Friday Full-Length: Graveyard, Graveyard

Posted in Bootleg Theater on May 24th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

Even though it came out three years later, Graveyard‘s 2007 self-titled debut was the album that showed retro heavy didn’t just belong to Witchcraft. Yeah, I know that’s an easy narrative and there were other bands out there at the time digging into the heavy ’70s sound for inspiration, but frankly, not at this level, and even Graveyard‘s fellow Swedes had begun by then to pull away from the proto-doom rock of their first outing by ’07. The two groups were further linked by a common lineage in Norrsken, with guitarist/vocalist Joakim Nilsson and then-bassist Rikard Edlund having played in that outfit alongside Witchcraft‘s Magnus Pelander from 1996-2000 and produced several demos and singles as well as appearing on the tributes Bastards Will Pay: A Tribute to Trouble (discussed here) and Blue Explosion: A Tribute to Blue Cheer (discussed here) in 1999. But not only were Graveyard on the earlier end of Sweden and greater Europe’s retroist movement, and not only did they play a significant role in putting it into motion, but they showed there was more to it than Pentagram worship.

I’ll readily admit that the first time I saw them, in 2010 at Roadburn Festival (review here), I didn’t get it. I’d heard the self-titled, then three years old after coming out in the States on Tee Pee and in Europe on Transubstans. They were too cool-looking for me. Everything just seemed too perfect, it felt like a put-on for cool kids that just didn’t sit nearly as well with me as falafel I went outside and ate instead of watching them through the open doorway of the old Green Room at the 013 in Tilburg. I was wrong, of course. Not that Graveyard weren’t fashion-conscious in a way that even Witchcraft would never be and that Germany’s Kadavar would raise to yet another level, but I just got a mistaken impression. It was the end of a long weekend. I was tired. So it goes. Those more clued in to what Nilsson, Edlund, drummer Axel Sjöberg, guitarist Jonatan Ramm and guitarist/vocalist/keyboardist Truls Mörck were creating in terms of vibe dug it plenty. The problem, in short, was me. As ever.

By then, Graveyard were already due for a follow-up to Graveyard that wouldn’t arrive for another two years. That long stretch between a first album and a second one would crush a lesser band graveyard self titledlooking to capture some audience share, but with Graveyard, it seemed only to let the nine-song/39-minute long-player — crafted with a focus on vinyl, which was rare in 2007 — simmer as a burgeoning social media word-of-mouth spread its legend. Graveyard became a thing you knew if you were in the know, and their boogie blues rock was perfectly suited for building a cult following. Capping with the mega-hook of “Satan’s Finest,” the album was a clarion to the converted that wasn’t to be missed, and whether it was the shuffle in Sjöberg‘s snare on “Thin Line” or the swapping out of lead vocals for side A closer “Blue Soul” and side B’s “As the Years Pass by the Hours Bend” and the bass/percussion arrangement in the penultimate “Right is Wrong” that seemed so distant from the rush that began the album on “Evil Ways,” there was so much to dig about what Graveyard were doing that even if you got sucked in by the vintage-style production of the whole outing, you were still only getting part of the story. It was at least as much about the band’s songwriting and performance, if not more so, than the aesthetic they so purposefully donned to present it.

“Evil Ways” and “Satan’s Finest” — the start and the finish — were powerful enough in themselves, and managed to embrace cliché enough to be fun while other tracks took a more emotionalist direction that, in hindsight, foreshadowed some of Graveyard‘s and particularly Nilsson‘s delving into soul-driven fare on subsequent offerings. But the self-titled’s more raucous moments, on the short side B leadoff “Submarine Blues” or the bouncing-down-stairs rhythm of “Lost in Confusion,” as well as the fluidity in “Blue Soul,” were a new branch of heavy rock springing up right in front of the listener, and they were received accordingly. I don’t think it’s a hard argument to make that Graveyard became one of the most essential heavy rock bands of this decade in the wake of this debut, and what they’ve gone on to accomplish in the years since — signing to Nuclear Blast to finally release the landmark sophomore full-length Hisingen Blues (review here) in 2011, followed on a quick turnaround by 2012’s Lights Out (review here), touring the universe and then releasing 2015’s more mature Innocence and Decadence (review here) and 2018’s Peace (review here) — is matched by an elite few who might still be considered underground acts.

