The Obelisk Show on Gimme Metal Playlist: Episode 60

Posted in Radio on May 28th, 2021 by JJ Koczan

the obelisk show banner

So this is episode 60 of the bi-weekly The Obelisk Show on Gimme Metal. Yeah, I know the banner above still says ‘Radio.’ I think it still gets the point across and I haven’t had time to make a new banner. In any case, I never would’ve guessed that I’d still be doing this thing for well over two years at this point. I don’t remember the date of the first episode, but I started keeping track of playlists at episode 06 and that was Dec. 2018. Was a pretty good show, too.

I’m not really doing anything special for the ‘anniversary,’ such as it is. But the show kind of works in stages, pushing into some progressive and/or psychedelic black metal before diving into heavy Americana, melancholia and doom and ultimately rounding out with SÂVER, whose 19-minute “Dimensions Lost, Obscured by Aeons” was too perfect a capper not to include. It’s something a little different than the usual heavy rock or psych or doom fare, but still tangential. Oh, and The Pecan puts a guest appearance in for the voice tracks. Always nice when he shows up.

Thanks for listening and/or reading. As always, I hope you enjoy.

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

Full playlist:

The Obelisk Show – 05.28.21

Vouna Hightest Mountain Atropos
Archaeopteris Visions Chaotiques Visions Chaotiques d’un Songe Halluncine
Deathspell Omega Renegade Ashes The Furnaces of Palingenesia
VT1
Olson, Van Cleef, Williams The Cool Mule Unleash the Hoof’s Revenge
All Them Witches See You Next Fall Nothing as the Ideal
Earth An inquest Concerning Teeth Hex: Or Printing in the Infernal Method
Crippled Black Phoenix In the Night Ellengaest
Convocation Portal Closed Ashes Coalesce
VT2
Enslaved As Fire Swept Clean the Earth Below the Lights
Sur Austru Ucenicii din Hârtop I Obâr?ie
Oranssi Pazuzu Tyhjyyden sakramentti Mestarin kynsi
Glacial Tomb Worldsflesh Worldsflesh
VT3
SÂVER Dimensions Lost, Obscured by Aeons Emerald

The Obelisk Show on Gimme Metal airs every Friday 5PM Eastern, with replays Sunday at 7PM Eastern. Next new episode is June 11 (subject to change). Thanks for listening if you do.

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All Them Witches Announce West Coast Tour Dates with Blackwater Holylight

Posted in Whathaveyou on May 5th, 2021 by JJ Koczan

all them witches

Sneaky devils that they are, I wouldn’t be surprised if All Them Witches had a new record out or at least on the way by the time they hit the road with Blackwater Holylight next January. You never know with these cats. The Nashvillian outfit recently announced they’d issue the triple-vinyl Live on the Internet — 3LP is the new 2LP — for Record Store Day, and they recently announced that they’ve been rejoined by Rhodes pianist/violinist Allan Van Cleave, much to the evident joy of social media’s hivemind.

Their announcement of the tour below is good news because, well, it’s a tour. Further, it re-pairs All Them Witches with Blackwater Holylight, and I don’t know about you, but I’m still stinging from not getting to see the two bands together in the lost-to-trauma Spring of last year. If their doing the West Coast in January/February means they’ll hit the East Coast after, well, that’s a lovely thought and speculation I’m willing to indulge, at least for myself. Don’t quote me on it. Or that bit about the album. Don’t quote me on anything.

Among the curiosities present about how All Them Witches are moving forward into the next year-plus, I’m interested to see how/if/how much they interpret material from 2020’s Nothing as the Ideal (review here) to the stage as a four-piece — it was their first and will apparently be their only album as a trio — for these shows. So much to see, so much to hear. Such wonders.

Dates follow:

all them witches tour

NEW TOUR DATES ANNOUNCED!!!
w/ Blackwater Holylight
1/21/22-Dallas TX-Trees Dallas
1/22/22-Austin TX-Mohawk Austin
1/23/22-San Antonio TX-Paper Tiger
1/25/22-Phoenix AZ-Crescent Ballroom
1/27/22-Solana Beach CA-Belly Up
1/28/22-Los Angeles CA-The Regent
1/29/22-San Francisco CA-The Fillmore
1/31/22-Portland OR-Wonder Ballroom
2/1/22-Vancouver BC-Commodore Ballroom
2/2/22-Seattle WA-Showbox Presents
2/5/22-Denver CO-Gothic Theatre
2/6/22-Fort Collins CO-Aggie Theatre

All Them Witches is:
Charles Michael Parks, Jr – bass, vocals
Ben McLeod – guitar, vocals
Robby Staebler – drums, vocals
Allan Van Cleave – Rhodes piano, keys, violin

http://allthemwitches.bandcamp.com/
http://www.facebook.com/allthemwitches
https://www.instagram.com/allthemwitchesband/
http://www.allthemwitches.org/

All Them Witches, Nothing as the Ideal (2020)

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All Them Witches Rejoined by Allan Van Cleave; Live Album Due in July

Posted in Whathaveyou on April 11th, 2021 by JJ Koczan

all them witches

Former and once again All Them Witches Rhodes pianist/multi-instrumentalist Allan Van Cleave wouldn’t be the first — nor, I very much suspect, the last — to have made some manner of reconsideration of his creative existence throughout the course of 2020, though whether or not the pandemic ultimately played a passive or active role in his rejoining the group, I don’t know. In any case, the original four-piece lineup of the band quickly announced their return on social media in a characteristically short post, noting Van Cleave‘s “return from orbit.” Too bad he missed out on recording at Abbey Road. I bet they have some bitching vintage keys.

2020’s Nothing as the Ideal (review here) was released as a three-piece after the band’s brief stint with Jonathan Draper in a replacement role on 2018’s ATW (review here). Van Cleave‘s last album with the band was the particularly lush Sleeping Through the War (review here) in 2017, and at the time, it was said to be touring life weighing on him. All Them Witches continued to move forward, first with Draper, then as a three-piece, examining new avenues of ambience and experimentalism in Nothing as the Ideal in a way they never had before while remaining true to the jammier side of their core style.

Touring? Well that’s not really a concern at this point, is it? All Them Witches have a couple dates booked, including a Nashville show on Halloween that carries the “return to normal” vibe that much more in the context of Van Cleave coming back. In addition to this, the upcoming limited live 3LP Live on the Internet, capturing audio from their livestreams a few months ago, has been unveiled and will be issued in July for one or the other of the Record Store Day events. I guess that might just serve as the definitive document of the trio incarnation of the band, though I doubt it was embarked on as a project with that intention.

All Them Witches have made a career out of existing in flux on one level or another, beating back stagnation with consistent forward progress in a way few bands do, heavy or otherwise. More than a decade and six albums on from their start, I still won’t dare to predict what they’ll do next, beyond the immediate announcements, anyhow.

Speaking of:

all them witches live on the internet

ATW is pleased to announce Allan Van Cleave has returned from orbit and safely landed behind the keys!! Come see for yourself…

Tickets for our Oct. 31 show at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville are ON SALE NOW!

