Snowy Dunes, Atlantis: The Power of Testimony

Posted in Reviews on November 20th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

snowy dunes atlantis

Snowy Dunes have caught a heavy blues. They’re far from the only ones. The last couple years have witnessed a nascent surge of soul-driven heavy rock, and whether manifest in the high-order pop hooks of Snowy Dunes‘ Swedish countryfolk Blues Pills, the grit of New York’s Geezer or the dug-in jams of Australia’s Child, these worldwide examples are tied together through a blend of sonic fluidity, songcraft, open atmosphere and underlying naturalism that carries across this core sound as a next logical step forward for what in the earlier part of the decade might’ve been more straight-ahead boogie rock recorded on vintage gear.

Atlantis, which is the second Snowy Dunes long-player and sees release through HeviSike Records, follows a well-received 2015 self-titled debut (discussed here) and finds the returning four-piece of guitarist Christoffer Kingstedt, bassist Carl Oredson, drummer Stefan Jakobsson and vocalist Niklas Eisen pushing themselves creativity and refining the processes laid forth their last time out. The first album had a thrilling sense of spontaneity, and Atlantis does likewise, though the band stuck closer to home and recorded in Sweden with Anders Oredsson rather than travel as they did for the first record, which was tracked with Dead Meadow‘s Steve Krille.

Does that make Atlantis less of an adventure? Not necessarily. While there are fewer moments of left-the-tape-running-to-see-what-would-happen flourish among Atlantis‘ five songs/42 minutes, those same songs are well served by a tighter approach overall, and with its booking title-track installments — beginning with “Atlantis, Part II,” which is also the longest cut at 10:55 (immediate points) and ending with the build-into-apex-and-then-drift-away “Atlantis, Part III” — the record is not at all without a sense of journey in the front-to-back listening experience.

If anything, that sense is all the more resonant in Atlantis than it was on Snowy Dunes, because where the debut was so tied to the idea of the band jamming off the cuff in the studio — thereby keeping themselves to that one physical place even if using it as a launch point for musical exploration as they were — Atlantis comes across as roaming more freely on the whole. Between “Atlantis, Part II” and “Atlantis, Part III” — and if you’re wondering what happened to “Atlantis, Part I,” Snowy Dunes released it digitally as a single in Jan. 2016; it’s a 19-minute improv jam also recorded by Oredsson that carries some genuinely glorious moments — the band offers a three-song salvo of organic engagement. It’s up to “Atlantis, Part II” to set the scene, and the song does, with an initial strike of piano keys forward and backward that begins Atlantis on an atmospheric note and leads into trades back and forth of volume swells and psychedelic drift that are fluidly executed enough to leave little question why the band might’ve named the album after a sunken city.

snowy dunes

As a frontman, Eisen made a striking and personality-filled impression on the self-titled, and he does so on “Atlantis, Part II” as well, but shines even more on the subsequent “Testify,” which picks up directly on beat from the opener and plays off gospel traditions in an insistent heavy rock push marked by Jakobsson‘s fleet turns stamped with Kingstedt‘s wah, dropping to Oredson‘s bass to begin a wonderfully immersive middle third build and hits its peak as it rolls toward its eighth minute with Eisen speaking in tongues before the guitar leads the way back into a final runthrough of the album’s most memorable chorus and another scorching but still welcoming solo. The win is immediate, the party is a blast, but if you’re looking for a highlight in terms of vibe, centerpiece “The Trident and the Moon” answers the liquefaction of “Atlantis, Part II” with deep-running psych immersion and ballad-style storytelling in its lyrics, the vocals working subtly in layers atop the vast seascape of guitar and steady movement of drums and bass.

The second half of the song is given to another linear build answered by a late return to the chorus, but as with that midsection of “Testify,” it’s all about the dynamic and the chemistry Snowy Dunes bring to their execution of same. Both are palpable. And as “The Trident and the Moon”‘s nine and a half minutes come to an end ahead of the shorter “Ritual of Voices,” which though it features some choice vocal work beginning with spoken echoes and unfolding to spacious proclamations, is even more marked out by the wash created by the guitar and the hypnosis conjured thereby.

Casting off momentarily some of the bluesy feel — it’s never too far gone — Snowy Dunes retool the balance to emphasize the psychedelic side of their sound, and in this swirl, they find a rhythmic punch held together deftly by the drums and bass as Kingstedt utterly soars and leaves a trail of fire behind him along his way. It comes to a head and cuts out quick at seven minutes, but “Ritual of Voices” is a distinct stretch of Atlantis and demonstrates the ability of the band to emphasize multiple aspects of who they are in their songwriting. After that, the plunge into “Atlantis, Part III” feels almost like a return to solid ground, but is warm and welcome all the same. The closer is the shortest slice of Atlantis at just over six minutes long — and a decent portion of its last minute is silent — but that’s still plenty of time for Snowy Dunes to shift from the initial languid verses into a kinetic payoff that smoothly works into the roll-credits guitar line and melodic progression that ends the record with no less a consonant naturalism than it began.

So far as I can tell, “Atlantis, Part II” and “Atlantis, Part III” — and, for that matter, the prior “Atlantis, Part I” — don’t tie together in terms of actual sonic theme, but in their ambience they relate much of the same story, and it’s a narrative of continued growth on the part of the band and further development of who they are as individual players and together as a functioning unit. The signals are clear throughout Atlantis that Snowy Dunes are not finished with this evolutionary process, and frankly that only renders the songs more exciting, since even as they bask in a more complete realization than one found on the debut, they hold forth a potential no less vivid, and indeed make Atlantis a work of discovery.

Snowy Dunes, Atlantis (2017)

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HeviSike Records website

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Friday Full-Length: Abramis Brama, Nothing Changes

Posted in Bootleg Theater on November 10th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

Abramis Brama, Nothing Changes (2003)

Listening to Abramis Brama‘s 2003 third album, Nothing Changes, and especially taking it in kind with its excellent 2005 follow-up, Rubicon (discussed here), one can’t help but wonder if the Stockholm four-piece’s decision to sing in Swedish didn’t at least in part hold them back from taking the forward position in the retro rock movement that went to the likes of Graveyard just a few years later. I’ll confess a personal preference for the later outing, but it’s Nothing Changes that begs the question all the more, since it’s the one time (to-date) that the band compromised on their position, and the results are stunning. Older songs like “Abramis Brama” and “All is Black” are revamped, and from the Soundgarden-meets-Sabbath swing of “Just Like Me” and the also-flute-inclusive closer “Parts of My Mind (Still Remains Untouched),” the lineup of vocalist Ulf Torkelsson, guitarist Per-Olof Andersson, bassist Dennis Berg and drummer Fredrik Jansson soar and swing through a modus of interpreting classic heavy rock that could only be called prescient at the time of what would emerge over the following couple years. As much ahead of their time as behind it. A temporal paradox of a band.

