Telescope, Telescope: Truth and Revision

Posted in Reviews on December 12th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

telescope telescope

It’s a question of timing. We hear a lot about what’s commonly considered the Psychedelic Era, which ran roughly from 1966 to 1970 and could be considered the ground out of which the first movement of heavy rock was subsequently born. The succession isn’t so clean, of course. It wasn’t one right into the next. But trends came and went and different sounds were picked up at different times enough for a narrative to emerge, so that’s what it is. The Psychedelic Era.

Newcomer Barcelona duo Telescope offer a reminder with their three-song debut short release that the story is never quite that plain, and that each detail has the potential to be hiding its own devil. Comprised of multi-instrumentalists Esteban Garós and Luis Pomés — the latter also of Lewis and the Strange Magics — the two-piece have an immediately deceptive modus, rife with aesthetic specificity that seems geared toward capturing the very moment when the British Invasion and the subsequent movement of pop-rock first began to take on psychedelic overtones.

In other words: when The Beatles started smoking pot. There’s proto-lysergic elements at work in Telescope‘s three initial tracks — “With Your Truth,” “Adrift” and “Not Your Game” — but no hint of anything like a bad trip taking place and Garós and Pomés, who also self-recorded while Pomés handled mixing and mastering, never lose the sunshiny pop flair that lies beneath the resonant fuzz of their tones.

The result of this effort may only be 11 minutes long, and it may ultimately lie somewhere between a demo and an EP when it comes to the actual reality of how it will relate to their work going forward — that is, one doesn’t want to read too much into it with the project being so new — but it’s a significant stylistic achievement that nestles itself warmly into a sonic place few bands inhabit or would dare to try inhabit. Telescope do this without snark, without irony, and with a sense of character in their songcraft strikingly developed for it being their first offering.

One might give partial credit as regards that songcraft to Pomés‘ prior experience in Lewis and the Strange Magics, whose twisted take on classic garage rock isn’t entirely divorced from the semi-retroist vibes Telescope bring to proto-psych in these three cuts, but in comparing approaches, the new duo is far less theatrical, and by focusing sonically on the years closer to ’64-’66 rather than ’67-’70, they also position themselves in a fascinating niche as regards how rock and roll began to use the studio itself as an instrument.

telescope

The drums on the straight-off-Help! bouncing closer “Not Your Game” are particularly Ringo-esque and sound recorded live, but along with that and the running bass, there’s a later flourish of synth and the vocal harmonies over top there and the Mellotron that pops up in the swinging “Adrift” speak to what were the very beginnings of studio experimentation that, in just a few years’ time, would produce records like Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, Are You Experienced? and The Piper at the Gates of Dawn. That sensibility begins on “With Your Truth,” which opens and is also the longest track (immediate points) at 3:55.

A gentle guitar line swirls in backed by bright-tone fuzz and sets itself to easy-dreaming a quick verse that seems to hop into the volume swell of the hook, with a strut of low end that continues the smooth and crisp groove into the next verse and chorus, after which a short solo takes hold, leading back to the chorus and toward the couple quick instrumental measures that close. It is so forward, so traditionalist in its structure and so sincere and gimmick-free in its execution that one can’t help being swept up by it, and as “Adrift” cleanly takes hold with its opening bassline and the aforementioned Mellotron, the more blown-out vocals over the laid back instrumental progression give a feeling of variety to the EP that is no less subtle than the nuance of their style, Garós and Pomés showing an early chemistry between them in terms of performance as much as writing.

And I don’t know that I ever thought I’d find myself using a phrase like “the tambourine makes it,” but as regards “Not Your Game,” it also happens to be true. It is precisely the kind of touch that lets the listener know just how schooled in what they’re doing Telescope are, which seems all the more crucial their first time out, and it’s one more nod to the pre-psych age that also allows the band to sneak in more modern elements and weirdo touches, giving them, in essence, a familiar foundation on which to build a sound of their own. That they do so with yet another hook of such quality is all the more to their credit, but in line with the cheerful and sunshiny mood of the release overall and the temporal thematic, that quality is an additional aspect tying the EP’s tracks together.

In thinking of how a debut long-player might take shape, it’s important to keep in mind just how tight records from this (that) era were. As “Not Your Game” fades out, one is reminded of strong-handed producers keeping things radio-friendly with editorial tape-cutting and so on. A question Telescope will have to answer for themselves as they move forward from this debut EP is just where they want to put themselves in that balance, and how they can still manage to bring diversity of songwriting to a release while keeping individual pieces to such brevity.

Certainly it’s been done before — that’s the whole point. I’d love to hear Garós and Pomés take on a sentimental ballad, or an unabashed love song, or even the stuff of a mega-catchy toss-off single. There’s so much potential in their debut EP that it’s difficult to imagine the various directions in which they might grow, but they’ve set the task in front of them and they push through this introductory statement in such a manner as to make one think that wherever they end up, it will be a joy to follow along. Here’s looking forward to looking back.

