Seattle duo Year of the Cobra released their debut full-length, …In the Shadows Below (review here), precisely one month ago today via STB Records. It’s a record that benefits both from scope and force as the bass/drum outfit of Amy Tung Barrysmith and Jon Barrysmith put to engaging use both the rawness that a two-piece construction can offer and a corresponding melodic breadth that, while nascent as one might expect in a debut, already marks significant progression from Year of the Cobra‘s 2015 first EP, The Black Sun (review here). Emphasis on both can be heard, as well as seen, in their new video for “Persephone” from the album.
Filmed earlier in November at The Funhouse in Seattle by Dead Cowboy Productions, it’s essentially a performance video with the studio verson of the track layered over, but to go with all that slow motion and black and white whathaveyou, one finds the fervent groove of “Persephone” itself. The leadoff for side B of the …In the Shadows Below vinyl, the song named for the goddess of the underworld and springtime is fittingly vibrant in its thrust, with Amy and Jon locking in shifts between righteous punkishness and dense nod, which can also be seen manifest in the audience in front of them that night, significant in their number, consumption and engagement.
Year of the Cobra were out earlier this year alongside Mos Generator, with whom they also released a split, and have been kicking around the Pacific Northwest with them as well for a couple post-Thanksgiving shows this past weekend. The two bands will head into California and back next week ahead of Year of the Cobra announcing more dates for 2017, which would seem to be impending.
In the meantime, my understanding is STB‘s numbers are low on the Die Hard and Obi-strip vinyl editions of …In the Shadows Below, so if it’s something you’ve been hemming and hawing on, that might be worth taking into consideration.
En route to one of those shows this weekend, Amy Tung Barrysmith was kind enough to offer some comment on the track and their intent behind it. That and current live dates follow the clip below.
Year of the Cobra, “Persephone” official video
Amy Tung Barrysmith on “Persephone”:
Persephone is one of my favorite songs to play. We wrote it about two weeks before we went in to record our full-length and had a ton of fun playing around with the idea of doing something that touches on our hardcore background, but then settles into a killer riff. This video was recorded at our record release show on Nov. 12, 2016.
Live footage was on 11/12/2016 at the Funhouse in Seattle, WA. Filmed and edited by Tyler Wilson and Dead Cowboy Productions. “Persephone” is a track featured on “…In the Shadows Below” which is available now on STB Records.
Year of the Cobra live: 12/2 – Seattle, WA. @ The Tractor – 99.9 KISW Presents 12/7 – Eugene, OR. @ Old Nick’s Pub w/ Red Cloud and Aerial Ruin 12/8 – Sacramento, CA. @ The Starlite Lounge w/ Mos Generator 12/9 – Arcata, CA. @ The Alibi w/ Mos Generator 12/10 – Medford, OR. @ Johnny B’s w/ Mos Generator 12/11 – Tacoma, WA. @ The Valley w/ Mos Generator and Ancient Warlocks
Posted in Reviews on November 9th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster
It’s the kind of debut that makes it easy to forget it’s a debut. Seattle duo Year of the Cobra‘s …In the Shadows Below arrives via a cross-coastal alliance with New Jersey’s STB Records as the follow-up to an earlier 2016 split with Mos Generator coincidental to a tour together supporting their prior three-song EP, The Black Sun (review here), which garnered fervent praise almost immediately upon its release in the middle of 2015. Year of the Cobra have done nothing but gain momentum since. Both Devil’s Child Records and DHU Records had a hand in putting out the EP, and I’m pretty sure STB had signed on for the full-length even before bassist/vocalist Amy Tung Barrysmith and drummer Jon Barrysmith hit the studio with Billy Anderson (uh, he’s Billy Fucking Anderson) behind the board to engineer and mix.
Turned out to be the right call on the label’s part, and an easier one to consider affirmed with the EP showing such cohesion of approach between Amy and Jon and their clear demonstration of a willingness to get out and take their brand of heavy door to door, venue to venue. Fortunately, the eight-track/43-minute …In the Shadows Below builds so decisively on the first offering’s accomplishments. Reusing only one song — “White Wizard,” which opened the EP and appears in a pivotal spot here on side B — Year of the Cobra stamp their feet hard in heavy rolling terrain, proffering post-Acid King nod that revels in its guitar-less heft, the resulting focus on low-end leaving all the more space for Amy‘s voice to carry the tracks melodically, which she does ably regardless of the cacophony surrounding.