When Graveyard announced they were calling it quits in 2016, it seemed fair enough. After four records, they’d never hit a snag, and as they’d taken on a more modern production sound and toured hard for about half a decade, it was understandable they might have burnt themselves out. The breakup didn’t take, and when they got back together, with Oskar Bergenheim on drums in place of Sjöberg (since of Big Kizz) and Mörck back in the band on bass instead of guitar, with Ramm and Nilsson as the remaining founders, the revamped rhythm section changed the character of the band. That was evident on Peace, though the songwriting was consistent and arguably the broadest it had ever been. I don’t know what the future holds for Graveyard, except perhaps more touring — they announced last week they’ll be on the road with Clutch in Europe for a quick run this December — and headlining festival gigs if they want them, but listening back to their self-titled, it’s astounding how vital and assured this band was of what they were doing.

There are no shortage of acts out there who aim toward and eventually capture some sense of individuality. Who you put on and immediately know what you’re listening to. Graveyard would prove identifiable by the time the three and a half minutes of “Evil Ways” were done and wherever they’ve gone in terms of their sound, they’ve never lost that. While of course the context of their career since helps, I don’t think you can really look at their debut as anything other than a pivotal moment for this generation of heavy rock.

As always, I hope you enjoy.

Gonna keep this quick if I can. A plug:

Today at 1PM Eastern is The Obelisk Show on Gimme Radio. It’s the first time it’s airing in its new timeslot. I hope you get the chance to listen, and if you do, I hope you dig it. Please, if you can check it out, I’d very much appreciate it. I should be in the Gimme chat for it as well if you want to say hi.

Then later on tonight, The Patient Mrs., The Pecan and I are flying to Ireland. It’s been a hell of a week. We loaded and brought a truckload of stuff — including CDs, the packing of which was a task both mentally and physically — to the house in New Jersey where we’ll be living by the end of this summer, on Tuesday. We were there for Wednesday hanging out with family and whatnot, then came back north yesterday to Massachusetts so The Patient Mrs. could go to a farewell work party, and today we have a bunch of running around to do and packing to go on this trip, which is one of the last things she has going for Bridgewater State University: a study-abroad excursion to Ireland with another professor and 15 students. I’m going basically so she doesn’t have to be away from the baby for two weeks, though it means flying on a red-eye with an 19-month-old, stuffing him onto a bus multiple times and sleeping in the same room with him, which we haven’t done in a little over a year. It’s going to be… interesting. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous about all of it.

Fortunately, we’re bringing his headphones. He has a little pair of blue wireless over-ears that The Patient Mrs. bought on Amazon. I loaded a micro-SD with the Beatles catalog and it’s an immediate calm-down for him. He can be in the midst of an absolute shit-fit and you put the headphones on him and it snaps him out of it. It’s astounding. Dude loves it. I just have to make sure he doesn’t get to “Revolution 9.” I don’t think children should be exposed to such horrors.

The plan though is to stop in and visit Slomatics though while we’re in Belfast, so I’m looking forward to that, and I may hit a record shop somewhere along the way. We’ll see. I don’t really know. I haven’t even looked at shows as compared to our itinerary or anything, mostly because I have no idea what our itinerary is. I’m really just along for the ride and the child-care on this one.

Because I love flying so much.

But it’s Ireland until June 6, then back to MA, then down to Jersey to see Solace with a bunch of other badass bands on June 8, then back to MA June 13 for more dental work — the saga continues! — then south to NJ, then further south for Maryland Doom Fest, then up to CT for a bit to cover babysitting my niece and nephew, and somewhere in there maybe we’re going to redo the kitchen in NJ before we actually move in? Oh yeah, and the place in Massachusetts goes on the market today, so if this place sells we’ll have to be out by some appointed closing date, then actually sort finances with buying the house in NJ and do that, finish packing — ugh, vinyl — and actually move. It’s a ton of shit, and completely overwhelming. That’s what it is.

All you can do is keep your head down and keep working.

But putting my head down, I notice on the baby monitor that The Pecan is up. Coming on 6AM, so that’s fair. Gonna go grab him and start the day. Laundry to do and whatnot.

Have a great and safe weekend. Forum, radio, merch at Dropout.

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Here’s the Bio I Wrote for Worshipper’s Light in the Wire

Posted in Features on May 17th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

Today marks the release date of Worshipper‘s second album, Light in the Wire (review here). Out on Tee Pee Records, it lands immediately following the return of the Boston four-piece from a European tour alongside labelmates The Skull that included stops at Desertfest in London and Berlin to follow-up on both bands’ appearance at the inaugural Desertfest NYC a few weeks back (review here).

