Khan Sign to Salty Dog Records

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

Melbourne heavy psych rockers Khan have signed to Salty Dog Records. Neat, right? That’s a cool pickup that puts the Aussie trio alongside Mother TonguesKing Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard and Pseudo Mind Hive, among others, as labelmates. Fine company to keep. What’s not included in the announcement below, however, is exactly what the deal is for.

Khan released their full-length debut, Vale, last year, digitally and on CD. Could well be that Salty Dog has picked it up for a vinyl release — which would be well enough earned by the album’s depth of tone and spacious affect — or it could just be that Salty Dog will stand behind their next outing whenever that happens to manifest itself, presumably from out of the great cosmic ether that produced “Separation” from the first record. Or even better, maybe it’s both.

Both Khan and Salty Dog posted about the pickup on the social medias, as one would expect, but neither mentioned exactly what the collaboration between them will be. Keeping it on the q.t. for now, I guess. Fair enough.

I didn’t catch onto Vale before now, so I’m kind of considering this my excuse to dive into the album, which you’ll find streaming below. I think you can hear pretty quickly why it’d be a good fit for a vinyl release, despite potential runtime issues.

Dig:

khan

KHAN – NEW ARTIST ANNOUNCEMENT

Please join us in welcoming Khan to the Salty Dog Records family.

Khan are a Melbourne based heavy psych/prog/rock trio that meld hazy psychedelia and heavy stoner riffs with progressive rhythms and song structures. The songs are lyrically evocative, filled with heavy psychedelic sounds and incredible bass tones which lead you through quite the journey.

Khan says, “We made a new friend!! His name is Salty and he’s a fuckin dog! (Salty Dog Records). We’re super stoked to be a part of the family and to be working with such a legend.”

Stay tuned for further updates.

Khan are:
Josh Bills – Vocals/Guitar
Mitchell Kerr – Bass/Backing vocals
Beau Heffernan – Drums

https://www.facebook.com/khanbandofficial/
https://khanofficial.bandcamp.com/
https://www.facebook.com/OfficialSaltyDogRecords
https://www.instagram.com/saltydog.records/
https://salty-dog.bandcamp.com/

Khan, Vale (2018)

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Buried Feather Post “Nuclear Suzi” Video; Cloudberry Dreamshake out Next Month

Posted in Bootleg Theater on August 13th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

buried feather

Garage buzz, psychedelic gaze and all the drift you could ask for — plus a hook. I guess by now Australia is starting to come out of its winter just a little bit — such as seasons still exist anywhere — but to me, Buried Feather‘s new single, “Nuclear Suzi,” sounds right on the money for the end of summer. The track communes with a 1965-’66 psychaesthetic, but treats the style as though it emerged fully formed from out of a cocoon, rather than grew into its enduringly lysergic self. Tones are sopping wet and not exactly retro, but especially in the context of the video, there’s a classic-promo-clip vibe that pervades visually and enhances that feel in the music. It’s almost like the senses are intertwined or something. Go melt your brain.

“Nuclear Suzi” is the second track to be offered up from Buried Feather‘s forthcoming long-player, Cloudberry Dreamshake — a garage rock title if e’er I heard one — and it follows the prior-posted “Lightning Hands,” which I’ve included at the bottom of the post (or near it, anyhow) just in case you need to get caught up. That song has a little bit more of a push, which perhaps accounts for the “shake,” but there’s plenty of “dream” in it as well, and I don’t know what a cloudberry tastes like, but screw it; did I mention go melt your brain?

Buried Feather seem to have pared down to a trio since they put out Mind of the Swarm in 2017, but after touring Europe last year, they don’t seem to be lacking for any kind of sonic expansion. This is a cool one, and the video rules as well, so I’ll keep it simple in the hope that you actually watch the damn thing if you’re still reading this. If not, well, go melt your brain, I guess.

Enjoy:

Buried Feather, “Nuclear Suzi” official video

We’re pleased to share the new single and music video “Nuclear Suzi” from Melbourne psych-rockers Buried Feather.

