relish the opportunity that Pangs gives them to explore the outer reaches of their approach, and regardless of how the listener chooses to take that on, doing so only proves to be an engaging, exciting and let’s-go-again-worthy experience.

Get your digs with the premiere of “Meow Meow Meow” below, followed by some preliminaries on the release courtesy of the PR wire.

Enjoy:

Constant Lovers, “Meow Meow Meow” official track premiere

Seattle, WA quartet Constant Lovers announce their forthcoming sophomore album, Pangs.

Constant Lovers’ Pangs was created during a sustained period of unrest punctuated by moments of intense inspiration. The result is an album where delight collides with angularity, chaos morphs into play, and humor and strangeness are, as always, just beneath the tough exterior. At once a celebration of the heavier sounds featured in their last album, Experience Feelings, Pangs also signals a turn towards a more exploratory nature. With the addition of saxophone and the use of improvisation in both recording and recent live shows, Constant Lovers are pushing at their boundaries.

Pangs will be available on LP and download on October 26th, 2018.

Artist: Constant Lovers
Album: Pangs
Record Label: Self-released
Release Date: October 26th, 2018

01. The Wound Up Get Down
02. Meow Meow Meow
03. Ceiling Sweats
04. It’s Electric
05. You Are Dinner
06. Bone Shard Fashion
07. Know The Knot
08. Rally Cry For The Pang In Your
09. Lullabye
10. Amuse Bouche
11. Pang Time

Constant Lovers is:
Joel Cuplin: Guitar/ Vox
Eric Fisher: Guitar / Percussion
Ben Verellen: Drums
Gavin Tull-Esterbrook: Bass / Vox

Constant Lovers on Thee Facebooks

Constant Lovers on Instagram

Constant Lovers on Twitter

Constant Lovers on Bandcamp

Constant Lovers website

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Randall Dunn to Release Beloved Nov. 9; “Something About that Night” Video Posted

Posted in Whathaveyou on September 19th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

randall dunn

Holy mackerel. If you’ve got six minutes or thereabouts, go ahead and plug yourself into Randall Dunn‘s video for ‘Something About that Night’ at the bottom of this post. If you need to go fullscreen because it’s a super thin aspect ratio — cinematic is the whole idea, top to bottom — it’s worth it. The music is affecting, the drama palpable in the soundscape, and the vocals of Frank Fisher give the track a soulful sensibility that works amazingly well with the synthesized worldmaking behind. It’s gorgeous and troubling in the best way.

Dunn, noted for his collaborations with SunnO))) and others, for his participation as a founding member of Master Musicians of Bukkake, and for his production work for Earth, the aforementioned SunnO))), Akron/Family and many more, will release his first solo album, Beloved, on Nov. 9 through Figureight Records. Considering a revolving cast of personnel, I wouldn’t expect “Something About that Night” to speak for the whole album in mood or arrangement, but it certainly stands on its own and the video, directed by Mu Tunç, more than earns its worry beads.

From the PR wire:

randall dunn beloved

RANDALL DUNN ANNOUNCES HIS FIRST SOLO ALBUM, BELOVED (FIGUREIGHT, 9TH NOVEMBER)

FEAT CONTRIBUTIONS FROM PAST COLLABORATORS TIMM MASON, FRANK FISHER (ALGIERS) AND ZOLA JESUS

Randall Dunn, the musician, producer and engineer renowned for his work with Sunn0))), Earth, Tim Hecker, Six Organs of Admittance, Anna Von Hausswolff and so much more, finds his own voice on his first solo album, Beloved, which is set for release on vinyl and digital formats via figureight on November 9th (pre-orders now live).

Following a turbulent period of change and loss, the esteemed producer channeled his energies into a seven song meditation on “anxiety, paranoia, different shades of love, different realisations of mortality, how it can make you feel the stages of your life more deeply.”

Such sentiments are reflected across this beautiful video for the album track “Something About That Night” directed by Mu Tunc, a filmmaker from Istanbul, which we’re delighted to share alongside the album announcement. About the video Randall remarks “I found a common ground in our two cultures current socio-political climates and in the themes of the song – loneliness, loss, and the feeling of human connection’s absence. Mu expressed these sentiments through a compassionate character study of two people who are making their way through a lonely night with all of the pressures of our current age.”

On Beloved Dunn shifts his knack for emphasising the human component of music toward mining emotional resonance, and wrangling a new earthly language from the subtle details and textures generated from early digital and analog synthesisers. “I wanted to make something more like prose or a Gerhard Richter painting with sound,” Dunn says of the album. “Being someone that composes with sound, I wanted to find a voice in it that felt personal, that felt human, especially with electronics, something that didn’t feel too mechanical.” Though electronics can often feel rigid and cold, Dunn sought to find the poetry in their oscillations and a heartbeat in a rhythm outside the grid. “It’s the first time a language hit me and it felt like it was mine,” Dunn says in summation.

Across Dunn’s career as an engineer and producer he has also proven to be a valuable studio asset as a collaborator. He’s lent his arrangement ideas to SunnO))) on Monoliths and Dimensions and Earth on The Bees Made Honey in the Lion’s Skull and gone beyond producing to provide instrumentation for Six Organs of Admittance, Anna von Hausswolf, Tim Hecker, and longtime colleague Stephen O’Malley. All of which led to a pivotal invitation to engineer and produce Icelandic composer Jóhann Jóhannsson’s original score for the stylised horror film Mandy. During the project, Jóhannsson encouraged Dunn to explore his synth-driven sound designs. Jóhannsson’s unexpected passing in early 2018 also added to what Dunn refers to as “powerful moment of change.” The gentle encouragement of Eyvind Kang and Jóhann Jóhannsson, and the affirming creative contributions across the album by past collaborators like Timm Mason, Frank Fisher (Algiers), and Zola Jesus were all crucial to the birth of Beloved.

Tracklisting:
1. Amphidromic Point
2. Lava Rock and Amber
3. Something About that Night
4. Theoria : Aleph
5. Mexico City
6. Virgo
7. A True Home

Pre-Order Link: https://lnk.to/RandallDunnBeloved

https://www.facebook.com/RandallDunnMusic/
https://randalldunn.bandcamp.com/
https://www.figureightrecords.com/

Randall Dunn, “Something About that Night” official video

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