Tentacula Sign to StoneFree Records; Tentaculove out This Month

Posted in Whathaveyou on August 9th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

tentacula

StoneFree Records aren’t messing around here. No time to waste. They’ve picked up Tentaculove, the sweet and yet horrifyingly forebodingly titled debut EP from Linz-based five-piece Tentacula for release, and they’re putting it out this month. Boom. There you go. No three-month lead-time, no “cover art reveal” milking every announcement, just here’s-a-thing-that’s-happening and then it happens. Done. I respect that.

For what it’s worth, I respect the other way too. Much respect all around.

The good news though is it means that there won’t be a long wait before anyone curious to do so can hear what Tentacula are all about. They’ve got the opening track of the record, “It’s Only a Dream,” streaming now, and with a release date purportedly before the end of the month, there’s more to come, I’m sure. The band also have a variety of shows over the next couple months, including an appearance at a “very secret festival, somewhere in Upper Austria.” How could you not be curious about that? I certainly am.

Here’s StoneFree Records‘ announcement of the pickup:

tentacula tentaculove

TENTACULA – !! BAND ANNOUNCEMENT !!

We’re lucky to add TENTACULA, a psych/surf/garage quintet from Linz to our roster.

Their first EP “TENTACULOVE” was recorded in January and February 2019 by Tom Wrench at the KAPU AUDIO SOLUTIONS Studio in Linz. All instrumental tracks were recorded live to capture the band’s raw power and dynamics. What they accomplished is an honest and pure piece of music rich in variety yet very catchy. The lyrics invite to dive down into the abyss , into the big unknown. The vastness of the sea: full of life, full of secrets – where you have to face desire and your deepest fear and might as well find clarity, enlightenment or even the perfect wave.

“TENTACULOVE” will be released by the end of August, more informations and pre-order to be announced next week.

Catch ’em live:

16.08.19. Seek Nificance Festival, Salzburg (AUT)
17.08.19 w. Minus Green & Anstaltskinda at MINOR PARTY, Böllerbauer, Haag (AUT)
23.08.19 Very Secret Festival, somewhere in Upper Austria (AUT)
10.09.19 w. Holy Serpent & Sativa Root at Venster 99, Vienna (AUT)
31.10.19 w. The Vampyres at Kramladen, Vienna (AUT)
22.-23.11. w. 10 000 Russos, Melt Downer, FVZZ POPVLI, High Brian, more tba., at KAPU, Linz (AUT)

In their own words:
“While the band’s name leaves space for interpretation it is also clearly their program! And this mystical neologism keeps its promise: dark, reverb-drenched melodies and haunting riffs create a refreshing blend, somewhere between dreamy psychedelic- and dirty garage-rock. Spiced up with a very distinct female voice that might come from the queen of darkness herself who summons the gods of Liquid Thunder together with her fellow cultists.”

Members:
Penny Slick Perry – Vocals
Markus Kapeller – Guitars & Vocals
Michael Falkner – Drums
Paul Eidenberger – Guitars
Chri Zao – Bass

https://tentacula.bandcamp.com/
https://www.facebook.com/TENTACULA
https://www.instagram.com/tentacula_official/
https://www.facebook.com/stonefree.co.at/
http://www.stonefree.co.at/tentacula.html

Tentacula, Tentaculove (2019)

Tags: , , , , ,

The Heavy Minds Stream New Album Second Mind in Full; Out Tomorrow on StoneFree Records

Posted in audiObelisk on July 11th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

the heavy minds

The garage rock sneer really comes through on the bouncing second cut “Footpath to Fortress,” with its bluesy riff and overarching sense of attitude driving the vocals, but it’s there throughout Second Mind in some measure just about anywhere one might look for it. The seven-track/43-minute album is the sophomore effort from Austrian three-piece The Heavy Minds, and it sees release through StoneFree Records tomorrow, July 12. It follows behind 2015’s Treasure Coast (review here) and has apparently been in the works for some time, as the aforementioned track was released as a single in 2016. Fair enough. Launching with “Second Mind,” the songs feel duly worked on and take an immediately raw character without being abrasive, so that even as they build into the fuzzy roll of the title-track, its warmth is more welcoming than off-putting, and the bluesier, slightly slower “Footpath to Fortress” and the eight-minute “Heavy Load of Fools,” which is the only cut not in the five-to-six-minute range and spends much of its “extra” runtime doling out satisfying fuzz in the guitar of Lukas (also vocals) and the gotta-hear-it bass of Tobias in an instrumental jam held together by Chris‘ drumming.

I know it’s their second record and all, and especially with the four years between the two it’s not unreasonable to think The Heavy Minds would have a decent sense of what they’re doing in these tracks, but it’s striking just how purposeful even their most languid moments seem. That jam in “Heavy Load of Fools,” for example, ties perfectly into the proto-new wave rhythm the heavy minds second mindof “Spheres,” which touches on krautrocking prog without losing its funky underlying groove — again, that bass — and thereby shifts somewhat the narrative of Second Mind up to that point, adding character to the proceedings that make it all the more dynamic feeling when “Trip Tide” unveils its classic heavy rock swagger, tapping Stooges-via-Radio Moscow vibes with periodic echo bursts that call back to “Second Mind” and “Footpath to Fortress” while also setting up a dive into a bit of instrumental meandering that, unlike “Heavy Load of Fools,” makes its way back to the central riff before rounding out and swinging into the mix of the penultimate “Dystopia,” which boasts yet another smooth-rolling nodder groove with ambitions not toward the frenetic realms of boogie, but to a kind of nefarious intent just the same — it ain’t “lock up yer daughters” sleazy, but when Lukas breaks out the line “Welcome to my nightmare” late in the track, he’s definitely aware that he’s not the first person to say that.

