Dommengang Post New Song “Color Out of Space”; Love Jail Due in January

Posted in Whathaveyou on October 24th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

dommengang

It’s only two and a half minutes long, but the new Dommengang track doesn’t need any more than that to set its vibe in laid back boogie and classic heavy rock. “Color Out of Space” is the first audio to come from Love Jail, which the Los Angeles-based trio will issue as their second full-length through Thrill Jockey Records on Jan. 26, and yeah, if you want to add a bit of sunshine to your day, look no further than the warm and fuzzy guitar tone of Dan “Sig” Wilson as featured here amid the easy-flowing groove from bassist Brian Markham and drummer Adam Bulgasem, brought to bear with naturalist underpinnings by the production of The Fucking Champs‘ own Tim Green. It’s an instant mood-setter in the best way possible. I hope I get to hear the rest of the record from which it comes.

Love Jail can be preordered from Thrill Jockey now, and you’ll find “Color Out of Space” at the bottom of this post. Dig in and enjoy:

dommengang love jail

Dommengang returns with the desert cruiser’s dream album Love Jail

Out Jan. 26th, 2018

Dommengang, guitarist Dan “Sig” Wilson, bassist Brian Markham, and drummer Adam Bulgasem, recorded their sophomore album Love Jail shortly after relocating to Los Angeles. It was not just a coast shift for two of the members, but the first time the band were together in one city. The sophomore album reflects the openness of their new surroundings as well as the energy and experience of being reunited and playing together in the same place. Dommengang have adapted to the arid climates, and imbued their particular brand of rock with a heavy dose of the best of 1970’s rock aesthetics, including at least one ballad. The album was produced by The Fucking Champs guitarist and engineer Tim Green (Joanna Newsom, Howlin’ Rain, Sleepy Sun, Fresh and Onlys) who perfectly captured the band’s sound while creating the space of older analog recordings. Love Jail includes Dommengang’s most melodic and lyric-heavy songs to date – a great road trip record, and a dynamic listen that is of the moment, organic and earthy with a heavy nod to the clear, lean recordings of a time long before any of its members were born.

Over the course of ten songs, Dommengang draw widely from the American rock music lexicon, primarily influenced by electric blues. The band draws from the guitar-driven sounds of the blues as much its energy and sense of freedom. The clash of Sig Wilson’s psychedelic roots and the punk-tinged backgrounds of Markham and Bulgasem, gives Love Jail its grit. From the earth-scorching passages of “Pastel City” to the spaced-out flourishes of “Dave’s Boogie,” to the dirty funk of “I’m Out Mine,” the album is a desert driver’s dream. The guitar and vocal interplay of “Color Out of Space,” or the anthemic choruses of “Going Down Fast” are rock the way it used to be: no heavy effects, just bass, drums, and guitar, great songs of love and lust, all with a healthy dose of guitar solos. In short Love Jail is Dommengang at their catchiest. Shimmering with the clarity of Tim Green’s engineering, the album’s live, in-the-room energy perfectly translates Dommengang’s core ethos: rock and roll will never die.

Dommengang tour dates
Nov. 29 – Portland, OR – Stumptown Cafe
Nov. 30 – Los Angeles, CA – Hi Hat

Dommengang – Love Jail
1. Pastel City
2. Lovely Place
3. Lone Pine
4. Stealing Miles
5. Love Jail
6. I’m Out Mine
7. Going Down Fast
8. Dave’s Boogie
9. Color Out Of Space
10. Stay Together

Pre-order Love Jail: http://thrilljockey.com/products/love-jail

https://www.facebook.com/dommengang/
https://dommengang.bandcamp.com/
http://www.thrilljockey.com/thrill/Dommengang/

Dommengang, “Color Out of Space”

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Arbouretum Post “Fall from an Eyrie” Video; UK & Euro Tour Starts Next Week

Posted in Bootleg Theater on May 29th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

arbouretum

Baltimore heavy folk rockers Arbouretum recently completed a quick round of domestic dates in support of their 2017 album, Song of the Rose (review here), which is out now on Thrill Jockey, and before they head to Europe and the UK next week to play the Freak Valley and Supersonic festivals, as well as other gigs surrounding, they’ve posted a new video for the track “Fall from an Eyrie.” The song, which appears in the second half of Song of the Rose, is a standout from the record in both its purpose and melody, and as much as the lyrical theme seems to center around the effects of gravity, the cut itself does nothing but soar.

As to what it might have to do with boxing, on the other hand, I’ve no idea. But that’s where the video goes nonetheless, swapping back and forth between footage of two dudes pummeling each other and shots of the band in what would seem to be their rehearsal space performing the track. These disparate visuals tied together by director Gabriel DeLoach using a kind of pastel effect that’s well suited to the song’s own sonic color scheme and tonality, and we do get some resolution to the boxing match — spoiler alert: somebody gets punched very hard in the head and falls down — as the “Fall of an Eyrie”‘s immersive wash hits its apex.

Great song, underrated band, excellent album. You know the drill. I’m a nerd for these guys so you’re damn right I’m posting the clip.

