Stone Machine Electric, Vivere: Dormiendo Somniare

Posted in Reviews on February 27th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

stone-machine-electric-vivere

Last Spring, Texas duo Stone Machine Electric — who by my estimation remain underrated as only a non-touring band can — self-released their second long-player in the form of Sollicitus es Veritatem (review here). The timing on that is important. It was May, and as a grueling primary season wound down, the US presidential election was beginning to take shape as a contest between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. The Hurst-based two-piece acknowledged these current events in the cover art, which depicted a rat in a suit and a telling red tie standing in front of an audience of sheep, with his arm raised in front of a building burning with a giant skull behind it. Not subtle in visual metaphor, and the translation from Latin of the title — “nightmares are reality” — was correspondingly blunt.

Among what passes for a left-leaning contingent in the States, it would be difficult to see Sollicitus es Veritatem as anything other than prescient in hindsight. Songs like “Dreaming” had a bent of social commentary that never came at the expense of the liquidity of Stone Machine Electric‘s jamming, which has been central to their appeal over the last half-decade-plus, across offerings like the 2015 The Amazing Terror EP (review here), 2014’s Garage Tape (review here), their 2013 self-titled debut (review here) and their 2010 demo, Awash in Feedback (review here). Working frequently in the studio with Kent Stump of Wo Fat, guitarist/vocalist William “Dub” Irvin and drummer/thereminist Mark Kitchens (also synth and backing vocals) have developed a sound able at once to convey straightforward heavy roll and an echo of unpredictability, so that the listener never quite knows when they might take off and just where they might be headed on a given track.

That ability is a big part of why I call them underrated above, and it’s writ large over Vivere, their new live CD recorded June 3, 2016, at the Doublewide in Dallas and issued through Off the Record Label. As the Latin title — the infinitive form of the verb meaning “to live” — hints, the six-song/40-minute set is intended as a complement to Sollicitus es Veritatem, and it very much functions on that level. Its longer tracks, opener “I am Fire,” “Dreaming,” “PorR” and the finale “I am Fire (Slightly Burned)” all come from Sollicitus es Veritatem, and with the proximity of one to the other, another mixdown by Stump, and the general live feel that Irvin and Kitchens bring to their material, there’s no shortage of commonality between Vivere and its studio predecessor. Particularly for someone who’s grown to be a fan of the band and hasn’t been fortunate enough to see them play live — as I have and haven’t — the draw should be obvious.

For others, the question becomes what does Vivere have to offer that Sollicitus es Veritatem doesn’t? Fair ask. For one thing, like the studio counterpart, it’s the most cohesive Stone Machine Electric live outing yet. Their last one, 2013.02.07 (recorded, clearly, in 2013), was performed as a trio with Mark Cook on warr guitar, and caught them in the midst of a series of lineup shifts before they settled on the Dub/Kitchens duo as their seemingly permanent configuration. I don’t think I’m giving away state secrets in saying they work best in this form, and that shows itself from the nodding “I am Fire” onward here. It’s not uncommon for a live album to represent a band’s stage presence well — there are very few that are truly “warts and all” — but something else Vivere does is mirror the immersive listening experience of Sollicitus es Veritatem in how one song plays into the next via two short, seemingly-improvised transitional pieces: “Mindless Meanderings” and “Invented Passages.”

Though these are quick courses run at 2:54 and 2:42, respectively, and the broader impression of Vivere is found in moments like Dub‘s execution of the hook in “Dreaming” — the lines “Hustlers ain’t in the alley/They’re runnin’ the global scene/They’ll take you down/And take you further/Oh, how I wish I was dreaming” standing out as something of a centerpiece and summary of the set as a whole, let alone the track itself — and the raucous uptick provided at the end by “I am Fire (Slightly Burned),” on which Kitchens joins in a vocal call and response, both “Mindless Meanderings” and “Invented Passages” are crucial to the flow of Vivere. The first arrives between “I am Fire” and “Dreaming,” and gives Stone Machine Electric an even more atmospheric space in which to work, shifting via guitar lead and drum fills between the one longer song and the other without stopping. They are a band of few words, it seems.

