Friday Full-Length: Katatonia, Last Fair Deal Gone Down

Posted in Bootleg Theater on December 15th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

Katatonia, Last Fair Deal Gone Down (2001)

Primarily in my mind, 2001’s Last Fair Deal Gone Down is a winter album. Not at all Katatonia‘s first outing that one might think of as geared toward colder climes — their debut, after all, was 1993’s Dance of December Souls — but from the lachrymose unfolding of opener “Dispossession” and the weepy backing lines of e-bow guitar to Jonas Renkse‘s depressive vocal melodicism, the Stockholm group’s fifth long-player has always carried a chilly association. So of course it was released in May.

Issued via Peaceville Records, it’s not a record history looks back on with any particular favor, but it’s one I’d consider vastly underrated for the quality of its songs and atmosphere. More than a decade into their tenure around the core founding duo of Renkse and guitarist Anders Nyström at that point, Katatonia, like British cohorts Paradise Lost, Anathema and My Dying Bride — the so-called “Peaceville three,” of which one might think of Katatonia as the fourth but for the fact that they’re not from the UK — had cast off their earlier death/doom sound in favor of said focus on atmospheric approach. Last Fair Deal Gone Down, comprised of a CD-era swath of 11 songs spread over 50 minutes, marked the first time Nyström and Renkse joined forces with brothers Fredrik Norrman (guitar) and Mattias Norrman (bass), as well as drummer Daniel Liljekvist, and as a five-piece, they continued to flesh out the stylistic progression of 1999’s Tonight’s Decision, nestling into the unabashed emotionalism and hooks of songs like “We Must Bury You,” “Teargas,” “Tonight’s Music,” “The Future of Speech” and “Passing Bird” while referencing what was then modern alternative rock in a piece like “Sweet Nurse,” which carries echoes of Failure‘s “The Nurse Who Loved Me” from 1996’s Fantastic Planet and foreshadowing future delving into progressive doom on “I Transpire” and closer “Don’t Tell a Soul.” These pieces, as well as “Chrome” and the later “Clean Today,” arrive with a consistency of character thanks to a fluid and at times lush-sounding production, giving Last Fair Deal Gone Down a somewhat gentle touch despite being weighted in tone and at times strikingly aggressive, but it’s ultimately the songwriting that most stands the work out from Katatonia‘s vast discography and the output that their aforementioned peers were releasing at the turn of the century.

All formed roughly in the late ’80s and earliest ’90s, KatatoniaParadise LostAnathema and My Dying Bride helped greatly to establish what would become death/doom, but none of them would stay put entirely within that sphere. Paradise Lost went gothic and by 2001 were on their way toward trying their hand at radio-friendliness (because in 2001 that was a thing), and Anathema were in full-on depressive mode with A Fine Day to Exit, brooding and sad but not at all metal. My Dying Bride, who put out The Dreadful Hours the same year, arguably stayed closest to what one might think of as their core sound, but Katatonia‘s progression was particularly striking because rather than present its changes in flashes, it all carried such a sense of presentation. To listen to Last Fair Deal Gone Down, they’re clearly trying new things and working out ideas as they’d never done before, and yet the footing beneath them is so sure that there’s never any doubt they’ll pull it off in the end. And of course they do. There’s nothing angular about it. Nothing pokes you in the eye and says, “Hey, this is us doing something we haven’t done,” but the tracks are undeniably coming from a place beyond Tonight’s Decision or anything that preceded it. A strong focus on keyboard textures provide a hallmark of its era, but where others of their ilk clumsily made their way into the unknown, Katatonia on Last Fair Deal Gone Down move with a gracefulness that speaks not only to their maturity as artists, but to the idea of their having thoroughly worked on this material in fleshing it out to where they wanted it to be, refusing to make any album other than that which they wanted to make, and knowing how to realize their own vision in the actual recording process.

Katatonia have put out five-arguably-six records since Last Fair Deal Gone Down, and as it was their fifth album, it’s fair to think of it at this point as being part of a middle-period for the band. Emotional dramas — sometimes, admittedly, melodramas — would continue to persist in their sound from 2003’s Viva Emptiness across 2006’s triumphant The Great Cold Distance, 2009’s Night is the New Day (discussed here), 2012’s Dead End Kings and last year’s The Fall of Hearts (review here), and there are trace elements across all their offerings that one can follow all the way back to 1993 if one is willing to embark on such a winding path, but most importantly, they’ve never failed to on some level push themselves forward from album to album, whether it’s a matter of tightening songwriting around a new lineup or finding new modes of expression for the melancholy that seems to have taken up permanent residence in their souls. Not to wish anyone ill, but long may it reign.

