Hashtronaut Unveil New Single “Dweller”; No Return Out March 22

hashtronaut no return

Denver’s Hashtronaut make their full-length debut on March 22 with No Return, issued through Blues Funeral Recordings. “Dweller,” premiering below, is the third single from the nine-song/41-minute long-player, and like the preceding “Rip Wizard” and “Cough it Up,” it is not subtle as regards intention. At the floor of the open verse is Daniel Smith‘s bass and the crash of Eric Garcia‘s drums (Michael Honiotes is in the lineup now, apparently), setting a languid march that, unlike “Rip Wizard” with its war-on-drugs-PSA samples and unbridled next-gen stoner idolatry — and I say “next-gen” both because Hashtronaut have a modern style and because when bands were following riffs to the Failed-Piss-Test Land about 20-25 years ago, nobody wanted to call themselves “stoner rock”; stigma is clearly not an issue in the same way anymore — emphasizes largesse in the space it creates rather than the fullness of its roll or, as with “Cough it Up,” which seems to come apart during its own sample-laced course and emerge boogieing at the end in genuine Sabbathian scoot, the four-piece’s readiness to conjure an addled feel.

But especially when taken together as representing a third of the tracklist (and more than a third of the runtime) of No Return, the three singles give a suitable impression of the places Hashtronaut go throughout this first collection while still holding back the lurch of eight-minute third cut “Carcinogen,” which dutifully slogs through its first half, sounding like it’s an effort to carry itself through and very much wanting to sound like that, before Robb Park — credited with ‘stunt guitar’ below, as opposed to Kellen McInerney‘s ‘regular guitar,’ which might want further clarification as I don’t know if regular guitars are so huge — slow-wah’s out a solo, Smith‘s vocals grow rougher in their cavernous echo in preface to the harsh-your-mellow, sludgier vibe brought to the gutturalisms of “Lung Ruiner,” which as the PR wire notes situates Hashtronaut in a sphere of low-key volatility — that is to say, the aggression might come but you don’t necessarily know when until it happens — not unlike their now-labelmates in Poland’s Dopelord, while the lumber and melodic reach of “Dead Cloud” solidifies the procession coming out of “Carcinogen.” Hashtronaut show themselves as comfortable shifting into a medium-paced nod, getting noisy, and answering the hook of “Rip Wizard,” which is fortunate because the 1:51 blowout “Hex” awaits at the start of side B.

Well, it’s the first blowout, anyhow. Waiting at No Return‘s endgame is the 30-second punker gallop of “Blast Off” — if you need a High on Fire comparison to make it fit, it’s applicable, but it had me wondering if it was named in honor of B’last — to which “Hex” serves as a brash if more complete precursor, with time to squeeze a verse and chorus and a bit of thrashy-scorch soloing before the still-thick movement ends cold to let “Lung Ruiner” take hold as the benefactor of its momentum. Some of the spaciousness to follow in “Dweller” shows itself in the song before as well, in the spoken-word-topped early stretch made foreboding in hindsight as the riff floods in and the vocals turn to a low-register growl for the first time. Higher screams are layered in, but Hashtronaut don’t really depart from the atmosphere they’ve already cast — and it’s murky enough that they don’t need to — so the more extreme turn isn’t out of place as they go back to the verse and cycle through again before they ride the elephantine stomp of the main riff to the finish. “Dweller” certainly has its shout as well, but accompanies that with more of a melodic lean and a feel like they’re doubling-down on what “Lung Ruiner” just proffered without really repeating themselves, finding another corner in the sonic landscape from which to strike.

Hashtronaut, Dec 15, 2023, Denver, CO. Copyright 2023 Mitch Kline, mitchkline.com.

