Days of Rona: Juan Alberto Tamayo of Vinnum Sabbathi

Posted in Features on March 31st, 2020 by JJ Koczan

The statistics of COVID-19 change with every news cycle, and with growing numbers, stay-at-home isolation and a near-universal disruption to society on a global scale, it is ever more important to consider the human aspect of this coronavirus. Amid the sad surrealism of living through social distancing, quarantines and bans on gatherings of groups of any size, creative professionals — artists, musicians, promoters, club owners, techs, producers, and more — are seeing an effect like nothing witnessed in the last century, and as humanity as a whole deals with this calamity, some perspective on who, what, where, when and how we’re all getting through is a needed reminder of why we’re doing so in the first place.

Thus, Days of Rona, in some attempt to help document the state of things as they are now, both so help can be asked for and given where needed, and so that when this is over it can be remembered.

Thanks to all who participate. — JJ Koczan

Vinnum Sabbathi juan alberto tamayo

Days of Rona: Juan Alberto Tamayo of Vinnum Sabbathi (Mexico City, Mexico)

How are you dealing with this crisis as a band? Have you had to rework plans at all? How is everyone’s health so far?

Like a lot of other bands, we had no choice but to stop all our plans for this year which included a 3-month Euro tour that’s gone by now, but we’ll try to make it happen when the situation gets better. Everyone is healthy, we stopped rehearsals to stay home with our families.

What are the quarantine/isolation rules where you are?

On March 20th our government closed schools for 20 days as well as the US border for non-essential operations and now they told everyone to stay home as much as possible, but to be honest some people around just don’t care. There was a huge party last night nearby my home. People think this is just a conspiracy of some kind and that’s scary because we don’t have anything near the health systems from the US or Europe so if this goes out of hand it’ll be Mad Max around here quick.

How have you seen the virus affecting the community around you and in music?

Like everywhere, this has affected local venues and businesses, after the pandemic situation exploded the US dollar skyrocketed for us and seems like it’s not going to go down soon. Some big music festivals had to cancel, but others like Vive Latino took place just a few weeks ago like nothing happened.

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

We’ll see you on a show near you after this, but now look after the ones you care, don’t be a dick and help others when you can.

www.facebook.com/VinnumSabbathi/
https://vinnumsabbathi.bandcamp.com/
https://stolenbodyrecords.co.uk/
https://www.facebook.com/stolenbodyrecords/
https://www.instagram.com/stolenbodyrecords/

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Quarterly Review: Slift, IIVII, Coogans Bluff, Rough Spells, Goblinsmoker, Homecoming, Lemurian Folk Songs, Ritual King, Sunflowers, Maya Mountains

Posted in Reviews on March 26th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

quarterly review

Thursday. Everyone doing well? Healthy? Kicking ass? Working from home? There seems to be a lot of that going around, at least among the lucky. New Jersey, where I live, is on lockdown with non-essential businesses shuttered, roads largely empty and all that. It can be grim and apocalyptic feeling, but I’m finding this Quarterly Review to be pretty therapeutic or at least helpfully distracting at a moment when I very much need something to be that. I hope that if you’re reading this, whether you’ve been following along or not, it’s done or can do the same for you if that’s what you need. I’ll leave it at that.

Quarterly Review #31-40:

Slift, Ummon

slift ummon

The second album from French space/psych trio Slift is a 72-minute blowout echoshred epic — too aware not to be prog but too cosmic not to be space rock. Delivered through Stolen Body Records and Vicious Circle, Ummon is not only long, it speaks to a longer term. It’s not an album for this year, or for this decade, or for any other decade, for that matter. It’s for the ongoing fluid now. You want to lose yourself in the depths of buzz and dreamy synth? Yeah, you can do that. You want to dig into the underlying punk and maybe a bit of Elder influence in the vocal bark and lead guitar shimmer of “Thousand Helmets of Gold?” Well hell’s bells, do that. The mega-sprawling 2LP is a gorgeous blast of distortion, backed by jazzy, organic drum wud-dum-tap and the bass, oh, the bass; the stuff of low end sensory displacement. Amid swirls and casts of melodic light in “Dark Was Space, Cold Were the Stars,” Slift dilate universal energy and push beyond the noise wash reaches of “Son Dong’s Cavern” and through the final build, liftoff and roll of 13-minute closer “Lions, Tigers and Bears” with the deft touch of those dancing on prior conceptions. We’d be lucky to have Ummon as the shape of space rock to come.

Slift on Thee Facebooks

Stolen Body Records store

Vicious Circle Records store

 

IIVII, Grinding Teeth/Zero Sleep

Two LPs telling two different stories released at the same time, Grinding Teeth/Zero Sleep (on Consouling Sounds) brings Josh Graham‘s aural storytelling to new cinematic reaches. The composer, guitarist, synthesist, programmer, visual artist, etc., is joined along the way by the likes of Jo Quail, Ben Weinman (ex-The Dillinger Escape Plan), Dana Schecter (Insect Ark), Sarah Pendleton (ex-SubRosa) and Kim Thayil (Soundgarden) — among others — but across about 90 minutes of fluidity, Graham/IIVII soundtracks two narratives through alternatingly vast and crushing drone. The latter work is actually an adaptation from a short sci-fi film about, yes, humanity losing its ability to sleep — I feel you on that one — but the former, which tells a kind of meth-fueled story of love and death, brings due chaos and heft to go with its massive synthesized scope. Josh Graham wants to score your movie. You should let him. And you should pay him well. And you should let him design the poster. And you should pay him well for that too. End of story.

