Sons of Otis to Release Live in Den Bosch LP Nov. 15

Posted in Whathaveyou on November 1st, 2018 by JJ Koczan

sons of otis

Science has proven time and again the in depth equation that any new Sons of Otis is good Sons of Otis. If we see the long-running Toronto ultra-stoners as object A, then we can truly posit that A to the power of n equals G times infinity. It all looks like this:

An = Gi

You can’t argue with the math.

Totem Cat Records last week announced it would offer a previously-tour-only compilation from Bongzilla and said at the time there would be another announcement following shortly. Live at Den Bosch will be limited to 300 LP copies — if they’re not already gone on preorders, certainly they will be soon — and is a one-time pressing of Sons of Otis playing live in the Netherlands in 2011. Again, the mere fact of its existence is a positive, and whether you manage to snag a copy or not, you should take heart in knowing that it’s out there.

Of course, the band’s last studio outing was 2012’s Seismic (review here) on Small Stone, and as they hit Europe this past summer playing Hellfest and more, they also noted that a new album was in the works. I think we already know how the numbers play out on that issue.

The band passed the 25-year mark in 2017, and 2019 would be seven years since Seismic, so if you believe in due, they’re due. But one way or the other you’ll probably want to chase this down if you can. There are two versions up for preorder now through the label, with the official release slated for Nov. 15:

sons of otis live in den bosch

[NEW RELEASE ANNOUNCEMENT] Sons of Otis – Live In Den Bosch

Live recording from 2011 in The Netherlands. One-time pressing of only 300 vinyl.

TRACKLIST :
1 – I’m Gone
2 – Bad Man
3 – Lost Soul
4 – Haters
5 – Cosmic Jam
6 – Far From Fine

Preorders start October 30. Official release on November 15.

Cover art by Flog Diver | Illustration & Design

https://www.facebook.com/sonsofotis/
https://www.reverbnation.com/sonsofotis
https://www.facebook.com/totemcatrecords/
http://totemcatrecords.bigcartel.com/

Sons of Otis, Live at Hellfest 2018

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Bongzilla to Release Thank You… Marijuana Compilation Nov. 15

Posted in Whathaveyou on October 29th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

bongzilla

Though it’s kind of a wonder they can manage to cross state lines let alone international borders, Wisconsin’s Bongzilla toured Europe this past summer, and they had copies of their compilation Thank You… Marijuana, along with them for the ride. The 2LP brings together the band’s off-album catalog — tracks from splits, EPs, singles and so on. Other songs that presumably got high and wandered off. With a suitably stonerly respite between, Totem Cat will release Thank You… Marijuana on Nov. 15, with preorders starting next week.

Bongzilla releasing a comp called Thank You… Marijuana is nothing if not “on theme.” But any new outing from them is welcome, as it’s been some 13 years since they issued Amerijuanican, their most recent studio album. I of course don’t know what their plans are, but in noting this was coming, Totem Cat also hinted at another announcement to follow shortly behind, and it seems entirely possible that’s a new Bongzilla record or the long-awaited debut LP of side-project Aquilonian, which rumors had circulated might actually take shape sometime this or next year. I wouldn’t complain with either.

When/if I hear something I’ll put a post up, so if you want to consider this the first half of Totem Cat news going on, that’s fine. Certainly worth noting either way:

bongzilla thank you marijuana

[NEW RELEASE ANNOUNCEMENT] Bongzilla – Thank You… Marijuana

Compilation of all their previous splits & EPs, specially remastered for this release.

Available on CD / 2xLP / Totem Cat Exclusive 2xLP / Tour Edition 2xLP.

Tracklisting:
A1 Lighten Up 3:23
A2 Smoke Like The Wind 5:24
A3 Brownie 3:17
A4 Gungeon 4:21
B1 Hemp For Victory 5:17
B2 Smoke 4:26
B3 Budgun/THC 5:48
B4 Witch Weed 5:32
C1 Satan’s Calling 4:21
C2 Smell The Jar 5:39
C3 Proper Stoning 6:26
C4 Dealer McDope 6:49
D1 Gestation 3:46
D2 Trinity 6:44
D3 Witch Weed 6:37

Preorders will start October 30. Release date is November 15.