TIX HERE: https://ryman.com/event/all-them-witches/

We are STOKED to be part of this year’s @Recordstoreday DROPS, with our new RSD exclusive release; LIVE ON THE INTERNET. A 16-song set (chosen from our only 2 live performances of 2020) pressed on 6 variations of color vinyl across a 3 LP set!

Available on July 17 ONLY at your favorite independent record store.

LIMITED TO 6,000 COPIES WORLDWIDE
LIMITED TO 2,500 COPIES IN NORTH AMERICA

All Them Witches is:
Charles Michael Parks, Jr – bass, vocals
Ben McLeod – guitar, vocals
Robby Staebler – drums, vocals
Allan Van Cleave – Rhodes piano, keys, violin

http://allthemwitches.bandcamp.com/
http://www.facebook.com/allthemwitches
https://www.instagram.com/allthemwitchesband/
http://www.allthemwitches.org/

All Them Witches, Nothing as the Ideal (2020)

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The Obelisk Presents: THE BEST OF 2020

Posted in Features on December 31st, 2020 by JJ Koczan

london-news-etching-1854-newcastle-upon-tyne

[PLEASE NOTE: These are not the results of the year-end poll, which is ongoing. If you haven’t contributed your list to the cause yet, please do so here.]

Invariably, the ultimate measure of 2020 will be in lives and livelihoods lost around the world. I have nothing to add to the discourse of the COVID-19 pandemic that others haven’t said in more articulate and precise language. Suffice it to note that 2020 was the year that the very concept of “unprecedented” itself became trite.

One does not have to look far to find positives amid the devastation. Creativity continues to flourish. Art cannot be killed. Even locked away from each other in quarantine, artists will continue to reach out, to collaborate, to fulfill the human need for expression that has driven the species since cave drawings and will no doubt be the ruins we leave behind us when we’re gone.

In underground music, it was simply overwhelming. And though I’ll admit it was hard at times to listen to music and divorce it from the larger context of what was happening in the world — it was there like a background buzz — this year reinforced how necessary music is, not only as an escape or a source of income for those who make/promote it, but as an integral component of life and community. Absences have been keenly felt.

I won’t try to sate you with platitudes, to say “things will get better.” Maybe they will, maybe they won’t. One year turning to the next does not fix broken systems and it does not cure raging plagues. It’s just a number. Arbitrary except as a convenient marker for things like this, births, deaths, and so on. Bookkeeping.

Before I turn you over to the lists: Please be kind in the comments if you choose to leave one. To me. To other people. To yourself. These lists are culled from my listening preference and what I consider of critical importance. But I’m one person. If there’s something you feel has been left out, say so. I ask you only to do so in a spirit of friendship rather than argument. Thank you in advance.

ukmedsnorx.com/zopiclone
ukmedsnorx.com/zolpidem

Okay:

The Top 50 Albums of 2020

#50-31

50. Sun Crow, Quest for Oblivion
49. Atramentus, Stygian
48. Arcadian Child, Protopsycho
47. Fuzz, III
46. Jointhugger, I Am No One
45. Dirt Woman, The Glass Cliff
44. Switchblade Jesus, Death Hymns
43. Foot, The Balance of Nature Shifted
42. Hymn, Breach Us
41. IAH, III
40. Lord Fowl, Glorious Babylon
39. Acid Mess, Sangre de Otros Mundos
38. 1000mods, Youth of Dissent
37. Deathwhite, Grave Image
36. Soldati, Doom Nacional
35. Cortez, Sell the Future
34. Kadavar, The Isolation Tapes
33. Black Rainbows, Cosmic Ritual Supertrip
32. Shadow Witch, Under the Shadow of a Witch
31. Insect Ark, The Vanishing

Notes: To say nothing of the honorable mentions that follow the rest of the list below, immediately we see the problem of so-many-albums-not-enough-space. People talk about a top 50 as ridiculous, like there’s no way you can like that much music. Bullshit. I agonized over how to fit Sun Crow on this list because their Quest for Oblivion felt like it deserved to be here. Ditto that for Arcadian Child. And the achievements of bands like Kadavar, 1000mods and Switchblade Jesus and Insect Ark in breaking the boundaries of their own aesthetics deserve every accolade they can get, and likewise those who progressed in their sound like Cortez, Shadow Witch, Lord Fowl, Hymn, Foot, Black Rainbows, Deathwhite and IAH. Add to that the debuts from Atramentus, Dirt Woman, Jointhugger, Acid Mess and Sergio Ch.’s Soldati, and you’ve got a batch of 20 records — some born of this year’s malaise, some working in spite of it — that vary in sound but are working to push their respective styles to new places one way or the other.

30. High Priestess, Casting the Circle

high priestess casting the circle

Released by Ripple Music. Reviewed May 5.

There was no shortage of anticipation for what L.A. cultists High Priestess would do to follow their 2018 self-titled debut (review here), and the three-piece did not disappoint, instead gave a ritual mass that included the 17-minute concept piece “Invocation” alongside infectious and ethereal melodies like “The Hourglass.” And now that the circle’s been cast? Seems like they can do anything.

29. Polymoon, Caterpillars of Creation

Polymoon Caterpillars of Creation

Released by Svart Records. Reviewed Oct. 12.

High-powered cosmic metal from Finland pulling apart heavy psychedelia on an atomic level with an urgency that speaks of youth, progress and an ingrained need for exploration? Sign me up. A lot of bands on this list put out their first album this year. There are few for whom my hopes are as high as they are for Polymoon. If you haven’t yet heard Caterpillars of Creation, do.

28. Sons of Otis, Isolation

Sons of Otis Isolation

Released by Totem Cat Records. Reviewed Sept. 30.

Of the sundry horrors 2020 wrought, a new album from long-running Toronto three-piece Sons of Otis was an unexpected positive, and their ultra-spaced, murky riffs on their first studio album since 2012’s Seismic (review here, also here) launched like a slow-motion escape pod of righteous doom (s)tonality. There will never be another Sons of Otis. Be thankful for everything you get from them.

27. Lamp of the Universe, Dead Shrine

Lamp of the Universe Dead Shrine

Released by Projection Records. Reviewed May 25.

Organ, Mellotron, sitar, acoustic and electric guitars, various percussion elements, and of course the inimitable fragility in Craig Williamson‘s voice itself — the ingredients for Lamp of the Universe‘s Dead Shrine were familiar enough for those familiar with the one-man outfit running more than two decades, but the lush acid folk created remains a standout the world over. Dead Shrine was a much-needed gift of peace and meditation.

26. BleakHeart, Dream Griever

bleakheart dream griever

Released by Sailor Records. Reviewed Nov. 18.

The debut album from Colorado’s BleakHeart collected pieces united by melody and overarching atmosphere, positioned stylistically somewhere around heavygaze or heavy post-rock, but feeling less limited to genre bounds than some others working in a similar sphere. As a first outing, it brought a promise of things to come even as the depths of its mix seemed to swallow the listener entirely, equal parts serving claustrophobia and escapism.

25. Pale Divine, Consequence of Time

Pale Divine Consequence of Time

Released by Cruz Del Sur Music. Reviewed June 3.

