Year of the Cobra Tour Starts Tonight; Playing Prophecy Fest USA in Brooklyn

Posted in Whathaveyou on October 10th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

year of the cobra

Seattle’s Year of the Cobra have a slot booked at the first-ever Prophecy Fest USA in Brooklyn on Nov. 3, and because they’re Year of the Cobra, they’re turning it into a tour of the East Coast and Midwest. The band signed to Prophecy Productions earlier this year after issuing 2017’s Burn Your Dead EP (review here) through Magnetic Eye Records, and they’re set to have their sophomore full-length out in 2019, for which the EP teased multi-directional growth in style and songwriting. The duo have put in massive amounts of road work over the last couple years at home and abroad, and it seems like they’re in a place where they’re ready to step up to the task ahead of them in their next record and see where it takes them. My guess as regards to that? More touring.

They’ll be playing new songs on the tour, and that’s nifty to be sure, but I’m really looking forward to hearing what they might bring to a new record with Jack Endino producing. I’m keeping my fingers crossed the album gets here on the earlier end of next year.

From the PR wire:

year of the cobra tour

SEATTLE DOOM DUO, YEAR OF THE COBRA, ANNOUNCE NORTH AMERICAN TOUR DATES

*BAND TO PERFORM AT INAUGURAL “PROPHECY FEST USA” IN BROOKLYN ON NOV 3RD*

Seattle’s heavyweight stoner doom duo, Year of the Cobra, has announced they’ll be hitting the road for a North American tour this fall. The band will kick of the excursion with a hometown show in Seattle on October 10th and will wrap up the run in Lawrence, KS on November 6th. The tour will include a performance at the inaugural Prophecy Fest USA, alongside labelmates 1476, Crowhurst, Eye of Nix and Alcest, at Knitting Factory in Brooklyn, NY on November 3rd. Tickets for the fest are available now at http://bit.ly/2OCPQ9P.

Year of the Cobra’s upcoming tour will give fans a taste of music to come from the band’s forthcoming 2nd full-length record that’s due out next year.

“We’ve been hermits since our last U.S. tour this past August and have hunkered down and written a ton of new music… going to road test quite a few new songs on this run. Jack Endino will be producing and engineering the next record, which will come out in 2019 on Prophecy Productions. Tours and other exciting news are in the works. Stayed tuned!” – Year of the Cobra

Formed in 2015, Year of the Cobra became a rapidly ascending, radiant star in the horizon of the doom/stoner-scene for a reason: This powerhouse duo, consisting of Amy Tung Barrysmith (vocals/ bass) and Jon Barrysmith (drums), use their limitation in instrumentation to their advantage. Leaving space for every instrument to breathe and to shine, they create a vast, larger than life sound aesthetic. Their songs drift relentlessly from classic epic doom laments into oppressive heavy riff architecture; from catchy, almost upbeat rock moments into transfiguring psychedelia.

Year of the Cobra Tour Dates:
10.10.18 – Seattle, WA. – El Corazon w/ Monster Magnet
10.20.18 – Boise, ID. – The Shredder
10.22.18 – Denver, CO. – Streets of London
10.23.18 – Omaha, NB. – Lookout Lounge
10.24.18 – Oshkosh, WI. – Reptile Palace
10.25.18 – Chicago, IL. – Cobra Lounge
10.26.18 – Toronto, ON. – Coalition: T.O.
10.27.18 – Jewett City, CT. – Altones
10.28.18 – Ottawa, ON. – Cafe Decuf
10.29.18 – Buffalo, NY. – Mohawk Place
10.30.18 – Providence, RI. – Alchemy
11.1.18 – Philadelphia, PA. – Barbary
11.2.18 – Washington D.C. – Altas Brew Works
11.3.18 – Brooklyn, NY. Knitting Factory – Prophecy Fest
11.4.18 – Pittsburgh, PA. – Gooski’s
11.5.18 – Indianapolis, IN. – Black Circle Brewing
11.6.18 – Lawrence, KS. – Replay Lounge

https://www.facebook.com/yearofthecobraband/
https://twitter.com/yearofthecobra
https://yearofthecobra.bandcamp.com/
https://www.facebook.com/prophecyproductions/
https://prophecy-de.bandcamp.com/
https://en.prophecy.de/

Year of the Cobra, Burn Your Dead (2017)

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Constant Lovers Premiere “Meow Meow Meow” from New Album Pangs

Posted in audiObelisk on October 10th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

constant lovers

Based in Seattle and Tacoma, Washington, good-time weirdo noisemakers Constant Lovers will release their third album, Pangs, on Oct. 26. It’s an 11-track outing, and from the sax-laced opening of “The Wound up Get Down” to the beach sounds of closer “Pang Time,” there are three ways you can listen to it. You can sit and pick apart every move the four-piece make, analyze and overthink every stop and shove in “It’s Electric” or the sharp rhythmic turns of “Lullaby,” and wax poetic as regards the intricacy of the interaction between the guitars of Joel Cuplin (also vocals) and Eric Fisher (also percussion) on the penultimate “Amouse Bouche.” You can do that. It’s fine. Or you can simply not. You can find the overarching groove — it’s there, to be sure — that locks in with funky aplomb on “The Wound up Get Down” propelled by the bass of Gavin Till-Esterbrook and drummer Ben Verellen, as well as that sax, and holds firm as “Meow Meow Meow” sets the go-where-the-hell-they-want-tone with a cast of PNW noise that’ll give silly comfort to ears who never quite recovered from the loss of Akimbo however many years ago and leads into the churn of “Ceiling Sweats” as Pangs unfolds along solid geometrical lines. You can go deep, or you can not. The third way? It’s a little bit of both.

