Lacing Release Bummer on Saw Her Ghost Records

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

The taste at work behind Michigan imprint Saw Her Ghost Records is not a trifling thing, and it’s not every day the label puts out anything at all, so when I saw word that it had newly put its stamp on Bummer, the debut album from Tennessee heavygaze rockers Lacing, despite not being familiar with the band I had a pretty good feeling they’d be worth looking up. Sure enough, the record — which is also available as a name-your-price download from Lacing‘s Bandcamp page, linked and streaming in full below — offers a deeply weighted and nuanced take on weighted melancholic spaciousness, ranging from the crush of “Starless” to the minimal-seeming ambience of opener “Wound.”

The download comes with an exclusive remix, so if you’ve got a couple minutes to spare, and ears for something new, adventure awaits.

Have at it:

lacing bummer

Lacing – Bummer

Saw Her Ghost Records is thrilled to welcome Rocky Top shoegaze brooders, Lacing. Their album Bummer is a sweeping, swirling series of waves- complete with dark hooks and trembling discordance. Ethereal, floating vocals compliment icy clean guitar lines that shift to fuzzy distortion. Their path ultimately descends into riffs the size of gritty, mammoth castle walls. At once, delicate, and in due time after, a unique heaviness shrouds all that was built before it. Blue, moody, uneasy, yet simultaneously comforting and redemptive- Let Bummer transport you to another emotional dimension, or it may just burrow down and bury you where you lie.

TRACK LIST:
1. Wound (4:06)
2. Summer (4:07)
3. Shoulder (4:34)
4. Drain (7:12)
5. Starless (7:55)
6. _ (5:26)
7. Milk (5:22)

Recorded & Mixed in February of 2017
by Scott Minor with Carey Balch
Wild Chorus in Knoxville, TN
Mastered By Carey Balch

Alan McGee would be flummoxed to learn that LACING, a shoegaze band from Chattanooga, Tennessee, USA, issued their debut album in 2017, not 1990. Like many of the bands from the original 90s scene, the band’s full length debut, Bummer, comes on the heels of a well received EP (their Honey Glow tape). It isn’t just more of the same though. Bummer is at times far noisier as evidenced by the end of the epic “Starless” which takes up a majority of the album’s second side with a healthy dose of fuzz blasted riffing. Elsewhere, tracks such as “Summer” and “Shoulder” play with the dynamics of Pixies while calling to mind several branches of the shoegaze family tree with nods to Slowdive, Hum, The Jesus & Mary Chain (circa Psychocandy) and occasionally even Dinosaur Jr.

LACING is:
Joe Davenport: Guitar, Vocals
Jerry Reed: Drums
Robert Parker: Guitar
Joseph J Micolo III: Bass

https://www.facebook.com/lacingband/
https://www.instagram.com/lacingband/
http://lacingband.tumblr.com/
http://sawherghost.net/sawherghost/?page_id=1072
https://www.facebook.com/Saw-Her-Ghost-Records-54739172715/

Lacing, Bummer (2017)

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Woodsplitter Releases New Album May all Your Post Rock Dreams Come True

Posted in Whathaveyou on December 14th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

Clearly, guitarist Ben McLeod has a will to explore varying textures with his instrument. Anyone who’s listened to any of the four full-lengths he’s put out with his main project, Nashville’s All Them Witches — up to and including this year’s Sleeping Through the War (review here) — can confirm this, but it very obviously goes beyond that as well. A year ago, McLeod debuted his instrumental solo-project, Woodsplitter, with a full-length titled Inflamed (review here), and surprised with a stark departure from the psych-blues fare of All Them Witches toward sharp-edged and progressive metal, angular and precise in a way that the jammy rockers have never shown the slightest interest of being.

May all Your Post Rock Dreams Come True follows behind two subsequent 2017 long-players, April’s Egyptian Overload and June’s Journey into Krautrock, and like those, it clues into its self-awareness via the title. McLeod echoes out spacious lines of guitar and even finds room for a Mogwai cover as the album’s centerpiece, as if to underscore the point. Elsewhere, “MAYPRDCT” offers minimalist impulses a chance to highlight technical nuance and a bit of corresponding soul, while opener “World Series” culls a sample of the Blue Jays taking home the trophy in 1993. One wonders at the significance of that moment, but hey, maybe McLeod is just a fan and it’s an early baseball memory. Weirder things have happened.

It’s an outfit of few — mostly no — words, so the announcement that follows isn’t even really so much of an announcement as the info from the Woodsplitter Bandcamp page cut and pasted with the artwork and the streaming player. You work with what you got sometimes.

Either way, what matters is that you enjoy. So do that:

woodsplitter may all your post rock dreams come true

Woodsplitter – May All Your Post Rock Dreams Come True

My name is Ben McLeod and this is my instrumental project.

