Friday Full-Length: Queens of the Stone Age, …Like Clockwork

Posted in Bootleg Theater on October 30th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

The songs. It’s the songs. There’s next to no mystery to it. In 2013, when  essay about my favorite pet dog - Get Nice Paper Get help with your thesis today! Get Help for All Levels: Undergraduate, PhD and Master Queens of the Stone Age released  Alpha Help With Economics Homework provides you the best in class, plagiarism free and value for money Custom Writing at your convenient time from experts. …Like Clockwork (review here), it was following a six-year absence, which was the longest of their career by a factor of two. Bolstered by the narrative surrounding guitarist/vocalist Read our review of Essay Coursework Help wriitng service to know whether you should trust them your academic papers. Joshua Homme that he’d died during leg surgery and been revived by doctors and was coping with having been bedridden for a period of months thereafter, the 10-song/45-minute offering indeed spends some time coping with mortality in “Kalopsia” and “I Appear Missing,” and perhaps indirectly in the ironic desperate blindness portrayed in the lyrics of “Smooth Sailing.”

But it transposed that experience and perhaps also the experience of suing his former Take advantage of our recipe of academic success worked out by our pro essay online service at BuyEssay.net. Music For Writing Paperss online that you'll be proud to Kyuss bandmates over their use of the moniker as Application Admission Cheap Term Paper - Title Ebooks : Cheap Term Paper - Category : Kindle and eBooks PDF - Author : ~ unidentified - ISBN785458 - File Type : Kyuss Lives!, and of forming, releasing an LP (review here), and touring with Our http://blog.cbipsi.com/robert-frost-phd-or-ma-thesis/ online service really believes in successful meeting the most strict deadlines our clients have every student day! Rely upon our talented team! Them Crooked Vultures alongside boys state essay help blog works cited essay cv writing service huddersfield Dave Grohl ( Business School. Trust Academy?s current mission statement affirms the Business and Secretarial Buy A College Paper For Chea School?s belief that with the Foo Fighters), We provide professional http://sppadbase.ipp.cnr.it/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/?976s, plagiarized free papers to ensure guaranteed satisfaction. John Paul Jones ( Learn more about a truly impactful professional essay writing service. Put your 'my review here' order and get well written college papers. Led Zeppelin) and sometimes- Employ an expert writer to make your university career as straightforward as possible and answer to that "who will write my essay Online College Term Papers Help URGENTLY Queens-contributor blog here - Stop receiving unsatisfactory grades with these custom research paper advice Quick and trustworthy services from Alain Johannes, into a collection of brazenly disjointed and unflinchingly memorable tracks. Though  basicss. 229 likes. Our organization exists to serve students at all academic levels when they have writing assignments due and are behind... Queens of the Stone Age oversaw a reissue of their oft-bootlegged 1998 self-titled debut in 2011, and toured playing that record to support,  http://www.wings.ca/?essay-paper-writings: Your Trusted Essaywriting Partner. Profesional Essay Writing Services is the best and reliable online custom writing …Like Clockwork represented what was then the farthest into the sphere of unabashed pop rock that the band — dissociative identity disorder term paper Dissertation Writing Style Now personal statement opening paragraph good custom essay site Homme, guitarist/backing vocalist Troy Van Leeuwen, bassist/backing vocalist Mikey Shuman, keyboardist Dean Fertita and then-new drummer Jon Theodore, as well as a vast range of other performers and guests — had yet ventured.

It wasn’t just about the songs being catchy — though from creeping opener “Keep Your Eyes Peeled” through the jangly fluff of “I Sat by the Ocean” through the brooding “The Vampyre of Time and Memory” and we-can-do-anything-and-make-it-work “If I Had a Tail” and into the charge of “My God is the Sun” across side A, they were maddeningly catchy, and did not stop being so as side B pushed outward in style and arrangements — but about variability of mood and production. Since their second album, 2000’s Rated R, the band and Homme as auteur thereof had established a modus of frontloading, putting the radio-ready rockers at the beginning and weirding out to one degree or other later on.

The innovation …Like Clockwork brought to this — maybe born of the fact that there was no more rock radio to play toward — was an expansion into alternate dimensions of pop united ultimately by the quality of their craft and Homme‘s vocals, but that otherwise seem purposefully geared toward throwing the listener off-base from one to the next. It’s not a record that flows in the sense of one song leading smoothly into the next, but its various changes in style and personnel, the arrival and departure of various recording engineers — Mark RankinAlain JohannesJustin SmithJoe Barresi all involved at one point or another in the recording or mixing process, with Gavin Lurssen mastering and the band listed as a queens of the stone age like clockworkproducer — and headline guest performers like Nine Inch Nails frontman Trent Reznor (vocals on “Kalopsia”) and Sir Elton John (vocals and piano on “Fairweather Friends”), plus regulars in the band’s sphere like Mark LaneganDave Grohl and even erstwhile bassist Nick Oliveri, brought a sense of scope to …Like Clockwork that was simply at another level from anything the band had done before, up to and including 2003’s genre-defining landmark, Songs for the Deaf.