Amid an initial hum at the outset of “I am Fire,” Dub says, “Yeah, we don’t talk. We’re just Stone Machine Electric,” and over a closing bed of synth drone in the ending of “I am Fire (Slightly Burned),” he follows up with “We’ve been Stone Machine Electric…” and something else only semi-intelligible, but other than that, they move from song to song without stopping. Accordingly, “Invented Passages” rises from the end of “Dreaming” with a bit of rhythmic push from Kitchens and a winding riff to accompany but hits the brakes well in time to start the familiar drift of “PorR,” which tops 13 hypnotic minutes riding that progression — down from over 14 for the studio version — and builds to an apex of thud, rumble and slow-motion riffing that moves via feedback into “I am Fire (Slightly Burned)” feeling both practiced and unforced; the closer picking up after about a minute and providing Vivere‘s final movement, which turns to brief cacophony just before ending in a way that seems only to re-suggest the improvisational elements at root in their creative approach.

The reinforcement thereof is another aspect of Vivere that shines through especially in its following Sollicitus es Veritatem, which was arguably the most song-based outing from Stone Machine Electric to-date. Still, this is the part where I say that one doesn’t need to have heard the studio album to appreciate the live one. A cliché, and probably only half-true, but valid when considering the molten nature of the band’s execution in either sphere. One of the joys of following Dub and Kitchens over their years together has been the way in which one release has always fed into the next — the debut into the first live album and Garage Tape into The Amazing Terror into Sollicitus es Veritatem — and Vivere adds to that line, acknowledging what they’ve done before and using it as a basis for moving forward.

What makes it even more engaging, though, is that the songs themselves do the very same thing on a meta-level, and are reshaped and recontextualized by this performance on this given night. One expects that as Stone Machine Electric put more distance between themselves and their second full-length headed perhaps toward a third, the evolution of their ideas will likewise continue, and the multi-tiered fluidity they’ve thus far shown will reach its next stage. That’s the hope, anyhow. But though their heavy psychedelia is often tinged with a darker, brooding sensibility, and Sollicitus es Veritatem certainly had its air of cynicism, I hear nothing on Vivere to make me think that core vibrancy will dull anytime soon. And who knows? If the live album turns out to be as predictive as its predecessor, we might all just survive these curious times in which we’ve found ourselves.

Stone Machine Electric, Vivere (2016)

Stone Machine Electric on Thee Facebooks

Stone Machine Electric on Twitter

Stone Machine Electric on Bandcamp

Off the Record Label website

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Duel Announce Witchbanger Details; Out April 28

Posted in Whathaveyou on February 27th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

Kind of hard to imagine the band meeting whereby Austin heavy rockers Duel decided which track they’d choose for the name of their second full-length for Heavy Psych Sounds, but you have to figure at some point one of the four dudes actually said the words, “Uh, how about ‘Witchbanger?'” And so it went. Witchbanger, which follows their 2016 debut, Fears of the Dead (review here), and will reportedly be supported by tour dates very likely in Europe if past is prologue with the label involved, is due out April 28. Preorders start March 17. Preorders, for Witchbanger.

I’m 35 years old, writing about a record called WitchbangerDuel are a good band and all — don’t get me wrong — but that title. Woof.

Whatever. I’m sure the album will kick ass and on will go the blinders.

Heavy Psych Sounds posted the art and details:

duel witchbanger

DUEL – WITCHBANGER – HEAVY PSYCH SOUNDS

HEAVY PSYCH SOUNDS Records & Booking is extremely proud to unveil album details for DUEL – Witchbanger.

The new album out 28th April. Presale starts March 17th.

available in:
Ltd Splatter Vinyl
Black Vinyl
Cd
Digital

Sex, drugs, the occult and buckets of blood. Austin, Texas tripped out heavies DUEL release their second album “Witchbanger”. Eight hard hitting new tracks of deep grooves and blistering riffs paying tribute to the darker breed of early 70’s proto-metal and classic old school early 80’s heavy metal pioneers. Growling desperate vocals and angry fuzzed out guitars telling tales of horror and hallucination. Hard Rock as it should be totally pure and unpretentious.

Produced and engineered by lead guitarist Jeff Henson at his new studio Red Nova Ranch in the wastelands of Texas not far from the historic Texas Chainsaw Massacre house. Prepare for Hell or Valhalla, from start to finish this carefully crafted album WILL KILL YOU!

