Six Dumb Questions with Year of the Cobra

Posted in Six Dumb Questions on May 24th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

year of the cobra

Earlier this Spring, Seattle duo Year of the Cobra made their way to Europe for the first time to play and tour around Germany’s Hell over Hammaburg festival. They’d already spent a decent portion of 2016 on the road leading up to and supporting the STB Records release of their debut full-length, …In the Shadows Below (review here), and given the momentum they established in so doing and the formidable response the Billy Anderson-produced offering garnered, it seemed like it was only a matter of time before they undertook the trip. One sincerely doubts it will be their last.

Since they put out their three-song EP, The Black Sun (review here), in 2015 through Devil’s Child Records and DHU RecordsYear of the Cobra — bassist/vocalist Amy Tung Barrysmith and drummer Jon Barrysmith — have worked hard to find and audience and been markedly successful in that regard. With a style that offers as much space as it does rumble and heavy groove to spare, cuts like “Vision of Three,” “Temple of Apollo” and “Electric Warrior” leave memorably rolling impressions, and the push of “Spider and the Fly” subtly incorporates elements of classic pop/rock in a way few heavy acts would dare on a fifth album, let alone a first.

Amid rumors of new material in progress, participation in Magnetic Eye Records‘ much anticipated Pink Floyd tribute, The Wall [Redux], a slot Psycho Las Vegas this August and much more, it seemed well past time to chase down the band for a quick Q&A. As they make ready to move forward from …In the Shadows Below, they also have a new video for “Temple of Apollo” that recently premiered and which you can see at the bottom of this post. I put the album stream down there too, because I figured there’s a good chance that after you hear the one track you’ll probably want to put the rest of the thing on anyway. Might as well make it easy.

Please enjoy the following Six Dumb Questions:

year-of-the-cobra-in-the-shadows-below

Six Dumb Questions with Amy Tung Barrysmith of Year of the Cobra

It seemed like …In the Shadows Below got such a massive response, even after the EP did really well. Were you surprised by how the album was received?

Of course. You never know what people will think. It was important for us to follow the EP with a strong LP, and we were very deliberate and particular about every aspect of it from the musicality to the art design. But, after all that work, you really never know how people will receive it. All you can do is hope that your vision comes through and that people understand and like it as much as you do.

Tell me about recording with Billy Anderson. What made you go with him as a producer? What was the atmosphere in the studio like, how long were you in there, and how do you feel about the results on the album itself?

Well, he’s recorded a lot of our favorite records and was at the top of our “wish list,” so we sent him an email asking if he’d be interested and he responded the next day saying he liked the band and was on board. We were so stoked. We only met him a handful of times before we went into the studio so we weren’t really sure what to expect. In pictures, he can look really intimidating, but in person, he’s just a super witty, goofy guy.

He made the atmosphere so light and fun but was still able to coax out these crushing tones and performances. It was incredible. We spent a total of nine days in the studio with him recording. He spent several days mixing on his own and we went back for a final mix session, but before we were even done mixing, we were both really excited about what we had produced. It went beyond our expectations. He’s definitely the third member of YOTC.

You guys went to Europe for the first time in March. How was that trip? Tell me about the shows and the experience of going abroad to play. What were the crowds like? What were your expectations going into it and do you feel like they were met?

Europe was amazing. The main reason we went was to play Hell over Hammaburg Festival in Hamburg, Germany. We figured since we were going, we’d book a small tour around it. We weren’t sure what to expect, in all honesty. This first tour was a bit of a litmus test to see how we would do. Would we have a crowd? Would we be well received? Would it be worth going back for a longer tour?

All of it went better than we could have expected. There were people wearing our t-shirts or sweatshirts at every show!! People were singing along and many told us they had driven for hours to come see us play. It was incredible. Hell over Hammaburg Festival was a blast as well. It was so well organized and diverse and it was sold out! When we were packing to leave to go back home, we were both blown away at how well everything went and were kicking ourselves for not staying longer. Next time!

Tell me about being in a band with your partner. You’ve been able to tour steadily with the two of you, but how does having Year of the Cobra as an extension of your relationship play out? Not to get too personal, but does the band relationship just become part of the whole broader relationship, or is it its own thing?

That’s a good question. I don’t think either of us knows where one starts and the other ends, in terms of relationship vs. bandmates. What’s nice is that we complement each other in both our relationship and our band. One of us might be good at one thing, while the other is good at something else. We never sit down and divvy up jobs, we just kind of naturally go about it and it all gets done. The good thing is, we both feel like we’re equals working as a team because we have a common goal, we have the same work ethic, and we have similar artistic views. It makes everything work pretty smoothly.

I hear there’s new material in the works. How far along are you in writing? Is there anything specific you’re trying to do coming off of the debut?

