Roadburn 2020: David Eugene Edwards to Play Solo Acoustic Set; PH, Elizabeth Colour Wheel, The Flenser Showase & Much More Added

Posted in Whathaveyou on November 14th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

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David Eugene Edwards. Solo. Acoustic. Every year I’ve been fortunate enough to go, there’s been one keeps-you-alive-until-April Roadburn set, from Saint Vitus with Wino in 2009 and Garcia Plays Kyuss in 2010 to Sleep playing Sleep’s Holy Mountain this year. There’s always one. At least. In 2020, for me, that’s David Eugene Edwards of Wovenhand and 16 Horsepower playing by himself on stage. Whatever else gets added, whoever else is playing, hell, even if Wovenhand end up playing, this is the one that got me. Well done, Roadburn 2020.

Also featured in this massive lineup addition are PH (whose announcement I wrote), Elizabeth Colour Wheel, familiar faces Primitive Man and a host of other, of course widely varied, incarnations of badassery. I’m not trying to take away from anyone else or anything like that, or anything that might still come by saying the above, you understand. Roadburn 2020’s already primed to push well beyond the common bounds of heavy. It was before this announcement, frankly. But from here on in, my schedule already has its circle, and whether we do the Weirdo Canyon Dispatch or not (every year I kind of wait for the shoe to drop on that like it’s something we’ve been getting away with for the last six editions), I’m there, and I don’t care who he’s up against or who’s on next on what stage. If I have to sleep in the gutter of Weirdo Canyon in order to be there, I’m not missing a minute of David Eugene Edwards‘ set. Period.

From the fest:

roadburn 2020 david eugene edwards

Roadburn 2020: new announcements, more curator picks, and a showcase!

– Less than 10% of 4 day tickets remain
– David Eugene Edwards joins Emma Ruth Rundle’s curated event
– James Kent picks a special collaboration for his curation
– The Flenser will present a label showcase

Less than 10% of 4-day tickets remain for Roadburn 2020, and single-day tickets will go on sale on December 10.

Artistic Director, Walter Hoeijmakers comments: “As we edge closer towards selling out Roadburn 2020, I am excited that we still have so much more to announce. This year we are putting an emphasis on the context and creativity of the artists we’re announcing and knowing that we have still more up our sleeves means I am delighted to see where Roadburn 2020 is heading.”

EMMA RUTH RUNDLE’S THE GILDED CAGE:

DAVID EUGENE EDWARDS
At Roadburn, David Eugene Edwards has graced us with his presence on two occasions as part of Wovenhand. Each performance pulsated with energy and elevated the sets to be highlights of each respective edition of the festival – in no small part due to David’s electrifying presence. We’re delighted to bring him back to Roadburn, this time as part of Emma Ruth Rundle’s curation, The Gilded Cage. David will perform an acoustic, solo set that promises to showcase the diversity of his delivery and the nuances of his craft. Emma comments:

“It’s been a secret wish to see DEE playing solo and delivering his songs in their most bare forms. This was the very first thing that came to mind when I was asked to co-curate Roadburn and it’s going to be a rare and precious jewel of a performance.”

JAMES KENT’S CURATION:
REGARDE LES HOMMES TOMBER
A product of the burgeoning French underground scene that has produced so much incredible music in the past few years, over the course of two records so far, Regarde Les Hommes Tomber have used scraps from the most sinister subgenres, from black metal to sludge to build up truly frightening epics. Always apocalyptic in feeling, emotional and ruthless in equal measures, drenched in religious imagery and references, and creating a sonic depiction of the fall of mankind… and its subsequent rising to replace the cruelty of the established gods. Not only will we be expecting all of this maelstrom of fiery feelings, but also a healthy measure of the unexpected as well, since Regarde Les Hommes Tomber will be playing their new not-quite-announced-yet album in its entirety.

HANGMAN’S CHAIR X REGARDE LES HOMMES TOMBER
Regarde Les Hommes Tomber will join forces with Hangman’s Chair for a collaboration at Roadburn 2020. Hellish, sludgy black metal will clash horns-first with cold, despondent doom, and the result will surely transcend even the most delirious of descriptions that we can come up with at this point. Originally commissioned by Red Bull, this unholy collaboration has occurred just once previously, in Paris. That performance lasted 45 minutes, but for Roadburn an additional 15 minutes of material will be debuted just for us.

