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All Them Witches, Sleeping Through the War: Dancing on the Alabaster

Posted in Reviews on January 27th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

all them witches sleeping through the war

Devil’s in the details, right? All Them Witches commune with plenty of both across the eight tracks of Sleeping Through the War. Their fourth album overall and second for New West Records behind 2015’s Dying Surfer Meets His Maker (review here), its 46-minute run basks in a depth of arrangement yet unheard from the Nashville four-piece, from the is-someone-behind-you knocks of opener “Bulls” to the swirling layers of Ben McLeod‘s guitar and Sgt. Pepper-style flashes of Mellotron and other keys that ensue, to the slight delay in bassist Michael Parks, Jr.‘s vocals between the channels on “3-5-7” that seem to make that song all the more psychedelic, to the guest harmonica of Mickey Raphael in the just-under-10-minute closing jam “Guess I’ll Go Live on the Internet.”

Parks, McLeod, key specialist Allan Van Cleave — Rhodes, piano, Mellotron, the organ that brings such soul to “3-5-7,” etc. — and drummer Robby Staebler, who’s joined in his considerable percussive efforts by the rest of the band on “Alabaster” as well as producer Dave Cobb on the brief push of “Bruce Lee,” appear to be willfully tackling the kind of songwriting approach they so readily avoided their last time out.

Where Dying Surfer Meets His Maker, which had the rather sizable task of following 2013’s Lightning at the Door (review here), invited the listener into the room during its process of creation, feeling very much a roll-tape-and-see kind of experience, Sleeping Through the War is unquestionably more complete in the studio-record sense. Its songs feel finished and, with special mention to Eddie Spear at Creative Workshop in Nashville, who recorded and mixed, they offer a spaciousness like nothing All Them Witches have conjured to-date, going back to their self-produced 2012 debut, Our Mother Electricity (review here). With the quirk of “Don’t Bring Me Coffee” and the ear-worm repetitions of “Alabaster,” it is All Them Witches‘ finest outing yet and 2017’s earliest contender for album of the year.

They begin at a drift with “Bulls,” which is the longest cut on the first half of the record at 6:42 but takes its time unfolding amid sounds that seem captured from some otherworldly beach, the foursome gradually coming together and introducing one of the key elements that will distinguish the complexity at work across Sleeping Through the War in the echoing choral backing vocals of guests Caitlin Rose, Tristen and Erin Rae. This trio behind Parks gives “Bulls” an aspect of classic soulfulness, and ultimately help tie the different movements of the full-length together as they appear throughout “3-5-7,” “Am I Going Up?” and “Alabaster,” at times adding ambient melody behind a chorus, as on “Am I Going Up?,” and bringing “3-5-7” to glories of psychedelic gospel proportions as its hook swells from the rhythmically engaging groove-meander of its open-spaced verse.

All Them Witches have always played toward bluesy conventions in one way or another, and if bringing these singers in is how they’re doing it this time, it’s an effective expansion of that drive, and one they’re correct in basically announcing outright in the opener, since “Bulls” has the rather formidable task of bringing the listener into Sleeping Through the War‘s textural universe — it also finds Parks delivering the title-line early — as it shifts from its initial dreaminess into an exciting, full-thrust, kitchen-sink cosmic wash after the halfway point; a one-song celebration of the band’s increase in scope that will only continue to expand as the rest of the record plays out behind it.

That’s a process that begins gracefully with the grunge-blues of “Don’t Bring Me Coffee” picking up from the end of “Bulls” with Parks‘ line, “Ain’t nobody gonna tell me how to run my town,” and moving into a chorus about, yes, not liking coffee and people “Letting out from the suburbs/Layin’ us to waste” after the instrumental push is unveiled, McLeod‘s crunching riff conversing with Nirvana along the way as Staebler eases the transitions to and from the verse with gleeful snare work and fills during stops between measures of the hook. “Don’t Bring Me Coffee” and “Bruce Lee,” which follows, are arguably the most straightforward of the inclusions on Sleeping Through the War — they’re also the shortest, at just over three minutes apiece — and while they maintain the band’s personality and deeply individualized take, they’re also rock songs and clearly intended to be taken as such. Where the central impact of Dying Surfer Meets His Maker was in its wandering moments, Sleeping Through the War embraces cohesion of craft on a different level entirely, and between “Bulls,” “Don’t Bring Me Coffee” and “Bruce Lee,” that vibe carries through the rest of the material, which from “3-5-7” onward balances structure against increasingly varied psych-blues jamming.

In terms of the overarching flow of Sleeping Through the War, it is pivotal that “3-5-7,” “Am I Going Up?” and “Alabaster” appear in succession. While they in no way fail to leave their own mark, they also serve as a transitional “third” — as much as one can have thirds with eight tracks — following the opening salvo and leading into closing duo “Cowboy Kirk” and “Guess I’ll Go Live on the Internet,” bringing back RoseTristen and Rae from the opener to tie the album together while moving in intent further away from the rawer approach of “Don’t Bring Me Coffee” and “Bruce Lee.” “3-5-7,” all odds and prime numbers, ranks among the most immersive songs All Them Witches have written to this point in their career. Its chorus surrounds and engulfs with melodic comfort, and the surge they create is not at all out of place because of the foreshadow they provided for it on “Bulls.”

Again, the details. Parks, whose bassline only minutes ago danced into the noisy finish of “Bruce Lee,” switching channels on vocals amid lines like, “Tell me how much can I convince you to stomach?/I am focused/I am focused…,” the swirls of effects even on Staebler‘s drums — something that will be even more crucial to “Cowboy Kirk” shortly — the always-essential key work of Van CleaveMcLeod‘s movement between interacting with those keys in the verse and the fuller fuzz of the chorus; once more All Them Witches provide evidence that it is the whole effect of the band working together rather than any single member that creates their most standout and progressive stretches. Hypnotic, “3-5-7” is a landmark unto itself, but still a piece of a larger function at work between it, “Am I Going Up?” and “Alabaster,” which while perhaps not as outwardly spacious, run successively longer and branch off from what “3-5-7” sets in motion.

