Samavayo Announce Dakota Reissue; Premiere Bonus Track “Justify”

Posted in audiObelisk, Whathaveyou on September 21st, 2017 by JJ Koczan

samavayo

Germany-based heavy rockers Samavayo are getting ready to move forward from their 2016 album, Dakota (review here). That record, their fifth overall, has served as a high-water mark for the Berlin trio as they’ve continued to refine their approach within driving riffage and Middle Eastern-inflected stylistic flourish. They have a handful of dates left for this year and then they’ll settle in and begin the writing process anew. At the risk of giving you my actual opinion on the matter, I think Samavayo are underrated as songwriters and so the idea of another record and another step forward from them is exciting. They’ve only grown more progressive over time.

Before they get down to the nitty-gritty of constructing new material — which they’ll do with an eye toward a samavayo justifyFall 2018 release according to guitarist/vocalist Behrang Alavi, who’s joined in the band by bassist/vocalist/Moog-ist Andreas Voland and drummer/percussionist/vocalist Stephan VolandSamavayo will oversee a second pressing of Dakota, and it’s to mark this occasion today that you’ll find the premiere of the previously-unreleased cut “Justify” below. Recorded at Big Snuff Studio by Richard Behrens, its central riff a little bit speaks to the upbeat shove one finds from the likes of Red Fang, but even to this Samavayo can’t help but lend their own personality.

Full in tone and righteous in hook, “Justify” is one more example of the edge Samavayo bring to classic-style structures and the kind of rhythmic drive that will hopefully find its way into their new stuff as well. Alavi offered some background on the song which you can read under the track itself below, followed of course by the tour dates.

Please enjoy:

Behrang Alavi on “Justify”:

“Justify” was recorded in the same 11-day session as Dakota at Richard Behrens’ studio in Feb. 2016. We didn’t put the song on the album like our previously-released “To The Ground” because we wanted to have that as a clear, homogeneous heavy psych stoner album. We planned to release them later, but by then we didn’t have a plan how. Now we release the track with the second edition (500 pieces) of the Dakota CD after the first edition has sold out (only few few copies left).

As we did with the second edition of our first album death.march.melodies, we again changed a detail on the second edition to make it something special. In the case of d.m.m., we changed the artwork of the CD print. On Dakota, the artwork is unchanged but we added a bonus track at the end of the CD.

This month we also started writing songs for the next album planned for autumn 2018. We have a few shows left this year in Germany and Switzerland. If progress remains positive, we will record the album in spring 2018 while we play few shows. Next year we will be playing festivals where we are going to put some of the new songs into set list and then have the main tour with the new album in autumn. We are considering looking for a new label after many years releasing on our “home”-label, Setalight.

Samavayo live:
Oct 03 Forum, Bielefeld, Germany supporting Brant Bjork
Oct 12 Hirscheneck Basel, Switzerland
Oct 13 Böröm Pöm Pöm Oberentfelden, Switzerland
Oct 14 Jazzkeller Hofheim Am Taunus, Germany
Nov 18 Lindenpark Potsdam, Germany
Dec 01 Finsterwalde, Germany

“Justify” at Samavayo’s Bandcamp

Samavayo on Thee Facebooks

Samavayo website

Setalight Records website

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Dot Legacy European Tour Starts this Week

Posted in Whathaveyou on August 23rd, 2017 by JJ Koczan

French style-blender heavy rockers Dot Legacy have a considerable string of dates lined up as they continue to support their 2016 sophomore full-length, To the Others (review here). Over the course of the next two months, they’ll play throughout not only their native France, but Germany, Switzerland, Romania, Denmark and Belgium as well, making a stop on Oct. 20 in Berlin for the Setalight Festival, which is hosted by their label, Setalight Records.

That’s a bill they’ll share with Mars Red Sky, Mother’s Cake, Stoner Train, The Legendary Flower Punk, Lucifer in the Sky with Diamonds, Cosmic Fall and others, and it should make for a highlight of the tour as a whole, which rounds out just two nights later. It was put together by Total Volume Booking, and you’ll find the poster and dates below:

dot legacy tour

Dot Legacy – European Tour

Pick any of your favourite musical genre and put it in front of Rock, Dot Legacy will make it happen.

These four young French rockers make you dance with a solid fuzzed-out & rock base. Since 2014 they have fought to find a unique mark and sound. After four European and one Brazil tour, they have developed a crazy stage act of fury energy. Dot Legacy released their first album on Setalight Records (Germany) in June 2014 and has just released their second album TO THE OTHERS November 2016, with Setalight.