There are only two people in the band — hence “duo,” “two-piece,” etc. — but …In the Shadows Below is nothing if not well populated. Song titles list characters human, mystic and animal beginning with opener “Lion and the Unicorn,” and continuing as a theme through “Vision of Three” (about three witches), “Spider and the Fly,” “Persephone,” “White Wizard,” “Temple of Apollo” and closer “Electric Warrior,” who would seem to also be depicted on the cover art. Only second track “The Siege” would comes through as about the action of a narrative rather than the character perspective inherent to it, and those lyrics, presented over one of the record’s speedier and hookiest gallops, take on a first-person point of view, Amy‘s breathy echoes warning, “They’re coming for us.”
Front to back, this has the effect of drawing together the material under a theme, though I’ll admit that with the molasses consistency in Amy‘s tone and the bounce-prone drumming style from Jon, Year of the Cobra could probably go from “The Siege” to a song about the tv show Diff’rent Strokes and make it work. They are bolstered by Anderson‘s production, the now-Pacific Northwest-based producer having previously worked with the likes of Sleep and Acid King (among many others, of course), but find an identity through surging volume in “The Siege” and grueling, spacious nod in “Vision of Three” that only sets them up to further distinguish themselves from their influences as time goes on, also working as a deceptive lead-in for a burst of faster-paced cuts that begins with “Spider and the Fly” closing out side A and continues into “Persephone,” “White Wizard” and “Temple of Apollo” on side B.
The latter, penultimate track is perhaps the fastest of the bunch and the most straightforward, taking in a classic pop-rock sensibility as Year of the Cobra reimagine Blondie as a sludge artist without sacrificing the irresistible choruses thereof. Thinking of the band’s potential, which is writ large across the record’s entirety, to have elements of songwriting like that — which go beyond even the major-key positivity of Torche in their unabashed friendliness — can only make them a richer sonic experience. They would not be the first to take on a sludge-pop blend — see the aforementioned Torche, and Floor before them — but the get-your-ass-on-that-rowing-machine sense of drive behind “Temple of Apollo” is palpable and striking.
Even more so with “Electric Warrior” behind it, returning to a slower nod in a late affirmation of contrast that bookends …In the Shadows Below with layered-in wah, far-back vocals and swells of volume as Amy and Jon move through the chorus, only to recede again in the verse. By the time they move toward the final push with some more Mars Red Sky-style low-end wah, they’ve built a significant wall of volume around them, but the crashing finish and residual amp hum that close out still only seem like the beginning of their story. In that way, maybe it is easy to keep in mind that …In the Shadows Below is Year of the Cobra‘s first album, since so much of hearing leads one toward imagining how they might continue to grow as they move forward. I won’t speculate as to where that growth might take them — at least not in writing — but it’s encouraging just how underway the process of getting there already seems to be, and the care and craft behind these songs put …In the Shadows Below among 2016’s finer debuts.
Posted in Whathaveyou on November 9th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster
So, are Mos Generator back yet from their first-ever European headlining tour? [Does a quick check of the dates.] No they are not. That, however, has not stopped the Port Orchard, Washington, heavy rock specialists from announcing a follow-up stint along the West Coast. They play their last show abroad in Barcelona, Spain, on Nov. 19, and as you can see below, they kick off the next tour less than a week later on Nov. 25 in Seattle alongside Castle and Ancient Warlocks. And in the six days between? Probably some jetlag. Maybe a good meal. Knowing Mos Generator guitarist/vocalist Tony Reed, they’ll probably record a new album.
Mos Generator are on the road supporting three 2016 releases: the full-length Abyssinia (review here) on Listenable Records, and the two EPs The Firmament and Lies of Liberty ’87 (review here), the first of which is out on vinyl through Stickman and the second of which has secured an impending cassette issue through Red Cobra Records on a suitably crimson tape.
Here’s the latest from the PR wire:
MOS GENERATOR ANNOUNCES ADDITIONAL USA 2016 TOUR DATES!
Mos Generator has just announced additional 2016 USA West Coast tour dates in support of their two brand new EP releases, “The Firmament” (Stickman Records) and “Lies of Liberty ‘87” (Self released digital download), as well as their latest studio LP release, “Abyssinia” (Listenable Records).
The band will start the tour off in Seattle with a show alongside Castle & Ancient Warlocks, and then continue with the entire US West Coast, as well as Phoenix & Las Vegas, ending the tour in Tacoma with Year of the Cobra & Ancient Warlocks. This tour will include ten show dates with Castle, and six dates with ‘Year of the Cobra’.