PLEBEIAN GRANDSTAND
Plebeian Grandstand are a band that have morphed from a core of quite technical, hardcore charged metal to be the hulking beast of black metal fury we see before us today. The creative journey they have been on has led to an infusion of influences from outside the black metal sphere, resulting in nuance and depth that can sometimes be hard to find within the genre. On top of that, they eschew the cartoonish elements of extreme black metal – you’ll find no burning churches here – in favour of something rooted more firmly in reality. After all, what’s more nightmarish than the real world?

TRUE BODY
With a calculated sense of tension and just enough human touch to cut through their own cold post-punk atmospheres, Virginia’s True Body has built a following with their urgent and impassioned music. Instead of falling into melodramatic excess or disconnected affectations, the band manages to bring the best of each realm for something that leaves audiences rapt and thrilled. With this masterful take on such a beloved sound, we’re honored to announce that True Body will be performing at Roadburn 2020 as part of James Kent’s curation.

THE FLENSER SHOWCASE
In 2020, The Flenser will celebrate the tenth anniversary of the label’s first release. The San Francisco based label has been committed to releasing experimental, avant-garde music for a whole decade – which – naturally – has not escaped our notice here at Roadburn HQ. To celebrate this milestone and to acknowledge the impact that The Flenser has had on our record collections and the broader musical landscape we have invited several of the label’s current artists to perform at Roadburn 2020.

The Flenser label manager, Jonathan Tuite comments: “Roadburn is my absolute favorite festival in the world. The lineup is always diverse, the audience enthusiastic, and the curation is second to none. I can’t think of a more appropriate place for The Flenser to celebrate our ten years of existence.”

GILES COREY
For over ten years Dan Barrett has been cementing his role as a visionary in dark music history.Perhaps none of this work has resonated with more intimacy than Giles Corey, his acoustic guitar led, ghost noise-soaked songwriting vessel. While on paper an acoustic led-project sounds like a potentially low-key affair, Giles Corey is bursting with electric energy–recordings are awash in swirling organs, reverberating choirs, striking horns, and blown out drums. While Giles Corey has performed as a solo-act, Roadburn 2020 will mark the project’s first appearance as a full-band. Members of Have a Nice Life, including central figure Tim Macuga, will help bring the album’s haunted sounds to life: expect the stage and audience to be left in a scorched earth state of desolation.

ELIZABETH COLOUR WHEEL
“Otherworldly” is a description often applied to artists that evoke the ethereal, and whilst that is occasionally applicable to Elizabeth Colour Wheel, the otherworldliness they invoke is more to do with the fact that it’s not always clear if they really inhabit the same world as we do. Their debut album, Nocebo, laughs in the face of genre descriptors, forging a new path that may be tricky to describe but that offers a wildly enticing prospect.

DROWSE
Drowse is an outlet for Kyle Bates to explore his place in the world; his music echoes what he experiences on the varied paths of this internal-reflection. Sometimes those paths lead to extraordinary places – this year’s Light Mirror LP was inspired by an isolated trip to northern Iceland where he took up an artistic residency in 2018. The melancholic results are the sonic equivalent of a sliver of sunlight permeating an otherwise bleak and drizzly morning. The weight of Bates’ reflections is mighty, but it never quite succeeds in suffocating the shards of harmonious hope that glint in the winter sun.

MAMALEEK
Mamaleek have been unearthing truly uncategorizable sounds from the catacombs of black metal since 2008. Founded by two anonymous brothers, the Bay Area project has become known for both its wild experimentation and aesthetic cohesion. The use of left-field samples threads their discography together, with sound sources growing more bizarre with each release. The current lineup mixes childhood friends and total strangers. Their participation is an outgrowth of the core duo, an experiment in a live setting, using instruments and sounds that highlight experimentation and flout genre conventions. Who knows how long this iteration will last before the next metamorphosis.

MIDWIFE
As a multi-instrumentalist, Madeline Johnson AKA Midwife has sculpted a fuzzy take on experimental dream pop, drenched in melody and punctuated with distortion. Despite a central theme of “devastation” Midwife makes for nuanced and evocative easy listening that can’t help but feel like something of an audio honey trap. We’ll have to wait until April to find out exactly what lurks beneath the surface…

ALSO ANNOUNCED…

PRIMITIVE MAN
It is with great anticipation that we’re delighted to announce that Primitive Man will be playing twice at Roadburn. One set will be a business-as-usual, throat-ripping, bone crushing display of what makes them a must-watch band. And one set will be a run through of their 2017 album, Caustic. This is the kind of endurance test we relish – an audio pummelling so intense that there’s no way to come out the other side without a shift in our worldview.

