Ether Feather Premiere “New Abyss” Video; Debut Album out Now

Posted in Bootleg Theater on September 12th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

ether feather new abyss video

Sleeper hit. Ether Feather‘s debut album, Devil – Shadowless – Hand, isn’t the kind of record people hear, but it’s the kind of record they wish they’d heard later, and whatever pomp may or may not surround its arrival, the eight-track/37-minute oh-so-vinyl-ready outing digs into a heavy desert rock weirdness that owes surprisingly little allegiance to that style or any other, instead rolling out with an amorphous, go-where-it-wants sensibility that results in the dream-tone-into-chug of opener and longest track (immediate points) “Falconer,” while ditties like “Interstellar” and the later drift-jam “New Abyss” and the clunk-punk geometry-jazz “Haggard Hawk” do what they wilt to serve the song in question. The tendency throughout seems to be toward experimentalism on the part of drummer/vocalist Dylan Ryan, guitarist Tim Young and bassist Sylvia Black — none of whom arrives without pedigree, as you can read below — but that experimentalism is likewise drawn into the purpose of songwriting, and not simply thrown out to the listener in as-is fashion.

That holds true even on the lead guitar and maybe-synth exploration “Dawn of Orion,” which follows the crunchy post-grunge texture of “Cayenne” with two minutes that would otherwise be an interlude if they didn’t add so much to the proceedings on the whole in terms of vibe ahead of the closing duo “Your Half in the Middle” and “The Ultimate Halcyon,” which both resolve themselves in raucous fashion but aren’t at all limited to rush or pummel in their approach. Particularly in the latter, one is reminded of some of Rob Crow‘s vocal melodicism, but if what that actually means is Ether Feather are bizarre and progressive, then take it as you will. Their first album is less a direct statement of intent than the laying claim to a swath of ground for future expansion — which is to say, I don’t think they’re going to get any less weird over time. But that’s only good news, as what they bring to that in terms of craft is an engaging fleetness of rhythm and a strong presence in terms of tone and personality. Again, sleeper hit. I know there’s a lot of stuff out there, and Devil – Shadowless – Hand might take a couple listens before it sinks in, but meeting it on its own level is worth the effort in the end.

As further persuasion, Ether Feather premiere their cinematic video for “New Abyss” below. I’m pretty sure they’re out there where Kirk fought the Gorn — so yes, Cestus III — and that’s awesome, but beyond that, consider it as evidence of how haphazard Devil – Shadowless – Hand isn’t that they’d put together a clip for a track and use it as the genuine opportunity to tell a story that it is, not simply playing the track in their rehearsal space, but directing a narrative that works to complement the song in mood and style. I’m a firm believer in happy accidents, and I’m sure there are a couple on the Ether Feather record, but there’s no lack of consideration surrounding.

Enjoy the video:

Ether Feather, “New Abyss” official video

What resides in the ether? Floating like a lead balloon in Ether Feather’s inverse universe is the meeting point between Black Sabbath, Mahavishnu Orchestra, Kyuss and Captain Beefheart.

The Los Angeles trio’s sound is a weighty, swinging brand of desert rock influenced heft informed by elements of No Wave, free jazz and post-punk. It’s not jammy for jam’s sake, nor is it neo-jazzbo navel gazing – it’s crafty and astute, head-bobbing thud with a flair for tasteful melodic quirks.

Ether Feather is the brainchild of L.A.-by-way-of-Chicago drummer/vocalist Dylan Ryan, who has also played with Man Man, Cursive, Red Krayola and more. The newly minted trio includes guitarist Tim Young (guitarist on the Late Late Show and studio player: Todd Rundgren, Mike Patton, Fiona Apple) and bassist Sylvia Black (Lydia Lunch.) The band arose from a previous incarnation called SAND, featuring Ryan and Young, which had released two albums in 2013 and 2014 respectively.

Ether Feather is:
Tim Young, Guitar
Sylvia Black, Bass
Dylan Ryan, Drums & Vocals

Ether Feather, Devil – Shadowless – Hand (2019)

Ether Feather on Thee Facebooks

Ether Feather on Instagram

Ether Feather on Bandcamp

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Draagyn Share Debut Single “Majesty”

Posted in Whathaveyou on September 11th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

A little bit of ripping progressive black metal, you say? Don’t mind if I do. Bolstered by some piano, rife with melody and folkish elements Draagyn‘s debut single “Majesty” is a broad and clear statement of intent on the part of the newcomer outfit. In true — or tr00, if you prefer — black metal style, info on the whos and whats and wheres is sparse in favor of universe-collapsing-on-itself-style descriptors, and fair enough, but the bottom line is that as a first public track, “Majesty” lives up to its title in melodic poise and intensity alike. It’s eight minutes long and I guarantee it sounds not at all like anything else I’m posting today.