Artwork by Flog Diver | Illustration & Design

https://www.facebook.com/Bongzilla/
https://bongzilla.bandcamp.com/
https://www.facebook.com/totemcatrecords/
totemcatrecords.bigcartel.com/
https://totemcatrecords.bandcamp.com/

Bongzilla, “Gestation/Greenthumb” live in Paris, June 21, 2018

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Great Electric Quest Announce “Red White ‘n’ Brew” Tour

Posted in Whathaveyou on September 13th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

great electric quest

Next month, San Diego NWOBHM-infused heavy rockers Great Alcoholic Electric Quest will make appearances in Indianapolis at Doomed and Stoned Fest and in Arlington, TX, at the Obelisk-presented Heavy Mash 2018 (info here). That’s on Oct. 6 and Oct. 13, respectively, and if you’re thinking why not make a tour of it, clearly the band had the same idea. They’ll kickoff what’s been dubbed the ‘Red White ‘n’ Brew’ tour — because beer — on Sept. 27 in Las Vegas and make their way around the southern US and Midwest en route to closing out in Tempe, Arizona, on Oct. 15.

It’s not their first run in support of this year’s Chapter II: Of Earth (review here), as they were on the road before it came out on Totem Cat Records, but it is reportedly the first tour they’ll actually have copies at their merch table, so maybe you go, maybe you buy a record. Everybody has a drink and a good time and uses a fancy app to get a ride home. Joy abounds.

The band sent over the following announcement and the poster as follows:

great electric quest red white n brew tour final poster

Currently, science has determined, without flaw, the most impressive spectacle in our solar system is the live performance of GREAT ELECTRIC QUEST. Four bangers from California who are a full on cyclone of rock n roll destruction. It’s an all out slugfest between man and heavy metal. A display of showmanship that will captivate the eye an ignite the senses, but the invitation is not open forever. Mortal bros were not constructed to rage so hard.

Terrestrial livers were not designed to filter such god-like rations of alcohol. When GREAT ELECTRIC QUEST storms into town on their 2018 RED WHITE & BREW TOUR, it might be for the last fucking time ever! Eventually these dudes are just gonna drop dead on stage from excessive shredding! They will collapse like a black hole under the intense pressure from their own riffage! In the aftermath, the American flag will blow vigilantly in the winds of chaos and baby bald eagles will descend from the heavens to drink stale beer as they feast on the carcasses of our fallen heroes. The slate will be wiped clean and the cycle will start again. Shit is about to go down.

Watching videos on Youtube won’t cut it. Catch GREAT ELECTRIC QUEST.

GREAT ELECTRIC QUEST – Red White ‘n’ Brew tour:
09/27 Las Vegas NV The Bunkhouse Saloon
09/28 El Paso TX Joey’s Bad Company Bar
09/29 San Angelo TX The Deadhorse
09/30 Corpus Christi TX Black Monk Tavern
10/01 Houston TX Spruce Goose: Social Flyers Club
10/02 Lafayette LA The Freetown Boom Boom Room
10/03 Birmingham AL The Nick
10/04 Memphis TN Growler’s
10/05 Louisville KY Mag Bar
10/06 Indianapolis IN Indiana City Brewing Co. *Doomed and Stoned Fest*
10/07 Kansas City MO The Riot Room
10/08 Witchita KS The Elbow Room
10/09 Oklahoma City OK Blue Note
10/11 San Antonio TX The Mix
10/12 Austin TX The Lost Well
10/13 Arlington TX Division Brewery *Heavy Mash Fest*
10/15 Tempe AZ Yucca Tap Room

Words by: Brian Hasley (Riff Relevant)

GREAT ELECTRIC QUEST is
Tyler “T-Sweat” Dingvell – Vocals
Buddy Donner – Guitar
Daniel “MuchoDrums” Velasco – Drums
Jared Bliss – Bass

https://www.facebook.com/electricquest/
https://electricquest.bandcamp.com/
http://greatelectricquest.bigcartel.com/
https://www.facebook.com/totemcatrecords/
totemcatrecords.bigcartel.com/
https://totemcatrecords.bandcamp.com/

Great Electric Quest, Red White ‘n’ Brew tour promo

Great Electric Quest, Chapter II (2018)

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Yung Druid Premiere “Take Me to Your Dealer” Video

Posted in Bootleg Theater on September 7th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

yung druid video

Whoever decided to put London four-piece Yung Druid in front of a green screen very clearly had the right idea. I’m going to guess that was the masterful decision of director Emily McDonald, and if so, kudos. Likewise to whichever involved party decided to include the candy flying saucers along with all the background footage and other low-budget effects thereof, and then not onto to have the jar, but to actually throw the candy at the band as they play, in alien masks. Also it’s shot on VHS. Also there’s a baby that gets zapped by alien lightning eyes and everyone has fun wearing colors that disappear on the green screen. Also they ride a pretend rocketship wrapped in tin foil and smoke a giant novelty joint. Also the song rules. It’s all kind of genius.