LANKUM
When The Livelong Day – the latest offering from Dublin four piece, Lankum – passed over our desks, our ears pricked up and we knew we had to invite them to Roadburn next year. It’s not uncommon to find us feeling effusive about noise, drone and ambient projects in the Roadburn world, but it’s a much rarer prospect to find such tonal qualities on what is undoubtedly, most definitely a folk album. Uilleann pipes and harmonium come together to create a cinematic soundscape that many Roadburners will feel right at home with. The album makes for an appropriate gateway for those attending Roadburn, regardless of which side you’re approaching from – a folk fan heading towards darker territories, or a heavy music fan lured by the promise of a genre steeped in history and countless traditional flourishes.

HILARY WOODS
Hilary Woods wrote her debut full length, Colt, alone – before before taking her recordings to Berlin to work with James Kelly (Wife, Altar of Plagues). The solitude is palpable, and listening to what she has made feels like a cautious invitation into a quiet place that she has created. Imagine a soft cocoon of sound, enveloping you as you step through into the netherworld of her making.

FÖLLAKZOID AND ATOM TM
Spearheading Chile’s vibrant psych scene, Föllakzoid will transport Roadburn 2020 on an all-encompassing voyage. Joined once again by German electronic artist and producer, Atom TM, the band will make their Roadburn debut, aiming to, “modulate the gravitational waves in order to alter the temporality perception and get sucked into the timeless space continuum,” as guitarist/singer Domingæ Garcia-Huidobro aptly puts it.

TORPOR
Rhetoric Of The Image showcases Torpor’s confidence; lengthy post-metal tracks smoulder whilst shorter, more experimental cuts punctuate the album. The three piece will expand a little for Roadburn in order to do justice to the full fifty one minutes that make up Rhetoric Of The Image as they perform it in full for us at Roadburn.

SUM OF R
The current incarnation of Sum of R already sees Reto teamed up with Jukka Rämänen (Dark Buddha Rising, Hexvessel, Waste Of Space Orchestra), which has allowed them to forge even more adventurous paths from their dark ambient/drone of yore, but now yet another figure from that particular Finnish scene will be adding his own very particular twist to the proceedings and giving them a new voice, quite literally, as it is none other than vocalist Marko Neuman (Dark Buddha Rising, Waste Of Space Orchestra, Convocation, Ural Umbo).

PH
Earlier this year, PH released Osiris Hayden, their second offering through Svart Records and fifth overall in their prolific decade together. Their latest work finds them embracing new reaches of the cosmic infinite, taking on electronic charge as they never have before and exploring the connection between organic and inorganic audio experiences.

MANY BLESSINGS
Those of you familiar with Ethan McCarthy will know him as the formidable frontman for Primitive Man. Under the banner of Many Blessings, Ethan performs a much less frenzied kind of music – and yet somehow it manages to be no less disturbing and spine-chilling. Many Blessings has seeped into our consciousness – a slow, creeping threat of sonic menace. Whilst the ferocity we are are perhaps more accustomed to is not present, the wordless missives are brooding and visceral.

EYE FLYS
After listening to their blistering debut album Context, and considering the fact that guitarist Spencer Hazard was already roped in for Roadburn 2020 as a member of one of our artists in residence, the wonderful Full Of Hell, how could we ever pass on Eye Flys? The Backslider rhythm section of Jake Smith – here on guitar and vocals – and Patrick Forrest plus Triac’s Kevin Bernsten complete the line-up.

ROADBURN 2020 TICKETS

Weekend tickets for Roadburn are on sale now (3-day tickets are sold out, 4-day tickets remain on sale). Single day tickets will be on sale on December 10. More information about tickets and accommodation options can be found HERE.

Already announced for Roadburn 2020 is: Emma Ruth Rundle and James Kent as curators, commissioned projects from James Kent & Johannes Persson, Jo Quail, and Vile Creature & Bismuth, the return of Julie Christmas, Red Sparowes, Russian Circles, Torche, Brutus, Bada, Dool, Health, Hide, She Past Away, and two Artists In Residence: Full of Hell and Lingua Ignota. Check the full line up HERE.

