Ealdor Bealu Sign to Metal Assault Records; Spirit of the Lonely Places CD out in Sept.

Posted in Whathaveyou on July 28th, 2021 by JJ Koczan

Some two years after its original issue in July 2019, Ealdor Bealu‘s  Spirit of the Lonely Places (review here) will see release through Metal Assault Records in time for the band to bring the CDs on their newly announced West Coast tour this Fall. The reissue/first-to-my-knowledge-CD-pressing will be the beginning of an ongoing collaboration between the band and the label, and sees the Boise four-piece become labelmates to the likes of Solar HazeCircle of SighsOld Blood, and a varied slew of others. It is a suitable home for a group who just about every time I hear them I think of a different genre tag, most of them rounding out to “a band I think is good.”

The signing announcement and tour dates follow here. They look pleased about all of it, which is understandable:

ealdor bealu metal assault records

Ealdor Bealu Sign to Metal Assault Records

Ealdor Bealu are thrilled to announce the signing of a multi-album deal with Metal Assault Records from Los Angeles, CA!! We are honored to be joining the massively diverse, dynamic MA roster including Old Blood, Through the Occulus, Solar Haze, Beekeeper, and many more. Our first order of business together will be a limited run of 4-panel DigiPak CDs of our sophomore album Spirit of the Lonely Places, available this September. We are also very pleased to announce our Fall West Coast Tour today!! We are returning to a lot of our favorite cities on the coast as well as new stops in Sacramento, Los Osos, and Olympia. SEE YOU ON THE ROAD

Ealdor Bealu is a progressive stoner rock quartet from the high desert of Boise, ID. With a focus on shifting dynamics from the ambient to the massive and back again, their sound expands beyond the boundaries of genre to create a mosaic of sonic praise.

The band’s first full-length offering DARK WATER AT THE FOOT OF THE MOUNTAIN (Independent 2017) drew local, regional, and even international praise as a standout debut offering. With the release of Ealdor Bealu’s sophomore full-length album SPIRIT OF THE LONELY PLACES on July 20th 2019 on vinyl/digital the band has seen new levels of success around the globe.

TOUR
9.30 THURS Sacramento, CA Cafe Colonial
10.1 FRI Santa Cruz, CA The Blue Lagoon
10.2 SAT Los, Angeles, CA Old Towne Pub
10.3 SUN San Diego, CA Til Two Club
10.4 MON Los Osos, CA Sweet Spring’s Saloon
10.5 TUES Oakland, CA Elbo Room Jack London
10.6 WED Chico, CA The Maltese Bar
10.7 THURS Portland, OR High Water Mark
10.8 FRI Olympia, WA Cryptatropa Bar
10.9 SAT Seattle, WA Victory Lounge

Ealdor Bealu is:
Carson Russell: Guitar, Vocals
Rylie Collingwood: Bass, Vocals
Travis Abbott: Guitar, Vocals
Alex Wargo: Drums

https://www.facebook.com/ealdorbealu/
https://www.instagram.com/ealdorbealu/
https://ealdorbealu.bandcamp.com/
http://facebook.com/metalassaultla
http://instagram.com/metalassault
https://metalassault.bandcamp.com/

Ealdor Bealu, Spirit of the Lonely Places (2019)

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Quarterly Review: Per Wiberg, Body Void, Ghorot, Methadone Skies, Witchrot, Rat King, Taras Bulba, Opium Owl, Kvasir, Lurcher

Posted in Reviews on July 16th, 2021 by JJ Koczan

the-obelisk-fall-2016-quarterly-review

In my hubris of adding an 11th day to this Summer 2021 Quarterly Review — why not just do the whole month of July, bro? what’s the matter? don’t like riffs? — I’ve rendered today somewhat less of a landmark, but I guess there’s still some accomplishment to be felt in completing two full weeks of writing about 10 records a day, hitting triple digits and all that. Not that I doubted I’d get here — it’s rare but it’s happened before — and not that I doubt I’ll have the last 10 done for Monday, but yeah. It’s been a trip so far.

Quarterly Review #91-100:

Per Wiberg, All Is Well In the Land of the Living But for the Rest of Us… Lights Out

per wiberg all is well in the land of the living but for the rest of us lights out

The cumbersome-seeming title of Per Wiberg‘s new solo EP derives from its four component tracks, “All is Well,” “In the Land of the Living,” “But for the Rest of Us…” and “Lights Out.” The flow between them is largely seamless, and when Wiberg (whose pedigree as an organist/keyboardist includes Opeth, Candlemass, Big Scenic Nowhere and more others than I can count) pauses between tracks two and three, it feels likewise purposeful. It’s a dark mood inflected through the melodies of the opener and the atmospheric piano lines of “But for the Rest of Us…,” but Wiberg offers a driving take on progressive heavy rock with “In the Land of the Living” and the build in the subsequent “Lights Out” is encompassing with the lead-in it’s given. Wiberg sounds more comfortable layering his voice than even on 2019’s Head Without Eyes, and his arrangements are likewise expressive and fluid. Dude is a professional. I think maybe that’s part of the reason everybody wants to work with him.