The release will be celebrated tonight in Cambridge, MA, with a live in-store performance at Newbury Comics in Harvard Square. The retail outlet also has an exclusive color vinyl edition available that looks just lovely in the pictures that I’ve seen. I was fortunate enough to be asked when they were putting the promo package together to write the bio for the album, and I did so happily.

For the occasion of the release, here’s that bio I wrote, as it appears currently on their Bandcamp page:

worshipper light in the wire

Worshipper – Light in the Wire bio

Whatever frame you want to give it, Worshipper’s story is one of growth. What started four years ago with a couple digital singles has blossomed — yes, blossomed — into an expansive and individualized sound that’s like nothing else in heavy rock and roll. With patient and graceful songwriting, and thoughtful, detailed arrangements, the Boston-based four-piece bring something new to the hordes of those building altars to the capital ‘r’ Riff. Their second album, Light in the Wire, presents a progressive vision that’s not just about “oh hey we threw a keyboard on some guitar,” but instead bleeds into every melody, every smoothly-delivered rhythmic change, and every performance captured on the recording.

Worshipper’s first album, Shadow Hymns, came out in 2016 on Tee Pee, and they followed it with the 2017 covers EP Mirage Daze, a four-song jaunt exploring influences like Pink Floyd, The Who, Uriah Heep and doom rockers The Oath. That release gave new context to Shadow Hymns, and it informs Light in the Wire as well, though with the new LP, Worshipper are most recognizable as themselves.

Led by would-be-reluctant-were-it-not-for-all-that-pesky-stage-presence frontman John Brookhouse (guitar/vocals/synth), with Alejandro Necochea on lead guitar/synth, Bob Maloney on bass and backing vocals and Dave Jarvis on drums, Worshipper recorded Light in the Wire with Chris Johnson (also of Deafheaven, Summoner, etc.) at GodCity Studios and The Electric Bunker. Their intention to capture a sonic narrative has resulted in a fluidity tying the two sides of the album together even as individual pieces stand out with a sheen of classic heavy metal, rock, psychedelia and prog. At the center, always, is the crafting of the songs themselves, so that each verse isn’t simply a placeholder for the next hook, but a statement unto itself, and each solo drips soul rather than devolving into a needless showcase of wankery.

Light in the Wire not only sees Worshipper grow as songwriters and performers, but it expands the palette they’re working with to do that. A stage-born chemistry pervades their musical conversation, but even more, the confidence with which they take on darkness and light, weight and drift, brings into focus how faithworthy their sound has become. They may push farther still, but hearing Light in the Wire leaves no question of their realization.

-JJ Koczan

https://www.facebook.com/worshipperband/
https://www.instagram/worshipperband
https://worshipper.bandcamp.com/
http://teepeerecords.com

Worshipper, Light in the Wire (2019)

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Sacri Monti Confirm July 5 Release for Waiting Room for the Magic Hour; Title-Track Posted

Posted in Whathaveyou on May 17th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

SACRI MONTI

I’m sitting across the kitchen table from The Patient Mrs. just now and she’s telling me about some dude she’s acquainted with in some tertiary way who has a condition whereby he passes something like six kidney stones a month. That sounds fucking awful. What doesn’t sound awful is new Sacri Monti. That sounds like organ-laced West Coast heavy boogie groovy goodness. Much preferable.

The band’s second full-length for Tee Pee Records is called Waiting Room for the Magic Hour, as previously noted, and they’ll tour Europe soon after the July 5 release. We knew that too. But the song they’re streaming — the title-track — is enough to earn its own post, and with the re-confirmed album info and tracklisting, well, yeah, I’m more than happy to reiterate a few known factoids in service to the greater good of this stuff. Album preorders are up now from Tee Pee.

Therefore, dig:

sacri monti waiting room for the magic hour

Sacri Monti to Release Sophomore LP, ‘Waiting Room for the Magic Hour’, July 5

California Heavy Psych Band Featuring Members of JOY, Monarch and Radio Moscow Expands Its Already Kaleidoscopic Sound on Electric New Album

San Diego psychedelic heavy rock champions Sacri Monti return with a vengeance on their sophomore LP ‘Waiting Room for the Magic Hour’. Recorded at Audio Design (Earthless) with producer Jordan Andreen (Joy, Arctic), ‘Waiting Room for the Magic Hour’ sees Sacri Monti firing on all cylinders, somersaulting between the spontaneous and the musically calculated. Blues rock, prog rock, proto metal, fusion; it’s all masterfully represented, as brash as it is beautiful. ‘Waiting Room for the Magic Hour’ will see a July 5 release via Tee Pee Records.