I’m not going to advocate one or the other, frankly. With the play to anticipation in the we-dig-Fugazi-you-dig-Fugazi “Rally Cry for the Pang in Your” and the Rob Crow-style quirk of “Know the Knot” preceding, the mania in the lyrics of “You are Dinner” and its constant lovers pangsimmediate companion-piece “Bone Shard Fashion,” Constant Lovers make arguments on all sides. Any way you might want to go has its appeal, and far more important is that the depth of Pangs holds up to whatever level of scrutiny you might want to bring to your experience of it. In the intensity of “Lullabye,” the band resolve toward the frenetic, and one could point to any number of stretches throughout and hear hardcore punk roots growing up and — let’s face it — getting interesting along the way. But even as they let themselves draw down the tempo just a bit more on “Pang Time,” which is also the longest track at 5:29 and finishes with an ending so eased-out you wouldn’t be wrong to think of it as “gentle,” they don’t let the academic overcome either the adventurous spirit of the songwriting or the energy in their delivery of the material. A production that’s raw-er but still well broad enough to let their tones breathe — one has to wonder if they use Verellen amps — brings through the deceptive balance, sneaky balance, sometimes purposefully unbalanced balance, of elements instrumental and aesthetic, and, well, sometimes you want to have some fun. That’s legit. It’s okay to do that.

Clearly they are, so why not follow suit?

Or, more likely, t-shirt.

Not at all without a melodic presence despite the forward nature of its rhythms, Pangs arrives some four-years after the band’s second offering, Experience Feelings, which itself came just one year later as the follow-up to their 2013 debut, True Romance. Whyever the fourfold increase in span between their releases, Constant Lovers obviously relish the opportunity that Pangs gives them to explore the outer reaches of their approach, and regardless of how the listener chooses to take that on, doing so only proves to be an engaging, exciting and let’s-go-again-worthy experience.

Get your digs with the premiere of “Meow Meow Meow” below, followed by some preliminaries on the release courtesy of the PR wire.

Enjoy:

Constant Lovers, “Meow Meow Meow” official track premiere

Seattle, WA quartet Constant Lovers announce their forthcoming sophomore album, Pangs.

Constant Lovers’ Pangs was created during a sustained period of unrest punctuated by moments of intense inspiration. The result is an album where delight collides with angularity, chaos morphs into play, and humor and strangeness are, as always, just beneath the tough exterior. At once a celebration of the heavier sounds featured in their last album, Experience Feelings, Pangs also signals a turn towards a more exploratory nature. With the addition of saxophone and the use of improvisation in both recording and recent live shows, Constant Lovers are pushing at their boundaries.

Pangs will be available on LP and download on October 26th, 2018.

Artist: Constant Lovers
Album: Pangs
Record Label: Self-released
Release Date: October 26th, 2018

01. The Wound Up Get Down
02. Meow Meow Meow
03. Ceiling Sweats
04. It’s Electric
05. You Are Dinner
06. Bone Shard Fashion
07. Know The Knot
08. Rally Cry For The Pang In Your
09. Lullabye
10. Amuse Bouche
11. Pang Time

Constant Lovers is:
Joel Cuplin: Guitar/ Vox
Eric Fisher: Guitar / Percussion
Ben Verellen: Drums
Gavin Tull-Esterbrook: Bass / Vox

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Randall Dunn to Release Beloved Nov. 9; “Something About that Night” Video Posted

Posted in Whathaveyou on September 19th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

randall dunn

Holy mackerel. If you’ve got six minutes or thereabouts, go ahead and plug yourself into Randall Dunn‘s video for ‘Something About that Night’ at the bottom of this post. If you need to go fullscreen because it’s a super thin aspect ratio — cinematic is the whole idea, top to bottom — it’s worth it. The music is affecting, the drama palpable in the soundscape, and the vocals of Frank Fisher give the track a soulful sensibility that works amazingly well with the synthesized worldmaking behind. It’s gorgeous and troubling in the best way.

Dunn, noted for his collaborations with SunnO))) and others, for his participation as a founding member of Master Musicians of Bukkake, and for his production work for Earth, the aforementioned SunnO))), Akron/Family and many more, will release his first solo album, Beloved, on Nov. 9 through Figureight Records. Considering a revolving cast of personnel, I wouldn’t expect “Something About that Night” to speak for the whole album in mood or arrangement, but it certainly stands on its own and the video, directed by Mu Tunç, more than earns its worry beads.

From the PR wire:

randall dunn beloved

RANDALL DUNN ANNOUNCES HIS FIRST SOLO ALBUM, BELOVED (FIGUREIGHT, 9TH NOVEMBER)

FEAT CONTRIBUTIONS FROM PAST COLLABORATORS TIMM MASON, FRANK FISHER (ALGIERS) AND ZOLA JESUS

Randall Dunn, the musician, producer and engineer renowned for his work with Sunn0))), Earth, Tim Hecker, Six Organs of Admittance, Anna Von Hausswolff and so much more, finds his own voice on his first solo album, Beloved, which is set for release on vinyl and digital formats via figureight on November 9th (pre-orders now live).

