If I told you it was a varied bunch of stuff added to the server today, would you believe me? Seems I say the same thing every time I do one of these posts, but it applies each time, anyhow. This is the second round of adds of 2015, which means I’m two-for-two on weeks for the year. I doubt very much I’ll be able to keep that pace until we get to 2016 — which sounds like a distant and horrifying future in which cars fly and people work diligently to cure Martians of chicken pox — but it’s good for now. I’m trying to keep more of a handle on reviews than I did last year, and things like this help.
Though it’s only been a week and files haven’t had too much time to pile up — again, that’s the whole idea — there are still 11 records new to the playlist as of this afternoon, so please feel free to hit up the Updates and Playlist Page and check out the full batch for yourself. And with that link plugged, let’s get to it.
The Obelisk Radio adds for Jan. 16, 2015:
Black Pussy, Magic Mustache
After an interim split with Biblical Proof of UFOs that boasted the 20-minute jam “Galaxies,” Portland, Oregon’s Black Pussy return with their second full-length, Magic Mustache, which takes the hazy heavy psych of 2012’s On Blonde and gives it focus around natural tones, brazen hooks and diligently fuzzed variety, tripping out with synth and guitar effects on cuts like “Protopipe” and the brief-but-nod-worthy “Farrah Fawcett” while going full-on Queens of the Stone Age bounce on lead-single “For the Sake of Argument,” motorik space-rock on “Happy” and upping the lysergic swirl on the seven-minute closing title-track. It’s a quality record from a band with a rich sound, engaging songwriting and a well-honed psychedelia, a molten flow on “Lion’s Breath” and “On Top of the World” and others, and while every time I listen to it I can’t help but be bummed out by their moniker — which, despite being Black Pussy is so white and so male in its appropriation; no less so now than when The Rolling Stones picked it as the original title of “Brown Sugar” — I won’t discount the vibe that’s melted all over this material. Still, the distraction takes away from an otherwise righteous listening experience, and at least in my view, hurts a killer band. I wonder if it’s worth it. Black Pussy on Thee Facebooks, on Bandcamp.
Time Rift, Demo 2015
But for the portraiture of the cover art, one might be tempted to call Demo 2015 a humble beginning for Portland trio Time Rift, whose launch represents a restart for vocalist/bassist Levi Campbell, guitarist Justin Kaye, and drummer Matt Amott, a three-piece formerly operating under the moniker Doomsower. To their credit, Time Rift is a better name, but more than just a switch, Demo 2015 presents them as an entirely new band, more rock-based, rawer in a ’70s-style presentation and less outwardly doomed. Even the seven-minute “The Cimmerian,” which dives headfirst into pre-NWOBHM early metal idolatry (and, yes, gets fairly doomed), keeps a melodic focus, and if there was a need to redirect their approach, at least Time Rift was able to do so while building on the chemistry already developing between them. The short, swing-heavy “Dusty Shelf” and layered vocal chorus of “Demon Hex” and proto-catchiness of “Starcrossed” legitimately sound like Campbell, Kaye and Amott have gone back to the start, and the exploration they’re embarking on seems like one well worth pursuing. One hopes they’re in a place sound-wise where they want to be, because it suits them. Time Rift on Thee Facebooks, on Bandcamp.
The Dust Bowl, Sangre Grande
Spanish heavy rockers The Dust Bowl released their second album, Sangre Grande, late last year and with it, they revel in grunge and desert rock atmospherics. Produced and mixed by guitarist César Royo (also organ, percussion, harmonica, etc.), it’s a vigilantly straightforward offering, delving into pop showmanship on “Bad Feeling,” but otherwise nestling cleanly into the post-QOTSA milieu of crunchy tones, strong hooks and melodic vocals. “Flow down this River” might be its most “the ’90s” moment, but there’s some stiff competition in that regard, while the quietly pulsing “Aqua de 1000 Cactus” brings to mind Kyuss‘ “Space Cadet” before the title-track finishes out in more raucous instrumental fashion. Touches of acoustic guitar, percussion, djembe, organ, backing vocals, and so on give their arrangements more depth than they might otherwise have, but at their core, The Dust Bowl – Royo, vocalist José Ángel Navarro, bassist Alejandro “Vilo” Viloria and drummer Manuel Navarro — are well rooted in the tenets of their genre, and they bring forth an able execution thereof. The Dust Bowl on Thee Facebooks, on Bandcamp.
The Sorrows, Gonna Find a Cave
Some lines it’s hard to make sound cool, but I firmly believe that if The Sorrows can sell, “Wanna be your ever-lovin’ caveman,” they can do just about anything. The reactivated UK group had a couple of singles out in the ’60s, but the three-song Gonna Find a Cave 7″ is brand new, though you’d hardly know it from the sound of the ultra-catchy title-track, or “Don’t Do That” and “Doin’ Alright Tonight,” which follow. The last of them has some touches of what could be an acknowledgement that the ’70s or anything thereafter happened and is so immediately familiar that it has me wondering if it’s a cover and I just can’t place it (any help in that regard is appreciated), but otherwise vocalist Don Fardon and company revel in pure 1965, pre-psychedelic pop rock, right at that moment after the British Invasion but before all the freakout that came next. It’s a place just about nobody these days dares inhabit, and the fact that they were there the first time around only makes Gonna Find a Cave more of a curio. Rise Above Records has unearthed some fascinating releases with roots in this era (see also their Rog & Pip compendium, issued last year), and The Sorrows bring it to life with unquestionable realism on these tracks. The Sorrows at Rise Above Records, Rise Above on Soundcloud.
Einstein-Rosen, Le Pont Noir
Acoustic intro “Prologue” sets a brooding tone for Le Pont Noir, the debut full-length from Quebecois prog metal instrumental outfit Einstein-Rosen, a solo-project from Louis-Alexandre Jacques, who doubles as guitarist in stoner metallers Grand Morne. Jacques plays all the instruments on Le Pont Noir, which is all the more impressive when he gets down to the shifting tempos and blastbeats in “Vénérable Vestige,” but the entirety of the album proves more dynamic than one might think for being executed by just one player, breaking into two sides as “Isthme” leads the way into the solo-topped “Neptune” at the start of the second half, the alternating thrash and plod of “Vortex” giving over to cinematic ambience as the nine-minute “Brume Quantique” closes out. Shred-prone stretches like those of “Ruinam” and “Vortex” tell the story of Jacques‘ underlying metal influence, but he seems no more likely to be kept to one single style as to one single band, and Einstein-Rosen‘s first outing only heralds development of an even broader reach. Einstein-Rosen on Bandcamp, Grand Morne on Thee Facebooks.
There you have it. Don’t forget that to see what’s been played today and what else got added, you can always check out The Obelisk Radio Playlist and Updates Page. It wants to be your friend.
Thanks for reading and listening.