Six Dumb Questions with Weedpecker (Plus Full Album Stream)

Posted in audiObelisk, Six Dumb Questions on January 5th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

weedpecker

Today, Jan. 5, marks the official release date of Polish heavy psych rockers Weedpecker‘s awaited third album, III. Also their debut outing through respected purveyor Stickman Records, its tracks have been floating around the interwebs for the better part of the last several months in one form or another, and the whole thing might well have been on YouTube already, I don’t really know, but if you click play below, you can stream it in full courtesy of the band and label, and whether it’s your first time hearing it or not, it’s one I’m thrilled to be able to feature for the wide-spreading wash it enacts and the inviting warmth with which it greets its audience.

Comprised now of founding brothers/guitarists/vocalists Piotr Wyroslaw “Wyro” Dobry and Bartek “Bando” Dobry, bassist Grzegorz “Mroku” Pawlowski, who joined in time for the release of II (review here) and drummer Pan Falon, the Warsaw-based troupe have held firm to a creatively progressive course since their self-titledweedpecker iii debut (review here) surfaced in 2013, but with III, their approach reaches new levels of patience and fluidity. Across the first two of the five inclusions, “Molecule” and “Embrace,” they employ dream-toned otherworldliness wielded with stonerly fascination and exploratory aplomb. Layers are rich but spread wide, allowing the listener to breathe easy as they make their way through toward the cyclonic churn that, prefaced in the second half of “Molecule,” takes fuller hold with album centerpiece “Liquid Sky” and the early going of the subsequent “From Mars to Mercury,” shades of latter-day Elder‘s lush melodies showing themselves amidst the swirl of fuzz and echo.

The full-length rounds out with the nigh-Beatlesian harmonies of “Lazy Boy and the Temple of Wonders,” a stretch of just under nine minutes that builds in linear fashion to a smoothly-executed apex pulled off with class and confidence alike, first swelling in the midsection before drawing back to highlight the Pawlowski‘s bassline as the Dobry brothers weave lines of guitar and (maybe?) Mellotron together for a serenity that thrusts forward circa 5:45 to begin to provide III with its well-earned final payoff. This, naturally, is no less fluid than anything that’s come before it, and III on the whole reveals itself to be a molten joy of heavy psych that finds Weedpecker more come into their own sonic persona than they’ve ever been.

Accordingly, and with the album out today, it seemed like the perfect opportunity to hit the Dobrys up with a few questions about the making of III and their sense of where Weedpecker are coming from generally and where they might be headed. You’ll find the results of that Q&A after the album player immediately following here.

Please enjoy the following stream and Six Dumb Questions:

Six Dumb Questions with Weedpecker

Tell me about writing III. When did the process start? Was there anything in particular you were looking to accomplish coming off of the last album and going into this one?

Piotr Dobry: We started writing the material for III right after we finished recording II. To be honest, I don’t quiet remember how it went. We were just working hard on upgrading the sound and compositions comparing to II. The experiences we earned from previous records are very precious, we wanted to use them to make the best possible album.

Bartek Dobry: I remember that I was really happy with the sound of II when we left the studio, but later on I started to notice that I don’t like it to be honest. The compositions and the sound. They seemed to be flat and boring. We really wanted not to repeat mistakes we did during the last studio session. I think it turned out okay but still I see lots of things that we can work on in the future.

How do Weedpecker songs take shape? A track like “Embrace” seems to have a lot of interwoven parts – how do they come together for you guys generally? Has this process changed at all over the course of your three albums?

PD: It depends, the whole material is written by me and Bartek, we bring patterns to the rehearsals and then we try to make songs out of them. Sometimes it takes very long for us to finish the song. Like the song is almost done but it needs one or two more patterns which just can’t come to your head, and then you wait even couple of months till you find what you were looking for. After finishing such a song we want to do something spontaneous and just jam something out.

BD: The process definitely changed, we started to put more attention on what patterns are getting in the songs. The selection was really raw. We probably had to give up riffs that could make another LP but they weren’t good enough. Also I’ve never recorded music in home just to register riffs and to work on them, which I did during working on III. It really makes a good work.

What was your time in the studio like for III? How long were you recording? What was the vibe like? Did you have any specific goals for the sound and, if so, what were some of the challenges along the way in making them happen?

PD: We recorded it in freshly built studio of Tides From Nebula fellas. Haldor of Satanic Audio was our recording guy just like on II. We’ve spent very intense week there, we’ve been recording for 12 hours a day and sometimes even more. We’ve smoked literally ton of weed during the session. It was pure pleasure. I love to record and it gives me lots of joy when I hear particular tracks being combined and slowly becoming a song on which we were working for two years. We knew exactly what kind of gear (guitars, amps and the whole rest) we wanted to use on this record. We bought some and some we borrowed from our good friends. On II we didn’t put as much effort.