Tour dates follow the video. Hope you enjoy:

Arbouretum, “Fall from an Eyrie” official video

Knock yourself out with Arbouretum fans favorite the epic ‘Fall from an Eyrie’ taken from new LP ‘Song of the Rose’

The band perform at a host of dates across the U.S & Europe this summer

Don’t be square!

Jun 6 | The Prince Albert, Brighton UK
Jun 8 | Het Bos, Antwerp BE
Jun 9 | Tsunami Club, Cologne DE
Jun 10 | Musik & Frieden, Berlin DE
Jun 11 | Beatpol, Dresden DE
Jun 12 | Klub 007 Strahov, Prague CZ
Jun 13 | fluc + fluc wanne, Vienna AT
Jun 14 | Club Manufaktur, Schorndorf DE
Jun 15 | FREAK VALLEY FESTIVAL, Netphen-Deuz DE
Jun 17 | Supersonic Festival, Birmingham UK
Jun 18 | Brudenell Social Club, Leeds UK
Jun 19 | The Black Heart, London UK
Jun 20 | La Zone, Liège BE
Jun 22 | Post Tenebras Rock – L’Usine, Geneva CH
Jun 24 | Cascina Bellaria Music Club, Sezzadio IT

Video by Gabriel DeLoach.

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Arbouretum on Bandcamp

Song of the Rose at Thrill Jockey

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Aseethe Announce Summer Tour Dates; Playing 71Grind and More

Posted in Whathaveyou on April 28th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

Supporting their new crusher Hopes of Failure on Thrill Jockey, Iowan doomers Aseethe will hit the road this summer following an appearance at the 71Grind fest in Colorado. They’ll be joined in the Midwestern and East-Coastal endeavor by Cobalt, and it’s basically a major-market run, they’re playing some cool spots, among them the Great Scott in Boston — get it before it’s condos! — and of course Brooklyn’s famed Saint Vitus Bar. Those two shows are framed around the July 4 holiday, so one assumes they’ll be partying in between somewhere cool as well, because, you know, that’s what you do when you get into town like that. Good for them.

If you haven’t heard it, Hopes of Failure is the heavy’s heavy. I’ve posted the album trailer below, but Thrill Jockey has it up in various places, digital outlets and whatnot, as well, for digging into. Just saying.

From the PR wire:

aseethe

Aseethe bringing their mammoth riffs to North American Midwest and East Coast this Summer with Cobalt

Aseethe’s immense Hopes of Failure out now

As part of their relentless touring regimen in 2017, masters of mammoth riffs Aseethe will be embarking on a tour throughout the Midwest and East Coast this Summer with black metal duo Cobalt (Profound Lore). This follows Aseethe’s tours throughout the U.S. with Bereft, and Hell, as well as the release of their acclaimed album Hopes of Failure, and will include a set at 71 Grind Fest with Conan, Barghest, and many more.

Aseethe’s unrelenting slow-doom is often compared to drone music because of its core repetitions. This distinctly non-metal approach combined with harsh vocals and unusual samples gives Aseethe a unique voice among metal’s boundary pushers. On Hopes of Failure, the Iowa band’s primary influences of doom and drone share a similar ethos, but rarely do they converge with as much restraint, and patience, drawing on inventive sound sources and distorted, just enough, to add some sludge. Aseethe is the direction that heavy music is moving in.

Aseethe Summer tour
Jun. 2 – Colorado Springs, CO – The Black Sheep: 71 Grind Volume II #
Jun. 27 – Kansas Ciy, MO – Riot Room *
Jun. 28 – Minneapolis, MN – 7th Street *
Jun. 29 – Chicago, IL – Subterranean *
Jun. 30 – Deroit, MI – El Club *
Jul. 1 – Toronto, ON – Coalition *
Jul. 2 – Montreal, QC – Bar Le Ritz *
Jul. 3 – Boston, MA – Great Scott *
Jul. 5 – Brooklyn, NY – St. Vitus *
Jul. 6 – Philadelphia, PA – Kung Fu Necktie *
Jul. 7 – Washington, DC – DC9 *
Jul. 8 – Atlanta, GA – Drunken Unicorn *
Jul. 9 – Memphis, TN – Growlers *
Jul. 11 – Austin, TX – Lost Well *
Jul. 12 – Dallas, TX – Three Links *
# w/ Conan, Hell, Barghest
* w/ Cobalt

Aseethe is:
Brian Barr – Guitar / Vox
Danny Barr – Bass / Vox
Eric Diercks – Drums / Samples

http://www.facebook.com/aseethecreation/
https://www.instagram.com/aseethedoom/
http://www.thrilljockey.com/artists/aseethe
http://www.thrilljockey.com/products/hopes-of-failure

Aseethe, Hopes of Failure album trailer

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Quarterly Review: Alcest, Galley Beggar, Pontiak, White Light Cemetery, Fever Dog, Duel, Seven Nines and Tens, Automatic Sam, The Next Appointed Hour, Blown Out

Posted in Reviews on March 29th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

cropped-Charles-Meryon-Labside-Notre-Dame-1854

Always a special moment in the Quarterly Review when we pass the halfway mark. That’s where today’s batch brings us, and in rocking style as well. You might say I’ve been taking it easy on myself with the selections this time out — albums there’s plenty to say on and generally good stuff — but the basic fact of the matter is even with 50 reviews in a week, this is still just a fraction of what’s out there and still just a fraction of what I’d cover if I had the time. I couldn’t in terms of my own sanity, but one could probably do 10 reviews a day every day of the year and still have room for more. I do the best I can. Picking and choosing is a part of that process. Let’s get to it.

