Apollo80 Premiere “Black of the White” From Beautiful Beautiful Desolation LP out June 18

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on May 3rd, 2021 by JJ Koczan

apollo80

Perth, Western Australia’s Apollo80 release their debut full-length, Beautiful Beautiful Desolation, on June 18 through Sound Effect Records and Kozmik Artifactz. The six-track/40-minute outing brings underlying symmetry to its spacious and spaced-out and spacey did I mention space-space-space heavy vibage, its intro and outro and four circa-nine-minute pieces melding and folding into each other in one resounding “holy crap” of a morass, but staying fluid and moving forward as well — thank you very much Shane on drums for that.

From the blanket of drone that rises to consume much of side A’s addled, headphone-ready “Terolgedo King” and “Like Men…/Corpse 65” to the crash and landmark-for-your-melting-brain riffly nod of pre-outro capper “Lung Beers,” the three-piece follow-up their suitably exclamatory 2018 debut EP, Lizard! Lizard! Lizard! (review here), with a rampage through multi-dimensional distortion and chrono-triggered heft. It’s like meeting someone on the street who comes up to you and goes, “Hey, you like Carl Sagan?” Fucking a right.

The roiling and shimmering starts with “Intro,” a line of synth casting a cinematic foreboding over the oops-there-it-goes procession forward, bringing just enough hypnosis to the feedback snap and ensuing lurch riff that begins “Teroldego King” is a Apollo80 Beautiful Beautiful Desolationshocker. Apollo80 — ShaneLuke on guitar and Brano on bass, with one or more of them taking on intermittent vocal duties — revel in the breadth. “Teroldego King” unfolds in massive form like the garbled transmission from a planet of sentient portiids, but cuts to a quiet movement in its second half, vocals coming in and going like were they real anyhow while the guitar noodles out over echoey rimshots.

They bring it back, of course, but in going so low, they make the high that much higher, and the final rumbles and crashes feel all the more affecting for it. If you can dig that, the megadrone-into-megaspace of “Like Men…/Corpse 65” is the stuff of your more chaotic dreams — the kind of shit that makes me want to leave hte typos in because screw it we’re all gonna burn anyway what’s the difference. But we’re here now, so put on headphones and dig that bass.

“Black of the White” throws out its hi-hat-propelled motion like a life-preserver into a sea of Jupiterian gas storms, and holds to it until it becomes jazz, the drums shifting after four minutes in as things start to go haywire. Vocals are treated, a mean poetry reading set to so much echo they’re barely recognizable, but the clamor fits, and the dropout-into-drop-on-your-head that ensues may be telegraphed but is no less a joy for that. Time outside (everything) is time well spent. Heavy. Psych. Tell your friends.

And while you’ve got their attention, let ’em know “Lung Beers” sent you. Stoner paean it may or may not be, but it’s a righteous preach to the converted either way, cutting as did “Teroldego King” — more of that symmetry noted earlier; a masterplan at work? — before embarking on the record’s last freakout, the guitar stripping away from the rest of the ship and embracing vacuum. In space, apparently you can still hear the shred. So be it. Weirdo Sap-style acoustic guitar reaps the aftermath in “Until the Sails Are on Fire,” maybe looped, maybe not, but as Apollo80 roll credits on their preliminary feature-length excursion, they do so having touched off a bouncing cavalcade of prime-directive-violating contact, rounding off squares where they stand and telling kids about enough new gods to get themselves thrown in jail.

Think you can jive? Well, jive to “Black of the White” on the player below. Go on. Make friends.

PR wire info and whatnot follow:

Apollo80 are doing it again! After the striking debut in 2019 the Western Australian trio is back with a new chapter of heavy-riffing exploration in the low frequencies universe. The main ingredients for the space cake are unchanged, but this new work explores a darker space with an extended use of drone atmospheres, groovy tempos and sporadic synth and vocal inserts. Beautiful, Beautiful Desolation is the title of what is going to be their first full-length and is promising to please the fans of Melvins, Earth, Toner Low and whoever aims to soak their brain in a bath of distorted frequencies.

While the intro seems to continue the space-rock voyage of their previous EP, the opening riff clears immediately the path for a heavier trip that reaches the deepest point with the feedbacks and drones of the Earth-ian Like Men Gone at Sea. Side B is a surprise again and introduces synth layers and distorted vocals that are totally new for the Perth trio, but then they close with what they do best. 90s-inspired slow riffs and a long psychedelic interlude of the banger Lungbeers carry the listener to the end of this 40+ mins work that will be brought on the streets by the joined efforts of Sound Effect Records and Kozmik Artifactz. The two veteran labels will be releasing 500 copies in black, colored and special edition vinyl and CD, including, for the first time ever, their “Lizard Lizard Lizard” vinyl-only EP!

