Von Detta Premiere “Thanks for Your Time”; Burn it Clean EP out Sept. 13

Posted in audiObelisk on August 20th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

von detta

The idea of ‘burning clean’ could hardly be more appropriate for the second Von Detta EP, which is out Sept. 13 through Polderrecords, since that’s essentially what they do for the 32-minute runtime of the six-song release. At that length, one might question whether or not Burn it Clean is actually an album, but it’s not an argument I feel like having with myself right now, so I won’t. Either way, it’s with the crisp, indeed clean, production of the outing through which the Ghent, Belgium, outfit’s tracks seem to land their blows. Beginning with a brief piano intro — a possible reference to 2016’s Exit Grand Piano debut EP — there’s no lack of flow throughout, and their tones are rich, but there’s no hiding behind distortion here. The vocals are forward on opener “Reach Out” and the subsequent “Thanks for Your Time,” and with an undercurrent of metal resting beneath, Von Detta execute their material with precision and purpose, layering elements over each other in a way that feels delicately or at least intentionally arranged, sometimes reminding my US East Coast ears of The Giraffes for the amount of tension they build in their verses and choruses and the volatility that seems to be at root beneath their sharp-edged exterior.

That might come through most on “Devil’s Child” when the screams let loose, but it’s there in the guitar of “Thanks for Your Time” and the swaggering “Reach Out,” as well as the confrontational “Little Man Big World,” which unfurls a bruiser riff met with one von detta burn it cleanof Burn it Clean‘s most resonant hooks. “The Vault” brings in either some guest or some falsetto vocals in the midsection before a bluesy solo, and again, true to title, it all seems to be leading to the nine-minute finale “Masterplan,” which sees the band embrace a more patient but still linear execution, working from a quiet opening toward first a driving apex and then a residual comedown that cuts out to a return of the piano from the EP’s intro, bookending and adding a sense of completion that expands on the initial movement. Even the finish, then, is clean, classy, clear. It’s not to say Von Detta are somehow lacking impact. If anything, the fact that their sound pulls so few punches in terms of production only makes them seem all the more confrontational, particularly amid the periodic screams — Von Detta have a new frontman; he fits well — and other harder-hitting elements. Again, the sense is very much that they’re not trying to hide anything, not trying to obscure anything in a wash of effects.

Naturally, I wouldn’t argue that everyone who uses effects is or that doing so has no aesthetic value, but for Von Detta‘s songwriting method on Burn it Clean, burning it clean makes sense. You can hear it for yourself with the premiere of “Thanks for Your Time” on the player below, which is followed by some more background from the PR wire, because one likes to be thorough.

Please enjoy:

Hailing from Ghent, Belgium, VON DETTA started out in 2013, as a riff based groove quintet. While celebrating their love for old school rock ‘n roll, the 2016 EP ‘Exit Grand Piano’ release came soon after, as the band’s first piece of recorded work.

To make things clean, one must burn away the filth… with ‘Burn It Clean’, VON DETTA are set to release an EP to captivate your musical senses and stir up the groove. Being both raw and elegant, rough and sublime, ‘Burn It Clean’ comes with a soulful lasting echo. The six songs are one rip-roaring episode after another straight from each the band members’ lives. A soundtrack reminiscent of the battles of between your inner angels and demons.

‘Burn It Clean’ Tracklist:
01. Reach Out
02. Thanks For Your Time
03. Devil’s Child
04. Little Man Big World
05. The Vault
06. Masterplan

Von Detta is:
Jonas Verhelst
Ief de Deurwaerder
Jeroen Vandamme
Koen De Borle
Manuel Remmerie

Von Detta on Thee Facebooks

Von Detta on Bandcamp

Polderrecords website

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Stew Premiere “Endless Journey”; Debut Album People out Oct. 11

