Bongzilla to Release Thank You… Marijuana Compilation Nov. 15

Posted in Whathaveyou on October 29th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

bongzilla

Though it’s kind of a wonder they can manage to cross state lines let alone international borders, Wisconsin’s Bongzilla toured Europe this past summer, and they had copies of their compilation Thank You… Marijuana, along with them for the ride. The 2LP brings together the band’s off-album catalog — tracks from splits, EPs, singles and so on. Other songs that presumably got high and wandered off. With a suitably stonerly respite between, Totem Cat will release Thank You… Marijuana on Nov. 15, with preorders starting next week.

Bongzilla releasing a comp called Thank You… Marijuana is nothing if not “on theme.” But any new outing from them is welcome, as it’s been some 13 years since they issued Amerijuanican, their most recent studio album. I of course don’t know what their plans are, but in noting this was coming, Totem Cat also hinted at another announcement to follow shortly behind, and it seems entirely possible that’s a new Bongzilla record or the long-awaited debut LP of side-project Aquilonian, which rumors had circulated might actually take shape sometime this or next year. I wouldn’t complain with either.

When/if I hear something I’ll put a post up, so if you want to consider this the first half of Totem Cat news going on, that’s fine. Certainly worth noting either way:

bongzilla thank you marijuana

[NEW RELEASE ANNOUNCEMENT] Bongzilla – Thank You… Marijuana

Compilation of all their previous splits & EPs, specially remastered for this release.

Available on CD / 2xLP / Totem Cat Exclusive 2xLP / Tour Edition 2xLP.

Tracklisting:
A1 Lighten Up 3:23
A2 Smoke Like The Wind 5:24
A3 Brownie 3:17
A4 Gungeon 4:21
B1 Hemp For Victory 5:17
B2 Smoke 4:26
B3 Budgun/THC 5:48
B4 Witch Weed 5:32
C1 Satan’s Calling 4:21
C2 Smell The Jar 5:39
C3 Proper Stoning 6:26
C4 Dealer McDope 6:49
D1 Gestation 3:46
D2 Trinity 6:44
D3 Witch Weed 6:37

Preorders will start October 30. Release date is November 15.

Artwork by Flog Diver | Illustration & Design

https://www.facebook.com/Bongzilla/
https://bongzilla.bandcamp.com/
https://www.facebook.com/totemcatrecords/
totemcatrecords.bigcartel.com/
https://totemcatrecords.bandcamp.com/

Bongzilla, “Gestation/Greenthumb” live in Paris, June 21, 2018

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Vanishing Kids Premiere “Reaper”; Heavy Dreamer Due Nov. 30

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on October 16th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

vanishing kids

Wisconsin’s Vanishing Kids will release their fifth full-length, Heavy Dreamer, Nov. 30 on Svart Records. It’s been 15 years since vocalist/keyboardist Nikki Drohomyreky and guitarist Jason Hartman made their debut with Rest the Glove that Wears You Down and five since their fourth LP, Spirit Visions, but their history seems to cross genres as much as time, and where their last outing found them dug into post-rock airiness, Heavy Dreamer carries a deep-running gothic heft, with the melodic wisps filling out the mix of “Mockingbird” reminding that indeed it’s the season of October Rust while the 7:57 title-track, second in the playlist behind “Creation” and very much part of an immersion-minded opening salvo with it, pulls elements of new wave into its chorus and transposes them onto the organ-laced doom of the leadoff. Deeply progressive and marked by the patient, standout performance of Drohomyreky on vocals and the low rumble of bass from Jerry Sofran, Heavy Dreamer is nonetheless fluid as it moves through psychedelic pastoralia on “Without a Sun,” creating a wash of tone and melody held together by Hart Allan Miller‘s drumming and the foundation of Hartman‘s guitar. The music is consistently, persistently adventurous, and there’s nowhere it goes to which it does not bring a stately, engaging presence.

