White Hills Post “Automated City” Video Ahead of European Tour

Posted in Bootleg Theater on October 23rd, 2019 by JJ Koczan

white hills

I believe that if you go back and check the Official Bureau of Records on Such Things, the central thesis of my last post about New York’s White Hills was that nobody has any idea what they’re doing and that people who pretend otherwise are full of crap. It was something like that, anyhow. Or if not, that’s what it should’ve been. Whatever. In support of this argument I may or may not have been making — I don’t have the funds to file a 27B/6 request with the Official Bureau to check the record and find out — I humbly offer the band’s new video for “Automated City,” which they’ve newly posted ahead of the European tour on which they’ll embark next month.

“Band releasing a new video ahead of a tour,” you say. “Not much weird about that.” Correct. However. Check out the track itself before you fully assess. Yeah, you’ll hear some krautrock vibes in there as well as intangibles like the legacy of New York’s noisemaking experimentalist scene such as it was before Thurston and Kim got divorced, and you’ll hear any number of things all coming together as White Hills, but isn’t that the point? Put a tag on that. Call it something other than the band’s name. Double-dog dare you. As I know I said last time, verbatim: “Good fucking luck.”

And once you’ve accomplished that task, I’ll gladly set you on figuring out what might lead White Hills to make a video for a song from 2015’s Walks for Motorists rather than their latest LP, 2017’s Stop Mute Defeat, or maybe even something new they’re working on from their next album in progress.

And once you’ve accomplished that task, I’ll leave you to the video itself, put together by the band’s own Ego Sensation, and looking like something out of a Hitchcock opening credits sequence.

Have fun:

White Hills, “Automated City” official video

White Hills present “Automated City”, a noir vignette shot and constructed by Ego Sensation. Inspired by noir films of the 1940s and the avant-garde stage theater of American director and playwright Robert Wilson, the video traverses a shadowy dream world of shifting perspective. A firm fan favourite, the song is from the band’s 2015 album Walks For Motorists, produced by David Wrench, best known for his work with Goldfrapp, Caribou and FKA Twigs as well as with his own synth-duo audiobooks.

White Hills are currently in the studio working on a new album with Jeff Berner (Psychic TV) at Studio G in Brooklyn featuring a slew of unique collaborators including; Jim Jarmusch (Filmmaker & Musician), Yasmine Hamden (singer-songwriter who also appears in Jarmusch’s “Only Lovers Left Alive”), Simone Marie Butler (bassist with Primal Scream), Jim Coleman (Cop Shoot Cop) and Alex Macarte (GNOD).

White Hills – Buy The Ticket Take The Ride EU tour 2019 Dates:
14/11 CH Bern Spinnerei
15/11 ITA Busto Arsizio Circolo Gagarin (with Martin Bisi)
16/11 ITA Roma Roma Psych Fest
17/11 ITA Loreto Reasonanz (with Martin Bisi)
18/11 ITA Perugia T-Trane
19/11 ITA Torino BlahBlah
20/11 ITA Padova Nadir
21/11 ITA Ravenna Transmission Festival (with Martin Bisi)
22/11 ITA Ravenna Transmission Festival
23/11 AT Salzburg Dome of Rock Festival
24/11 DE Karlsruhe Alte Hackerei
25/11 DE Leipzig Nato
26/11 DE Berlin Urban Spree (with Martin Bisi)
27/11 SWE Malmo Plan B
28/11 SWE Gothenborg Musikenhus
29/11 DK Copenhagen BASEMENT
30/11 DE Munster Rare Guitar
1/12 NL Den Bosch W2 Poppodium
2/12 BE Bruxelles Mag 4 (with Martin Bisi)
3/12 FRA Paris Supersonic

White Hills Tumblr

White Hills on Thee Facebooks

White Hills on Bandcamp

Tags: , , , , ,

White Hills Announce European Tour Dates & New Collaborations

Posted in Whathaveyou on October 17th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

Let’s face it: Long after the floods and storms and famine and whatever else claim humanity, the sentient dolphins who inherent the earth will still be dedicating their best scholars to the task of trying to understand just what the hell level White Hills were working on. Most certainly, whatever it was — or, you know, is — it’s their own. In the best tradition of New York’s underground, they’ve long been an in-the-know-type band. The sort who might record and play shows with Martin Bisi and whose experimentalism extends through things like covering obscure ’80s synth tracks and scooting off to their kinda-adopted-home-base on the European circuit for a Fall tour that includes a slew of festivals psychedelic and otherwise.

