Mos Generator Bring Together Mahavishnu Orchestra and King Crimson on “The Dance of Red”

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

mos generator

“The Dance of Red” is fresh off the tape deck at HeavyHead Studio. As in “Recorded and mixed in June 2017” fresh off the tape deck. The new single from Port Orchard, Washington, heavy rock specialists Mos Generator was recorded — like everything they do — by guitarist/vocalist Tony Reed. Together with bassist Sean Booth and drummer Jono Garrett, Reed has started the recording process for what will become the follow-up to the band’s last proper long-player, 2016’s Abyssinia (review here), which is set to release early next year on Listenable Records.

I guess while the three-piece had about five minutes of downtime during the tracking process, they decided to work out covers of “Red” by King Crimson and “The Dance of Maya” by Mahavishnu Orchestra. Fair enough for the band at this point — between the hardcore punk of Lies of Liberty (review here) and the proggy fluidity that surfaced near the end of Abyssinia and on the subsequent The Firmament live-in-studio offering, there’s little that’s out of their sonic wheelhouse.

The tracks are streaming now, and set up as a kind of medley. You can listen at the bottom of this post and see some comment from Reed below on how it all came together:

Mos Generator – The Dance of Red

A few months back I made an edit combining The Dance of Maya by The Mahavishnu Orchestra and Red by King Crimson for the guys to review and learn so we could possibly play it live. Both sections are dramatically abridged to try and keep the piece at around 5 minutes. Each half had their own set of challenges. Jono spent a bit of time working on playing around the 10/8 timing of the first section and Fripp always has these oddball chords that need to be deciphered but with a little time spent running it down I think we ended with a nice interpretation of two of my favorite progressive rock songs. TR – June 2017

Mos Generator – The Dance of Red
a) The Dance of Maya (abridged) 2:27
b) Red (abridged) 2:31

Mos Generator is:
Tony Reed: Guitar and Mellotron
Jono Garrett: Drums
Sean Booth: Bass

Recorded and Mixed by Reed at HeavyHead Recording Co. June 2017

https://mosgenerator.bandcamp.com/track/the-dance-of-red-a-the-dance-of-maya-b-red
https://www.facebook.com/MosGenerator
http://heavyheadsuperstore.storenvy.com/
http://www.shop-listenable.net/fr/47_mos-generator

Mos Generator, The Dance of Red (2017)

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Northwest Terror Fest 2017: Coven and John Haughm Added to Lineup

Posted in Whathaveyou on June 8th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

Losing Warning is a bummer, but Northwest Terror Fest 2017 is taking it in stride and taking its game to another level entirely by adding Coven to the bill for their first US show in 27 years. I had the good fortune of watching Coven play at Roadburn in April (review here), and their classic sound has never been more relevant than it is today, and Jinx Dawson remains a mystifying presence as frontwoman, even nearly five decades after the band issued their landmark 1969 outing, Witchcraft Destroys Minds and Reaps Souls, which you can hear in full below. The point of that massive fucking run-on sentence? Go see Coven if you can. There. I made it simple. I hear that’s what you’re supposed to do on the internet.

John Haughm of Pillorian and Agalloch will also play an acoustic set as part of the packed lineup, and as a side note, tomorrow I’ll have a Six Dumb Questions interview posted with David Rodgers of Godhunter, who organizes this fest as well as other Terror Fest incarnations like the Austin Terror Fest at SXSW and Southwest Terror Fest in Arizona. Dude breaks his ass in making these things happen, and you’ll note Godhunter aren’t on this bill, so it’s clearly not about just putting together an event to promote his own doings. Just something to keep an eye out for.

Northwest Terror Fest 2017 runs June 15-17. Here’s the latest from the PR wire, including the full schedule:

northwest-terror-fest-2017-poster

COVEN, JOHN HAUGHM JOIN NORTHWEST TERROR FEST

NORTHWEST TERROR FEST – SEATTLE JUNE 15-17

Due to matters out of control of Northwest Terror Fest, we regret to inform that Warning will no longer be able to perform during this specific weekend. But at the end of the darkness is light as we are proud to announce that the legendary Coven will be playing on the evening of Saturday June 17th in what will be their first stateside show in 27 years!

While its widely disputed that some have cited Coven as the first band to brandish the sign of the horns, their occult laced tunes have laid down an irrefutable influence on the world of metal and doom beginning with their mystic debut album, 1969’s Witchcraft Destroys Minds & Reaps Souls.