The effect of “Creation” and “Heavy Dreamer” at the outset lingers. The latter is particularly memorable for Drohomyreky‘s soulful delivery of the title-line, and together they comprise more than 15 of the record’s total 51 minutes, so it’s not an insubstantial portion. Their placement seems purposeful, as only the nodding-doom-into-holy-crap-where’d-that-solo-come-from “Reaper” on side B hits the seven-minute vanishing kids heavy dreamermark otherwise, but more than runtime it’s a question of atmosphere and setting the mood. And whatever else Heavy Dreamer is — it is many things, and I suspect many different things for different listeners — it is a work of mood. Caked in echo and begun with a flourish of synthesized beats, “Without a Sun” projects a massive but not overwrought vibe, and while side B opener “Eyes of Secrets” isn’t without its shoegazing aspects, the flow between the back and forth swells of volume atop Miller‘s steady beat are nigh on hypnotic, with a finish of harsher guitar noise as though to willfully shock the listener back to consciousness. Following “Reaper,” which encases the aforementioned guitar showcase with a memorable chorus, “Rainbows” eases into a vision of post-rock and psychedelic doom that gracefully brings the styles together in a manner that’s an immediate highlight. A drifting figure on guitar in its second half opens to a blurring of the line between itself and keys — it’s all melody, right? — and once more the vocals provide a human presence in the wash of volume and tone, albeit an otherworldly one.

There’s a late spoken sample in “Rainbows” that’s somewhat obscured by the guitar solo, but the penultimate track ends with poise and gives way to “Magnificent Magenta Blue” as it once more revives the melodic reach of the keys and guitar and the dynamic they share with the earthbound drums pushing them forward. Hartman, who’s also played in Jex Thoth since 2013, doesn’t waste the opportunity to cast out one last stretch of deceptively shredding leadwork, and the vibe of culmination is palpable as he does so, with Sofran and Miller rolling the finale through its procession as the vocals recede and wait to return for a last chorus. Always, the keys remain, and the organ is not only essential to Vanishing Kids‘ overall approach, but it’s the base around which they’re able to shift between styles with such apparent ease while remaining sonically coherent. They’re not the only element doing so at any given time between the vocals, guitar, bass and drums, but the keys do a lot of work in tying the songs together throughout Heavy Dreamer, and ultimately allow the record to live up to its title with an unflinching sense of its own mission, knowing what it wants to be and how to be it. Or them, as it were for material so multifaceted.

I’m happy today to host the premiere of “Reaper” from Heavy Dreamer. You’ll find the track below, followed by more info from the PR wire.

Please enjoy:

Vanishing Kids, “Reaper” official track premiere

Svart Records sets November 30th as the international release date for Vanishing Kids’ highly anticipated fourth album, Heavy Dreamer. The somnambulic doom metal group’s new album will be available on CD, vinyl LP, and digital formats.

Hailing from Wisconsin, Vanishing Kids has been an ever-evolving artistic and musical journey since the early 2000s, with core members and founders Jason Hartman (Jex Thoth) and Nikki Drohomyreky on vocals. As kids of the ’70s and ’80s who grew up on metal, prog rock, krautrock, psych, punk, and goth, they have managed to carve out a niche of their own for themselves.

The band’s newest and most powerful culmination arose when Jason Hartman’s childhood hero – and Midwest metal legend – Jerry Sofran (Lethal Heathen, Mirrored Image) joined in 2013. Shortly thereafter, the hard-hitting Hart Allan Miller (Wartorn, Deathwish, Tenement) joined on drums to complete the lineup.

Being the first full-length outing from Vanishing Kids in over five years, Heavy Dreamer is soaked in captivating shoegazey fuzz vaguely reminiscent of what My Bloody Valentine would sound like had they grown up on a diet of psychedelic doom metal and occult rock.

Tracklisting for Vanishing Kids’ Heavy Dreamer
1. Creation
2. Heavy Dreamer
3. Without A Sun
4. Mockingbird
5. Eyes of Secrets
6. Reaper
7. Rainbows
8. Magnetic Magenta Blue

Vanishing Kids is:
Nikki Drohomyreky- Vocals, Organ, Synths, Percussion
Jason Hartman- Guitar
Jerry Sofran- Bass
Hart Allan Miller- Drums

Vanishing Kids on Thee Facebooks

Svart Records website

Svart Records on Thee Facebooks

Svart Records on Twitter

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Droids Attack Working on New Songs; Tour Announced

Posted in Whathaveyou on September 21st, 2018 by JJ Koczan

droids attack

Two-pronged good news from Wisconsin heavy rockers Droids Attack. After the unveiling earlier this summer of their Rye Lager, the latest brew collaboration with Ale Asylum, the trio have announced intentions to hit the Eastern Seaboard next month and further intentions toward a new album thereafter. Anyone who may have heard 2016’s Sci-Fi or Die (review here) already knows this is a win.