As we move toward the darkest days of the year, this one seemed all the more fitting. I hope you agree, and as always, I hope you enjoy. Thanks for reading and listening.

Rougher start to the week than finish, and little question I have The Patient Mrs. to thank for that. I was kind of a wreck on Monday and Tuesday and a redirect Tuesday night involving more cloud bread and leftover pesto helped situate me for the last couple days. I’ve been in therapy for two weeks now, going Monday mornings, and this week was hard. My therapist wants me to see my primary care doctor to get an electrolyte panel and and EKG done because I have an eating disorder and I guess the concern is I could be doing damage to my heart. Fair enough. That appointment is next Thursday. I don’t anticipate there being any problems, but one never knows. Sometimes life is interesting.

In the meantime, I didn’t stay there long, and that was on purpose, but in my daily weigh-ins, I hit 150 pounds for the first time this week. When I started this whole low-carb thing about two years ago right around this time, I was 330 pounds, which means I’ve lost upwards of 180. It is utter fucking madness to see those numbers typed out.

Oh, I’m also five years sober as of last week. I didn’t even remember the date had passed. I think it was the ninth? Might’ve been the fifth. I don’t know. Either way though, that was Dec. 2012 that I “took a weekend off” drinking.

The Pecan continues his now-seven-week-long process of becoming a human being. Lots of poop, lots of puke, lots of laundry to be done. Blah blah blah, knee deep in baby stuff. He’s cute. The Patient Mrs. likes him. I like him. The Little Dog Dio isn’t so sure, but she’ll get on board eventually.

This is usually the part where I’d post my notes for next week. Well, at some point I’m going to review the next part of The Second Coming of Heavy and at some point I’m going to put up my top albums of the year, but I’m not sure when all that’s going to happen yet, so I’m keeping it vague for the moment. I’ve got a premiere slated for Bible Black Tyrant next Thursday, new videos for King Witch and Black Space Riders early in the week, and if I can I’d like to review the new C.O.C. too, but that might be the week after. Up in the air.

So there you have it. Ups and downs. Music. Life.

From my daze and days of semi-conscious infant fatigue, I wish you all the best as ever. The Patient Mrs. mom is coming north this weekend to watch The Pecan for a couple hours so we can go see the new Star Wars and I’m looking forward to that, and I’m doing a radio interview on Sunday, but other than that, some reading and work on year-end list stuff shall persist. You’ll probably see it coming, but it’ll be January before I know it.

Have a great and safe weekend, and once again, thanks for reading. Please don’t forget to check out the forum and radio stream.

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Wedge Post “Lucid” Video & Announce German Tour Dates

Posted in Bootleg Theater on December 14th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

wedge germany tour

German vintage-style heavy rockers Wedge are getting ready to tour the hell out of their home country. I mean, really. Touring the hell right out of it. The Berlin-based three-piece will issue their second long-player, Killing Tongue, via Heavy Psych Sounds on Feb. 9, and in following up their 2014 self-titled debut, they’ve begun to push into a sonic realm more of their own within the sphere of their genre. They’ve got shows booked in January and they’ll spend most of February on the road as well, without ever leaving Germany. Pretty wild. I can’t remember the last time I saw a string of dates this long in Europe just focused on one country. It’s 21 shows!

Because I’m an ignorant-ass American, I don’t know how far the cities listed below are from each other, but as an exercise, this seems like an awesome and intense way for Wedge to continue to hone their craft. I’m going to assume that at no point will they be spending more than, say, four or five hours, on a single drive between shows, and just by way of an example, Kiel to Hamburg is about 90 minutes. So yeah, they’re on tour, but without the stress of crossing long distances, Wedge will have all the more opportunity to focus on what’s important: playing the shows themselves. I’d suspect the flipside of that coin is an awful lot of hurry-up-and-wait before they get on stage every night, but that would happen even if they spent all that extra time traveling between countries in the EU, or anywhere else, for that matter.

