Greenleaf, The Atomic Bitchwax & Steak Announce Dec. European Tour

Posted in Whathaveyou on October 16th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

True, the Fall festival season will pretty much be over by the time December rolls around, but that doesn’t mean that enviable package tours still can’t kick into gear all over the European continent. It never stops, folks. Just as they make ready to issue their new album, Force Field, via Tee Pee Records, my beloved Garden State’s own The Atomic Bitchwax will head abroad once more to team up with Swedish mainstays Greenleaf — who last I heard were planning a new record of their own for 2018, though it’s been a minute since I last harassed guitarist Tommi Holappa with a, “When’s your next album coming out?,” message on Thee Facebooks; should get on that — and London desert bruisers Steak for a 16-date run beginning Dec. 1.

The tour is presented by Sound of Liberation — of course — and if you need me to tell you that it’s a killer mix of acts, you probably shouldn’t. There’s really no letup between the three of them. I’m not saying I’ve heard the new Bitchwax or anything, but word on the street is it’s an absolute supercharged monster, bringing to life the ethic of “Coming in Hot” that 2015’s Gravitron (review here) proffered. That’s the rumor. All the better for them to be on the road heralding new material. Greenleaf meanwhile head out once again supporting 2016’s ultra-righteous Rise Above the Meadow (review here), and Steak go on the heels of 2017’s Ripple Music debut, No God to Save (review here), which brought them to new levels of accomplishment in aesthetic and songwriting alike. Bottom line? You can’t miss with this one. If you’re in its path, consider yourself lucky.

Poster and dates follow, as seen on the social medias by Sound of Liberation:

greenleaf-the-atomic-bitchwax-steak-tour

Greenleaf – The Atomic Bitchwax – Steak – Hail the Hounds Tour 2017

We are proud to present the “HAIL THE HOUNDS” Tour 2017, with Greenleaf + The Atomic Bitchwax + Steak!!

01.12.17 – London | Underworld
02.12.17 – Brussels | Magasin 4
03.12.17 – Hamburg | Markthalle
04.12.17 – Cologne | Luxor
05.12.17 – Wiesbaden | Schlachthof
06.12.17 – Leipzig | Werk2
07.12.17 – Munich | Feierwerk
08.12.17 – Olten | Schuetzenhaus
09.12.17 – Linz | Posthof
10.12.17 – Vienna | Arena
11.12.17 – Stuttgart | Universum
12.12.17 – Saarbruecken | Garage
13.12.17 – Nijmegen | Doornroosje
14.12.17 – Paris | Glazart
15.12.17 – Dortmund | JunkYard
16.12.17 – Berlin | Bi Nuu

It’s gonna be hot in December

https://www.facebook.com/greenleafrocks/
https://www.facebook.com/The-Atomic-Bitchwax-86002001659/
https://www.facebook.com/steakuk/
https://www.facebook.com/Soundofliberation/

Greenleaf, “Howl” lyric video

The Atomic Bitchwax, “Hope You Die” live in West Virginia, Sept. 12, 2017

Steak, “Living Like a Rat” official video

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Friday Full-Length: Harsh Toke, Light up and Live

Posted in Bootleg Theater on October 6th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

Harsh Toke, Light up and Live (2013)

Two vinyl sides. 38 minutes. That’s it. Then you’re done. It seems so simple, and yet, in that time, San Diego’s Harsh Toke stand tall in representing damn near every appeal of the Californian heavy boom that’s taken place over the course of the last eight or nine years, particularly the last half-decade, which has seen San Diego and San Francisco emerge as major epicenters of psychedelic and heavy rock. Separate and distinct in sound and ethic from the Pacific Northwest’s party spirit, no doubt Cali likes to get down as it always has, but as Harsh Toke demonstrate on their ultra-fluid 2013 debut, Light up and Live, it’s as much about how far out you can go as it is what kind of mushrooms you find sprouting up from the ground when you get there. Comprised of guitarist Justin “Figgy” Figueroa, keyboardist/vocalist Gabe Messer, drummer Austin Ayub and bassist Richie Belton, Harsh Toke released Light up and Live via Tee Pee Records, and with its four songs yo-dude-check-out-this-vibe vibe, seemed to signal that a new breed and a new generation was on the rise. Like several of their West Coast peers including Earthless, from whom they take a marked influence on the extended cuts “Weight of the Sun” (14:30) and “Plug into the Moon” (10:09), they have connections to the world of professional skateboarding, but their lysergic wash is unmistakable once conjured and though they seem to purposefully lose themselves in what one might be tempted to put in all-caps as ‘THE JAM,’ their flights from solid ground are never more indulgent than they are invigorating.

