We Lost the Sea Discuss Triumph & Disaster Artwork in New Video

Posted in Bootleg Theater on November 19th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

we lost the sea

Given that what seems to be depicted in the artwork is a post-climate-apocalypse empty landscape unsuitable to human life, I’m going to guess the children’s book that accompanies We Lost the Sea‘s Triumph & Disaster ain’t exactly Green Eggs & Ham when it comes to playtime reading. Not like Pete the Cat is going to come jumping out of the burned out general store and be like, “Who wants to go on a bug safari?” As it happens, I do a fair bit of reading books for little kids these days, from Dr. Seuss and Gossie & Gertie to Hairy Maclary from Donaldson’s Dairy and from A is for Activist to I Love You Because You’re You. I don’t have one about the end of the world, but, you know, my kid’s two now, so I’m kind of starting to feel like maybe it’s time I tell him just how screwed over he’s been by every generation before his own, including mine. Sorry about that, duder.

Not sorry enough to stop burning oil, but, you know, sorry in theory.

Anyhoozle, guitarist Matt Harvey‘s art for the We Lost the Sea album and the accompanying story is downright beautiful. I haven’t seen the real-deal, hold-it-in-your-hands finished product, but even the digital images that accompany give further richness to the melodic and wistful atmospheres they conjure with sound. Their style is so much suited to creating a feeling of longing for something lost, and it’s deeply emotive, so yeah, a mother and son spending their last day on earth together feels like fair enough territory for the band to cover, mourning for a lost future that their characters — or the rest of us, because let’s be honest: we’re all boned — will never know. Seems all the more poignant as Australia, like California, burns with wildfires intensified due to climate change and the country’s conservative wing says it’s cool because the people who died voted left.

Somewhere in the vast universe of possibility, Slim Pickens rides a bomb and whips his hat around yelling, “Wahoo!” en route to mutually-assured destruction.

Enjoy the video:

We Lost the Sea, ‘The Art of Triumph and Disaster’

Sydney cinematic instrumental band We Lost The Sea have just released their long-awaited new album Triumph & Disaster on October 4 via Bird’s Robe Records (Australia) and October 25 via Translation Loss (US), Holy Roar (UK) and Dunk!Records (EU). The fourth album in their collection, Triumph & Disaster, is a post-apocalyptic view on the collapse of the world told like a children’s story and illustrated through the eyes of a mother and her son as they spend one last day on Earth. The music is the narrative for the destruction and tragedy. The words tell the story of love, loss and letting go.

In a new documentary the band breaks down their most recent album artwork and the children’s book that arrived alongside it, telling these themes of a post-apocalyptic world and climate ignorance through means other than the music they make.

Also, for an in-depth look at the complete artworks from the album check out the folio page on Behance: https://www.behance.net/gallery/86859775/We-Lost-The-Sea-Triumph-Disaster-Complete-Artworks

Artwork concept, illustration, design and layout by Matt Harvey
Story by Matt Harvey and Mark Owen
Story edited by Robert Dean

We Lost The Sea is:
Matt Harvey – Guitars
Mark Owen – Guitars
Carl Whitbread – Guitars
Kieran Elliott – Bass
Mathew Kelly – Piano and Synths
Nathaniel D’Ugo – Drums

We Lost the Sea, Triumph & Disaster (2019)

We Lost the Sea on Thee Facebooks

We Lost the Sea on Bandcamp

Translation Loss store

Translation Loss on Thee Facebooks

Tags: , , , , ,

Comacozer, Mydriasis: Your Outer Limits Tourism Guide

Posted in Reviews on September 18th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

comacozer mydriasis

Already in 2019, Sydney’s Comacozer have shared stages across Australia and/or toured with Wo Fat, 1000mods, Naxatras and Oz’s own Mt. Mountain, among others, so while they haven’t necessarily traveled far and wide, their reach is nothing if not considerable. Last year, the instrumentalist psych three-piece of guitarist Rick Burke, bassist Rich Elliott and drummer Andrew Panagopoulos added a fourth in synthesist/keyboardist James “Jabs” Heyligers, and the three-song limit-stretched that is Mydriasis is their first offering since. Their fourth record overall, it follows the vinyl-minded outfit’s impressively expansive 2017 LP, Kalos Eidos Skopeo (review here), 2016’s Astra Planeta (review here) and their 2015 EP compilation, Deloun Sessions, as well as various other odds and ends, and pushes further into cosmic depths, self-recorded with Dan Frizza as a co-mixer and engineer and issued through HeadSpin Records (LP) and Sound Effect Records (CD).

It is comprised of only three tracks and runs 45 minutes, and works in longform explorations of sonic psychedelic ideology. Resonant tones and weighted groove play out in patient fashion across “Mydriasis” (13:11), “Tryptamine” (11:30) and “Kykeneon Journey” (20:51), and Comacozer balance a will to hypnotize their listener against progressions that are immersive but still forward enough to justify active attention. Setting up an overarching flow has never been a problem going back to 2014’s Sessions demo, but the ethereal vibe of Mydriasis is a thing to behold, and it’s easy to argue it stands as Comacozer‘s broadest stretch of space-infused soundscapes to-date.