Posted in audiObelisk, Whathaveyou on August 19th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

stew

Ripple Music welcome Swedish trio Stew for the Oct. 11 release of the band’s debut album, People. The album follows a 2018 EP, Hot, and the announcement comes coupled with the unveiling of “Endless Journey,” which you can hear premiering at the bottom of this post. Its easy-rolling groove is palpable, as well as a post-Zeppelin approach to guitar strumming, vocal push and foundational rhythmic bombast in the drums. Still, “Endless Journey” is nothing if it’s not a heavy ’10s nodder, as the break to organ before the resurgence of its central riff demonstrates, the song not even over before the structure has imprinted itself on the mind of the listener. I haven’t heard the full record yet, but as teasers go, “Endless Journey” gets the job done easily when it comes to piquing interest, as of course I hope you’ll agree.

Stew recorded the album this past February in live fashion, and I think that energy comes through in “Endless Journey,” so I’ll expect no less from the entirety of People when it arrives. These cats seem to have a pretty solid grasp on a classic sound and how to make it work in a modern context. Take a couple minutes and hear for yourself.

Here’s the album announcement:

stew people

70’s blues rockers STEW unveil first single and details for upcoming album “People”, out October 11th on Ripple Music.

Lindesberg’s hard blues trio STEW successfully surf the pioneering era of rock’n’roll with their debut album “People”, out October 11th on Ripple Music.

Preorder here: https://ripplemusic.bigcartel.com/products?utf8=%E2%9C%93&search=stew+-+people

Markus Åsland’s hot and groovy vocals will lead your way to this promising debut album, which brilliantly explores the blues rock spectrum. Taking its cue from soul, psych and acid rock, and pretty much all the good vibes coming from that an unforgettable era that brought about what we now call cosmic rock. Rory Gallagher and Stevie Ray Vaughan may come to mind when listening to “People”, yet this is no surprise: STEW have brought back a maestria in modern blues that is utterly soulful and filled with irresistible hooks.

STEW comment: “Just like the first EP the whole album is recorded live except from vocals and solos. The recording of the album was finished in nine days at Studio Oktober, Karlskoga with engineer Jonas Ljungkvist. We wanted the album to be a classic rock sounding album like the ones from the 70’s that we love.”

STEW New album “People”
Out October 11th on Ripple Music

TRACK LISTING :
1. Intro
2. Right On Time
3. People
4. Newborn
5. Endless Journey
6. Play The Fool
7. Godless
8. Afraid Of Getting Nowhere
9. Sweet And True
10. Fruits
11. Morning Again

STEW are:
Markus Åsland – Bass & Vocals
Nicklas Jansson – Guitar
Nicklas Dahlgren – Drums

https://www.facebook.com/stewsweden/
https://www.instagram.com/stew_band
https://stew1.bandcamp.com/releases
https://www.facebook.com/theripplemusic/
https://ripplemusic.bandcamp.com/
http://www.ripple-music.com/

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Streaming: Saint Vitus Interview with Dave Chandler

Posted in audiObelisk, Features on August 16th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

saint vitus

It was a decade ago now that Saint Vitus began their reunion. At that point, it had been 14 years since the release of their final album, Die Healing (discussed here), in 1995. The not-quite-fully-original-but-definitely-the-most-influential lineup was guitarist Dave Chandler, vocalist Scott “Wino” Weinrich, bassist Mark Adams and drummer Armando Acosta, the last of whom would soon be replaced by Henry Vasquez (Blood of the Sun), who had drummed for Chandler‘s short-lived Debris Inc. outfit earlier in the aughts, and would ultimately pass away in 2010Vitus — who are arguably the most influential American doom band, and certainly the most influential the West Coast ever produced — were knee-deep in triumphant reunion tours by then, between Europe and the US, and they’d continue to roll out a packed schedule after signing to Season of Mist and releasing the long-awaited Lillie: F-65 (review here) in 2012.

