The Munsens Post New Single “Dirge (For Those to Come)”; Playing Psycho Las Vegas This Friday

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

the munsens (photo by Underground Chuck)

If you go back to 2014’s Weight of Night EP (review here), the trio The Munsens, then based in New Jersey, recorded with Mike Moebius (PilgrimKings Destroy) at Moonlight Mile in Hoboken. The band has roots in my beloved Garden State, but made their way out to Denver, Colorado, in time to track 2016’s follow-up EP, Abbey Rose (review here), out that way with Jamie Hillyer at Module Overload. Fair enough. I don’t know what brought them back to the Eastern Seaboard — tour, family, etc. — to record their debut album, but the forthcoming Unhanded finds The Munsens back with Moebius, and the leadoff single “Dirge (For Those to Come)” shows some significant stylistic shift from the prior outing. It’s an oozing, charred sludgy rollout, not about the heft of tone so much as that of the atmosphere, and there’s a consistent threat lurking just beneath the surface of it. It’s down there at the bottom of this post if you want to check it out.

The Munsens will be at Psycho Las Vegas later this week — hey, me too! — as the PR wire details:

the munsens dirge for those to come

THE MUNSENS: Denver Trio Releases Single From Impending LP As Band Prepares For Psycho Las Vegas Performance

Denver, Colorado-based THE MUNSENS will hit the road to perform at Psycho Las Vegas in the coming days. In conjunction with the festivities, the band has issued a single, “Dirge (For Those to Come),” which is pulled from their recently-completed new LP, Unhanded, which will see release this Fall.

THE MUNSENS make noise from a Colfax Avenue dungeon. Having carved out a place of their own in the much-lauded Denver metal scene, the band’s debut full-length comes on the heels of a productive summer that included appearances at 71Grind IV, Austin Terror Fest, and Electric Funeral.

The band’s impending Unhanded comprises five new tracks, running approximately forty minutes in length. It is the band’s most caustic and critical release to date. “Though it’s roughly the same running length as our last release, the Abbey Rose EP, we were able to put more time into the writing and recording of this one,” issues the band. “For a number a reasons, this release feels like a much more comprehensive effort from us” says the band. Call it what you will.”

Recorded at Hoboken Recorders with Mike Moebius of Moonlight Mile Recording, who recorded the band’s Weight of Night EP, and mastered by Dennis Pleckham (Comatose Studio), Unhanded is being finalized for release in the months ahead, with a release date and outlet to be announced.

The band plays Friday, August 17th alongside the likes of Witchcraft, High On Fire, Boris, Church Of Misery, Integrity, Rocket From The Crypt, and many others. A more extensive US tour will follow later this year; stand by for additional tour and album updates shortly.

THE MUNSENS Tour Dates:
8/17/2018 Hard Rock Hotel & Casino – Las Vegas, NV @ Psycho Las Vegas

THE MUNSENS:
Michael Goodwin – bass/vocals
Shaun Goodwin – guitars/vocals
Graham Wesselhoff – drums

https://themunsensnj.bandcamp.com
https://www.facebook.com/themunsens
https://www.instagram.com/themunsens

The Munsens, “Dirge (For Those to Come)” official video

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Buffalo Fuzz Premiere “I’m on Fire” Video; New Album out in 2019

Posted in Bootleg Theater on August 3rd, 2018 by JJ Koczan

buffalo fuzz

Minneapolis two-piece Buffalo Fuzz made their self-titled debut in 2016 and next Spring, they’ll look to follow it up with an already-recorded sophomore outing. They do so under the most tragic of circumstances. At the end of June, drummer/vocalist Jake Allan passed away, leaving guitarist/vocalist Jared Zachary as the sole remaining member of the band. Any loss of life so young is terrible, but to grieve as half a dup seems especially hard. Hence the delay in the album. As of now, it doesn’t seem Zachary is even sure if he’ll continue as Buffalo Fuzz or start a new band altogether after this release, which of course will be in homage to Allan‘s memory as well as his final recorded performance.

The video below for the two-and-a-half-minute hookfest “I’m on Fire” was filmed shortly before Allan‘s death, and though obviously the circumstances are terrible, it’s an upbeat, straightforward classic rocker with an urgency buffalo fuzz im on firethat lives up to its title. As for the clip, it’s no less dead-ahead than the song itself: There’s the band. There’s a girl. There’s fire. And there you have it. Any other day, it’d be business as usual, but with the context of the band’s loss and uncertain future, the sheer freshness of that wound, it’s important to remind oneself to celebrate the life and creativity that was rather than fill time with sadness at the ending of it.