Per Wiberg on Facebook

Despotz Records website

 

Body Void, Bury Me Beneath This Rotting Earth

Body Void Bury Me Beneath This Rotting Earth

Massive, droning lurch, harsh, biting screams and lumbering, pummeling weight, Body Void‘s third album and first for Prosthetic, Bury Me Beneath This Rotting Earth, boasts feelgood hits like “Wound” and “Laying Down in a Forest Fire,” bringing cacophonous, Khanate-style extremity of atmosphere to willfully, punishingly brutal sludge. It is not friendly. It is devastating, and it is the kind of record that sounds loud even when you play it quietly — and that’s before you get to “Pale Man”‘s added layers of caustic noise. Front to back in the four songs — all of which top 12 minutes — there’s no letup, no moment at which the duo relent in order to let the listener breathe. This is intentional. A conjuring of aural concrete in the lungs coinciding with striking lines like “Your compromises are hollow monuments to your cowardice” and other bleak, throatripping poetry of dead things and our complicity in making them. Righteous and painful.

Body Void on Facebook

Prosthetic Records website

 

Ghorot, Loss of Light

ghorot loss of light

Ghorot is the three-piece of bassist/vocalist Carson Russell (also Ealdor Bealu), drummer/vocalist Brandon Walker and guitarist Chad Remains (ex-Uzala), and Loss of Light is a debut album no less gripping for its push into darkness, whether it’s the almost-toying-with-you Sabbath-style riff of “Harbinger” or the tortured atmospherics in the back end of “Charioteer of Fire,” which follows. Competing impulses result in a sense of grueling even through the barks and faster progression of “Woven Furnace,” while “Dead Gods” offers precious little mourning in its charred deathsludge, saving more ambience for the 12-minute closer “In Endless Grief,” which not only veers into acoustics, but nods toward post-metal later on, despite holding firm to cavernous growls and wails. Obscure? Opaque? There isn’t a way in which Loss of Light isn’t heavy. Everywhere they go, Ghorot carry that weight with them. It is existential.

Ghorot on Facebook

Transylvanian Recordings on Bandcamp

Inverse Records on Bandcamp

 

Methadone Skies, Retrofuture Caveman

methadone skies retrofuture caveman

Lush from the outset and growing richer in aural substance as it plays out, the 17:56 longest/opening (immediate points) title-track of Methadone Skies‘ latest work, Retrofuture Caveman, is an obviously intended focal point, and a worthy one at that. Last heard from with 2019’s Different Layers of Fear (review here), the Romanian four-piece break down walls across the bulk of this fifth full-length, with “Retrofuture Caveman” itself setting the standard early in moving instrumentally between warm heavy psychedelia, prog, drone, doom and darker black metal. It’s prog heavy that ultimately wins the day on the subsequent linear build of “Infected by Friendship” and centerpiece “The Enabler,” but there’s room for more lumber in the 11-mminute “Western Luv ’67” and closer “When the Sleeper Awakens” offers playful shove riffing in its midsection before a final stretch of quiet guitar leads to a last-minute volume burst, no less consuming or sprawling than anything before, even if it feels like it finishes too soon.

Methadone Skies on Facebook

Methadone Skies on Bandcamp

 

Witchrot, Hollow

witchrot hollow

Stood out by the gotta-hear bass tone of Cam Alford, the ethereal-or-shouting-and-sometimes-both vocals of Lea Reto, the crash of Nick Kervin‘s drums and the encompassing wah of Peter Turik‘s guitar, Toronto’s Witchrot offer a striking debut with their awaited first full-length, Hollow, oozing out through opener/longest track (immediate points) “Million Shattered Swords” before the stomping wash of “Colder Hands” sacrifices itself on an altar of noise, leading to the more directly-riffed “Spiral of Sorrow,” which nonetheless maintains the atmosphere. Things get noisier and harsher in the second half of Hollow, which is presaged in the plod of “Fog,” but as things grow more restless and angrier after “Devil in My Eyes” and move into the pair “Burn Me Down” and “I Know My Enemy,” both faster, like blown-out Year of the Cobra toying with punk rock and grunge, Witchrot grow stronger for the shift by becoming less predictable, setting up the atmospheric plunge of the closing title-track that finishes one of 2021’s most satisfying debut albums.

Witchrot on Facebook

Fuzzed and Buzzed Records website

DHU Records store

 

Rat King, Omen

Rat King Omen

Omen is the first long-player from Evansville, Indiana, four-piece Rat King, who use rawness to their advantage throughout the nine included tracks, at least one of which — “Supernova” — dates back to being released as a single in 2017. With manipulated horror samples and interludes like the acoustic “Queen Anne’s Revenge” and “Shackleton” and the concluding “Matryoshka” spliced throughout the otherwise deep-toned and weighted fare of “Capsizer” and the chugging, pushing, scream-laced “Druid Crusher,” Omen never quite settles on a single approach and is more enticing for that, though the eight-minute “Vagrant” could well be a sign of things to come in its melodic reach, but the band revel in the grittier elements at work here as well — the thunderplod of “Glacier,” the willful drag of “Nepenta Divinorum,” and so on — and the ambience they create is dreary and obscure in a way that comes across as purposeful. Is Omen a foreshadow or just the name of a movie they dig? I don’t know, but I hope it’s not too long before we find out.