Following a turbulent period of change and loss, the esteemed producer channeled his energies into a seven song meditation on “anxiety, paranoia, different shades of love, different realisations of mortality, how it can make you feel the stages of your life more deeply.”

Such sentiments are reflected across this beautiful video for the album track “Something About That Night” directed by Mu Tunc, a filmmaker from Istanbul, which we’re delighted to share alongside the album announcement. About the video Randall remarks “I found a common ground in our two cultures current socio-political climates and in the themes of the song – loneliness, loss, and the feeling of human connection’s absence. Mu expressed these sentiments through a compassionate character study of two people who are making their way through a lonely night with all of the pressures of our current age.”

On Beloved Dunn shifts his knack for emphasising the human component of music toward mining emotional resonance, and wrangling a new earthly language from the subtle details and textures generated from early digital and analog synthesisers. “I wanted to make something more like prose or a Gerhard Richter painting with sound,” Dunn says of the album. “Being someone that composes with sound, I wanted to find a voice in it that felt personal, that felt human, especially with electronics, something that didn’t feel too mechanical.” Though electronics can often feel rigid and cold, Dunn sought to find the poetry in their oscillations and a heartbeat in a rhythm outside the grid. “It’s the first time a language hit me and it felt like it was mine,” Dunn says in summation.

Across Dunn’s career as an engineer and producer he has also proven to be a valuable studio asset as a collaborator. He’s lent his arrangement ideas to SunnO))) on Monoliths and Dimensions and Earth on The Bees Made Honey in the Lion’s Skull and gone beyond producing to provide instrumentation for Six Organs of Admittance, Anna von Hausswolf, Tim Hecker, and longtime colleague Stephen O’Malley. All of which led to a pivotal invitation to engineer and produce Icelandic composer Jóhann Jóhannsson’s original score for the stylised horror film Mandy. During the project, Jóhannsson encouraged Dunn to explore his synth-driven sound designs. Jóhannsson’s unexpected passing in early 2018 also added to what Dunn refers to as “powerful moment of change.” The gentle encouragement of Eyvind Kang and Jóhann Jóhannsson, and the affirming creative contributions across the album by past collaborators like Timm Mason, Frank Fisher (Algiers), and Zola Jesus were all crucial to the birth of Beloved.

Tracklisting:
1. Amphidromic Point
2. Lava Rock and Amber
3. Something About that Night
4. Theoria : Aleph
5. Mexico City
6. Virgo
7. A True Home

Pre-Order Link: https://lnk.to/RandallDunnBeloved

https://www.facebook.com/RandallDunnMusic/
https://randalldunn.bandcamp.com/
https://www.figureightrecords.com/

Randall Dunn, “Something About that Night” official video

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Fungal Abyss Premiere “Croak Toke Parallax” from Benevolent Malevolence

Posted in audiObelisk on September 19th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

fungal abyss

Fungal Abyss will release their new album, Benevolent Malevolence, next Monday, Sept. 24, through Adansonia Records. It is at least the third long-player for the Seattle-based cosmic doom experimentalist collective, arriving behind 2016’s Karma Suture (review here) and 2011’s Bardo Abgrund Temple (reissue review here), though the improvisational, mostly-instrumental outfit may well have snuck one or two others in there while no one was looking. With four-fifths of doomly doom purveyors Lesbian in their ranks, Fungal Abyss reach outward into an interstellar creative wash, finding the background noise of the galaxy and channeling it through max-volume wah in order to convey their exploratory sense. Comprised of two songs, each consuming an entire vinyl side, in “Croak Toke Parallax” (20:59) and “Chaos Condor” (22:08) — kudos to whoever in the band comes up with titles — it’s a noisier brand of heavy psych than one jams of the form often bring, and has a darker undertone of mood than one often expects from even the most churning of tripped-out improv.

So what’s happening and what’s happened? So what’s the now all about? Hell if I know, but Fungal Abyss proffer alternate-dimension — but not alt-dimension, because fuck that shit — lysergics with an admirable sense of freedom.  The ol’ “Croak Toke Parallax” starts out with soft chiming bells and echoing voices in tribalist ritualization, unfolding an ambience à la fellow PNW go-anywheres Master Musicians of Bukkake, and soon consumes itself in a swell of guitar noise and percussivefungal abyss benevolent malevolence awakening. Five minutes deep and the drone is up to your eyeballs and what good was reality anyway? Ten and there’s a march and searing lead lines and drums and still-offbeat percussion whatnots and you’re post-some sample that shows up like someone left the tv on, but you’re also post-just about everything else, so let it go. They’re headed somewhere and that’s into a full-on build-into-wash that plays out in increasing volume and surge to extreme levels of both over the next eight minutes, and there’s a while there where it’s just fucking madness, but they kind of even it out before drawing down into a noisy fade with a couple quiet measures of guitar ending off, as if to be like, “Oh yeah, sorry we just melted your eyeballs, here you go. We made you some new ones that see better colors.”

