Duuude, Tapes! Spindrift, Exotic Detonation

Posted in Duuude, Tapes! on February 12th, 2015 by JJ Koczan

spindrift-exotic-detonation-tape-and-case

Way out west there’s a band called Spindrift, and they’ve been a-ramblin’ for the better part of 20 years now. Back in 2012, guitarist/vocalist Kirkpatrick Thomas — who’s seen ’em come and seen ’em go as regards bandmates — took his troupe of Ennio Morricone-inspired bandoliers out on a five-week run of ghost towns, because, uh, clinical depression? Nah, I don’t know that. Point is, Spindrift ventured out and brought a film crew along and made a movie basically to go with the sounds they make that are — wait for it — inspired by movies. Got it? If it’s a question of the chicken or the egg as to which came first, the movie or the soundtrack, the answer is yes.

spindrift-exotic-detonation-tapeSince then, Ghost of the West has been shown here and there at festivals and special premieres and whatnot, and the soundtrack — also Spindrift‘s eighth and latest long-player — came out in 2013 on Tee Pee Records. It closed with a punked up take on “Ghost Riders in the Sky.” Very cool, lots of fun. Apparently there was some music left over, which is believable both because these cats jam and because some pieces are pretty short, and so the Exotic Detonation EP came to be. It’s a quick one, just three songs and about 11 minutes long, released on a two-sided, clear-blue cassette by Burger Records, but if you’ve ever or never heard Spindrift before, it makes a solid argument for what they do in their particular brand of cinematic desert-hued spaghetti Western psychedelia.

Side one of the tape is comprised of the title-track and “Ghosts Go West,” two shorter more livelier slices that are complemented on side two by the five-minute “High Plains Spindrifter,” which the tape notes also appeared in the film The Legend of the Widower Colby Wallace, to which Spindrift also supplied the score. That cut is something of a departure from the other two, a more minimal, foreboding atmospheric work marked out by Native American flute, sparse, descending guitar and a tense underlying drone — it has a threat of open spaces at night. To contrast, back on side one, opener “Exotic Detonation” starts with a direct port of the theme song to The Twilight Zone and moves into a gallop that, were it not for the punkishness of its drums, would just about make you dig at the grave of Arch Stanton.

spindrift-exotic-detonation-j-card“Ghosts Go West” as a more prominent low end and is in less of a rush generally, but the guitars open wider, echo further. Both it and “Exotic Detonation” are sort of thematic slices, but each is distinguished from the other, and by the time the tape clicks off at the end of “High Plains Spindrifter,” it’s a surprise because it’s so otherworldly and hypnotic. I haven’t seen Ghost of the West, but I’d be interested to know what visuals it accompanies. In my head it’s someplace where things like light pollution don’t exist.

Spindrift are about due for a follow-up to Ghost of the West, whether that’s a studio album with the current or at-least-current-last-time-I-looked-which-was-right-now lineup of Kirkpatrick Thomas, guitarist Thomas Bellier (also Blaak Heat Shujaa and who mixed the first two songs on Exotic Detonation and mastered the release), bassist Henry Evans and drummer James Acton, another soundtrack, or something else entirely. Whatever they wind up doing, they remain a band unto themselves soundwise and as a sampling of that, Exotic Detonation satisfies atmospherically and in its Western loyalist soundscapes.

Spindrift, “High Plains Spindrifter”

Spindrift on Thee Facebooks

Spindrift’s website

Burger Records

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The Obelisk Radio Adds: Ides of Gemini, Michael Rudolph Cummings, Witch Charmer, Kikagaku Moyo, Spindrift

Posted in Radio on August 15th, 2014 by JJ Koczan

the obelisk radio

It’s a pretty wide stylistic swath with this week’s adds to The Obelisk Radio, but I don’t think that’s a bad thing. If you check out the playlists for the last couple days, you’ll see a considerable variety of track picked out — also a lot of Clutch — and that only bolsters the appeal of the stream as far as I’m concerned. Straight-up riffs all the time is cool, I guess, but sometimes a left turn out of nowhere can make your whole day seem richer. Maybe that’s what I’m going for with this week’s picks. Either way, it’s a lot of quality, so your tuning in is appreciated.