From there, things proceeded in a fashion that can only be considered pure Vitus. A couple years of steady touring followed supporting Lillie: F-65 and celebrating their landmark catalog, until Weinrich got arrested in Norway in late-2014 for amphetamines, and the band seemed to come apart. Enter original vocalist Scott Reagers, last heard from with what was then a return performance on Die Healing, to take up the frontman role. More touring commenced and the band went on to issuesaint vitus saint vitus Live Vol. 2 (review here) in 2016. Already the proposition of a new studio album had been raised, but work was inevitably stunted by the departure of bassist Mark Adams — a quiet presence on stage, but a founding member and someone essential to the sound all along — owing to complications from Parkinson’s disease. A replacement was found in Pat Bruders of Down and Outlaw Order, and with a somehow-brand-new-but-still-half-original lineup, Saint Vitus once again took to the road and took on the task of their next record.

Saint Vitus‘ 1984 debut, Saint Vitus, is a genuine landmark in doom. A Calipunk answer to Black Sabbath at their gutsiest and grimiest, it has stood the test of time for over 30 years and only grown more relevant with each passing decade. That Saint Vitus in 2019 — ChandlerReagersVasquez and Bruders — should title their new album Saint Vitus (review here) is no coincidence. How could it be? And from the quintessential doomly roll of “Remains” and “Last Breath” to the pulsating energy of “Bloodshed” and the delightfully hardcore punk closer “Useless,” it is in every way a reclamation of Saint Vitus‘ identity as a group. Call it full-circle or don’t, but it’s a record that both embraces who they’ve always been and gleefully, mischievously screws with genre-based preconceptions, Reager‘s growls and soaring voice essential to the personality of the outing even as Chandler steps in for a spoken word take on the experimentalist noise of “City Park.”

I won’t take away from what Bruders and Vasquez do together as a rhythm section, and why the hell would I, but no question that having Chandler and Reagers paired up again gives the 2019 Saint Vitus a clash-of-the-titans-style feel, and for more than just Chandler‘s seemingly endless collection of pro-wrestling t-shirts. In every way, the tracks on Saint Vitus — which again united the group with producer Tony Reed (Mos Generator, etc.) — earn the banner of the band’s name under which they arrive, and for the fact that Saint Vitus has endured in one form or another for the last 40 years, their spirit of survival continues to be a middle finger raised high in defiance of everything, including, at times, themselves.

There’s a lot of doom out there, but there’s only one Dave Chandler, and I was fortunate enough to talk to him a while back, before the album came out in May. You’ll find the audio of the interview below. Thanks for checking it out if you do.

Enjoy:

Interview with Dave Chandler

 

Saint Vitus, Saint Vitus (2019)

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Saint Vitus on Twitter

Saint Vitus Tumblr

Saint Vitus website

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Season of Mist on Twitter

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Season of Mist website

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Chron Goblin Premiere “Slipping Under”; Here Before Due Sept. 27; Touring in October

Posted in audiObelisk, Whathaveyou on August 16th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

chron goblin

Although Chron Goblin ultimately keep the foundation of classically structured songwriting that has served them well up to this point, there’s no question the mood has shifted somewhat on the Calgary natives’ fourth full-length, Here Before, for which preorders begin Aug. 27. It’ll be out a month later — Sept. 27 — through Grand Hand Records, and while there’s no doubt the four-piece are still having a good time, there’s a little bit of a darker edge to the proceedings that shows up as well in the Here Before cover art, which is way closer to Stranger Things than the stonerly hand-drawing of a nonetheless haunted mountain town that adorned 2015’s Backwater (review here). The 11-tracker digs into some of the most atmospheric work they’ve ever done in songs like “Ghost,” “Giant” and “Slipping Under,” which isn’t to mention the ambience bookending the album in intro “Aurora” and outro “Afterglow,” but even “Giving in to Fun” seems to hold some measure of aggression.

You can hear the premiere of “Slipping Under” at the bottom of this post, and drummer Brett Whittingham offered some comment on the track to coincide with the unveiling of it and the album art and details, as well as tour dates for after the release.