Markedly cosmic at the outset, Light up and Live starts out with the deceptively straightforward four-minute thrust-boogie of “Rest in Prince.” Of course, its organ-fueled groove was put to tape three years before the artist himself actually passed away, but what’s most interesting about the track is its verse/chorus structure. There’s still some feeling of the unhinged as it moves into okay-now-it’s-time-to-shred after about the first minute, but with the immediacy of Messer‘s early verses, the song nonetheless works to set up expectations on the part of the listener that Harsh Toke brazenly throw out the window of their shuttle en route out of the atmosphere. “Rest in Prince,” which might be the highlight performance from Ayub as regards the shuffle in the snare, effectively leads the audience into the band’s heavy psych tumult, but it does so while making Light up and Live more accessible than it might otherwise be if it simply started out with the rain sticks, percussion and rising theremin siren and flutes at the launch of “Weight of the Sun.” By the time Harsh Toke really decide to get weird — and once they go, man are they gone — they’ve already welcomed the listener into this molten universe of jamming. Vocals are left behind in favor of effects wash, and the engines kick in after the three-minute mark to launch “Weight of the Sun” toward its reaches, which the band will continue to explore through ebbs and flows for the hypnotic duration, drawing back late as the piece seems to disintegrate around its fade, leaving just the organ line to hold sway for its final minute around some rumbling noise.

Thus side A is capped, and with the 9:47 title-track led off by a flowing bassline, the reimmersion happens quickly on the second half of the record. Languid groove sets the tone early, with more rain stick to fill out the arrangement, but it’s that low end that most holds sway even as the guitar, drums and keys join back in, and that becomes the foundation of “Light up and Live”‘s central riff. Figueroa takes a massive, liquefied solo in the midsection, layers weaving in and out of each other in drawn out Iommic and/or Mitchellian modus with the firm rhythmic backing, and Harsh Toke surprise by bringing vocals back in deep-mixed echoing fashion somewhere after five minutes in. It’s a fast, there-and-gone moment, and not exactly an attempt to reorient the listener so much as another element brought in to add to the atmosphere, but it happens. It’s not an illusion. Still, once more the band execute a full sweep of brainstem-clearing hypnotantrics, slowing toward the end where they might otherwise just keep going but seeming to get out of their own way to allow the push of “Plug into the Moon” to take hold as grand finale. The swirl is immediate and given added Hawkwinded mentality via saxophone and a decided alignment toward interstellar reaches, and though a bit of the boogie spirit of “Rest in Prince” is revived, the closer is obviously working on a different wavelength entirely, driving toward its shred-topped ending that seems so right in nodding quickly at King Crimson‘s “21st Century Schizoid Man” in its last measures before suddenly cutting to a driftless silence, the effect of which after the trance-inducing churn of “Plug into the Moon” is jarring, like the four-piece did a countdown, snapped their fingers and said, “awake.”

Because it’s still a relatively recent release — and because Harsh Toke have yet to deliver a proper full-length follow-up — it’s hard to gauge what the longer-term impact of Light up and Live has been and can be, but no question its release marked a turning point in West Coast heavy psych, heralding the arrival of what has become arguably the most vibrant underground in the US. In terms of what they’ve done since, Harsh Toke have represented San Diego well. In my mind, I’ll forever associate them with the simply amazing set they played in collaboration with psych legend Lenny Kaye in the Netherlands at Roadburn 2014 (review here), and they returned to Europe in the next year to tour with French labelmates Sunder, playing Desertfest Belgium and more besides. 2016 found them releasing a the Acid Crusher / Mount Swan split with Earthless (review here), which they followed with a return to Roadburn earlier this year (review here) for two sets, one of which was comprised entirely of Roky Erickson covers. Upon returning to the States, in June they released an elaborately arranged split with compatriots Joy and Sacri Monti titled Burnout (review here), on which they once more took on Erickson material. Plenty busy, but no second long-player just yet. One holds out hope for 2018, though there’s yet to be any solid word of anything in the works that I’ve seen and members of Harsh Toke reportedly feature in the new group Age, so the future remains uncertain.