And that awareness serves him and the rest of the three-piece well as they make their way into closer “Flight / Future Days,” which touches on ’60s it’s-gonna-be-alright optimism before making its way into subtly winding garage-isms, not quite a grand, overblown finale, which wouldn’t fit on an LP so otherwise given to a natural, live sound, but still with a due conclusive feeling in its melody. The bottom line there is the same message as much of the rest of Second Mind, and that’s that The Heavy Minds know what they’re doing. They’ve done the legwork in terms of songwriting, they’re properly schooled and properly driven to their craft. They’ve streamlined somewhat, pulling away from some of the more psychedelic aspects of Treasure Coast in its use of effects and percussion, etc., but being so grounded suits them well and still gives them plenty of space to explore. Second Mind finds them sounding like a band growing in complexity, and whether it’s four more years before they put out a third one or, in true garage fashion, they find a speedier release rate, The Heavy Minds give a clear sense of their direction in these songs, which are only more encouraging for that.

Full album is streaming below.

Please enjoy:

The Heavy Minds are a Garage-Psych–Band based in Upper Austria. Even though the idea of genre-boundaries is quite meaningless for the band, it would probably be most appropriate to claim that the boys are influenced by a huge musical melting pot of sounds of the late 60’s ‘n 70’s, Garage/Prog/Krautrock, Lo-Fi, Neo-Psychedelia and all sorts of underground rawness.

“Second Mind” was recorded between July and November 2018 somewhere in the outback of Upper Austria as well as in Vienna during some hot summer days. We tried to accomplish an honest, raw but also vital piece of music that speaks for itself.

The Heavy Minds on Thee Facebooks

The Heavy Minds on Bandcamp

StoneFree Records website

Tags: , , , ,

Intra Premiere “Storm” Video; Debut Album The Contact out March 1

Posted in Bootleg Theater on February 22nd, 2019 by JJ Koczan

intra (photo by Petra Nagy NPP Photography)-1400

The new video below arrives as the third and likely final song to lead the way into the release of Austrian trio Intra‘s debut full-length, The Contact. Set for official issue on March 1 through StoneFree Records, the long-player follows behind a 2016 self-titled EP, and “Storm” — the aforementioned video premiering here — answers back the immediate thrust of first single “Uninvited Roomer” and the melo-grunge thickness of “Spiral Down” with a broader sense of mood, digging into prog-metal starts and stops in its second half after a more traditional-sounding hook is established early on.

The Contact, in its nine-song totality, likewise has no trouble playing to multiple sides or sounds. Songwriting is a focus — as far out as “Storm” goes, it returns to the hook — and whether it’s the gruff opening they give with “You Had Better Take Care” or the touch on beefed-up power-pop in centerpiece “F.d.i.K” or the bright-toned grand finale of “Point of View,” the three-piece maintain a consistent quality of work that challenges the notion of The Contact as a debut.

intra the contact-1400They rock like professionals, to put it another way. Bassist Bianca Ortner holds a strong vocal presence in the material, making the most of each chorus while backed by Hannes Pröstler, also guitar, and drummer Lukas Aichinger. The latter’s performance is especially telling because he comes across very clearly as a precision drummer in how he plays. Having also released an album last year with jazz trio Znap, one can hear some of that style of intricacy brought to bear throughout The Contact as well, up to and including the tension builds on toms and the deft cymbal work in the bridges of “Storm.”

Pröstler and Ortner have no trouble keeping up, of course, and Intra sound nothing if not ready to hit the road across The Contact‘s span. They’ve got a collection of well-crafted, well-executed tracks behind them, an accessible sound that borders on commercial without losing its edge, and the ability to tap into a feeling of urgency seemingly at will. As they bridge between metal, punk, rock and wider-reaching outside-genre fare through cuts like the mid-energy “Homebound” and the more brash finish of “Illusion,” there doesn’t seem to be any of it that threatens the sureness of their grasp.

It’s a first record, so their style might branch into any number of directions ultimately, but The Contact is an interesting mix of sounds, and their ability to manifest such a range of ideas bodes as well as the results they get from doing so.

PR wire info follows the “Storm” video below.

Enjoy:

Intra, “Storm” official video premiere

The official music video for “Storm” of the upcoming debut album “The Contact” (2019) by INTRA.

Director & Editor: Michael Winiecki
1st AD: Sonja Aberl
Cinematography: Cornelia Ohnmacht
1st AC: Markus Wastl
Gaffer: Christopher Eberle
Set & Costume Design: Michael Winiecki

It was obvious from the get-go that INTRA were here to stay. After dropping their first self-titled EP in 2016, the band celebrated immediate success playing close to 100 club shows, winning the Austrian Newcomer Award, and releasing their highly acclaimed debut music video “Down the Roof” all in the same year.

The Austrian Power-Trio is on a mission to break musical boundaries, open up and explore new territory, while still honoring the true grit of the Stoner-Rock legacy. Deep, dirty superfuzz, bone-dry rock punch, intricate yet catchy songwriting, and a sweet pinch of pop.

Members:
Bianca Ortner – Lead Vocals, Bass
Hannes Pröstler – Guitars, Backing Vocals
Lukas Aichinger – Drums

Intra on Thee Facebooks

Intra on Instagram

Intra website

Intra on Bandcamp

StoneFree Records on Thee Facebooks

StoneFree Records website

Tags: , , , , ,

High Brian Premiere “Cpt. Zepp” Video; Brian Air out March 16

Posted in Bootleg Theater on February 13th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

high brian

The thing about High Brian is there’s no Brian. Brian’s made up. He doesn’t exist. I’m mean, I’m sure he exists somewhere — dudes named Brian abound! — just not in High Brian. The Austro-German-Swedish four-piece are set to release their second album, Brian Air, through StoneFree Records on March 16 as the follow-up to 2017’s Hi Brain (review here) — note that’s “Brain” not “Brian” — and guess what? There’s no airline either.