“Am I Going Up?” meets the complexity of its initial guitar and bass progressions with a relatively simple, sing-song lyric, Parks joined gradually by the backing chorus. A rumble either of keys or guitar effects takes hold at about the midpoint, but recedes as the chorus resurfaces, only come up again and carry through to the ending, which finds the song drifting into the more purposefully solidified “Alabaster,” which finds its crux in the word itself, around which is weaved a tale of alienation, melody and trades between quiet and loud movements more patient than, say, “Bulls,” but all the more affecting for that. A well-percussed jam takes hold, Parks making various proclamations over top before signaling a rhythmic turn with the line, “Every day they look more and more like me” the finds the band kicking in with a subtle complexity in timing that leads to a final stomp through the instrumental hook and a cold stop from which Staebler‘s echoing drums pick up for the start of “Cowboy Kirk.”

At 6:51, “Cowboy Kirk” is only a few seconds shorter than “Alabaster” (which runs 6:59), and that’s not dissimilar from how “Don’t Bring Me Coffee” and “Bruce Lee” functioned earlier. The feeling of common intent is furthered in a lyrical structure that, like “Alabaster,” wraps in part around a single idea — in the case of “Cowboy Kirk,” it’s “Love you like…” — but ultimately, much as “Bruce Lee” had a different direction from the song before it, so does “Cowboy Kirk,” which turns fills out a languid, bouncing jam with swells in volume from Van Cleave and full fuzz tones and leads from McLeod, feeling almost dangerously open by the time it hits four and a half minutes, but working its way back to the firm ground of its verse and chorus again to close. In the context of what follows, this move feels (which is to say, I wouldn’t guess it actually is) done in deference to the closer itself, and the molten, harmonica-laden flow of “Guess I’ll Go Live on the Internet” earns its place immediately. Led into by the keys and a quick drum crash, its chillout-factor is prevalent even before the spoken and sung layers of vocals start, piano flourish punctuating the stops of the first chorus: “If you’re asking me/I got one thing to say/If I can’t live here/Guess I’ll go live on the internet.”

Calm swagger, deep green hues, cool vibes — however you want to paint it, “Guess I’ll Go Live on the Internet” is in some ways a prototype All Them Witches jam, but it’s not without its hook either, and by the time they’re two minutes deep, they’ve run through the chorus twice with deceptive efficiency. About two minutes after that, they’re ready to depart into the instrumental ether that will carry to the finish of Sleeping Through the War, marked out by dream-tone spaced guitar, the unshakable but totally shaking progression of the drums and smooth turns of keys and bass to coincide with the guest harp — the band very much in their element having arrived at the place where their fourth album ends up. They finish patiently, eventually, not with a bang or a giant crescendo, but with the jam winding itself down naturally as a swirl of effects remains, bringing “Guess I’ll Go Live on the Internet” through its last minute or so in a melodic trance still peppered with deep-mixed harmonica as it fades away.

One more time, the details. They are, in the end, what makes Sleeping Through the War such a special offering, and what most bring to light the creative growth, both since 2015 and over the last half-decade generally. All Them Witches have yet to stop moving forward from one release to the next, and though each of their albums speaks with its own voice — whether that’s the rawness of Dying Surfer Meets His Maker or the even-fuller realization of a collective vision here — the band have made themselves one of the most distinct acts of their generation with an influence that’s already begun to spread. Sleeping Through the War will insure it only continues to do so, and with its memorable songwriting, natural warmth and far-ranging breadth, it delivers a resonance sure to ring out through 2017 and beyond.

All Them Witches, “3-5-7” official video

All Them Witches on Thee Facebooks

All Them Witches on Bandcamp

All Them Witches on Instagram

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Tomorrow’s Dream: 200+ of 2017’s Most Anticipated Releases

Posted in Features on January 23rd, 2017 by JJ Koczan

tomorrow's dream 2017

Looks like it’s going to be another busy 12 months ahead. It’s been a busy better-part-of-a-month already, so that stands to reason, but you should know that of the several years now that I’ve done these ‘Tomorrow’s Dream’ posts, this is the biggest one yet, with over 150 upcoming releases that — one hopes — will be out between today and the end of 2017.

Actually, at last count, the list tops 180. Do I really expect you to listen to all of them? Nope. Will I? Well, it would be nice. But what I’ve done is gone through and highlighted 35 picks and then built lists off that in order of likelihood of arrival. You’ll note the categories are ‘Gonna Happen and/or Likely Candidates,’ ‘Definitely Could Happen’ and ‘Would be Awfully Nice.’

Beyond that last one, anything else just seems like speculation — one might as well go “new Sabbath this year!” with zero info backing it up. The idea here is that no matter where a given band is placed, there has been some talk of a new release. In some cases, it’s been years, but I think they’re still worth keeping in mind.

Another caveat: You can expect additions to this list over the next week — probably album titles, band names people (fingers crossed) suggest in the comments, and so on — so it will grow. It always does. The idea is to build as complete a document as possible, not to get it all nailed down immediately, so please, if you have something to contribute and you’re able to do so in a non-prickish, “You didn’t include Band X and therefore don’t deserve to breathe the same air as me,” kind of way, please contribute.

Other than that, I think it’s pretty straightforward what’s going on here and I’ll explain the category parameters as we go, so by all means, let’s jump in.