We’re really excited about the new material!! We hit the studio at the end of June with Billy Anderson at the helm again. We’ll be recording an EP plus two songs that will go on the Magnetic Eye Records Pink Floyd Redux. We’ve spent the past couple of months focusing solely on writing new songs and were able to debut one of them at our last show! There is still a lot more work to do, but we’re definitely on track.

You’ve mentioned going back to Europe this Fall and you’ll play Psycho Las Vegas in August. Any other plans or closing words you want to mention?

We have some US tours being booked around Psycho Las Vegas in August and Stoned Meadow of Doom (Omaha) and Doomed and Stoned (Indianapolis) in September/October respectively. It will be fun to get back to some of the cities we hit last summer.

The EP will be released in the fall as well, so there is a lot of stuff piling up at the end of the year. Europe, sadly, didn’t work out for October, but we’re planning on going back next spring/summer. Stay tuned, we have many more announcements coming soon. Things are ramping up in the YOTC camp.

Year of the Cobra, “Temple of Apollo” official video

Year of the Cobra, …In the Shadows Below (2016)

Year of the Cobra on Thee Facebooks

Year of the Cobra on Bandcamp

STB Records on Thee Facebooks

STB Records BigCartel store

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Old Iron Sign to Good to Die Records; Lupus Metallorum Due Aug. 18

Posted in Whathaveyou on May 22nd, 2017 by JJ Koczan

Seattle-based imprint Good to Die Records doesn’t mess around when it comes either to taste or supporting its native habitat’s underground, so the signing of noisemaker trio Old Iron feels immediately significant. The band made their debut in 2014 with the atmospheric sludge of Cordyceps — streaming in full at the bottom of this post — and on Aug. 18, they’ll issue their sophomore outing, Lupus Metallorum, as their first offering under the Good to Die banner.

It’s worth noting that while the debut was self-recorded, for Lupus Metallorum the band opted to work with Matt Bayles, whose reputation for capturing tonal expanse for the likes of IsisMastodon, etc., I’m sure I don’t need to recount here. No audio has surfaced from the record as yet, nor the artwork, but August is still a while away, so one assumes we’ll get there before too long.

I also remain a sucker for a well-written press release. You’ll find one below, courtesy of the wire that brings such things:

old iron

OLD IRON signs with Good to Die Records!

Good to Die Records is excited to announce their newest signing: Seattle doomsayers OLD IRON. The label will be releasing their second full length album, Lupus Metallorum, on August 18th, and the group will respond by playing as many shows as they can both at home and throughout the U.S including Northwest Terror Fest happening June 15-17th in their home town. More info and tickets available here.

The tritone—also known as “the Devil’s interval”—is a pairing of notes that are three whole steps apart. It’s simply an interval between two frequencies, but for whatever reason, the human brain translates that pairing as sounding evil. Western composers avoided the note combination for centuries. The church frowned upon its use. It’s strange that two notes could elicit such negative reactions. But this is part of the magic of music—that certain combinations of frequencies trigger specific human emotions. We take for granted that every musician is tapping into some ancient wizardry, practicing some mysterious art we don’t fully understand. Seattle’s amplifier-worship dirge trio Old Iron certainly don’t shy away from the tritone or any other malicious note combination, and their explorations of the emotional implications of dissonance run parallel to their navigation of altered states and archaic sciences.

Lupus Metallorum is the sophomore album by Old Iron. From the opening riff of “Friday Glendale”, the precedent is set for the trio’s no-frills combination of ruthless noise rock and bottom-heavy sludge. Old Iron’s weighty riffs and malevolent stomp taps into the same adrenaline-producing frequency as a battle cry, with guitarist/vocalist Jesse Roberts’ howl summoning the same primitive visceral response as the Western Huns’ harrowing call-to-arms. If Roberts and his cohorts Jerad Shealey (bass) and Trent McIntyre (drums) were merely interested in using their tactics as a study in Pavlovian conditioning, Lupus Metallorum would succeed in making us salivating over their riffs. But Roberts is more interested in other aspects of behavior sciences and scientific approach. “There was never any intended theme,” Roberts says of the muse behind Old Iron’s music, “but in hindsight half of the songs were inspired by experiences I’ve had with ayahuasca and DMT.” Rock music and psychoactive drugs have always played well together, yet in an age where chemical enhancement of music seems reduced to stoned lethargy and molly-induced bump-and-grind, Old Iron’s combination of doomsday riffage and high-grade hallucinogens aims for a far more traumatizing experience, as is evident in the cataclysmic rise-and-fall of the ayahuasca-referencing climax “Banisteriopsis Caapi”.

But Old Iron’s fascination with the mystical sciences doesn’t end with the Devil’s interval and psychedelics. Lupus Metallorum translates to “grey wolf” and references the alchemic term for antimony, a chemical element once known as “monk-killer.” Drawing such sinister ties to metal is only fitting for a band like Old Iron, and the title track’s crushing chords, mauling drum patterns, and throbbing bass only further cement the band’s malignant intentions.