On ‘Waiting Room for the Magic Hour’, heaps of fuzzed vocals, waves of keyboards, boogie rhythms, and sick, spiraling leads merge with focus, energy and drive to send Sacri Monti soaring to a next level, riff-filled land. Proggy space rock jams erupt as melodies segue in and out, while vocals drift over the top, seemingly lost in the instrumental sea. Sacri Monti come fully charged and ready to party, adding a new twist on heavy psych while delivering the soundtrack to an endless summer with ‘Waiting Room for the Magic Hour’.

A first listen to what ‘Waiting Room for the Magic Hour’ holds in store can be heard now as Sacri Monti has released the title track to the upcoming LP. Hear it now at this location.

Track listing:

1.) Waiting Room for the Magic Hour
2.) Fear and Fire
3.) Armistice
4.) Starlight
5.) Affirmation
6.) Gone from Grace
7.) Wading in Malcesine
8.) You Beautiful Demon

Pre-order ‘Waiting Room for the Magic Hour’ at this location.

16/07 UK Brighton Hope & Ruin
18/07 UK London The Black Heart
19/07 BE zottegem kaffee maboel/klsjr kllktv
20/07 DE Zentrum Zinsholz Eastfilly Fest
21/07 DE Munich Import Export
22/07 AT Wien Viper Room
25/07 ITA Lecco La Bottega d’estate c/o Lido di Casletta
26/07 ITA Sezzadio(Alessandria) Cascina Bellaria
27/07 ITA Moos in Passeier,Südtirol Crystal Mountain Festival
28/07 ITA Padova Curtarock
31/07 FRA Paris Supersonic
01/08 DE Köln MTC
02/08 DE Beelen Krach am Bach Open Air
04/08 DE Aschaffenburg – secret show
07/08 DE Berlin Zukunft
08/08 CZ Louny TBA
09/08 DE Sizendorf Void Festival
10/08 PT Moledo Sonic Blast Moledo Festival
11/08 FRA Picardie Celebration Days Festival

Sacri Monti is:
Brenden Dellar -Guitar
Dylan Donovan- Guitar
Anthony Meier- Bass
Evan Wenskay- Organ, Synth
Thomas Dibenedetto- Drums

https://www.facebook.com/sacrimontiband/
https://www.instagram.com/sacri_monti_band/
https://sacrimonti.bigcartel.com/
https://soundcloud.com/sacri-monti
teepeerecords.com
https://www.facebook.com/teepeerecords/
https://twitter.com/teepeerecords
https://teepeerecords.bandcamp.com/

Sacri Monti, “Waiting Room for the Magic Hour”

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Sacri Monti Announce European Tour; Waiting Room for the Magic Hour out July 5

Posted in Whathaveyou on May 1st, 2019 by JJ Koczan

SACRI MONTI
San Diego bringers-of-vibe Sacri Monti announced their new album, Waiting Room for the Magic Hour a couple months ago and noted a July 5 release for it when they put up the cover art (below; it’s the one that doesn’t say “Euro Tour”), but I haven’t seen much advance hype up to this point. I’m sure as soon as I post this something will come out to make that statement totally irrelevant — that’s usually how my timing goes — but either way, with their taking part in the 2017 Burnout three-way split with Harsh Toke and JOY (review here), having played Roadburn as part of the San Diego Takeover last year, and having impressed with their 2015 self-titled debut (review here), I’d think there’d be some decent anticipation to tap into for the new one. I’m looking forward to it, I guess is the bottom line.

They were previously announced for SonicBlast Moledo 2019 and Krach am Bach, but they’ve got a full round of tour dates up now that you can check out below, and it includes a bunch of other fests as well and club shows. They’ll be at The Black Heart in London. That place is always a good time.

Looks like a good run. Dig it:

Behold our European your dates for the Summer

16/07 UK Brighton Hope & Ruin
18/07 UK London The Black Heart
19/07 BE zottegem kaffee maboel/klsjr kllktv
20/07 DE Zentrum Zinsholz Eastfilly Fest
21/07 DE Munich Import Export
22/07 AT Wien Viper Room
25/07 ITA Lecco La Bottega d’estate c/o Lido di Casletta
26/07 ITA Sezzadio(Alessandria) Cascina Bellaria
27/07 ITA Moos in Passeier,Südtirol Crystal Mountain Festival
28/07 ITA Padova Curtarock
31/07 FRA Paris Supersonic
01/08 DE Köln MTC
02/08 DE Beelen Krach am Bach Open Air
04/08 DE Aschaffenburg – secret show
07/08 DE Berlin Zukunft
08/08 CZ Louny TBA
09/08 DE Sizendorf Void Festival
10/08 PT Moledo Sonic Blast Moledo Festival
11/08 FRA Picardie Celebration Days Festival