I also don’t know the size of the venues they’re playing, but even if it’s small concert spaces and barrooms, the experience is invaluable, and aside from saying something about the economics and cultural situation in greater Europe — mostly it says “Germany gets all the shows” — it just seems to me like there’s an opportunity here for Wedge to make it something really special and grow as artists. It’s hardly their first tour — they were out on a couple weekender runs with Wucan in November on which five of the seven included dates were also in Germany — but even so. As far as playing live goes, it’s an interesting project. I wonder if they’d do it in any other countries as well. You know Heavy Psych Sounds could make that happen in Italy…

I had intended here to talk about the video and the sound of “Lucid” itself, which departs some of the post-Kadavar vibes of the self-titled, but got sidetracked thinking about the good times these guys could potentially have on this tour. I hope it goes well and would be interested to know if it changes how they feel about Killing Tongue by the time it’s done.

Should you happen to be in Germany in Jan./Feb., dates follow the video here.

Please enjoy:

Wedge, “Lucid” official video

Heavy Psych Sounds Records & Booking is proud to announce the WEDGE GERMAN TOUR 2018

a Magnificent Music production

The German vintage retro ’70 rock’n’roll band Wedge will tour Germany in winter 2018. Supporting their acts the rockers Big Foot. Wedge will play also new stuff of their sophomore album Kiling Tongue which will be released in february 2018 via Heavy Psych Sounds.

09.01. Hannover, Cafe Glocksee
10.01. Kiel, Schaubde
11.01. Hamburg, Hafenklang
12.01. Jena, Kulturbahnhof
13.01. Eisenach, Schlachthof
01.02. Nürnberg, Z-Bau
02.02. Frankfurt/M., Feinstaub
03.02. Heilbronn, Emma23
04.02. Freiburg, Slow Club
05.02. Tübingen, Münzgasse
07.02. Köln, Sonic Ballroom
08.02. Oldenburg, Polyester Klub
09.02. Husum, Speicher
10.02. Berlin, TBA
14.02. Leipzig, Black Label
15.02. München, Import/Export
17.02. Ravensburg, Haus am See
21.02. Göttingen, Dots
22.02. Bielefeld, Forum
23.02. Düsseldorf, R25
24.02. Münster, Rare Guitar

WEDGE was born into the spotlight in 2014. The trio was founded in Berlin by guitarist/singer Kiryk Drewinski (ex-Liquid Visions & ex-The Magnificent Brotherhood), drummer Holger “The Holg” Grosser & bassist/organist Dave Götz and named itself after the first stone tool of human history. Their sound is accordingly archaic, extremely effective, “made from solid rock” and, when used correctly, causes fire … especially live! WEDGE blends mainly elements of classic rock, 60s garage and some Psychedelic with a proper dose of joy while playing.

WEDGE IS
Kiryk Drewinski- Vocals / Guitars / Harmonica
Holger ‘The Holg’ Grosser – Drums / Percussion
David Götz – Bass / Organ / Electric Piano / Mellotron

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Seedy Jeezus Premiere “Communication Breakdown” Video; New 7″ Available Now

Posted in Bootleg Theater on December 13th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

seedy jeezus photo barry c douglas

In what will reportedly be a series of seven-inch offerings, Melbourne heavy psych rock trio Seedy Jeezus today issue a new single featuring a cover of Led Zeppelin‘s ‘Communication Breakdown.’ Born out of a languid jam between guitarist/vocalist Lex “Mr. Frumpy” Waterreus, bassist Paul Crick and drummer Mark Sibson, the new recording comes paired with “Bad Girl,” which was originally tracked for the band’s first record and never released. So basically it’s something brand new and something older and they’re both still new. Best of all worlds.

To mark the occasion — did I mention this was happening today? like, right now? okay, good — they’ve got a video together for the languid four-and-a-half-minute “Communication Breakdown” that pairs live shots of the band with manipulated footage from the 1967 Roger Corman movie The Trip, in seedy jeezus communication breakdown vinylwhich we see a drugged-out Peter Fonda running around basically looking for what in a clever twist turns out to be a Seedy Jeezus show. Very nice, gentlemen. I see what you did there. That’s a good bit of fun, but the highlight of course is the track itself, and as one awaits news of the next Seedy Jeezus long-player — which will hopefully arrive in 2018 amid however many 7″s the trio end up putting out — their take on the classic from Zeppelin‘s 1969 self-titled debut still manages to emphasize the personality of the Aussie outfit itself and how easily they make their way between straight-ahead aspects of heavy rock and trippier fare.

The numbers on the single are super-limited for those who’d chase down a physical version — the one with the obi strip, for example, is an edition of 50 — so if you’re hemming and hawing about picking one up, that would seem to be the wrong way to go. That’s not me trying to tell anybody how to live their life; I just don’t want to see you miss out if you don’t want to miss out. That’s all.