Tracklisting:
1. World Series 04:38
2. Siamese 06:34
3. Heart Of It All 04:47
4. Rano Pano (Mogwai Cover) 07:04
5. MAYPRDCT 06:26
6. Deaf 05:37
7. Spillover 06:05

Produced, Recorded, Mixed and Mastered by Ben McLeod

Cover Photo by Elliott Fuerniss
www.elliottfuerniss.com

Layout by Ben McLeod

https://listentowoodsplitter.bandcamp.com/
https://www.facebook.com/allthemwitches/

Woodsplitter, May all Your Post-Rock Dreams Come True (2017)

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Review & Track Premiere: Howling Giant, Black Hole Space Wizard: Part 2

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on August 3rd, 2017 by JJ Koczan

howling-giant-black-hole-space-wizard-part-2

[Click play above to stream ‘Circle of Druids’ from Howling Giant’s Black Hole Space Wizard: Part 2. EP is out Aug. 25 and available to preorder on Bandcamp.]

At very least, we can be sure that by the time Nashville progressive metal/heavy rockers Howling Giant finish telling the story that thus far spans their second and third EPs, they will have long since outgrown the goofball title they’ve given the series. In truth, the complexity and scope of Black Hole Space Wizard: Part 2 might be a little undercut by the stoner-is-as-stoner-does banner it seems to fly, if only because someone who didn’t hear either the trio’s 2015 self-titled or last year’s Black Hole Space Wizard: Part 1 (review here) could potentially too easily write it off based on superficialities and miss out on what’s actually a marked depth and individual purpose of craft.

Released almost precisely a year after its predecessor, its six tracks/31 minutes bring the self-releasing trio of guitarist/vocalist Tom Polzine, bassist/vocalist Roger Marks and drummer/vocalist Zach Wheeler to new levels of execution in their material, rife with wonderfully realized vocal harmonies, epic-feeling crescendos, and a still-weighted tonality that they seem to be able to move and shift according to whatever whim drives a given piece, whether it’s the introductory “Henry Tate” with its spoken-word vocals and the first of many guest key/synth contributions throughout from Drew Harakal beneath the first of many swirling, character-laden solos from Polzine, or the galloping apex that leads into a wide-breadth wash at the end of “Visions,” layers of effects swirl — and again, keyboard/synth from Harakal — coming to the forefront of the longest inclusion here at 7:39. Flirting with long-player flow in its front-to-back delivery and the fact that it’s 10 minutes longer than the installment prior, Black Hole Space Wizard: Part 2 establishes Howling Giant‘s underlying commitment to developing their approach and benefits from a quickly and righteously burgeoning stylistic reach.

Because it’s a chapter in a (presumably ongoing) series, one looks for consistencies with what’s come before as well as the growth so plain to hear in the material. And it’s there in the overall sonic take and in some of the intensity of the prog-metal cascade in “The Pioneer” or the penultimate highlight “Circle of Druids,” as well as in the sung harmonies, but there isn’t an element present that doesn’t seem to have moved willfully forward from where the band was a year ago. While they may be working in the same narrative, based around the end of civilization and the adventures of the last remaining human (dubbed “The Pioneer”) among future-mystical presences — last time the Space Wizard, this time the Earth Wizard, as manifest in the closer of the same name — even down to its basic structure as mirrored sides A and B each with an introductory piece, shorter middle cut and longer finale, Black Hole Space Wizard: Part 2 simply has more to offer than what was already an impressive display in songwriting.

howling giant

Arrangement flourish brings a complementary baritone sax guest appearance from Kim Wheeler on the interlude/side B intro “The Forest Speaks” that picks up alongside acoustic pluck and leads gently into “Circle of Druids,” and as much momentum as Polzine, Marks, Wheeler and Harakal — the latter of whom apparently recorded in Texas but might need to relocate and actually join this band given what the organ and synth add to the tracks here — build throughout “Henry Tate,” the low-end fuzz roll of the early verses and ending of “The Pioneer” and the precise, all-class linearity of “Visions,” they remain likewise committed to broadening the palette of their aesthetic and if one thinks of Black Hole Space Wizard: Part 2 as an EP and thus a showcase of where Howling Giant are in the inevitable march toward a first full-length, one would be remiss to think of them as anything but ready for that crucial next step.

Whether or not that’s actually where Howling Giant are directly headed — that is, if they’ll do an LP next or follow this Part 2 with a Part 3 EP — I don’t know, but on a creative level, they bring a vibrant persona to these tracks enough to give the impression that their evolution will continue in either context. Beginning with a quick spoken intro, “Circle of Druids” launches from out of “The Forest Speaks” and unfolds to an especially satisfying blend of chugging riffery and a wide-open payoff hook, underscored by Wheeler‘s double-kick and given/needing few frills around its basic structure. Like some of Black Hole Space Wizard: Part 1, it reminds a bit of Devin Townsend‘s heavier progressive metallurgy, but ultimately proves more distinct, and “Earth Wizard” effectively follows in dropping the tempo to hit a balance like a more straightforward vision of what Ancestors brought to their 2012 triumph, In Dreams and Time.

