Right now, on a stage somewhere in North Carolina, Dr. Keyboardian is in the process of getting weird. Is that true? Probably not. I mean, it’s probably not happening at this second, as you’re reading this, but I suppose it could be. Universe of infinite possibilities, folks. That’s one of ’em. And you’d be missing it.
Every now and then, I like being confused, and I’ve yet to have an encounter with the Marion-based experimentalist outfit helmed by former Tasha-Yar drummer Tim Greene that didn’t qualify. Since the end of Tasha-Yar, Greene has checked in periodically with Dr. Keyboardian updates. It doesn’t always fit with what goes on around these parts — or what goes on around any parts, for that matter — but maybe I’m a sucker for songs about fishing, and maybe Dr. Keyboardian, playing in the clip below captured at a recent show at Crooked Door Coffee as Dr. Keyboardian and the Side Effects with participation in some way or other by Matt Johnson and Mike Holstein, is solidifying around an experimentalist process that I can almost begin to wrap my head around.
Well, no. Not the latter, but again, sometimes I like being confused, so here we are, where weirdness abounds. Am I even certain this is “Dang Fish?” I’m not certain of anything today. The video itself is kind of dark to allow for the video work of Projexorcism to come through, but it’s part of a whole series under the same account that made its way to the YouTubes, so if you find yourself intrigued by the curio streaming underneath this paragraph, there’s plenty more where that came from.
In the meantime, pry open your brain stem and enjoy:
Dr. Keyboardian, “Dang Fish” live in Marion, NC, Jan. 14, 2017
Do not take Dr. Keyboardian with food. No dancing while under the influence of Dr. Keyboardian. Do operate heavy machinery while taking Dr. Keyboardian. Side effects include heavy breathing and palpitations.
Dr. Keyboardian. Gluten-free, organic, locally grown and zero calories since 2013. Eat it.
Posted in Whathaveyou on January 19th, 2017 by JJ Koczan
Wisconsin-based sludge rockers Attalla — not to be confused with similarly-named Californian post-desert outfit Atala — put out their self-titled debut (review here) in 2014. That album struck a grower chord over time, and eventually earned itself a reissue through doesn’t-put-put-stuff-if-it-sucks Pennsylvania imprint Shadow Kingdom Records. The band has announced they’ll self-release the follow-up, titled Glacial Rule, on vinyl March 24, and will begin taking preorders a month before.
Art, tracks and whatnot are all still to come, but Attalla put in some significant road time last year, so it should be interesting to hear what they’ve come up with when they get there. I asked the band to tell me a little bit about the record and they were kind enough to oblige. You can see in the quote below that it’s 12 minutes longer than the self-titled while remaining the same number of songs, so seems like some definite changes in approach will have taken place. Guess we’ll find out.
That quote and album details follow, as sent by the band:
Attalla on making Glacial Rule:
‘Glacial Rule’ is a huge step forward for us both musically and as a band. We really took our time working and reworking the songs on this album until they were exactly what we wanted. It is another six-track album but it’s about 12 minutes longer than our first. We were not afraid to jam on a riff until we felt it was finished.
The songs are more dynamic, have some real depth and carry an overall heavier, darker tone. Recording was handled by Shane Hochstetler at Howl Street and the production is absolutely huge. We didn’t half-ass anything on the vinyl packaging either. It is a gatefold jacket with two great pieces by Adam Burke and the vinyl is pressed on two different colors. It is an album we are truly proud of!