We’re back in the drone at the start of “Chaos Condor,” and you can almost hear the winged beast itself soaring overhead of the loops and swirls and tambourine and sundry banged-on-stuff. Keys? Maybe. Definitely synth. But at 3:30 there’s a deceptive amount going on and none of it seems to be interested in bourgeois interpretation. Like a data rod shot out of an interstellar probe, “Chaos Condor” carries its message in casual antigravity, with mounting feedback about six and seven minutes on that set the tone for the soon-unfolded fuckall (allfuck?). Maddening atmospherics ensue. It’s a more internal vibe that “Croak Toke Parallax,” but no less spacious, and it too finds its way — albeit later — into a reaching jam. It’s the drums that start the push, somewhere in the 11th minute, and we all know immediately where we’re headed but man there’s just not stopping what’s coming. The noise is even more biting the second time around, with the scorch going all the way to carbon before it blows itself apart and drones to a long finish, the chaos having long since been condored. At the end of the 43-minute run, what’s left? Out-of-body psychedelia and the prevailing feeling of stomach discomfort? Physical affect? Fucking right on.

They’re building altars here. Two of them. And the challenge is on you whether or not you can get down. They’re like handing you your first joint and telling you all the cool kids are doing it. Or eating mushrooms and playing Dungeons and Dragons. You get the idea.

Go.

Listen:

For these sessions, the collective spent two long days set up at the Killroom in Seattle keeping the tape rolling nearly the whole time as members came and went as the mood stuck or the drugs kicked in. These two half-hour tracks Croak Toke Parallax and Chaos Condor, capture some of the best moments of the various ensembles formed during this marathon improvisation.

Players from this session include: Benjamin Thomas-Kennedy, Arran McInnis, Dorando Hodous, Daniel LaRochelle, Nathan Smurthwaite, Andrew McInnis, B.R.A.D. Mowen, Sam Yoder, and Jim Davis.

The band will be celebrating the release of the album on October 12th at the Parliament Tavern in West Seattle with Nosretep and guests.

Fungal Abyss on Thee Facebooks

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Friday Full-Length: Alice in Chains, Rainier Fog

Posted in Bootleg Theater on September 7th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

Alice in Chains, Rainier Fog (2018)

Alice in Chains have now released as many full-length albums without Layne Staley as they had with him. Of course, their original run also produced the landmark EPs Sap (discussed here) in 1992 and Jar of Flies in 1994, as well as their captured performance at MTV Unplugged in 1996 and other sundry singles and soundtrack appearances — anyone remember Last Action Hero? — so that’s not necessarily a comparison of total output so much as the passage of time. Indeed, if one counts the Seattle grunge legends’ beginning point as 1987 and the end of their original run as the release of the Music Bank box set in 1999 — they never had a hard breakup so much as a general recession in 1996 as Staley battled with the heroin addiction that claimed his life in 2002 — and the beginning of their new run with vocalist/rhythm guitarist William DuVall joining lead guitarist/vocalist/principal songwriter Jerry Cantrell, bassist Mike Inez and drummer Sean Kinney as 2005 when they started playing shows again, their second era is already longer than their first in terms of duration. Listening to their third album with DuVall in the lineup, Aug. 2018’s Rainier Fog, there’s no reason to think they’re stopping here, either.

With 10 tracks and a 53-minute front to back runtime, Rainier Fog follows 2013’s The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here and 2009’s Black Gives Way to Blue and finds Alice in Chains in more direct conversation with their legacy than they’ve been since they were forging it with landmark albums like 1990’s Facelift, 1992’s Dirt and their 1995 self-titled, each of which offered a darker and heavier take on the Seattle grunge scene that birthed them and so many others in the same era. From the title’s reference to Mt. Rainier to Cantrell‘s solo in opener “The One You Know” to the creeping modus of “Deaf Ears Blind Eyes” that speaks to some of the same atmosphere as the self-titled — which I’ll gladly argue as one of the grimmest commercial rock records ever made — Rainier Fog basks in signature Alice in Chains elements like the gorgeous vocal harmonies of “Maybe” and “Never Fade,” the crunching guitar-led stomp of the aforementioned leadoff cut or the later “So Far Under,” and the inventive rhythm work of Kinney and Inez that backs the acoustic/electric guitar arrangement of side A closer “Drone.” In tone and songwriting, Rainier Fog isn’t so much Alice in Chains trying to ape their work in the early and mid 1990s as it is their reclaiming it as their own and arguing for it not as chiseled in marble on a pedestal for all time, but something meant to be pushed forward and reshaped according to the will of their songwriting.

alice in chains rainier fogAnd their argument is compelling. Returning to the Seattle studio where they recorded the self-titled (as well as other locales in Los Angeles and Nashville), the band once again employed producer Nick Raskulinecz to work the board, and the differences in sound between Rainier Fog and its two AIC Mk II predecessors only speaks further to the consciousness with which they’re engaging their history in a way that their last two records didn’t seem to dare. It’s still a modern, commercial production. Drums are triggered — a tragedy considering the loss of the human character in Kinney‘s playing — and stops are muted and a sense of digital smoothness extends even to the vocal arrangements between DuVall and Cantrell. And while that inherently undercuts any kind of organic feel the band might be looking for, it’s a necessary evil for making an album with the scale of release — they’re on BMG — they have, and their level of craft and melody shines through just the same.