Sacri Monti is:
Brenden Dellar -Guitar
Dylan Donovan- Guitar
Anthony Meier- Bass
Evan Wenskay- Organ, Synth
Thomas Dibenedetto- Drums

https://www.facebook.com/sacrimontiband/
https://www.instagram.com/sacri_monti_band/
https://sacrimonti.bigcartel.com/
https://soundcloud.com/sacri-monti
teepeerecords.com
https://www.facebook.com/teepeerecords/
https://twitter.com/teepeerecords
https://teepeerecords.bandcamp.com/

Sacri Monti, “Sleeping for Years”

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Sun Voyager Cover Budgie; Playing Deserfest NYC This Weekend & More

Posted in Whathaveyou on April 25th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

sun voyager

If a new Sun Voyager track covering Budgie with a digital release through Tee Pee isn’t enough to make your day, well, jeez, you must be having either a really good a really shitty day. For what it’s worth, I hope it’s the former, and as the New York trio continue to step into the shoes emptied by NYC’s bygone psych scene of the aughts — everyone either moved to Philly or grew up, I guess; priced right out of the neighborhood, either way — their homage to the classics of the form comes through with due sincerity and shuffle. They’ll be at the inaugural Desertfest New York this weekend — hey! me too! — and will make their way westward in June for Electric Funeral Fest in Denver and some tour dates thereafter, then Descendants of Crom III in September. They’re a good band, and they’re only getting better. Seems like people are starting to catch on.

The alliance with Tee Pee is particularly interesting. Have to wonder if that might mean anything going forward as the band will look to follow-up their 2018 debut LP, Seismic Vibes (review here). We’ll see, I guess.

They sent the following down the PR wire:

sun voyager crash course in brain surgery

It’s been just over a year since our album came out and to say we’ve been busy would be an understatement. We’re thrilled to share our cover of Budgie’s 1971 classic, “Crash Course in Brain Surgery” with you today, which is now streaming everywhere thanks to the mighty Tee Pee Records.

Budgie was part of an era of heavy rock that inspired us from the beginning. Their influence is virtually everywhere in metal and they don’t get nearly enough recognition for that. We hope you enjoy our take.

Please stream, share, add to playlists, etc, etc
Amazon: https://amzn.to/2PoAL9X
Spotify: https://spoti.fi/2PnnBtV
iTunes: https://apple.co/2PoAmUZ

We also have a limited run of dugouts available on our bandcamp that come with a free download of the song.
https://sun-voyager.bandcamp.com/album/crash-course-in-brain-surgery

We will be performing the song on the road this spring and hope to see many of you out there.

4/25 – Philadelphia, PA – Kung Fu Necktie w/ Here Lies Man, Narcos Family Band
4/28 – Brooklyn, NY – Desertfest NYC w/ Elder, Monolord, ASG, Ruby The Hatchet, Fatso Jetson, Mick’s Jaguar, Duel, Green Milk from the Planet Orange (Tickets available here)
5/3 – Utica, NY – Nail Creek Pub w/ Here Lies Man
6/15 – Denver, CO – Electric Funeral Fest w/ Torche, Dead Meadow, Tombs, Call of the Void, Fotocrime, Gozu, Un, The Lion’s Daughter, Bummer, The Munsens, Chrome Waves, Trapped within Burning Machinery, Teeth, Casket Huffer, Horseneck, Thra, Yatra, Dizz Brew, Red Mesa
6/16 – Wichita, KS – Kirby’s Beer Store w/ Snowchild, Easy Killer
6/17 – Kansas City, MO – Riot Room w/ Kyle Shutt (of the Sword), Keef Mountain, Stoner Grower
6/18 – St. Louis, MO – The Sinkhole w/ Spacetrucker, Cyanides
6/19 – Chicago, IL – LiveWire Lounge w/ Dead Feathers, Diagonal
6/20 – Indianapolis, IN – State Street Pub w/ Hemperor
6/21 – Detroit, MI – Outer Limits Lounge w/ Eroders, Werewolf Jones
6/22 – Cleveland, OH – Now That’s Class w/ Contra, Earth Chief
9/21 – Pittsburgh, PA – Descendants of Crom III

More merch available here: https://sun-voyager.bandcamp.com/merch
There are only 2 gold copies of Seismic Vibes left so get those quick!