Naturally, there are other factors involved, from touring and the level at which a group is promoted, to songwriting, to accessibility, to stage presence, to the simple coincidence of what else comes out in a given week, month, year, and so on. So it’s not fair to say not having English lyrics is the only factor to be taken into consideration, but neither is it nothing. Abramis Brama got their start with a self-titled demo in 1998, just around the time Örebro vintage-minded progenitors Norrsken — from whom Witchcraft and the aforementioned Graveyard sprang — were putting out their demos ahead of their lone single in 1999, and the Stockholm unit made their full-length debut with Dansa Tokjävelns Vals that same year via Record Heaven. With that and the subsequent När Tystnaden Lagt Sig… in 2001, Abramis Brama carved a niche for themselves in boogie and ’70s-style heavy riffing, and while in listening to “Know You’re Lying” after the linear build of opener “Abramis Brama” on Nothing Changes one can hear the scorching shuffle that Kyuss innovated so fluidly in the early and mid ’90s, even this became Abramis Brama‘s own through the loose-feeling swing, intricacy of the guitar work and the effectiveness of Torkelsson‘s vocals. The hooks in cuts like the percussion-funked “Anticlockwise Man” and the chunkier-sounding penultimate groover “Never Leaving My Mind” offer landmarks along a flowing full-album course, while centerpiece “All is Black” engages post-Mountain nod leading directly into the attitude-soaked title-track, marked out by its flourish of intertwining acoustic and electric guitar in the second half.

Hearing the 45-minute long-player front to back, it’s easy to envision a reality in which Abramis Brama, instead of adopting a fuller and more modern production on 2009’s Smakar Söndag (review here), spearheaded the charge of retroism that came out of Sweden at the time, but their creative path simply took them elsewhere, and as much as — particularly for someone who doesn’t speak the language, like my ignorant ass — one might look to their Swedish lyrics as a reason they haven’t been embraced by a broader international audience in the manner of some of their contemporaries, the basic fact is that their refusing to go back to English after Nothing Changes — the very title of which seems to convey a sense of defiance against the idea of doing so in the first place — has become an essential facet of their identity as a band, and even as Smakar Söndag and its 2014 follow-up, Enkel Biljett, brought them stylistically to a new aesthetic position, they’ve been able to retain a tie to their earlier material as a result. And, frankly, their songwriting has always been strong enough that language doesn’t matter in the first place, which is something else that a back-to-back listen from Nothing Changes to Rubicon plainly demonstrates.

However you want to get there, new or old, English or Swedish, the bottom line still works out to be that Abramis Brama are pretty undervalued when it comes to the general quality level of their output. It’s now been three years since Enkel Biljett came out and it was five between Smakar Söndag and that record after four between Rubicon and Smakar Söndag, and though it seems kind of early for them, they’ve said they’ll have a new album out before the end of 2017. Whether or not that comes to fruition, the social media updates show work in progress, and if it winds up being sometime next year instead, well, I’ll take it just about whenever it comes, and in whatever language.

As always, I hope you enjoy. Thanks for reading.

Yesterday and today both I woke up at about 3:30AM. We’re still way too early to be into any kind of established pattern, but now two weeks old, The Pecan has been up at that point the last two nights needing to be changed and fed, and with exclusive breastfeeding going on from The Patient Mrs., that puts me on changing duty. Fair enough. By then though, my alarm’s set to go off at 4:30, so I might as well get up. Not getting back to sleep. So whatever.

Hey, new parent is tired. I hear that’s a thing.

We had a couple rough days this week. I did, anyhow. The Patient Mrs. continues to be amazing. By 5PM on Wednesday I felt like I’d already failed as a parent, a member of this species and as a biological entity in general. It sucked. Yesterday morning was hard too as regards go-the-fuck-to-sleep, but again, I hear that’s a thing. We’re in survival mode, but thus far, we’re surviving. Miseries and joys along the way. Life. The coffee’s good.

Trying to write as much as I can between daddy-stuff. Doctor appointments, grocery shopping, diapers, cooking, cleaning, laundry, whatnot. Keeps me sane, but I feel like fatigue has been a factor this week. I’ve also has a couple of other announcements and writing things to do and more still to go outside the site, or at least not directly related to it, and that’s taken a toll. No real end to any of it. Email is a challenge. Facebook messages are a challenge. Gathering up the will to actually listen when someone just throws a Bandcamp link in a message with zero effort whatsoever and starts their note “Hey dudes” or something similar — definitely a challenge.

But I’m doing the best I can. With all of it. Everything. Some I’m winning, some I’m losing. Big or small, all those fish gotta get fried.

Notes are subject to change as always, but here’s what’s in ’em for next week:

Mon.: Nupraptor track stream/album review; Langfinger video premiere.
Tue.: Mangoo video premiere/album review.
Wed.: Six Dumb Questions with Great Electric Quest; new I Klatus video.
Thu.: Frank Sabbath review; whatever comes.
Fri.: T.G. Olson review; whatever comes.

Lots of news updates in there as well. Desertfest London and Berlin updated their lineups today and I need to get those posts together and Roadburn is soon to update its lineup as well, so there will be that. Busy, busy, busy. I’ll stay busy.

For now though, I’m gonna try to sneak in some time to read and chill out for about an hour or so until the next thing occurs to me that I need to immediately take care of. Oh wait, dishes. Yeah, gotta do dishes. Well, I almost got there.

Have a great and safe weekend. Thanks again for reading and please check out the forum and radio stream.

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Quarterly Review: Hallatar, Alastor, The Dead-End Alley Band, Hair of the Dog, Soup, Kungens Män, Smoke Wizzzard, Highburnator, The Curf, Ulls

Posted in Reviews on September 29th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

the obelisk quarterly review

Here we are, gathered for round four of the Fall 2017 Quarterly Review. After the technical issues with the site for the last couple days, I’m glad to have everything back up and running, and one more time I thank Slevin and Behrang Alavi for making that happen. Though I have no idea what it might actually entail, I don’t imagine switching hosts on the fly for a site with as much content as this one has is easy, but they of course killed it and it is thoroughly appreciated. We move forward, as ever, with 10 more records. So let’s go.