The title-track and “Red Giant” join the opener to make an initial salvo of marked weight in tone and atmosphere, while the semi-acoustic “Fly” finds Cantrell leading a softer-landing verse into an appropriately soaring hook. DuVall, who may forever be cursed with consideration as the “new guy” in the band, handles his role like the veteran he actually is, bringing personality of his own to “Deaf Ears Blind Eyes,” “So Far Under” and the penultimate “Never Fade” while seeming no less in ownership of Alice in Chains‘ past than any of the other three members of the band. Listening to “So Far Under” one is reminded of how Norwegian black metallers Darkthrone would cite themselves as an influence in their own liner notes. If Alice in Chains could influence Alice in Chains, that seems to be happening most vividly on “So Far Under,” though there are aspects new and old throughout that cohabitate fluidly in the material. They’re using their legacy as a tool, not a blueprint.

It’s a landmark foundation to work from, to be sure, but Alice in Chains are long past having something to prove, and though some of its emotional grit in the lyrics feels performative, they seem to find some resolution in the questioning of closer “All I Am,” and finish the album with a patient, flowing execution of their modern sound with a maturity of approach their earlier work was simply too troubled to bring to bear even in their acoustic material. Whatever else it might be, Rainier Fog is heavy in the way Alice in Chains always have been — never outwardly aggressive enough to be metal, but sharper in craft and meaner in tone than any of the other major grunge acts — and I found even in listening to it for the first time that I was humming along to choruses of songs I’d never heard before. That’s rare, to put it mildly. I’ll grant that I’ve been an Alice in Chains fan for more than a quarter-century, but even so, Rainier Fog establishes a relevance of its own that feels like more than just by-the-numbers classic rock from a band going through the motions. One suspects that if that were the case, it simply wouldn’t exist. That’s not to say it was created simply for the joy of the process of its making, which would be naive, but there’s still heart and still passion behind what Alice in Chains do — a credit to DuVall at least as much as the other three, as songs like “Never Fade” and “The One You Know” demonstrate — and Rainier Fog presents that with as clear a vision as one could ask.

As always, I hope you enjoy, and thanks for reading.

Not that I need to justify writing about records I like, but I don’t enjoy writing about commercial releases generally. Which is why I don’t. It’s not like Alice in Chains need the press from my dickweed blog, and the bottom line is that for a band of their stature, those who are going to be open to it already are and those who aren’t won’t be. But I did something I don’t usually do and actually read a couple reviews from other outlets for Rainier Fog and didn’t really see what I thought there was to say, so decided to say it. No regrets. If you’re looking for something in a more obscure, riffy vein, I might refer you back to Shovelhead, who closed out last week.

Anyway, that’s where that came from. Not the usual fare, but I think there’s enough of a connection that it works, and as I have to periodically remind myself, I can write about whatever the hell I want. That was the whole point of this site to start with.

Okay.

It was a busy week, but I managed to stay on top of things pretty well. I have some running around to do this weekend — Providence today, Boston tomorrow — but it felt good to get as much stuff done as I did and still have the time to see something like that Greenleaf news come in yesterday and have the flexibility to post it immediately. That wouldn’t happen every day.

Next week is a little different. There’s one premiere set for Monday, but beyond that, it’s kind of open at the moment and accordingly, I’m doing kind of a curated series of reviews. Just stuff I feel like should be covered and that I’ll be writing about because I want to write about it. There will inevitably be some changes before and when we get there, but here’s how it looks for now:

Mon.: Øresund Space Collective live album stream/review; ST 37 video premiere.
Tue.: Iron Void review.
Wed.: Brant Bjork review.
Thu.: The Skull review.
Fri.: Rotor review.

I have to look at the release date for that Rotor album and when it actually comes out to see if that review makes any sense at this point, but otherwise, yeah, that’s how it looks today.

So, I spoke a little bit last week about The Little Dog Dio having bone cancer. She was fairly miserable and clearly in pain following that initial vet appointment, and The Patient Mrs. and I kind of thought that was it, she’d either pass on her own or we would end up having her put down, which I’ll just say has been a nightmare scenario of mine for years now but when you come to it you come to it. We went back to the vet on Tuesday though to reassess and she got a steroid shot, a stronger painkiller and some takehome prednisone pills that have made a huge difference.

She wasn’t eating or drinking or really picking her head up when she stood. Now she’s able to get up on the couch and lay next to me while I type and she’s being hand-fed chicken breast and basically any cheese, as much as she’ll eat in a sitting, and drinking water. She’s markedly more comfortable, and that’s the whole point. I know we’re buying time — and if I ever need a reminder, I can look at her and see the huge fucking tumor in her shoulder — but if we can buy her good time where she’s not hurting and is still able to have some good life and eat good food and be loved on for a little while longer, she deserves nothing less.

I’m thinking about getting her some shrimp toast. It’s the only thing she’s ever eaten when she’s been left alone in the car with food. Took it right out of the bag of Chinese takeout and it was simply gone. We only knew she ate it because some of the cardboard from the container it came in was left on the back seat. This was years ago, but it seems to me that as long as she’s taking in food, speaking of things she deserves, it’s a treat that feels fitting. My only concern is what it would do to her stomach. She needs to put weight on, not take it off, and she’d almost certainly puke up that shrimp toast. We’ll see.

She’s the best dog I’ve ever had and the best dog I will ever have. Every minute I get with her is a gift.