John Haughm of Agalloch will be performing an intimate set.

Inspired by Cormac McCarthy, Ennio Morricone, Neil Young’s “Dead Man” soundtrack, and the renegade years of the American old west, John Haughm’s solo performance is a haunting and sonic 30 minute journey through dystopian wastelands of the past. It is a bleak, atmospheric, and powerful droning Western soundscape in steadfast spirit of the years 1865 – 1895.

Northwest Terror Fest Schedule:

THURSDAY 6/15
Neumo’s:
10:10 – END – Wolves In The Throne Room
8:50 – 9:30 – Samothrace
7:35 – 8:10 – King Woman
6:30 – 7:00 – Lycus
5:30 – 6:00 – Uada

Barboza:
9:30 – 10:10 – Graves At Sea
8:10 – 8:50 – Take Over And Destroy
7:00 – 7:35 – Void Omnia
6:00 – 6:30 – Barghest
5:00 – 5:30 – Witch Ripper

THURSDAY AFTER PARTY

Highline:
1:00 – END – John Haughm
11:50 – 12:40 – Aerial Ruin
11:00 – 11:30 – Crowhurst

FRIDAY 6/16

Neumo’s:
10:10 – END – Cephalic Carnage
8:50 – 9:30 – Goatwhore
7:35 – 8:10 – Noisear
6:30 – 7:00 – Nomads
5:30 – 6:00 – Fucked And Bound

Barboza:
9:30 – 10:10 Cult Leader
8:10 – 8:50 – Call Of The Void
7:00 – 7:35 – Transient
6:00 – 6:30 – Endorphin’s Lost
5:00 – 5:30 – Recluse

FRIDAY AFTER PARTY

Highline:
12:40 – END – Usnea
11:50 – 12:20 – Burials
11:00 – 11:30 – Sol

SATURDAY 6/17

Neumo’s:
10:10 – END – Coven (First US Show in 27 years)
8:50 – 9:30 – Yob
7:35 – 8:10 – Marissa Nadler
6:30 – 7:00 – Young And In The Way
5:30 – 6:00 – Infernal Coil

Barboza:
9:30 – 10:10 – Bell Witch featuring Aerial Ruin
8:10 – 8:50 – Forn
7:00 – 7:35 – CHRCH
6:00 – 6:30 – Hands Of Thieves
5:00 – 5:30 – Cliterati

SATURDAY AFTER PARTY

Highline:
12:40 – END – Heiress
11:50 – 12:20 – Rhine
11:00 – 11:30 – Old Iron

www.facebook.com/northwestterrorfest
https://www.facebook.com/events/1741333786182206/
www.neumos.com
www.thebarboza.com
www.highlineseattle.com

Coven, Witchcraft Destroys Minds and Reaps Souls (1969)

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Tad Doyle Premieres Behind-the-Scenes Incineration Ceremony Video

Posted in Bootleg Theater on June 1st, 2017 by JJ Koczan

tad doyle the making of incineration ceremony

Every now and then an artist genuinely sidesteps expectation. Creative development is one thing, but I’m talking about real stylistic upheaval. Thomas Andrew Doyle, better known as Tad Doyle of TAD, Hog Molly and most recently Brothers of the Sonic Cloth, released his ambitious solo debut, Incineration Ceremony, last month via Yuggoth Records as a limited-pressing CD, and with it he essentially takes the noise and intensity for which he’s known and reshapes it into an entirely new form. Cinematic and classical in its influence, Incineration Ceremony works in a scope and with a different instrumental context than anything he’s done before.

And yet, as Tad says in the behind-the-scenes “The Making of Incineration Ceremony” interview video premiering below, “A lot of these songs’ subject matter comes from being a thomas andrew doyle incineration ceremonytortured soul, like everybody else on this planet,” and one would hardly listen through Incineration Ceremony and find it less oppressive than, say, the 2015 Brothers of the Sonic Cloth self-titled debut (review here), even if that sonic oppression arrives in a much different cloak. Recorded at his own Witch Ape Studio, the tracks vary in take but maintain an atmosphere of intensity that has typified Doyle‘s work throughout his career. That is to say, it’s his, one way or another.