Telescope, Telescope (2017)

Telescope on Thee Facebooks

Telescope on Bandcamp

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Cyanna Mercury Post “Apollo” Video

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

cyanna mercury

Might at first seem like a curious choice on the part of Athens-based five-piece Cyanna Mercury in picking a track for a video to represent their debut album, Archetypes (review here). After all, they could’ve gone with the heavy blues vibes of opener “Horse Dark as Night” or the organ and folk-ish percussion of the later, soulful “If We Were Blind,” the handclap-laden “Lilith” or even the moody “Ode to Absent Father,” but instead they went with the 90-second “Apollo,” a piano-and-voice piece that, while fair enough in capturing the brooding sensibility of Archetypes on the whole, hardly speaks for the scope of the band’s arrangements throughout. Well, it turns out they already did videos for all the other songs, and “Apollo” is the last one left, so there you go.

Even so, given the sonic variety between the tracks above and the rest that make up Archetypes, Cyanna Mercury don’t really have just one that speaks for the entirety of the album, the 47 minutes record of which fluidly blend Greek folk elements with heavy, psychedelic and classically progressive rock into a sound that’s patient and expressive without veering into being overblown or more theatrical than it wants to be. It’s a balance that would be hard for a more experienced group to strike, but Cyanna Mercury not only make it flow on their debut, but do so without sounding rushed or like they’re fuddling their way through finding their sound. They come across, in other words, like they know what they’re doing.

And hell, maybe they do. In that case, even without knowing all the other clips exist, one might be more inclined to give Cyanna Mercury the benefit of the doubt on a curious choice like giving “Apollo” visuals over some of the other tracks on Archetypes, since clearly there’s a master plan at work. As to how their plan might play out, I don’t know, but one of the hallmarks of Greece’s emergent heavy underground is that its bands have a genuine sense of stylistic adventurousness and that, for the most part, they’re not content to simply carbon-copy the work of others from outside their geographic sphere without putting something of their own into it. “Apollo,” in the span of about a minute and a half, proves Cyanna Mercury are immediately engaged in this as well, and so maybe it was the way to go after all.

Video and credits follow here. Please enjoy:

Cyanna Mercury, “Apollo” official video

Produced by Dimitris Lilis & Cyanna Mercury
Co-produced, Mixed, Engineered by Alex Bolpasis
Recorded at Artracks studios
Mastered by James Plotkin

Video created by Iam Nothe
https://www.facebook.com/IamNotheDesign

Music by Diamond Pr & Spyreas Sid
Lyrics by Spyreas Sid

Cyanna Mercury is:
Spyreas Sid – vocals & percussion
Nick Sid – keyboard
Diamond Pr – guitars
Dennis Panagiotidis – drums
Dimitri Georgopoulos – bass

Cyanna Mercury website

Cyanna Mercury on Thee Facebooks

Cyanna Mercury on Bandcamp

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Black Space Riders to Release Amoretum Vol. 1 Jan. 26

Posted in Whathaveyou on November 21st, 2017 by JJ Koczan

Last we heard from adventurous German rockers Black Space Riders was this past Spring, and the Münster-based heavy progressives were heading into the studio to craft the follow-up to their 2016 EP, Beyond Refugeeum (discussed here), which itself was an answer to the previous long-player, Refugeeum (review here), the band’s tendency toward social commentary becoming more prevalent over time even as their sound correspondingly has grown less and less bound by notions of genre in pursuit of its own identity. I’ll admit happily that the description below of what Amoretum Vol. 1 holds in store has me intrigued, and while I’m not necessarily surprised to find them working in a two-part context, because prog and whatnot, I am interested to hear what develops across and between the pair of 2018 outings to come.

The PR wire has preliminary info:

black space riders

BLACK SPACE RIDERS Releasing New Album ‘Amoretum Vol. 1’ on January 26

German Riffonauts BLACK SPACE RIDERS are proud to announce the January 26th release of new album Amoretum Vol. 1.

The internationally acclaimed predecessor Refugeeum brought the band renown with its mixture of thoughtful, sensitive themes and hard, atmospheric rock. Two years have passed since then, two years in which the world has not necessarily become a better place in the eyes of most people.

War, terror, displacement, destruction, rejection and nationalism dominate the headlines. Or, as a wise little green fellow once said: “Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering.”

“All you need is love”, countered the BEATLES in 1967. The response of BLACK SPACE RIDERS in 2018 is Amoretum, a made-up word comprising “amor” and “arboretum” to symbolize a protective garden and a germ seed of love. And so the new song cycle of BLACK SPACE RIDERS is all about the conflict between fear-hate-rejection-darkness on the one hand, and love-empathy-care-light on the other. For, how else should we overcome hate, if not with love?