The song is taken from the forthcoming album Cloudberry Dreamshake, out September 12th on Cobra Snake Necktie Records. The music video was directed by Chris Matthews (Tropical Fuck Storm, Batpiss, Cable Ties).

Directed by: Chris Matthews

Buried Feather, “Lightning Hands”

Buried Feather on Thee Facebooks

Buried Feather on Bandcamp

Cobra Snake Necktie Records website

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Sleeping Giant, Sleeping Giant: Awake in Visions

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

sleeping giant sleeping giant

Sometimes a band comes right out of their second rehearsal with a batch of songs, ready to hit the studio and make a record — or at least that’s how it feels. That’s not the case with Sleeping Giant, who emerge from Australia’s crowded heavy underground some six years after forming as Lowpoint. Their self-titled and self-released-but-probably-not-for-long debut album is the result of the subsequent half-decade of writing and woodshedding, and comprises a clean eight tracks and 42 minutes of solid-foundation fuzz rock, turning influences from earlier Queens of the Stone Age, Lowrider, Kyuss and more rolling fare into a collection of original songs that bask in their fuzzy familiarity but still feel geared toward their own approach, perhaps because they’ve been so worked on. Even the recording process for Sleeping Giant‘s Sleeping Giant took a year, which sounds excruciating, but the resultant long-player finds guitarist/vocalist Steven Hammer, bassist James Wright and drummer Pali Emond-Glenn sounding well aware of who they are as a band and able to manifest that in their material without losing their first-album edge.

Even without knowing it was so long in coming together, the songs don’t feel off-the-cuff. They feel worked on, thought out, considered, and that’s by no means a detriment to their execution, which remains plenty energetic. That’s an achievement unto itself, but it’s just one of the ways Sleeping Giant ultimately impress throughout, as they move through a tracklisting that’s no less impeccably arranged than the songs themselves in terms of bringing out the different sides of the band’s approach, growing richer as it goes from side A to B in what’s clearly a vinyl-intended progression — the cover by Emond-Glenn would seem geared toward that as well — that nonetheless flows smoothly throughout, making its way toward the three-part finale, “Visions I,” “Visions II” and “Visions III,” which together introduce new elements of atmosphere and aggression to the proceedings, taking the straightforward core of heavy rock from which Sleeping Giant work and using it as a basis for exploring different ideas. However long it took to make it happen, there’s little more one could reasonably ask of a debut album.

Sleeping Giant opens, suitably enough, with “Sleep,” which begins an initial salvo that will continue basically through the first four songs to one degree or another. A mid-paced groove takes hold with effective, laid back vocal melodies overtop from Hammer and a fuzz that’s both warm-sounding and right on in terms of capturing a desert-style feel while still giving Wright‘s bass room to make an impression. One is reminded early on of Sungrazer to a degree, but Sleeping Giant are on a less jammy trip overall, and the roll of “Sleep” is offset by the sheer thrust of “Temptress,” which pushes the vocals forward in the mix and offers as support for them a fervent push and tempo kick, the trade from one to the next crucial to understanding how side A works, since the subsequent “Empire” and “Serpent” will essentially make the same moves, though of course there are changes in the approach to be considered.

sleeping giant

“Temptress” resolves itself in a nod and final shove before dropping out to a series of curses — somebody’s mad about something, comically — and leading to the six-and-a-half-minute “Empire,” which is a highlight for its blend of bounce and roll, the chorus reminding of some lost late-’90s/early-’00s gem from somewhere in Northern Europe, even as the tones and production by Erek Ladd and Jarod Meadows remains modern. Guitar drops out in the second half of “Empire” for a moment to let the bass introduce the apex nodder riff and the slow-motion swagger that ensues is more than welcome upon the return of the full tonal breadth. In comparison, “Serpent” — also the most direct source of the Lowrider comparison above — is arguably the highest-energy of the bunch, with a careening Homme-style central riff and sense of movement brought out all the more by the shift into a slower section at the midpoint, only to return to a speedier finish. Again, not by any means revolutionary, but effective in conveying Sleeping Giant‘s priorities, which are clearly geared toward songcraft.