If you haven’t heard the record yet, it’s streaming in full at the bottom of this post via Doyle‘s Bandcamp. As he notes, it shares many elements with soundtrack work and one might even hear it as a pitch to compose a score at some point down the line, and as he cites influences from Morricone to Mozart, dronescapes like “Asleep in Arrythmia” and “Born into Sorrow” and the avant piano course of “Bio-Illogical Functions” explore a corresponding breadth (and corresponding depths) that bring a new measure of context to Doyle‘s artistic evolution. Some moments offer horror, some hypnotic immersion, but underneath Incineration Ceremony as a whole is that threat of something firy, and the album never ceases to maintain that, no matter the direction of a given track or movement.

You can check out Doyle talking about Incineration Ceremony in the clip below, followed by some more info from the PR wire.

Please enjoy:

Thomas Andrew Doyle, The Making of Incineration Ceremony

Incineration Ceremony is the cinematic solo offering from multi-instrumentalist, songwriter, and audio engineer THOMAS ANDREW DOYLE (TAD, Brothers Of The Sonic Cloth, Hog Molly).

The adventurous nine-track recording is a return to roots of sorts for DOYLE. Spending his formative years in music playing in jazz clubs while attending school studying classical and jazz music at Boise State University, DOYLE comes forth with a symphonic take on what is going on in his head. Spawned from the dark and dreary recesses of DOYLE’s psyche comes an immense sound of textures, rhythms, and material suitable for film and standalone listening, disquieting all who are within an earshot.

DOYLE began working on this new project last year and as the work continued he became obsessed with writing and making the work come together. About the songs DOYLE shares, “It has been a very organic process of putting this all together and I have had so much fun in the process.” Guest musician friend and composer Peter Scartabello adds additional percussion on two tracks while the artwork and layout of friend Demian Johnston puts the mood of the record into a visual representation of some of the musical content.

Thomas Andrew Doyle, Incineration Ceremony (2017)

Tad Doyle website

Tad Doyle on Bandcamp

Yuggoth Records website

Yuggoth Records on Bandcamp

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Six Dumb Questions with Year of the Cobra

Posted in Six Dumb Questions on May 24th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

year of the cobra

Earlier this Spring, Seattle duo Year of the Cobra made their way to Europe for the first time to play and tour around Germany’s Hell over Hammaburg festival. They’d already spent a decent portion of 2016 on the road leading up to and supporting the STB Records release of their debut full-length, …In the Shadows Below (review here), and given the momentum they established in so doing and the formidable response the Billy Anderson-produced offering garnered, it seemed like it was only a matter of time before they undertook the trip. One sincerely doubts it will be their last.

Since they put out their three-song EP, The Black Sun (review here), in 2015 through Devil’s Child Records and DHU RecordsYear of the Cobra — bassist/vocalist Amy Tung Barrysmith and drummer Jon Barrysmith — have worked hard to find and audience and been markedly successful in that regard. With a style that offers as much space as it does rumble and heavy groove to spare, cuts like “Vision of Three,” “Temple of Apollo” and “Electric Warrior” leave memorably rolling impressions, and the push of “Spider and the Fly” subtly incorporates elements of classic pop/rock in a way few heavy acts would dare on a fifth album, let alone a first.

Amid rumors of new material in progress, participation in Magnetic Eye Records‘ much anticipated Pink Floyd tribute, The Wall [Redux], a slot Psycho Las Vegas this August and much more, it seemed well past time to chase down the band for a quick Q&A. As they make ready to move forward from …In the Shadows Below, they also have a new video for “Temple of Apollo” that recently premiered and which you can see at the bottom of this post. I put the album stream down there too, because I figured there’s a good chance that after you hear the one track you’ll probably want to put the rest of the thing on anyway. Might as well make it easy.

Please enjoy the following Six Dumb Questions:

year-of-the-cobra-in-the-shadows-below

Six Dumb Questions with Amy Tung Barrysmith of Year of the Cobra

It seemed like …In the Shadows Below got such a massive response, even after the EP did really well. Were you surprised by how the album was received?

Of course. You never know what people will think. It was important for us to follow the EP with a strong LP, and we were very deliberate and particular about every aspect of it from the musicality to the art design. But, after all that work, you really never know how people will receive it. All you can do is hope that your vision comes through and that people understand and like it as much as you do.

Tell me about recording with Billy Anderson. What made you go with him as a producer? What was the atmosphere in the studio like, how long were you in there, and how do you feel about the results on the album itself?

Well, he’s recorded a lot of our favorite records and was at the top of our “wish list,” so we sent him an email asking if he’d be interested and he responded the next day saying he liked the band and was on board. We were so stoked. We only met him a handful of times before we went into the studio so we weren’t really sure what to expect. In pictures, he can look really intimidating, but in person, he’s just a super witty, goofy guy.