— Tomorrow’s Dream 2017 —

Presented Alphabetically

1. Abrahma, TBA

Late last year, Paris heavy progressives Abrahma announced a new lineup and third full-length in progress. No reason to think it won’t come to fruition, and a follow-up to 2015’s Reflections in the Bowels of a Bird (review here) is an easy pick to look forward to. Even with the shift in personnel, it seems likely the band will continue their creative development, driven as they are by founding guitarist Seb Bismuth.

2. All Them Witches, Sleeping Through the War

all them witches sleeping through the warIf 2017 ended today, Sleeping Through the War would be my Album of the Year. Of course, there’s a lot of year to go, but for now, Nashville’s All Them Witches have set the standard with their second album for New West Records behind 2015’s Dying Surfer Meets His Maker (review here) and fourth overall outing. They’ve got videos up so far for “3-5-7” (posted here) and “Bruce Lee” (posted here). Both are most definitely worth your time. Out Feb. 24. Full review should be later this week.

3. Alunah, Solennial

Seems like UK forest riffers Alunah are on this list every year. Wishful thinking on my part. Nonetheless, their fourth LP and Svart Records debut, Solennial, is out March 17, and if the tease they gave already with the clip for “Fire of Thornborough Henge” (posted here) is anything to go from, its Chris Fielding-produced expanses might just be Alunah‘s most immersive yet.

4. Arbouretum, TBA

I asked the Baltimore folk fuzzers a while back on Thee Facebooks if they had a new record coming in 2017 and they said yes, so that’s what I’m going on here. The last Arbouretum album was 2013’s Coming out of the Fog (review here), and even with frontman Dave Heumann‘s 2015 solo outing, Here in the Deep (review here), factored in, you’d have to say they’re due. Keep an eye on Thrill Jockey for word and I’ll do the same.

5. Atavismo, Inerte

This is another one that already has a spot reserved for it on my Best-of-2017 year-end list. Spanish heavy psych rockers Atavismo up the progressive bliss level with their second full-length, Inerte, without losing the depth of style that made 2014’s Desintegración (review here) so utterly glorious. It probably won’t have the biggest marketing budget of 2017, but if you let Atavismo fly under your radar, you are 100 percent missing out on something special.

6. Bison Machine, TBA

In addition to the video for new track “Cloak and Bones” that premiered here, when Michigan raucousness-purveyors Bison Machine put out the dates for their fall 2016 tour, they included further hints of new material in progress. As much as I dug their earlier-2016 split with SLO and Wild Savages (review here) and 2015’s Hoarfrost (review here), that’s more than enough for me to include them on this list. Killer next-gen heavy rock.

7. Brothers of the Sonic Cloth, TBA

News of a follow-up to Brothers of the Sonic Cloth‘s 2015 Neurot Recordings self-titled debut (review here) came through in October, and it remains some of the best news I’ve heard about 2017 doings. Took them a while to get the first record out, so we’ll see what happens, but it kind of feels like looking forward to a comet about to smash into the planet and cause a mass extinction, and by that I mean awesome. Can’t get here soon enough.

8. Cloud Catcher, Trails of Kosmic Dust

cloud catcher trails of kosmic dustOkay, so maybe I jumped the gun and did a super-early review of Denver trio Cloud Catcher‘s second long-player and Totem Cat Records debut, Trails of Kosmic Dust, but hell, no regrets. Some albums require an early-warning system. Their 2015 debut, Enlightened Beyond Existence (discussed here), was a gem as well, but this is a band in the process of upping their game on every level, and the songwriting and momentum they hone isn’t to be missed.

9. Colour Haze, TBA

I’ve gotten some details on the upcoming full-length from Colour Haze. They do not include a title, artwork, audio, song titles or general direction. Less details, I guess, than word that the CD version of this answer to 2015’s To the Highest Gods We Know (review here) is set to come out next month, as ever, on Elektrohasch. That puts it out in time for Colour Haze‘s upcoming tour with My Sleeping Karma (announced here). Fingers crossed it happens. Colour Haze are perpetual top-albums candidates in my book.

10. Corrosion of Conformity, TBA

Signed to Nuclear Blast after being rejoined by guitarist/vocalist Pepper Keenan, North Carolina’s C.O.C. have been in the studio since last year. The lineup of Keenan, bassist/vocalist Mike Dean and guitarist Woody Weatherman and Reed Mullin on drums is the stuff of legend and last worked together on 2000’s America’s Volume Dealer, so no question this reunion makes for one of 2017’s most anticipated heavy rock records. They nailed the nostalgia factor on tour. Can they now add to their legacy?

11. Elder, TBA

I was incredibly fortunate about a month ago to visit progressive heavy rockers Elder at Sonelab in Easthampton, MA, during the recording process for their upcoming fourth album. I heard a couple of the tracks, and of course it was all raw form, but the movement forward from 2015’s Lore (review here) was palpable. That LP (on Stickman) brought them to a wider audience, and I expect no less from this one as well, since the farther out Elder go sound-wise, the deeper the level of connection with their listeners they seem to engage.

12. Electric Wizard, TBA

Could happen, could not happen. That’s how it goes. Announced for last Halloween. That date came and went. Word of trouble building their own studio surfaced somewhere along the line. That was the last I heard. Frankly, I wouldn’t be surprised if it showed up tomorrow, if it showed up in 2018, or if the band broke up and never put it out. They’re Electric Wizard. Anything’s possible.

13. John Garcia, The Coyote Who Spoke in Tongues

Out Jan. 28 on NapalmThe Coyote Who Spoke in Tongues (review here) is the first-ever acoustic album from former Kyuss frontman John Garcia, also of Unida, the reunited Slo BurnHermanoVista ChinoZun, etc. — basically the voice of desert rock. He does a couple Kyuss classics for good measure, but shines as well on the new/original tracks, and while it’s a piece for fans more than newcomers — that is, it helps if you know the original version of “Green Machine” — his presence remains as powerful as ever despite this new context.