Whatever next year and beyond might hold, Light up and Live seems poised to stand the test of time by enacting an acidic spirit outside of it. As always, I hope you enjoy and thank you for reading.

No doubt I had West Coast stuff on my mind after reviewing the new Radio Moscow record earlier today, but whatever gets Harsh Toke posted is cool by me. Coming off the Quarterly Review last week which continued on Monday, you might note this week featured nothing but records that I thought were hyperbole-level awesome. To wit:

Young Hunter, Dayhiker (review here)
Enslaved, E (review here)
Black Mare, Death Magick Mother (review here)
Radio Moscow, New Beginnings (review here)

This is not at all coincidence, and don’t be surprised when all four of those releases feature on my year-end list in December. This week and next I’m trying to get stuff done ahead of the baby’s Oct. 15 due date, which, hey, we might completely blow a few days past or he might decide to come early — and either way is totally cool by me; whatever you wanna do, Pecan — but as I may be occupied for a while mentally in the immediate once he’s born, it made sense to me to get this stuff in ahead of time. Call it the manifestation of my nesting instinct.

I still have some stuff coming together, but next week is likewise slammed. Subject to change as always, but here’s how it looks:

Mon.: Full stream/review of the new Turn Me on Dead Man; might be another track premiere as well.
Tue.: Twingiant track premiere; Review of the new Øresund Space Collective.
Wed.: The Flying Eyes review; possible other track premiere.
Thu.: Nick Oliveri review/full album stream; The Road Miles video premiere.
Fri.: Long-overdue Egypt review, Opium Warlords track premiere.

Busy, busy. Scheduling-wise, I’m behind where I should be in sorting everything out, but I’ll get there over the next couple days and we’ll see what comes together. It’s kind of a crazy time on this end, as I’m sure you can imagine, while The Patient Mrs. and I wait for the arrival of The Pecan. Between doctor/midwife appointments and sundry other preparatory this-and-thats, there’s just a lot going on. Overwhelmed? Not nearly as much as I’m going to be, I expect. Still, I take my quiet moments where and when I can, and I’ve had some time each day to do a bit of reading, and that’s been helpful in sorting out my brain. Words, man. I frickin’ love words.

Speaking of, I have more to write, so I’m gong to leave this one here and just wish you a great and safe weekend. Please make sure to check out the forum and radio stream.

The Obelisk Forum

The Obelisk Radio

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Nebula Announce Reunion Lineup; Shows and New Album to Come in 2018

Posted in Whathaveyou on September 20th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

After years of rumors, innuendo and — most of all — official silence from founding guitarist/vocalist Eddie Glass, Nebula are coming back. It’s been eight years since the release of their last full-length, 2009’s Heavy Psych (review here), and as they look to begin playing shows in 2018, they’ll be two full decades out from their landmark 1998 debut EP, Let it Burn. Last time we heard from Glass was in 2010, at which point, amid a canceled tour, he assured fans via MySpace that the band would continue. Seems fitting somehow that the announcement of their new lineup should come via Thee Facebooks. Age of wonders and all that.

Joining Eddie Glass in Nebula will be bassist Tom Davies, who played on Heavy Psych, and drummer Michael Amster, also of Blaak Heat and Abrams. News about live dates is reportedly coming this Friday. There’s been nothing specific yet revealed for touring or a new release, but new material is allegedly in the works as well.

Here’s where it stands:


nebula

L.A. power trio Nebula, whose cosmic cocktail of heavy riffs, electric blues and psychedelic space rock has earned the band international (and, dare we say, universal) acclaim have returned.

Nebula will be back after almost 10 years w/ a number of live shows in April and June 2018 and a new Studio Album.

Nebula released their first album on Tee Pee in 1998 titled Let It Burn. Let It Burn is being reissued on vinyl later this year and will be released as a limited edition double LP, the first LP containing the original Let It Burn album plus two bonus tracks and a second LP will contain the original demos from the Let It Burn sessions.