I can’t help but wonder if “Marsquake” isn’t somehow a sequel to the band’s 2021 debut standalone single “Moonquake” (discussed here) — perhaps a series is beginning that someday will bring Saturnquakes and, with an inevitable snicker, a Uranusquake — but the shred-topped penultimate instrumental feels like a victory lap as it reaffirms the tone and grooving intent Hashtronaut have been communicating all the while, speaking to the modern sphere of stonerized heavy that’s able to touch on doom, sludge or psych and be confident that the listener can keep up and, at what’s still a pretty nascent stage for the band, starting to mark out their place in the genre. “Marsquake” crashes out with due noise before the feedback and snare-drum-count-in of “Blast Off” lead into No Return‘s final statement, which is rousing in the heated-up-molecules sense of its pace but also for highlighting the fact that this is Hashtronaut‘s first album and for as aware of their approach as they come across in these songs and in the changes in personality between the two sides, their growth could lead them in any number of directions.

It’s not the most likely thing in the universe that a band who spends so much time on their debut exploring the monolithic would suddenly go full-on speed rock, but stranger things have happened. In any case, that last half-minute is crucial to No Return in staking a claim for the band on something they may or may not want to explore further and a bookend for “Hex.” Consistent in production, it nonetheless broadens their scope in a a way even “Hex” wouldn’t, and builds on the vibrancy in even the most grueling reaches of “Carcinogen” (which is more addled than confused, but still) for a surprising, brisk culmination that you might not even catch if you’ve been so lulled by the flow of “Marsquake” or had your brain flattened by the heft paraded throughout. Fodder for repeat visits, then, and a listening experience made richer with efficiency that’s hard to ignore. I’ll tell you outright that No Return is already in my notes under the the ‘best debuts of 2024’ section for year-end list time, but that’s secondary to what Hashtronaut are laying out as their own potential course of voluminous communion and what they might continue to bring to it moving forward.

It’s a hell of a thing.

Enjoy “Dweller” premiering below. Under the player is PR wire info, preorder links, the “Rip Wizard” video and the album player from Bandcamp. By all means, dig in:

Hashtronaut, “Dweller” track premiere

Out March 22nd on Blues Funeral Recordings
Preorder on the Blues Funeral store: https://www.bluesfuneral.com/
and Bandcamp: https://wearehashtronauts.bandcamp.com/album/no-return

Red-eyed at the crossroads of thunderous stoner sludge and towering doom, HASHTRONAUT is more than ready to daze and inebriate the riff-obsessed masses on this planet and beyond. their debut album “No Return” is a resiny slab in the grand tradition of weed-fiend odysseys from Sleep, Weedeater and Bongzilla, an intoxicating and pummeling trip with a lungful of potent hook-doom and strikingly anthemic vocals that will enthrall fans of Monolord, Windhand and Dopelord.

Their debut album “No Return” will be released in limited Astral High Splatter vinyl edition, limited Heavy Resin vinyl edition, CD digipack and digital on March 22nd, with preorders available on Blues Funeral Recordings. “No Return” was recorded by Felipe Patino at Green Door Recordings in Denver and Seanan Hexenbrenner at Helvete Sound in Portland. Mixed and Mastered by Matt Qualls at Easley McCain Recording, Memphis TN. Cover art by Francisco Abril and Nuria Velasco (Welder Wings), album layout by Peder Bergstrand.

1. Rip Wizard
2. Cough It Up
3. Carcinogen
4. Dead Cloud
5. Hex
6. Lung Ruiner
7. Dweller
8. Marsquake
9. Blast Off

Hashtronaut upcoming US shows:
3/11 – Replay Lounge, Lawrence KS
3/12 – Opolis, Norman OK
3/14 – SXSW Stoner Jam, Far Out Lounge, Austin TX
3/15 – The Lost Well, Austin TX
3/16 – Black Magic Social Club, Houston TX
3/17 – The Living Room, El Paso TX

HASHTRONAUT current lineup:
Michael Honiotes – Drums*
Kellen McInerney – Regular Guitar
Robb Park – Stunt Guitar
Daniel Smith – Bass/Vocals
*all tracks on the album recorded by Eric Garcia

Hashtronaut, “Rip Wizard” official video

Hashtronaut, No Return (2024)

Hashtronaut on Facebook

Hashtronaut on Instagram

Hashtronaut on Bandcamp

Hashtronaut’s Linktr.ee

Blues Funeral Recordings on Facebook

Blues Funeral Recordings on Instagram

Blues Funeral Recordings on Bandcamp

Blues Funeral Recordings website

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