14. Goya, Harvester of Bongloads

Riffs, dude. Goya seem to have them to spare. The Arizona-based wizard doomers have set a pretty prolific clip for themselves at this point, with at least two short releases out in 2016, one a 7″ of Nirvana covers (review here), and the The Enemy EP (review here). Set for a March 3 release through their own Opoponax Records imprint, Harvester of Bongloads continues the march into the abyss that 2015’s Obelisk (review here) and 2013’s 777 set in motion, finding the band coming more into their own as well. Creative growth — and bongloads! The best of both worlds.

15. Ides of Gemini, TBA

Ides of Gemini are set to record their yet-untitled third album with Sanford Parker early this year, and it will also mark their debut on Rise Above Records upon its release. They’ve also got a new lineup around vocalist Sera Timms and guitarist J. Bennett, so as they look to move forward from 2014’s Old World New Wave (review here), one can’t help but wonder what to expect, but to be honest, not knowing is part of the appeal, especially from a band who so readily specialize in the ethereal.

16. Kind, TBA

Three-fourths of Kind feature elsewhere on this list. Bassist Tom Corino plays in Rozamov. Drummer Matt Couto is in Elder. Vocalist Craig Riggs is in Roadsaw. And for what it’s worth, guitarist Darryl Shepherd has a new band coming together called Test Meat. How likely does that make Kind to release a second LP in 2017? I don’t know, but their 2015 Ripple Music debut, Rocket Science (review here), deserves a follow-up, and I know they’ve demoed some new songs. If it happens, great. If it’s 2018, at least these dudes will be plenty busy besides.

17. Lo-Pan, In Tensions

lo-pan in tensionsYes, Lo-Pan‘s In Tensions (review here) has already been released — CD/LP with an artbook on Aqualamb. It’s out. Limited numbers. You can get it now. Why include it on a list of most anticipated releases? Because that’s how strongly I feel about your need to hear it. The fruit of a shortlived lineup with guitarist Adrian Zambrano, it distinguishes itself from everything they’ve done before in style while still keeping to the core righteousness that one hopes the Ohio outfit will continue to carry forward. It’s more than a stopgap between albums. Listen to it.

18. The Midnight Ghost Train, TBA

It seems to have been a rough ride for hard-boogie specialists The Midnight Ghost Train since their 2015 Napalm debut and third album overall, Cold was the Ground (review here). They’ve never taken it easy on the road or in terms of physicality on stage, and between injuries and who knows what else, their intensity at this point veers toward the directly confrontational. Nonetheless, they’ve been writing for album number four, may or may not have started the recording process, and I expect that confrontationalism to suit them well in their new material.

19. Monster Magnet, TBA

I have it on decent authority that NJ heavy psych innovators Monster Magnet were in the studio this past autumn. I’ve seen no concrete word of a new album in progress from Dave Wyndorf and company, and I wouldn’t necessarily expect to until it was time to start hyping the release, but after their two redux releases, 2015’s Cobras and Fire (review here) and 2014’s Milking the Stars (review here), their range feels broader than ever and I can’t wait to hear what they come up with next.

20. Mothership, High Strangeness

A pivotal moment for Mothership arrives with High Strangeness, and the heavy-touring, heavy-riffing Texas power trio seem to know it. Their third record on Ripple Music pushes into new avenues of expression and keeps the energy of 2014’s Mothership II (review here) and 2012’s Mothership (review here), but thus far into their career, it’s been about their potential and what they might accomplish going forward. 2017 might be the year for Mothership to declare a definitive place in the sphere of American heavy rock.

21. The Obsessed, Sacred

On Halloween 2016, founding The Obsessed guitarist/vocalist and doom icon Scott “Wino” Weinrich announced a new lineup for the band, with his former The Hidden Hand bandmate Bruce Falkinburg on bass/vocals, Sara Seraphim on guitar and Brian Costantino continuing on drums. A genuine surprise. Their first album since 1994, Sacred (due on Relapse) was tracked as the trio of WeinrichCostantino and bassist/vocalist Dave Sherman, but clearly they’ve moved into a new era already. Wouldn’t even guess what the future holds, but hopefully Sacred still comes out.

22. Orange Goblin, TBA

When it was announced that London’s Orange Goblin were picked up by Spinefarm as part of that label’s acquisition of Candlelight Records last Spring, the subheadline from the PR wire was “Working on Ninth Studio Album.” I haven’t heard much since then, but even as 2014’s Back from the Abyss (review here) pushed them deeper into metallic territory than ever before, their songs retained the character that’s made the band the institution they are. Always look forward to new Orange Goblin.

23. Pallbearer, Heartless

pallbearer heartlessDoomers, this is your whole year right here. I haven’t heard Pallbearer‘s third album, Heartless (out March 24 on Profound Lore), but I have to think even those who haven’t yet been won over by the Arkansas four-piece’s emotive, deep-running style have to be curious about what they’ve come up with this time around. I know I am. These guys have been making a mark on the genre since their 2012 debut, Sorrow and Extinction (review here), and there’s little doubt Heartless will continue that thread upon its arrival.

24. Radio Moscow, TBA

Fact: Radio Moscow stand among the best classic heavy rock live acts in the US. They’re the kind of band you can watch upwards of 15 gigs in a row — I’ve done it — and find them putting on a better show night after night, in defiance of science, logic and sobriety. Word of their signing to Century Media came just this past week and brought with it confirmation of a follow-up to 2014’s stellar Magical Dirt (review here), and for me to say hell yes, I’m absolutely on board, seems like the no-brainer to end all no-brainers. Can’t wait.