I’m thrilled to host the premiere of the “Communication Breakdown” video, which you can watch below, followed by more info on the 7″, how to get it, and of course the links to do so if you so choose.

Please enjoy:

Seedy Jeezus, “Communication Breakdown” official video

We are dropping a 7″ this Thursday. A cover of “Communication Breakdown.” The recording evolved from a spontaneous jam at Studio One B in Melbourne, and was recorded by Dave Warner. Lex went home and recorded some vocals on the jam and then it was handed to Tony Reed (Mos Generator) to mix and master at Heavyhead in Port Orchard. So we thought wed drop it to vinyl and threw “Bad Girl” (a track left from the debut album) on the other side. Tony engineered “Bad Girl” as well.

There will be only 50 Deluxe 7″ with an exclusive colour of vinyl, tarot style insert, Obi, insert poster and Stickers, and a Standard version of 7″ record, and insert.

Thursday midday these will be available for sale. Official Launch will be Friday Week at the B.East with Grasshole. So keep Dec. 22 free.

You can buy the 7″ and select the pick up at gig option to save postage.

Released on Blown Music in Australia and available from www.seedyjeezus.com until sold out.

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Risin Sabotage Post Video for “Sun is God”

Posted in Bootleg Theater on December 12th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

risin sabotage

Whatever your expectations might be for this video from Kiev-based desert-style groovers Risin Sabotage, put them aside. You remember how when South Park first came on in the late ’90s it was made with paper cutouts? Well, the clip below for “Sun is God” was no doubt animated on computer, but it has that same look and as its raw riffing plays out across an efficient four and a half minutes, we see the story of a Christian-looking congregation meeting their match as the band itself shows up in the form of horned dinosaurs, blows out the mass, burns everyone’s eyeballs and then turns the church into a rocketship and blasts it off, presumably into the sun. Yes it’s as awesome as it sounds. Yes you should watch it immediately.

The track comes from Risin Sabotage‘s 2017 album, Planet Dies, which saw LP issue through the ultra-respected Nasoni Records and a CD pressing from Japanese imprint Voron Nest, and which, if you’re so inclined, you can stream in its entirety at the bottom of this post. It’s definitely worth checking out for the barebones style of fuzz Risin Sabotage present, but make sure you hit up the thick shuffle of “Sun is God” first and dig into the video, because yeah, it’s definitely worth your time. Imaginative in its story, engaging in its look and creative use of color, and fitting to the track itself — I’m not going to disparage those who do the band-rocking-in-rehearsal-space video, because hey, at least they’re making an effort, but “Sun is God” reminds of what a difference some very obviously hard work can make when the results come out just right.

Clip and more info follow here. Please enjoy:

Risin Sabotage, “Sun is God” official video

Made by:
Michelle Feldman
Matous Valchar
Tomas Cerveny

Sun is God is a song from our latest album Planet Dies

Check it https://risinsabotage.bandcamp.com/

The second trip from our essence and conscious to the stars and galaxies through the deserts and stones of our existence. There are always a stepping stones on the way questioning about the life and death, bearing thoughts about the end and the beginning and who watches us on this way. No matter is it the line or the cycle pass it with Risin Sabotage accompanied.

Risin Sabotage is:
Igor Nediuzhyi (Drummer)
Kirill Chepilko (Vocals)
Vitya Panchishko (Guitar)
Valery Skorzhenko (Bass)

Risin Sabotage, Planet Dies (2017)

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Voron Nest on Bandcamp

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Friday Full-Length: Candlemass, Ancient Dreams

Posted in Bootleg Theater on December 8th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

Candlemass, Ancient Dreams (1988)

As the history of doom metal has been written and rewritten over the years, it’s easy to see how Swedish epic-doom innovators Candlemass have been pushed to the side. This is due in part to trend pulling away from their often grandiose fare in favor of rawer cultism derived from garage rock and/or the original psychedelic era, and due in part to the band themselves, whose on-again-off-again reunion-making has been going on for more than a decade marked by sparse touring and releases that at this point are good enough and unheralded enough for one to legitimately consider them underrated. This, however, does nothing to take away from the landmark nature of the Swedes’ early works.