The Obelisk Radio Adds for Aug. 15, 2014:

Ides of Gemini, Old World/New Wave

ides of gemini old world new wave

The Sera Timms-fronted three-piece return with Old World/New Wave, their second album on Neurot Recordings with a suitable foll0w-up collection of otherworldly melodies and ethereal instrumental explorations, setting a balance between doomly undulation and minimalist ambience. Also handling bass, Timms (ex-Black Math Horseman) is of course in command of her form vocally, and guitarist J. Bennett and drummer/backing vocalist Kelly Johnston play more than a complementary role, the trio functioning even tighter than on their 2012 debut, Constantinople, hitting on psychedelic mastery with “White Hart” and rolling out a classic riffly chug on the later “Fememorde.” Mood and ambience are never far from being the central focus, but Ides of Gemini let loose a bit on “The Chalice and the Blade,” with Bennett‘s guitar taking forward position in the mix with an echoing lead tone that seems to be in direct conversation with Timms‘ vocals. It’s a dialog worth hearing, and one that makes Old World/New Wave a markedly rich, immersive listening experience, the spaces the three-piece create in their songs seeming inevitably destined for headphone-on isolation, and in that context, flourishing. Ides of Gemini on Thee Facebooks, Neurot Recordings.

Michael Rudolph Cummings, “Long Haul”

A single following the earlier-2014 solo release, Get Low, from Pennsylvania-based Backwoods Payback guitarist/vocalist Michael Rudolph Cummings, the new song “Long Haul” finds Cummings partnered with his Backwoods bandmate Jessica Baker (bass), as well as guitarists Dan Metzker and Pat Shannon and drummer/vocalist Mike Bardzik under the adopted moniker mRc and the Souvenirs. The feel of the track is accordingly full-band, casting off most of the punk influence and heavy tonality that distinguishes Backwoods Payback‘s riff-led take in favor of warmer, classic rock vibing. Cummings‘ voice is suited to the change, and especially following Get Low, “Long Haul” feels like an exploration in progress — new ground being felt out — and I’d argue it’s successful in its push toward creating something distinct from Cummings‘ other solo work and the Backwoods itself. He’s reportedly got an EP coming with The Souvenirs, and as a first taste of what that might sound like, “Long Haul” holds promise of good things to come. Michael Rudolph Cummings on Bandcamp, Backwoods Payback on Twitter.

Kikagaku Moyo, Mammatus Clouds

Improvisational five-piece Kikagaku Moyo are obviously comfortable working in longer forms. The Tokyo outfit’s second offering, Mammatus Clouds, was initially released as limited tape through Sky Lantern Records and has been picked up by Cardinal Fuzz for a deluxe 2LP. No real question why — its three tracks, “Pond” (27:50), “Never Know” (16:50) and “There is No Other Place” (3:19), enact a lush wash of hypnotic, sitar-laced psychedelia. “Pond” is especially satisfying in its exploration, drones and melodies playing out over a consistent rhythmic bed, driving further and further out into ambient breaks and louder payoffs until dropping out to spacious waves of noise, but I won’t discount the appeal of realizing that Kikagaku Moyo are playing off The Beatles‘ “Tomorrow Never Knows” in their own “Never Know” either, taking a recognizable sitar line and burying it deep within their own impulses, truly making an individualized work of it. Likewise, the closer “There is No Other Place” comes as a surprise, an effects-drenched psych rocker quick in its pulse and building to Mammatus Clouds‘ noisy conclusion. The sound here is richer than the average heavy jam, and the effectiveness of the ambience is not to be understated. I haven’t heard the vinyl or the tape, but I have a hard time imagining a format on which this music isn’t absolutely beautiful. Kikagaku Moyo on Thee Facebooks, Cardinal Fuzz webstore, Sky Lantern Records on Bandcamp.