Enjoy:

chron goblin here before

Brett Whittingham on “Slipping Under”:

Slipping Under is one of the more complex arrangements on the album. It starts off with a dark n’ dreamy clean intro, experimenting with some electronic drums and a leslie speaker for the guitar , before it kicks into the heavy bridge and on to the tight n’ groovy verses. The pre-solo section also includes more experimentation with the inclusion of some dirty 808 drops, something we haven’t tried before! This song is a blast to play live with its multitude of changes and dynamics. Mike Fraser mixed this song, along with Ghost, and his take on both tracks added a nice depth and diversity to the album as a whole.

Album Title: Here Before
Release Date: September 27, 2019
Preorders: August 27, 2019
Label: Grand Hand Records

Recorded in July 2018 at Juno Award Winning OCL Studios, ‘Here Before’ is the fourth full-length album from Chron Goblin and will be released and distributed by Grand Hand Records. Produced, recorded and mixed by Josh Rob Gwilliam (Michael Bernard Fitzgerald, Ghosts of Modern Man), Here Before demonstrates a new maturity in songwriting and production for the band. From the propulsive singles of ‘Slipping Under’ and ‘Ghost’; mixed by Mike Fraser (AC/DC, Metallica, Corrosion of Conformity), to the hypnotic riffs of ‘Oblivion’ – Chron Goblin has created an intoxicating collection of rock n’ roll.

Track Listing:
1. Aurora (0:22)
2. Oblivion (4:16)
3. Giving In To Fun (3:37)
4. Out Of My Mind (3:49)
5. Ghost (6:04)
6. War (3:51)
7. Giant (4:40)
8. Slipping Under (4:43)
9. Little Too Late (4:46)
10. Waiting (3:53)
11. Afterglow (1:52)
Album Length: 41:57

Chron Goblin live:
October 10 – Lethbridge – Owl Acoustic Lounge
October 11 – Calgary – The Palomino Smokehouse
October 12 – Regina – The German Club
October 13 – Winnipeg – The Handsome Daughter
October 15 – Sudbury – The Asylum
October 16 – Ottawa – House of Targ
October 17 – Montreal – Turbo Haus
October 18 – Toronto – Hard Luck
October 19 – Windsor – Dominion House
October 25 – Edmonton – Temple

Album Band and Live Line Up: Josh Sandulak (vocals), Brett Whittingham (drums), Richard Hepp (bass), Devin ‘Darty’ Purdy (guitar)

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The Obelisk Show on Gimme Radio Playlist: Episode 21

Posted in Radio on August 16th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

the obelisk show banner

Last time around, I actually managed to post the playlist for The Obelisk Show before Gimme Radio aired it, and I thought that worked pretty well, letting people know what was going to be on and all that. As it stands, I haven’t even had the chance to record the voice breaks yet for this one, but it’ll get done before airtime. Again, lots of new stuff this episode and a lot of it drawn from recent coverage around here, as well as some stuff that will be upcoming, whether it’s V‘s new single or the 20-minute Comacozer track that ends out.

That song and the We Lost the Sea track before it make up the final 35 minutes of the show. I wanted a couple longer tracks this time out, so between those, VMonolordOblivion Reptilian and Hound the Wolves, I feel like we got there. There’s a couple rockers up front with Bison MachineBlackwater Holylight and Lightning Born, but from then on pretty much all bets are off. I never know how that kind of thing will be received by the Gimme listenership, but screw it, I haven’t been fired yet, so I’ll take that for what it tells me. Not much, I suppose.

Dug these songs though. The Lightning BornSleeping Giant and The Black Wizards cuts were standouts from their respective albums, and the new Goatess single was just premiered elsewhere, but I’ll be covering the album too, so wanted to give that a chance to shine here. And a little bit of Crowbar seemed appropriate as I’ve already seen them once this month and plan to do so again before the month is out. Some bands you just can’t get enough.

Thanks for checking it out if you get the chance.