25. Roadsaw, TBA

Nearly six full years later, it’s only fair to call Boston scene godfathers Roadsaw due for a follow-up to their 2011 self-titled (review here). Granted, members have been busy in KindWhite Dynomite, and other projects, but still. Their upcoming outing finds them on Ripple Music after years under the banner of Small Stone Records, and though I haven’t seen a solid release date yet, my understanding is they hit Mad Oak Studio in Allston, MA, this past fall to track it, so seems likely for sooner or later. Sooner, preferably.

26. Rozamov, This Mortal Road

Speaking of albums by Boston bands a while in the making, This Mortal Road (out March 3 on Battleground Records and Dullest Records) is the debut full-length from Boston atmospheric extremists Rozamov. Haven’t heard it yet, but I got a taste of some of the material when I visited the band at New Alliance Audio in Aug. 2015, and the bleak expanses of what I heard seem primed to turn heads. I’m a fan of these guys, but in addition, they’ve found a niche for themselves sound-wise and I’m curious to hear how they bring it to fruition.

27. Samsara Blues Experiment, TBA

It’s been a pleasure over the last couple months to watch a resurgence of Berlin heavy psych trio Samsara Blues Experiment take shape, first with the announcement of a fourth album in October, then with subsequent confirmations for DesertfestRiff Ritual in Barcelona, and a South American tour. Reportedly due in Spring, which fits with the timing on shows, etc., the record will follow 2013’s righteous Waiting for the Flood (review here) and as much as I’m looking forward to hearing it, I’m kind of just glad to have these guys back.

28. Seedy Jeezus, TBA

Work finished earlier this month on Melbourne trio Seedy Jeezus‘ second full-length. As with their 2015 self-titled debut, the band brought Tony Reed of Mos Generator to Australia to produce, and after their blissed-out 2016 collaboration with Earthless guitarist Isaiah MitchellTranquonauts (review here), it’s hard not to wonder what experimentalist tendencies might show in the trio’s style this time out, and likewise difficult not to anticipate what guitarist Lex “Mr. Frumpy” Wattereus comes up with for the cover art.

29. Shroud Eater, Strike the Sun

Not to spoil the surprise, but Feb. 1 I’ll host a track premiere from Florida’s Shroud Eater that finds them working in a different context from everything we’ve heard from them to this point in their rightly-celebrated tenure. They also recently had a split out with Dead Hand, and their second long-player, Strike the Sun, will be their debut through STB Records. It’s been since 2011’s ThunderNoise (review here) that we last got a Shroud Eater album, so you bet your ass I’m dying to know what the last six years have wrought.

30. Sleep, TBA

If Sleep were any other band, they’d probably be in the “Would be Awfully Nice” category. But they’re Sleep, so even the thought of a new record is enough to put them here. The lords of all things coated in THC are reissuing their 2014 single, The Clarity (review here), on Southern Lord next month, but rumors have been swirling about a proper album, which of course would be their first since the now-legendary Dopesmoker. If it happens, it’ll automatically be a heavy underground landmark for 2017, but it’s one I’m going to have in my ears before I really believe it.

31. Stoned Jesus, TBA

Even as they tour playing their second album, 2012’s Seven Thunders Roar (review here), to mark its fifth anniversary and continued impact, Ukrainian trio Stoned Jesus are forging ahead with a fourth record behind 2015’s The Harvest (review here). The capital-‘q’ Question is whether or not looking back at Seven Thunders Roar and engaging that big-riffing side of their sound will have an impact on the new material, and if so, how it will meld with the push of The Harvest. Won’t speculate, but look forward to finding out.

32. Stubb, TBA

Since reveling in the soul of 2015’s Cry of the Ocean (review here) on Ripple, London trio Stubb have swapped out bassists, and they were in Skyhammer Studio this month recording a single that may be an extended psychedelic jam. I’ll take that happily, but I’m even more intrigued at the prospect of a third LP and what guitarist/vocalist Jack Dickinson, bassist/vocalist Tom Hobson and drummer Tom Fyfe might have in store as the band moves forward on multiple levels. Might be 2017, might not.

33. Sun Blood Stories, It Runs Around the Room with Us

sun blood stories it runs around the room with usIt Runs around the Room with Us seems to find peace in its resonant experimentalist drones, loops, open, subdued spaces, but there’s always some underlying sense of foreboding to its drift, as if Boise’s Sun Blood Stories could anticipate the moment before it happened. Toward the end of the follow-up to 2015’s Twilight Midnight Morning (review here), they execute the 90-second assault “Burn” and turn serenity to ash. Look for it in April and look for it again on my best of 2017 list in December.

34. Ufomammut, TBA

Any new offering from the Italian cosmic doom magnates is worth looking forward to, and while Ufomammut have left the 15-year mark behind, they’ve never stopped progressing in style and form. To wit, 2015’s Ecate (review here) was a stunner after 2012’s two-part LP, Oro (review here and review here), tightening the approach but assuring the vibe was no less expansive than ever. They started recording last summer, finished mixing in November, so I’m hoping for word of a release date soon.

35. Vokonis, The Sunken Djinn

Born out of Creedsmen Arise, whose 2015 demo, Temple (review here), offered formative thrills, Swedish trio Vokonis debuted with last year’s Olde One Ascending (review here) and proved there’s still life in post-Sleep riffing when it’s wielded properly. They signed to Ripple in November and confirmed the title of their sophomore effort as The Sunken Djinn, as well as a reissue for the first album, which will probably arrive first. I don’t know how that will affect the timing on this one, but keep an eye out anyway.

Gonna Happen and/or Likely Candidates

Obviously some of these are more likely than others. Some have solidified, announced release dates — Dopelord‘s out this month, Demon Head‘s out in April, etc. — and others come from social media posts of bands in studios and hints at upcoming releases and so on. A big tell is whether or not a band has an album title with their listing, but even some of those without have their new albums done, like Atala and Royal Thunder, so it’s not necessarily absolute.