Rat King on Facebook

Rat King store

 

Taras Bulba, Sometimes the Night

Taras Bulba Sometimes the Night

What was Earthling Society continues to evolve into Taras Bulba at the behest of Fleetwood, UK’s Fred Laird. Sometimes the Night (on Riot Season) is a mostly solo affair, and truth be told, Laird doesn’t need much more than his own impulses to conjure a full-sounding record, as he quickly shows on the acid lounge opener “The Green Eyes of Dragon,” but the guest vocals from Daisy Atkinson bring echoing presence to the subsequent “Orphee” and Mike Blatchford‘s late-arriving sax on “The Sound of Waves,” “The Big Duvall” and “House in the Snow” highlight the jazzy underpinnings of the organ-laced “Night Train to Drug Town” and the avant, anti-anything guitar strum and piano strikes of “One More Lonely Angel.” No harm done, in any case, unless we’re talking about the common conception of what a song is, and hey, if it didn’t need to happen, it wouldn’t have. An experiment in vibe, perhaps, in psychedelic brooding, but evocative for that. Laird‘s no stranger to following whims. Here they lead to moodier space.

Taras Bulba on Facebook

Riot Season Records website

 

Opium Owl, Live at Hodila Records

Opium Owl Live at Hodila Records

I’ll admit, there’s a part of me that, when “Intro” hits its sudden forward surge, kind of wishes Opium Owl had kept it mellow. Nonetheless, the Riga, Latvia-based double-guitar (mostly) instrumental heavy psych four-piece offer plenty of serenity throughout the four-song live set Live at Hodila Records, and the back and forth patterning of the subsequent “Echo Slam” is all the more effective at winning conversion, so fair enough. “Stone Gaze” dips into even bigger riffage, while “Tempest Double” dares vocals over its quieter noodling, dispensing with them as it pushes louder toward the finish. For a live recording, the sound is rich enough to convey what would seem to be the full warmth of Opium Owl‘s tonality, and in its breadth and its impact, there’s no lack of studio-fullness for the session-style presentation. Live at Hodila Records may be formative in terms of establishing the methods with which the band — who formed in 2019 — will continue to work, but showcases significant promise in that.

Opium Owl on Facebook

Hodila Records on Facebook

 

Kvasir, 4

kvasir 4

Doled out with chops to spare and the swagger to show them off, Kvasir‘s eight-song debut LP, 4, puts modern heavy rock riffing in blender and sets it on high. Classic, epic heavy in “Where Gods to to Pray” and a more nodding groove in “Authenticity & the Illusion of Enough” meet with the funkier starts-stops of “Slow Death of Life” and the languid Sabbathism of “Earthly Algorithms.” “Chill for a Church” opens side B with trashier urgency and suitable rhythmic twist, and “The Brink” sets its depressive lyric to a ’70s boogie swing, not quite masking it, but working as a flowing companion piece for “The Black Mailbox,” which follows in like-minded fashion, letting closer “Alchemy of Identity” underscore the point with a rawer take on what once made The Sword so undeniable in their groove. There’s growing to do, patience to learn, etc., but Kvasir make it easy to get on board with 4 and their arguments for doing so brook little contradiction. Onto the list of 2021’s best debut albums it goes.

Kvasir on Facebook

Glory or Death Records on Bandcamp

 

Lurcher, Coma

lurcher coma

Lurcher might go full-prog before they’re done, but they’re not their yet on their four-song debut EP, Coma, and the songs only benefit from the band’s focus on impact and lack of self-indulgence. The leadoff title-track has an immediate hook that brings to mind an updated, tonally-heavier version of what Cave In innovated for melodic post-hardcore, and the subsequent “Remove the Myth From the Mountain” follows with a broader-sounding reach in its later solo that builds on the heavy rock foundation the first half of the song put forth. Vocalist/guitarist Joe Harvatt — backed by the rhythm section of bassist Tom Shortt and drummer Simon Bonwick — is prone, then, to a bit of shred. No argument as that’s answered with the Hendrix fuzz at the outset of “All Now is Here,” which both gets way-loud and drones way-out in its seven minutes, in turn setting up the lush-and-still-hard-hitting capper “Cross to Bear,” which rounds off the 26-minute release with all the more encouraging shifts in tempo, flowing melody, and mellotron sounds to add to the sweeping drama. I know the UK underground is hyper-crowded at this point, but consider notice served. These cats are onto something.