All the same, High Brian fly some pretty friendly skies with Brian Air, the album’s eight component tracks purposefully tapping into classic post-Beatles psychedelic bounce even as they play through the concept/theme of an outbound flight. The opener, “Welcome to Brian Air,” is an introduction from Captain Zepp himself, and though there isn’t a destination named, the shimmering guitar and airborne drift that follows in “Ikarus” is enough to get the point across. It’s a journey being undertaken. A quick 41-minute flight to who knows where, and as High Brian tip the wing toward krautrock and heavier progressive vibes, there’s little to no actual turbulence to be found on the route, even as “Sth. Odd” engages full-on boogie and the seven-and-a-half-minute side Ahigh brian brian air closer “Frightening Lightning” starts with another message from the good Captain warning of roughness ahead.

“Cpt. Zepp” gives him his own feature moment, and if ‘Brian’ is their Sgt. Pepper, maybe “Cpt. Zepp” is more akin to Col. Mustard. Either way, the track arrives to to start side B after the slowed-down Hawkwindian harmonies of “Frightening Lightning” have subsided, and move from a little bit of rounded-edge Iron Maiden — only appropriate, since we’re talking about a pilot — into a break of smoother, floating guitar and easy rhythmic swing. The fistpump chug comes back, providing symmetry, and if the title “Cpt. Zepp” wasn’t enough Led Zeppelin nod for you, surely the Robert Plant-style “Oooh, baby, baby, babe” that ends that song and feeds directly into “Uhh Baby” will drive the point home. A surprising bit of surf rock actually shows up late in the guitar for “Uhh Baby,” but just when High Brian seem to have gotten off track from their stated theme, the fuzzy “Slow Flight” brings them back to ground — or, you know, not — ahead of 7:36 closer “Strangest Kraut (Brian Air),” which shuffles through its opening into a sax-laced midsection and a seats-and-tray-tables-upright final message from the captain before dual-layers of guitar lead finish “Brian Air” with a last bit of vocal harmony. I kept waiting for the equivalent of “Her Majesty,” but alas.

I’m a perennial sucker for charm, and a video that’s also instructions for making paper airplanes given by one of the band members in stewardess drag, to coincide with a concept album based around flying — well yeah, that qualifies. Plus, in the “Cpt. Zepp” video, it’s a really complex paper airplane being made, so if you’re thinking about trying along with the clip you’ll probably have to watch it through a couple times and pause it along the way. That might not be best for hearing the song, so make sure you do that too. And don’t try to bring a water bottle.

Liftoff:

High Brian, “Cpt. Zepp” official video premiere

“Brian Air” by High Brian is out on March 16th via StoneFree Records.

“Writing an inspired concept album” usually ranks pretty high on a Rock musician’s bucket list. And how could it not? Records like The Who’s “Tommy” or Pink Floyd’s “Dark Side Of The Moon” catapulted their creators into the stratospheres of music superstardom. Their creation processes, however, usually involved rather grounding experiences. “Brian Air”, High Brian’s follow-up to 2016’s “Hi Brain”, is no exception: The band ingested near-lethal doses of jet fuel, slaved away under inhumane working conditions to pay for studio fees, and was fired and re-hired by fictional band member Brian.

The end result, however, invites you on board for a very merry ride on the fuzz-plane. Formed in the autumn of 2013, the band’s members hail from Stockholm (Sweden), Hamburg (Germany), Graz, and Linz (Austria). One might be tempted to attribute the different influences that make up “Brian Air” to this amalgamation of backgrounds, but when it comes to High Brian, any conventional reasoning just won’t do. After all, the record feels like a well-crafted, dirty inside joke between the band and the audience.

Their third publication comes along much more progressive and varied than its predecessor, which the band ascribes to working on their airworthiness and swapping their mothers’ basements for an actual studio: “Boarding our previous album ‘Hi Brain’ doesn’t exactly make you feel like you’re taking to the skies, so we practiced like crazy and developed a healthy appetite for Kraut in the process.”

And it shows: If you pay a close listen to the band’s tongue-in-cheek vocal stylings and tasty bass lines, the self-described “heavy-trippy-krauty-quirky sound mix“ will press your body into the seat and make your ears pop with the spirit of psychedelic Rock. “We want people to choose our album over some seats on a cheap flight. After all, ‘Brian Air’ has a lot more legroom!“

TRACK LIST:
1. Welcome To Brian Air
2. Ikarus
3. Sth. Odd
4. Frightening Lightning
5. Cpt. Zepp
6. Uhh Baby
7. Slow Flight
8. Strangest Kraut (Brian Air)

High Brian is:
Benedikt Brands (Guitar, Vocals)
Nils Meyer-Kahlen (Guitar)
Patrick Windischbauer (Bass, Vocals)
Paul Berghold (Drums)

High Brian website

High Brian on Instagram

High Brian on Thee Facebooks

Stone Free Records website

Tags: , , , , ,

Quarterly Review: Thou, Liquid Visions, Benthic Realm, Ape Machine, Under, Evil Triplet, Vestjysk Ørken, Dawn of Winter, Pale Heart, Slowbro

Posted in Reviews on December 10th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

quarterly-review

We meet again! The second week of this amply-proportioned Quarterly Review begins today as we move ever closer toward the inevitable 100-album finish line on Friday. There is an incredible amount of music to get through this week, so I don’t want to delay for too long, but as we look out across the vast stretch of distortion to come, I need to say thank you for reading, and I hope that you’ve been able to find something that’s kicking your ass a little bit in all the right ways so far. If not, well, there are 50 more records on the way for you to give it another shot.

Here goes.