There is not enough space here to properly commend Pale Divine founding guitarist/vocalist Greg Diener on how much he opened up the band by bringing in his and drummer Darin McCloskey‘s former Beelzefuzz bandmate Dana Ortt on shared guitar, vocal and songwriting duties. Completed by Ron “Fezz” McGinnis on bass/vocals, Pale Divine are a refreshed and ready powerhouse of American traditional doom.

24. Uncle Woe, Phantomescence

uncle woe phantomescence

Released by Packard Black Productions. Reviewed Oct. 21.

One is going to have to get used to the idea of Uncle Woe residing in the places between, I think. An inward-looking cosmic doom that’s likewise morose and reaching, opaque and translucent, Phantomescence could be almost troubling in its feeling of off-kilter expression. Yet that’s exactly what multi-instrumentalist/vocalist Rain Fice was going for. Thriving on contradiction, exploratory, and individualized. Start from doom, move outward.

23. REZN, Chaotic Divine

rezn chaotic divine

Released by Off the Record Label. Reviewed Oct. 15.

I don’t feel like I’m cool enough to offer any substantive comment on what Chicago’s REZN do, but their sax-laced heavy psychedelia comes across warm and is invitingly languid while still delivered with a sense of energy and purpose. It rolls and you want to roll with it, so you do. They were clearly hurt by not being able to tour this year, as were audiences for not seeing them. Call them neo-stoner metal or whatever you want, these songs deserve to be played live.

22. Ruff Majik, The Devil’s Cattle

ruff majik the devils cattle

Released by Mongrel Records. Reviewed Oct. 29.

A revamped lineup for South African desert-ish heavy rockers Ruff Majik brought producer Evert Snyman in as co-conspirator with frontman/principal songwriter Johni Holiday, and found the former trio working as a five-piece with a broader sound underscored by an electric sense of purpose and willingness to push themselves to places they hadn’t gone before. Their third record, it seemed as well to be a new beginning, and they met the challenge head-on.

21. Curse the Son, Excruciation

Curse The Son Excruciation

Released by Ripple Music. Reviewed June 8.

The underheralded children of rolling fuzz riffage, Connecticut’s Curse the Son found new depths of emotion to bring to Excruciation — and I do mean “depths.” Dark times for dark times. Fueled by personal hardship, turmoil, motorcycle accidents and a pervasive sense of struggle, the LP was nonetheless a triumph of their songwriting and brought new melodic character to their established largesse of tone. Your loss if you missed it.

20. The Atomic Bitchwax, Scorpio

The Atomic Bitchwax Scorpio

Released by Tee Pee Records. Reviewed Aug. 26.

Business as usual in ferocious heavy/speed rock from The Atomic Bitchwax on Scorpio — and that was only reassuring since the band’s eighth full-length marked the first since the departure of guitarist/vocalist Finn Ryan and his replacing with Garrett Sweeny, a bandmate of founding bassist/vocalist Chris Kosnik and drummer Bob Pantella in Monster Magnet. They barely stopped to cool their heels and yet still managed to be catchy as hell. How do they do it? Jersey Magic.

19. Cinder Well, No Summer

cinder well no summer

Released by Free Dirt Records. Reviewed July 21.

Such pervasive melancholy could only be derived from Irish folk, and so it was on Cinder Well‘s No Summer, which managed to move between singer-songwriter minimalism from Amelia Baker and arrangements of deceptive and purposeful intricacy. Wherever it went, from traditional songs “Wandering Boy” and “The Cuckoo” to originals like “Fallen” and the nine-minute “Our Lady’s,” it was equal parts gorgeous and sad and resonant. It remains so, despite the fleeting season.

18. Pallbearer, Forgotten Days

pallbearer forgotten days

Released by Nuclear Blast Records. Reviewed Dec. 24.

Their fourth album and first since crossing the decade-mark since their inception, Pallbearer‘s Forgotten Days wasn’t just heavy, emotional or big-sounding; it was the most their-own of anything they’ve done. It felt exactly like the record they wanted it to be, and reconfirmed that the generation of listeners being introduced to doom by their music is going to be just fine if they follow the cues laid out for them here.

17. Slift, Ummon

slift ummon

Released by Stolen Body and Vicious Circle Records. Reviewed March 26.

Less a reinvention of space rock than a kick in its ass, Slift‘s Ummon pushed well past the line of manageability at 72 minutes and reveled in that. The French outfit were greeted as liberators when they released the album, and with the way the respect has been maintained in the months since they’ve given themselves a high standard to meet, but there’s only promise to be heard as you get lost in the nebular wash of this sprawling 2LP. They’ll have two more records out before this one’s fully digested.

16. My Dying Bride, The Ghost of Orion

my dying bride the ghost of orion

Released by Nuclear Blast Records. Reviewed Feb. 25.

The first album in half a decade from long-established UK death-doom forebears My Dying Bride found vocalist Aaron Stainthorpe coping with his daughter’s cancer diagnosis and translating that into the morose poetry for which the band is so well known and with which they’ve been so influential. My Dying Bride has never wanted for sincerity, but to call them affecting here would be underselling the quality of their craft and the heart they put into it. Follow-up EP is already out with extra non-album tracks.

15. Causa Sui, Szabodelico

causa sui Szabodelico

Released by El Paraiso Records. Reviewed Nov. 11.

Denmark’s Causa Sui may be on a mission to unite jazz and heavy psychedelia — and blessings on them for that — but the mellow jammy vibes they conjured on Szabodelico only emphasized how much it’s the character of what they do and the chemistry they’ve brought as bandmates that has allowed them to branch thusly in terms of aesthetic. It was the kind of album you wanted to put on again even before it was over, and its sweet instrumentals felt born to a greater timeline than a single year can encompass.

14. All Souls, Songs for the End of the World

All Souls Songs for the End of the World

Self-released. Reviewed Sept. 21.

I’m not a punk rocker, but All Souls make me wish I was. Their emotive and engaged heavy rock looks out as much as in on Songs for the End of the World — their second LP behind a 2018 self-titled debut (review here) — but it’s undeniably punk in its foundation, and what the four-piece of Antonio Aguilar and Meg Castellanos (both ex-Totimoshi), Erik Trammell (Black Elk) and Tony Tornay (Fatso Jetson) have put together builds on that in exciting, inventive and individualized ways, while staying nonetheless true to its roots.

13. Kind, Mental Nudge

kind mental nudge

Released by Ripple Music. Reviewed Oct. 20.

Five years after their debut album, Rocket Science (review here), Boston four-piece Kind return with Mental Nudge. And despite the different situations in which it finds the band’s members — bassist Tom Corino is now ex-Rozamov, drummer Matt Couto now ex-Elder — the group’s focus remains on carving memorable, mostly structured tracks out of ethereal heavy psychedelia, guitarist Darryl Shepard (Milligram, etc.) and vocalist Craig Riggs (RoadsawSasquatch, etc.) adding space and melody to the crunching, driving grooves.

12. Molassess, Through the Hollow

Molassess Through the Hollow

Released by Season of Mist. Featured Aug. 17.

Founded by vocalist Farida Lemouchi (ex-The Devil’s Blood) and guitarist Oeds Beydals (ex-Death Alley, also ex-The Devil’s Blood) and commissioned as a project for Roadburn Festival 2019 (review here), Molassess are inextricably tied to Lemouchi‘s groundbreaking former outfit and its tragic ending, but the musical branching out into darkened progressive textures on Through the Hollow isn’t to be understated. It was an album that pushed past the past, not overlooking it, but finding new ways of moving forward in life and sound.

