Thunderbird Divine Premiere “Qualified”; Magnasonic Preorders Available

Posted in audiObelisk on December 13th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

Thunderbird Divine (Photo by Dante Torrieri)

Philadelphia’s Thunderbird Divine make a much-anticipated debut on Jan. 11 with Magnasonic through Salt of the Earth Records. All along the way since the band came into being in 2017, they’ve released material in drips and drabs, a rehearsal clip here, a video there. Songs like “Quaalude Thunder” (posted here), “Madras Blue” (posted here) and “Djinn au Jus” (posted here) have made their way to public ears and eyes, but every cut that’s come out so far has one thing in common: it’s not on the record. Less than a month to go before the release date and Thunderbird Divine haven’t put so much as a riff out there for mass consumption that features on Magnasonic.

You know where this is going.

Enter “Qualified.” The seven-point-five-minute opener of Magnasonic in all its funk-riffed, swaggering, oh-wait-did-we-just-get-to-outer-space-and-was-that-Thunderbird Divine Magnasonica-piano-oh-okay-I-guess-the-riff-is-back-wow-that-was-awesome glory. A song that sets its rhythm early and holds its welcome late, “Qualified” boasts a hook begging for a barroom singalong as guitarist/vocalist/etc.-ist Erik Caplan (ex-Wizard Eye) leads the nod with Skeleton Hands veterans Adam Scott (bass), Flynn Lawrence (guitar, more etc.) and Mike Stuart (drums) further the take-your-favorite-muscle-car-and-stick-it-in-orbit vibe. Think new-classic stoner riffage — Monster Magnet shortly before the commercial boom — and you might have the right timeframe, but Thunderbird Divine are for sure telling the squares to get their hats regardless of the decade to which you want to draw parallels. And “Qualified” is one of four slabs on the half-hour stack, so, you know, more to come, chief.

I’ll get a proper, way-too-wordy-but-probably-less-hyphenated review up sometime after the New Year, but I’m honor’d to host the first Thunderbird Divine track to actually come from Magnasonic, which you’ll find on the player below, followed by a few words from Caplan and the preorder link to get your copy of the album.

Please enjoy:

Thunderbird Divine, “Qualified” official premiere

Erik Caplan on “Qualified”:

“Qualified” is the first song we wrote together. The repeated riff in the beginning and at the chorus is based on something I found compelling during my home practice sessions before I joined the band. When I showed it to the other guys, we agreed it could be the basis of something cool. That riff set the stage for the rest of the song.

As an early collaboration, we were still feeling each other out as a band during the writing process, and, in particular, it was the first opportunity for Flynn (Lawrence, guitar) and I to figure out how our guitar sounds would mesh. Since neither of us had worked with another guitarist in a long time, it fortuitously happened that our styles were complementary. Flynn is an extremely accurate, concise player with a passion for riffs and a somewhat metallic tone, whereas I’m basically a fuzzy, guitar-soloing mess, so we don’t step on each other’s toes. You can hear him nailing down some massive chord sounds while I play a wonky fuzz melody in various parts of the song. Mike (Stuart, drums) and Adam (Scott, bass) have a very natural interplay after having played together for several years.

The basic structure came together fairly quickly, but, as with most collaborations, the devil was in the details, especially when it came to recording. We were ambitious. For example, the psychedelic section in the middle is usually a theremin and bass-feedback freakout in the live arena, but we wanted to do something with more class and refinement on the studio recording. We layered electric sitar, piano, theremin, water drum and other oddities on top of the usual band arrangement. We wanted it loose and trippy, but not random and sloppy, with interesting layers of sound to bear repeated plays and reveal more of itself to the listener each time.

The entire song was given that level of attention, with synth drones and percussion throughout. It’s truly a testament to the skills of Ted (Richardson, engineer, TedAudio) and Charles (Newman, mixing engineer, Cottage Sounds Unlimited) for cleanly tracking and mixing so many layers of sound together in such a cohesive way.

Vocally, this is a departure from my past efforts in that I used a clearer sound with less grime. It was different and a little daunting, but I was ready to try something new, so I just went for it. It’s a pretty clean take – the main vocal is single-tracked to keep it sounding natural. You’ll hear some lovely backing vocals from Brittany Marie (Mike’s partner) and Avy (my ex-wife) in the pre-chorus, with equally lovely gang vocals from our Mike, Andy Martin (Clamfight) and Kermit Lyman III (Sheena and Thee Nosebleeds) on the choruses.

The lyrical concept comes from Jamaican street slang. This kind of slang is ever-changing, and there was a recent time where folks referred to anything bad-ass or really excellent as “qualified.” It could apply to anything from mangoes to movies to beautiful women, and I thought it was an evocative way to write our own version of something like ZZ Top’s “Nationwide.” I would never claim to be as cool as the little band from Texas, but we did our thing with it. I’m proud of the result.

