The Obelisk Questionnaire: James Cl of Monte Luna

Posted in Questionnaire on March 30th, 2021 by JJ Koczan

monte luna james cl

The Obelisk Questionnaire is a series of open questions intended to give the answerer an opportunity to explore these ideas and stories from their life as deeply as they choose. Answers can be short or long, and that reveals something in itself, but the most important factor is honesty.

Based on the Proust Questionnaire, the goal over time is to show a diverse range of perspectives as those who take part bring their own points of view to answering the same questions. To see all The Obelisk Questionnaire posts, click here.

Thank you for reading and thanks to all who participate.

The Obelisk Questionnaire: James Cl of Monte Luna

To Help With American Government Homework is a sure-fire decision for those who want to improve their overall performance but lack time. With the professionals that we hire to work on the essays, you can be sure that you will receive exceptional papers on any topic. Is It Safe to Buy An Essay? One of the FAQs from college students can be ‘is it safe to buy a cheap essay?’ With the numerous online writing How do you define what you do and how did you come to do it?

I play to live, music is life to me and a true universal language. Playing music is the closest thing to a higher power I’ve ever felt. It is a connection with everyone involved. I started getting serious into music when my ex-wife killed herself in 2015. It was either drink myself to death or play more music, and I’m thankful for the decision I made.

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My first musical memory was listening to Dark Side of the Moon with my Father when I was a child. It was such an awakening. My first memory of actually playing music was when I was 16. My friend Joe Pacelli and I would sing Alice in Chains songs. He would play guitar and sing doing the Jerry leads and I would do Layne’s. It was amazing, it wasn’t too long after that that I got into guitar, but didn’t get serious about it until after I got out of the Navy when I was 22 (I’m 33 now).

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I would say our 2018 tour across the East Coast. We met so many wonderful people and had such a blast, I was hooked. Second to that would be our Free Week performance at Mohawk Austin. Packed house, stellar lineup and all the homies.

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When Phil left Monte Luna after our EU tour fell through I was devastated. But I’m thankful for the music community here in Austin and for such great friends, now bandmates, and about to be roommates (Yes, Monte Luna band house is coming in April!!). I really thought it was over, but new energy and the ability to get more live layers of sound really has us pushing. We already have the album written and are working on recording. I believe the bass and drums are done! So that leaves my rhythm, vocals and leads/keys and samples! I love two-piece Monte Luna, but it was mostly for proof of concept, and I got big dreams JJ!

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I think there is no one direction artistic progression leads. Sometimes you do art for so long you change course and become better at another form of art. Hell, my first art was doing scripts and goofy movies with my friend Eric Oneil. Now, I play doom, before that I was doing more of a punk rock thing. You just need to be in touch with yourself and keep from limitations of people, genres and anything. Art comes from the soul, and you grow with it.

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Success is based solely on person to person. I used to work for the courts, had a great job and a good life… and I hated it… now, I bartend, play music and live much more modest and I love it. What is success? Well, when they asked me what I wanted to be in college, I said, Happy. That’s what I have been working toward ever since.

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There are some things I wish I could forget about my time in the Navy for sure. But I don’t wish to talk about or glorify war. So I’m gonna say, Velvet Revolver. They trash.

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Oh it’s coming… but… an Adventure module for DND 5e based on a Monte Luna album world. Pretty stoked about it, working on characters and adventure hook as we speak! (Multitasking for the win.) It will, for the sake of size, be directly compatible with all 5e books. We are trying to build something very similar to the Lost Mines of Phandelver adventure found in the DND 5e beginners set. We are aiming to include this as a very limited special edition of our next vinyl.

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To make you feel something.

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My girlfriend Jenny and I are going to play DND together for the first time right before her birthday! I’m the Dungeon Master too (haha kinda kinky).

Monte Luna, ‘Live at Studio E’

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The Penitent Man & Cortége Pair for Legends of the Desert Vol. 2 Split