‘GLACIAL RULE’ Out March 24th, 2017 on vinyl, cd and digital. Recorded by Shane Hochstetler of Howl Street Recordings. Mastered by Carl Saff. Artwork by Adam Burke. Layout by the Company. Released 100% DIY. Pre-Orders start February 24th atwww.attallawi.bandcamp.com
‘Glacial Rule’ tracklisting: 1. Butte Des Morts 2. Ice Harvest 3. Valderan 4. Black Wolf Rituals 5. Devil’s Lake 6. Glacial Rule
Attalla is: Cody Stieg – Lead Guitar/Vocal Brian Hinckley – Rhythm Guitar Bryan Kunde – Bass James Slater – Drums
This Friday, Jan. 20, Los Angeles heavy rockers Aboleth oversee the release of their EP I (discussed here) on CD. Offered last summer digitally and on cassette, the three-track collection introduced a somewhat different direction for the touring rhythm section of psych-jammers The Ultra Electric Mega Galactic, with baguitarist Collyn McCoy and drummer/engineer Dan Joeright joining forces behind powerhouse vocalist Brigitte Roka to elicit classic vibes and a fervent, grooving drive. Clarity of sound and clarity of intent were likewise prevalent, and between the three of them and Matt Lynch of Snail, who mixed and mastered, they left little doubt as to the direction they were headed.
As to that? Less heavy rock and roll in the Californian desert style and more foundational hard rock. That is, rock that doesn’t need to be so aesthetically loyal to one end or the other. Rock that wouldn’t be out of place either in a skate video or in some raucous tv scene. Rock that might, just might, have an appeal beyond the already converted. These probably shouldn’t feel like brave steps for a band to take, even on their first outing, but Aboleth — as much as their name sounds like they should be playing black metal in a forest somewhere — come across as especially bold throughout EP I, which only serves to complement their songwriting and overarching energetic feel.
Roka and McCoy would seem to have parted ways with Joeright, and have been playing shows with the formidable backing of Sasquatch‘s Rick Ferrante. Neither Joeright nor Ferrante appear in the video for “No Good,” directed by Dugan Nasche, so it seems to be up in the air as to who will take that spot permanently, but the clip has plenty of attitude and plenty of hanging out in the desert to work from, and there’s just about nothing more I’d ask of it than that.
And yeah, I know I just went on about how Aboleth don’t necessarily sound like a desert rock band and now I’m posting a video of them actually performing in the desert. You’ll just have to take my word for it when I say they could just as easily have gone any number of places. But I guess when the desert’s nearby, you go to the desert. Fair enough.
Full credits and more info follow the video below. Please enjoy:
Aboleth, “No Good” official video
Aboleth release video for “No Good” from self-titled EP (available on CD Friday, January 20th, 2017)
Los Angeles desert doom band ABOLETH released its first official video for the song “No Good” from their debut EP.
Video was shot on location in Reefer City, CA (yes, it’s a real place, Google it) by infamous cult/occult filmmaker director Dugan Nasche (aka Dugan Na$H). Director of Photography was Mariana Fiel, First AD was Duffey Westlake.
The lo-fi, 70s-exploitation-style video focuses on the antics of vocalist Brigitte Roka and baguitarist Collyn McCoy (Trash Titan, Ultra Electric Mega Galactic, Otep) in a high-desert post apocalyptic landscape.
Said director Dugan Na$H: “I hadn’t done a music video in a few years. I’d been living as a recluse in my desert compound, working with found footage, tape loops. stop-motion animation pornography… anything but music videos, really. So I was skeptical at first. But when I met with Brigitte and Collyn, they had an energy that I wanted to capture. Also, they brought me weed and ammo. I don’t get out much so that was appreciated.”
“The video doesn’t have a concept per se. But the subtext is there. I see them as part of desert witch cult, like a post-apocalyptic Manson family, piecing together what they can of the pop culture flotsam from a bygone era to form something new.”
Aboleth vocalist/resident visual artist Brigitte Roka had this to say: “Working with Dugan was interesting. On the first day of shooting I asked him about one of the shots we filmed and he said he envisioned it that way because it would please his favorite desert demon, the Goat of Lust, as he often referred to it. Never look that guy straight in the eye unless you want to hear a 45-minute long explanation about who the Goat of Lust is. I learned the hard way.”
Aboleth’s debut EP, which was previously available only as a limited-edition cassette, will be available on CD on January 20th, 2017.
