Naxatras Announce Fall European Tour; Playing Up in Smoke, Fuzz Fest and More

Posted in Whathaveyou on May 15th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

naxatras

I don’t know nothin’ about nothin’ — it’s true! ask me anything! — but I’d wager that one or two of the dates still to be announced as part of Greek heavy psych rockers Naxatras‘ upcoming Fall European tour are for festivals. The Thessaloniki three-piece have already been confirmed for Fuzz FestKeep it LowUp in Smoke and Into the Void as part of this run supporting their earlier 2018 offering, III (review here), and considering the response that album got upon its release, much the same as everything they’ve done up to this point, it wouldn’t surprise me if they showed up on a few more massive billings. Again, not anything I know, just speculation.

Certainly even if not, the tour is plenty huge as is, running about a month and a half. The dates are presented by Ouga Bouga and the Mighty Oug and were posted as follows:

naxatras tour poster

Naxatras Fall 2018 European Tour

03/10 – Zagreb (HR) / Vintage Industrial Bar
04/10 – Vienna (AT) / Fuzz Fest
05/10 – Innsbruck (AT) / PMK
06/10 – Pratteln (CH) / Up In Smoke
07/10 – Freiburg (DE) / White Rabbit
09/10 – Strasbourg (FR) / TBA
10/10 – TBC
11/10 – Berlin (DE) / Cassiopeia +
12/10 – Dresden (DE) / Groovestation +
13/10 – Oldenburg (DE) / Cadillac +
14/10 – TBC
17/10 – Mannheim (DE) / 7er Club +
18/10 – Munich (DE) / Keep it Low Preparty +
19/10 – Siegen (DE) / Vortex +
20/10 – Leeuwarden (NL) / Into The Void
21/10 – Leuven (BE) / Sojo
24/10 – Sheffield (UK) / Corporation
25/10 – Bristol (UK) / The Crofters Rights
26/10 – London (UK) / The Black Heart
27/10 – Brighton (UK) / Sticky Mike’s
28/10 – Ghent (BE) / TBA
30/10 – Nantes (FR) / Le Scene Michelet
31/10 – Bordeaux (FR) / TBA
01/11 – Paris (FR) / TBA
02/11 – Olten (CH) / Coq D’Or
03/11 – Ulm (DE) / Club Action
04/11 – Augsburg (DE) / Abraxas Theater
06/11 – Salzburg (AT) / Rockhouse
07/11 – Graz (AT) / Music house
08/11 – Bratislava (SK) / TBA
09/11 – Prague (CZ) / Klub 007 ^
10/11 – Linz (AT) / Kapu + ^
11/11 – Budapest (HU) / Durer Kert ^
13/11 – Cluj (RO) / Flying Circus ^
14/11 – Timisoara (RO) / Reflektor ^
15/11 – Novi Sad (RS) / SKC Fabrika ^
16/11 – TBC
17/11 – Sofia (BG) / Mixtape ^

+ = with Timestone
^ = with Half Gramme of Soma

Naxatras is:
John Delias – Guitar
Kostas Harizanis – Drums
John Vagenas – Bass & Vocals

https://www.facebook.com/naxatras/
https://naxatras.bandcamp.com/

Naxatras, “Machine”

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Quarterly Review: Primordial, Dead Meadow, Taarna, MaidaVale, Black Willows, Craang, Fuzz Lord, Marijannah, Cosmic Fall, Owl

Posted in Reviews on April 9th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

Quarterly-Review-Spring-2018

Okay, so this is it. The Quarterly Review definitely ends today. I’m not sneaking in a seventh day tomorrow or anything like that. This is it. The last batch of 10, bringing us to a grand total of 60 records reviewed between last Monday and now. That’s not too bad, if you think about it. Me, I’m a little done thinking about it, and if you’ll pardon me, I’m going to enjoy the time between now and late June/early July, in which for the most part I’ll be writing about one record at a time. The thought feels like a luxury after this week.

But hey, we made it. Thanks for reading along the way.

Quarterly Review #51-60:

Primordial, Exile Amongst the Ruins

primordial exile amongst the ruins

Primordial’s flair for the epic has not at all abated over the years. The Irish post-black-metal forerunners follow-up 2014’s Where Greater Men Have Fallen with Exile Amongst the Ruins (on Metal Blade), and though there’s plenty of charge in “To Hell or the Hangman,” “Sunken Lungs” or “Upon Our Spiritual Deathbed,” with frontman Alan Averill proselytizing declarations as grandly as ever, one might read a certain amount of fatigue into the lyrics of songs like “Stolen Years” and the 10-minute closer “Last Call.” Granted, Exile Amongst the Ruins is 65 minutes long, so I don’t think the band has run out of things to say, but could it be that the cycle of writing, recording and touring is starting to wear on them some 25 years after their founding? I wouldn’t know or speculate, and like I said, Exile Amongst the Ruins retains plenty of its sonic force, the layering of the title-track and the preceding “Where Lie the Gods” offering a depth of sound to complement the complexity of their themes.