Duel – Witchbanger tracklist:
Devil
Witchbanger
The Snake Queen
Astro Gypsy
Heart Of The Sun
Bed Of Nails
Cat’s Eye
Tigers And Rainbows

TOUR DATES WILL BE ANNOUNCED SOON!!

https://www.facebook.com/DUELTEXAS/
https://duel3.bandcamp.com/
https://www.facebook.com/HEAVYPSYCHSOUNDS/
http://www.heavypsychsounds.com/

Duel, Fears of the Dead (2016)

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Cursus to Release Self-Titled Debut April 28; New Song Streaming

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

cursus

At any given second, there is nothing about the new streaming Cursus track that doesn’t seem to want to be as heavy as it can possibly be. One can hear the Neurosis influence noted by the PR wire in “Waters of Wrath,” which is the first audio to come from the San Antonio, Texas, two-piece’s self-titled debut, but less so the likes of Om or YOB, at least as regards an immediate ritualistic or cosmic impression — though after listening to the band’s 2013 Summer Solstice Sessions demo (available name-your-price at their Bandcamp) neither would I count on “Waters of Wrath” to speak for the entirety of the album.

An April 28 release has been set through Artificial Head Records, the label helmed by Funeral Horse guitarist/vocalist Walter Carlos, and I’ll be interested to find out what it has in store to go with the forceful churn Cursus showcase initially. For now, they certainly seem to know how to make a first impression.

Cover art and album details follow:

cursus self titled

CURSUS: Texan doom-duo crush worlds on colossal debut | Listen to new song ‘Waters of Wrath’

Cursus will be released on vinyl/digital on 28th April 2017 via Artificial Head Records

Artificial Head Records is pleased to announce the signing of psychedelic sludge band Cursus and with it the release of their self-titled debut album this April.

Taken from the Latin word meaning “course” – specifically the mournful paths our ancestors once took to bury their dead – the San Antonio-based paring of guitarist/vocalist CJ Duron and drummer Sarah Roork first came into being in the winter of 2013 with the release of their Summer Solstice Sessions demo. Influenced by the likes of Om, Neurosis, YOB and Ufomammut, and deep in experimentation with different sounds, instruments and drone frequencies, the demo slowly unfurled colossal riff driven soundscapes that permeated and punched in equal measure.

Released through Bandcamp it quickly caught the ear of label boss and fellow Texan, Walter Carlos, who signed Cursus on the spot to his Houston-based label Artificial Head Records.

“I had toured with Cursus a few times over the years and I’ve always admired their massive sound. Their ability to crush bodies in the room with their songs is uncanny,” explains Carlos. “Initially, we were going to release a live cassette by the band from recordings they made while on tour. But as the project kept going, we decided that a full-length studio album would be better and we’re proud to have Cursus as part of our family.”

Three years on from the release of Summer Solstice Sessions and Duron and Roork have their debut album loaded. Produced in a basement-recording studio by close friend Chris Dillard, over six devastating songs Cursus summons personal and spiritual pains and turns each into amplified dirges packed with riffs, hypnotic string arrangements and spellbinding percussion. With the power of cosmic doom burning brightly, distortion slams hard into 6/8 rhythms as the Duron and Roork charter a longboat through a magnificent storm of ethereal destruction.

Cursus’s self-titled debut album will be released on vinyl/digital on 28th April 2017 via Artificial Head Records.

Cursus:
CJ Duron – Guitar and Vocals
Sarah Roork – Drums

Album art by Javier “Warhorse” Luis
Artist: Cursus
Title: Cursus
Release Date: 28th April 2017
Label: Artificial Head Records
Formats: Vinyl/Digital

https://www.facebook.com/cursusdoom/
https://cursus.bandcamp.com/
https://www.facebook.com/ArtificialHead
https://artinstitute.bandcamp.com/

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The Obelisk Radio Adds: Evil Acidhead, Gypsy Sun Revival, Albinö Rhino, Monarch, and Vision Éternel

Posted in Radio on February 20th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

the obelisk radio

My going motto for this site, which basically I repeat to myself like a mantra, is to do as much as I can when I can. Obviously that fluctuates, and I think that’s a good thing on many levels, but I’ve had more time recently to pay due attention to the goings on with The Obelisk Radio and I’m thankful for that. This is the second round of adds for this month, and in addition to the offerings highlighted below, another 30-plus releases have gone up to the server as of today, including some choice bootlegs from the likes of Lowrider, Brant Bjork, Vista Chino, Greenleaf, Acid King, Neurosis and Kyuss. I encourage you to check out the full list of adds here. It kicks a formidable amount of ass.

