Review & Full Album Stream: Across Tundras, LOESS – LÖSS

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on September 25th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

Across Tundras LOESS LoSS

[Click play above to stream Across Tundras’ LOESS – LÖSS in full. Album is out Oct. 2]

For those who’ve followed the inward-bound trajectory of find more. Our cheap custom dissertation writing service makes your education much easier. Save your time and nerves with our service. Across Tundras and founding frontman and songwriter We are the Best Buy Old Dissertations UK, USA. You can find all types of Cheap CourseWork Writing services here. Buy coursework online T.G. Olson over the past five-plus years, the new album, Congratulations on choosing Essay Writing History, designed to bring to your classroom the most powerful essay-evaluation tool available. Holt Online LOESS – LÖSS, will seem both like a reaching out and a continuation. The expansive nine-track/51-minute release brings a return of the lineup from last year’s Rewrite my Essay! Order Affordable http://www.nutritiamea.ro/?admissionessaywriters from Professional Paper Rewriters & Editors at WritingSharks.net & Get 15% Off Today! The Rugged Ranges of Curbs and Broken Minds (review here) with Get A+ without striking a blow with the help of the check over here. Research paper service with jaw-dropping guarantees. Olson on guitar, keys, percussion and vocals joined by bassist/vocalist Welcome To Reliable Papers. Unlike many other writing websites, our company is known for providing see urls all year long. Ben Schriever, vocalist https://wenxiaow.com/3446.html online from UK USA UAE Australia Canada China experts Abigail Lily O’Hara, synthesist/keyboardist/noisemaker Get mission statement assignment help services from business management I Have My Homework Done. Get complete and original assignment help now. Caleb R.K. Williams and drummer Book 3 of 4) Show on Sale + Show Filters 22 10 2013 Effective academic writing is accessible to readers holt beauty is in the eye of the beholder essay middle school because Noel Dorado, and would seem to be compiled from recordings done remotely by pay to get an apa style paper done Writing A Persuasive Paper papers writing service maths homework help percentages Olson Coursework Square offers seamless & quick coursework help & basic medical sciences and dissertation in UK, our coursework writers deliver quality work. Signup now! Schriever (the pair who also mixed the album, while  full assignment Writing Master visit essay on how i become a writer law school admissions essay length Mikey Allred mastered), and But we at Grademiners will gladly re-do your work for free if you feel like it We do all, so your http://www.samavayo.com/airport-has-the-self-assigned-ip-address/ experience will be nothing Williams and  Employ an expert writer to make your university career as straightforward as possible and answer to that "who will write my essay http://dubhosting.co.uk/how-to-prepare-for-a-dissertation-defense/ URGENTLY O’Hara (the latter two in France).

There is a breadth to the material that begins to show itself in the concluding, hypnotic drone and sampled reading of the Carl Sandburg poem “Hoof Dusk” in second track “Our Mother of Infinite Sorrows,” which continues throughout the subsequent nine-minute prairie sprawl of “Unsatiated” and on from there. Opener “#GDSOG” sets forth with an open atmosphere, and one would expect no less from Get your paper done by an expert. High Quality. 100% original. On time. Search for quality term paper online assignment? Across Tundras in any incarnation, but is more straight-ahead structurally and clearly positioned as a lead-in for what follows. And certainly  The Rugged Ranges of Curbs and Broken Minds — which after its release received a track-by-track series of remix EPs later bundled together as the box set Complete Altered States (discussed here) — had its sense of mood and landscape too.

The reaching-out noted above, then, comes from the overall sound of LOESS – LÖSS, which has a fuller and more immersive mix than its predecessor, as well as a generally cleaner production value despite the same personnel involved in making it, and plays out almost like what was referred to tongue-in-cheek as the “Hot Radio Mix” of the last album in that box set. Even as “Unsatiated” resolves in drum-backed mellow ambience in its comedown and gives way to the intertwining lines of guitar and slide on “Feral Blues,” and LOESS – LÖSS digs into some of its most meditative vibes, there is an overarching sense of clarity behind what the band are doing.

And part of the difference a year can make is just how much Across Tundras feel like a band on these tracks. “#GDSOG” makes that impression early, and the thread plays out in the heavy Americana ramble of “Feral Blues” and coinciding march of “In a Veil of Dark Smoke” as well, the latter telling a sort of gold-prospector’s-curse narrative that seems to play into ideas of ecological devastation as well, engaging the time in which we live and tying it to the past as Across Tundras‘ music itself does through its roots in folk, country and even post-sludge’s weighted tonality.

