Quarterly Review: The Cult of Dom Keller, Grandpa Jack, Woven Man, Charivari, Human Impact, Dryland, Brass Owl, Battle City, Astral Bodies, Satyrus

Posted in Reviews on March 25th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

quarterly review

Ah, the Wednesday of a Quarterly Review. Always a special day in my mind. We hit and pass the halfway point today, and I like the fact that the marker is right in the middle of things, like that sign you pass in Pennsylvania on Rt. 80 that says, “this is the highest point east of the Mississippi,” or whatever it is. Just a kind of, “oh, by the way, in case you didn’t know, there’s this but you’re on your way somewhere else.” And so we are, en route to 50 reviews by Friday. Will we get there? Yeah, of course. I’ve done this like 100 times now, it’s not really in doubt. Sleeping, eating, living: these things are expendable. The Quarterly Review will get done. So let’s do it.

Quarterly Review #21-30:

The Cult of Dom Keller, Ascend!

the cult of dom keller ascend

They’re not going quietly, that’s for sure. Except for when they are, at least. The Cult of Dom Keller send their listeners — and, it would seem, themselves — into the howling ether on the exclamatory-titular Ascend!, their fifth LP. Issued through Cardinal Fuzz and Little Cloud records it brings a bevvy of freakouts in psych-o-slabs like “I Hear the Messiah” and the early-arriving “Hello Hanging Rope” and the building-in-thickness “The Blood Donor Wants His Blood Back,” and the foreboding buzz of “We’re All Fucked (Up),” peppering in effective ambient interludes ahead of what might be some resolution in the closing “Jam for the Sun.” Or maybe that’s just narrative I’m putting to it. Does it matter? Does anything matter? And what is matter? And what is energy? And is there a line between the two or are we all just playing pretend at existence like I-think-therefore-I-am might actually hold water in a universe bigger than our own pea-sized brains. Where do we go from here? Or maybe it’s just the going and not the where? Okay.

The Cult of Dom Keller on Thee Facebooks

Cardinal Fuzz on Bandcamp

Little Cloud Records on Bandcamp

 

Grandpa Jack, Trash Can Boogie

Grandpa Jack Trash Can Boogie

Brooklynite trio Grandpa Jack are working toward mastery of the thickened midtempo groove on their second EP, Trash Can Boogie. Led by guitarist/vocalist Johnny Strom with backing shouts from drummer Matt C. White and a suitable flow provided by bassist Jared Schapker, the band present a classic-tinged four tracks, showing some jammier psych range in the 7:47 second cut “Untold” but never straying too far from the next hook, as opener “Ride On, Right On” and the almost-proto-metal “Imitation” show. Finishing with “Curmudgeon,” Grandpa Jack ride a fine line between modern fuzz, ’90s melody and ’70s groove idolatry, and part of the fun is trying to figure out which side they’re on at any given point and which side they’ll want to ultimately end up on, or if they’ll decide at all. They have one LP under their collective belt already. I’d be surprised if their next one didn’t garner them more significant attention, let alone label backing, should they want it.

Grandpa Jack on Thee Facebooks

Grandpa Jack on Bandcamp

 

Woven Man, Revelry (In Our Arms)

woven man revelry in our arms

There’s metal in the foundation of what Woven Man are doing on their 2019 debut, Revelry (In Our Arms). And there’s paganism. But they’re by no means “pagan metal” at least in the understood genre terms. The Welsh outfit — featuring guitarist Lee Roy Davies, formerly of Acrimony — cast out soundscapes in their vocal melodies and have no lack of tonal crunch at their disposal when they want it, but as eight-minute opener/longest track (immediate points) shows, they’re not going to be rigidly defined as one thing or another. One can hear C.O.C. in the riffs during their moments of sneer on “I am Mountain” or the centerpiece highlight “With Willow,” but they never quite embrace the shimmer outright Though they come right to the cusp of doing so on the subsequent “Makers Mark,” but closer “Of Land and Sky” revives a more aggressive push and sets them toward worshiping different idols. Psychedelic metal is a tough, nearly impossible, balance to pull off. I’m not entirely convinced it’s what Woven Man are going for on this first outing, but it’s where they might end up.