As raucous as they are underappreciated, the sheer heart Droids Attack put into the presentation of Sci-Fi or Die was evident on every level, from the tightness of the songwriting to the crisp production, the gorgeous cover art and the actually-hidden bonus track that was on a secret mini-CD under the plastic tray holding the disc proper. Every step of the way, Droids Attack put everything they had into that record, and I’ll admit I was a little nervous accordingly it might be a final go. I’m glad to discover I was wrong.

It’s been years since I last saw them, and I won’t on this tour — Frederick, MD, is the closest stop and it’s about seven hours by car, so yeah — but if you can make it to watch them hammer out new material before they hit the studio, tell them I say hi and enjoy.

They sent the dates down the PR wire:

droids attack tour poster

Droids Attack are hitting one more string of road dates before entering the studio to begin work on the follow up to 2016’s Sci-Fi or Die. Those who attend can expect to hear some new material mixed in with some familiar favorites such as Brahma Astra, Claw Hammer Suicide, & Die Glocke. Joining them on this stretch is Druids from Des Moines, Iowa, who’s heavy groove inspired hooks make for a perfect pairing.

10/9: Madison, WI – High Noon Saloon
10/10: Chicago, IL – Reggie’s
10/11: Ypsilanti, MI – West Cross Station
10/12: Cleveland, OH – Now That’s Class
10/13: Frederick, MD – Guido’s Speakeasy
10/14: Pittsburgh, PA – Howler’s
10/15: Dayton, OH – Blind Bob’s
10/16: Indianapolis, IN – Black Circle Brewing
10/17: Lexington, KY – Cosmic Charlie’s
10/18: Nashville, TN – Springwater Supper Club
10/19: St. Louis – Fubar

http://www.facebook.com/droidsattack
http://droidsattack.bandcamp.com/album/sci-fi-or-die
http://droidsattack.com/

Droids Attack, “Die Glocke” official video

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Droids Attack Announce New Rye Lager & Beer Parties

Posted in Whathaveyou on June 14th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

droids-attack

If you might be the type who likes to knock back one or more frosty adult beverages on occasion, I can think of fewer bands I’d trust more to oversee a craft beer release than Wisconsin’s Droids Attack. Not only do they benefit from the Midwest’s way-ahead-of-the-curve-on-the-whole-thing craft beer culture (Dogfish Head and Magic Hat, etc., notwithstanding), but I have no trouble believing these dudes know what they like in beer. When they say something like “soft citrus aroma finish,” I honestly think they taste it. No bullshit.

Their rock and roll operates likewise as regards BS, so it seems all the better they’re bringing the two sides together at a series of beer parties supporting both their new Rye Lager release through Ale Asylum and 2016’s righteous long-player, Sci-Fi or Die (review here). The shows are next month, and I do believe they’ll have beers along for the ride (closed container, of course) in addition to what’s on tap, so if you’re in the neighborhood, might want to stop by and pick up a sixer.

Info from the PR wire:

droids attack beer parties flyer

 

We did that one beer awhile ago, and it ended up selling out so fast they decided to do another. When that one sold out they decided to turn it into a series of Droids Attack beers, so we did some more. After we did four successful beers, we picked up brewer that has out of state distribution, so now we can bring our beers into our neighboring states of Minnesota, and Illinois. Because of this, we have set up beer parties in Milwaukee, Chicago, Madison, & Minneapolis.

Come experience the latest flavor in Droids Attack’s Craft Beer series. This time Droids Attack has partnered with Wisconsin craft brewing juggernauts, ALE ASYLUM, to bring you MASHENOMAK: RYE LAGER. A crisp refreshing lager with a peppery rye kick, brewed with a late hop addition to achieve a soft citrus aroma finish.

Mashenomak is the first song in a two part epic on Droids Attack’s 2016 release, SCI-FI OR DIE. Based on a Native American folk tale, Mashenomak is a fish monster that terrorizes the local tribes, and swallows the souls of all living creatures. Manabush is a brave warrior who allows Mashenomak to swallow him in order to slice open his belly and rescue all of the animal spirits. This tale is beautifully captured in the beer label illustration by artist, ELI QUINN.