Quarterly Review #31-40:

Hallatar, No Stars Upon the Bridge

hallatar-no-stars-upon-the-bridge

Finland’s Hallatar was formed after the passing of Trees of Eternity vocalist Aleah Starbridge, life partner of guitarist and songwriter Juha Ravio (also Swallow the Sun). In the new outfit, Ravio pays homage to Starbridge with the debut long-player No Stars Upon the Bridge (on Svart) by using her poems as lyrics, samples of her voice reading on “Raven’s Song,” “Spiral Gate” and the piano-backed centerpiece “Pieces,” and by bringing in Amorphis vocalist Tomi Joutsen and ex-HIM drummer Gas Lipstick to complete a trio playing nine tracks/40 minutes of deeply mournful/beautiful death-doom. The extremity of lurch in “The Maze” late in the record is matched by the gorgeousness of the chants and shimmering guitar on closer “Dreams Burn Down,” and from the opening strains of “Mirrors,” the emotion driving No Stars Upon the Bridge is sincere and affecting. Cuts like “Melt” and the mostly-whispered-until-it-explodes “My Mistake” have a sense of the theatrical in their delivery, but that makes them no less genuine, and though one wouldn’t wish the circumstances leading to the band’s formation on anybody, there’s no question that with Hallatar, Ravio turns tragedy into a lush, resonant catharsis.

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Svart Records website

 

Alastor, Black Magic

alastor black magic

Cultish echoes pervade Black Magic, the debut album from Swedish doom-rolling four-piece Alastor, and it’s not so much that the initials-only four-piece of guitarists H and J, bassist/vocalist R and drummer S take influence from Electric Wizard and Black Sabbath, it’s what they do with that influence that’s most striking. Black Magic is made up of three extended tracks – “Enemy” (11:51), “Nothing to Fear” (7:42) and “Black Magic” (14:27) – and with a deep tonal engagement, each one embarks on a huge-sounding sprawl of doom. Yes, the guitars owe the swirl in “Nothing to Fear” to Jus Oborn, but the echoes behind R’s voice there and the melody have an almost New Wave-style feel despite the “all right now!” drawn right from the Ozzy playbook. In other words, Alastor are preaching to the converted, and that holds true in the snowblinded Luciferian spaciousness of the title-track’s early going as well, but the converted should have no problem finding the gospel in what they’re hearing, and as “Black Magic” rounds out with its chanted feel, Alastor affirm the potential to progress within this sound and to continue to develop it into something even more their own than it is now. Familiar superficially, but sneaky in the details, so watch out.

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The Dead-End Alley Band, Storms

the dead-end-alley-band-storms

Lima-based four-piece The Dead-End Alley Band aren’t far into opener “Red Woman” before the dark-psych vibe and languid groove have properly emphasized just how much the guitar of Leonardo Alva and the organ of Sebastian Sanchez-Botta (also vocals) complement each other. Propelled by the rhythm section of bassist/vocalist Javier Kou and drummer Jafer Diaz, Storms is the third album from them behind 2015’s Odd Stories (discussed here) and 2013’s debut, Whispers of the Night (review here), and it continues to blend fuzz and classic garage doom impulses on songs like “Headstone Fortress” and the shuffling “Thunderbolts and Lace,” the latter of which wah-trips to the max around a stirring boogie before “The Clock has Stopped” weirds out on extra vocal echoes and nine-minute closer “Waiting for the Void” brings in the progressive touches of pan flute and percussion. Even in the earlier, shortest track “Need You (It’s Enough),” The Dead-End Alley Band bring no shortage of personality to the proceedings, and confirm that the rough edges of their early outings have matured into essential aspects of who they have become as a band, completely in control of their craft and able to conjure an atmosphere both classic and individual.

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The Dead-End Alley Band on Bandcamp

Forbidden Place Records website

 

Hair of the Dog, This World Turns

hair-of-the-dog-this-world-turns

Making their debut on Kozmik Artifactz, Scottish trio Hair of the Dog give their guitar-led compositions plenty of time to flesh out on This World Turns, their third album, as they demonstrate quickly on the nine-plus minute titular opener and longest track (immediate points), but one would hardly call their songwriting indulgent there or anywhere else as “This World Turns” flows easily into the following seven-minute push of “Keeping Watch over the Night” in a resolute one-two punch that soon gives way to the shorter and more driving “Ctrl-Alt-Del,” touching on influences from Thin Lizzy and Scorpions en route as well as modern practitioners like Kadavar, whose stamp can also be heard on side B launch “The Colours in Her Skin.” That’s not to say Hair of the Dog — guitarist/vocalist Adam Holt (interview here), bassist Iain Thomson and drummer Jon Holt – don’t leave their own mark as well, just that their blend stems from multiple sources. A bit of Lynottism surfaces in the penultimate “In Death’s Hands” as well, which has a more subdued feel despite fervent rhythmic movement underlying, and closer “4AM” soars with enough vigor and soul – and a little falsetto – to give This World Turns a suitably smooth and vibrant finish.

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Kozmik Artifactz website

 

Soup, Remedies

soup remedies

With ties to Motorpsycho through guitarist Hans Magnus “Snah” Ryan, Soup issue their sixth long-player in the five-track lush melodicism of Remedies, which feels particularly aptly named for the immersion the wash that opener “Going Somewhere” is able to elicit. That is, of course, just the first of the spacious, semi-folk-infused progressions, and it’s with the longer-form “The Boy and the Snow” (11:33) and the psychedelic purposeful meandering of “Sleepers” (13:35) that Remedies truly unveils its considerable breadth, but the Crispin Glover Records release holds a sense of poise even in the two-minute centerpiece church organ interlude “Audion,” and the harmonies of “Nothing Like Home” bring to mind peak-era Porcupine Tree patience and fluidity while holding fast to the bright, orange-sunshiny warmth of the atmosphere as a whole, instruments dropping out just before three minutes in to showcase the vocals before returning to embark on the march to the final crescendo, not at all overblown but with just a touch of extra volume to let listeners dive deeper into the moment. Remedies feels quick at 42 minutes, but turns out to be just what the doctor ordered.

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Crispin Glover Records website

 

Kungens Män, Dag & Natt

kungens-man-dag-natt

Prolific psych-progging Stockholmers Kungens Män return with Dag & Natt, a 2CD/2LP issued through Kungens Ljud & Bild (CD) and Adansonia Records (LP) that overflows with jazzy fluidity and gorgeous immersion. The band’s last studio outing was late-2015’s Förnekaren (review here), and whether it’s 13-minute pieces like opener “Morgonrodnad” and the even-more-krautrocking “Aftonstjärnan” or the seemingly complementary inclusions of the kosmiche-minded “Dag” and wonderfully drifting “Natt,” the album as a whole is a joy and a boon to anyone looking for an extended psychedelic meander. The saxophone of Gustav Nygren on the aforementioned leadoff and “Natt” makes a particularly striking impression, but with a steady, languid wash of guitar, synth and warm bass throughout, Dag & Natt wants nothing for flow, and the gentle, classy spirit is maintained even as the penultimate “Vargtimmen” ups the sense of thrust leading into the finisher payoff of “Cirkeln är Slut.” As of now, Kungens Män should be considered a too-well-kept secret of Scandinavia’s psych underground, though listening to Dag & Natt, one wonders just how long they’ll stay that way.