Lurcher on Instagram

Trepanation Recordings on Bandcamp

 

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Ghorot Announce Debut Album Loss of Light out July 23

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

Boise, Idaho, conjurers-of-beasts Ghorot will present their debut full-length, Loss of Light, like so much poison injected into the veins of summer’s scorch. The five-track outing brings the trio of bassist/vocalist Carson Russell (also Ealdor Bealu), drummer/vocalist Brandon Walker and guitarist Chad Remains (ex-Uzala) to places blackened, deathly and sludged, but loud or quiet, the atmosphere surrounds and fills the lungs with a rawness of purpose that’s as rich as it is harsh. In following up 2019’s The Pit: Eternal EP, the duo-turned-trio unfurl a metallic take that only acknowledges the lines between subgenres en route to setting them on fire.

Good fun? Oh most certainly it is, whether it’s the burn marks left by “Woven Furnace” or the 12-minute mournful extremity of closer “In Endless Grief.” It’s the super-fun-time slaughter your summer is begging for.

Ghorot sent the cover art and following announcement along the PR wire:

ghorot loss of light

GHOROT – Loss of Light

Today is the day!! We here at Ghorot are thrilled to announce our crushing debut full-length album Loss of Light will be released on Friday, July 23rd, and we will be working with Oakland underground legends Transylvanian Recordings as well as Finland’s Inverse Records to bring our creation to life across the planet on several physical formats! Cassettes, CDs, and 2 variations of vinyl are being created as we speak. Two weeks from today, Tuesday, May 25th, we will launch the music video for our first single off the new record “Dead Gods”, as well as kick off the album pre-order campaign. Keep your eyes peeled to be the first to get your limited edition copies of Loss of Light and immediate digital download of the first single.

This album has been nearly 2 years in the making, and we are so truly honored to have worked with such excellent, talented friends in the creation of Loss of Light. Z.V. House of Rabbitbrush Audio conducted the recording and mixing of the record as well as helped produce the bludgeoning onslaught of sound you will soon bear witness to. Mastering was handled by legendary engineer James Plotkin (Electric Wizard, Conan, Sunn). The brooding, beautiful artwork for the record was created by Stephen Wilson aka Unknown Relic.

Already confirmed for Treefort Music Fest 2021, Ghorot will soon be announcing a second festival appearance this fall as well as tour dates for the early winter in support of the new record. Pre-Orders, Singles, Music Videos, and so much more is coming your way soon…

PREPARE THYSELF

https://facebook.com/ghorot
https://instagram.com/ghorotdoom
https://ghorot.bandcamp.com
https://youtube.com/channel/UCyyMi4his1tCFb-uwG4QGhA

Ghorot, The Pit: Eternal (2019)

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Friday Full-Length: Uzala, Tales of Blood and Fire

Posted in Bootleg Theater on April 16th, 2021 by JJ Koczan

The second and final Uzala album, Tales of Blood and Fire, was released in 2013 through King of the Monsters Records on CD/LP and Gypsyblood Records on tape, with a dissatisfied and up-to-no-good looking Pan by Tony Roberts on the cover who seemed like he was about to lead us all into the river. Comprised just of five tracks running 43 minutes, it was recorded by the esteemed Tad Doyle (TAD, Brothers of the Sonic Cloth, etc.) and not at all shy about the doomed intent of the Boise, Idaho-based band. “Seven Veils” and “Dark Days,” the opening salvo, cast out morose atmospheres and weighted buzz in the guitars of Darcy Nutt and Chad Remains, while Chuck Watkins — an import from Portland, Oregon, who was also in Graves at Sea at the time and has featured in enough other bands to earn the title “journeyman” — filled the drummer role with a suitably massive, slow-swinging style that only emphasized the soul at the core of their melodies.

Tales of Blood and Fire — my East Coast head always associates the title with Type O Negative‘s “Blood and Fire” from Bloody Kisses, but whether that’s a reference they were shooting for, I’ve no idea; Uzala‘s style was less outwardly goth than Peter Steele and company were working toward being some 20 years earlier, but that doesn’t mean you can’t appreciate a thing — followed behind their 2012 self-titled debut (review here), a 12″ two-songer and a quick-turnaround split with Mala Suerte (review here) that boasted the track “Burned,” which also would go on to be the centerpiece of the second LP. “Burned” is the shortest cut on Tales of Blood and Fire by a decent margin, but its roll seems to breathe life into the proceedings at just the right moment, rounding out side A with a more forward progression after the murk in which “Seven Veils” and “Dark Days” take place. It’s a righteous turn, and still consistent in tone and the overarching ambience. One recalls the band’s promo pictures at the time often featured Chad Remains giving a firm thumbs-down, and that was as efficient a summaryUZALA TALES OF BLOOD AND FIRE of their perspective as one might ask, if perhaps a simplification in terms of what they had to offer in terms of the character in Nutt‘s vocals or Remains‘ solos. Tales of Blood and Fire was a grower in the genuine sense, to my mind Uzala were underrated for as long as they were around.