Quarterly Review #51-60:

Thou, Magus

thou magus

How can something be so raw and forward thinking at the same time? Baton Rouge’s Thou might be the band of their generation who’ve added the most to sludge in terms of pushing the style in new directions and shaping genre to their purposes. Magus (on Sacred Bones), their fourth or fifth full-length depending on whom you ask, is an overwhelming 75-minute 2LP of inward and outward destructive force, as heavy in its ambience as in its weight and throat-ripping sonic extremity, and yet somehow is restrained. To listen to the march of “Transcending Dualities,” there’s such a sense of seething happening beneath the surface of that chugging, marching riff, and after its creeping introduction, “In the Kingdom of Meaning” seems intent on beating its own rhythm, as in, with fists, and even a stop-by from frequent guest vocalist Emily McWilliams does little to detract from that impression. Along with Magus, which rightly finishes with the lurching threat of “Supremacy,” Thou have released three EPs and a split this year, so their pace runs in something of a contrast to their tempos, but whether you can keep up or not, Thou continue to press forward in crafting pivotal, essential brutalizations.

Thou website

Sacred Bones Records website

 

Liquid Visions, Hypnotized

Liquid Visions Hypnotized

Sulatron Records‘ pressing of Liquid Visions‘ 2002 debut, Hypnotized, is, of course, a reissue, but also the first time the album has been on vinyl, and it’s not long into opener “State of Mind” or the grunge-gone-classic-psych “Waste” before they earn the platter. Members of the band would go on to participate in acts like Zone Six, Wedge, Electric Moon and Johnson Noise, so it’s easy enough to understand how the band ties into the family tree of underground heavy psych in Berlin, but listening to the glorious mellow-unfolding-into-noise-wash-freakout of 15-minute closer “Paralyzed,” the appeal is less about academics than what the five-piece of vocalists/guitarists H.P. Ringholz (also e-sitar) and Kiryk Drewinski (also organ), bassist Dave “Sula Bassana” Schmidt (also Fender Rhodes and Mellotron), drummer Chris Schwartzkinsky and thereminist Katja Wolff were able to conjure in terms of being both ahead of their time and behind it. As the album moves from its opening shorter tracks to the longer and more expansive later material, it shows its original CD-era linearity, but if an LP reissue is what it takes to get Hypnotized out there again, so be it. I doubt many who hear it will complain.

Liquid Visions on Thee Facebooks

Sulatron Records webstore

 

Benthic Realm, We Will Not Bow

Benthic Realm We Will Not Bow

The second short release from Benthic Realm behind a 2017 self-titled EP (review here) finds the Massachusetts-based trio of guitarist/vocalist Krista van Guilder (ex-Second Grave, ex-Warhorse), bassist Maureen Murphy (ex-Second Grave) and drummer Dan Blomquist (also Conclave) working toward a refined approach bridging the divide between doom and darker, harder hitting metal. They do this with marked fluidity, van Guilder shifting smoothly between melodic clean singing and harsher screams as Murphy and Blomquist demonstrate like-minded ease in turns of pace and aggression. The penultimate semi-title-track “I Will Not Bow” is an instrumental, but “Save us All,” “Thousand Day Rain” and closer “Untethered” — the latter with some Slayer ping ride and ensuing double-kick gallop — demonstrate the riff-based songwriting that carries Benthic Realm through their stylistic swath and ultimately ties their ideas together. If they think they might be ready for a debut full-length, they certainly sound that way.

Benthic Realm on Thee Facebooks

Benthic Realm website

 

Ape Machine, Darker Seas

ape machine darker seas

Maybe Ape Machine need to make a video with cats playing their instruments or something, but five albums deep, the Portland outfit seem to be viciously underrated. Releasing Darker Seas on Ripple, they take on a more progressive approach with songs like “Piper’s Rats” donning harmonized vocals and more complex interplay with guitar. It’s a more atmospheric take overall — consider the acoustic/electric beginning of “Watch What You Say” and it’s semi-nod to seafaring Mastodon, the likewise-unplugged and self-awarely medieval “Nocturne in D Flat (The Jester)” and the rocking presentation of what’s otherwise fist-pumping NWOBHM on “Bend Your Knee” — but Ape Machine have always been a band with songwriting at their center, and even as they move into the best performances of their career, hitting a point of quality that even producer Steve Hanford (Poison Idea) decided to join them after the recording as their new drummer, there’s no dip in the quality of their work. I don’t know what it might take to get them the attention they deserve — though a cat video would no doubt help — but if Darker Seas underscores anything, it’s that they deserve it.

Ape Machine on Thee Facebooks

Ripple Music on Bandcamp

 

Under, Stop Being Naive

under stop being naive

Stockport, UK, three-piece Under bring a progressive edge to their pummel with their second album, Stop Being Naive (on APF), beginning with the deceptively thoughtful arrangement of crushing opener and longest track (immediate points) “Malcontent,” which unfurls a barrage of riffs and varied vocals contributed by guitarist Simon Mayo, bassist Matt Franklin and drummer/keyboardist Andy Preece. Later cuts like “Soup” and “Grave Diggers” tap into amorphous layers of extremity, and “Happy” punks out with such tones as to remind of the filth that became grindcore in the UK nearly 40 years ago, but while “Big Joke” rolls out with a sneer and closer “Circadian Driftwood” has a more angular foundation, there’s an overarching personality that comes through Under‘s material that feels misanthropic and critical in a way perhaps best summarized by the record’s title. Stop Being Naive is sound enough advice, and it comes presented with a fervent argument in its own favor.

Under on Thee Facebooks

APF Records webstore

 

Evil Triplet, Have a Nice Trip

evil triplet have a nice trip

Trimming the runtime of their 2017 debut, Otherworld (review here) nearly in half, Austin weirdo rockers Evil Triplet present the six-song/38-minute single LP Have a Nice Trip on Super Secret with classic garage buzz tone on “A Day Like Any Other,” a cosmic impulse meeting indie sneer on opener “Space Kitten” and a suitably righteous stretch-out on “Aren’t You Experienced?” — which is just side A of the thing. The pulsating “Open Heart” might be the highlight for its Hawkwindian drive and momentary drift, but “Pyramid Eye”‘s blown-out freakery isn’t to be devalued, and the eight-minute capper “Apparition” is dead on from the start of its slower march through the end of its hook-topped jam, reminding of the purpose behind all the sprawl and on-their-own-wavelength vibes. A tighter presentation suits Evil Triplet and lets their songs shine through while still highlighting the breadth of their style and its unabashed adventurousness. May they continue to grow strange and terrify any and all squares they might encounter.