Engineered and produced by Matt Bayles (Mastodon, ISIS, The Sword) at Red Room Studios in Seattle WA, Lupus Metallorum captures the full weight of a band whose megalithic sound had previously best been experienced live and in the flesh. Good To Die Records is proud to release the album on vinyl in 2017, with tour dates to follow.

http://oldironband.com/
https://www.facebook.com/oldironband/
https://twitter.com/Old_Iron_Band
http://oldiron.bandcamp.com/
http://digital.goodtodierecords.com/
https://www.facebook.com/goodtodierecords/
https://twitter.com/goodtodierecrds

Old Iron, Cordyceps (2014)

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Friday Full-Length: Mad Season, Above

Posted in Bootleg Theater on May 19th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

Mad Season, Above (1995)

Sometimes you just have to wonder how an artist or a band got away with making the record they made. Mad Season‘s Above was released in 1995, in the post-Kurt Cobain wain of the Seattle grunge era, and I suppose the enticing tagline for Columbia Records was probably something along the lines of, “Features members of Pearl JamScreaming Trees and Alice in Chains,” but even given that, with its ultra-dark cover art by vocalist Layne Staley (the Alice in Chains component) and a collection of correspondingly melancholic, mostly quiet and depressive-if-soulful songs, Above was hardly a fit alongside Celine Dion or Mariah Carey, from both of whom the label also released studio outings that year. “Lifeless Dead?” Come on.

Still, I remember hearing “River of Deceit” on the radio when it came out, so to say the least, it was a different era. Mad Season was the product of Pearl Jam guitarist Mike McCready meeting blues bassist John Baker Saunders in rehab, starting a trio with Skin Yard/Screaming Trees drummer Barrett Martin and finally recruiting Staley on vocals partially with the hope of getting him clean from what was by then an already well documented history of abusing heroin. I guess it just kind of happened that the aesthetic they hit on was a grown-up incarnation of the style their main outfits played — an adult grunge — still heavy and edgy in its approach, but given a sense of class through Saunders‘ low end and the patient flow within the tracks that felt both immediately accessible and decidedly non-commercial.

Above is awash in hooks, from the minimalist opener and longest track (immediate points) “Wake Up” with its gorgeous showcase of the sadness that no one since Staley has been able to convey and none of his contemporaries could match, through the more rocking “I’m Above,” the almost folkish “River of Deceit,” and down through the rolling “I Don’t Know Anything” and percussive, sax-laden lounge-vibing “Long Gone Day,” which is one of two inclusions on the original version of the record alongside “I’m Above” to feature Screaming Trees singer Mark Lanegan, pre-Queens of the Stone Age but already by that point established as a solo artist, to brilliant affect in a layered duet. But as catchy as it gets — and even the six-minute ramble “Artificial Red” is catchy — Above never feels cloying or like it’s grasping for its audience’s attention in the way that some later grunge records do, having given up the urgency that fueled them as the players moved from being punk and noise acts and into what would ultimately break them through to a wider audience and define a generation of rock and roll. It’s not by any means a friendly record.

A big part of that is directly attributable to Staley‘s vocal performance, and it’s a spirit that almost immediately following Above‘s release he’d take back with him to Alice in Chains for the recording of their later-1995 self-titled on songs like “Shame in You.” Though Above nearly digs itself a hole with the seven-minute guitar-led jam “November Hotel” as the penultimate cut, that only seems to make Staley‘s voice feel like that much more of a treasure when it shows up again late in the atmospheric finale “All Alone,” a wash of its own, no less immersive than the spacious keys and guitar, subtle percussion and gentle bassline that back it. As distinct as he was in his approach, there was just about no way he wouldn’t become a defining presence in Mad Season, and though the band would only do this one studio release before his death from an overdose in 2002 — 15 years ago now — his contributions to Above provide some of the clearest evidence of just how special he was as an artist and a once-in-a-generation figure, and of course, it’s the work that lives on.

In 2013, Columbia reissued Above in a deluxe edition with bonus material from a never-released second album with Lanegan as frontman (they worked under the name Disinformation at the time, circa 1997), and a DVD of live footage and more. Saunders also died of an overdose, in 1999, so a full reunion was never possible, but in addition to that reissue, McCready and Martin joined forces with Guns ‘n’ Roses bassist Duff McKagan — the economist — and Soundgarden vocalist Chris Cornell to perform a set in Jan. 2015 with the Seattle Symphony that was quietly released as a live album released later that same year. There was once again discussion of new material at the time, but to-date nothing has come to fruition.

The bottom line is Above feels even more resonant today than it did 22 years ago, and as always, I hope you enjoy.