San Francisco’s Castle, consisting of Liz Blackwell (vocals/bass), Mat Davis (guitar/vocals), and Al McCartney (drums), has maintained a relentless touring schedule since the release of “Under Siege” in 2014 with multiple expeditions throughout the US, Europe, and Canada. Castle will be headlining ten of the shows on this Mos Generator tour schedule!
Seattle’s Year of the Cobra, consisting of Amy Tung Barrysmith (vocals/bass) and Jon Barrysmith (drums) hit the ground running in 2015 with their EP release “The Black Sun”. They currently just released their debut LP, “In the Shadows Below”, with STB Records, and have announced touring plans for the US and Europe in 2016 & 2017. Year of the Cobra will be joining the bill on six dates during this Mos Generator tour!
Mos Generator USA Fall 2016 West Coast Tour Dates; November 25th – Seattle, WA @ The Funhouse (w/ Castle & Ancient Warlocks) November 26th – Bellingham, WA @ The Shakedown (w/ Castle & Year of the Cobra) November 27th – Olympia, WA @ The Obsidian (w/ Castle & Year of the Cobra) November 28th – Portland, OR @ The Raven (w/ Castle) November 29th – Eugene, OR @ Old Nick’s Pub (w/ Castle) November 30th – Grants Pass, OR @ The G Street Bar and Grill (w/ Castle) December 1st – San Francisco, CA @ Thee Parkside (w/ Castle) December 2nd – Santa Cruz, CA @ The Blue Lagoon (w/ Castle) December 3rd – Ventura, CA @ The Garage (w/ Castle) December 4th – Glendale, CA @ The Complex (w/ Castle) December 5th – San Diego CA @ The Merrow December 6th – Phoenix AZ @ TBA December 7th – Las Vegas NV @ The Dive Bar December 8th – Sacramento CA @ The Starlite Lounge (w/ Year of the Cobra) December 9th – Arcata CA @ The Alibi (w/ Year of the Cobra) December 10th – Medford OR @ Johnny B’s (w/ Year of the Cobra) December 11th – Tacoma WA @ The Valley (w/ Year of the Cobra & Ancient Warlocks)
Posted in Reviews on October 27th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster
It’s not often that a band issues their most forward-thinking and backward-looking releases back-to-back, let alone within a month of each other, but for Port Orchard, Washington, three-piece, there’s very little that’s out of their reach at this point. Lest we forget, the outfit led by its perpetually restless founder, guitarist/vocalist/engineer Tony Reed, already also issued a new studio full-length, Abyssinia (review here), earlier this year on Listenable Records.
Working with the same rhythm section of bassist Sean Booth and drummer Jono Garrett, the two new EPs, The Firmament (vinyl on Stickman Records) and Lies of Liberty ’87 (as yet a digital-only self-release) show opposite-ends-of-the-spectrum mentalities and foster two very, very different sounds while still retaining character as Mos Generator. In a manner bold and frank, they push the boundaries of what that character means, and respectively give fans an at-least-partial look at where Mos Generator came from and where they might be going.
The timing couldn’t be more convenient for both to arrive, especially after Abyssinia found Reed and company delving into more progressive fare on its B-side, and thereby moving forcefully beyond the kind of heavy rock proffered on their last two full-lengths, 2014’s moodier Electric Mountain Majesty (review here) and their 2012 return album, Nomads (review here), that woke them from several years of hiatus — but to have Mos Generator dive headfirst into live-recorded hardcore songs from 30 years ago at basically the same time they bring in two guest members to play second guitar and Rhodes on a Joy Division cover and reworked original material, also tracked live?
I don’t know if Reed had a master plan or if it’s just serendipity, but it would be harder to conceive of a clearer demonstration that, now well past the 15-year mark and having emerged since 2014 as a significant touring presence, Mos Generator feel free to do just exactly whatever the hell they want. All the better.
The Firmament was released earlier (Sept. as opposed to Oct.), but since the material on Lies of Liberty ’87 dates back further, it seems fair to tackle that first. Taking its name from Reed‘s early hardcore band, Lies of Liberty, and culling songs from a period between 1986-’87, the 17:47 blaster comprises 11 songs that brim with the adolescent fervor that no doubt drove their creation at the time and in so doing make for the rawest material Mos Generator have ever released.