Primordial on Thee Facebooks

Primordial at Metal Blade website

 

Dead Meadow, The Nothing They Need

dead meadow The Nothing They Need

Utter masters of their domain, Los Angeles’ Dead Meadow – comprised of guitarist/vocalist Jason Simon, bassist Steve Kille and drummer Juan Londono – mark 20 years of the band with the eight songs of The Nothing They Need (on Xemu Records), bringing in former members for guest spots mostly on drums but also guitar across a rich tapestry of moods, all of which happen to be distinctly Dead Meadow’s own. The ramble in opener “Keep Your Head” or “I’m So Glad” is unmistakable, and the fuzz of the six-minute “Nobody Home” bounces with a heavy psychedelic groove that should be nothing less than a joy to the converted. Recorded in their rehearsal space, released on their own label and presented with their own particularly blend of indie pulse, psych dreamscaping and more weighted tone, a song like the swaying eight-minute “The Light” is a reminder of everything righteous Dead Meadow have accomplished in their two decades, and of the vast spread their influence has taken on in that time. Perhaps the greatest lesson of all is that no matter who’s involved, Dead Meadow sound like Dead Meadow, which is about the highest compliment I can think of to pay them.

Dead Meadow on Thee Facebooks

Xemu Records website

 

Taarna, Sanguine Ash

taarna sanguine ash

It’s not entirely clear what’s happening at the start of Taarna’s 29-minute single-song EP, Sanguine Ash, but the samples are vague and violent sounding and the noise behind them is abrasive. A strum and build takes hold as the Portland, Oregon, black metallers, who feature former members of Godhunter in their ranks, continue in the first couple minutes to develop a suicidal thematic, and six minutes in, a wash of static takes hold with drums behind it only to give way, in turn, to lush-sounding keys or guitar (could go either way) that patiently leads to a rumbling, roiling lurch of blacksludge. Cavern-vocals echo and cut through molasses tones and Taarna ride that malicious groove for the next several minutes until, at around 18:30, samples start again. This leads to more quiet guitar, resonant blackened thrust, noise, noise, more noise and a final emergent wash of caustic anti-metal that couldn’t possibly be clearer in its mission to challenge, repel and come across as completely fucked as it can. Done and done, you scathing bastards.

Taarna on Thee Facebooks

Taarna on Bandcamp

 

MaidaVale, Madness is Too Pure

maidavale madness is too pure

I already discussed a lot of what is working so well on MaidaVale’s second album, Madness is Too Pure (The Sign Records), when I put up the video for “Oh Hysteria!” (posted here), but it’s worth reemphasizing the sonic leap the Swedish four-piece have made between their 2016 debut, the bluesy and well-crafted Tales of the Wicked West (review here) and this nine-song offering, which stretches far outside the realm of blues rock and encompasses psychedelic jamming, spontaneous-sounding explorations, brazen but not at all caustic vibes, and an overarching energy of delivery that reminds both of a live presentation and, on a song like “Gold Mine,” of what Death Alley have been able to revitalize in space-punk. Memorable progressions like that of “Walk in Silence” and the freaked out “Dark Clouds” offer standout moments, but really, it’s the whole album itself that’s the standout, and if the debut showed MaidaVale’s potential, Madness is Too Pure ups that factor significantly.

MaidaVale on Thee Facebooks

The Sign Records on Thee Facebooks

 

Black Willows, Bliss

black willows bliss

About a year and a half after releasing their 2016 sophomore outing, Samsara (review here), Swiss post-doomers Black Willows return with a 19-minute single-song EP they’ve dubbed Bliss. It is utterly hypnotic. The sonic equivalent of watching a bonfire take hold of dry wood. It consumes with its dense heft of riff and then lulls the listener with stretches of minimalism and ambience, the first of which provides the intro to the piece itself. Black Willows are no strangers to working with longform material, and as Bliss also appears as the band’s half of a Bloodrock Records split with Craneium, it’s understandable they’d want to bring their best, but the weight of their groove feels unexpected even in terms of having heard their past work. So they’ve gotten heavier? Yeah, maybe. What really matters is how they wield that weight, and on Bliss, they put it to use as much as an atmospheric table-setter as in a display of sheer force. Beware the noise wash at the end. That’s all I’ll say.

Black Willows on Thee Facebooks

Black Willows on Bandcamp

 

Craang, Shine

craang shine

Greek heavy psych rockers Craang set up a dynamic quickly on their new two-song full-length, Shine (also stylized as S H IN E) that both encourages and rewards patience and trust on the part of the listener. They begin 24:52 opener and longest track (immediate points) “Horizon – Tempest” quietly and commence to unfold through ebbs and flows, clean vocals and shouts, open spaces and dense(r) riffing. There is a break near and at the halfway point that presumably is the shift between one part of “Horizon – Tempest” and the other, and the second half follows that lead with a more active presentation. The accompanying “Ocean – Cellular” (19:41) launches with a bed of synth that fades as the bass, drums and guitar enter and begin a linear build that retains a progressive edge, dropping off at about eight minutes in perhaps as another transition into “Cellular,” which indeed follows a more winding, intricate path. One can only say Craang are clear in their representation of what they want to convey, and because of that, Shine is all the more of an engaging experience, the listener essentially following the band on this journey from place to place, idea to idea.