Evil Triplet on Thee Facebooks

Super Secret Records website

 

Vestjysk Ørken, Cosmic Desert Fuzz

Vestjysk orken Cosmic Desert Fuzz

To a certain extent, what you see is what you get on Vestjysk Ørken‘s debut EP, Cosmic Desert Fuzz. At very least, the Danish trio’s three-tracker first outing is aptly-named, and guitarist/vocalist Bo Sejer, bassist Søren Middelkoop Nielsen and drummer Thomas Bonde Sørensen indeed tap into space, sand and tone on the release, but each song also has a definite theme derived from cinema. To wit, “Dune” (11:41) samples Dune, “…Of the Dead” (9:13) taps into the landmark George Romero horror franchise, and “Solaris” (14:15) draws from the 1972 film of the same name. The spaciousness and hypnotic reach of the latter has an appeal all its own in its extended and subtle build, but all three songs not only pay homage to these movies but seem to work at capturing some aspect of their atmosphere. Vestjysk Ørken aren’t quite rewriting soundtracks, but they’re definitely in conversation with the works cited, and with an entire universe of cinema to explore, there are accordingly no limits as to where they might go. Something tells me it won’t be long before we find out how deep their obsession runs.

Vestjysk Ørken on Instagram

Vestjysk Ørken on Bandcamp

 

Dawn of Winter, Pray for Doom

Dawn of Winter Pray for Doom

I have no interest in playing arbiter to what’s “true” in doom metal or anything else, and neither am I qualified to do so. Instead, I’ll just note that Germany’s Dawn of Winter, who trace their roots back nearly 30 years and have released full-lengths on a one-per-decade basis in 1998, 2008 and now 2018 with Pray for Doom, have their house well in order when it comes to conveying the classic tenets of the genre. Issued through I Hate, the eight-track/51-minute offering finds drummer Dennis Schediwy punctuating huge nodder grooves led by Jörg M. Knittel‘s riffs, while bassist Joachim Schmalzried adds low end accentuation and frontman Gerrit P. Mutz furthers the spirit of traditionalism on vocals. Songs like “The Thirteenth of November” and the stomping “The Sweet Taste of Ruin” are timeless for being born too late, and in the spirit of Europe’s finest trad doom, Dawn of Winter evoke familiar aspects without directly worshiping Black Sabbath or any of their other aesthetic forebears. Pray for Doom is doom, because doom, by doomers, for doomers. The converted will be accordingly thrilled to hear them preach.

Dawn of Winter on Thee Facebooks

I Hate Records website

 

Pale Heart, Jungeland

pale heart jungleland

Semi-retroist Southern heavy blues boogie, some tight flourish of psychedelia, and the occasional foray into broader territory, Stuttgart three-piece Pale Heart‘s StoneFree debut long-player, Junegleland is striking in its professionalism and, where some bands might sacrifice audio fidelity at the altar of touching on a heavy ’70s aesthetic, guitarist/vocalist Marc Bauer, key-specialist Nico Bauer and drummer Sebastian Neumeier (since replaced by Marvin Schaber) present their work in crisp fashion, letting the construction of the songs instead define the classicism of their influence. Low end is filled out by Moog where bass might otherwise be, and in combination with Hammond and Fender Rhodes and other synth, there’s nothing as regard missing frequencies coming from Jungleland, the nine songs of which vary in their character but are universally directed toward honing a modern take on classic heavy, informed as it is by Southern rock, hard blues and the tonal warmth of yore. A 50-minute debut is no minor ask of one’s audience in an age of fickle Bandcamp attentions, but cuts like the 12-minute “Transcendence” have a patience and character that’s entrancing without trickery of effects.

Pale Heart on Thee Facebooks

StoneFree Records website

 

Slowbro, Nothings

Slowbro Nothings

UK instrumentalist three-piece Slowbro‘s full-length debut, Nothings, brings forth eight tracks and 51 minutes of heavy-ended sludge rock notable for the band’s use of dueling eight-string guitars instead of the standard guitar/bass setup. How on earth does something like that happen? I don’t know. Maybe Sam Poole turned to James Phythian one day and was like, “Hey, I got two eight-string guitars. So, band?” and then a band happened. Zeke Martin — and kudos to him on not being intimidated by all those strings — rounds out on drums and together the trio embark on cuts like “Sexlexia” (a very sexy learning disability, indeed) and “Broslower,” which indeed chugs out at a considerably glacial pace, and “Fire, Fire & Fire,” which moves from noise rock to stonerly swing with the kind of aplomb that can only be conjured by those who don’t give a shit about style barriers. It’s got its ups and downs, but as Nothings — the title-track of which quickly cuts to silence and stays there until a final crash — rounds out with “Pisscat” and the eight-strings go ever so slightly post-rock, it’s hard not to appreciate the willful display of fuckall as it happens. It’s a peculiar kind of charm that makes it both charming and peculiar.

Slowbro on Thee Facebooks

Creature Lab Records website

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Quarterly Review: Sandrider, Witchkiss, Satta Caveira, Apollo80, The Great Unwilling, Grusom, Träden, Orthodox, Disrule, Ozymandias

Posted in Reviews on December 5th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

quarterly-review

Good morning from the kitchen table. It’s a couple minutes before 4AM as I get this post started. I’ve got my coffee, my iced tea in the same cup I’ve been using for the last three days, and I’m ready to roll through the next 10 records in this massive, frankly silly, Quarterly Review. Yesterday went well enough and I’m three days into the total 10 and I don’t feel like my head is going to explode, so I’ll just say so far so good.

As ever, there’s a lot to get through, so I won’t delay. I hope you find something here you dig. I certainly have.