IIVII on Thee Facebooks

Consouling Sounds store

 

Coogans Bluff, Metronopolis

coogans bluff metronopolis

Following the initial sax-laden prog-rock burst and chase that is opener “Gadfly,” Berlin’s Coogans Bluff bring a ’70s pastoralia to “Sincerely Yours,” and that atmosphere ends up staying with Metronopolis — their fifth album — for the duration, no matter where else they might steer the sound. And they do steer the sound. Sax returns (as it will) in the jabbing “Zephyr,” a manic shred taking hold in the second half accompanied by no-less-manic bass, and “Creature of the Light” reimagines pop rock of the original vinyl era in the image of its own weirdness, undeniably rock but also something more. Organ-inclusive highlight “Soft Focus” doesn’t so much touch on psychedelics as dunk its head under their warm waters, and “The Turn I” brings an almost Beatlesian horn arrangement to fruition ahead of the closer “The Turn II.” But in that finale, and in “Hit and Run,” and way back in “Sincerely Yours,” Coogans Bluff hold that Southern-style in their back pocket as one of several of Metronopolis‘ recurring themes, and it becomes one more element among the many at their disposal.

Coogans Bluff on Thee Facebooks

Noisolution store

 

Rough Spells, Ruins at Midday

rough spells ruins at midday

An underlying current of social commentary comes coated in Rough Spells‘ mysticism on Ruins at Midday, the Toronto unit’s second LP. Recorded by Ian Blurton and presented by Fuzzed and Buzzed and DHU Records, the eight-track LP has, as the lyrics of “Chance Magic” say, “No bad intentions.” Indeed, it seems geared only toward eliciting your participation in its ceremony of classic groove, hooks and melodies, even the mellow “Die Before You Die” presenting an atmosphere that’s heavy but still melodic and accessible. “Grise Fiord” addresses Canada’s history of mistreating its native population, while “Pay Your Dues” pits guitar and vocal harmonics against each other in a shove of proto-metallic energy to rush momentum through side B and into the closing pair of the swaggering “Nothing Left” and the title-track, which is the longest single cut at five minutes, but still keeps its songwriting taut with no time to spare for indulgences. In this, and on several fronts, Ruins at Midday basks in multifaceted righteousness.

Rough Spells on Thee Facebooks

Fuzzed and Buzzed store

DHU Records store

 

Goblinsmoker, A Throne in Haze, A World Ablaze

goblinsmoker a throne in haze a world ablaze

Upside the head extreme sludgeoning! UK trio Goblinsmoker take on the more vicious and brutal end of sludge with the stench of death on A Throne in Haze, A World Ablaze (on Sludgelord Records), calling to mind the weedian punishment of Belzebong and others of their decrepit ilk. Offered as part two of a trilogy, A Throne in Haze, A World Ablaze is comprised of three tracks running a caustic 26 minutes thick enough such that even its faster parts feel slow, a churning volatility coming to the crash of “Smoked in Darkness” at the outset only to grow more menacing in the lurch of centerpiece “Let Them Rot” — which of course shifts into blastbeats later on — and falling apart into noise and echoing residual feedback after the last crashes of “The Forest Mourns” recede. Beautifully disgusting, the release reportedly furthers the story of the Toad King depicted on its cover and for which the band’s prior 2018 EP was named, and so be it. The lyrics, largely indecipherable in screams, are vague enough that if you’re not caught up, you’ll be fine. Except you won’t be fine. You’ll be dead. But it’ll be awesome.

Goblinsmoker on Thee Facebooks

Sludgelord Records on Bandcamp

 

Homecoming, LP01

homecoming lp01

Progressive metal underpins French trio Homecoming‘s aptly-titled first record, LP01, with the guitars of second cut “Rivers of Crystal” leading the way through a meandering quiet part and subsequent rhythmic figure that reminds of later Opeth, though there’s still a strong heavy rock presence in their tones and grooves generally. It’s an interesting combination, and all the more so because I think part of what’s giving off such a metal vibe is the snare sound. You don’t normally think of a snare drum determining that kind of thing, but here we are. Certainly the vocal arrangements between gruff melodies, backing screams and growls, etc., the odd bit of blastbeating here and there, bring it all into line as well — LP01 is very much the kind of album that would title its six-minute instrumental centerpiece “Interlude” — but the intricacy in how the nine-minute “Return” develops and the harmonies that emerge early in closer “Five” tell the tale clearly of Homecoming‘s ambitions as they move forward from this already-ambitious debut.

Homecoming on Thee Facebooks

Homecoming on Bandcamp

 

Lemurian Folk Songs, Logos

lemurian folk songs logos

Tracked in the same sessions as the Budapest outfit’s 2019 album, Ima (review here), it should not come as a major surprise that the six-track/49-minute Logos from Lemurian Folk Songs follows a not entirely dissimilar course, bringing together dream-drift of tones and melodies with subtle but coherent rhythmic motion in a fashion not necessarily revolutionary for heavy psych, but certainly well done and engaging across its tracks. The tones of guitar and bass offer a warmth rivaled only by the echoing vocals on opener/longest cut (immediate points) “Logos,” and the shimmering “Sierra Tejada” and progressively building “Calcination” follow that pattern while adding a drift that is both of heavy psych and outside of it in terms of the character of how it’s played. None of the last three tracks is less than eight minutes long — closer “Firelake” tops nine in a mirror to “Logos” at the outset, but if that’s the band pushing further out I hear, then yes, I want to go along for that trip.