Here’s the full playlist:

The Obelisk Show – 08.16.19

Bison Machine The Tower Seas of Titan*
Blackwater Holylight Motorcycle Veils of Winter*
Lightning Born Salvation Lightning Born*
BREAK
The Black Wizards Kaleidoscope Eyes Reflections*
Sleeping Giant Serpent Sleeping Giant*
Oblivion Reptilian Alien Shit Fried on Rock*
Hound the Wolves Godhead Split with Glasghote*
BREAK
Crowbar All I Had I Gave Crowbar (1993)
Monolord The Bastard Son No Comfort*
V Phantasmagoria Led into Exile*
Goatess Dunerider Blood and Wine*
BREAK
We Lost the Sea Towers Triumph & Disaster*
Comacozer Kykeneon Journey Mydriasis*

The Obelisk Show on Gimme Radio airs every other Friday at 1PM Eastern, with replays every Sunday at 7PM Eastern. Next show is Aug. 30. Thanks for listening if you do.

Gimme Radio website

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Pinewalker Premiere “Sentinel”; Migration out Sept. 6

Posted in audiObelisk on August 15th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

PINEWALKER Photo by Carly Page

Thrice-guitarred Salt Lake City riff metal five-piece Pinewalker will issue their debut full-length, Migration, on Sept. 6. It is an album that makes its mission plain from the moment opener “Sentinel” reworks the signature riff of Sleep‘s “Dragonaut” and later taps into Goatsnake during its apex, and the brazen manner in which it goes about bringing together metallic aggression with stoner and doom influences — even a bit of post-metal ambience at the start of sprawling nine-minute album centerpiece “Maelstrom” — only underlines that as their ultimate stylistic aim. Formed in 2014 under the moniker Yeti and with a 2016 EP, Wasteland, to their credit under that name, Pinewalker burl their way through seven tracks and 43 minutes on Migration, alternating between a song like “Bone Collector,” which draws a line between extreme metal thrust — something “Burning Earth” soon brings even more forward — and Sabbathian shuffle in a kind of Entombed-via-Rocky-Mountains revamp, and longer form pieces like “Maelstrom,” the subsequent instrumental roller “Space Witch” and closer “The Thaw,” the latter two of which top eight minutes as the record moves through its second half.

The purposeful-seeming impression there is that the further you go, the more there is to find. Pinewalker — guitarist/vocalists Tarran MeadJason Kennington and Sam Roe, bassist Ethan Jentzch and drummer Nate Perkins — insert “Self vs. Self” PINEWALKER migrationbetween the last two longer cuts as the penultimate track to return to some of the more grounded metal fare of “Bone Collector,” finding room for some Maiden-style guitar histrionics along the way, but the prevailing spirit of Migration is in the overarching blend that unites the broader and more directly-punishing material. Melody is engaged most of all in “The Thaw,” the central riff of which seems to reinvent Neurosis‘ “Given to the Rising” before offsetting it with post-rocking airiness in the verse, but the death-doom stomp that emerges, soaring leads that take hold, and willfully over-the-top crescendo that follow are hardly the work of a band simply looking to ape their influences. Rather, the relief that “The Thaw” seems to find in relation to the rest of the record is all the more palpable for the individualized stamp they put on it.

And that that is the final impression Migration gives — aided in no small part by the production of Andy Patterson (SubRosaDØNE, many more) — speaks to the successful realization of the aesthetic meld that’s at the core of the record. They play heavy, they play metal, and sure enough, it works. And whether they’re bludgeoning their way through “Burning Earth” or hinting at a more progressive future in the tense buildup in the early going of “Maelstrom,” the simple fact that they’re able to execute their ideas with such clearheaded certainty is emblematic of the achievement they’re making as they emerge from their mountainous bailiwick. They run the risk over the longer term of falling into a place between — too aggro for the rockers, but more rock than the headbangers can fully embrace — but they have several advantages on their side in things like the potential their songwriting shows here and their relative youth, and as positioned as they seem to be for future growth, Pinewalker leave one with a resounding sense of hope for what might come as well as a black eye from what has already manifested in these tracks. Go on tour, gentlemen. Go on tour and don’t look back.