Quarterly Review #21-30:

Sandrider, Armada

sandrider armada

Armada is the third full-length from Seattle noiseblasters Sandrider, and at this point I’m starting to wonder what it’s going to take for this band to get their due. Produced by Matt Bayles and released through Good to Die Records, the album is an absolute monster front to back. Scathing. Beastly. And yet the songs have character. It’s the trio’s first outing since 2015’s split with Kinski (review here) and follows 2013’s Godhead (review here) and 2011’s self-titled debut (review here) in melding the band’s West Coast noise superiority with a sense of melody and depth as the trio of guitarist/vocalist Jon Weisnewski, bassist/vocalist Jesse Roberts, and omegadrummer Nat Damm course and wind their way through intense but varied material. “Banger” has been tapped for its grunge influence. Eh. Maybe in the riff, but who cares when there’s so much more going on with it? “Brambles” is out and out brutal but still has a hook, and cuts like “Industry” and the closing “Dogwater” remind of just how skilled Sandrider are at making that brutality fun. If the record was six minutes long and just had “Hollowed” on it, you’d still call it a win.

Sandrider on Thee Facebooks

Good to Die Records website

 

Witchkiss, The Austere Curtains of Our Eyes

witchkiss the austere curtains of our eyes

Goodness gracious. Cavernous echo accompanies the roars of guitarist Scott Prater that are offset by the more subdued melodies of drummer Amber Burns, but even in the most spacious reaches of 11-minute second cut “Blind Faith,” Witchkiss are fucking massive-sounding. Their debut album, The Austere Curtains of Our Eyes, presents an especially crushing take on ritualistic volume, sounding its catharsis in a song like “Spirits of the Dirt” and sounding natural as it trades between a rolling assault and the atmospheres of its quieter moments. With the departure since the recording of bassist Anthony DiBlasi, the New York-based outfit will invariably shift in dynamic somewhat coming out of this record, but with such an obvious clarity of mission, I honestly doubt their core approach will change all that much. A band doesn’t make a record like this without direct intention. They may evolve, and one hopes they do just because one always hopes for that, but this isn’t a band feeling their way through their first record. This is a band who know exactly the kind of ferocity they want to conjure, and who conjure it without regret.

Witchkiss on Thee Facebooks

Witchkiss on Bandcamp

 

Satta Caveira, MMI

Satta Caveira MMI

Argentinian instrumentalist trio Satta Caveira make a point of saying they recorded MMI, their second or third album depending on what you count, live in their home studio without edits or overdubs, click tracks or anything else. Clearly the intention then is to capture the raw spirit of the material as it’s happening. The eight songs that make up the unmanageable 62-minute listen of MMI — to be fair, 14 of those minutes are opener “Kundalini” and 23 are the sludge-into-jam-into-sludge riffer “T.H.C.” — are accordingly raw, but that in itself becomes a component of their aesthetic. Whether it’s the volume swell that seems to consume “Don Santos” in its second half, the funk of closer “Afrovoid” or the drift in “Kalifornia,” Satta Caveira manage to hone a sense of range amid all the naturalism, and with the gritty and more aggressive riffing of the title-track and the rush of the penultimate “Router,” their sound might actually work with a more elaborate production, but they’ve got a thing, it works well, and I’m not inclined to argue.

Satta Caveira on Thee Facebooks

Satta Caveira on Bandcamp

 

Apollo80, Lizard! Lizard! Lizard!

apollo 80 lizard lizard lizard

Vocalized only by spoken samples of astronauts, the thrice-exclamatory Lizard! Lizard! Lizard! is the debut EP from Perth, Australia, three-piece Apollo80, who are given mostly to exploring an outpouring of heavy molten vibes but still able to hone a bit of cacophony following the “godspeed, John Glenn” sample in second cut “FFH.” There are four songs on the 26-minute offering, and its spaciousness is brought to earth somewhat by the dirt in which the guitar and bass tones are caked, but it’s more the red dust of Mars than anything one might find kicking around a Terran desert. Unsurprisingly, the high point of the outing is the 10:46 title-track, where guitarist Luke, bassist Brano and drummer Shane push farthest into the cosmos — though that’s debatable with the interstellar drone of closer “Good Night” — but even in the impact of “Apollo” at the outset, there’s a feeling of low-oxygen in the atmosphere, and if you get lightheaded, that’s exactly how it’s supposed to be.

Apollo80 on Thee Facebooks

Apollo80 on Bandcamp

 

The Great Unwilling, EP

the great unwilling ep

The prevailing influence throughout the untitled debut EP from Minnesota’s The Great Unwilling is Queens of the Stone Age, but listening to the layer of wah intertwine with the solo on “Sanguine,” there’s more to their approach than just that, however dreamy the vocal melodies from guitarist Jesse Hoheisel might be. Hoheisel, bassist Joe Ulvi and Mark Messina present a clean four tracks and 20 minutes on their first outing, and for having been together for about 18 months, their songwriting seems to have a firm grasp on what they want to do. “If 3 was 7” rolls along at a heavy clip into an effectively drifting midsection and second half jam before returning to the initial riff, while “Current” leads off with a particularly Hommeian construction, and soon gives way to the flowing pace and apparent lyrical references of the aforementioned “Sanguine.” They finish with the dirtier tonality of “Apostasy” and cap with no more pretense than they started, bringing the short release to a close with a chorus that seems to finish with more to say. No doubt they’ll get there.