Craang on Thee Facebooks

Craang on Bandcamp

 

Fuzz Lord, Fuzz Lord

Fuzz Lord fuzz lord

We start at “The Gates of Hell” and end up in “Infamous Evil,” so one might say Ohio trio Fuzz Lord – guitarist Steven “Fuzz Lord” joined by bassist/vocalist “Stoner” Dan Riley and drummer/vocalist Lawrence “Lord Buzz” – have their thematic well set on their eight-track self-titled debut (on Fuzzdoom Records). Likewise, their tones and the sense of space in the echoing vocals of “Kronos Visions Arise” and the later, extra-Sabbathian “World Collide” seem to know precisely where they’re headed. Riley recorded the 39-minute outing, while Justin Pizzoferrato (Elder, Dinosaur Jr., many others) mixed, and the resulting conjuration is earthbound in its low end while allowing the guitar to either roll out riffy largesse or take an airier approach. The uptempo “The Lord of the Underground” speaks to a punker underpinning, while the preceding “The Warriors Who Reign” seems to have a more classic metal take, and “Infamous Evil,” also the longest track at 7:51, peppers in layered guitar leads amid a doomier, Luciferian vibe and fervent hook.

Fuzz Lord on Thee Facebooks

Fuzzdoom Records on Thee Facebooks

 

Marijannah, Till Marijannah

Marijannah till marijannah

Comprised of members of Wormrot and The Caulfield Cult, Singapore-based newcomers Marijannah execute four tracks of blown-out tones and psychedelic cavernousness with their Pink Tank Records debut release, Till Marijannah. Touches of garage swing make their way into opener “1974,” and second cut “Snakecharmer” blazes and scorches with wah-drenched solos around crunching rhythms and melodic vocalizations. A march emerges on the nine-minute “Bride of Mine” and only gets more fervent as the track makes its way forward, and driving finale “All Hollow’s Eve” presents a cacophonous but controlled take from Marijannah that reinforces the notion of nothing on their first outing happening by accident. Impressive and just a bit frenetic, it leaves one wondering what further ground the band might look to explore from here, whether they’ve set their sonic course and will look to refine their processes along these lines or whether this is just the beginning of a wider stylistic melding, and their next offering might sound completely different than Till Marijannah. The one seems as likely as the other, and that’s incredibly refreshing.

Marijannah on Thee Facebooks

Pink Tank Records website

 

Cosmic Fall, In Search of Outer Space

cosmic fall in search of outer space

Immediate points to Berlin jammers Cosmic Fall for opening their six-song/43-minute third album, In Search of Outer Space, with the 11-minute longest track “Jabberwocky.” The three-piece introduced new guitarist Marcin Marowski last year on Jams for Free (review here), and as bassist Klaus Friedrich steps up to take the vocalist role and drummer Daniel Sax continues to hold together impossible spaciousness with a fluidity of groove, Marowski seems right at home wah-noodling in the open reaches of “Jabberwocky” and soldering shred and swirl together on the later “Lumberjam.” Some of In Search of Outer Space’s most effective moments are its quietest, as on “Purification” or second cut “Narcotic Vortex,” but neither will I decry the bass fuzz that takes hold near the finish there or the molten churn that bookends closer “Icarus,” but as “Spacejam” hits into the vastness, it seems Cosmic Fall as just as apt to float as to rocket their way out of the atmosphere. In either case, they most certainly get there.

Cosmic Fall on Thee Facebooks

Cosmic Fall on Bandcamp

 

Owl, Orion Fenix

owl orion fenix

The solo-project of Christian Kolf of avant death-crunchers Valborg, Owl issues the 22-minute single-song EP Orion Fenix – with its chanting repetitions of “reborn in fire” – as a precursor to the upcoming LP, Nights in Distortion. Like Owl’s last EP, 2015’s wondrously dark Aeon Cult (review here), Orion Fenix is both intense churn and slow-rolling melancholy, bridging a gap between classic doom (that lead 15 minutes in) and post-doom rhythms and atmosphere. If the project’s purpose is to find beauty in darkness, Orion Fenix accomplishes this quickly enough, but the track’s runtime and lush layering allow Kolf to lend a sense of exploration to what is no doubt a meticulous creative process, since he’s handling all the instruments and vocals himself. Either way, Orion Fenix, as a herald, bodes remarkably well for forward progress on Nights in Distortion to come, and is a remarkable accomplishment on its own in both heft and spaciousness.

Owl on Thee Facebooks

Owl on Bandcamp

 

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Review & Track Premiere: Naxatras, III

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on February 14th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

naxatras iii

[Click play above to stream the premiere of Naxatras’ ‘Machine.’ Their new album, III is out Feb. 16.]