The track is called “Take Me to Your Dealer,” and it comes from Yung Druid‘s self-titledyung druid take me to your dealer debut album, which is set to release before the end of the year on Totem Cat Records. Recorded by Mark Jasper in East London, the sound and vibe are as hash-oiled as the video concept, and so the two couldn’t be more appropriate together. It’s a right-on riff for those who might dig on the likes of Witch or some of their rawer stoner acolytes, but the sense of personality, aural and visual, is a marked distinguishing factor. Yung Druid had a demo out in 2016 that in cuts like “Underneath the Aching Sky” and “Went into a Wooden Room” called to mind a somewhat psych-doomier take on earliest Groan with hints of Elephant Tree-style melody in the vocals of “Lung,” and while I don’t know if any of them or the Blind Melon-meets-first-album-Mars Red Sky esque melody of “Morning Come,” which capped the demo, will be included on the self-titled, their over-the-top leads, languid nods and spacious reach offer context for where “Take Me to Your Dealer” is coming from.

Accordingly, I’ve included the demo in an embed at the bottom of this post. “Take Me to Your Dealer” is six minutes long but has no problem holding the viewer/listener’s attention for the duration. For its intriguing take on familiar elements, the burgeoning charm of its execution, and for how well it portends the album to be released, I’m thrilled to be able to host the premiere of the video.

You’ll find more info under the player below. Yung Druid play The Bird’s Nest in Deptford tonight, Sept. 7, in the company of Morag TongTrevor’s Head and Dead Lettuce.

Please enjoy:

Yung Druid, “Take Me to Your Dealer” official video premiere

Yung Druid on “Take Me to Your Dealer”:

It’s a send-up but in a way that’s representative of the best parts of the Stoner genre in general… a holy quadrangle of pastiche, tribute, weed, and evolution. “Take Me To Your Dealer” is pretty indicative of the way we approach music in general. It’s loud, exploratory, rooted in what may or may not have actually happened, and good to crush beers to.

We started recording a year or so back in a converted shed in a semi-industrial part of East London. The initial sessions resulted in a handful of demos which later found their way onto the final cut. We returned a few months later and finished the job, turning up louder to compete with the sonic frequency of the African Evangelical church who had set up next door.

London based, ‘70s inspired Stoner Rock band YUNG DRUID have unleashed their debut video clip for the track ‘Take Me To Your Dealer’; the first single from the band’s forthcoming self-titled LP, due for release via boutique Stoner/Doom label Totem Cat Records in late 2018. It was recorded, mixed and mastered by Mark Jasper at Soundsavers Studio, East London.

The retro inspired clip, shot on VHS by filmmaker Emily McDonald, is a psychedelic trip through space; cue alien transformations, flying babies, and a smattering of other ‘organic’ stimulus. To celebrate the release of the video, Yung Druid will be headlining the September edition of the Doom residency show at The Bird’s Nest in Deptford, alongside fellow UK riff merchants Trevor’s Head, Morag Tong and Dead Lettuce, on September 7.

Project: Yung Druid – Take Me To Your Dealer
Director: Emily McDonald
DOP: Joseph Gainsborough
Art Dept: Samantha Crossley
Editor: Emily McDonald
AFX: Kieran Gee-Finch

Yung Druid is:
Jack Oliver – Guitars and Vocals
Magnus Reid – Drums
Luke Waldock – Bass
Chris Reid – Guitars

Yung Druid on Thee Facebooks

Yung Druid on Bandcamp

Yung Druid on Soundcloud

Totem Cat Records on Thee Facebooks

Totem Cat Records on Bandcamp

Totem Cat Records webstore

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Quarterly Review: Worshipper, Dopethrone, The Mystery of the Bulgarian Voices, Omen Stones, Capra, Universo Rojo, Sergeant Thunderhoof, Fire Down Below, Stone Deaf, Cracked Machine

Posted in Reviews on July 20th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

quarterly-review-CALIFORNIA-LANDSCAPE-Julian-Rix-1851-1903

Well, we made it to the end of another Quarterly Review. One more batch and then it’s off to planning the next one for late September/early October. I hope you have found something this week that you’ve really dug. I have. A few, to be honest. Not everything is going to stick with every listener, of course, and that includes me, but for as much as putting this one together has been, there’s been some really good, year-end-list-type stuff included. At least as far as my own list goes. I sincerely hope you agree.