The basic structure of side B changes, thanks largely to the aforementioned “Visions” trilogy. “Gypsy” unfolds very much in the character of side A’s tradeoffs between longer and shorter songs, finding Hammer‘s malleable vocals in a lower register over a slower riff before opening up for the chorus, trading tempos much in the spirit of “Serpent,” only reversed. In the overarching progression of the record, “Gypsy” is inherently outshined by “Visions,” but its being there makes sense and the work it does to tie the two halves of the album together isn’t to be forgotten. Still, it’s a significant turn when the instrumental “Visions I” begins its subdued unfolding, reminding of progressive-era Truckfighters‘ less jumpy moments, with a linear build toward the heavier guitar’s full brunt.

They get there before the track’s three minutes are up, and turn directly into “Visions II,” which unfolds a King Buffalo-y psychedelic blues vibe until a more severe riff leads at 2:42 to harsher growling in post-hardcore fashion — actually, the voice reminds me of Elegy-era Amorphis, but I’m willing to chalk that up to sonic coincidence — gradually working in clean and harsh layers effectively to carry Sleeping Giant to a genuinely unexpected crescendo, leaving “Visions III” to pick up immediately from there, which it does by shifting into another engaging nod-roll as a bed for a return of sung vocals and the gradual build of a melodic wash of tone, which acts not so much as an epilogue to the prior part’s payoff, but as a different stage of the same idea — in that way, “Visions” is all the more well executed as a whole. And it’s in that last three-parter that Sleeping Giant most show the potential in their sound for bringing a range of styles together under a fuzzy banner and crafting an identity of their own from them. After six years and a name change leading to this debut, I won’t speculate on where they might go from here or when they might get there, but the obvious care they put into the writing and honing and construction of this material shows through one way or another in each track, which is no less than they deserve.

Sleeping Giant, Sleeping Giant (2019)

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Sleeping Giant on Instagram

Sleeping Giant on Bandcamp

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Frozen Planet….1969, Meltdown on the Horizon: Roll Back the Sun

Posted in Reviews on August 6th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

Frozen Planet 1969 Meltdown on the Horizon

Jammers gotta jam, and though they’re less than a year removed from their sixth full-length, 2018’s The Heavy Medicinal Grand Exposition (review here), clearly it was time for Frozen Planet….1969 to get down to business on the seventh. Released like that album through Headspin Records on vinyl and Pepper Shaker Records on jewel-case CD, Meltdown on the Horizon compiles four tracks from a session helmed by drummer Frank Attard in the band’s native Canberra, Australia, as he, bassist Lachlan Paine and guitarist Paul Attard set themselves to a four-track/54-minute stretch of cosmic meandering, rife with effects and an improvisational energy that affects even the most spaced-out of moments, like the midsection of 22-minute opener and longest inclusion (immediate points) “Rollback,” as the band depart the initial solo-topped groove and funky display for more atmospheric turns before gradually making their way back with the guitar in the lead. It’s not a minor journey and it’s not intended to be, but the last album was arranged as one long, 39-minute track and a six-minute reprise, so neither is it the farthest Frozen Planet….1969 have gone down that road.

More importantly, it harnesses a gorgeous, organic kind of chaos, with a hypnotic spread of float above a molten river of groove, all natural and emblematic of a sincere will to explore musically, the band dug into the joy of their own creation, starting off in medias res as though we, the audience, join their journey already in progress, which of course we do. And long before they come around to the drums picking up in “Rollback” as the song heads into its 17th minute and winding final realization en route to “Bellhop Shindig” (8:11), “Dandy Chai” (6:41) and “Sunset Variations” (17:01), the trio have locked in the essential character that will define Meltdown on the Horizon in the song’s psychedelic persona, a heavy acid rock spirit emerging that continues into “Bellhop Shindig,” which is no less jazzy than the title might indicate, as Paine‘s bass holds together the flow of drums and guitar surrounding, bridging the gap that’s essential in crafting the spaciousness of the record on the whole. Cool vibe? Yeah, cool vibe. They’ve got it locked down.