No doubt the inclusion of Heyligers in the proceedings is a factor in that — how could it not be? — but the change goes beyond simply what’s being played as well and plays a role in the larger conversation happening between BurkeElliott and Panagopoulos as well. It can be heard in the patience with which the songs are brought to bear across Mydriasis, the way Comacozer allows parts to breathe and seemingly find their own way, not necessarily on improvisational terms, but with a natural path that’s never any further out in its wanderings than the band wants it to be. From the initial kick of the drums in the opening title-track, there’s a sense of movement maintained across the album, but a spacious sensibility that’s always been there in Comacozer‘s sound is all the more enhanced by the breadth that Heyligers brings to it.

Rest assured, there’s heft, nod and effects galore, but more than ever, their work seems to be about the journey into and through the fuzz that swallows “Mydriasis” at its midpoint rather than simply being in that place. That is, such outwardly heavy stretches are part of the story rather than the story itself. The guitar rings out with a gloriously triumphant lead over steady-rolling drums and bass and drones, and a molten heavy psych vibe meets with a classic blues jam feel, neither side compromising what it does — or needing to — in order to fit alongside the other. Again, this is as exciting as it is hypnotic, and while it’s easy and enjoyable to lost oneself in the spaces Comacozer craft on their fourth LP, conscious engagement pays further dividends in satisfying slow-motion freakery and dizzying stretch. You dig? You could.

comacozer

It’s “Mydriasis” and “Tryiptamine” on side A, and the opener finishes with a long fade of resonant drone and synth swirl as “Tryptamine” soon answers back with a gradual, sample-topped entry and further use of synth at the outset for a beginning that reminds a bit of earlier YOB in its cosmic spread, but is ultimately directed someplace jammier, charting a gorgeously executed linear path into a payoff that happens late but is brought to bear with marked grace and, again, not at all contrived sounding, despite being a familiar structure at play. Echoplex-style noise backs the increasingly intense drums as bass fills out behind the guitar, and it’s not until shortly before nine minutes in that the full brunt of the tonality is brought to bear.

One has visions of time travel, of things that move fast but on such a scale that they seem to be slow, of selves looking at other selves in real space. I’d say it’s not for the faint of heart were it not so god damned gentle about it, Captain. Comacozer‘s finest hour is and should inherently be “Kykeneon Journey,” with its unmatched sprawl and righteous use of effects, etc., but even the shortest cut on Mydriasis leaves a significant impression as well as an impression of significance. Noise brings that track to its end as well and transitions easily into the start of “Kykeneon Journey.”

There’s a side flip in between, of course, but let’s for a moment pretend we’re not all sitting in smoking jackets listening to vinyl on vintage players and instead listening to music as part of real lives that involve things like headphones and laptops. In that more linear regard, “Kykeneon Journey” is a powerful moment of arrival for Mydriasis as well as for Comacozer more generally. The song seems to work in at least three stages and the last of them, as it would be, is the crescendo of song and album alike. It kicks in at 14:24 and carries through languidly and with airy soloing overtop, growing more intense as it moves past the 19-minute mark and crashing out just before 20:10 to dedicate the remaining 40 seconds or so to a residual wash of noise and drone that finishes on a more gentle fade.

It is encompassing in a way that Comacozer have been moving toward being throughout the last half-decade and, if they were indeed headed in that direction, would be a fair predecessor for a single-song album. That is, if the Sydney foursome continued to expand in ideas and runtimes, I wouldn’t be surprised. As it stands, their first release with this lineup seems to remove conceptual restraints and let them feel their way forward in a manner that’s exciting for the listener as well, no doubt, as it is for them. Wherever they may end up over the longer term of course will remain to be seen, but it’s becoming increasingly clear they’re onto something special.

Comacozer on Thee Facebooks

Comacozer on Instagram

Comacozer on Bandcamp

HeadSpin Records website

HeadSpin Records on Thee Facebooks

Sound Effect Records website

Sound Effect Records on Thee Facebooks

Tags: , , , , , ,

Frozen Planet….1969, Meltdown on the Horizon: Roll Back the Sun

Posted in Reviews on August 6th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

Frozen Planet 1969 Meltdown on the Horizon

Jammers gotta jam, and though they’re less than a year removed from their sixth full-length, 2018’s The Heavy Medicinal Grand Exposition (review here), clearly it was time for Frozen Planet….1969 to get down to business on the seventh. Released like that album through Headspin Records on vinyl and Pepper Shaker Records on jewel-case CD, Meltdown on the Horizon compiles four tracks from a session helmed by drummer Frank Attard in the band’s native Canberra, Australia, as he, bassist Lachlan Paine and guitarist Paul Attard set themselves to a four-track/54-minute stretch of cosmic meandering, rife with effects and an improvisational energy that affects even the most spaced-out of moments, like the midsection of 22-minute opener and longest inclusion (immediate points) “Rollback,” as the band depart the initial solo-topped groove and funky display for more atmospheric turns before gradually making their way back with the guitar in the lead. It’s not a minor journey and it’s not intended to be, but the last album was arranged as one long, 39-minute track and a six-minute reprise, so neither is it the farthest Frozen Planet….1969 have gone down that road.