This initial patience gradually shifts into a fuller charge in “Earth Wizard”‘s back half, which feels somewhat inevitable, but the finale is both earned and once more plays to the notion of Black Hole Space Wizard: Part 2 as a kind of proto-full-length in its overarching fluidity. As the last vestiges of guitar and synth fade out to bring the EP to its end, the sense is still one of being a shorter release, but if that means Howling Giant are leaving their audience wanting more of the arc coming to life in their tracks, then that only bodes well for a next outing, whatever form it might take. Likewise, one has to acknowledge that while the title might just as likely turn a given listener off as on when it comes to taking up Black Hole Space Wizard: Part 2, its goofballery also stands as a signal of an abiding lack of pretense that extends to the songwriting as well. That is, while their arrangements are thought out, their performances clear-headed and impeccably mixed, the corresponding quotient of self-indulgence is remarkably low for something so progressive. If the tradeoff for that is a silly name, it’s a small price to pay — sometimes it’s fun to have fun — and for those who do decide to dig into Howling Giant‘s third EP, the rewards are no less expansive than the band’s sound itself.

Howling Giant, Black Hole Space Wizard: Part 2 (2017)

Howling Giant on Thee Facebooks

Howling Giant on Twitter

Howling Giant on Bandcamp

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All Them Witches Announce US Tour; “Bulls” Video Posted

Posted in Whathaveyou on July 26th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

Already at this point All Them Witches have spent a significant portion of 2017 on the road supporting Sleeping Through the War (review here), which came out in February via New West Records. They toured before it hit, they toured in Spring. They did shows in June and just this week wrapped a July run that found them in Israel, Germany, Belgium and Switzerland before finally settling in for shows in the UK. They’ll be back in Europe come Sept./Oct. as well, and were previously confirmed for Desertfest Belgium 2017 (though I don’t see it listed below), and they’ve just added more dates for after they return to the US in November.

Not only are they in full go-go-go mode in spreading the word on the album, but they’ve also got a brand new video for “Bulls” as well. Directed by drummer Robby Staebler, it captures the awesomely atmospheric opening track in such a way that immediately makes me want to put on the rest of the record and dig into it all over again, though that’s kind of my general headspace in terms of Sleeping Through the War anyhow. Some albums never let you wander too far before they pull you back.

Tour dates from the PR wire:

all them witches

ALL THEM WITCHES – MORE TOUR DATES ANNOUNCED

New U.S. dates have been added.

All Them Witches will be on tour throughout the East Coast and Midwest in November. Reserve your tickets now. For a full list of tour dates, head over to AllThemWitches.org

The new album SLEEPING THROUGH THE WAR is available now.

EUROPEAN DATES
SEP 18 • Heimathafen • BERLIN, GERMANY
SEP 19 • Backstage Werk • MUNCHEN, GERMANY
SEP 20 • Arena • VIENNA, AUSTRIA
SEP 22 • Reeperbahn • HAMBURG, GERMANY
SEP 24 • Debaser Strand • STOCKHOLM, SWEDEN
SEP 25 • Revolver • OSLO, NORWAY
SEP 26 • Pumpehuset • COPENHAGEN, DENMARK
SEP 28 • The Sugarfactory • AMSTERDAM, NETHERLANDS
SEP 29 • Trabendo • PARIS, FRANCE
SEP 30 • O2 Institute Birmingham • BIRMINGHAM, UNITED KINGDOM
OCT 1 • Sound Control • MANCHESTER, UNITED KINGDOM
OCT 2 • Whelans • DUBLIN, IRELAND
OCT 3 • King Tuts • GLASGOW, UNITED KINGDOM
OCT 4 • Wardrobe • LEEDS, UNITED KINGDOM
OCT 5 • Koko • LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM
OCT 7 • Bierkeller • BRISTOL, UNITED KINGDOM
OCT 8 • Rescue Rooms • NOTTINGHAM, UNITED KINGDOM
OCT 10 • Les Docks • LAUSANNE, SWITZERLAND
OCT 11 • Gloria • COLOGNE, GERMANY
OCT 12 • Das Bett • FRANKFURT, GERMANY
OCT 14 • Gagarin • ATHENS, GREECE

U.S. DATES
NOV 3 • Cat’s Cradle • CARBORRO, NC
NOV 4 • The Southern Cafe and Music Hall • CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA
NOV 5 • Rock & Roll Hotel • WASHINGTON, DC
NOV 7 • The Foundry at The Fillmore • PHILADELPHIA, PA
NOV 8 • Music Hall of Williamsburg • BROOKLYN, NY
NOV 9 • High Ground • SOUTH BURLINGTON, VT
NOV 10 • Fairmount Theatre • MONTREAL, CANADA
NOV 11 • Lee’s Palace • TORONTO, CANADA
NOV 12 • The Bug Jar • ROCHESTER, NY
NOV 14 • Ace of Cups • COLUMBUS, OH
NOV 15 • Hi-Fi • INDIANAPOLIS, IN
NOV 16 • The Mill • IOWA CITY, IA
NOV 17 • Turf Club • ST. PAUL, MN
NOV 18 • The Back Room at Colectivo Coffee • MILWAUKEE, WI