EUROPE HERE WE GO!
25/08 : FR, Nantes / La Scène Michelet
02/09 : SW, Luzern / Treibhaus Luzern Festival
03/09 : FR, Reims / LE Dropkick BAR
15/09 : DE, Dresden / Chemiefabrik Dresden (Chemo)
16/09 : DE, Wurzburg / Immerhin Würzburg
20/09 : FR, Strasbourg / L’elastic Bar
21/09 : SW, Zurich / Ebrietas
22/09 : FR, Lyon / Bar des Capucins
23/09 : FR, Fumel / Pavillon Fumel
28/09 : DE, Mannheim / Kurzbar
29/09 : DE, Ulm / Hexenhaus Ulm
30/09 : DE, Munich / TBC
04/10 : RO, Cluj-Napoca / The Shelter
05/10 : RO, Bucharest / Quantic
06/10 : RO, Timisoara / DAOS club
07/10 : TBC
12/10 : TBC
13/10 : DE, Hannover / SubKultur – Hannover
14/10 : DK, Copenhagen / Spillestedet Stengade
18/10 : DE, Kiel / Die Pumpe
19/10 : DE, Ilmenau / Baracke 5 e.V.
20/10 : DE, Berlin / Setalight Festival 2017 in Berlin
21/10 : DE, Halle (Saale) / Rockpool eV
22/10 : BE, Ghent / Muziekcentrum Kinky Star

Dot Legacy is:
Damien Quintard – Lead Vocal, Bass
Arnaud Merckling – Guitar, Keyboard, Back Vocals
John Defontaine – Guitar, Back Vocals
Arthur Menard – Drums, Back Vocals

https://www.facebook.com/dotlegacy/
www.instagram.com/dotlegacy
http://www.dotlegacyband.com/
https://dotlegacy.bandcamp.com/album/to-the-others
https://www.facebook.com/setalightrecords/
www.setalight.com/
https://www.facebook.com/totalvolumebackline/

Dot Legacy, “Horizon” official video

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The Grand Astoria Release The Fuzz of Destiny EP

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

In my experience, there’s always something to dig about it when Saint Petersburg progressive heavy rockers The Grand Astoria get an idea in their heads. That usually leads to projects like that time they put out one copy of a 9CD box set or that time they did a record of tracks influenced by classical music. You never really know where they’re headed. This time? They’re headed for fuzz. The Fuzz of Destiny, as it happens.

That’s the title of the Russian outfit’s latest EP, and it features eight tracks using eight different distortion pedals, basking in the glories of fuzz and the different sides of a sonic personality that said effect can bring forth, from the harsher bite of “Sunflower Queen” to the warmer depths of “Glass Walls.” But what makes the project even cooler and even more The Grand Astoria‘s own is the fact that they list the different pedals used to achieve these sounds, basically letting the listener play along at home as they make their way through the short release.

Feel free to do that by streaming the release at the bottom of this post, if you’re so inclined. All the release info follows as hoisted from their Bandcamp page:

the-grand-astoria-the-fuzz-of-destiny

First ever tribute to the distortion box!

8 years of The Grand Astoria / 8 songs / 8 different fuzz pedals

Personnel:
Kamille Sharapodinov – vocals, guitars, concept, music and lyrics
Danila Danilov – vocals, bass, keyboards, flute, percussion, recording
Nikolay Kunavin – drums
Ksenia Shamarina – vocals (4)
Alexander Karelin – mixing and mastering
Sophia Miroedova – artwork

Recorded by Danila Danilov at Red Wave Studio during December 2016 – February 2017

Tracklisting:
1. Sunflower Queen 02:53
2. Extra Lap 01:15
3. Tour Diary 04:30
4. Pocket Guru 05:40
5. Glass Walls 02:37
6. The Sleeper Awakes 04:51
7. The Fuzz of Destiny 04:50
8. Eight Years Anniversary Riff 02:32

Pedals used:
1 – Dr. No Octofuzz (with octave off)
2 – Dr. No Power Driver/Booster + Old Octave
3 – Guyatone TZ2
4 – Black Arts Toneworks Pharaoh
5 – Dunlop Jimi Hendrix System Classic Fuzz
6 – ZVex Wooly Mammoth
7 – Dr. No Kafuzz
8 – MXR Blue Box