So let’s do this last one, then go sleep for a couple hours. Alright? Here we go:

Quarterly Review #41-50:

Worshipper, Mirage Daze

worshipper mirage daze

I don’t know if Worshipper knew they’d be embarking on their first West Coast tour in Summer 2018 when they hit Mad Oak Studios in Oct. 2016 to record the four cover tracks for their Mirage Daze EP on Tee Pee Records, but it certainly worked out in the Boston four-piece’s favor. Following-up their 2016 debut, Shadow Hymns (review here), Worshipper present four cover tracks in Uriah Heep’s “Easy Livin’,” The Oath’s “Night Child,” Pink Floyd’s “Julia Dream” and The Who’s “Heaven and Hell,” and while I’m a little sad that “Heaven and Hell” isn’t the Black Sabbath song, which I think they’d nail if they tried it, and I’m glad to have a studio version of their take on Floyd’s “Julia Dream,” which from the first time I saw them live was always a pleasure to watch live, I think the highlight of Mirage Daze might be “Night Child.” I never bought that The Oath record, and Worshipper’s take on its lead single is about the best argument I’ve seen for doing so. It may or may not be a stopgap issued to coincide with the tour, but Mirage Daze is a welcome arrival anyway. It’s a fan piece? Well, I’m a fan, so right on.

Worshipper on Thee Facebooks

Tee Pee Records website

 

Dopethrone, Transcanadian Anger

dopethrone transcanadian anger

Montreal scumsludgers Dopethrone return with Transcanadian Anger, an eight-track blister-fest of crunch riffing and misanthropic vibes. Delivered through Totem Cat Records, the 36-minute Weedeater-gone-bad-drugs sludge assault seems to invite superlatives front to back, even in the slamming instrumental “Killdozer” – a tribute to the band? – and the swinging penultimate cut “Kingbilly Kush.” Elsewhere, opener “Planet Meth,” “Snort Dagger,” “Tweak Jabber” and “Scuzzgasm” celebrate addiction and violence unto oneself and others, making a spectacle of decay set to voluminous sludge riffs and abrasive vocals. This is Dopethrone’s aesthetic territory, and they’ve done well over the last decade to make it their own. As they answer 2015’s full-length, Hochelaga (review here), and the next year’s 1312 EP with yet another filth-caked collection, they seem all the more in their own league of aural and narcotic self-punishment. They could be straightedge vegans for all I know, but they sure sound high as fuck, and I guess that’s the point. So, well done.

Dopethrone on Thee Facebooks

Totem Cat Records webstore

 

The Mystery of the Bulgarian Voices, BooCheeMish

the mystery of the bulgarian voices boocheemish

Lisa Gerrard of Dead Can Dance would seem to be trying to solve The Mystery of the Bulgarian Voices, a choral group from Bulgaria who, seemingly until teaming with Gerrard for the Prophecy Productions release BooCheeMish was known by the French name Le Mystère des Voix Bulgares. Whatever you call them, their history dates back nearly seven decades and their harmonies are utterly timeless. BooCheeMish is comprised of gorgeous folk renditions for 45 minutes of world-building perfection. Percussion of various sorts provides backing and on pieces like “Rano Ranila” they speed through at a pace and arrangement that’s head-spinning, while the later “Zableyalo Agne” finds them joined by flute for a nigh-religious experience and the subsequent “Tropanitsa” has a bounce worthy of any good times one might to envision from its evocative pulse. One can’t help but feel a bit of the cultural voyeur in taking it on – as well as feeling totally outclassed in reviewing it – but these songs were clearly meant to be enjoyed, and as their ambassadors, The Mystery of the Bulgarian Voices genuinely serve a public best interest.

The Mystery of the Bulgarian Voices on Thee Facebooks

Prophecy Productions website

 

Omen Stones, Omen Stones

omen stones omen stones

Virginia duo Omen Stones have no online presence as yet. No songs streaming. No cheeky logos-on-photos social media posts that new bands do when they’re sitting on their hands waiting to get material out there. What they – and by “they,” I mean guitarist/vocalist Tommy Hamilton of Druglord and drummer Erik Larson of Backwoods Payback, The Might Could, Alabama Thunderpussy, etc. – have is a four-song self-titled EP collecting about 13 minutes of material in demo fashion, bringing forth the Southern-shuffle-gets-weird-then-explodes opener “Secrete” as a first impression of a deceptive approach. You think it’s all good and then you get punched. Go figure. “Secrete” is also the longest track (immediate points) at 4:06, and the forward charge and harsher vocal of “Fertile Blight” follows, catchy as it is mean, and more indicative of what’s to follow in the maddening tension of “Sympathy Scars” and the fuckall sludgepunk of “Purity Tones.” Immediately against-trend, Omen StonesOmen Stones is a bird of prey unto itself. Hopefully at some point soon they make it publicly available.