I’ll hope to have more on the second Buffalo Fuzz LP as we get closer to the release and the plan for it solidifies. We’re simply not there yet. Still, the single bodes well in its crisp, professional production and clarity of songwriting. It’s the kind of song you should probably be prepared to have in your head for the rest of the day, and if you do, then all the more, I hope you enjoy it.

Zachary offered some background and comment, which you’ll find under the clip below.

Dig:

Buffalo Fuzz, “I’m on Fire” official video premiere

Buffalo Fuzz is releasing our first single of our sophomore album via music video this Friday entitled “I’m On Fire”.

This comes at a difficult time for me, as Jake Allan, my best friend and drummer, passed away a little over a month ago — just a couple weeks after finishing 10 tracks to make up our second album, and filming our first music video. He lost his battle with depression, but left us with one last series of work of incredible high-energy drumming.

I can only look forward, and although I can’t imagine Buffalo Fuzz without Jake, I can’t imagine continuing life without music. Our second album is planned for release in Spring 2019. “I’m On Fire” is the first single from the album.

Buffalo Fuzz on Thee Facebooks

Buffalo Fuzz on Twitter

Buffalo Fuzz on Bandcamp

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King Buffalo Announce New Album Longing to be the Mountain out Oct. 12; Touring This Month; New Song Streaming

Posted in Whathaveyou on August 2nd, 2018 by JJ Koczan

king buffalo (Photo by Mike Turzanski)

Rochester’s King Buffalo have spent a good portion of the last couple years on the road and they’re back with a sprawling new collection they’ve dubbed Longing to be the Mountain that showcases the willful growth they’ve undertaken. Really. You know I loved Orion (review here). Still do, in fact. Longing to be the Mountain, in its performance and in the writing of the material itself is absolutely on a different plane of achievement. It’s a top-ten kind of album, and it distinguishes King Buffalo‘s mode of expression as having become all the more their own. I’m dead serious. It’ll be the kind of review that I’ll end with “recommended,” and you know I don’t break that one out often.

They’re streaming a new single now to give a taste, and you can check it out at the bottom of this post. Longing to be the Mountain was produced by Ben McLeod of All Them Witches and features cover art by Adrian Dexter, also known for his work with Elder. The appearance of neither is a coincidence, since King Buffalo have toured extensively with both groups.

And speaking of touring, they’re on the road this month to Psycho Las Vegas, as the PR wire informs:

king buffalo longing to be the mountain

KING BUFFALO announces sophomore album “Longing to Be the Mountain”; first single streaming; North American touring begins this month

King Buffalo announces the October 12th release of its second full-length album, Longing to Be the Mountain.

From Rochester, New York, King Buffalo is the trio of vocalist/guitarist Sean McVay, bassist Dan Reynolds, and drummer Scott Donaldson. Since forming in 2013, the self-proclaimed “heavy blues” band has made its name via debut album Orion, follow-up EP Repeater, and tours with the likes of The Sword and All Them Witches.

Sophomore album Longing to Be the Mountain is an enthralling piece of work that sees King Buffalo fulfill its promise. In six songs, clocking in at 42 minutes, the band cements the style initiated on previous releases. Sure to delight fans of psych, stoner, and krautrock, Longing to Be the Mountain is timeless rock music, greater than any one genre.

Donaldson’s clean, sturdy drumming and Reynolds’ hypnotic basslines lock into grooves that propel the songs, traveling from cool, spacious zones into all-out explosive finalés. Frontman McVay mesmerizes with a haunting vocal style that commands full attention despite its sedated tone – early Pink Floyd is a reference point. Within each song, he showcases a palette of vivid guitar playing, from jangly rhythms to ripping solos.

Some songs make their point in 4 minutes or less, others sprawl out above the 10-minute mark. In either case, there is no fat to trim. King Buffalo moves with purpose. Reynolds names British Invasion bands like The Animals as an influence on him during the making of Longing to Be the Mountain, noting how he came to respect simplicity – “just playing the right notes in the right places.” With the three members in sync, songs progress steadily and fluidly, from world-weary lulls into squalls of transcendence.