EUROPEAN FESTIVAL AWARD NOMINATION

Roadburn has been nominated in the best small festival category (less than 10,000 visitors) at the European Festival Awards 2019. Votes can be cast HERE. Votes and spreading the word are appreciated as it would be a huge honour for us to win such recognition.

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David Eugene Edwards, “Straw Foot”

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Tube Cult Fest 2018 Announces Full Lineup

Posted in Whathaveyou on February 22nd, 2018 by JJ Koczan

Let’s say maybe you’re the kind of person who doesn’t just want to sit in the dark all the time by yourself. You like to leave the house, and you do so without the fear of the judgment of others or worry about pianos falling from the sky and so on. You like to be in the company of those who share your interests, and perhaps to partake of the occasional adult beverage while enjoying a wide variety of loud, heavy and high-energy musical performances. Well. You are in luck. Because it just so happens there are these things called music festivals that happen pretty much every weekend between now and forever,, and should you happen to find yourself in Pescara, Italy, on April 27-28, there’s one you might want to check out.

This year marks the 10th anniversary of the Tube Cult Fest, which, putting aside all joking about agoraphobia — which is a serious condition from which many people suffer — is a significant accomplishment that in itself justifies showing up if you’re in the area. Past years have featured the likes of Ufomammut and 1000mods, and Tube Cult Fest 2018 is no slouch either in the lineup department, with Weedeater, Sannhet, Zatokrev, Freedom Hawk, Minami Deutsch and a significant slew of others to claim your mind, heart and/or soul as their own.

To wit:

tube cult fest 2018 poster

TUBE CULT FEST 2018 • Chapter X

April 27 – April 28

Tube Cult Fest Chapter 10 is revealed.
Here’s the full line-up of the Adriatic’s Loudest Festival.

Get your presales here:
https://www.eventbrite.it/e/biglietti-tube-cult-fest-2018-27-28-aprile-pescara-11235534787

Friday, 27th April
Zatokrev (CH)
Freedom Hawk (USA)
Sannhet (USA)
Messa (IT)
High Reeper(USA)
Sum Of R (CH)
Calvario (IT)

Saturday, 28th April
Weedeater (USA)
Minami Deutsch (JP)
Lleroy (IT)
Charun (IT)
MalClango (IT)
The Slave Preacher (USA)
Flynotes (RU)

Scumm & MamiWata
Via delle Caserme, Pescara

Event: TUBE CULT FEST 2018 • Chapter X

For informations send us a private message or write to skeptic.agency@yahoo.it

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Freedom Hawk, Live in Virginia Beach

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Roadburn 2018 Announces Cul de Sac Lineup with Bison, Comet Control, Mirror Queen, Hair of the Dog and More

Posted in Whathaveyou on February 15th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

roadburn 2018 banner

And so we see Roadburn 2018 once again open its gaping maw of righteousness to hurl forth another barrage of acts to its long-since-completely-overwhelming lineup. You know how many distinct acts are discussed in the press release below? 32 by my count. And granted, I’ve never been much for counting, and a couple of them were previously announced and are playing additional sets, etc., but do you see my point?

My point is this: Roadburn 2018 makes an announcement for its smallest venue — the get-there-super-early-no-earlier-than-that Cul de Sac — and tightens up a few other odds and ends, and all of a sudden you’ve basically got an entire other festival being announced. 30 bands? That’s a fest. Roadburn throws it all out there like, “Oh it’s nothing. We do this every year.” And they do.

So who’s my absolute gotta-see on this list? If you read the names below and have been hanging around here for a bit, you can probably already guess it’s Comet Control. I was hoping they’d be added since they’re touring with Earthless and still supporting 2016’s much-loved Center of the Maze (review here). I’ll be there for them for sure — scheduling conflicts be damned. If it means there’s a chance I might get to watch that band play “Artificial Light,” I don’t care if I have to set up a tent in the middle of the Cul de Sac floor. I’m not missing it.

Here’s the update from the PR wire:

Roadburn 2018: Cul de Sac bands, pre-show party & more!

Roadburn’s artistic director, Walter Hoeijmakers comments:
“The sales of day tickets alongside weekend passes have surpassed our expectations and we’re on course for another sell out year at Roadburn. We couldn’t be happier as we dive headlong into putting the finishing touches to the 2018 edition.