www.facebook.com/sunvoyagerband
http://www.twitter.com/sunvoyager_rock
http://www.instagram.com/sunvoyager
http://www.sunvoyagerband.com/
https://sun-voyager.bandcamp.com/track/trip
https://soundcloud.com/sunvoyager/trip/
http://www.kingpizzarecords.com/
https://www.facebook.com/kingpizzarecs/
https://kingpizzarecords.bandcamp.com/

Sun Voyager, “Crash Course in Brain Surgery”

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Review & Track Premiere: Worshipper, Light in the Wire

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on April 24th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

worshipper light in the wire

[Click play above to stream ‘Visions from Beyond’ from Worshipper’s new album, Light in the Wire, out May 17 on Tee Pee Records. European tour dates here.]

“Become one with the circuit/Come alive with a purpose/You are light in the wires/Transcend, higher and higher,” croons Worshipper frontman John Brookhouse on the mid-paced pluralized-title-track “Light in the Wires” from his band’s second album, Light in the Wire. Brookhouse, guitarist Alejandro Necochea, bassist Bob Maloney and drummer Dave Jarvis make their return through Tee Pee Records and find a suitable home for their richly melodic, guitar-based proggy heavy rock, seeming to draw influences from across decades — and no, that’s not limited to the ’70s and ’90s, as one might usually expect; there’s an unmistakable ’80s sheen to the sound, and the interplay of humans and technology is as much of a theme as I could possibly think of for the aughts, unless they wanted to write about needless war — to create a sound that’s forward thinking, impeccably modern, righteously arranged, sharply executed, and engaging in its craft and structure, with verses, choruses, solos aplenty and an overarching atmosphere that all work to pull the listener in further as the band progresses.

It feels like a relatively quick turnaround but isn’t for Worshipper, whose debut, Shadow Hymns (review here), was released through Tee Pee in 2016 and who also had the Mirage Daze EP (review here) out last year as a stopgap with covers of Uriah Heep, The Oath, Pink Floyd and The Who, but more important than the span of time between records is the clear growth the Boston-based outfit have undertaken since their first record. They’ve had songwriting on their side since their 2015 singles, Black Corridor b/w High Above the Clouds (review here) and Place Beyond the Light b/w Step Behind (discussed here), but as dynamic tracks like “Wither on the Vine” and the second cut “Who Holds the Light” demonstrate, the level at which they’re working has simply become more complex and more cohesive at the same time. Worshipper‘s identity as a band, and more, their identifiability — that is, the “hear a song and know it’s them” factor — is more prevalent and offers more depth throughout Light in the Wire, and with that same foundation in craft and performance supporting that the first album made so plain, it is the work of a band beginning to realize their potential and one of the best albums of 2019. “Come alive with a purpose.” And so they have.

They make that clear early on in opening with “Coming Through.” Also the longest track on Light in the Wire (immediate points), it is the proverbial closer-as-opener, with a stirring build to its crescendo beginning at about the halfway point that consumes much of the rest of what follows, a resonant sense of melody throughout and a style that blends psychedelia, heavy rock, cult riffing, classic metal and probably six or seven other factors that blend together naturally to give Worshipper their own style. Whatever else it might be, it is guitar rock, most certainly. Necochea is a six-stringer’s six-stringer, and his interaction with Brookhouse‘s melodies is a big part of what makes Light in the Wire — and “Coming Through” at the outset — so fluid. That’s not to minimize the work of Maloney on bass or backing vocals or Jarvis on drums, just to note that it’s called “lead guitar” for a reason, and “Coming Through” very much sets that tone for the rest of the record to follow, as well as establishing the science-fiction thematic that continues to play out loosely to some degree or other in tracks “Lights in the Wire,” “Visions from Beyond” and closer “Arise.”

worshipper (Photo by Tim Bugbee)

In terms of lyrics, these ideas are brought into an interpersonal context, so Worshipper aren’t just talking about uploading your consciousness into the cloud and attaining digital immortality, but approaching these concepts from a perspective based around the human heart. That suits the emotionality of Brookhouse‘s vocals well, and in songs like “Nobody Else,” which follows “Who Holds the Light” as side A plays out, that plays a forward role in the delivery of the songs while also setting up the easy flow into the subdued beginning of “Light in the Wires,” which slows down the forward push but still moves readily and gives way to “Visions from Beyond” with the kind of smooth transition that argues for linear formats. Otherwise, “Visions from Beyond” starts side B with a subtle urgency to its central riff and rhythm and one of Light in the Wire‘s strongest hooks.