Druglord on Bandcamp

Erik Larson on Bandcamp

 

Capra, Unholy Gallows

Capra Unholy Gallows

Taking influence from hardcore punk, post-hardcore and sludge, Lafayette, Louisiana’s Capra seem to fit in a Midwestern style of semi-metallic aggression that has flourished in the wake of the likes of The National Acrobat and Coliseum. The foursome’s Unholy Gallows single follows their also-two-song self-titled 2016 EP, and finds Tyler Harper (also of the recently-defunct The Midnight Ghost Train), Jeremy Randazzo, Ben Paramore and Lee Hooper aligned in their purposes of riff-led bludgeoning. Unholy Gallows is two songs/six minutes long – not by any means an afternoon commitment in terms of listening – but its furies are unveiled in far less time than that, and both “Red Guillotine” and “Hot Lips” waste no time in doling out their beatings. A sense of heft stems from tonal thickness, but they make it move to a propulsive degree, and aside from a quick feedback intro to “Red Guillotine,” there’s no letup; even as “Hot Lips” slows the pace some initially, it maintains geared toward foreshadowing the next fist to fly.

Capra on Thee Facebooks

Capra on Bandcamp

 

Universo Rojo, Impermanencia

Universo Rojo Impermanencia

Sprawl, sprawl, sprawl. Into space. Universo Rojo’s excellent four-track debut album, Impermanencia, makes you want to speak slowly enough to feel the words vibrate out of your mouth. The Chilean four-piece offer lengthy, jam-based excursions that echo out their feel across vast reaches of effects, progressive rhythm and melody-making unfurling all the while beneath an overarching swirl of effects, guitars and synth running atop the mix like competing currents of water. Opener “¿A Dónde Ir?” (8:13) gives way to the flute-laden krautrockism of “Visión Planetaria de los Tiempos” (8:40) as vocalist/guitarist/clarinetist Ferro Vargas-Larraguibel, drummer Naim Chamás, bassist Cristóbal Montenegro and synthesis Francisco Arellano conjure such molten possibilities. Though it’s just 34 minutes, Impermanencia is nonetheless expansive, with the 9:36 “Cinco (La Quinta Dimensión)” finding a place between drift and psych-jazz undulations while closer “Inmaterialización del Sentimiento Cósmico” (7:32) lets out a full-impulse burst of energy that’s blinding if you know just where to look. Not to be missed.

Universo Rojo on Thee Facebooks

Universo Rojo on Bandcamp

 

Sergeant Thunderhoof, Terra Solus

sergeant thunderhoof terra solus

Kudos to Bath, UK, four-piece Sergeant Thunderhoof on starting off their sophomore long-player, Terra Solus, with the album’s longest track in “Another Plane.” And likewise for the blend of psychedelia and burl that unfolds. In taking on the follow-up to their 2015 debut, Ride of the Hoof, they offer eight cuts and 51 minutes of spacious riffing charged with just an undercurrent of English boozer burl, Elephant Tree and Steak meeting head on for a raucous session of who knows what. “B Oscillation” taps nod and particularly satisfying fuzzy warmth in its lead section, while even a would-be bruiser like the subsequent “Diesel Breath” has a trip-out included. There is time for such things as every track but the penultimate and relatively minimalist soundscaper “Half a Man” tops six minutes, but Sergeant Thunderhoof make a much richer impression overall than their moniker might lead one to believe, and close out in particularly resonant fashion with “Om Shaantih,” emphasizing the breadth and post-rock elements that help make Terra Solus so engaging from the outset.

Sergeant Thunderhoof on Thee Facebooks

Sergeant Thunderhoof on Bandcamp

 

Fire Down Below, Hymn of the Cosmic Man

fire down below hymn of the cosmic man

The adaptation of Kyuss’ “Thumb” riff for Fire Down Below’s “Ignition/Space Cruiser” after the “Red Giant” intro on their second album, Hymn of the Cosmic Man (on Ripple), is nothing short of a clarion to the converted. The Belgian unit’s mission would seem to be to find that place on the horizon where the desert ground and space itself seem to meet and become one, and as side A closer “The Cosmic Pilgrim” turns from its initial crunch into more patient and drifting psych, they’d seem to get there. Atsmophere is certainly central to the record, as the aforementioned “Red Giant” and its side B counterpart “Nebula” demonstrate, never mind the other five tracks, and even as “Saviour of Man” runs through its janga-janga stoner-riffed hook there’s a flourish of effects to create a balance between the earthbound and the interstellar. Side B’s “Ascension” and especially 11-minute album-closer/highlight “Adrift in a Sea of Stars” seem to find the balance the four-piece is shooting for all along, and just before the nine-minute mark when the thick, fuzzed-out riff emerges from the jammy lead, the entire impetus for their journey seems to be laid bare. Well done.