Aboleth’s McCoy said of the re-release: “Timing it to coincide with Donald Trump’s inauguration is no accident. The CD edition of the EP contains Satanic back-masking — basically a black magical spell to combat the negative energies generated by Trump presidency. In order for it to work, though, the record has to be cranked loud and often.”
Posted in Whathaveyou on January 10th, 2017 by JJ Koczan
If you’re gonna go, go in style. It’s an ethic that riffy Denver trio The Munsens seem to have taken to heart. I don’t know what they’ll be riding around on this West Coast tour supporting their Nov. 2016 EP, Abbey Rose (review here), and that’s not really what I’m talking about. I’m talking about playing with some frickin’ awesome bands as they go from town to town. Look at that Long Beach show. Or the last night of the tour in Tempe? What a way to round out. And to have a couple nights in Colorado at the start before dipping to Ciudad Juarez and hooking up with Malahierba? Very cool.
I’d be interested to know what comes together for Vegas — or better yet, if you can make something happen there and help out the band, do it. Put on a good show. They’ve set a pretty high standard with these bills.
The Munsens’ Abbey Rose tour
Having just turned loose their new EP, Abbey Rose (self-released, Nov. 21), Denver, Colorado’s the Munsens is taking to the road for a 10 day, nine show run through the southwest US, beginning January 12.
Tour dates: 1.12 – Denver, CO – Hi-Dive (w/ Ketch, Matriarch, Night of the Living Shred) 1.13 – Colorado Springs, CO – Triple Nickel (w/ Still Valley, Night of the Living Shred) 1.14 – Juarez, MX – Hysteria (w/ Dizz Brew, Malahierba, Ultimo Trip) 1.16 – Albuquerque, NM – Low Spirits (w/ Hydrant, The Horned God) 1.17 – Las Vegas, NV – TBA 1.18 – San Francisco, CA – Elbo Room (w/ Love Moon, Mesmer, Externs) 1.19 – Long Beach, CA – Alex’s Bar (w/ Slow Season, Lords of Beacon House, of limbo) 1.20 – Oceanside, CA – Pierview Pub (w/ Red Wizard and special guests) 1.21 – Tempe, AZ – Palo Verde Lounge (w/ Goya, Twingiant, Grey Gallows)
The Munsens made a handful of appearances in Denver during the summer and fall of 2016, and just released their first recordings in nearly two years (Nov. 21) via a 45-minute EP titled Abbey Rose, which preludes their first full-length album, due out in the summer of 2017. Abbey Rose is available on cassette and as a digital download through the band’s Bandcamp page and will supported by two tours in early 2017, in January and in March.
The Munsens is: Shaun Goodwin Mike Goodwin Graham Wesselhoff
Prolific French soundscape artist Florent Paris had two releases out in 2016 under his working moniker Hors Sujet. The first was the Déclin EP, issued in March, and the second was a Sept. split with AUVN. Both are available to stream and download in their entirety via the Bandcamp page linked below, and they’re the latest in a long line of offerings dating back over the last nine years that find Paris engaging various levels of textural experimentation, progressive flourish, and cinematic mood-making. It’s little surprise he’s done periodic soundtrack work over that same span; his drones seem to leave plenty of room for visual evocation, real or imagined.
Accordingly, it’s kind of fascinating to see what might go into a video for a single Hors Sujet track. The song in question comes from Déclin and is the 10-minute centerpiece and longest cut “Le début n’est jamais trop sombre,” the title of which translates to “the beginning is never too dark,” or “the start is never too dark.” Throughout the piece, Paris joins his sometimes lush, sometimes minimal droning to a barrage of impressionistic images, doubled and manipulated, but still somehow playing to a sentimental graininess that speaks of a lost past. One is left wondering what beginning the title is referring to, but I’d imagine that’s at least part of the point — asking questions rather than deigning to answer them.