Either way, while I’m spending your money, you might want to look into:

36. Against the Grain
37. Amenra
38. Atala
39. Attalla, Glacial Rule
40. Ayahuasca Dark Trip, II
41. Beastmaker
42. Beaten Back to Pure
43. Blackout
44. Bretus
45. Buried Feather, Mind of the Swarm
46. The Clamps
47. Cold Stares
48. Coltsblood, Ascending into the Shimmering Darkness
49. Come to Grief, The Worst of Times EP
50. Cortez
51. Cruthu, The Angle of Eternity
52. The Dead-End Alley Band, Storms
53. Dead Witches, Dead Witches
54. Dealer
55. Death Alley, Live at Roadburn
56. Demon Head, Thunder on the Fields
57. The Devil and the Almighty Blues, II
58. Devil Electric
59. Doctor Cyclops, Local Dogs
60. Dool, Here Now There Then
61. Dopelord, Children of the Haze
62. Doublestone, Devil’s Own/Djævlens Egn
63. Dread Sovereign, For Doom the Bell Tolls
64. Drive by Wire
65. Elbrus, Elbrus
66. Electric Age
67. Electric Moon, Stardust Rituals
68. Endless Floods, II
69. Five Horse Johnson
70. Forming the Void, Relic
71. Funeral Horse
72. Greenbeard
73. Green Desert Water
74. Greenleaf
75. Grifter / Suns of Thunder, Split
76. Hair of the Dog, This World Turns
77. Heavy Temple, Chassit
78. Here Lies Man, Here Lies Man
79. Hollow Leg, Murder EP
80. Holy Mount, The Drought
81. Hooded Menace
82. Horisont, About Time
83. Hymn, Perish
84. Lecherous Gaze
85. Magnet, Feel Your Fire
86. Mastodon
87. Merlin, The Wizard
88. Merchant
89. Mindkult, Lucifer’s Dream
90. Mirror Queen
91. Moonbow, War Bear
92. Mos Generator
93. The Moth
94. MotherSloth
95. Mouth, Vortex
96. My Sleeping Karma, Mela Ananda – Live
97. Orango
98. Papir
99. PH, Eternal Hayden
100. Psychedelic Witchcraft, Magick Rites and Spells
101. Royal Thunder
102. Saturn, Beyond Spectra
103. Season of Arrows, Give it to the Mountain
104. Siena Root
105. Six Organs of Admittance, Burning the Threshold
106. Six Sigma, Tuxedo Brown
107. Sólstafir
108. The Sonic Dawn, Into the Long Night
109. Spelljammer
110. Spidergawd, IV
111. Steak
112. Stinking Lizaveta, Journey to the Underworld
113. Sula Bassana, Organ Accumulator
114. Summoner
115. Sun Voyager, Sun Voyager
116. Sweat Lodge, Tokens for Hell EP
117. Thera Roya, Stone and Skin
118. Toke
119. Troubled Horse, Revelation on Repeat
120. VA, Brown Acid The Third Trip
121. Weedpecker
122. Youngblood Supercult, The Great American Death Rattle

Definitely Could Happen

Maybe a recording process is upcoming (Gozu, Cities of Mars, YOB), or a band is looking for a label (The Flying Eyes), or they’ve said new stuff is in the works but the circumstances of an actual release aren’t known (Arc of Ascent, Dead Meadow, High on Fire), or I’ve just seen rumors of their hitting the studio (Freedom Hawk, La Chinga, Ruby the Hatchet). We’ve entered the realm of the entirely possible but not 100 percent.

So, you know, life.

Dig it:

123. The Age of Truth
124. Ape Machine
125. Arc of Ascent
126. At Devil Dirt
127. Bantoriak
128. Bask
129. BCAD
130. BoneHawk
131. La Chinga
132. Chubby Thunderous Bad Kush Masters
133. Cities of Mars
134. Crypt Sermon
135. Dead Meadow
136. Death Alley (Studio LP)
137. Dee Calhoun
138. Destroyer of Light
139. Devil
140. Devil Worshipper
141. Duel
142. Dustrider
143. Egypt
144. Electric Moon
145. Elephant Tree
146. Farflung
147. The Flying Eyes
148. Freedom Hawk
149. Gozu
150. The Great Electric Quest
151. Green Meteor, Consumed by a Dying Sun
152. High on Fire
153. Horrendous
154. Insect Ark
155. In the Company of Serpents
156. Iron Monkey
157. Jeremy Irons and the Ratgang Malibus
158. The Judge
159. Killer Boogie
160. King Dead
161. The Kings of Frog Island
162. Lords of Beacon House, Recreational Sorcery
163. Mangoo
164. Mondo Drag
165. Monolord
166. Mountain God
167. The Munsens
168. Naxatras
169. Never Got Caught
170. Ommadon
171. Orchid
172. Ordos
173. Pilgrim
174. Poseidon
175. Purple Hill Witch
176. Ruby the Hatchet
177. Sasquatch
178. Satan’s Satyrs
179. Serpents of Secrecy
180. Shabda
181. Shooting Guns
182. Sleepy Sun
183. Slow Season
184. Snowy Dunes, Atlantis
185. Spectral Haze
186. The Sweet Heat
187. Switchblade Jesus
188. Superchief
189. Tÿburn
190. YOB
191. Zone Six

Would be Awfully Nice

This last category is basically as close as I’m willing to come to rampant speculation. Endless Boogie have hinted at new material, and Queens of the Stone Age have talked about hitting the studio for the last two years. There were rumors about Om, and though Kings Destroy just put out an EP, they have new songs as well, though I doubt we’ll hear them before the end of 2017. I’ll admit that Across Tundras, Fever Dog, Lord Fowl, Lowrider and Hour of 13 are just wishful thinking on my part. A boy can hope:

192. Across Tundras
193. Eggnogg
194. Elephant Tree
195. Endless Boogie
196. Fever Dog
197. Fu Manchu
198. Halfway to Gone
199. Hour of 13
200. Kadavar
201. Kings Destroy
202. Lord Fowl
203. Lowrider
204. Masters of Reality
205. Om
206. Orodruin
207. Queens of the Stone Age

If you’ve made it this far, thanks for reading. Whatever this year brings, I hope it’s been great so far for you and I hope it continues to be so as we proceed inexorably to 2018 and all the also-futuristic-sounding numbers thereafter. At least we know we’ll have plenty of good music to keep us company on that voyage.