11. Tony Reed, Funeral Suit

tony reed funeral suit

Released by Ripple Music. Reviewed Sept. 28.

While of course the Mos Generator frontman is no stranger to writing or recording on his own, Funeral Suit was Tony Reed‘s debut as a solo artist and it carried his progressive stamp in melody and arrangement. It was not just a guitarist playing acoustic instead of electric, and it was not a manifestation of self-indulgence. Whether it was reworking a Mos Generator song like “Lonely One Kenobi” or pursuing a new piece like the title-track or “Waterbirth,” Reed found balance between personal and audience, evoking traditional songsmithing even as he reminded listeners of his dual role as a producer.

10. Geezer, Groovy

Geezer Groovy

Released by Heavy Psych Sounds. Reviewed May 18.

Spectacular showing from Kingston kingpins Geezer with Groovy as their first offering for Heavy Psych Sounds. Led by guitarist/vocalist Pat Harrington, the three-piece brought material that flowed with the organic feel of jams despite being structured and catchy songs. In pieces like “Dead Soul Scroll” and “Drowning on Empty,” they melded stonerized groove with what felt like genuine emotional expression, and “Dig” and “Groovy” still managed to be a heavy fuzz-blues party. And they still had room at the end to jam out on “Slide Mountain” and “Black Owl.” It was nothing but a win, rising to the occasion on every level.

9. Big Scenic Nowhere, Vision Beyond Horizon

big scenic nowhere vision beyond horizon

Released by Heavy Psych Sounds. Reviewed Jan. 29.

So Bob Balch from Fu Manchu and Gary Arce from Yawning Man have a band. They get Tony Reed from Mos Generator on board. Mario Lalli from Yawning Man/Fatso Jetson comes and goes. Nick Oliveri comes and goes. Bill Stinson from Yawning Man plays drums. Alain Johannes sits in on vocals. Reed does a bunch of vocals; his kid does a track too. Per Wiberg from Spiritual Beggars, Opeth, Candlemass, etc., lends some keys. What do you call such a thing? Who cares? You call yourself lucky it exists. They called the record Vision Beyond Horizon. Can’t wait to find out what they call the next one.

8. Elder, Omens

elder omens

Released by Armageddon Shop and Stickman Records. Reviewed April 27.

Omens marked a new beginning for Elder as the band pushed deeper into the realm of progressive rock and beyond their weightier beginnings. The arrival of Georg Edert (also Gaffa Ghandi) on drums in place of Matt Couto shifted the band’s dynamic in a number of ways, providing not a swinging anchor for the rhythm section necessarily, but another avenue of prog fluidity. Bassist Jack Donovan brought a steady presence in the low end as guitarist/vocalist Nick DiSalvo and guitarist/keyboardist Mike Risberg embarked on new melodic explorations while staying loyal to the band’s established penchant for sweeping changes. Omens may live up to its name as a sign of things to come, but either way, it was a strong display of the band’s will to pursue new ideas and methods.

7. Forming the Void, Reverie

forming the void reverie

Released by Ripple Music. Reviewed April 15.

First words that come to mind here: “eminently listenable.” With seven tracks and 36 minutes, Reverie may not have taken up much of your afternoon… once. But by the time you gave it its proper respect and listened through three times in a row, the situation was somewhat different. The Lafayette, Louisiana, four-piece gracefully brought together structured songwriting with proggier leanings and were able to bring together rampaging hooks like “Trace the Omen” and “Manifest,” casting a sense of sonic hugeness without forgetting to add either melody or personality along with that. The band — who here welcomed bassist Thorn Letulle alongside guitarist/vocalist James Marshall, guitarist Shadi Omar Al-Khansa and drummer Thomas Colley — have worked quickly and evolved with a sense of urgency. Is Reverie the goal or another step on that path?

6. Grayceon, MOTHERS WEAVERS VULTURES

grayceon mothers weavers vultures

Released by Translation Loss Records. Reviewed Nov. 18.

Vocalist/cellist Jackie Perez Gratz (interview here), guitarist Max Doyle and drummer Zack Farwell comprise Grayceon, and with their fifth record, the band looks around thematically at environmental devastation through the lens of record-breaking California wildfires from their vantage point in the Bay Area. Even as the world shifted priorities (at least most of it did) to yet another global crisis in the COVID-19 pandemic, genre-melting-pot songs like “Diablo Wind,” “The Lucky Ones,” and “This Bed” reminded of the horrors humanity has wrought on its battered home, and still managed to find hope and serenity in “And Shine On” and “Rock Steady,” a closing duo that shifted to a more personal discussion of family and one’s hope for a better future for and by the next generation. 2020 had plenty of horror. At least we got a new Grayceon record out of it.

5. Brant Bjork, Brant Bjork

brant bjork brant bjork

Released by Heavy Psych Sounds. Reviewed April 28.

When Sho’Nuff asked Bruce Leroy “who’s the master?,” dude should’ve said Brant Bjork. It would’ve been a confusing end to Berry Gordy’s The Last Dragon, but ultimately more accurate, as Brant Bjork‘s homegrown kung fu was unfuckwithable as ever on the album that shares his name. After two decades of solo releases in one form or another, Bjork is not just a pivotal figurehead for desert rock, he’s a defining presence, as well as one of its most treasured practitioners. Brant Bjork, the album, brought initial waves of funk in “Jungle in the Sound,” explored weedy worship in “Mary (You’re Such a Lady)” and toyed with religious dogma in offsetting that with “Jesus Was a Bluesman” while still tossing primo hooks in “Duke of Dynamite” and “Shitkickin’ Now” ahead of the more open “Stardust and Diamond Eyes” and the acoustic closer “Been So Long.” With Bjork recording all the instruments himself, a due feeling of intimacy resulted, and yet he still found a way to make it rock. How could it be otherwise?

4. Enslaved, Utgard

enslaved utgard

Released by Nuclear Blast Records. Reviewed Sept. 29.

Why do I feel the immediate need to defend this pick? I’m not sure. Norway’s Enslaved are an institution, not just of black metal, but of bringing an ideology of creative growth to that style that often willfully resists it. They are iconoclastic even unto their own work. Utgard was released as the band stood on the precipice of 30 years together and yet it stood as their most forward-looking offering yet, as co-founders Grutle Kjellson (bass/vocals) and Ivar Bjørnson (guitar/sometimes vocals), as well as longtime lead guitarist Arve “Ice Dale” Isdal backed up the change from 2017’s E (review here) that brought in new keyboardist/vocalist Hakon Vinje with the incorporation of drummer Iver Sandøy, who doubles as a vocalist (and triples as a producer). The “new blood” made all the difference on Utgard, allowing Enslaved to piece together new ranges of melody in their work and offset instrumental shifts into and out of krautrock-derived progressions. Simply the work of a band outdoing itself from a band who does so at nearly every opportunity.

3a. Colour Haze, We Are

colour haze we are

Released by Elektrohasch Schallplatten and Ripple Music. Reviewed Dec. 3, 2019.