He made the atmosphere so light and fun but was still able to coax out these crushing tones and performances. It was incredible. We spent a total of nine days in the studio with him recording. He spent several days mixing on his own and we went back for a final mix session, but before we were even done mixing, we were both really excited about what we had produced. It went beyond our expectations. He’s definitely the third member of YOTC.

You guys went to Europe for the first time in March. How was that trip? Tell me about the shows and the experience of going abroad to play. What were the crowds like? What were your expectations going into it and do you feel like they were met?

Europe was amazing. The main reason we went was to play Hell over Hammaburg Festival in Hamburg, Germany. We figured since we were going, we’d book a small tour around it. We weren’t sure what to expect, in all honesty. This first tour was a bit of a litmus test to see how we would do. Would we have a crowd? Would we be well received? Would it be worth going back for a longer tour?

All of it went better than we could have expected. There were people wearing our t-shirts or sweatshirts at every show!! People were singing along and many told us they had driven for hours to come see us play. It was incredible. Hell over Hammaburg Festival was a blast as well. It was so well organized and diverse and it was sold out! When we were packing to leave to go back home, we were both blown away at how well everything went and were kicking ourselves for not staying longer. Next time!

Tell me about being in a band with your partner. You’ve been able to tour steadily with the two of you, but how does having Year of the Cobra as an extension of your relationship play out? Not to get too personal, but does the band relationship just become part of the whole broader relationship, or is it its own thing?

That’s a good question. I don’t think either of us knows where one starts and the other ends, in terms of relationship vs. bandmates. What’s nice is that we complement each other in both our relationship and our band. One of us might be good at one thing, while the other is good at something else. We never sit down and divvy up jobs, we just kind of naturally go about it and it all gets done. The good thing is, we both feel like we’re equals working as a team because we have a common goal, we have the same work ethic, and we have similar artistic views. It makes everything work pretty smoothly.

I hear there’s new material in the works. How far along are you in writing? Is there anything specific you’re trying to do coming off of the debut?

We’re really excited about the new material!! We hit the studio at the end of June with Billy Anderson at the helm again. We’ll be recording an EP plus two songs that will go on the Magnetic Eye Records Pink Floyd Redux. We’ve spent the past couple of months focusing solely on writing new songs and were able to debut one of them at our last show! There is still a lot more work to do, but we’re definitely on track.

You’ve mentioned going back to Europe this Fall and you’ll play Psycho Las Vegas in August. Any other plans or closing words you want to mention?

We have some US tours being booked around Psycho Las Vegas in August and Stoned Meadow of Doom (Omaha) and Doomed and Stoned (Indianapolis) in September/October respectively. It will be fun to get back to some of the cities we hit last summer.

The EP will be released in the fall as well, so there is a lot of stuff piling up at the end of the year. Europe, sadly, didn’t work out for October, but we’re planning on going back next spring/summer. Stay tuned, we have many more announcements coming soon. Things are ramping up in the YOTC camp.

Year of the Cobra, “Temple of Apollo” official video

Year of the Cobra, …In the Shadows Below (2016)

Year of the Cobra on Thee Facebooks

Year of the Cobra on Bandcamp

STB Records on Thee Facebooks

STB Records BigCartel store

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Mos Generator to Record New Album Next Month; Live Dates and Reissues Announced

Posted in Whathaveyou on May 24th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

mos generator

Port Orchard, Washington, heavy rockers Mos Generator hit the studio in June to record their next full-length. It’s been a minute since the last time the band either hit the road or had a release — and after a few years of them more or less as a constant, that clearly meant they were up to something. Writing a new record, apparently. All the better. The Tony Reed-led three-piece will sandwich the recording process this time with two local shows before and after, presumably to get themselves in a live mode before laying down the material and then follow-up with a victory lap once the album is tracked, and with the prospect of a release before the end of this year from Reed, bassist Sean Booth and drummer Jono Garrett, there’s little else to say about it other than “right on.” So yeah. Right on.

Of course, that’s just the start of it when it comes to Mos Generator news. Reed, in addition to having now pressed up the Lies of Liberty (review here) EP for a physical release, also checked in with a few other bullet points, including a new video to come for “Wicked Willow.” Not sure if it will be the version from last year’s long-player, Abyssinia (review here), or the EP The Firmament (review here) — the participation of Chris Mathews, Jr., suggests the latter, but that’s not a sure thing — two new vinyl reissues to arrive in the coming months and a European tour being put together for this Fall by Heavy Psych Sounds. They’ve already been announced for Keep it Low 2017 (info here), so it’s good to know there’s more to come on that front as well.