Lemurian Folk Songs on Thee Facebooks

Para Hobo Records on Bandcamp

 

Ritual King, Ritual King

ritual king ritual king

Progressive heavy rockers Ritual King display a striking amount of grace and patience across their Ripple Music-issued self-titled long-player. Tapping modern influences like Elder and bringing their own sense of melodic nuance to the proceedings across a tightly-constructed seven songs and 42 minutes, the three-piece of vocalist/guitarist Jordan Leppitt, bassist Dan Godwin — whose tone is every bit worthy of gotta-hear-it classification — and drummer/backing vocalist Gareth Hodges string together linear movements in “Headspace” and “Dead Roads” that flow one into the next, return at unexpected moments or don’t, and follow a direction not so much to the next chorus but to the next statement the band want to make, whatever that might be. “Restrain” begins with a sweet proggy soundscape and unfolds two verses over a swaying riff, then is gone, where at the outset, “Valleys” offers grandeur the likes of which few bands would dare to embody on their third or fourth records, let alone their first. Easily one of 2020’s best debuts.

Ritual King on Thee Facebooks

Ripple Music on Bandcamp

 

Sunflowers, Endless Voyage

sunflowers endless voyage

You know what? Never mind. You ain’t weird enough for this shit. Nobody’s weird enough for this shit. I have a hard time believing the two souls from Portugal who made it are weird enough for this shit. Think I’m wrong? Think you’re up for it and you’re gonna put on SunflowersEndless Voyage and be like, “oh yeah, turns out mega-extreme krautrock blasted into outer space was my wavelength all along?” Cool. Bandcamp player’s right there. Have at it. I dare you.

Sunflowers on Thee Facebooks

Stolen Body Records store

 

Maya Mountains, Era

maya mountains era

Italian heavy rockers Maya Mountains formed in 2005 and issued their debut album, Hash and Pornography, through Go Down Records in 2008. Era, which follows a narrative about the title-character whose name is given in lead cut “Enrique Dominguez,” who apparently travels through space after being lost in the desert — as one does — and on that basis alone is clearly a more complex offering than its predecessor. As to where Maya Mountains have been all the time in between records — here and there, in other bands, etc. But Era, at 10 tracks and 44 minutes, is the summation of five years of work on their part and its blend of scope and straight-ahead heavy riffing is welcome in its more heads-down moments like “Vibromatic” or in the purposefully weirder finale “El Toro” later on. Something like a second debut for the band after being away for so long, Era at very least marks the beginning of a new one for them, and one hopes it continues in perhaps more productive fashion than the last.

Maya Mountains on Thee Facebooks

Go Down Records store

 

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Yo No Se Post “Touching the Stone” Video; Touring This Week

Posted in Whathaveyou on March 11th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

yo no se touching the stone video

It was the cover art for the single that hooked me into Yo No Se‘s new track, ‘Touching the Stone,’ and I’m only glad it did. I missed out on the Bristol-based trio’s 2017 debut, Soma, because I’m bad at life, and so the chance to dig into some of their heavy psychedelic vibes is welcome in a better-late-than-never kind of way. Plus the video is skeleton puppets rocking out and that’s fun as well. The single is out now through Stolen Body Records and Yo No Se are on the road starting tonight in France and Belgium, a quick run of three shows, but they’re apparently putting together a second record as well, so maybe like me you take the single as a chance ahead of that to get clued in, which I’m sure you were anyway, because you are much, much, much cooler and better at life than I am. These are assumptions I make based on past experience.

You can see the video/hear the track at the bottom of this post.

Enjoy:

Yo No Se Touching the Stone

Brand new song and video from Bristol grunge and heavy psych three piece Yo No Se. This is their first release since their debut album Soma and comes just before a short tour in France and Belgium. The song has been released with a new video showing the band playing as skeletons…

Yo No Se are signed to Stolen Body Records and released their debut album Soma in 2017. They have also released a 7” single on US label Greenway Records.

The band’s sound ranges from 70’s style hard rock to grunge, to psychedelia and even incorporates elements of progressive rock. Yo No Se formed in 2016 and quickly began practicing songs for what became their debut album Soma. The band have toured Europe several times playing festivals and headlining shows. They are currently working on their 2nd album.

Tour dates

MARCH
11th – Lille – Mars Red Sky, Yo No Se, Baron Crâne / Tourcoing, Le Grand Mix
12th – Nantes – Yo No Se ? This Will Destroy Your Ears ? Carver – Nantes (44)
14th – E.T. Explore Me + Yo No Se @ The Pit’s

UK shows
April 18th – SBR & BLG presents: Sunflowers w/ Yo No Se at The Lanes

Yo No Se are:
Al Studer
Jason Strickland
Sam Rowswell

https://www.facebook.com/yonoseband/
https://www.instagram.com/yonoseband/
https://yonoseband.bandcamp.com/
https://stolenbodyrecords.co.uk/
https://www.facebook.com/stolenbodyrecords/
https://www.instagram.com/stolenbodyrecords/

Yo No Se, “Touching the Stone” official video

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Vinnum Sabbathi to Release Of Theories and Dimensions March 27; Video Posted

Posted in Whathaveyou on February 12th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

vinnum sabbathi

Along with their plans to release their second album, Of Theories and Dimensions, on March 27 through Stolen Body Records, Mexican heavy instrumentalists Vinnum Sabbathi also cite “European Tour May-August 2020” among their intentions. Well that’s a hell of a tour, but they’re already booked for Esbjerg Fuzztival in Denmark, and that’s on May 8, so at least we know around when they’ll start. I wouldn’t have any trouble believing they’d be on the road for an extended period — wouldn’t be their first time — but that’s a hell of a stretch.