“We still have the side programme to announce, and of course, the all important schedules, but for now, we think there’s plenty for you to sink your teeth into with this announcement. The depth and variety of talent on show here is truly stunning.”

CUL DE SAC
The Cul de Sac may be Roadburn’s smallest venue, but each year a hell of a lot of talent is packed into it’s confines. 2018 is no different with a stellar line up of bands both big and small who will be squeezing into the diminutive space and packing an enormous punch.

THURSDAY will see Une Misère reprise their performance with a second set. They’ll be joined by instrumental duo Insect Ark, hard rockin’ New Yorkers Mirror Queen, Dutch force of nature – Black Decades, the droning riffs of Galg, plus your personal soundtrack to the end of times courtesy of Sum of R.

FRIDAY has Earthless’ tour mates, Comet Control preparing for lift off, extreme metallers Départe from Down Under, Danish export Hexis, Dutch death metal darlings, Ulsect and a second set from Worship that promises some special surprises.

SATURDAY will see Planning for Burial perform again, mining his back catalogue for gems. Hair of the Dog will return to Roadburn, and be joined by fellow 2016 alumni Concatenatus, plus Mania’s mix of doom and black metal, and Phantom Winter’s suffocating sludge.

SUNDAY sees tour mates Bison and LLNN roll into Tilburg in an uncompromising fashion. They will be joined by the progressive sounds of Hidden Trails, a dual pronged Dutch attack in the form of Dystopia and Nefast, and visceral Italians, Syk.

SAN DIEGO TAKE OVER
Good news for fans of psychedelic riffs! There are new additions to the San Diego Take Over, and they’re sure to bend your mind further into previously unknown directions. Unraveling the threads that run between the family of bands that make up the SDTO would require a headspace much clearer than anyone involved is quite capable of, but suffice to say that the pedigree running through the bands is of the standard you have come to expect.

RED OCTOPUS mix influences such as early Sabbath, Hawkwind and Can into a psychedelic wonderland.

ARCTIC is a California power trio steeped in the roots of early 70’s blues/psych, á la Blue Cheer and Band of Gypsies, while drawing elements of modern heavy, reminiscent of early Sleep. Heavy, sludgy, stoner psych played with a slow, driving energy. The band features three pro skaters, Figgy on guitar, Frecks on drums and Nuge on bass.

VOLCANO is a soundtrack for an ancient apocalypse. Primordial rhythm and afro-inspired melodies fill their grooves. The rumble in the distance grows, the forest falls silent. Let their trance fuel the dance, while theres still time. Let the lava flow…

PHARLEE was forged in the middle of the white-hot psychedelic jam scene in San Diego, California from members of Harsh Toke, Sacri Monti and Joy. But don’t let their geographical origin and associated acts mislead you. Pharlee walks their own path on scorched-earth. Forgoing the weed-fuelled jams of their counterparts for full-on the speed-ruled riffage. Partying off the sounds of Priest, Motorhead, Betty Davis and ACID, Pharlee create a new shrilling sound.

The San Diego Takeover is supported by the Performing Arts Fund NL.

TOBY DRIVER & ZVI
These two component parts of Kayo Dot will be making their presence felt at Roadburn 2018 as they perform (separately) on Thursday, 19 April.

As a solo performer, on guitar, keyboard, and voice, Toby Driver has been exploring dark, austere neofolk akin to Grouper, Talk Talk, Current 93, and others, with a subtle progressive and unsettling edge, featured in his recent release, Madonnawhore (The Flenser, 2017). Along with songs from Madonnawhore, he will also be performing pieces from his forthcoming solo album, They Are The Shield, and additionally, a few left turns are of course to be expected.

Zvi is guitarist / vocalist Ron Varod (Kayo Dot, Sabbath Assembly, Psalm Zero, Myrkur) performing and recording solo since 2004. During the 40 minute run time of Zvi’s 2016’s Death Stops Us All, Varod gently wakes us up with a whispered vocal over nylon string guitar, pummels us with throbbing noise and lulls us back to sleep with droned out suspended clusters and Talk Talk-esque clean guitars.

RRRAGS
Formed by singer / drummer Rob Martin (formerly of Bliksem), guitarist Ron Van Herpen (Astrosoniq, ex-The Devil’s Blood) and Rob Zim (bass, Lords of Altamont), RRRags emulates the sounds and styles of power trio’s such as Grand Funk, Blue Cheer and James Gang. But in addition to their fuzzed-out and soulful approach, there are also touches of psychedelica and psyfunk, which sets the band apart from the current crop of Sabbath worshipers, or old school hardrock devotees.