The great swirling, electrical ball of dynamism and potential known as Nebula formed in the mythical abyss of Los Angeles in 1997. Nebula creates pure guitar-driven, conscious expanding rock for the 21st century. They are a culmination of their rock forbearers such as Jimi Hendrix, MC5, The Stooges and Mudhoney turned up a notch, taken to the next level and blasting through space. Nebula spread their gospel through their music and what they are preaching will leave the congregation on the floor.

Lineup on the upcoming shows in 2018 will be:

Eddie Glass vox/guitar
Tom Davies vox/bass
Michael Amster drums

More news coming up THIS Friday !!

https://www.facebook.com/NebulaBand/
http://nebulamusic.com/

Nebula, Heavy Psych (2009)

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Mirror Queen Announce New LP Verdigris Due Oct. 27

Posted in Whathaveyou on September 19th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

mirror-queen-photo-john-fell

Earlier this year, NYC-based heavy classic progressive rockers Mirror Queen issued a seven-inch single Starliner (premiered here) that came prior to their summer tour with Tee Pee Records labelmates The Atomic Bitchwax. The song was a first glimpse at the follow-up to 2015’s Scaffolds of the Sky (review here), which has now been announced with the title Verdigris and an Oct. 27 release date. If you didn’t hear it at the time, I’ve embedded the track below for convenience’s sake, and whether or not it’s the same recording at that which will appear on the six-long LP next month, it speaks well of Mirror Queen‘s particular and longstanding meld between driving ’70s rock and more nuanced and progressive impulses.

Curious to hear what Swans guitarist Norman Westberg adds to that mix on Verdigris, as well as to hear the album in general. Led as always by guitarist/vocalist Kenny Sehgal — aka Kenny Kreisor in honor of the outfit from which Mirror Queen evolved prior to their debut in 2011 — Mirror Queen remain a secret kept too well by NYC’s heavy underground.

Album art and details from the PR wire, which gets extra credit in my book for using the phrase “street level” to describe part of Mirror Queen‘s sound. Nicely done there:

mirror-queen-verdigris

Mirror Queen to Release New Album, ‘Verdigris’. October 27

NYC volume dealers MIRROR QUEEN will release their new album, Verdigris, on October 27 via Tee Pee Records. A masterclass of riff-driven melodic hard rock, the LP is the follow-up to the band’s 2015’s LP, Scaffolds of the Sky.

Combining edgy, street-level rock ‘n’ roll with more cerebral elements of poetry and literature, MIRROR QUEEN rides hard and loud, kicking out the jams at every opportunity. Here the songs are expansive and lush in their textures, with ethereal songwriting full of crossing guitar lines and an insistent, demanding rhythmic throb. Featuring additional guitars from SWANS six-stringer Norman Westberg, Verdigris is a rock monolith, all dark delight and sinister pleasure, that demands headbanging and fists raised to the sky.

A mainstay in the NYC hard rock scene, MIRROR QUEEN has shared the stage with heavyweight peers such as Earthless and The Shrine and toured Europe with legends such as Uli Jon Roth and UFO. The group’s driving music accelerates at the distinct point where NWOBHM and heavy Prog Rock intersect; a direct and definite delineation of an era when urgent metallic sound was the order of the day.

Track listing:

1.) Poignard
2.) Flying Eyes
3.) Sorrow’s End / Dark Kiss of the Sun
4.) Starliner
5.) Verdigris
6.) Curse the Night

MIRROR QUEEN features Kenny Kreisor (guitar, vocals), Jeremy O’Brien (drums), Morgan McDaniel (guitar) and James Corallo (bass).

https://www.facebook.com/mirrorqueennyc/
https://www.facebook.com/teepeerecords/
https://twitter.com/teepeerecords
https://instagram.com/teepeerecords/
https://teepeerecords.bandcamp.com/
http://teepeerecords.com/

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Biblical Premiere “The Last Thing I Remember”; The City that Always Sleeps Due Sept. 15

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on August 31st, 2017 by JJ Koczan

biblical

Toronto heavy space rockers Biblical release their new album, The City that Always Sleeps, Sept. 15 via Tee Pee Records. The band’s second full-length behind 2014’s Monsoon Season and a prior 2012 self-titled EP (review here), it is an eight-track/37-minute excursion that makes mincemeat of various heavy vibes, here explosive in its noise-punker tension, there serene with flowing piano and fluid rhythmic push, shifting into languid drifts of space-bound guitar, Floydian grace and Hawkwindian thrust meeting head-on with harsher impulses as led by vocalist/bassist Nick Sewell. Dynamic in sound and genuinely broad in its reach — that is to say, it’s not just heavy and heavier riffs; there’s real variety between songs like “Regicide” and “Gallows Humor” and “Spiral Staircase” and “House of Knives” — it lets pieces like the penultimate title-track hold a feeling of expanded consciousness and expanded spaciousness while still remaining relatively compact in the actual delivery.