We’ll see how it works out, but while we’re seeing things, there’s a new video the band have posted for “In Search of M-Theory,” the nine-minute, sample-laced opener of Of Theories and Dimensions, and if it’s cosmic heft, grainy space footage and cool live shots you seek — and I know it is — then dive in. Some of the widest-smiling nine minutes I’ve spent today.

More to come on this one (including those tour dates when I see them), but for now, this:

Vinnum Sabbathi Of Dimensions and Theories

It is a great pleasure to finally announce info and pre-orders of our second Album “of Dimensions & Theories”

3 years have passed since Gravity Works. We’ve been on the road playing some amazing shows and meeting friends that we now consider family. We have been through unique experiences and colossal changes during this time; not only as musicians but as human beings as well: this is our vision of those experiences.

ODAT is a follow up from our first record and it serves as a sequel to the Album “The Sixth Glare” from our brothers Cegvera (go check that one out as well).

Recorded, mixed & mastered by KB in Testa Estudio in León, Mexico on January 3rd – 5th 2020.
Art from the talented Yasinviolet from Indonesia.

“In Search of M-Theory” is the opening track of our new Album and on it a TV host describes the world of 2061.

The complete Album samples were recorded by dear friends of us and in the video you can see footage from some very special shows, courtesy of Phocal.mx and our buddy Dan Delaney along with some old space visuals.

THIS IS THE BEST WAY TO SUPPORT US

Stolen Body Records is making a VERY SPECIAL edition containing an Earth 12″ + a Moon 7″ + a Reference Manual booklet with all the detailed story and samples.

https://www.stolenbodyrecords.co.uk/shop/vinnum-sabbathi-of-dimensions-and-theories

We’re having pre orders for the Album as well as merch including fresh mission patches, a special digipack CD and new t-shirts that we’ll bring to Europe for the upcoming tour (still looking for help BTW).

https://vinnumsabbathi.bandcamp.com/album/of-dimensions-theories

of Dimensions & Theories releases on March 27th 2020, you can pre order it for $1 now but don’t worry, it’ll be free to download once available.

ENDLESS THANKS FOR YOUR SUPPORT AND LOVE

Tracklisting:
1. In Search of M-Theory
2. Quantum Determinism
3. An Appraisal
4. Beyond Perturbative States
5. A Superstring Revolution I
6. A Superstring Revolution II

VINNUM SABBATHI is:
Alberto (Guitar)
Samuel (Bass)
Mico / Gerardo (Drums)
Roman (Live Samples & Synth)

www.facebook.com/VinnumSabbathi/
https://vinnumsabbathi.bandcamp.com/
https://stolenbodyrecords.co.uk/
https://www.facebook.com/stolenbodyrecords/
https://www.instagram.com/stolenbodyrecords/

Vinnum Sabbathi, “In Search of M-Theory” official video

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Cegvera Announce The Sixth Glare out March 6; New Video Posted

Posted in Whathaveyou on January 30th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

Cegvera (Photo by Guli)

It actually hasn’t been that long since I listened to one track off a forthcoming record from a band whose last work I dug a lot and immediately had to chase down the rest of the album because the tones hit me so hard. But if you discount that other instance, like on Tuesday, it’s been a good long while. Bristol, UK-based now-duo Cegvera bring expert-level thickness to the proceedings on their upcoming long-player, The Sixth Glare, and the video streaming below for “Red Swarm Beyond” is exactly what got me hooked, as it happens. I guess as far as the idea of a ‘teaser’ goes, whether it’s a whole track (as this is) or not, that’s basically the ideal.

Cegvera‘s last outing was 2019’s Live at Palíndromo (review here) on which some of this material also appeared. All the more reason to hit their Bandcamp.

The PR wire takes it from there:

Cegvera The Sixth Glare

Cegvera ‘The Sixth Glare’ (Stolen Body)

Dark psychedelia, mesmerising doomy soundscapes, obscured and enlightening riffs are just few components of what to expect from Cegvera’s new record ‘The Sixth Glare’. The album will be released on March 6th by Stolen Body Records (LP/CD/DL) and LSDR (CD).

Following on from their now sold out split release with Vinnum Sabbathi ‘The Good Earth Is Dying’ in 2018, Cegvera have become a two piece – Gerardo Arias (guitar) and Matt Neicho (drums). The bass duties have been taken on by Gerardo splitting the guitar between guitar and bass amps. A sound that needs to be seen to be believed. ‘The Sixth Glare’ represents the first full-length album that Cegvera has to offer as a duo. Recorded and mixed by Joe Clayton at No Studios (Manchester, UK) and mastered by KB at Testa studio (León, Gto. México).

‘The Sixth Glare’ is a reference to the environmental crisis that we are living through today and the anthropogenic extinction events that are referred by world-renowned scientists as ‘the Sixth Mass Extinction’.

The Sixth Glare stands as a conversation that needs to take place. The world is in danger of killing itself. You will find this subject embodied from the smallest scratch of the artwork (Hellbound Graphics, México) to the last second of the final track. The scene is actually set as precursor to Vinnum Sabbathi’s upcoming album ‘Of Dimensions and Theories’ (also to be released this year via SBR) which Gerardo plays drums on.