Woven Man on Thee Facebooks

Woven Man on Bandcamp

 

Charivari, Descent

charivari descent

Whether drifting mildly through the likes of drone-laden pieces “Down by the Water,” the CD-only title-track or “Alexandria” as they make their way toward the harsh bite at the end of the 11-minute closer “Scavengers of the Wind,” Bath, UK, heavy post-rockers Charivari hold a firm sense of presence and tonal fullness. They’re prone to a wash from leadoff “When Leviathan Dreams” onward, but it’s satisfying to course along with the four-piece for the duration of their journey. Rough spots? Oh, to be sure. “Aphotic” seethes with noisy force, and certainly the aforementioned ending is intended to jar, but that only makes a work like “Lotus Eater,” which ably balances Cure-esque initial lead lines with emergent distortion-crush, that much richer to behold. The moves they make are natural, unforced, and whether they’re trading back and forth in volume or fluidly, willfully losing themselves in a trance of effects, the organic and ethereal aspects of their sound never fail to come through in terms of melody even as a human presence is maintained on vocals. When “Down by the Water” hits its mark, it is positively encompassing. Headphones were built for this.

Charivari on Thee Facebooks

Worst Bassist Records on Bandcamp

 

Human Impact, Human Impact

human impact human impact

Bit of a supergroup here, at least in the underrated-New-York-art-noise sphere of things. Vocals and riffy crunch provided by the masterful Chris Spencer (formerly of Unsane), while Cop Shoot Cop‘s Jim Coleman adds much-welcome electronic flourish, Swans/Xiu Xiu bassist Chris Pravdica provides low end and the well-if-he-can-handle-drumming-for-Swans-he-can-handle-anything Phil Puleo (also Cop Shoot Cop) grounds the rhythm. Presented through Ipecac, the four-piece’s declarative self-titled debut arrives through Ipecac very much as a combination of the elements of which it is comprised, but the atmosphere brought to the proceedings by Coleman set against Spencer‘s guitar isn’t to be understated. The two challenge each other in “E605” and the off-to-drone “Consequences” and the results are to everyone’s benefit, despite the underlying theme of planetary desolation. Whoops on that one, but at least we get the roiling chaos and artful noise of “This Dead Sea” out of it, and that’s not nothing. Predictable? In parts, but so was climate change if anyone would’ve fucking listened.

Human Impact on Thee Facebooks

Ipecac Recordings store

 

Dryland, Dances with Waves

dryland dances with waves

The nautically-themed follow-up to Bellingham, Washington, progressive heavy/noise/post-hardcore rockers Dryland‘s 2017 self-titled debut album, the four-song Dances with Waves EP finds the thoughtful and melodic riffers working alongside producer/engineer Matt Bayles (Mastodon, Isis, etc.) on a recording that loses none of its edge for its deft changes of rhythm and shifts in vocals. There’s some influence from Elder maybe in terms of the guitar on “No Celestial Hope” and the finale “Between the Testaments,” but by the time the seven-minute capper is done, it’s full-on Pacific Northwest noise crunch, crashing its waves of riffs and stomp against the shore of your eardrums in demand of as much volume as you’ll give it. Between those two, “Exalted Mystics” moves unsuspectingly through its first half and seems to delve into semi-emo-if-emo-was-about-sailing-and-death theatrics in its second, while “The Sound a Sword Adores” distills the alternating drive and sway down to its barest form, a slowdown later setting up the madness soon to arrive in “Between the Testaments.”

Dryland on Thee Facebooks

Dryland on Bandcamp

 

Brass Owl, State of Mind

brass owl state of mind

Brass Owl foster on their self-released debut full-length, State of Mind, a brand of heavy rock that maintains a decidedly straightforward face while veering at the same time into influences from grunge, ’70s rock, the better end of ’80s metal and probably one or two current hard or heavy rock bands. You might catch a tinge of Five Horse Johnson-style blues on “No Filter – Stay Trendy” or the particularly barroom-ready “Jive Turkey,” which itself follows the funkier unfolding jam-into-shredfest of “The Legend of FUJIMO,” and the earlier “Hook, Line & Sinker” has trucker-rock all over it, but through it all, the defining aspect of the work is its absolute lack of pretense. These guys — there would seem to have been three when they recorded, there are two now; so it goes — aren’t trying to convince you of their intelligence, or their deep-running stylistic nuance. They’re not picking out riffs from obscure ’80s indie records or even ’70s private press LPs. They’re having a good time putting traditionalist-style rock songs together, messing around stylistically a bit, and they’ve got nine songs across 43 minutes ready to roll for anyone looking for that particular kind of company. If that’s you, great. If it ain’t, off you go to the next one.