King Buffalo’s music and lyrics are in harmony, both painting pictures of traveling, questing, evolving. Of the lyrics, McVay says, “The album is about searching for meaning. It’s a story about finding one’s place in an increasingly turbulent and chaotic world.” We, the listeners, are lucky to witness King Buffalo’s journey as they cruise onward and upward, leaving behind an amazing soundtrack as they go.

Longing to Be the Mountain was produced by All Them Witches guitarist Ben McLeod. It was recorded at Main Street Armory in Rochester by Grant Husselman, mixed by Sean McVay, and mastered by Bernie Matthews. Acoustic guitar throughout the album was played by McLeod. The artwork was created by Adrian Dexter. The album will be released on vinyl and CD, and digitally.

King Buffalo embarks on a North American tour in August, including a stop at Psycho Las Vegas and numerous Canadian dates. More touring will follow in the fall.

King Buffalo on tour:
Aug 15 – Chicago, IL @ Reggies
Aug 16 – Kansas City, MO @ Riot Room
Aug 17 – Denver, CO @ Globe Hall
Aug 18 – Grand Junction, CO @ Mesa Theater
Aug 19 – Las Vegas, NV @ Psycho Las Vegas
Aug 21 – Phoenix, AZ @ Rebel Lounge
Aug 22 – Los Angeles, CA @ Five Star Bar
Aug 24 – San Francisco, CA @ Thee Parkside
Aug 25 – Sacramento, CA @ Holy Diver
Aug 27 – Salt Lake City, UT @ Loading Dock
Aug 28 – Boise, ID @ The Shredder
Aug 29 – Spokane, WA @ The Pin
Aug 30 – Portland, OR @ High Water Mark
Aug 31 – Seattle, WA @ Highline
Sep 1 – Vancouver, BC @ Astoria
Sep 2 – Kamloops, BC @ Grind House Cafe
Sep 4 – Calgary, AB @ Palomino Smokehouse
Sep 5 – Edmonton, AB @ Bohemia
Sep 6 – Saskatoon, SK @ Capitol Music Club
Sep 7 – Regina, SK @ Cloud 9
Sep 8 – Winnipeg, MB @ The Handsome Daughter
Sep 9 – Fargo, ND @ Aquarium
Sep 11 – Minneapolis, MN @ 7th Street Entry
Sep 12 – Milwaukee, WI @ Cactus Club
Sep 13 – Grand Rapids, MI @ Pyramid Scheme
Sep 15 – Toronto, ON @ Bovine Sex Club

Tracklist:
1) Morning Song
2) Sun Shivers
3) Cosmonaut
4) Quickening
5) Longing to Be the Mountain
6) Eye of the Storm

Lineup:
Sean McVay – vocals, guitar, synth
Dan Reynolds – bass, synth
Scott Donaldson – drums

Discography:
Longing to Be the Mountain (self-released, 2018)
Repeater EP (Stickman Records, 2018)
Orion (self-released, 2016)
Electric Ladyland Redux compilation (Magnetic Eye Records, 2015)
Split w/ Le Betre (STB Records, 2015)
Demo (2013)

kingbuffalo.com
facebook.com/kingbuffaloband
instagram.com/kingbuffaloband
twitter.com/kingbuffaloband
kingbuffalo.bandcamp.com

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Love Gang Enter Studio to Record Full-Length; New Demo Posted

Posted in Whathaveyou on July 31st, 2018 by JJ Koczan

love gang in studio

I don’t know much about the impending debut album from Denver, Colorado, rock traditionalists Love Gang beyond the generalities. It’s their first record. They hit a friend’s home studio to begin the recording process this past weekend and got the basic tracks done. As to particulars in terms of what the album’s called, when it will be out, who’s doing the releasing — i.e. the band themselves or a label — I don’t know. So if you’re wondering why I’d post about something with such an utter lack of news to go on, it’s because there’s a song up. And music is always more important.

The track is called “Break Free” and it’s a five-minute classically-styled riffer recorded presumably live at the four-piece’s practice space. More so than on their 2016 self-titled EP (review here), one can hear metallic roots in the riffing and the gruff vocals, kind of tapping into that moment circa 1975-1977 when heavy rock started to become heavy metal and the NWOBHM began to bubble under the surface. It’s raw — it’s a practice space recording, so duh — but has an appeal through that as well, so seemed well worth sharing, not the least for the shredding solo.

