Music for Journeys Large and Small

Posted in Bootleg Theater, Whathaveyou on March 31st, 2010 by JJ Koczan

I’ve never traveled in a way that could be described as “epic,” and I can only assume that’s also the reason why I’ve never been accompanied by the disembodied soundtrack of Grand Magus, Sweden‘s foremost purveyors of epic power doom. One assumes such travel would have to involve fighting with medieval weaponry, so whether or not it’s worth it, I couldn’t say. Maybe if you really knew how to handle a broadsword.

In any case, I am embarking on a journey for the rest of this and most of next week, to the hopefully pleasant climes of San Francisco, and to mark the occasion, I’ve embedded a promo video containing new material from the forthcoming Grand Magus album, Hammer of the North — which, were I a crude man, is what I would name my genitalia.

I’ll be checking in from time to time, hopefully to report on successful record shopping excursions to Amoeba Records in San Francisco proper and Berkeley, Aquarius Records and anywhere else I can find that’ll have me. I’ll also be seeing Seattle riff specialists Snail at Kimo’s next Tuesday, to which I’m very much looking forward. Provided I have the opportunity, I’ll report on March’s numbers tomorrow, and we can all congratulate each other on this nifty little website we’ve built.

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Bible of the Devil West Coast Tour Starts Tomorrow; Band’s Own Brew Forthcoming

Posted in Whathaveyou on March 31st, 2010 by JJ Koczan

I know I’ve certainly hoisted a mug (or at least a party cup) in the direction of Chicago rockers Bible of the Devil on more than one occasion, and now, thanks to Three Floyds Brew Pub, the band will have their own beer with which to do the toasting. If you think about it, it’s a perfect fit. Rock and roll and beer! Who’d have thought?

Bible of the Devil‘s West Coast Parched in the Western World tour starts tomorrow, Thursday, April 1, in their hometown. Drummer Greg Spalding checked in with this update:

Bible of the Devil‘s mammoth West Coast tour kicks off this Thursday, April 1st @ Cobra Lounge in Chicago with Slough Feg. Joining the bill will be Chicago‘s own Hay Perro. Show starts at 10pm and there is no cover. Plenty of new merch and new songs for you all. We are in the midst of unseasonably warm weather here in Chicago so come on out and get demolished by this bill. After this the mayhem begins…

Parched in the Western World April US tour 2010:
April 1st Chicago, IL @ Cobra Lounge w/Slough Feg, Hay Perro
April 2nd Madison, WI @ The Frequency w/Slough Feg, Imperial Battlesnake
April 3rd Louisville, KY @ Third Street Dive w/Slough Feg, The Vibrolas
April 4th Carbondale, IL @ PK’s w/Slough Feg, Zuul
April 5th Memphis, TN @ Hi Tone Café w/Slough Feg, Dead-I-On
April 6th Austin, TX @ Emo’s w/Slough Feg, Radio Moscow, Naam
April 7th San Antonio, TX @ Nightrocker Live w/Slough Feg
April 8th Albuquerque, NM @ Launchpad w/Slough Feg, Leeches of Lore
April 9th Scottsdale, AZ @ The Rogue w/Slough Feg, Vektor, Greenhaven
April 10th Los Angeles, CASpaceland w/Slough Feg, Professor
April 11th San Francisco, CA @ Thee Parkside w/Slough Feg, Orchid
April 12th Oakland, CA @ Oakland Metro w/Slough Feg, Elk, Cold Grave
April 13th Portland, OR @ Rotture w/Dark Black, Order of the Gash
April 14th Seattle, WA @ The Funhouse w/Witchburn, Hakai
April 15th Missoula, MT @ The Palace w/Rooster Sauce
April 16th Rapid City, SD @ Roman’s Pub w/Woman is the Earth
April 17th Omaha, NE @ The Waiting Room w/Bloodcow, The Dinks, Desire to Destroy

Plenty more to come after this tour including news on BOTD‘s recording plans for its sixth album and who we are recording it with, plus our very own beer!! Yes, the fine folks at Three Floyd’s Brewery have agreed to make a beer in honor of BOTD. BOTD will even assist in the production of what is sure to be an absolutely punishing beer. A show will be dedicated for its release in June. More details to come.

