Tuber Announce November Tour Dates

Posted in Whathaveyou on September 22nd, 2017 by JJ Koczan

tuber-orleff-photography

Greek progressive heavy rock four-piece Tuber are getting ready to hit the road this Fall. They go on the strength of their massively well received 2017 full-length, Out of the Blue (discussed here), which has only helped put emphasis on the booming scene in Greece generally. You might recall Tuber was out in Europe earlier this year, playing Desertfest Berlin 2017, following up on a wider bit of touring they did in 2016 — those shows, like these, presented by Total Volume Agency — so yeah they seem due to hit the road again, and no doubt with Out of the Blue behind them, no doubt it’ll be a killer vibe at the gigs.

Dates follow here, as posted by the band in the poster below and dutifully transcribed by yours truly:

tuber euro tour

Tuber – Out of the Blue Tour

This fall we embark on a European tour supporting our new record “Out Of The Blue”. See you on the road!

Tour planning by Total Volume, stef@totalvolumeagency.com. Graphics by Original Replica.

Get “Out Of The Blue” on Vinyl, CD or Digital Download: http://tuber.bandcamp.com

Tuber live:
03.11.17 Robot Budapest
04.11.17 Rockhouse Salzburg
07.11.17 White Rabbit Freiburg
09.11.17 Jagerklause Berlin
10.11.17 Cadillac Oldenburg
11.11.17 Vortex Siegen
12.11.17 Walhalla Karlsruhe
15.11.17 Viper Room Vienna
16.11.17 SKC Fabrika Novi Sad
17.11.17 Daos Club Timisoara
18.11.17 Flying Circus Cluj
01.12.17 8Ball Club Thessaoniki
02.12.17 AN Club Athens
04.01.18 Downtown Nicosia Nicosia

Tuber grew up in a sunny place, south of Greece, in an island called Crete. They were hiding from the sun, jamming in dark studios and playing their music in rock caves. As they moved north, sounds became lighter, since they started miss hot ground. Balance came as a result of smash, dark embraced light and improvisation turned into an effortless and instinctive process. Tuber moved their interest into new forms, founding themselves experimenting with compositions that combine mixed styles and sounds from different ground. Focus is now on rock aesthetic flirting with psychedelic atmosphere and a touch of romantic mood. At this time Tuber live in Serres, forming their feelings and thoughts into music and words, still learning how to leave with reality and reinventing it with love.

Tuber is:
Yannis Gerostathos
Yannis Artzoglou
Nickos Gerostathos
Paris Fragkos

https://www.facebook.com/tuberband/
https://tuber.bandcamp.com/album/out-of-the-blue

Tuber, Out of the Blue (2017)

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Trash Titan Release Welcome to the Banana Party EP on Friday; “Danger of Love” Video Posted

Posted in Whathaveyou on September 20th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

trash titan

One has to wonder how the respective duties for the new Trash Titan video wound up such that guitarist/bassist/baguitarist/vocalist Collyn McCoy wound up spanking someone in a chipmunk costume leaning over a park bench while drummer Jeff Broady — while wearing a Hed P.E. shirt, no less — stayed home to prepare and consume what seems to be a giant pancake topped with an inhumane amount of butter. I guess it’s a matter of some debate who actually got the short end of that particular stick, but needless to say, “Danger of Love” is completely over the top. Way over. Its four-plus minutes are a righteous sendup of hypermasculine stoner rock in a way that the fact that the song comes from a new EP called Welcome to the Banana Party makes seem only more purposeful. Take that, testosterone.

Welcome to the Banana Party is out on Friday and will be a name-your-price download from Trash Titan‘s Bandcamp page. It’s the first offering from Trash Titan since their 2011 self-titled EP, and clearly they have something to say with it.

Cover art, PR wire snark and the video follow here:

trash-titan-welcome-to-the-banana-party

TRASH TITAN drops New EP and New Video!

Sound the trumpets! Raise the flags! For Los Angeles by-way-of New Hampshire stoner rock duo Trash Titan returns after a six year hiatus with a brand new EP entitled “Welcome to the Banana Party.”

Therein you’ll find four skunky nuggets of down-home swamp-doom blues. It sounds like a bottle of Everclear became sentient and humped its own sister. And it’ll get your booty shaking like the DTs after a six week Mad Dog bender.