I’ll keep you posted when I hopefully hear more about Love Gang‘s full-length debut coming out. Could be a while, could be next week, but I’m at least glad to know it’s happening and progress is being made. Whenever they arrive, the results will be welcome.

Info and track follow:

love gang break free

Surprise! We’ve got a new track up on Bandcamp from our forthcoming album! Hitting the studio tomorrow, go giv’r a listen!
https://lovegangco.bandcamp.com/track/break-free-demo

Recorded and mixed by LOVE GANG at rehearsal space on Colfax Ave. Mastered by Dennis Pleckham.

Love Gang live:
Aug 06 Hi-Dive Denver, CO
Sep 01 Lost Lake Lounge Denver, CO

Love Gang is:
Kam Wentworth
Leo Muñoz
Grady O’Donnell
Shaun Goodwin

http://www.facebook.com/lovegangco
https://www.instagram.com/lovegangco/
https://lovegangco.bandcamp.com/

Love Gang, “Break Free”

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Howling Giant Touring in August; Playing Psycho Las Vegas and More

Posted in Whathaveyou on July 31st, 2018 by JJ Koczan

Let’s face it, August pretty much belongs to Psycho Las Vegas. There’s other stuff going on, as there always is, but the festival is something of an epicenter around which the rest of the month revolves, and an awful lot of tour routings, album releases, etc., are geared toward supporting what’s happening there. For good reason. What’s happening is arguably the biggest heavy underground fest in the States, and accordingly it’s all the more fitting that bands like Howling Giant should get out and tour as a part of making the trip. The Nashville progressive heavy rockers also toured up the East Coast earlier this year supporting their 2017 EP, Black Hole Space Wizard: Part 2 (review here), and they’re streaming now their contribution to Magnetic Eye Records‘ impending two-part Pink Floyd tribute compilation.

The PR wire invites you to dig it:

howling giant (Photo by Josh Dagenais)

Psych-Metal Road Dogs HOWLING GIANT to Tour Southwest En Route to August Psycho Las Vegas Appearance

Nashville trio preps for a quick string of blistering dates before and after their set at the massive Vegas festival next month, also leads off the upcoming Best of Pink Floyd release from Magnetic Eye Records.

Interplanetary riff-rockin’ powerhouse HOWLING GIANT hits the road again this August for a run of shows leading them to and from a coveted slot at that annual maelstrom of stoner/doom/psych bliss, Psycho Las Vegas.

Their “Arcane Ritual” tour includes the following stops:
Aug 15: Wichita Falls, TX – Iron Horse Pub
Aug 16: El Paso, TX – RCBG
Aug 17-19: Psycho Las Vegas
Aug 20: Scottsdale, AZ – Rogue Bar
Aug 21: Albuquerque, NM – Launch Pad
Aug 22: Las Cruces, NM – The Warehouse
Aug 23: San Antonio – The Mix
Aug 24: Lafayette, LA – Freetown Boom Boom Room
Aug 25: New Orleans, LA – Santos
Aug 26: Birmingham, AL – The Nick 42nd Street Tavern
Howling Giant are also confirmed as the album-opener to the much-awaited Best of Pink Floyd LP, Magnetic Eye Records’ companion album to its massively-anticipated The Wall [Redux] release. Both albums land this November and can be pre-ordered here.

Formed by self-proclaimed nerds, Howling Giant is a perfect marriage between pulpy sci-fi themes and blistering riff-psych. Fans of Mastodon’s Crack the Skye, early Baroness, Summoner and The Sword will immediately latch onto Howling Giant’s spaced-out, cosmically-informed songcraft and lyrics that span sea voyages to space flight to androids with a bloodlust for camels.

howlinggiant.bandcamp.com
twitter.com/howlinggiant
www.facebook.com/howlinggiant/

Howling Giant, Black Hole Space Wizard: Part 2 (2017)

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Spirit Division to Release Forgotten Planet Aug. 31; Track Streaming Now

Posted in Whathaveyou on July 30th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

spirit division

If you’re up for such things, Spirit Division‘s third album, Forgotten Planet, is available now to preorder through their Bandcamp page. Set for issue on Aug. 31, it’s the third album from the Indianapolis doomers, who are streaming the track “River Rising” now to herald the impending. Those who heard either 2016’s No Rapture or their 2015 self-titled debut (review here) will find the three-piece’s doom rock modus intact, with an undercurrent of traditional metal suited to their Midwestern home. They cite The Gates of Slumber as an influence, but while both acts fall broadly under a trad-doom umbrella, the riffing of “River Rising” seems to be drawing from other sources as well. I haven’t heard the record yet, but the third of the nine total inclusions makes a suitable introduction to anyone unfamiliar, and finds them sans-pretense in style and delivery.