Tracklisting:
Side A
Intro (1:47)
Teroldego King (9:37)
Like Men…/Corpse 65 (8:17)

Side B
Black of the White (9:34)
Lung Beers (9:03)
Until the Sails Are on Fire (1:48)

Apollo80 is:
Luke – guitar and space effects
Shane – drums
Brano – bass

Apollo80, Beautiful Beautiful Desolation (2021)

Apollo80 on Thee Facebooks

Apollo80 on Bandcamp

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Sound Effect Records website

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Den Der Hale Premiere “Armoured”; Harsyra LP out June 11

Posted in audiObelisk on April 9th, 2021 by JJ Koczan

den der hale

Swedish psychedelic post-rock explorers Den Der Hale release their debut album Harsyra through Sound Effect Records on June 11. Even if the endorsement from the Greek imprint isn’t enough to immediately pique your interest — and it probably should be — the Malmö-based five-piece won’t take long to immerse you in their melodic wash, speaking here and there to post-punk or proto-New Wave (is there a difference?) or sundry other microgenres and eternal niches-within-niches they simply dub “post-psych.” Points for being concise, but much as the LP’s accessible runtime of five tracks/35 minutes unfolds sonic spaces greater than the sum of their time, so too does their chosen designation only begin to explain where they’re coming from on Harsyra, from the airy, harmony-culminating come-with-us downer-dirge of “Carcassonne,” string break included, to the surging wash of bliss that caps the concluding title-track.

Perhaps their path to creating such a striking first full-length makes more sense when one learns of band members’ past in Insaunas, whose dreamy svenskfolk found itself combining bedroom-psych intimacy and experimentalism on 2019’s We Brought Some Days Back, released through the Malmö label Nytt Arkiv. Knowing that isn’t going to account for all of the ritual-style standalone vocals at the end of second cut and side A closer “Ant Mill” — a 13-minute journey of spaces lush and minimal, fuzzed-out, weirded up and moving into your neighborhood, and, in that finish, more or less still; it is a beautiful thing that feels reckless without being so — but it’s a foundation to work from, and as much as Den Der Hale have their own mission throughout Harsyra, finding a place for themselves between that which is essentially human and that which is formless ether and grooving in and on that divide, melody is melody. Fortunately.

Side B is about a minute shorter than A when all put together — which is how I got the album, by the way; two files, one for each side and a time sheet from Magnus Lindberg Mastering that showed where one track ended and another began;Den Der Hale Harsyra pioneer spirit! — but it spends its time digging further into the post-heavy vibe set forth in the first two tracks. To wit, the droning line of guitar/maybe-keys/who-knows-what underscoring “Armoured,” which arrives as the first half-ish of the eight-minute “Armoured/Endurance,” the latter half of the track picking up immediately and letting the guitar come more forward to create Harsyra‘s most fervent wash (it’s no wonder they didn’t want to give it away by premiering the whole thing), vital and weighted and engulfing in its distortion and broad in its aftermath of noise and feedback. This builds on what Den Der Hale were doing previously, takes it someplace new, and there’s still enough context so that when the far-back programmed beat behind the guitar of the two-minute “Tinktur” comes in, it’s not at all out of place.

“Tinktur,” while short, is more than an interlude. Its soothing vocal calls back to “Carcassonne” at the outset and while it provides a convenient basis for contrast when the immediately motorik guitar chug begins at the start of “Harsyra” itself, it’s not without a presence of its own either. Still, once the Hawkwindian launch sequence begins, Den Der Hale make it clear they’ll not be returning to ground anytime soon. The melody remains fluid as the finale finds its grandness, guitars and drums leading an outward procession that’s loyal to the core rhythm while teasing the payoff to come and still giving the vocals room when necessary. It is tense, exciting. And then they’re off again. God knows what the lyrics are about — the title refers to a wood-sorrel, a three-leaf clover, which blooms from Spring to Midsummer, so maybe there’s some alignment with the June release — but the echoing voices provide a reassurance just the same. You’re not on this trip alone, and that becomes comforting as “Harsyra” is brought to its end. It’s not as cacophonous a blaster as “Armoured/Endurance” becomes, but it sure is fascinating that they put both those songs on side B to set up the contrast between them. Almost enough to make you think there’s been a plan underway the whole time.

And maybe there has, but Den Der Hale aren’t telling, and though Harsyra‘s accomplishments across this first 12″ are significant, they’re all the more so for the potential they hold. I’m no arbiter of cool and I never have been, but this one speaks to me and so I wanted to cover it. It’s as simple as that. I hope you find it speaks to you too. If you check out “Armoured” on the player below, it’s not going to tell you everything you need to know about the album. Don’t expect it to. It’s a teaser. Half a track. But it’s what I could get, and no one pays attention to anything that isn’t a premiere anymore and I thought this was worth someone paying attention to it, so here we are. I’ve put this record on my list of 2021’s best debuts, and I look forward to hearing what Den Der Hale do next.

That and preorder links is all I got, friends. PR wire info follows the song below.

Please enjoy:

Preorder: https://www.soundeffect-records.gr/harsyra
https://denderhale.bandcamp.com/releases

After forming in late 2019, Den Der Hale quickly wrote and put out a number of singles, straddling the genres of post-rock and psych. ‘Harsyra’ is their debut album, a 5-track output which crystallizes their particular brand of post-psych. Tracks range from anthem-like and earthy, to fast paced and grimy, all while keeping an ethereal atmosphere throughout. “Harsyra” is out, on limited edition black and bone color vinyl, on June 11th via Sound Effect Records.