Plenty of competition in that regard, but the turns from “Nobody Else” to “Light in the Wires” and “Visions from Beyond” should serve to emphasize the reach that Worshipper have made their own here. While remaining consistent in tone, they’ve massively expanded their sound, and done so with confidence and poise enough to actually pull it off. “It all Comes Back” ups the tempo in its central progression and features some highlight bass from Maloney in its second half before turning back to the guitar to show the way out, and the arrival of “Wither on the Vine” with a stomping riff that immediately conjures images of early-’80s Iommi feels like a landmark indeed for the entire album. Momentum is long since on Worshipper‘s side, and they make the most of it in the 6:37 cut, playing with pace and melody while holding to that central figure on a long fade that mirrors what “Coming Through” did at the beginning of the record as it provides a seeming apex for the end of it. That would seem to make “Arise” something of an afterthought, which it isn’t really, despite a more straightforward progression and a right-on wash of crash from Jarvis behind the lumbering guitars.

Another particularly Sabbathian riff — I’m thinking Vol. 4, but could be the mid-’70s era — serves as the foundation for the finale, and Worshipper seem happy to ride that groove all the way through, leaving the listener off with some residual amp noise feeling refreshed and, as perhaps was the intent, not overwhelmed by the twists and turns preceding. It’s almost as though in putting the closer first with “Coming Through,” they also decided to put what would otherwise be the rocking opener “Arise” as the closer. Tricky, tricky. Bottom line, it works, and it’s another example of Worshipper knowing just what the album needs not only to stand out from its predecessor or the heavy rock underground at large, but to create a more memorable impression generally as an entire piece. Light in the Wire very much functions in that way, and while that leads one to wonder if a concept record might be in their future, what matters now is the sheer accomplishment Worshipper have made with these songs and how they’re put together. That is not a minor consideration, and if Light in the Wire has any core statement to make, it’s that Worshipper are onto something that could be really special. I don’t know about becoming one with the circuit, but there would seem to be plenty of transcendence to go around.

Worshipper on Thee Facebooks

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Worshipper on Twitter

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Worshipper Stream “Coming Through” from Light in the Wire out May 17; UK & Europe Touring with The Skull

Posted in Whathaveyou on March 25th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

worshipper (Photo by Tim Bugbee)

I keep a running list of what I think are the best songs of the year. The standouts of the standouts. The first entry I put on that list this year was the track you can hear at the bottom of this post. Titled “Coming Through” — Sligo all day — the song begins Worshipper‘s upcoming second album, Light in the Wire, and is both forward-thinking in its progressivism and growth from their first record and still rooted in a memorable structure such that as the band’s craft expands, it doesn’t lost its heart. Couple that with the performance the four-piece bring to it, and yeah, I’ll put it down as one of the best songs I’m gonna hear this year, absolutely. Only one way to find out if you agree.

Light in the Wire is out May 17 through Tee Pee Records, and in addition to playing Desertfest New York in April, Worshipper will hit the road for 10 days in Europe with labelmates The Skull and make stops at Desertfest in London and Berlin as well.

The PR wire has all the info:

worshipper light in the wire

Worshipper to Release New LP, ‘Light in the Wire’, May 17

Through its unique mix of contemporary and classic influences, Boston’s Worshipper proves that the fiery soul of melodic heavy music still burns brightly. The award-winning band takes all the fragments we love about legendary metal groups and molds them into shining shards of standout R’N’R. Worshipper will release its new LP, ‘Light in the Wire’, on May 17 via Tee Pee Records. The record is the full-length follow up to Worshipper’s 2016 debut, ‘Shadow Hymns.’

A sneak-peek as to what ‘Light in the Wire’ holds in store can be heard now, as Worshipper has made the album’s lead track, “Coming Through” available for streaming.

On its glowing new LP, ‘Light in the Wire’, Worshipper rocks like a hurricane as its high energy songs surge behind standout songwriting, shredding solos and memorable melodies. Classic rock-inspired arrangements meet modern rock creativity when Worshipper cranks it to 11. Worshipper recorded ‘Light in the Wire’ with Chris Johnson (also of Deafheaven, Summoner, etc.) at GodCity Studios and The Electric Bunker with the intention to capture a sonic narrative resulting in a fluidity tying the two sides of the album together even as individual pieces stand out with a sheen of classic heavy metal, rock, psychedelia and prog.

Worshipper will kick off live dates in support of ‘Light in the Wire’ with a performance at the inaugural Desertfest New York, set to take place April 26-28 in Brooklyn. For more details, visit this location.