HARD ROCK HIDEOUT
Roadburn’s annual pre-party returns! For those in Tilburg on Wednesday evening, before the festival kicks off “proper”, we welcome Roadburners to the city in style! This year we have teamed up with Babylon Doom Cult Records in Belgium to present speed metallers Bütcher, and Speed Queen, plus genre-crossing Witch Trail.

The Hard Rock Hideout is FREE and will take place at the Cul de Sac.

As with last year, the festival’s wristband exchange will be open on Wednesday, April 18 between 18.30-23.00 for early arrivals to pick up their passes in advance of Roadburn kicking off on Thursday.

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Roadburn 2018 Cul-de-Sac Announcement Video

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Quarterly Review: The Necromancers, The Asound & Intercourse, Bohr, Strobe, Astrosaur, Sun Q, Holy Mount, Sum of R, IIVII, Faces of the Bog

Posted in Reviews on September 25th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

the obelisk quarterly review

The season is changing here in the Northeastern part of the US. Leaves have just barely started to change, and the summertime haze that settles over the region for for the better parts of June, July and August has largely dissipated. It’s getting to be hoodie weather after the sun goes down. This past weekend was the equinox. All of this can only mean it’s time for another Quarterly Review — this one spanning a full Monday-to-Monday week’s worth of writeups. That’s right. 60 albums between now and a week from today. It’s going to be a genuine challenge to get through it all, but I’m (reasonably) confident we’ll get there and that when we’re on the other side, it will have been completely worth the lengthy trip to get there. Hell, you know the drill by now. Let’s not waste any time and get to it, shall we?

Quarterly Review #1-10:

The Necromancers, Servants of the Salem Girl

the-necromancers-servants-of-the-salem-girl

A noteworthy debut from the Poitier, France-based four-piece The Necromancers, whose coming has been much heralded owing in no small part to a release through Ripple Music, the six-track/41-minute Servants of the Salem Girl lumbers through doom and cultish heavy rock with likewise ease, shifting itself fluidly between the two sides on extended early cuts like opener “Salem Girl Part I” and the nine-minute “Lucifer’s Kin,” which gets especially Sabbathian in its roll later on. The album’s midsection, with the shorter cuts “Black Marble House” (video premiere here) and “Necromancers,” continues the flow with a general uptick of pace and ties together with the opening salvo via the burly vocals of guitarist Tom, the solo work of Rob on lead guitar, and the adaptable groove from bassist Simon and drummer Ben, and as the penultimate “Grand Orbiter” engages moody spaciousness, it does so with a refusal to commit to one side or the other that makes it a highlight of the album as a whole. The Necromancers finish contrasting rhythmic tension and payoff nod on “Salem Girl Part II,” having long since thoroughly earned their hype through songwriting and immediately distinct sonic persona. There’s growth to do in melodicism, but for being “servants,” The Necromancers show an awful lot of command in structure and style.

The Necromancers on Thee Facebooks

Ripple Music website

 

The Asound & Intercourse, Split 7″

the asound intercourse split

Noise is the order of things on the Tsuguri Records split 7” between New Haven, Connecticut’s good-luck-Googling aggressives Intercourse and North Carolinian sludge rockers The Asound. Each band offers a two-song showcase of their wares, with Intercourse blasting short jabs of post-hardcore/noise rock angularity on “Too Fucked to Yiff” and “Corricidin is a Helluva Drug” and The Asound bringing a more melodic heavy rock swing to “Slave to the Saints” while saving a more galloping charge for “Human for Human.” It’s a quick sampling, of course, and “Slave to the Saints” is the relative epic inclusion as the only one over three minutes long – it goes to 4:20, naturally – but boasts a surprisingly professional production from The Asound and an unhinged vibe from Intercourse that meets them head on in a way both competitive and complementary to the aggression of “Human for Human.” Fodder for the bands’ merch tables in its limited-to-300, one-time-only pressing, but there’s hardly anything wrong with that. All the more worth grabbing it if you can, while you can.