All Them Witches is:
Charles Michael Parks, Jr. – Vocals, Bass, Guitar, Mellotron, Percussion
Ben McLeod – Guitar, Bass, Mellotron, Percussion
Robby Staebler – Drums, Percussion
Allan Van Cleave – Rhodes, Organ, Piano, Mellotron

http://allthemwitches.bandcamp.com/album/sleeping-through-the-war
http://www.facebook.com/allthemwitches

All Them Witches, “Bulls” official video

All Them Witches, Sleeping Through the War (2017)

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Quarterly Review: Novembers Doom, Abrams, The Grand Astoria, Hosoi Bros, Codeia, Ealdor Bealu, Stone Lotus, Green Yeti, Seer, Bretus

Posted in Reviews on July 13th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

quarterly-review-summer-2017

So, after kvetching and hemming and hawing and all that other stuff that basically means ‘fretting and trying to shuffle a schedule around’ for the last several days, I think I’ve now found a way to add a sixth day to this Quarterly Review. Looking at all the records that still need to be covered even after doing 50, I don’t really see any other way to go. I could try to do more The Obelisk Radio adds to fit things in, but I don’t want to over-tax that new server, so yeah, I’m waiting at the moment to hear back on whether or not I can move a premiere from Monday to Tuesday to make room. Fingers crossed. I’ve already got the albums picked out that would be covered and should know by tomorrow if it’s going to happen.

Plenty to do in the meantime, so let’s get to it.

Quarterly Review #31-40:

Novembers Doom, Hamartia

novembers-doom-hamartia

Look. Let’s be honest here. More than 20 years and 10 records in, one knows at least on a superficial level what to expect from Chicago’s Novembers Doom. Since their first album arrived in 1995, they’ve played to one side or the other between the spectrum of death-doom, and their work legitimately broke ground in the style for a US band and in general. After a push over their last couple albums including 2014’s Bled White (review here) into more deathly fare, Hamartia (on The End Records) brings 10 tracks and 58 minutes of the melancholy dramas – special hello to the piano/acoustic-led title-track – and gut-wrenching, crushingly emotive miseries – special hello to “Waves in the Red Cloth” and “Ghost” – that have defined them. One doesn’t expect a radical departure from them at this point and they don’t deliver one even as they turn to another side of their overarching aesthetic, but whether it’s the still-propulsive death gallop of “Apostasy” or the lush nine-minute finale “Borderline,” Novembers Doom reinforce their position as absolute masters of the style and give their longtime fans another collection of vital woes in which to revel.

Novembers Doom on Thee Facebooks

The End Records website

 

Abrams, Morning

abrams morning

Not a hair out of place in the execution of Morning, the Sailor Records second long-player from Denver three-piece Abrams (interview here). That has its ups and downs, naturally, but is suited to the band’s take on modern progressive heavy rock à la newer Mastodon and Baroness, and with production from Andy Patterson (of SubRosa) and Dave Otero (Khemmis, Cephalic Carnage, etc.), the crisp feel is both purposeful and well earned. Their 2015 debut, Lust. Love. Loss. (review here), dealt with a similar emotional landscape, but bassist/vocalist Taylor Iversen, guitarist/vocalist Zachary Amster and drummer Geoffrey Cotton are tighter and more aggressive here on songs like opener “Worlds Away” (video posted here), “At the End,” “Rivers,” “Can’t Sleep” and “Burned” (video posted here), and “Mourning,” “In this Mask” and closer “Morning” balance in terms of tempo and overall atmosphere, making Morning more than just a collection of master-blasters and giving it a full album’s flow and depth. Like I said, not a hair out of place. Structure, performance, delivery, theme. Abrams have it all precisely where they want it.

Abrams on Thee Facebooks

Abrams on Bandcamp

 

The Grand Astoria, The Fuzz of Destiny

the-grand-astoria-the-fuzz-of-destiny

Dubbed an EP but running 29 minutes and boasting eight tracks, The Grand Astoria’s The Fuzz of Destiny is something of a conceptual release, with the St. Petersburg, Russia-based outfit paying homage to the effect itself. Each song uses a different kind of fuzz pedal, and as the ever-nuanced, progressive outfit make their way through the blown-out pastoralism of opener “Sunflower Queen” and into the nod of “Pocket Guru,” the organ-inclusive bursting fury of “Glass Walls” and the slower and more consuming title-track itself, which directly precedes closer “Eight Years Anniversary Riff” – yup, it’s a riff alright – they’re able to evoke a surprising amount of variety in terms of mood. That’s a credit to The Grand Astoria as songwriters perhaps even more than the differences in tone from song to song here – they’ve certainly shown over their tenure a will to embrace a diverse approach – but in giving tribute to fuzz, The Fuzz of Destiny successfully conveys some of the range a single idea can be used to conjure.