More importantly, it harnesses a gorgeous, organic kind of chaos, with a hypnotic spread of float above a molten river of groove, all natural and emblematic of a sincere will to explore musically, the band dug into the joy of their own creation, starting off in medias res as though we, the audience, join their journey already in progress, which of course we do. And long before they come around to the drums picking up in “Rollback” as the song heads into its 17th minute and winding final realization en route to “Bellhop Shindig” (8:11), “Dandy Chai” (6:41) and “Sunset Variations” (17:01), the trio have locked in the essential character that will define Meltdown on the Horizon in the song’s psychedelic persona, a heavy acid rock spirit emerging that continues into “Bellhop Shindig,” which is no less jazzy than the title might indicate, as Paine‘s bass holds together the flow of drums and guitar surrounding, bridging the gap that’s essential in crafting the spaciousness of the record on the whole. Cool vibe? Yeah, cool vibe. They’ve got it locked down.

When it comes to this kind of jam-based heavy psychedelic instrumentalism, I’m usually a proponent of a conscious listen. That is, in the face of trippy sonics and go-anywhere adventuring, I’ll mostly argue in favor of keeping your wits about you and paying attention to what the band are doing in order to most enjoy it. You know, listening to a record by listening to it. Not a particularly deep concept. And I’m not about to tell you not to give Meltdown on the Horizon the consideration it deserves. I will say though that there’s also a value to engaging with the ultra-chill moments of “Sunset Variations” or “Dandy Chai” on that existential level as well — just sharing the same headspace. This is particularly true of the penultimate cut, which is the shortest of the four as noted above, since its structure seems to kind of come apart about two minutes before it’s done and leave Paul in the position of weaving out pulled guitar notes on an intertwining delay, hypnotic and minimal compared to some of the other stretches on the record, but again, a wholly organic moment.

frozen planet 1969

And one that’s well worth experiencing consciously, but also one that’s a whole lot of fun to just kind of go with. Seven albums deep, Frozen Planet….1969 have more than earned the benefit of the doubt, I think, and even as they lose track of where they’re heading on “Dandy Chai,” including that is purposeful. It’s not just about some “well, we’ll put in a missed note to sound natural” kind of thing, and it’s not that they don’t care. It’s the risk you run in doing improv, and the way in which you roll with it. Shit, Frozen Planet….1969 are giving life lessons, never mind jamming out. They’re telling you how to read their work even as they’re performing it. Just go with it. How could you not want to do that, especially when they pull it off so effectively moving into the subdued start of “Sunset Variations?”

But just to be clear: I’m not saying Meltdown on the Horizon is background music. It’s not. “Bellhop Shindig” is way too busy being funky cosmic boogie to be relegated to the background of anything, and while “Rollback” is hypnotic, it never loses its sense of purpose. What I’m saying is that Frozen Planet….1969‘s explorations hold up to multiple kinds of listens. You can sit and analyze every turn they make throughout “Rollback” and “Sunset Variations,” catch the moment where “Dandy Chai” begins to kind of pull itself apart, or get down with “Bellshop Shindig” note for airy note. I’m not arguing against that. Do it. But the next time you put it on, be aware that Meltdown on the Horizon can hold its own and hold attention without that kind of direct engagement.

It’s a strong enough performance on the part of the band to carry the audience through from one end to the other, and even when there’s a bump in that path, they’re experienced enough to ride it out and go where it takes them. This is the sign, ultimately, of a band who have mastered their approach — at least as much as one can when so much of that approach is improv — and who are not only in control of what they do, but are strong enough to cede that control when it suits the work they’re doing. That ability makes Meltdown on the Horizon an all the more exciting listen, no matter how one engages with it, and it shows both the depth of the chemistry between the Attards and Paine, and the continued daring they bring to their output and their off-the-cuff composition style. The former and the latter alike serve them well here, and their raw creativity earns every single kind of listen it will get.

Frozen Planet….1969, Meltdown on the Horizon (2019)

Frozen Planet….1969 on Thee Facebooks

Pepper Shaker Records on Thee Facebooks

Pepper Shaker Records on Bandcamp

HeadSpin Records website

HeadSpin Records on Thee Facebooks

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Review & Full Album Premiere: Arrowhead, Coven of the Snake

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on July 9th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

Arrowhead Coven of the Snake

[Click play above to stream Arrowhead’s Coven of the Snake in full. Album is out Friday on Ripple Music.]

Now on their 11th year and releasing their third album, Coven of the Snake, Sydney, Australia’s Arrowhead continue to deliver on the promise of their earliest days, proliferating straightforward heavy rock with a meaner underpinning here and there but keeping the songwriting first, always. This has been their wont since their 2009 self-titled EP (review here), and across their 2012 debut, Atomsmasher (review here) and 2015/2016’s Desert Cult Ritual, initially released by the band and subsequently picked up by Ripple Music. One can only call that alliance correct on some grand cosmic scale — the band and label would seem to have been made for each other. Though the band came first, both embrace a traditionalist heavy rock sound that doesn’t necessarily eschew frills, but makes its point with riff-led fare, memorable choruses and an underlying appreciation for the classics of the style. One thinks of Ripple bands like Roadsaw, Devil to Pay, Freedom Hawk, Ape Machine, Fire Down Below, etc.