They’ll play the release show for Migration on Sept. 13 at Urban Lounge in Salt Lake City, and I’m happy today to host the track premiere of “Sentinel” below for your streaming pleasure. Album preorders are up on Bandcamp.

Please enjoy:

Pinewalker on “Sentinel”:

Sentinel was a tricky beast for us at first. We had a lot of ideas that we wanted to play around with and it took a lot of our attention during the writing process, but we are super happy with how it turned out. Thematically, this is the starting point of the record. This is where we are introduced to the character that we follow through the rest of the music. To us, the song tries to capture the fear of the unknown with a power that emanates anger. We like old monster movies a lot, and thought about their cinematography and design while coming up with this song as kind of our main theme for our monster.

Salt Lake City, Utah-based quintet PINEWALKER is preparing to release their sprawling debut album, Migration. Completed for release in early September, the album boasts a cathartic concept, an homage to loved ones lost to cancer, delivered through a crushing display of thundering, groove-heavy doom/sludge metal.

The five members of PINEWALKER all met and began playing together in high school and have grown tighter as a group ever since. Now in their fifth year since inception, the band has solidified and honed their own approach to performing the music they love.

With forty-four minutes of music spanning seven expansive tracks, Migration was recorded, mixed and mastered by Andy Patterson at his The Boars Nest in Salt Lake City (Subrosa, Gaza, Theories), and completed with artwork by Charles Bogus and design by Ashley Fairbourne.

PINEWALKER will self-release Migration on digital formats on September 6th with a CD version to follow.

PINEWALKER Live:
9/13/2019 Urban Lounge – Salt Lake City, UT *Migration release show

PINEWALKER:
Nate Perkins – drums
Tarran Mead – guitar/vocals
Jason Kennington – guitar/vocals
Sam Roe – lead guitar/vocals
Ethan Jentzsch – bass

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Pinewalker on Instagram

Pinewalker on Bandcamp

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Stream Rehearsal Jam from Gaster, Morton, Papadopoulos; Members of Clutch, Lamb of God & Stinking Lizaveta

Posted in audiObelisk on August 14th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

yanni mark morton jp gaster

About two months ago, I was lucky enough to stream a jam-room recording from Stinking Lizaveta called ‘The Odor of Corruption’ (posted here) after being hit up by the Philly-based doom jazz trio’s founding guitarist, Yanni Papadopoulos. Late last week, another note came in from Papadopoulos — did I want to hear a jam he played bass on with Jean-Paul Gaster of Clutch drumming and Mark Morton from Lamb of God on guitar?

Easy question.

The jam from what’s being called Gaster, Morton, Papadopoulos was hosted by the drummer in Frederick, Maryland — where else? — and has been dubbed “Blues to Infinity,” which about sums up the vibe. Morton, who released the solo album Anasthetic earlier this year, leads the way on guitar through the easy-flowing sub-four-minute snippet, starting off with a bluesy bounce over Gaster‘s groove, while Papadopoulos helps drive the subtle linear build even as he anchors the central progression beneath the guitar solo to come. If that level of blues hits infinite anywhere in the song — let me get my tape measure — it’s in that solo, but the the way jam kind of sways into its crescendo afterward is where it’s at one way or the other, and even after the guitar cuts out, the drums and bass seem ready to keep the vibe going in case there’s another pickup.

Doesn’t happen this time, but something tells me this might not be the only time we hear from Gaster, Morton, Papadopoulos. True enough that their schedules aren’t exactly empty as it is, but if this is the kind of work they’re doing off-the-cuff whenever their respective planets happen to align, there’s simply too much chemistry and too much potential here to leave it alone. And I mean, you know, if they wanted to send some jams off to Per Wiberg to put some keys on there too, I wouldn’t complain. Just a thought.