Born in Oljehamnen, the industrial harbour of Malmö, Den Der Hale rose from the remnants of former neo-folk project Insaunas. The addition of new members saw the sound evolve in a heavier and more complex direction, drawing on a wide array of influences. After putting out two singles during 2020, and polishing their sound through a number of live shows, guitarist Max Bredberg dubbed their new brand of music ‘post-psych’. The continued lockdown in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, has led to a sharp decrease in opportunities to play live shows. For Den Der Hale, this meant that the creative energy had to find some other form of outlet.

That outlet is what would eventually become the debut album Harsyra. Recorded and produced by the band itself in a studio located in the old railway roundhouses of Malmö, the album features five tracks, ranging in tone from earthy, grimy and ethereal to heavy hitting and fast-paced. Until the day comes when we can again enjoy music performed in the flesh, this post-psych oeuvre can best be experienced on vinyl, put out by Sound-Effect Records.

Tracklisting:
1. Carcassonne (5:34)
2. Ant Mill (13:21)
3. Armoured/Endurance (8:08)
4. Tinktur (2:19)
5. Harsyra (6:25)

Den Der Hale on Thee Facebooks

Den Der Hale on Instagram

Den Der Hale on Bandcamp

Den Der Hale on Spotify

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Sound Effect Records website

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The Marigold to Release Apostate April 23

Posted in Whathaveyou on March 19th, 2021 by JJ Koczan

The forthcoming Apostate LP by Italian hard-hitters The Marigold marks at least the second collaboration between the band and producer Toshi Kasai (the Melvins, etc.), and if the considerable range of labels behind the release tells you anything, let it be that the band’s doubly-bassed heft is a cause worth supporting. April 23 will see it out through Forbidden Place, Sound Effect, Trepanation, Coffin & Bolt and Golden Robot Records, and it would seem to be the band’s first offering since late-2014’s Kanaval, which came out through DeAmbula Records, among others.

You’ll hear some Melvins likeness in “My Own Apostate” — the video’s below — but, well, some things are unavoiable. Also note that “K7” in the album info below refers to cassette tape. I had to look that up and it turns out it’s mainly a European thing, referencing the French pronunciation of “cassette” — the letter ‘k’ being ‘kah’ and seven being “sept” with a silent ‘p’ to sound like “set.” Clever. I learned something today.

From the PR wire:

the marigold apostate

THE MARIGOLD – APOSTATE

PRODUCED BY TOSHI KASAI (permanent collaborator of the MELVINS)

The Marigold band announces the release of the new album. The work was produced by Toshi Kasai (Melvins) and features the collaboration of Adam Harding (Dumb Numbers, Kidbug with Dale Crover and Thor of the Swans).

The opinion of the band’s members is that this is the most ‘heavy’ album released to date: it’s a dark journey that ranges from sludge to stoner with touches of hardcore.

The album was recorded in Marigold’s studio and then produced and mixed at Kasai’s “Sound Of Sirens” in Los Angeles. In the end, it was mastered by the trusty friend and historical collaborator Amaury Cambuzat. The Marigold is among the most long-lived band in the Italian alternative rock music scene; founded by Marco Campitelli, The Marigold is active since 1998. They still confirm their tenacity with a record based on an unconventional style.

The album titled APOSTATE will be available from April 23, 2021, in different formats: on CD for Forbidden Place Records (USA), on Cassette for Trepanation Records (UK), on LP for Sound Effect Records (Europe), on DGT Coffin and Bolt Records – Golden Robot Records (USA-Australia/all territories) all very active labels that include in their roster artists like Brant Bjork and Nick Olivieri, Kings X.

The Marigold:
– Marco Campitelli: gtrs, 6 string bass, voice
– Stefano Micolucci: basses
– Lorenzo Di Lorenzo: drums, percussions
+ Toshi Kasai: guitar, tambourine, synth, sleigh bell, spring cowbell
+ Adam Harding: guitars

The new album will be out the 23/04/2021 on:
CD Forbidden Place Records (USA) forbiddenplacerecords.com/
LP available on Sound Effect Records (EU) soundeffect-records.gr
K7 available on Trepanation Records (UK) trepanationrecordings.bandcamp.com
DGT available on Coffin & Bolt Records (USA) coffinandbolt.com
Golden Robot Records (AUS) goldenrobotrecords.com

https://www.facebook.com/Themarigoldband
https://www.instagram.com/themarigold_band/
http://www.themarigold.com/

The Marigold, “My Own Apostate” official video

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Mindcrawler: Lost Orbiter Vinyl Due Nov. 6

Posted in Whathaveyou on September 29th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

Not really much of a surprise that someone picked up Mindcrawler‘s debut long-player, Lost Orbiter (review here), for release. Melodic, full-toned and ready for all the nodding-along you can handle and then some, the outing hit in February digitally, and that was just early enough to catch ears in and beyond the band’s native Germany before the entire year came crashing down. They were slated to appear at Keep it Low in their hometown of Munich next month, which of course would’ve opened doors at Sound of Liberation for them as they proceeded forward, but like everything else, their momentum in terms of live performances has been pushed back a year.

Still, the record rules, and Sound Effect Records in Greece makes a fitting home for the LP edition which is out Nov. 6. Preorders are up if that’s your thing, and there are two editions available. Not telling you how to spend your money, but I will casually advise you to — if you missed it earlier this year — to at least take a few minutes to dig into the stream of the album at the bottom of this post. Weaving into and out of instrumentalism, it’s one of my favorite debuts of 2020.