Brass Owl website

Brass Owl on Bandcamp

 

Battle City, Press Start

Battle City Press Start

From even before you press play on Press Start, the 22-minute debut release from South Africa’s Battle City, the instrumental duo make their love of gaming readily apparent. Given that they went so far as to call one song “Ram Man” and that it seems just as likely as not that “Ignition” and “Ghost Dimension” are video game references as well, it’s notable that guitarist/bassist Stian “Lightning Fingers Van Tonder” Maritz and drummer Wayne “Thunder Flakes” Hendrikz didn’t succumb to the temptation of bringing any electronic sounds to the six-song offering. Even in “Ghost Dimension,” which is the closer and longest track by about three minutes, they keep it decidedly straightforward in terms of arrangements and resist any sort of chiptune elements, sticking purely to guitar, bass and drums. There’s a touch of the progressive to the leadoff title-track and to the soaring lead “Ignotion,” but Press Start does likewise in setting the band’s foundation in a steady course of heavy rock and metal, to the point that if you didn’t know they were gaming-inspired by looking at the cover art or the titles, there’d be little to indicate that’s where they were coming from. I wouldn’t count myself among them, but those clamoring for beeps and boops and other 8-bit nonsense will be surprised. For me, the riffs’ll do just fine, thanks.

Battle City on Thee Facebooks

Battle City on Bandcamp

 

Astral Bodies, Escape Death

Astral Bodies Escape Death

Spacious, varied and progressive without losing their heft either of tone or presence, Manchester, UK, trio Astral Bodies debut on Surviving Sounds with Escape Death, working mostly instrumentally — they do sneak some vocals into the penultimate “Pale Horse” — to affect an atmosphere of cosmic heavy that’s neither indebted to nor entirely separate from post-metal. Droning pieces like the introductory “Neptune,” or the joyous key-laced wash of the centerpiece “Orchidaeae,” or even “Pale Horse,” act as spacers between longer cuts, and they’re purposefully placed not to overdo symmetry so as to make Escape Death‘s deceptively-efficient 36-minute runtime predictable. It’s one more thing the three-piece do right, added to the sense of rawness that comes through in the guitar tone even as effects and synth seem to surround and provide a context that would be lush if it still weren’t essentially noise rock. Cosmic noise? The push of “Oumuamua” sure is, if anything might be. Classify it however you want — it’s fun when it’s difficult! — but it’s a striking record either way, and engages all the more as a first long-player.

Astral Bodies on Thee Facebooks

Surviving Sounds on Thee Facebooks

 

Satyrus, Rites

satyrus rites

Following its three-minute chanting intro, Satyrus let opener and longest track (immediate points) “Black Satyrus” unfold its cultish nod across an eight minutes that leads the way into the rest of their debut album, Rites, perhaps more suitably than the intro ever could. The building blocks that the Italian unit are working from are familiar enough — Black Sabbath, Saint Vitus, Electric Wizard, maybe even some Slayer in the faster soloing of second cut “Shovel” — but that doesn’t make the graveyard-dirt-covered fuzz of “Swirl” or the noisefest that ensues in “Stigma” or subsequent “Electric Funeral”-ist swing any less satisfying, or the dug-in chug of bookending nine-minute closer “Trailblazer.” Hell, if it’s a retread, at least they’re leaving footprints, and it’s not like Satyrus are trying to tell anyone they invented Tony Iommi‘s riff. It’s a mass by the converted for the converted. I’d ask nothing more of it than that and neither should you.