White Hills thrive in this hard-to-get-a-handle-on aesthetic territory between genres, and as they’re in the studio putting together a new album that, you know, just has Jim Jarmusch on it — as one does — they’ll no doubt continue that thread of casting out mysteries for future aquatic-mammalian historians to try and unravel.

Good fucking luck.

From the PR wire:

WHITE HILLS Tour

New York’s acclaimed fuzz art-rock duo White Hills return to Europe

Having gathered a reputation as one of the most prolific and exciting live bands of their generation, White Hills are scheduled to descend upon mainland Europe this Autumn, playing for the very first time as a duo; with Ego Sensation on drums, electronics and vocals and Dave W on guitar and vocals.

On this tour the set will include new never-before-heard material which the band are currently working on (more on this below) as well as songs from the band’s vast catalogue including tracks from Glitter Glamour Atrocity, White Hills, H-p1, So You Are…So You’ll Be, Walks For Motorists and Stop Mute Defeat.

The tour includes several shows with collaborator and legendary NYC producer Martin Bisi (Sonic Youth, Swans, Foetus). Dave and Ego comment further on this collaboration. “We’re honored to have been able to work with Martin on three White Hills’ albums and the BC35 collaboration which brought together members of The Swans, Sonic Youth, Pop 1280, Foetus, Dresden Dolls and many other unique artists. BC Studios continues to be a vibrant breeding ground for New York noise and innovative music.” Bisi is curating The Transmission Festival in Ravenna, Italy which will feature several other NYC artists who appear on the BC35 Volume II compilation, which is released by the hosts of the festival, Bronson Recordings.

White Hills are currently in the studio working on a new album with Jeff Berner (Psychic TV) at Studio G in Brooklyn featuring a slew of unique collaborators including; Jim Jarmusch (Filmmaker & Musician), Yasmine Hamden (singer-songwriter who also appears in Jarmusch’s “Only Lovers Left Alive”), Simone Marie Butler (bassist with Primal Scream), Jim Coleman (Cop Shoot Cop) and Alex Macarte (GNOD).

White Hills – Buy The Ticket Take The Ride EU tour 2019 Dates:
14/11 CH Bern Spinnerei
15/11 ITA Busto Arsizio Circolo Gagarin (with Martin Bisi)
16/11 ITA Roma Roma Psych Fest
17/11 ITA Loreto Reasonanz (with Martin Bisi)
18/11 ITA Perugia T-Trane
19/11 ITA Torino BlahBlah
20/11 ITA Padova Nadir
21/11 ITA Ravenna Transmission Festival (with Martin Bisi)
22/11 ITA Ravenna Transmission Festival
23/11 AT Salzburg Dome of Rock Festival
24/11 DE Karlsruhe Alte Hackerei
25/11 DE Leipzig Nato
26/11 DE Berlin Urban Spree (with Martin Bisi)
27/11 SWE Malmo Plan B
28/11 SWE Gothenborg Musikenhus
29/11 DK Copenhagen BASEMENT
30/11 DE Munster Rare Guitar
1/12 NL Den Bosch W2 Poppodium
2/12 BE Bruxelles Mag 4 (with Martin Bisi)
3/12 FRA Paris Supersonic

http://whitehillsmusic.tumblr.com/
https://www.facebook.com/WHITE-HILLS-90476409450/
https://whitehills.bandcamp.com/

White Hills, “Putting on the Pressure”

Tags: , ,

Desertfest Belgium 2017: Graveyard, White Hills, Elephant Tree, OHHMS, Minami Deutsch and Kaleidobolt Join Lineup

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

As predicted at the outset, the poster showcasing the lineup for Desertfest Belgium 2017 has become very, very crowded. I don’t think they’re done, either. Where will the next batch of bands squeeze, what with the sizable logo addition of Graveyard here along with OhhmsElephant TreeWhite Hills and so on? I don’t know. It’s a problem for a graphic designer to tackle that’s well beyond my depth, to be sure. But they’ll sort it out. They always do.

The Fall festival season — there are many, you know the names and don’t need me to recount — by now rivals Spring. It might even surpass it in terms of the sheer one-into-the-next-into-the-next-into-the-next style proceedings from country to country, weekend to weekend. It’s astounding how strong and sustaining the European underground has become over the last several years. Desertfest, the growth of the brand in general and in its autumnal incarnations in Antwerp and Athens, has been a big part of that, and accordingly, Desertfest Belgium 2017 stands among the best lineups one is likely to find on the continent this Fall.