BD: Special thanks to Cheesy Dude for being our backup sound guy for one night!

How did signing to Stickman come about? The label seems to have such distinctive taste. What does it mean to you to have them backing your record?

PD: It means a lot to us! Personally I love many records published by this label and I was really happy when we got the proposition. Good friend of ours, Nick DiSalvo came to the gig in Berlin, and he said that he’d like to show the material to Rolf [Gustavus], owner of the label. After something about a week we got an official proposition from Stickman.

How do you feel that Weedpecker has grown generally since the first album? Is that something you think about and try to purposefully make happen, or do you just prefer to let the songs take shape as they will and see what comes out? How much of your progression is intentional?

PD: Of course we care about the continuous growth of the band. We want every each album to sound better than the previous one. That means we have to work harder and invest more money each time. Still it gives us lots of pleasure and satisfaction. On each rehearsal we smoke blunts together, play, and talk about stuff.

BD: The progression is partly intentional. As we play more and have more experience with composing and stuff we begin to have more expectations about our music. I want songs to be more complicated and melodic. But still the most important is just to have fun out of playing. If we play the riff and we really feel it during the rehearsal than propably it’s good. Or perhaps it’s shit and we were too high while playing it. You never know.

Any plans or closing words you want to mention?

PD: Right after releasing III we go on the small tour around the Germany and Poland, and then we will see.

BD: Peace and love brothers and sisters!

Weedpecker on Thee Facebooks

Weedpecker on Bandcamp

Weedpecker BigCartel store

Weedpecker at 8merch

Stickman Records website

Stickman Records on Thee Facebooks

Stickman Records on Twitter

Tags: , , , , , ,

Weedpecker Sign to Stickman Records; III Coming Soon; New Song Streaming Now

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

weedpecker

Poland’s Weedpecker already have two strong albums under their collective belt in their 2013 self-titled (review here) and 2015’s even more expansive II (review here), but with an endorsement like that of Stickman Records behind the forthcoming III, it seems all the more like they might just be about to hit their finest hour to-date. The Warsaw four-piece are the latest impressive pickup from the German label, which seems to be on something of a spree over the course of the last year-plus, with King Buffalo, Papir and a distro deal with The Heads‘ imprint Rooster Rock, as well as releases by ElderMotorpsycho, OrangoThe Devil and the Almighty Blues, the aforementioned Papir, etc. All the better, as their taste is basically unfuckwithable as far as I’m concerned.

In the case of Weedpecker, they’re yet another band who take familiar sonic elements and turn them into something brazenly individual. With an underlying influence from their now-labelmates Elder, they honed a progressive feel across the still-psychedelic and very much still-heavy II, and based on what Stickman says about it and the track “Liquid Sky” that’s streaming below, I can’t wait to hear what’s in store for III. Good band. Good news. Positive vibes and kudos all around.

Exact release date still to come. Here’s the cover art and the announcement from the label:

weedpecker iii

STICKMAN WELCOMES WEEDPECKER WITH NEW ALBUM “III”!

It’s the year of the roman numeral at Stickman Records, beginning with Papir’s “V” and continuing the trend with our latest addition to the family – Poland’s WEEDPECKER for their third album, aptly titled “III”!

Weedpecker started turning heads with their fantastic debut album in 2013, no small feat in the oversaturated world of drug rock in the 21st century. Mixing grungy riffs with dreamy, psychedelic soundscapes, their heavy and trippy sound is singular and instantly recognizable. Numerous European tours including shows with our own Elder won the Warsaw quartet the kind of quiet reverence that accompanies any underground band who’s just too good to be let out into the mainstream and discovered for all, and the second LP “II” remains a sought-after gem. When we got the chance to work with them for their latest offering, of course we jumped at the chance!

If the band name conjures up images of marijuana haze – as it undoubtedly should – “III” is a whole ‘nother drug; showing no inhibitions in breaking out of the “stoner rock” mold, the extended trips float over the listener with lush keys, beautiful guitar melodies and ethereal vocal harmonies. Borrowing more heavily from the lighter psychedelia a la early Tame Impala, Pond or Morgan Delt, “III” shows the band experimenting and jamming more than ever before with unexpected and wonderful results.

Says Weedpecker: “We are very happy to announce that our new album will be released by Stickman Records! We’re super proud that Elder, Motorpsycho, Papir, Mos Generator, Anekdoten are our label buddies!”