Thanks for listening.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t note the passing, first reported yesterday and apparently the result of suicide, of Chris Cornell. I had already chosen to finish the week with this record when I saw the news, but though he made it longer than either Cobain or Staley, I don’t think anyone who appreciated any of his work in Soundgarden or elsewhere who wouldn’t say he was taken too soon, and all the more tragically by his own hand. For someone who touched so many lives and influenced a generation of singers in his wake — let alone someone with three teenage kids — to feel so empty while having so much to live for boggles the mind, but until you’ve been there, you don’t know.

Cornell was arguably the best singer of his Seattle-based generational contemporaries — Staley was more emotive but didn’t have the range to soar Glenn Hughes-style like Cornell could, Cobain was a punker, Lanegan’s a bluesman and Pearl Jam’s Eddie Vedder might stand up as a comparison point in terms of charisma, but never had the force of delivery that seemed to come so naturally from Cornell. I’ve never been the biggest Soundgarden fan, but his is a significant, irreplaceable loss.

Maybe you saw, maybe you didn’t, but I announced on the social medias last weekend that The Patient Mrs. and I are expecting. It’s a boy, due somewhere around Oct. 15. He’s got a name, but mostly we’ve been calling him “The Pecan” because it sounds less threatening than “The Impending” — which was my alternative — and a few weeks ago, The Patient Mrs.’ you’re-going-to-have-a-baby app said the fetus was the size of “a Southern pecan,” which was hilarious to us both because how the hell big is that and what difference does it make if it’s Southern? If he’s born with a Molly Hatchet shirt on or some shit, I’m going to be really, genuinely surprised.

But anyway, that’s the big news I’ve been hinting toward around here. I mentioned the Pecan in my Roadburn coverage, briefly, and subsequently removed the reference, but a couple people caught it and I saw some speculation, so there you go. The Pecan. Due in October. Life changes.

Do I know how it will affect this site? Nope. My thing all along has been not knowing how whatever comes along will affect the site, and it’s worked out pretty well, so I’m gonna roll with that and go where it takes me.

Fatherhood. Oof.

Anyway, though conversations about said Pecan occupy just about my every day at this point, there’s still a while to go before the guy actually shows up and plenty to keep me busy in the meantime. For example! — my job is ending in less than a month. Unemployment. Again. I’ve learned a few valuable lessons in my year at Hasbro and I’m appreciative of that, but apart from the salary hit I can’t say I’m heartbroken to move on. Truth be told, I’ve never enjoyed working for anyone but myself. If I had any money to start a business, that’s what I’d do with it.

But I don’t. So maybe stay-at-home-dad for as long as I can and then see what comes along. If I can pick up something part-time and/or remote, all the better. Somebody has to need an editor, right?

On that note, here’s what’s up for next week, subject to change as always. Straight from the notes:

Mon.: Radio Adds, Desert Wizards video, and some cool Naxatras news.
Tue.: Elder review, Ephedra video premiere, update from Keep it Low and more.
Wed.: WhiteNails review/album stream, Year of the Cobra Six Dumb Questions.
Thu.: Trippy Wicked video premiere, maybe another track premiere (waiting to see what shakes out), otherwise a Demon Head review.
Fri.: Vokonis video premiere/album review.

That’s where we’re at now, though, yeah, some stuff is still up in the air.

Staying home this weekend, as opposed to driving to Connecticut, and hoping for a laid back couple days in the air conditioning watching baseball as one does during the summer. The Patient Mrs. and I were talking about going to see Alien Covenant tomorrow morning — 10:40AM IMAX showing, baby; we roll in style — but that’s tentative. Whatever you’re up to, I hope you have a great and safe time.

Thanks for reaching, and please check out the forum and radio stream.

The Obelisk Forum

The Obelisk Radio

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Tad Doyle to Release New Solo Album Incineration Ceremony

Posted in Whathaveyou on April 28th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

Whatever you’re thinking a solo record from Thomas Andrew Doyle — aka Tad Doyle of TAD, Hog Molly and the megacrushing Brothers of the Sonic Cloth — is going to be, stop. Cast off your preconceived notions, all who’d enter into Incineration Ceremony, as the first preview of the album in the streaming track “Silent Incineration” is more classical-via-cinema-score than whatever it is you’re probably expecting. You thought maybe he’d go folk-country? Not that he couldn’t pull it off. Full-on experimentalist noise? Yeah, he could probably do that too. Instead, he’s thrown an even bigger curve and gone orchestral. If that doesn’t spin your head, congrats, you’re the hardest-to-surprise motherfucker in the world. A trophy will be sent to you in the mail from a warehouse in Ohio. Keep an eye out for the package.