The Grand Astoria on Thee Facebooks

The Grand Astoria on Bandcamp

 

Hosoi Bros., Abuse Your Allusion III

hosoi-bros-abuse-your-allusion-iii

Oh, they’re up to it again, those Hosoi Bros. Their 2016 full-length, Abuse Your Allusion III, from its Guns ‘n’ Roses title reference through the Motörhead riffing of “Saint Tightus” through the stoner punk of “Topless Gnome” and the chugging scorch of the penultimate “Bitches are Nigh” offer primo charm and high-order shenanigans amid the most professional-sounding release of their career. Across a quick 10 tracks and 36 minutes, Hosoi Bros. readily place themselves across the metal/punk divide, and while there’s plenty of nonsense to be had from opener “Mortician” onward through “Lights Out” (video premiere here) and the later swagger of “Unholy Hand Grenade,” the band have never sounded more cohesive in their approach than they do on Abuse Your Allusion III, and the clean production only seems to highlight the songwriting at work underneath all the zany happenings across the record’s span, thereby doing them and the band alike a service as they make a convincing argument to their audience: Have fun. Live a little. It won’t hurt that much.

Hosoi Bros on Thee Facebooks

Hosoi Bros. on Bandcamp

 

Codeia, “Don’t be Afraid,” She Whispered and Disappeared

codeia-dont-be-afraid-she-whispered-and-disappeared

There’s actually very little that gets “Lost in Translation” in the thusly-titled 22-minute opener and longest cut (immediate points) of German post-metallers Codeia’s cumbersomely-named Backbite Records debut album, “Don’t be Afraid,” She Whispered and Disappeared. With heavy post-rock textures and an overarching sense of cerebral progressivism to its wash underscored by swells of low-end distortion, the three-piece of guitarist/backing vocalist Markus L., bassist/vocalist Denis S. and drummer Timo L. bring to bear patience out of the peak-era Isis or Cult of Luna sphere, sudden volume shifts, pervasive ambience, flourish of extremity and all. Nine-minute centerpiece “Shaping Stone” has its flash of aggression early before shifting into hypnotic and repetitive groove and subsequent blastbeaten furies, and 16-minute closer “Facing Extinction” caps the three-song/48-minute offering with nodding Russian Circles-style chug topped with growls that mask the layer of melodic drone filling out the mix beneath. They’re on familiar stylistic ground, but the breadth, depth and complexity Codeia bring to their extended structures are immersive all the same.

Codeia on Thee Facebooks

Backbite Records website

Mountain Range Creative Factory website

 

Ealdor Bealu, Dark Water at the Foot of the Mountain

ealdor-bealu-dark-water-at-the-foot-of-the-mountain

“Water Cycle,” the 13-minute opener and longest track (immediate points) of Ealdor Bealu’s debut full-length, Dark Water at the Foot of the Mountain, introduces a meditative feel and a breadth of sound that helps to define everything that follows. The ostensible side B leadoff of the self-release, “This too Shall Endure” (11:04), offers no less depth of atmosphere, and the graceful psychedelic expanses of the penultimate “Behind the Veil” continue to add to the overall scope with interplay of tempo variety and acoustic and electric guitar, but even earlier, shorter cuts like the wistful indie rocker “Deep Dark Below” and the linear-building “Behold the Sunrise” have an underlying progressivism that ties them to the longer form material, and likewise the particularly exploratory feeling “Ebb and Flow,” which though it’s the shortest cut at just over five minutes resonates as a standout jam ahead of “Behind the Veil” and subtly proggy seven-minute closer “Time Traveler.” The Boise-based four-piece of guitarist/vocalist/spearhead Carson Russell, guitarist Travis Abbott (also The Western Mystics), bassist/vocalist Rylie Collingwood and drummer/percussionist/saxophonist Alex Wargo bring the 56-minute offering to bear with marked patience and impress in the complexity of their arrangements and the identifiable human core that lies beneath them.

Ealdor Bealu on Thee Facebooks

Ealdor Bealu on Bandcamp

 

Stone Lotus, Comastone

I can take spicier foods than I ever could before.