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Adansonia Records website

 

Smoke Wizzzard, Run with the Wolf

smoke-wizzzard-run-with-the-wolf

Whether it’s through the striking and gruesome cover art or through the lumbering post-Sabbath, post-Cathedral stoner-doom nod contained within, Smoke Wizzzard’s five-song self-titled debut LP thoroughly earns its third ‘z’ – and, for that matter, its second one – with played-to-form thickness and a tonal push that starts with 10-minute opener/longest track (immediate points) “Astro Lord” and continues to swagger and swing with due viscosity through “Reptiles” after the minute-long punker curveball “Soul Train.” The highlight of the Pittsburgh trio’s first outing might be “The Pass,” which has a hazy patience and some rightly-featured bass tone, but as “Run with the Wolf” moves from its early Electric Wizard muckraking to cap with piano and included howls for a doomier feel, it becomes clear Smoke Wizzzard have yet to play their full stylistic hand and the real highlights may still be yet to come. Fair enough. Something tells me getting stranger is only going to be a boon to Smoke Wizzzard’s approach on the whole, so bring it on.

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Smoke Wizzzard on Bandcamp

 

Highburnator, Keystoned State

highburnator-keystoned-state

If you hit up Highburnator’s Bandcamp and download their name-your-price Keystoned State EP, you might note the fifth and final inclusion is the entire live-recorded, 28-minute release presented as a single track. No doubt the Pennsylvania three-piece intend the four-song outing to be taken just that way. They begin with the “mad as hell” speech sampled from the 1976 film Network and from there unfold a potent riffly brew met head on with harsh East Coast hardcore-style vocals and more metallic growls. That’s nine-minute opener and longest track (immediate points) “The Brass Rail,” and it sets the tone for what follows on the eponymous “Highburnator” before “Desert Funeral” and the Sleep-style nod of “Peaking at the Coffin” push into even more stonerly vibes. This melding of pissed-off disaffection and mid-paced heavy rock groove is particular to the sludge of the Eastern Seaboard – think of it as regional fare – but Highburnator find space for themselves in the rawness of their riffs and the charm of their puns, and by the time they’re through the four songs, it makes sense why they might want to present the full onslaught as a single entity, essentially giving it to their listeners on one overflowing platter. Got the munchies? It’s right there waiting.

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Highburnator on Bandcamp

 

The Curf, Death and Love

the-curf-death-and-love

Greek psych-doomers The Curf made their debut in 2007 with I and then went radio silent until last year’s Royal Water EP. Their sophomore full-length, Death and Love, then, arrives via Fuzz Ink Records with some amount of intrigue behind it, but either way, the sans-pretense heavy roll the band unfurls on “Dark Hado,” and the more uptempo “Smoke Ring,” the dig-in low end of “Lunar Lair” and the scream-topped start-stoppery of “California” present a varied take brought together through heft as well as the crispness of production and delivery, such that when it wants to, Death and Love can bite down hard, but as on the closing title-track or the earlier “Order ‘n’ Sin,” it can rumble out spaciousness as well. Whatever might’ve taken The Curf so long to put together a second album beats the hell out of me, but if they were looking to make an argument for a third one, they do so convincingly across these nine songs, which hold firmly to their overarching flow despite the emergent stylistic range.

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Fuzz Ink Records webstore

 

Ulls, I

ULLS I

For now, Ulls is the solo-project of Barcelona-based David Trillo, formerly guitarist/vocalist for the heavy progressive trio Lord Summerisle, but the hope seems to be to build a full band at some point in the future. The I EP might rightly be called a demo, then, but for the professionalism and cohesiveness of sound with which its three songs are presented and the clarity of intent behind them. With Trillo rumbling away on bass beneath, six-minute opener “Inhumat” fleshes out its arrangement with organ alongside guitar swirl and sets up the classically swinging strut of “Llot Convuls,” on which the drums post-midsection lead the way through starts and stops à la a restless King Crimson and the guitar joins with no less angularity. Eight-minute closer “L’Emersió de l’Executor” brings about a thicker overall tone, but holds to a similar mood through its first half, Trillo finding room after about the four-and-a-half-minute mark for a standout solo executed with the bass running fluidly alongside that carries the song to its fading finish just before seven minutes in, at which point a residual drone takes hold to lead the way out. That ending is telling when it comes to various impulses that might show themselves in Ulls going forward, but as an initial demonstration, suffice it to say that I makes it plain Trillo shouldn’t have much trouble finding other players to come aboard the band with him.

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Ulls on Bandcamp

 

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Quarterly Review: Spotlights, War Cloud, Rubble Road, Monte Luna, High Reeper, Frozen Planet….1969, Zaius, Process of Guilt, Sundus Abdulghani & Trunk, Owlcrusher

Posted in Reviews on September 28th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

the obelisk quarterly review

Day two of the Quarterly Review and feeling groovy so far. Managed to survive yesterday thanks in no small part to good music and good coffee, and looking at what’s coming up in today’s batch, I don’t expect the situation will be much different — though the styles will. I try to keep in mind as I put these weeks together to change up what’s in each round, so it’s not just all psych records, or all doom, or heavy rock or whatever else. This way I’m not burning myself out on anything particular and I hopefully don’t wind up saying the same things about albums that maybe only share vague genre aspects in common — riffs, etc. — in the same way. Essentially trying to trick my brain into being creative. Sometimes it even works. Let’s see how it fares today.

Quarterly Review #11-20:

Spotlights, Seismic

spotlights seismic

After touring hard with the likes of Melvins, Deftones and Refused, heavy post-rockers Spotlights mark their first release on Ipecac Recordings with their second album, Seismic, which finds the core duo of Mario and Sarah Quintero working with producer Aaron Harris (Isis) to follow-up 2016’s Tidals with 65 minutes/11 tracks of weighted atmospherics and far-spanning melodic textures as shown on emotive heft-bringers like “Ghost of a Glowing Forest.” Heavygaze, I suppose, is the genre tag that’s emerged, but with the opening title-track, the chugging “Learn to Breathe” and the later percussive turns of “A Southern Death,” there’s as much focus on crush as on ambience, though as Seismic makes its way through the pair of eight-minute tracks “Hollow Bones” (wonder if they know the 30 Rock reference they’re making) and “Hang us All” before the minimal subdued drones and melodic effects swirls of closer “The Hope of a Storm,” Spotlights succeed in finding a middle ground that offers plenty of both. In its moments of intensity and its range, Seismic builds cohesion from ether and immediately benefits from the purposeful growth the Quinteros have clearly undertaken over the past year by hitting the road with the dedication they have.