“Welcome to the Banana Party” finds Trash Titan returning to its original two-man-band form, comprised entirely of Jeff “Broadsword” Broady (Floodwatch) on lead drums and Collyn McCoy (Aboleth, Ultra Electric Mega Galactic) on lead vocals, dobro, lap steel, upright bass and baguitar. “Baguitar? What’s that?” you may ask. Fucked if I know, but it sounds like a rhino making love to a Denny’s dumpster. In other words – heavy. Heavier than Oprah after a six-week lockdown in the Hungry Jack R&D lab. And every bit as sexy.

Album was recorded in Bedford, New Hampshire and Los Angeles, California in June of 2017. Mixed and Mastered by Katie Gilchrest (High Priestess) at Mythology Mastering. Album art by Mariana Fiel (also of High Priestess).

“Welcome to the Banana Party” drops digitally September 22nd, 2017 care of Trash Titan’s Bandcamp page, for the Smart Price of “whatever the f**k you feel like paying” — even if what you feel like paying is nothing. For those who prefer the tactile feedback of physical merchandise, the band will also debut a brand new tee-shirt design care of Los Angeles artist Skillit as well as Trash Titan’s exclusive “Beer & Leather” scented beard and mustache wax.

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

Trash Titan, “Danger of Love” official video

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Review & Video Premiere: Weird Owl, Bubblegum Brainwaves

Posted in Bootleg Theater, Reviews on September 20th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

weird-owl-bubblegum-brainwaves

[Click play above to stream the premiere of Weird Owl’s video for ‘War.’ Their album, Bubblegum Brainwaves, is out Oct. 13 and up for preorder here.]

To their credit, Weird Owl do seem to take particular delight in living up to their name. Not so much the owl part, I suppose, but definitely the weird. The Brooklynite four-piece are a decade out from the release of their first EP, Nuclear Psychology, and after three full-lengths in 2008’s Ever the Silver Cord be Loosed, 2011’s Build Your Beast a Fire (discussed here) and 2015’s Interstellar Skeletal, as well as the Healing EP in 2013 that was their introduction through A Recordings, the imprint helmed by Anton Newcombe of Brian Jonestown Massacre, they’ve become the kind of band for whom predictions sonic or otherwise are largely irrelevant. Thinking you know what you’re going to get from a Weird Owl release is an act of self-delusion.

It’s probably going to be psychedelic one way or another, fair enough, but as to the actual shape and tone that will take, that’s a much more open prospect, and it’s one the band plays to with the bright, crisp melodies of their fourth LP, Bubblegum Brainwaves. At times brazenly poppy and elsewhere dug into a sense of exploration that feels born of space rocking impulses, it’s a record of varied sensibilities that, by the time it’s into its second side, turns even its own methods on their head in favor of heading somewhere else. To wit, that’s the eight-minute, spoken-word-topped “Bartholomew Iris,” on which Genesis Breyer P’Orridge of Psychic TV and Throbbing Gristle steps in to recite a sci-fi narrative about a protagonist who chooses the means of his own death. To say the least, it’s a distinct moment of departure.

And not necessarily the first on the album, which opens its easily-manageable nine-track/41-minute run with the proverbial ‘Drink Me’ potion in the form of a keyboard line, drum intro and fuzzy shuffle met with echoing vocals on “Invisibility Cloak.” With “You (Sometimes Not You)” and “Black Never White” immediately following, “Invisibility Cloak” is the first part of a three-song launch salvo from the lineup of guitarist/vocalist Trevor Tyrrell, bassist/keyboardist John Cassidy, keyboardist Dave Nugent and drummer Sean Reynolds that boasts some of Bubblegum Brainwaves‘ most standout hooks, but also three strikingly different takes. Immediately, Weird Owl set a broad sonic context for themselves and flow between the high-energy cosmic soak of the opener, into the key-focused dreamgaze synth-pop of “You (Sometimes Not You)” — the otherworldliness of which comes through all the more thanks to its lyrics — and the urbane post-punk swagger and unabashed fun of “Black Never White.”

Taken as a set, these songs don’t top 13 minutes, and side A will continue to unfurl a diverse personality in the acoustic-led “Such a Myth” before resolving itself in the sweet, semi-Beatlesian melody of “The Lizard and the Owl,” but the cue to the listener to adjust their expectations to be as broad as possible is a hard one to miss, and as skillfully drawn together as the pieces are via their underlying structures and catchiness, it makes the shifting character of Bubblegum Brainwaves more fluid and accessible, allowing for the move into the politically-minded cynicism and comment on appropriation in “Such a Myth” — lyrics like, “Oh it’s my war too/Oh it’s my body too,” seeming to offer a general take on a social media-driven propensity for ego-tizing larger issues — to happen without any hiccup. Keyboards/organ do some of that tie-in work as well, and though he’s never particularly showy as a vocalist, Tyrrell‘s voice provides a steady and human presence across side A that only helps to further guide the listener through what might otherwise be a bumpier course. As it is, tracks are memorable enough in themselves so as not to simply be a hypnotic wash, but still satisfyingly lysergic in their tone and atmosphere. As “The Lizard and the Owl” rounds out the first half of Bubblegum Brainwaves with a subtle apocryphal feel in its storytelling, its linear build underscores the grace with which Weird Owl have been delivering their material all along. It is natural and warm, and so clearly it’s time for the LP to make another turn.