One might consider the title of “Mountain of Filth,” the second cut on Stone Lotus’ debut album, Comastone, a mission statement for the Southwestern Australian trio’s vicious ‘n’ viscous brand of rolling, tonal-molasses sludge. Yeah, the three-piece of guitarist/vocalist Dave Baker, bassist Samuel Noire and drummer Reece Fleming bring ambience to the interlude “Aum,” the slower loud/quiet shifts in “Anthropocene” and the subsequent “Umbra” that leads into the creepy launch of the title-track – in fact, quiet starts are something of a theme throughout Comastone; even the thudding toms that begin opener “Swamp Coven” pale in comparison to the volume swell of massive distortion that follows closely behind – but it’s the rhythmic lumber and the harsh vocals from Baker that define their course through the darker recesses of sludged-out misanthropy. No complaints there, especially on a first long-player, but Stone Lotus are right to keep in mind the flourish of atmosphere their material offers, and one hopes that develops parallel to all the crushing weight of their mountainous approach.

Stone Lotus on Thee Facebooks

Stone Lotus on Bandcamp

 

Green Yeti, Desert Show

I'm not sure if that's an effect of dropping carbs or how it would be, but it's strange.

Even before it announces its heft, Green Yeti’s Desert Show casts forth its spaciousness. The second offering from the Athens-based trio in as many years dogwhistles heavy riffing intent even unto its David Paul Seymour album cover, but the five track rollout from guitarist/vocalist Michael Andresakis, bassist/producer Danis Avramidis and drummer Giannis Koutroumpis, as it shifts from the opening salvo of “Black Planets (Part 1)” and “Black Planets (Part 2)” into the Spanish-language centerpiece “Rojo” (direct homage perhaps to Los Natas? if so, effectively done) and into the broader-ranging “Bad Sleep (Part 1)” and 15-minute closer “Bad Sleep (Part 2)” builds just as much on its atmosphere as on its newer-school stoner rock groove and fuzz riffing. It is a 41-minute span that, without question, speaks to the heavy rock converted and plays to genre, but even taken next to the band’s 2016 debut, The Yeti has Landed, Desert Show demonstrates clear growth in writing and style, and stands as further proof of the emergence of Greece as a major contributor to the sphere of Europe’s heavy underground. Something special is happening in and outside of Athens. Green Yeti arrive at the perfect time to be a part of it.

Green Yeti on Thee Facebooks

Green Yeti on Bandcamp

 

Seer, Victims

seer victims

Let’s just assume that Seer won’t be asked to play at Dorney Park anytime soon. The Allentown, Pennsylvania, three-piece dig into largesse-minded instrumental riffing someplace between doom and sludge and do so on raw, formative fashion on the two-song Victims EP, which features the tracks “Victims… Aren’t We All?” and “Swollen Pit,” which is a redux from their 2015 debut short release, Vaped Remains. Some touch of Electric Wizard-style wah in Rybo’s guitar stands out in the second half of the opener, and the closer effectively moves from its initial crawl into post-Sleep stonerized idolatry, but the point of Victims isn’t nearly as much about scope as it is about Rybo, bassist Kelsi and drummer Yvonne setting forth on a stomping path of groove and riff worship, rumbling sans pretense loud enough to crack the I-78 corridor and offering the clever equalizer recommendation to put the bass, treble and mids all at six. Think about it for a second. Not too long though.

Seer on Thee Facebooks

Seer on Bandcamp

 

Bretus, From the Twilight Zone

bretus-from-the-twilight-zone

Doom! Horror! Riffs! Though it starts out with quiet acoustics and unfolds in echoing weirdness, Bretus’ new album, …From the Twilight Zone, more or less shouts these things from the proverbial cathedral rafters throughout its seven tracks. The Catanzaro, Italy, foursome weren’t shy about bringing an air of screamy sludge to their 2015 sophomore outing, The Shadow over Innsmouth (discussed here), but …From the Twilight Zone shifts more toward a Reverend Bizarre trad doom loyalism that suits the Endless Winter release remarkably well. Those acoustics pop up again in expanded-breadth centerpiece/highlight “Danza Macabra” and closer “Lizard Woman,” and thereby provide something of a narrative thread to the offering as a whole, but on the level of doom-for-doomers, there’s very little about the aesthetic that Bretus leave wanting throughout, whether it’s the faster-chug into drifting fluidity of “The Murder” or the nodding stomp of “In the Vault” (demo posted here) and crypto-NWOBHM flourish of “Old Dark House” (video posted here). Not trying to remake doom in their own image, but conjuring an eerie and engaging take in conversation with the masters of the form.

Bretus on Thee Facebooks

Endless Winter Records

 

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All Them Witches Euro Tour Starts July 7

Posted in Whathaveyou on June 9th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

all-them-witches-photo-James-Ford

It’s been a few months now since All Them Witches released their fourth album, Sleeping Through the War (review here), as their second offering through New West Records, and I’m left curious as to what the longer-term impact of the record will be. Part of me would almost like to set up a best-albums-of-2017-so-far poll and see where people place it on the list of what’s come out in the first six months of the year, and see if perhaps the fact that it showed up in February — already four months ago — has hindered its staying power. I know it’s on my list, which will be posted on Monday, but where is it on yours?