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Obskuria and the Big Cosmic Freakout

Posted in Reviews on March 31st, 2010 by JJ Koczan

Burning Sea of Green, the sophomore outing from intercontinental troupe Obskuria released through World in Sound, is a two-fold mood piece, and by that I mean that not only does the record evoke a particular atmosphere throughout, but it also requires a certain mindset on the part of the listener to be at its highest potency. The band features members of Peru’s La Ira de Dios and a seemingly shifting cast of German and American contributors, making for a widely varied listen throughout Burning Sea of Green, the vocals of Murielle Stadelmann giving multiple album highlight performances on “Memories of Mysteria,” “Somewhere,” the extended closing title track and a surprise cover of Slayer’s “Black Magic,” presented here as a soulful chuck of garage psychedelia.

Stadelmann is not the only vocalist appearing on Burning Sea of Green, however. Matthias Schäuble appears on “Why?!” “Under the Gallows” (another highlight, if somewhat darker lyrically), “Slow Stone” and “Screaming Like a Whirlwind.” Guitarists Tom Brehm and Chino Burga, bassist Carlos Vidal, organist Sandra Disterhöft and drummer Enrique de Vinatea make up the instrumental core of the band, and together, they bring to the fold a heavily krautrock-inspired sound that isn’t shy about its cosmic elements. The spacey “Why?!” is one of several cuts on Burning Sea of Green that seems to be traveling in a rocket powered by sustained organ notes, and even “Black Magic,” which first appeared on 1983’s Hell Awaits, is reborn as a trippy, Jefferson Airplane-style freakout.

Read more »

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Just in Case You Forgot about Hawkwind, Neurot Recordings Has This Reminder…

Posted in Whathaveyou on March 31st, 2010 by JJ Koczan

…As if anyone could forget about Hawkwind.

I’m sorry, what was I talking about?

Oh, right, the new Hawkwind Triad that Neurot is putting out, with Steve Von Till‘s Harvestman project, Minsk and U.S. Christmas on it. Nifty. Here’s the PR wire summation:

To see official release this May via Neurot Recordings, the Hawkwind Triad album is a fitting tribute to the British band that somehow seems to simultaneously remain unknown to the majority of the world’s rock listeners, while also standing as one of the most influential psychedelic bands of all time.

The Triad is unique, as it is an album of covers by three separate artists that essentially flows like an album. Each band — Harvestman (Steve Von Till of Neurosis’ psych guitar based project), Minsk, and U.S. Christmas — have approached these 11 iconic songs with respect, but each have also recognized the need for the songs to be reinterpreted in a new space and time. The result is a full-length psychedelic feast that not only captures the feel of Hawkwind’s individual songs, but also has the feel of their classic albums. Even the artwork by Boston artist Thomas Saraceno appropriately provides trippy surrealist scenes fitting to many albums from the ‘70s. Most of all, the Triad was done out of pure veneration for a band than laid a solid foundation for every heavy, weirdo band that exists now — as well as for those who will freak out in the future.

Hawkwind Triad tracklist:
U.S. Christmas
– “Master of the Universe”
– “D Rider”
– “7×7”
– “Down Through The Night”
– “Assault and Battery/The Golden Void”
U.S. Christmas
– “Psychedelic Warlords”
– “Children of the Sun”
U.S. Christmas
– “Orgone Accumulator”
– “The Watcher”
U.S. Christmas
– “You Shouldn’t Do That”
– “Magnu”

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On the Radar Update: Kings Destroy to Release 7″ in May, Record with Sanford Parker

Posted in On the Radar, Whathaveyou on March 30th, 2010 by JJ Koczan

Here’s a bit of trivia, brought to you by The Obelisk: The band Begotten — whose drummer, Rob Sefcik, now plays in Brooklyn On the Radar veterans Kings Destroy — was the very last to release a CD on Man’s Ruin before it went belly up. Begotten‘s self-titled album, released July 17, 2001, is catalog number MR-2024, and that’s as high as they go. Now you know.

Kings Destroy, as we know, also features members of NYHC mavens Killing Time and Uppercut. Here’s what the PR wire has to say about their upcoming 7″ release and future plans:

Brooklyn’s new hybrid of stoner rock, doom and hardcore, Kings Destroy, has announced they are ready to unleash their debut two-song 7” on May 25th. The 7” will be available for purchase through the band’s webstore, and digital download through iTunes. The two songs, “Old Yeller” and “Medusa,” were recorded by Mike Moebius, at Moonlight Mile Studios in Hoboken, NJ. “Old Yeller” can be streamed on the band’s MySpace page.

Kings Destroy will play a handful of shows in May to celebrate the release, donating a portion of the proceeds to the Brooklyn-based youth basketball team, the On Point Cyclones, whom the band sponsors. More details regarding the dates and locations of the shows will be announced in the coming weeks.