weird-owl-photo-Hal-Horowitz

Side B brings four tracks in “War,” the aforementioned “Bartholomew Iris,” “Many Things I Saw in the Coffin” and closer “Tired Old Sun,” and like the material on the album’s first half, each one has its own take, working further to the band’s accomplishment and that of producer Jeff Berner (also guitar in Psychic TV) at Galuminum Foil Studios in constructing Bubblegum Brainwaves with such overarching ethereality of spirit. The feel, however, is darker. “War” is more active and doesn’t quite mirror the push of “Invisibility Cloak” at the start of the record, but is definitely working off some of the same intent, but the low end feels denser and the vocals are rawer and more forward. These things are relative, of course, but while “War” has a hook still very much working in its favor, the titular subject — whether metaphor or literal — represents a marked shift from the bulk of side A’s brightness. That will continue on “Bartholomew Iris,” which, as the band steps back to allow P’Orridge‘s audiobook-style narrative recitation, is the unquestionable odd-cut-out in the tracklisting.

Purposefully so. The only song over five minutes long, it’s meant to leave standard songwriting behind, and while I don’t know the origin of the plot being told — that is, if it’s by Tyrrell, P’Orridge, or sourced elsewhere — the elements of genre fiction and the narrative itself are compelling. Not to be understated, however, is the effect “Bartholomew Iris” has on the tone of Bubblegum Brainwaves. It is such a moment of arrival that it bleeds into the songs before as well as after, and while “Many Things I Saw in the Coffin,” with its folkish acoustic strum, synth flourish, and simple punctuating drums, has more in common with “Such a Myth” early as it moves toward its molten post-midpoint wash, there remains the lingering presence of “Bartholomew Iris” all the while. And when it comes around, “Tired Old Sun” — in which the sun itself seems to resign itself to fatigue in the way one might reading the news every day — works to reengage the dreaminess of the album’s earlier going, but is nonetheless sadder in sound as well as theme. Even for laid back, drift-prone psychedelic progressive rockers, it would seem, the times can feel weighing.

That’s not to say Bubblegum Brainwaves doesn’t offer plenty of float. It does. And I won’t discount the joy with which “right!” is tossed into “Black Never White” to playfully affirm the lines, “We seek the truth, we speak light/And you know we do it every night/Right?” either, but there’s a melancholy in Weird Owl circa 2017 as well, and that turns out to be as much a part of their rendering here as the momentum launched by “Invisibility Cloak” or the depth of the arrangement mounted in “Many Things I Saw in the Coffin.” Fortunately, this variable mood is complemented by likewise malleability of songcraft, and Weird Owl no more lose themselves in discourse than they do instrumentally. This speaks to the maturity taken hold in their approach over their years together, but more important, it makes Bubblegum Brainwaves a work of depth that can feel light or weighted depending on how its audience wants to interact with it. And that it’s open to that interaction, weird, unpredictable and swerving as it is, means there’s still some hope in there as well.

Weird Owl on Bandcamp

Weird Owl on Thee Facebooks

Weird Owl on Twitter

Weird Owl website

Weird Owl on Soundcloud

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Naxatras Post New Single; Announce II Vinyl Release

Posted in Whathaveyou on September 19th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

naxatras ii vinyl

A new jam from Greek trio Naxatras has yet to not find welcome around these parts. Ahead of launching a massive European tour in a couple days and coinciding with a first vinyl release today of their 2016 sophomore album, II (review here), the Thessaloniki-based naturalist psych rockers/analog recording enthusiasts have unveiled the new single “All the Stars Collide into a Single Ray.” It’s a nine-minute gentle nudge into the ethereal that even as it gets heavier stays low key and laid back, the subdued intro holding sway for the duration despite a swinging verse taking hold.