To wit:

desertfest-belgium-2017-poster-graveyard

GRAVEYARD PLAYS DF ANTWERP 2017 – White Hills, Elephant Tree & more announced

So here it is – Karma strikes, part two!

Last year we were gutted when GRAVEYARD decided to call it quits, moments before their appearance at Desertfest Antwerp. Fortunately, their breakup turned out to be short-lived, and the band announced their return with a new drummer in January 2017. So naturally, we had to put ’em in a headliner spot again to make it up to you guys!

We’re also very glad to announce the appearance of WHITE HILLS, possibly the coolest band in the universe. With OHHMS and ELEPHANT TREE, we present you with two of the hottest bands from the UK heavy scene at the moment. Going worldwide, let’s throw in Oriental Krautrock with MINAMI DEUTSCH from Tokyo, and the psychedelic jazz-prog of KALEIDOBOLT from Helsinki.

From where we’re sitting, Desertfest Antwerp is starting to look pretty good… and we’re still not done!

GRAVEYARD

After the breakup of 2016, Graveyard did what every great classic rock band should do: take some time off to recollect the good spirit, and then come back with a mighty vengeance. And so here they are: the Swedish rock giant is back in the saddle with a new drummer, and ready to kick ass in 2017! We can only imagine what awesomeness they’ll bring to make it up to the DF crowd…

WHITE HILLS

White Hills are proponents of psychedelia as transformation. The music made by Dave W. and Ego Sensation is risky and cutting edge, rooted in dystopian futurism and hyper-conscious of our constant desire for a new and better drug. On their new album ‘Stop Mute Defeat’, White Hills has flipped the script with an industrially-charged record that pulsates unlike anything you’ve heard of them before.

OHHMS

OHHMS (written “((OHHMS))”) are a Canterburian metal band who are quickly becoming the buzz of the UK doom scene. They’ve established a reputation of playing extremely loud, delivering long and complex tracks at a deafening volume. Their first album release ‘The Fool’ is earning accolades across the scene, winning over crowd and critics alike.

ELEPHANT TREE

Another big promise from the UK, Elephant Tree came out with one of the best damn albums from 2016. Combining clear vocal harmonies with insanely heavy riffs, and switching it up with sudden mood shifts and slow-burning grooves, their debut album is truly something special that you should seek out immediately. Word from Desertfest London & Berlin is they easily hold their ground on the stage.

MINAMI DEUTSCH

Minami Deutsch is a Krautrock band from Tokyo. Starting off playing live music on the city streets, they got picked up for a spot at the Tokyo Psych Fest. In September 2015, they released their first record through the English cult label Cardinal Fuzz Records, as well as Japanese psych label Guruguru Brain. Expect motorik kraut grooves with a distinct Oriental flavour!

KALEIDOBOLT

Kaleidobolt is a power trio from Helsinki, blending loud guitars with furious jazz moves. Their music is a dizzying maelstrom of progressive song structures, crushing riffs and loose psychedelic soundscapes, delivered with joy and ferociousness. Working since 2014, they’ve released two albums to much acclaim, and toured with the likes of Radio Moscow and Samsara Blues Experiment.

http://www.desertfest.be/tickets
https://www.facebook.com/desertfestbelgium/
https://www.facebook.com/events/264364590656095/
https://twitter.com/DesertfestBE

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

White Hills Announce Stop Mute Defeat Due May 19

Posted in Whathaveyou on February 15th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

I had this whole rumination cued up in my brain about how White Hills wouldn’t be so gosh darn underappreciated if they were a West Coast band instead of being from New York. Hell, even if they were from elsewhere on the Eastern Seaboard — Florida to Philly — they’d probably get more credit than they do for their experimental approach to the psychedelic and beyond, which seems to be on full display with the new album, Stop Mute Defeat, out May 19 on Thrill Jockey.

Really. Had the whole thing worked out in my head. But you know what? You don’t care, and the raw truth of the matter is, while they most definitely are undervalued, White Hills get enough of a mainstream look that it doesn’t really matter what I think about them one way or another. It’s a Wednesday afternoon and I’m just a shitheel blogger posting a press release about an album that’ll probably be pretty cool. Business as usual. Any other insight? Tertiary at best, completely unnecessary at the most honest.

That’s me facing reality in the face of the unreal.

From Thrill Jockey‘s preorder page:

white-hills-stop-mute-defeat

WHITE HILLS – STOP MUTE DEFEAT – MAY 19

LP pressed on virgin vinyl and packaged in a gatefold jacket with free download coupon. A very limited supply is pressed on blue vinyl. CD version in 4 panel mini-LP style gatefold jacket.