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before — or, better yet, don’t — but it’s the first three records. In the case of Candlemass, I’d even go first four, considering the landmark shift in lineup that took place between the first and second, as original vocalist Johan Längquist stepped out to make way for the arrival of Messiah Marcolin, who would become one of doom’s defining frontmen. Marcolin made his debut with Candlemass on Nightfall in 1987 and would go on to leave his mark on the genre across that album, 1988’s Ancient Dreams, and 1989’s Tales of Creation before departing the band, who continued on first with Thomas Vikström on 1992’s Chapter VI and then Björn Flodkvist on 1998’s Dactylis Glomerata and 1999’s From the 13th Sun before finally running out of steam and calling it quits for a few years.

Now, I will never, ever, ever take anything away from Längquist‘s contributions to Candlemass‘ first LP, 1986’s Epicus Doomicus Metallicus. One fantasizes a day when founding bassist and main songwriter Leif Edling orchestrates a reunion with Längquist for a studio release, and all the more after Längquist delivered such a striking performance a few years back captured on the Epicus Doomicus Metallicus Live at Roadburn 2011 LP (review here), but the stage presence and all-in charisma of Marcolin isn’t to be understated. Amid Edling‘s classic, almost medieval post-Sabbathian riffing on songs like “Darkness in Paradise” and the “Mob Rules”-esque “Bells of Acheron,” Marcolin‘s command of Ancient Dreams on levels of technicality and chemistry is unflinching.

Even the chugging gallop of rhythm guitarist Mats “Mappe” Björkman and the shred of Lars “Lasse” Johansson on side B opener “Bearer of Pain” do nothing to hold Marcolin back. I’m not sure anything could. His voice pushes so easily into operatic vibrato that he not only deserves mention among the most powerful of metal singers — consider Ronnie James DioRobert Lowe, Hansi Kürsch, etc. — and after establishing himself on Nightfall with an inimitable performance on cuts like “At the Gallows End,” “Samarithan” and “Bewitched,” he’d continue to set a nigh on impossible standard across Ancient Dreams beginning with the speedy opener “Mirror Mirror” and continuing through the winding lumber of the title-track — speaking of underrated, drummer Jan Lindh‘s propensity for giving a crawling progression an underlying sense of motion is second to none among classic metal-style percussionists — all the way into the murk of closer “Epistle No. 81,” with lyrics written by 18th Century Swedish poet Carl Michael Bellman.

The bleak minor-key intro and the ensuing headbang-ready chug of “A Cry from the Crypt” seem to be a direct answer to “At the Gallows End” from the record preceding, but Marcolin takes the melody elsewhere, soaring in the dramatic verses as only he could, and whether it’s the brief subdued movement in the second half of “Darkness in Paradise” or the I-wield-this-storm wizardry atop the double-kick circa two minutes into “Bells of Acheron,” Ancient Dreams makes it plain just how special the dynamic in Candlemass was at this stage in their career. There was doom before them and there’s certainly been a lot of doom since, but the accomplishments of Candlemass between 1986 and 1990 are not to be understated when it comes either to the quality of Edling‘s songcraft or the performances of those with which he surrounded himself. These albums, while not necessarily timeless in their production, remain stunning these 30 years later.

Marcolin would of course rejoin Candlemass for their 2005 reunion that found them signing to Nuclear Blast and issuing their self-titled full-length, but was gone again by the time 2007’s King of the Grey Islands ultimately came together, with previously-mentioned Solitude Aeturnus singer Robert Lowe stepping in last-minute to fill the void as few could. Lowe would front Candlemass for that record and the two that followed, 2009’s Death Magic Doom (review here) and 2012’s Psalms for the Dead (review here), as the band moved from Nuclear Blast to Napalm Records for the latter, and would himself leave, only to have his position taken by Mats Levén (ex-Therion, among many others), who appeared on last year’s four-song Death Thy Lover EP (review here), which one can only hope was a test-run ahead of a full-length to arrive at some later date. As it would be six years after their last full-length, 2018 would be as good a time as any so far as I’m concerned.

As always, I hope you enjoy, and of course, doom on.

Tonight, I make pesto. It will be part of the first meal I’ve had since last Saturday not made of protein powder, and it will happen in a multi-stage process. First, I make garlic paste.

This involves store-bought roasted garlic, potentially my own fresh-roasted garlic as well — peel the cloves, foil over a ramekin with olive oil, water, black pepper; in the oven at 350 for an hour or so — plus fresh garlic, garlic powder, and a bit of olive oil. It all goes in the food processor and doesn’t come out until it looks like smooth peanut butter from an alternate universe. Should have the texture of a spread, in other words. It is delicious and lethal.