Over the last two years, Greek trio Naxatras have worked quickly to establish themselves at the forefront of their home country’s fertile and widely varied scene. If 1000mods helped put this generation of Greek bands on the map in the wider European underground sphere, then it’s Naxatras brazenly showing that the country has more to offer than straightforward riff-led fare. Naxatras songs — their third album, III, has seven of them and tops out accordingly at 64 minutes long — wind their way around and through the consciousness in display of a penchant for sonic naturalism that goes even beyond the band’s no-compromise approach to recording analog at Magnetic Fidelity with Jesus I. Agnew, who helmed III, the preceding 2017 single All the Stars Collide into a Single Ray (discussed here), its 2016 predecessors, II (review here) and EP (discussed here), as well as their 2015 self-titled debut (discussed here).

Rather, that naturalism extends to the play itself, as the trio of bassist/vocalist John Vagenas, guitaist John Delias and drummer Kostas Harizanis embrace their inner chillout and bring to bear tracks of marked patience, fluidity and soothing. Yeah, III has its heavy moments — more than enough of them throughout extended jams like “On the Silver Line” (9:56), 11-minute opener “You Won’t be Left Alone” and even a later piece like “Prophet,” on which Vagenas‘ bassline sets a foreboding tone while the cymbals crash around and the guitar howls. Raucous as they get, however, it’s the drift of cuts like “White Morning,” the subtle reggae nods of “Land of Infinite Time” and the soothing pastoralia of the acid-folkish closer “Spring Song” that most typify the album’s impression, earthy and resonant as it is.

The only real question when it comes to listening to III is whether to blast it and be consumed by the tonal warmth, to let it wrap around you like a blanket of fuzz, or to put in headphones, get lost in the easy, patient rhythms of the thing and find that even a song like centerpiece “Machine,” which works in multiple, almost disjointed stages of building jamming, tense low end, and a bit of reggae guitar before giving away near the halfway point to whalesong volume swells and a turn to a moodier drone that’s so drastic it might just as easily have been a different song before making its way back to the initial progression with trance-inducing fluidity, ending just before the 11-minute mark. Like all of Naxatras‘ work, III blends instrumental and vocalized material to a place of marked flow, lending an even more exploratory sensibility to songs like “Prophet” and “You Won’t be Left Alone,” the latter opening with an introductory hypnosis before giving way to the warm fuzz of the song itself, its main riff popping in and out to allow for vocal lines.

These, again, are sparse and become part of the background context in which the record takes place rather than a direct frontman-style delivery. “You Won’t be Left Alone” might be the most direct in this regard, though “Pophet” has its moments as well and “Spring Song” is clearly meant to be working in a tradition of soothing hippie soulfulness. Nonetheless, it’s the instrumental portion of III that serves as the band’s clear focus — that’s nothing new for them in terms of overall aesthetic balance — and with their having spent significant time on the road around the first two records, the results can be heard in the ease of their transitions say, near the end of “Prophet” or as they dig into the 12-minute “Land of Infinite Time” with the bass leading the way through each measure traveled.

naxatras (Photo by Marko Devcic)

If you ultimately choose the hi-fi route, and let’s say, relax with a highball in your it’s-been-a-long-day burgundy housecoat and put III on your vintage turntable to ease your worried mind, no doubt you’ll find it does just that. It is a work of such patience as to be legitimately soothing in a way few records that can still justifiably be called heavy are, and yet that presence of tone and weight of rhythm is still very much a factor in what Naxatras do, even at their funkiest or quietest. If you go the headphone route, the listening experience is somewhat lonelier, but the spirit of III continues to resonate that calming, wholesome sensibility that seems to derive purely from the collective performance of HarizanisDelias and Vagenas, and if one is listening to Naxatras and perhaps looking to understand what it is that has allowed the band to have such an impact and to find such a considerable audience in a relatively short amount of time, the answer is right there in their interaction as a trio.

They may decide their next time out to just up and down and take a more active approach overall, or they may continue down this path of turning heavy psych jams into a statement of counterculture folksomeness to represent a movement of heavy hippies that, if it exists, could hardly ask for better PR than it gets in “Prophet” and the penultimate “White Morning.” Whatever they do and wherever they go from here, Naxatras have put all questions to rest about how well earned their place is at Greece’s heavy psych forefront, if there were any to start with. Their jams have an individualized character that speaks to the honest chemistry shared between them as players, and each of their successive full-lengths has furthered the seemingly ongoing process of their cohesion.

III, in that regard, is no different. But it also finds Naxatras reaching further stylistically than they have up to this point outward from that core of psychedelic jamming, and doing so successfully as demonstrated in the proggy “On the Silver Line,” the bouncing “Land of Infinite Time” and the lullaby dreamscape that finishes in “Spring Song.” One doubts these excursions of stylistic nuance represent the sum total breadth the three-piece have and will have to offer, and so it’s easy to argue coming out of III‘s immersive hour-plus that Naxatras‘ potential as a unit has never been so writ large even as their sound itself has never been so realized.