For their part, All Them Witches have done well in hitting the road to support the album. They’re in Ohio tonight and around here and there over the next week-plus, and next month they head to Europe for a first run that will be followed by another this Fall which includes a stop at Desertfest Belgium 2017 and presumably more to come.

The band sent the following update down the PR wire with the dates:

all-them-witches-tour-banner

All Them Witches – Europe we’re coming for you… Tour starts next month

EUROPE! All Them Witches is headed your way next month. First leg of tour kicks off July 7th in Belfort, France. See below for a full list of dates and cities. Grab your tickets now.

Upcoming Tour Dates:
09 JUN the woodward theater CINCINNATI, OH
10 JUN grog shop CLEVELAND HEIGHTS, OH
11 JUN mohawk place BUFFALO, NY
13 & 14 JUN club cafe PITTSBURGH, PA
15 JUN strange matter RICHMOND, VA
16 JUN visulite theatre CHARLOTTE, NC
17 JUN the earl ATLANTA, GA
07 JUL eurockeenes BELFORT, FR
09 JUL barby TEL AVIV, IL
11 JUL mascotte ZURICH, CH
12 JUL festivalpark dour DOUR, BE
13 JUL stoned from the underground ERFURT, DE
14 JUL dour festival DOUR, BE
15 JUL valkhof festival NIJMEGEN, NL
16 JUL zwarte cross festival LICHTENVOORDE, NL
19 JUL palp festival MARTIGNY, CH
21 JUL secret garden party HUNTINGDON, UK
22 JUL corporation SHEFFIELD, UK
23 JUL truck festival CAMBRIDGE, UK
18 SEP heimathafen BERLIN, DE
19 SEP backstage werk MUNICH, DE
20 SEP arena VIENNA, AT
22 SEP reeperbahn HAMBURG, DE
24 SEP debaser strand STOCKHOLM, SE
25 SEP revolver OSLO, NO
26 SEP pumpehuset COPENHAGEN, DK
28 SEP the sugarfactory AMSTERDAM, NL
29 SEP trabendo PARIS, FR
30 SEP 02 institute birmingham BIRMINGHAM, UK
01 OCT sound control MANCHESTER, UK
02 OCT whelans DUBLIN, IE
03 OCT king tuts GLASGOW, UK
04 OCT wardrobe LEEDS, UK
05 OCT koko LONDON, UK
07 OCT bierkeller BRISTOL, UK
08 OCT rescue rooms NOTTINGHAM, UK
10 OCT les docks LAUSANNE, CH
11 OCT gloria COLOGNE, DE
12 OCT das bett FRANKFURT, DE
14 OCT gagarin ATHENS, GR

All Them Witches is:
Charles Michael Parks, Jr. – Vocals, Bass, Guitar, Mellotron, Percussion
Ben McLeod – Guitar, Bass, Mellotron, Percussion
Robby Staebler – Drums, Percussion
Allan Van Cleave – Rhodes, Organ, Piano, Mellotron

http://allthemwitches.bandcamp.com/album/sleeping-through-the-war
http://www.facebook.com/allthemwitches

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The Cold Stares Premiere Title-Track of New Album Head Bent

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on May 17th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

THE COLD STARES

The Cold Stares make their label debut on Small Stone Records June 16 with their second album, Head Bent. It’s a title that evokes the notion of capitulation, and particularly in the context of Southern and blues tinges the Nashville-based two-piece bring to their brand of heavy rock, also of prayer. Vocalist/guitarist/etc.-ist Chris Tapp and drummer/percussionist Brian Mullins deliver a crisp 11 tracks in 37 minutes as they follow-up 2014’s A Cold Wet Night and a Howling Wind and a series of EPs and singles, and the clearheaded traditionalism of their taut songcraft becomes one of Head Bent‘s most defining aspects. It also rocks, and that certainly doesn’t hurt its cause either.

Along the circuitous but accessible path of songs like opener “John,” “Neighbor Blues,” “God and Country” and the later “Kings,” The Cold Stares offer swagger and groove in bulk, hooks a-plenty and subtle plays at religious themes that don’t so much make an attempt at overblown social comment as acknowledge something that always seems to be in the background of American culture to one degree or another. Even the Clutch-style starts and stops of “Price to Pay” and the righteous fuzz of the penultimate “One Way Outta Here” nod in that direction before subdued closer “Break My Fall” more directly takes on the issue. I won’t profess to know the band’s affiliation or lack thereof, but just going by what they bring to the table with Head Bent, it feels like a safe guess somebody made them go to services at some point in their life, whether they still do or not.

the cold stares head bentThat underlying theme isn’t at all a detriment to the album, and if anything, it works to tie the material together in a way that might otherwise find the songs standing apart, as moods vary between a sharp, uptempo motor-thruster like “Head Bent,” the subsequent, almost doomly roll of “Neighbor Blues” and the nestle-into-mid-paced-comfort of “Caught in the Weather” later on. The record has obviously been as meticulously arranged in terms of tracklisting as the songs have been constructed and recorded — but contrary to their moniker, The Cold Stares lack nothing for energy in their execution, and whatever kind of movement a given track might offer, there always seems to be a direction in mind as the band leads the way through Head Bent‘s tidy, efficient and unpretentious course.