Spotlights on Thee Facebooks

Ipecac Recordings website

 

War Cloud, War Cloud

war cloud war cloud

Bay Area rockers War Cloud don’t get too fancy on their self-titled debut, which they make via Ripple Music as the follow-up to their 2016 single Vulture City (discussed here), but as they prove quickly in the dual-guitar Thin Lizzyisms of opener “Give’r” and the later post-Motörhead/Peter Pan Speedrock careening of “Speed Demon,” neither do they necessarily need to. Comprised of guitarists Alex Wein (also vocals) and Tony Campos, bassist Sean Nishi and drummer Joaquin Ridgell, War Cloud offer 31 minutes of brisk, unpretentious asskickery, riffs trading channels at the outset of “Hurricane” as it makes ready to settle into its proto-thrashing rocker groove, and the mood of the release as a whole engaging as much through its reimagining 20-year-old Metallica as a heavy rock band there as on the more grandly riff-led “Divide and Conquer.” Structures are straightforward, and not one of the eight tracks tops five minutes, but they’re more than enough for War Cloud find their place between metal form and heavy rock tone, and cuts like “Chopper Wired” and brazenly charged closer “Vulture City” nail the core message of the band’s arrival.

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Ripple Music website

 

Rubble Road, The Clowns Have Spoken

rubble-road-the-clowns-have-spoken

Rubble Road ain’t hurtin’ nobody. The Orlando-based double-guitar four-piece take two prior singles and put them together with four new tracks as their 29-minute/six-song debut EP, The Clowns Have Spoken, and thereby bring forth straightforward heavy rock that seems to be finding its personality in tone but nonetheless has a strong structural foundation underlying that holds up the material and “The Judge” tosses in a bit of metallic gallop to go with the forward-directed heavy rock proffered on the prior “Galactic Fugitives” and “Gospel (Get it Together).” I won’t say much for the politics of “Truck Stop Hooker,” which caps with the line, “Your mother gives great helmet, baby,” but “Wizard Staff” and “Do it Yourself” broaden the dynamic of the release overall. They’ve got some growing to do, but again, there’s an efficiency in their songwriting that comes through these songs, and as an initial showcase/demo, The Clowns Have Spoken shows Rubble Road with the potential to continue to grow.

Rubble Road on Thee Facebooks

Rubble Road on Bandcamp

 

Monte Luna, Monte Luna

monte luna monte lona

You might check out the self-titled debut from Austin, Texas, duo Monte Luna. You might even pick up the digipak or tape version. You might listen to extended tracks like “Nameless City” (12:53) and “6,000 Year March” (17:42) and be like, “Yeah, cool riffs dudes.” You might even then chase down the The Hound EP that guitarist/vocalist/bassist James Clarke and drummer/synthesist Phil Hook put out last year. At some point though, you’re going to put Monte Luna’s Monte Luna on your shelf and leave it there. Fair enough. However – and I’m not going to say when; could be sooner, could be later — then you’re going to find yourself remembering its massive, 71-minute sprawl of riffs, its doomed-out grooves, shouts, screams, growls and the way its builds become so utterly immersive, and you’re going to put Monte Luna on again. And that’s the moment when it will really hit you. It might take some time, and part of that is no doubt that there’s simply a lot of record to wade through, but whether it’s the rumbling start of “Nightmare Frontier” (14:26), the cacophonous stomp of “Inverted Mountain” (12:04) or the righteous crash of “The End of Beginning” (9:42), Monte Luna will have earned that deeper look, and if you allow them to make that deeper impression with their self-titled, they almost certainly will.

Monte Luna on Thee Facebooks

Monte Luna on Bandcamp

 

High Reeper, High Reeper

high reeper high reeper

Newcomer five-piece High Reeper telegraph Sabbathian heavy rocker intent with their self-released, self-titled debut album. The Delaware-based lineup of Zach Thomas, Napz Mosley, Andrew Price, Pat Daly and Shane Trimble make no bones about their roots in opener “Die Slow,” and as the stoner-swinging “High Reeper,” the doom-swaggering “Reeper Deadly Reeper” and the yo-check-out-this-bassline nodder “Weed and Speed” play out in the record’s midsection, it seems increasingly likely that, sooner or later, some imprint or other will pick up High Reeper for a wider release. As the band demonstrates through the stomping “Soul Taker” and the seeming mission statement “Black Leather (Chose Us)” ahead of closer “Friend of Death,” which breaks its six minutes in half between Judas Priest thrust and an instrumental finish that calls to mind “Heaven and Hell,” they’ve got a keen ear for updating classic elements, and though formative, their first outing is cleverly memorable and an immediately resonant display of songcraft. Now we know High Reeper can engage these stylistic components — the test will be how they develop them into something individualized going forward.

High Reeper on Thee Facebooks

High Reeper on YouTube

 

Frozen Planet….1969, From the Centre of a Parallel Universe

Frozen-Planet-1969-From-the-Centre-of-a-Parallel-Universe

From the Centre of a Parallel Universe is the second long-player of 2017 from Sydney/Canberra’s Frozen Planet….1969. It arrives on CD through Pepper Shaker and LP via Headspin with five tracks/43 minutes of improv-style psych jams following suit from the prior Electric Smokehouse (review here) and helps to bring the band’s funk-infused, spacious dynamic all the more into focus. Also out of focus. Like, blurry vision-style. They range far and wide and keep the proceedings delightfully weird in the three extended pieces “Celestial Gambler,” “Through Hell’s Kaleidoscope, Parts I & II” and “Ancient Wings Taking Flight” – all north of 11 minutes – and with “Signals (Channelling…)” and “The Lady and the Archer” leading the way into each LP side, Frozen Planet….1969 take the time to assure they’re bringing their listeners along with them on their potent journey into the cosmically far out. The must-hear bass tone in “Ancient Wings Taking Flight” is but one of many reasons to dig in, but whatever it takes, From the Centre of a Parallel Universe’s invitation to get lost is not one to be missed.

Frozen Planet….1969 on Thee Facebooks

Pepper Shaker Records on Bandcamp

 

Zaius, Of Adoration

zaius of adoration

Chicago’s history with instrumentalist post-metal goes back as far as the notion of the subgenre itself with acts like Pelican and Russian Circles providing aesthetic-defining landmarks over the last 15-plus years even as a group like Bongripper embraces darker, more lumbering fare. The four-piece Zaius, who make their full-length debut with Of Adoration on Prosthetic Records after two self-released EPs in 2013 and 2011, position themselves more toward the shimmering airiness of the former rather than the latter’s raw lumber, but there’s heft to be found in the expanses of “Sheepdog” and “Seirenes” all the same, and the second half of “Echelon” and closer “Colin” tighten up some of the ethereality of pieces like opener “Phaneron” and the driftingly progressive “Reformer” or the penultimate, patient rollout of “Anicca” to hone a sense of balance that feels as emotionally driven as it is cerebral in its construction. Hard for a band like Zaius to stand themselves out at this point given the swath of acts working in a similar style in and out of the Windy City, but in its textural approach and held-steady flow, Of Adoration satisfies.