Witch Charmer, The Great Depression

Multi-vocalist UK bruiser doomers Witch Charmer debut on Argonauta Records with The Great Depression, the follow-up first full-length to their 2013 Euphoric Curse EP. Mixed and mastered as that release was by Mos Generator‘s Tony ReedThe Great Depression works well to establish a varied if not necessarily stylistically diverse sound, frontwoman Kate McKeown, guitarists Len Lennox and Adam Clarke and drummer Dave McQuillan all contributing vocals — the band is completed by bassist Richard Maher — over dense and accordingly depressive riffing. I’m not sure which of them does the Kirk Windstein-style growls, but they’re pretty dead on, as “A Watching of Wolves” will attest, and the tradeoffs both keep the record moving and keep a sense of spontaneity to coincide with the rolling riffs and longer arrangements, leading to the extended closer “Stare into the Sun,” which hides a sample-topped acoustic outro. Not sure why they’d feel the need to bury those impulses, but their first outing may be setting the stage for an unfolding creative progression, and cohesive as it is, I’m not going to knock it for solid riffs front to back and a doomed-out feel. Witch Charmer on Thee Facebooks, Argonauta Records.

Spindrift, Exotic Detonation EP

Underrated cowboy psych outfit Spindrift — now featuring guitarist Thomas Bellier of Blaak Heat Shujaa — apparently had some material leftover from last year’s Spindrift: Ghost of the West, and three new songs surface as the Exotic Detonation EP via Tee Pee Records, bringing The Twilight Zone to mind immediately on the opening title-track before launching into the snare-march Morricone-isms in which they so readily trade. That Spindrift would wind up doing soundtrack work — to their own movie, no less — isn’t surprising, since their style is so cinematic, but I guess “Exotic Detonation,” the desert-jammy “Ghosts Go West” and the minimalist finale “High Plains Spindrifter” didn’t fit on the initial release. Issuing them on a complementary EP makes sense, and from the standpoint of the radio stream, it’s three more Spindrift songs that weren’t there before, so fair enough. They continue to reside in a very particular niche that’s very much theirs, and for fans of those who might happen into them live, Exotic Detonation will seem right at home among their other Western thrills. Spindrift on Thee Facebooks, Tee Pee Records.

I could tell you how long this took me to put together, but frankly it’s embarrassing. Still, this is but a portion of the albums added to The Obelisk Radio this afternoon. To see the full list (it includes Pallbearer), check out The Obelisk Radio Updates and Playlist page.

Thanks as always for reading and listening.

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Spindrift and Blaak Heat Shujaa Announce European Tour

Posted in Whathaveyou on April 30th, 2013 by JJ Koczan

Scholars in the ways of Morricone, L.A. psych rockers Spindrift have announced a month-long run of shows through Europe to herald the arrival of their new movie and album, Ghost of the West. To support, they’re bringing along Blaak Heat Shujaa, who continue to make waves with their full-length Tee Pee debut, The Edge of an Era (review here). If you’re fortunate enough to be somewhere these shows are happening, expect a lot of airy guitars and vivid atmospherics. Trip on.

Here’s the info off the PR wire:

SPINDRIFT & BLAAK HEAT SHUJAA “Ghost Of The West” EU Tour 2013

Cinematic spaghetti western favorites SPINDRIFT will embark on a month-long European tour this June/July with psychedelic rock’s rising force BLAAK HEAT SHUJAA. For their first EU headlining tour and third EU tour overall, SPINDRIFT will perform a set of titles from their new album and film “Ghost of the West” which will be followed by their celebrated spaghetti classics. Scenes from the movie will be projected during the shows, and pre-sale copies of “Ghost Of The West” will be available for purchase. “Ghost of the West” documents the band traveling across the far reaches of the Western US, performing old western traditional tunes in Ghost Towns, deserts, and places of historic Western lore. Sharing the bill with them are “heavy mental” rockers BLAAK HEAT SHUJAA, who triumphantly return to Europe after the release of the critically acclaimed album “The Edge Of An Era” (out April 9, 2013 on TeePee Records).