Posted in Whathaveyou on March 23rd, 2021 by JJ Koczan

There’s a lot of info below, and fair enough, but if you’re looking for the essentials, it goes like this: Top How Does Chemistry Help Your Ultimate Team We offer the best services to learners that need help with their dissertations. That’s because we have the best dissertation experts in all major fields or subjects. These specialists are knowledgeable and conversant with different writing styles, including MLA, AP, Harvard, and Oxford. Desert Records is bringing together Salt Lake City’s When Our Online Writing Paper Service Will Be of Use to You: If the question "Who can Test For Critical Thinkings professionally?" bothers you a lot and you need an The Penitent Man and Austin duo Register or Login cheap blog writer sites for phd, legitimate online writing services writer for hire uk buy anthropology annotated bibliography. construction resume samples. corporate social responsibility dissertations can someone write my essay for me for free. cheap reflective essay writer site for university. You are not allowed to view links. Register or Login, chemistry dissertationcheap research CortĂ©ge for the second in its seven-part Ask our support team “check it out for me” and we will immediately assign a talented and experienced writer to write one for you. We work 24/7 so you have opportunity to place your order at any time you wish. Our Custom Writing Company Guarantees. We write papers of any format and type: essays, dissertations, course works, reports, research papers, reviews, speeches, annotated Legends of the Desert split series. June 4 is the release date. You might recall Title: Get do my 'paper Subject: free ebooks get paid to write essays and user guide get paid to write essays download as reference instruction get Vol. 1 (discussed here) came out last year, and this will be Vol. 2.

Both bands are Desert Records veterans, with releases out through the New Mexico-based imprint, and it goes without saying that the intention here is to write legends rather than bask in those longstanding of yore. Ls are limited, as will happen, and CDs and downloads will all be out — all that fun stuff. I don’t have preorder info or any audio yet, but you can hear releases from both bands below, and I think it’ll come through one into the next that each one brings something of its own to the release, with The Penitent Man handling more of the rocking traditionalism while CortĂ©ge offer a cinematic take with their tubular-belled instrumentals. Looking forward to hearing this one.

Announcement follows courtesy of the label:

the penitent man cortege legends of the desert vol 2

LEGENDS OF THE DESERT: VOL 2 – The Penitent Man & CortĂ©ge

Legends of the Desert: Volume 2 releases on June 4th, 2021. Vol. 2 brings us further into the desert showcasing new and classic Desert Rock bands geographically located in the Southwestern United States. Continuing the vision of Vol.1, the second installment will introduce the world to two new “Legends” bands, carefully curated by Desert Record’s owner Brad Frye.

All the music for Legends of the Desert is exclusive to the series.

Maintaining the quality and consistency throughout the 7-part series, we will see the return of the Legends team.

New & stunning album artwork by the series artist, Joshua Mathis, features an album cover with a Gunslinger riding a Gila Monster.

The timeless, classic looking graphics and layout from Garrett Hellman will be featured along with Mathis’s artwork.

Mastering will be handled by the series audio mastering engineer, Mark Fuller.

Vinyl LP’s will be available in a limited edition of 500, including highly limited special color variants. CD’s and digital downloads will be available. Digital streaming will be available worldwide.

Desert Records is excited to announce the bands: The Penitent Man (Utah) and Cortége (Texas).

Side A:
The Penitent Man is a 5-piece from Salt Lake City. Blending Desert Rock, Classic Rock, Heavy Blues. These exclusive songs featuring the special guest, Todd Ogren from Rival Sons on keyboard for all three tracks! Sounds like Led Zeppelin teamed up with Alice in Chains to make an album in the desert.

A Long Deep Breath of Sadness–4:26
The Butcher–6:32
Rest My Weary Head–9:01
All songs written and produced by The Penitent Man
Drum Tracking and Mixing by Greg Downs at Pale Horse Sound

Steve King–Guitars
Phill Gallegos–Guitars
Allan Davidson–Vocals
Chris Garrido–Drums
Ethan Garrido–Bass
Todd Ogren–Keyboards (from Rival Sons).

Side B:
Cortége is a duo from Austin, TX. They play Ambient Doom mixed with post-western cinematic scores. Heavy bass guitar, drums, and tubular bells. Sounds like if Earth and Pink Floyd teamed up to do a soundtrack to a David Lynch film.

1. As it Lay (Heavy in the Air) – 10:25
2. Circling Above – 8:39

All songs written and recorded by Cortége.
Recorded and mixed by Kevin Sparks.

Mike Swarbrick – Bass, Tubular Bells
Adrian Voorhies – Drums

The Penitent Man, The Penitent Man (2020)

Cortége, Capricorn (2019)

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Monte Luna Post ‘Live at Studio E’ Livestream Video

Posted in Bootleg Theater on March 22nd, 2021 by JJ Koczan

monte luna

Studio E in San Antonio, Texas, has hosted regular streams and at least from watching Monte Luna tear shit up for an hour, they seem well equipped to do so. There are some strobe flashes in the video itself, but that’s nothing compared to the sludgy onslaught of the Austin-based trio, who, if you’ve never seen them in-person, gave fervent argument in favor of doing so. Last summer, they released the Mind Control Broadcast EP (discussed here), reveling in volume for new material recorded as part of a livestream for CvltNation. ‘Live at Studio E’ may or may not get turned into an audio release, but hell’s bells, it should, even if it’s only a Bandcamp Friday tossoff.