That cut, on which Sewell‘s vocals emerge and recede like an effects-laden ghost of humanity washing up on some abandoned shore, find the bassist as well as guitarist/synthesist Andrew Scott, guitarist Matt McLaren and drummer Jay Anderson (also of Tee Pee labelmates Comet Control) easing their way toward a dramatic pinnacle that gives into feedback and keyboard textures before transitioning into closer “House of Knives,” touching off a subtle cast of progressive New Wave that’s foreshadowed in “Regicide.” No song passes the six-minute mark — the title-track is closest at 5:57 — but the amount of ground Biblical cover throughout is nothing short of staggering, and the confidence behind their delivery makes it so that wherever they tread in a given section, as shown in the one-two punch of blistering/howling opener “Mature Themes” and the drifting, dreamily cascading second track “The Last Thing I Remember,” they carry the listener with them on this outward journey of such righteously cosmic proportion.

biblical the city that always sleepsLikewise, no single song speaks for the entirety of The City that Always Sleeps. With its proggier initial bounce, harsher vocals, emergent wash of noise and antigravity-feedback finish, “House of Knives” might come close, but even that doesn’t necessarily convey the patient spirit Biblical demonstrate in “Fugue State” — arguably their most space-rocking installment, brilliantly paying off early drum tension with a triumphant second-half guitar solo from McLaren — or the hypnotic melodicism of “The Last Thing I Remember,” let alone the Farflung-style, could-go-anywhere desert jangle of “Gallows Humor,” on which a far-back vocal from Sewell echoes out behind a vast landscape of guitar, bass, drums and keys. It wouldn’t be right to call Biblical experimental, because while they may have those roots in their composition, they’re not just throwing ideas at the wall and seeing what sticks; their songs feel meticulously constructed, detailed down to the balance of the guitar squibblies, strum and keyboard notes that cap the aforementioned “Gallows Humor” and lead the way into the piano-over-waves start of “Spiral Staircase,” and that impression remains consistent no matter where an individual part finds them.

In fact, that might be what most ties the material together on The City that Always Sleeps and lets the album flow as a single work. While there’s no question Biblical convey an exploratory sensibility, their overarching purpose still lies in songwriting. It just so happens to be they’re capable of multi-tiered expression through that on a level that, simply put, not every band can or does reach. No doubt The City that Always Sleeps will fly under the radar for many. It’s not Tee Pee‘s highest-profile release of 2017 by any stretch, and it’s easy to imagine the complexity across its span requires a level of engagement and attention that not everyone will be willing to give it. That doesn’t mean Biblical aren’t having a conversation with their listeners here, just that it’s an intelligent one and that they’re asking questions in addition to laying out declarations in the songs. In other words, it’s worth staying awake for it. For those who do take the record on and give it its due, the results should be accordingly satisfying, as the band hone a sonic persona that is truly their own and offer a style bold in reach and tightly executed. There isn’t a moment here that doesn’t brim with the fullness of its realization.

Below, you can hear the premiere of “The Last Thing I Remember,” followed by some comment from Sewell on the track’s panned drums and inspirations. One more time, Biblical‘s The City that Always Sleeps is out Sept. 15 on Tee Pee.

Please enjoy:

Biblical, “The Last Thing I Remember” official premiere

Nick Sewell on “The Last Thing I Remember”:

“The Last Thing I Remember” ended up being one of my favorite songs on the record. But sometimes it’s tough to figure out what a song wants to be. We actually toyed with keeping this song instrumental, but once we got the idea for those creepy group vocals with the repeating delay we knew we had the missing ingredient — like a cult, chanting.

The mix was also challenge. With rock records, there’s a tendency to go with a very symmetrical mix where you double track everything and pan it out. While that can give you a solid mix, it can also be a little bland. We decided to take chance and hard pan the drums opposite those big minor chords to give it an early ’60s vibe. We’re all big David Axelrod fans, so that was a little nod to him.