Every year I allow myself one addendum pick, and this is it. We Are was on last year’s list because it was digitally released, but the vinyl came out this year and it received its North American release this year as well, so it seemed only right to acknowledge that. So here it is in its proper place.

3. All Them Witches, Nothing as the Ideal

All-Them-Witches-Nothing-as-the-Ideal

Released by New West Records. Reviewed Sept. 3.

This is a band controlling their own narrative. Instead of Nothing as the Ideal being ‘the one they made as a three-piece,’ the Nashville outfit decided to make it ‘the one they recorded at Abbey Road.’ Were they thinking of it on those terms? Yeah, likely not, but it goes to demonstrate all the same just how much of themselves All Them Witches put into what they do musically, since not only are they continuing to refine and define and undefine their approach, but they’re setting the terms on which they do it. Each of their records has been a response to the one prior, but that conversation has never been so direct as to make them predictable. So what are they chasing? Apparently nothing. I’m not entirely sure I buy that as a complete answer, but I am sure I love these songs and the experiments with tape loops and other sounds that fill these spaces. Whatever they do next — or even if nothing — their run has been incredible and exciting and one only hopes their influence continues to spread over the next however many years.

2. Elephant Tree, Habits

elephant tree habits

Released by Deathwish Inc.. Reviewed April 13.

There was a high standard set by Elephant Tree‘s 2016 self-titled debut (review here), but their second LP, Habits, surpassed even the loftiest of expectations. With vocals centered around harmonies from guitarist Jack Townley and bassist Peter Holland, the former trio completed by drummer Sam Hart brought in guitarist/keyboardist John Slattery (also sometimes vocals), and the resultant breadth gave the material on Habits spaciousness beyond even what the first album promised. Drifting, rolling, unflinchingly melodic and somehow present even in its own escapism, Habits was not just an early highlight for a rough 2020, but a comforting presence throughout, and the further one dug into tracks like “Sails,” “Exit the Soul,” “Faceless,” “Wasted” and the acoustic “The Fall Chorus,” the more there was to find — let alone “Bird,” which I’ll happily put against anything else one might propose for song of the year. As their former UK label crumbled, Habits emerged unscathed and Elephant Tree‘s future continues to shine with ever more hope for things to come. Being able to say that about anything feels like a relief.

2020 Album of the Year

1. Lowrider, Refractions

Lowrider Refractions

Released by Blues Funeral Recordings. Reviewed Jan. 24.

Twenty years ago, Sweden’s Lowrider put out what would become a heavy rock landmark in their 2000 debut, Ode to Io (reissue review here). A follow-up years in the making even after the band got back together to play Desertfest in London (review here) and Berlin in 2013, Refractions first saw limited release in 2019 as part of Blues Funeral‘s PostWax series (discussed here), but its proper arrival was in early 2020, and there was really no looking back after that. It wasn’t just the novelty of a new Lowrider album that made Refractions such a joy, but the manner in which the band went about its work. There was no pretending that 20 years didn’t happen. There was no attempt to recapture the bottled lightning that was the first record, and Lowrider did not sound like a band “making a comeback” rife with expectations and fan-service. Refractions acknowledged the legacy of Ode to Io, sure enough, but as a step toward adding to it in meaningful and engaging ways. The songs — “Red River,” “Ode to Ganymede,” “Sernanders Krog,” “Ol’ Mule Pepe,” “Sun Devil/M87” and the 11-minute finale “Pipe Rider” — were fashioned without pretense and came across as the organic output of a band with nothing to prove to anyone but themselves. They made it their own. In a wretched year, Lowrider shined.

The Top 50 Albums of 2020: Honorable Mention

Yeah, okay. There are a lot of these, so buckle in. Last year I just threw out a list of bands. This year I’m a little more organized, so here are bands and records alphabetically.

Across Tundras, LOESS ~ LÖSS
Across Tundras, The Last Days of a Silver Rush
Alain Johannes, Hum
Arboretum, Let it All In
Bell Witch & Aerial Ruin, Stygian Bough Vol. 1
Black Helium, The Wholly Other
Boris, No
Brimstone Coven, The Woes of a Mortal Earth
CB3, Aeons
Celestial Season, The Secret Teachings
Crippled Black Phoenix, Ellengæst
Cruthu, Athrú Crutha
Domo, Domonautas Vol. 2
DOOL, Summerland
Dopelord, Sign of the Devil
Dwaal, Gospel of the Vile
Elder Druid, Golgotha
Ellis Munk Ensemble, San Diego Sessions
Emma Ruth Rundle & Thou, May Our Chambers Be Full
EMBR, 1823
Familiars, All in Good Time
Forlesen, Hierophant Violent
Galactic Cross, Galactic Cross
The Heavy Eyes, Love Like Machines
Hum, Inlet
Human Impact, Human Impact
Humulus, The Deep
Jupiterian, Protosapien
Kariti, Covered Mirrors
Khan, Monsoons
Kingnomad, Sagan Om Ryden
King Witch, Body of Light
Kryptograf, Kryptograf
Light Pillars, Light Pillars
Lord Buffalo, Tohu Wa Bohu
Lord Loud, Timid Beast
Lotus Thief, Oresteia
Malsten, The Haunting of Silvåkra Mill
Mindcrawler, Lost Orbiter
Motorpsycho, The All is One
Mountain Tamer, Psychosis Ritual
Mr. Bison, Seaward
Mrs. Piss, Self-Surgery
Mugstar, GRAFT
Murcielago, Casualties
Oranssi Pazuzu, Mestarin Kynsi
Paradise Lost, Obsidian
Parahelio, Surge Evelia Surge
The Pilgrim, …From the Earth to the Sky and Back
Pretty Lightning, Jangle Bowls
Psychlona, Venus Skytrip
Puta Volcano, AMMA
Ritual King, Ritual King
River Cult, Chilling Effect
Rrrags, High Protein
Shores of Null, Beyond the Shores (On Death and Dying)
Sigiriya, Maiden – Mother – Crone
Six Organs of Admittance, Companion Rises
16, Dream Squasher
Slomosa, Slomosa
Somnus Throne, Somnus Throne
Steve Von Till, No Wilderness Deep Enough
Stone Machine Electric, The Inexplicable Vibrations of Frequencies Within the Cosmic Netherworld
Sumac, May You Be Held
Temple of the Fuzz Witch, Red Tide
Temple of Void, The World That Was
The Kings of Frog Island, VI
Tia Carrera, Tried and True
Turtle Skull, Monoliths
Uffe Lorenzen, Magisk Realisme
Ulcerate, Stare Into Death and Be Still
Vessel of Light, Last Ride
Vestal Claret, Vestal Claret
Vinnum Sabbathi, Of Dimensions and Theories
Wight, Spank the World
Wino, Forever Gone
Yatra, All is Lost
Yuri Gagarin, The Outskirts of Reality

By no means is that list exhaustive. And to look at stuff like Psychlona, Oranssi Pazuzu, Wight, Wino, Puta Volcano, Kingnomad, Ellis Munk Ensemble, Paradise Lost, Alain Johannes, Arbouretum, Uffe Lorenzen, Tia Carrera — on and on and on — I can definitely see where arguments are to be made for records that should’ve been in the list proper. I can only go with what feels right to me at the time.