And while I’ll admit I’m something of an eyerolling fan of some of black metal’s theatrical presentation, the line in the PR wire info below about releasing additional music “as it sees fit” is pretty fantastic. Here’s hoping the band sees fit soon.

Audio’s at the bottom, but dig that headline too. Right on:

draagyn

DRAAGYN EMERGES FROM THE DEPTHS OF A BLACKENED ABYSS TO LIGHT THE WAY FOR DEVIANT SOULS ON DEBUT SONG, “MAJESTY”

To be clear, this isn’t metal. In fact, it’s the end of times. The chilling moment right before you die. It’s something to be loved, feared and hated at the same time. An intense cataclysm, clawing and writhing its way from the blackened abyss. It’s to be adored or recoiled in disgust with no compromise in between. A grotesque, iconoclastic deity that should be worshipped or burned at the stake. A magnificent terror caught in the crossroads between heaven and hell that lights the way for the damned amidst eternal darkness. It’s artistry for the outliers and outlaws; for those with reckless abandon and exclusive fetishes. This is Draagyn.

With its first offering, “Majesty,” Draagyn parts a dead sea with an 8-minute opus of juxtaposing sound, beginning with an ethereal prelude, before all out collapsing into a torrent of violent darkness and immense doom. Bound by no rules and apathetic to any preconceived notions as to what is considered “music” or “art,” Draagyn manifests a supreme intensity and fearless brilliance which knows no limits.

Draagyn will release additional music in the near future, as it sees fit.

https://www.instagram.com/_draagyn_/
https://soundcloud.com/draagynmusic

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High Tone Son of a Bitch on Tour Now; Billy Anderson Joins Lineup

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

high tone son of a bitch

I’ve been seeing the immediately recognizable moniker of Oakland, CA’s High Tone Son of a Bitch pretty steadily of late, particularly since their performance this past April at Desertfest NYC (review here). This weekend, the five-piece took off on a round of West Coast touring that will mark their inaugural run with producer Billy Anderson on bass. Yes, that Billy Anderson — commonly referred to around these parts as Billy “Frickin'” Anderson, or some more vulgar variation thereof. One might recall Anderson‘s work with his band Blessing the Hogs or teamed with Los Natas members in Solodolor, etc. Well, now he’s in High Tone Son of a Bitch, so there’s another line on what’s arguably the heavy underground’s most enviable curriculum vitae.

They’re in L.A. tonight with Orange GoblinEarthless and Black Cobra for a show that would appear to be a festival in everything but name, and they’ll join the Anderson-produced Holy Grove this weekend as the tour wraps up in California. Badass.

Check it out:

high tone son of a bitch tour

High Tone Son of a Bitch Announces West Coast Tour Dates

Billy Anderson Joins Bay Area Group Featuring Members of Kalas, Noothgrush, Neurosis, Necrot, Saviours and More for Later Summer Swing

Oakland psych rock band High Tone Son of A Bitch (aka HTSoB) has announced west coast tour dates in support of its comeback EP, ‘Death of a New Day / Eye in the Sky’. Set to launch on August 30 in Santa Cruz, CA, the 10 city tour will run through September 9 in Sacramento. Famed producer / bassist Billy Anderson, who recorded the group’s new EP, will join HTSoB on the live dates and remain a part of the band’s lineup, moving forward. The just-revealed live schedule is as follows:

High Tone Son of A Bitch live dates:

September 2 Los Angeles, CA Regent Theater (w/ Orange Goblin, Earthless, Black Cobra)
September 3 Fresno, CA TBD
September 4 Crockett, CA Toot’s Tavern (w/ Rockman)
September 5 Nevada City, CA Cooper’s
September 6 Pacifica, CA Winters Tavern
September 7 Oakland, CA Elbo Room (w/ Holy Grove)
September 8 Cupertino, CA Homestead Bowl & The X Bar (as part of Bowling and Beers in Hell fest w/ Holy Grove, Solar Haze, etc.)
September 9 Sacramento @ Blue Lamp (w/ Holy Grove)

Formed in 2003 by the brothers Paul and Andrew Kott with bassist Ron Nichols (a veteran of Neurosis’ Noah Landis’ legendary punk band Christ on Parade), and named after named after the bumper sticker on an automobile from the Steven King novel, ‘The Dark Half’, HTSoB ultimately pulled together the talents of an all star cast, with the line-ups and contributing guests coming from and heading into bands like Kalas, Cruevo, Noothgrush, Hammers of Misfortune, Neurosis, and others. The original lineup’s trajectory was cut short by tragedy when Andrew, who was struggling with addiction, died unexpectedly. In 2018, Andrew Kott’s step-son Juan, who plays in the Latin Grammy-nominated Mexican regional band Banda Troyana, urged Paul to start HTSoB up again. Paul then gradually re-formed a revised lineup of the band that has now fully arisen in triumph from the ashes of tragedy.

https://www.facebook.com/htsob.oakland/
https://www.instagram.com/htsob.oakland/

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Friday Full-Length: earthlings?, earthlings?