Maybe that’s not a fair comparison, since it’s not like they’ve ever taken on hardcore punk so directly before, but minute-long shots like “The Smell of Death,” “Social Termination” (actually the shortest track at 44 seconds long), “A Pig’s Job is Never Done,” “Gore Reality” and so on plow by, one after the other, as they no doubt did three decades ago in some local VFW hall, Reed and his Lies of Liberty bandmates giving their friends a valid excuse to lose their minds and worry their parents. As they’re recorded now, those cuts and longer pieces like “Bring it Forward” (1:42), “Push Comes to Shove” (2:42) and the slower closer “Holocaust America” (a sprawling 3:36) benefit greatly from having been tracked live.
Can’t help but wonder how much Reed rehearsed the songs with Booth and Garrett before rolling tape, since the performances are tight, but for the kind of aesthetic with which they’re working, they could easily run the risk of becoming too much so at the sacrifice to the intensity with which they were written. That is, one wouldn’t want them to sound too adult. Mos Generator strike a fitting balance in giving their audience a feel for where “World of Hate” or “Negative Change” come from without necessarily cleaning them up so that they lose their edge. It’s a quick shot, but one imagines Lies of Liberty ’87 surprising a lot of listeners who happen upon it without the context of knowing the origin of the tracks included. Likely that’s part of the fun for the band.
As you’ve probably already gathered, The Firmament is an altogether different beast. Recorded as the audio portion of a live video called Songs for the Firmament taped by Chris Mathews (now also of Ancient Warlocks) of Joonior Studios, the five-song outing spans a decade of Mos Generator‘s catalog (and beyond) but ultimately boasts a quieter, more melancholy feel.
Reed, Booth and Garrett are joined by second guitarist Bo McConaghie and Rhodes pianist Andy Sorter to make what I’m reasonably certain is the first five-piece incarnation in the band’s history, and the songs they run through — “Fall of Megiddo” and “Zero to Infinity” from 2006’s The Late Great Planet Earth, “Wicked Willow” from Abyssinia, the Joy Division cover “Dead Souls,” and “Outlander,” also from Abyssinia — set an atmosphere that is as righteous in its patience as Lies of Liberty ’87 was in its furies.
In fact, it’s not until “Wicked Willow,” here presented with acoustic and electric guitar side by side, that Reed even steps forward with vocals, and by then the first 10 of The Firmament‘s 26 minutes have passed. The roll from the album version is recognizable, but the veneer has changed, and so too the context in which “Wicked Willow” is framed, so that even when the chorus kicks in it seems to be a gentler more wistful delivery, marked out by Booth‘s runs on bass, a final wash of crash, and a round of applause from those lucky enough to be at the recording.
“Dead Souls,” which children of the ’90s will recall Nine Inch Nails taking on for the soundtrack to The Crow, turns out to be the most active track of the bunch, pushed forward by Garrett‘s toms and the cyclical riffing that going along with them. Mos Generator‘s version might be a little faster than the original, but they settle into it fluidly, and the final comedown, followed by more applause, makes an easy transition into the Mellotron and Rhodes combo that begins “Outlander,” those and the harmonized vocals that accompany ensuring the finale is the highlight of the short set.
There’s room in the six minutes for a build into a fervent guitar solo to answer the Rhodes, and the last chorus’ gradual ending only seems to underscore the entire spectrum of stylistic development in Reed‘s songwriting over the last 30 years. That’s really what it’s all about. One release purposefully regressing, another brazenly embarking on new territory. Again, I doubt it was a conscious decision on Mos Generator‘s part to put Lies of Liberty ’87 and The Firmament out in such proximity to each other, but in so doing, they’ve not only given further evidence of the apparently ceaseless productivity that has become a defining aspect of their approach over the last half-decade or so, but shown creative range to match.
One usually feels pretty comfortable in one’s expectations when it comes to a Mos Generator release — they regularly deliver high-quality songcraft and crisp performances of traditionally-styled heavy rock — but after these two, I’m not sure I’d even dare to predict where they might go next. Reed played drums at one point in death metallers Woodrot, so who knows? Their future’s more open than it’s ever been.
Mos Generator, Lies of Liberty ’87 (2016)
Mos Generator, “Outlander” from Songs for the Firmament
Posted in Whathaveyou on October 7th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster
I’m a little torn on the prospect of a new Brothers of the Sonic Cloth. Can be a fine line between ‘holy fuck’ and ‘fuck yes.’ Sometimes it’s hard to pick just one and go with it as a reaction. Wait! I got it:
New Brothers of the Sonic Cloth in the works? Holy fuck yes.