If it is well true that our planet is facing great biodiversity loss generated by human activity, this record tries to look at these phenomena in a broader context and offers a merely informative in-depth review of the factors that are mindlessly dragging our planet towards decay in modern times. This not only means that humans are depriving other species from their natural environments but they are also threatening their own existence by doing irreversible damage to the biosphere. Similarly, another factor of great importance, the overuse of antibiotics is inducing and facilitating the emergence of abnormal resistance traits in pathogenic microorganisms. At present, antibiotic-resistant diseases also represent and will remain a major threat to the human species.

It should also be said that Gerardo Arias has just become a doctor in Biology and had first hand knowledge on the subject matter.

Tracklist:
Side A (Antibiotic resistance – stages of a disease):
1. Infection (Entrance of the pathogen)
2. Incubation (period between infection and the first apparent symptoms)
3. Prodromal (period between first symptom and the full development of the disease)
4. Convalescence (period of recovery)

Side B (The Sixth Glare)
5. The Great Blackout (Environmental effects of nuclear war)
6. After the Thaw (Thawing of the permafrost)
7. The Sixth Glare (Climate change – Global Warming)
8. Red Swarm Beyond (Wildfires – Bushfires)

Cegvera is:
Gerardo Arias (guitar, bass)
Matt Neicho (drums)

https://www.facebook.com/cegueraUK
https://cegvera.bandcamp.com/
https://stolenbodyrecords.co.uk/
https://www.facebook.com/stolenbodyrecords/
https://www.instagram.com/stolenbodyrecords/

Cegvera, “Red Swarm Beyond” official video

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Quarterly Review: Dommengang, Ice Dragon, Saint Karloff, Witch Trail, Love Gang, Firebreather, Karkara, Circle of Sighs, Floral Fauna, Vvlva

Posted in Reviews on January 7th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

quarterly review

We begin Day Two of the Winter 2020 Quarterly Review. Snow on the ground fell overnight and the day ahead looks as busy as ever. There’s barely time to stop for sips of coffee between records, but some allowances must be made. It’s Tuesday after all. There’s still a lot of week left. And if we can’t be kind to ourselves in the post-holiday comedown of wintry gray, when can we?

So yes, pause, sip — glug, more likely — then proceed.

I don’t usually play favorites with these things, but I think today’s might have worked out to be my favorite batch of the bunch. As always, I hope you find something that speaks to you.

Quarterly Review #11-20:

Dommengang, No Keys

dommengang no keys

Driving heavy psych and rock meet with spacious Americana and a suburbanite dreaminess in Dommengang‘s No Keys, the now-L.A. trio’s follow-up to 2018’s Love Jail (review here). It is a melting pot of sound, with emphasis on melting, but vocal harmonies and consistently righteous basslines like that in “Stir the Sea” act to tie the nine component tracks together, making Dommengang‘s various washes of tone ultimately the creation of a welcoming space. Early cut “Earth Blues” follows opener “Sunny Day Flooding” with a mindful far-outbound resonance, and the later “Arcularius – Burke” finds itself in a linear building pattern ahead of “Jerusalem Cricket,” which reimagines ’70s country rock as something less about nostalgia than forward possibility. Having come far on their apparently keyboard-less journey, from the breadth-casting verses of “Stir the Sea” to the doomy interlude “Blues Rot,” they end with “Happy Death (Her Blues II)” which sure as hell sounds like it has some organ on it. Either way, whether they live up to the standard of the title or not is secondary to the album’s actual achievements, which are significant, and distinguish Dommengang from would-be peers in atmosphere, craft and melody.

Dommengang on Thee Facebooks

Thrill Jockey Records on Bandcamp

 

Ice Dragon, Passage of Mind

ice dragon passage of mind

Though they don’t do it nearly as often as they did between 2012 and 2015, every now and then Boston’s Ice Dragon manage to sneak out a new release. Over the last few years, that’s been a succession of singles, but Passage of Mind is their first LP since 2015’s A Beacon on the Barrow (review here), and though they’ll always in some part be thought of as a doom band, the unassuming organic psychedelia of “Don’t Know Much but the Road” reminds more of Chris Goss‘ work with Masters of Reality in its acoustic/fuzz blend and melody. The experimentalism-prone outfit have been down this avenue before as well, and it suits them, even as members have moved on to other projects (Brass Hearse among them), with the seven-minute “One of These Days” basing itself around willfully simplistic-sounding intertwining lines of higher and lower fuzz. There are moments of serenity, like closer “Dream About You” and “Sun in My Eyes,” but “The Sound the Rain Makes” is more of a blowout, and even the darker vibe of “Delirium’s Tears” holds hits melody as top priority. Hey guess what? Here’s an Ice Dragon album that deserves more attention than it’s gotten. I think it’s the 12th one.

Ice Dragon on Thee Facebooks

Ice Dragon on Bandcamp

 

Saint Karloff, Interstellar Voodoo

Saint Karloff Interstellar Voodoo

Oslo’s Saint Karloff squash the high standard they set for themselves on their 2018 debut, All Heed the Black God (review here), with the 41-minute single-song long-player Interstellar Voodoo, basking in bluesy Sabbathian grandeur and keeping a spirit of progressive adventuring beneath without giving over entirely to self-indulgent impulses any more than one could as they careen from one movement to the next in the multi-stage work. With vinyl through Majestic Mountain Records, tape on Stoner Witch Records and CD through Ozium Records, they’re nothing if not well represented, and rightly so, as they veer in and out of psychedelic terrain in exciting and periodically elephantine fashion, still making room for classic Scandi-folk boogie on side A before the second half of the track stomps all over everything that’s come before it en route to its own organ-laced jammy meandering, Iommi shuffle and circa-’74 howl. As a new generation of doom rock begins to take shape, Saint Karloff position themselves well as earlier pursuers of an individualist spirit while still drawing of course on classic sources of inspiration. The first record was encouraging. The second is more so. The third will be the real tell of who they are as a band.