When it comes to this kind of jam-based heavy psychedelic instrumentalism, I’m usually a proponent of a conscious listen. That is, in the face of trippy sonics and go-anywhere adventuring, I’ll mostly argue in favor of keeping your wits about you and paying attention to what the band are doing in order to most enjoy it. You know, listening to a record by listening to it. Not a particularly deep concept. And I’m not about to tell you not to give Meltdown on the Horizon the consideration it deserves. I will say though that there’s also a value to engaging with the ultra-chill moments of “Sunset Variations” or “Dandy Chai” on that existential level as well — just sharing the same headspace. This is particularly true of the penultimate cut, which is the shortest of the four as noted above, since its structure seems to kind of come apart about two minutes before it’s done and leave Paul in the position of weaving out pulled guitar notes on an intertwining delay, hypnotic and minimal compared to some of the other stretches on the record, but again, a wholly organic moment.

frozen planet 1969

And one that’s well worth experiencing consciously, but also one that’s a whole lot of fun to just kind of go with. Seven albums deep, Frozen Planet….1969 have more than earned the benefit of the doubt, I think, and even as they lose track of where they’re heading on “Dandy Chai,” including that is purposeful. It’s not just about some “well, we’ll put in a missed note to sound natural” kind of thing, and it’s not that they don’t care. It’s the risk you run in doing improv, and the way in which you roll with it. Shit, Frozen Planet….1969 are giving life lessons, never mind jamming out. They’re telling you how to read their work even as they’re performing it. Just go with it. How could you not want to do that, especially when they pull it off so effectively moving into the subdued start of “Sunset Variations?”

But just to be clear: I’m not saying Meltdown on the Horizon is background music. It’s not. “Bellhop Shindig” is way too busy being funky cosmic boogie to be relegated to the background of anything, and while “Rollback” is hypnotic, it never loses its sense of purpose. What I’m saying is that Frozen Planet….1969‘s explorations hold up to multiple kinds of listens. You can sit and analyze every turn they make throughout “Rollback” and “Sunset Variations,” catch the moment where “Dandy Chai” begins to kind of pull itself apart, or get down with “Bellshop Shindig” note for airy note. I’m not arguing against that. Do it. But the next time you put it on, be aware that Meltdown on the Horizon can hold its own and hold attention without that kind of direct engagement.

It’s a strong enough performance on the part of the band to carry the audience through from one end to the other, and even when there’s a bump in that path, they’re experienced enough to ride it out and go where it takes them. This is the sign, ultimately, of a band who have mastered their approach — at least as much as one can when so much of that approach is improv — and who are not only in control of what they do, but are strong enough to cede that control when it suits the work they’re doing. That ability makes Meltdown on the Horizon an all the more exciting listen, no matter how one engages with it, and it shows both the depth of the chemistry between the Attards and Paine, and the continued daring they bring to their output and their off-the-cuff composition style. The former and the latter alike serve them well here, and their raw creativity earns every single kind of listen it will get.

Frozen Planet….1969, Meltdown on the Horizon (2019)

Frozen Planet….1969 on Thee Facebooks

Pepper Shaker Records on Thee Facebooks

Pepper Shaker Records on Bandcamp

HeadSpin Records website

HeadSpin Records on Thee Facebooks

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Oblivion Reptilian, Fried on Rock: Into Isotropic

Posted in Reviews on August 5th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

Oblivion Reptilian Fried on Rock

Sometimes an experiment works. Last year, Sydney, Australia’s Comacozer and UK spacefarers Blown Out released a split LP with one song from the former and three from the latter on Riot Season Records. Much acid-soaked chicanery was had. It is from out of that stellar nursery that Oblivion Reptilian, as a concept, comes, bringing together Comacozer drummer Andrew Panagopoulos and Blown Out guitarist Mike Vest (also of Bong, etc.). Together, the two very-very-far-apart players present the instrumentalist Fried on Rock through Sound Effect Records, with Vest handling bass as well as guitar and collaborating with Panagopoulos across a distance vast enough to be genuinely planetary. No challenge, right? A Dropboxed riff here, some drum backbeat there, done. Easy. On some level that’s probably true, but what that fails to capture as regards Oblivion Reptilian in particular is the live and improvisational feel of the five tracks on Fried on Rock and the cosmic reaches with which they’re able to commune.