The Asound on Thee Facebooks

Intercourse on Thee Facebooks

Tsuguri Records on Thee Facebooks

 

Bohr, Bohr

bohr bohr

Officially called Self-Title, this two-song outing released by Tandang Records and BTNKcllctv serves as the first release from Malaysia’s Bohr, and with shouts and growls duking it out over massive plodding tones on opener “Voyager,” they seem to take position right away in the post-Conan verve of megadoom. Peppered-in lead work showcases some welcome nuance of personality, but it’s the second track “Suria” that trips into more surprising terrain, with a faster tempo and something of a letup in thickness, allowing for a more rocking feel, still met with shouted vocals but hinting at more of a melodic reach nonetheless. The shift might be awkward in the context of a full-length, but on a debut single/EP, it works just fine to demonstrate what may or may not be a nascent breadth in Bohr’s approach. They finish “Suria” with hints of more to come in a plotted guitar lead and are done in about 10 minutes, having piqued interest with two disparate tracks that leave one to wonder what other tricks might be up their collective sleeve.

Bohr on Thee Facebooks

Tandang Records on Bandcamp

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Strobe, Bunker Sessions

strobe bunker sessions

It’s worth noting outright that Strobe’s Bunker Sessions was recorded in 1994. Not because it sounds dated, but just the opposite. The Sulatron Records release from the under-exposed UK psychedelic rockers finds them jamming out in live-in-studio fashion, and if you’d told me with no other context that the resultant six-track/40-minute long-player was put to tape two months ago, I’d absolutely have believed it. This would’ve been the era of their 1994 third album, The Circle Never Ends, and while some can hear some relation between that and Bunker Sessions in the shimmering lead and warm underscoring basslines of 10-minute opener and longest track (immediate points) “Sun Birth,” the drift in “Chameleon Earth,” synth-laden space rock meandering of “Opium Dreams” and cymbal-wash-into-distortion-wash of closer “Sun Death” are on a wavelength of their own. It’s something of a curio release – a “lost album” – but it’s also bound to turn some heads onto how ahead of their time Stobe were in the ‘90s, and maybe we’ll get lucky and Sulatron will use it to kick off a full series of convenient LP reissues.

Sulatron Records on Thee Facebooks

Sulatron Records webstore

 

Astrosaur, Fade In / Space Out

astrosaur-fade-in-space-out

While their moniker brings to mind pure stoner idolatry, Oslo instrumentalists Astrosaur acquit themselves toward more progressive fare with Fade In // Space Out, their Bad Vibes Records debut album, finding open spaces in bookending extended opener “Necronauts” and the dramatic shift between droning experimentalism and weighted lumber of the closing title-track even as middle cuts “Space Mountain,” “Yugen” and “Fishing for Kraken” balance with fits of driving progressive metallurgy. Comprised of Eirik Kråkenes, Steinar Glas and Jonatan Eikum, Astrosaur do get fuzzy for a bit on “Yugen,” but by the time they’re there, they’ve already space-doom-jazzed their way through such a vast aesthetic swath that it becomes one more stylistic element in fair-enough play. Open in its structure and building to an affecting cacophony in its ending, Fade In // Space Out is defined in no small part by its stylistic ambition, but whether it’s in the head-spinning initial turns of “Fishing for Kraken” or the stretch of peaceful, wistful guitar after the seven-minute mark in “Necronauts,” that ambition is admirable multifaceted and wide-reaching.

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Bad Vibes Records website

 

Sun Q, Charms

sun q charms

There’s an encouraging and decidedly pro-shop fullness of sound being proffered on Sun Q’s debut full-length, Charms, to match an immediate sense of songcraft and stylization that puts them somewhere between heavy psych and more driving fuzz rock. Vocalist Elena Tiron takes a forward position in opener “Petals and Thorns” over the briskly-captured tones from guitarist Ivan Shalimov and bassist Denis Baranov while drummer Pavel Poseluev pushes the proceedings along, and whether they’re bringing in Seva Timofeev’s Hammond for the subsequent bluesy vibing of “After This,” toying with pop playfulness on “Plankton,” giving Andrey Tanzu percussive room on “Dancing Souls” or going full-expanse on keyboard-laden centerpiece and aptly-titled longest cut “Space,” there’s purpose behind the variety on offer and Sun Q never seem to lose their sense of poise throughout. There are moments where the bite of the production hits a little deep – looking at you, “Plankton” – but especially as their debut, Charms lives up to the name it’s been given and establishes these Moscow natives as a presence with which to be reckoned as they move forward.