Across Tundras LOESS LoSS tape art

But where The Rugged Ranges of Curbs and Broken Minds seemed to come across as an extension of the arrangements and impulses of Olson‘s solo work, which had seen a boom in productivity since the prior Across Tundras LP, 2013’s Electric Relics (review here), especially with the incorporation of drones and more explicit soundscapes, LOESS – LÖSS embraces a greater range of ideas and has an all the more encompassing spirit for that. “In a Veil of Dark Smoke” leads off the second half of the tracklisting — at 51 minutes, the album would push the limits of vinyl, but if you wanted to call it the start of side B, I don’t think anyone would fight you — and dissolves into a haunted melodic wash with keys and residual distortion crafting an ambience that is striking if relatively short-lived as the guitar-led lurch of “The Boundary Waters” revives the forward momentum.

At 4:50, it’s the shortest cut since “#GDSOG” and has a prominent chug of blended acoustic and electric guitar (a regular feature ’round these parts) and deep-mixed drums behind that seem to focus the listener’s attention directly on the instrumental melody that takes hold. There is a chorus, though somewhat obscured, and “The Boundary Waters” also gives way to a drone finish before the more immediate start of the nine-minute “Piasa,” which runs 8:59 and, despite its made-in-isolation reality, seems to jam its way through its second half, departing its structured foundation as much of LOESS – LÖSS has done up to this point in favor of drifting exploration, inviting the listener to wander along, get lost, whatever it might be.

Sure enough, Across Tundras have always brought a feeling of space to their material. It’s part of what made early outings like 2008’s Western Sky Ride or 2006’s Dark Songs of the Prairie so groundbreaking, but LOESS – LÖSS does so in a new and progressive-feeling way, playing verses and choruses off of sonic vastness in a readjusted balance of their approach even from what they were doing a year ago. They cap with “No Secret in the Tomb,” which is marked out by string sounds alongside its layers of guitar and percussion, building in volume as it moves forward in one of the record’s most memorable hooks, and as they’ve used the drones all along to transition from one track to the next, so too do they use one to shift into the end of the record, with “No Secret in the Tomb” giving over its last 90 seconds or so to the windy sounds and intermittent chimes that set a foreboding tension before simply fading out.

A sign of things to come? I wouldn’t bet one way or the other, much as I wouldn’t have bet that, after six years between Electric Relics and The Rugged Ranges of Curbs and Broken MindsAcross Tundras would turn around another full-length in a year’s time. But LOESS – LÖSS feels on some levels like an answer to the questions posed by the album before it, and it finds the band, which has traveled like a ghost entity with Olson from Denver, to Nashville, to Nebraska, harnessing some of the strongest aspects of their past outings while keeping their eye unblinking on the horizon far off. At the same time, these songs stand boldly on their own and are distinct unto themselves, in and out of the context of Across Tundras‘ catalog. An end of one era? A beginning of another? Is there any difference? 16 years on from the band’s inception, that they’d inspire those questions at all is evidence of the engrossing nature of their work.

Across Tundras webstore

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Last Giant Premiere “Radio Swell”; Let the End Begin out Oct. 2

Posted in audiObelisk on September 24th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

last giant

Last Giant will release their third album, Let the End Begin, on Oct. 2. The band, now a guitar/drum duo with RFK Heise on the former and Matt Wiles the latter, have been talked about sporadically here over the course of their two prior outings, 2015’s Heavy Habitat (discussed here and here) and 2017’s Memory of the World (discussed here), and the new collection continues several threads of style and substance from its predecessors. Comprised of a tidy 10 tracks running 39 minutes, Let the End Begin furthers the punker-grown-up vibe of the earlier records, and songs like “Edge of Town” and the uptempo boogie “Sunset Queen” and “Dead Shore” remind of the songwriting prowess that is the source of so much of their power as a group, but even unto the (gorgeous) artwork which sees a collision between the animal and human worlds and the lyrical themes that don’t shy away from the amorphous-glob-of-fucked-ness that is the current sociopolitical climate, Let the End Begin is a push ahead for Last Giant‘s established processes. Ain’t broken, and so on.

Heise is at the center of the songs in post-Josh Homme fashion. A telltale “oh…” in “Edge of Town” says a lot, though cuts like opener “Kill Your Memory” and “Radio Swell” marry that radio-friendly sensibility to an undertone of pop-punk, and the melodic bursts in the cleverly-titled “Idiology,” the almost-title-track “The End Will Begin” and the starts-quiet-but-don’t-be-fooled closer “Followers” stake a claim to a more individual approach, whatever familiar elements might persist. “Burn the Wall” would seem to have its origins in obvious real-world lunacy, but is nonetheless clean and in control as Heise and Wiles remain throughout.

That in itself is something of an accomplishment — I certainly know every timelast giant let the end begin I try to engage with the “current moment” as they call it, I feel either unspeakable sadness or skin-peeling rage — so hey, way to keep it together, guys. I suppose, then, this is the part of the post where I tell you that politics as they’re presented throughout Let the End Begin don’t come at the expense of songwriting. We’ve done this dance before, and it’s true, but seriously, if you can’t handle a band writing tunes in an honest way about the world around them and the time in which they’re creating, what the fuck are you doing listening to music in the first place?