Saint Karloff on Thee Facebooks

Majestic Mountain Records webstore

 

Witch Trail, The Sun Has Left the Hill

witch trail the sun has left the hill

The jangling guitar strum in centerpiece “Lucid” on Witch Trail‘s The Sun Has Left the Hill (Consouling Sounds) has the indelible mark of classic rock and roll freedom to it. One wonders if Pete Townshend would recognize it, or if it’s too far blasted into oblivion by the Belgian trio’s aesthetic treatment across The Sun Has Left the Hill‘s convention-challenging 29-minute span, comprising seven tracks that bring together a heavy alternative rock and post-black metal vision marked by spacious echoes and cavern screams that are likewise tortured and self-assured. That is to say, there’s no mistaking the intent here. In the early intensity of “Watcher” or the shimmering and more patiently unfolding “Silent Running,” the Ghent three-piece mark out their stylistic terrain between bursts of noisy chaotic wash and clearheaded execution. The six-minute “Afloat” hisses like a lost demo that would’ve rewritten genre history some 25 years ago, and even in closer “Residue,” one can’t help but feel like Witch Trail are indeed looking to leave some lasting effect behind them with such forward-thinking craft. Sure to be a shock for those who take it on with no idea of what to expect.

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Consouling Sounds website

 

Love Gang, Dead Man’s Game

love gang dead mans game

Shortly before Love Gang are halfway through the opening title-track of their debut album, Dead Man’s Game, just when you think you might have their blend of organ-laced Radio Moscow and Motörhead figured out, that’s when Leo Muñoz breaks out the flute and the whole thing takes a turn for the unexpected. Surprises abound from the Denver foursome of Muñoz (who also handles organ and sax), guitarist/vocalist Kam Wentworth, bassist Grady O’Donnell and drummer Shaun Goodwin, who find room for psychedelic airiness amidst the gallop of “Addiction,” which doesn’t seem coincidentally paired with “Break Free,” though the two don’t run together. Love Gang‘s 2016 self-titled EP (review here) had a cleaner production and less aggro throb, and there’s some of that on Dead Man’s Game in the peaceful melody of “Interlude,” but even seven-minute closer “Endless Road” makes a point of finishing at a rush, and that’s ultimately what defines the album. No complaints. Love Gang wield momentum as another element of inventive arrangement on this encouraging first long-player.

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Love Gang on Thee Facebooks

 

Firebreather, Under a Blood Moon

firebreather under a blood moon

‘Tis the stuff of battle axes and severed limbs, but it’s worth noting that three of the six inclusions on Firebreather‘s second LP and first for RidingEasy Records, Under a Blood Moon, have some reference to fire in their title. The follow-up to their brazen 2017 self-titled debut (review here) starts with its longest track (immediate points) in the nine-minute “Dancing Flames,” then follows immediately with “Our Souls, They Burn” and launches side B with the eponymous “Firebreather,” as the Gothenburg trio of Mattias Nööjd, Kyle Pitcher and Axel Wittbeck launch their riffy, destructive assault with urgency that earns all that scarred land left in its wake. The High on Fire comparison remains inevitable, perhaps most of all on “Firebreather” itself, but Firebreather have grown thicker in tone, meaner in approach and do nothing to shy away from the largesse that such a sound might let them convey, as “Our Souls, They Burn” and in the volume surges of closer “The Siren.” Under a Blood Moon is a definite forward step from the first LP, showing an evolving sound and burgeoning individuality that one hopes Firebreather continue to hunt down with such vigilance.

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RidingEasy Records on Bandcamp

 

Karkara, Crystal Gazer

karkara crystal gazer

Presented through Stolen Body Records, the debut long-player from French trio Karkara purports to be “Oriental psych rock,” which accounts for an Eastern influence in the overall sound of its seven-track/41-minute run, but there are perhaps some geographical questions to be undertaken there, as “Camel Rider” and others show a distinctive Mideastern flair. Whatever works, I guess. At its core, Crystal Gazer is a work of psychedelic space rock, brought to bear with a duly open sensibility by guitarist/vocalist Karim Rihani (also didgeridoo), bassist Hugo Olive and drummer/vocalist Maxime Marouani as seemingly the beginning stages of a broader sonic adventure. That is to say, the stylistic aspects at play here — and they are very much “at play” — feel purposefully used, but like the foundation of what will be future growth on the part of Karkara as a unit. Will they progress along a more patient and meditative path, as “The Way” hints in some of its early roll, or will the frenetic winding of closer “Jedid” set their course for subsequent freakouts? I don’t know, but Karkara strike as a band who won’t see any point to standing still creatively any more than they do to doing so rhythmically.