As always, comments section is open if there’s anything I’ve left out. I’m happy to add, adjust, etc., as need be, so really, have at it, and thanks in advance.

All the best.

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All Them Witches Post “3-5-7” Video

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

all them witches

We’re still more than a month out from the release of All Them Witches‘ impending fourth album, Sleeping Through the War, but if you’re not already feeling the anticipation for it, you probably haven’t had the chance to check out either their prior video for “Bruce Lee” (posted here) or the new clip below for “3-5-7.” Both taken from the new outing, they show how very much into their own the Nashville four-piece have come over the last couple years, even since debuting on New West Records with their last LP, 2015’s Dying Surfer Meets His Maker (review here), and I’m not saying I’ve heard it yet or anything, but that’s pretty much the story of the record as a whole.

If you’re not sure what I’m talking about, go ahead and click that link and go back and watch the “Bruce Lee” video again and then take on “3-5-7.” The vibes are completely different — “3-5-7” playing much more to their jammier aspects, a kind of languid, earthy psychedelic blues marked out by the guest vocals backing bassist Michael Parks, Jr. in the chorus — where “Bruce Lee” is almost all push. Which one sounds more like All Them Witches? The answer is they’re each just as much the band’s own as the other, and it’s the context of what that means that has expanded. Sleeping Through the War is full of those kinds of shifts — wait until you fucking hear “Alabaster”; not that I have — and the band’s experience on the road and overall creative progression shows itself both in the development of their style and the command with which they wield it.

Album’s out Feb. 24 with preorders up now. Tour dates (they’ve got a bunch of new ones) and more info follow.

Enjoy:

All Them Witches, “3-5-7” official video

Stoked to announce the new video for “3-5-7” is premiering right now! Pre-order the record and you’ll receive a download of the new song: http://www.pledgemusic.com/projects/allthemwitches

ALL THEM WITCHES 2017 TOUR DATES
FEB 24 Exit/In Nashville, TN
MAR 3 & 4 The Garage Winston-Salem, NC
MAR 5 Cat’s Cradle Back Room Carrboro, NC
MAR 7 DC9 Washington, DC
MAR 9 Johnny Brenda’s Philadelphia, PA
MAR 10 Bowery Ballroom New York, NY
MAR 11 The Sinclair Cambridge, MA
MAR 12 Bar Le Ritz Montreal, QC
MAR 14 Horseshoe Tavern Toronto, ON
MAR 15 Magic Bag Ferndale, MI
MAR 16 The Empty Bottle Chicago, IL
MAR 17 Turf Club St. Paul, MN
MAR 18 High Noon Saloon Madison, WI
MAR 19 Founders Brewing Co. Grand Rapids, MI
APR 06 Hi-Tone Cafe Memphis, TN
APR 07 Proud Larry’s Oxford, MS
APR 08 Gasa Gasa New Orleans, LA
APR 09 The Merry Widow Mobile, AL
APR 12 Cafe 11 St Augustine, FL
APR 13 40 Watt Club Athens, GA
APR 14 Barley’s Taproom Knoxville, TN
APR 28 Zanzabar Louisville, KY
APR 29 Firebird St Louis, MO
APR 30 The Riot Room Kansas City, MO
MAY 02 Larimer Lounge Denver, CO
MAY 03 The State Room Salt Lake City, UT
MAY 05 Tractor Tavern Seattle, WA
MAY 06 The Cobalt Vancouver, Canada
MAY 07 Mississippi Studios Portland, OR
MAY 09 Red Room at Crystal Bay Club Casino Crystal Bay, NV
MAY 10 The Chapel San Francisco, CA
MAY 12 The Roxy Theatre West Hollywood, CA
MAY 13 Constellation Room Santa Ana, CA
MAY 14 The Casbah San Diego, CA
MAY 16 The Rebel Lounge Phoenix, AZ
MAY 18 Antone’s Austin, TX
MAY 19 White Oak Music Hall: Upstairs Houston, TX
MAY 20 Club Dada Dallas, TX

All Them Witches is:
Charles Michael Parks, Jr. – Vocals, Bass, Guitar, Mellotron, Percussion
Ben McLeod – Guitar, Bass, Mellotron, Percussion
Robby Staebler – Drums, Percussion
Allan Van Cleave – Rhodes, Organ, Piano, Mellotron

All Them Witches on Thee Facebooks

All Them Witches on Twitter

All Them Witches on Instagram

All Them Witches on Bandcamp

Sleeping Through the War preorders at PledgeMusic

All Them Witches website

New West Records website

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All Them Witches Post “Bruce Lee” Video; Tour Dates Announced

Posted in Bootleg Theater on November 21st, 2016 by JJ Koczan

all them witches

Having thus started the push into their upcoming fourth long-player, Sleeping Through the War, which is out Feb. 24 via New West Records, Nashville’s All Them Witches are wasting no time in building momentum leading up to the release. Less than a week ago, they made the date public and unveiled the track “Bruce Lee” at the same time, and now they have a video for the song, a wide variety of preorder packages available through Bandcamp and PledgeMusic — I’ve got my eye on a signed CD and signed tape, personally — and new North American tour dates for soon after the record hits, starting with a hometown release show that’s bound to be a good time. I wouldn’t mind seeing these guys on their own turf. Or, you know, just about anywhere. Duna Jam would work too, if the planets happened to align that way.