All three of the cuts on Mind Control Broadcast were brought to bear, with “Rust Goliath” leading off and “Black Star” giving a hookier anchor as they moved into the second half of the proceedings. If you watched live, there was some audio trouble, but that’s all cut from the video below, and after copious shoutouts and virtual hugs from guitarist/vocalist James Cl, they’re underway quickly enough with a brand of sludge that’s both pure volume revelry and atmospheric, drawing cosmic edge from the School of YOB but having stripped away the longform presentation that typified their 2017 self-titled debut (review here) in favor of a more pointed, turn-based battle system on 2019’s Drowners’ Wives (review here). It is to their credit and that of Studio E that the stream didn’t come through clipped to all hell. One assumes a significant soundcheck happened prior.

Joined by drummer Danny Marshner, who also provided atmospheric synth sampling as transitions between songs — he also won t-shirts, with Holly Hunt, as one will every time — and bassist Garth Condit, the trio came ready to party with James Cl at the fore and sure enough made their time a blast. Cl, né Clarke, has a scream I can only describe as “easy” in the sense that he can do it for an hour’s stretch and not lose fervency and slip in and out of it in favor of cleaner vocalizing. It’s the kind of thing a singer who can sing, as he can, might give up as the band continues to grow, but for what it’s worth, I hope he doesn’t; it’s one more tool in the shed to make Monte Luna a more varied, unpredictable act.

They finished with “Man of Glass” from Drowners’ Wives — it was the only song from that album they played — and I remember thinking after Mind Control Broadcast that they should do their next full-length mostly if not completely live in the studio. That opinion was only furthered here. Not every band can bring a show’s energy to playing in a studio or livestream setting. Monte Luna clearly can, and while I’d hope to see them on a stage at some point in the unknowable future, in these take-what-you-can-get days, ‘Live at Studio E’ is hardly roughing it.


Monte Luna, ‘Live at Studio E’

James Cl on ‘Live at Studio E’:

We may have had some technical difficulties starting but when we got rolling it was a great time! It was so wonderful being back in San Antonio, a city we love and miss. Even if it was for a live stream it was the closest thing to a live show we’ve had in months! We can’t wait for live shows to return! Your eyes are dazed and heavy.

Rust Goliath (Mind Control Broadcast)
Burning of Elohim (ST)
Nameless City (ST)
Nightmare Frontier (ST)
Black Star (Mind Control Broadcast)
Fear the Sun (Mind Control Broadcast)
Man of Glass (Drowners’ Wives)

Audio – Brant Sankey – Studio E Recording

Video – Oscar Moreno

Assistant – Nick Sabala

Special Thanks – Billie Patterson

Monte Luna are:
Guitar/Vox: James Cl
Drums/Noise: Danny Marschner
Bass: Garth Condit

Monte Luna on Thee Facebooks

Monte Luna on Bandcamp

Monte Luna on Instagram

Argonauta Records website

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Dayeater Premiere New Single “Sweet Earth”

Posted in audiObelisk on March 2nd, 2021 by JJ Koczan


This Friday, March 5, Austin trio Dayeater will release their new single, ‘Sweet Earth.’ And with it, the everybody-sings three-piece of guitarist Jesse Lee, bassist Christopher Brockett and drummer Landry Jackson begin to make their way toward their third full-length by challenging the very form. True, they could put together groupings of songs in some manner of flow as a regular LP might — they’ve done so twice before, with 2016’s Voices Out of Nowhere and their 2018 self-titled — but the times have changed and where one might release a full-length album, plop it out there in the digital/physical ether, be unable to play shows to support it and reap a few decent weeks of momentum then be done, they’re choosing instead to bring out one song at a time, giving their audience a chance to absorb each track on its own before, presumably, some later assembly.

It’s a bold move. “Sweet Earth,” sure enough, is a gem, moving from its uptempo, hooky beginning into later reaches of dayeater sweet earthpsychedelic medley, but generally within the span even of a 38-minute LP, there’s something that, if not an outright clunker, is serving a purpose complementary to the songs around it. That’s a luxury Dayeater are denying themselves. Each song comes under a much closer microscope when released as a single, and in this strange, show-less age, maybe that’s even more true since there isn’t sheer volume of personal delivery or stage energy to draw from in introducing material to listeners, as there would be on a tour. So it goes.

The good news here, which by now I’m sure you’re expecting, is that Dayeater‘s songwriting on “Sweet Earth” finds them meeting that challenge head-on. I won’t speak to the rest of the ‘album’ to come piece-by-piece over the next however long, but a six-minute first single isn’t nothing as regards a sampler, and Dayeater acquit themselves with a sharp sense of purpose and atmospheric flourish alike. They sound like they’re making a go of it, looking to actively engage their audience, and while it’s true this is a harsh moment for a group like that, who would otherwise probably make a killing at SXSW in their hometown, the vitality they’re working with here and the balance of arrangement depth and songcraft makes them that much harder to ignore, which one suspects is precisely the point. The proverbial band with a plan. Right on.