Note the rising bassline from John Vagenas. Also note the lead that starts around 3:50 from guitarist John Delias. Also note the classically classy drumming from Kostas Harizanis. And while you’re noting these things as the band makes its way into and out of organic psych drift, put them all together in your mind for a better understanding and naxatras-all-the-stars-collide-into-a-single-rayquick summation of just what it is about Naxatras that’s allowed them to grab such a fervent place in the Greek underground in such a relatively brief amount of time. The dynamic of their style is so fluid and their grooves so warm — they just hit the mark in a way that makes it sound like anyone could do it. Of course, if that were true, everyone would. I have a hard time believing Elektrohasch or El Paraiso haven’t come knocking at this point to hook up with them for releases, or maybe they have and the band are just keeping secrets. Look at me, spreading intrigue while knowing absolutely nothing for sure either way. In any case, self-release or whatever form it might take, hopefully it’s not too long before word of a third full-length surfaces.

In the interim, I’ll happily engage the quick-dip immersion of “All the Stars Collide into a Single Ray,” the cover art for which you can see above and the audio for which you can hear below. I’ve also included the Naxatras tour dates that start the day after tomorrow (shows are presented by Total Volume Agency) and pics of the II vinyl that come courtesy of the band. You should keep in mind that if you want a green one, they’re limited to 100 copies. I don’t think Naxatras have done a physical pressing of anything to-date that hasn’t completely sold out, so yeah, heads up on that.

Here’s the latest:

‘II’ VINYL INFO: High-quality vinyl with an analog cutting from the original master tapes by Jesus I. Agnew at Magnetic Fidelity, in a lovely gatefold with black sleeves. Artwork by Chris RW. Green version limited to 100 pieces. Available here: https://naxatras.bandcamp.com/album/ii

“ALL THE STARS COLLIDE INTO A SINGLE RAY” SONG INFO: This is a full-analog, live recording at Magnetic Fidelity, engineered by Jesus I. Agnew. Artwork by Chris RW. This song will not be included in our next album.

Naxatras live:
21/09 – Novi Sad (RS) @ Quarter
22/09 – Timisoara (RO) @ Daos Club
23/09 – Cluj-Napoca (RO) @ The Shelter
24/09 – Budapest (HU) @ Durer Kert
26/09 – Salzburg (AT) @ Rockhouse
28/09 – Vienna (AT) @ Viper Room
30/09 – Jena (DE) @ Kulturbahnhof
01/10 – Dresden (DE) @ Roter Baum
02/10 – Leipzig (DE) @ Black Label
04/10 – Prague (CZ) @ Klubovna
05/10 – Poznan (PL) @ u Bazyla
06/10 – Krakow (PL) @ Soulstone Gathering
07/10 – Warsaw (PL) @ Smoke over Warsaw
08/10 – Berlin (DE) @ Zukunft am Ostkreuz
10/10 – Trier (DE) @ Frankenturm
11/10 – Lille (FR) @ La Malterie
12/10 – Portsmouth (UK) @ Wave Maiden
13/10 – Brighton (UK) @ The Hope and Ruin
14/10 – Leeds (UK) @ Wharf Chambers
15/10 – London (UK) @ The Brewhouse
17/10 – Poitiers (FR) @ Cluricaume
18/10 – Nantes (FR) @ Scène Michelet
19/10 – Paris (FR) @ Gibus Live
20/10 – Lucerne (CH) @ Bruch Brothers
21/10 – Munich (DE) @ Keep it Low
22/10 – Ostfildern (DE) @ Zentrum Zinsholz
24/10 – Graz (AT) @ Music House
25/10 – Zagreb (HR) @ Klub Studenata Elektrotehnike
26/10 – Nis (RS) @ Feedback
27/10 – Sofia (BG) @ Live n Loud

Naxatras is:
John Delias – Guitar
Kostas Harizanis – Drums
John Vagenas – Bass & Vocals

https://www.facebook.com/naxatras/
https://naxatras.bandcamp.com/

Naxatras, “All the Stars Collide into a Single Ray”

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Azurea Post Video for “Huntress”

Posted in Bootleg Theater on September 12th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

azurea-photo-rick-fleddermann

Much I’m sure to my own loss, I haven’t actually watched the third season that began earlier this year of Twin Peaks, the rebooted-25-years-later series helmed by director/creator/noted-bringer-of-weirdness David Lynch. I probably should’ve been all about it. I’m old enough to remember when the show was on TV a quarter-century ago and how creeped-out it was, with Bob, and Laura Palmer, and all that, but I guess I just haven’t gotten on board yet with the new incarnation. I may get there eventually.