Info from the label:

mindcrawler lost orbiter

MINDCRAWLER – Lost Orbiter LP – Nov. 6

Preorder: https://www.soundeffect-records.gr/lost-orbiter

Past the Tannhäuser Gate, through the vortex of black holes and back to the dust of the Death Valley. Mindcrawler know the most remote places like the back of their hands. Since 2017 this space vehicle from the outskirts of Munich navigates the orbit of Bavaria’s Live Clubs and leaves only shattered stages behind wherever it goes. The four-piece band offers a mix of Space Rock, Stoner, Doom and Psych.

They pay tribute to the giants of Desert Rock while adding their own vision with transcendental meditation and riffs inspired by Punk and Metal. As of 2020 their transmission into the farthest regions of space and back has become even louder with the release of their highly acclaimed debut record “Lost Orbiter”.

This labor of love consists of six stunning tracks meticulously prepared to melt faces and start the engines for overdrive. As the current pandemic on planet Earth makes repeated listens within the confines of your own house all the more mandatory, Mindcrawler and Sound-Effect Records are proud to capture “Lost Orbiter” on mind boggling splatter-colored vinyl for the very first time. Fasten your seatbelts, dust off your moonboots and engage with one of this year’s biggest surprises within the realms of hard hitting Space infused Stoner Rock.

Lost Orbiter will be available through Soundeffect-Records with a limited run of 250 black vinyl and 150 limited splattered orange vinyl, each one will include a download code.

Mindcrawler are:
Joe – guitar|vocals
Helge – guitar
Tom – bass
Johannes – drums

http://www.facebook.com/Mindcrawler/
https://www.instagram.com/mindcrawler.band/
https://mindcrawler.bandcamp.com/
http://www.motljud.com/
https://www.soundeffect-records.gr/

Mindcrawler, Lost Orbiter (2020)

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Melody Fields Premiere “Rhymes of Goodbye”; Broken Horse EP out Sept. 19

Posted in audiObelisk on August 21st, 2020 by JJ Koczan

melody fields

Swedish acid folk rockers Melody Fields will issue their new four-song EP, Broken Horse, Sept. 18 on CD and LP through Sound Effect Records and Coop Records, respectively. For the Gothenburg-based five-or-six-piece, it’s the follow-up to the gorgeousness that was their 2018 self-titled debut full-length (review here), and if you haven’t yet caught on to that offering, the fact that the band plays an utterly timeless form of sweetly melodic psychedelia means that you’re in no way too late. I’ve even put it at the bottom of the post to make it easier for you, so really, have at it.

melody fields Broken Horse EPBefore you do, though, dig into the new track “Rhymes of Goodbye” on the player that follows here, because that’s something you’re definitely going to want to hear. It’s like someone decided to build a house on a slowed-down version of “Good Day Sunshine.” The Broken Horse EP runs about 19 minutes long and comprises four tracks — “Långsam Död,” “Rhymes of Goodbye,” “Broken Horse” and “Painted Sky,” in that order — that push even deeper into the band’s affinity for lush and unabashed psych-pop, maintaining a distinctive presence vocally through the employ of multiple singers and instrumentally through varied layers and approaches of guitar, be it acoustic or electric, etc. The release breaks more or less evenly into its two component sides with two tracks each, and each half seems to offer a complementary vibe, beginning with the subdued unfolding spaciousness of “Långsam Död,” which introduces the sitar and wash of instrumental melody that will characterize both that song and “Rhymes of Goodbye.” Sitar follows the notes of the verse, or maybe it’s the other way around; either way, it’s gorgeous and exploratory in kind, a solid underlying structure serving as the bed for a subtly memorable chorus. They’re one song in and already I wish Broken Horse was a full album.

“Rhymes of Goodbye,” as noted, follows a similar path to the opener, up to and including the sitar and the quiet intro. There’s more bounce to the rhythm, with wood block percussion alongside the drums — it’s deep in the mix, but it’s there — and a flowing bassline that complements the drums and the harmonized vocals alike. As lush as “Rhymes of Goodbye” and the preceding cut are, Melody Fields don’t depart from their pop underpinning, and frankly, they don’t need to. Both cuts are shortly under five minutes, which is enough time not only for the chorus to be established, but for the band to meander a bit and give their listener a sense of the particular sunshine in which they’re basking on this good day. “Rhymes of Goodbye” is immersive as it moves toward its finish, with a crash as it passes four minutes and residual melodic hum on a fadeout that brings in “Broken Horse” (after a platter flip, if you’re doing the vinyl thing), replacing sitar with acoustic guitar and an immediately earthier, more folkish presentation. Harmony in the MELODY FIELDSvocals ties the two sides together, but really, Melody Fields make it so easy to go along with them on this short journey that to resist would seem pointless. Why would you even want to, with the sweetness and warmth of what they’re doing? The sheer comforting nature of it? Come on, people. Let go.