Musically, this conflict is consistently put into practice by a band that beats its own path and is constantly developing. The electronic experiments of the Beyond Regugeeum EP of 2016 have been reduced sonically and cleverly integrated into the powerfully sounding songs. Between fat, dirty riffs and trippy delays, everything that sounds good is allowed; the album is interspersed with a flowing groove throughout and an ever-present atmosphere that embraces the listener. Heavy, sometimes proggy, often psychedelic, always engaging and almost catchy and danceable, Amoretum Vol. 1 takes us by the hand, shows us the dark side, and then wants to give us the hope back that we so often painfully miss.

The album flows from song to song as if from a single cast. The listener wonders after 45 minutes whether everything is really already over, and wants to go back to the beginning again immediately.

But of course everything is not over after 45 minutes in the world of BLACK SPACE RIDERS. The band also announces a second chapter for 2018 … Amoretum Vol. 2 is waiting for us, while we are looking forward to Amoretum Vol 1.

Distribution partners:
Germany/Austria/Switzerland: Cargo Records
USA/ Canada: MVD Entertainment
UK: PHD (plastichead distribution)
BeNeLux: Suburban records
Scandinavia: Border Music
Italy: Goodfellas
BLACK SPACE RIDERS are:

JE: Lead Vocals, Guitars, Organ, Beats
SEB: Lead vocals
C.RIP: Drums, Percussion
SLI: Guitars
SAQ: Bass Guitar
HEVO: Additional Bass Guitar

www.blackspaceriders.com
Twitter.com/BlackSpaceRider
www.facebook.com/BlackSpaceRiders
www.youtube.com/user/blackspaceriders

Black Space Riders, Beyond Refugeeum (2016)

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Six Dumb Questions with Great Electric Quest

Posted in Six Dumb Questions on November 15th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

great electric quest

With their 2016 debut full-length, Chapter I, San Diego-based four-piece Great Electric Quest set out to immediately distinguish themselves from their surroundings. While much of San Diego’s heavy underground shares an affinity for classic heavy rock, instead of boogie and swirl, songs like “1901” and “Beers in Hell” found a driving combination of classic metal, frontman Tyler “T-Sweat” Dingvell leading a charge with a throaty interpretation of what James Hetfield might’ve sounded like had Metallica released their first record circa ’73. Buddy Donner‘s guitar, Jared Bliss‘ bass and Daniel “Mucho” Velasco‘s drumming honed a sonic niche that could be either brash, as on the initial shred of “Madam Elbib” or “Egypt,” or patient and tinged with doomly atmospherics, like the rolling blues of eight-minute centerpiece “Cry of the Wolf,” or the dramatic side B highlight “7 Years.”

Especially for a first salvo, Chapter I‘s self-assured songcraft came across as genuine, and Great Electric Quest hit the road fervently to support. Already veterans of Psycho Las Vegas in 2016, this past Spring, they took off on their first coast-to-coast US tour, and in June, they made a stop in Denver to play the Electric Funeral fest alongside Acid King, Corky Laing’s Mountain and a slew of others. They’re currently wrapping another run, dubbed the ‘Beer Vikings Tour’ that has seen them partying their way across the West Coast in the company of Lords of Beacon House, with whom they’ve also newly issued a split single (review here) via Glory or Death Records.

All of this, of course, is prelude to the next album, and indeed, Chapter II is on its way, drum solo in “Of Earth I” and all. On that song and short, tight pieces like “Wicked Hands,” the scorching “Anubis” and the righteously post-Thin Lizzy groove-minded “The Madness,” Great Electric Quest work to draw together the different sides they displayed throughout Chapter I into a cohesive, singular approach of their own, as likely to shred out on “Of Earth II” as to underscore that same shred with acousti-Sabbath flourish and Dingvell‘s throaty echoes. As the range between opener “Seekers of the Flame” and closer “Heart of the Son” makes plain, Great Electric Quest are becoming an even more dynamic outfit than they were when they started, and they leave little doubt across Chapter II‘s span about their capacity to turn heads before they make them bang, roll, or nod. They are, simply, a band who demand attention.

Moving out from the first record into the next, I wanted to get a sense of Great Electric Quest‘s processes, their time on the road and their time in the studio. You’ll find the last two Beer Vikings tour dates below, and then under that, the cover art for Chapter II by Adam Burke and a conversation with the whole band about their origins and more.