Together with the top 50, this makes over 110 albums in the best of 2020. If you find yourself needing something to hang your hat on, be glad you’re alive to witness this much excellent music coming out.

Debut Album of the Year

Molassess, Through the Hollow

Molassess Through the Hollow

Other notable debuts (alphabetically):

Atramentus, Stygian
Bethmoora, Thresholds
BleakHeart, Dream Griever
Crystal Spiders, Molt
Dirt Woman, The Glass Cliff
Dwaal, Gospel of the Vile
Electric Feat, Electric Feat
Familiars, All in Good Time
Galactic Cross, Galactic Cross
Human Impact, Human Impact
Jointhugger, I Am No One
Light Pillars, Light Pillars
Love Gang, Dead Man’s Game
Malsten, The Haunting of Silvåkra Mill
Might, Might
Mindcrawler, Lost Orbiter
Mrs. Piss, Self-Surgery
Parahelio, Surge Evelia Surge
Polymoon, Caterpillars of Creation
Ritual King, Ritual King
SEA, Impermanence
Slomosa, Slomosa
Soldati, Doom Nacional
Somnus Throne, Somnus Throne
SpellBook, Magick & Mischief
Spirit Mother, Cadets
Temple of the Fuzz Witch, Red Tide
The Crooked Whispers, Satanic Melodies
White Dog, White Dog

Notes: I sparred with myself every step of the way here. The last couple years I’ve tried to give the top-debut spot to not just a new band, but a new presence. Green Lung, King Buffalo, etc. Molassess, with members from The Devil’s Blood, Death Alley and Astrosoniq, isn’t exactly that. So what do I do? Do I go with something newer like Polymoon, Dirt Woman, BleakHeart, SEA, White Dog or The Crooked Whispers, or something with more established players like Molassess, Soldati, or even Light Pillars?

In the end, what made the difference was not just how brilliant the songs on Molassess’ Through the Hollow, but how honestly the band confronted the legacy they were up against. The songs had a familiar haunting presence, but they were also moving ahead to somewhere new. It was that blend of old and new ideas, and the resonant feeling of emotional catharsis — as well as the sheer immersion that took place while listening — that ultimately made the decision. Turns out I just couldn’t escape it.

And why not a list? Because this feels woefully inadequate as it is. I reviewed over 250 records this year one way or another — and that’s a conservative estimate — but a lot gets lost in the shuffle and somehow it just seemed wrong this time around to call something the 13th best first record of the year. I wanted to highlight the special achievement that was the Molassess album, but really, all of these records kicked my ass one way or the other.

Short Release of the Year 2020

King Buffalo, Dead Star

King Buffalo Dead Star

Other notable EPs, Splits, Demos, etc.:

Big Scenic Nowhere, Lavender Blues
Coma Wall, Ursa Minor
Conan/Deadsmoke, Doom Sessions Vol. 1
Fu Manchu, Fu30 Pt. 1
Grandpa Jack, Trash Can Boogie
Howling Giant/Sergeant Thunderhoof, Masamune/Muramasa (split)
Oginalii, Pendulum
Kings Destroy, Floods
Lament Cityscape, The Old Wet
Limousine Beach, Stealin’ Wine +2
Merlock, That Which Speaks
Monte Luna, Mind Control Broadcast
Mos Generator/Di’Aul, Split
Pimmit Hills, Heathens & Prophets
Rito Verdugo, Post-Primatus
Rocky Mtn Roller, Rocky Mtn Roller
Spaceslug, Leftovers
10,000 Years, 10,000 Years
The White Swan, Nocturnal Transmission
Thunderbird Divine, The Hand of Man
Witchcraft, Black Metal

Notes: If you were wondering why King Buffalo’s Dead Star (review here) wasn’t on the big list, this is why. It was pitched to me as an EP and that’s how I’m classifying it. I’m taking the out. Is it an EP? Not really, but neither is it a full-length album, given its experimental nature and focus around its extended two-part title-track. Whatever it was, it was the best that-thing, and this is the category where such things go.

Again, tough choices after King Buffalo. Thunderbird Divine’s EP was wonderfully funk-blasted and woefully short (new album, please). The newly-issued Spaceslug EP branches out their sound in fascinating ways as a result of the lockdown. Witchcraft’s acoustic EP, Coma Wall’s EP and Big Scenic Nowhere’s EP all signaled good things to come, and Howling Giant’s split with Sergeant Thunderhoof was a highlight of the most recent Quarterly Review. There really isn’t a bummer on the list there, from the bitter psych of Oginalii to the industrial metal of Lament Cityscape, the unadulterated riffery of Merlock to the live-captured rawness of Monte Luna.

So again, why no list? Same answer. I want to highlight the progression King Buffalo made in their sound and leave room open elsewhere for things I missed. Please let me know what in the comments. Cordially.

Live Album of the Year 2020

Yawning Man, Live at Giant Rock

yawning man live at giant rock

Other notable live releases:

Ahab, Live Prey
Amenra, Mass VI Live
Arcadian Child, From Far, for the Wild (Live in Linz)
Author and Punisher, Live 2020 B.C.
Cherry Choke, Raising Salzburg Rockhouse
Dead Meadow, Live at Roadburn 2011
Dirty Streets, Rough and Tumble
Electric Moon, Live at Freak Valley Festival 2019
Kadavar, Studio Live Session Vol. 1
King Buffalo, Live at Freak Valley
Monte Luna, Mind Control Broadcast
Orange Goblin, Rough & Ready: Live and Loud
Øresund Space Collective, Sonic Rock Solstice 2019
Pelican, Live at the Grog Shop
SEA, Live at ONCE
Sumac, St Vitus 09/07/2018
Sun Blood Stories, (a)Live and Alone at Visual Arts Collective
Temple Fang, Live at Merleyn
YOB, Pickathon 2019 – Live From the Galaxy Barn

Notes: In this wretched year (mostly) void of live music, marked by canceled tours and festivals, the live album arguably played a more central role than it ever has, whether it was a band trying to keep momentum up following or leading into a studio release, taking advantage of the emergence of the Bandcamp Friday phenomenon or just trying to maintain some connection to their fans and the process of taking a stage. Or even playing in a room together. Or not a room. Anything. What was once a tossoff, maybe an afterthought companion piece became an essential worker of the listening experience.

You might accuse desert rock progenitors Yawning Man of playing to their base with Live at Giant Rock (featured here), and if so, fine. At no point in the last 50 years has that base more needed playing-to. And in the absence of shows, being able to hear (and watch, in the case of the accompanying video) Yawning Man go out to the landscape that spawned them and engage with their music was a beautiful moment of reconciliation. An exhale for the converted that didn’t fill one with empty promises of better tomorrows or tours to come, but served to remind what’s so worth preserving about the spirit of live music in the first place. The fact that anything can happen. A replaced note here, a tuning change there — these things can make not just an evening, but memories that go beyond shows, tours, to touch our lives.

There were a ton of live records this year. Some were benefits for worthy causes between saving venues, Black Lives Matter, voting rights organizations, and so on. And whether these were new performances from captured livestreams (Monte Luna, Kadavar) or older gigs that had been sitting around waiting for release at some point (Sumac, Dead Meadow), this, very much, was that point, and these live offerings kept burning a fire that felt at times very much in danger of being extinguished.