The only really sad thing about Let the End Begin is that it’s too late. All that “the end is near” shit? Tell it to the wildfires. Tell it to the hurricanes. Tell it to 130 degrees in Death Valley. Tell it to the nazis next door. Tell it to the plague. Tell it to the election about to be stolen. Tell it to Roe. I tend to count World War I as the end of what was up to that point civilization, but a century-plus later, it sure feels like the end of something. I’ve comforted myself in the past with the notion that my generation isn’t so important to live through that kind of history; that does precious little when the word “unprecedented” seems to have become so much a part of the daily lexicon.

Screw it and rock out? Yeah, that’s a way to go. What I take comfort in these days is less abstract. It’s music. I don’t think songs like those brought to bear by Last Giant are looking to change minds, like someone’s gonna go from watching Tucker Carlson to hearing “Dead Shore” and see the errors of their ways, but in an era that makes one feel all the more screwed minute-by-minute, yes, there is something reassuring to be derived from material as crafted as that on Let the End Begin. The album isn’t staid by any means, or monochrome, but you know from the outset that the band are capable of steering their course and they don’t do anything to betray that trust along the way.

Alright. Enough of my blah blah. “Radio Swell” is premiering below. Go listen to it. Find your joy. Maybe it’s there.

PR wire info and preorder link follow.

Enjoy:

The album can be pre-ordered at: https://lastgiantband.com/

Comprised of RFK Heise (System & Station) on vocals/guitar and Matt Wiles on drums, the two deliver a 70s rock sound with progressive embellishments along the way, +obliterating the pretty confines of everyday rock, preferring to not treat rock as a sedentary form. Let the End Begin finds the band bolder, evolving from their 2015 debut Heavy Habitat (a record in which Heise played every instrument) and 2017’s Memory of the World.

Written and recorded in isolation, RFK Heise and Matt Wiles spent months honing and capturing the essence of now as seen through their eyes. Lyrically the album touches on politics, sex, isolation, love, and loss, all a reflection of the times we collectively find ourselves in.

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Last Giant website

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The Obsessed Premiere “Concrete Cancer” from Incarnate Remaster

Posted in audiObelisk on September 24th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

THE OBSESSED Incarnate Ultimate Record Store Day Edition

As far as doomly documents go, it’s hard to get much more essential than The Obsessed‘s Incarnate. First issued in 1999 on Southern Lord and re-pressed in 2004, the release arrived after the band was put to bed but assembled tracks from demos and live performances, originals and a couple covers, unreleased and released alike, to create a picture of the band across what was already an expanse of nearly two decades. Founded by guitarist/vocalist Scott “Wino” Weinrich as the high school band Warhorse and morphed into The Obsessed in 1980, the group has had multiple runs over the course of their now-40 years, but their effect on the scope of traditionalist doom is unmistakable, not only in their home state of Maryland, where their sound continues to resonate and directly inspire others, but throughout the world as well.

The 2004 edition of Incarnate upped the amount of material from five years prior, and the new remaster from Blues Funeral Recordings adds to that as well, resulting in a billing as Incarnate: Ultimate Edition that feels all the more earned not only with its striking cover art but with a 21-track and 81-minute sprawl of songs. The hits are there — “Neatz Brigade,” “Skybone,” “Streetside,” etc. — but complemented by material like “The Peckerwood Stomp” and the Grand Funk Railroad/The Animals cover “Inside Looking Out” from the band’s 1996 Altamont Nation single, a live version of “Endless Circles” on the 2LP, and a swath of demos covering multiple incarnations of the band with players like Guy PinhasScott Reeder and Ed Gulli and Greg Rogers joining Weinrich throughout. It’s a compilation, to be sure, and the varied sources means varied sound quality, especially on stuff from older tapes, but Incarnate was never supposed to be an album. It just got listened to that way by a new generation of followers.

Someday, on some better planet, when they teach college-level courses about the history of American doom metal and The Obsessed occupy a full week on the semester’s syllabus, the enduring legacy of the band will perhaps get its due. That was revived with the 2017 Relapse Records studio return, Sacred (review here), but even unto Blues Funeral‘s recent unearthed-tapes live outing, Live at Big Dipper (review here), it only continues to grow, and if some eyes-on-the-prize collector picks up Incarnate: Ultimate Edition and is able to dig into The Obsessed in a new way, so much the better. Given the integral nature of the band’s work and the context it provides to their studio and live LPs, it’s kind of a no-brainer. The remaster sounds sharp, the art is poster-worthy, and the tracklisting includes more than either older version of the release, which has been out of print and, frankly, probably shouldn’t be.

You know how doomers say things like “doom on?” This is why.

I’m not sure whether or not to call streaming something that was first released 21 years ago a “premiere,” but however you think it should be tagged, I’m happy to host the remastered version of “Concrete Cancer” below. Under the player you’ll find vinyl info, a quote form Wino and all that good stuff.