CD (4 panel digipack) is available via thegrandastoria@gmail.com

https://www.facebook.com/TheGrandAstoria/
https://thegrandastoria.bandcamp.com/album/the-fuzz-of-destiny-ep

The Grand Astoria, The Fuzz of Destiny EP (2017)

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Samavayo Premiere “Cross the Line” Video; Tour and Festival Dates Announced

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

samavayo

Last spring, Berlin-based heavy rock three-piece Samavayo reinforced their willingness to cross genre lines with their fifth album, Dakota (review here). With a strong sense of drive behind their crunching tones, they brought together elements of noise rock, heavy riffing and flourish of Middle Eastern progressions that only further distinguished their material. Recorded by Richard Behrens (Heat, formerly Samsara Blues Experiment) and released through Setalight Records, it was angular in its purpose — that is, prone to sharp edges on a sonic level — but flowed smoothly throughout and brought the band to a place that emphasized the consideration put into their songwriting without coming across as navelgazing in its sound.

It rocked, in other words. I guess I’m trying to say it rocked.

The trio of guitarist/vocalist Behrang Alavi, bassist/vocalist Andreas Voland (also Moog) and drummer/percussionist/vocalist Stephan Voland haven’t been shy about getting out to support Dakota, and next month, they’ll hit the road on a tour through Germany, France, Switzerland, Austria and the Czech Republic ahead of showing up in the UK for a slot at Desertfest London 2017. Good gig to get, but it’s hardly their last. Summer festival season awaits in Europe, and July will find Samavayo back in action at the long-running Stoned from the Underground as well, and it seems likely more are to follow (also more precede, hello Hell over Esslingen).

At the same time, and perhaps to herald their departure, Samavayo have put together an artfully shot new video for the track “Cross the Line” from Dakota that is premiering today. You get to see the band playing as silhouettes and you get to see people with boxes on their heads — are they robots? — and other such fun whatnots, but of course the star is the song itself, which shows off where Samavayo are sound-wise and the penchant for working under a variety of influences that stands them out so much from their peers.

Please find it below, followed by their tour dates, and enjoy:

Samavayo, “Cross the Line” official video

Cross The Line is the first official video of the latest album Dakota from the German stoner rock band Samavayo. The song is currently also the first of their live set.
“The audience gets carried away by that song and its sound right at the beginning of our shows,” says singer and guitarist Behrang Alavi. “The song also has a message: We can’t cross the red line of humanity and decency, because there won’t be a way back from it. We need to find empathy and get rid of ruthlessness and greed.”

In cameraman and director Johannes Plank Samavayo found the perfect fit to visualize that message. He mobilized the antagonists of his upcoming movie “Eva Ost.” The “TV-Men,” whose heads are actual TVs, illustrate a society poisoned by consumption and ownership. In the video the tv screens show some cuttings that can be understood as political statements and therefore build up a new meta level. The message is: “Nobody can run from this change. Our brains are already poisoned.”

Credits:
Director / Camera / Editor / Production | Johannes Plank
Assistant Director | Florence Freitag
Gaffer | Yannick Spiess
Production Design | Mihan Torabi
Camera Assistant | Ranav Adhikari
Set Runner | Siddarth Thapa
Catering | Anne Berger
Drivers | Andreas Voland, Christian Schmalfuss
Musicians | Behrang Alavi, Stephan Voland, Andreas Voland
TV-Men (Berlin) | André Schröder, Ricardo Ziege, Richard Volkmer, Simon Höhne, Mustafa Bozbalak
TV-Men (Plauen) | Christian Dressel, Stephan Stumpf, Alexander Enskat, Rico Gemeinhardt