The dismal realities, political or otherwise, that are part of our modern world naturally influence our creative voices. It is in this context that White Hills re-evaluated their approach to creating a new album. Having continually refined their sound, pushing the boundaries of psychedelic music, White Hills flipped the script on Stop Mute Defeat. Dave W. and Ego Sensation have brazenly produced an industrially-charged record that pulsates unlike anything they’ve released before.

Hard-line, gritty, and intellectually engaged, Stop Mute Defeat is a New York record through and through. With this in mind, White Hills drafted Martin Bisi (Sonic Youth, Brian Eno, Afrika Bambaataa) to mix. White Hills recorded with Bisi on two of their previous releases, Frying On This Rock in 2012 and its follow-up So You Are…So You’ll Be, however Stop Mute Defeat is the first time they worked with Martin “The Beast” Bisi in control of the mixing board. A native New Yorker who made his name in the city’s early hip-hop and no-wave scenes, Bisi was attracted to White Hills’ new material for its distinct early-80s Mudd Club feel. A dance hall, drug den, and bar, the Mudd Club was one of New York’s legendary haunts in the late 1970’s. As a center of a distinct art scene the club served as a major influence for White Hills and Stop Mute Defeat’s sound.

Following similar techniques to those propagated by William S. Burroughs (a regular at Mudd Club), Stop Mute Defeat sees White Hills break free from the guitar-driven structure of their earlier releases. Reassigning William Burroughs’ word “cut-up” technique to music, Dave W. and Ego Sensation deconstruct sound clips to create minimalist but rhythmically complex phrases. Title track ‘Stop Mute Defeat’ layers turbocharged bass loops with squalling guitar samples, to create a sound that calls to mind Xtrmntr-era Primal Scream. “If… 1… 2” goes even further down the rabbit hole, oscillating into the experimental electro-sound of early 80s Sheffield, UK band Cabaret Voltaire. Meanwhile the taut brawny grind of ‘Attack Mode’ industrially hardens White Hills’ rock boundaries to tribal densities.

Appalled by the rampant consumerism and the proliferation of ‘post-truth’ mythology, White Hills’ defiant lyricism is at their most philosophically scathing. Condemning doublespeak as “Subliminal seduction…a serenade with a grenade,” the song “Overlord” laments political and economic opportunism, where “In travesty, [there’s always] another dollar to be made.” On “Attack Mode” meanwhile, a clenched-jawed Dave W. channels the perverse cynicism of Throbbing Gristle, throwing scorn on “societies where misogyny leads and the objectification of young girls runs free.” Exposing Western vulgarity in bright light, Stop Mute Defeat is a fearless and necessary denunciation of the political and economic powers that be.

Between the release of 2015’s Walks For Motorists and the making of Stop Mute Defeat, members Dave W. and Ego Sensation took time out to focus on other artistic endeavors instead of keeping up their pace of an album a year. Diving deeper into the world of video, Ego has produced and exhibited a series of “Moving Stills”: videos that imbue static images with a subtle, uncanny motion. In these pieces, realism morphs with itself to create abstract visions. Through Dave W’s obsession with meditation, he was drawn back to his love of form and image, creating a series of sculpturally based hallucinatory abstract paintings in which the viewer is sucked into infinite space. These forays outside of music were instrumental in the shaping of Stop Mute Defeat.

Writing in his seminal postmodern oeuvre Naked Lunch, Burroughs states: “Desperation is the raw material of drastic change. Only those who can leave behind everything they have ever believed in can hope to escape.” Rethinking their musical norms, personally and musically diving into uncertain waters, White Hills at once embrace and demonstrate the raw power of such abandon.

Tracklist:
1. Overlord
2. A Trick of the Mind
3. Importance 101
4. Attack Mode
5. If… 1… 2
6. Sugar Hill
7. Entertainer
8. Stop Mute Defeat

http://whitehillsmusic.tumblr.com/
https://www.facebook.com/WHITE-HILLS-90476409450/
https://twitter.com/whitehillsmusic
https://whitehills.bandcamp.com/
http://thrilljockey.com/products/stop-mute-defeat

White Hills, No Game to Play (2016)

Tags: , , , ,

Freak Valley 2016: White Hills Join Lineup

Posted in Whathaveyou on December 15th, 2015 by JJ Koczan

freak valley 2016 banner

Granted, I’ve never been, but it seems to me that a group like White Hills more or less embody what a festival like Freak Valley is all about. The New York heavy psych rockers are no strangers to European shores, and they’ll be among the headliners at Freak Valley 2016 next May in Netphen, Germany. They remain underappreciated in the US, but their dedication to heavy psych and space rock is unquestionable at this point — they’ve proven time and again where their collective heart lies, up to and including earlier 2015’s Walks for Motorists full-length on Thrill Jockey, which unless they put another one out between now and then — always possible — will be the record they’ll support as they head abroad once more.