I bring it up because Azurea‘s new video for the track “Huntress” points specifically to Twin Peaks and purports to pay tribute to it, presumably in the dark and mind-creeper spirit of the thing. There’s the checkered floor and red drapes as one might expect, and if you’ve ever seen Twin Peaks at all, you probably can get a sense where vocalist/keyboardist Stella and keyboardist/vocalist/noisemaker Elias Schutzman — also drummer of The Flying Eyes and Black Lung — are coming from. Or if not, it’s dark and it’s atmospheric, so there you go.

The vibe of “Huntress” itself certainly bears that out as well, with Stella establishing an operatic presence early in the spirit of Diamanda Galás or some of Jarboe‘s statelier work. There’s an underlying tension of rhythm that comes through in the beat and pays off later, but not before the song nestles into a slow-jam electronica feel complemented by organ sounds, later sampling, and Schutzman joining in on vocals. Azurea have a few other songs posted on their Soundcloud (linked at the bottom of the post), including a cover of Velvet Underground‘s “Venus in Furs,” should you be up for further exploration.

Before you dig into the clip below, a heads up: Watch out for flashing lights. Especially in the second half. If you’re sensitive to that kind of thing or prone to seizures, you might want to avert your eyes when the track picks up. It gets pretty manic there for a bit.

Given that caveat, I hope you enjoy:

Azurea, “Huntress” official video

Our debut song and music video for “Huntress”, a tribute to the legendary Twin Peaks. Directed by us, filmed by Human Being Productions…

Stella Schutzman- Vocals
Elias Schutzman- Keyboards, Vocals, Programming

Azurea on Thee Facebooks

Azurea on Soundcloud

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Review & Track Premiere: I Klatus, Nagual Sun

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on September 11th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

i-klatus-nagual-sun

[Click play above to stream the premiere of ‘The Alivist’ from I Klatus’ new album, Nagual Sun, out Oct. 13.]

There are any number of stylistic impressions one might get throughout the 57 minutes of Nagual Sun, the fourth long-player from Chicago’s I Klatus (also written as I, Klatus). Most of them are thoroughly fucked. It is a potent brew of atmospheric sludge extremity the four-piece bring to their material for their first outing since 2013’s Kether (discussed here), and while one might hear shades of YOB or Zoroaster in opener “Beneath the Waves” or the later lumbering of “Jaws of the Shark,” there are deathly undertones through which I Klatus distinguish themselves and turn any colorful psychedelia into shades of brown and gray, their wash of noise by texturist Robert Bauwens part more of an assault than a landscape, despite being hypnotic in its own, bleak manner.

Led by guitarist/vocalist Tom Denney — also a noted illustrator/graphic designer — I Klatus dealt their last time out with the suicide of former bassist Tariq Ali, but here with drummer Chris Wozniak (also Lair of the Minotaur and Earthen Grave, among others) and bassist/clean-vocalist/producer John E. Bomher, Jr. (Yakuza), they might as well be mourning the passing of society as a whole with their postmodern screwall that pervades tracks like the blackened-leaning-but-still-early-Crowbar-catchy “Sorcerer’s Gaze” (video posted here) or the terrifyingly rolling “The Alivist,” which is the longest inclusion at 9:43 and plunges to depths all its own while also leaving space for stoner churn and post-High on Fire gallop. Though based in the Windy City, their sound has roots aesthetically in the same strikingly Midwestern, pill-popping Rust Belt disaffection that gave the world the likes of Fistula, Ultralord, Morbid Wizard and Sollubi, but none of those acts seem to be chasing or conjuring the same kinds of demons as I Klatus are and do on Nagual Sun, and so while aspects may be familiar, the ultimate downward course of the album belongs to Denney and company alone.

And make no mistake, they own it. From the feedback coating in which the launch of “Beneath the Waves” arrives to the deceptively intricate layering in the vocals and the vaguest touch of melody — which is, it’s worth noting outright, no less out of place here — that pervades closer “Final Communion,” I Klatus establish themselves as a litmus for how far sludge can be pushed in substance before it simply oozes down into its component pieces. To wit, even as Nagual Sun seems to revel in defeat after defeat, there’s something defiant about a song like “Moment of Devastation,” which explodes in death metal growls over spacious cosmic doom and shifts with surprising ease back and forth between that and almost minimalist stretches of nonetheless-tense drift. With its robot-effects clean vocals, blasts and so on, “Beneath the Waves” sets up a pretty broad context for the rest of the album to take place within, so as I Klatus bring what seems like experimental fruit to bear in “Serpent Cults,” “Sorcerer’s Gaze” and “Moment of Devastation,” they’ve allowed themselves the room to explore as they will.