Incineration Ceremony is out May 16 via Yuggoth Records (see also AnechoicSky Shadow Obelisk), and is available to preorder now. Info follows from the internets:

thomas-andrew-doyle-incineration-ceremony

Thomas Andrew Doyle new album “Incineration Ceremony”

We are proud to announce a totally new release by multi-instrumentalist, song writer, audio engineer Tad Doyle.“Incineration Ceremony,” slated for release on June 1, 2017 on Yuggoth Records is the new work by Thomas Andrew Doyle (TAD, Brothers of the Sonic Cloth, Hog Molly) and is a return to roots of sorts.

Spending his formative years in music playing in Jazz clubs while attending school studying classical and jazz music at Boise State University, Doyle comes forth with a symphonic take on what is going on in his head. Spawned from the dark and dreary recesses of Doyle’s psyche comes an immense sound of textures, rhythms and material suitable for film and stand alone listening, disquieting all who are within an earshot. People who are familiar with his music should expect the unexpected. Doyle’s entry into the world of symphonic composition is no novice beginner’s attempt. Incineration Ceremony is a musical journeyman’s expression that is genuine, heartfelt, honest, uncompromising and authoritative.

Doyle started working on this new project last year and as the work continued he became obsessed with writing and making the work come together. About the songs Doyle shares, “It has been a very organic process of putting this all together and I have had so much fun in the process.”

Guest musician friend and composer Peter Scartabello adds additional percussion on two of the songs. Cover artwork and layout by friend Demian Johnston puts the mood of the record into a visual representation of some of the musical content.

Thomas Andrew Doyle – vocals, piano, acoustic instruments, soft instruments, analog synthesizers

Peter Scartabello – additional wood and metal percussion on ‘Asleep in Arrhythmia’ and ‘Bio-illogical Functions’

Artwork and layout – Demian Johnston

Track Listing:

Silent Incineration
Lost in Abysmal Waters
Desire
Asleep in Arrhythmia
Bio-illogical Functions
Nurtured in Grief
Meditations in Null
Born into Sorrow
Prognati ignis ignis

Pre-order the CD now at this location!
$10.00
Official release date is Tuesday May 16, 2017

https://www.taddoyle.com/
https://twitter.com/TadDoyle_Tad
https://www.facebook.com/WitchApeStudios/
https://www.instagram.com/sonicbrethren/
http://peterscartabello.com/yuggoth-records/

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The Melvins Announce Three Months of North American Tour Dates

Posted in Whathaveyou on April 27th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

My feelings on heavy rock legends the Melvins remain unchanged. I probably don’t ever need to see the band live again. Barring some seismic shift in their approach or my own personal taste, I probably don’t need to hear another Melvins record for as long as I live — even less a double-album, sorry. I know for a fact I don’t need to read another bloated-journo thinkpiece about how experimental or important they are or how everyone from Seattle got famous and they didn’t and therefore, integrity. These feelings are what they have been.

I also continue to respect the crap out of the fact that as they get ready to release their who-even-knows-anymore-th album, they’re doing so with 12 weeks of touring. In North America. You know they’ll be in Europe again before the end of the year as well. Sorry, but however Meh-lvins you (or I) might feel, they’re aren’t a lot of bands who either can or would be willing to break their collective ass like that on the road at this stage in their career.

So there you go. New double-album, A Walk with Love and Death, is out in July on Ipecac. Tour starts July 5 with support from Brooklyn’s Spotlights.

PR wire has it like this:

the melvins

THE MELVINS PLOT 12-WEEK NORTH AMERICAN TOUR IN SUPPORT OF FORTHCOMING DOUBLE ALBUM, A WALK WITH LOVE & DEATH (JULY 7, IPECAC RECORDINGS)

IPECAC LABELMATES, SPOTLIGHTS, OPEN ON ALL DATES

The Melvins, who release the double album A Walk With Love & Death on July 7 via Ipecac Recordings, announce their most extensive North American tour to date, with dates stretching from July 5 to Oct. 3.

Tickets for the tour, which stretches from Florida to British Columbia, from Southern California to New England, are on-sale this Friday at 10 a.m. local time.

With A Walk With Love & Death, the trio of Buzz Osborne, Dale Crover and Steve McDonald showcase two distinct sides of the band’s music: Death, a proper Melvins’ release and Love, the score to the Jesse Nieminen directed, self-produced short also titled A Walk With Love & Death. A release date for the short has not been announced yet but a trailer has been made available. The albums, which include guests Joey Santiago (The Pixies), Teri Gender Bender (Le Butcherettes/Crystal Fairy) and Anna Waronker (That Dog), were co-produced with Toshi Kosai.