Track listing:
1.) Coming Through
2.) Who Holds the Light
3.) Nobody Else
4.) Light in the Wires
5.) Visions From Beyond
6.) It All Comes Back
7.) Wither on the Vine
8.) Arise

Pre-order ‘Light in the Wire’ at this location.

Worshipper w/ The Skull:
05.01 – TBA
05.02 – Brussels, Belgium @ Magasin 4
05.04 – London, Desertfest @ The Underworld Camden
05.05 – Berlin, Desertfest @ The Arena
05.07 – TBA
05.08 – Goteborg, Sweden @ Truckstop Alaska
05.09 – TBA
05.10 – Helsinki, Finland
05.11 – Sala, Sweden @ Rockland

Worshipper features Alejandro Necochea (lead guitar / synth), John Brookhouse (vocals / guitar), Dave Jarvis (drums) and Bob Maloney (vocals, bass).

Worshipper, “Coming Through”

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Pharlee Announce Self-Titled Debut out April 5 on Tee Pee

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

pharlee pharlee

Pharlee have members of Joy and Harsh Toke and Arctic and probably eight or 15 other bands like it’s no big deal. At least for someone observing from the other side of the continent, that would seem to be how it goes in San Diego these days. And bless their organ-soaked, frantically rocking hearts, Pharlee stand at the ready to unveil their self-titled debut next month via the ready outlet for such things, Tee Pee Records, which has fostered and stood behind the development of that scene since picking up Earthless way back when and brings Pharlee into the fold that not only includes Joy and Harsh Toke, but also Sacri Monti and Volcano as well. What’s really kind of astonishing about it — about that scene in San Diego — is that the bands sometimes have common threads, but they almost down to each group still manage to bring something different to the mix, whether it’s Harsh Toke‘s outward-directed jams or Pharlee‘s forward, all-go boogie on their 2018 single “Burn,” which you can stream at the bottom of this post.

April 5 is the release date. Preorders are up now if that’s your thing. Here’s info from the PR wire:

pharlee pharlee

San Diego Heavy Psych Band Pharlee to Release Self-Titled Debut April 5

Electric Rock Group Featuring Members of Arctic, Harsh Toke, JOY, Sacri Monti and Volcano Set to Drop High Voltage Debut

Pharlee is a heavy-riff-ridin’ machine. The California rock group was forged in the middle of the white-hot psychedelic jam scene in San Diego by members of Harsh Toke, Sacri Monti, Arctic and Joy. Propelled by the powerfully emotional voice and fiery wail of blues-rock banshee Macarena Rivera, Pharlee calls its energetic sound “psychedelic speed rock”. The band will release its debut LP, ‘Pharlee’, on April 5 via Tee Pee Records (Ruby the Hatchet, Witch).

Hard-blues rockers Pharlee are loud, unabashed and one of San Diego’s best kept secrets! Confident, commanding and highly influenced by diverse acts such as Judas Priest, Betty Davis, Deep Purple and Motörhead, Pharlee’s sound is equal parts soul-scorching, boogie-woogie bar rock and shadowy psych urgency. In addition to the sensational, soulful vocals of Rivera, Pharlee features familiar faces to fans of the Cali psych scene including guitarist Justin “Figgy” Figueroa (Harsh Toke, Arctic), bassist Dylan Donavan (Sacri Monti), Zach Oakley (Joy, Volcano) who swaps his guitar for drums, and Garrett Lekas (Operation Mindblow) on keys. Pharlee was first exposed to the world in 2018, featured as part of a special live showcase dubbed “The San Diego Takeover” at the Netherlands’ popular Roadburn Festival. Locally, the band has shared California stages with pals in Earthless, Petyr and more.

Captured on tape at Audio Design Studios in San Diego, by engineer Jordan Andreen (Earthless, Rocket From The Crypt), Pharlee’s debut LP is a dynamic and cracking hard rock album and a first-hand account of the blood, sweat and tears that have gone into the making of this head-turning new band. Alongside the album’s five formidable tracks, ‘Pharlee’ features a killer cover of the Freddie King blues classic “Going Down”.

Track listing:

1.) Ethereal Woman
2.) Creeping
3.) Darkest Hour
4.) Warning
5.) Going Down (Freddie King cover)
6.) Sunward

Pre-order ‘Pharlee’ at this location.

https://www.facebook.com/pharleee/
https://www.instagram.com/pharlee_/
https://pharlee.bandcamp.com/releases
teepeerecords.com
https://www.facebook.com/teepeerecords/
https://twitter.com/teepeerecords
https://teepeerecords.bandcamp.com/

Pharlee, “Burn”

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