That foundation set across the more forward pieces of side A — “I Sat by the Ocean,” “If I Had a Tail,” and the you-want-your-desert-rock-fine-here’s-your-desert-rock “My God is the Sun” — flourishes in the shifts that follow, while Homme‘s clever and expressive lyrics underscore the hooks with due complexity to suit the arrangements of piano, strings, various percussion instruments, etc. Whether it was Reznor and Homme together nursing their shared David Bowie fetish while urging “Forget the rat and the race/We’ll choke-chain them all” with an inflection that seemed to convey the actual pulling of that chain, or the “Gonna pray for rain again and again” in “Fairweather Friends,” or the added line “It’s only falling in love because you hit the ground” in the second chorus of “I Appear Missing” after the dance-ready, set-for-a-fall “Smooth Sailing,” …Like Clockwork‘s second half was intelligent and mature without losing the edge of its presentation, and broad while holding onto the sense of craft that drew it together with the material on side A. The subdued, piano and strings-inclusive finale title-track offered more of the manipulated idioms that make for some of Homme‘s best lines — see, “Not everything that goes around comes back around, you know” — and ended the album with a contemplative feel that, while overwrought in its production value, was well enough earned by what came before it.

In 2017, the band released the comparatively forgettable Villains (review here), which existed very much in the shadow of its predecessor while casting off the contextual narrative — which Homme later said wasn’t true anyway; he’d fallen into a coma related to drug use — and took a hit reputation-wise when on tour Homme was caught on video kicking photographer Chelsea Lauren in the face from the stage. He promptly apologized for the attack, which occurred during the advent of the #MeToo era, but it was by no means the first documented incident of Homme abusing fans or others from the stage. The predominantly white and male sphere of rock and roll has forgiven far more from far less talented — and oddly, talent does seem to be a factor in that forgiveness — but it was to say the least poor form at the wrong time and thankfully Lauren was not seriously injured.

Villains was the second Queens of the Stone Age release through Matador Records, and though there was word of a follow-up in the works, of course everything has been derailed by the global COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, so who the hell knows what will happen there. Homme made waves a couple months ago saying he’d be willing to get on stage and play with Kyuss again, which doesn’t necessarily mean it would ever happen, but is a prospect about which I’m kind of surprised at my own ambivalence despite that band’s legitimate-desert-rock-legend status. Would nostalgia from those who didn’t see them the first time around — like me — be enough to carry them? Does it matter at this point? Will there ever be tours again anyway?

One way or the other, whatever Queens of the Stone Age and Homme did before or after, or does from here on, …Like Clockwork‘s songs stand firm on their own merits and are among the highest-profile examples of heavy rock in the pop sphere of the 2010s. As always, I hope you enjoy.

Thanks for reading.

Okay. First, the plug. New Gimme Metal show today, 5PM Eastern. Please listen. On their app or http://gimmemetal.com.

What a week. The Pecan, who turned three years old last Sunday — which apparently is old enough to be cognizant that a birthday is a fun thing and involves cake — started preschool on Monday and has gone every day for the first time. It’s 9-11:30AM, but still, every day, that’s a lot. Yesterday we took him to his old daycare for the afternoon so he could play there as well, but he said he didn’t want to do that anymore, and given how long that makes his day, I get it. I told him he didn’t have to and that we were proud of him for saying what he wanted. For a kid who’s had trouble and much frustration expressing himself with words — he’s impatient with himself in that regard, I tell him to slow down a lot — that was pretty huge. They’re doing a Halloween parade at his daycare today, but I’ve no intention of making him go if he doesn’t want to. He was shockingly adult in saying he didn’t when we talked about it.

So that’s a change. It gives me a little time to write every day though apart from the early mornings — it’s 10 after six now, I got up at four — which is something. In addition, the dog has spent the week with my mother and sister up the road during the days and that also has freed up a good amount of time for working for The Patient Mrs. and I. She’s needed it more than me. I don’t think I’ve seen her since Monday for more than an hour or two at a stretch (not counting sleeping), and we didn’t even get to watch the new episode of Star Trek: Discovery last night because she had a Zoom thing, so yeah, it’s been pretty hectic. No end in sight except the end of her semester, which will be welcome.