Zaius on Thee Facebooks

Prosthetic Records webstore

 

Process of Guilt, Black Earth

process-of-guilt-black-earth

Portuguese post-doomers Process of Guilt hit the 15-year mark with the release of their fourth album, Black Earth (on Division/Bleak Recordings), and with a mix by Brooklyn noise-rock specialist Andrew Schneider, a mastering job by Collin Jordan in Chicago and striking cover art by growler/guitarist Hugo Santos with images by Pedro Almeida, the sense of atmosphere is thick and the mood is aggressive throughout. Santos, along with guitarist Nuno David, bassist Custódio Rato and drummer Gonçalo Correia chug and flow through a linear 42 minutes and five tracks on the suitably darkened offering, touching on progressive nuance but not letting cerebral underpinnings take away from the onslaught feel of “Feral Ground” or the tension mounted early in the 11-minute penultimate title-track, which uses feedback as a weapon throughout no less capably than the subsequent closer “Hoax” affects immediately with its nodding tonal wash. Taken as a whole, Black Earth finds Process of Guilt exploring depths of their sound as much as with it, and the directions they go feel as much inward as out.

Process of Guilt on Thee Facebooks

Division Records website

Bleak Recordings website

 

Sundus Abdulghani & Trunk, Sundus Abdulghani & Trunk

Sundus-Abdulghani-Trunk-self-titled

The challenge for an outfit like Stockholm’s Sundus Abdulghani & Trunk, whose self-titled debut arrives via respected purveyor Kozmik Artifactz, lies separating themselves from the shadow of fellow Swedes Blues Pills, whose semi-psych heavy-blues-rocking first album has cast a wide influence that can be heard here as well as in any number of other bands currently kicking around the Euro underground proffering as balance of soul and heavy rock as songs like “It Ain’t Love (But Close Enough)” and “Like Water” do here. Where Sundus Abdulghani & Trunk most succeed in doing this is in the harmonies of “Black Magic Man,” which brings to mind classic acid folk while holding to a heavy blues vibe, but there are other moments throughout when individuality flourishes as well. The attitude is laid on a bit thick in “Them Dames,” but the hooks of “Sister Sorrow,” “She Knows,” “The Devil’s Got a Hold on You” and “Stay” and the burgeoning sense of arrangements complementing Abdulghani’s vocals do well in helping cast an identity one hopes will continue to develop.

Sundus Abdulghani & Trunk on Thee Facebooks

Kozmik Artifactz website

 

Owlcrusher, Owlcrusher

owlcrusher owlcrusher

Conceived by guitarist/vocalist Andrew Spiers, bassist/vocalist Steve Hobson and drummer Damien McKeown, Banbridge trio Owlcrusher conjure three extended, slicing slabs of black-singed sludge extremity on their self-titled Seeing Red Records debut, and it’s enough to make one wonder just what the fuck is going on in Northern Ireland to inspire such outright bleakness. Beginning with the 16-minute “Feeble Preacher” (also the longest inclusion here; immediate points), Owlcrusher’s Owlcrusher lumbers excruciatingly forth with screams and growls cutting through a tonality geared for max-volume consumption, though it remains to be seen who is consuming whom as “Feeble Preacher” gives way to the likewise scorched eponymous “Owlcrusher” (11:30) and 15-minute closer “Spoiler,” the last of which brings the only real moment of letup on the album after about nine minutes in, and even that takes the form of an interlude of Khanate-style minimalist ambience before the rolling megacrush resumes and plods to a somehow-even-heavier finish. Clearly a band pushing themselves toward the superlative, Owlcrusher get there much faster than their crawling tones would have you believe. Madness.

Owlcrusher on Thee Facebooks

Seeing Red Records on Bandcamp

 

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Sundus Abdulghani & Trunk Self-Titled Debut Due Oct. 13

Posted in Whathaveyou on September 14th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

By now the sort of heavy blues rock in which Sundus Abdulghani and Trunk seem to traffic should be pretty familiar in terms of style. Rooted in classic ’70s-style riffing and soul, the Stockholm-based four-piece bring some funky flourish to the parameters established by the likes of Blues Pills, and one doesn’t have to go far into their self-titled debut to hear that influence play out. Respected purveyor Kozmik Artifactz has the record up for preorder now if you’re so inclined ahead of a set Oct. 13 release date, and as a teaser, the band has had the centerpiece track “The Devil’s Got a Hold on You” streaming for a while.

Seems like the band formed as Trunk maybe and Sundus joined afterwards? I’d be interested to know that story of how they got hooked up. The PR wire doesn’t have those details, but brings the pedigree info, tracklisting, links and pressing whatnot in Kozmik Artifactz fashion. Hell, you know how it goes.

And if you don’t, it goes like this:

Sundus-Abdulghani-Trunk-self-titled

Get ready for Sundus Abdulghani & Trunk coming this October via Kozmik Artifactz!

Introducing “Sundus Abdulghani & Trunk” and their seductively smooth and endlessly cool retro-rock. Hailing from Sweden, and featuring members from Black Bonzo, Gin Lady and The Blue Ruin, Sundus Abdulghani & Trunk are teaming up with infamous European label, Kozmik Artifactz, to release their debut self-titled album this October.

Release Date: 13th October 2017

VINYL FACTZ
– Plated & pressed on high performance vinyl at Pallas/Germany
– limited & coloured vinyl
– 300gsm gatefold cover
– special vinyl mastering

TRACKS
1. Sister Sorrow
2. It Ain’t Love (But Close Enough)
3. She Knows
4. Them Dames
5. The Devil’s Got a Hold On You
6. Like Water
7. Stay
8. Black Magic Man
9. Twisted & Bound

Sundus Abdulghani & Trunk:
Sundus – Vocals & Tambourine
Jocke – Guitar & Vocals
Micke – Dums
Marko – Bass

https://www.facebook.com/trunkband/
https://www.facebook.com/kozmikartifactz
http://shop.bilocationrecords.com/index.php?k=986
http://kozmik-artifactz.com/

Sundus Abdulghani & Trunk, “The Devil’s Got a Hold on You”

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Friday Full-Length: Snowy Dunes, Snowy Dunes

Posted in Bootleg Theater on August 25th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

Snowy Dunes, Snowy Dunes (2015)