Anyhoozle, the video is directed by Jason Staebler — who if I’m not mistaken is brother to drummer Robby Staebler, who also handles a lot of the four-piece’s graphic design work — and offers all kinds of puppeteering weirdness in its three-minute span. There’s a narrative to it, a chase, a kind of sense of cloying into which one can read any number of interpretations, and it’s entirely likely that’s the whole idea. If you didn’t get the chance to check out the track when it was posted here last week, it’s a good opportunity to dig into its headphone-worthy depths and also have your dreams potentially haunted in the process. We learned last time out on All Them Witches‘ 2015 album, Dying Surfer Meets His Maker (review here) — which I’ll admit I’ve been revisiting — that the lead single, which was “Dirt Preachers” (video here), doesn’t necessarily represent the whole of the record surrounding, but across three to-date full-lengths and numerous other jams, singles and short digital releases, All Them Witches have yet to disappoint, and accordingly, Sleeping Through the War is among my most anticipated albums for 2017.

Enjoy “Bruce Lee” below, followed by the aforementioned tour dates and preorder links:

All Them Witches, “Bruce Lee” official video

Sleeping Through The War is coming in 2017

LISTeN UP!!! It’s been the most insane year of our lives. Thank you from the bottoms of our hearts for the support. We are stoked to announce our new album Sleeping Through The War is coming February 24, 2017. Our first single “Bruce Lee” is premiering right now.

We’ve also announced brand new US tour dates. More to come.

2017 TOUR DATES
FEB 24 Exit/In Nashville, TN
MAR 3 & 4 The Garage Winston-Salem, NC
MAR 5 Cat’s Cradle Back Room Carrboro, NC
MAR 7 DC9 Washington, DC
MAR 9 Johnny Brenda’s Philadelphia, PA
MAR 10 Bowery Ballroom New York, NY
MAR 11 The Sinclair Cambridge, MA
MAR 12 Bar Le Ritz Montreal, QC
MAR 14 Horseshoe Tavern Toronto, ON
MAR 15 Magic Bag Ferndale, MI
MAR 16 The Empty Bottle Chicago, IL
MAR 17 Turf Club St. Paul, MN
MAR 18 High Noon Saloon Madison, WI
MAR 19 Founders Brewing Co. Grand Rapids, MI

All Them Witches is:
Charles Michael Parks, Jr. – Vocals, Bass, Guitar, Mellotron, Percussion
Ben McLeod – Guitar, Bass, Mellotron, Percussion
Robby Staebler – Drums, Percussion
Allan Van Cleave – Rhodes, Organ, Piano, Mellotron

All Them Witches on Thee Facebooks

All Them Witches on Twitter

All Them Witches on Instagram

All Them Witches on Bandcamp

Sleeping Through the War preorders at PledgeMusic

All Them Witches website

New West Records website

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All Them Witches Set Feb. 24 Release for Sleeping Through the War

Posted in Whathaveyou on November 16th, 2016 by JJ Koczan

all-them-witches

“Bruce Lee” is the first studio audio to come from All Them Witches‘ new album, the title of which has been revealed as Sleeping Through the War. A Feb. 24 release date has been announced. The record, which follows on the heels of the Nashville four-piece’s 2015 outing, Dying Surfer Meets His Maker (review here), is their fourth and was produced by Dave Cobb, known for his work with Shooter Jennings, Sturgill Simpson and Jason Isbell, among others.

Another, less direct glimpse at Sleeping Through the War came through last week in a posted performance from Rockpalast in Germany that included the song “3-5-7” that looks according to the tracklist like it might close out side A, though I guess one never really knows. In any case, I’m sure there will be a host of announcements, videos, streaming tracks and so on before Sleeping Through the War actually hits public ears, but if you want to get your hopes up, “Bruce Lee” should do nicely for this afternoon. I’d be up for hearing “Cowboy Kirk” whenever they wanted to drop that one too though. You know, anytime works.

Art, track and recording info, and audio hoisted from All Them Witches‘ Bandcamp:

all-them-witches-sleeping-through-the-war-700

All Them Witches, Sleeping Through the War tracklisting:
1. Bulls
2. Don’t Bring Me Coffee
3. Bruce Lee
4. 3-5-7
5. Am I Going Up?
6. Alabaster
7. Cowboy Kirk
8. Internet

All Them Witches is:
Charles Michael Parks, Jr. – Vocals, Bass, Guitar, Mellotron, Percussion
Ben McLeod – Guitar, Bass, Mellotron, Percussion
Robby Staebler – Drums, Percussion
Allan Van Cleave – Rhodes, Organ, Piano, Mellotron

Additional:
Mickey Raphael – Harmonica (Internet)
Caitlin Rose – Vocals (Bulls, 3-5-7, Am I Going Up?, Alabaster)
Tristen – Vocals (Bulls, 3-5-7, Am I Going Up?, Alabaster)
Erin Rae – Vocals (Bulls, 3-5-7, Am I Going Up?, Alabaster)
Dave Cobb – Percussion (Bruce Lee)

Produced By: Dave Cobb
Recorded & Mixed By: Eddie Spear at Creative Workshop – Nashville TN
Mastered By: Pete Lyman at Infrasonic Sound – Los Angeles, CA

http://allthemwitches.bandcamp.com/album/sleeping-through-the-war
http://www.facebook.com/allthemwitches

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