A Walk With Love & Death tour dates:
July 5 San Diego, CA Casbah
July 6 Santa Ana, CA The Observatory
July 7 Los Angeles, CA The Troubadour
July 8 Fresno, CA Strummer’s
July 9 Sacramento, CA Goldfield Trading Post
July 10 San Francisco, CA Great American Music Hall
July 12 Portland, OR Hawthorne Theatre
July 14 Vancouver, BC Venue Nightclub
July 17 Edmonton, AB Union Hall
July 18 Calgary, AB The Marquee
July 20 Winnipeg, MB Pyramid Cabaret
July 21 Fargo, ND The Aquarium
July 22 Minneapolis, MN Grumpy’s Bash
July 24 Milwaukee, WI Turner Hall Ballroom
July 25 Chicago, IL The Metro
July 26 Grand Rapids, MI The Pyramid Scheme
July 27 Detroit, MI El Club
July 28 Cleveland, OH Grog Shop
July 29 Columbus, OH A&R Music Bar
July 31 Pittsburgh, PA Rex Theater
August 1 Syracuse, NY The Westcott Theater
August 2 Boston, MA Paradise Rock Club
August 3 New York, NY Irving Plaza
August 4 Philadelphia, PA Union Transfer
August 5 Asbury Park, NJ The Stone Pony
August 6 Baltimore, MD Ottobar
August 8 Richmond, VA The Broadberry
August 9 Carrboro, NC Cat’s Cradle
August 10 Knoxville, TN The Concourse
August 11 Louisville, KY Headliner’s Music Hall
August 12 St. Louis, MO The Ready Room
August 13 Lawrence, KS The Bottleneck
August 15 Englewood, CO Gothic Theatre
August 17 Salt Lake City, UT Urban Lounge
August 18 Las Vegas, NV Psycho Fest
August 20 San Jose, CA The Ritz
August 21 Santa Cruz, CA The Catalyst
August 22 Los Angeles, CA The Echo
September 5 Phoenix, AZ Crescent Ballroom
September 6 Tucson, AX 191 Toole
September 8 Austin, TX The Mohawk
September 9 Dallas, TX Tree’s
September 10 San Antonio, TX Paper Tiger
September 11 Houston, TX Warehouse Live (Studio)
September 13 New Orleans, LA One Eyed Jack’s
September 14 Pensacola, FL Vinyl Music Hall
September 15 Jacksonville, FL Jack Rabbit’s
September 16 Tampa, FL The Orpheum
September 17 Ft. Lauderdale, FL The Culture Room
September 18 Orlando, FL The Social
September 20 Athens, GA 40 Watt Club
September 21 Atlanta, GA The Masquerade (Hell Stage)
September 22 Nashville, TN 3rd & Lindsley
September 23 Memphis, TN Hi-Tone
September 25 Madison, WI High Noon Saloon
September 26 Rock Island, IL Rock Island Brewing Co.
September 27 Des Moines, IA Wooly’s
September 28 Omaha, NE The Waiting Room
September 30 Ft. Collins, CO Aggie Theatre
October 2 Albuquerque, NM The Launchpad
October 3 Flagstaff, AZ The Green Room

Spotlights, who will release their Ipecac debut this fall, open on all dates.

The Melvins will also perform with Tool on June 24 at the Glen Helem Amphitheater in San Bernardino, Calif.

facebook.com/melvinsarmy
twitter.com/melvinsdotcom
instagram.com/melvinsdotcom

facebook.com/spotlightsband
twitter.com/spotlightsband
instagram.com/spotlightsband

ipecac.com
facebook.com/ipecac
instagram.com/ipecacrecordings

Melvins, A Walk with Love and Death album trailer

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Samothrace Announce US Tour Dates with He Whose Ox is Gored

Posted in Whathaveyou on March 9th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

samothrace

Hard to believe that by the time they finish this upcoming US tour, complete with stops at Maryland Deathfest as well as the 71Grind in Colorado and Northwest Terrorfest in their native Seattle, it will have been almost exactly half a decade since Samothrace released their last album, Reverence to Stone (review here). I’m not trying to tell anyone how to live their life or anything, but I think it might be time for a follow-up. Of course, the megadoomers have toured regularly since that offering landed like a giant-sized concrete slab carrying other concrete slabs — also it landed on a slab of concrete, and from a considerable height — but still, a third album would be welcome, even after they did the Live at Roadburn outing capturing their set from 2014 at the Netherlands-based fest, at which they, naturally, killed (review here).

They go in the good company of prog-sludge rockers He Whose Ox is Gored, and will be joined on select shows by Void Omnia as well. Their announcement went an awful lot like this:

samothrace us tour

It’s been a while since we have done a run in the States. Time to change that!! Headlining dates with appearances at Maryland Death Fest, 71Grind Fest and Northwest Terror Fest

This time being joined by our friends in Hewhoseoxisgored and select dates with our friends in Void Omina!!

See you soon!!