June 05. Sinister Noise Club – Rome, ITALY
June 07. Fordongianus – Oristano, ITALY
June 08. Secret Show – Location TBA, ITALY
June 10. United Club – Torino, ITALY
June 11. L’Usine – Geneva, SWITZERLAND
June 12. Dachstock – Bern, SWITZERLAND
June 14. Le Bukowski – San Sebastian, SPAIN
June 15. Ego Live – Alcala de Henares, SPAIN
June 16. Taberna Belfast – Santa Maria Del Paramo, SPAIN
June 17. Estudio 27 – Burgos, SPAIN
June 18. Le Saint Des Seins – Toulouse, FRANCE
June 19. Les Combustibles – Paris, FRANCE
June 20. L’Entrepôt – Arlon, BELGIUM
June 21. Paard Van Troje – The Hague, NETHERLANDS
June 22. De Bastille – Schoonhoven, NETHERLANDS
June 23. Bassy Cowboy Club – Berlin, GERMANY
June 25. Revolver – Oslo, NORWAY
June 26. Kafe De Luxe – Växjö, SWEDEN
June 27. KB18 – Copenhagen, DENMARK
June 28. Black Night – Jena, GERMANY
June 30. A38 – Budapest, HUNGARY
July 02. Club Gromka – Ljubljana, SLOVENIA
July 03. Sidro Club – Savignano Sul Rubicone, ITALY

Spindrift, Ghost of the West Trailer

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audiObelisk: Fourth Batch of Roadburn 2011 Streams Posted (Features Ufomammut, Black Pyramid and More)

Posted in audiObelisk on May 27th, 2011 by JJ Koczan

As ever, I thank Walter and the Roadburn crew for their generosity in allowing me to host the links to the official streams from Roadburn 2011. As we Americans get ready to celebrate Memorial Day, I can think of few better complements for a barbecue than The Machine‘s Hendrixian take on heavy jamming, or, as the evening wears on, drinks are imbibed and fists are raised in triumph, Black Pyramid‘s doomy gallop. And, of course, just in case the universe comes to a crashing end (as my work email account just did), there’s Ufomammut playing Eve in its entirety for sonic complement. You can’t ask for more than that. From life. But there’s more anyway, so enjoy the aural hubris:

Black Pyramid
http://3voor12.vpro.nl/speler/ondemand/44772202#ondemand.44772202

Dragontears
http://3voor12.vpro.nl/speler/ondemand/44772206#ondemand.44772206

The Gates of Slumber
http://3voor12.vpro.nl/speler/ondemand/44772216#ondemand.44772216

Place of Skulls
http://3voor12.vpro.nl/speler/ondemand/44772220#ondemand.44772220

Sourvein
http://3voor12.vpro.nl/speler/ondemand/44772226#ondemand.44772226

Spindrift
http://3voor12.vpro.nl/speler/ondemand/44772231#ondemand.44772231

The Machine
http://3voor12.vpro.nl/speler/ondemand/44772239#ondemand.44772239

Ufomammut
http://3voor12.vpro.nl/speler/ondemand/44772244#ondemand.44772244

These and all Roadburn audio streams were recorded by the vigilant Spacejam team headed by Marcel van de Vondervoort (also of ass-kicking rockers Astrosoniq), so if you see him, please say thanks for all the hard work. Roadburn 2011 took place April 14-17 at the 013 Popcentrum in Tilburg, The Netherlands. If you’d like to read more than you could ever possibly want to read about it, click here.

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