Finishing out, “Painted Sky” is the longest cut at 6:35 and gives Melody Fields even more landscape (or skyscape, as it were) to play in. Lines of guitar float with due descriptiveness to rest alongside the regular chants in homage to aurora borealis, weaving and intertwining as magnetic resonance might on a special evening in the north. Particularly on side B, Melody Fields remind of the circa-2010 Swedefolk troupe Barr — whither thou? — but both groups are acting to interpret with a modern edge the classic ideals of psychedelic pop, bringing a focus on the organic to rich and textured melodicism. As on their self-titled, on Broken HorseMelody Fields are nothing if not aptly-named. Perhaps there’s even a breeze blowing through those fields. A pleasant one, that, if you were to step back, you could see patterns in the slightly-overgrown grass like an echo of “Painted Sky” itself.

More info on the EP follows ahead of the Sept. 19 release, and you can and should dig into “Rhymes of Goodbye” right here.

Please enjoy:

MELODY FIELDS – Broken Horse EP

September 19th 2020 Melody Fields release their new EP Broken Horse. The EP is recorded in Studio Parkeringshuset, where bands like Goat, Hills and The Movements previously have been recording and is released by Sound Effect Records and Coop Records Gotland.

Unlike many other contemporary psych and kraut bands Melody Fields put the classic popsong formula in focus. Sunny californian harmonies has been processed, modernised, ragafied and droneified to an honest ”here and now” experience. No retro, no seeking for effects. Melody Fields has a depth and a substance in their song writing, that feels unique in an otherwise effect seeking scene. LA meets mystic Far East meets melancholy North. Here and now, yesterday and tomorrow, east and north and south, all melt together on the Broken Horse EP.

Available from: 18/09/2020
Label: Coop Records (Vinyl 12”EP)
Sound Effect Records (CD)

Line-up:
Thomas Widholm – drums
David Henriksson – vocals, guitar
Ramo Spatalovic – vocals, guitar
Cornelia Adamsson – vocals, string machine
Henrik Bäckström – vocals, guitar
Sebastian Jannesson – bass

Melody Fields, Melody Fields (2018)

Melody Fields on Thee Facebooks

Melody Fields on Instagram

Melody Fields on Bandcamp

Coop Records on Thee Facebooks

Coop Records on Instagram

Sound Effect Records on Thee Facebooks

Sound Effect Records website

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Light Pillars Premiere Self-Titled Debut out Sept. 4 on Sound Effect Records

Posted in audiObelisk, Whathaveyou on July 31st, 2020 by JJ Koczan

If you’ve ever been in a band and had a moderately friendly conversation with someone else in a similar band, you’ve probably somewhere along the line heard the phrase “we should jam” used once or twice. Rarely does jamming result and even more rarely does it go any further than that. Melbourne two-piece Light Pillars — whose origins would seem to be based in similar proceedings — have beat the odds and will release their self-titled debut on Sept. 4 through respected Greek purveyor Sound Effect Records (sign up for their newsletter; doesn’t matter where you live). The outfit features Toby Wrecker (né Matthews) of Hotel Wrecking City Traders and Andrew Pana (né Panagopoulos) of Comacozer, and each offers a distinctive presence from within the increasingly populated sphere of Australian heavy psychedelia.

One might also think there’s nothing but self-indulgent chaos to come out of such an affair, but it actually seems like Wrecker and Pana meshed well in the studio, and had a fitting sense of where they were headed in their jams. They made the record in two days. Two days. And one was writing. How can you possibly mess with that? I can’t.

Here’s the announcement. Preorders are up today:

light pillars self titled

Light Pillars – Light Pillars – Sept. 4 2020

Australian noisy psych project LIGHT PILLARS consisting of Toby – Guitars (Hotel Wrecking City Traders) and Andrew – Drums (Comacozer) came together in June 2019 at Cellar Sessions Studios in Melbourne for an improved jam session. Both bands having played together previously and after some ideas and banter being thrown around the two decided to finally get together and see what the cosmos can produce and this release debut self-titled release resulting in 4 tracks of noisy dark heavy instrumental psych rock. Recorded in one session with Max behind the recording desk and mastered by Kent Stump (Crystal Clear Sound Studios, Dallas, Texas USA) and amazing artwork by Dora Wednesday, this is one journey taking diverse release.

Day 1: Go into a room and throw around some ideas. Day 2: Enter a studio and record. This is Light Pillars.

Album will be up on Sound Effect Records for Pre-Sale on Friday 31st July. www.soundeffect-records.gr

Street Date for release is 4th September 2020.

Light Pillars are:
Andrew Pana (Comacozer) – Drums
Toby Wrecker (Hotel Wrecking City Traders, GOUTS) – Guitars and Bass

www.facebook.com/LightPillars
www.instagram.com/lightpillarspsych
www.lightpillars.bandcamp.com
http://www.motljud.com/
https://www.facebook.com/SoundEffectRecords/
https://www.soundeffect-records.gr/

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Days of Rona: Johannes from Mindcrawler

Posted in Features on May 28th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

The ongoing nature of the COVID-19 pandemic, the varied responses of publics and governments worldwide, and the disruption to lives and livelihoods has reached a scale that is unprecedented. Whatever the month or the month after or the future itself brings, more than one generation will bear the mark of having lived through this time, and art, artists, and those who provide the support system to help uphold them have all been affected.

In continuing the Days of Rona feature, it remains pivotal to give a varied human perspective on these events and these responses. It is important to remind ourselves that whether someone is devastated or untouched, sick or well, we are all thinking, feeling people with lives we want to live again, whatever renewed shape they might take from this point onward. We all have to embrace a new normal. What will that be and how will we get there?