There are parts that feel led by the drums and parts that feel led by the guitar, and the effect is such that if one didn’t know they had operated remotely as a two-piece, it would be no challenge to believe their kraut-y jams were tracked live with at least three players all in the same room, let alone on the same continent. That mission makes the 36 minutes of Fried on Rock a more complex affair than just the output of two dudes who dug each other’s bands and decided to start a band — though there’s nothing wrong with that either, of course — and it’s in setting and attaining that goal that Oblivion Reptilian‘s outward course is defined. Do you need that context to listen to the eight-minute post-Nebula scorcher “Daraconian” at the start of the album? Nope, not at all. You could put on Fried on Rock, dig the jams, freak out when the freakness gets freaky, and go about your business as you otherwise might. The record’s a burner either way. But it’s in understanding where its foundation lies that the true drive behind its expression is fully revealed.

That is, when you know what Oblivion Reptilian were going for and the circumstances through which the tracks were made, with ideas passed back and forth from the UK to Australia and parts recorded as beds for improv by both players, it’s all the more an impressive feat. “Daraconian” finds its way into a wash of airy guitar scream, and though it must’ve been a question at some point, Vest‘s decision to also play bass in the duo was without a doubt the right call. The fuzz he adds under his own solo at the outset of “Alien Shit” bolsters that track in ways that speak to some of Earthless‘ more kosmiche moments without being a direct descendant thereof, and as Panagopoulos‘ uptempo swing holds together a forward exploration of vibe and righteously Hendrixian wankery. Even unto the way it sputters out at the end, it feels live.

oblivion reptilian jealousy

The recording is raw in just the right way from both parties so that it sounds like they’re playing together, and as the consuming loops of delay take hold in centerpiece “Amplification from Stimulated Emission,” that vitality comes through. It’s resonant in the brief “Saurian Architect,” and as 8:51 closer “Isotropic Transucent” claws its way onto the brain stem, the wash of guitar hits a new level, layer piled upon layer with the drums and bass acting out a common groove beneath in classic power trio modus. It’s not that Oblivion Reptilian are trying to put one over, like they’re going to trick someone into thinking two players are three, but their intention creatively seems to have been to pay homage to this particular strain of heavy psychedelia, and even if they just decided to work together and see what came out and this is what did, that’s all the more honest to the roots from which their work stems. Isn’t that how it always goes, at least in the ideal scenario for jam-based psych and space rock?

One is left to wonder what might happen if Vest and Panagopoulos ever manage to get into the same studio at the same time, but as the creeping low-end severity of the final progression in “Isotropic Transucent” play out, it’s not like there’s something missing for the approach they’ve taken. I guess that’s ultimately what’s so impressive about the debut from this collaboration — it runs directly counter to the narrative of “oh, you have to all be there playing live, capture lightning in a bottle, blah blah.” There’s no right way to make an album except the way you want to or can do, and while I know both these players have experience working in that fashion, their output as Oblivion Reptilian finds a way around it in order to not just effectively layer tracks on top of each other, but to give a real sense of chemistry and nascent dynamic between them. That’s especially true as the far-back hypnosis of “Saurian Architect” leads into “Isotropic Transucent,” a long fade from the penultimate cut bringing about the emergence of the closer, sounding like a jam captured already in progress, which it may well have been.

It’s so effectively done and so dead-on spaced that the listener just goes where the band leads, getting perhaps willfully lost as the last solos begin to intertwine and lead to the maybe-keyboard/maybe-effects topped finish. Radness abounds. Gnarl abounds. The universe abounds. This kind of fare is never for everybody, but however it was made, the fact remains that Oblivion Reptilian‘s Fried on Rock marks the beginning point of a collaboration with noteworthy potential for future exploration, and that if it’s not an unspeakable pain in the ass to do so, Panagopoulos and Vest should make every effort to keep it going and see where they end up, as reportedly they will. Because if what this debut does is establish the effectiveness of their methodology — I’ll argue it does that and more — then surely the only thing to do at that point is set to refining and innovating that and discovering where the path might go. Right now they’re here. Next time, they can be anywhere.