So if you’re interested, that’s where we’re at. It might be a couple weeks, it might be a month, I don’t know. The scale of immediacy has changed a little, but she’s not actually going to heal. There’s no point at which she won’t have cancer. It’s just a question of how long she lasts with it. We’ve been very sad. A lot of crying. There will be more.

I hate to leave you on that note, but I’m going to. Just a matter of timing. We’re past 5:30AM now — woke up at 2 — and The Pecan will be up soon and ready to party as he is in mornings of late, and The Patient Mrs. will follow shortly thereafter. I have some work to do this weekend — a Roadburn writeup and another bio besides — so I’ll be around at least a bit if you need me for anything.

Till then, have a great and safe weekend. Have fun, be safe, enjoy summer’s remnants and don’t forget a little rock and roll. See you back here Monday for more of that.

Thanks again for reading. Forum and Radio:

The Obelisk Forum

The Obelisk Radio

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Mos Generator Announce Sept./Oct. Tour Dates

Posted in Whathaveyou on August 27th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

mos generator

Got a record, got a tour. Washington-based heavy rockers Mos Generator continue their road-dogging ways in support of their 2018 album, Shadowlands (review here). Issued through Listenable Records, its take on the band’s trademark straightforward, classic style leans a little bit darker and a little bit more progressive than it has in the past, but Mos Generator are still Mos Generator beneath it all, and with stops along the way at Descendants of Crom in Pittsburgh and Doom and Stoned in Indianapolis, this run of headlining dates should be all the more of a success. These shows run into October and I can’t help but wonder if they might be headed back to Europe early next year sometime, either for a winter tour or maybe Spring fests? They seem to get around so much these days it’s hard to keep track of where they’ve been and where they’re headed next.

The answer to that question, incidentally, is everywhere.

From the PR wire:

mos generator tour

MOS GENERATOR: Heavy Rock Power Trio Confirms US/Canadian Headlining Tour In Support Of Shadowlands Full-Length

Washington-based power trio MOS GENERATOR will bring their heavy riffing to stages this fall on a US/Canadian headlining tour. Set to commence September 21st in Port Angeles, Washington and run through nearly two-dozen venues upon its conclusion October 13th in Portland, Oregon, the journey includes stops at Descendants Of Crom Fest in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania as well as Doomed & Stoned Fest in Indianapolis, Indiana. The latest tour follows the band’s month-long US trek earlier this year which included sixteen dates supporting Fu Manchu as well as an appearance at the 2018 edition of Hellfest in Clisson, France. See all confirmed dates below.

Comments MOS GENERATOR founding guitarist/vocalist Tony Reed, “This will be our first time out on the road with the new album Shadowlands at the merch table. We were hoping to have them on the Road Rats tour with Fu Manchu in May but that didn’t happen, so we’ll make it up to you here and make sure to bring plenty. We will be playing a large majority of the new material as well and that’s a treat for us. This is also our first tour across Canada. There are some hard drives, but we are excited to get to those territories.

MOS GENERATOR released their Shadowlands full-length in North America earlier this year via Listenable Records. Shadowlands was recorded in three sessions – June 2017, November 2017 and January 2018 – at the HeavyHead Recording Company in Port Orchard, Washington and comes swathed in the cover art of Adam Burke (Pilgrim, Satan’s Satyrs, Hooded Menace, Artificial Brain et al).

Find physical ordering info at THIS LOCATION. For digital orders go HERE.

MOS GENERATOR – Tour Of The Shadowlands 2018:
9/21/2018 Little Devil’s Lunchbox – Port Angeles, WA
9/22/2018 Bremerton Raceway – Bremerton, WA
9/23/2018 The Shakedown – Bellingham, WA
9/24/2018 The Palomino – Calgary, AB
9/25/2018 Bulldog Pizza – Winnipeg, MB
9/27/2018 Coalition – Toronto, ON
9/28/2018 House Of Targ – Ottawa, ON
9/29/2018 Descendants Of Crom Fest – Pittsburgh, PA
10/01/2018 Bugjar – Rochester, NY
10/02/2018 Pauly’s Hotel – Albany, NY
10/03/2018 Soliday’s – Niagara Falls, NY
10/04/2018 The Sanctuary – Detroit, MI
10/05/2018 Doomed & Stoned Fest – Indianapolis, IN
10/06/2018 Reggie’s – Chicago, IL
10/07/2018 Riot Room – Kansas City, MO
10/09/2018 Streets Of London – Denver, CO
10/11/2018 Press Club – Sacramento, CA
10/12/2018 The Alibi – Arcata, CA
10/13/2018 High Water Mark – Portland, OR

http://www.facebook.com/MosGenerator
http://www.instagram.com/mos_generator
http://www.facebook.com/listenablerecs
http://www.listenable.net

Mos Generator, Shadowlands (2018)

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Witch Ripper Set Sept. 28 Release for Homecoming; “The Witch” Lyric Video Posted

Posted in Whathaveyou on August 23rd, 2018 by JJ Koczan

witch ripper

That’s gotta be kind of awkward, right? You’re in Witch Ripper and you meet ‘The Witch?’ You know, I was in McCarren Airport the other day in Las Vegas about to fly home and I heard a young woman on her cellphone listening to tips on how to perform a binding spell. She had it on speaker and everything. I wonder what she’d think if she ran into Witch Ripper down at the bar. “Oh you’re in a band, that’s so cool! What are you guys called?” Instant bum-out.