Posted in Bootleg Theater on August 30th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

The 11 tracks of earthings? 1998 self-titled debut are a stirring reminder that sometimes the best thing one can be is weird. Among the core lineup of Dave Catching (who’s contributed one way or the other to Queens of the Stone Age, Mojave Lords, Eagles of Death Metal, Goon Moon, Masters of Reality, and many others), Fred Drake (Mark Lanegan, Queens of the Stone Age, and a host of others in various roles), and Pete Stahl (GoatsnakeScreamWool, Orquesta del Desierto), is the name of the Rancho de la Luna studio itself where earthlings? was recorded for eventual release through Crippled Dick Hot Wax and Man’s Ruin Records. The studio itself plays a massive role in the ultimate personality of the record, as songs become willfully bizarre explanations of drones or keys like the otherwise straightforward “Reaper (Don’t Fear This Child)” or seem built of Wonka-esque psychotronic experimentation like “Conversing Among Misfits,” which, by the way, is the centerpiece of the album, because of course it is.

In these pieces as well as in opener “Nothing” and the desert-Velvet Underground take of “Saving up for My Spaceship/Illuminate,” and even the QOTSA-adjacent riff-style of “Stungun” — with Scott Reeder on bass, no less — the feel becomes not unlike another hidden edition of Desert Sessions, with Stahl‘s malleable vocals, Drake‘s keys/vocals/sometimes-drums and Catching‘s guitar/keys/bass/whatever emerging as having been born of a similar sonic adventurism. No doubt tales of, “let’s get everyone in the studio for a few days, do drugs and make records,” have been exaggerated, but it’s worth noting that all three members of earthlings? were indeed involved in Desert Sessions at one point or another, and the vibe of the self-titled bears that out in “The Dreaded Lovelies” and the same goes for the subsequent ambience of “The Icy Halls of Sobriety (I Dare Not Tread)” and the chill finish in closer “Triumphant March of the Buffoons,” which rounds out a farewell salvo like the band blew out its songwriting apparatus on “Stungun” and decided to just roll with the anti-consciousness impulse. Sometimes the best thing one can be is weird.

Drake and Stahl share vocal duties on the punkish “Cavalry” while Adam Maples (Legal Weapon, Boneclub, Orquesta del Desierto) steps in on drums, and the pattern of offsetting more straight-ahead moments with bizarre fare continues as the impressionist “Happiest Day of My Life” arrives based around a piano line and interweaving vocals and keyboard, carrying forth a wistfulness that continues into an ending of traffic sounds and the arrival of the bouncing anythingism of “Conversing Among Misfits,” each song a departure from the one before it much as “Nothing” at the outset stands as a departure from reality. What ties them all together, such as they’re intended to be tied together at all, is the sense of freedom behind their making. The tracks on earthlings?‘s self-titled by and large earthlings earthlingsare not smoothed-over, structured pieces intended to land a hook. Their sense of expression is on a different trip.

In hindsight, the post-rocking drift in the guitar of “Nothing” feels somewhat prescient, even with the launch-countdown over top, but what it conveys most of all is that earthlings? were not formed as a band with limits placed on their sound. They were not going to be “this” kind of band or “that” kind of band. They were going to see what happened. True, they inevitably are lumped into the sphere of Californian desert rock in no small part because of their many associations therewith, but that’s not a limit on what they do. With a first album that appeared shortly after Kyuss disbanded, they showed a different side of the desert, less aggressive and more embodying a kind of we-moved-to-the-middle-of-nowhere-for-a-reason aesthetic libertarianism, unwilling to follow dictates other than those of their own creativity. That would turn out to be plenty, of course, as “Saving up for My Spaceship/Illuminate” tops seven minutes of percussion-addled sand psych before giving way to the return of the drum kit on “Reaper (Don’t Fear This Child),” on which Drake‘s sneering vocal approach should recall for anyone who’s heard it that of Zach Huskey of Dali’s Llama, also long underappreciated.