Track premiere follows below, along with details from the PR wire.

Please enjoy:

Roaring out of the sonic breeding ground that is Austin, Texas come DAYEATER. Long since branded ‘Austin’s Loudest Psychedelic Trio,’ DAYEATER are a one of a kind force in the underground. Their music is built around the riffs of Black Sabbath, the harmonies of the Zombies and Jimi Hendrix inspired guitars all with a power trio lineup. Featuring a one handed guitarist, an insulin addicted bassist and a vegetarian drummer, DAYEATER are just the sort of motley crew to become the next big thing in rock.

After forming in the spring of 2014, the band released a pair of full length albums, 2016’s Voices Out Of Nowhere and a self titled effort in 2018. Their powerful songwriting full of psychedelic riffs and lush vocal harmonies won over a small legion of fans. That’s why 2020 was when the band really started to pick up steam, being selecting for the Austin Music Foundation Artist Development Program and even having January 9th, 2020 being declared ‘DAYEATER Day’!

Now, the band is gearing up to release their next offering, the single “Sweet Earth,” recorded with Grammy nominated producer, Chris “Frenchie” Smith. The band have a new album ready to go and plan to release one single at a time and through a sustained promotional effort break through to the right audience and explode. As the ongoing COVID crisis comes to an end, DAYEATER look to go out on tour and never come back.

Dayeater on Thee Facebooks

Dayeater on Instagram

Dayeater on Bandcamp

Dayeater website

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Holy Death Trio Sign to Ripple Music

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

Holy Death Trio are the first signing to Ripple Music as Rob “Blasko” Nicholson — who in addition to being a bassist extraordinaire for the lines of Ozzy Osbourne, Rob Zombie, Drown (Hold on to the Hollow was fierce) and a slew of others, is also a manager and radio personality and enough other things to legitimately warrant an “etc.” — is working in collaboration with the label under the considerable title of ‘Executive Vice-President of A&R and Special Projects.’ That, my friends, would look awfully good on a business card. Good for Holy Death Trio, in any case. As regards backing, it would be way easy to do far worse.

The Austin-based trio’s video for “Bad Vibrations,” newly premiered, I seem to recall kicking around in December, but such is the way of things when a band gets signed. The track comes from the band’s self-titled EP, which has already been followed by two singles and according to the band’s Bandcamp page is the first half of their impending full-length debut. When that surfaces, it’ll be with Ripple‘s stamp of approval.

Good news all around, and a hell of a kickstart to the Blasko/Ripple collab. Details come from the PR wire:

holy death trio

Austin rock’n’rollers HOLY DEATH TRIO sign to Ripple Music as part of special series curated by Blasko; debut “Bad Vibrations” video!

Ripple Music announce the signing of Austin’s rock’n’roll purveyors HOLY DEATH TRIO for the release of their debut full-length later this year. The Texas trio is the first band to join the California based label as part of a special series of releases curated and executive produced by Blasko.

As Executive VP of A&R and Special Projects, Blasko will hand-curate and executive produce a series of special releases under the Ripple Music banner, spotlighting brand new talents from the underground. He brings a 30+ year career of experience as a musician and artist manager within the rock and metal underground scene to the table and will provide an unprecedented degree of guidance into each of these releases.

About signing HOLY DEATH TRIO, Blasko comments: “I am excited to announce our first signing under my new partnership with Ripple Music. From Austin, Texas: Holy Death Trio. These dudes are true ass busters and I am proud to be in their corner and introduce to the world the new breed of Rock and Roll!”


Borne out of a Mercury retrograde, the stars literally aligned when HOLY DEATH TRIO formed in 2016. These Central Texas natives sound like what would happen if Jimi Hendrix played with Black Sabbath and John Dwyer from Thee Of Sees set up his pedalboard. Suffice it to say, the ever shredding band knew they were onto something special from the first. Psychedelia rams into hard-hitting riffs when Holy Death Trio play, and they are determined to give their all. This is a group who love the grind, and whose newfound partnership with legendary Ozzy Osbourne bassist and artist manager Blasko as the premier signing to his new-found partnership at Ripple Music feeds ambitions that reach all the way up to the big Texas sky.