This news came out the other day, so you may have seen it, but I’m trying to keep up as much as possible with these announcements, so better late than never. Here’s word from the fest:

white hills freak valley 2016

New York’s Fuzzed Out Motorik Spacerockers WHITE HILLS will play FREAK VALLEY FESTIVAL 2016

Constantly pushing at the boundaries of order against chaos and speaking a musical language involving fuzzed out guitars, wah-wah pedals and amplifiers turned up all the way, WHITE HILLS embody the art and spirit of psychedelic rock.

New York space rock trio White Hills are the opposite of a comet. They suck up an explosion of energy on the surface of the Earth; from the history of amplified rock music, from the weather, from spirituality, from adrenaline, from the history of synthesized electronic music, from substance use, from philosophy, from friends and enemies alike, from mother fuxxing electricity, and they focus it into a blinding beam of energy which they reflect back out into the void. And this beam is a message. It is a statement which reads: “Fu.. you. We are here. We rock, therefore we are.”

White Hills – a space rock band in the 21st Century. But perhaps it’s best to let Dave himself explain what space rock actually means to him: “Heavy psychedelic music can deliver the thinking mind through a door to the greater universe. I want people to find a space for meditation. We all are constantly barraged and beaten down with a lot of bullshit today. Personally, I find that spaced-out extreme music transports me to a very tranquil place. I hope, more than anything, our music brings others to that place of enlightenment and ecstasy.”

Amazing poster art by Jo Riou Graphic Designer
Please give him a like!

FREAK VALLEY FESTIVAL – 26th-27th-28th May 2016
www.freakvalley.de www.rockfreaks.de

FVF 2016 is SOLD OUT!!

Freak Valley Festival: No Fillers – Just Killers
Line-up 2016:
Dead Meadow [US] – Psychedelic Stonerrock
White Hills [US] – Fuzzed Out Motorik Psychedelic
Baby Woodrose [DK]- Psychedelic Garagerock
Lonely Kamel [NO]- Heavy Blues, Hardrock & Stoner
Rotor [D] – Instrumental StonerRock/Psychedelic
Monolord [SW] – Doom/Sludge
Farflung [US] – Spacerock for 21st Century Heads
The Golden Grass [US]- Heavy/Funk/Boogie/Psychedelic/Freakbeat
Spiders [SW] – Hard/Glam Rock
Son of Huns [US] – Heavy Riffin Rock
Lé Betre [SW] – Bluesy Hardrock

…more tba very soon

www.freakvalley.de
https://www.facebook.com/freakvalley
https://twitter.com/FreakValley
https://shop.ticketscript.com/channel/web2/start-order/rid/LYSQRABJ/language/en

White Hills, “H-p1” official video

Tags: , , , , , ,

Roadburn 2015: Streaming Sets from The Heads, Botanist, Bardspec, Eyehategod, Kandodo, Darkher, White Hills, Zoltan and Brimstone

Posted in audiObelisk on August 18th, 2015 by JJ Koczan

The Heads at Roadburn 2015 (Photo by JJ Koczan)

The Heads were so goddamn good at Roadburn. As any edition will, Roadburn 2015 had some truly spectacular performances, both that I saw and that I heard about later and regretted not seeing, but one I consider myself very, very fortunate to have caught was that of The Heads on the Main Stage at the 013. Pure, raw and complete psychedelic mastery, it was probably in the top three heavy psych sets I’ve ever seen, and I’ve seen a few in my time. Bands sound molten on studio recordings all the time, but for them to bring that vibe to the stage was, well, it was The Heads, and they absolutely killed it.

But as I say, Roadburn 2015 had more than several spectacular gigs. Anytime Eyehategod go anywhere, they leave an impact, and I also managed to see that Kandodo set, which had Robert Hampson of Loop sitting in on guitar — speaking of molten psychedelics — as well as White Hills and Bardspec, the latter which was just Ivar Bjørnson and Arve “Ice Dale” Isdal of Enslaved experimenting with different chords and manipulations on a laptop. Very cool vibe there too.