Naxatras, III (2018)

Naxatras on Thee Facebooks

Naxatras on Bandcamp

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Naxatras Set Feb. 16 Release for III; Teaser Clip Posted

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

Naxatras have announced a Feb. 16 release date for their new album, III, and I could be wrong — it’s certainly happened once or twice before — but I get the feeling I’m not the only one who’s going to be particularly interested to hear from Greek heavy psych trio have come up with for it. The Thessaloniki-based three-piece would seem to have put themselves in a perfect position to make a splash across the greater European underground even more than they already have, and this could well be the outing that takes them from “upstarts” to “forerunners” in terms of their impact.

To wit, their 2015 self-titled debut (discussed here) won ears, hearts and minds with its ultra-organic approach, lightly-funked approach to what might be space rock were it not so wonderfully earthy, and subsequent outings in 2016, the shorter EP (discussed here) and the full-length II (review here) affirmed not only a commitment to and expertise with analog recording methods, but also that the character and chemistry that seemed so resonant in their first outing was no fluke.

They’ve toured pretty hard since putting out that second long-player, so as we prepare for the third, I can’t help but wonder in what ways the band will step forward with III. Any huge changes in arrangement flourish seem like a lot to ask from a group who keeps their focus so attuned to recording and playing live as a guitar, bass and drums trio, but one never knows. The minute-long teaser clip they posted via the social medias does pretty well in piquing my interest in the sound of the record overall, so I guess mission accomplished there, and hopefully there will be more to come to let us know where Naxatras are at before the album actually arrives. Until then, anticipation and whatnot.

Their post about it was short and sweet:

naxatras photo marko devcic

X-Mas Special!
Naxatras “III” will be released the 16th of February (mark the day)!
Recorded on reel-to-reel tape at Magnetic Fidelity!
This will be a 7-track album guaranteed to blow your mind…
Get ready space cadets! ^^

Naxatras is:
John Delias – Guitar
Kostas Harizanis – Drums
John Vagenas – Bass & Vocals

https://www.facebook.com/naxatras/
https://naxatras.bandcamp.com/

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Naxatras Post New Single; Announce II Vinyl Release

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

naxatras ii vinyl

A new jam from Greek trio Naxatras has yet to not find welcome around these parts. Ahead of launching a massive European tour in a couple days and coinciding with a first vinyl release today of their 2016 sophomore album, II (review here), the Thessaloniki-based naturalist psych rockers/analog recording enthusiasts have unveiled the new single “All the Stars Collide into a Single Ray.” It’s a nine-minute gentle nudge into the ethereal that even as it gets heavier stays low key and laid back, the subdued intro holding sway for the duration despite a swinging verse taking hold.

Note the rising bassline from John Vagenas. Also note the lead that starts around 3:50 from guitarist John Delias. Also note the classically classy drumming from Kostas Harizanis. And while you’re noting these things as the band makes its way into and out of organic psych drift, put them all together in your mind for a better understanding and naxatras-all-the-stars-collide-into-a-single-rayquick summation of just what it is about Naxatras that’s allowed them to grab such a fervent place in the Greek underground in such a relatively brief amount of time. The dynamic of their style is so fluid and their grooves so warm — they just hit the mark in a way that makes it sound like anyone could do it. Of course, if that were true, everyone would. I have a hard time believing Elektrohasch or El Paraiso haven’t come knocking at this point to hook up with them for releases, or maybe they have and the band are just keeping secrets. Look at me, spreading intrigue while knowing absolutely nothing for sure either way. In any case, self-release or whatever form it might take, hopefully it’s not too long before word of a third full-length surfaces.

In the interim, I’ll happily engage the quick-dip immersion of “All the Stars Collide into a Single Ray,” the cover art for which you can see above and the audio for which you can hear below. I’ve also included the Naxatras tour dates that start the day after tomorrow (shows are presented by Total Volume Agency) and pics of the II vinyl that come courtesy of the band. You should keep in mind that if you want a green one, they’re limited to 100 copies. I don’t think Naxatras have done a physical pressing of anything to-date that hasn’t completely sold out, so yeah, heads up on that.

Here’s the latest:

‘II’ VINYL INFO: High-quality vinyl with an analog cutting from the original master tapes by Jesus I. Agnew at Magnetic Fidelity, in a lovely gatefold with black sleeves. Artwork by Chris RW. Green version limited to 100 pieces. Available here: https://naxatras.bandcamp.com/album/ii

“ALL THE STARS COLLIDE INTO A SINGLE RAY” SONG INFO: This is a full-analog, live recording at Magnetic Fidelity, engineered by Jesus I. Agnew. Artwork by Chris RW. This song will not be included in our next album.