The Obelisk Radio adds for Feb. 20, 2017:

Evil Acidhead, In the Name of all that is Unholy

Evil-Acidhead-In-the-Name-of-all-that-is-Unholy

This 2015 reissue on Agitated Records of Evil Acidhead‘s In the Name of all that is Unholy becomes particularly relevant since 2017 marks 30 years since its original release. Offered as a cassette in 1987 by guitarist John McBain (Monster MagnetWellwater Conspiracy), it tops an hour and 17 minutes and crosses the first of its two LPs before it’s even finished with its four-part opener, and only then digs into the 23-minute “I Control the Moon.” A challenging listen front to back even three decades later, it holds to an experimentalist core of guitar effects, swirl, loops — which are near-maddening on side B’s “Part III: Possession” — and malevolent, droning abrasion. What’s stunning about it is if you said this was something McBain recorded a few months ago, there would be no choice but to call it forward-thinking. Imagine a record that 30 years later still offers a legitimate sense of being ahead of the day. Not that it never happens, but it’s certainly rare, and In the Name of all that is Unholy seems to willfully sidestep what we think of as reality in favor of its apparently timeless hellscapes. It’s far, far away from pleasant, but it sure as hell is impressive.

Evil Acidhead on Thee Facebooks

Agitated Records website

 

Gypsy Sun Revival, Gypsy Sun Revival

http://cdn.theobelisk.net/obelisk/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/gypsy-sun-revival-gypsy-sun-revival

Fort Worth trio Gypsy Sun Revival make their debut with this 2016 self-titled full-length and earn immediate notoriety for their blend of heavy psychedelic and straightforward rocker impulses as well as the fact that the vinyl version of the album sees release through ultra-respected purveyor Nasoni Records. One might recall the last time the Berlin-based label picked up a Texan band, it was Wo Fat, so it’s no minor endorsement of Gypsy Sun Revival‘s potential, and the three-piece of vocalist/bassist/organist Lee Ryan, guitarist/thereminist Will Weise and drummer Ben Harwood live up to it across the 46-minute seven-tracker, songs like “Cosmic Plains” finding a middle ground between sleek ’70s groove and modern thickness, setting up longer post-Zeppelin jams to come like “Idle Tides,” which, though fluid, rely less on effects wash to get their improvisational point across than the raw dynamic between the band itself. As a debut, Gypsy Sun Revival impresses for that, but even more for the level of immersion it enacts the further along it goes, so that when they get to languid instrumental closer “Radiance,” the band’s approach seems to be in full bloom when in fact they may only be beginning their forward creative journey.

Gypsy Sun Revival on Thee Facebooks

Nasoni Records website

 

Albinö Rhino, Upholder Live at Ääniwalli, Helsinki 17.12.2016

Albinö-Rhino-Upholder-Live

I’m pretty sure all those umlauts are going to crash the radio stream every single time this gets played, but a 41-minute digital live version — offered as a name-your-price download, no less — of Albinö Rhino‘s heavy psych epic “Upholder” recorded this past December in their native Helsinki is too good to pass up. The Finnish trio issued the studio edition of the three-so-far-part piece late in 2016 under the simple title Upholder (review here), and Upholder Live at Ääniwalli, Helsinki 17.12.2016 comprises a 41-minute single-track rendering of the first two parts brought together with onstage energy and a fitting showcase of the song’s longform jamming path. Led by Kimmo Tyni‘s guitar work — no less recalling early Natas via Sungrazer and Sleep here than in the studio recording — and gruff vocals, the live incarnation also benefits from the deep patience in Ville Harju‘s bass and Viljami Väre‘s drumming, as heard under Tyni‘s moog solo circa 14 minutes in. It’s soon for a revisit of Upholder itself, but as well as getting additional mileage out of the piece, Albinö Rhino bring a different flavor to the live execution of it to this digital-only outing, and if it catches more ears as a 41-minute single song as opposed to being broken up over two sides, there’s no way that’s going to hurt them. Either way you get it, its soul, heft and molten vibe resonate.