The latest batch of Roadburn 2015 audio streams has all those, plus BotanistBrimstoneDarkher and Zoltan, which makes it quite a batch indeed. Enjoy:

(Ivar Bjørnson’s) Bardspec – Live at Roadburn 2015

Botanist – Live at Roadburn 2015

Brimstone- Live at Roadburn 2015

Darkher – Live at Roadburn 2015

Eyehategod – Live at Roadburn 2015

The Heads – Live at Roadburn 2015 (Main Stage)

Kandodo ft. Robert Hampson – Live at Roadburn 2015

White Hills – Live at Roadburn 2015

Zoltan – Live at Roadburn 2015

Special thanks to Walter as always for letting me host the streams. To read all of this year’s Roadburn coverage, click here. For the first, second and third batches of streams, click here and then click here and then click here and then click here.

Roadburn’s website

Marcel Van De Vondervoort on Thee Facebooks

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

San Francisco Trip, Pt. 3: The Calling

Posted in Buried Treasure, Features on July 16th, 2015 by JJ Koczan

aquarius records

07.15.15 — 10:10PM Pacific — Wed. night — Hotel California (yes, really)

It occurred to me this evening that I’ve had about two and a half hours of “free time” on this trip and I’ve spent it all record shopping. That’s not a complaint, but I’ve had people offer to meet up and stuff and I haven’t quite had the time I anticipated for such things between work obligations and writing at night. Again, I’m not complaining. I’ve worked for a company for less than two months that’s willing to fly my ass quite literally across a continent and trust me to represent them to the best of my admittedly limited ability at a meeting of potential clients and professional cohorts. I’m remarkably fortunate to be here. I’m also very, very tired.

Still, when it came to it, and I had that little bit of time to spare today, I jumped in the first cab that I saw with its light on and told the dude to make for Aquarius Records. It was payday and I had an itch that only another round of record shopping was going to scratch. I probably could have gone back to Amoeba Music and found more stuff in that giant space, but the smaller, curated vibe of Aquarius was just my speed this evening.

I took my time, thumbed through the CD racks of the San Francisco section, the rock/pop, the metal sections both new and used, eyed up some stuff in the boxes under the used section — two albums by Mammoth Volume there, but I have them already — and reminded myself that between yesterday and today, this has kind of become my celebration of returning to the working world, so yeah, I splurged a bit. I picked up a thing or two that on some other days I might have let go, decided to let it ride and be what it is. The fact that it was also payday might have been a factor. That’s a question for hindsight and I don’t have the proper distance to evaluate.

The haul? Here it is, once more alphabetically:

Aarni, Bathos
Across Tundras, Old World Wanderer
Bedemon, Child of Darkness
Carlton Melton, Out to Sea
Children of Doom, Ride over the Green Valley
Elder, Spires Burn/Release
Elder, Lore
Evil Acidhead, In the Name of all that is Unholy
Holy Serpent, Holy Serpent
Pyramido, Sand
Pyramido, Saga
Slough Feg, Made in Poland
The Warlocks, The Warlocks
White Hills, So You Are… so You’ll Be

aqurius records haulOnce again, all CDs. I know it’s not as cool as vinyl, but fuck it. If any of you vinyl hounds want to sell me your CD collection, let me know. I’ll buy that shit. I’ll be the last dude on earth buying CDs for all I care. Whatever. They’re still making them for the most part, so yeah, I’ll still buy them.

The find of the bunch is probably that self-titled EP by The Warlocks, which came out in 2000 on Bomp! Records and was their debut. It was used and cheap, so that was cool. Two of the bunch I already own, but the Across Tundras was also about $5 and the Bedemon is the newer Relapse Records version, so I figured what the hell. True, I was here last year and stopped by the shop when I was out on tour with the Kings Destroy guys — SF resident Jim Pitts included, while I’m thinking of good people I haven’t had the chance to see — but it’s not something I do every day. I pick up things here and there, mostly online at this point, so to actually be in a store and have the chance to browse and enjoy the process, I wanted to do precisely that.

I know Carlton Melton are local to NorCal, so I grabbed that seeing it on the counter by the register, and Evil Acidhead was one of the staff recommendations — if you ever go to Aquarius Records, pay attention; these people know what they’re talking about — and since I knew it’s a reissue of old recordings by John McBain (Monster Magnet, Wellwater Conspiracy) it seemed like one to grab. Both of those Elder discs I have on vinyl, but I wanted the CDs, and while it would make the most sense to go to Armageddon Shop one of the apparently multiple times of a week I drive past Providence on I-95 and pick them up there, I haven’t actually managed to make that happen. Seeing an opportunity, I took it.