Many thanks to the venue “Zukunft am Ostkreuz.” MEKU Film © 2017

Samavayo “Cross the Line” tour:
Mar 16 Zentralcafé Nuremberg, GER *
Mar 17 Immerhin Wurzburg, GER *
Mar 18 Dirty+Dancing Osnabrück, GER *
Mar 24 Zukunft am Ostkreuz, Berlin, GER **
Mar 25 Spring Rocks! 2017, Wolfenbüttel, GER
Apr 03 AKK Karlsruhe, GER ***
Apr 04 L’Elastic Bar, Strasbourg, FR
Apr 05 Dr. Feelgood, Paris, FR ****
Apr 06 Café Faust, Stuttgart, GER ****
Apr 07 Gaswerk, Winterthur, CH ****
Apr 08 The Bruch Brothers, Luzern, CH ****
Apr 12 Alte Mälzerei, Regensburg, GER
Apr 14 Kramladen, Vienna, A ***
Apr 15 Kain Prague, CZ ***
Apr 16 Bajkazyl, Brno, CZ ***
Apr 28 Little Devil, Tilburg, NL
Apr 29 Desertfest 2017 London, UK
Apr 30 Hopla, Cologne, GER
May 11 Sabotage Dresden, GER
May 12 Hell over Esslingen, Esslingen Am Neckar, GER
Jul 13 Stoned from the Underground, Erfurt, GER
Jul 14 Steinbruchfestival 2017, Mühlheim, GER
* with Operators
** with Mother Engine
*** with Shotgun Valium
**** with Hellroom Projectors

Samavayo tour event page

Samavayo on Thee Facebooks

Samavayo on Bandcamp

Samavayo at Setalight Records

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Dot Legacy Premiere “Horizon” Interactive Video

Posted in Bootleg Theater on February 13th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

dot legacy horizon video

“Horizon” is the opening track from Dot Legacy‘s late-2016 second album, To the Others (review here), and it finds the Parisian heavy fuzz enthusiasts embarking on the first of several risks they’ll take across the record’s genre-hopping course. No way around it, there’s a bit of rapping going on here.

Now, as somebody who lived through the ’90s, that’s what we call a big red flag. Hard not to have post-trauma flashbacks of Limp Bizkit covering George Michael in a protest-too-much display of knuckle-dragging tough-guy heteronormativity, but on any level you want to approach it, that’s not what’s happening here, and certainly in the context of To the Others, it’s not where Dot Legacy‘s intentions lie on the Setalight Records release. “Horizon” sets the tone of energy to which the rest of the album soon responds in deeply varied forms, and if anything the rapping in the opener is an immediate communication to listeners that there’s nothing off the table in terms of where they might go.

That’s very much how the record plays out in its wake, and while I’m willing to admit it’s kind of scary to imagine that rap-rocking impulses might one day rear their heads again, I genuinely think we’re safe. It’s gonna be okay.

Dot Legacy — the four-piece of vocalist/bassist Damien Quintard, guitarist/keyboardist/backing vocalist Arnaud Merckling, guitarist/backing vocalist John Defontaine and drummer/backing vocalist Arthur Menard — worked with WIPS (Web Interactive Promotion Site) to put together an interactive video for “Horizon.” If you go to the special site they’ve set up, you can see a version of the clip in which arrows pop up that let you basically choose your own adventure and create the narrative of the video itself.

It’s timed, so you have to pay attention as you make your way through, but it’s actually a pretty cool idea and it’s something special from the band, who’ve already put out clips for “Pioneer” (posted here), “Story of Fame” (posted here) and “211” (posted here) to represent the various sides of To the Others. Something special for a song that has a few surprises of its own up its sleeve.

You can see the regular version of the video premiering below, followed by more info about the interactive project, which also includes a bunch of behind-the-scenes bonus footage and other goodies.

Be brave, and enjoy:

Dot Legacy, “Horizon” official video

Dot Legacy – “Horizon” THE INTERACTIVE VIDEO CLIP

http://www.totheothers.com

Experience DOT LEGACY’s highly acclaimed single “HORIZON” like never before. On this website you will be constantly creating your own version of the video clip, each time changing the story line, and launching you deeper into the musical space Dot Legacy created for you.

The website also contains amazing access to Bonus material!

– LIVE 360° video of Dot Legacy’s show in Brussels, along with Multi Cam footage
– Two fun and crazy interviews of the Band including on 360° candy eating frenzy madness!
– An interactive map to follow with personal videos of Dot Legacy in all the cites they played in on their tour with TRUCKFIGTHERS (rated PG 18)
– A mixing console to do your OWN MIX of HORIZON! Discover all the seperated track that made this song possible and fuzzy as hell!
– The Making of: go behind the curtain and discover how the video clip was shot. Meet the talented team of WIPS!