Oblivion Reptilian, Fried on Rock (2019)

Oblivion Reptilian on Thee Facebooks

Oblivion Reptilian on Bandcamp

Sound Effect Records website

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Rollerball Announce ‘Lost in Space’ 20th Anniversary Tour Dates

Posted in Whathaveyou on August 5th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

rollerball

Earlier this year, Brisbane-based heavy rockers Rollerball marked the 20th anniversary of their debut album, Lost in Space, by reissuing it on deluxe-edition vinyl. Bonus tracks, remaster, new art, the whole deal. And if you don’t know the record, it’s of its era in all the right ways, rocking with that no-way-the-entire-world-is-about-to-go-to-shit-forever style of abandon that came with the proposition that indeed we were all living in a computer simulacrum of society. If that had been true, doubtless someone would’ve pulled out the cartridge and blown in it by now to remove the dust — because, yes, society would be running on an 8-bit Nintendo — but Rollerball would still represent Aus well during a MySpace era that’s lost to the digital ether like so much private press vinyl of a generation prior. But nothing’s ever really gone. It’s just waiting for a new pressing.

Rollerball‘s for Lost in Space is well earned, and to further celebrate the anniversary of the album, they’ll embark on a tour this October along the East Coast of Australia, playing what are reportedly their first shows in a decade. And if you’re thinking to yourself, “golly that sounds like fun,” I have no doubt it will be.

To wit:

rollerball tour poster

Rollerball – ‘Lost in Space’ 20th Anniversary Tour

YOUR MATE Bookings & Fixation Brewing Co Presents: Aussie Stoner Rock legends ROLLERBALL; returning to the stage for the first time in a decade!

To celebrate the 20th Anniversary of the classic debut, LOST IN SPACE & the Deluxe Vinyl release through Volcano Vinyl; ROLLERBALL will be cranking up their retro-futuristic wall of sound for a run of East Coast shows throughout October 2019.

Riff king “Dave Talon” returns from the Swiss Alps to reunite with the throat “Matt (Tenpin) Boland”, drum guru “Cracker Roach” & joining them on bass is longtime manager & Heavy Roller guitarist “Luke Earthling”.

Regarded as one of the most explosive rock bands in Australia, these gigs are not to be missed!

Special Guests to be announced, expect to see some old friends in Fuzz.

Friday 4th October The Sound Lounge, Currumbin QLD
Saturday 5th October The Flamin’ Galah, Brisbane QLD
Friday 18th October The Factory Theatre, Marrickville NSW
Saturday 19th October Dicey Riley’s Hotel, Wollongong NSW
Friday 25th October Bendigo Hotel, Collingwood VIC
Saturday 26th October The Whalers Hotel, Warrnambool VIC

Presale tickets available NOW from www.eventbrite.com.au and the venues
Marrickville – http://bit.ly/FUS19-Rollerball_
Currumbin – https://tickets.oztix.com.au/outlet/event/18c26dd0-7113-4c63-8698-811ed70299f7

The deluxe vinyl release of Lost in Space is available through https://volcanovinyl.bandcamp.com/ and there will be plenty to grab at a show near you.

https://www.facebook.com/Rollerballrock/
https://rollerball.bandcamp.com/
https://volcanovinyl.bandcamp.com/

Rollerball, Lost in Space: Deluxe Edition (2019)

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Lamassu Debut Album Into the Empty Due Sept. 2

Posted in Whathaveyou on August 2nd, 2019 by JJ Koczan

lamassu

Pretty heavy vibe going on in Lamassu‘s latest single, “Killing Someone,” which comes from their debut album, Into the Empty. The record is due out Sept. 2 and I have no reason to believe that’s not when it’ll show up, and though I’ll admit my eye was caught by “features members of Motherslug…” below, the relative newcomer four-piece had no trouble holding my attention for the duration of what will serve as the centerpiece of the record — telling in itself. Though the title conjures images of metallic celebrations of violence, the actual lyrics are more of a social comment — the title-line arriving as, “Those in power always killing someone” — which is certainly a fair enough general assessment of human history to-date. I haven’t hit up the previously-posted “Under the Watch of a Crow,” but that’s next, so just give me a minute. I’ll get there.