Albinö Rhino on Thee Facebooks

Albinö Rhino on Bandcamp

 

Monarch, Two Isles

monarch-two-isles

Not to be understated is the sense of poise that pervades Two Isles, the debut full-length from Encinitas, California, psychedelic progressives Monarch. Delivered via Causa Sui‘s imprint El Paraiso Records — the gorgeous art treatment is consistent with their hallmark style — and produced by Brian Ellis (AstraPsicomagia, etc.), it locks into classically winding turns or melodic flourish with equal ease on side A pieces like the opening title-track and “Assent,” proffering scope but not necessarily pretense. Call it prog in the new West Coast tradition if you must, “Dancers of the Sun” and the more insistent staccato of “Sedna’s Fervor” are dead on either way, and the five-piece of guitarist/vocalist Dominic Denholm, guitarists Nate Burns and Thomas Dibenedetto (see also Joy and Sacri Monti), bassist Matt Weiss and drummer Andrew Ware save their finest showcase for the just-under-10-minute finale “Shady Maiden,” summarizing their liquefied proceedings in more than able fashion, reaching ahead of themselves as the style warrants, and once more proving what might be hypnotic were it not such an active, exciting listen.

Monarch on Thee Facebooks

Monarch at El Paraiso Records

 

Vision Éternel, Echoes from Forgotten Hearts

vision-eternel-echoes-from-forgotten-hearts

Echoes from Forgotten Hearts is the latest EP from Montréal-based solo artist Alexandre Julien, who operates under the banner of Vision Éternel, and it comprises seven brief individual tracks numbered in French as “Pièce No. Un,” “Pièce No. Deux,” etc., of wistful guitar lines and serene dronescapes. The balance that a “Pièce No. Deux” is able to strike by sounding so broad and wide open and yet only being 1:47 is striking, and it makes the release flow together all the more as a work on a single emotional thematic, and while it all only winds up being 14 minutes in total, Julien is able to bring that thematic to life in that time with depth and grace, so that when the relative sprawl of the 3:45 closer “Pièce No. Sept,” takes hold, one only wishes it would go on further. Note this is one of several Vision Éternel offerings joining the playlist this week, and Julien has a boxed set in progress collecting a number of his outings to be released sometime later this year, including, I believe, this one, which originally came out in 2015. Hopefully it’s not long before he follows it with new material.

Vision Éternel on Thee Facebooks

Vision Éternel on Bandcamp

 

Thank you as always for reading and listening.

To see everything that joined the playlist today, please visit The Obelisk Radio.

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Sweat Lodge, Tokens for Hell: Everything’s All Right (Plus Track Premiere)

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on February 15th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

sweat lodge tokens for hell

[Click play above to stream Sweat Lodge’s cover of ZZ Top’s ‘Precious and Grace’ from their Tokens for Hell EP, out March 10 on Brutal Panda Records. Preorders are available here and here.]

After being snagged by Ripple Music for an initial release, the 2015 debut album from Austin’s Sweat Lodge, Talismana (review here), linked arms as well with Brutal Panda Records for a vinyl pressing. Why either or both labels would want to stand behind the album is little mystery. Sweat Lodge, who had only a 2013 demo out prior aptly-named the Sweat Lodge Tape Demo EP, presented coherent neo-bikerisms and boogie with psychedelic flourish. They sounded like a band who had their heads and hearts in the right places and one who, if they hit the road properly, had the potential to grow into a considerable force in terms of songwriting and style. So it goes.

With their Tokens for Hell EP, also on Brutal Panda, the four-piece of vocalist Cody, guitarist Bones, bassist Shock and drummer Caleb kiss it all up and mark the beginning of what may or may not be a permanent hiatus. They’re hardly the first group with promise to split before really developing to their fullest — I don’t have the math to back this up, but it probably happens daily — and it’s always kind of a bummer. Perhaps even more for the affirmation of what might have been that the four tracks of Tokens for Hell present, showcasing as they do a band staying true to their roots — if being from Texas, playing heavy rock and covering ZZ Top doesn’t qualify as that, nothing does — while stepping forward from their first record toward even more realized fare. Heck of a way to say goodbye.

One always tends to want that which is unavailable — if you don’t believe me, hit the vinyl market on Discogs sometime — but it’s hard to listen to Tokens for Hell and not think of Sweat Lodge as letting go of noteworthy chemistry. Across “Life Goes On” (4:40), “Lost the Sun” (5:00), “Precious and Grace” (2:58; the aforementioned ZZ Top cover, also taken on by Queens of the Stone Age as a bonus track for 2005’s Lullabies to Paralyze) and “Tokens for Hell” (3:16) itself, they bring together heavy ’10s retroism with a particularly Sabbathian bent, as the opener shows by a direct turn in its middle third toward a riff and spaciousness that recalls 1975’s “Megalomania” from the recently-retired heavy metal forefathers.