They’ve also been confirmed to take part in Glory or Death Records‘ tribute comp to Thin Lizzy, so it’s a multiple-front attack from Mos Generator, as one has come to expect. You won’t hear me complain. Here’s the latest from Reed and Co.:

mos generator june shows

Mos Generator – New Album Recording & June Shows

We are gearing up to start recording our next record and play our first shows in almost 7 months. We get one rehearsal for those shows. Aaahhh!!!! Should be fun though. I know we are recording part of it in the basement of an old bank that closed in 1982.

We are also book-ending our recording sessions with 4 regional shows. Our first shows of the year.

Mos Generator live:
06.02 Manette Saloon Bremerton WA
06.03 Coog’s Port Angeles WA
06.04-06.08 IN THE STUDIO
06.09 Substation Seattle WA
06.10 The Valley Tacoma WA

Lies of Liberty out now

The majority of these songs were written circa 1986 – 1987 when I was in a band called Lies of Liberty. A few of the songs came from other side projects I was doing around the same time. Lies of Liberty only played a handful of shows and we never made proper recording of these songs (and many others) so great to finally hear these songs recorded and performed the way I always wanted them to be. I sent 1986 – 87 rehearsal recordings of these songs to Sean and Jono to listen to and learn on their own time and then we would get together and record them. On August 1st 2016 we gathered in the jamroom, learned 12 songs, and recorded the music live to 6 tracks of an 8 track recorder in 4 hours. Soon
after I did the vocals and a mix. We have been playing a few of these live and it’s always surprising contrast to our other material. It’s great to see people’s faces when we play ‘em.

Reissues to come and more

— “Songs for future gods”(south spit records) & “Nomads”(south spit records) (US) / Stickman Records (euro) vinyl reissues coming.

— Euro tour in October being booked by Heavy Psych Sounds.

— We will also be filming a video for “Wicked Willow” with Chris Mathews Jr.

https://www.facebook.com/MosGenerator
http://heavyheadsuperstore.storenvy.com/
http://stickman-records.com
https://www.facebook.com/Stickman-Records-1522369868033940/
http://southspitrecords.com/rock/index.php
http://www.shop-listenable.net/fr/47_mos-generator

Mos Generator, Lies of Liberty ’87 (2016)

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Old Iron Sign to Good to Die Records; Lupus Metallorum Due Aug. 18

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

Seattle-based imprint Good to Die Records doesn’t mess around when it comes either to taste or supporting its native habitat’s underground, so the signing of noisemaker trio Old Iron feels immediately significant. The band made their debut in 2014 with the atmospheric sludge of Cordyceps — streaming in full at the bottom of this post — and on Aug. 18, they’ll issue their sophomore outing, Lupus Metallorum, as their first offering under the Good to Die banner.

It’s worth noting that while the debut was self-recorded, for Lupus Metallorum the band opted to work with Matt Bayles, whose reputation for capturing tonal expanse for the likes of IsisMastodon, etc., I’m sure I don’t need to recount here. No audio has surfaced from the record as yet, nor the artwork, but August is still a while away, so one assumes we’ll get there before too long.

I also remain a sucker for a well-written press release. You’ll find one below, courtesy of the wire that brings such things:

old iron

OLD IRON signs with Good to Die Records!

Good to Die Records is excited to announce their newest signing: Seattle doomsayers OLD IRON. The label will be releasing their second full length album, Lupus Metallorum, on August 18th, and the group will respond by playing as many shows as they can both at home and throughout the U.S including Northwest Terror Fest happening June 15-17th in their home town. More info and tickets available here.

The tritone—also known as “the Devil’s interval”—is a pairing of notes that are three whole steps apart. It’s simply an interval between two frequencies, but for whatever reason, the human brain translates that pairing as sounding evil. Western composers avoided the note combination for centuries. The church frowned upon its use. It’s strange that two notes could elicit such negative reactions. But this is part of the magic of music—that certain combinations of frequencies trigger specific human emotions. We take for granted that every musician is tapping into some ancient wizardry, practicing some mysterious art we don’t fully understand. Seattle’s amplifier-worship dirge trio Old Iron certainly don’t shy away from the tritone or any other malicious note combination, and their explorations of the emotional implications of dissonance run parallel to their navigation of altered states and archaic sciences.