Thanks to all who participate. To read all the Days of Rona coverage, click here. — JJ Koczan

MINDCRAWLER JOHANNES

Days of Rona: Johannes from Mindcrawler (Munich, Germany)

How are you dealing with this crisis as a band?

On a personal level, none of us has been hit particularly hard by the crisis, aside from having to stay at home for several weeks now. We are fortunate enough that all of us have jobs or studies that can be done from home. So in all, and aside from growing boredom and cabin fever, the impact has been pretty mild on that front.

However, as a band, we weren’t able to get together and play for weeks either, which is a huge bummer. Mainly because we have a ton of new material we were planning to turn into songs, in preparation of future releases and gigs. So this came to a screeching halt for now. On the flipside though, each of us has been creative from home. Writing more material, playing around with new stuff, e.g. synthie sounds and some visual shenanigans. So I guess, in the long run, we are all set.

At the moment, we are hoping that the crisis will fade away quickly. We have some significant gigs lined up for the fall and it would be a shame if those would fall through.

What are the quarantine/isolation rules where you are?

Corona restrictions in Munich (as in the whole of Bavaria) have been pretty harsh in the beginning. Practically nobody was allowed to even leave the house aside from some reduced sporting activities and the like. These have been enforced pretty consistently, too. So there has been a good month or so of strictly having to stay at home. However, this has been relaxed to some extent by now. For instance, we are now allowed to meet with “one person from another household”, which is nice (but does not help much in terms of playing together as a band).

What do you think of how the music community specifically has responded? How do you feel during this time? Are you inspired? Discouraged? Bored? Any and all of it?

I think the music community has responded in a good way, at least in Munich. There has been plans to stream concerts without audiences, and there is some solidarity stuff going on. We feel sorry for all the hardworking, beautiful people who, in normal times, organize all the concerts and other creative offerings. They are really hit hard by this crisis, and I feel that, on top of that, they are largely left alone by the government. Honestly, I’m not sure I would be able to handle the uncertainty they are facing right now. In addition, we are not sure how the ripple effects of that will affect smaller or “semi-professional” musicians and their ability to play in the long run.

As mentioned before, for Mindcrawler, our creative process moved from a collective effort as a band to more individual efforts at home. Still, I would say we are rather inspired as a whole. I guess the good side of being stuck at home is that you pick up the guitar more often, or engage in stuff you were kinda putting off for some time (like synthies or visuals).

What is the one thing you want people to know about your situation, either as a band, or personally, or anything?

First and foremost: Stay safe, practice social distancing, wear your face masks! The more responsibly we as a community act now, the faster this shitty situation will be over.

Aside from this, we miss being on stage, and engaging with all those wonderful people in the stoner/doom scene in general. We are lucky enough that the reactions to our first release Lost Orbiter have been very kind, so we are eager to give some of the kindness back to all of you. In a first step, we are very happy that we signed a record deal with Sound Effect Records, so people will see the album released on vinyl fairly soon.

In addition, we are very eager to get back together as band and write new songs, and more importantly, to go out and play them!

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https://mindcrawler.bandcamp.com/
http://www.motljud.com/
https://www.soundeffect-records.gr/

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Quarterly Review: Total Fucking Destruction, Humulus, The River, Phantom Hound, Chang, The Dhaze, Lost Psychonaut, Liquido di Morte, Black Burned Blimp, Crimson Oak

Posted in Reviews on March 23rd, 2020 by JJ Koczan

quarterly review

I’ve got a fresh cup of coffee and 50 records that need to be reviewed, so it must be time for… constant distractions! Oh, no, wait, sorry. It must be time for the Quarterly Review. Yeah, there it is. I know there’s a global-pandemic-sized elephant in the room as a backdrop for the Spring 2020 Quarterly Review, but it seems to me that’s all the more reason to proceed as much as possible. Not to feign normality like people aren’t suffering physically, emotionally, and/or financially, but to give those for whom music is a comfort an opportunity to find more of that comfort and, frankly, to do the same for myself. I’ve said many times I need this more than you do, and I do.

So, you know the drill. 10 records a day, Monday to Friday through this week, 50 when we’re done. As Christopher Pike says, let’s hit it.

Quarterly Review #1-10:

Total Fucking Destruction, …To Be Alive at the End of the World

Total Fucking Destruction To Be Alive at the End of the World

The long-running experimentalist grind trio Total Fucking Destruction remain a sonic presence unto themselves. Their strikingly apropos fifth LP, …To Be Alive at the End of the World, begins with the five-minute psychedelic wash of its unrepentantly pretty, somewhat mournful title-track and ends with a performance-art take on “The Star Spangled Banner” that shifts into eight or so minutes of drone and minimalist noise before reemerging in manipulated form, vocalist/drummer Richard Hoak (also the odd bit of flute and ocarina), bassist/vocalist Ryan Moll and guitarist Pingdum filling the between space with the blasts and jangles of “A Demonstration of Power,” the maddening twists of “Attack of the Supervirus 1138” and other mini-bursts of unbridled aggression like “Stone Bomb,” “Doctor Butcher” and the outright conceptual genius of “Yelling at Velcro,” which, indeed, is just 20 or so seconds of yelling ahead of the arrival of the closer. In an alternate future, Total Fucking Destruction‘s work will be added to the Library of Congress. In this future, we’re boned.