And while we’re talking about themes, one would be remiss not to point out the sheer level of command Tapp and Mullins bring to the material here. “Stuck in a Rut” brings forth a hook worthy of fellow Tennesseans Dirty Streets, and the sweet side B ballad “Ball and Twine” toys with Southern rock convention before arriving at a late-cut blowout riff toward its end, having accomplished what would take many bands eight minutes in a span of three. Yet, as often would be the case with this kind of release, there’s no sense that The Cold Stares are looking to convince their audience of how brash they are, or how drunk, or how sexist, and among the various histories they play toward with Head Bent, one of the most engaging is a drive toward making the conventions of style their own via the quality of their craft and their ability to draw listeners in and hold attention while making that very, very difficult task sound practically effortless.

Small Stone has the aforementioned opener “John” streaming at its Bandcamp page, and I’ve included that here as well at the bottom of the post, but you can dig into the premiere of the title-track from Head Bent below, as well as a quote from Tapp about the song and the album, which comes courtesy of the PR wire.

Please enjoy:

Chris Tapp on “Head Bent”:

“Listening to a bit of Queen and always loved ‘Tie Your Mother Down,’ so started writing with that in mind. The music just sounds like bikes to me. I’ve always had hot rods and bikes and wanted to do a tribute song to all the good people in those communities. Big part of my cancer recovery was getting my mind right, and just riding, nothing like the focus and peace it brings. The bike and gear head community is so much about family and respect, and just love for the machine. Head Bent is that feeling of 80 mph wind twisting your neck down the highway.”

Releases June 16, 2017.

The Cold Stares is:
Chris Tapp: vocals, stringed instruments, keys
Brian Mullins: drums and percussion

The Cold Stares, “John”

The Cold Stares website

The Cold Stares on Thee Facebooks

Small Stone Records website

Small Stone on Thee Facebooks

Small Stone Records on Bandcamp

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Loss Announce Horizonless out May 19 on Profound Lore

Posted in Whathaveyou on March 2nd, 2017 by JJ Koczan

Granted it’s been six years and all, but if the quickie teaser for Loss‘ forthcoming second album, Horizonless, is anything to go by, that time doesn’t seem to have done much to dull the Nashville death-doomers’ general outlook on the the world around them. Bleak, bleak, bleak, and likely to be as righteously slow in its execution as in its arrival behind their 2011 debut, Despond (review here). The esteemed Profound Lore Records issued that first offering and will stand behind the new one as well, which has been topped off with one of those Adam Burke cover pieces that even though you know the dude is amazing and you consistently expect him to do amazing work still manages to blow your brain to tiny little brainflecks.

Not exaggerating. Brainflecks.

Profound Lore posted the cover along with the details for the record — out May 19 — all of which you’ll find below, as well as the aforementioned teaser:

loss horizonless

Six doomed years in creation since their debut LP “Despond”, Nashville, Tennessee melancholic death/funeral doom metal band Loss have completed work on their new LP “Horizonless”, one of the most anticipated death/doom metal releases of the year set for release on May 19th on CD/2xLP/Digital.

Traveling further into the void and beyond the realms of hopelessness and despondency “Horizonless” is a journey destitute of all hope and redemption, one where heartbreak, total death and never ending despair triumphs.

Produced and engineered by Billy Anderson in the band’s hometown of Music City itself, resulting in LOSS’ most majestic sounding work to date, “Horizonless” forges the LOSS’ sound tapestry into a realm more immense and dynamic; heavier, darker, more melancholic, and sorrowful. Where “Despond” laid down that foundation that gave LOSS the reputation as the saddest and bleakest band in the death/doom metal scene, “Horizonless” forges that funeral deathmarch onwards even moreso towards ruin, decay, and utter oblivion.

Featuring guest vocals from Wrest of LEVIATHAN, Stevie Floyd of Taurus/Dark Castle, and Billy Anderson on the closing track “When Death Is All” and featuring artwork from Adam Burke of Nightjar Illustration, track listing for “Horizonless” goes as follows:

1. The Joy Of All Who Sorrow
2. i.o.
3. All Grows On Tears
4. Moved Beyond Murder
5. Naught
6. The End Steps Forth
7. Horizonless
8. Banishment
9. When Death Is All

https://www.facebook.com/LossDoom/
http://lossdoom.blogspot.com/
https://www.facebook.com/profoundlorerecords/
http://www.profoundlorerecords.com/
https://profoundlorerecords.bandcamp.com/

Loss, Horizonless album teaser

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