Quarterly Review #21-30:

Alcest, Kodama

alcest kodama

After the bold departure presented in 2014’s Shelter (review here) toward even-airier, more indie-hued fare, French post-black metal innovators Alcest make a no-less-bold return to their core sound – screams included, as they’re quick to show on “Eclosion” – with 2016’s Kodama (on Prophecy Productions). It’s a less progressive move, and for that distinct in Alcest’s discography, but one can’t argue with their execution of a track like “Je Suis d’Ailleurs” and the immediately recognizable melodic wash they craft, as resonant emotionally as it is heavy in its tone. Most of the six cuts seem contented to have (re-)found their place, but “Onyx” finishes out with just under four minutes of layered guitar droning, and so Alcest seem to tease that perhaps they’re not completely ready to settle the issue of their aesthetic just yet. One hopes that’s the case, and in the meantime, the reorientation that Kodama brings with it should no doubt please those longtime fans who bristled at the turn they made their last time out.

Alcest on Thee Facebooks

Prophecy Productions on Bandcamp

 

Galley Beggar, Heathen Hymns

galley-beggar-heathen-hymns

Galley Beggar’s fourth offering and second for Rise Above, Heathen Hymns, brings 42-minutes of the traditional acid folk one has come to expect from them over the last half-decade plus, no less graceful in its melodies, harmonies and weaving into and out of psychedelia, Eastern inflections on the sitar-laced “The Lake” and cleverly rhythmic in the post-rocking electric flourish of “Let No Man Steal Your Thyme.” Knowing what to expect, however, does nothing to diminish the joy of the listening experience. Rather, the return of Galley Beggar’s fluid string and/or more rock-based arrangements, memorable songcraft and gorgeous vocal treatments is welcome, and perhaps most of all on closer “My Return,” which draws their multiple sides together in a cohesive vision of futures past that only benefits from the maturity they’ve grown into. With poise as a defining feature as much as their British folk stylistic lineage, Galley Beggar remain a special outfit doing deeply individualized and satisfying work.

Galley Beggar on Thee Facebooks

Rise Above Records website

 

Pontiak, Dialectic of Ignorance

pontiak-dialectic-of-ignorance

A steady foundation of low-end drone underpins songs like “Ignorance Makes Me High” and “Hidden Prettiness” on Pontiak’s Dialectic of Ignorance (released via Thrill Jockey), and though they move away from it somewhat in the more active freakout “Dirtbags,” the patience shown by the Virginian trio forms a key part of the album’s personality. To wit, they open with “Easy Does It,” essentially telling their listener their intention for what will ensue throughout the eight-track/46-minute offering. Brothers Jennings, Van and Lain Carney bring forth willful drift in that opener and across the percussive-but-still-shoegazing “Tomorrow is Forgetting,” finding an organ-laced folkadelic middle ground later in “Youth and Age” and punctuating the dreamy harmonized gorgeousness of “Herb is My Next Door Neighbor” with fervent tom runs and ping ride before closer “We’ve Fucked this Up” starts out amid blistering chaos only to smooth itself as it goes. Serene and somewhat moody to the same degree their last outing, 2014’s Innocence, was raw, Dialectic of Ignorance carries the feel of a personal journey undertaken, but is ultimately too warm in tone and melody not to welcome its audience to be a part of that as well.

Pontiak on Thee Facebooks

Pontiak at Thrill Jockey Records

 

White Light Cemetery, Careful What You Wish For

white-light-cemetery-careful-what-you-wish-for

Nearing the mark of their first decade together, Louisiana Southern heavy four-piece White Light Cemetery issue their second full-length, Careful What You Wish For, through Ripple Music and keep a steady focus on songcraft throughout. Heavy riffs, a bit of boogie on “Sky River” and the stomping “Better Days,” boozy Southern-isms on the directly countrified “On a Dime” and a cowbell-infused finish with “Bullet to Erase” – it’s only fair to say White Light Cemetery hit all the marks. The beery post-Deliverance execution of “Looking Out (For Number One)” will likely ring familiar to many who take it on, but that’s the idea, as vocalist/guitarist Shea Bearden, guitarist Ryan Robin, bassist Tara Miller and drummer Thomas Colley are clearly less concerned with reinventing rock in their own image than honoring the pantheon of those who’ve come before them in the style. Hard to argue with the ethic preached or the dual-guitar harmonies of “Quit Work, Make Music,” though the record as a whole seems awfully “workingman’s rock” for any such bohemian aspirations.