Wed 5/17/17 Great Falls, MT Back Alley Pub
Fri 5/19/17 Fargo, ND The Aqurarium
Sat 5/20/17 Minneapolis, MN The Reverie
Sun 5/21/17 Chicago, IL Reggies Joint
Mon 5/22/17 Cleveland, OH Now Thats Class
Tue 5/23/17 Brooklyn, NY Saint Vitus
Thur 5/25/17 Baltimore, MD Maryland Death Festival
Fri 5/26/17 Atlanta, GA Club 529
Sat 5/27/17 New Orleans, LA Siberia
Sun 5/28/17 Houston, TX Rudyards
Tue 5/30/17 Austin, TX The Lost Well
Wed 5/31/17 Dallas, TX Three Kings
Thur 6/1/17 Oklahoma City, OK 89th St.
Fri 6/2/17 Colorado Springs, CO 71 Grind Festival
Sat 6/3/17 Salt Lake City, UT Loading Dock
Sun 6/4/17 Las Vegas, NV Beauty Bar
Tue 6/6/17 Tempe, AZ Yucca Tap Room
Wed 6/7/17 Tucson, AZ Hotel Congress
Thur 6/8/17 Los Angeles, CA Complex
Fri 6/9/17 San Diego, CA Soda Bar
Sat 6/10/17 Oakland, CA Golden Bull
Thurs 6/15/16 Seattle, WA Northwest Terror Fest

https://www.facebook.com/samothracedoom/
www.samothrace.bandcamp.com
www.20buckspin.com

Samothrace, Reverence to Stone (2012)

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Review & Track Premiere: Wounded Giant, Vae Victis

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on March 8th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

Wounded-Giant-Vae-Victis

[Click play above to stream ‘Scum of the Earth’ by Wounded Giant. Vae Victis is out April 1 on STB Records.]

Translated from the Latin, the title of Wounded Giant‘s second long-player, Vae Victis, reads as ‘woe to the defeated.’ I’m not sure what contextually that might have to do with the image of Grigori Rasputin, whose wide-eyed glare haunts the mushroom-laden front cover of the regularly-topless Seattle band’s first full-length for STB Records, which arrives following their 2015 split with Goya (review here) on the same label and a self-released 2013 debut album, Lightning Medicine, unless they’re somehow making reference to the Russian Revolution, but if defeat is the theme throughout Vae Victis, the band seem to do an awful lot of conquering for it to work on a meta level.

Rather, from the nine-minute opening title-track — also the longest cut of the seven included (immediate points) — the three-piece stomp and chug their way triumphantly through a dense slog of riffly mud and Pacific Coast grode, gleefully coated in hesher grungus on the Matt Pike-schooled “Vae Victis” itself and all that follows, whether it’s the interlude “Emmanentize the Eschaton” with samples from the Jonestown death tape or the nodding groove they bring to the politically suspect and woefully catchy take on Devo‘s “Mongoloid” that closes. One does not imagine guitarist/vocalist Bobby James, bassist Dylan A. Rogers or drummer Alex Bytnar would be quick to claim any such victories unless perhaps the requisite trophy came coated in mud and had a statue on top flipping the bird, but the LP-limit-stretching 49-minute run of Vae Victis, produced by Billy Anderson and presented in STB‘s usual gorgeous array of limited and deluxe vinyl editions (one includes a ring), could easily put a few notches in its belt if it so chose.

To wit, Wounded Giant have their own nine-percent ABV beer courtesy of Oliver Brewing. Woe to your defeated liver.

The first line of the album? “I love corruption.” What unfolds from there in the title-cut — which includes its own translation — is a deceptive hook that arrives amid blown-out, riff-led sludge rock, somewhere between Sleep and High on Fire that establishes the tones but not necessarily the complete methodology or scope with which Wounded Giant will work on subsequent tracks. As an opener and accounting for roughly 20 percent of the album, though, its willful filth resounds amid all the drop-out-of-life proselytizing and increasingly harsh, noise-soaked paranoia, ending finally in a scream that gives way to the tom hits and rumble at the start of “Dystheist.”

Shorter, the second cut takes momentum from the end of “Vae Victis” and shoves it along via chugging guitar and double-kick from Bytnar, a more subdued vocal from James marking out a low-fuzzed verse that shifts into an explosive chorus, underlining an influence from thrash in its interplay between tension and release and leaving space in the second half for a guitar solo still too slow to call shredding but that gets the job done anyway and adds depth under the resurgent vocals as the apex hits.

An apparent drawdown is in the works, however, as the organ (or effects-guitar) of “Emmanentize the Eschaton” backs an even slower and even quieter launch for that four-plus-minute break, Wounded Giant moving toward the hypnotic perhaps in an effort to lull listeners into a false sense of security prior to the bludgeoning they’ll receive with centerpiece “Scum of the Earth” and “The Room of the Torch,” the two seven-minute slabs that follow. Either way, the Jonestown clips are manipulated for a suitably otherworldly feel and the ambience builds to some measure of payoff, though purposefully restrained.