Beer Vikings Tour Remaining Dates:
11/16/17 ABQ, NM Burt’s Tiki Lounge W/ Undying Evil & Prey for Kali
11/17/17 Tempe, AZ Yucca Tap Room W Red Wizard, Greenbeard, Stone Witch, Old Fashioned Assassin, Dead Canyon, HVY

Please enjoy the following Six Dumb Questions:

Great Electric Quest Chapter II

Six Dumb Questions with Great Electric Quest

What’s the status of Chapter II? When can we expect it to show up? Was there anything you guys were looking to do differently or to specifically build off of coming from the first album?

Buddy Donner: Your asses is grasses, and Quest is the lawnmower!

Tyler Dingvell: Haha, the “status” is like an ice cold 12er that’s been on chill for about 20 min… It’s ready to be guzzled and enjoyed, we just gotta pop the top, or in this case finalize the label and release date…

BD: Yeah, we’ve got the final tracks! It took a ton of work and time from not only the band, but a whole Krew of our “Quest Family.” We are very lucky to have the friends we do with their talents in their respectful areas. The tracks are finally 100 percent the way we want them to sound, we couldn’t be happier. At this point we wanted to take some time to “shop for labels” and mastermind the release, but the tracks are done and ready to send to production once we’ve made our decisions on the business side of things. I wouldn’t expect the album to be released any later than Spring 2018. We’re fortunate to have such a dedicated Road Krew; we’ve been able to get a ton of work done since the release of Chapter I and we are only ramping up to push for bigger things to follow Chapter II.

TD: For me, Chapter II really feels like a first album. “It feels like the first time, like it’s never felt before” [singing]. Maybe it’s just nostalgic, but the way we have crafted these tunes and jammed them live before the release really feels like a first album… Chapter I was years and years of material finally recorded and this one was written all together in Glory or Death Studios with the same doods, around the same time, over many beers, bowls, and pulled pork sangwitches… haha. You can expect much more cohesion, production value, and of course, our legendary friend, Guns ‘n’ Roses alumni Teddy “Zig Zag” throwing down some keyboard tracks on choice tunes like “Of Earth” and “Heart of the Son.”

We’ve reached out to labels with whose artists we have become close friends, like Ripple, Heavy Psych Sounds, RidingEasy, Tee Pee, Rise Above, HeviSike, and Metal Blade, just to name a few. We just gotta figure out who is going to align with us the best for our vision going forward. We want to become a featured artist of the label and not just another blade of grass in a field of releases. We have a great thing going with our own label, Glory or Death Records, but we want to team up and take some things to the next level in 2018 and through this support system that has developed we should be seeing the shores of Europe with our next release. We are going to put a hell of a lot of effort towards performing, writing, touring, representing ourselves and label and we want to receive the same.

Tell me about your time in the studio for Chapter II. What was the vibe like while you were recording? How long were you there? What was the process like and how did it compare to working on Chapter I or the split with Lords of Beacon House?

TD: Well, simply put, recording Chapter I was like pulling teeth from the shark in Jaws and recording Chapter II was like the Cool Runnings record breaking bobsled run at the Olympics; minus the horrific crash, haha. The candle was burning at both ends for Chapter I and we would drive up to L.A., record until 4AM and then drive back to San Diego just to get caught in the horrific traffic caused by road repair through Camp Pendleton; it was a CF, as Ted, our 72-year-old Lyft driver in Austin two days ago would refer to it. He didn’t want to say “fuck,” haha. This album was great to write and record. It was fluid, we took our time, all the moving pieces worked together from tracking with Dan Frick, production and mixing with Jeff Henson and mastering with Tony Reed. It was fucking awesome to see the progress in overall sound as the tunes went through each process. Dan is one of my favorite people on the planet to work with and Jeff brought so much warmth and color to the tracks and Tony just set everything into place perfectly. Honestly, I’m fucking psyched on it and I am happy to say that it came out as something we feel proud of… Through my experience, that’s all you can really ask for as an artist. Being satisfied with the finished product.

BD: We recorded Chapter II with Dan Frick in Vista, CA, only minutes from home, which was a real pleasure compared to the two-hour commute for each session on Chapter I, which was tracked in Tujunga, CA. Working with Dan Frick is a fucking piece of cake. There isn’t a more laid-back dude out there and he is incredibly knowledgeable about all the instruments and the way things need to be done, how they are supposed to sound and what we need to change to correct things that didn’t quite sound right.

Following Dan, we sent the finalized tracks to Jeff Henson of Duel to do the mixing, which instantly brought the tracks to life. After making sure everything was played the way it needed to be, Jeff put his mojo on it and right away we were shocked with the vibe the tracks had on the first mixdown. We actually tracked the Lords of Beacon House [split] songs right after the Chapter II tracks with Dan as well. Why mess with a good thing?