And maybe that middle finger to convention is part of the desert ideal as well, though it’s hard to assess such things from (1:) across the country and (2:) two decades after the fact without indulging the peculiar gonzo romanticism of American counterculture. I’ll save my breath, if that’s cool, and just note that whatever accidents it might produce, the kind of stylistic individuality one hears on earthlings? is never itself anything but willful, and whatever the album might share in common with other outfits to which Stahl or Drake or Catching played in the years since seems much more born of the fact that it’s the same personality being taken along with them on the way. Those personae, in combination with each other and with Rancho de la Luna itself, produced something in this first earthlings? record that inherently could not be reproduced — the capture of a singular moment in time.

Of course, the self-titled isn’t the only thing earthlings? ever put out. They followed it with Human Beans, which featured an even broader range of guests, including Mark Lanegan, Barrett Martin, Josh Homme and Petra Hayden, as well as a drum spot from Dave Grohl, in 2000, members continuing to contribute to Desert Sessions in between. The death of Drake from cancer in 2002 came shortly after the band released their Disco Marching Craft EP, on which he did not appear, and over the years that followed, earthlings? would release sporadic short offerings like 2005’s Individual Sky Cruiser Theory or 2008’s Humalien EPs, bringing Mathias Schneeberger and a swath of other players into the lineup along the way. It wasn’t until 2016’s Mudda Fudda limited vinyl on Last Hurrah Records that earthlings? issued a third full-length, and I wouldn’t profess to know anything about future plans or anything like that. Still, their work remains delightfully strange and rife with the kind of indulgence one wants to indulge because it’s so much fun to follow along, and 21 years after the fact, earthlings? continues to stand resoundingly alone.

As always, I hope you enjoy.

New episode of The Obelisk Show on Gimme Radio today at 1PM Eastern. I’m doing a special on the Kyuss family tree, the research for which I’ll admit also had me digging into this earthlings? record earlier this week. If you get to check that out, it would surely be appreciated.

Listen at: http://gimmeradio.com

And thanks.

It’s very nearly 4AM now. The Patient Mrs. and I had friends over last night. I turned in around 10 and fell asleep immediately, so don’t even know when she came to bed, but I woke up at 1:30 and never got back to sleep. That’s not going to make my day any easier, I think, but “making my day easier” has never been among my specialties.

This week was a fucking mess. The Esogenesi track that went up earlier I actually reviewed back on like Tuesday because I wanted to review the Orange Goblin show Wednesday morning and still be ahead, so wound up doing Esogenesi on Tuesday to go up today so that yesterday I could just do PH and have that go up immediately. Why does it make a difference? I’m not sure. Would it matter if the Orange Goblin review had gone up the next day? To me, maybe. Which I guess is how that dumb crap happens in the first place.

Ah, now it’s 4AM. The alarm on my phone just went off.

If you saw that Orange Goblin review, thanks. I was pretty thrilled with it. I bought a new lens last week as a moving-house present to myself and took it to that show and C.O.C. in Jersey in order to break it in. It’s fun. I’m pleased with it. It’s not a magic bullet to make me a better photographer or anything, but it’s pro-level even if I’m not. There are a few other shows coming up in the next several weeks, so I’m looking forward to getting to know it more.

This weekend? Yeah, I don’t know. The Patient Mrs. is gone at a conference in Washington, D.C., that will mark the longest time she’s been away from The Pecan. I think she’s nervous about that, but fortunately there’s plenty of distraction. The kid yesterday, man. Oof. What a day. Hitting and yelling and whining and pouting and smacking himself in the face and just crying for nothing. Made me want to check him for new teeth. “Bro, what the hell?” and so on. He can have some pretty intense moments, in the true spirit of a toddler. Splatter my brains on the fucking wall. He’ll be two in October. Not there yet.

It’s okay though. I hear it gets much easier from here and all the concerns go away and you just all of a sudden have a person you love a bunch and can talk to about baseballs and various kinds of gouda cheese and heavy metal and it’s all good and then they take care of you until you die. Pretty sure I read that somewhere.

I signed on to do a bio for WarHorse. It was an honor to be asked. I don’t know when they need it or anything, but I’ll probably post it here when the time comes. In the meantime, I’m interviewing Lori from Acid King next week for a streaming chat — those are getting me back on the phone/Skype with people and I like that; transcription had been keeping me away, and I hate setting up email interviews, which is why Six Dumb Questions only has six questions — and I’m supposed to email questions to the guys from a certain bud-loving British band for liner notes for a reissue they’re doing of a landmark album that I haven’t done yet, and I’m supposed to talk to Peder from Lowrider this weekend about their upcoming PostWax release for liner notes for that. I am, in a word, over-fucking-whelmed. But I do these things to myself. I like being asked to do things. I like being a part of things. I appreciate the fact that someone might give enough of a shit about what I say to print it with their record or to send it out as their statement of who they are as a band. Is the weekend when I’m on my own with the kid the time to be thinking about getting anything at all done? Yeah, no. Am I doing so anyway? Clearly.