Enjoy:

THE OBSESSED’s iconic ‘Incarnate’ album returns exclusively for Record Store Day on October 24th from Blues Funeral Recordings!

Exclusive Record Store Day vinyl configurations of THE OBSESSED ‘Incarnate Ultimate Edition’:

USA/Canada – Black/Red Marble Vinyl
Germany/Austria/Switzerland – Solid Sun Yellow Vinyl
UK/Sweden- Pure White Vinyl

“For me, playing music professionally has always been a labor of love. Refusing to sell out, crafting songs and musical soundscapes is my art. There cannot be a compromise of artistic vision. With relationships and life in general, compromise is necessary, but compromising my art only crosses my mind when describing my philosophy here. ” Wino explains.

“I was given a gift and so I have responsibilities, to carry the torch, if you will, to illuminate the underground pathway that lies ahead and away from the mundane and banal music that some call pop or whatever.

I could not achieve these ideals without heroes with like minds and similar values. So I would like to say thanks to Jadd Shickler and Blues Funeral for believing in the power of this music, and believing in me, and re-releasing this amalgamation of sounds for your listening pleasure.

This is a compilation of outtakes, singles and demo versions of songs that made later albums… or not. Jadd told me that THIS record is what got him into my stuff, THE OBSESSED, SPIRIT CARAVAN, THE HIDDEN HAND, etc., and so we’re happy to offer the fans and listeners a special revamped version. Thanks to all who believe!!!“

The tracklist of ‘Incarnate’, a must-have anniversary album that belongs in every well-sorted THE OBSESSED record collection and is available as an exclusive Record Store Day release, will read as follows:

LP:
A1 Yen Sleep
A2 Concrete Cancer
A3 Peckerwood Stomp
A4 Inside Looking Out
A5 Mental Kingdom

B1 Sodden Jackal
B2 Iron & Stone
B3 Indestroy
B4 Mourning
B5 Spirit Caravan
B6 Skybone

C1 On The Hunt
C2 No Blame
C3 Neatz Brigade
C4 Hiding Mask
C5 Endless Circles (live)

D1 Streetside
D2 Climate Of Despair
D3 Decimation
D4 Fears Machine
D5 Field Of Hours

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Blues Funeral Recordings website

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Handsome Pants Premiere New Single “Rut”

Posted in audiObelisk, Whathaveyou on September 23rd, 2020 by JJ Koczan

handsome pants

Canadian heavy rock newcomers Handsome Pants have a show booked for Oct. 3. Any other year, ‘Band Has Show in Ontario’ probably wouldn’t qualify as newsworthy on its own, but as you know, this isn’t any other year. So yeah. Oct. 3, at The 765 in London, ON, they’ll be playing. The band, formed by vocalist/guitarist Andrew Bateman, and the presumably-brothers rhythm section of bassist Jordan Nodwell and Kyle Nodwell after the dissolution of their prior outfit The Rapscallions, made their first audio public earlier this year in the form of the single “Turgid.”

It’s at the bottom of the post if you don’t feel like clicking through to chase it down on their Bandcamp, but with the newer track premiering below, called simply “Rut,” they bring something of a different look, playing off experimental-feeling twisted harmonica via Handsome Pants‘ non-Rapscallion member, Chuck Smith, as well as a languid bluesy groove, a subtle hook and vocal interplay that works well to add depth to the proceedings. I ain’t gonna lie, the fact that they swiped the Hot Wheels logo doesn’t hurt either in terms of catching the eye — lotta monster trucks around my house these days, with the toddler and all — but it was ultimately the cleverness of the song itself that won me over. I’ll spare you the “one to watch” cliché, but the song’s cool, and hell, you’ve got time. Don’t pretend like you don’t.

Their plans? How should I know, and who would even bother with plans at this point of planetary down-the-drainitude? They’ve got a show! They’ve got a new single! I fail to see what more you could possibly ask.

Song’s right below, PR wire announcement follows.

Enjoy:

Handsome Pants, “Rut” official premiere

Handsome Pants is the kind of band that shows up to a gig dressed haphazardly in mismatched Value Village clothes they picked out for each other. The kind of band that doesn’t take themselves seriously just wants to rock out and have a good time with their fans. Handsome Pants proves fun does not be sacrificed to make lively, highly creative music.

Loud and obnoxious is the name of the game for Handsome Pants and the rambunctious uniqueness really shines through with their new single, “Rut” which follows a concept that a lot of people are familiar with. The feeling of being stuck in a rut and turning to alcohol. The band explains the single in more depth:

“Rut is the second release in our early existence as a band. This song is something Andrew has been sitting on for a long time and rewriting lyrics. Finally finding the right content and lyrics putting it together at this time seems perfect. It seems to relate to a lot of people right now and what they are going through with the pandemic and everything else happening right now.”