The production only bolsters this feel, but the side-effect is an atmospheric sensibility to what might otherwise have been raw riffing, from which Tokens for Hell benefits greatly throughout its brief span, front to back. “Precious and Grace” is perhaps the most earthbound inclusion, placed third of the four, but on the preceding “Lost the Sun,” Sweat Lodge turn that five-minute runtime into a sprawl of mellow psych-prog verses and swirling hooks, engaging a depth that moves easily from its soothing start into a more upbeat jam before shifting back to quieter territory to close out, a charming guitar solo and piano interplay marking the finish. It’s a subtle expansion of the arrangement, but does much to add to the overarching vibe of ’70s influence, and the smoothness with which difficult transitions are carried out in “Lost the Sun” is not to be understated. At their most uptempo, Sweat Lodge are a lot of fun, but if you wanted definitive proof there’s more to them than a vintage stylization and a cool logo, it’s right there.

As noted, “Precious and Grace” brings Tokens for Hell toward less a less astral mindset, but echo on Cody‘s vocals and the fuzz in the guitar and bass keep it tied to the original material in terms of overall sound, and to understate it, it fits. That’s true structurally as well, as Shock runs basslines under a midsection lead from Bones and Caleb holds the thrust together — a four-piece doing the work of one of the most essential power trios of all time. Its bounce is there and gone, defined in part by its abiding lack of pretense, and that leaves Sweat Lodge to finish with “Tokens for Hell” itself, a Kadavar-style hook-minded final composition that speaks with some measure of self-awareness of coins being placed on eyes in a memorial ritual to which the EP turns out all along to have been leading.

Also executing. Many bands who call it quits, whether they leave it open to working together again in the future, as Sweat Lodge have, or go out in a fiery blitz of argument and drama, don’t get to give a proper farewell. These days, those that don’t just fade away after what becomes a swansong release in hindsight do a sad post on social media and that’s pretty much it. Their work stagnates in the judgment of residual ‘likes’ and digital plays through whatever outlet. If they’re lucky, a reissue happens somewhere along the line. What fate ultimately waits for Sweat Lodge is still to be determined — one never says never in rock and roll, especially when it comes to bands breaking up and getting back together — but they’re fortunate to have been in a place relationship-wise where, if they were going to go out, they could do so on their own terms. Tokens for Hell leaves no doubt they’re doing just that, and underscores the righteous presence they represented in the first place.

Tokens for Hell preorder at Brutal Panda Records

Tokens for Hell preorder at Sweat Lodge’s Bandcamp

Sweat Lodge on Thee Facebooks

Sweat Lodge on Twitter

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Wo Fat Announce East Coast Tour with The Well; Playing Maryland Doom Fest 2017 and More

Posted in Whathaveyou on February 8th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

wo fat

For anyone who sat the results of or perhaps even voted in the 2016 Year-End Poll back in December, I don’t need to tell you that Wo Fat released something special in 2016’s Midnight Cometh (review here), bringing their swamp-fuzz to the fore of Texas’ mighty underground and stepping forward yet again as one of the American underground’s most resonant purveyors of riffs and jams. The character Wo Fat have developed in their sound, record by record, continues to set new standards, both for themselves and for those smart enough to pick up their influence. One expects the latter is a number that will keep growing.

This June, Wo Fat and compatriot Lone Star Staters The Well — who’ll spend much of 2017 back and forth between the US and Europe supporting their own 2016 release, Pagan Science (review here), will head east to play Maryland Doom Fest 2017 (info here), and it looks like they’re making a proper trip of it. Tour info came down the PR wire, and you can find it after the lanky poster for the run below:

wo-fat-the-well-poster

WO FAT announce East Coast tour with The Well this June along with Maryland Doom Fest appearance

Midnight Cometh is out now on Ripple Music

Following the critical success of last year’s Midnight Cometh album on Ripple Music, Wo Fat will sling their Texas-sized psychedelic doom across the East Coast of America this June.

Over the course of a sonic odyssey which spans six studio albums, one live recording and two splits, they have stayed true to the deep, dark blues that wail from within and have continually infused their riffs with primal grooves. Having secured their legendary status within the stoner rock community by appearing on much coveted bills at Roadburn, Desertfest, Freak Valley Festival, HellFest and Psycho California, the band is currently readying themselves for a nine-date tour with fellow Texans The Well.