Daniel Velasco: This is the first full-length album that I will be on, so I was very excited when I first set up my kit at the studio. I’ve played a ton of live shows with different bands over 10 plus years, but to finally have my drums recorded as part of this album really pumped me up. Especially after I knew they had already put out one full-length and I knew the level of commitment these guys had. The engineer Dan, was great and really set a calm vibe during the drum recordings. I recorded the drum tracks in about a day and a half with only Buddy playing scratch guitar and a metronome on most of the songs. Couldn’t say how it compared to Chapter I since I was not with the Quest on that album.

TD: I’m glad we could spare you the gauntlet, Mucho! Haha.

You’ve spent some pretty significant time on the road since Chapter I came out. What do you feel like you’ve learned about yourselves as a band through touring, and do you think all that road time has affected the sound on the new album at all?

BD: Playing on the road is fucking incredible. You finally dive into your life’s passion 100 percent. Every, single, thing, is about what you want to do with your life and every single night you’re meeting new people and making new friends and fans and ever-pressing towards your ultimate goal. We also drink a ton of beer, which of course is fun as hell.

Jerry Bliss: I love being on the road. It’s a lot work but we have the time of our lives doing it. The great thing about being on the road is us growing together as musicians but most importantly our friendships. The music is affected by our relationships with each other and friends and influences we meet out on the road. We show each other new music along every bus ride to the next destination.

DV: During live shows, I can hear all the members try new things during our set. Different bends on chords or the vocal melodies changing, new basslines during the solos etc. Once we all lock into it and we play it show after show, it feels like the songs will never be 100 percent complete, which I think is great! It keeps us on our toes and things fresh, while also providing something new for the crowd. Some of my favorite songs are live performances. Like on “Dazed and Confused” when they play it live, the rhythm section just takes off and it’s just having little differences from the studio albums that can create that unique experience. Once Chapter II is out and you compare it to Chapter I, you will hear the difference of the sound and groove I bring compared to the first album and if you compare that to the live performance you can be sure there is a couple tasty differences while still holding onto its core.

TD: The time on the road with this crew has shown us that we are strong enough and close enough to deal with any adversity. Blown air conditioning fans during the dead of Summer heat and blown out butt holes from too many gas station burritos. You learn to accept one another in a way that can only be family. Jerry’s butthole stinks the most though… it’s that familiar smell in the bus that only could have come from one sphincter.

To be serious for a second, the road has inspired us far more than anything else… The overwhelming support from all around the country really solidifies the idea that we can do this thing!! We can be a traveling rock band that can tour the FUCKING WORLD!!… It’s a really fucking humbling experience to get those people after every show that go out of their way to tell you how rad they thought the performance was and how much they enjoyed it. They buy the wax and t-shirts and are just so down to support us it blows our minds. We get put up in towns all across the country and these great people offer up their homes and lives to help us on our rock and roll journey. I’m sitting in Mike Calhoun’s kitchen right now outside of Dallas, Texas. One of the most real and coolest doods whom we have had the pleasure to meet. Our times here at Mike’s will always be cherished and held close as great memories. We even recently got hooked up with XYZ Clothing which is a dream come true for a little skate rat from Oceanside. The support that we receive in each town is truly unbelievable and it really makes you think that this dream of playing music all across the planet earth is going to come true…

I honestly love the growth though. This is present in Chapter II especially, in the songwriting and overall combination of different styles we all bring to the table. I’m really psyched on the direction and journey Chapter II takes us on and I think our listeners will be too.

Take me through Great Electric Quest’s songwriting process. Are there multiple contributors or does one person handle everything? What have you found works best for you guys, and do you have a song or songs that you feel really represents who you want to be as a band? How do you see yourselves growing as you continue to move forward?

BD: We have an incredible amount of styles between the four of us, which is perfect for what we want out of The Quest. It is a very even collaboration for our writing process. As one killer idea runs into another it pushes us to find ways to match each other’s ideas and raise the bar. We all have that undying urge for everything to be the best for the song at hand. It’s awesome, the motivation that comes when you are the last dude to write a part to a song that already kicks total ass… You’re sitting there thinking, “like, well shit… Whatever I do, it’s gotta fucking rip!”

Grabbing the listeners by the throat and pulling them through a tornado of sounds is what the Quest is all about. We never want to be stuck in a rut of one style, because we all enjoy playing all kinds of stuff. We write the songs different every time. I don’t think there is a single song on Chapter II that doesn’t have influences from all us, but there are definitely some strong sections that are written when we jam from one person and then we’ll grow off of them together from there. Sometimes we will camp out at Glory or Death Studios for days, cook up a crock pot meal or BBQ between jams and we will just all jam out some ideas together. (With lots of weed and beer of course.)