What a dope.

I guess I’ll leave on that happy note. A few good premieres next week, and the audio of my interview with Jesse Bartz from L0-Pan that I recorded at their show in Jersey, so keep an eye out for those. It’ll be fun.

Alright. Have a great and safe weekend. Please check out the forum and radio stream and merch at Dropout.

The Obelisk Forum

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Sunn O))) Announce Pyroclasts Due Oct. 25

Posted in Whathaveyou on August 30th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

Sunn O)))‘s second LP of 2019 has been announced as Pyroclasts, due out Oct. 25 through Southern Lord. It’ll be the follow-up to Life Metal (review here), and fulfills the promise the band made at the start of the year that they’d produce not one, but a pair of full-lengths. The concept behind this one, based around improv drone exercises done during the Life Metal sessions at Electrical Audio in Chicago, seems pretty fascinating — heady, but one would expect that from Sunn O))) at this point — and the two-minute sample they’ve posted is indeed drone as fuckall. That teaser also gives a good look at the cover art, which is beautiful.

Incidentally, I’d like to start my day with improvisational drone exercises. I’m lucky if I can remember to turn the coffee pot on before I go brush my teeth though, so I’m not counting on it happening anytime soon.

We all have our rituals.

From the PR wire:

sunn o pyroclasts

SUNN O))) Announces The Release Of Pyroclasts, Confirmed For Release Through Southern Lord On October 25th; Trailer Posted

SUNN O))) will release Pyroclasts through Southern Lord on October 25th. The album’s cover art, track listing, and a trailer have been issued.

The Pyroclasts album is the result of a daily practice which was regularly performed each morning, or evening during the two week Life Metal sessions at Electrical Audio during July 2018, when all of the days musical participants would gather and work through a twelve-minute improvised modal drone at the start and or end of the day’s work. The piece performed was timed with a stopwatch and tracked to two-inch tape, it was an exercise and a chance to dig into a deep opening or closing of the day’s session in a deep musical way with all of the participants. To connect/reconnect, liberate the creative mind a bit and greet each other and the space through the practice of sound immersion. The players across the four pieces of Pyroclasts are Tim Midyett, Tos Nieuwenhuizen, Hildur Guðnadóttir, and as always, SUNN O)) founders Stephen O’Malley and Greg Anderson.

The music on Pyroclasts is inextricably woven to Life Metal. It exists on the very same tape reels, was explicitly recorded by Steve Albini. The brightness and vividness of that glorious session glares through these four tracks, the precision and radiance, prismatic lustrousness of the saturation, the elemental sculptural shapes, the abstract renderings. It is a sister, or perhaps a shadow album. Or perhaps the now apparent miasma or aether. But it also exists in a form of a pause, a time space which exist in between and around the compositional structures of SUNN O)))’s titanic works.

For the listener or recipient/participant there are deep rewards within the patience of pulling down the walls and letting the music feel and feel the music. To be immersed will reveal great detail and color, clarify image, encourage a depth of focus and stillness which may lead to a quite profound experience. Sitting inside the space of time. A deep form of elementalism, even atomism, and connection with presence moment, time and reality.

SUNN O))) would invite our audience to consider these points of perception when experiencing and listening to Pyroclasts. SUNN O))) would also invite and encourage their audience to use Pyroclasts as a lens to review and re-experience the complexity of the Life Metal album, and even to interrupt its sequence with Pyroclasts. This elaboration can bring the astute listener both abyssal, hallowed rewards.

Pyroclasts was recorded and mixed by Steve Albini at Electrical Audio on two-inch tape July 2018 and mastered by Matt Colton through all analogue AAA process at Metropolis July 2019. Four of Samantha Keely Smith’s incredible consciousness memory landscapes grace the album sleeve artwork.

Stephen O’Malley and Greg Anderson would like to dedicate this album to the memories of Ron Guardipee, Kerstin Daley, and Scott Walker.