The Tad Doyle-fronted Seattle megacrushers have announced their final show of the year, set for later this month. After that, the band’s intent is to adjourn into a writing process for a follow-up to the self-titled debut (review here) that left such massive craters when it was released last year on Neurot. They’ll embark on this effort with the contributions of new member Andrew McInnis in tow, who seems to be charged with adding atmospherics, doubtless from an array of noisemaking devices electronic and otherwise.
An intriguing expansion there, and considering it was years waiting for Brothers of the Sonic Cloth‘s debut, a turnaround in 2017 for a sophomore offering would seem to speak to a creative surge on the part of the band, which is never a bad starting point.
Details from the PR wire:
BROTHERS OF THE SONIC CLOTH: Seattle Doom-Bringers Announce Final Show Of The Year; Band Welcomes New Member + Sophomore Full-Length In The Works
Seattle-based doom-bringers, BROTHERS OF THE SONIC CLOTH, are pleased to welcome the addition of multi-instrumentalist Andrew McInnis to the fold to add atmospheric glaciers of resonance and texture. McInnis will appear with the band on their headlining show Saturday October 29th, 2016 at Seattle’s own premier underground venue, Substation. There are only 100 tickets available. The bill also includes Black Bone Exorcism who will be celebrating the release of their Crack The Bone, Break The Heart full-length (recorded, mixed, and mastered at Tad Doyle’s Witch Ape Studio in 2015) as well as Summoned By Giants and Guest Directors the latter of which features original TAD guitarist Gary Thorstensen. The performance marks the final BROTHERS OF THE SONIC CLOTH show of the year.
BROTHERS OF THE SONIC CLOTH: 10/29/2016 Substation – Seattle, WA
BROTHERS OF THE SONIC CLOTH will spend the remaining months of 2016 and early 2017 preparing the next level of low-end power and irrefutable rhythmic dimensionalism that was being hinted at on their 2015 self-titled debut. In the writing of their next recording, the band will be taking new paths and push themselves beyond what they know of their instruments and voices.
BROTHERS OF THE SONIC CLOTH – guitarist/vocalist Tad Doyle (formerly of Tad and Hog Molly), bassist Peggy Doyle and drummer Dave French (The Anunnaki) – unleashed their self-titled debut album last year via Neurot Recordings. Captured at Robert Lang Studios and Doyle’s own Witch Ape Studio and mixed by Billy Anderson (Neurosis, Zoroaster, Eyehategod, Taurus, Ommadon etc.), Brothers Of The Sonic Cloth is the sound of earthly decomposition and planetary ruin; a slow, suffocating, spellbinding dance towards a looming apocalypse.
Posted in Reviews on October 4th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster
Day Two starts now. I don’t know if you’re ready for it. I don’t know if I’m ready for it. Ah hell, who am I kidding? I love this stuff. No place I’d rather be right now than pounding out these reviews, batch by batch, all week. This one gets heavy, it goes far out, it rocks hard and relentless and it gets atmospheric. And more. But don’t let me try to sell you on reading it. Even if you skim through and click on players, I hope you find something you dig. If not today, then yesterday, or tomorrow or the next day. Or hell, maybe the day after. It’s 50 records. There’s bound to be one in there. Here we go.
Quarterly Review #11-20:
Monolord, Lord of Suffering / Die in Haze
A relatively quick two-songer issued via RidingEasy to mark the occasion of the Swedish trio’s first US headlining tour this summer, Lord of Suffering / Die in Haze offers a more stripped-down feel than did Monolord’s second full-length, Vænir (review here), which came out last year. The roll elicited by guitarist/vocalist Thomas V. Jäger, drummer Esben Willems and bassist Mika Häkki, however, remains unspeakably thick and the band’s intent toward largesse and nod continues to ring true. They’re in and out in 11 minutes, but the ethereal, watery vocal style of Jäger and the more earthbound pummel of the three-piece as a whole on “Lord of Suffering” and the grueling spaciousness of “Die in Haze” – not to mention the bass tone – show that Monolord are only continuing to come into their own sound-wise, and that as they do, their approach grows more and more dominant. They make it hard not to be greedy and ask for a new album.