There’s a certain hypnotic effect here as well, but if you can keep your wits about you for the duration, it’s worth the effort. More info follows the clip.
Hors Sujet, “Le début n’est jamais trop sombre” official video
It’s been a long time. Long enough that I’m not even going to link back to the last time I did a round of Radio Adds. Life happens, and with the Quarterly Review, I guess my focus went elsewhere. Well, I just did a Quarterly Review, and that actually kind of inspired this, since I found there was yet more records that wanted covering even after that over-full round of 60 that closed out 2016 and opened 2017. So here we are.
There are, in fact, more than 50 albums being added to The Obelisk Radio playlist today. I can’t promise I’ll do Radio Adds weekly like I once did, or monthly, or again in 2017, or ever, but the opportunity presented itself and it seemed only right to take advantage. This stuff all came out last year, so it’s all readily available, and audio samples are included, because, you know, music and such.
Let’s dig in:
Lord Mountain, Lord Mountain
Of all the styles under the vast umbrella of “heavy,” traditional doom is among the hardest to execute – especially, I’d think, for new bands. You need a balance of atmosphere and lack of pretense, a classic vibe, riffs, and groove. On the surface, you’re playing to the past, but if you put out something that just sounds like Sabbath and bring nothing of yourself to it, you’re sunk. Santa Rosa, California’s Lord Mountain – vocalist/guitarist Jesse Swanson, guitarist Sean Serrano, bassist Dave Reed and drummer Pat Moore – would seem to have it figured out on their self-titled debut EP. Released by King Volume Records on limited tape, it brings forth four tracks in 21 minutes that are no less comfortable playing to the downer riffing of Candlemass – opener “Fenrir” – than to the epic chanting of Viking-era Bathory – “Under the Mountain” – and that find distinction for themselves in nodding to one side or the other as they make their way across the bass-y Sabbathism of “Dying World” and into the concluding solo-topped gallop of “Tomb of the Eagle” (more Dio-era there, but effectively translated tonally). As an initial offering, its presence is more stately than raw, and part of that is aesthetic, so I still think Lord Mountain will have growth to undertake, but their EP shows marked potential and brings a fresh personality to doom’s rigid traditionalism, and there’s nothing more one could reasonably ask of it. A CD would probably be too much to ask, but it’s hard to believe no one’s snagged it for a 10” release yet.
Behold the winding, self-directed narrative of underrated, underutilized and underappreciated New York heavy rockers The Giraffes, who issued Usury via Silver Sleeve Records in Jan. 2016, on the cusp of their 20th anniversary and with it welcomed back frontman Aaron Lazar (also a one-time contributor to The Book of Knots, speaking of underrated) to the fold alongside guitarist Damien Paris, drummer Andrew Totolos and bassist Josh Taggart. Comprised of just six songs with a 28-minute runtime, it nonetheless holds to a full-album sentiment, with songs like the tense “Washing Machine” working in a vein not dissimilar to their righteous 2008 offering, Prime Motivator (review here), while the preceding “Facebook Rant” and “Product Placement Song” bask in a social commentary that one can only hope the ensuing decades make dated and the subsequent “White Jacket” has a melancholy danceability that one might’ve related around the time of The Giraffes’ 2005 self-titled debut related to System of a Down, but now just sounds like an enrichment of their approach overall. Usury gets off to a slow start (not a complaint, given the groove) with “Blood Will Run,” which seems to shake off its dust initially before commencing its real push and chug circa the halfway point, but by the time they get down to eight-minute finale “How it Happened to Me,” the sudden conclusion of the jam leaves one to wonder where they went and when they’ll be back, which presumably is the whole idea. Behold a band who did it before it was cool, should’ve been huge, and still kept going. The story is more complicated than that, but there are few tales more admirable.