Arrowhead acquit themselves well in this company across their latest work, Coven of the Snake, having gone through the change of bringing in bassist Arron Fletcher to replace original member Dave Lopez alongside guitarist/vocalist Brett Pearl and drummer Matt Cramp, whose dynamic proves to be the core of the band’s craft. Granted they’ve had a couple years with Lopez at this point, so he’s not brand new to the band or anything, but listening to the clean, LP-ready eight tracks/40 minutes of Coven of the Snake, Arrowhead don’t seem to have missed a beat for the shift in personnel. Since recording, they’ve also brought in Thumlock‘s Raff Iacurto on second guitar, but he doesn’t actually play on the record. Timing is everything. More intrigue for next time, I suppose. Arrowhead give plenty to dig into in the meantime, as Coven of the Snake stands itself out as their most realized offering to-date in the old fashioned way: with songs. Depending on how deep you want to go, it can be as simple as that.

There’s nothing overly showy about what Arrowhead do. They’re technically proficient, sure enough, but not out to put on any kind of clinic in scale work or anything like that. Their music is conversational. It engages the listener and digs itself into the consciousness, and more over, it makes that process easy. It is accessible in the truest, not at all condescending definition of the word. They open with the title-track, and the lines in the chorus go, “Welcome to the coven of the snake/So why don’t you join?,” and I believe Pearl means it when he asks the question. It summarizes the central invitation that the entire album goes on to send. They are communicating directly with their audience, and while one would be remiss not to point out the phallic nature of the coven itself, but between the opener and “All Seeing Eye” and “Ceremony of the Skull,” which follow, they make it pretty plain that the suggestion to join is universal.

arrowhead

Apart from the 6:56 closer “Golden Thunder Hawk,” songs run between four and five and a half minutes, and PearlCramp and Fletcher spend that time making it easy to get on board. As they have all along, they get into some rougher terrain, calling to mind the dug-in low end of later Dozer on cuts like “Ceremony of the Skull” and the penultimate “March of the Reptiles,” the central riff of which feels specifically drawn from Through the Eyes of Heathens launchpoint “Drawing Dead.” Whatever similarities there might be, Arrowhead have never failed to add their own personality, and Coven of the Snake is no different, even as Pearl‘s vocals remind on that same penultimate track of Arc of Ascent, the context in which that line is drawn is obviously different. Likewise, the prior “Dopanaught” takes a more specifically winding approach, marked out by being the most “stoner” inclusion in terms of basic lyrical foundation — flirting with conspiracy theories and whatnot elsewhere suits the rest of the material as well as anything — and the accompanying lead guitar in its second half. Arrowhead add enough detail to each track so that it stands out from the rest while feeding into the straight-ahead overarching impression of the album.

This is more or less the ideal for this kind of heavy rock and roll songwriting — something that takes its influences and brings new elements to the mix in a style that is unpretentious about where it’s coming from and built to serve memorable, engaging songs. Somewhat understated on the whole, Arrowhead reserve any kind of grandiosity for “Golden Thunder Hawk,” which rolls out much of its extra runtime in a patient introduction to the gently-shuffling main progression, a laid back vocal helping set the mood before opening to a wider chorus. Soon enough they’re halfway through and from there it’s a matter of letting the build play out, which by then the band have well earned with their level of execution on the previous seven tracks. These are the kinds of songs where you read the titles and hear them delivered in your head as they are in the hooks, and that extends even to the finale, which takes a slightly different route to get there but still most certainly does, thereby summarizing much of the appeal of Coven of the Snake while also bringing new ideas to it.

Arrowhead are clearly past the stage where they might otherwise be discovering who they are as a band, and given the work they’ve done since starting out, I’d argue they’ve known all along. Nonetheless, the efforts they’ve made to refine their craft are audible throughout Coven of the Snake, and as they continue to move forward, as a live four-piece and as a creative unit, one hopes the dynamic they showcase here continues with them. This is heavy rock for a longer term; a quality that seeps in not through some novelty but through Arrowhead‘s ability to realize their intentions in impeccably constructed form. Its appeal will last that much longer for it.

Arrowhead, “Coven of the Snake” official video

Arrowhead on Thee Facebooks

Arrowhead on Bandcamp

Ripple Music website

Ripple Music on Bandcamp

Tags: , , , , ,

We Lost the Sea to Release Triumph and Disaster Oct. 1; New Song Streaming

Posted in Whathaveyou on July 8th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

we lost the sea (Photo by Josh Groom)

I suspect that if you heard 2015’s Departure Songs (review here, discussed here), you don’t need me to tell you how excited to be at the prospect of a new 2LP full-length from Sydney, Australia’s We Lost the Sea, but just in case, you should be very, very excited. And more so after you listen to the 15-minute track “Towers” streaming at the bottom of this post, which finds the instrumentalists’ evocative prowess not at all diminished for the space of years from one release to the next, and as they take on telling a story no less ambitious than summarizing the course of humanity up to its final moments, the personal feel they bring to the material stays resonant. I wouldn’t necessarily count on one track to represent the entire scope of the offering, but no question the emotional undercurrent is there.