Dot Legacy interactive “Horizon” video site

Dot Legacy on Thee Facebooks

Dot Legacy on Bandcamp

Setalight Records website

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Dot Legacy Post “Pioneer” Video

Posted in Bootleg Theater on February 1st, 2017 by JJ Koczan

Parisian four-piece Dot Legacy issued their second full-length, To the Others (review here), last fall on Setalight Records, and with it, set themselves on a bold course of genre defiance/melding. Each track seemed to offer a different persona, tied together through energy of performance and a core underlying purpose in execution — Dot Legacy were putting on a show; it was theatrical from start to finish. As they took to the road supporting Truckfighters around the album’s release, they seemed intent on bringing that show to life.

The band themselves related each cut on To the Others to explosions as part of a rocket launch, and fair enough for the force of their delivery on songs like “211” and the penultimate “Story of Fame.” “Story of Fame” is duly relevant here, since Dot Legacy‘s new video, for closer “Pioneer,” follows one for that track (posted here) and seems to be intended as a sequel of sorts for it. Fair enough since one song follows the other on the record, but like the music itself, the two clips wind up working on different themes despite making use of distinctly cool-toned colors — greens and blues, etc. These aren’t the only videos Dot Legacy have done for To the Others — in October, they also had one for “211” (posted here) — but the notion of “Pioneer” being intended to sit directly alongside “Story of Fame” adds intrigue and an avenue for listener/viewer interpretation, and that’s never a bad thing.

Because, as noted, the record is so varied, I’ve included the full Bandcamp stream at the bottom of this post. Not something I usually do for video posts, but I think it’s justified in this case, especially since a lot of the impact of “Pioneer” comes in context of To the Others as a whole, the song’s initial brooding reminding of something Nine Inch Nails might’ve brought to The Fragile before it takes on a still-wistful push in the guitar, further distinguished through a dramatic vocal arrangement, as well as guitar and piano interplay. As a wrap for the here-then-there-then-over-here To the Others it’s all the more resonant, but even approached on its own, as a single, three-plus-minute work, it tends to stay with you after it’s finished. Take a look and a listen and see if you don’t agree.

And please, enjoy:

Dot Legacy, “Pioneer” official video

From the new album “To The Others”, Setalight Records – November 2016
Pioneer is the 2nd Part of a Duo-logy with the song “Story Of Fame.”

Directed by MARTY %
Starring Quentin Lasbazeilles
D.O.P. Alexandre Thimonier

Dot Legacy, To the Others (2016)

Dot Legacy on Thee Facebooks

Dot Legacy on Bandcamp

Setalight Records website

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Quarterly Review: Bus, Them Bulls, Stinkeye, Buzzard Canyon, Motherbrain, Elder Druid, The Crazy Left Experience, The Watchers, Of the Horizon, Raj

Posted in Reviews on December 28th, 2016 by JJ Koczan

the obelisk winter quarterly review

Today is the day the Quarterly Review passes the halfway point. This will be 21-30 of the total 60 for the six days, so there’s still a ways to go — you might say 50 percent — but it’s a milestone nonetheless. Once again it’s another roundup of cool stuff, kind of all over the place a little more than the last two days were, but as we go further along with these things, it’s good to mix it up after a while. There’s only so many times you can throw the word “lysergic” around and talk about jamming. That said, you’re getting some of that today as well from Portugal, so when it pops up, don’t be surprised. Much to do, so no need to delay.

Quarterly Review #21-30:

Bus, The Unknown Secretary

bus-the-unknown-secretary

Athenian double-guitar four-piece Bus execute a stylistically cohesive, crisp debut with The Unknown Secretary (on Twin Earth Records), presenting classic heavy rock elements without going full-retro in their sound itself and marking songs like “Masteroid” as immediately distinct through the harmonized vocals of guitarist Bill City, joined in the band by guitarist Johnnie Chez, bassist Chob D’oh and drummer Aris. Together they run through a clean two sides that play back and forth between proto-metallic and doom shading – “Don’t Fear Your Demon” touches on slower Pentagram – while sounding perhaps most comfortable in rockers like “Withered Thorn” or the earlier stomper “New Black Volume,” which puts its two guitars to excellent use ahead of and between unabashedly poppy (not sure a full Ghost comparison is warranted) verse, and craft a highlight in the 7:38 arena-ready thrust of “Rockerbus” prior to the surprisingly nodding finale of “Jimi.” A strikingly efficient and clear-headed first full-length that would seem to hold much promise of things to come from yet another player in Greece’s emergent heavy scene.