Release date and details to follow soon!

Weedpecker is:
Wyro-guitar
Bartek-guitar
Mroku-bass
Falon-drums

https://www.facebook.com/Weedpecker-349871488424872/
https://weedpecker.bandcamp.com/
http://weedpecker.bigcartel.com/
http://weedpecker.8merch.com/
https://www.facebook.com/Stickman-Records-1522369868033940/
https://twitter.com/stickmanrecords

Weedpecker, “Liquid Sky”

Weedpecker, II (2015)

Tags: , , , , , ,

Sunnata Announce Fall European Tour Dates

Posted in Whathaveyou on September 27th, 2016 by JJ Koczan

sunnata

Polish heavy rockers Sunnata have a new live video out captured at a recent hometown gig in Warsaw that found them opening for none other than Mastodon. Not a bad bill at all to be on. The extended cut “Beasts of Prey” opened Sunnata‘s latest album, Zorya (review here), earlier this year and was among its most striking impressions, and yeah, let’s just say it seems to carry over live as well. The four-piece head out on a European tour beginning Thursday, again in Warsaw, and will play Germany, Belgium, France and the Czech Republic in addition to other shows in Poland as they continue to support Zorya, their most progressive and weighted outing yet.

Dates and more background came down the PR wire:

sunnata-european-tour

Ritual heavy merchants SUNNATA on tour across Europe this fall; watch their new video for “Beasts Of Prey” now!

Poland’s ritual heavy unit SUNNATA will embark on their first European tour this fall. The band also released the live video for “Beasts Of Prey”, captured during their Warsaw show with Mastodon.

The band comments: “We are very excited about it! It’s been an awesome year already, but it seems that best is yet about to come. Upcoming european tour is the first result of our cooperation with the Dead Pig Entertainment crew, who are responsible for all our touring activities. They teamed us up with great acts on the road, so expect us to share stages with Yob, Elder, Cough, Black Cobra and local mates from post-metal Obscure Sphinx and Au-Dessus. Don’t miss it. Come, open your mind and experience the sound of Sunnata. Let there be noise.”

To come with this first European tour, SUNNATA will make available a limited LP version of their latest album “Zorya”, to be found at the merch table on each show. The “Zorya” LP comes in gatefold 180g gold vinyl, beautifully illustrated by Ascending Storm.

SUNNATA EUROPEAN TOUR:
29.09 – PL Warsaw, Proxima*
30.09 – PL – Lublin, Graffiti*
01.10 – PL – Kraków, Kwadrat*
02.10 – DE – Leipzig, Haifischbar**
03.10 – BE – Antwerp, Antwerp Music City**
04.10 – FR – Lille, El Diablo**
05.10 – FR – Paris, Glazart %
06.10 – FR – Bron, Jack Jack***
07.10 – FR – Nantes, Le Ferrailleur***
08.10 – FR – Tours, The Winchester
10.10 – CZ – Prague, Cross Club**
13.10 – PL – Pozna?, U Bazyla
14.10 – PL – Bielsko-Bia?a, Rudeboy Club*

*with Obscure Sphinx and Sounds like the end of the world
**with Au-Dessus ***with Elder and Cough %)with Yob and Black Cobra

After a year and half wisely spent writing and experimenting, and a mere four days in Satanic Audio studios (Thaw, Belzebong, Weedpecker), SUNNATA delivered their second album Zorya, which they describe as “an exploration of impermanent nature of sound, full of rapid changes and distortion overdose” and will soon take over the European continent with a extensive bunch of dates. Let there be noise.

SUNNATA IS
Szy – Vocals
Gad – Guitars
Dob – Bass
Rob – Drums

https://www.facebook.com/sunnataofficial
https://twitter.com/followsunnata
http://sunnataofficial.bandcamp.com/
https://www.youtube.com/user/sunnataofficial/videos

Sunnata, “Beasts of Prey” live in Warsaw

Tags: , , ,

Sunnata: Zorya Due in April

Posted in Whathaveyou on January 6th, 2016 by JJ Koczan

sunnata

Good news out of Warsaw that heavy crunchers Sunnata have a new record in the can and will release what’s been titled Zorya in Spring. The band themselves quoted an April release on their Twitter, but figure one or the other, sometime when it’s above freezing, the album will show up. The band released their debut under the moniker, Climbing the Colossus, in 2014.