We drive to grab the viewer’s attention instantly and keep them thoroughly entertained throughout the entire set, and if any piece is lacking whatsoever we find a way to make it more interesting. Every tour we prep for, we strive to find ways to take things to the next level of entertainment for the audience (and our own amusement). From backdrops, to lights/fog, to flags and Anubis masks, we’re really delving into our original intent for the Quest that is for it to be a full-on show, not just a band standing there playing the notes the best they can. Climb shit, hang upside-down, shotgun beers, whatever the fuck we have to do to make someone have a good night and tell their buds about it.

JB: As far as songwriting goes, and what I love most about this band, is that everyone has a loud voice in how a song is going to go. Yes, someone can come up with a first riff, and once everyone is diggin’ that riff, we jam it, and almost immediately someone else is saying, “Oh man I have a lick that will go perfect for the chorus or bridge” and so forth. I remember one song in particular, “The Madness,” our drummer Mucho said to me, “Hey let’s try walking that riff back up on the chorus.” We tried it and it became one of my favorite parts of the song. So, you can see everyone is helping each other out and everyone’s ideas are being heard. Sometimes we try something and if it doesn’t work, no one’s feelings get hurt. We just try something else. It’s a great environment to work in and I think everyone’s songwriting has grown tremendously on Chapter II.

DV: We all contribute to each song on the album. We have these “Campouts” at our studio where we sleep, cook, and rehearse for days at a time. If someone comes out with a riff or melody, we can all hear different directions that the song can go to. Some directions are good and some not as much, haha, but as a team we always end up finding the right path that complements our music taste… Rock ‘n’ roll and heavy metal!!

TD: Yeah, basically what these guys said. We have so much songwriting collaboration in this band, it really is ideal. Anyone one of us could have our own band, or already have, where that one person was the main songwriter or leader. At this point, we have four people who have what it takes to have successful bands on their own and the combination of all of us together does kind of feel like a modern-day supergroup.

To someone on the other side of the country from it, what’s happening right now with all the bands coming out of San Diego looks absolutely unreal. How much of a “scene” is there really, in your experience? How tight are bands? What are the shows like and how much of a sense of community is there? What have been some of your best hometown experiences?

BD: From the start it’s been a big family that only continues to grow, man. There is some seriously unreal talent in San Diego and I have no doubt that many of these bands will go far. The bar is set very high in our area and there is some relentless dedication from many different musicians to keep people searching for their brain matter from endless mind-blowing shows. From the bone crushing power of the five barbarian headbanging longhairs of Red Wizard to the Kings of Heavy Metal CAGE to the groovy-as-fuck riffs of Loom, Roast and Desert Suns to the endless intergalactic caravan party of Space Wax to fucking Nihilist, Monolith, Warchief, Ritual Potion, Nebula Drag, Bedlams Edge, Monarch and at the opposite end of the Spectrum, hilarious acoustic gigs from Fellow Travelers of the Illusion Machine… What were the rest..? I’ve lost my share of brain matter as well…

To choose a single experience is like asking what your favorite Pink Floyd song is… (errr, Zeppelin for Mucho). Any local gig on any given night is always kickass, man. There is just so much support and love out there for music, art and just the pure love of good times (beer) in general.

JB: We have a great music community is San Diego. We have all been a part of it for over a decade playing in numerous bands all over San Diego. We know and have played with almost every rock ‘n’ roll band based out of San Diego. If a band plays rock ‘n’ roll in San Diego, we are most likely good friends with them and we’ve played with ‘em.

TD: The San Diego music scene is fucking great! We have so many incredible musicians and artists. If the radio played rock and roll, we would all own houses… haha. There is a great sense of community among the bands all the way from psych rock like Earthless, Radio Moscow, Loom, and Joy to the heavy music of Red Wizard and Quest. We all party together at shows and celebrate the music and love our community has! It’s a great place to live and as we all travel more and more we all become more familiar with how special of a place it is… and we celebrate it regularly with adult beverages, spliffs, and tunes!

Any other plans or closing words you want to mention?

DV: Fuck yeah, get some!

JB: Tyler has the smallest shmeckle of them all but a really big heart!

TD: Hahahaha. Open invitation for anyone reading this: let’s shotgun some beers and party across the Earth! We need to get some international shotguns going!! Drop us a line if you are interested in helping us book our European tours and Festivals or if you’re in a band and let’s get some shows going. We are heading across the pond in 2018!

BD: Thank you to everyone that has supported us over the years to make all of this possible!!! We are having the time of our lives and the future for the Quest is looking bright… Can’t wait for the next Chapter!!