Fire Down Below on Thee Facebooks

Ripple Music on Bandcamp

 

Stone Deaf, Royal Burnout

stone deaf royal burnout

Denver, Colorado’s Stone Deaf present a sans-frills desert rock vibe across the eight tightly structured tracks of their sophomore album, Royal Burnout (on Black Bow Records). Specifically, the compressed crunch in the guitar tone and some of the start-stop bounce riffing in cuts like “Room #240” and “Monochrome” seem to be drawn from the Songs for the Deaf methodology, and some of the vocals on opener “Spitshine” (video premiere here) remind of Queens of the Stone Age as well, but Stone Deaf – whose moniker, then, would be well sourced – have a deeper root in punk rock that underscores the “Go with the Flow” thrust of “Deathwish 62” as well as the chugging verses of “Boozy Spool” immediately preceding. It’s a sound that benefits greatly from the sharpness of its delivery and the craft Stone Deaf bring to it, and even when they seem to loosen up a bit on the midpaced pre-finale “That Lefty Request,” there’s a fervent sense of a plan unfolding. That plan would seem to be a success.

Stone Deaf on Thee Facebooks

Black Bow Records webstore

 

Cracked Machine, I, Cosmonaut

cracked machine i cosmonaut

Originally released last year, Cracked Machine’s debut, I, Cosmonaut, finds vinyl issue through PsyKA Records and earns it well with six tracks/45 minutes of mostly-instrumentalist and progressive space-psych. One assumes there’s a narrative thread at work across the span, as guitarist Bill Denton, bassist Chris Sutton, keyboardist/vocalist Clive Noyes and drummer Blazej Gradziel weave their way through “Twin Sons Rising” and “New Vostok” at the outset into the easy flow of “Baikonur Cosmodrome,” the harder-hitting title-track, the fuzzy declaration of “Svetlana” and the patiently executed 10-minute closer “Transorbital,” Denton’s guitar singing all the while. These places and, maybe, characters would seem to weave together to tell the story in impressions largely open to interpretation and correspondingly open in terms of their creativity, sounding spontaneous and maybe live-recorded if not entirely improvised, instead working to a plan for where each inclusion should go or end up. As Cracked Machine’s first album, it’s an ambitious work that does far more than get the band’s feet wet. It takes them out of the atmosphere and embarks on a journey beyond that one hopes is just beginning.

Cracked Machine on Thee Facebooks

Cracked Machine at PsyKA Records webstore

 

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Great Electric Quest, Chapter II: Of Earth: Molten Rock

Posted in Reviews on July 10th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

Great Electric Quest Chapter II of Earth

Should you happen to be the banner-raising type, you’ll want to get your hoisting arm ready for Great Electric Quest‘s second album. Dubbed Chapter II: Of Earth and released as their first offering in alliance with Totem Cat Records, the seven-track/36-minute long-player follows on the heels of 2016’s well-regarded Chapter I (discussed here) and a 2017 split single with Lords of Beacon House (review here) on Glory or Death Records, and presents a clear-headed vision of classic metal as filtered through a modern West Coast approach to ’70s heavy rock. With production and mixing by Duel guitarist Jeff Henson, engineering by Dan Frick, and mastering by Mos Generator‘s Tony Reed, the San Diego-based four-piece continue to avoid the boogie-rock mindset of which their hometown seems to be the epicenter, and instead distinguish themselves through a harder thrust throughout songs like opener “Seeker of the Flame” and “Anubis” and “Wicked Hands,” ultimately having more in common with Ozzy or Dio solo records than Black Sabbath itself — and more with Judas Priest than any of them — however much groove might lie beneath.

Plenty does, incidentally. With drummer Daniel “MuchoDrums” Velasco making his debut with the band and bassist Jared Bliss — who lives up to his surname with the low-end performance on the bouncing penultimate rocker “The Madness” — underscoring the riffs of guitarist Buddy Donner and the prone-to-soaring vocals of Tyler “T-Sweat” DingvellChapter II: Of Earth is thick not just in its vibe, but in tone as well. And while it’s not necessarily surprising that the guitar would be leading the charge throughout much of the material, Donner acquits himself well both in the head-spinning shred, nodding verses and later gallop of “Wicked Hands” and in giving room to the accompanying Hammond organ on relatively patient closer “Heart of the Sun,” one of several moments where Great Electric Quest seems to be driving toward and reaching 1983’s headbanger ideal of “epic,” as evidenced by a continued focus on songwriting rather than the jammy exploration that, again, so typifies San Diego’s heavy underground at this point.