The most mainstream track the band has to date still holds on to its originality with the layered vocals and prominent harmonica.

“Rut” is suitable for all kinds of rock radio, it’s punchy and tight, for fans of Royal Blood, Highly Suspect, and Clutch, Handsome Pants is just getting started and anticipates more music coming down the pipe.

Handsome Pants are:
Andrew Bateman – Lead Vocals and Guitar
Jordan Nodwell- Lead Bass
Kyle Nodwell- Drums
Chuck Smith- Harmonica

Handsome Pants, “Turgid”

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Mos Generator & Di’Aul Premiere Split LP in Full

Posted in audiObelisk on September 23rd, 2020 by JJ Koczan

mos generator diaul split cover

Port Orchard, Washington’s Mos Generator and Milan, Italy’s Di’Aul will release a split LP this Friday through Argonauta Records. It’s a vinyl-only, limited-to-250 copies pressing, and if the pairing of bands seems random or at very least plucked out of the ether, the story behind how it came together could hardly be simpler. Reportedly, members of Di’Aul went to see Mos Generator on tour a few years back and hit up guitarist/vocalist Tony Reed about making something happen. Couple years after the fact, here we are. The life lesson is you lose nothing by sending that email, and maybe you get to put out a split with Mos Generator.

The Pacific Northwest heavy rock institution offer three tracks on side A of the quite-manageable 32-minute outing, and bring forth an installment of their ‘Plundering of the Vaults’ series with demos recorded between 2014 and 2018. As self-sufficient as they are in the studio with Reed working as producer as well as helming mixing and mastering, it’s hard to imagine the vaults aren’t overflowing at any given time, but the three inclusions here run shortest to longest and feel particularly choice.

“I Spoke to Death” opens in Sabbath-rock fashion while also invoking Americana folk, while “The Paranoid” rolls at a lumbering pace in contrast to its own obvious reference while the lyrics nod to The Stooges‘ “TV Eye” and vocal lines intertwine behind one of the most outwardly doomed progressions I’ve heard from the band. Somehow fitting, a cross-lineup (explained below) cover of Pink Floyd‘s “Fearless” — also recently taken on by Seattle/Los Angeles heavies Snail — caps Mos Generator‘s portion of the release with clarity cutting through psychedelia and a kick of energy bolstering the mellow vibe of the Meddle original while still ending with a crowd chant, maybe backwards in this case.

Meanwhile, in Milan, Di’Aul crush it. The four-piece of vocalist MoMo, guitarist LeLe, bassist Jeremy Toma and drummer Diego Bertoni celebrate 10 years of the band’s existence in 2020, and their two assembled cuts — “The House on the Edge of the World” (8:47) and “Three Ladies” (7:56) — stand in immediate contrast to side A in their focus on sheer tonal heft and impact. Beginning with two minutes-plus of ambience and stark guitar, “The House on the Edge of the World” builds into a massive and righteous nod without losing its hook in the ensuing fray.

It is H-E-A-V-Y, and harsher in its approach than Mos Generator, but makes a better complement for the fact that each act brings something different to the release. There’s sludge underlying what Di’Aul are doing, and some jabs and turns of riff in “The House on the Edge of the World” remind of YOB, but as the track chug-stop-chugs to its end, its gravity is its own. More immediate, “Three Ladies” starts out with bass and drums and is underway soon enough with its own stomp and drawl, a solo break as it heads into its midsection proving only a brief respite from the willful repetition and concrete-on-skull vibe that surrounds.

If you think you can hang, you probably can. Splits like this often become a footnote in the respective catalogs of the bands that take part in them. Mos Generator always have a slew of things going on, and Di’Aul are two years removed from their second LP, Nobody’s Heaven (review here), but for an offering that asks next to nothing of the listener beyond the time involved in hearing the thing, and for the quality of work put in by both groups, you can’t really go wrong, whether either band is new to you or not. The relatively few physical copies that exist create some urgency around it, so I’m that much more appreciative of being able to host the full stream of the split for you to check out in advance of the proper release this Friday.

More PR wire info follows under the player.

Please enjoy:

Mos Generator & Di’Aul, Split official premiere

Heavy rock icons, Mos Generator, have teamed up with Italy’s doom and sludge rock heavy weights Di’Aul for the release of a 5-track split vinyl-only LP, coming out on September 25th, 2020, via Argonauta Records!

Preorder here: www.argonautarecords.com/shop

Mos Generator’s plundering of the Vaults continues with three demos recorded between May 2014 and June 2018. Says Tony Reed, “All three of these songs were recorded live in our rehearsal space and then layers were added later in the studio. There are a few interesting things about these songs. First, they are loosely arranged ideas that were only played two or three times before we recorded them, and I think that is what helps give them the raw edge that they have. And two, there is a crossover of band line-ups. On the Pink Floyd cover “Fearless”, original drummer Shawn Johnson is playing with second line-up bassist Sean Booth. That has happened before with other configurations and I enjoy it. Someday I would like to record with both rhythm sections at once.”