Philly’s psychedelic space hippy enclave, Thunderbird Divine, has set an official domestic release date of January 11, 2019 for its debut album, Magnasonic, with Salt of the Earth Records (https://www.saltoftheearthrecords.com/). The offering, a 30-plus-minute exploration of riffs and psychedelia, features custom art design by the band’s bassist, Adam Scott.

Produced by the band and recorded at both Ted Richardson at TedAudio in Philadelphia (www.facebook.com/TedAudio) and Charles Newman (who also mixed the album) at Cottage Sounds Unlimited in Brooklyn (https://www.facebook.com/cottagesounds/), Magnasonic shows the quartet, which coalesced in March of 2017, is not willing to be pigeonholed as a strictly stoner/doom rock band. Featuring Scott on bass and guitars, Flynn Lawrence on guitars and additional instrumentation, Mike Stuart on drums and percussion and Erik Caplan on guitars and various instruments,Thunderbird Divine went for an unexpectedly broad tonal variety with Magnasonic.

Preorder at: https://saltoftheearthrecords.com/product/295609

Thunderbird Divine on Thee Facebooks

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Thunderbird Divine Post “Djinn au Jus” Video; Magnasonic Due Jan. 11

Posted in Whathaveyou on November 21st, 2018 by JJ Koczan

Thunderbird Divine (Photo by Dante Torrieri)

I don’t know what the hype is ultimately going to be like for Thunderbird Divine when it comes to their debut album, Magnasonic, but I do know that the record resides in its own niche of psych-informed classic stoner and sludge rock, and I do know that there’s more going on with it the more one listens. It’s been on my list of most anticipated albums pretty much since the band announced they’d gotten together last year as formed by members of Philly-based outfits Skeleton Hands and Wizard Eye. Now that we’re at the point of preorders going up Dec. 7 ahead of the Jan. 11 release, I find I’m all the more curious to know what the response will be.

As has been their method all along, Thunderbird Divine are giving a teaser for Magnasonic by unveiling a video clip for a song that’s not on the album. If you need an extra second to wrap your head around that — I do — feel free to take it. The latest one, “Djinn au Jus” taps into Snoop Dogg‘s similarly-titled single a from quarter-century ago while retaining its psychedelic flair worthy of the old sci-fi imagery that accompanies.

Album art and details came down the PR wire:

thunderbird divine magnasonic

THUNDERBIRD DIVINE release date!

Philly’s psychedelic space hippy enclave, Thunderbird Divine, has set an official domestic release date of January 11, 2019 for its debut album, Magnasonic, with Salt of the Earth Records (https://www.saltoftheearthrecords.com/). The offering, a 30-plus-minute exploration of riffs and psychedelia, features custom art design by the band’s bassist, Adam Scott.

“The inspiration for Magnasonic’s artwork stems from classic optical and psychedelic line art,” Scott explains. “It then evolved to the stargate space exploration of graphic symbolism, which we feel reflects the music’s loud vibrance.”

Connecticut-based Salt of the Earth Records, home to releases by Earthride, When the Deadbolt Breaks, Atala, Rifflord and more, is enthusiastic about this upcoming release.

“Everything about this album is beautiful, focused and original,” says Scott Harrington (Salt of the Earth Records). “From the instrumentation, songwriting, performances and recordings to the sacred geometry in the art direction, everything about Magnasonic speaks to the depth and talent of Thunderbird Divine. This will set the bar for bands to come.”

Produced by the band and recorded at both Ted Richardson at TedAudio in Philadelphia (www.facebook.com/TedAudio) and Charles Newman (who also mixed the album) at Cottage Sounds Unlimited in Brooklyn (https://www.facebook.com/cottagesounds/), Magnasonic shows the quartet, which coalesced in March of 2017, is not willing to be pigeonholed as a strictly stoner/doom rock band. Featuring Scott on bass and guitars, Flynn Lawrence on guitars and additional instrumentation, Mike Stuart on drums and percussion and Erik Caplan on guitars and various instruments,Thunderbird Divine went for an unexpectedly broad tonal variety with Magnasonic.

“A first record is often considered a band’s mission statement,” Caplan says. “We feel a lot of bands’ first releases set the tone for their careers as heavy, funky, trippy, fast or sludgey, and once they do that, any deviation from the initial sound can be perceived as false or a slacking in its rock responsibilities. We wanted come out of the gate with something diverse but representative. We wanted to leave ourselves with plenty of sonic options for the future.”

Layered with unlikely elements like marxophone, electric sitar, piano and a variety of synths, Thunderbird Divine is unlikely to be stylistically shackled in upcoming releases.

“This album pulls out a lot of stops and frees us from genre limitations,” says Stuart. “After this debut, our next record could be total Motorhead worship, and anyone who hears this one first should be able to hear how we got there. Not that we’ll necessarily do that, but it’s certainly an option.”

As with the band’s previous press releases, Thunderbird Divine once again offers listeners a non-album track with a promotional video. The band’s newest video track, “Djinn Au Jus,” is an unconventional pairing of early ’90s R&B with ’70s arena rock instrumental explorations. The self-recorded song was set to video by drummer/percussionist Stuart.