i klatus

Part of that is a palpable sense of not giving a shit about sticking to genre, from which the songs also benefit, but while Nagual Sun willfully borders on unmanageably long, there are enough shifts throughout to hold the listener’s attention or at very least give them enough of a consciousness-pummeling to render them immobile for the duration. But it is a slog, and clearly intended to be one as “The Alivist,” “Jaws of the Shark” and “Final Communion” — even with the two-minute “Father John Thomas (The Penitent)” set as a penultimate interlude — all top eight minutes long and give a sense that as it plods through, the drudgery of I Klatus‘ work only becomes more infused with the stench of death. This is, again, how the record casts its accomplishment. The feeling of something rotting in the midsection of “Sorcerer’s Gaze” or the sudden rise of swirling wah in “The Alivist” circa the five-minute mark — these are purposefully arranged elements used to convey an atmosphere. There’s nothing haphazard about Nagual Sun; nothing that isn’t where and what the band wants it to be.

So even as its vibe is down almost in the exclusive, Nagual Sun succeeds by building the world in which “Jaws of the Shark” and “Final Communion” take place. It is about the realization of these grim, rueful ideas, rather than about offering their audience a lifeline. That’s not to say I Klatus don’t cast a broad set in terms of sound, but as Celtic Frost once did to thrash metal and as acts like Ramesses did to doom, they seem to push into terrain that’s just that extra bit filthy, just that extra bit darker, more extreme in its perspective. The plunder in “Jaws of the Shark?” Terrifying. The noise that coats the apex of “Final Communion?” It absconds into the far-out until it seems to finally pull itself apart and end the record more or less through dissipation — as fitting a last turn as one could ask for a release the intensity of which has been so obliterating, even in its quietest, most brooding stretches.

Each track on Nagual Sun adds something to the whole of the album’s impression, and while I Klatus set those who would engage with their work up for a grueling journey, there’s little question their fourth LP is meant to be taken in its entirety. Because of the growling, the bitter severity in some of its tones and the sheer force in its rawness, it will be too much for some, and that’s fine. Music like this isn’t meant to be universal. Rather, it’s a personal expression of time, place and thought, and I Klatus carve out a nuanced space for themselves amid the bludgeoning and the drear that ensues, making their doom not necessarily miserable in the emotion it conveys à la European-style drama-staging (or, if we want to keep it to Chicago, the also-deathly Novembers Doom), but a tangible result of that downtroddenness itself. Like Marcel Duchamp’s urinal a century ago, Nagual Sun challenges our conceptions of form and structure, asks what is and what can be art in a world so empty, and offers its answers in the fact of its existence as the result of a creative process and the brutality taking place within its scope.

I Klatus, “Sorcerer’s Gaze” official video

I Klatus on Bandcamp

I Klatus on Thee Facebooks

I Klatus on Twitter

I Klatus on Instagram

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Friday Full-Length: Naxatras, Naxatras

Posted in Bootleg Theater on September 8th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

Naxatras, Naxatras (2015)

Psychedelic records rarely land with the kind of blinding reception that Naxatras‘ self-titled debut garnered upon its release in 2015. But then, psychedelic records rarely hit into the blend of natural tones and performance that the Thessaloniki, Greece, three-piece absolutely nailed on their first offering, which brought to bear an hour’s worth of gorgeous and raw immersion beginning with the 10-minute leadoff and longest cut (immediate points) “I am the Beyonder,” declaring its drift early and living up to it for the reverb-soaked duration. The trio of bassist/vocalist John Vagenas, guitarist John Delias and drummer Kostas Harizanis rightfully thrust themselves to the forefront of an increasingly crowded, emerging Greek heavy underground with the album, and through their commitment to analog recording methods and with fluid enough chemistry between them to live up to that standard, they pulled through with a complete sense of aesthetic that continues to offer something new each time the album hits ears, regardless of listening format or other circumstance. With a sound that’s almost humble in its quiet restraint, NaxatrasNaxatras is nonetheless funky, spaced-out, molten and switched all the way on for maximum far-out-itude. It just keeps going, and yet turns out no more redundant in its execution — ever — than it wants to be.