If Chapter II: Of Earth has anything in common with the output of Great Electric Quest‘s Sun Dog compatriots, it’s a party atmosphere. Their edge might be inherently more aggressive because of the metallic elements at play, but there’s still a good chance these dudes skate. In Donner‘s tone, in the smoothness of rhythm from Velasco and Bliss, and in Dingvell‘s gotta-hear-it Halfordian throat scorch early in “Anubis,” there’s still the sense that Great Electric Quest stand ready at a moment’s notice to throw down an inhuman(e) amount of hooch, smoke whatever’s handy and have a good time doing it. Then, you know, get up on stage and crush as they will. It doesn’t mean they don’t take what they’re doing seriously — they’ve put in enough time on the road since Chapter I that it’s clear their intentions are to melt brains with songcraft as much as any other method — just that in listening to Chapter II: Of Earth, its spirit isn’t at all staid as one finds with some traditional heavy metal.

Great Electric Quest

Put it this way: if riffs are beer, then Great Electric Quest is the craft movement. They’re not the ones sticking to the 500-year-old established tenets of purity. They’re the ones turning those rules on their head, getting a colorful-ass label — in this case, a righteous Adam Burke cover painting — and punching you in the face with hops. And the loosening of stylistic reins can be heard not just in the blurring of lines between rock and metal on “Seeker of the Flame” at the album’s outset — more Priest there — or in “Heart of the Sun” on the opposite end, but perhaps most especially in the two-part “Of Earth” saga itself, which, broken into the six-minute “Of Earth I” and the subsequent, eight-minute “Of Earth II,” presents more of a narrative and conceptual structure that not only carries through the stylistic meld and allows Velasco a snare-centered solo beginning in the first half of the first part, but brims with end-of-the-set vitality in a way that adds a sense of adventure to the record as its second and third tracks respectively.

To wit, “Of Earth I” picks up from that drum solo after hitting the four-minute mark and is led by the guitar to a Manowar-style over-the-top rock finish followed by a highlight solo from Donner that provides the transition into the more mid-paced intro to “Of Earth II.” Live, this must seem like a tour de force, and on the album, the impression isn’t all that different. The central tempo that emerges from “Of Earth II” is faster and its descending vocal melody a bit more severe, but the metallic fist-pumping is prevalent until just before six minutes in, when they turn to a quieter groove, layers of guitar working over the solid bass and drum progression as Dingvell holds over the energy in his delivery from earlier in the track, locking step with the guitar as the track enters its final measures with a last-second hook before a cymbal wash closes out, to be followed by “Anubis” — presumably on vinyl, this is where the side split happens — as though nothing ever happened. I won’t call it progressive because of the potential for misunderstanding where Great Electric Quest are coming from aesthetically, but the Chapter II: Of Earth two-parter title-cut is remarkably thoughtful in its execution.

Following, the one-two-three punch of “Anubis,” “Wicked Hands” and “The Madness” passes quickly, despite the variety of style between them, and warrants multiple listens as a section of its own before giving way to “Heart of the Sun,” which speaks to a similar mindset as “Of Earth I” and “Of Earth II” despite being on its own wavelength in terms of mood. From “Seeker of the Flame” onward, one of Great Electric Quest‘s greatest strengths is the front-to-back flow of Chapter II: Of Earth, which is something that their toying with different structures throughout helps immensely, but much like the care put into the mix in terms of giving the guitar, bass and drums standout moments while tasking Dingvell with establishing himself as a true classic metal frontman — he does — likewise attention seems to have been paid to each level of the presentation, from tones to the ordering of the tracklisting. Coupled with the deceptive nuance of the sound itself, all of these elements come together to make Chapter II: Of Earth both a satisfying listen and an important, willful step forward for Great Electric Quest. It’s growth they’ve actively made happen through touring and tightening their approach, and if this is the sound of that work paying off, then by all means, raise the banners high.

Great Electric Quest on Thee Facebooks

Great Electric Quest on Bandcamp

Great Electric Quest webstore

Totem Cat Records on Thee Facebooks

Totem Cat Records webstore

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Great Electric Quest Set July 6 Release for Chapter II; New Song Streaming

Posted in Whathaveyou on May 29th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

great electric quest

In discussion for over a year and preceded by the band’s first full US tour and their signing to Totem Cat RecordsGreat Electric Quest‘s Chapter II will be released on July 6. To herald its arrival, the San Diego four-piece are streaming the song “Seeker of the Flame” now, and it’s got all the classic metal vibes one could ask for coming off of the band’s 2016 debut album, Chapter I (discussed here), as they continue to eschew their hometown’s penchant for heavy psych jams and instead raise horns high in a salute to timeless riffing and an aggressive spirit. Dudes have put in some real time on tour, and it seems like it’s about to bring them to a new level of notoriety and direction.

They kill it, in other words. Record’s good. Keep an eye out:

Great Electric Quest Chapter II

GREAT ELECTRIC QUEST: new LP “Chapter II” out July 6th on Totem Cat Records

San Diego’s shredding heroes GREAT ELECTRIC QUEST return with their aptly-titled second LP “Chapter II”, a hook-laden heavy metal odyssey out July 6th on Totem Cat Records!