Naxatras live:
21/09 – Novi Sad (RS) @ Quarter
22/09 – Timisoara (RO) @ Daos Club
23/09 – Cluj-Napoca (RO) @ The Shelter
24/09 – Budapest (HU) @ Durer Kert
26/09 – Salzburg (AT) @ Rockhouse
28/09 – Vienna (AT) @ Viper Room
30/09 – Jena (DE) @ Kulturbahnhof
01/10 – Dresden (DE) @ Roter Baum
02/10 – Leipzig (DE) @ Black Label
04/10 – Prague (CZ) @ Klubovna
05/10 – Poznan (PL) @ u Bazyla
06/10 – Krakow (PL) @ Soulstone Gathering
07/10 – Warsaw (PL) @ Smoke over Warsaw
08/10 – Berlin (DE) @ Zukunft am Ostkreuz
10/10 – Trier (DE) @ Frankenturm
11/10 – Lille (FR) @ La Malterie
12/10 – Portsmouth (UK) @ Wave Maiden
13/10 – Brighton (UK) @ The Hope and Ruin
14/10 – Leeds (UK) @ Wharf Chambers
15/10 – London (UK) @ The Brewhouse
17/10 – Poitiers (FR) @ Cluricaume
18/10 – Nantes (FR) @ Scène Michelet
19/10 – Paris (FR) @ Gibus Live
20/10 – Lucerne (CH) @ Bruch Brothers
21/10 – Munich (DE) @ Keep it Low
22/10 – Ostfildern (DE) @ Zentrum Zinsholz
24/10 – Graz (AT) @ Music House
25/10 – Zagreb (HR) @ Klub Studenata Elektrotehnike
26/10 – Nis (RS) @ Feedback
27/10 – Sofia (BG) @ Live n Loud

Naxatras is:
John Delias – Guitar
Kostas Harizanis – Drums
John Vagenas – Bass & Vocals

https://www.facebook.com/naxatras/
https://naxatras.bandcamp.com/

Naxatras, “All the Stars Collide into a Single Ray”

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Friday Full-Length: Naxatras, Naxatras

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

Naxatras, Naxatras (2015)

Psychedelic records rarely land with the kind of blinding reception that Naxatras‘ self-titled debut garnered upon its release in 2015. But then, psychedelic records rarely hit into the blend of natural tones and performance that the Thessaloniki, Greece, three-piece absolutely nailed on their first offering, which brought to bear an hour’s worth of gorgeous and raw immersion beginning with the 10-minute leadoff and longest cut (immediate points) “I am the Beyonder,” declaring its drift early and living up to it for the reverb-soaked duration. The trio of bassist/vocalist John Vagenas, guitarist John Delias and drummer Kostas Harizanis rightfully thrust themselves to the forefront of an increasingly crowded, emerging Greek heavy underground with the album, and through their commitment to analog recording methods and with fluid enough chemistry between them to live up to that standard, they pulled through with a complete sense of aesthetic that continues to offer something new each time the album hits ears, regardless of listening format or other circumstance. With a sound that’s almost humble in its quiet restraint, NaxatrasNaxatras is nonetheless funky, spaced-out, molten and switched all the way on for maximum far-out-itude. It just keeps going, and yet turns out no more redundant in its execution — ever — than it wants to be.

Rare. Rare that a record can do that or be so completely psych without a wash of effects, or so earthy in its tone and yet seem to have such reach. Rare that a record can be so jammed out and yet seem to still work under such a cohesive master plan. But even listening to “Shiva’s Dance,” which oozes its way so far into the stratosphere that it seems to dissipate, Naxatras ultimately retain their direction and guide their audience back, if not to ground than at least to someplace of their own sure footing so that rather than tumble in timeless antigravity, there’s something to latch onto, the returning vocals of Vagenas an essential human element that crop up intermittently in order almost to remind that there are people in there amidst all that green and blue swirl, that it’s not just about the noise being made but an underlying sense of expression. A roller like “Downer” has a classic nod, and the penultimate “The West” actually winds up looking East in its scale as it makes its way gradually toward its final build, and all of these feed into the overarching liquefaction taking place throughout. It’s all part of the whole, and rather than be an unmanageable hour in its running, Naxatras‘ debut becomes the world in which it takes place, each new turn adding to the context surrounding, evolving into something richer and more righteous through the rudimentary space rock of “Sun is Burning” and the post-Hendrixian blues jam of “Space Tunnel.” And as much as it’s the opener setting the course — I’ll take away neither from the declarative statement in the title “I am the Beyonder” nor the fact that the song’s delivery lives up to that — so too does closer “Ent” feel purposefully placed as the bookend, evoking the patience inherent in the Tolkien tree creatures in its graceful swelling and receding.

Where these cuts and the rest on the self-titled found their niche was in between the improv-sounding jamming that has permeated Europe’s heavy underground one way or another since krautrock first took shape in the early and mid ’70s, and a smooth rolling, stoner-poised bluesy feel of longform crafted songs. Most of all, Naxatras, the album, benefited from the flow honed by VagenasDelias and Harizanis, and in the gentle, Duna Jam-worthy, key-inclusive instrumental “Waves,” they send early cues to their audience again that there’s something special beginning to take shape in their sound — and also that that shape is completely amorphous and, like a cloud, can be seen as any number of shapes or figures. Like a fluffy, aural Rorschach test, built out of fuzz and tonal warmth. I see lizards. You might see something else entirely. And that’s cool.