There’s plenty more to say about it and hopefully I’ll get the chance to do that in advance of the release. Sunnata toured Europe last year alongside German sludgecore upstarts High Fighter and it seems reasonable to think they’ll head out again maybe this summer if not sooner. When and if I hear of something along those lines, I’ll let you know. For now, you can check out the cover art and more info below, as sent down the PR wire:

sunnata-zorya

Behold the starship. . . Poland’s doom lords SUNNATA return with new album “Zorya” this spring.

Warsaw-based magnificent heavy unit SUNNATA is back with their sophomore full-length entitled “Zorya”. Described as “deeper and heavier” by the band and largely influenced by Slavic myths, this is one record meant to cast a spell on all heavy music worshippers…

“Zorya is totally different than Climbing the colossus from top to bottom, says drummer Robert Ruszczyk about this new album. Sound, songs, atmosphere and our approach has changed and evolved towards something deeper, yet less direct. It means that Zorya is definitely heavier, but not that aggressive.”

SUNNATA – New album “Zorya” out in spring 2016…

SUNNATA (sanskrit, noun for “voidness”, “emptiness”) is a soundscape, where noise crossfades clearness – where walls of fuzz, delay and reverb confront the monolith of absolute silence. Driven by addiction to low frequencies, SUNNATA merge psychedelic trips, doomed & catchy heavy riffage with oriental vibe along with grungy vocals and intense grooves.

Known from expressive live performances, the Polish four-piece has already been invited to share stages with headliners like Conan, Kylesa, Ufomammut or Suma, just to name some of the most remarkable influencers. Their debut full-length Climbing The Colossus has gained notable feedback from many printed and online journals, thanks to their monstrous, agressive and fuzzed-out steamroller songs.

After a year and half wisely spent writing and experimenting, and a mere four days in Satanic Audio studios (Thaw, Belzebong, Weedpecker), SUNNATA are now ready to deliver their second album Zorya, which they describe as “an exploration of impermanent nature of sound, full of rapid changes and distortion overdose”.

Let there be noise.

SUNNATA IS
Szy – Vocals
Gad – Guitars
Dob – Bass
Rob – Drums

http://sunnataofficial.bandcamp.com/
https://www.facebook.com/sunnataofficial
https://twitter.com/followsunnata
https://www.youtube.com/user/sunnataofficial/videos

Sunnata, Climbing the Colossus (2014)

Tags: , , , ,

Weedpecker, II: Reality Fading

Posted in Reviews on November 4th, 2015 by JJ Koczan

weedpecker ii

Heavy psychedelic rockers Weedpecker hit their stride with their second offering, II. The seven-track/42-minute release is out on vinyl through Pink Tank Records and independently-pressed CD (DL also), and it answers the easy-flowing vibes of the Polish natives’ late-2013 self-titled debut (review here) with a fuller sound and more mature execution. II marks the arrival of bassist Grzegorz “Mroku” Pawlowski (ex-Dopelord), who glides smoothly into the rhythm section alongside returning drummer Pan Falon, and with him, helps set a foundation of solid, weighted grooves over which guitarists/vocalists Piotr Wyroslaw “Wyro” Dobry and Bartek “Bando” Dobry cast out dreamy and exploratory fuzz.

Across its rather considerable span, II demonstrates there’s still room for growth in the realm of post-Colour Haze heavy psych, and more than the debut, Weedpecker leave an individual impression here in songs like “Reality Fades” and the peaceful, patient closer, “Already Gone,” tapping into Elder-style riffing on “Flowering Dimensions” as they did the first time out, but elsewhere taking on a similar low-key mindset that drove Sungrazer‘s second LP toward such expansive jamming. They can be quite heavy at times — “Flowering Dimensions” builds a considerable wall of fuzz in its back half, as does the eight-minute instrumental “Into the Woods,” at least for a while, but the overarching drive of II seems to be more about giving the guitars room to breathe within the songs while setting forth a few choice vocal moments as well, as on the harmonies of the penultimate “The Vibe” or “Reality Fades,” which leads off II in a fashion that both sets up the linear flow that continues from one song into the next but also shows some self-awareness on the part of the band for the immersiveness they’re creating.