Whether or not that actually happens, here’s hoping for more from these three.

Enjoy the jam. Some quick comment from Morton follows:

Mark Morton on “Blues to Infinity”:

“There’s totally a cool anxious tightrope feel… like it could fall apart at any second but never does. My lead sounds frustrated and hurt… because I was. This is a real one for sure.”

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Holy Grove Present Road Songs Playlist; Tour Starts Aug. 28; Benefit Live Album out Now

Posted in audiObelisk on August 7th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

holy grove

So, in basically the last week-plus, Portland, Oregon’s Holy Grove have announced their latest string of West Coast tour dates and released a live album captured at this year’s Ceremony of Sludge to benefit a three-year-old with leukemia. Get that here at name-your-price and pay handsomely for it. Here are the tour dates:

Holy Grove on tour:
8/28 – Tacoma, WA @ Spanish Ballroom
8/29 – Bellingham, WA @ The Shakedown
8/30 – Vancouver, BC @ SBC
8/31 – Seattle, WA @ Substation
9/1 – Boise, ID @ The Shredder
9/2 – Salt Lake City, UT @ Kilby Court
9/3 – Denver, CO @ Tooey’s Off Colfax
9/4 – Albuquerque, NM @ The Launchpad
9/5 – Tempe, AZ @ Yucca Taproom
9/6 – Los Angeles, CA – 5 Star Bar
9/7 – Oakland, CA – Elbo Room Jack London
9/8 – Cupertino, CA – X Bar
9/9 – Sacramento, CA – Blue Lamp

I’ve still never had the good fortune to see Holy Grove live, and especially after the release of Holy Grove II (review here) last November — the four-piece’s debut on Ripple Music that followed their 2016 self-titled debut (review here) on Heavy Psych Sounds — I feel like I’m genuinely missing out. Sadly, I won’t be anywhere they’re going on this tour — always wanted to hit Vancouver, and Albuquerque seemed like a cool town when I was there — but a bit of insight into what the touring experience is like for Holy Grove is most certainly welcome.

So, here are some road songs. You know, what they play when they’re in the van going from one show to another on those long drives where inside-jokes are made and the bonds between bandmates are formed. Also, you should know that when I was typing that last sentence just now, I first wrote “bongs” instead of “bonds,” so take whatever you will from that. Either way, those times can be drags or they can be great, but they’re an essential part of the touring experience.

As Holy Grove prepare to head out again, they were kind enough to put together a selection of some of their favorite tunes to take with them, and bassist Gregg Emley — joined in the band by vocalist Andrea Vidal, guitarist Trent Jacobs and drummer Eben Travis — also gives some background on their choices.

Please enjoy:

holy grove tour dates

One of the best things about playing in a band is going on tour. Seeing new places and playing your music for new people is always exciting. One of the best things about going on tour for me is spending time with your band mates in the van. This is where all sorts of band bonding occurs. Inside jokes are formed, laughs are had, stories are told. It’s truly the best. Something else I love about touring is getting to spend time on those long drives listening to tunes and turning your band mates on to something they may not have heard before.

Here’s a playlist of some songs we like, and we encourage you to crank ’em on your next road trip.

Popul Vuh – Kleiner Krieger: Sublime little instrumental from my favorite PV record to start things off. Sounds like the beginning of a journey to me.

Led Zeppelin – Achilles Last Stand: Why screw around? Perhaps the most epic band’s most epic song.

BÖC – Joan Crawford: Apparently, she’s risen from the grave. The hook in this one is huge and fun to sing along with in a van full of buds late at night.

ZZ Top – Nasty Dogs and Funky Kings: My favorite song from one of the best road trip bands ever. That riff, that feel. No one does it better.

Roky Erikson – Two-Headed Dog: This is a recent discovery for me, courtesy of Trent (our guitar player). He played the whole record on our last tour and I was hooked. I remember having headphones on listening to a podcast or something, hearing this and immediately taking my headphones off, asking who it was and listening to the record. It’s been in my rotation since.