HOLY DEATH TRIO’s songs reflect an attitude of living each day like it’s your last and embracing self empowerment. The band take pride in staying fit and maintaining healthy habits so that when they hit the road, they can easily put in the work needed. A band who refuse to half-ass anything, Holy Death Trio demand the whole ass. This has paid off with appearances at numerous festival showcases and support slots for countless stoner rock titans. As Metal Injection once stated, “breathing life back into that heavy blues/stoner rock style, Holy Death Trio fuses the likes of early Rush, Black Sabbath, and Fu Manchu in the heart of the Texas.”

Now the band is focusing on releasing their debut full length, a veritable Holy Death Experience in collaboration with vaunted stoner label Ripple Music. The power trio is preparing a concept album that promises to act as a sacred trip through the sonic waves. With aspirations to tackle many of the heavy rock festivals that have come to dominate Austin over the years, HOLY DEATH TRIO are well aware that they live in a breeding ground for heavy music. It puts them in a prime position to take on the scene at large, and with their virtuoso guitar leads and crushing rhythms, you know they will.

In anticipation of their upcoming debut release, the band recently issued a series of digital singles, including the “Bad Vibrations” video and making for ‘The Holy Death Trio EP’, available at this location.

Holy Death Trio, “Bad Vibrations” official video

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CortĂ©ge Premiere “Chasing Daylight (Part 1)” from Chasing Daylight

Posted in audiObelisk on January 29th, 2021 by JJ Koczan


Austin-based duo CortĂ©ge are set to release their new EP, Chasing Daylight, through Desert Records on Feb. 26. Comprised just of its two-part title-track, it’s their first offering through the label and the follow-up to 2019’s Capricorn (discussed here), which, like several of the band’s outings, skimmed the line between EP and full-length. Chasing Daylight, running 16-plus minutes, makes it somewhat easier.

It feels clichĂ© almost to the point of rudeness to call CortĂ©ge‘s style “cinematic.” But there it is. Sorry. On a level of observational depth, you might as well call it “sound.” Cinematic is the point. I don’t think you break out the tubular bells unless you’re going for a particular kind of atmosphere, and Chasing Daylight indeed nails that atmosphere, with the first of its two parts shorter at 7:22, but reaching voluminous heights and almost minimalist lows in a sprawl that’s vaguely Western with the ringing guitars, but nonetheless carries an undercurrent of l0w-end synth that gives the central procession of the rhythm — CORTEGE CHASING DAYLIGHTslow, slow, slow in patient form from a band who’s done this before — a particularly foreboding feel that’s also vaguely futuristic.

The Morricone of Tomorrow, Today? Maybe, but there’s more going on than just that as “Chasing Daylight (Part 1)” surges to its finish and the opening melody of “Chasing Daylight (Part 2)” nearly veers into “Silent Night” as it unfurls. The synth, initially more forward, recedes behind the guitar line that in another context would recall Bell Witch, and CortĂ©ge make their way into an even more barren stretch, barely keeping time with bells and drums likeminded in their funereal vibe. The payoff is ambient, more drift than burst, and that’s just fine as the hypnotic aspect of all that lurch would feel cheap if they swapped in a big finish for its own sake. As it is, “Chasing Daylight,” the whole work, almost seems to ask for a third part, the brevity of the two pieces included here leaving room to be expanded upon.

Whether or not that’s something CortĂ©ge have in mind, of course I’ve no idea. You can stream “Chasing Daylight (Part 1)” below, and for being (roughly) half of the total outing, it gives a sense of what the two-piece are up to with the EP, and where they might head from here.

Please enjoy:


Post-Western, heavy ambient doom duo CortĂ©ge has signed to New Mexico’s Desert Records. The label will release the band’s new EP Chasing Daylight February 26, 2021 on CD and digital formats.

Recorded, mixed and mastered in the fall of 2020 with Jeff Henson (DUEL) at Red Nova Ranch in Austin, Texas, Chasing Daylight is a cinematic, chrome tinged portrait du temps for the end of the world as well as a musical foreshadowing of things to come. Lush arrangements wind through the familiar Cortége territories of drone, prog, doom, western and ambient soundscapes with a few surprises therein, including a guest appearance from Michael St. Claire on brass.

Album cover art comes courtesy of Steven Yoyada.

Cortége are:
Mike Swarbrick: Bass VI, Moog, Mellotron, Tubular Bells
Adrian Voorhies: Drums

Cortége on Thee Facebooks

Cortége on Instagram

Cortége on Bandcamp

Desert Records on Thee Facebooks

Desert Records on Instagram

Desert Records on Bandcamp

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Quarterly Review: Emma Ruth Rundle & Thou, Spaceslug, Malsten, Sun Crow, Honeybadger, Monte Luna, Hombrehumano, Veljet, Witchrider, Devil Worshipper

Posted in Reviews on December 28th, 2020 by JJ Koczan


New week, same Quarterly Review. Today is the next-to-last round for this time, though once again, I look at the folders of albums on my desktop and the CDs and LPs that have come in and I realize it could easily go longer. I never really caught up from the last QR. I guess it’s been that kind of year. In any case, more good stuff today, so sit tight and enjoy. If you didn’t find anything last week that stuck out to you, maybe today’s your day.