Looking Ahead to 2021

A list of bands. Some confirmed releases, some not. Here goes:

Dread Sovereign, Sasquatch, Year of Taurus, Apostle of Solitude, Weedpecker, Borracho, Love Gang, Jointhugger, Demon Head, Iron Man, Greenleaf, Samsara Blues Experiment, The Mammathus, Evert Snyman, Wo Fat, Conclave, Here Lies Man, Kabbalah, Komatsu, Hour of 13, Wedge, Amenra, La Chinga, Spidergawd, Wolves in the Throne Room, Vokonis, Freedom Hawk, Masters of Reality, ZOM, Eyehategod, Sanhedrin, Green Lung, The Mountain King, Albatross Overdrive, Elder, King Buffalo, Sunnata, Howling Giant, SAVER, Conan, Slomatics, Ruff Majik, Kind, Mos Generator, Yawning Sons, Lantlôs, Brant Bjork, Spiral Grave, Crystal Spiders, Lightning Born, Samavayo, Wovenhand, Merlock, Comet Control, The Age of Truth, Eight Bells, BlackWater Holylight, DVNE, Monte Luna.

Thank You

You’ve read enough, so I will do my best to keep this mercifully short. Thank you so much for reading — whether you still are or not — and thank you for being a part of the ongoing project that is The Obelisk. I cannot tell you how much it means to me to have such incredible support throughout not just this year, but all the years of the site’s existence. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

Thank you most of all to The Patient Mrs. for her indulgence in letting me get this done. I’m am amazed forever.

More to come.

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The Obelisk Show on Gimme Metal Playlist: Episode 49

Posted in Radio on December 23rd, 2020 by JJ Koczan

the obelisk show banner

I was kicking around the idea of not doing a year-end list for 2020. Honestly, between this episode of The Obelisk Show on Gimme Metal and the last one, that pretty much covers my picks, and who the hell cares about what order they’re in? It’s December and everyone and their brother has a list out. Do we really need another one? I’m doing a Quarterly Review right now, covering more music. To me, that seems like a more righteous cause.

Of course, I’ll probably end up doing a list anyway next week, but in the meantime, if you’re looking for a soundtrack to your in-quarantine holiday experience, the second half of the ‘Some of the Best of 2020’ spectacular should do well in getting you through the evening. I’m to understand we’ll be breaking travel protocols myself, so if I get the plague that is even as we speak ravaging my homeland, at least I will have deserved it. Firelung and whatnot.

Thanks for listening and reading. New art coming soon.

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

Full playlist:

The Obelisk Show – 12.25.20

Elephant Tree Bird Habits
Pallbearer Vengeance & Ruination Forgotten Days
Tony Reed Might Just Funeral Suit
Grayceon This Bed MOTHERS WEAVERS VULTURES
All Them Witches 41 Nothing as the Ideal
VT
Brant Bjork Cleaning out the Ashtray Brant Bjork
Soldati From Skulls Doom Nacional
Backwoods Payback God Smack VA – Alice in Chains Dirt: Redux
High Priestess The Hourglass Casting the Circle
Curse the Son Black Box Warning Excruciation
Elder Halcyon Omens
Black Rainbows Master Rocket Power Blast Cosmic Ritual Supertrip
Dirt Woman Fades to Greed The Glass Cliff
Polymoon Silver Moon Caterpillars of Creation
Enslaved Distant Seasons Utgard
Cinder Well Fallen No Summer
Geezer Drowning on Empty Groovy
Ruff Majik Lead Pills and Thrills The Devil’s Cattle

The Obelisk Show on Gimme Metal airs every Friday 5PM Eastern, with replays Sunday at 7PM Eastern. Next new episode is Jan. 8 (subject to change). Thanks for listening if you do.

Gimme Metal website

The Obelisk on Thee Facebooks

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All Them Witches Announce ‘Live on the Internet’ Streams for Dec. 19

Posted in Whathaveyou on November 30th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

all them witches

Hey, I’d watch two All Them Witches sets in a day. Different setlists? Yeah, that’s cool too, but honestly even if it was the same songs it wouldn’t be the same set, so I’ll take it as it comes. The clever name the Nashville three-piece have given the performances, ‘Live on the Internet,’ is of course a play on “Guess I’ll Go Live on the Internet” from 2017’s Sleeping Through the War (review here). The band also recently posted a video for “Rats in Ruin,” the consuming, subdued-until-it-isn’t closer of their latest LP, Nothing as the Ideal (review here) — which, judging by the results I’m seeing thus far from the year-end poll, you’ve already heard but is streaming at the bottom of this post anyway, along with said video.

The band previously announced a slew of Fall 2021 European tour dates as well, and they were just confirmed as part of the first batch of adds to SonicBlast Fest in Portugal in mid-August. Whether that means more dates are to be added, I don’t know, but if their tack is to sign on to as much as humanly possible now and see how it shakes out next year, one could hardly blame them. These live streams will be, as they note, their only shows of 2020. Among other things this wretched fucking year has stolen from humanity, it stole my chance to see them together with BlackWater HolyLight this past Spring, and for that, I will never forgive it.

Stream info from the PR wire:

all them witches live on the internet poster

ALL THEM WITCHES – ONLY SHOWS OF 2020!

Catch All Them Witches LIVE ON THE INTERNET Dec 19
TWO SETS: 2PM EST and 9PM EST

TICKETS HERE: https://allthemwitches.veeps.com/

Join us on Dec 19 at 2PM EST and/or 9PM EST for our only shows of 2020! We will be LIVE ON THE INTERNET performing 2 shows with 2 different set lists at Veeps.

The performance will remain available to view for 3 days following the livestream.

ALL THEM WITCHES 2021 EUROPEAN TOUR
SEPTEMBER
27th UK – BRIGHTON, Chalk Venue Brighton
28th UK – NOTTINGHAM, The Bodega
29th UK – GLASGOW, Saint Luke’s & The Winged Ox
30th UK – LEEDS, Brudenell Social Club
OCTOBER
1st UK – LONDON, Electric Ballroom
2nd Netherlands – AMSTERDAM, Paradiso Amsterdam
3rd Belgium – ANTWERP, Trix
6th Spain – MADRID, COOL Conciertos
7th Spain – BARCELONA, Sala Razzmatazz 2
9th Switzerland – LANGENTHAL, OldCapitol
10th Italy – MILAN, Santeria Toscana 31
11th Switzerland – ZURICH, Mascotte Club Zürich
12th Germany – MUNICH, Backstage Werk
13th Czech – PRAGUE, MeetFactory
14th Poland – WARSAW, Progresja
15th Germany – BERLIN, Huxleys Neue Welt
17th Germany, COLOGNE, Die Kantine
19th Germany, HAMBURG, Uebel und Gefährlich
20th Denmark, COPENHAGEN, Pumpehuset
22nd Norway, OSLO, Vulkan Arena
24th Finland, HELSINKI, TAVASTIA-klubi

All Them Witches is:
Charles Michael Parks, Jr – bass, vocals
Ben McLeod – guitar, vocals
Robby Staebler – drums, vocals

http://allthemwitches.bandcamp.com/
http://www.facebook.com/allthemwitches
https://www.instagram.com/allthemwitchesband/
http://www.allthemwitches.org/
https://store.newwestrecords.com/

All Them Witches, “Rats in Ruin” official video

All Them Witches, Nothing as the Ideal (2020)

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SonicBlast Fest 2021 Adds John Garcia, All Them Witches, Causa Sui and More

Posted in Whathaveyou on November 25th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

Hey, it could happen. The vaccines could work and be properly distributed, and with social-distancing guidelines still in place and accounted for in the festival’s venue choice, SonicBlast Fest 2021 could very well take place next August. I think we all know the first lineup announcement comes with a big ol’ asterisk in terms of “well this is how it’s gonna go if the plague hasn’t swallowed us whole by then,” but with that caveat, it’s awfully nice to see a lineup announcement from a festival at all, let alone one that already has a bunch of cool bands set to play. Maybe Europe’s borders will be open to Americans next August. That’d be a dream come true.