To celebrate, Droids Attack and Ale Asylum are bringing the party on the road. Special guests will perform with Droids Attack, and Mashenomak: Rye Lager will be available for a limited time on tap at these venues in the following cities:

7/5 – Company Brewing (Milwaukee) w/ Shogun
7/6 – Reggie’s Rock Club (Chicago) w/ Huntsmen, Archarus, & Attalla
7/7 – Bos Meadery (Madison) w/ Shogun
7/14 – Mortimer’s (Minneapolis) w/ High Graves, & Witchden

http://www.facebook.com/droidsattack
http://droidsattack.bandcamp.com/album/sci-fi-or-die
http://droidsattack.com/

Droids Attack, Sci-Fi or Die (2016)

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Calliope Post “Sea of Red” Video; Chapel Perilousout March 31

Posted in Bootleg Theater on March 16th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

calliope

I suppose it would be a real, real stretch to think of Milwaukee as just being very high desert, so we’ll skip that, but let’s say instead that when it comes to atmosphere, Calliope‘s Chapel Perilous — their third album behind a 2013 self-titled and 2014’s Orbis — there’s more than a bit of sand to contend with in terms of the sound of songs like the happy-to-drift “Creep No More” and, unsurprisingly, “The Dunes.” The new single, “Sea of Red,” takes a somewhat different approach, with a descending chorus that reminds of Snail‘s grunge-gone-heavy methodology while retaining its own flavor in terms of tone and pace.

One could probably spend all day pointing out neo-psych influences to songs like the building swirl of “Evil as You” or the percussive “Brujo,” but frankly I have neither the time nor the inclination. Instead, the Dead Meadow nuances of “Sands of July” and the oh-fuck-yes-more-of-this-please atmospheric wash of post-heavy instrumental closer “Little Smoke” do plenty to signify where Calliope are coming from and the winding, possibly-melting road they’re taking to get where they’re headed.

Over the course of their 10-track/40-minute runtime, the direction of that road changes a bit, but Calliope always seem to have a lysergic underpinning to their intentions, as the oddball droning breadth of the title-track shows, or the languid, semi-Western flow in the verses of the earlier “Carry Me Home.” With emphasis on the intertwining of organ and guitar — the one often laying the bed for the other, as on opener “Astral Hand” — Calliope are able to bring a sense of drama to their songwriting without having to veer too far from traditional verse/chorus structures. Except, of course, when they want to, as on the already noted “Little Smoke.”

If the vocals of Al Kraemer sound familiar by the time you get down to “Brujo,” it might be because he also fronts Moon Rats, whose 2017 debut, Highway Lord (review here), was such a garden of riffly delights. If not, now you know. So there.

Romanus Records has Chapel Perilous out on March 31. Check out the clip for “Sea of Red” below — spoiler alert: somebody gets stabbed — and please enjoy:

Calliope, “Sea of Red” official video

“Drown me in your sea of red”

The new LP, Chapel Perilous, out 3/31 on Romanus Records.

Calliope is a heavy psych rock band from Milwaukee, WI. Drawing influences from classic and modern alike, Calliope pushes fuzzed-out guitar licks and organ-driven grooves reminiscent of bands like The Black Angels, Dead Meadow, Deep Purple and Pink Floyd. Inspired by the cinematic themes of Sci-Fi, Westerns and Anime, Calliope creates a sound that’s wholly their own.

It all started when Al brought his vintage Farfisa combo organ over to Vic’s house back in 2010 for some casual, hazy attic noodling. Now two studio albums and countless gigs later, Calliope is about to embark on their third studio release; Chapel Perilous. Recorded in a remote cabin in the northwoods of Wisconsin, Chapel Perilous captures the sonic amalgamation of electric fuzz, droning organs, thundering drums, crushing bass and soulful vocals. Chapel Perilous will be available 3/31/18 via Romanus Records.

Members:
Al Kraemer: Vocals / Organ
Victor Buell IV: Guitar
Anthony Smith: Bass
Eric Gomoll: Drums

Calliope on Thee Facebooks

Calliope on Bandcamp

Romanus Records webstore

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Quarterly Review: Carlton Melton, Horseskull, Dreadnought, Forsaken, Moon Rats, Son of the Morning, Jesus the Snake, Bert, Galactic Gulag, Band of Spice

Posted in Reviews on January 8th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

Lodewijk de Vadder (1605-1655) - 17th Century Etching, Landscape with Two Farms

Today begins the Quarterly Review. You know the deal by now. 50 records written up between today and this Friday, 10 per day. As always, it’s a huge swath of stuff, and by the end of it I’m usually ready to collapse in a heap, but I’ve yet to regret it afterwards, so we press on. I hope you find something you dig in all this. I say that every time, but it’s still true.