Once that’s done and in the fridge — I have a special container ready to go because I used regular tupperware for it once and had to run it through the dishwasher like six times to get the garlic smell out — then the pesto process begins in earnest. I’ll cut basil from what remains of the summer’s plant which I brought in out of the cold and have been doing my best to keep alive with a grow light and regular watering, to some avail. I have a couple store-bought packs of basil for backup as well. Once trimmed and washed, that will go in the recently-scrapped-out food processor with olive oil, more garlic, fresh-roasted pine nuts and Brazil nuts, red pepper flakes, maybe a hot pickled ring pepper or two, some onion powder, a light flourish of romano and parmesan cheeses, a splash of egg whites for thickness, salt, and indeed some of that garlic paste I just made, and be combined pretty much until it looks right. It’ll be light green with darker flecks of basil and will taste like a multi-tiered gift from the gods.

Some will go in a bowl for tonight’s meal, the rest in the fridge for whenever and some more, hopefully, in the freezer for later use. Tonight’s will be combined with more garlic paste — I’m the only one having it, so #garlicworship will be in full effect — and put to use topping four pieces of cloud bread that The Patient Mrs. will bake for me. If you don’t know what cloud bread is, it’s basically an egg-based low carb bread substitute, made my separating whites and yolks, mixing in cream cheese and a few other ingredients, recombining the eggs and baking. There are a million recipes around for it. This is where the garlic paste will really come into play, as I will throw a far-beyond-copious amount into the batter, along with some red pepper flakes, before it goes into bake for about half an hour or so. I prefer it well done because that way it holds up better to the pesto that I’m about to slather all over it.

The recipe we use and the proportions will result in four pieces of cloud bread each about the size of half a burger roll, give or take, and I will eat them with pesto and maybe a couple extra cloves of roasted garlic if I’m feeling fancy/will let myself have it, and that will be dinner. I’m looking forward to it the way I’m looking forward to the next YOB record.

It feels well enough earned after this week. The Patient Mrs. and I had my father up from North Carolina where he lives to meet The Pecan this week. He and I did not speak for well over a decade, and though we’ve been in touch for years at this point and this visit was by no means the least pleasant interaction he and I have ever shared, let’s just say the relationship is a work in progress. Garlic-pesto cloud bread: achieved.

Hoping otherwise for a quiet weekend. Some of The Patient Mrs.’ family might come up, her mother or her sister and company, but that’s fine. They know the drill at this point: Quiet hours start at 7 — everyone out. The Pecan needs wind-down time and, frankly, so do we by that point. He turned six weeks old on Wednesday. Has gotten big already. I hear that keeps happening for a while. Should be interesting.

Next week begins list season around here. I figure to do the cover-art list first, since that’s always a fun one. Here’s everything in the notes so far for the week, subject to change as always:

Mon.: 2017 artwork list; new Windhand video.
Tue.: Telescope review.
Wed.: Pretty Lightning review.
Thu.: Comacozer review.
Fri.: Borracho review.

I might jumble some of that around if premieres come along, but you can pretty much expect the next few weeks to be quiet in that regard, since the bulk of the music industry has gone into hibernation until January by now. Fair enough. Gives me some time to catch up ahead of the next Quarterly Review — likely to happen the first week of next month — and get the rest of the lists situated. I’m still not sure what my pick for album of the year is.

Speaking of, thanks to the 130-plus of you who’ve contributed to the 2017 Year-End Poll so far. That is amazing and hugely appreciated. Please keep the lists coming. There are a few tight races and I’m interested to see how they might resolve by the end of the month.

Alright, this post has gone on long enough. With pesto daydreams, I wish you a wonderful and safe weekend, whatever you might be up to. All the best from me and mine to you and yours. We’ll see you back here Monday for that list and more good times.

Thanks for reading, and please don’t forget to dig into the forum and radio stream.

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Sergio Ch. Premieres Video for “Tomatito”

Posted in Bootleg Theater on December 7th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

sergio ch

Surrounded by amps in a studio with cameras set up around him switching from fixed position to fixed position, the new video for Sergio Chotsourian‘s what would seem to be an as-it-was-recorded version of the Los Natas song “Tomatito” demonstrates once again that that band’s former frontman always seems to have something in the works. Some new project, some new release either of his own projects or through his South American Sludge Records imprint, some new solo album, or in this case, apparently a couple minutes to spare and the simple will to make a new video happen. Directed by Pablo Fernandez, it’s not unlike the clip posted last year for “El Laud” from his second solo full-length, Aurora (review here), in terms of what’s actually happening — i.e., he’s playing the song directly to the viewer — but to get a rare updated take on an older Los Natas track, you’re certainly not about to hear me complain.