It does not take long for Snowy Dunes‘ 2015 self-titled debut to demonstrate why it has been so continuously well-received by the heavy rock underground in and beyond Europe. Released by the band digitally and issued via Rock Freaks Records as a gatefold 2LP, the nine-track/51-minute first offering from the Stockholm, Sweden, feels like something special at the outset, and the fact that the four-piece of guitarist Christoffer Kingstedt, bassist Carl Oredson, drummer Stefan Jakobsson and vocalist Niklas Eisen traveled to Los Angeles to record with Dead Meadow bassist Steve Kille only reinforces this position. Their psychedelic blues, whether portrayed in the 90-second harmonica-and-voice of “Watch out for Snakes,” the ultra-Hendrixian purple-haze-all-in-the-brain funk of “Electric Love,” or the nine-minute swaggering jam that follows on “Diablo” and finds Eisen calling out the moves the band will make in the second half of the song — “Alright we’re gonna do this for you, do some harmonies,” and then they do — is a right-on-target preach to the converted, and the sense of righteousness it finds in its execution is even more prevalent for the live-sounding feel behind it. That is, Snowy DonesSnowy Dunes goes far out — way far out — and all the while it sounds like, hey man, these songs just happened. Could’ve been different on any other day. The vague possibility that that’s actually the case would seem to make the record something even more vital, but it’s really just the starting point of an ultra-organic breadth that unfurls across its extended but immersive runtime.

When one thinks of the generational surge of heavy psychedelia throughout Europe that’s taken place over the last five or 10 years, it’s usually the post-Colour Haze bringers of tonal warmth who come to mind, or the slew of groups embroiled in even jammier fare, improvised or not. Lately, neo-psych influenced by space rock has emerged to converse with the Californian post-Earthless swirl set and the massive influence of Australia’s King Gizzard and the Wizard Lizard, and that will no doubt continue to reshape the underground in the next few years to come, but Snowy Dunes set themselves apart with their self-titled. While they for sure have their psychedelic aspects, and their jammy side comes to such a prevalence particularly later in the record that one wonders if Eisen isn’t making up his lines on the spot for a song like “Bad Wolf,” and whether he is or not is ultimately secondary since that’s the vibe the band are giving off. In terms of modern comparison points, Snowy Dunes have way more in common with Australia’s Child or a super-slowed-down Radio Moscow than they do the bulk of what’s coming from even the bluesiest corners of Europe, let alone Sweden, although one could just as easily argue that the classic mentality behind “Tranquil Mountain Lake” or “Dawn” is born just as much of Swedish retro rockism as of any outsider heavy blues. At a certain point, this becomes splitting hairs and the important factor — the deep sense of identity imbued within Snowy Dunes‘ material on their debut album — is lost. If it’s one or the other, I’d rather listen to the songs.

And Snowy Dunes certainly make that easy. Whether you’re flipping the vinyl platters over as you go or making your way through digitally, their Snowy Dunes brings its tracks to life with a rare level of flow, and while at 51 minutes, it borders on what one would generally think of as unmanageable — or at least less-manageable than standard single-LP length — there’s no more redundancy in “Turn Around,” “Watch out for Snakes” or “Desert Cold” — the latter as close as they come to naming a song after the band — than is intended, and the bring-the-listener-into-the-studio feel of the tracks as the recording progresses becomes one of the greatest assets with which Snowy Dunes works, though I won’t discount Eisen‘s easy-flowing soul or the bass tone Oredson uses to anchor the material without actually holding Kingstedt‘s wah-laced tonality down from meandering where it will (worth noting that the last thing you hear on the record is Oredson being introduced by Eisen). That dynamic emerges almost immediately on “Tranquil Mountain Lake” and remains firm across the bulk of the tracks, but amid the ebbs and swells of “Desert Cold,” and the blowout at the end of “Turn Around,” there’s plenty of heft brought to bear as well; Snowy Dunes just keep it baked perfectly so that whether they want to boogie on “Bad Wolf” or let loose one more time in closer “The Light” with starts and stops filled out by a croaking voice from Eisen, they can. Hell, by the time they get to that point, Snowy Dunes have shown pretty clearly that, wherever they’re looking to travel in a given path, they know just how they want to get there.

Snowy Dunes got a mention in my list of the best debut albums of 2015, but especially having had the chance recently to revisit the vinyl edition, it’s held up remarkably well. Early 2016 brought word of a concept album follow-up, Atlantis, and a 19-minute first installment thereof streaming at their Bandcamp page. Updates have trickled out since, including cover art this past May, but I’ve yet to catch wind of a firm release date for it. Part of that, perhaps, is Snowy Dunes sorting out a label situation for the release, but either way, whenever it arrives, Atlantis has a considerable task ahead of it in following-up Snowy Dunes, which has only continued to flourish where many of the other “best debut albums” on that list linked above have fallen by the wayside. Some records just grow on you over time, I guess.

As always, I hope you enjoy. Thanks for reading and listening.

Spent a pretty decent portion of this week out of my head, and not really in a good way. You might recall last Friday, my wonderful, now 32-weeks-pregnant wife The Patient Mrs. and I headed to New Jersey because my 102-year-old grandmother had been taken to the hospital. No one ever found out how she broke her hip, but it wound up requiring surgery. They put in two rods, like she was gonna get up and start running laps afterward. They said physical therapy. Uh huh. Then the lady had a stroke the next night and that put the kibosh on that.

As of this writing, she’s still alive. I guess you don’t get to be 102 and then just drop dead suddenly — clearly at that point you’re working on your own scale as regards time. She can’t swallow water, won’t eat, but took in some ice cream the day before yesterday — so fucking typical for my family — and yesterday she was moved to a hospice facility out of the hospital. They’re not going to do any physical therapy for the hip. They’re not going to think she’s really coming back to full consciousness at any point from here on out. They’re going to let her be, give her as much ice cream as she wants/is willing to take, and wait. We’re all waiting. Death limbo.

102 years old. There is no dignity at the end of life. You can die in a famous glorious battle and still shit your pants when you go. I’m not looking her to have a righteous, graceful departure. Wouldn’t be her style anyway. But she’s 102, and her body, acting on the purest, most unthinking of instinct, still can’t bring itself to let go and not squeeze every single last second out of her life. The arrangements are made, everything’s in order. It’s like she’s late to her own party. Obviously I’m sad to see her die — she’s been a major presence in my life for my 35-plus years and especially when I lived in NJ and after I got married and was a bit more of an adult, we got to be pretty close — but I also know there’s no way in her conscious mind she’d want to go on the way she is. And my poor mother. Ugh.