The PR wire has album details, and you can find the track streaming at the bottom. Dig it:

spirit division forgotten planet

SPIRIT DIVISION Reveals Details On Third Full-length ‘FORGOTTEN PLANET’; Pre-order Available Now, Album Releases August 31st

Spirit Division is pleased to announce the completion of their third album, Forgotten Planet, with the full-length offering set for release on August 31, 2018.

Forgotten Planet represents a bold change in direction for the Indianapolis doom trio. The nine-track composition includes longer, more elaborate song structures, the band braiding the sonic cord from an array of deeper influence than before. The lyrics are also the darkest and most nihilistic that Spirit Division has ever written. Much of this can be attributed to the recruitment of Andy Bowerman (guitarist/vocalist), whose energetic style and intense approach has well integrated with Jace Epple’s intricate drumming patterns, as well as founding member (vocalist/bassist) Chris Latta’s melodic sensibility.

Bowerman also provided the striking artwork for Forgotten Planet and helmed much of the recording process. Drum recording and overall mixing were done at The Swollen Goat by Jeff Kaleth (of fellow Hoosier group Astral Mass), with mastering handled by Collin Jordan at The Boiler Room LLC.

Forgotten Planet – Track List:

1. Forgotten Planet
2. Nothing To Be Missed
3. River Rising
4. The Light That Shines (When All Must Die)
5. Seeking The Crow Witch
6. Behemoth
7. Half-Hearted
8. Solitude
9. King Of Scars

Some words from Spirit Division about the creation of Forgotten Planet:

“Forgotten Planet is easily the most experimental album Spirit Division has recorded. The songs are longer and more complex, but also very emotional in places. I had a feeling we would be going in a direction like this when Jace and I first started arranging new songs after No Rapture, but Andy brought an aggressive edge when he joined. He really pushed us to explore different sounds that we wouldn’t have otherwise. It’s truly a testament of how far we’ve come as a band” – Chris Latta (vocals/bass)

“Forgotten Planet felt like a raw exposure of the shadow self, that part of humanity most people don’t like to talk about” – Jace Epple (drums)

The first single “River Rising” is available for streaming on Spirit Division’s Bandcamp page.

Upcoming Live Dates:
Aug 25 – Louisville, KY @ Highlands Tap Room (w/ Majutsu, Batwizard)
Sep 29 – Indianapolis, IN @ Black Circle Brewing (w/ Destroyer Of Light, Thorr-Axe, Drude)

SPIRIT DIVISION is (left to right):
Chris Latta: Vocals, Bass
Jace Epple: Drums
Andy Bowerman: Guitar, Vocals

https://www.facebook.com/SpiritDivision
https://instagram.com/spiritdivision/
https://twitter.com/SpiritDivision
https://spiritdivision.bandcamp.com/

Spirit Division, Forgotten Planet (2018)

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Old Man Wizard Post “The Blind Prince” Video; On Tour Now

Posted in Bootleg Theater on July 27th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

old man wizard

The story goes like this: Four years ago, San Diego weirdo-fantasy-proggers put out a video from their first album, Unfavorable (review here), for the track “The Bearded Fool.” Their second album, the even-more-weirdo-fantasy-prog Blame it all on Sorcery, came out earlier this year and is comprised of 10 tracks for a 42-minute voyage into lush arrangements and melodies led by the folkish vocals of guitarist Francis Roberts and backed by the inventive rhythms and creative play of bassist Andre Beller and drummer Kris Calabio, both of whom also contribute backing vocals. Classic-style harmonies abound on songs like “Never Leave” with a patience in their delivery that reminds of peak-era Opeth while still other tracks like “Innocent Hands” (video premiere here) delve into extreme metal riffing and near-blastbeats before chugging out a still-melodic verse and 10-minute closer “The Long-Nosed Wiseman” holds doomly tension in a keyboard-laced build toward a sweeping finish.