Lyrically, the song is pretty much exactly what the title implies: rummaging through memories, picking up individual shards and holding them up to the light.

Biblical on Thee Facebooks

Biblical on Twitter

Biblical on Bandcamp

Biblical website

Tee Pee Records website

Tee Pee Records on Thee Facebooks

Tee Pee Records on Twitter

Tee Pee Records on Bandcamp

The City that Always Sleeps preorder at Tee Pee Records

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Ruby the Hatchet, Planetary Space Child: Oh, the Places You’ll Trip

Posted in Reviews on August 29th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

ruby-the-hatchet-planetary-space-child

It’s been a steady creep enacted by Philadelphia’s Ruby the Hatchet into the greater and expanding consciousness of American heavy psychedelia. The organ-laced five-piece from the City of Brotherly Love debuted on respected purveyors Tee Pee Records in 2015 with Valley of the Snake (review here), their second album overall behind 2012’s subsequently reissued Ouroboros and 2014’s Eliminator EP, and Planetary Space Child is their third and most cosmically expansive outing yet.

There have been and continue to be consistent themes in the band’s work — the Adam Burke cover art, the prominent vocals of frontwoman Jillian Taylor, the forward rhythmic push from bassist Lake Muir (who’s come aboard since the last record) and drummer Owen Stewart, a feel somewhere between garage heavy, doom rock and classically stoned ’70s-ism — but the seven-track/41-minute Planetary Space Child from nearly every angle simply brings their approach to a new level, whether that’s the additional percussion and Sean Hur‘s keyboard flourish amid the consuming swirl of effect from guitarist Johnny “Scarps” Scarperia in “Pagan Ritual” or the immediate landmark that the hook in the opening title-track gives the band to build from, so that the later drift of centerpiece “The Fool” after the subtly metallized “Killer” and “Pagan Ritual” has a decided outward direction in which it’s moving. One might say the same of the album as a whole in relation to the band’s preceding material. It’s going farther out.

And make no mistake, it gets there, but with Taylor‘s carefully layered vocals, a depth of mix conjured by Hur and engineers Joe Boldizar of Retro City Studios and Zach Goldstein of Kawari Sound, that easily accommodates the spaciousness required by the blend of keys, guitar, bass and drums as well as the atmosphere of Taylor‘s vocals and those backing her in, say, the seven-minute roller “Symphony of the Night” (is that a Castlevania reference?), there’s never any sense of confusion in terms of Ruby the Hatchet‘s intent. Their command of the song is never relinquished, so that as the just-mentioned “Symphony of the Night” moves toward its speedier midsection via an uptick in organ drama, the listener has no trouble following the band through the shift in ambience. Of course, the righteousness of the gallop that ensues and the clear demonstration of dynamic on the part of the group as a whole don’t hurt either in that regard, but that’s nothing new for Ruby the Hatchet, and whether they’re actively engaging galaxial grandiosity on “Planetary Space Child” — just in case you were looking for the perfect phrase to spraypaint on the back of your van to go with that mountaintop wizard you just put on the side of it — or digging into the more proto-metallic “Killer,” which feels perhaps a bit born of their time on the road alongside Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats and is just one of two songs under five minutes long in a mirror with the penultimate “Gemini,” the vibe they set in these early moments holds firm throughout.

ruby the hatchet

The album was reportedly recorded in an 1800s mansion out in the woods of Pennsylvania, and if nothing else, it’s easy to imagine the place had high ceilings, because while Stewart‘s snare has a decided grounding effect, his perfectly-balanced cymbals ring out like splashes complementing the turns in “Killer” and the momentum that boogie-fueled riff of “Pagan Ritual” thrusts toward, and there is a strong feeling of “room” throughout the proceedings as a whole. That can certainly happen in a cramped studio space as well, of course — age of technological wonders and all that — but if Ruby the Hatchet‘s choice of locale was motivated in part by setting a mood for themselves in addition to the audience, it would seem they made the right choice in that regard and the dividends can be heard as much in the unmitigated hookery of “Killer” and “Planetary Space Child” as well as in the Rocka Rolla chug of “Gemini” or the languid motion of “The Fool.”