Lupus Metallorum is the sophomore album by Old Iron. From the opening riff of “Friday Glendale”, the precedent is set for the trio’s no-frills combination of ruthless noise rock and bottom-heavy sludge. Old Iron’s weighty riffs and malevolent stomp taps into the same adrenaline-producing frequency as a battle cry, with guitarist/vocalist Jesse Roberts’ howl summoning the same primitive visceral response as the Western Huns’ harrowing call-to-arms. If Roberts and his cohorts Jerad Shealey (bass) and Trent McIntyre (drums) were merely interested in using their tactics as a study in Pavlovian conditioning, Lupus Metallorum would succeed in making us salivating over their riffs. But Roberts is more interested in other aspects of behavior sciences and scientific approach. “There was never any intended theme,” Roberts says of the muse behind Old Iron’s music, “but in hindsight half of the songs were inspired by experiences I’ve had with ayahuasca and DMT.” Rock music and psychoactive drugs have always played well together, yet in an age where chemical enhancement of music seems reduced to stoned lethargy and molly-induced bump-and-grind, Old Iron’s combination of doomsday riffage and high-grade hallucinogens aims for a far more traumatizing experience, as is evident in the cataclysmic rise-and-fall of the ayahuasca-referencing climax “Banisteriopsis Caapi”.

But Old Iron’s fascination with the mystical sciences doesn’t end with the Devil’s interval and psychedelics. Lupus Metallorum translates to “grey wolf” and references the alchemic term for antimony, a chemical element once known as “monk-killer.” Drawing such sinister ties to metal is only fitting for a band like Old Iron, and the title track’s crushing chords, mauling drum patterns, and throbbing bass only further cement the band’s malignant intentions.

Engineered and produced by Matt Bayles (Mastodon, ISIS, The Sword) at Red Room Studios in Seattle WA, Lupus Metallorum captures the full weight of a band whose megalithic sound had previously best been experienced live and in the flesh. Good To Die Records is proud to release the album on vinyl in 2017, with tour dates to follow.

http://oldironband.com/
https://www.facebook.com/oldironband/
https://twitter.com/Old_Iron_Band
http://oldiron.bandcamp.com/
http://digital.goodtodierecords.com/
https://www.facebook.com/goodtodierecords/
https://twitter.com/goodtodierecrds

Old Iron, Cordyceps (2014)

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Friday Full-Length: Mad Season, Above

Posted in Bootleg Theater on May 19th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

Mad Season, Above (1995)

Sometimes you just have to wonder how an artist or a band got away with making the record they made. Mad Season‘s Above was released in 1995, in the post-Kurt Cobain wain of the Seattle grunge era, and I suppose the enticing tagline for Columbia Records was probably something along the lines of, “Features members of Pearl JamScreaming Trees and Alice in Chains,” but even given that, with its ultra-dark cover art by vocalist Layne Staley (the Alice in Chains component) and a collection of correspondingly melancholic, mostly quiet and depressive-if-soulful songs, Above was hardly a fit alongside Celine Dion or Mariah Carey, from both of whom the label also released studio outings that year. “Lifeless Dead?” Come on.

Still, I remember hearing “River of Deceit” on the radio when it came out, so to say the least, it was a different era. Mad Season was the product of Pearl Jam guitarist Mike McCready meeting blues bassist John Baker Saunders in rehab, starting a trio with Skin Yard/Screaming Trees drummer Barrett Martin and finally recruiting Staley on vocals partially with the hope of getting him clean from what was by then an already well documented history of abusing heroin. I guess it just kind of happened that the aesthetic they hit on was a grown-up incarnation of the style their main outfits played — an adult grunge — still heavy and edgy in its approach, but given a sense of class through Saunders‘ low end and the patient flow within the tracks that felt both immediately accessible and decidedly non-commercial.

Above is awash in hooks, from the minimalist opener and longest track (immediate points) “Wake Up” with its gorgeous showcase of the sadness that no one since Staley has been able to convey and none of his contemporaries could match, through the more rocking “I’m Above,” the almost folkish “River of Deceit,” and down through the rolling “I Don’t Know Anything” and percussive, sax-laden lounge-vibing “Long Gone Day,” which is one of two inclusions on the original version of the record alongside “I’m Above” to feature Screaming Trees singer Mark Lanegan, pre-Queens of the Stone Age but already by that point established as a solo artist, to brilliant affect in a layered duet. But as catchy as it gets — and even the six-minute ramble “Artificial Red” is catchy — Above never feels cloying or like it’s grasping for its audience’s attention in the way that some later grunge records do, having given up the urgency that fueled them as the players moved from being punk and noise acts and into what would ultimately break them through to a wider audience and define a generation of rock and roll. It’s not by any means a friendly record.