This past summer, Naxatras gave the self-titled an awaited vinyl release (info here) and set to work on their third album in order to follow-up II (review here), released in 2016 and also preceded by the simply-titled EP (discussed here) from which their first video was also produced. With III or whatever it winds up being called impending, the band hits the road this month on a massive European tour (dates here) that includes stops at the Smoke over Warsaw and Keep it Low festivals, as well as clubs from Russia and Bulgaria to France and the UK. It is an impressive run, and one wishes them the best with it as they continue to grow their audience leading into the next album, which like II before it will arrive with no small measure of anticipation because of the sense of accomplishment that seems to have been in Naxatras since their very beginnings just a couple short years ago.

Thanks for reading, and as always, I hope you enjoy.

I wrote my grandmother’s eulogy this week. On Tuesday, after that Shroud Eater show, The Patient Mrs. and I drove to NJ to crash with my family, and on Wednesday afternoon, I went over to my grandmother’s empty house, sat on the couch where for the last couple years I watched (not often enough, if we’re counting actual visits; never enough) as she went from one of the strongest people I’ve had the pleasure to know to a state of confused, scared decay unable to let go of the life she’d had for more than a century. I was alone while I wrote. It was quiet in a way I don’t think that house had ever been in my experience. I got through it.

I might post the text here at some point. She was someone who helped shape who I am and my perspective on the world and at the end of the day this is my site to do with what I fucking please, so yeah. Maybe. I’ll ask my mother if she minds and see what she says.

By the time this post is up, I’ll hopefully have finished reading the piece at her funeral service this morning/early afternoon. Whenever. I gave it a practice run circa 5:30 this morning and it seemed like the rhythm would work so long as I didn’t get too charged up or go too fast. I need to remember tempo in that kind of thing sometimes. Though I’m a terrible conversationalist and suck at interacting with humans, I like reading in public, speaking in public. Always have. In a bizarre way, I’m looking forward to it.

The plan for before that is to basically shove as much coffee into my body as possible and the plan for after is a repast at a place that serves, um, food, which is a thing I don’t really eat anymore. Once I’m through that, The Patient Mrs. and I will come back to my cousin’s house, grab the little dog Dio, finish packing the car, and hit the road north to Connecticut, where we’ll be spending a decent portion of the next week. Saturday I’ll run home to Massachusetts to check in there, get the mail, make sure the place hasn’t flooded, burned down, etc. — still TBA if The Patient Mrs. will join me for that extra four-hour roadtrip, though I told her I’d kind of rather do it alone and that’s true this time, plus she’s eight months pregnant at this point and doesn’t really need the added strain of being a passenger in a car I’m driving — then basically turn around and go back to CT again. Gotta go, gotta go. Might try to check out the 35th anniversary edition of Wrath of Khan at the movies on Sunday, too. That would be rad.

But you probably don’t give a shit about any of that, and fair enough. Here’s what’s in the notes so far for next week. Subject to change without notice as always:

Mon.: I Klatus track premiere/review; Six Dumb Questions with Earthride.
Tue.: Slomatics track premiere/live album review; new video from Azurea or Radio Moscow.
Wed.: Review of that Greek heavy psych comp that had the track premiere this week; Six Dumb Questions with Holy Grove.
Thu.: Hotel Wrecking City Traders album stream/review.
Fri.: With the Dead album review.

Busy, busy, busy. I’ve got most of the Quarterly Review picked out for the end of this month as well. Looking like it’ll be six days again. I thought about doing seven, just to try to get as much in as possible before the baby comes, but we’ll see. Time seems to be plenty short already, even though I spend an awful lot of it staring at this laptop screen. Either way, I’ll figure it out as we get there. But that’s coming, so heads up.

I hope you have a great and safe weekend. Thanks for reading as always, and please check out the forum and radio stream.

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Naxatras Announce Fall European Tour Dates; Third Album Coming Soon

Posted in Whathaveyou on July 7th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

naxatras

One more or less expects word of the arrival of the third Naxatras full-length any minute now — if not the actual arrival itself. The Greek heavy psych jammers, who also recently reissued their 2015 self-titled debut on gatefold vinyl (discussed here), entered the studio in May to record the follow-up to last year’s II (review here), and as their overarching penchant to-date has been for surprise-dropping new releases rather than delving into a cycle of hype beforehand, it wouldn’t be overly shocking to wake up one morning and find what may or may not be titled III sitting on their Bandcamp, waiting to be explored.

At very least, I wouldn’t complain about it if that happened — except for the fact that that would instantly put me behind in reviewing it. In the meantime, the three-piece just completed a mini-tour of the Balkans that rounded out July 1 at the Mount of Artan Festival (at which the photo included here was taken), and they’ve announced a previously-threatened Fall 2017 European tour presented by Total Volume that includes their prior-confirmed slot at Keep it Low 2017 in Munich. One assumes that by the time they hit the road again, the third record will be out one way or another, and hell, knowing these guys, the fourth may already be in progress, certainly then if not now.

And if not now, when?

Wait, what?

Here are tour dates, courtesy of Total Volume via the PR wire:

naxatras european tour

NAXATRAS EUROPEAN TOUR 2017

If you hate the feeling and the vibes following the end of the summer, worry not! Naxatras are planning to extend this year’s summer long enough to get you going!