Seattle two-piece Teacher served notice early this year of their then-forthcoming self-titled, self-recorded debut LP, and it was easy to tell the Tony Reed-mastered full-length would be one to watch out for as it followed-up their prior EP1812, released in 2015. Arriving via Devil’s Child Records, the 10-track Teacher does indeed dole out a few crucial lessons from drummer/guitarist/vocalist Jonathan Ethan Mercer and guitarist/vocalist Solomon Arye Rosenschein. Whether it’s “Heavy Metal Parking Lot 1979” or the swinging “Peripatetic Blues” or the gone-backwards psych interlude “Wildcard Jambalaya” that immediately follows, the record basks in an organic diversity of approach drawn together by the clear chemistry already present between Mercer and Rosenschein. A harder edge of tone keeps a modern feel prevalent, but even the forward punker charge of “Mean as Hell” has classic roots, and as they finish with “Home for the Summer” as the last of three out of the four EP tracks included in a row to round out the LP, they seem to have entered the conversation of 2016’s most cohesive debuts in heavy rock. Their arrival is welcome.
There’s an element of danger to Rosy Finch’s debut long-player, Witchboro (on Lay Bare Recordings). Actually two. One: it sounds like it could come apart at any given moment – it never does. Two: any given one among its nine component tracks could wind up just about anywhere. Though the Spanish trio of bassist/vocalist ElenaGarcía, guitarist/vocalist Mireia Porto and drummer Lluís Mas keep individual songs relatively raw sounding – or at very least not overproduced as something so progressive could just as easily have wound up – but even the soothing “Ligeia” holds to a driving sense of foreboding. Punk in its undercurrent with more than a touch of grunge, Witchboro is as much at home in the atmospheric crush of “Polvo Zombi” as the quick-turning finale thrust of “Daphne vs. Apollo,” and its overarching impression is striking in just how readily it manipulates the elements that comprise it. Ambitious, but more defined by succeeding in its ambitions than by the ambitions themselves.
Holy Mountain Top Removers, The Ones Disappearing You
Psychedelic surf? Wah-soaked, bass rumbling foreboding? Euro-inflected lounge? All of the above and much more get a big check mark from Nashville instrumentalists Holy Mountain Top Removers, whose The Ones Disappearing You LP covers an enviable amount of stylistic ground and still leaves room near the end for bassist/keyboardist Mikey Allred to lead a blues dirge on trombone. He’s joined by drummer/percussionist Edmond Villa and guitarist Anthony Ford, as well as guest trumpeter Court Reese and violinist Allan Van Cleave, and as they careen through this vast terrain, Holy Mountain Top Removers only seem to revel in the oddness of their own creation. To wit, the early jangle of “Monsieur Espionnage” is delivered with gleeful starts and stops, and the later “Serenade for Sexual Absence” given a mournful snare march and what sounds like tarantella to go with Van Cleave’s violin lead. Playful in the extreme, The Ones Disappearing You nonetheless offers rich arrangements and a drive toward individuality that stands among its core appeals, but by no means stands there alone.
Chris Forsyth and the Solar Motel Band, The Rarity of Experience I
Philadelphia four-piece Chris Forsyth and the Solar Motel Band must have worked quickly to turn around so soon a follow-up to last year’s debut album, Intensity Ghost (review here), but their second offering, The Rarity of Experience lacks nothing for growth. A two-disc, 72-minute 10-tracker also released through No Quarter, The Rarity of Experience hops genres the way rocks skip on water, from the exploratory psychedelic vibing of “Anthem II” to the Talking Heads-style jangle of “The Rarity of Experience II” and into horn-infused free-jazz fusion on “The First 10 Minutes of Cocksucker Blues” – which, by the way, is 12 minutes long. A big change is the inclusion of vocals, but the penultimate “Old Phase” still holds to some of the pastoral atmospherics Forsyth and company brought together on the first record, but principally, what The Rarity of Experience most clearly shows is that one doesn’t necessarily know what’s coming from Chris Forsyth and the Solar Motel Band, and as much as they offer across this massive stretch, I wouldn’t be surprised if they continue to expand their sound.