Kicking off the chaos in Oklahoma on the 17th, Wo Fat and The Well hit the road and will end their run at the annual Maryland Doom Fest on 24th June. For the full list of dates see below:

17th June – The Blue Note – Oklahoma City, OK
18th June – The Riot Room – Kansas City, MO
19th June – Reggies – Chicago, IL
20th June – Fifth Quarter – Indianapolis, IN
21st June – Northside Yacht Club – Cincinnati, OH
22nd June – KFN – Philadelphia, PA
23rd June – Saint Vitus (w. The Skull) – New York, NY
24th June – Maryland Doom Fest – Frederick, MD

https://www.facebook.com/wofatriffage/
https://twitter.com/HouseOfWoFat
https://wofat.bandcamp.com/
ripple-music.com
http://www.ripplemusic.bigcartel.com/product/wo-fat-midnight-cometh-gatefold-cd

Wo Fat, Midnight Cometh (2016)

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Evil Triplet, Otherworld: Roads and Trips (Plus Track Premiere)

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

evil triplet otherworld

[Click play above to stream ‘We are the Aliens’ from Evil Triplet’s debut album, Otherworld. Release date is Feb. 10 on Super Secret Records.]

Like any good rocket launch, Evil Triplet‘s Otherworld works in stages. The Austin trio make their debut on Super Secret Records with the nine-song 2LP, clocking in at an unmanageable 72 minutes and veering their way between post-punk experimentalism and laid back cosmic rock. What are the likely side splits — three songs on side A, and two each on sides B, C and D — don’t quite tell the whole tale of how the album breaks down over a linear CD/DL listen, but one way or another, Evil Triplet conjure a sonic goo of just-sub-blissful tonality and keep themselves grounded despite never seeming to actually fully come to earth. Even on “Get a Job,” which is the most depressing song I’ve heard this month, they retain an airy undertone in the guitar work of Steve Marsh (also vocals) atop the push of drummer Kirk Laktas and the bass of Joe Volpi.

Despite this being Evil Triplet‘s first offering, all three members of the band have a history behind them, with Marsh having been in Terminal Mind, while Laktas has played in Cinders and My Education, among others, and Volpi in The Flood as well as Cinders and others. Does that experience help them keep afloat as “Get a Job” veers into a wash of downer abrasion toward its finish or help them balance space rock and structural nuance on opening duo “Star Ladder” and “Fungus?” I don’t know, but clearly these guys have had fun being weirdos for a long time, and now they’re very clearly having fun being weirdos together. Texas has a long tradition of anything-goes noise-infused anti-genre rock and roll. Evil Triplet fit well into it by not fitting at all.

There are moments where one is reminded of fellow Austin-dweller Mark Deutrom and his work with Bellringer‘s debut album last year, but as Evil Triplet move past side A and continue to flesh out across the dreamy “Planet I’m On” and the extended, mostly-drifting 10:55 “Post Group Date Scene” on side B, their vision becomes more distinct. Infused with organ and an initially wistful guitar strum, “Planet I’m On” holds some measure of sentimentality even after Marsh‘s vocals and Laktas‘ drums kick in and it swells to a more active thrust en route to a lengthy guitar solo that arrives just past the three-minute mark and does not relinquish until the end; Evil Triplet setting the course outward and following it vividly. “Post Group Date Scene” works in more of a late-’60s psychedelic vein as regards the guitar and background swirl, with vocals that seem to nod at Mario Lalli of Fatso Jetson and lost desert ceremonies in general. An emergent gallop leads to another flowing solo from Marsh, over toms and a fluid bassline, and just before eight minutes in, Laktas changes the drum progression to a more active beat and carries the rest of the track outward, like some lost moment that George Martin would’ve made The Beatles fade out of — all that’s missing is backmasked hidden messages about who buried whom.

The subsequent turn into “Pyramids” might feel more earthly, with its chug and straightforward beginning, but in reality the song is the beginning point of Otherworld‘s next stage — the second LP. Listening to digital files, one could argue “Post Group Date Scene” as the stretch that breaks them through the atmosphere. I’m not inclined to fight either way, but hearing the tracks with four sides in mind, even rounding out the first platter with the record’s longest track feels like a setup for what’s to come in side C’s “Pyramids” (9:02) and “We are the Aliens” (8:59),  and side D’s “Worship Satin” (7:16) and “Road Trips” (10:13), and those turn out to be where the expanse in Evil Triplet‘s approach more fully takes hold.

evil triplet

By the start of side C, Evil Triplet have already shown they’re ready to let a song go where it will behind Marsh‘s guitar, and the back half of “Pyramids” works similarly with an improvised feel, departing its verses in favor of a swirling psych jam, effects layered across for added texture that fade out into the speedier push of “We are the Aliens,” which makes a fitting complement for its catchiness early on and departure into a reach of effects noise that winds up being the last element remaining after the rest of the song has split, like some lost radio broadcast sent outside the solar system. Keys play a significant role in the jam, setting a relatively simple progression under the guitar that gives Volpi and Laktas another element to work with in the rhythm. Spaced. Thoroughly. When Evil Triplet decide to go, they go.