The band will then head into the world famous Water Music recording studio in Hoboken, NJ, this June, to record their debut full-length record with renowned stoner/doom producer, Sanford Parker (Buried at Sea, Pelican, Nachtmystium). The full-length is expected to release this fall.

Kings Destroy is…
Steve Murphy
— vocals (Uppercut)
Carl Porcaro
— guitars (Killing Time)
Chris Skowronski
— guitars (Killing Time)
Rob Sefcik
— drums (Electric Frankenstein, Begotten)
Ed Bocchino
— bass (Stanley)

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Telephonular Adventures with Phil Anselmo

Posted in Bootleg Theater on March 30th, 2010 by JJ Koczan

Like many afternoons at 3pm, today, I was downstairs making myself a sandwich, carefully pressing down the panini grill to be sure none of the Swiss cheese comes out between the slices of bread. I had an orange juice ready and some cashews (roasted, unsalted; death to false flavors) set to accompany. Then the phone rang and the caller ID says, “HSE CRE RECORDS.”

Ah hell.

So much for my 3:30 interview with Down singer Philip Anselmo, who in the days of fronting Pantera was able to give voice to my teenage angst in a way few others could match. I asked Kate, the pleasant-sounding young woman on the other end of the phone who would connect me with Phil, if she could call back in two minutes so I could run upstairs, plug in my recorder and switch. She said no problem.

Then, two minutes into the interview, the call is dropped.

But fear not, intrepid attendees, the interview with Philip Anselmo did happen. We talked about his label, Housecore Records, the bands he’s working with, and about plans for the next Down album, which is apparently set to be recorded at the end of this year. The actual interview will be posted probably sometime in the next two weeks, but because I was so damn relieved to actually get it done, I thought I’d celebrate with this video of “Underneath Everything” from 1995.

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Elliott’s Keep Start New Record on Memorial Day

Posted in Whathaveyou on March 30th, 2010 by JJ Koczan

May 31 is Memorial Day, and there’s no better time for Dallas doomers Elliott’s Keep to commence the recording of their new album. After all, the band is named in honor of fallen comrade Glenn Riley Elliott, and their particular brand of doom is certainly in homage to the riffers of yore, so while it’s not exactly the jingoism the US government had in mind when they gave everyone that Monday off, it still works.

Guitarist Jonathan sent a note via the rarely-used ObeliskSpace to give the following update:

Just sending a shout out to update you regarding our band. We are headed back to Nomad Studios to record our next album, Sine Qua Non. The title is Latin again and translates to “Without this, Nothing,” as in — without this part of my life the rest would be meaningless. The album will include eight songs and should come in just over 60 minutes.

We will begin recording drums Memorial Day weekend and the entire process will likely be spread across three-to-four months because of work commitments and the like. We are working with JT Longoria again. I can’t say enough good things about him.

We were very fired up to see you mention us in a recent entry about Texas bands that should have been playing the Austin festival. That was very cool for us — thanks much!

Next up for us is the Dallas Doom Daze 3 festival [April 16-18 — ed.] and we are excited to be playing again this year. Should be great fun.

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On the Radar: The Polish Scene, Vol. 5 — Corruption

Posted in On the Radar on March 30th, 2010 by JJ Koczan

Normally, as a matter of principle, I don’t do On the Radar pieces about signed bands, but in the case of long-running Warsaw outfit Corruption, it only seems fitting. They’ve been together since the early ’90s, gradually morphed from death/doom into the stoner rock they play today, and if there’s one single band who laid the groundwork for the development of the Polish scene and the bands covered in this series — as well as acts we won’t get to, like The Vagitarians, Death Denied and Bullshit Baby — it’s them. Before there was a Polish scene to speak of, there was Corruption.

Next year the band celebrates its 20th anniversary, but for now, they’ve just released their album in five years in Poland called Bourbon River Bank that, at least judging by the songs they’ve added to MySpace, is full of brash riffage, Satan and boozing. To celebrate, Corruption just recently completed an 11-date tour of their homeland, hitting Warsaw, Gdansk, Krakow and Olsztyn along the way. Bourbon River Bank has a May release date set for the rest of Europe.

Of course, there’s no real way to tell without asking each individual band now in the scene how much of an influence Corruption has had on them — and no, I’m not going to do that — but I’m willing to bet it’s tangible. To be successful, every group of bands needs one act everyone can look up to, who’ve been around a while, who can draw people out to shows, who can give recording advice, etc., and given their relative experience as compared to a lot of the bands with whom they’re sharing stages, it’s easy to see Corruption in that role. The real bonus is that, by all accounts, they haven’t stopped unleashing liver-blasting rock and roll in the meantime.

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