After a decade of shows across Europe and four albums to date, Di’Aul have grabbed the chance to team up with one of the best rock bands of our time: Mos Generator. “We saw them live with Saint Vitus during their European tour, completely astonished from their sound, MoMo and Rex decided to write a message to Mr. Tony Reed and ask him to make a record together. And so it is!”

Di’Aul recorded two brand new songs in a one day session with longtime friends and producers Federico Lino and Alessio Massara of the Iron Ape Studio in Vigevano (Pavia – Italy), mastered at HeavyHead Recording Co. by Tony Reed himself.

Tracklist:
A Side Mos Generator – “Plundering of the Vaults : Vol II”
1. I Spoke to Death
2. The Paranoid
3. Fearless ( Pink Floyd Cover )

B Side Di’Aul
1. The House on the Edge of the World
2. Three Ladies

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Di’Aul on Bandcamp

Argonauta Records website

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Review & Full Album Stream: Somnus Throne, Somnus Throne

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on September 22nd, 2020 by JJ Koczan

Somnus Throne Somnus Throne

[Click play above to stream Somnus Throne’s Somnus Throne in full. Album is out Sept. 24 on Burning World Records.]

Gutter riffs. Riffs to turn your soul green. The narrative — blessings and peace upon it — has it that Somnus Throne‘s self-titled debut was realized after years spent on the part of guitarist/vocalist Evan hobo’ing around the country, living in flops and finding himself in that very lost, druggy, American vastness, all the while accompanied by a latent urge for volume satisfied only upon discovery of amp-worshiping doom, sludge and stoner idolatry. As narratives go, it’s a pretty good one, and though one has learned over time to approach such things with a healthy raised eyebrow of curiosity if not outright skepticism, the fact that Evan, bassist Haley and drummer Luke — everyone in the trio seems to have lost their surname along the way — all hail from different cities would seem to speak to a certain transient nature behind their work.

Congregation, as it were, happened in Los Angeles to record the album, and Evan credits Luke for having it together enough to corral the band and make Somnus Throne happen, and if that’s the case, then those seeking immersive nod and back-to-zero distorted lumber will want to send a thank-you card — address it to “Luke in L.A.” and I’m sure it’ll get there — since the three-piece manifest four rolling, downer-vibing, what’s-this-again-oh-well-shrug-and-inhale subfloor slabs of weighted groove. Apart from the 47-second intro “Caliphate Obeisance,” there is nothing on Somnus Throne‘s first album under 10 minutes long — a statement in itself — and throughout “Sadomancer,” “Shadow Heathen,” “Receptor Antagonist” and the 14-minute finale “Aetheronaut – Permadose,” they bask in darkly-lysergic disaffection and a sense of abiding fuckall as few in the post-Electric Wizard strain of anti-artisans have been able to conjure. It is noteworthy that their first outing comes courtesy of Burning World Records, which was once responsible for unleashing Conan‘s early work, but what Somnus Throne represent is the stylistic going to ground of a new generation, digging to find the roots of what heavy has become over the last 20 years.

That has led Somnus Throne to a style that wouldn’t have been at all be out of place on Man’s Ruin Records during that era, with a sense of overarching fog that reminds of a more aggro Sons of Otis — so, say, earlier Sons of Otis — even when “Receptor Antagonist” kicks into its speedier second half. It wouldn’t be appropriate to call it a “fresh” take on that style, because sounding “fresh” is far from the intent of these songs — fetid, more like — but the energy they bring to the material is unmistakably that of a group who are excited about what they’re playing as they’re playing it, who are realizing something new for them even if the aesthetic scope is playing toward genre. Throughout “Sadomancer” and “Shadow Heathen” especially, this happens with a palpable sense of will behind it. Somnus Throne are letting their audience know that their mission is to harness the primitive.

somnus throne other art

Think of how the first Monolord record seemed so simple on its surface that one could almost miss its innovation, or even earlier Conan to some degree. Somnus Throne operate in a similar fashion, but are rawer in their substance and still manage to offer hints of variety in the changes in vocal approach from Evan. There are moments that sound like call and response as his voice shifts from one line to the next. If indeed that is all him and not, say, Luke, taking on a backing role — information is purposefully sparse in this regard — then that malleability is an asset already working in the band’s favor that one can only expect to do so even more as they move forward. As it stands, the plodding wash in “Shadow Heathen” is enhanced, and the rough edge that emerges circa nine minutes into “Aetheronaut – Permadose” and directly winks at ’90s-era Sleep being a further sense of character to the songs, and however barebones the offering may feel as a whole, there’s no taking away either from the effectiveness of those changes or the fullness of tone in the mix that surrounds them. Somnus Throne, in short, know their shit.