Release date is Oct. 1. Here’s looking forward to hearing more:

we lost the sea triumph and disaster

Triumph & Disaster is a post-apocalyptic view on the collapse of the world told like a children’s story and illustrated through the eyes of a mother and her son as they spend one last day on Earth. The music is the narrative for the destruction and tragedy. The words tell the story of love, loss and letting go.

We’re beyond proud, excited and exhausted to present you the first track from it ’Towers’ which summarizes all of those emotions in one song. Representing the beginning and the end of everything, it is about giant oppressive forces and feelings, the towering juggernaut of power, failure, history and death.

“Triumph & Disaster” is available now on 3 2xLP variants but they are going VERY quickly. Also available on CD.

UK orders, please order from our friends at Holy Roar Records. Europe order from Dunk! Records, Australia from The Bird’s Robe Collective.

Color Version 1:
Bone White and Grimace Purple Galaxy Merge (limited to 500 copies)

&

Color Version 2:
Color in Color with Splatter combo ((limited to 300 copies)
*both LPs are different configs, see below:
LP1:
Halloween Orange inside of Clear with HEAVY Aqua Blue, Brown and Bone White Splatter

LP2:
Aqua Blue Inside of Clear with Heavy Halloween Orange, Brown and Bone White Splatter
**this variant is one of the more expensive to make, thus the cost is a bit more.

Color Version 3:
Aqua Blue / Halloween Orange / Brown Tri-Color Merge with HEAVY Deep Purple, Grimace Purple and Neon Violet Splatter (limited to 200 copies)
**this variant is one of the most expensive to make, thus the cost is a bit more.

PREORDER: smarturl.it/WELOSTTHESEA

https://www.facebook.com/welostthesea
http://welostthesea.bandcamp.com/
http://www.welostthesea.com/
https://www.facebook.com/TranslationLossRecords/
http://translationlossrecords.bigcartel.com/
http://www.translationloss.com/

We Lost the Sea, “Towers”

Tags: , , , , ,

Arrowhead Announce Coven of the Snake Due July 12; New Video Posted

Posted in Whathaveyou on June 13th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

arrowhead

A four-piece where their last full-length was released as a trio, Sydney’s Arrowhead will offer up Coven of the Snake as their third album next month. Set to deliver through Ripple Music, the record is preceded by a video for the title-track that’s streaming below and tells the story in its straightforward riffing meeting head on with kaleidoscopic visuals, the band doing much the same in terms of style, taking a solid structural foundation and making it more colorful along the way. July 12 is the release date, and it marks a decade for Arrowhead, who got their start in 2009 before releasing their debut EP (review here) the next year.

Rock and roll follows, courtesy of the PR wire:

Arrowhead Coven of the Snake

ARROWHEAD Summon Spirits with the Release of COVEN OF THE SNAKE on RIPPLE MUSIC | Stream the video for new single and title track now!

Coven of the Snake is released worldwide on 12th July 2019

Rising from the underground of Sydney’s stoner rock scene, the Arrowhead brotherhood fire an explosive, all killer/no filler triptych of volume, attitude and down-tuned grooves.

Hitting you harder than a Frank Frazetta-airbrushed panel van travelling at 100mph, Arrowhead is very much a band defined by the riffs that raised them. Fronted by guitar player, vocalist and chief songwriter Brett Pearl, Brett was brought up on a staple diet of classic rock with Hendrix, Zeppelin, Floyd and Sabbath rarely leaving the turntable. Joined by fellow purveyor of low-end grind is bass player/Viking Arron Fletcher, guitarist Raff Iacurto and living backbone of the band, Matt Cramp on drums.

With each member feeding into the Arrowhead-approved vision of hard rock reverie via Hollywood monsters and science fiction cinema, having paid their dues as a band since late 2009, following on from 2010’s Atomsmasher EP, their self-titled debut and 2016’s Desert Cult Ritual, the latest addition to the quartet’s quiver is new album, Coven of the Snake. An album that is equal parts venom and mysticism, and 100% blood-bound to steal your soul in the name of rock and roll.

Arrowhead’s Coven of the Snake is released on 12th July 2019 through Ripple Music.