You can go around in circles forever with the layered verse lines of “Countess,” the penultimate track on the record, which is the first of two to top the 11-minute mark. Its slow nod and resolute crash is the stuff of backpatchy dreams, and might be the moment where Uzala most realize the balance between lush melody and raw, crusty tone that was at the heart of their approach. But every time I hit up Tales of Blood and Fire, I can’t help but go for the last cut, “Tenement of the Lost.” It’s the longest song on the album at 12:10, but it picks up from the feedback-caked ending of “Countess” with faded-in rumble and noise, and it spends nearly half its total runtime in precisely that mire. It’s nearly five and a half minutes of absolute tonal wash before the subdued central guitar figure emerges, and even then the noise holds sway for a longer on a gradual fade into a position deeper in the mix. Maybe the irony of it is that Uzala‘s last recorded statement is both their grossest onslaught of distortion and most minimalist, with Nutt‘s vocals topping that quiet guitar, no drums to speak of and no fuller-volume push coming. Almost a hidden track because how much they buried it, it’s a moment that nonetheless defines the atmosphere of the record, at least for me, in listening.

And as much as I relish in the revisit to Tales of Blood and Fire as a whole, I’ll confess my primary impression of “Tenement of the Lost” was live. I was fortunate enough to see Uzala twice during their time, and the first was Oct. 23, 2013 (review here), in Providence, Rhode Island. They closed the set with “Tenement of the Lost,” and it was late. The venue was called Dusk, and it had been hours since Mike Scheidt of YOB opened the show with a solo set. Crappy lights, cramped stage, but loud, and again, late. Late enough that as Uzala played “Tenement of the Lost,” the house lights came up in a classic wrap-it-up message from the bar to the band. Uzala kept playing. I guess Boise to Providence was enough of a trip they figured screw it, and standing in front of the trio while they played that quiet, mournful track, they could’ve kept going for as long as they wanted as far I was concerned. It was a thing of beauty, not just because the lights were up, but that feeling of a time already being passed gave the track’s emotionalism a sense of urgency that, when I listen to it now, it retains.

The second time I saw Uzala was at Roadburn 2015 (review here), and their set was likewise captivating. It would end up being released as Live at Roadburn MMXV (review here) through Burning World Records and my photos were used on the cover, which is always validating. They didn’t play “Tenement of the Lost,” but I stuck around for the entirety of their time just the same, and was all the more glad I did when they announced their disbanding early in 2017Remains resurfaced in 2019 with the gleefully extreme Ghorot, which also features Carson Russell of Ealdor Bealu, and they finished a recording together late in Summer 2020 to be released through Transylvanian Tapes. I have no idea when, but it’ll be worth looking out for.

Maybe I’m feeling sentimental here, but whatever. It’s been eight years and this record holds up, so whatever your own association with it might be or if you don’t have one, hearing it isn’t gonna hurt any more than it’s intended to. This was a better band than people seemed to know.

As always, I hope you enjoy. Thanks for reading.

Kind of a rough week in the ol’ noggin, but so it goes. Yesterday I spent most of whatever time I could in bed. A bunch of writing to do, of course, but just couldn’t put my head in it, and the pace at which I’ve worked on the above this morning tells me maybe I should go put the pillow over my face again. I don’t know that I will. I could stand to shower. It’s been a couple days and I fairly well reek. Whatever.

I watched a little bit of the Roadburn Redux stuff yesterday, and I expect I’ll watch more at some point today, tomorrow, etc. They platform they’ve built is beautiful. Even just as a blog back-end, the design is amazing. Makes me want a new WordPress theme, if nothing else. 13 years later, maybe it’s time, but I figure if I hold out long enough, the look of this site will be retro and thus cool again. Much as it ever was. I don’t know.

Anyway. I’m not gonna review that or anything, because ultimately it just makes me sad, and I’m sad enough.

Next week is full. I don’t even know of what yet, but videos and reviews and such. I wanted to write more than I did this week. Exhausted. So it goes.

I don’t know.

Gimme Metal show today, 5PM Eastern. Standard or Daylight time, whichever one it is now. Daylight? I don’t know that either.

Great and safe weekend. Have fun, watch your head, hydrate, all that good stuff. Maybe I’ll go drink some water too. Yeah, alright.

FRM.

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Sun Blood Stories to Release (a)Live and Alone at Visual Arts Collective Dec. 18

Posted in Whathaveyou on December 7th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

The tracklist for the new Sun Blood Stories live album reads like a greatest hits release culled from my mental jukebox. I’ve never been so fortunate as to see the band live, and the 58-minute long set they provide with (a)Live and Alone at Visual Arts Collective seems to emphasize that fact even as it bolsters the argument for doing so. Trip to Boise post-pandemic? I’ll go anywhere at this point.

With the title, you already know it was recorded at a place called the Visual Arts Collective, which, indeed, is a spot in the trio’s hometown. The release is intended to raise funds to support the venue/gallery, which like so many others is twice-over screwed by the COVID-era capitalism, lack of state funding for the arts, and the general fact that where normally they’d host people and events, that’s a thing that’s taking lives at this point. Idaho had 1,000-plus people die on Saturday. Not that anybody needs a relief check or a nationalized health system or anything. Ask about it and I’m sure you won’t have to go far to hear someone in just about any state’s representative caucus tell you, “all lives matter.”

One could go on. Hug your loved ones.