Bus on Thee Facebooks

Twin Earth Records on Bandcamp

 

Them Bulls, Them Bulls

them-bulls-them-bulls.jpg

With the start-stop riff of opener “As Fangs in Stone,” a mastering job by Mathias Schneeberger and the breadth of pop melodicism in cuts that one, the swinging “Made of Ghosts,” and the more percussive “Through the Sun,” Italian four-piece Them Bulls make a pretty strong beeline for early-Queens of the Stone Age-style heavy desert rock. Their self-titled Small Stone debut isn’t without individualized flourish, but the 10-track/41-minute offering makes it clear from the start what its intentions are and then sets about living up to them, whether on the careening Songs for the Deaf-ery of “Pot Gun” or the penultimate “We Must Live Up” itself. Vocal interplay from guitarists Daniele Pollio and Franscesco Pasi – joined by the rhythm section of bassist Paolo Baldini and drummer Giampaolo Farnedi – provides an opportunity for future growth, but it’s worth noting that for a band to take on such a specific stylization, their songwriting needs to be in check, and Them Bulls’ is.

Them Bulls on Thee Facebooks

Them Bulls at Small Stone Records

 

Stinkeye, Llantera Demos

stinkeye-llantera-demos

What seems to be Stinkeye’s debut recording, Llantera Demos, arrives as a free download of four tracks and 16 minutes rife with thickened boogie and dense mecha-stoner fuzz, reminding of Dead Meadow immediately in the echoing vocals and rhythmic bounce of “Orange Man” but moving into some shuffle on the subsequent “Fink Ployd” and “Llantera,” the latter a well-earned showcase of bass tone. While out on the coast, ‘70s vibes reign supreme, the Phoenix, Arizona, trio are on a different tip, looser in their swing and apparently more prone to drift. For what it’s worth, they call it “hash rock,” and fair enough as “Pink Clam,” which closes Llantera Demos, rides more of a grunge-laden nod to an immersive but still relatively quick five-minute finish, building after three minutes in to a satisfying final instrumental push. Loaded with potential in tone, execution, vibe and dynamic between the three-piece, Llantera Demos immediately marks Stinkeye out as a band to watch and is just begging for the right person to come along and press it to tape.

Stinkeye on Thee Facebooks

Stinkeye on Bandcamp

 

Buzzard Canyon, Hellfire and Whiskey

buzzard-canyon-hellfire-and-whiskey.jpg

Want to grab attention with your debut long-player? Calling a song “Louder than God” might be a good way to go. That track, at seven minutes, is the longest on Connecticut five-piece Buzzard Canyon’s Hellfire and Whiskey (on Salt of the Earth), and following a quiet initial stretch, it launches into Down-style Southern chug, the dual vocals of Amber Leigh and guitarist Aaron Lewis (the latter also of When the Deadbolt Breaks) veering into and out of more metallic impulses to build on the initial momentum established on the earlier “Highway Run” and “SomaBitch.” The two-minute “For the End” basks in some nightmarish vision of rockabilly, while “Red Beards Massacre” and “Wyoming” dig into more straightforward stylistic patterning, but if Buzzard Canyon want to get a little weird either here or going forward, that’s clearly not about to hurt them. Closer “Not My Cross” hints at some darker visions to come in how it moves into and out of a droning interlude, adding yet more intrigue to their deceptively multifaceted foundation.

Buzzard Canyon on Thee Facebooks

Salt of the Earth Records website

 

Motherbrain, Voodoo Nasty

motherbrain voodoo nasty

Though “Atomic Rodeo” dips into some Queens of the Stone Age-style groove, Motherbrain’s third album, Voodoo Nasty (on Setalight Records), comes across as more defined by its nasty than its voodoo as the Berlin four-piece demonstrate a penchant for incorporating harsher sludge tendencies, especially in vocal shouts peppered in amid the otherwise not-unfriendly proceedings. That gives the nine-song/48-minute offering a meaner edge but does little ultimately to take away from the groove on offer in the opening title-track or “Ghoul of Kolkata,” and though it retains its raw spirit, Voodoo Nasty digs into some more complex fare later in longer cuts like “Baptism of Fire” and “Half Past Human,” having found a place in centerpiece “Dismantling God” where blown-out noise aggression and semi-psychedelic swirl can coexist, if not peacefully then at least for a while until Motherbrain decide it’s time to give Kyuss-style desert rock another kick in its ass, as on “Sons of Kong,” which, yes, does proclaim a lineage.