Pyroclasts Track Listing:
SIDE A:
Frost (C)
Kingdoms (G)
SIDE B:
Ampliphædies (E)
Ascension (A)

SUNN O))) Tour Dates:
September 2019 – Western U.S.
9/01/2019 Granada – Dallas, TX w/ Papa M, Big|Brave
9/02/2019 Emo’s – Austin, TX w/ Papa M, Big|Brave
9/04/2019 The Gothic – Denver, CO w/ Papa M, Big|Brave
9/06/2019 Metro Music Hall – Salt Lake City, UTw/ Papa M, Big|Brave, Eagle Twin
9/07/2019 Arcosanti – Phoenix AZ w/ Papa M, Big|Brave
9/08/2019 Mayan – Los Angeles, CA w/ Papa M, Big|Brave
9/09/2019 The Fillmore – San Francisco, CA w/ Papa M, Big|Brave
9/11/2019 The Showbox – Seattle, WA w/ Papa M
9/12/2019 Revolution Hall – Portland, OR w/ Papa M
9/15/2019 Hollywood Forever – Los Angeles, CA [Shoshin (??) Duo]

Let There Be Drone (Multiple Gains Stages) October 2019
10/07/2019 Backstage – Munich, DE w/ Caspar Brötzmann Bass Totem
10/08/2019 HfG / ZKM – Karlsruhe, DE w/ Caspar Brötzmann Bass Totem
10/09/2019 Kaserne Basel – Basel, CH w/ Caspar Brötzmann Bass Totem
10/10/2019 Felsenkeller – Leipzig, DE w/ Caspar Brötzmann Bass Totem
10/11/2019 Unsound Festival – Krakow, PL
10/13/2019 Kablys – Vilnius, LT w/ Caspar Brötzmann Bass Totem
10/14/2019 Vene Teater – Tallinn, EE w/ Caspar Brötzmann Bass Totem
10/15/2019 Kulttuuritalo – Helsinki, FI w/ Caspar Brötzmann Bass Totem
10/17/2019 Kraken Sthlm – Stockholm, SE w/ Carl Michael Von Hausswolff
10/18/2018 Kulturkirchen Jakob – Oslo, NO w/ Runhild Gammelsæter & Lass Marhaug Duo
10/19/2019 BLA – Oslo, NO [Shoshin (??) Duo] w/ Runhild Gammelsæter & Lass Marhaug Duo DJ set
10/21/2019 Koncerthuset – Copenhagen, DK w/ Puce Mary
10/22/2019 Doornroosje – Nijmegen, NL
10/24/2019 SWX – Bristol, UK w/ Anna Von Hausswolff
10/25/2019 QMU – Glasgow, UK w/ Anna Von Hausswolff
10/26/2019 The Crossing – Birmingham, UK w/ Anna Von Hausswolff
10/27/2019 Albert Hall – Manchester, UK w/ Anna Von Hausswolff
10/28/2019 Roundhouse – London, UK w/ Anna Von Hausswolff

INCOMING IN 2020…
La Gaîté Lyrique presents:
SUNN O))) – Let There Be Drone / One Residence, Two Concepts, Three Concerts
1/30/2020 / Life Metal
2/01/2019 / Life Metal
2/02/2020 / Shoshin

https://www.instagram.com/sunnofficial
https://www.facebook.com/SUNNthebandOfficial
https://sunn.bandcamp.com
https://sunn-live.bandcamp.com
http://www.southernlord.com
http://southernlord.bandcamp.com
https://www.facebook.com/SLadmin
https://www.instagram.com/southernlordrecords

Sunn O))), Pyroclasts preview

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War Cloud Announce ‘State of Shock’ European Tour Dates

Posted in Whathaveyou on August 29th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

Well, it’s been all of one day since I posted about War Cloud being added to Ripplefest UK in London next month, but the news that they’ll wrap that in as part of a stint of UK/European shows definitely seems worth highlighting. Of particular note, it means that the Oakland, CA, heavy classic metallers — as opposed to classic heavy metallers, and yes, there’s a difference — won’t be in the country when their new album, State of Shock, is released on Sept. 27. In fact they’re in Pavia, Italy, that night, for the penultimate show of the tour. One assumes a hometown release show will happen sooner or later, but in the meantime, I’m sure they’ll make due with kicking ass across Europe for a month ahead of the LP coming out. Doesn’t sound too bad, frankly.

The route looks like this:

war cloud tour

War Cloud – State of Shock: Europe

Erupting out of Oakland, California in 2014, War Cloud has left a smoking path across much of the USA over the past five years. Formed by guitarist/vocalist Alex Wein after firmly planting his amps in the Bay Area, he unified a crew with Joaquin Ridgell on drums, Taylor Roach on bass, and most recently Nick Burks on guitar (also of Kentucky rockers, Stonecutters).