On that happy note, here’s the front and back covers and the release info:

Sun Blood Stories ALive and Alone at Visual Arts Collective front

Sun Blood Stories ALive and Alone at Visual Arts Collective

(a)Live and Alone at Visual Arts Collective spans SBS’ entire discography and if you’ve ever seen SBS live, you know that the live set goes harder and hits deeper. For the first time ever, we’ve been able to capture that successfully (thanks to Z.V. House for engineering and mixing and major thanks to Samuel F. Stimpert for turning on the stage lights).

All funds from the sale of this album will be directly donated to Visual Arts Collective in hopes that they can reopen on the other side of this thing. Visual Arts Collective (VAC), is a contemporary fine art gallery, performance venue and cultural center in Garden City, Idaho, committed to presenting exhibitions and events for artists working in visual and performance art, film, music, dance and theater. VAC is dedicated to providing Boise and the Treasure Valley opportunities to explore various disciplines, to engage in interactive art, to participate in special events and to encourage artists and the community to continue in the discovery of artistic expression.

VAC is an important cultural hub for the Boise Metro area and it means a lot to us and so many other artists and creatives around the world. We’ve played some of our favorite shows there. We’ve seen countless amazing art installations. We’ve seen life changing rock shows and hilarious puppet shows as well as plays, burlesque, story telling, etc. The vibe, like the whiskey selection, is unmatched.

VAC has kept its doors open and shows sold out since it began in 2005. But since March 2020 the doors have remained closed. And the future of our beloved multi-use art space, performance venue and cultural center is questionable. We are asking for your help and offering you some music in exchange. We are asking for a minimum purchase of $10 for this album. If you want to purchase through Bandcamp we ask that you buy a physical copy (this site takes a huge chunk of fees and its cut out of digital sales). If you just want a digital album please consider donating directly to us by searching SunBloodStories on Venmo, CashApp, or PayPal and put VAC in the note with your email address. We will email you a download code.

Long Live Visual Arts Collective

https://visualartscollective.com/

https://www.facebook.com/sunbloodstories
http://instagram.com/sunbloodstories
http://www.sunbloodstories.com/
https://sunbloodstories.bandcamp.com/

Sun Blood Stories, (a)Live and Alone at Visual Arts Collective teaser

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Ealdor Bealu Premiere Live Video for “Way of the Sudden Storm”

Posted in Bootleg Theater on September 9th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

ealdor bealu

There have been plenty of times in recent years where one might take something like this for granted. “A video of a band playing live in a room together? Wait — on the internet???” Yeah, I know, wild times we live in. But you know, this isn’t a thing to be overlooked. If the course 2020 has taken has taught anything, it’s to appreciate each other and each other’s work in exactly the ways that have seemed ho-hum and everyday in the past. Who the hell knows when the lungfire is coming? So you’re telling me you’ve got Ealdor Bealu hanging out in Boise with a two-camera setup playing a new song live? Shit yeah I’m in for that. Band in a room. Sign me right up.

When the band’s Carson Russell checked in this Spring, he was hopeful that Ealdor Bealu‘s rescheduled-to-Fall tour would happen. Well, yeah. Obviously not so much. They would’ve been headed out next month in order to support their righteous second LP, Spirit of the Lonely Places (review here), which came out July 2019. Instead, like many, they’ve opted to pursue writing new material, and the single “Way of the Sudden Storm” — which seems aptly-named, if nothing else — is a first sampling of that. Again, it’s a band in room. The recording is pretty raw in terms of the audio, but you’ll hear guitarist/songwriter Travis AbbottRussell (also guitar) and bassist Rylie Colllingwood sharing vocal duties while Alex Wargo — making his debut here after replacing Craig Hawkins, who played on the last record — introduces the song with a flowing progression on his cymbals and snare that acts as the foundation upon which the linear build unfolds.

It does so with a patience that speaks to the band working quickly toward their third album but well established and aware of the sound they’re after and how they want to handle fleshing out their arrangements. Of course, one will look forward to the finished version of “Way of the Sudden Storm” — which unless they’re in the studio right this second and opted for some reason to engage in misdirection it in the quote below will likely feature on a full-length release sometime next year — but if you think of this as a live demo version, you can still get some sense of the atmosphere they’re shooting for, and, I’d argue, attaining.

Spirit of the Lonely Places is at the bottom of this post if you’d like a refresher, but immediately below you’ll find the premiere of “Way of the Sudden Storm” live from Ealdor Bealu‘s rehearsal space. As you watch, try to remember the context in which this is happening and just how fortunate we are to be in a position where people can get together again and explore and create art and even just breathe the same air for a while. Band in a room. They offer a quote as a group as well.