Speaking of digging, how about that new logo up there? Thanks goes out to the Lord of the Logos himself, Christophe Szpajdel, who took on the project. This is the second one he’s done for the site, and aside from being in a completely different style from the last — I like covering a good amount of ground, even in logos — I think it fits pretty well with a variety of aesthetics. Could be doom, could be heavy rock, psych, stoner garage, whatever. Anyway, I’m into it. Hope you are too.

Quarterly Review #1-10:

Carlton Melton, Mind Minerals

carlton melton mind minerals

It might be decades before the dimension we live in has caught up to the plane from which Northern California’s Carlton Melton emanate their resonant transmissions of space-psych, but somehow time doesn’t seem to matter anyway when actually listening. To wit, Mind Minerals, the trio’s first LP since 2015’s Out to Sea, is an 11-track/76-minute whopper – unmanageable by any standard – but once it’s on, all you want to do is roll with it and by the time post-aptly-named intro “Untimely” has begat “Electrified Sky” has begat the droning “The Lighthouse” has begat the fuzzy swirl of “Eternal Return” has begat the 10-minute rumble-and-synth soundtracking of “Snow Moon,” etc., there’s neither escape nor the desire for it. Does it need to be a 2LP? Nope, but nothing needs to be anything, man. In the subdued boogie of “Basket Full of Trumpets,” the is-it-backwards slow freakout of “Sea Legs,” the experimental guitar ambience of “Way Back When,” headphone-ready minimalism of “Climbing the Ladder,” the shaker’s tension that sustains the otherwise wispy “Atmospheric River,” and the final fuzzy resurgence of “Psychoticedelicosis,” Carlton Melton thoroughly reaffirm their residency in the far, far out. Not that anyone was questioning their paperwork or anything.

Carlton Melton on Thee Facebooks

Agitated Records website

 

Horseskull, Chemical Winter Blues

horseskull chemical winter blues

With fluid shifts between Ripple-style straightforward heavy rock, rolling Sabbathian lumber and even some harsher sludge elements, the seven-minute “Black Dawn, Bright Day” sets a varied tone for Chemical Winter Blues, the second LP from North Carolina’s Horseskull. I’m not sure I’d declare any one side or the other the winner in the fight between them by the time the death ‘n’ roll of “Luckless Bastards” gives way to closer “Lost all I Had, then Lost Again” – itself a 17-minute noise-nodder triumph of, well, loss – but the trip through “Hypocrites and Pigs” and 10-minute centerpiece “The Black Flame of Cain” is unpredictable and fun to make in kind. Guitarist/vocalist Anthony Staton reminds a bit of Slough Feg’s Mike Scalzi in his cleaner delivery, which only adds to the album’s declarative feel, and the overarching groove surrounding from guitarist Michael Avery, bassist Robert Hewlett and drummer Steve Smith only reinforces the developing individualism.

Horseskull on Thee Facebooks

Horseskull on Bandcamp

 

Dreadnought, A Wake in Sacred Waves

dreadnought-a-wake-in-sacred-waves

There is very little beyond the reach of Denver four-piece Dreadnought. Their third album, A Wake in Sacred Waves (Sailor Records), blends open, psychedelic jazz, progressive black metal, folk and more into a sometimes-thrashing/sometimes-sprawling meld that recalls the promise of Grayceon and the poise of Opeth while at the same time casting its own impression in melody, arrangement, variety and scope. Opening with the 17-minute longest cut (immediate points) “Vacant Sea,” it brilliantly ties its elements together to present a story arc following in elemental theme from Dreadnought’s first two offerings in centering around the rise and fall of a water-born apex predator, the narrative of which plays out across its four intense, extended and resoundingly complex inclusions, which alternate between beautiful and terrifying in a way that leaves the line utterly blurred and irrelevant. Why this band isn’t on Profound Lore or Neurot, I have no idea, but either way, A Wake in Sacred Waves is a conceptual and manifest triumph not to be missed.