Initially released by the band in January, the self-titled debut from Munich heavy rockers Swan Valley Heights sees wider issue through Oak Island Records in an edition of 200 LPs. After rolling out the largesse of welcome-riff in opener “Slow Planet,” the three-piece dig into longform groove on “Alaska” (9:09), “Mammoth” (11:02) and “Let Your Hair Down” (9:35), finding a balance between hypnotic flow and deeply weighted tones. Riffs lead the way throughout, and while there aren’t a ton of surprises, once they make their way through “Caligula Overdrive,” the shimmer at the start of “Mountain” and some of the more patient unfolding of closer “River” called Sungrazer to mind and I couldn’t help but wonder if Swan Valley Heights would make their way toward more lush fare over time. Whether they do or not, their debut engages in its warmth and cohesion of purpose, and offers plenty of depth for those looking to dive in headfirst.
I can’t help but feel like Portland, Oregon’s Cambrian Explosion are selling themselves a little short by calling The Moon an EP. At five songs and 35 minutes, the follow-up to their 2013 The Sun outing boasts a richly progressive front-to-back flow, deep sense of psychedelic melodicism and enough crunch to wholly satisfy each of the payoffs its hypnotic wanderings demand. Sure sounds like a full-length album to my ears, but either way, I’ll take it. The four-piece set an open context in the intro noise wash of “Selene,” and while “Looming Eye” and “Mugen = Mugen” push further into ritual heavy psych, it’s in the longer “Innocuous Creatures” (9:24) and closer “Crust of Theia” (8:23) – the two perfectly suited to appear together on the B-side from whatever label is lucky enough to snap them up for a release – that The Moon makes its immersion complete and resonant, blowing out in glorious noise on the former and basking in off-world sentiment as they round out. Gorgeous and forward-thinking in kind. Would be an excellent debut album.
Not sure if there’s any way to avoid drawing a comparison between Italian five-piece Haunted’s self-titled debut (on Twin Earth Records) and Virginian doomers Windhand, but I’m also not sure that matters anymore. With the two guitars of Francesco Bauso and Francesco Orlando meting out post-Electric Wizard churn and Cristina Chimirri’s vocals oozing out bluesy incantations on top as Frank Tudisco’s low end and Valerio Cimino’s drums push the lumber forward, it’s all doom one way or another. “Watchtower” has a meaner chug than opener “Nightbreed,” and the centerpiece “Silvercomb” delves into feedback-laden horror atmospherics, but it’s in the closing duo of “Slowthorn” and “Haunted” that Haunted most assuredly affirm their rolling intention. They’ll have some work to do in distinguishing themselves, but there’s flourish in the wash of guitar late and some vocal layering from Chimirri that speaks to nuance emerging in their sound that will only serve them well as they move forward from this immersive first offering.
Taking their name from a track off Monster Magnet’s 2010 outing, Mastermind, Brazilian heavy rockers Gods and Punks mark their debut release with The Sounds of the Earth, a self-released five-track EP awash in classic influences and bolstered through a double-guitar dynamic, maybe-too-forward-in-the-mix vocals and a rock solid rhythm section. These are familiar ingredients, granted, but the Rio de Janeiro five-piece present them well particularly in the mid-paced “The Tusk” and the catchy, more extended closer “Gravity,” and are able to put a modern spin on ‘70s vibing without becoming singularly indebted to any particular band or era, be it ‘70s, ‘90s or the bizarre combination of the two that defines the ‘10s. Gods and Punks are setting themselves up to progress here, and how that progression might play out – more space rock to go with the theme of their excellent artwork, maybe? – will be worth keeping an eye on given what they already show in their songwriting.
Mostly instrumental, deeply atmospheric and clearly intended to divide into the two sides of a vinyl for which it seems more than primed, A Cure for Time is the second album from Copenhagen post-metallers Gaia. Each half of the four-track/39-minute outing pairs a shorter piece with a longer one, and the flow the trio set up particularly on the closing title cut calls to mind some of YOB’s cosmic impulses but with a spaciousness, roll and context that becomes their own. Shades of Jesu in the vocals and the balance of rumble and echo on the earlier “Nowhere” make A Cure for Time all the more ambient, but when they want to, Gaia produce a marked density that borders on the claustrophobic, and the manner in which they execute the album front to back emphasizes this spectrum with a progressive but still organic flourish. I wouldn’t call A Cure for Time directly psychedelic, but it’s still easy to get lost within its reaches.sh
Posted in Whathaveyou on September 28th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster
It’s the kind of record one might be tempted to refer to as a ‘slab,’ and the announcement has come through that the debut release from Washington bashers Black Bone Exorcism, Crack the Bone, Break the Heart, will be released on CD through DHU Records on Oct. 29. For you vinyl heads — and I know you’re out there — it’s looking like the first part of 2017, though I don’t have an exact date as yet. Black Bone Exorcism will celebrate the coming of the CD/DL version by joining forces with none other than Brothers of the Sonic Cloth at in Fremont, WA. Should be an evening of much tonal heft and revelry in deeply-weighted plunder. If you’re not sure just what the hell that means, check out “Unknown, Against Light” below.