And despite covering this swath of stylistic ground, front to back, the album is one that flows together and makes sense both in terms of narrative and actual sound. So, great, right? But what the hell does that have to do with the video for “The Bearded Fool?”

Well, glad you (I) asked. The thing is, Old Man Wizard have a new video for “The Blind Prince” from Blame it all on Sorcery, and it’s a sequel to the “The Bearded Fool” video. A four-years-later foll0w-up. It has the same would-be VHS static at the bottom of the screen and everything, and it picks up to find our trio of heroes encountering the titular Blind Prince and doing battle with a gaggle of witches in the woods only to be trapped and, finally, to win not with swords and battle-axes, but with the power of — wait for it — a Flying V and a fuzz pedal. Duh.

Obviously there’s some winking happening in line with the homage to classic low-budget fantasy filmmaking, but it’s all in good fun. Some things to watch for: radical perspective shifts, a burrito, a wrestling mask, an actual wink — the list goes on. There’s plenty to watch for, and they also leave it open to yet another sequel. Could it be a trilogy in the works?

Fingers crossed:

Old Man Wizard, “The Blind Prince” official video

We are pleased to share with you our newest music video for “The Blind Prince”, a track from our latest album “Blame It All On Sorcery”.

Official music video for “The Blind Prince” by OLD MAN WIZARD

Directed by Jessie Rudolph
VFX and Editing by Jessie Rudolph
Backgrounds and sound design by Francis Roberts

CAST:
Villager – Teemu Kaiponen
The Blind Prince – Reece Miller
Francis – Francis Roberts
Andre – Andre Beller
Kris – Kris Calabio
Witch Leader – Becky Campbell

The Witches:
Michelle Pannell
Kyle Bob
Michelle Louden
Carlos Zamora
Alexander Simsay
Zachary Simsay

Enjoy, and we hope to see some of you out on the road! Again, our tour with Worshipper [is on now]. Here are the [remaining] dates:

Fri 7/27 – GRANTS PASS, OR – The Haul – $10ADV/ 21+
Sat 7/28 – PORTLAND, OR – Tonic Lounge – $7ADV / $10 DOS / 21+ *
Sun 7/29 – SEATTLE, WA – Funhouse – $10 ADV / $12 DOS / 21+
Tues 7/31 – BOISE, ID – The Shredder – $8 ADV / ALL AGES
Wed 8/1 – SALT LAKE CITY, UT – Club X
Thurs 8/2 – DENVER, CO – Streets of London Pub – $5 ADV / 21+
Fri 8/3 – ALBUQUERQUE, NM – Moonlight Lounge – $5 ADV / 21+
Sat 8/4 – TEMPE, AZ – Time Out Lounge – 21+

Old Man Wizard is:
Francis Roberts – Guitar, Vocals
Kris Calabio – Drums, Backing Vocals
Andre Beller – Bass Guitar, Backing Vocals

Old Man Wizard, “The Bearded Fool” official video

Old Man Wizard on Thee Facebooks

Old Man Wizard on Instagram

Old Man Wizard on Twitter

Old Man Wizard on Bandcamp

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Telestrion, Blazing in the Sky: Making Time for Time

Posted in Reviews on July 26th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

telestrion blazing in the sky

A full 170 years after their last release, Atlanta heavy space rockers Telestrion return with a new one worthy of the distance from its predecessor. Okay, so maybe not 170 years, but Telestrion issued the vinyl-only EP, Molecule (review here), in 2012, and that certainly feels like two lifetimes ago. To the four-piece’s credit, they began recording the double-LP Blazing in the Sky way back when, it’s just only now coming to fruition. What sort of temporal loop may have occurred between then and now to cause the delay, I don’t know, but with a brisk 90-minute stretch its two platters, one can hardly accuse them of lacking productivity. Led by guitarist/vocalists Andy Samford and Brian Holcomb, who also handle a variety of other instruments from synth and theremin to sitar and Mellotron and “wind” between them, Blazing in the Sky features bassists Jonathan Lee and Stephen Carrington (the latter also guitar), synthesist/backing vocalist Karl Kendrick, percussionist Billy Reeves and drummer Ric Parnell, best known for his portrayal of Mick Shrimpton in This is Spinal Tap — an incendiary performance if ever there was one.