Slough Feg‘s 2011 live record, Made in Poland, was used, so that was a no-brainer, and I ran into both Pyramido albums — their first, Sand, used and a buck, their third, 2013’s Saga, new — on opposite sides of the store and picked them up almost independently of each other, hesitating but ultimately nabbing the recently-reviewed self-titled from Holy Serpent because, fuck it, it’s a RidingEasy release and I don’t see that every day in a store. The White Hills was used and I grabbed it thinking of their set at Roadburn this year and how underappreciated they are generally — not that my buying a disc makes up for that, but you know what I mean.

Two purchases I went into completely blind: the Aarni and Children of Doom. Aarni is a one-man Finnish outfit for whom Bathos served as a debut full-length in 2004, and knowing nothing about it, I saw the cover was all mushrooms and that it was on the Firedoom Music label — actually it’s the first release on the label; catalog number FDOOM001 — so I assumed I would be getting something Finnish, strange and doomed, and sure enough that’s how it’s played out so far. French trio Children of Doom‘s self-released 2009 debut EP, Ride over the Green Valley, won me over both for its cover art and for the written-out description of the album, which rightly compared its tones to namesake act Saint Vitus. I hear a bit of Ice Dragon‘s swaggering fuckall in there as well. No complaints. The band’s debut LP, Doom, Be Doomed, ör Fuck Off, came out in 2011, but if Aquarius had it, it wasn’t in my line of sight.

Back to the hotel after to start writing and get my head around the day. I ate the same thing I had for dinner last night — flautas from the taqueria across the street — while checking email to try and keep up on that. As one might expect, it didn’t really work. Still, at least if I have to be behind on absolutely everything, at least I managed to pick up some good records in the process.

I fly out tomorrow night late on a redeye to Boston that gets in Friday morning. The only way to travel. Maybe it’ll also be five hours delayed and turn into a morning flight. Haven’t slept at an airport in a while anyway.

Children of Doom, “Hangover”

Aquarius Records website

Aquarius Records on Thee Facebooks

Aquarius Records on Twitter

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

The Obelisk Presents: The Top 20 Singles, EPs, Splits and Demos of 2014

Posted in Features on December 23rd, 2014 by JJ Koczan

top-20-short-releases-of-2014-Samuel-Palmer-1805-1881-Morning-of-Life-1861

Please note: These are not the results of the Readers Poll. That’s still going on. Please feel free to submit your list.

I did this last year mostly as a result of not having somewhere to put Elder‘s Spires Burn/Release EP in 2012, but it went pretty well, so I thought we’d do another round for 2014. The 2013 list covered demos, singles, EPs and splits — basically everything that’s not a full-length album — and the same rules apply here. It’s a pretty basic idea, but it makes sense to me to consider short releases apart from full-lengths because very often they’re trying to accomplish different things.

For example, if an album is trying to tell a story or describe a central theme, either blatantly in its lyrics or atmospherically through the music itself, a demo might just be the work of a band trying to feel their way into their sound. It doesn’t strike me as fair to judge the two on the same standard. Likewise, if a band releases a single, should that really be judged alongside an hour-long release? Granted, some bands’ singles actually are an hour long, but that’s another category entirely. “The ‘Dopesmoker’ Awards” will be handed out at another date.

No, not really. At least not this year.

If you didn’t see the full-albums Top 30 of 2014, please feel free to check it out and think of this and the year-end podcast as companion pieces, albeit both a little more casual. Let’s get to it:

sleepsingle

The Top 20 Short Releases of 2014

1. Sleep, The Clarity
2. Fatso Jetson/Herba Mate, Early Shapes
3. All Them Witches, Effervescent
4. Cortez/Borracho, Split 7″
5. Naam/White Hills/Black Rainbows/The Flying Eyes, 4-Way Split
6. Heavy Temple, Heavy Temple
7. Death Alley, Over Under/Dead Man’s Bones 7”
8. Geezer, Live! Full Tilt Boogie
9. The Sun, the Moon and the Witch’s Blues, The Sun, the Moon and the Witch’s Blues
10. Demon Head, Demo 2014
11. Gold & Silver, Azurite and Malachite
12. The Proselyte, Our Vessel’s in Need
13. Hull, Legend of the Swamp Goat
14. Lamp of the Universe/Krautzone, Split
15. The Ultra Electric Mega Galactic, Through the Dark Matter
16. The Heavy Co., Uno Dose
17. Wren, Wren
18. He Whose Ox is Gored, Rumors 7”
19. Lewis and the Strange Magics, Demo
20. Godhunter/Secrets of the Sky, Gh/0st:s
21. Lord, Alive in Golgotha