TRACK LISTING:
1. Coven Of The Snake
2. All Seeing Eye
3. Ceremony of the Skull
4. Ghost Ship
5. Root Of Evil
6. Dopanaught
7. March Of The Reptiles
8. Golden Thunder Hawk

ARROWHEAD:
Brett Pearl – Guitar/Vocals
Matt Cramp – Drums
Arron Fletcher – Bass Guitar
Raff Iacurto – Guitar

https://www.facebook.com/ArrowheadHeavyRock/
https://arrowheadrock.bandcamp.com/
http://www.ripple-music.com/
https://ripplemusic.bandcamp.com/

Arrowhead, “Coven of the Snake” official video

Tags: , , , , ,

The Neptune Power Federation to Release Memoirs of a Rat Queen on Cruz del Sur Music

Posted in Whathaveyou on April 22nd, 2019 by JJ Koczan

I read a fair amount of band quotes in my day-to-day waking existence, so I come across a good one, I feel like it’s worth pointing it out. Not just, “We’re excited about the new album,” or something like that — of course you’re excited about the new album; if you weren’t, you probably wouldn’t have made it — but something that really tells a story. Accordingly, when guitarist Inverted CruciFox of Sydney, Australia’s The Neptune Power Federation says of their signing to Cruz del Sur, “Perhaps we will become like Scientology only with more guitars, battle jackets and drinking,” I feel like that really tells a story about who the band are and where they’re coming from. Their new album, Memoirs of a Rat Queen, will be released through Cruz del Sur this Fall, and yeah. Shit would seem to be pretty weird, and in pretty much the best way.

Check it out:

the neptune power federation

THE NEPTUNE POWER FEDERATION Joins CRUZ DEL SUR MUSIC

Cruz Del Sur Music is proud to announce the signing of Australian psychedelic rock and roll occultists THE NEPTUNE POWER FEDERATION. The label will release the band’s next full-length, Memoirs Of A Rat Queen, this coming September.

THE NEPTUNE POWER FEDERATION and Cruz Del Sur Music decided to join forces after the band’s triumphant appearance at the 2018 installment of the Hell Over Hammaburg festival in Hamburg, Germany. Cruz Del Sur owner Enrico met the band backstage and subsequently offered them a deal. “It’s a pretty cool way of getting signed,” says guitarist Inverted CruciFox. “I didn’t think things like that happened nowadays, but it keeps with our retro aesthetic.”

Enrico adds: “I was first introduced to NPF over a year ago and I couldn’t miss the opportunity to see them live at Hell Over Hammaburg last March. I must say that their show was way beyond my best expectations, their energy and vibes were something I hadn’t witnessed live for a long time. Something significant happened: I went in the backstage to give my support to Sanhedrin before their show and NPF were getting off stage. When the doors opened and they stepped into the backstage a spontaneous applause rose in the small room. For me that was a sign that the band really gave everything on stage and was able to touch the audience really deeply. Seeing NPF live was an intense, overwhelming experience that I will always carry in my heart.”

While the band is already prolific in the studio, it is their live presentation that sets THE NEPTUNE POWER FEDERATION apart, harkening back to a time when theatrics were just as important as the music. “We attempt to connect with as many senses as possible, with the exclusion of smell,” says Inverted CruciFox. “The Imperial Priestess wears the traditional dress of a time travelling space witch and because these beings are uncommon in our dimension, her appearance can often come as a shock. The rest of us wear a simple uniform to recognize we are her backing band — and also because MOTORHEAD did it that way.”

On Memoirs Of A Rat Queen, the band plans to further convey the narrative which has woven their previous albums together — an intergalactic tale of time travel. “Currently we are attempting to convey the story of the Imperial Priestess’s time travelling existence on earth and the various lives she has lived through human history. Occasionally we touch on her mortal enemy, the Wizzard King and his never-ending attempts to defeat her.”

Memoirs Of A Rat Queen is currently being mixed, after which, the band will be playing several Australian festivals. Once the album is out, it will be accompanied with a handful of new music videos.

“We are very excited about increasing the reach of THE NEPTUNE POWER FEDERATION church internationally – like rock and roll missionaries,” closes Inverted CruciFox. “Perhaps we will become like Scientology only with more guitars, battle jackets and drinking.”

THE NEPTUNE POWER FEDERATION is:
Screaming Loz Sutch: Vocals
Inverted CruciFox: Guitar
Search & DesTroy: Guitar
Jaytanic Ritual: Bass
Mr Styx: Drums

facebook.com/theneptunepowerfederation
theneptunepowerfederation.bandcamp.com
cruzdelsurmusic.com
facebook.com/cruzdelsurmusic
twitter.com/cruzdelsurmusic
cruzdelsurmusic.bandcamp.com

The Neptune Power Federation, Neath a Shin Ei Sun (2017)

Tags: , , , , ,

Quarterly Review: Stuck in Motion, AVER, Massa, Alastor, Seid, Moab, Primitive Man & Unearthly Trance, Into Orbit, Super Thief, Absent

Posted in Reviews on March 18th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

quarterly-review-spring-2019

Let the games begin! The rules are the same: 10 albums per day, this time for a total of 60 between today and next Monday. It’s the Quarterly Review. Think of it like a breakfast buffet with an unending supply of pancakes except the pancakes are riffs and there’s only one dude cooking them and he’s really tired all the time and complains, complains, complains. Maybe not the best analogy. Still, it’s gonna be a ton of stuff, but there are some very, very cool records included, so please keep your eyes and your mind open for what’s coming, because you might find something here you really dig. If not, there’s always tomorrow. Let’s go.