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Ripple Music on Bandcamp

 

Fever Dog, Mainframe

fever dog mainframe

It’s been three years since next-gen Californian desert trio Fever Dog released their last album, Second Wind (review here), which was long on potential, big on songwriting and resonant in vibe. I’d been hoping for a third long-player in 2017, but even the arrival of new single Mainframe – which of course doesn’t preclude a subsequent album release – is fine by me, the three-piece of guitarist/vocalist Danny Graham, bassist Nathan Wood and drummer/organist/synthesist/vocalist Joshua Adams digging into progressive vibes on the title-track and the subsequent, talkbox-inclusive “Let Me Out.” I don’t know if they’re planning to press a 7” – somebody call H42 Records! – but the cover art certainly justifies one if the songs themselves don’t (and they do), and the name-your-price download comes with the raw 19-minute classic heavy rock jam “Alpha Waves Medley Live at Club 5,” which emits buzz like it’s a bootleg from 1973. If Mainframe is the process of Fever Dog getting weirder, it bodes well. All the more reason one might keep their fingers crossed for a new full-length.

Fever Dog on Thee Facebooks

Fever Dog on Bandcamp

 

Duel, Witchbanger

duel witchbanger

“If you see him it’s much too late/Close your eyes, girl, accept your fate.” So goes the title-track hook of Duel’s Witchbanger, the Austin-based rockers’ second album for Heavy Psych Sounds. Released on a quick turnaround from last year’s debut, Fears of the Dead (review here), the eight-track/34-minute swaggerfest delves into fantasy themes drawn from classic metal – hard not to look at six-minute closer “Tigers and Rainbows” and not think of Dio, at least thematically – but cuts like “Astro Gypsy” and “Heart of the Sun” in the record’s midsection build on the ‘70s loyalism of the first outing and find guitarist/vocalist Tom Frank, guitarist Jeff Henson, bassist/vocalist Shaun Avants and drummer JD Shadowz clear in their intentions in that regard. Though it takes a sizable grain of salt to get over that title, Duel’s heavy rock traditionalism comes complemented by efficient songwriting and a natural-sounding recording that’s neither completely retro nor totally modern but draws strength and fullness from both sides. A worthy and rousing follow-up.

Duel on Thee Facebooks

Heavy Psych Sounds website

 

Seven Nines and Tens, Set the Controls for the Heart of the Slums

seven-nines-and-tens-set-the-controls-for-the-heart-of-the-slums

If the dates are to be believed, the second full-length from Vancouver’s Seven Nines and Tens, cleverly-titled Set the Controls for the Heart of the Slums, has roots going back to 2014, when basic live tracks were recorded and subsequently built on for about two years. Indeed, the four-song offering – whose tracks “I Come from Downtown,” “Metropolis Noir / Rigs” and closer “Rave Up” have been presented in the meantime as singles and/or on early 2017’s Live at the Smilin’ Buddha Cabaret – has plenty of layers in its heavy post-rock wash, and it’s with depth and heft that guitarist/bassist/vocalist David Cotton and drummer Mario Nieva (the current incarnation of the band has a different lineup), make their prevailing impression, be it in the roll of 13-minute “Metropolis Noir / Rigs” or the loud/quiet trades of “Dope Simple,” which follows. With a focus on atmosphere over structure, Seven Nines and Tens offer a quick 32-minute immersion that feels less pretentious than purposeful and would seem to have been worth the time it took to construct.

Seven Nines and Tens on Thee Facebooks

Seven Nines and Tens website

 

Automatic Sam, Arcs

automatic sam arcs

With their third album, Nijmegen’s Automatic Sam bring together a straightforward and coherent collection of well-intentioned semi-psychedelic heavy rock. Their past works, 2011’s Texino and 2013’s Sonic Whip, have been conceptual or at least thematic pieces, and it may be that the 13-track/38-minute Arcs (on Goomah Music) is as well, but if so, it would seem to find that theme in a vision of post-grunge ‘90s alt rock, cleanly and clearly executed and vibrant in the performance of vocalist/guitarist Pieter Holkenborg, guitarist/vocalist Rense Slings, bassist/vocalist Erik Harbers and drummer/vocalist Lars Spijkervet, who open with the five-minute “Ukiyo” (their longest inclusion; immediate points) and then run through a varied swath of shorter pieces from the attitude-laden “City Lights” through the uptempo post-punk of “This is Not a Holiday” and the fuller push of “Parnassia.” Side B seems more flowing, with that song, “Tarantula,” a complementary reprise, the title-track and drifting acoustic closer “So Long in E Minor,” but Automatic Sam manage to hone a diverse approach across Arcs’ span while skillfully directing themselves around choppier waters.

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Automatic Sam at Goomah Music

 

The Next Appointed Hour, Not the End of the World

the-next-appointed-hour-not-the-end-of-the-world

Ambition may be the defining aspect of Not the End of the World. The 2016 self-released debut from Birmingham, Alabama’s The Next Appointed Hour willfully refuses easy categorization, basking in bright psychedelic space rock harmonies one minute and digging into folkish melancholia the next in a way that one is left with no other option but to call “progressive.” What ultimately makes songs like “Keeper’s Heart” and the ethereal pop of “Back to You back to Me” work is an underlying cure of songcraft, and whatever ground the six-piece cover on the 10-track outing, from the fuzzy rush of “Drone Riot” to the trippy shimmer of the penultimate “Red Flame,” that core is maintained, uniting the material and making Not the End of the World a work of scope rather than haphazard. It requires an open mind, but rewards open-mindedness with moments like the accordion on “Valley,” or the rhythmic drift of “Any Who but Here,” the nuance of which is no less gracefully held together than the overarching flow of the album as a whole.