Quarterly Review #51-60:

Emma Ruth Rundle & Thou, May Our Chambers Be Full

emma ruth rundle thou may our chambers be full

Sure, there’s poise and plunder amid torrents of emotion and weighted tonality, but what’s really astonishing about May Our Chambers Be Full, the first collaboration between Louisville’s Emma Ruth Rundle (Red Sparowes‘ third LP, the Nocturnes, Marriages, etc.) and New Orleans’ sludgers Thou is that it feels so much more substantial than its 36 minutes. That’s not to say it drags, though it does when it wants to in terms of tempo, but just that its impact both in songs where Rundle and Thou‘s Bryan Funck trade off like “Ancestral Recall” or when they come together as on opener “Killing Floor” is such that it feels longer. Atmosphere is certainly a factor, but May Our Chambers Be Full is so striking because of its blend of extremity and melody, emotion and sheer catharsis, and the breadth that seems to accompany its consuming crush. In a couple years, there are going to be an awful lot of bands putting out debut albums that sound very much like this. Follow-up EP out soon.

Emma Ruth Rundle on Thee Facebooks

Thou on Instagram

Sacred Bones Records website


Spaceslug, Leftovers

spaceslug leftovers

Produced by the band and Piotr Grzegorowski — who also guests on synth and guitar — during the plague-addled Spring of 2020, Spaceslug‘s Leftovers EP represents a branching out in terms of style to incorporate a sense of melancholy alongside their established sprawling psychedelics. The 21-minute five-tracker is less a follow-up to 2019’s Reign of the Orion (review here) than a standalone sidestep, but in the acoustic/synth rollout of “From Behind the Glass” and in the especially-stripped-down-feeling centerpiece “The Birds are Loudest in May” it lives up to the challenge of blending an organic atmosphere with the otherworldly sensibilities Spaceslug have honed so well throughout their tenure. Having started with its longest and synthiest track in “Wasted Illusion,” Leftovers caps with the shorter and more active “Place to Turn” and its title-track, which adds a spindly layer of electric guitar (or something that sounds like it) for an experimentalist vibe. Very 2020, but no less welcome for that. The question is whether these impulses show up in Spaceslug‘s work from here on out, and if so, how.

Spaceslug on Thee Facebooks

Spaceslug on Bandcamp


Malsten, The Haunting of SilvĂĄkra Mill

malsten The Haunting of Silvakra Mill

Malmö-based four-piece Malsten make their full-length debut on Interstellar Smoke Records with the four-song/44-minute The Haunting of SilvĂĄkra Mill, and in so doing show an immediate command of post-Pallbearer spaciousness and melodic-doom traditionalism. Their lumber is prevalent and engrossing tonally on opener “Torsion” (10:36), uses silence effectively on “Immolation” (10:24), and seems to find a place between Warning and Lord Vicar on “Grinder” (9:02) ahead of the epic-on-top-of-epics summary in closer “Compunction” (13:54), which finds Malsten having reserved another level of heavy to keep as their final statement. So be it. Very heavy and worthy of as much volume as you can give it, The Haunting of SilvĂĄkra Mill is an accomplished beginning and heralds significant potential on the part of what’s to come from Malsten. I’d watch this band do a live stream playing this record front-to-back. Just saying.

Malsten on Thee Facebooks

Interstellar Smoke Records webstore


Sun Crow, Quest for Oblivion

Sun Crow Quest for Oblivion

A significant undertaking of progressive heavy and noise rock, Sun Crow‘s Quest for Oblivion is among the most ambitious debut albums I’ve heard in 2020, but there’s nothing it sets for itself in terms of goals that it doesn’t accomplish, as vocalist Charles Wilson flips between clean melodies and effective screams atop the riffs of guitarist Ben Nechanicky, the bass of Brian Steel and Keith Hastreiter‘s drums. Somebody’s gonna sign these guys. Even at 70 minutes, Quest for Oblivion, from its post-apocalyptic standpoint, aesthetic cohesion, fluid songcraft and accomplished performance, is simply too good to leave without a proper 2LP release. Individualized in atmosphere though working with familiar-enough elements, it is an album that makes it joyously difficult to pick apart influences, unleashing an initial burst of four longer tracks before giving way (albeit momentarily) to “Fear” and the outlying, brazenly Motörheady “Nothing Behind” before returning to cosmic heavy in “Hypersonic” and the 11-minute “Titans,” which uses its time just as well as everything else that surrounds. Ironic that a record that seems to be about a wasteland should bring so much hope for the future.