Total Fucking Destruction on Thee Facebooks

Translation Loss Records store

 

Humulus, The Deep

humulus the deep

For the six-song/51-minute The Deep, Italian three-piece Humulus somewhat depart the beer-rocking ways of 2017’s second LP, Reverently Heading into Nowhere (review here). Sure, the riff of “Gone Again” is pure Kyuss idolatry (not a complaint), and “Devil’s Peak (We Eventually Eluded Death)” brims with drunkard’s swagger, but factor in the wonderfully executed linear build that takes place across the eight-minute “Hajra,” the mellow emotionalism of the penultimate acoustic track “Lunar Queen,” and the two extended psychedelic bookends in opener “Into the Heart of the Volcano Sun” (14:48) and closer “Sanctuary III – The Deep” (14:59), and the narrative becomes decidedly more complex than just “they drink and play riffs.” These elements have been in Humulus‘ sound all along, but it’s plain to hear the band have actively worked to push themselves forward in scope, and the range suits them, the closer particularly filled with a theatricality that would seem to speak to further storytelling to come on subsequent releases. So be it. They called the album The Deep and have dived in accordingly.

Humulus on Thee Facebooks

Kozmik Artifactz website

 

The River, Vessels into White Tides

The River Vessels into White Tides

An atmosphere of melancholy is quickly established on The River‘s third LP, Vessels into White Tides (on Nine Records), and for being the London four-piece’s first album 10 years, it takes place in a sense of unrushed melody, the band rolling out a morose feel born of but not directly aping the likes of My Dying Bride and Paradise Lost as the vocals of guitarist Jenny Newton (also strings, percussion) — joined in the band by guitarist Christian Leitch, bassist Stephen Morrissey and drummer Jason Ludwig — make their presence felt soon in opener “Vessels,” which unfolds gracefully with a crash and rumble fading into the beginning of the subsequent “Into White” (15:01) with the four-minute string-laced “Open” and the 9:44 shifting-into-intensity “Passing” preceding closer “Tides,” which is duly rolling in its progression and offers a sweet bit of release, if wistful, from some of the more grueling moments before it, capping not with a distorted blowout, but with layers of strings reinforcing the folkish underpinning that’s been there all along, in even the most tonally or emotionally weighted stretches.

The River on Thee Facebooks

Nine Records store

 

Phantom Hound, Mountain Pass

Phantom Hound Mountain Pass

Mountain Pass, which begins with “The Northern Face,” ends with “The Southern Face” and along the way treks through its on-theme title-track and the speedier “You Don’t Know Death,” catchy “Thunder I Am” and fairly-enough bluesy “Devil Blues,” has its foundations in oldschool metal and punk, but is a decidedly rock-based offering. It’s the debut from Oakland’s Phantom Hound, and its eight component tracks make no attempt to mask their origins or coat their material in unnecessary pretense — they are what they are; the album is what it is. The three-piece dip into acoustics on the instrumental “Grace of an Angel,” which shifts with a cymbal wash into the lead guitar at the outset of the eight-minute title-track — the stomp of which is perhaps more evocative of the mountain than the passing, but still works — but even this isn’t so far removed from the straightforward purposes of “Irons in the Fire,” which stakes its claim to dead-ahead metal and rock, barely stopping along the way to ask what else you could possibly need.

Phantom Hound on Thee Facebooks

Phantom Hound on Bandcamp

 

Chang, Superlocomotodrive

chang superlocomotodrive

Munich-based trio Chang, with clear, modern production behind them, present their debut EP release with the 29-minute Superlocomotodrive, and though it’s short, one is left wondering what else they might need to consider it an album. What’s missing? You’ve got the let’s-jam-outta-here in the six-minute opener and longest track (immediate points) “Mescalin,” and plenty of gruff riffing to back that up in “Old Rusty Car” and the later title-track, with a bit of Oliveri-era Queens of the Stone Age edge in the latter to boot, plus some psychedelic lead work in “Sterne,” some particularly German quirk in “Bottle Beach” and a massive buildup in tension in the finale “Bombs Whisper” that seems to arrive at its moment of payoff only to instead cut to silence and purposefully leave the listener hanging — an especially bold move for a first release. Yeah, it’s under half an hour long, but so what? The heavy rock terrain Chang are working in is familiar enough — right down to the less-than-P.C. lyrics of “Old Rusty Car” — but there’s no sense that Superlocomotodrive wants to be something it isn’t. It’s heavy rock celebrating heavy rock.

Chang on Thee Facebooks

Chang on Bandcamp

 

The Dhaze, Deaf Dumb Blind

the dhaze deaf dumb blind

Though the grunge influence in the vocals of guitarist Simone Pennucci speak to more of a hard-rocking kind of sound, the basis of The Dhaze‘s sprawl across their ambitious 53-minute Sound Effect Records debut album, Deaf Dumb Blind, is more in line with progressive metal and heavy psychedelia. Bassist Vincenzo La Tegola backs Pennucci on vocals and locks in fluid mid-tempo grooves with drummer Lorenzo Manna, and makes a highlight of the low end in “Death Walks with Me” ahead of the titular trilogy, presented in the order of “Deaf,” “Blind” and “Dumb,” which flow together as one piece thanks in no small part to the synth work added by La Tegola and Pennucci together. Obviously comfortable in longer-form stretches like “Death Walks with Me” or the earlier “Neurosis,” both of which top nine minutes, the Napoli trio bring a fervent sense of variety to their work while leaving themselves open to future growth in terms of sound and playing with the balance between elements they establish here.