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The Next Appointed Hour on Bandcamp

 

Blown Out, Superior Venus

blown out superior venus

Already sold out on preorders, the vinyl edition of Superior Venus from UK cosmic jammers Blown Out features two tracks – one per side – of space-wash heavy righteousness. “Impious Oppressor” and “Superior Venus” both top 15 minutes (and are accompanied by demo versions if you get the download), and proffer the kind of progressive improvisation-based flow that, indeed, might make one inclined to get an order in while the getting’s good. Blown Out, with members of Bong and Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs, have put out a slew of live and studio releases over the last three years, but as planets invariably revolve in cyclical patterns, so too does the regular frequency of their work become part of the expression itself. If you’re going to jam, do it all the time. On Superior Venus, Blown Out once more bring this ethic to life, and the resulting material spreads itself wide over its still relatively brief span. A short trip to orbit, perhaps, but well worth the undertaking.

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Riot Season Records on Bandcamp

 

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Arbouretum, Song of the Rose: In Bloom

Posted in Reviews on February 28th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

arbouretum-song-of-the-rose

Four years is a long time between Arbouretum records. Their debut was released in 2004, but between 2007 and 2013, the Baltimore-based purveyors of fuzzed-out heavy psych-folk issued a full-length album every other year and had other offerings besides — a prolific run that capped with Coming out of the Fog (review here), which was their fifth LP depending on what one actually counts. In 2015, guitarist/vocalist Dave Heumann offered the solo outing, Here in the Deep (review here), but as Song of the Rose arrives via Thrill Jockey, the meld of different styles that seems to come so naturally from Arbouretum — like something so obvious that somehow no one else is able to say — reminds the listener how much it and they have been missed.

Comprised of eight songs and running just about 40 minutes flat, Song of the Rose offers ripeness in its melodicism, resonance in its emotionality and heft in its patient, organic rhythmic rollout. Songs like the title-track, opener and longest cut (immediate points) “Call upon the Fire” and the rambling, organ-laced “Dirt Trails” prove hypnotic and memorable in kind, and the arrangements between Heumann, bassist Corey Allender, drummer Brian Carey and keyboardist Matthew Pierce weave fluidly into and around Americana, indie, folk and heavy psychedelia with a grace just about unmatched in the US. That’s not a slag on anyone, but meant to emphasize how particular Arbouretum‘s sound is and how entirely it is their own. With Song of the Rose, they slide back into it with apparent ease after the relatively long absence and manage, as ever, to bring it forward to a new stage of itself.

While I believe their growth is natural in the sense of coming from an ongoing maturity of songwriting and human experience — as opposed to their sitting down and saying, “We need to make this album different from the last one” — it’s nonetheless a key aspect of what they do, and it’s easy to imagine that if the songs didn’t “feel right” on those terms to the band, Song of the Rose simply wouldn’t exist. Maybe that’s just a result of reading into the gradual way in which “Call upon the Fire” opens; its strumming foundation around which a torrent of consuming fuzz builds and recedes so that it ends after a crashing apex with quiet acoustic guitar and keys, chilling the listener out en route to the gentle beginning of “Comanche Moon,” much bolstered by the warmth in tone of Allender‘s bass as captured by producer Steve Wright at Wrightway Studio and mixed by Kyle Spence (Harvey Milk).

arbouretum-photo-Noel-Conrad

As he will again on closer “Woke up on the Move” and as he has many times before, Heumann takes on the role of storyteller in the lyrics of “Comanche Moon,” and he and the instruments trade back and forth giving each other the space to let that play out. The subsequent title-track, louder, more immediate in its roll but still unrushed in meter, is more descriptive for its 6:23, and reportedly intended as the third in a trilogy behind “Song of the Nile” from 2011’s The Gathering and “Song of the Pearl” from the 2009 outing of the same name. Together with “Call upon the Fire” (7:23) and “Comanche Moon” (5:59), it makes an opening salvo of the three longest pieces on Song of the Rose. It may or may not be where the vinyl side A ends, but the takeoff into jamming that ensues feels like a culmination of the record so far in its buzz-toned lead and refusal to return to the chorus as it otherwise might, its affect all the more filled out with the Pierce‘s keys, which are the last remaining element after the guitar fades out, clearing the ground for the start of the shorter and more straight-ahead “Absolution Song.”

Around cycles of starts and stops, “Absolution Song” seems to find the resolution it seeks in landscapes, tambourine and woodblock-infused push and twice-over dispersal into pure shimmer. It’s the only piece on Song of the Rose under four minutes long, and carries a spiritualistic feel, but is a standout in rhythm and melody alike, Heumann‘s lines backed by a deep-mixed, swirling echo. The subsequent “Dirt Trails,” as the title hints, is something of a momentary return to ground before the soaring “Fall from an Eyrie” takes flight and the 93-second interlude jam “Mind Awake, Body Asleep” leads into the finale of “Woke up on the Move” with a key-led, space-minded progression. With “Dirt Trails,” it’s Arbouretum‘s folkish side that comes more into focus. Nothing too flashy — some guitar effects for balance with the organ — but the intent in placement seems to be to reorient the audience ahead of “Fall from an Eyrie,” on which Carey‘s snare, Heumann‘s guitar and Pierce‘s keys all seem geared toward building as much tension as possible leading into each chorus while Allender holds it all together on bass.