Sonic storytellers GREAT ELECTRIC QUEST are true merchants of Rock and Roll and Heavy Metal taking listeners on a journey into an ever expanding world of captivating characters and allegories…

“Chapter II”, the long anticipated 2nd LP coming from GREAT ELECTRIC QUEST bring their journey to flat out gargantuan proportions. Barn burners like “Seeker of the Flame”, “Anubis” and “Wicked Hands” set fire to the torch that illuminates the Epic title track “Of Earth”; a 15 minute saga full of “Creation, “Destruction”, and the resolution of “Ancient Machine”. The penultimate track “The Madness” is a gritty ode to classic riff rock and the closing track “Heart of the Son”, simply unites.

Riffage, solos, rhythms, and lyrics along with the production of Jeff Henson (Duel) and Tony Reed (Mos Generator) combine to bring a bigness and fullness of color that elevates this album into upper echelons. Adam Burke’s cover art is a mind blowing combination of bad ass and fun as the four members are represented in an almost superhero like fashion protecting planet Earth with their Rock and Roll as they ride over her. “Chapter II” is here and so is GREAT ELECTRIC QUEST, delivering the whole package with an album that should resonate for years to come.

TRACK LISTING:
1. Seeker Of The Flame
2. Of Earth I
3. Of Earth II
4. Anubis
5. Wicked Hands
6. The Madness
7. Heart Of The Son

GREAT ELECTRIC QUEST is
Tyler “T-Sweat” Dingvell – Vocals
Buddy Donner – Guitar
Daniel “MuchoDrums” Velasco – Drums
Jared Bliss – Bass

https://www.facebook.com/electricquest/
https://electricquest.bandcamp.com/
http://greatelectricquest.bigcartel.com/
https://www.facebook.com/totemcatrecords/
totemcatrecords.bigcartel.com/
https://totemcatrecords.bandcamp.com/

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Cloud Catcher & Crypt Trip Announce ‘Wheels of Fire 2018’ Tour

Posted in Whathaveyou on May 3rd, 2018 by JJ Koczan

I’m just going to assume ‘Wheels of Fire’ is like ‘Chariots of Fire’ but with a much, much, much better soundtrack. The tour will unite Denver headspinners Cloud Catcher with Texas heavy rockers Crypt Trip, whose debut on Heavy Psych Sounds, Rootstock, is out next week. Presented by Hi-Wattage Booking, it looks like a healthy run, covering a goodly portion of California from north to south before swinging back to Texas and letting Cloud Catcher — still supporting last year’s righteous Trails of Kozmic Dust (review here) on Totem Cat play a gig in Oklahoma City on their way back to Colorado.

A little surprising they’re not hitting up the Pacific Northwest — Seattle, Portland, etc. — this trip, but Cloud Catcher were there last Fall, so it’s not exactly like the ground hasn’t been covered. Still, this seems like it’ll be a good time and I can’t help but wonder at this point if Cloud Catcher don’t have some new material they might be trying out on the road. If you get to see them, let me know.

Here’s the poster and dates:

cloud catcher crypt trip tour

CLOUD CATCHER & CRYPT TRIP
WHEELS OF FIRE 2018 TOUR

May 19 Denver, CO Hi-Dive
May 21 Salt Lake City, UT Urban Lounge
May 23 Las Vegas, NV Bunkhouse
May 24 Reno, NV Jub Jubs
May 25 Nevada City, CA Coopers Ale House
May 26 San Francisco, CA Thee Parkside
May 27 Sacramento, CA Blue Lamp
May 28 Los Angeles, CA The Griffin
May 29 Long Beach, CA Que Sera
May 30 San Diego, CA Brick By Brick
June 1 San Antonio, TX The Mix
June 2 Austin, TX Hotel Vegas
June 3 Ft. Worth, TX Tin Panther
June 4 Oklahoma City, OK Blue Note (CC ONLY)

Presented by Hi-Wattage Booking

Poster by Christina Hunt http://www.heavymetaltalisman.com

CLOUD CATCHER is:
Rory Rummings – Guitar and Vocals
Kam Wentworth – Bass and Vocals
Jared Soloman Handman – Drums

CRYPT TRIP is
Ryan Lee: Guitar, Vocals, Elec. Piano
Cameron Martin: Drums, Vocals, Perc.
Sam Bryant: Bass

https://cloud-catcher.bandcamp.com/
https://www.facebook.com/cloudcatcherco

https://www.facebook.com/CryptTrip/
https://crypttrip.bandcamp.com/

Cloud Catcher, Trails of Kozmic Dust (2017)

Crypt Trip, Rootsock (2018)

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