Rare. Rare that a record can do that or be so completely psych without a wash of effects, or so earthy in its tone and yet seem to have such reach. Rare that a record can be so jammed out and yet seem to still work under such a cohesive master plan. But even listening to “Shiva’s Dance,” which oozes its way so far into the stratosphere that it seems to dissipate, Naxatras ultimately retain their direction and guide their audience back, if not to ground than at least to someplace of their own sure footing so that rather than tumble in timeless antigravity, there’s something to latch onto, the returning vocals of Vagenas an essential human element that crop up intermittently in order almost to remind that there are people in there amidst all that green and blue swirl, that it’s not just about the noise being made but an underlying sense of expression. A roller like “Downer” has a classic nod, and the penultimate “The West” actually winds up looking East in its scale as it makes its way gradually toward its final build, and all of these feed into the overarching liquefaction taking place throughout. It’s all part of the whole, and rather than be an unmanageable hour in its running, Naxatras‘ debut becomes the world in which it takes place, each new turn adding to the context surrounding, evolving into something richer and more righteous through the rudimentary space rock of “Sun is Burning” and the post-Hendrixian blues jam of “Space Tunnel.” And as much as it’s the opener setting the course — I’ll take away neither from the declarative statement in the title “I am the Beyonder” nor the fact that the song’s delivery lives up to that — so too does closer “Ent” feel purposefully placed as the bookend, evoking the patience inherent in the Tolkien tree creatures in its graceful swelling and receding.

Where these cuts and the rest on the self-titled found their niche was in between the improv-sounding jamming that has permeated Europe’s heavy underground one way or another since krautrock first took shape in the early and mid ’70s, and a smooth rolling, stoner-poised bluesy feel of longform crafted songs. Most of all, Naxatras, the album, benefited from the flow honed by VagenasDelias and Harizanis, and in the gentle, Duna Jam-worthy, key-inclusive instrumental “Waves,” they send early cues to their audience again that there’s something special beginning to take shape in their sound — and also that that shape is completely amorphous and, like a cloud, can be seen as any number of shapes or figures. Like a fluffy, aural Rorschach test, built out of fuzz and tonal warmth. I see lizards. You might see something else entirely. And that’s cool.

This past summer, Naxatras gave the self-titled an awaited vinyl release (info here) and set to work on their third album in order to follow-up II (review here), released in 2016 and also preceded by the simply-titled EP (discussed here) from which their first video was also produced. With III or whatever it winds up being called impending, the band hits the road this month on a massive European tour (dates here) that includes stops at the Smoke over Warsaw and Keep it Low festivals, as well as clubs from Russia and Bulgaria to France and the UK. It is an impressive run, and one wishes them the best with it as they continue to grow their audience leading into the next album, which like II before it will arrive with no small measure of anticipation because of the sense of accomplishment that seems to have been in Naxatras since their very beginnings just a couple short years ago.

Thanks for reading, and as always, I hope you enjoy.

I wrote my grandmother’s eulogy this week. On Tuesday, after that Shroud Eater show, The Patient Mrs. and I drove to NJ to crash with my family, and on Wednesday afternoon, I went over to my grandmother’s empty house, sat on the couch where for the last couple years I watched (not often enough, if we’re counting actual visits; never enough) as she went from one of the strongest people I’ve had the pleasure to know to a state of confused, scared decay unable to let go of the life she’d had for more than a century. I was alone while I wrote. It was quiet in a way I don’t think that house had ever been in my experience. I got through it.

I might post the text here at some point. She was someone who helped shape who I am and my perspective on the world and at the end of the day this is my site to do with what I fucking please, so yeah. Maybe. I’ll ask my mother if she minds and see what she says.

By the time this post is up, I’ll hopefully have finished reading the piece at her funeral service this morning/early afternoon. Whenever. I gave it a practice run circa 5:30 this morning and it seemed like the rhythm would work so long as I didn’t get too charged up or go too fast. I need to remember tempo in that kind of thing sometimes. Though I’m a terrible conversationalist and suck at interacting with humans, I like reading in public, speaking in public. Always have. In a bizarre way, I’m looking forward to it.

The plan for before that is to basically shove as much coffee into my body as possible and the plan for after is a repast at a place that serves, um, food, which is a thing I don’t really eat anymore. Once I’m through that, The Patient Mrs. and I will come back to my cousin’s house, grab the little dog Dio, finish packing the car, and hit the road north to Connecticut, where we’ll be spending a decent portion of the next week. Saturday I’ll run home to Massachusetts to check in there, get the mail, make sure the place hasn’t flooded, burned down, etc. — still TBA if The Patient Mrs. will join me for that extra four-hour roadtrip, though I told her I’d kind of rather do it alone and that’s true this time, plus she’s eight months pregnant at this point and doesn’t really need the added strain of being a passenger in a car I’m driving — then basically turn around and go back to CT again. Gotta go, gotta go. Might try to check out the 35th anniversary edition of Wrath of Khan at the movies on Sunday, too. That would be rad.