Dreadnought on Thee Facebooks

Sailor Records website

 

Forsaken, Pentateuch

forsaken-pentateuch

A spirit of classic doom metal abounds on Forsaken’s fifth long-player, Pentateuch (Mighty Music), which is the long-running Malta-based outfit’s first offering since 2009’s After the Fall, but though righteous fist-pumpers like “Primal Wound” and “Decalogue” carry an epic and unflinchingly progressive underpinning in their layered vocal melodies, a harsh snare sound and awkwardly punching bass stifle complete immersion. It’s less an issue in a cut like “Saboath (The Law Giver),” which has a full swing surrounding, but it makes post-intro opener “Serpent Bride” sound like a demo (unless it’s my digital promo?) in a way that sets an unfortunate tone in contrasting the obvious class and high-level execution of Pentateuch as a whole. It should be noted that even a rough production can’t hold “The Dove and the Raven” back from making its Candlemassian intent clear, but a record of such overall high standard should feel as crisp as possible, and particularly for being so many years in arriving, Forsaken’s latest seems to want more in that regard, despite the quality of the material that comprises it.

Forsaken on Thee Facebooks

Mighty Music website

 

Moon Rats, Highway Lord

moon-rats-highway-lord

I’ve already counted Highway Lord among my favorite debuts of 2017, but consider it’s worth taking a moment to underline the point of the heavy psych and stoner-fuzz wash that Moon Rats so vigilantly emit on cuts like the opening salvo of “Become the Smoke,” “The Dark Takes Hold” and “Heroic Dose,” balancing languid vibe and sonic heft atop gorgeously natural songcraft. Among the short-feeling 29 minutes and seven inclusions, with the title-track at the center shifting into “Overdose,” the deeply atmospheric “The Hunter” the and melodically spacious “Motor Sword” at the finish, there isn’t a weak spot to be found, and whether it’s the added dynamic of a key arrangement in the closer or the landmark feel of the hook to “Heroic Dose,” the Milwaukee five-piece tap into the there’s-no-rush-we’ll-all-get-there sonic sentiment that once made Quest for Fire so entrancing, while engaging subtle flourish of presentation that promises creative development to come. Bring it on. Please. The sooner the better.

Moon Rats on Thee Facebooks

Gloss Records website

 

Son of the Morning, Son of the Morning EP

son-of-the-morning-son-of-the-morning-ep

Newcomer four-piece Son of the Morning, with the crisply-realized three tracks of their self-titled debut EP, would seem right away to be trying to stake their claim on a piece of the Midwest’s doom legacy. Coiling between heavy rock swing and classic doom tonality, each cut, from “Left Hand Path,” which rounds out after its welcoming hook with a sample of what sounds like somebody hanging in the breeze, through the post-Uncle Acid riffing of “Release,” and the more ethereal, organ-laced psych of “House of Our Enemy,” offers its own take in a clearheaded and efficient five minutes, getting in, leaving its mark and getting out to make room for the next piece in this initial sampling. Potential abounds from vocalist/organist Lady Helena, bassist Lee Allen, guitarist Levi Mendes and drummer H.W. Applewhite, and the core question is how they might tie these elements together across a first full-length. It should be noted they sound more than ready to embark on that project and provide an answer.

Son of the Morning on Thee Facebooks

Son of the Morning on Bandcamp

 

Jesus the Snake, Jesus the Snake EP

 jesus-the-snake-jesus-the-snake

A 31-minute debut EP clearly meant to be heard in its entirety, Jesus the Snake’s self-titled treads some familiar ground in progressive heavy psychedelic instrumentalism throughout its four tracks – “Floyds I,” “Floyds II,” “Karma” and “Moment” – but with an inherent sense of mood and reach not unlike earliest My Sleeping Karma, its tonal warmth and emergent weight of groove find welcome all the same. Particularly for being the Portuguese outfit’s first public unveiling, the interplay of Joka Alves’ keys and Jorge Lopes’ guitar is immediately fluid, and as the bass of Rui Silva provides foundation to let drummer João Costa explore jazzy snare textures and stylistic nuance. It’s a beginning, and it sounds like a beginning, but Jesus the Snake also offers a richness and patience that many bands simply don’t have their first time out, and for that and the classic stoner fuzz of “Moment” alone, it’s easily worth the time and effort of thorough investigation.