Touring extensively in support of their debut record, War Cloud adapted a take no prisoners strategy with the intent to decimate all from the opening tone of each engaging live show and recently completed recording their sophomore full-length, State of Shock. Set to arrive this September, once again with Ripple Music, the song writing on the album led the band in the direction of a strong concept which thematically surrounds a life in war – be it with friend, enemy, or self.

9/7 Milan, IT – Motoraduno Guzzi
9/8 Vercelli, IT – Officine Sonore
9/11 Toulouse, FR – L’Usine a Musique
9/14 Dresden, DE – Eichenkranz
9/17 Erfurt, DE – Cafe Tikolor
9/19 Nottingham, UK – Old Salutation Inn
9/21 London, UK – Black Heart (Ripplefest UK)
9/22 Lille, FR – Le Midland
9/24 Cologne, DE – Sonic Ballroom
9/26 Bellinzona, CH – The Pit
9/27 Pavia, IT – Dagda
9/28 Vigone, IT – Positive Music
More dates to be announced!

WAR CLOUD:
Alex Wein – Vocals/Guitar
Nick Burks – Guitar
Joaquin Ridgell – Drums
Taylor Roach – Bass

http://facebook.com/WarCloudisComing
http://warcloudiscoming.bandcamp.com/
http://warcloud.bigcartel.com/
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Ripple-Music/369610860064
https://ripplemusic.bandcamp.com/
http://www.ripple-music.com/

War Cloud, State of Shock (2019)

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Slow Phase Announce Debut Album; Post “Starlight” Video

Posted in Whathaveyou on August 23rd, 2019 by JJ Koczan

slow phase

Bringing together members of West Coast rockers Skunk and 3rd Ear Experience, Slow Phase are a new outfit who’ll look to release their debut album sometime this Fall. No word on an exact date yet — one assumes it’s done if they’re putting out singles? — but they’ve got a video up for “Starlight” that you can check out below that features the trio, some lyrics, bright colors, the whole bit. The song is likewise straightforward, no pretense about what it’s going for or how it’s getting there. That makes the according vibe easy enough to dig, and though one would suspect the album has a bit more going on than just a single approach, “Starlight” bodes well for what might be in store when it gets here. Only one way to find out.

In the meantime, dudes clearly have their artwork game on point, as the cover for “Starlight” single shows. Check that out right here with its beardo-thinker-in-the-desert thing, followed by some more background from the band itself.

Like so:

slow phase starlight

It was only after having spent 3 years woodshedding stuff like James Gang, KISS, Mountain, Zeppelin, Zappa, Grand Funk (and playing the occasional party) that we decided to start writing our own songs, and christened ourselves SLOW PHASE, after the coolest setting on my 1972 Maestro Phase Shifter.

The band includes Dmitri Mavra, the founder and songwriter behind SKUNK, on guitar, along with Anthony Pulsipher (bass/vocals) and Richard Stuverud (drums/vocals).

Pulsipher is a veteran of many bands, and in addition to SLOW PHASE he also plays guitar, writes, and sings for Oakland’s SPIDERMEOW, a country rock trio in the tradition of The Band and Gram Parsons.

Drum wizard Richard Stuverud, originally from Seattle, has played with the Fastbacks, RNDM, Tribe After Tribe, 3rd Ear Experience, Jeff Ament, and many more. With SLOW PHASE Stuverud gets to indulge his love of Bonham, Ward, and Moon to the fullest!

Also, Stuverud and Pulsipher are both great singers and it’s been cool to add some harmonies to the sound, a facet of early rock that’s often overlooked by today’s bands.

The album should be out later this Fall. In the meantime, I hope you can get a chance to check out our first track, STARLIGHT, either via Bandcamp (free download) or the video on Vimeo.

Slow Phase is:
Dmitri Mavra – guitar
Anthony Pulsipher – bass/vocals
Richard Stuverud – drums/vocals

facebook.com/SlowPhase/
slowphase.bandcamp.com/album/starlight

Slow Phase, “Starlight” official video

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Zed, Volume: The Other Kind

Posted in Reviews on August 23rd, 2019 by JJ Koczan

zed volume

Zed‘s vision of rock and roll is not polite. It is not about accommodation. It’s the kind of rock and roll that drinks both your beer and its own, is loud, goes late, and damns tomorrow because it had already damned today first. It’s the kind of rock and roll that might put a large black rooster on its album cover and let the dick joke make itself. It is, as they might put it on their latest offering, “The Other Kind.” Volume is the fourth full-length from the San Jose, California, four-piece, and sees their edge undiminished in their decade-plus tenure. As their alliance with Ripple Music enters its third release, with the label having stood behind 2016’s Trouble in Eden (review here) and a reissue earlier this year of 2013’s Desperation Blues (discussed here), it results in a collection running 10 tracks and 48 minutes of aggressively executed straightforward heavy rock with a broad foundation in punk, metal and classic rock; the amalgam well familiar to those who’ve followed Zed over their years.