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Sun Crow on Bandcamp


Honeybadger, Pleasure Delayer

honeybadger pleasure delayer

It doesn’t take Honeybadger long to land their first effective punch on their debut LP, Pleasure Delayer, as the hook of opener/longest track (immediate points) “The Wolf” hits square on the jaw and precedes an atmospheric guitar outro that leads into the rest of the album as a closer might otherwise lead the way out. A product of Athens’ heavy rock boom, the four-piece distinguish themselves in fuzzy tones and an approach that comes right to the edge of burl and doesn’t quite tip over, thankfully and gracefully staving off chestbeating in favor of quality songcraft on “The Well” and the engagingly bass-led “Crazy Ride,” from which the initially slower, bluesier “Good for Nothing” picks up with some Truckfighters, some 1000mods and a whole lot of fun. Side B’s hooks are no less satisfyingly straightforward. “That Feel” feels born for the stage, while “Laura Palmer” makes a memorable chorus out of that Twin Peaks character’s slaying, the penultimate “Holler” feels indeed like the work of a band trying to stand themselves out from a crowded pack and “Truth in the Lie” caps mirroring the energy of “Good for Nothing” but resounding in a cold finish. Efficient, hooky, smoothly executed. There’s nothing one might reasonably ask of Pleasure Delayer that it doesn’t deliver.

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Honeybadger on Bandcamp


Monte Luna, Mind Control Broadcast

monte luna mind control broadcast

Released name-your-price as a benefit for the venue The Lost Well in Monte Luna‘s hometown of Austin and derived from a CvltNation-sponsored livestream, the three-song Mind Control Broadcast follows 2019’s Drowners’ Wives (review here) and is intended as a glimpse at their impending third LP, likely due in 2021. That record will be one to look forward to, but it’ll be hard to trade out the raw bludgeon of “Blackstar” — the leadoff here — for another, maybe-not-live-recorded version. True, the setting doesn’t necessarily allow for the band to bring in guests like they did last time around or to flesh out melodies in the same way, but the sound is brash and thrilling and lets “Rust Goliath” live up to its name in largesse, while saving its nastiest for last in “Fear the Sun,” the glorious bassline of which it feels like a spoiler even mentioning for someone who hasn’t heard it yet. 22 of the sludgiest minutes you’re likely to spend today.

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Monte Luna BigCartel store


Hombrehumano, Crepuscular

hombrehumano crepuscular

As satisfying as the laid-back-heavy desert rock flow of “Rolito” is, and as well done as what surrounds on Hombrehumano‘s 2019 debut album, Crepuscular, turns out to be in its 53-minute run, it’s in the longer pieces like the Western “Puerto Gris” or the post-Brant Bjork “Metamorfosis” that they really shine. That’s not to take away from the opening instrumental “Nomada” that establishes the tones and sets the atmosphere in which the rest of the record takes place, or the nod of “Primaveras de Olvido,” and certainly the fuzz-boogie and percussion of “Ouroboro” shine in a manner worthy of being depicted on the cover, but the Argentinian four-piece do well with the extra time to flesh out their material. But, either way you go, you go. Hombrehumano craft sweet fuzz and spaciousness on “Puerto Gris” and answer it back later in “Zombakice” and add twists of percussion and acoustics and vocal effects — never mind the birdsong — on closer “Del Ensueño.” Es un ejemplo más de lo que le falta a la cultura gringo al no adorar fuertemente a los sudamericanos.

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Hombrehumano on Bandcamp


Veljet, Viva El Diablo

veljet viva el diablo

Even my non-Spanish-speaking ass can translate Viva el Diablo, the title of Mexican instrumentalist three-piece Veljet‘s debut album. Initially released by the band in March 2020, it was subsequently reissued for physical pressing with a seventh track, “Leviatan,” added, bringing the runtime to a vinyl-ready 37 minutes. The apparently-devil-worshiping title-cut is still the longest at a doomly eight minutes, but though the production is fairly raw, Veljet‘s material taps into a few different impulses within the heavy rock sphere, offsetting willfully repetitive riffing in “El DĂ­a de las Manos” with scorching solo work while “Jay Adams” — presumably named in homage to the Dogtown skater — pulls some trad-metal riffing into its second half. “Cutlass” is short at 2:36, but makes the record as a whole feel less predictable for that, and the add-on “Leviatan” embodies its great sea beast with a nod up front that opens to later cacophony. The vibe throughout is you’re-in-the-room live jams, and Veljet have well enough chemistry to carry the songs across in that setting.