Jesus the Snake on Thee Facebooks

Jesus the Snake on Bandcamp

 

BerT, The Lost Toes

bert-the-lost-toes

Officially defunct for some time now, Michigan’s BerT compile tracks from throughout their prolific and bizarre run in The Lost Toes (Madlantis Records), proffering a timeline of their post-Melvins avant weirdness that starts with their very first song, “Stuff,” and makes its way through various demos, lost tracks, noise experiments, etc., to the 11-minute drone-out “Return” at the finish line. The digital version on Bandcamp offers an origin story with each track – the 90-second noise rock blast “Human Bone Xylophone” was cut from 2012’s Return to the Electric Church for time concerns, and the subsequent “Commercial Break” (which, yes, is a commercial break) was a class project – but whether you engage the narrative or not, the enduring vibe remains strange and charming in its garage-fuckall, could-and-just-might-go-anywhere-at-any-moment kind of way. BerT were always good fun, and The Lost Toes serves as reminder of the personality they had together that was so very much their own.

BerT on Thee Facebooks

The Lost Toes at Madlantis Records website

 

Galactic Gulag, To the Stars by Hard Ways

galactic gulag to the stars by hard ways

Brazilian instrumental troupe Galactic Gulag traffic in cosmic heft across the five pieces that comprise their first full-length, To the Stars by Hard Ways, but there’s ultimately little about the album that seems to be the hard way. If anything, it’s easy: Easy to groove on, easy to let it unfold over you in a spacious psychedelic drift, easy to nod along as the bassline of “Escape from Planet Gulag” picks up from 12-minute opener “Home.” Easy even to get lost in the sax-laden swirl-bounce off-kilterism of “The Hollow Moon.” So yeah, guitarists Breno Xavier and Pablo Dias, bassist Gabriel Dunke and drummer César Silva might be overselling a sense of difficulty, but as “Space Time Singularity” rolls into the shreddy-style fuzz of 15-minute closer “Eta Orionis,” there are clearly more important issues at hand. Like space. And riffs. And tone. And everything else that’s working so well for the Natal-based foursome on this jam-laden debut.

Galactic Gulag on Thee Facebooks

Galactic Gulag on Bandcamp

 

Band of Spice, Shadows Remain

band of spice shadows remain

Former Spiritual Beggars and The Mushroom River Band vocalist Christian “Spice” Sjöstrand has been fronting the namesake act Band of Spice – formerly Spice and the RJ Band — for over a decade now, and Shadows Remain (Scarlet Records) follows 2015’s Economic Dancers (review here) as their fifth overall full-length. After the suitably-drunk-sounding vocals-only intro “Only One Drink,” the album rides the line between classically metallic tones and heavy rock riffing, a cut like “Don’t Bring Me Flowers” having little time in its 2:46 for brooking nonsense of any sort while later pieces like “Apartment 8” and “The Savior and the Clown” find time for more brooding and sentimental fare, and the penultimate “Take Me Home” and closer “Apartment 8 (Part II)” offer acoustic-strummed departure, so while the 51-minute runtime gives the 13-tracker something of a CD-era throwback feel and the songwriting the resolute in its straightforwardness, neither is Shadows Remain completely single-minded in its approach. A touch of grunge-funk in “Sheaf” goes a long way as well in lightening the mood, making the whole presentation all the more pro-shop, as it should be.

Band of Spice on Thee Facebooks

Scarlet Records on Bandcamp

 

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Attalla Announce Sept. Tour Dates; Glacial Rule Cassette Available

Posted in Whathaveyou on August 14th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

attalla

Wisconsin’s Attalla will head outward from the frozen wasteland/dairy paradise they call home — depicted via live webcam, one assumes, as the cover art of their new album, Glacial Rule (review here) — next month on a two-week tour. The sludge rocking four-piece make their way toward the East Coast and have gigs set for Rochester and Baltimore with an open Sept. 5 date between that seems like it would be perfect for some generous soul in the New York or Philly area to put something together for. I don’t know who that generous soul might be, but yeah, somebody should get on it, because these guys are good and deserve a gig every night they want one.

In addition to these dates, Attalla took part this past weekend in the opening night of Sheavy‘s ‘Tour of the Doomed’ (info here) alongside those Canadian stalwarts, Apostle of SolitudeThe Skull and many others, and Glacial Rule has just been pressed to tape via Shadow Kingdom, which also got behind Attalla‘s self-titled debut (review here) in 2014. The band sent dates and more info down the PR wire:

attalla tour dates 2017

ATTALLA – September tour and cassette tape release

Wisconsin heavy riff rockers, ATTALLA, head back out on the road this September in support of their latest fuzzed out offering, ‘Glacial Rule’. Cruising through some of the same cities leveled on their last east coast tour and ripping up some Midwest clubs on the route as well.