Quarterly Review #1-10:

Stuck in Motion, Stuck in Motion

stuck in motion self-titled

The classic style cover art of Swedish trio Stuck in Motion‘s self-titled debut tells much of the story. It’s sweet-toned vintage-style soul rock, informed by Graveyard to some degree, but more aligned to retroism. The songs are bluesy and natural and not especially long, but have vibe for weeks, as demonstrated on the six-minute longest-track “Dreams of Flying,” or the flute-laden closer “Eken.” What the picture doesn’t tell you is the heavy use of clavinet in the band’s sound and just how much the vintage electric piano adds to what songs like “Slingrar” with its ultra-fluid shifts in tempo, or the sax-drenched penultimate cut “Orientalisk.” Comprised of guitarist/vocalist Max Kinnbo, drummer Gustaf Björkman and bassist/vocalist/clavinetist Adrian Norén, Stuck in Motion‘s debut successfully basks in a mellow psychedelic blues atmosphere and shows a patience for songwriting that bodes remarkably well. It should not be overlooked because you think you’re tired of vintage-style rock.

Stuck in Motion on Thee Facebooks

Stuck in Motion on Bandcamp

 

AVER, Orbis Majora

aver orbis majora

Following up their 2015 sophomore outing, Nadir (review here), which led to them getting picked up by Ripple Music, Australia’s AVER return with the progressive shove of Orbis Majora, five songs in 50 minutes of thoughtfully composed heavy progadelica, and while it’s not all so serious — closer “Hemp Fandango” well earns its title via a shuffling stonerly groove — opener “Feeding the Sun” and the subsequent “Disorder” set a mood of careful craftsmanship in longform pieces. The album’s peak might be in the 13-minute “Unanswered Prayers,” which culls together an extended linear build that’s equal parts immersive and gorgeous, but the rest of the album hardly lacks for depth or clarity of purpose. An underlying message from the Sydney four-piece would seem to be that they’re going to continue growing, even after more than a decade, because it’s not so much that they’re feeling their way toward their sound, but willfully pushing themselves to refine those parameters.

AVER on Thee Facebooks

Ripple Music on Bandcamp

 

Massa, Walls

massa walls

Flourish of keys adds nuance to Massa‘s moody, heavy post-rock style, the Rotterdam-based trio bringing an atmosphere to their second EP, Walls, across five tracks and 26 minutes marked by periodic samples from cinema and a sense of scope that seems to be born of an experimental impulse but not presented as the experiment itself. That is, they take the “let’s try this!” impulse and make a song out of it, as the chunky rhythm of instrumental centerpiece “Expedition” or the melodies in the prior “#8” show. Before finishing with the crash-into-push of the relatively brief “Intermassa,” the eight-minute “The Federal” complements winding guitar with organ to affect an engaging spirit somewhere between classic and futurist heavy, with the drums holding together proceedings that would seem to convey all the chaos of that temporal paradox. Perhaps it was opener “Shiva” that set this creator/destroyer tone, but either way, Massa bask in it and find a grim sense of identity thereby.

Massa on Thee Facebooks

Massa on Bandcamp

 

Alastor, Slave to the Grave

alastor slave to the grave

The first full-length from Swedish doomplodders Alastor and their debut on RidingEasy Records, late 2018’s Slave to the Grave is the four-piece’s most expansive offering yet in sonic scope as well as runtime. Following the 2017 EPs Blood on Satan’s Claw (review here) and Black Magic (review here), the seven-song/56-minute offering holds true to the murk-toned cultism and dense low-end rumble of the prior offerings, but the melodic resonance and sense of updating the aesthetic of traditional doom is palpable throughout the roller “Your Lives are Worthless,” while the later acoustic-led “Gone” speaks to a folkish influence that suits them surprisingly well given the heft that surrounds. They make an obvious focal point of 17-minute closer “Spider of My Love,” which though they’ve worked in longer forms before, is easily the grandest accomplishment they’ve yet unfurled. One might easily say the same applies to Slave to the Grave as a whole. Those who miss The Wounded Kings should take particular note of their trajectory.

Alastor on Thee Facebooks

RidingEasy Records website

 

Seid, Weltschmerz, Baby!

seid-weltschmerz_baby-web

If Norwegian space-psych outfit Seid are feeling weary of the world, the way they show it in Weltschmerz, Baby! is by simply leaving it behind, substituting for reality a cosmic starscape of effects and synth, the odd sample and vaguely Hawkwindian etherealism. The centerpiece title-track is a banger along those lines, a swell of rhythmic intensity born out of the finale of the prior “Satan i Blodet” and the mellow, flowing “Trollmannens Hytte” before that, but the highlight might be the subsequent “Coyoteman,” which drifts into dream-prog led by echoing layers of guitar and eventually given over to a fading strain of noise that “Moloch vs. Gud” picks up with percussive purpose and flows directly into the closer “Mir (Drogarna Börjar Värka),” rife with ’70s astro-bounce and a long fadeout that’s less about the record ending and more about leaving the galaxy behind. Starting out at a decent clip with “Haukøye,” Weltschmerz, Baby! is all about the journey and a trip well worth taking.