Anyone who heard Valley of the Snake and paid even a modicum of attention to what the band was doing therein can tell you they want nothing for songcraft, but this too seems to have been refined in the last two years, and while of course “Symphony of the Night” and grand-finale closer “Lightning Comes Again” — which itself is just shy of the seven-minute line that “Symphony of the Night” so fluidly crosses — have their meandering aspects, there’s zero loss of purpose throughout. To wit, the rhythmic change at 2:14 into “Lightning Comes Again” is a masterpiece moment of transition, and the band utterly nails it, bringing the track to its next stage with unmistakable precision without sounding forced or losing the flow that has brought them so gracefully not only through the quiet opening of that song itself, but of the six prior. The band is signaling at that point that they’ve hit the summary moment for Planetary Space Child as a whole, and so they have. Before the next five-ish minutes are up, they’ll call back to the 8-track-ready circa-’73 idolatry of “Gemini” and “Killer,” the staging sensibility of the title-cut, the rhythmic churn of “Pagan Ritual” and even a bit of the horror-rock flourish of “Symphony of the Night,” with Scarperia finding room for a highlight guitar solo and Stewart marking the ending with a flurry of tom fills behind the assurance from Taylor that, “Lightning will come again.”

She makes it a believable proposition, to say the least, though if lightning is what the band caught in a bottle their last time out on Valley of the Snake, then it would seem it’s already returned. They bring the record to an end with no less a sure hand than they began it, and only bring emphasis to the point that especially if they hit the road again as hard for their third LP as they did for their second, it’s time to start considering Ruby the Hatchet among the top purveyors of heavy psych at least along the East Coast. Where so many other acts seem to get mired in the intensity of the region, the cold weather, the traffic, whatever it is, Ruby the Hatchet have plotted and made their escape from the Northeastern crush, and one can only hope that others will follow the path they’re blazing in these tracks. For its standout choruses, the unrestrained feeling of openness that unites them, the flow and richness of its presentation as a whole, front-to-back listening experience, Planetary Space Child is an absolute must and easily one of 2017’s finest offerings.

Ruby the Hatchet, “Planetary Space Child” official video

Ruby the Hatchet, Planetary Space Child (2017)

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Ruby the Hatchet Post “Planetary Space Child” Video; Playing Psycho Las Vegas and More

Posted in Bootleg Theater on August 8th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

ruby-the-hatchet-Photo-Mike-Petzinger

Call me crazy, but am I wrong in thinking that at some point at least one of the sci-fi movies featured in Ruby the Hatchet‘s new video for the title-track of their third album, Planetary Space Child, was on Mystery Science Theater 3000? Aside from being a blatant take on the Star Wars opening scene, that ship underbelly at the beginning of the clip is awfully familiar. Is it Space Mutiny? Or maybe Starcrash from the new season? I can’t say for sure, and apparently there was an endless supply of budget science fiction in the wake of A New Hope in 1977, so I’m sure it could be from any number of films. Probably a few of them used the same ship models anyway.

Whether or not Tom Servo ever ripped on the visuals, what matters is the song “Planetary Space Child” itself. Aside from the righteous, righteous, righteous righteousness of the title, the cut from the album that shares its name — and how would one ever dare to call a record anything else given the opportunity to call it Planetary Space Child? — stands as a demonstration of the kind of breadth Ruby the Hatchet are exploring as they follow-up and expand the cosmic aspects of their sound from even where they were on 2015’s Valley of the Snake (review here) while also emphasizing a natural core of performance true to the live feel the Philly natives bring to their gigs.

Later this month, Ruby the Hatchet will take the stage at Psycho Las Vegas, and if the energy they carry into the Nevada desert is anything like that which they brought to their set this past April at Roadburn 2017 (review here), then those who are fortunate enough to be there to see them will be glad they were. Planetary Space Child, meanwhile, lands on Aug. 25 — it’ll be here before you know it — and the band will also play other shows around the fest. You can find all the info, dates, links, etc., under the video below, courtesy of the PR wire.

Please enjoy:

Ruby the Hatchet, “Planetary Space Child” official video

Philadelphia psych rock quintet RUBY THE HATCHET will release its new album, Planetary Space Child, on August 25 via Tee Pee Records. The record showcases richly layered songs that unite heavy, doomy psychedelia with acid rock, proto-prog and melodic, hypnotic songcraft. The far-out title-track clip was created by Jordan Vance (Inter Arma, Windhand) for 3grit.com.