Right away, II demonstrates a tranquil pastoralism. “Reality Fades” is obviously conscious of its own hypnotic effect — otherwise presumably Weedpecker would’ve called it something else — but that doesn’t make that effect any less prevalent. Guitars, bass and drums meander toward a fuzzy lead early on, a verse having already arrived over a particularly bright guitar line and gone, and they move into a more densely-fuzzed midsection riff and stay louder for the duration (some Elder-style vocal patterning there as well), but never come close to aggression at any point. That plays well in their favor throughout, as II continues to expound on the far-out beginning, moving through “Flowering Dimensions”‘ somewhat shorter but likewise resonant melodicism, quietly building all the while, but really stomping the pedal at 2:28, just as the vocals seem to hit their peak.

weedpecker

The riff that emerges feels especially Elektrohaschian, but Weedpecker recontextualize the familiarity to suit their own dual-guitar purposes, which sets up the more nodding “Fat Karma” as a marriage of lumbering low end and from-the-deep melodic shouts, engaging and light despite their heft. As the centerpiece of the CD/download, “Nothingness” would seem to have some significance to the overall journey from the moment where “Reality Fades” to when it’s “Already Gone,” and I won’t discount the sweetness of its verse or the tension held in the drums that seems to tease an explosion which — to the band’s credit — never comes, as would be essentially a repeat of “Flowering Dimensions.” Rather, “Nothingness” is another step outward on this cosmic excursion, and while it does swell in volume some around its solo, it never loses the calmness at its center. Like “Already Gone” still to come, and I suppose the subsequent “Into the Woods” as well, it shows the patience that Weedpecker have developed in their sound over the last couple years, and its lack of hurry is infectious.

It’s worth keeping in mind that II is only 42 minutes long — easily placed on two sides of a single LP — because by the time Weedpecker get around to “Into the Woods,” the proceedings have melted to such a degree that it could be five minutes or 500, it doesn’t really matter. The efficiency that underlies their psychedelic lullaby never really takes prevalence to the point of undercutting it, but it’s always there. “Into the Woods” launches a dream-sequence of guitar effects over steady-shuffling drums for its first three and a half minutes or so, but clicks into earthier riffing before the five-minute mark and continues to proffer slow-motion space fuzz from there, letting the fuzz do the talking before ending airy and quiet en route to “The Vibe,” which might as well be the mission statement for the record as a whole. Returning vocals seem to bring the album back to ground, but the truth of the matter is it’s never close, and while I don’t know that the LP’s side B is comprised of “Into the Woods,” “The Vibe,” and “Already Gone” — that is, I’m not sure what side “Nothingness” is on — if it is, the intent to highlight the vocals on “The Vibe” seems clear enough by surrounding it on either side with (mostly) instrumentals.

Layered smoothly and moving into harmony with what’s probably a deceptive ease, the verses of “The Vibe” are worth highlighting, and the molten groove that carries the song to its finish is wiser not to try to upstage them. It’s all the more interesting to hear what the Dobrys do with the almost-post-rock drift that “Already Gone” enacts. Rather than shrink from the challenge of such serenity, they meet it for a few lines and then, naturally, let the instruments carry the way to II‘s finish, the work they’ve done prior speaking for itself. The entire album is the beneficiary of that work, and between the seamless integration of Pawlowski into the lineup and the liquefied soundscaping they bring about on these tracks, there’s no question in listening as to whether or not it was worth the effort.

Weedpecker, II (2015)

Weedpecker on Thee Facebooks

Weedpecker on Bandcamp

Pink Tank Records

Tags: , , , , ,

High Fighter and Sunnata Announce Tour Dates

Posted in Whathaveyou on March 13th, 2015 by JJ Koczan

high fighter

sunnata

Hamburg-based High Fighter released their debut EP, The Goat Ritual (review here), last year to a flurry of hyperbole highlighting its precise riffing, tradeoff harsh and melodic vocals and schooled songwriting. The band, who also just formed in 2014, are getting ready to head out on their first tour next month, and they’ll be joined by Polish rockers Sunnata, whose transition from the moniker Satellite Beaver was made complete with the issue of the Climbing the Colossus full-length a year ago. A couple dates are still TBA, so keep an eye out.

The PR wire had this to offer:

high fighter sunnata tour

HIGH FIGHTER & SUNNATA announce “Get Doomed In Spring Tour 2015“!

What a heavy-weight package! German newcomer sludge / doom outfit HIGH FIGHTER have announced their first tour ever, alongside with none other than doom mates in SUNNATA! Hailing from Warsaw, Poland & heavily touring Europe over the last years such as at Desertfest & many more stages with well-known acts, Sunnata have already left their remarkable stamp in nowadays doom & fuzz scene.

Formed in the summer of 2014 and started as a total new band project born by former band members of A Million Miles, Buffalo Hump and Pyogenesis, HIGH FIGHTER is a volatile cocktail of heavy as hell riffs fuelled by beer and the mighty weedian riffs. Add a heavy dose of the blues and the deadly schizophrenic vocals by frontlady Mona, and High Fighter offer something new to the Sludge, Blues & Stoner Scene. If you’re looking for a highly polished band then look elsewhere as High Fighter play mean and dirty Blues, Stoner & dark Sludgy riffs to fuel your appetite with.