Having the experience of 2 tours already, Naxatras are heading out to their biggest one to date, which includes 12 different countries, a bunch of festivals, as well as some specials including Keep it Low Festival, Smoke Over Warsaw, Soulstone Gathering etc.!

With 2 full length albums and 1 EP in their luggage, it will surely be a psychedelic/jazzy/funky/progressive/unearthly trip not to be missed!

Brought to you by Total Volume!
Illustration by Chris RW

Dates:
21/09 – Novi Sad (RS) @ Quarter
22/09 – Timisoara (RO) @ Daos Club
23/09 – Cluj-Napoca (RO) @ The Shelter
24/09 – Budapest (HU) @ Durer Kert
26/09 – Salzburg (AT) @ Rockhouse
28/09 – Vienna (AT) @ Viper Room
30/09 – Jena (DE) @ Kulturbahnhof
01/10 – Dresden (DE) @ Roter Baum
02/10 – Leipzig (DE) @ Black Label
04/10 – Prague (CZ) @ Klubovna
05/10 – Poznan (PL) @ u Bazyla
06/10 – Krakow (PL) @ Soulstone Gathering
07/10 – Warsaw (PL) @ Smoke over Warsaw
08/10 – Berlin (DE) @ Zukunft am Ostkreuz
10/10 – Trier (DE) @ Frankenturm
11/10 – Lille (FR) @ La Malterie
12/10 – Portsmouth (UK) @ Wave Maiden
13/10 – Brighton (UK) @ The Hope and Ruin
14/10 – Leeds (UK) @ Wharf Chambers
15/10 – London (UK) @ The Brewhouse
17/10 – Poitiers (FR) @ Cluricaume
18/10 – Nantes (FR) @ Scène Michelet
19/10 – Paris (FR) @ Gibus Live
20/10 – Lucerne (CH) @ Bruch Brothers
21/10 – Munich (DE) @ Keep it Low
22/10 – Ostfildern (DE) @ Zentrum Zinsholz
24/10 – Graz (AT) @ Music House
25/10 – Zagreb (HR) @ Klub Studenata Elektrotehnike
26/10 – Nis (RS) @ Feedback
27/10 – Sofia (BG) @ Live n Loud

Naxatras is:
John Delias – Guitar
Kostas Harizanis – Drums
John Vagenas – Bass & Vocals

https://www.facebook.com/naxatras/
https://naxatras.bandcamp.com/
https://www.facebook.com/totalvolumebackline/

Naxatras, Naxatras (2015)

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Naxatras Begin Recording New Album; Self-Titled Vinyl Available

Posted in Whathaveyou on May 22nd, 2017 by JJ Koczan

naxatras

Winning news all around from Greek heavy psych rockers Naxatras, as they’ve begun the recording process for their third studio full-length as of yesterday and released their 2015 self-titled debut as a gatefold 2LP. Based in Thessaloniki, the three-piece of guitarist John Delias, bassist/vocalist John Vagenas and drummer Kostas Harizonis have been garnering acclaim from and beyond Europe’s underground since first issuing their debut two years ago thanks to languid jams like “Shiva’s Dance” and the classic-style fuzz drift of “Downer,” and it’s hard to imagine that by the time this post is live, the vinyl won’t be well on its way to sold out. They only pressed 500.

Among its endearing qualities, Naxatras‘ Naxatras basks in an ultra-natural tonality that would turn even the most loyalist of the vintage aficionados envious. From its 10-minute opener “I am the Beyonder” through the gently progressive roll of “Waves” and the push, blown-out drift, spoken preach and meandering guitar lines of “Ent,” which caps, the album cast aesthetic worries aside in favor of making its impression through immediate chemistry between its players, who recorded live, analog, no overdubs, in a single day. The vitality of performance became the self-titled’s signature, and it’s something that last year’s follow-up, II (review here), continued to develop along with their overall scope.

One can only hope the thread will continue for what may or may not be called III upon its arrival. I’ve yet to hear of a confirmed date for Naxatras‘ next release, but when and if I do, I’ll certainly let you know. In the meantime, plans seem to be in the works for a Fall 2017 European tour, since the band has been confirmed for the lineup of Keep it Low 2017 in Munich, Germany.

The following was culled together from a few different posts, but brings confirmation direct from the band:

naxatras self titled

They’re here!!!

Two years after the release of our first album, we finally present you its vinyl form!

Double-LP with an analog cutting from the original master tapes by Jesus I. Agnew at Magnetic Fidelity in a lovely gatefold cover by CHRIS RW!

The album was recorded live in the studio with no overdubs during a single day in January 2015. ATR Magnetic Master Tape in 1/4″ was used as the master tape, in a half-track stereo configuration.

Order here: https://naxatras.bandcamp.com/album/naxatras

21st of May we enter the studio to record our 3rd album.

Uber-hyped to play Keep It Low Festival 2017 this October among so many awesome bands!!

Rest of the European Autumn Tour will be announced really soon too, so stay tuned friends…

Naxatras is:
John Delias – Guitar
Kostas Harizanis – Drums
John Vagenas – Bass & Vocals

https://www.facebook.com/naxatras/
https://naxatras.bandcamp.com/

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