Satyrus on Thee Facebooks

Satyrus on Bandcamp

 

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The Cult of Dom Keller Set Jan. 17 Release for Ascend!; New Song Streaming

Posted in Whathaveyou on November 19th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

the cult of dom keller

I know I’ve said this before, but if you’ve got a quota for weird, The Cult of Dom Keller will make short work thereof. The Devon, UK, four-piece have a Jan. 17 release for their exclamatory new album, Ascend!, and they’ve been streaming the single “Right Wrong” since the start of September and while I’m not sure if it’ll end up on the final version of the record — which will be out through Cardinal Fuzz and Little Cloud Records — its cavernous guitars ring out in righteous British dystopian fashion. Think Blade Runner stark lines over ambient whatnottery and vocals lurking down in the mix like post-all and not a care in the universe for anything beyond expression. I dig. You? I don’t know. I can’t tell you how to live your life.

The vibe is dark, dark, dark, dark, so be ready for that. If the record is Ascend!, then this might be the senses-overwhelmed, encounter-with-the-unfathomable portion of the story. Obviously I’m curious to see/hear/taste how the rest comes out.

Preorders aren’t open yet so far as I can tell, but I wouldn’t be surprised if that happens soon and I wouldn’t be surprised if they sell out on preorders, because, you know, boutique psych and all that.

Be informed!

the cult of dom keller ascend

Excited to announce details of the first of 2 release for Friday Jan 17th 2020

The Cult Of Dom Keller – Ascend!

a 500 pressing with a ltd Orange Colour Vinyl. Presented in a 350gsm Card Sleeve with full colour insert and Download code. Sam Giles Vinyl Replica Cdr edition too.

Prepare your ears for some serious melt-downs and wig-outs.

Coming via Cardinal Fuzz and Little Cloud Records

Artwork – Brett Savage

Ryan: Vocals/Lead Guitars/Keys
Neil: Vocals/Keys/Tambourine
Jason: Guitar/Synthesizer/BkVocals
Liam: Bass
Al: Drums/Percussion/Samples

https://www.facebook.com/cultofdomkeller/
https://thecultofdomkeller.bandcamp.com/
https://www.facebook.com/CardinalFuzz/
cardinalfuzz.bigcartel.com/
https://littlecloudrec.com/
https://littlecloudrecords.bandcamp.com/

The Cult of Dom Keller, “Right Wrong”

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Reverence Valada 2016 Adds Dead Meadow, The Cult of Dom Keller and More

Posted in Whathaveyou on January 21st, 2016 by JJ Koczan

reverence valada 2016 banner

Portugal-based fest Reverence Valada 2016 pretty much had me at Zone Six, but they continue nonetheless to add to their impressive lineup of offbeat rock — Killing Joke, Ozric Tentacles — and various forms of heavy, from With the Dead to Yawning Man. This batch of additions features UK punk legends The Damned and shoegaze progenitors Dead Meadow along with Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs, The Cult of Dom Keller and Mécanosphèere, but of particular note are San Francisco’s LSD and the Search for God.

The resurgent Bay Area act just released their first EP in nine years, Heaven is a Place, which you can stream in full below, and if you’re looking for some of that dripping-wet West Coast dream-psych, they do it with particularly resonant attention to tonality and an underlying pop touch. Something that piqued my interest, might pique yours.

Here’s the latest announcement from the fest:

reverence valada 2016 poster

The Damned, Dead Meadow and four other bands confirmed for REVERENCE VALADA in September!

Portugal-based heavy and psych festival REVERENCE VALADA have just confirmed six new bands to play their third edition, including British punk legends The Damned. The festival will take place in Valada from September 8th to September 10th.

British punk forerunners THE DAMNED will celebrate the 40th anniversary of their first single “New Rose” this year at London’s Royal Albert Hall in May, where they’re set to play in front of 5,500 fans. Formed in 1976 in London, they are considered as one of the most influential punk groups along the Sex Pistols and The Clash. This Reverence Valada appearance will be their first show ever in Portugal.

Formed in 1998 in Washington, DEAD MEADOW is one of the finest indie psyche rock acts of the modern era. Among their nine studio and live albums, we can count collaborations with Steve Kille, Andrew Stockdale (Wolfmother), Anton Newcombe (Brian Jonestown Massacre) and many more. Their latest widely acclaimed album “Warble Womb” was released in 2013.