SonicBlast of course did the virtual thing this year, as many other fests have done, and the fest’s YouTube still has a few killer performances up, including the one from South Africa’s Ruff Majik that you can see at the bottom of this post.

Tickets are available and I have to believe it’ll sell out:

sonicblast-fest-2021

SonicBlast Fest 2021: Aug 12-14

SonicBlast Fest is back!

We are so happy to welcome John Garcia & The Band of Gold and Psychlona among many others to announce soon

In 2021 we celebrated the 10th edition in a new enclosure, with a strong poster and we couldn’t be more satisfied!

Months and months of work arduous and several contradictions along the way, our priority was always to try to secure a good poster for this special edition and find an enclosure with the characteristics needed for this great celebration. And we did it!

The 10th edition of 10 takes place at Praia da Dune do Cauldron in Anchor (Walk), in a dream framing and in a compound that will have the same capacity but features a much greater area, ensuring your comfort and safety when travelling in August 2021 to the Anchor region for this celebration. Thank you in advance to Caminha Município for your help in finding the new location keeping it in our county, and Junta de Freguesia de Âncora and Âncora Praia Futebol Clube for the enthusiasm and availability to welcome SonicBlast Fest.

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Line up, so far:
John Garcia and the Band of Gold (usa)
All Them Witches (usa)
Brant Bjork (usa)
Witch (usa)
Causa Sui (dnk)
Bala (sp)
Psychlona (uk)
… and many more to be announced

Info Tickets:
(Portugal) Os bilhetes já estão à venda em toda a rede BOL (Lojas Fnac, Worten, Ctt’s…)
To buy your ticket online:
https://garboyl.bol.pt/Comprar/Bilhetes/92523-sonicblast_festival_2021_full_festival_ticket-garboyl_lives/Sessoes
e www.masqueticket.com

Full festival ticket:
– 50€ from 23 to 30 November
– 65€ from 1st of December to 31st of May
– 75€ from 1st of June

https://www.facebook.com/events/193315945704188/
https://www.facebook.com/sonicblastmoledo/
https://www.instagram.com/sonicblast_fest

Ruff Majik, Live at SonicBlast Online 2020


https://sonicblastmoledo.com/

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All Them Witches Post “Rats in Ruin” Video

Posted in Bootleg Theater on October 19th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

all them witches rats in ruin

If you’re the type who likes to chase down visual metaphor, you’re going to need more than the nine minutes of the song itself to wade through all the images present in the new video from Nashville trio All Them Witches. Directed by Drea de Matteo and the band’s own Robby Staebler — who in addition to drumming also handles the vast majority of their graphic art and visual presence; you’ll note his editing and color work here are on-theme for his/the band’s style — the clip is layered in narrative and duly emotional dystopianism. “Rats in Ruin,” and yes, there are rats, and plenty, plenty of ruin as well, on just about any level one might look for it; personal, global, environmental, etc.

The song, as it would, comes from their new album, Nothing as the Ideal (review here), which like every good record released in 2020 is a victim of circumstance in that the band who would otherwise I think be in Europe right now or just finished a tour there, can’t be on the road to support it. If “Rats in Ruin” is serving double-duty in promoting Nothing as the Ideal and giving the three-piece an outlet for the sit-on-your-hands restlessness they and so many others are experiencing over these last eight months, then it’s slow-motion freneticism only makes more sense. Coupled with the initially minimalist song itself — I keep relating it in my head to Nirvana‘s “Something in the Way” in how it channels a quiet sense of space — and its later melodic push, the video is a particularly immersive undertaking. It’ll make sense when you watch.

All Them Witches have some US dates booked for March — Columbus, Baltimore, Pittsburgh area, and so on — one assumes because optimism. I think those are rescheduled from this past summer. It’s kind of hard to keep track by now what’s happening that’s supposed to have already happened or whatever. If those happen, shit, I’ll drive to Baltimore at that point to see these guys. Or if they want to come do a socially distant outdoor gig in the parking lot across from my house, that’s cool too. I’ll get permits and everything. I wonder what their guarantee is at this point.

Anyhoozle, there are Euro dates next Fall that seem more likely, but only because it’s farther away. Who the hell knows anything about anything about what the world will be like by Fall 2021?

Enjoy the video:

All Them Witches, “Rats in Ruin” official video

From the album ‘Nothing as the Ideal,’ available now: http://newwst.com/atwnatiID

Written/Directed by Robby Staebler and Drea de Matteo
Filmed by Robby Staebler, Ginger Gonzales, Alabama Jennings
Edited and Colored by Robby Staebler
Film Processing/ scanning by Spectra Film Lab

www.AllThemWitches.org

ALL THEM WITCHES 2021 EUROPEAN TOUR
SEPTEMBER
27th UK – BRIGHTON, Chalk Venue Brighton
28th UK – NOTTINGHAM, The Bodega
29th UK – GLASGOW, Saint Luke’s & The Winged Ox
30th UK – LEEDS, Brudenell Social Club
OCTOBER
1st UK – LONDON, Electric Ballroom
2nd Netherlands – AMSTERDAM, Paradiso Amsterdam
3rd Belgium – ANTWERP, Trix
6th Spain – MADRID, COOL Conciertos
7th Spain – BARCELONA, Sala Razzmatazz 2
9th Switzerland – LANGENTHAL, OldCapitol
10th Italy – MILAN, Santeria Toscana 31
11th Switzerland – ZURICH, Mascotte Club Zürich
12th Germany – MUNICH, Backstage Werk
13th Czech – PRAGUE, MeetFactory
14th Poland – WARSAW, Progresja
15th Germany – BERLIN, Huxleys Neue Welt
17th Germany, COLOGNE, Die Kantine
19th Germany, HAMBURG, Uebel und Gefährlich
20th Denmark, COPENHAGEN, Pumpehuset
22nd Norway, OSLO, Vulkan Arena
24th Finland, HELSINKI, TAVASTIA-klubi

All Them Witches is:
Charles Michael Parks, Jr – bass, vocals
Ben McLeod – guitar, vocals
Robby Staebler – drums, vocals

All Them Witches, Nothing as the Ideal (2020)

All Them Witches on Thee Facebooks

All Them Witches on Bandcamp

All Them Witches on Instagram

New West Records website

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