Witch Ripper, though, I don’t think they’re talking about the hippie-naturalist kind of witches. At least not if the lyrics of “The Witch” are anything to go by. You can see those in the lyric video for the track at the bottom of this post, and they come from the band’s forthcoming DHU Records debut album, Homestead, which is released Sept. 28 with cover art by Adam Burke, as per the PR wire info below.

Also note the tour dates, as I doubt they’ll be the last Witch Ripper undertake in supporting the record. These guys seem ready to go, and the comparison points noted below — Mastodon, High on Fire and Baroness — I agree with wholeheartedly.

Dig:

witch ripper homestead

WITCH RIPPER ANNOUNCE DEBUT LP, NEW VIDEO, PLUS TOUR DATES

WITCH RIPPER release video for the new song “The Witch” from the upcoming debut LP HOMESTEAD, out September 28th via DHU Records

Seattle based progressive sludge metal outfit WITCH RIPPER have announced the impending release of their debut full length LP Homestead via DHU Records this fall, and have released a lyric video for the track “The Witch.” With artwork from renowned painter Adam Burke, the Matt Bayles (Mastodon, The Sword, Botch) produced album sees WITCH RIPPER smashing mind bending progressive riffs with psyched out stoner metal melodies to create a wall of sound uniquely their own.

Pre-orders for Homestead will begin August 24th via DHU Records, with a digital release September 13th and official vinyl release on September 28th.

WITCH RIPPER will be touring throughout September in support of Homestead. Dates and cities listed below.

WITCH RIPPER “HOMESTEAD” TOUR DATES
9/06 SEATTLE, WA // FUNHOUSE
9/13 SPOKANE, WA // TBA
9/14 KALISPELL, MT // OLD SCHOOL RECORDS
9/15 BOISE, ID // SHREDDER
9/17 SALT LAKE CITY, UT // URBAN LOUNGE
9/18 ALBUQUERQUE, NM // MOONLIGHT LOUNGE
9/19 EL PASO, TX // RCBG
9/20 TUCSCON, AZ // CANS
9/21 PHOENIX, AZ // YUCCA TAP ROOM
9/22 SAN DIEGO, CA // TOWER BAR
9/23 LOS ANGELES, CA // FIVE STAR BAR
9/24 SAN FRANCISCO, CA // ELBO ROOM
9/25 SACRAMENTO, CA // BLUE LAMP
9/26 EUREKA, CA // SIREN’S SONG TAVERN
9/27 EUGENE, OR // HI FI LOUNGE
9/28 PORTLAND, OR // BLACK WATER

WITCH RIPPER formed in Seattle, WA behind guitarist/vocalist Curtis Parker (formerly of Iron Thrones). The debut self-titled demo EP was well received by various blogs as well as local press, drawing comparisons to Mastodon, High On Fire, and Baroness. With a solidified lineup consisting of guitarist Coltan Anderson, drummer Joe Eck, and bassist Brian Kim, the band has done several west coast tours and shared the stage with bands such as YOB, Elder, Samothrace, and CHRCH.

https://witchripper.bandcamp.com/
https://www.facebook.com/Witchripper/
https://www.instagram.com/witch_ripper/
https://www.facebook.com/DHURecords/
https://www.instagram.com/dhu_records/
https://twitter.com/dhu_records
https://darkhedonisticunionrecords.bandcamp.com/
darkhedonisticunionrecords.bigcartel.com/

Witch Ripper, “The Witch” lyric video

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Friday Full-Length: Stone Axe, I

Posted in Bootleg Theater on July 20th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

Those who cite retro heavy rock as a European-only phenomenon have obviously never dug into Stone Axe‘s 2009 debut, Stone Axe I. The album, with its striking, vinyl-ready cover art and 10-track/38-minute run, was created with the express mission of paying homage to heavy ’70s rock and roll. And that’s precisely what it did, capturing the warmth of production and a live-in-the-studio feel that remains one of the best American executions of the style regardless of the band’s seemingly permanent dissolution. With the hooks of songs like “Black Widow,” opener “Riders of the Night,” “The Skylah Rae” and “There’d Be Days,” Stone Axe proffered memorable craft the whole time through, keeping a mellow groove beneath even its most active moments despite changes in instrumentation and mood. Live, the band included the rhythm section of bassist Mike DuPont and drummer Mykey Haslip, but in the studio it was just vocalist Dru Brinkerhoff and guitarist/multi-instrumentalist Tony Reed.

If the latter name is familiar, it should be. Reed partnered with Brinkerhoff and launched Stone Axe after putting his prior outfit, Mos Generator, to rest in indefinite-hiatus style following 2007’s Songs for Future Gods, which, like Stone Axe I, was released through Roadburn Records. Mos Generator‘s own classic heavy rock influence was one thing, but Stone Axe brought it to another level entirely. Listening to the Led Zeppelin-style blast of “Sky is Falling” and the telltale Thin Lizzy bounce of the subsequent “There’d Be Days” — as well as that in closer “Taking Me Home” — Stone Axe did nothing to mask the direct lines they drew to titans of ’70s heavy, in the Mellotron finish of “My Darkest Days” and the infuriatingly catchy blues rocker “Black Widow,” the band evoked a sense of melancholy beneath a harder-driving atmosphere, but the album never lost its sense of class either in theme or delivery. “The Skylah Rae” told a tale of humans leaving Earth on a giant ship that shared its name with the title, and side B brought about some considerable turns in momentum, whether it was the boogie of “Rhinoceros” or the swagger of “Diamonds and Fools.” Penultimate groover “Return of the Worm” brought a perfectly-paced rhythmic nod to bear and topped it with Brinkerhoff‘s boozy vocals, which were no less classic than any other element put to use, be it instrument or production. The dude absolutely killed on vocals. Just nailed it.