I don’t know if it’s fair to call “Fall from an Eyrie” the apex of Song of the Rose, but as the suitably-airy guitar solo arrives just before three and a half minutes in amid the wash of keys and the forward rhythmic drive, it sure feels like it. To their credit, while they could probably ride that part another four or five minutes into an overblown payoff, they don’t, and “Mind Awake, Body Asleep” fades in with its synth and basslines working over the drums to quickly transition between “Fall from an Eyrie” and “Woke up on the Move,” which again sees the return of Heumann-as-narrator and ends the collection with a sense of flow that, though it doesn’t really need to, summarizes much of what’s come before it in its soft approach and emergent rumble, which leads to a surprisingly noisy finish of crashes and feedback.

They don’t go fully into abrasion or anything like that, but they make it plain they’ve hit the endpoint for the album when they do, and the howling guitar noise at the close is definitely a part of that. Still, “Woke up on the Move” is drawn together with the rest of Song of the Rose through the distinctive clarity that is a hallmark of Arbouretum‘s work. After four years, to find that intact is a relief, but to have the band offer not only an execution of form in their return but a genuine developmental step feels like more than one might reasonably ask in its delivery. As ever, Arbouretum invite the listener to get lost and to find, and the joy in so doing on Song of the Rose is unmistakable.

Arbouretum, Song of the Rose (2017)

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Arbouretum on Bandcamp

Song of the Rose at Thrill Jockey

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White Hills Announce Stop Mute Defeat Due May 19

Posted in Whathaveyou on February 15th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

I had this whole rumination cued up in my brain about how White Hills wouldn’t be so gosh darn underappreciated if they were a West Coast band instead of being from New York. Hell, even if they were from elsewhere on the Eastern Seaboard — Florida to Philly — they’d probably get more credit than they do for their experimental approach to the psychedelic and beyond, which seems to be on full display with the new album, Stop Mute Defeat, out May 19 on Thrill Jockey.

Really. Had the whole thing worked out in my head. But you know what? You don’t care, and the raw truth of the matter is, while they most definitely are undervalued, White Hills get enough of a mainstream look that it doesn’t really matter what I think about them one way or another. It’s a Wednesday afternoon and I’m just a shitheel blogger posting a press release about an album that’ll probably be pretty cool. Business as usual. Any other insight? Tertiary at best, completely unnecessary at the most honest.

That’s me facing reality in the face of the unreal.

From Thrill Jockey‘s preorder page:

white-hills-stop-mute-defeat

WHITE HILLS – STOP MUTE DEFEAT – MAY 19

LP pressed on virgin vinyl and packaged in a gatefold jacket with free download coupon. A very limited supply is pressed on blue vinyl. CD version in 4 panel mini-LP style gatefold jacket.

The dismal realities, political or otherwise, that are part of our modern world naturally influence our creative voices. It is in this context that White Hills re-evaluated their approach to creating a new album. Having continually refined their sound, pushing the boundaries of psychedelic music, White Hills flipped the script on Stop Mute Defeat. Dave W. and Ego Sensation have brazenly produced an industrially-charged record that pulsates unlike anything they’ve released before.

Hard-line, gritty, and intellectually engaged, Stop Mute Defeat is a New York record through and through. With this in mind, White Hills drafted Martin Bisi (Sonic Youth, Brian Eno, Afrika Bambaataa) to mix. White Hills recorded with Bisi on two of their previous releases, Frying On This Rock in 2012 and its follow-up So You Are…So You’ll Be, however Stop Mute Defeat is the first time they worked with Martin “The Beast” Bisi in control of the mixing board. A native New Yorker who made his name in the city’s early hip-hop and no-wave scenes, Bisi was attracted to White Hills’ new material for its distinct early-80s Mudd Club feel. A dance hall, drug den, and bar, the Mudd Club was one of New York’s legendary haunts in the late 1970’s. As a center of a distinct art scene the club served as a major influence for White Hills and Stop Mute Defeat’s sound.

Following similar techniques to those propagated by William S. Burroughs (a regular at Mudd Club), Stop Mute Defeat sees White Hills break free from the guitar-driven structure of their earlier releases. Reassigning William Burroughs’ word “cut-up” technique to music, Dave W. and Ego Sensation deconstruct sound clips to create minimalist but rhythmically complex phrases. Title track ‘Stop Mute Defeat’ layers turbocharged bass loops with squalling guitar samples, to create a sound that calls to mind Xtrmntr-era Primal Scream. “If… 1… 2” goes even further down the rabbit hole, oscillating into the experimental electro-sound of early 80s Sheffield, UK band Cabaret Voltaire. Meanwhile the taut brawny grind of ‘Attack Mode’ industrially hardens White Hills’ rock boundaries to tribal densities.

Appalled by the rampant consumerism and the proliferation of ‘post-truth’ mythology, White Hills’ defiant lyricism is at their most philosophically scathing. Condemning doublespeak as “Subliminal seduction…a serenade with a grenade,” the song “Overlord” laments political and economic opportunism, where “In travesty, [there’s always] another dollar to be made.” On “Attack Mode” meanwhile, a clenched-jawed Dave W. channels the perverse cynicism of Throbbing Gristle, throwing scorn on “societies where misogyny leads and the objectification of young girls runs free.” Exposing Western vulgarity in bright light, Stop Mute Defeat is a fearless and necessary denunciation of the political and economic powers that be.