This assemblage and their purposes vary from track to track throughout the 15-song release, and while the format of a 2LP is necessary for the extended runtime, it also feeds into the concept behind the release, which is comprised of traditionally structured songs on its first 12″ and five mostly-extended jams on its second. As to which end of the offering might be more spaced out, it’s a judgment call, of course, but listening to the 15-minute penultimate cut “Midnight Never Ends,” freakery certainly abounds in a way that makes earlier three-minute hooks like “The Peak” and “Paperclip” seem positively straightforward. And to a degree, they are. The album begins with the more than slightly funky vibe of “Electric Ball” and embarks on a space-rock-via-grunge mission of aesthetic purpose that’s smoothly produced but still natural sounding. If some of the recordings are six years old — Telestrion went back into the studio in 2017 — they hardly show their age, and along with some decided Rush fandom, Telestrion show an affinity for the cosmic things in life that coincides with their still-weighted tonality and classic Sabbathian spirit.

telestrion

That spirit perhaps shows itself most in the vocal cadence of “The Peak,” but it hardly departs on the slower, longer “Manifestations,” which follows, and it comes to a head on the seven-minute “A Storm is Comin'” later on, dosed as well with a good hit of psychedelia also at the forefront for “Oasis” of souls while “Paperslip” and “Nothing Left” speak more to the grunge side of Telestrion‘s sound, “Out in the Hills” seems to directly call to Spirit Caravan and the title-track is left to pull in a variety of elements — percussion among them — in some form of summary of the scope of the release. That’s a challenge in itself, but as side B closer “I Ain’t Got Time for Time” wraps with an upbeat kick following the space-doom conclusion of “A Storm is Comin’,” the vibe has long since been set for such turns. What allows Telestrion to make these turns as they go is an underlying foundation of songwriting. Their material is strong enough to support the stylistic shifts and still come across as catchy as intended and as strong in performance as it is in structure. LP1 is tight to such a degree as to be making a point of it, and accordingly it’s all the more of a surprise when they depart onto the second LP of all-out jamming.

Blazing in the Sky isn’t really just a double-album. It’s two albums. One follows one tradition, the other another. They’re connected via “I Ain’t Got Time for Time,” a reprise of which opens the second platter, but by and large, sides C and D are on their own wavelength as compares to the material before them. Whether it’s the Mellotron-soaked “Kykeon” or the theremin swirl of “What’s Not On” or the bass and drum pulsations beneath them both holding them together, the jams are of marked and distinct personality, and they tell a different story of who Telestrion as a band. To wit, if they had actually released Blazing in the Sky as two separate LPs over the course of however long, one might simply say, “Oh yeah, this is the record where they jam. Fine.” As it is, with the two methods positioned right next to each other, one experiences the scope of Blazing in the Sky different context. There’s no ignoring the band’s vision and tease with which they move from tight-knit pieces to wide-open, go-where-they-will jams.

I don’t know how much of “What’s Not On,” “Kykeon,” “Midnight Never Ends” and closer “The Law of Averages” — which would seem to be titled in homage to Parnell — is improvised versus being plotted out beforehand, but a sense of spontaneity pervades anyhow thanks to the inclusion of various percussive elements, keys, synth, Mellotron, etc., giving a progressive edge to the longer-form works and allowing Telestrion to convey and exploratory sensibility, resulting in an unwavering commitment to reverb and echo and a spaciousness that, as far out as they went, the earlier tracks on Blazing in the Sky could hardly hope to approach. As someone who’s a persistent sucker for heavy jams, the drift that Telestrion bring to “Kykeon” and the proggy sprawl of “Midnight Never Ends” are boons ahead of the heavier, fuzzy freakout in “The Law of Averages,” which ends the record on its most chaotic note. However it was recorded, whenever it was recorded, Blazing in the Sky marks Telestrion as a band that still has plenty to offer not just in content, but in method, and the departure from accomplished songcraft into the jams from whence that songcraft emerges is an admirable one not only for what it says about their process, but for their knowing when a song is finished and needs to be what it is. The life they breathe into these tracks is only a part of their appeal, but it’s a big one, and if it’s another half-decade-plus until they give a follow-up, there’s plenty here to chew on for the interim.

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