Iota to Return with New Album Pentasomnia; Here’s the Bio I Wrote for It

In March, Iota will release their second album. If that doesn’t ring like an event to you, take about an hour of your life, go back and listen to their 2008 debut, Tales (discussed here and here). It’s at the bottom of this post. You don’t have to go far.

The three-piece of founding guitarist/vocalist Joey Toscano, who’d go on to found Dwellers after Iota and put out two records on Small Stone with that project, bassist Oz Yasri (who joined Bird Eater¬†after) and drummer/producer Andy Patterson (SubRosa, The Otolith, Insect Ark for a minute there, tons of others) will officially announce the release of their sophomore full-length, Pentasomnia, next week. It’ll be the full usual deal — artwork, track premiere, album details, a bio I wrote and all that. I don’t think I’m doing the premiere, but it’ll be somewhere on the internet and for sure I’ll post about it too. Next week.

But I was asked to do the bio for the record, and since I dig this band a lot, still dig Tales and its newcomer counterpart, I asked if I could take the bio I wrote — that’s below — and use it as kind of a soft-launch announcement for the record to come. So yes, look for all that other stuff next week. But now you already know that’s coming, and way to be ahead of the game.

Here’s that bio, with more to follow next week with the official announcement:


It’s been nearly 16 years since Salt Lake City’s Iota carved a place for themselves in the heavy underground with their debut album, Tales. Released by Small Stone Records, recorded by drummer Andy Patterson (The Otolith, ex-SubRosa, etc.), with founding guitarist/vocalist Joey Toscano (who’d form Dwellers after) and bassist Oz Yasri (later of Bird Eater) drawing heavy rock impulses across space in a way that was innovative and engrossing. Marked by the 20-minute “Dimensional Orbiter” that was the first song the band ever wrote, it showed huge potential for Iota, who moved onto other outfits while the cult of those in the know steadily grew.

Pentasomnia, an album of five dreams, marks a return for a project begun by Toscano circa 2001, a band that has been intermittently lived with, shelved, pushed, pulled, stretched and twisted, but whose sound shimmers with atmosphere and the resonant, bluesy emotionalism of Toscano’s vocals. Rather than some slapdash decade-and-a-half-later follow-up to a record on its way to being a niche-classic, Pentasomnia is cohesive, and as much an unexpected step forward as an unexpected return. Iota — Toscano, Yasri, Patterson — revel in the groove and sway of these five songs, from the boozy head-hang of opener “The Intruder” into the ambient push of “The Returner,” which feels like a manifestation of the meld between cosmic and desert rocks that was so much the heart of the band during their first run; the very essence of what they do, given new life and perspective.

“Pentasomnia is an amalgamation,” says Toscano, “roughly translating to ‘five dreams’. Each song is told from the perspective of a different mental state. Challenging the ideas of traditional norms about identity and our place within the world; questioning the very idea of a self. A cathartic acknowledgement of our infinitesimally small place in a vast musical landscape. Live shows will unveil the album’s essence, offering glimpses into our musical journey’s dark comedy and complexity. Enjoy these songs as snapshots of a fever dream.”

Iota’s awaited sophomore full-length was written and recorded live over a series of sessions between 2018 and 2019 and completed in the tumultuous years after, family health emergencies, other projects and recordings, the odd pandemic, work, all the stuff of life happening all at once as ever. And somehow, in and perhaps from all of that, the three-piece have managed to come back together, find each other and renew their sound, and to let the intervening time underscore how crucial their collaboration genuinely is. There are going to be a lot of heavy rock records released in 2024. You sleep on Iota at your own risk.

Iota, Tales (2008)

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