Seid on Thee Facebooks

Sulatron Records website

 

Moab, Trough

moab trough

A good record tinged by the tragic loss of drummer Erik Herzog during the recording and finished by guitarist/vocalist Andrew Giacumakis and bassist Joe Fuentes, the 10-track/39-minute Trough demonstrates completely just how much Moab have been underrated since their 2011 debut, Ab Ovo (discussed here), and across the 2014 follow-up, Billow (review here), as they bring a West Coast noise-infused pulse to heavy rock drive on “All Automatons” and meet an enduring punker spirit face first with “Medieval Moan,” all the while presenting a clear head for songcraft amid deep-running tones and melodies. “The Will is Weak” makes perhaps the greatest impact in terms of heft, but heft is by no means all Moab have to offer. With the very real possibility this will be their final record, it is a worthy homage to their fallen comrade and a showcase of their strengths that’s bound someday to get the attention it deserves whenever some clever label decides to reissue it as a lost classic.

Moab on Thee Facebooks

Moab on Bandcamp

 

Primitive Man & Unearthly Trance, Split

primitive man unearthly trance split

Well of course it’s a massive wash of doomed and hate-filled noise! What were you expecting, sunshine and puppies? Colorado’s Primitive Man and Brooklyn’s Unearthly Trance team up to compare misanthropic bona fides across seven tracks of blistering extremity that do Relapse Records proud. Starting with the collaborative intro “Merging,” the onslaught truly commences with Primitive Man’s 10-minute “Naked” and sinks into an abyss with the instrumental noisefest “Love Under Will,” which gradually makes its way into a swell of abrasive drone. Unearthly Trance, meanwhile, proffer immediate destructiveness with the churning “Mechanism Error” and make “Triumph” dark enough to live up to its most malevolent interpretations, while “Reverse the Day” makes me wonder what people who heard Godflesh in the ’80s must’ve thought of it and the six-minute finishing move “418” answers back to Primitive Man‘s droned-out anti-structure with a consuming void of fuckall depth. It’s like the two bands cut open their veins and recorded the disaffection that spilled out.

Primitive Man on Thee Facebooks

Unearthly Trance on Thee Facebooks

Relapse Records website

 

Into Orbit, Shifter

Into Orbit Shifter

Progressive New Zealander two-piece Into OrbitPaul Stewart on guitar and Ian Moir on drums — offer up the single Shifter as the answer to their 2017 sophomore long-player, Unearthing. The Wellington instrumentalists did likewise leading into that album with a single that later showed up as part of a broader tracklist, so it may be that they’ve got another release already in the works, but either way, the 5:50 standalone track finds them dug into a full band sound with layered or looped guitar standing tall over the mid-paced drumming, affecting an emotion-driven atmosphere as much as the cerebral nature of its craft. Beginning with a thick chug, it works into more melodic spaciousness as it heads toward and through its midsection, lead guitar kicking in with harmony lines joining soon after as the two-piece build back up to a bigger finish. Whatever their plans, Into Orbit make it clear that just because something is prog doesn’t mean it needs to be staid or lack expressiveness.

Into Orbit on Thee Facebooks

Into Orbit on Bandcamp

 

Super Thief, Eating Alone in My Car

super thief eating alone in my car

Noise-punk intensity pervades Eating Alone in My Car, the not-quite-not-an-LP from Austin four-piece Super Thief. They call it an album, and that’s good enough for me, especially since at about 20 minutes there isn’t much more I’d ask of the thing that it doesn’t deliver, whether it’s the furious out-of-mindness of minute-long highlight “Woodchipper” or the poli-sci critique of that sandwiches the offering with opener “Gone Country” immediately taking a nihilist anti-stance while closer “You Play it Like a Joke but I Know You Really Mean It” — which consumes nearly half the total runtime at 9:32 — seems to run up the walls unable to stick to the “smoke ’em if you got ’em” point of view of the earlier cut. That’s how the bastards keep you running in circles, but at least Super Thief know where to direct the frustration. “Six Months Blind” and the title-track have a more personal take, but are still worth a read lyrically as much as a listen, as the rhythm of the words only adds to the striking personality of the material.

Super Thief on Thee Facebooks

Learning Curve Records website

 

Absent, Towards the Void

absent towards the void

Recorded in 2016, released on CD in 2018 and snagged by Cursed Tongue Records for a vinyl pressing, Absent‘s Towards the Void casts a shimmering plunge of cavernous doom, with swirling post-Electric Wizard guitar and echoing vocals adding to the spaciousness of its four component tracks as the Brasilia-based trio conjure atmospheric breadth to go along with their weighted lurch in opener “Ophidian Womb.” With tracks arranged shortest to longest between eight and a half and 11 minutes, “Semen Prayer,” “Funeral Sun” and “Urine” follow suit from the opener in terms of overall approach, but “Funeral Sun” speeds things up for a stretch while “Urine” lures the listener downward with a subdued opening leading to more filth-caked distortion and degenerate noise, capping with feedback because at that point what the hell matters anyway? Little question in listening why this one’s been making the rounds for over a year now. It will likely continue to do so for some time to come.

Absent on Thee Facebooks

Cursed Tongue Records webstore

 

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