But you probably don’t give a shit about any of that, and fair enough. Here’s what’s in the notes so far for next week. Subject to change without notice as always:

Mon.: I Klatus track premiere/review; Six Dumb Questions with Earthride.
Tue.: Slomatics track premiere/live album review; new video from Azurea or Radio Moscow.
Wed.: Review of that Greek heavy psych comp that had the track premiere this week; Six Dumb Questions with Holy Grove.
Thu.: Hotel Wrecking City Traders album stream/review.
Fri.: With the Dead album review.

Busy, busy, busy. I’ve got most of the Quarterly Review picked out for the end of this month as well. Looking like it’ll be six days again. I thought about doing seven, just to try to get as much in as possible before the baby comes, but we’ll see. Time seems to be plenty short already, even though I spend an awful lot of it staring at this laptop screen. Either way, I’ll figure it out as we get there. But that’s coming, so heads up.

I hope you have a great and safe weekend. Thanks for reading as always, and please check out the forum and radio stream.

The Obelisk Forum

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Brother Sister Hex Release End Times EP Tomorrow; Streaming in Full Now

Posted in audiObelisk, Whathaveyou on September 7th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

Tomorrow marks the release date of Denver, Colorado, heavy rockers Brother Sister Hex‘s new EP, End Times. The release is streaming in full now via Bandcamp — you can hear it below — and follows two prior “sessions” EPs issued in 2016 and 2015. End Times, which the band led into with the title-track as an initial single, is my first exposure to the band, but their high-desert-style rock is right when it nods toward Queens of the Stone Age as an influence. A little Songs for the Deaf is almost always good for the soul, at least in my experience. Definitely some of that vibe here.

Copious background follows, as sent along the PR wire. Please feel free to dig in:

brother-sister-hex-end-times

Brother Sister Hex’s EP and title track single ‘End Times’

From Denver Colorado, BROTHER SISTER HEX unveil their highly anticipated 3rd EP ‘End Times’. A multifarious, multi-perspective journey through the range of emotions and uncertainty that comes with the current time we live in. Propelled by singer/guitarist Colfax Mingo’s soulful, mesmerizing vocals and thought-provoking lyrics – ‘End Times’ compelling sound is embodied by the complimentary dual guitars of Colfax Mingo and guitarist Patrick Huddleson; and the indelible rhythm section of bassist Drew Hicks and guest drummer Jordan Palmer (Plastic Daggers).

Recorded, mixed, and mastered with Pete De Boer at World Famous Studios in Denver – ‘End Times’ will bring to mind touches of the down tuned, dusty, swampy vibes of desert, stoner, and sludge rock; combined with the bluesy rawness and attitude of the 21st century garage rock revival. Bolstered with the grungy, noisy, fuzzy tones of early 90s alternative and the layered, moody and enigmatic sound of Radiohead – it should appeal to fans of Queens of the Stone Age, PJ Harvey, The Black Keys, Early Yeah Yeah Yeahs, The Dead Weather, Soundgarden, and Radiohead alike.

“Singer/Guitarist/Lyricist Colfax Mingo says of the song ‘End Times’; “Well, it’s really about perseverance. Initially about how Patrick and I can’t stop making music, but then more generally about how you have to keep pushing in a world that sometimes tries to discourage you. A funny thing is I always knew what the song was about but I didn’t push myself to finish the lyrics til we recorded.”

Brother Sister Hex was formed in 2014 by Colfax Mingo and Patrick Huddleson, who have been playing music together in various projects for over 10 years. This ties into the above quote and also why the band is called Brother Sister Hex. They’re stuck together like family.

Though Brother Sister Hex has released music for free in the past, but this is the first time they were able to spend the time in the studio to really create and push the music to where we knew it could go.

When our drummer amicably departed the band shortly before planning to go into the studio, Jordan Palmer from our good friends and Denver band Plastic Daggers stepped up to help us work up the songs and record them with us. His contributions to the album really took things up to another level and helped us capture the sound we have been going for since the beginning.

All music written and performed by Brother Sister Hex.
Colfax Mingo – Vocals, Guitar
Patrick Huddleson – Guitar
Drew Hicks – Bass
Guest drums – Jordan Palmer (Plastic Daggers)

https://www.facebook.com/BrotherSisterHex
https://twitter.com/brosishex
https://instagram.com/brosishex
http://www.brothersisterhex.com/
https://brothersisterhex.bandcamp.com/
https://plasticdaggers.bandcamp.com/releases

Brother Sister Hex, End Times (2017)

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