Please enjoy:

Ealdor Bealu, “Way of the Sudden Storm” official video premiere

Ealdor Bealu on “Way of the Sudden Storm”:

“Ealdor Bealu would have been preparing for our two-week Fall West Coast Tour right about now. As it was for our spring tour, the fall tour has been cancelled. With live music on an indefinite hiatus, we have used these past six months to create and sharpen the songs for our third full-length album, which is slated to be recorded this winter. We had plans to debut a couple of these tracks on the road, but with that no longer an option we have decided to release one of these brand new songs via a live video from our practice space at the Boise Bomb Shelter! Please enjoy this sneak peak of album #3 with this killer single ‘Way of the Sudden Storm.’ We hope it brings you comfort in these perilous times. Be well, stay safe, and we shall see you all on the road again when this too has passed.” – Carson, Rylie, Travis, and Alex

Way of the Sudden Storm
Recorded Live at Boise Bomb Shelter (Boise, ID)
August 2020
All Music and Lyrics By: Travis Abbott
Video Editing: Travis Abbott

Ealdor Bealu is:
Carson Russell: Guitar, Vocals
Rylie Collingwood: Bass, Vocals
Travis Abbott: Guitar, Vocals
Alex Wargo: Drums

Ealdor Bealu, Spirit of the Lonely Places (2019)

Ealdor Bealu on Facebook

Ealdor Bealu on Bandcamp

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Days of Rona: Carson Russell of Ealdor Bealu and Ghorot

Posted in Features on May 21st, 2020 by JJ Koczan

The ongoing nature of the COVID-19 pandemic, the varied responses of publics and governments worldwide, and the disruption to lives and livelihoods has reached a scale that is unprecedented. Whatever the month or the month after or the future itself brings, more than one generation will bear the mark of having lived through this time, and art, artists, and those who provide the support system to help uphold them have all been affected.

In continuing the Days of Rona feature, it remains pivotal to give a varied human perspective on these events and these responses. It is important to remind ourselves that whether someone is devastated or untouched, sick or well, we are all thinking, feeling people with lives we want to live again, whatever renewed shape they might take from this point onward. We all have to embrace a new normal. What will that be and how will we get there?

Thanks to all who participate. To read all the Days of Rona coverage, click here. — JJ Koczan

ealdor bealu carson russell

Days of Rona: Carson Russell of Ealdor Bealu and Ghorot (Boise, Idaho)

How have you been you dealing with this crisis as a band? As an individual? What effect has it had on your plans or creative processes?

Coronavirus dealt a swift and all-encompassing blow to both of my bands in mid-March as Idaho finally succumbed to the pandemic. Ealdor Bealu was slated to play Treefort Music Fest in late March as well as a Pacific Northwest Tour in April/May in support of our sophomore record Spirit of the Lonely Places. It was a disheartening setback, but fortunately most of the tour dates were successfully rescheduled to a larger West Coast tour in October. Only time will tell if that tour will come to fruition, there is little to rely upon these days. My new doom-metal trio Ghorot (featuring Chad Remains of UZALA) was also set to play Treefort Music Fest supporting the almighty YOB.

More importantly, Ghorot was slated to record and mix our debut record at Rabbit Brush Audio (Boise, ID) in April, but those dates have now been moved to August. On a positive end, both bands were just recently able to practice again for the first time in nearly two months, an immensely necessary and cathartic meeting to say the least. The future is most uncertain, but being reunited in music has given us purpose and strength, and I know we shall persevere through this crisis and arrive on the other side with renewed vigor for life, music, nature, and the artist community we so proudly hail from.

How do you feel about the public response to the outbreak where you are? From the government response to the people around you, what have you seen and heard from others?

Idaho is our home; its natural, rugged beauty greatly impacts our music and inspires our lives.

That said, it is also unfortunately a very conservative, religious state and its politics follow heavily along those lines. Although the local government has acted in a rather surprisingly but certainly welcomed cautious manner throughout the crisis, there has been a lot of pushback from the far-right community. Heavily armed anti-lockdown protesters gathered by the hundreds at the capitol demanding their freedom to return to work and Amon Bundy, the leader of the Malhuer County Wildlife Refuge takeover in 2016 and son of Clive Bundy, attempted to hold a 2,000 person Easter church service in defiance of social distancing enforcement (only 60 showed up, to the chagrin of every touring musician who knows that’s just how gigs go haha).

It’s been disheartening to see so many people here refuse to adhere to wearing masks and social distancing. A lot of Idahoans just can’t seem to wrap their heads around the idea of enduring minor inconveniences to protect someone you don’t know. Luckily, we seem to have dodged the bullet as our case load and deaths have been minimal so far. However, as the state begins to reopen we now face an uphill battle to keep those stats low as many look to flaunt guidelines meant to keep our community safe. Freedom, it would seem, comes at a cost we have yet to reckon with.

What do you think of how the music community specifically has responded? How do you feel during this time? Are you inspired? Discouraged? Bored? Any and all of it?

Our situations have varied greatly over this time of crisis: some working full-time in essential industries, others working remotely from home, and others without work or pay since mid-March. It has been a difficult task to maintain some sort of positivity when the world seems to be falling into chaos. Luckily, Rylie, Travis, and I (three of the four members of Ealdor Bealu) share a home, which has created the ability to continue our writing and practicing via acoustic sessions. It’s been a beautiful spring in Boise, despite the circumstances, and our nights around the campfire singing and strumming guitars have been a lifesaver. It is still uncertain how this crisis will affect the Boise music scene.