Motherbrain on Thee Facebooks

Setalight Records website

 

Elder Druid, Magicka

elder druid magicka

Sludge-rolling five-piece Elder Druid riff forth with their debut studio offering, the five-song/33-minute Magicka EP, which one might be tempted to tag as a demo were it not for a few prior live-tracked short releases that appear to have served that purpose, the latest of which, The Attic Sessions (discussed here), came out in Jan. 2016. The experience of putting that together as well as their prior singles clearly benefited the Northern Irish outfit on Magicka, and while they retain a shouty spirit on opener “Rogue Mystic,” middle cut “The Warlock” offers nod that reminds of The Kings of Frog Island’s “Welcome to the Void,” and that’s about all I ever need. Ever. Served up with bloated tones and geared toward establishing a blend of gruff vocals and consuming fuzz, Elder Druid’s first studio recording has a solid footing in what it wants to accomplish sound-wise and plainly showcases that, and while they have some growing to do and patience to learn in their songcraft, nothing I hear on Magicka argues against their getting there in time.

Elder Druid on Thee Facebooks

Elder Druid on Bandcamp

 

The Crazy Left Experience, Bill’s 108th Space Odyssey

the-crazy-left-experience-bills-108th-space-odyssey

The Crazy Left Experience – the moniker seeming to refer to the side of the brain at work in their processes – present Bill’s 108th Space Odyssey almost as an album within an album. The framework from the at-least-party-improvised Portuguese cosmic jammers on the seven-track/56-minute outing centers around William Millarc, who in 1955 was documented while taking part in LSD experiments. Samples of Millarc are peppered into opener “Subject Bill,” the later “Funky Meteor Drop” and the closing duo “Bill Sided Flashback” and “God of the Outer Rings,” but between the opener and the latter trio of cuts comes “Unarius,” a three-part excursion listed as “Part V” through “Part VII” that presumably is the representation of when our friend Bill has left his body behind. So be it. One can hardly call that departure incongruous either sonically or in terms of The Crazy Left Experience’s chosen theme – though there are some unrelated samples spliced into “Unarius – Part VII (Space Brothers)” that are somewhat jarring – and the entire flow of the record is so hypnotic that the band can basically go wherever they want, which of course they do.

The Crazy Left Experience on Thee Facebooks

The Crazy Left Experience on Bandcamp

 

The Watchers, Sabbath Highway

the watchers sabbath highway

Were it not for the context of knowing that vocalist Tim Narducci and bassist Cornbread hail from SpiralArms and White Witch Canyon, drummer Carter Kennedy from Orchid and guitarist Jeremy Von Eppic from Black Gates, the Sabbath Highway debut EP (on Ripple Music) from California’s The Watchers would be almost impossibly coherent for a first outing. Classic in form but modern in its presentation, the five-tracker – four plus the church-organ interlude “Requiem” between the opening title-cut (video here) and “Call the Priest” – makes the most of Narducci’s ‘70s-style vocal push, reminding of one-time Ripple troupe Stone Axe in his oldschool feel, but as “Today” (premiered here) makes plain, The Watchers are much more focused on learning from the past than repeating it. The straightforward songwriting and all-we’re-here-to-do-is-kick-ass sentiment behind Sabbath Highway might well prove formative compared to what The Watchers do next – presumably that’s a full-length, but one never knows; they sound ready to get down to business  – but it makes its ambitions plain in its hooks and swiftly delivers on its promises.

The Watchers on Thee Facebooks

Ripple Music website

 

Of the Horizon, Of the Horizon

of the horizon self-titled

I can’t speak to the present status of California’s Of the Horizon, since last I heard bassist Kayt Vigil was in Italy working with Sonic Wolves, but their self-titled five-track debut full-length arrives via Kozmik Artifactz no less switched on for the half-decade that has passed since it was recorded. Guitarist Mike Hanne howls out throaty incantations to suit the post-Sleep riffing of opener “3 Feet” and drummer Shig pushes the roll of “Caravan” forward into its final crashing slowdown effectively as Vigil ensures the subsequent centerpiece “Unknown” is duly thick beneath its spacious, jammy strum. The two longest slabs hit at the end in “Gladhander” (8:55) and the righteously lumbering “Hall of the Drunken King” (10:31) and feel somewhat like an album unto themselves, but when/if Of the Horizon make a return, they’ve established a working modus on this first full-length that should well satisfy the nod-converted and that demonstrates the timelessness of well-executed tonal onslaught.