DIY alchemists THE CULT OF DOM KELLER are creators of whacked out soundscapes and songs that seem to come from another universe, all from the confines of their sonic bunker. After gracing the stages of Austin Psych Fest and Roadburn, they will once again enthrall European fans with their appearance at Reverence Festival.

San Francisco’s LSD & THE SEARCH FOR GOD have developed a must-see reputation within the underground psychedelic/shoegaze/space rock community. 2016 will be the year they will tour Europe for the very first time.

Operating in “chaos rock” territories, MÉCANOSPHÈERE is an international music and art performance collective rooted in Portugal. Blending spoken word, concrete and cosmic music, ghost jazz, the 10-year band will offer a theatrical and versatile show at Reverence Valada. Our sixth band confirmed is UK’s sludge/doom/noisemongers PIGS PIGS PIGS PIGS PIGS PIGS PIGS.

– REVERENCE FESTIVAL 2016 –
September 8-9-10th in Cartaxo, South Portugal
Weekend & day tickets available at this location

http://www.reverencefestival.com/
https://www.facebook.com/reverencevalada/
https://twitter.com/reverencefest
https://www.instagram.com/reverencefest/

LSD and the Search for God, Heaven is a Place (2016)

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Eindhoven Psych Lab 2015 Announces Lineup; Earth and Moon Duo to Headline

Posted in Whathaveyou on February 26th, 2015 by JJ Koczan

earth

Looks like a pretty far out lineup for this year’s Eindhoven Psych Lab, which though it’s going head to head with Freak Valley in Germany, seems to be hitting into more of an indie vibe than heavy rock. Does it still count as a conflict if the fests are happening in different countries? Not being fortunate enough to head to either, I’ll leave the philosophy out of it. In any case, if you were wondering what Earth were up to that weekend, they’re headlining at the Effenaar in gorgeous Eindhoven on a bill that also includes the formidable likes of The Cult of Dom Keller, Kikagaku Moyo and Portuguese jammers Black Bombaim.

Info follows, hoisted from the PR wire:

eindhoven psych lab banner

Eindhoven Psych Lab (5 + 6 June) announces Moon Duo, Earth as headliners, full line up Trouble in Mind stage and many more

EINDHOVEN PSYCH LAB
5 + 6 JUNE 2015 – EFFENAAR / EINDHOVEN / THE NETHERLANDS
2 DAYS / 30+ BANDS / 2 INDOOR STAGES AND A GARDEN
PRESENTED BY LIVERPOOL INTERNATIONAL FESTIVAL OF PSYCHEDELIA & EFFENAAR

Eindhoven’s Effenaar music venue and Liverpool International Festival Of Psychedelia are thrilled to announce Moon Duo and Earth as headliners for this year’s festival, alongside the already announced The Soft Moon. The Trouble in Mind stage is now complete with the additions of The Limiñanas , The Soft Walls, Ultimate Painting and Klaus Johann Grobe. But that’s not all; The Telescopes, Kikagaku Moyo, Hey Colossus, K-X-P, The Lucid Dream, zZz and Dead Rabbits are also added to the bill.

Full line up so far:
Moon Duo + Earth + The Soft Moon
Trouble in Mind Stage: Morgan Delt + Jacco Gardner + The Limiñanas + Doug Tuttle + Soft Walls + Ultimate Painting + Klaus Johann Grobe
The Telescopes + The Cult of Dom Keller + Kikagaku Moyo
K-X-P + Black Bombaim + Pow! + Hey Colossus + Pauw + The Lucid Dream
+ zZz + Teeth of the Sea + Dead Rabbits

Visual Happenings
Three amazing visual happenings in the form of an expo by Glenn Peeters (Radar Men From The Moon) and Pernilla Ellens, Ed van der Elsken’s 80’s photographs of the Natlab in Eindhoven and the ‘Waterballet’ universe of Kamiel Rongen, situated in the Research Module will run during the festival as well.

More to be announced.