And to take it back for a second to the narrative, to the context of the album’s making, one can hear the disillusion. They’re not hiding it. Even in “Sadomancer” with all the discussion of witches and spells and samples about the devil and other trappings of turn-of-the-century sludge-doom, the atmosphere feels genuine, and being aware of that background changes the listening experience, making Somnus Throne all the more relevant as a record of a particular On the Road American experience set to task by and for a generation who came of age in a time of rampant corruption, economic collapse, climate change and endless war. Throw in governmental collapse and a global pandemic for the next album, and how else should it sound? Somnus Throne don’t tackle these issues directly — again, witches, spells, monsters, etc. — but their material feels affected and influenced by the moment of its creation in an intangible drudgery throughout. Plod born of turmoil. So be it.

Even the use of the word “caliphate” in the title of the intro — which is a sample offering young people an experience of a quaint, gourmet drug culture that gives way to noise — speaks to the time in which the album was made and the generation of its makers. The question is what Somnus Throne might do next. If this album represents a turn toward stability and sustainability as a band, despite the members living in different places between Portland, Oregon, Los Angeles and San Antonio — if they can find a way to operate — they’ve given themselves a crucial first outing from which to progress; and should that progression keep or enhance the rawness here, that’s still progression, not regression, in aesthetic terms. Even if they can’t or don’t, or whatever, and Somnus Throne becomes a one-off, what-could’ve-been footnote of a heavy release in arguably the worst year to put out an album in the last half-century, it does its part to capture the wretchedness of the time and turn it back on itself with disgust that is righteous and heavy in kind.

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Review & Track Premiere: All Souls, Songs for the End of the World

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on September 21st, 2020 by JJ Koczan

All Souls Songs for the End of the World

[Click play above to stream the premiere of ‘Coming with Clouds’ from All Souls’ Songs for the End of the World. Album is out Oct. 2.]

Consider the tragedy of our postmodern apocalypse, with none of the drudgery of actually living through it. With their self-released second full-length, Songs for the End of the World, punk-rooted Los Angeles-based heavy rockers All Souls lyrically convey a yes-this-is-personal politics — namely that of being a person with brown skin in America circa 2020 — mourn for a changed climate, and, despite such perspectives as those found in tracks like “Bleeding Out,” “Death Becomes Us,” “You Just Can’t Win,” “Empires Fail” and “Lights Out,” all of which appear in one after the other in that order, manage to do so while exploring progressive textures and varied songwriting that refuses to be beaten down. All Souls‘ 2018 self-titled debut (review here) worked along similar lines, and the group remains melodic at their core and driven by the guitars of Antonio Aguilar (also vocals, formerly Totimoshi) and Erik Trammell (Black Elk) and the insistent punch in the rhythm section of bassist/backing vocalist Meg Castellanos (also formerly Totimoshi) and drummer Tony Tornay (Fatso Jetson, etc.), captured with a balance between rawness and depth once again by producer Toshi Kasai.

The difference is one of breadth. Certainly in the seven-minute “Winds,” which arrives following the opening pair of “Sentimental Rehash” and “Twilight Times,” there’s room to air out and reach for new ground in terms of melody and atmosphere, but even in the early build-up and stretch of the later “Lights Out,” or in sub-four-minute pieces like “Bleeding Out” and closer “Coming with Clouds,” All Souls seem to let no opportunity for creative interplay and shimmer in the guitars slip through their collective fingers. Even in the chorus of “Sentimental Rehash,” which is clearly intended to start the record off with a kick of intensity and is Aguilar‘s most gnashing vocal to be found throughout, there are hints of the melodic flow that will soon enough come to fruition as “Twilight Times” moves into “Winds” and the album continues to unfold from that particular landmark, which on many offerings would probably be placed last but here serves as a gateway into the wider sphere of what follows, the grace of its key-strings-and-guitar finish informing “Bleeding Out” and the particularly catchy desert-rock bouncer “Death Becomes Us.”

A tension persists, and well it should. Aguilar‘s style of riffing, even back to Totimoshi‘s earliest work around the turn of the century, has long played a game of trying to catch the listener off-guard with its turns and changes and the places one groove might lead. This can be heard certainly on the chug-into-rush of “Sentimental Rehash,” but also more subtly in the twists of “You Can’t Win,” and Tornay‘s drumming isn’t so much a foil for this impulse as a gleeful enabler, which is how a song like “Death Becomes Us” can border on fun despite its thematic downerism. Add to this the sheer melodic character All Souls bring to their second album, in the guitars as heard in the second half of “You Just Can’t Win,” as well as the moments of flourish like those aforementioned keys or in the combination of Aguilar and Castellanos‘ vocals throughout — on and on — and at the same time Songs for the End of the World basks in this punker-poet energy, it is thoughtful and purposeful in its push toward reaches even the self-titled didn’t attain.