The Dhaze on Thee Facebooks

Sound Effect Records store

 

Lost Psychonaut, Lost Psychonaut

Lost Psychonaut Lost Psychonaut

Hailing — because metal bands hail, to be sure — from the Pittsburgh area, newcomers Lost Psychonaut boast in their ranks two former members of sludgers Vulture in guitarist/vocalist Justin Erb and bassist
Garrett Twardesky, who, together with drummer Tristan Triggs, run through a debut LP made up of five tracks that skirt the line between groove metal and heavy rock, tapping-like-flowing-kegs influences from the likes of ’90s-era C.O.C. and others such burl-laced groovers. Tales of day-to-day struggles make a fitting enough backdrop to the riff-led proceedings, which commence with the prior-issued single “My Time” and roll-groove their way into a duo of longer cuts at the end in “Restitution Day” (8:46) and “On a Down” (7:44). Frankly, any mention of the word “Down” at all in a song that feels so outwardly “buried in smoke” can hardly be coincidental, but that nod is well earned. With a couple years behind them, they know what they’re going for in this initial batch of songs, and the clearheaded nature of their approach only gives their songwriting more of a sense of command. There’s growth to be undertaken, but nothing to say they can’t get there.

Lost Psychonaut on Thee Facebooks

Lost Psychonaut on Bandcamp

 

Liquido di Morte, IIII

liquido di morte iiii

I suppose you could, if so inclined, live up to Liquido di Morte‘s slogan, “We play music to take drugs to,” but you’d be shorting yourself on the experience of a lucid listen to their third long-player IIII. Issued in limited handmade packaging by the band, the Milan instrumentalists offer a stylistic take across the late-2019 five-tracker that stands somewhere between heavy post-rock and post-metal, but in that incorporates no shortage of thoughtful psychedelic meditations and even some kraut and space rock vibes. The primary impact is atmospheric, but there’s diversity in their approach such that the centerpiece “Tramonto Nucleare” begins cosmic, or maybe cataclysmic, and ends with an almost serene roll into the floating guitar at the outset of the subsequent “Rebus (6,5),” which is the longest inclusion at 13:40 and an encompassing, hypnotic srpawl that, whether you take drugs or not, seems destined to commune with expanded or expanding minds. The front-to-back journey ends with “The Fattening,” a cinematic run of synth after which a slaughter feels almost inevitable, even if it arrives as silence.

Liquido di Morte on Thee Facebooks

Liquido di Morte on Bandcamp

 

Black Burned Blimp, Crash Overdrive

Black Burned Blimp Crash Overdrive

Bonus points to Netherlands four-piece Black Burned Blimp for including song titles like “What Doesn’t Kill You, Makes You Weirder” and “The Good, the Bad and the Fucking Horrific” and, at the start of “Desert Wizard,” the sample from Trailer Park Boys wherein Mr. Lahey declares, “I am the liquor” on their debut LP, Crash Overdrive. Native to a heavy rock legacy that includes acts like 13eaver, 35007, Astrosoniq and Celestial Season, among many others, the band hint toward melodic complexity while remaining focused on raw energy in their songwriting, such that even the drumless, harmonized and minute-long “Flock” seems to seethe with unstated tension for “Robo Erectus,” which follows, to pay off. It does, though perhaps with less of a tempo kick than one might expect — certainly less than the careening “The Good, the Bad and the Fucking Horrific” a few tracks later — but somehow, no matter what speed they’re actually playing, Black Burned Blimp seem to make it sound fast. Vitality will do that.

Black Burned Blimp on Thee Facebooks

Black Burned Blimp on Bandcamp

 

Crimson Oak, Crimson Oak

crimson oak crimson oak

Though their arrival comes amid a German heavy rock underground that’s nothing if not well populated, Fulda-based five-piece Crimson Oak present with their self-titled debut long-player a stylistic take that’s both modern and genuine sounding, finding solid ground in well-crafted songs drawing more from ’90s-era heavy and punk in “Danger Time,” which follows the contemplative “Of My Youth,” the bulk of what surrounds expressing a similar level of self-awareness, up to and including the nine-minute side B opener “Brother of Sleep,” which sets psychedelic guitar against some of the album’s biggest riffs (and melodies). There’s middle ground to be had in cuts like “Displace” and “Sunset Embrace” still to come and “Fulda Gap” earlier, but Crimson Oak seem to touch that middle ground mostly en route to whichever end of the spectrum next piques their interest. At seven songs and 42 minutes, it’s not an insubstantial LP, but they hold their own with confidence and a poise that speaks to the fact that some of this material showed up on prior EPs. That experience with it shows but does not hold the band or songs back.

Crimson Oak on Thee Facebooks

Crimson Oak on Bandcamp

 

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