“We didn’t realize ‘Planetary Space Child’ was going to be the title track for the album, but it ended up being the perfect summation,” says vocalist Jillian Taylor. “Lyrically, this song is a perspective play from ancient kings to sci-fi space beings. Create. Destroy. Repeat. It’s an imaginative play on the cyclical nature of humanity, and the music rides the theme; don’t I know you from another world?”

On August 17, RUBY THE HATCHET will perform alongside Mastodon, The Brian Jonestown Massacre, SLEEP and more as one of the featured acts at the 2017 Psycho Las Vegas Festival, set for August 18-20. For more details, visit this location.

RUBY THE HATCHET tour dates:
August 14 Kansas City, MO The Riot Room
August 15 Denver, CO Streets Of London Pub
August 16 Salt Lake City, UT Metro Music Hall
August 17 Las Vegas, NV Hard Rock Hotel (* As part of Psycho Las Vegas Festival)
August 20 Albuquerque, NM Sister
August 22 Saint Louis, MO Fubar
September 9 Philadelphia, PA Johnny Brenda’s

RUBY THE HATCHET features vocalist Jillian Taylor, guitarist Johnny Scarps, bassist Lake Muir, drummer Owen Stewart and organist Sean Hur. Find the band online at RubytheHatchet.com.

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Biblical Post “Mature Themes” Video; The City that Always Sleeps out Sept. 15

Posted in Bootleg Theater on August 1st, 2017 by JJ Koczan

biblical-Photo-by-Nic-Poullot

Brash, heavy, and marked out with just a little bit of psychedelic depthmaking, Biblical‘s first revealed audio from their new album, The City that Always Sleeps bodes pretty well for the record due out in September on Tee Pee. It’s not without its atmosphere or a sense of movement, and to go with tube-amp howl, there’s a harsher bite to the vocals and a punch of fuzzy bass that, yeah, that’ll do nicely. The clip for “Mature Themes” isn’t much to look at really — some old manipulated footage out of either the educational public domain or propaganda or both — but in a brisk run of under three minutes, Biblical cast their lot in punker boogie and rhythmic jabbing, making for a combo that’s easy to dig but not without an edge when it hits your ear.

Does “Mature Themes” speak for the whole of The City that Always Sleeps? Beats me. As the album opener, it might, or it might just be an initial rocket-fire to bring the three-piece into the orbit where they dwell for the remainder. We’re still about a month and a half out from the release date — though much, much longer from when the record was first announced back in February — so I’d doubt this is the last preview we’ll get before it lands, but even if it is, it serves well to intrigue and leave its audience wanting more while also no doubt establishing a good deal of initial momentum to carry into the songs that follow. At least it seems that way to me. When it ends, I feel like I’m ready for the next song to start, in other words.

See if you feel the same. More info follows the clip, courtesy of the PR wire:

Biblical, “Mature Themes” official video

Toronto rock and roll band BIBLICAL will release its new album, The City that Always Sleeps, on September 15 via Tee Pee Records / New Damage. The band’s sophomore full-length is a deep dive into sludgy psych rock that explores spaces, textures and tones beyond the outer limits. In advance of the record’s release, BIBLICAL debuts the new single and video, “Mature Themes”, which vocalist / bassist Nick Sewell calls, “a meditation on buried things; buried ideas, buried feelings, buried people.”

In addition to Sewell, the quartet features in its ranks guitar / synth player Andrew Scott (both Scott and Sewell played with Death From Above drummer Sebastien Grainger in his Sebastien Grainger & The Mountains project), lead guitarist Matt Mclaren and drummer Jay Anderson (also of COMET CONTROL). Before and since the 2014 release of its full-length debut, Monsoon Season, BIBLICAL has toured and / or rocked stages alongside DFA1979, Eagles of Death Metal, Fucked Up, Kyuss Lives! and Red Fang among many more.

The City that Always Sleeps tracklisting:
1.) Mature Themes
2.) The Last Thing I Remember
3.) Regicide
4.) Fugue State
5.) Gallows Humor
6.) Spiral Staircase
7.) The City That Always Sleeps
8.) House of Knives

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