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Stolen Body Records website

 

Circle of Sighs, Desolate

circle of sighs desolate

Information is limited on Circle of Sighs, and by that I primarily mean I don’t have any. They list their point of origin as Los Angeles, so there’s that, but as to the whos and whats, wheres and so on, it’s a mystery. Something tells me that suits the band, whose four-track debut EP, Desolate, gracefully executes a blend of melodic downerism with more extreme elements at play, melodic vocal arrangements offset by screams in the closing title-track after the prior rolling groove of “Burden of the Flesh” offered a progressive and synth-laden take on Pallbearer-style emotive doom. Acoustics, keyboard, and a clear use of multiple singers give Circle of Sighs‘ first outing a kitchen-sink feel, but one can only admire them for trying something new at their (presumed) outset, and the catchy chug of “Hold Me, Lucifer” speaks to more complex aesthetic origins than the simplistic subject matter might lead one to believe. The outlier is the penultimate nine-minute cut “Kukeri,” which broods across its first three minutes in a manner that would make Patrick Walker proud before unfolding the breadth of its lumber and arrangement, harmonies and screams and the first real showcase of more extreme impulses taking hold in its second half — plus strings, maybe — which “Desolate” itself will build upon after a bookending acoustic close. There’s some sorting out to do in terms of sound, but already they show a readiness to push in their own direction, and that’s more than it would seem reasonable to ask.

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Circle of Sighs on Bandcamp

 

Floral Fauna, Pink and Blue

floral fauna pink and blue

Way out west, Chris Allison of the band Lord Loud is taking on psychedelic shimmer under the ostensible solo moniker of Floral Fauna, but the situation of the project’s 11-tracker debut LP, Pink and Blue is more complicated in personnel and style than that, melding fuzzy presence, classic ’60s surf-tone, rampant hooky melody and ready-to-go-anywhere-as-long-as-it-works pop experimentalism together in a steaming lysergic cauldron of neo-yourface-ism that’s ether blissed enough to tie funk and ancient R&B to cosmic flow together in a manner that feels like an utter tossoff, like, hey, yeah man, this kind of thing just happens all the time here. You know, no big deal on this wavelength. Mellow dreams in “Great White Silence,” a spacey ramble in “Velvet and Jade” and the echoing leadwork of “Red Anxiety” continue the color theme from the opening title-track, and the record caps with “Herds of Jellyfish,” which at last brings forward the vocal harmony that the whole album seems to have been begging for. Cool debut? Shit, man. It’s 36 minutes of straight-up psych joy just waiting to bring you on board. Legal psilocybin now.

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King Volume Records on Bandcamp

 

Vvlva, Silhouettes

vvlva silhouettes

There are a couple things you can figure on in this wacky universe, and one of them is that German imprint World in Sound knows what it’s doing when it picks up a classic heavy rock band. Silhouettes is the second long-player the label has released from woefully-monikered Aschaffenburg-based four-piece Vvlva, and indeed in the upfront boogie of “Cosmic Pilgrim” or the more progressive unfolding of pieces like “Tales Told by a Gray Man,” the centerpiece “Gomorrah,” or the longer “Night by Night/The Choir” and “Dance of the Heathens,” which seem to bring the two sides together, there’s enough vintage influence to make the case once again. Like the more forward thinking of their contemporaries, Vvlva have brought this modus into the present when it comes to production value and clarity, and rather than sound like it’s 1973, they would seem to be making 1973 sound like them. Whether one dives in for the early hooks in “Cosmic Pilgrim” or “What Do I Stand For?” or the fuzzy interplay between the solo and organ in the maddeningly bouncing “Hobos,” there’s plenty in Silhouettes to demonstrate the vitality and continued evolution of the style.

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World in Sound website

 

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Earth Tongue Premiere “Probing the New Reality” Video; Australian & New Zealand Shows Announced

Posted in Bootleg Theater on October 31st, 2019 by JJ Koczan

earth tongue

Recently enough back from a tour of Europe and already confirmed for a return to that continent in Spring 2020 for an appearance at Desertfest Berlin with presumably more dates to follow, the Wellington, New Zealand-based duo Earth Tongue released their debut album, Floating Being, this past summer through Stolen Body Records, and if their name is somewhat easy to overlook, their sound certainly isn’t. While rife with a heavy fuzz in the opening salvo of “Microscopic God” and “Probing the New Reality,” setting the tone both, well, tonally, and in terms of the album’s sci-fi we’re-all-robots-ish post-New Wave thematic that will soon come to further fruition, there are pop and electro showcases that take hold as the maddeningly catchy and surprisingly aggressive “Hidden Entrance” comes in to unveil a secret Nine Inch Nails influence — shh! don’t tell anybody! — before “Unseen Tormentor” finds a new echelon of vocal righteousness from the two-piece of Gussie Larkin and Ezra Simons, arranging in layers and setting up a duet dynamic that can be switched on and off that only adds character to the proceedings as the rest of the record plays out in chic and effective fashion.

Centerpiece “Astonishing Comet” builds on the sci-fi vibe while “The Well of Pristine Order” digs into deeper-mixed fuzz and melody while setting a forward push of snare for added proto-punk urgency. It’s got a hook, but the greater impression is the riff that Earth Tongue Floating Beingresolves itself in the second half, and like much of the half-hour-long LP, it’s over quick and on to “Portable Shrine,” which takes a bit more of a patient roll, but still refuses to waste any of its time, underscoring the tightness of Earth Tongue‘s craft and the unflappable nature of their sound, that fuzz and an earliest-Kadavar-style compression in the drums providing an excellent backdrop for the voices of Simons and Larkin. Floating Being caps with its two longest tracks in “The Dome” (3:52) and “Sentient Sediment” (5:21), with a winding course in the former hitting into a wall of more swinging starts and stops marked by standout drums and even more standout harmonies en route to fuzzo-blivion. It’s awesome. And “Sentient Sediment” backs it up with an almost post-rocking drift initially before finding its core riff around midway through and even slowing down to more of a nod by the time its five-plus minutes are up — a surprising and broad finale for a record that’s spent so much effort on being so efficient, but damned if it doesn’t work for them.