The Patient Mrs. and I came back to Massachusetts last weekend, said our goodbye and made our way back north, but I’ve been in touch with my family all week and gotten a steady string of updates, been conferenced in with doctors and so on. We wait. Excruciating. And I feel guilty for living five hours away from them, which I do anyway, but even more in situations like this.

Anyway, that’s my vent. Thanks for letting me have my moment.

This weekend is the baby shower in CT for The Pecan, who again, is due in October near to my own birthday. I don’t know who’s coming, but I know we’ll be there. Then on Wednesday I fly to Ireland for the Emerald Haze fest (info here) that I still can’t believe I’ll be fortunate enough to attend. The Patient Mrs. is also traveling this week — to San Francisco for a conference; she’s not even going to have time to go to Amoeba Music, much to my vicarious dismay — so plenty of chaos abounds. I’ve got a couple extra days on the back end of my trip to see Dublin slated as well, so I’m not sure how much I’ll be posting, but there are reviews to write so I’ll get stuff done anyway.

What will I do if Gramma dies in the interim or while I’m away? Cross that bridge when I come to it.

To put it another way, the notes for next week? They’re even more “subject to change” than usual. Here they are anyhow:

Mon.: Motorpsycho track premiere; Vision Éternel video premiere.
Tue.: Ruby the Hatchet review; new video from Cosmic Fall.
Wed.: Six Dumb Questions with Destroyer of Light; Ufomammut review.
Thu.: Biblical track premiere.
Fri.: Emerald Haze coverage.
Sat./Sun.: Emerald Haze coverage.

Much to do, much to do. The Obelisk stuff has been good because it’s given me something to focus on and deflect stress into. Gotta listen to this, gotta write about that, etc. I can’t say enough how much I appreciate you reading and being a part of this site, how much it means to me to have this be a conversation. Thanks to everyone who checked out that Ozzy piece earlier this week, or shared the Earthless news, or who commented on the Queens of the Stone Age review on Thee Facebooks, or who entered the Vokonis giveaway. Turned out to be a pretty killer week, even if I was distracted for most of it. If you’re reading, that’s on you, so yeah, thanks.

Please have a great and safe weekend, and please check out the forum and radio stream.

The Obelisk Forum

The Obelisk Radio

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Wrapping up #VinylDay2017

Posted in Features on July 26th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

Grooves and platters galore. My motivation behind doing Vinyl Day 2017 was simple: I felt like listening to records and sharing that process. It was kind of an off-the-cuff thing. Just an idea I had and ran with it. I figure it doesn’t need to be anything more than that, right? Isn’t putting on an album its own excuse for putting on an album? I tend to think so.

And yeah, I made it a hashtag. Because it’s the future, and hashtags. Instagrammaphone and whatnot. I’m a novice at best when it comes to the social medias, but it seems to me that if you’re going to share a full day’s worth of what you’re listening to, that’s the way to do it. So that’s what I did. If I clogged up your feed or whatever and it pissed you off, sorry.

For anyone who might’ve missed it, it turned out to be nine records of various sorts. Here they are, complete with accompanying audio when I could get it, because it’s the age of instant gratification:

There you have it. Had to be Sleep to end it. Pretty awesome day of music on the whole, and whatever was on your playlist yesterday, if it was this stuff or anything else, I hope you enjoyed. I’m gonna call Vinyl Day 2017 a definite win. Thanks for reading.

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Kungens Män to Deliver Dag & Natt July 31

Posted in Whathaveyou on July 21st, 2017 by JJ Koczan

kungens man

Drifting psych-jazz improvocateurs Kungens Män are gearing up to release a new 2LP in less than two weeks’ time. The Stockholm-based explorers — amorphous in personnel and sound, as ever — were last heard from in April with the offering Tomhetens Furste, a long-playing three-tracker streaming and pressed to limited tape through Eggs in Aspic. The latest work is Dag & Natt, and it will be out on vinyl through Adansonia Records and on CD through Kungens Ljud & Bild July 31 bringing a wash of psych-kraut who-knows-what that’s sure to melt brainstems and turn them into a lysergic homebrew at will in a prevailing weirdo wash. Don’t believe me? Tomhetens Furste is streaming at the bottom of this post. Put it on and just see if there’s any getting out alive.

Info on Dag & Natt comes courtesy of the PR wire:

kungens man dag natt

Kungens Män – Dag & Natt

A soothing Aylerian saxophone wakes you up in the morning. Your head gets going by lunch, while tapping your feet to a stomping groove with free flowing guitars on top. A hard driving krautrock song takes you through the evening. The veiled night enters in nuances of black. After the nightmarish turns inside your most hidden parts of the mind, a motorik beat picks you up to make the walk back home. And then it starts over again.

This is mood music for the adventurous. At all times.

Kungens Män are back with the new double-LP ”Dag & Natt” (Day & Night) on Adansonia Records (double vinyl-LP) and Kungens Ljud & Bild (double CD) on July 31st, 2017.

Kungens Män started out in 2012 in Stockholm, Sweden, when a bunch of good friends decided to bring some instruments when hanging out. The random jam sessions became more and more regular and soon Kungens Män started recording it all, completely unfiltered and without safety nets. The music soon found its way to the internet and a buzz occurred, connecting with listeners all over the globe. From the debut show with Master Musicians Of Bukkake and onwards, every show has been a different story. Always new sounds and improvisations, different guest musicians, different happenings. Kungens Män are rooted in the psychedelic/drone rock tradition of bands such as Träd, Gräs & Stenar, but also add influences from krautrock, shoegaze, noiserock and free jazz. They will always add something new to the mix to challenge themselves and the audiences’ preconceptions about what Kungens Män are all about.

Kungens Män have played at festivals such as The Psychedelic Network Festival (Würzburg, DE), PsyKA Festival (Karlsruhe, DE) and The Copenhagen Psych Fest (DK) and played with bands like Øresund Space Collective, Master Musicians of Bukkake, Yuri Gagarin, Spelljammer, The Spacelords and Radar Men From The Moon. They toured Europe in 2015 and 2016. In August 2017 they are invited by Mani Neumaier to play at the Guru Guru festival, Finki Open Air, along with acts such as Arthur Brown, The Pretty Things and of course, Guru Guru.

The first vinyl-LP “Förnekaren” by Kungens Män was released by the German label Adansonia Records in 2015, and was a success with critics and fans alike. The next double-LP “Stockholm Maraton” came out on Adansonia Records in September 2016. The third double-LP on Adansonia – “Dag & Natt” will be released on July 31st, 2017.

kungensman.bandcamp.com
facebook.com/bandetkungensman
instagram.com/kungensmanband
kungensman.tumblr.com
https://www.adansoniarecords.de/
https://www.facebook.com/adansoniarecords/

Kungens Män, Tomhetens Furste (2017)

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