The highly praised ‘Glacial Rule’ has recently been released on limited edition cassette tape by Shadow Kingdom Records and a 2nd pressing of vinyl is also smoldering on the horizon.

ATTALLA – GLACIAL RULE TOUR 2017
9/01/2017 – Detroit, MI – Corktown Tavern
9/02/2017 – Columbus, OH – Victory’s Live
9/03/2017 – Buffalo, NY – Mohawk Place
9/04/2017 – Rochester, NY – Bug Jar
9/05/2017 – TBA
9/06/2017 – Baltimore, MD – The Sidebar
9/07/2017 – Richmond, VA – McCormack’s Pub
9/08/2017 – Louisville, KY – Magnolia Bar
9/09/2017 – Indianapolis, IN – Taps Live
9/13/2017 – Moline, IL – The Island
9/14/2017 – St. Louis, MO – Fubar
9/15/2017 – Kansas City, MO – Union Library
9/16/2017 – Omaha, NE – Wired Pub

Attalla is:
Cody Stieg – Lead Guitar/Vocal
Brian Hinckley – Rhythm Guitar
Bryan Kunde – Bass
James Slater – Drums

http://facebook.com/attallawi
https://www.instagram.com/attallawi/
http://www.attallawi.bandcamp.com
http://www.shadowkingdomrecords.com/
https://www.facebook.com/ShadowKingdomRecords/

Attalla, Glacial Rule (2017)

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Moon Rats Stream Title-Track of Debut Album Highway Lord out June 23

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

moon rats

I wouldn’t usually make this kind of call outright, but I’ll tell you right now that come December, Moon RatsHighway Lord will be on my list of the best debut albums of 2017. A position has already been secured for the Milwaukee five-piece, who’ll release the seven-song outing on tape June 23 through Gloss Records, thanks to their memorable songwriting, perfect pacing, rich tonality, and unpretentious, laid back vibes. Songs like “Heroic Dose,” “Highway Lord,” “The Hunter” and “Motor Sword” — hell, “Become the Smoke,” “The Dark Takes Hold” and “Overdose” too — land heavy but smooth and interplay between two guitars and keyboards let the band shift fluidly between epic-sounding heavy rock and classic psychedelia in a manner that undercuts the idea of Highway Lord as a debut album at all.

Somebody will make vinyl happen. It’s just a question of when. But take a listen to the premiere of Highway Lord‘s title-track at the bottom of this post to get yourself introduced in the meantime and I think you’ll find yourself just as inclined as I am to want to chase down that tape in the interim before a CD or LP shows up. One can always acquire formats as they surface — the important thing is not to miss out. So don’t.

Art, info and audio follow:

moon-rats-highway-lord

MOON RATS – Highway Lord

A collection of Milwaukee music-scene veterans have formed a new band, MOON RATS, and are stoked to announce the release of their debut album, HIGHWAY LORD. The band itself is an amalgamation of musicians from bands (Calliope, The Rashita Joneses, Sonic J, Myles Coyne) whose styles range wildly from folk to psych and stoner rock.

The album developed a sound which the band has dubbed ‘stoner-psych rat-metal for motorcycle enthusiasts’ as it took them through seven creeping and heavily fuzz-laden tracks, which follow the path of realization for the legendary hero, the Highway Lord.

HIGHWAY LORD will be released on a limited quantity of high-quality cassette tapes via GLOSS RECORDS on Friday, June 23rd.

Tracklisting:
1. Become the Smoke
2. The Dark Takes Hold
3. Heroic Dose
4. Highway Lord
5. Overdose
6. The Hunter
7. Motor Sword

MOON RATS will celebrate their release on Tuesday, June 27th at Cactus Club (2496 S. Wentworth ave. Milwaukee, WI) with THE WELL (Riding Easy Records) and Asatta.
Doors @ 9:00 PM // $8 // 21+

Moon Rats is:
Al Kraemer (Calliope) – vocals, rhythm guitar
Jeff Grabo – vocals, bass
Victor Buell – lead guitar
Myles Coyne – keys
Brendt Dondero – drums

https://www.facebook.com/MOONRATSmke/
https://moonratsmke.bandcamp.com/
https://www.facebook.com/glossrecords/
http://www.glossrecords.us/

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