Tickets:
Weekend tickets: € 67.50
Day tickets: € 37,50
Weekend including hotel for two people € 275,-

http://www.eindhovenpsychlab.com
https://www.facebook.com/eindhovenpsychlab
http://www.twitter.com/EhovenPsychLab

Earth, Primitive and Deadly (2014)

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Roadburn 2014 Lineup: Sula Bassana, Aqua Nebula Oscillator, Scorpion Child and The Cult of Dom Keller Added

Posted in Whathaveyou on September 4th, 2013 by JJ Koczan

With Loop as the headliner, Mikael Akerfeldt as the curator and previously announced performances from The Heads, Conan, Freedom Hawk, True Widow, Gozu, Windhand, Inter Arma and more, Roadburn continues to inspire. Today four more acts (unless, like last week, I’ve missed a shit-ton of other news, though I think I got it) have been announced. Sula Bassana, Aqua Nebula Oscillator and The Cult of Dom Keller are sure to add to the already super-trippy side of the bill, while Scorpion Child preach a gospel of classic riffing and bluesy swagger.

Here are the announcements, courtesy of Roadburn:

During recent editions of the Roadburn Festival, Dave Schmidt aka Sula Bassana graced the stage with Electric Moon to explore an unknown distant psych galaxy through hallucinatory spacerock. We at Roadburn HQ are drawn to his mesmerizing music like a swarm of tripped-out moths to a flame. Whether he is jamming with Weltraumstaunen, Liquid Visions, Krautzone, Sudstern 44, Zone Six, Interkosmos or Electric Moon, there is simply no one who can channel the krautrock vibe like Schmidt.

Dave and his myriad bands are well-known for their fantastic far out live performances, but Sula Bassana shows have been a rare occurrence indeed, never mind performances with a full band under his solo moniker. As you can imagine, we are elated to announce that Dave Schmidt has agreed to play Roadburn Festival 2014 exclusively as Sula Bassana on Saturday, April 12th in Het Patronaat in Tilburg, The Netherlands.

Backed by a full band – Komet Lulu (bass), Marcus Schnitzler (The Spacelords, Electric Moon / drums), Rainer Neeff (The Pancakes, Zone Six, Krautzone / guitar) – Sula Bassana (guitar / synthesizers) will propel us through hyperspace, taking us on an utterly absorbing and surreal journey into the captivating and colorful sounds of the cosmos.

Vintage proto-metal lovers rejoice! Scorpion Child, hailing from Austin, Texas, will bring their killer heavy rock to Roadburn Festival 2014 on Friday, April 11th at Het Patronaat in Tilburg, The Netherlands. With their blues and krautrock-influenced heavy psych rock, the band fits right in with the likes of Graveyard, Kadavar and Witchcraft, while adding their own twist to the good times, good vibes and catchy hooks found on the great records of the 1970s.

When it comes to straight up, kickass hardrock, Scorpion Child delivers! Do yourself a favor and don’t miss ‘em at Roadburn 2014.

We at Roadburn HQ have become obsessed with The Cult of Dom Keller‘s druggy bliss lately, as the Nothingham (UK) four piece channels the lysergic spirits of 13th Floor Elevators, Stooges, Black Sabbath, Spaceman 3 and Acid Mothers Temple into full blown, third-eye transcendentalism.

You can almost hear the trippy, kaleidoscopic flashbacks through hazy clouds of obscurity, flashing strobes and glowing smoke through the band’s chemical feast of fuzzy, psychedelic madness, part shimmering feedback explorations, swamp-infested blues bastardizations, and part mind expanding stoner rock manipulations.

The Cult of Dom Keller will document our delirious, collective hallucinations by gathering on Thursday, April 10th at the 013 venue in Tilburg, The Netherlands, and the band’s captivating, tranced out sounds will definitely echo through the deepest valleys of your mind.

It was only a matter of time until French droned out psych-space wranglers Aqua Nebula Oscillator found their way to Roadburn Festival.

The band’s super charged, heady collision between extended Hawkwind freakouts and the raw, metallic swagger of the Stooges is a perfect fit, and we’re excited to announce that Aqua Nebula Oscillator will appear at the 2014?s Afterburner on Sunday, April 13th at the 013 venue in Tilburg, The Netherlands.

The Cult of Dom Keller, The Cult of Dom Keller (2013)

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