“The story continues here,” Stuart explains. “We’re moving forward; onward and upward. We’re setting the tone for Magnasonic with these short songs and videos.”

Advance orders for Magnasonic start December 7, 2018 at www.saltoftheearthrecords.com

https://www.facebook.com/thunderbirddivine
https://www.instagram.com/thunderbird_divine/
https://www.facebook.com/SaltOfTheEarthRec/
www.SaltOfTheEarthRecords.com

Thunderbird Divine, “Djinn au Jus” official video

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Thunderbird Divine Announce Debut Album Title Magnasonic; Post “Madras Blue” Video

Posted in Whathaveyou on July 17th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

Tomorrow night, Philadelphia four-piece Thunderbird Divine take the stage at Arlene’s Grocery in Manhattan atop the bill for the latest installment of the Ode to Doom show series. The band is only just now announcing the title of their Salt of the Earth Records debut album will be Magnasonic and that it will be released in the coming months via Salt of the Earth Records. To lead the way into the record, Thunderbird Divine — who first made their presence known in Spring 2017 and confirmed the album being through Salt of the Earth earlier this year — have a new video.

Does the track come from the album? No. It doesn’t. Why not? I think because, at least in part, that would be predictable. You’d see that coming. A band who are about to put out their debut LP? Well of course they have a video, probably for the catchiest cut on the thing. Thunderbird Divine? Their video is for an off-album instrumental weirdo exploration piece called “Madras Blue,” because screw expectation. One can only hope the entire full-length is so willing to follow its own impulses.

And yeah, that means I haven’t heard it yet. Hopefully sooner than later. I watch my email like a hawk these days. Like the sleepiest motherfucking hawk you ever saw in your life.

But that’s a matter for a different discussion. Here’s the latest from Salt of the Earth, as well as the “Madras Blue” video, which is down at the bottom:

thunderbird divine in studio

Thunderbird Divine Reveals Debut Album Title “Magnasonic,” Releases Promotional Video for “Madras Blue”

Philly’s crew of psychedelic riffologists, Thunderbird Divine, has revealed the title of its first recording. Titled Magnasonic, meaning “great sounds” in Latin, the 30-plus-minute album will be released in both CD and digital download formats via Connecticut’s Salt of the Earth Records (https://www.saltoftheearthrecords.com/) in late Summer/early Fall.

“The rough mixes I’ve heard thus far are next-level,” says Scott Harrington, president of Salt of the Earth Records. “Nobody we know has a record like this. With Thunderbird Diviine’s Magnasonic, Salt of the Earth Records is going to have a landmark release. It’s heavy, it’s psychedelic, it’s layered… it’s really like nothing else out there right now.”

Produced by musician/songwriter LD Beghtol (Flare/Moth Wranglers/Magnetic Fields), the sounds on the upcoming release offer a different flavor from past projects made by this conglomeration of musicians. The quartet, which coalesced in March of 2017 from the remains of Wizard Eye (vocalist/guitarist Erik Caplan) and Skeleton Hands (drummer Mike Stuart, bassist Adam Scott and guitarist Flynn Lawrence), is open to experimentation.

“We all wanted to stretch out and try some different things with our first record,” Caplan says. “It’s not like we abandoned the idea of big riffs, but we went for some progressive moments and embraced the idea of embroidering the songs with textures you don’t tend to hear in heavy music. LD certainly encouraged and instigated this kind of behavior.”

For a band holding a straightforward stoner and riff-rock pedigree, the inclusion of varied textures like piano, sitar, pump organ, bouzouki, marxophone, mandolin, synths and choral voices may seem disparate, or, more damnably, weird for the sake of being weird.

“We were aware this album might be perceived as an attempt to do too much or cram a square peg into a round hole,” Caplan says. “I think the heart of this collection is a solid, heavy band playing good rock songs, and the additional instrumentation takes the music to a fully realized place with the textures the songs need to make them complete. When you’re a musician imagining a piano in one of your songs, for example, it makes sense to get that piano part into the recording of that song if at all possible. The recording will be around forever.”

In keeping with the band’s promise to offer fresh, non-album tracks with promotional videos, Thunderbird Divine’s newest video track, “Madras Blue,” is a trippy intergalactic foray into a realm of swirling electric sitars, pulsing beats and staggered drones. The self-recorded song was set to video by drummer/percussionist Stuart.

“The narrative here follows the story we set in motion with ‘Quaalude Thunder,'” Stuart explains. “There was an arrival in the first video. Now there’s a celebration of that arrival and a birth. We can’t wait to continue telling this tale.”

Check out Thunderbird Divine at New York’s Ode to Doom at Arlene’s Grocery July 18: https://www.facebook.com/events/138916263419072/

https://www.facebook.com/thunderbirddivine
https://www.instagram.com/thunderbird_divine/
https://www.facebook.com/SaltOfTheEarthRec/
www.SaltOfTheEarthRecords.com

Thunderbird Divine, “Madras Blue” official video

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