“Tomatito” originally opened the much-missed, Argentina-based heavy rockers exploratory set Toba Trance II, issued in 2004 via Nasoni Records. Its foundation was acoustic then as well, and it gave a humble start to the companion-piece to Toba Trance I — the two offerings would eventually be compiled together on CD — and set a contemplative mood ahead of the jammy explorations that followed as the trio made their way through extended pieces like “Traicion en el Arrocero” and “Humo de Marihuana.” Working under his long-established nom-de-guerre of Sergio Ch., Chotsourian here brings a new intimacy to the piece while also making it more expansive via vocal delay and an amplified acoustic sound that lends weight to the strum at its root. The melody, wistful as ever, comes through clearer in the newer version as well, and where previously “Tomatito” was almost too easy to pass over for the spaciousness of what followed on Toba Trance II, here it becomes a work of almost anthemic folk, sounding as fresh in its delivery as it does timeless in its structure.

I’ve had the pleasure of hosting numerous premieres for Chotsourian over the last couple years for videos, audio tracks and whatnot. This is not happenstance. I consider myself a huge fan of his work and I’m happy to continually post about it in its various manifestations. One never quite knows what might be coming next from Sergio Ch., but whatever he delivers, he delivers.

Please enjoy “Tomatito” below:

Sergio Ch., “Tomatito” official video

VIDEO OFICIAL DEL DISCO DE LOS NATAS – “TOBA TRANCE”
PRODUCIDO POR SERGIO CH.
VIDEO DIRIGIDO Y REALIZADO POR PABLO FERNANDEZ

EKTRO RECORDS
NASONI RECORDS
OUI OUI RECORDS
SOUTH AMERICAN SLUDGE RECORDS

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Kayleth Premiere “Forgive” Video; Colossus out Next Month

Posted in Bootleg Theater on December 6th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

kayleth

As previously announced, Verona-based heavy rockers Kayleth will release their new album, Colossus, on Jan. 12 via Argonauta Records. Of the 12 tracks included on the Italian five-piece’s second full-length, I’m especially glad that it was ‘Forgive’ that they decided to give visual accompaniment. It’s a sensible choice, since among its peers on Colossus in hook-laden tracks like the rolling “Mankind’s Glory,” the fuzz-stomping “The Angry Man” and the atmospherically ranging “The Spectator,” it emphasizes the group’s blend of space and riff-fueled heavy rocks and the vitality with which they’re combined in some of the record’s best moments.

The synth of Michele Montanari is a prominent factor in making that happen, and it comes through on “Forgive” as well as the subsequent “Ignorant Song” just how much that’s the case. kayleth colossusWhat could easily otherwise be positioned as post-Kyuss/Dozer desert-style riffing is given an ethereal edge thanks to the fourish of keys, and as vocalist Enrico Gastaldo acts as the guiding hand through the barrage of careening riffs from guitarist Massimo Dalla Valle, the rhythm section of bassist Alessandro Zanetti and drummer Daneile Pedrollo more than capably handle the turns the riffs present, whether they might arrive in a slower-unfolding piece like “Pitchy Mantra” or in the nod-ready momentum-building opener “Lost in the Swamp,” which signals early to riff-hounds that they’re about to be in good company for the ensuing 59-minute stretch.

That’s not an insignificant run for Kayleth to make on their second LP, but like the robot walking around in the video for “Forgive,” they manage to cover an awful lot of ground in the time they have, and while there are some tracks that might reiterate a point, leading one to think that efficiency is still an emerging factor in their sound, the fact of the matter is they’re nearly a decade on from their first EP release, so it’s not like they’re an inexperienced band at this point. Maybe they just had a lot to say. That happens sometimes, and while they border on the unmanageable in the album’s stretch, the fact that later pieces like “Solitude” and “The Angry Man” offer so much punch alongside their resilient spaciousness staves off redundancy and leaves Colossus that much more fulfilling on the whole.

You can check out the premiere of the clip for “Forgive” below, followed by more info from the PR wire.

Please enjoy:

Kayleth, “Forgive” official video premiere

After the massive feedback of the deluxe edition of their latest album “Space Muffin” during the past Summer, KAYLETH are now ready to unleash their new effort. An intensive and unique blend of Stoner Rock sonorities, Sci-Fi atmospheres, stellar vocals and exciting guitar riffings, to build-up their best album to date.