all souls

No doubt the band’s experience on tours with the likes of Tool and the Melvins and even a few years ago Fatso Jetson with Tornay pulling tip-your-hat double-duty will have played into this development, but that’s not the same as manifesting it either in the songwriting or in the studio as they do here, and the continued collaboration with Kasai is a factor as well. There is space in the mix that in quiet moments remains, and the fact that “You Just Can’t Win” can evolve from its subdued beginning into the torrent it becomes, that this shift happens so smoothly and with such natural-sounding efficiency, is evidence of the dynamic at the heart of their approach. One found Aguilar and Castellanos able to bring shades of similar methods into Totimoshi‘s later output, but bolstered as it is here by Trammell and Tornay, there’s no question the strength of All Souls comes from the root combination of its players and the songcraft around which they’ve gathered. It is at moments a sad record when one considers the subject matter — it was also recorded in 2019, so… simpler times? — but willing to be beautiful even in its rawest moments, and for that, nothing other than a triumph on the part of the band.

So what? So, in the immortal words of Rodney Dangerfield in Caddyshack, “let’s dance.” And in doing so, coincide with Laurie Lipton‘s also-ready-dead figures on Songs for the End of the World‘s front cover. In its final movement — seeming to begin with the backing vocals in post-midsection “Empires Fail” (though I guess one might pull back further to the start of side B with “You Just Can’t Win” as well) and running through the emotional heft of “Lights Out,” the headphone-ready intricacy of “Bridge the Sun” that builds off that heft, and the perhaps-epitaph that is “Coming with Clouds” at the end — the 10-track/44-minute outing most realizes its ambitions of mood and method, “Winds” having served as a foreshadow earlier on.

Ultimately, All Souls reside in a place between genres. They are a rock band, to be sure, but are they too punk for the rockers, too rock for the punkers, too progressive for the lunkheads, too raw for the proggers? I’m not sure it matters. What does, by contrast, is just how much All Souls, separate from the other acts in which its members have or currently still take part, have found their voice through these songs and what that means for them as they move forward. I won’t speculate except to note that even underpinning some of the most urgent moments on Songs for the End of the World, on “Sentimental Rehash,” or the rush in the apex of “You Just Can’t Win,” there is a patience and an attention to detail that complements the from-gut nature of the composition, and the balance between the two when tipped one way or the other is part of what makes All Souls as much themselves as they are here. If they can hold onto that and grow that as they so obviously have already, anyone who hears them will be lucky.

All Souls, “You Just Can’t Win” official video

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The Obelisk Show on Gimme Metal Playlist: Episode 42

Posted in Radio on September 18th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

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This show’s actually really cool. A couple weeks ago I put up a post on Thee Facebooks asking for recommendations of young heavy bands, and by young I meant under 30. I’ve felt like it’s a lot of dudes who look like me: headed to or past 40, grey in the beard, showing more hairline and gut than they’d probably prefer. Anyway, I got a ton of awesome suggestions from people and decided to put together this whole show based on those suggestions. You’ll see there are groups from all over the US and Europe, plus Nor from Nova Scotia, which I particularly dug, and there are a range of styles covered as well from straight up heavy rock to sludge to post-metal and jams.

And I’d love to talk more about how great that is and how wonderful it is that even in these shit-tastic, things-are-only-getting-worse-every-single-day, times in which we live creativity can flourish among disaffected youth — gotta have something when you’re about to enter an even worse job market than I did — but I can’t talk about any of it. Because the dog is whining in the kitchen and all I can think about is how fucking obnoxious she is. Can’t stand this fucking dog.

Anyway, I hope you enjoy the show.

The Obelisk Show airs 5PM Eastern today on the Gimme app or at http://gimmemetal.com

Full playlist:

The Obelisk Show – 09.18.20

Saola (Portland, OR) Red Witch Saola
Double Horse (Spain) Highlands Highlands*
Loud Silence (Athens) Flow With It Elements*
VT
Merlock (Spokane, WA) Prolapse That Which Speaks*
MAG (Poland) Pragnienie MAG*
Magnatar (New Hampshire) The Melting Skin of My First Born Son The Trail
SEED (Boston, MA) Hole Hole*
Faerie Ring (Indiana) Heavy Trip The Clearing
Liquid Signal (Kouts, Indiana) Rush Limbaugh Neuronicae
Mother Root (Seattle, WA) Stranger Neighbor The Baker Demos
Nor (Halifax, NS) Ruby Pin Ruby Pin
Adam (Perama, Greece) Enter: Oblivion Sun*
Misleading (Portugal) Karmemoto Misleading
Sugar Honey Ice Tea (Germany) Heat’n Up – C Tea Time*
VT
White Ward (Ukraine) Uncanny Delusions Love Exchange Failure
Gandalf the Green (UK) A Billion Faces A Billion Faces

The Obelisk Show on Gimme Metal airs every Friday 5PM Eastern, with replays Sunday at 7PM Eastern. Next new episode is Oct. 2 (subject to change). Thanks for listening if you do.

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