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Sun Q on Bandcamp

 

Holy Mount, The Drought

holy mount the drought

White Dwarf Records picked up what by my count is Holy Mount’s fourth full-length, The Drought, for a vinyl issue following the Toronto foursome’s self-release last year, and with the immersive, dense heavy psych nod of “Division,” it’s little wonder why. The seven-cut LP is the second to feature the lineup of Danijel Losic, Brandon McKenzie, Troy Legree and Clayton Churcher behind 2014’s VOL, and its moments of nuance like the synth at the outset of “Blackened Log” or the blend of tense riffing and post-The Heads shoegaze-style vocal chants on the markedly insistent highlight cut “Basalt” only further the reasoning. The penultimate “Blood Cove” returns some to of the ritual sense of “Division,” and The Drought’s titular finale pierces its own wash with a lead that makes its apex all the more resonant and dynamic. Not nearly as frenetic as its cover art would have you believe, the already-sold-out vinyl brims with a vibe of creative expansiveness, and Holy Mount feel right at home in its depths.

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White Dwarf Records webstore

 

Sum of R, Orga

sum of r orga

Over the course of its near-hour runtime, Orga, the Czar of Crickets-issued third full-length from Bern, Switzerland, ambient outfit Sum of R deep-dives into droning atmospheric wash while effectively producing headphone-worthy depths and avoiding the trap of redundant minimalism. Chimes in a song like “Desmonema Annasethe” and ringing bells in “We Have to Mark this Entrance” give a feeling of lushness instead that serves the release well overall, and these details, nuances, take the place of what otherwise might be human voices coursing through the bleak mire of Orga’s progression. One might look to closing duo “Let us Begin with What We Do Not Want to Be” and “One After the Other” for some sense of hopefulness, and whether or not it’s actually there, it’s possible to read it into the overarching drone of the former and the percussive movement of the latter, but by then Sum of R have well set the mood in an abiding darkness, and that remains the prevailing vibe. Not quite dramatic or brooding in a human/emotional sense, Orga casts its drear in soundscapes of distant nighttime horizon.

Sum of R website

Czar of Crickets Productions website

 

IIVII, Invasion

iivii invasion

Noted graphic artist and post-metal songwriter Josh Graham – formerly visuals for Neurosis, but also art for Soundgarden and many others, as well as being known for his work with A Storm of Light and the woefully, vastly underrated Battle of Mice – makes his second ambient solo release in the form of IIVII’s Invasion on Belgian imprint Consouling Sounds. A soundtrack-ready feel pervades the nine tracks/44 minutes almost instantly and holds sway with opener “We Came Here from a Dying World (I)” finding complement in the centerpiece “Tomorrow You’ll be One of Us (II)” and a thematic capstone in closer “Sanctuary,” only furthering the sense of a narrative unfolding throughout. There are elements drawn in “Unclouded by Conscience” from the atmospheric and score work of Trent Reznor and/or Junkie XL, but Graham doesn’t necessarily part with the post-metallic sense of brooding that has defined much of his work even as the pairing of “We Live” and “You Die” late in the record loops its way to and through its dramatic apex. Obviously not going to be for everyone, but it does make a solid argument for Graham as a composer whose breadth is still revealing itself even after a career filled with landmarks across multiple media.

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Consouling Sounds website

 

Faces of the Bog, Ego Death

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In some of their shifts between atmospheric patience and churning intensity – not to mention in the production of Sanford ParkerFaces of the Bog remind a bit of fellow Windy City residents Minsk on their DHU Records debut album, Ego Death, but prove ultimately more aggressive in the thrust of “Drifter in the Abyss” and the later stretch of “The Serpent and the Dagger,” on which the guitars of Mark Stephen Gizewski and Trey Wedgeworth (both also vocals) delve into Mastodonic leads near the finish to set up the transition into the 10:33 title-track, which begins with a wash of static noise before Paul Bradfield’s bass sets up the slow nod that holds sway and only grows bigger as it presses forward. That cut is one of two over the 10-minute mark, and the other, closer “Blue Lotus,” unfolds even more gradually and ventures into cleaner vocals presaged on “The Weaver” and elsewhere as it makes its way toward an album-payoff crescendo marked by drummer Danny Garcia’s thudding toms and a low end rumble that’s as much a presence unto itself as a harbinger of progression to come.

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DHU Records webstore

 

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