Of the Horizon on Thee Facebooks

Of the Horizon at Kozmik Artifactz

 

Raj, Raj

raj self titled

Though it’s fair enough in terms of runtime, it almost seems like Milano sludge-rollers Raj (also written stylized in all-caps: RAJ) do the six tracks of their 20-minute self-titled debut EP a disservice by cramming them onto a single LP side. Not that one gets lost or the band fails to make an impression – far from it – but just that sounds so geared toward largesse and spaciousness beg for more room to flesh out. That, perhaps, is the interesting duality in Raj’s Raj, since even the massive plod of closer “Iron Matrix” lumbers through its course in a relatively short 4:45, never mind the speedier “Magic Wand” (2:47) or drone interlude “Black Mumbai” (1:51) – gone in a flash. The release moves through these, the earlier “Omegagame” and “Eurasia” and the penultimate “Kaluza” with marked fluidity and efficiency, giving Raj a mini-album feel, and with the atmosphere in “Black Mumbai” and in the surrounding material, their rumble sets up a dynamic that seems primed for further exploration.

Raj on Thee Facebooks

Raj on Bandcamp

 

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Dot Legacy Unveil Video for “211” from New Album To the Others

Posted in Bootleg Theater on October 11th, 2016 by JJ Koczan

dot-legacy

It’s been, what, weeks, since Dot Legacy last unveiled a video for their upcoming second album, To the Others? Fair enough for the quick turnaround on a follow-up to “Story of Fame,” and “211” takes more of a GoPro, capture-the-live-set approach than did that previous video outing, so I can get the Parisian four-piece wanting to give a different look ahead of the album’s Nov. 25 release on Setalight Records. Likewise, I’ll take a different approach to writing about it.

By no means an exhaustive list, but here are three things to like about Dot Legacy‘s new video for the track “211”:

  • 1. Riotousness.
    It makes complete sense to me that Dot Legacy would be hitting the road with Truckfighters following the album’s release. If you’re gonna go out, go out with the masters of the form. In tone and in the apparent fervency of their live execution, Dot Legacy show themselves to have learned distinctly from the Swedish trio’s methods — yet not simply aped them either — so it seems only fair that the two acts should give each other workout on stages across Europe this fall. Would be an interesting run to see.
  • 2. Brashness.
    As you listen to “211,” note the ease with which Dot Legacy twist from the high-octane initial burst of the song to its calmer midsection and then to the audience sing-along portion nearer the end? You know how a band does that? By doing it. There’s one way to pull off hard left turns like that in songwriting, and that’s with clearheaded confidence, which is something Dot Legacy display all across To the Others.
  • 3. The Hook.
    Both “Story of Fame” and their 2014 self-titled debut (review here) had plenty to offer in terms of songwriting as well, but I think especially if you pair the two new tracks together you can get a sense of the progression Dot Legacy have willfully undertaken over the last two years. That growth comes from time on the road, to be sure, but there are a lot of bands who tour and not all of them are able to translate that into the kind of productive forward step in the studio that they are here.

Just some stuff to think about as you make your way through. Dot Legacy are in the process of wrapping a tour with Valley of the Sun and as noted they’ll head out again next month alongside Truckfighters and the new configuration of Deville. Find the remaining dates for the current tour and for the next one under the clip below.

And please enjoy:

Dot Legacy, “211” official video

Dot Legacy live:
Remaining dates with Valley of the Sun:

11/10 – Cluj-Napoca, Romania – The Shelter
12/10 – Bucharest, Romania – Fabrica Club
13/10 – Sofia, Bulgaria – Mixtape
14/10 – Larissa, Greece – Stage Club
15/10 – Athens, Greece – Death Disco

With Truckfighters & Deville – Plus more dates to be announced soon…
25/11 – Koln, Germany – Underground
26/11 – Nancy, France – Le Hublot
27/11 – Paris, France – Venue TBA
28/11 – Nantes, France – Venue TBA
4/12 – Birmingham, UK – Rainbow
5/12 – Glasgow, UK – King Tuts
6/12 – Nottingham, UK – Rescue Rooms
7/12 – Bristol, UK – Thekla
8/12 – Manchester, UK – The Ruby Lounge
9/12 – London, UK – Islington Academy
10/12 – Brighton, UK – Green Door Store

Dot Legacy on Thee Facebooks

Dot Legacy website

Setalight Records website

Setalight Records on Thee Facebooks

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