The first Saint Vitus live album – Live – surfaced in 1990 via Hellhound Records and captured the band in Germany in 1989. Its 2005 reissue on Southern Lord played a large role in introducing the pivotal doomers to a new generation of fans. Live Vol. 2 follows some 26 years later via Season of Mist and likewise documents a crucial era in the four-piece’s existence, having been recorded in 2013 in Luxembourg following the release of their 2012 album, Lillie: F-65 (review here), with the lineup of vocalist Scott “Wino” Weinrich, guitarist Dave Chandler, bassist Mark Adams and drummer Henry Vasquez. It’s a 59-minute set, all told – one suspects some of Chandler’s stage rants between songs were shortened or removed – and among the most striking impressions it makes is how seamlessly Lillie: F-65 cuts “Let Them Fall,” “The Bleeding Ground” and “The Waste of Time” fit in alongside classics like the speedy “War is Our Destiny” and “Look Behind You” or the more grueling “Patra (Petra)” and galloping “White Stallions.” Of course, the anthemic “Born too Late” closes out, with Chandler’s wash of feedback and all-low-end tone at the start the ultimate hallmark of what Saint Vitus have always been – a middle finger to square culture unlike any other. This era of the band may be over, with original vocalist Scott Reagers stepping back into the frontman role, but as one continues to hope for another studio album, Live Vol. 2 proves more than a stopgap and takes an active role in adding to the band’s legendary catalog.
After two successful full-lengths in 2010’s Skygrounds and 2012’s Slow Rivers, next-gen Swedish heavy rockers Långfinger join forces with Small Stone Records for their 10-song/46-minute third album, the crisply-executed Crossyears. Like their countrymen labelmates in Jeremy Irons and the Ratgang Malibus, the Gothenburg three-piece bring modern edge and production to what a few years ago might’ve been purely retro ‘70s boogie rock, as tracks like “Fox Confessor,” “Say Jupiter,” the more languid “Atlas” and “Caesar’s Blues” bask in a showcase of tight, natural performance with a clean production style that still highlights same, bassist/keyboardist/vocalist Victor Crusner, guitarist/backing vocalist Kalle Lilja and drummer/backing vocalist Jesper Pihl proving the maturity of their songwriting while still delivering the push of “Silver Blaze” and closer “Window in the Sky” with a sense of energy behind them. Their approach so solidified, Långfinger don’t seem to leave much to chance in their sound, but Crossyears engages heavy rock tradition effectively while bridging a gap of decades across its run, and that, frankly, seems like enough for any one record to take on.
Soggy’s self-titled LP, released in this edition by Outer Battery Records (see also Arctic, Earthless Meets Heavy Blanket), is a reissue of a 2008 collection of tracks from a span of years that find the blown-out French punkers paying direct homage to The Stooges with a cover of the seminal “I Wanna be Your Dog,” immediately drawing a line to what seems to have been the band’s most prominent influence. Some 35-plus years after they were initially put to tape, Soggy’s tracks continue to feel dangerous and raw in their frenetic proto-punkery, and that would seem to be exactly what the Soggy LP is looking to convey, digging into the vast trove of lost artifacts in heavy and punk rock and finding a treasure ripe for hindsight appreciation. As much as it just makes me want to put on the self-titled Stooges record or Fun House, I can’t argue with the success of Soggy’s Soggy or not admire its mission, even if some of its blows land harder than others.
Posted in Whathaveyou on January 6th, 2017 by JJ Koczan
German compatriots Deaf Proof and Mount Hush have teamed up for a new split with one extended track per band included. The idea is that the two groups will divide up the two sides of a vinyl platter. Not an unreasonable way to go. Okay. Trouble is making vinyl costs money, and the bands, being bands, are not prone to having such things, so they’re going to be setting up a crowdfunding campaign in order to make the pressing of Interstellar Smoke a reality. Does that campaign exist yet? No. When is it coming? Presumably soon. That, my friends, is about the extent of what I know on the subject.