Effectively so in making “Scum of the Earth” seem like a return to ground. Unless “Mongoloid” is a bonus track left off one or the other of the LP editions, I don’t know where the split between vinyl sides occurs, but presumably it’s “Scum of the Earth” starting side B, and if so, it seems fair to call the ensuing final four tracks of Vae Victis more straightforward than the first three, and as a (potential) second opener, “Scum of the Earth” sets that in motion. Rolling motion. Tense motion. Furious motion. The middle cut offers a hook and a payoff ending that make it a standout among its peer inclusions, again propelled by Bytnar‘s drumming, and the flow into the organ and tambourine intro of “The Room of the Torch,” over which James declares, “This is a love song,” before howling, is palpable; the groove of the subsequent track about as dug in as Wounded Giant get on their second outing. They execute it with a patience that seems far removed from “Dystheist,” but still maintain an energy especially in the later moments, the guitar working in some melody in a plotted lead over galloping kick and metallic winding basslines.

It comes apart at the end rather than claiming its ultimate victory — so close — but the slowdown into the post-Electric Wizard “Green Scar” is another marked win anyhow, with cleaner vocals and a grueling downer vibe that echoes some of what they did in the first half of the album without such a drastic departure in songwriting. As the last of the originals, “Green Scar” does right to finish with its chorus and a move into fading rumble and noise, as if to highlight the underlying core of structure that’s been at work on Vae Victis all along, if barely recognizable as such for the roughing-up it has received on an aesthetic level. “Mongoloid,” which was controversial upon its release in 1979, rounds out, and to their credit, Wounded Giant do well in recognizing what they can bring to its nodding rhythm tonally. I’m not sure they need it given the heavy lifting their own songs do in conveying their progression since the debut, but I doubt it’ll meet with much protest. Heavy Devo? Yeah, okay.

Across its two halves and six original inclusions, Vae Victis is quick to make a show of its corrosive aspects, but the ultimate story of the record is as much about what Wounded Giant accomplish in putting a spin on the churning semi-metal morass as it is about the thematic woes and defeats that may or may not outwardly define it. That duality can be heard in the interplay between songs on each side as well as in the fuckall that the trio proffer in their general attitude, but though it may seem incongruous at first, over repeat listens it provides Vae Victis with a depth that only makes the experience richer and more satisfying over a longer term. Wounded Giant are good at wallowing, in other words. They get sonic dirt under their fingernails and aren’t shy about putting it on display. And in so doing, they find a way to celebrate defeat without sacrificing the edge of loss amid the revelry.

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Year of the Cobra Shows in France and Germany Start March 1

Posted in Whathaveyou on February 17th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

year of the cobra single

No strangers to spending time on the road at this point, Year of the Cobra are set to make their first trip abroad. The occasion is an appearance set for March 4 at Hell Over Hammaburg, but they’ll be doing headlining gigs starting March 1 in Lille, France, with other shows in Germany as they continue to support their 2016 STB Records debut album,  …In the Shadows Below (review here), as well as the limited single you can see above, originally put out by H42 Records and sold through last year, but the final copies of which the Seattle duo will have with them for the shows.

Upon their return, Year of the Cobra will take part March 11 in this year’s Ceremony of Sludge in Portland (info here), and they were also recently confirmed for adding a Pink Floyd cover to the impending Magnetic Eye Records tribute, The Wall [Redux], for which a crowdfunding campaign is on now (info here).

To top it all off, the band gives the hint below that they’ll be back in Europe this fall for a more complete tour. I would be downright amazed if that didn’t include one or more of the autumn festivals — Desertfest Belgium or Athens, Keep it Low, etc. — but that’s speculation on my part for now and we’ll have to see what comes together over the next few months. Seems fair to expect Year of the Cobra to have more US activity in the works as well, so keep an eye out.

Here’s the latest info:

year of the cobra european tour

This is YOTC’s first European tour and we’re heading over to play Hell Over Hammaburg Festival in Hamburg, Germany. We’re playing a handful of headlining dates around the festival in Germany and France.

H42 Records released a limited edition 7″, specifically for Hell Over Hammaburg and our tour – which sold out online within hours. We’ll have a small number of these for sale at our shows, they are the only copies available.

We’re planning on heading back to Europe in the fall for a full European tour.

Year of the Cobra on tour:
March 1 Lille FR
March 2 Essen DE
March 3 Berlin DE
March 4 Hamburg DE – Hell Over Hammaburg
March 5 Freiburg DE

http://yearofthecobra.com
https://www.facebook.com/yearofthecobraband/
https://yearofthecobra.bandcamp.com/
https://www.youtube.com/user/H42Records
https://www.facebook.com/H42Records/
https://twitter.com/H42Records

Year of the Cobra, “Persephone” official video

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