Between the release of 2015’s Walks For Motorists and the making of Stop Mute Defeat, members Dave W. and Ego Sensation took time out to focus on other artistic endeavors instead of keeping up their pace of an album a year. Diving deeper into the world of video, Ego has produced and exhibited a series of “Moving Stills”: videos that imbue static images with a subtle, uncanny motion. In these pieces, realism morphs with itself to create abstract visions. Through Dave W’s obsession with meditation, he was drawn back to his love of form and image, creating a series of sculpturally based hallucinatory abstract paintings in which the viewer is sucked into infinite space. These forays outside of music were instrumental in the shaping of Stop Mute Defeat.

Writing in his seminal postmodern oeuvre Naked Lunch, Burroughs states: “Desperation is the raw material of drastic change. Only those who can leave behind everything they have ever believed in can hope to escape.” Rethinking their musical norms, personally and musically diving into uncertain waters, White Hills at once embrace and demonstrate the raw power of such abandon.

Tracklist:
1. Overlord
2. A Trick of the Mind
3. Importance 101
4. Attack Mode
5. If… 1… 2
6. Sugar Hill
7. Entertainer
8. Stop Mute Defeat

http://whitehillsmusic.tumblr.com/
https://www.facebook.com/WHITE-HILLS-90476409450/
https://twitter.com/whitehillsmusic
https://whitehills.bandcamp.com/
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White Hills, No Game to Play (2016)

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Arbouretum to Release Song of the Rose March 24; Preorders Available

Posted in Whathaveyou on February 1st, 2017 by JJ Koczan

arbouretum

You should’ve seen me the other day. I was a pouting mess. Could’ve cried. Thinking to myself there was a new Arbouretum record that had been announced for nearly two weeks and I’d missed out. “No one told me,” and all sad. I felt really down about it, because the truth is I still go back to their last album, 2013’s Coming out of the Fog (review here), on the regular. I can’t even tell you how many phone-culls it has survived where other records have been removed to make use of the limited storage space. It’s an album I refuse to travel without. Not that the band would know that, or it would matter, but it mattered to me that the news had come through and I hadn’t gotten to see it. I even dug frontman Dave Heumann‘s solo record, Here in the Deep (review here), when that came out last year. I’ve been dying for news on a new Arbourteum.

Well, here’s me getting caught up. Thrill Jockey will issue Song of the Rose — the much-anticipated new studio full-length from Baltimore’s Arbouretum — on March 24. Preorders are available now. No audio yet. Presumably some will start to surface soon. Needless to say, I’ve got an eye out.

Details from the preorder page:

arbouretum-song-of-the-rose

Arbouretum – Song of the Rose

Arbouretum has been called “the best of the millennial classic rock bands, a guitar-fuzzed powerhouse.” The band, founded by guitarist and vocalist Dave Heumann, effortlessly weaves its melodies and guitar solos with often hypnotic rhythms of bassist Corey Allender and drummer Brian Carey around the deliberate keyboard of Matthew Pierce to lift the vocals. The results are a full sounds delivered with a striking sense of intimacy. Throughout their time together, the Baltimore-based band have been praised for their ability to weave elaborate vocal lines, and guitar solos that often unravel into extended improvisation, but never with as much finesse as on Song of the Rose. In less practiced hands, these ideas could easily fall into contrivance, but on Song of the Rose, Arbouretum use these elements to perfect their craft of storytelling in song, both lyrically and sonically.

Arbouretum recorded Song of the Rose with Steve Wright at Wrightway Studios. While previous records were recorded in a matter of days, Song of the Rose took weeks. Attention to production details augment their time-tested emphasis on capturing the energy of performance. Song of the Rose is the first time the band has mixed with Kyle Spence at his studios in Athens Ga. (Kurt Vile, Luke Roberts, Harvey Milk.)

At their root, the songs and compositions of Song of the Rose is the concept of balance. As is true for the movements of Tai Chi, of which Dave Heumann is an avid practitioner, each motion both musical and lyrical has an equal but opposite motion, that works together harmoniously. “Woke Up On The Move” pores over nature’s beauty as much as it heeds the warning of humankind’s destructive potential. The variations that result from the constant push and pull throughout Song of the Rose make Arbouretum’s music as arresting as it is thoughtful. The lyrical imagery makes it masterful.

Arbouretum’s lyrics explore elements of philosophy, mysticism, redemption, and the implications of human “progress”. Songs are written in poetic form as Heumann, Arbouretum’s lyricist, prefers stories remain abstract and open rather than a more typical storytelling format, all within a more traditional song structure. Titular track “Song of the Rose” completes a trilogy of songs from past records, calling back to “Song of the Nile” and “Song of the Pearl,” which have their roots in examining Taoist and Gnostic mythic traditions. Fittingly “Rose” is also a nod to Heumann’s ancestor Richard Lovelace, a 17th century poet who penned “The Rose.” The driving “Absolution Song,” featuring the albums only instrumental guest appearance by Drums of Life, is a contemplation of the idea of writing and thereby absolving oneself of all wrongdoings, through the creative act, in this case, using poetic imagery. Arbouretum music takes these philosophical ideas and transforms them into a sonic experience that is at once contemplative and emotionally affecting.