And in many ways, it’s the Brinkerhoff/Reed partnership that’s essential to understand when it comes to Stone Axe. stone axe iConsider that, at that point, Reed was coming off playing guitar and handling vocals in Mos Generator, and that he was also prone to not only recording the band’s albums but releasing them as well. I don’t know who penned the lyrics for Stone Axe, but even if he did, for Reed to step out of the frontman position and relinquish that to anyone else must have been a significant sacrifice for a band that was still ostensibly his as he was writing the songs and playing guitar, bass, drums and whatever else. Stone Axe was a significant turn away from Mos Generator precisely because Reed brought Brinkerhoff on board as the vocalist in order to better capture that classic rock feel, which, again Brinkerhoff‘s voice seemed to be made to bring to life.

And speaking of life, how about those live-recorded tracks on Stone Axe I, huh? Well, no. It would’ve been impossible with just Reed handling all the instruments. Natural sounding cuts like “My Darkest Days” and “Diamonds and Fools,” that easy groove in “Black Widow” and “The Skylah Rae” would’ve had to have been tracked one instrument at a time — probably the drums first, then bass, guitar and whatever keys after. Then Brinkerhoff would be able to sing over the final tracks. Yet Stone Axe I in no way sounds pieced together in this way. It sounds like players in a room hashing it out. Stone Axe I did a better job capturing a live feel than a lot of albums that are recorded live, and it’s a credit to Reed as a producer that that was the case. The material lends itself to an organic vibe, to be sure, but it would’ve been easy for the songs to come out staid and lifeless, and they’re anything but.

Like its 2010 follow-up, Stone Axe II (review here), Stone Axe I was reissued via Ripple Music after Reed signed with the label in 2010. I got to write the liner notes for the second record. A slew of releases were hinted at in that announcement, including a third full-length — which at one point they even started writing — but the band’s last studio outing would be a split with Germany’s Wight on Fat & Holy Records in 2012, the same year Ripple put out both Stone Axe‘s Captured Live! Roadburn Festival 2011 and Mos Generator‘s return long-player, Nomads (review here), the success of which effectively relaunched that band, which would go on to revamp its lineup and become the full-time touring act they remain until now. In the meantime, Reed channeled his love of classic heavy into a solo covers release called The Lost Chronicles of Heavy Rock, Vol. 1 in 2015, which he’s newly pressed onto CD ahead of a quick run of Midwestern Mos Generator shows next month that will take them to the Stoned Meadow of Doom festival.

Though a third Stone Axe album would never manifest, it’s somehow all the more fitting that, like so much of the ’70s heavy rock movement that inspired them it would be somewhat cut short only to have the two albums go on to become cult classics as they have and no doubt will continue to do. Would I ever say never on a Stone Axe resurgence? Never. But with Mos Generator topping tour bills and playing gigs like the Main Stage at Hellfest in France, one could hardly argue Reed‘s time continues to be anything other than well spent. Stone Axe was what it was, and I’m glad there are the records to document that, because it’s worth preserving.

As always, I hope you enjoy.

Goodness gracious. Was it enough week for you? It was definitely enough for me. I feel like my head’s still spinning from the Quarterly Review. I have a ritual I undertake every time I finish one of those where I clear the folders off my desktop — they go in my Albums folder — and delete the header because I’m not going to use it again, and I don’t even think I have the energy to do it. Maybe tomorrow, though probably not.

My plan for tonight is to go see Sasquatch at the Saint Vitus Bar in Brooklyn. I’m hemming and hawing and of course everything depends on the baby, so we’ll see. If I leave at seven I’ll get to Brooklyn by 9, blah blah blah. I’m keeping my fingers crossed I can get my ass out of the house. Tomorrow morning it’s a drive north to Connecticut and then seeing Backwoods Payback in New London. Then Sunday it’s back to New York for Bible of the Devil. As of right now I want to hit all three shows. Next weekend I want to do the same thing. Three shows, three nights in a row, and then that’s probably my quota for the rest of the year, surprise YOB gigs if there are any and Psycho Las Vegas notwithstanding.

Depending on what I actually get to — this is an ambitious plan, I recognize — is the schedule for next week, but here’s the notes as they stand now:

Mon.: Sasquatch live review/Arcadian Child premiere.
Tue.: Backwoods Payback live review; CB3 video premiere.
Wed.: Bible of the Devil live review; Lurk track premiere.
Thu.: Sergio Ch. video premiere.
Fri. Forming the Void premiere/review.

That’s a lot of live reviews for one week. Feels like even more coming off a Quarterly Review. But again, I’m going to try. If it doesn’t pan out, there are always plenty of albums to be written up.

Thanks for reading this week if you did, and either way, please have a great and safe weekend. Maybe I’ll see you at a show. I hope so.

All the best. Forum and Radio.

The Obelisk Forum

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