Lords of Beacon House & Great Electric Quest, Wicked Ladies split (2017)

Great Electric Quest, Chapter I (2016)

Great Electric Quest on Thee Facebooks

Great Electric Quest on Bandcamp

Glory or Death Records on Bandcamp

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I Klatus Post Visual Freakout for “Moment of Devastation”

Posted in Bootleg Theater on November 15th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

i klatus

The more time I spend in the company of I Klatus‘ fourth album, Nagual Sun (review here), the less certain I am it’s intended for human consumption. Issued by the Chicago-based band themselves, it resides on a wavelength between the teeth-churning grit of sludge and a resonant, drug-cult psychedelia, running in deep-toned colorful hues through eight component tracks in a consuming 57 minute sprawl of misanthropic vibing and unbridled heft. What drives me to make the human consumption remark isn’t so much that it isn’t accessible — though, for sure, it’s not and it isn’t trying to be — so much as its exploration feels driven by something insular; a journey more likely to turn within than without. I just don’t think the band made it for anyone other than themselves.

That kind of honesty of expression is rare, and somewhat perhaps tempered by the visual aspect of what I Klatus do. With noted artist Tom Denney in the guitarist/vocalist role alongside bassist/vocalist/producer John E. Bomher, Jr. and drummer Chris Wozniak, I Klatus have thus far produced four videos for songs from Nagual Sun. All are made by Denney. The latest, for “Moment of Devastation,” can be viewed below and follows behind clips for “Final Communion” and “Beneath the Waves” (both posted here) and “Sorcerer’s Gaze” (posted here). Again, there are eight tracks total on the album.

I can’t help but wonder if they’re not en route to providing a video for each song on the record, and whether they ultimately do that or not, it shows how closely knit the relationship between the visual and the aural is for the band. If you’re prone to headaches from flashing lights, seizures or anything like that, you might want to watch out before digging into “Moment of Devastation,” but one way or another, the lysergic gruel conjured definitely makes a fitting complement to the song itself. You’ll also find the full album streaming at the bottom of this post, if you haven’t heard it yet. Just remember it’s not about you. You’re a bystander. Keep that in your open mind and you should be good to go.

Enjoy:

I, Klatus, “Moment of Devastation” official video

Chicago Doom/Sludge eclectics I KLATUS have released the official video for “Moment of Devastation,” a track from new album Nagual Sun. Go forth and devastate below.

Nagual Sun is available on digital and analog (cassette) formats. Stream and/or purchase at: https://iklatus.bandcamp.com/album/nagual-sun

The highly anticipated follow-up to 2012’s Kether is the band’s third full-length album (and fifth release overall).

I Klatus is:
Tom Denney – guitar/vocals/art
John E. Bomher, Jr. – bass/vocals/production
Chris Wozniak – drums

I Klatus, Nagual Sun (2017)

I Klatus on Bandcamp

I Klatus on Thee Facebooks

I Klatus on Twitter

I Klatus on Instagram

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The Brothers Keg Post Debut Demo Folklore, Myths and Legends of The Brothers Keg

Posted in Whathaveyou on November 14th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

After painstaking hours of keen-eyed detective work, I’ve concluded that the central mission behind the newly-issued two-song Folklore, Myths and Legends of The Brothers Keg by London trio The Brothers Keg is to introduce the band to their audience. How did I come to this resounding realization? Well, the first track on the thing is called “Introducing the Brothers Keg.” There’s that. Also it’s nine minutes long — so I had some time to think about it. That helped too.

Hey folks, it’s a process.

One might recognize guitarist/vocalist Tom Hobson and Tom Fyfe as the current bassist/vocalist and drummer for the soul-rocking trio Stubb. In The Brothers Keg, the transmutated rhythm section brings aboard bassist/vocalist Paul Rosser and with “Introducing the Brothers Keg” and its also-nine-minutes-long companion-piece “Castle Keg,” they hit immediately into a righteous sonic gamut that’s as comfortable basking in the King Buffalo-esque spaciousness of the first song as the post-Sleep roll of the latter, both captured to their fullest in the mixing and mastering job helmed by Chris West (Landskap).

At just under 19 minutes total, it’s not a minor sampling of what The Brothers Keg can do at this point, and while one might expect them eventually to veer away from some of the gruffer aspects they present here in favor of a more melodic approach particularly to the vocals, they use that edge well in these tracks and give a clear signal of where they might be headed and, sure enough, a right and proper introduction.

Check it out:

Folklore Myths and Legends of The Brothers Keg

Download our new demo for free through the link below. Cheers.

Bros Keg.

https://thebrotherskeg.bandcamp.com/releases

Tracklisting:
1. Introducing The Brothers Keg (demo) 09:32
2. Castle Keg (demo) 09:17

The Brothers Keg is:
Tom Hobson – Guitar/Vocals
Paul Rosser – Bass/Vocals
Tom Fyfe – Drums

Recorded at Farm Factory Studios, Mixed and Mastered at Scuzzball Studios by Chris West

https://www.facebook.com/thebrotherskeg/
https://thebrotherskeg.bandcamp.com/releases

The Brothers Keg, Folklore, Myths and Legends of The Brothers Keg (2017)

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Signo Rojo Set Nov. 24 Release for Debut Album Svårfödd

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

Just to give you a little bit of context, the last time Swedish post-metallers Signo Rojo were discussed around these parts, the first link I provided was to hear their demo tracks posted on their MySpace page. That was 2011, so yeah, it’s safe to say that the four-piece’s impending debut album, Svårfödd, has been a while in the making. Sure enough, the group has a story to tell when it comes to putting the record together, the process thereof, and it would seem to involve unusable recordings, moving back and forth, folding labels, sexually transmitted diseases, and a host of other struggles. In the end, they’re putting the collection out themselves, and they’ve started work on a follow-up. One hopes the making of that will be smoother, for their sake if no one else’s.