Well, not really, because as a way of teasing the release in a gosh-wouldn’t-you-like-these-massive-molten-slabs-on-your-shelf kind of way — and indeed, gosh, I would — both Mount Hush and Deaf Proof have made their inclusions to Interstellar Smoke available to stream now, so you can basically hear what the vinyl will be and imagine your turntable feet flattening under the weight. Or something like that. You might imagine other things. Whatever’s on your mind.
Release info and audio follows. If you’d like a way to send them your cash in the interim, downloads are available through respective Bandcamp pages, linked below:
Deaf Proof / Mount Hush Split “Interstellar Smoke”
Stoner enthusiasts, fuzz worshippers and psychedelic lovers listen up!
From now on you‘ll get the chance to lay your hands on a fantastic and unique record. Mount Hush and Deaf Proof entered the studio to craft two monstrous tunes (ONE each band!) and bring them to you. Mount Hush delivers a 3-parted heavy psychedelic jam trip where spaced out guitars organically blend in with crooning vocals, synths & organ sounds.
Deaf Proof joins the game with a fuzzy and pounding edge, straight and expansive at the same time. Altogether a dreamy and psychedelic, yet furious and crashing trip awaits: This is “Interstellar Smoke”.
So do yourself a favour, lean back and enjoy this record in its full entirety… But don’t be ungenerous and tell a friend! Because we need YOUR support to crowdfund a special vinyl release of this gem. Campaign coming soon. Support the underground and spread the word!
Mount Hush & Deaf Proof “Interstellar Smoke” Split: A. Mount Hush – “Sleeping Jupiter – Haze – Aquatic Void” 20:03 B. Deaf Proof – “Everything Dead” 24:32
Posted in Whathaveyou on January 4th, 2017 by JJ Koczan
Not that I’ve heard it yet or anything, but Thera Roya‘s debut full-length, Stone and Skin, takes some significant steps — plods? thudding wildebeest gallops? — forward from where even their 2015 Unraveling EP (review here) found them. Increasingly resonant in their atmospheric post-metal approach, the Brooklynite trio have begun to shift from the outward abrasion of their earliest work into more progressive spaciousness — a spaciousness that still has room for a crushing riff or vicious scream every now and again as well. Again, not saying I’ve heard it, but it presents a clear sense of development in progress on their part and challenges the listener to follow them on what turns out to be a surprisingly varied course.
Or… so the rumors tell me? Okay, I’ve heard the album. You got me. I’ll have an actual review up sooner or later, but the initial impression is certainly favorable, if the above didn’t make that clear.
Stone and Skin is out Feb. 17 as a self-release from the band. More details follow from the PR wire:
Brookyln based sludge/post-metal band THERA ROYA will release Stone and Skin on February 17 2017. The album is their first full-length album, after releasing several EPs and splits in the past.
Formed in 2012, Thera Roya have rapidly ascended the ranks of the underground metal world and become known for their grandiose sound and otherworldly soundscapes all steeped in the influence of Neurosis and Isis.
Coming off an extremely busy 2015/16 that saw the band release an EP, a split and then go on to play 88 shows, Thera Roya are clearly destined for greater things and their forward momentum is simply unending. Unafraid to hit the road and grind it out in the name of their craft, Thera Roya has been able to play with bands like Cult Leader, Seven Sisters Of Sleep, Birds In Row, Pilgrim, Generation Of Vipers, U.S Christmas, Tengger Calvary and North. As they face the future, they know that their unique brand of sludge meets post metal has the power to dominate the metal scene in 2017.
Now – with the upcoming release of their monolithic first full length, Stone & Skin, Thera Roya are preparing themselves to tour on their most important material yet. In a world where we are finally starting to see post metal get the recognition it deserves, Thera Roya will put out one of the genres most worthy records. Forward thinking, overpowering and strangely transcendent, Stone & Skin is the sound of the future.
Thera Roya is: Jonathan Cohn – Bass Ryan Smith – Drums/Vox/Guitar Christopher Eustaquio – Guitar