KAYLETH “Colossus” will be released on CD/DD by ARGONAUTA Records and available from January 12th, 2018. Preorders run here: http://bit.ly/2hKjhFu

Kayleth is:
Massimo Dalla Valle: Guitar
Alessandro Zanetti: Bass
Daniele Pedrollo: Drums
Enrico Gastaldo: Vocals
Michele Montanari: Synth

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Sun Voyager Premiere “Caves of Steel” Video; Debut LP Seismic Vibes Available to Preorder

Posted in Bootleg Theater, Whathaveyou on December 5th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

sun voyager photo by seth applebaum

I don’t even want to talk about how long I’ve been waiting for the debut album from Sun Voyager, but suffice it to say, it’s been a while. The New York-based heavy psych trio’s early EPs, 2015’s Lazy Daze tape (review here) and 2013’s Mecca (review here), brought immersive thrills delivered with the inimitable energy of youth, and splits with Greasy Hearts (discussed here) in 2014 and The Mad Doctors (discussed here) last year only furthered anticipation. Though it’s taken them a fair minute to get there, the band will issue their first long-player in the form of Seismic Vibes via King Pizza Records on April 20, 2018. The album actually exists. You can preorder it now direct from the label.

And I suggest you do. Not just because the numbers are limited, but because Seismic Vibes — about which I’m of course hoping sun voyager seismic vibesto have much more coverage over the course of the next several months — indeed follows through on the potential Sun Voyager has continued to show over the last several years, drawing from grunge, psych, shoegaze, post-rock, heavy riffing, garage stylization and beyond and mashing it all together into songs that are neither pretentious nor overly wrought. A cut like “Hair Brained” howls  and shuffles with should-get-TeePeeRecords‘-attention abandon, while “Open Road” sets a foundational hook early and the later “Psychic Lords” drifts languidly into a vision of heavy indie/neopsych to lead into charged finale “God is Dead.”

That song, or rather a shorter, four-piece version of it, opened Lazy Daze, and opener “Trip” was unveiled earlier this year with a prior album update, so not all of Seismic Vibes will be unfamiliar to those who’ve been keeping up, but the 34-minute run Sun Voyager bring to bear feels in its initial impressions like it’s been worth the wait, and I couldn’t be more thrilled to host the preorder and tour-date announcement below, as well as the video for the uptempo “Caves of Steel,” which boasts one of the record’s catchiest choruses. You’re going to want to watch it more than once, so be ready to commit more than the actual three and a half minutes of the song itself. That’s really just the beginning of it.

All info follows the clip on the player below, courtesy of the PR wire.

Please enjoy:

Sun Voyager, “Caves of Steel” official video premiere

Sun Voyager Premiere “Caves of Steel”; Seismic Vibes Available to Preorder

Hudson Valley natives Sun Voyager are thrilled to premiere the video for their new single, “Caves of Steel,” off the debut album Seismic Vibes coming out April 20th on King Pizza Records.

This eight-song journey is Sun Voyager’s first true long player and it’s a planet-shattering thunder mountain possibly too nasty for your turntable. It was recorded by Paul Ritchie in Neptune, NJ, produced by Sun Voyager, Paul Ritchie, and keyboardist Evan Heinze, mastered by Alan Douches at West West Side Music in New Windsor, NY, and album art was designed by Boston’s TJ Freda.

Seismic Vibes is available for preorder today on vinyl with exclusive options limited to 100 White, 100 Gold, as well as Interstellar Black.

Tracklist:
1. Trip
2. Open Road
3. Caves of Steel
4. Stellar Winds
5. Hair Brained
6. Too Much
7. Psychic Lords
8. God is Dead

The name “Caves of Steel” is taken from an Isaac Asimov novel about robots living among us in society and the music video was directed by Danghul Bangyana filmed mostly at Tweed Mountain in Nyack, NY.

Catch Sun Voyager on tour this month:
12/7 – Knoxville, TN – The Pilot Light
12/8 – Boone, NC – Black Cat Burrito
12/9 – Richmond, VA – Lucy Lane
12/10 – Montclair, NJ – The Meatlocker
12/11 – Saratoga Springs, NY – One Caroline
12/12 – Allston, MA – Great Scott
12/13 – Brooklyn, NY – Zone One at Elsewhere*
* – w/ Elephant Stone

Sun Voyager is:
Carlos Francisco
Stefan Mersch
Kyle Beach

Preorder link: http://kingpizzarecords.storenvy.com/products/22483149-sun-voyager-seismic-vibes-lp

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