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The Swamp Records website


Witchrider, Electrical Storm

witchrider electrical storm

Smoothly produced and executed, not lacking energy but produced for a very studio-style fullness, Witchrider‘s second LP arrives via Fuzzorama Records in answer to 2014’s Unmountable Stairs with a pro-shop feel for its 50-minute duration. Songs are sharply hooked and energetic, beefing up Queens of the Stone Age-style desert rock early on “Shadows” and “You Lied” before the guitars introduce a broader palette with the title-track. The chorus of “Mess Creator” and the big finish in closer “The Weatherman” are highlights, but songs like “Keep Me out of It” and “Come Back” feel built for a commercial infrastructure that — at least in radio-free America — doesn’t exist anymore. I’m not sure what it takes to attract the attention of picky algorithms, but if it’s grounded songwriting, varied material and crisp performance like it was when there was a cable channel playing music videos, then Witchrider are ready to roll. As it stands, the Austrian outfit seem underserved by the inability to even get on a festival stage and play this material live to win converts in that manner. They’re hardly alone in that, but with material that seems so poised specifically toward audience engagement, it comes through all the more, which of course is a testament to the quality of the work itself.

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Fuzzorama Records website


Devil Worshipper, 3

devil worshipper 3

Opening with its longest track (immediate points) in the 10-minute “Silver Dagger” and presented with the burning red eyes of Christopher Lee’s Dracula on the front, the 33-minute 3 tape from Seattle’s Devil Worshipper maintains the weirdo-experimental spirit of the outfit’s 2015 self-titled debut (review here), finding a kind of Butthole Surfers-into-a-cassette-recorder, anything-goes-until-it-sucks, dark ’90s psychedelia they call “garage metal.” Fair enough. Apparently more efficient than anything I can come up with for it, though what doesn’t necessarily account for is the way the 3 challenges the listener, the remastered versions of “Into Radiation Wave” and “Chem Rails” from the first album, or the horror atmospherics of “Drinking Blood.” It’s like it’s too weird for this planet so it finally made one for itself. Well earned.

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Puppy Mill Recordings on Bandcamp


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Cortége Sign to Desert Records for Chasing Daylight EP

Posted in Whathaveyou on December 14th, 2020 by JJ Koczan


Austin, Texas, heavy Americana soundscapers CortĂ©ge have signed to Desert Records to release their recently-recorded Chasing Daylight EP. As hinted below, the band will also appear on the label’s split series Legends of the Desert, the first volume of which boasted Lord Buffalo and Palehorse/Palerider; part of the label’s ongoing effort to expand the definition of “desert” aesthetic to something beyond simple geography.

In that, the duo are nothing if not a fit, their 2019 Capricorn LP (discussed here) finding ground between heavy atmospheric rock and purposefully cast expanse, a progressive sense of arrangement doing little to take away from the ability to convey something big and seemingly empty while teeming with life close to the ground. You can hear that record below and see the art for Chasing Daylight here, along with the label’s announcement.

The bottom line is yeah, this one makes sense. So let it make sense:


CortĂ©ge, the Austin based post-western, heavy ambient Doom duo will be releasing their new EP “Chasing Daylight” via Desert Records on Feb. 26th.

The band is self-described as “If Earth and Pink Floyd teamed up and did a soundtrack to a David Lynch film”.

From Desert Records: “This collaboration has been under wraps for over a year now. I saw these guys open for Mdou Moctar at Sister Bar in Albuquerque and instantly knew they were perfect for the label. This is just the beginning…The Raven whispered in my ear that Cortege will be on a future volume of some compilation that has to do with Legends or Deserts or something…”

FROM THE DUO: “We couldn’t possibly be more pleased to announce our formal partnership with Albuquerque, New Mexico-based Desert Records, for both the release of the forthcoming Chasing Daylight EP and yet to be revealed future endeavors. In procuring an impressively diverse and uniquely curated armada of heavy, droning talent across the country, Brad and his team have carved a deep etching in the independent label sphere and we’re proud to say many of our new label mates we already count among friends. And so, from an otherwise dismal year, hope springs eternal. Mark your calendars for the release of our first collaboration together; a cascading, hypnotic post western epic taken to the edge of the sunrise. Chasing Daylight out 2/26/2021”.

According to the band: “we’re very excited and even with preemptively dry mixes, this little release is truly dramatic and we can’t wait for you to hear it. It’s part of a larger concept but it towers on its own two legs, our portrait du temps to the end of the world.”

Cortége is:
Mike Swarbrick – Bass Guitar, Synthesizers, Percussion & Tape Delay
Adrian Voorhies (ex Canyon of the Skull, ex Humut Tabal) – Drums

Cortége, Capricorn (2019)

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