In that regard, what ultimately distinguishes Volume is the clarity with which it is delivered. The band’s lineup — guitarist/vocalist Peter Sattari, bassist Mark Aceves, guitarist Greg Lopez and drummer Sean Boyles — has never sounded so firm in their purpose, and while their songwriting acumen has always been central to their style, the material here feels tighter and even more purposeful than that of Trouble in Eden, and the energy in the band’s performance has never been so effectively captured. Credit at least in part for that needs to go to engineer Tim Narducci (also of The Watchers), with whom the band worked on part of the recording last time around as well as on Desperation Blues — their 2010 debut, The Invitation, was self-recorded — and who obviously gets what they’re going for. It’s right there in the name of the album: Volume. Zed are not trying to convey some grand concept in their sound unless that grand concept might be the largesse of their sound itself, and thus Volume becomes its own celebration of that intangible thing that rock and roll has celebrated since its first hijacked blues riff — a vitality that simply can’t be heard at anything less than a shout.

Broken neatly in half with a longer cut closing each side, Volume might also be stating itself as a recommendation to the audience, though I’m not certain that with Zed that really needs to be stated at this point. How else would one take on tracks like “The Other Kind,” “The End” or the shreddy side B highlight “The Great Destroyer” but as loud as possible? The choruses of the slowed-down “Wings of the Angel,” the side B leadoff “Chingus” (video posted here), and “Hollow Men,” on which Boyles seems to give his cymbals an extra-cruel beating, are certainly standouts, and even as “Wings of the Angel” or “Poison Tree” pull back on pace as compared to the thrust of “The Other Kind” or “The Great Destroyer,” there’s no letup in terms of efficiency in their craft.

zed

“Poison Tree” is perhaps the catchiest of the bunch, which is no easy feat considering its surroundings, and as Zed expand the palette with some B3 on the penultimate “Time and Space” courtesy of Brad Barth, their central mission of song-driven, riff-led heavy remains steady through the extra flourish en route to the closer “The Troubadour,” which is the longest inclusion on Volume at 6:31 and finds the band taking more chances in terms of melody, layering vocals for a chorus effect to go with Sattari in a fashion that is every bit worthy of finishing out the record even though it runs counter to the harder-edged approach heard earlier. Airy leads and a legitimately soaring chorus add atmosphere to the finale that one wouldn’t necessarily guess Zed would be interested in harnessing, but is only more welcome for that. Even “The Mountain,” from Trouble in Eden, which tapped into some similar ideas in the guitar, didn’t dare go so far as the vocals, and a greater focus on melody only suits the song itself, which, given how much of Zed‘s approach — again — is about the songs, makes Volume stronger on the whole.

Signal of a new direction for Zed? Probably not, and I say that not because I think Zed are creatively stagnant — far from it, given the efforts they take to refine their songwriting here, though they might bristle at calling anything they do “refined” — but because they don’t sound like a band who are interested in fixing what clearly isn’t broken in their sound. “The End” has a less throaty vocal in its initial verse as well, and it may be that their dynamic is expanding, but if it’s going to happen, Zed seem to be conscious enough to let it happen in an unforced way. Because while their overall affect is loud, clear and full, both recorded and on stage, they don’t do anything that feels unnatural in either side. They’re not going to seek out vintage equipment to record on or spend tens of thousands of dollars on this or that mixing board, and they’re not going to find some overly slick digital cut and paste method for putting riffs together.

They’re a songwriting and performance band, and that’s what you get on Volume. You get songwriting, you get performance. Sure, they’ve grown in the three years since Trouble in Eden — though they’re not so mature as to, say, not make a dick joke on their album cover — but the core of Zed remains unchanged, and it seems more likely than not that that’s how it will be for the duration. Zed were not inexperienced in bands when they formed, and as a group who knew what they wanted going in, they’ve been walking their path steadily ever since. What’s truly impressive about that is not just that they’ve brought this mission to bear in the memorable tracks of Volume, but that there’s that accompanying performance aspect. In payoffs for “Wings of an Angel,” or “Chingus” or “The Great Destroyer” — take your pick, really — they harness not just a live energy, but the energy of a band confident in the righteousness of their voluminous cause. And so they are.

Zed, Volume (2019)

Zed on Thee Facebooks

Zed on Bandcamp

Zed website

Ripple Music website

Ripple Music on Bandcamp

Ripple Music on Thee Facebooks

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