Black Bone Exorcism posted the following update about the signing and other doings:
Black Bone Exorcism is VERY proud to announce that we have signed an international vinyl distribution deal with D.H.U. Records. D.H.U. has been a HUGE force in supporting the heavy DIY scene all over the world, and it’s an honor to be part of the Blackened Filth that they will be infecting this dark planet with! The vinyl release is set for early 2017, so be on the lookout for it’s availability both at shows and in our online merch shop (opening soon).
Our self released recording “Crack the Bone, Break the Heart” will be unleashed on October 29th, 2016, opening up for none other than Brothers of the Sonic Cloth at our new favorite joint, Substation in Fremont.
Again, we are beyond stoked to be part of the D.H.U. Tribe! They will truly help us get our art to places we could never touch, and this has been our mission since day one.
For now, we give you a taste of what is to come. View the sorrow and crushing force that will change your view of the world in our Album Trailer below. Thank you to everyone that has supported us over the past 3 years. This is just the beginning…
Dave Krön: Guitar & Vocals Brandon Wilder: Guitar & Samples Keith Greer: Drums Mike Lee: Bass
I’ve never used Prisma, but putting together 5,800 of any kind of image to make an animated video out of it that then has to synch up with an actual song being played sounds like a ridiculously complicated editing job. Again, I’ve never done it. Maybe there’s some fabulous modern technology that makes that not at all a pain in the ass, but however they got there, Mos Generator‘s new video for “Catspaw” from their 2016 Listenable Records album, Abyssinia (review here), looks pretty sweet.
The Port Orchard, Washington, trio led by founding guitarist/vocalist Tony Reed continue their multi-pronged, multi-tiered attack on heavy rock consciousness as we move into the waning months of 2016. In addition to Abyssinia, they’ve also just put out The Firmament via Stickman Records, which captures a live performance with an expanded lineup recorded by Chris Joonior — who as fate would have it also helmed the “Catspaw” clip and who also now handles guitar/vocals in Ancient Warlocks — and they’ve got another batch of recordings in the can at Reed‘s HeavyHead studio that dip back to a collection of old hardcore tunes from the late ’80s. Two are streaming on Soundcloud (linked below).
Not sure if they’ll actually see release, but it wouldn’t at all surprise me if Reed pressed them up himself in some limited numbers, so keep an eye out. Mos Generator — Reed, bassist Sean Booth and drummer Jono Garrett — have also toured the country coast to coast to support the new album, including a recent stop in Alaska. If you ever wanted a yardstick by which to measure a band’s touring habit, consider “driving to Alaska for a show” a pretty good one to use. They also play Erosion Fest in Missoula, Montana, on Oct. 15.
Bottom line? Mos Generator are out there breaking their collective ass to bring as much rock and roll as possible to as many people as possible. Expect the pace to continue, and enjoy the “Catspaw” clip below followed by some PR wire info and comment from Reed on their latest doings:
‘Catspaw’ is from Mos Generator’s new full length album “Abyssinia” available via Listenable Records.
Created using Prisma, neural network artificial intelligence, and lots of other pieces of software. Special thanks to Brian Mathews for hours of moral and technical support.
We would like to extend a massive thank you to Chris and Brian Mathews for using extra terrestrial intelligence to figure out how to make a video from 5800 Prisma images. We know it took a lot of time and effort. We truly appreciate it.
Out on Stickman Records (Motorpsycho, Elder, Spidergawd). THE FIRMAMENT. The soundtrack LP of our performance in the concert film “Songs for the Firmament”. We brought in some extra players for this and got quite Psych with it. Shows yet another side of our catalog. Check it out!!!
On august 1st we recorded 12 songs in 4 hours. All of them were hardcore songs I wrote circa ’86/’87 with my hardcore band “Lies of Liberty”. Here is a double shot of 2 of the tunes we have been throwing into the live set here and there. All of the songs will all be released on vinyl as soon as the tracks have a final mix and we find a label to put it out. This has been a super fun project, it’s great to hear these tunes properly recorded after 30 years.