For their first tour ever, HIGH FIGHTER could not have picked a heavier and better choice to round up this spring tour package: Driven by addiction to low frequencies, SUNNATA (“voidness”) merge psychedelic trips, doomed & catchy heavy riffage with oriental vibes along with grungy vocals and intense grooves. Open your mind and experience it. Let there be noise.

And there will. On the upcoming “Get Doomed In Spring Tour 2015“,
presented by Metal.de, The Sludgelord and Doomed & Stoned:
09.04.2015 – Dresden, GER – Sabotage
10.04.2015 – tba
11.04.2015 – Wiesloch, GER – Rock & Pop
12.04.2015 – Köln, GER – Underground
13.04.2015 – Hastings, UK – The Carlisle
14.04.2015 – London, UK – Unicorn
15.04.2015 – Oxford, UK – Wheatsheaf
16.04.2015 – Antwerp, BE – The Rocking Bull
17.04.2015 – tba
18.04.2015 – Wolfsburg, GER – s.V. Jugenhaus Ost ( *High Fighter only! )
18.04.2015 – Paris, FR – Glazart / Doomed Gatherings ( *Sunnata only! )

For More Info, News & Tickets Visit:
www.highfighter.de
www.facebook.com/HighFighter
www.highfighter.bandcamp.com
www.facebook.com/sunnataofficial
www.sunnataofficial.bandcamp.com

Sunnata, Climbing the Colossus (2014)

High Fighter, The Goat Ritual (2014)

Tags: , , , , ,

In the Round: Reviews of Buddha Sentenza, Chrome, Hercyn, The Warlocks and The White Kites

Posted in Reviews on February 4th, 2014 by JJ Koczan

Second week in a row I’m trying this, since the universe didn’t seem to collapse on itself after the first one — unless you count how bad I fucked up lineups; they’re fixed now. Once again we cover some pretty wide ground geographically and stylistically (also alphabetically!), so let’s get to it:

Buddha Sentenza, South Western Lower Valley Rock

Released last year as their debut on World in Sound Records, the 14-track full-length South Western Lower Valley Rock is Buddha Sentenza‘s follow-up to 2009’s exploratory Mode 0909 (review here). The 46-minute outing from the German instrumental fivesome pairs longer pieces like the classic rocking “Arrested Development” (5:04) and prog-jamming “The Monkey Stealing the Peaches” (2:49) off of brief transitional interludes taking their name from letters in the Greek alphabet. I’m not sure what “A-B-G-D-E-Z-I” is meant to indicate — the tracks being “Alpha,” “Beta,” “Gamma” and so on — but they pair remarkably well with the other pieces, and the emergent feel is not unlike that of My Sleeping Karma‘s 2012 outing, Soma, methodologically as well as aesthetically. Perhaps the highlight of South Western Lower Valley Rock is its longest component, “Debris Moon,” which in just under nine minutes weaves nighttime atmospherics and heavy psych ambience into what’s still a subdued track, never quite paying off the tension it creates until the subsequent “Epsilon” shifts into the aforementioned “The Monkey Stealing the Peaches,” giving even more of a clue that Buddha Sentenza are working in a whole-album mindset, rather than thinking of South Western Lower Valley Rock in terms of its individual tracks. The album makes sense on this level, and on CD presents an immersive, linear listening experience that casts a deceptively wide stylistic berth between keyboard-infused krautrock worship, heavy rock and psychedelia, offering fluid motion from in less skilled hands could easily come across as disjointed elements. They make that My Sleeping Karma comparison almost too easy, but the interludes are ultimately essential in creating the flow, as the ease of movement between the desert crunch of “Tzameti,” “Eta” and Eastern-vibing closer “Psychonaut” underscores. Some of Buddha Sentenza‘s best moments are in playing styles off each other.