Side D opener “Worship Satin” (get it?) finds an anchor early on in repetitions of its title, listing various places and times one might worship satin, but has notions of its own departure lurking beneath the surface that, sure enough, come to fruition as it marches through its second half, this time even with Laktas getting in on the noise wash via cymbal crash and tom runs — a fitting cacophony that, though the song is shorter, is no less striking than that of “We are the Aliens” or “Pyramids” before it. All this space makes “Road Trips” a somewhat curious end. Tires on asphalt? That doesn’t run on nuclear fusion! Nonetheless, with a subtle emotional current of piano alongside the wailing guitar, “Road Trips” begins surprisingly tethered to terra firma, and as Marsh runs through a list of places been, things seen and deeds done, missed buses and so on, the vibe is an engaging blend of the lysergic and the lucid.

Of course, they arrive in Fresno and that becomes the locale from which the song shifts into its final instrumental movement, but the piano stays, so as much as the guitar turns to scorch, there’s still something to keep a foot on the ground before the somewhat cold, sudden ending. It makes a difference, and though Evil Triplet‘s scope proves plenty wide throughout Otherworld, the last of its motions adds a reminder to the listener of a consciousness at work driving all the madness surrounding. No challenge to chalk that up to experience on the part of the trio, but there are plenty who’ve been around for whom the sorts of chaos in which Evil Triplet traffic would simply be too much to hold together. On their sprawling debut, they handle it easily.

Evil Triplet on Thee Facebooks

Super Secret Records website

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Stone Machine Electric Release Vivere Live Album

Posted in Whathaveyou on January 30th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

“We don’t talk. We’re just Stone Machine Electric.” So begins the (spoken) introduction to Vivere, the new live album from the Texas two-piece to complement their 2016 studio offering, Sollicitus es Veritatem (review here). Opening with the rumbles and roll of “I am Fire,” Vivere also features “Dreaming,” “PorR” and “I am Fire (Slightly Burned)” from the record, as well as a couple off-the-cuff transitional pieces and for those of us who’ve yet to have the pleasure of seeing the band live, it’s an appreciated glimpse of the flow that William “Dub” Irvin and Mark Kitchens are able to bring to the stage these days. A mix by Wo Fat‘s Kent Stump doesn’t hurt either, of course.

It’s true though, they don’t have much to say throughout the set banter-wise, but as it’s streaming in full now I think you’ll find that only makes the listening experience more immersive. If you didn’t check out Sollicitus es Veritatem, you should, but whether you have prior knowledge of these tracks or not, they’re still likely to swallow you whole, so while advised as a proper course, it’s not 100 percent necessary. Can’t imagine that if you take the time to listen to Vivere you’re not going to want to chase the studio versions down anyhow, so either way.

Better band than people know.

Dig it:

stone machine electric vivere

Off The Record Label based in The Netherlands has got the CDs for “VIVERE” on the way to us! So you folks in the states will be able to get them from us soon. The release date is scheduled for 01/27/2017. You can order from www.clearspot.nl, or if you are in The Netherlands, go by Off The Record’s shop and get one. Tjeerd will also be sending some copies to All That is Heavy for distribution in the states.

Here’s the track list for the album:
I Am Fire
“mindless meanderings”
Dreaming
“invented passages”
PorR
I Am Fire (Slightly Burned)

Recorded live on June 3rd, 2016 at the Doublewide in Dallas, TX by Rob Stercraw. Mixed by Kent Stump and mastered by Ryan Lee at Crystal Clear Sound. Available on CD from Off the Record Label – www.offtherecordlabel.com

https://www.facebook.com/StoneMachineElectric/
https://twitter.com/SME_band
http://stonemachineelectric.bandcamp.com/
http://www.stonemachineelectric.net/
www.offtherecordlabel.com

Stone Machine Electric, Vivere (2017)

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