Preorders for Into the Empty are available from Bandcamp, as the PR wire tells it:

lamassu into the empty

LAMASSU Stream Single “Killing Someone” From Upcoming Debut Album

Australian hard rock band Lamassu are proud to present “Killing Someone,” the first track from their debut album Into The Empty. Singer and guitarist Chris explains, “Matt wrote an amazing riff, heavy and full of groove. We jammed it at rehearsal a few times and musically it all came together pretty quick. Lyrically I wanted to express a realisation I had one day when seeing horrible injustice on the news, that too often the people who have the power to change this type of thing are often the ones who create it in the first place.”

“Killing Someone” is now streaming on Bandcamp with the full album set for release on September 2nd. Listen and preorder here: https://lamassuband.bandcamp.com/album/into-the-empty

About Lamassu:

Australian heavy rockers LAMASSU are preparing to release their debut full-length album Into the Empty this September. This collective of musicians features members of Motherslug, Field, Borrachero, and Olmeg, all stalwarts of the Melbourne stoner/doom scene.

On Into the Empty, Lamassu offers heavy yet restrained guitars, thick bass, and unforgiving drums, all glued together with vocals that channel almost ‘Cornell-ian’ reach and delivery. The songs are exactly as long as they need to be, drawing upon themes that challenge human existence in our modern lives.

Lamassu released their debut single “Under The Watch Of A Crow” in July 2018, which was featured on 2019’s Doomed & Stoned Australia compilation. They recorded Into the Empty in late 2018 with producer/engineer/musician Mike Deslandes (High Tension / YLVA) at The Black Lodge Studios in Brunswick, Melbourne.

Into the Empty comes out digitally on September 2nd, 2019 via independent release, with 12” vinyl and CD formats to follow.

Lamassu is:
Chris Fisher– lead vocals/guitar
Matt Dawkins — lead guitar/back-up vocals
Nick Rad — drums
Ant Smith — recorded bass
Al Cooke — live bass

https://www.facebook.com/LamassuBand/
https://lamassuband.bandcamp.com/

Lamassu, Into the Empty (2019)

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Review & Track Premiere: Seedy Jeezus with Tony Reed, Live in Liège

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on July 12th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

Seedy Jeezus with tony reed live in liege

[Click play above to stream ‘Polaris Oblique’ from Seedy Jeezus with Tony Reed’s limited Live in Liege LP. Album will be available on the band’s upcoming European tour (dates here).]

The front cover of the LP is emblazoned with the heading ‘The Broken String Incident,’ and indeed, Seedy Jeezus guitarist/vocalist Lex “Mr. Frumpy” Waterreus does break a string as the Australian outfit make their stop in Liège, Belgium, on July 18, 2018. “Incident” might be stretching it — so far as I know no ambassadors were recalled — but you gotta call it something, and it underscores the intention of the limited-to-150-copies, only-available-on-tour LP, which is to capture a bootleg-style feel. The artwork for Live in Liège is taken from Waterreus‘ own tour poster for their 2018 European run, which was their first — the tour they’ll sell the LP on is their second — with Mos Generator‘s Tony Reed filling in on bass for Paul Crick, who couldn’t make the trip from Australia with Waterreus and drummer Mark Sibson.