Buddha Sentenza on Thee Facebooks

World in Sound Records

Chrome, Half Machine from the Sun: The Lost Tracks from ’79-’80

While the liner notes tell of their having been designated “too accessible” at the time, the 18 songs on Chrome‘s Half Machine from the Sun are still plenty weird. As the title indicates, the release is a compilation of yet-unissued cuts from 1979-1980, the era of Half Machine Lip Moves and Red Exposure for Chrome‘s key collaboration between guitarist/vocalist Helios Creed and drummer/vocalist Damon Edge and arguably the point at which that incarnation of the band’s far-out blend of proto-punk, New Wave, psychedelic rock and experimental pop was at its most potent. Sure enough, Half Machine from the Sun crisscrosses genres on an almost per-track basis, be it the weirdo electro stomp of “Looking for Your Door,” the space rock noise wash of “Morrison” or “Sub Machine,” which turns an almost manic drum beat into the foundation of an otherworldly guitar and vocal exploration. They can and will go anywhere, as “Charlie’s Little Problem” and the creeper keyboards of “Ghost” showcase, but if there’s anything tying Half Machine from the Sun (which is out through King of Spades Records following a successful crowdfunding campaign to have it pressed to CD) together, it’s the fact that nothing is tying it together. Tape loops, analog synth, bizarre vocals, structure out the window — and yes, this is still the “accessible” side of Chrome — these songs nonetheless leave any number of memorable impressions, even if that impression winds up in an overarching sense of “God damn this band was weird.” Gloriously so. Chrome, under the direction of Helios Creed, have reportedly been at work on new material, so maybe all the better to give fans advance notice via this collection, which provides 73 minutes of alternate universe brainfodder to sate the curious and the passionate alike. A fan piece, but a welcome one.

Chrome on Thee Facebooks

Helios Creed on Thee Facebooks

Hercyn, Magda

The self-released debut EP from New Jersey-based progressive black metallers Hercyn, Magda, arrives in a full jewel case — the pressing is limited to 100 copies — wrapped in twine. I guess that’s meant to take the place of shrinkwrap, and in that, it’s certainly a more natural-feeling option. Magda‘s namesake track is a 24-minute blend of Euro-doom melancholy, blackened gurgles, grand riffing and ambient weight from the Jersey City trio of guitarist Michael DiCiania, guitarist/vocalist Ernest Wawiorko and bassist Tony Stanziano. About the only thing holding back the EP’s organic vibe is the fact that the drums are programmed, which gives the complex, ambitious “Magda” a mechanical base for what’s otherwise a relatively human sound; the guitars are buzzsaw sharp, but not necessarily without tonal warmth, and particularly in blastbeaten stretches, one almost wants something less precise to go along with the rawness in those guitars, as well as in the bass and Wawiorko‘s vocals. Nonetheless, as lead and rhythm layers intertwine past “Magda”‘s midpoint, there’s beauty in the dismal and a sense of the potential in Hercyn to fluidly cross genre boundaries even more than they already are. That lead is well plotted and sustained, and tempo and chug vary as the song reaches and moves beyond its apex in the second half, with the band offering a bit of Enslaved and Woods of Ypres influence in the interplay of keys and strings. I don’t know if they’ll try to find an actual drummer — for a first release, Magda hardly seems half-assed in its presentation, so maybe this is it; I hear industrial is on its way back — but Hercyn have started with a work of striking intricacy, and prove wholly comfortable in the longer form. An impressive and hopefully portentous debut.

Hercyn on Thee Facebooks

Hercyn on Bandcamp

The Warlocks, Skull Worship

Acid fuzz like a field you could lay down and lose an afternoon in is the contraband trafficked by L.A. freakouts The Warlocks, whose amorphous sonic ooze is every bit in mirror to their lineup, which has seen no fewer than 20 cats come and go and stick around over the course of the last decade and a half. With guitarist/vocalist/keyboardist/bassist Bobby Hecksher as the core around which the eight tracks of the 40-minute Skull Worship swirl, the oft-shoegazing psychedelia isn’t given to complete chaos, but man, The Warlocks go way, way out and don’t seem overly concerned with how they’re getting back. Joining Hecksher for the adventure are guitarist JC Rees, guitarist Earl V. Miller, bassist Chris DiPino and drummer George Serrano, as well as Tanya Hayden, who stops by to add some cello to “Silver and Plastic,” which sounds like what I always secretly hoped Radiohead would deliver instead of the pretentious mopey schlock they put out until they decided they were too smart for albums or whatever. The Warlocks, who had a couple records out on Tee Pee before jumping to Zap Banana/Cargo Records for Skull Worship, at times call to mind the very, very British moments of Crippled Black Phoenix, but then the psychedelic wash of “Chameleon” or “It’s a Hard Fall” takes hold and the whole vibe is groovier, thicker, more multi-colored molasses, whatever other attitude it might convey. The album hits its stride just when you think it might start to drag, and the closing “Eyes Jam” sounds like its backwards cymbals, feedback and drones could just go on into perpetuity, like if the record never returned and the loop kept repeating. Some heady moments, but should be right on the level for those properly tuned in.