Diagonal – Semi-Permeble Menbrain: Diagonal is (maybe was?) a great neo-prog band from the UK with shades of Camel, King Crimson, and UK. They never really did much in the US, but both records rule all the way through.

Opeth – Hjartat Vet Vad Handen Gor: As a prog guy, I wasn’t THAT upset when Opeth ditched the death growls and went full on prog. There has definitely been a bit of stumbling as they perfect their new thing, but if this song is any indication, they may have done it with this upcoming new record.

Cult of Luna – Finland: This band rules. They seem to get overlooked when people talk about the Neurosis/ISIS school of heavy rock, but I think they’re among the best. All of their records evoke a feel and place for me, and as this one comes from Somewhere Along the Highway, it makes sense to me that it would evoke staring out a van window watching the miles roll by. Oh, and those riffs.

Melvins – A History of Bad Men: the Big Biz version of the Melvins lineup is/was unstoppable. One of the greatest live shows I’ve ever witnessed. This is my favorite song from that era of the band. We opened for them two nights in a row in May, and they crushed which was to be expected, but still great to see from a band entering its 4th decade still destroying.

Iron Maiden – The Wicker Man: I remember when this record came out, and really steeling myself to be disappointed. It just didn’t seem possible that they would be able to release something as good as any of the “classic”-era records after Bruce being gone for a few years and the super bummer “Hey…that’s not Bruce!” years. I was wrong. This song was all I needed to hear to know I had nothing to worry about. If your fist isn’t in the air by the time the chorus hits, check yer pulse.

Metallica – Escape: If there is such a thing as an “underrated” Metallica song from the first four, this would have to be it.

Judas Priest – Hell Patrol: Just another great fist pumper about some sort of evil force ripping down the highway (I think?).

High on Fire – Death is This Communion: This band means a whole lot to all of us. Growing up in San Jose, I was lucky enough to be turned on to Sleep around the time Holy Mountain came out. They played the sound I heard in my head. Black Sabbath was my favorite band, and they were doing it. It was a revelation. When Sleep broke up, I was extremely bummed, especially because I had heard about this one epic song they were working on at the time, that I figured would never see the light of day. When I heard that Matt from Sleep had a new band with George from San Jose legends Dear Deceased on bass, my friends and I scoured the Bay Area weekly papers waiting for their name to show up. I must have seen them five or six times before the 12th Records demo came out. All of this to say, this band is in my blood. Getting to open for them in May was a dream come true for all of us.

Crowbar – The Lasting Dose: Riffs. Big giant crushing riffs. ‘Nuff said.

Tomb Mold – Planetary Clairvoyance: Modern Death Metal sounding like old Death Metal is pretty hip right now, and I’m 100% OK with that. These dudes do it right, caveman riffs and a VHS horror atmosphere. Last year’s Manor of Infinite Forms was my favorite DM release of the year, but I think I’m digging this new one even more. This is the title track.

Woe – Carried By Waves To Remorseless Shores Of The Truth: I love how this band combines elements of classic heavy metal, like guitar harmony parts, slower chugging riffs and anthemic choruses into this big swirling aggressive black metal stew.

Ludicra – Truth Won’t Set You Free: My favorite song from Ludicra’s final record, The Tenant. I love how this band incorporates so many different elements to create something distinctly Ludicra. My favorite USBM band ever and they’re sorely missed.

Krallice – Monolith of Possession: Have we been driving for two hours or has it been 19 minutes? Who knows, pretty sure we opened a portal to another dimension. Enjoy.

Torche – Tarpit Carnivore: Monumentally heavy.

John Carpenter – Escape from New York (main title): We’re all huge JC fans. This sounds like the end of a journey to me. Roll credits.

Clarence Carter – Patches: Not sure how this ended up as our band inside joke, but it did. If you’re not smiling by the time the chorus hits, well then I feel bad for you, son.

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