A big part of that is directly attributable to Staley‘s vocal performance, and it’s a spirit that almost immediately following Above‘s release he’d take back with him to Alice in Chains for the recording of their later-1995 self-titled on songs like “Shame in You.” Though Above nearly digs itself a hole with the seven-minute guitar-led jam “November Hotel” as the penultimate cut, that only seems to make Staley‘s voice feel like that much more of a treasure when it shows up again late in the atmospheric finale “All Alone,” a wash of its own, no less immersive than the spacious keys and guitar, subtle percussion and gentle bassline that back it. As distinct as he was in his approach, there was just about no way he wouldn’t become a defining presence in Mad Season, and though the band would only do this one studio release before his death from an overdose in 2002 — 15 years ago now — his contributions to Above provide some of the clearest evidence of just how special he was as an artist and a once-in-a-generation figure, and of course, it’s the work that lives on.

In 2013, Columbia reissued Above in a deluxe edition with bonus material from a never-released second album with Lanegan as frontman (they worked under the name Disinformation at the time, circa 1997), and a DVD of live footage and more. Saunders also died of an overdose, in 1999, so a full reunion was never possible, but in addition to that reissue, McCready and Martin joined forces with Guns ‘n’ Roses bassist Duff McKagan — the economist — and Soundgarden vocalist Chris Cornell to perform a set in Jan. 2015 with the Seattle Symphony that was quietly released as a live album released later that same year. There was once again discussion of new material at the time, but to-date nothing has come to fruition.

The bottom line is Above feels even more resonant today than it did 22 years ago, and as always, I hope you enjoy.

Thanks for listening.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t note the passing, first reported yesterday and apparently the result of suicide, of Chris Cornell. I had already chosen to finish the week with this record when I saw the news, but though he made it longer than either Cobain or Staley, I don’t think anyone who appreciated any of his work in Soundgarden or elsewhere who wouldn’t say he was taken too soon, and all the more tragically by his own hand. For someone who touched so many lives and influenced a generation of singers in his wake — let alone someone with three teenage kids — to feel so empty while having so much to live for boggles the mind, but until you’ve been there, you don’t know.

Cornell was arguably the best singer of his Seattle-based generational contemporaries — Staley was more emotive but didn’t have the range to soar Glenn Hughes-style like Cornell could, Cobain was a punker, Lanegan’s a bluesman and Pearl Jam’s Eddie Vedder might stand up as a comparison point in terms of charisma, but never had the force of delivery that seemed to come so naturally from Cornell. I’ve never been the biggest Soundgarden fan, but his is a significant, irreplaceable loss.

Maybe you saw, maybe you didn’t, but I announced on the social medias last weekend that The Patient Mrs. and I are expecting. It’s a boy, due somewhere around Oct. 15. He’s got a name, but mostly we’ve been calling him “The Pecan” because it sounds less threatening than “The Impending” — which was my alternative — and a few weeks ago, The Patient Mrs.’ you’re-going-to-have-a-baby app said the fetus was the size of “a Southern pecan,” which was hilarious to us both because how the hell big is that and what difference does it make if it’s Southern? If he’s born with a Molly Hatchet shirt on or some shit, I’m going to be really, genuinely surprised.

But anyway, that’s the big news I’ve been hinting toward around here. I mentioned the Pecan in my Roadburn coverage, briefly, and subsequently removed the reference, but a couple people caught it and I saw some speculation, so there you go. The Pecan. Due in October. Life changes.

Do I know how it will affect this site? Nope. My thing all along has been not knowing how whatever comes along will affect the site, and it’s worked out pretty well, so I’m gonna roll with that and go where it takes me.

Fatherhood. Oof.

Anyway, though conversations about said Pecan occupy just about my every day at this point, there’s still a while to go before the guy actually shows up and plenty to keep me busy in the meantime. For example! — my job is ending in less than a month. Unemployment. Again. I’ve learned a few valuable lessons in my year at Hasbro and I’m appreciative of that, but apart from the salary hit I can’t say I’m heartbroken to move on. Truth be told, I’ve never enjoyed working for anyone but myself. If I had any money to start a business, that’s what I’d do with it.