The PR wire recounts the tale:

signo rojo

Signo Rojo announce new album!

“Svårfödd” is the quick DIY- album that ended up being a 4-year struggle that almost ended one of Sweden’s most promising heavy acts.

In late 2013 Swedish sludgemetal band SIGNO ROJO started to record a full length album of some of the material they had been sharpening in their live-set since releasing their first two EP’s. With a short deadline set they entered the studio in december of that year.

From there on everything went wrong.

Technical difficulties, mental health issues, malfunctioning amplifiers and a tight schedule meant that almost the entire session had to be scrapped.

Not daunted by the setback the band splurged what little money they had on a in-house setup to finish the recordings in their rehearsal space. An arduous process that added a few months to an already stretched schedule.

At the same time vocalist/bassist Jonas had to move city, and record all the vocals by himself in a different studio. When finishing up the last vocal tracks the studio experienced a hardware malfunction that rendered all the tracks useless.

Jonas ended up moving back again, re-recording the vocals in the in-house studio. The end result was better, bitter and way more pissed. With all the elements on tape it would seem that the hard work was all over and was about to pay off. This was late September 2015…

Now, 4 years later, after battling drug induced procrastination, bad mixes and a particularly bad case of gonorrhea the album is finally done, finished and ready for release. Or, well. It would be, if the first and second label SIGNO ROJO was signed to release on haden’t folded during sisyphean recording process…

With a fist full of middle fingers the band decided to just release the fucking thing – as they’re already in the process of recording the next EP (coming Q2 2018) – for free.

The album is available on the 24th of November at Bandcamp, Spotify and your local torrent site.

Signo Rojo is:
Jonas – Vocals and Bass
Elias – Guitar
Ola – Guitar
Pontus – Drums

https://www.facebook.com/signorojo/
http://www.signorojo.com/
https://signorojo.bandcamp.com/
https://open.spotify.com/artist/5NDCT0LD3UWaTNEBoGC4er
https://www.youtube.com/user/SignoRojoswe

Signo Rojo, Svårfödd album teaser

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Jesus the Snake Self-Titled EP Due this Month

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

jesus the snake

I don’t know precisely when, but at some point before this month is over, Portuguese heavy psychedelic rockers Jesus the Snake will release their self-titled debut EP, and as you can hear in the pair of eight-minute cuts they have streaming from the borderline full-length, the focus is on pervasive tonal warmth amid an atmosphere of depth and exploration. It’s an organic vibe throughout “Floyds I and “Karma” alike, and one can hear shades of fellow Iberians Arenna as well of course as bands like Colour Haze, Causa Sui, and so on, which especially on a first release seems like an excellent place to start.

Seems like one to look out for at some point for a future vinyl release, if nothing else. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if some Euro imprint caught wind of what Jesus the Snake were getting up to and decided to get behind a pressing — they make a compelling argument for doing so at least upon a leadoff impression.

Recorded live, you can hear both songs below, under the info for the EP. Here goes:

jesus the snake jesus the snake

Jesus The Snake is a psychedelic rock band from Portugal consisting on Jorge Lopes (guitar), João Alves (Keyboard), Rui Silva (bass) and João Costa (drums). The band was founded in 2016 and their first album self titled “Jesus The Snake”, recorded on HertzControl Studio, will be released in November 2017.

“Jesus The Snake” was recorded in Live Session by the producer Marco Lima from HertzControl Studio.

This summer Jesus The Snake played in some festivals as Sonicblast Moledo and Festival Ecos do Lima and some local clubs in the north of Portugal.

Tracklisting:
1 – Floyds I (08:15)
2 – Floyds II (08:53)
3 – Karma (08:10)
4 – Moment [short version] (05:47)

Jesus the Snake is:
João Costa // DRUMS
Jorge Lopes // GUITAR
Rui Silva // BASS
Joka Alves // KEYBOARD

www.facebook.com/jesusthesnakeband
jesusthesnake.bandcamp.com
soundcloud.com/jesus-the-snake
www.instagram.com/jesusthesnakeband

Jesus the Snake, “Karma”

Jesus the Snake, “Floyds I”

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