The Warlocks on Thee Facebooks

Zap Banana Records

The White Kites, Missing

Immediately and throughout much of the duration of Polish psychedelic pop rockers The White Kites‘ debut LP, Missing (out on Deep Field Records), the vibe is Beatles. Lots and lots of Beatles, from the Sgt. Pepper-style organ circus swirl of opener “Arrival” on through the McCartney piano bounce of the penultimate “The Missing.” It is a 50-minute album, and much of the lighthearted atmosphere it creates stems from its modern interpretation of the legendary Liverpudlians in their psych era. Hard to rag on a band for digging The Beatles — it’s like yelling at a fish for breathing underwater. And as a seven-piece that includes flute, recorders, keyboards, citole, a variety of percussion, clarinet, ukulele and so on, The White Kites aren’t lacking for sonic diversity — vocalist Sean Palmer has quite a task in tying the album together — but as intricate and progressive as Missing gets, it’s still taking the Lennon/McCartney byway to get there. The corresponding songwriting team for The White Kites seems to be Palmer and bassist/keyboardist Jakub Lenarczyk (presented as Lenarczyk/Palmer), and they’re more than capable in their charge, but hints of early Pink Floyd and King Crimson seem to be waiting to emerge from “Turtle’s Back” and “Beyond the Furthest Star,” like they’re trying to get out and be more prominent in the band’s sound but are overpowered by the traceable poppiness. That doesn’t stop Missing from being enjoyable — unless you’ve never liked The Beatles, maybe — or “Beyond the Furthest Star” from being the highlight, it just means that The White Kites have room to shift the sonic balance should they choose to do so their next time around. Until then, impeccable production and imaginative arrangements throughout give an impression of a band just beginning their discovery.

The White Kites on Thee Facebooks

The White Kits on Bandcamp

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Sunnata to Release Climbing the Colossus in March

Posted in Whathaveyou on January 23rd, 2014 by JJ Koczan

Having started their career under the dubious-if-memorable moniker Satellite Beaver — their 2012 EP, The Last Bow (review here), followed 2009’s full-length debut, Trip Outside Your Mind (review here) — the Warsaw four-piece recently announced a change of banner in order to more closely match their sonic evolution. Thus, Sunnata emerge, with a self-released LP called Climbing the Colossus ready for release in March 2014. Same band, much less silly name, and with a sound that continues to grow.

As evidence of that, Sunnata offer up the darkly-fuzzed “Asteroid” as the first audio to be heard from Climbing the Colossus. Find it courtesy of Sunnata’s Bandcamp page following the PR wire info below:

SUNNATA premiere brandnew track + reveal album release date — New record coming out March 2014!

Founded in 2008 as formerly Satellite Beaver, Warsaw doomsters Sunnata have just revealed a brandnew track from their upcoming full length album “Climbing The Colossus”, which will be finally coming out on March 24th 2014!

As Satellite Beaver, the band released three EPs and played some of the biggest central and eastern-european stoner festivals, including Desertfest Berlin, Days Of The Ceremony (PL) or Robustfest (UA), and shared the stages with acts such as Sungrazer, Karma To Burn or Suma.

After changing their bandname in the beginning of 2014 and moving into a heavier direction, Sunnata have just premiered a first single called “Asteroid”,  which you can check out for free on their Bandcamp now and get an exclusive first taste of their upcoming, hotly anticipated album:

“Many things have changed since our start in 2008. After three short-length releases and numerous shows we all (finally) agreed to make a step closer to become premium pop-stars. However, the new band name doesn’t imply any line-up or make-up changes. It simply suits our approach to the music, which has become way heavier and trippy in comparison to what we played back in 2008. So here it is. SUNNATA is a soundscape, where noise crossfades clearness –where walls of fuzz, delay and reverb confront the monolith of absolute silence.”  explains the band. “We´re excited to finally unveil a first taste of our new sound!”

“Climbing The Colossus” – The new album by Sunnata will be coming out March 24th 2014 For fans of finest doom, sludge, stoner rock, fuzz trips & heavy riffs!

Tracklist:
1. Orcan
2. Asteroid
3. Seven
4. Path
5. Stalagmites
6. Monolith
7. Fomalhaut

SUNNATA is:
SZY – vocals, guitar
GAD – guitar
DOB – bass guitar
ROB – drums

Official Links:
www.facebook.com/sunnataofficial
www.sunnataofficial.bandcamp.com
www.twitter.com/followsunnata
www.vk.com/sunnataofficial

Sunnata, “Asteroid” from Climbing the Colossus (2014)

Tags: , , , , , ,