The Great Unwilling on Thee Facebooks

The Great Unwilling on Bandcamp

 

Grusom, II

grusom ii

A prominent current of organ alongside the guitars gives Grusom‘s aptly-titled second album on Kozmik Artifactz, II, a willfully classic feel, and even the lyrics of “Peace of Mind” play into that with the opening lines, “I always said I was born too late/This future is not for me,” but the presentation from the Svendborg six-piece isn’t actually all that retro-fied. Rather, the two guitars and organ work in tandem to showcase a modern take on those classic ideas, as the back and forth conversation between them in the extended jam of “Skeletons” demonstrates, and with a steady rhythmic foundation and soulful vocals overtop, Grusom‘s craft doesn’t need the superficial trappings of a ’70s influence to convey those roots in their sound. Songs like “Dead End Valley” and “Embers” have a bloozy swing as they head toward the melancholy closer “Cursed from Birth,” but even there, the proceedings are light on pretense and the atmosphere is more concerned with a natural vibe rather than pretending it’s half a century ago.

Grusom on Thee Facebooks

Kozmik Artifactz website

 

Träden, Träden

traden traden

Having originated as Träd Gräs och Stenar, the group now known as Träden is the product of a psychedelic legacy spanning generations. Founder Jakob Sjöholm has joined forces with Hanna Östergren of Hills, Reine Fiske of Dungen and Sigge Krantz of Archimedes Badkar to create a kind of supergroup of serenity, and their self-titled is blissful enough not only to life up to Träd Gräs och Stenar‘s cult status, but to capture one of its own. It’s gorgeous. Presumably the painting used on the cover is the cabin where it was recorded, and its eight tracks — sometimes mellow, sometimes more weighted, always hypnotic — are a naturalist blueprint that only make the world a better place. That sounds ridiculous, I know. But the truth is that for all the terrible, horrifying shit humanity does on a daily basis, to know that there are people on the planet making music like this with such a genuine spirit behind it is enough to instill a bit of hope for the species. This is what it’s all about. I couldn’t even make it through the Bandcamp stream without buying the CD. That never happens.

Träden on Thee Facebooks

Träden on Bandcamp

 

Orthodox, Krèas

orthodox kreas

Last year, Spanish experimentalists Orthodox released Supreme and turned their free-jazz meets low-doom into a 36-minute fracas of happening-right-now creativity. Krèas, a lone, 27-minute track with the core duo of bassist Marco Serrato and drummer Borja Díaz joined by saxophonist Achilleas Polychronidis, was recorded in the same session but somehow seems even more freaked-out. I mean, it’s gone. Gone to a degree that even the hepcats who claim to appreciate free-jazz on anything more than a theoretical level (that is, those who actually listen to it) will have their hair blown back. The rest of the universe? Well, they’ll probably continue on, blissfully unaware that Orthodox are out there smashing comets together like they are, but wow. Challenging the listener is one thing. Krèas is the stuff of dissertations. One only hopes Orthodox aren’t holding their breath waiting for humanity to catch up to what they’re doing, because, yeah, it’s gonna be a while.

Orthodox on Thee Facebooks

Alone Records webstore

 

Disrule, Sleep in Your Honour

Disrule Sleep in Your Honour

Danish bruisers Disrule run a brash gamut with their second album, Sleep in Your Honour (on Seeing Red). Leading off with the earworm hook of the title-track (premiered here), the album puts a charge into C.O.C.-style riffing and classic heavy rock, but shades of Clutch-y funk in “Going Wrong” and a lumbering bottom end in “Occult Razor” assure there’s no single angle from which they strike. “(Gotta Get Me Some) Control” elicits a blues-via-Sabbath vibe, but the drums seem to make sure Disrule are never really at rest, and so there’s a strong sense of momentum throughout the eight-song/29-minute EP, perhaps best emphasized by two-minute second cut “Death on My Mind,” which seems to throw elbows as it sprints past, though even shouted-chorus closer “Enter the Void” has an infectious energy about it. If you think something can’t be heavy and move, Disrule have a shove with your name on it.

Disrule on Thee Facebooks

Seeing Red Records on Bandcamp

 

Ozymandias, Cake!

ozymandias cake

First clue that all is not what it seems? The artwork. Definitely not a picture of cake on the cover of Ozymandias‘ debut album, Cake!, and accordingly, things don’t take long before they get too weird. “Jelly Beans” hits on harshest Nirvana — before it goes into blastbeats. “Mason Jar” scathes out organ-laced doom and vicious screaming, before “Hangman” gets all danceable like “All Pigs Must Die” earlier in the record. The wacky quotient is high, and the keyboards do a lot to add to that, but one can’t really call “Doom I – The Daisies” or the later “Doom II – The Lilies” anything but progressive in the Devin Townsend-shenanigans-metal sense of the word, and as wild as some stretches of Cake! are, the trio from Linz, Austria, are never out of control, and they never give a sense that what they’re doing is an accident. They’re just working on their own stylistic level, and to a degree that’s almost scary considering it’s their first record. I won’t claim to know where they might be headed, but it seems likely they have a plan.

Ozymandias on Thee Facebooks

StoneFree Records website

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Pale Heart Premiere “Flying High” Video; Jungleland Due Dec. 7

Posted in Bootleg Theater on November 5th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

Pale Heart (Photo by Heiko Herrmann)

German heavy blues rockers Pale Heart release their debut album, Jungleland, on Dec. 7 through StoneFree Records/Broken Silence. It’s their first record with the name, but the history of the three-piece who made it — often-chapeau’ed guitarist/vocalist Marc Bauer, organist Nico Bauer and drummer Sebastian Neumeier (since replaced by Marvin Schaber) — goes back a decade to their teenage beginnings as the band White Daze. Also, in the case of Marc and Nico being brothers, you know, childhood and all that. But Pale Heart, who derive the new name from a critique of the ravages of capitalist greed on the human soul — Marx would groove — are a different animal altogether, with the varied keys and synth taking the place of bass in covering low end with the guitar while furthering the melody and Marc‘s vocals as a steady focal point over the swinging, adaptable drums of Neumeier. Whether they’re chilling out slow on “Little World” or  dug into the heavier push in the second half of seven-minute opener “Time to Love” — immediately contrasted by “Evil Man” — or basking in the psychedelia and well-earned organ/synth solo in the 12-minute “Transcendence,” Jungleland isn’t by any means a minor journey at nine songs and 50 minutes, but it stands itself out via songcraft and naturalist, smooth performances.