Some honorable mentions to the Young Hunter/Ohioan split tape (the Young Hunter portion of which was included last year, otherwise it would probably be number two on this list), Inter Arma‘s The Cavern 40-minute single-song EP/LP, Harvest Bell‘s debut EP, Goya and Wounded Giant‘s split, Fuzz Evil and Chiefs‘ split, Cruthu‘s demo, Disenchanter‘s second EP, the White Dynomite/Hey Zeus split 7″, Humo del Cairo‘s EP, The Golden Grass‘ Realisations EP, Dune‘s ProgenitorGodflesh‘s comeback EP, and Blackwitch Pudding‘s reinterpretations/covers EP, Covered in Pudding.

A couple notes: The Sleep single was a given. I don’t think anything could’ve topped it one way or another, even if I hadn’t listened to it 100 times since its release in July as part of the Adult Swim Singles Series. In any case, there was no debate about where to place it. You might notice on the other end the list goes to 21. I thought that being the element of chaos suited Lord well, and since I’m not entirely sure their Alive in Golgotha EP has been officially released, they warranted inclusion just in case.

One thing that struck me in putting this list together was the amount of splits included. You’ll notice Fatso Jetson and Herba Mate‘s Early Shapes right in behind Sleep. That one was an utter joy, as far as I’m concerned, and made me wish both of them would get on putting out full-lengths as soon as possible. Not far behind is Cortez and Borracho‘s split single, which had killer tracks from both bands, and the Naam/White Hills/Black Rainbows/The Flying Eyes split from Heavy Psych Sounds that, even with four bands involved, managed to keep a flowing atmosphere front to back, which was impressive enough in and of itself, never mind the individual contributions of those four acts, which were also top quality. The Krautzone/Lamp of the Universe split also provided a considerable psych blissout, and Godhunter‘s split/collaboration with Secrets of the Sky earned extra points for its adventurous spirit and the payoff its risk-taking brought to bear.

Like their Lightning at the Door LP, All Them Witches‘ Effervescent 25-minute jam figured heavily in my 2014 listening habits, as did Heavy Temple‘s self-titled debut EP. Dutch garage/heavy punkers Death Alley earned spins with their debut 7″, a lack of pretense in melding proto-thrash and heavy rock impulses allowing them to quickly find a niche that one hopes they continue to develop. Their debut single, along with Demon Head‘s Demo 2014 (and, indeed, that band’s follow-up single) and the Lewis and the Strange Magics demo were an allay to concerns retro-minded rock might be stagnating.

Geezer featured on the Short Releases list last year as well. I wasn’t sure what to do with their Gage 12″, since it was released in 2013 as an EP and 2014 as an LP, but either way, their Live! Full Tilt Boogie tape effortlessly recalled classic blues rock performances and demonstrated the fluid chemistry at work in the New York trio, I hope it’s not the last live release they do. Along similar bluesy lines, The Heavy Co.‘s Uno Dose found the Hoosier three-piece dipping into heavy jams more than their last full-length, and if that’s the direction they’re headed, you won’t hear me argue. Hailing from Sweden and arriving as an offshoot of Asteroid, the single-song EP from The Sun, the Moon and the Witch’s Blues had more than a touch of heavy blues to it too, and made me look forward to that project’s development from here on out.

There’s little I’m going to complain about less than hearing Ed Mundell bust out Miles Davis-inspired solos, so yeah, The Ultra Electric Mega Galactic‘s Through the Dark Matter EP gets a nod. Impressive guitar work ran a current through Boston duo Gold & Silver‘s debut EP, Azurite and Malachite, but the proggy feel was what ultimately sold me on the two extended instrumentals included there, whereas with fellow Beantowners The Proselyte, it was the catchy songwriting and variety they showed in just four tracks. The He Whose Ox is Gored 7″ was likewise modern and satisfyingly weighted, though obviously shorter, and last but not at all least, the progressive sludge of Wren‘s self-titled EP seemed to fly under a lot of people’s radar but was a markedly individual take on a well established form that portended of good things to come.

As with everything, I’m sure there’s something in this mix that I forgot. If you’ve got a call you want to make on something, please let loose in the comments. Thanks for reading.

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