And if Reed seems like an out-of-the-blue choice, the relationship there runs deeper than just the live shows, with Reed having traveled from his home in Washington to record Seedy Jeezus in their native Melbourne for their 2015 self-titled debut and again for last year’s Polaris Oblique (review here) — he’ll reportedly produce their next album as well whenever that happens. Bottom line, then, is Tony Reed is about as close as one could get to being in Seedy Jeezus, and sometimes he is kind of in the band. He plays like it, taking on a backing vocalist role in the 10-minute side B launcher “Dripping from the Eye of the Sun,” stepping in to introduce Waterreus during the second round of band introductions before they finish the set with “Oh Lord Pt. 2” from the sophomore LP. That the two parties would fit well together isn’t a huge surprise, since both play a style of largely straight-ahead heavy rock with a strong foundation in the classics of the form, an emphasis on songwriting as well as the tightness of the presentation. In the rhythm section with Sibson, Reed‘s right at home throughout “Polaris Oblique”  and the subsequent “Everything’ll Be Alright” — billed as “Everything’s Alright” on the back cover; a notable change in tense — and all throughout the 40-minute set that unfolds.

By the time they got to Péniche la Légia in Liège, Seedy Jeezus had already been on the road for somewhere in the neighborhood of 11 days, and they sound like it. The actual audio on Live in Liège is fairly raw. If we’re going on the scale of bootlegs, it’s definitely a soundboard, and it’s gorgeous compared to some recorded-in-a-jacket-pocket DAT shows I’ve heard in my time, but neither is it a polished live record even as much as was Seedy Jeezus‘ 2016 offering, Live in Netphen: Freak Valley 2015 (discussed here). Again, it’s not supposed to be. The whole idea behind this release is that it’s something special that documents this special moment of their European tour supporting their second album. As Waterreus rips into the solo at the furious outset of “Sun in My Car” at the end of side A — stopping amid that triumphal boogie between measures to give the crowd a well-earned moment to holler, whistle, etc. — before, indeed, that string breaks and he does the first round of band introductions presumably in the midst of changing it out. If it didn’t say so on the cover, they’d have gotten away with it no problem. No one would know.

Seedy Jeezus with tony reed live in liege back cover

Still, if that’s something to stand the show out from the others on the tour, they handle it smoothly enough, which is the kind of thing a band can do without being derailed when they’ve already been on the road for a week-plus. “Sun in My Car” picks up in all the more energized fashion when it returns and blasts off en route to the interstellar drift of “Dripping from the Eye of the Sun” after the side flip, recalling the initial punch of “Polaris Oblique” and “Everything’ll Be Alright” at the start of the set — those two also lead off the Polaris Oblique album in succession — and prefacing “Barefoot Travellin’ Man” and “Oh Lord Pt. 2” still to come. Seedy Jeezus excel at this kind of madcap shuffle, and Live in Liège brings that out well, but their range has never been limited to just one thing, as “Dripping from the Eye of the Sun” demonstrates that with its slower roll and more spacious feel, which isn’t something that one would necessarily expect to come across on a live record, since it’s doubly hard to set the mood for someone listening when that person isn’t at the gig, but Seedy Jeezus deliver the set as it happened and the rest takes care of itself.

I imagine there are some who would hear Live in Liège and not understand the “warts and all”-style vibe it hones or why a band would even put out a recording of a set where the guitarist breaks a string in the middle of a song. But isn’t it obvious? It’s cinéma vérité — the most stripped down manner in which they could showcase the reality of what the tour was like. The only way it could be more real is if they recorded the 23 hours that day they spent driving, sleeping, no doubt, waiting for the time when they could get on stage and kick ass as they do here. By the time they get to the end of “Barefoot Travellin’ Man,” the scorch in Waterreus‘ soloing is so encompassing that whatever concerns might exist about fidelity simply dissipate. You just get into it and that’s all there is. This is the bootleg ideal, of course. Seedy Jeezus put you where the show is happening just as they put the audience who was there where they wanted them.

This may only be a limited LP, offered up in plain style through the band’s own Blown Music imprint with no super-deluxe special edition or anything like that, but it represents something special about their approach just the same, where it’s not just the fact that they boogie down or riff out or get spacey or whatever it might be, but that they do so with such obvious, resonant joy. I can’t imagine a more compelling argument to go see a band than that.

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