And if their new video for “Flying High” makes you want to get down by getting all dragged up and putting on a show, pale heart junglelandfucking a. Seems to work pretty well for my man with the cigarettes on his pizza, so all the better. The song, like much of the record it represents, is a hookfest, catchy to its core and given nuance in the sonic space where bass might otherwise reside by Nico‘s Rhodesing and Moogery. As the penultimate cut on Jungleland, it’s somewhat buried behind the aforementioned “Transcendence,” but it’s an uptempo kick right when the album needs it and provides a bridge to the easy-rolling closer “Cry of Desperation” that follows. No complaints, in other words. The production is organic but not strictly retro, and across the record the band flesh out sundry moods and funky nods while holding to the central bluesy feel. It’s a vibe album. It vibes. It wants you to vibe with it. And it makes a convincing case for doing so.

In that, “Flying High” is a more than worthy representation, and even if you don’t have nailpolish handy (why not?), the clip is also fully enjoyable with a cup of coffee, or maybe a slice of cigarette-free pizza if that’s your thing. I’m happy to host the premiere.

PR wire info on the band follows the video itself, which is right down there in that box that looks like a video. Go figure.

Please enjoy:

Pale Heart, “Flying High” official video premiere

Founded in 2008 under the moniker WHITE DAZE, the trio, consisting of brothers Marc and Nico Bauer, and Sebastian Neumeier, found its home within the soulful Blues Rock-spheres of the olden days. And without exaggeration: It’s this baseline feeling that makes the 70ies come alive right in front of you. Forged from the present and fed by the past, their sound isn’t just a combination of those two worlds. It’s an elegant amalgamation that also evokes something new. Sebastian Neumeier isn’t a member of PALE HEART anymore, but it’s him playing the drums on “Jungleland”.

Under the name PALE HEART the band reforms as a trio, this time with Marvin Schaber as the drummer. And good times are ahead: Their new material sounds full, earthy, and gritty, felt to the bone by each member and performed with maximum authenticity. Blues, Rock, Soul, Prog sounds and faintly psychedelic melodies, never too serious despite its depth, never too easy despite its groove. PALE HEART don’t make music to be cool, to get girls, or to be celebrated on hipster blogs. PALE HEART strive to make music because it’s fulfilling. And have adopted an even more free, passionate, and uninhibited sound in 2018.

PALE HEART ON TOUR
11/10/2018 Weil der Stadt – Groove Tonight
11/24/2018 Memmingen – Kaminwerk
11/30/2018 Regensburg – Alte Mälzerei
12/07/2018 Stuttgart – Merlin
12/11/2018 Aachen – TBA
12/12/2018 Köln – Blue Shell
12/13/2018 Bayreuth – TBA
12/22/2018 Stuttgart – Waagenhallen
12/26/2018 Erfurt – Museumskeller
01/05/2019 Ulm – Hexenhaus
01/07/2019 Bamberg – Live Club
01/19/2019 Winnenden – Juze

Pale Heart is:
Marc Bauer (Guitar, Vocals)
Nico Bauer (Hammond Organ, Fender Rhodes Piano, Moog Synthesizer, Moog Bass)
Marvin Schaber (Drums, but former drummer Sebastian Neumeier plays on “Jungleland”)

Pale Heart on Thee Facebooks

Pale Heart on Instagram

Pale Heart on Bandcamp

StoneFree Records website

StoneFree Records on Thee Facebooks

StoneFree Records on Spotify

Tags: , , , , , ,

Great Rift Release Vesta June 22; “Siren of the Night” Streaming Now

Posted in Whathaveyou on June 12th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

great rift

Later this month will bring the debut album from Vienna heavy psychedelic rockers Great Rift. The Austrian four-piece made their debut last year on Electric Fire Records and that same imprint has joined forces with StoneFree Records to stand behind the new outing, giving it even more of a push than it would otherwise receive. The band have the new song “Siren of the Night” streaming now at the bottom of this post. You know, where the streams go.

In its cover art and color scheme, the Vesta artwork could be said to be in conversation with woefully-missed Dutch outfit Sungrazer, and sure enough there is a tinge of that kind of psychedelic warmth in Great Rift‘s sound, but Vesta owes a more distinctive debt to the blues and hits with a harder edge, as one can hear in the rolling groove that caps the six-minute “Siren of the Night.” As to how the balance tips on the rest of the outing, what’s what June 22 is for, with the vinyl and the album coming out and whatnot.

Some light details about the record follow, more or less as a bridge and an excuse to get to the track posted. Surprise, it’s really about the music. Always was.

In young Majel Barret’s voice: “Working”:

great rift vesta

Great Rift is a four headed heavy/psychedelic Rockband from Vienna, Austria. In 2017 the band recorded their debut EP “Voodoowoodland”, released on “Electric Fire Records“.

In June 2018 their first full length album “Vesta” will be out via “Electric Fire Records” with a vinyl co-release on “StoneFree Records”. Their sound is strongly reminiscent of the heavy blues, hard & psychedelic rock of the 70s.

Tracklisting:
1. The Long High
2. Atlas
3. Siren Of The Night
4. Mercury Sunrise
5. Waves
6. The Grim Reaper
7. Dragonfly

Written by Great Rift
Recorded, Mixed & Mastered by Thomas Ranosz
at Pure Sound Recordings, Vienna
Produced by Great Rift and Thomas Ranosz

Great Rift is:
Thomas Gulyas – Voice & Guitar
David Hüttner – Guitar & Voice
Peter Leitner – Bass
Alexander Böbel – Drums & Voice

https://www.facebook.com/GreatRift.Vienna/
https://greatrift.bandcamp.com
http://www.stonefree.co.at/
https://www.electricfirerecords.com/

Great Rift, Vesta (2018)

Tags: , , , , , ,