We are a small, but vibrant community that greatly cherishes our local music venues like Neurolux and The Shredder as well as our independent record store The Record Exchange. These institutions mean the world to us all, and although we can’t yet know the impact this work stoppage will have on their ability to continue operations we have great hope that they will all make it thru these trying times and we may yet return to nights of sweat and booze, laughter and love, guitars and a fuck ton of amplifiers!

What is the one thing you want people to know about your situation, either as a band, or personally, or anything? What is your new normal? What have you learned from this experience, about yourself, your band, or anything?

This crisis has revealed our most vulnerable positions as a country, and as a species in general. Humanity, finally given a chance to show some semblance of unity under a global problem, has pushed instead toward a further divide between the have’s and have-not’s. The disparity between the ruling elite and the rest of us has never been so starkly laid bare before our eyes. But I feel that the working class, the true lifeblood of human civilization, is becoming galvanized by these savageries instead of backing down. The fight for equality, for equity, for decency, and for truth is growing to levels not seen in most of our lifetimes.

Protests and demonstrations were at a virulent high across the world before this crisis struck, and I believe this situation will only guide the 99 percent further down this path rather than backtrack. We must stand now, arm in arm, and with a singular unified voice demand a world that works for all of mankind, not just the one percent. As musicians, friends, and family we must do everything in our power to champion each other during these perilous times so that we may arise from the ashes stronger than before.

https://www.facebook.com/ealdorbealu/
https://ealdorbealu.bandcamp.com/

https://www.facebook.com/ghorot/
https://ghorot.bandcamp.com/

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Days of Rona: Amber Pollard of Sun Blood Stories

Posted in Features on April 10th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

The statistics of COVID-19 change with every news cycle, and with growing numbers, stay-at-home isolation and a near-universal disruption to society on a global scale, it is ever more important to consider the human aspect of this coronavirus. Amid the sad surrealism of living through social distancing, quarantines and bans on gatherings of groups of any size, creative professionals — artists, musicians, promoters, club owners, techs, producers, and more — are seeing an effect like nothing witnessed in the last century, and as humanity as a whole deals with this calamity, some perspective on who, what, where, when and how we’re all getting through is a needed reminder of why we’re doing so in the first place.

Thus, Days of Rona, in some attempt to help document the state of things as they are now, both so help can be asked for and given where needed, and so that when this is over it can be remembered.

Thanks to all who participate. To read all the Days of Rona coverage, click here. — JJ Koczan

sun blood stories amber and ben

Days of Rona: Amber Pollard of Sun Blood Stories (Boise, Idaho)

How are you dealing with this crisis as a band? Have you had to rework plans at all? How is everyone’s health so far?

Well, we haven’t really reworked plans as much as just cancelled them. Like for all of 2020. Or at least that’s how it feels. Some of our shows have been rescheduled for later in the year, but that feels like an eternity from now.

Practicing is also out right now since social distancing recommends people from other households shouldn’t enter your own. As a band with a new member, Cody Goin on bass, we’ve been focusing a lot on exploring the new dynamic of the group and this really throws a wrench in that.

As far as our health, physically we seem to all be doing pretty well. Mentally, the isolation and lack of music-making has been a real bummer and it’s tough to not really have any solid idea of when we’re going to be able to resume. But we also see that there is a terrible amount of suffering in the world right now and we’re happy to be able to help in any way we can, even if that’s just staying home in order to slow the spread.

What are the quarantine/isolation rules where you are?

The city of Boise has done a pretty good job of handling the situation:

– No gatherings of 10+ people
– No unnecessary traveling
– Stay 6 ft. apart from people who don’t live in your house
– Work from home if you can
– All non-essential businesses closed

However, even though non-essential businesses are closed and there’s a pandemic going on, the Republicans and Gov. Brad Little still had time to pass some absolutely vile anti-trans bills. So we just wanted to say, fuck Governor Brad Little and fuck everyone who voted for those bills.

How have you seen the virus affecting the community around you and in music?

It’s mostly just come to a grinding halt. Any of us who make our living from performing, or serving drinks or making food or running the door or doing sound, are in real trouble right now. No one knows how long this is going to go, so no one is really able to make any serious plans for the future, especially since no one alive has any experience with a pandemic of this size and severity. We’re trying to support our fellow artists and workers within the scene and just help everyone to get through.

What is the one thing you want people to know about your situation, either as a band, or personally, or anything?

We were fortunate enough to have amazing support from our friends and fans this month which raised enough money to cover our band bills. After the bills were paid, we used the surplus funds to support other artists by buying their music/art (through Bandcamp or Venmo or digital tip jars), small businesses by buying their beer, and other folks feeling the financial strain right now.

If you’re lucky enough to have an income and love any kind of art or craft, now is the time to support them. Without trying to sound hyperbolic, it really is now or never for a lot of these folks.

Other than that, we just want to say stay safe and take care of one another.

https://www.facebook.com/sunbloodstories
http://instagram.com/sunbloodstories
http://www.sunbloodstories.com/
https://sunbloodstories.bandcamp.com/

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