Tracklisting:
1. Call Upon the Fire
2. Comanche Moon
3. Song of the Rose
4. Absolution Song
5. Dirt Trails
6. Fall From an Eyrie
7. Mind Awake, Body Asleep
8. Woke Up on the Move

https://www.facebook.com/ArbouretumBand/
https://arbouretum.bandcamp.com/album/song-of-the-rose
http://thrilljockey.com/products/song-of-the-rose
https://www.facebook.com/ThrillJockey/

Arbouretum, “When Delivery Comes” official video

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Many Waters: Benefit Compilation Released for Baton Rouge Flooding

Posted in Whathaveyou on January 31st, 2017 by JJ Koczan

Yesterday, members of Thou and Thrill Jockey Records issued the Many Waters: Baton Rouge Flood Relief 2017 benefit compilation. Proceeds go to the Greater Baton Rouge Good Bank in the wake of the flooding that took place in the area last summer. It’s 33 tracks long, and in addition to Thou taking on Neil Young, it’s got live stuff from Sumac and Mike Scheidt and Golden Void doing a cover of The Pretty Things, as well as art by Becky Cloonan. Hard enough to argue with that if the cause was lining a pocket, let alone feeding flood victims.

Give them your money:

va many waters baton rouge flood relief 2017

Many Waters – Baton Rouge Flood Benefit Compilation produced by Thou

Many Waters is a new compilation produced by Thou with help from Thrill Jockey to be released on January 30th, with proceeds going to the Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank to assist their efforts in aiding those affected by the Louisiana floods of August 2016. The compilation features a range of exclusive tracks from acclaimed metal acts as well as Louisiana DIY mainstays, including The Body & Full of Hell covering Devo, Thou covering Neil Young, Golden Void covering Pretty Things, special live tracks from SUMAC and Old Man Gloom, and a solo live recording by Mike Scheidt of Yob.

From Joshua Nee, drummer of Thou:
“I spent the better part of three weeks after the flood driving around neighborhoods looking for homes to help out. Every day after work and pretty much all day on the weekends was spent gutting damaged homes. A practice space we had been sharing with a slew of other bands was totally wrecked, and countless bands I know had their spaces and equipment destroyed.

When Mitch was getting this benefit together, he asked what organization would make sense to donate to. I told him the Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank, as they had been really amazing and helpful during the aftermath of the flood, and they themselves had even been completely flooded out.

I was thrilled to have so many local Louisiana bands on the compilation. All of those bands come from the same DIY community based background. Punk, pop, metal, whatever. They represent all kinds of music, but they all come from a similar, supportive culture.”

Tracklisting:
1. Cikada – 30 Dollar Bag 02:45
2. The Body & Full of Hell – Gates of Steel 03:44
3. Thou – Don’t Let It Bring You Down 04:23
4. Solid Giant – Dead Souls 06:57
5. Christworm – Mad World 06:33
6. Aseethe – Void 13:41
7. SUMAC – Hollow King (Live) 15:04
8. Thrush – Effete 04:44
9. Empty Vessels – Above Ground 02:41
10. The World Is A Vampire – Christian Brothers 05:28
11. Hand Grenade Job – Threat Assessment 03:32
12. Sandworm – Taverner 01:22
13. Old Man Gloom – Zozobra (I-III) [Live] 12:23
14. Recluse – Deluge 01:31
15. Cajun Clam – Seer Sucker Suits 02:46
16. Pudge – Moo Moo 01:39
17. Heavy Mantle – Weights and Measures 01:18
18. I’m Fine – Brindle Party Plus One 03:52
19. Donovan Wolfington – Slower Loris 03:28
20. Pope – The Ballad of Little Stevie 03:03
21. Black Abba – Demons 01:52
22. Gland – Kratom 8r 01:56
23. Mea Culpa – Ghost 03:17
24. All People – Ruff Dreams 02:30
25. Caddywhompus – First Date Anthem Part 2 01:32
26. Wildhoney – Thin Air (Drew Scott Remix) 03:33
27. Sharks’ Teeth – Melting Belief 03:58
28. Ize – Heart on Your Sleeve 04:01
29. A Living Soundtrack – Expanding Consolidation 04:57
30. Treadles – Feral Human 01:57
31. Mike Scheidt – Throw off the Dark 04:32
32. Proud/Father – La Paz en la Aqua 06:21
33. Golden Void – Sickle Clowns 04:08

Certain tracks were mastered by metal extraordinaire James Plotkin, while the whole compilation features mastering donated by Keith Souza and Seth Manchester at Machines With Magnets. Artwork was donated by Becky Cloonan, renowned for her work with DC and Marvel Comics.

https://thrilljockeyrecords.bandcamp.com/album/many-waters-baton-rouge-flood-relief-2017
http://thrilljockey.com/products/many-waters-baton-rouge-flood-relief-2017

Many Waters: Baton Rouge Flood Relief 2017 compilation trailer

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