But I don’t. So maybe stay-at-home-dad for as long as I can and then see what comes along. If I can pick up something part-time and/or remote, all the better. Somebody has to need an editor, right?

On that note, here’s what’s up for next week, subject to change as always. Straight from the notes:

Mon.: Radio Adds, Desert Wizards video, and some cool Naxatras news.
Tue.: Elder review, Ephedra video premiere, update from Keep it Low and more.
Wed.: WhiteNails review/album stream, Year of the Cobra Six Dumb Questions.
Thu.: Trippy Wicked video premiere, maybe another track premiere (waiting to see what shakes out), otherwise a Demon Head review.
Fri.: Vokonis video premiere/album review.

That’s where we’re at now, though, yeah, some stuff is still up in the air.

Staying home this weekend, as opposed to driving to Connecticut, and hoping for a laid back couple days in the air conditioning watching baseball as one does during the summer. The Patient Mrs. and I were talking about going to see Alien Covenant tomorrow morning — 10:40AM IMAX showing, baby; we roll in style — but that’s tentative. Whatever you’re up to, I hope you have a great and safe time.

Thanks for reaching, and please check out the forum and radio stream.

The Obelisk Forum

The Obelisk Radio

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Tad Doyle to Release New Solo Album Incineration Ceremony

Posted in Whathaveyou on April 28th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

Whatever you’re thinking a solo record from Thomas Andrew Doyle — aka Tad Doyle of TAD, Hog Molly and the megacrushing Brothers of the Sonic Cloth — is going to be, stop. Cast off your preconceived notions, all who’d enter into Incineration Ceremony, as the first preview of the album in the streaming track “Silent Incineration” is more classical-via-cinema-score than whatever it is you’re probably expecting. You thought maybe he’d go folk-country? Not that he couldn’t pull it off. Full-on experimentalist noise? Yeah, he could probably do that too. Instead, he’s thrown an even bigger curve and gone orchestral. If that doesn’t spin your head, congrats, you’re the hardest-to-surprise motherfucker in the world. A trophy will be sent to you in the mail from a warehouse in Ohio. Keep an eye out for the package.

Incineration Ceremony is out May 16 via Yuggoth Records (see also AnechoicSky Shadow Obelisk), and is available to preorder now. Info follows from the internets:

thomas-andrew-doyle-incineration-ceremony

Thomas Andrew Doyle new album “Incineration Ceremony”

We are proud to announce a totally new release by multi-instrumentalist, song writer, audio engineer Tad Doyle.“Incineration Ceremony,” slated for release on June 1, 2017 on Yuggoth Records is the new work by Thomas Andrew Doyle (TAD, Brothers of the Sonic Cloth, Hog Molly) and is a return to roots of sorts.

Spending his formative years in music playing in Jazz clubs while attending school studying classical and jazz music at Boise State University, Doyle comes forth with a symphonic take on what is going on in his head. Spawned from the dark and dreary recesses of Doyle’s psyche comes an immense sound of textures, rhythms and material suitable for film and stand alone listening, disquieting all who are within an earshot. People who are familiar with his music should expect the unexpected. Doyle’s entry into the world of symphonic composition is no novice beginner’s attempt. Incineration Ceremony is a musical journeyman’s expression that is genuine, heartfelt, honest, uncompromising and authoritative.

Doyle started working on this new project last year and as the work continued he became obsessed with writing and making the work come together. About the songs Doyle shares, “It has been a very organic process of putting this all together and I have had so much fun in the process.”

Guest musician friend and composer Peter Scartabello adds additional percussion on two of the songs. Cover artwork and layout by friend Demian Johnston puts the mood of the record into a visual representation of some of the musical content.

Thomas Andrew Doyle – vocals, piano, acoustic instruments, soft instruments, analog synthesizers

Peter Scartabello – additional wood and metal percussion on ‘Asleep in Arrhythmia’ and ‘Bio-illogical Functions’

Artwork and layout – Demian Johnston

Track Listing:

Silent Incineration
Lost in Abysmal Waters
Desire
Asleep in Arrhythmia
Bio-illogical Functions
Nurtured in Grief
Meditations in Null
Born into Sorrow
Prognati ignis ignis

Pre-order the CD now at this location!
$10.00
Official release date is Tuesday May 16, 2017

https://www.taddoyle.com/
https://twitter.com/TadDoyle_Tad
https://www.facebook.com/WitchApeStudios/
https://www.instagram.com/sonicbrethren/
http://peterscartabello.com/yuggoth-records/

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