Earth Tongue will tour Australia and New Zealand in November and December, and once again, they’ll be back in Europe come Spring at least for Desertfest and likely more, so keep an eye out. Somehow I doubt this is the last we’ll be hearing from them. In the meantime, the video for “Probing the New Reality” is rife with charm and premiering below. I advise you to do the right thing and dig in accordingly.

Have fun:

Earth Tongue, “Probing the New Reality” official video premiere

Take a trip into Earth Tongue’s astonishing universe in their new music video for ‘Probing the New Reality’. Delicately balancing all-out pop hooks with mind-frying riff action, the New Zealand two-piece take stoner-pop to a new level in this track. ‘Probing the New Reality’ is the third single off their debut album ‘Floating Being’, released in June this year via Bristol-based label Stolen Body.

While killing time in Berlin between tours, Earth Tongue conceptualised and self-directed the video, alongside Alan Waddingham whose work includes music videos for GUM, Princess Chelsea and LarzRanda. The footage, shot on 33mm film stock was brought to life by animator Neirin Best, who has created videos for names such as The Pixies and Jane Weaver. The music video release follows a successful European tour, where Earth Tongue appeared at festivals from the UK to Poland alongside bands such as Monolord and Radio Moscow.

Created by Earth Tongue and Alan Waddingham
Director of Photography – Alan Waddingham
Animation – Neirin Best
Additional Animation – Ezra Simons
Edit – Ezra Simons
Assistance and BTS Photography – Joel Thomas

EARTH TONGUE AUSTRALIAN TOUR:
Friday 29th November – Adelaide, Wundenberg’s Recording Studios
Saturday 30th November – Melbourne, Sunburn Festival The Tote
Sunday 1st December – Sydney, The Vanguard Supported by Numidia & HEV?

Earth Tongue New Zealand tour:
6/12 – Wellington, SAN FRAN
7/12 – Auckland, WHAMMY
13/12 – Christchurch, DARKROOM
14/12 – DUNEDIN, THE COOK

The band consists of two human beings – Gussie Larkin and Ezra Simons.

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Earth Tongue on Instagram

Earth Tongue on Bandcamp

Stolen Body Records webstore

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Stolen Body Records on Instagram

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Karkara to Release Crystal Gazer Oct. 25

Posted in Whathaveyou on October 3rd, 2019 by JJ Koczan

karkara

Here’s the simplest post I’m going to put together today. The info for this album came down the PR wire. I skimmed through it in that way I do when I’m most likely three-quarters asleep — which is most of the time these days — said to myself, “well that might be cool,” put it on, it was, so I’m posting about it. Done. It could not possibly be easier or more straightforward than that.

A cosmic trio based in Toulouse, France, Karkara will release their debut album, Crystal Gazer, on Oct. 25 through Stolen Body Records. They’ve got opening track “Proxima Centaury” streaming now, and it’s both a spiritual and a sonic gateway into the rest of the LP that follows. Take my word for it or don’t, but know that I wouldn’t try to purposefully steer you wrong or mess with your day — or at least not do so surreptitiously; there’s some stuff that gets posted around here very much intent on messing with your day — and rather that I’m putting this here for the opposite purpose.

Have at it:

Karkara ‘Crystal Gazer’ (Stolen Body Records)

Explosive power trio that furiously mixes garage / fuzz and middle eastern sounds, KARKARA is an unprecedented project that takes the gamble of glueing together the East and the West sound in a common goal: transcendence. Created in 2017 in Toulouse – France- under the idea of the guitarist and the bassist and inspired by the psychedelic rock scene of the Middle East and the Maghreb of the 60s and 70s, the band combines its traditional inspirations with a visceral taste for the shattering sounds of garage fuzz and contemporary krautrock.

Even going so far as to use their favorite atypical instrument – the didgeridoo – the three members of KARKARA, like desert wizards, take pleasure in pushing the boundaries of the genre further and take their audience into a mystical and indomitable world.

Their debut album «Crystal Gazer», recorded at Swampland studio and mastered by the American producer Jim Diamond, who had recorded and collaborated with the White Stripes in Detroit under Ghetto Records in the 90’s, is a hypnotic musical production inspired by the mystical folklores all around the middle eastern countries. With the collaboration of the illustrator Dead Flag who was an additional source of imagination, this 7 tracks LP of 41 minutes is a deafening psychedelic flood where the desert and the tribal atmosphere is omnipresent.The lyrics take the form of a mystical and narratives incantations that draw the thread of an epic journey that unfolds throughout all the album.

Tracklisting:
1. Proxima Centaury
2. The Way
3. Camel Rider
4. Into Orchard
5. Crystal Gazer
6. Zarathoustra
7. Jedid

KARKARA is:
Karim Rihani – guitar / didgeridoo / vocals
Hugo Olive – bass
Maxime Marouani – drums / vocals

https://www.facebook.com/karkararock/
https://www.instagram.com/karkara_band/
https://karkara.bandcamp.com/
https://stolenbodyrecords.co.uk/
https://www.facebook.com/stolenbodyrecords/
https://www.instagram.com/stolenbodyrecords/

Karkara, Crystal Gazer (2019)

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