Adjustments being made seems to be the course of existence through parenting, working, global pandemic, and so on. This coming week is Election Day in the US, about which I’m anxious as I think many on all sides are. The NY Times count also put COVID at over 90,000 cases here yesterday — yesterday alone — and past the 9 million mark in total, so hard not to feel boned either way. For what it’s worth, I’d rather be boned and not fascist.

For what it’s worth.

It’s also rained all week, and having twisted my ankle last weekend, I haven’t been running at all, which sucks and has made me somewhat crazy in one of my least favorite ways. I was looking at pictures of myself the other day from circa 2017 on my Instagram, seeing the veins in my arms and my sunken eyes, sick with an eating disorder. There’s a part of me that misses looking like that. Fuck, a big part. I’m 39 years old, can’t really feed myself. I’ve been unhappy in my body for as long as I’ve been conscious of having one. It’s exhausting.

Whatever.

Next week, two video premieres on Monday because I’m dumb and I’m like, “Yeah sure I can do that!” when asked, and then a couple full album streams and stuff to follow. I might try and chase down Kind for a video interview, but there’s nothing to say it’ll actually happen. People have lives and so on. Me too, apparently.

I’m gonna punch out and hopefully take a couple minutes to breathe before The Pecan wakes up. Great and safe weekend. It’s Halloween. Don’t be stupid. Have fun, be safe, wear a mask and hydrate. All that stuff. Back on Monday.

FRM.

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Here Lies Man Announce Ritual Divination out Jan. 22; “I Told You (You Shall Die)” Streaming Now

Posted in Whathaveyou on October 27th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

If I’m extraordinarily lucky, I’ll have the new single from Here Lies Man stuck in my head for the rest of the day. “I Told You (You Shall Die)” is a righteous lead cut from Jan. 2021’s Ritual Divination, which is the follow-up to 2019’s No Ground to Walk Upon EP (review here). As ever for the L.A.-based outfit, their sound brings niche cultism to Afrobeat-shuffling proto-metal, psychedelic flourishes of key and guitar set to dance to a rhythm that’s all their own in a heavy context. One does not necessarily expect a single track to speak for an entire Here Lies Man release at this point, since they’ve proven multiple times over on their 2017 self-titled debut (review here) and 2018 sophomore full-length, You Will Know Nothing (review here), that they’re able to veer in multiple directions without losing their footing in terms of craft, but I’ll say that the forward riff in “I Told You (You Shall Die)” is likewise welcome and doomed as a first impression. And the solo scorches.

This band is a treasure.

Ritual Divination is out Jan. 22 on RidingEasy. “I Told You (You Shall Die)” is streaming at the bottom of this post.

Art and info from the PR wire follows:

here lies man ritual divination

Here Lies Man – Ritual Divination – Jan. 22

Los Angles, CA quartet Here Lies Man announce their forthcoming fourth album Ritual Divination today and share the lead single “I Told You (You Shall Die)” via YouTube, Bandcamp and Spotify.

Four albums in, the convenient and generalized catchphrase for Here Lies Man’s erudite sound — if Black Sabbath played Afrobeat — might seem a little played out. But Ritual Divination is perhaps the best rendering of the idea so far. Particularly on the Sabbath side of the equation: The guitars are heavier and more blues based than before, but the ancient rhythmic formula of the clave remains a constant.

“Musically it’s an opening up more to traditional rock elements,” says vocalist/guitarist/cofounder Marcos Garcia, who also plays guitar in Antibalas. “It’s always been our intention to explore. And, as we travelled deeper into this musical landscape, new features revealed themselves.”

The L.A. based band comprised of Antibalas members have toured relentlessly following their breakout 2017 self-titled debut. Their second album, You Will Know Nothing and an EP, Animal Noises, both followed in 2018. Third album No Ground To Walk Upon emerged in August 2019. All of them were crafted by Garcia and cofounder/drummer Geoff Mann (former Antibalas drummer and son of jazz musician Herbie Mann) in their L.A. studio between tours. Ritual Divination is their first album recorded as the full 4-piece band, including bassist JP Maramba and keyboardist Doug Organ.

Ritual Divination continues with an ongoing concept of HLM playing the soundtrack to an imaginary movie, with each song being a scene. “It’s an inward psychedelic journey, the album is the trip,” Garcia says. “The intention and purpose of the music is to create a sonic ritual to lift the veil of inner space and divine the true nature of reality.”

Likewise, musically and sonically, the album is self-reflexive. “On this album the feel changes within a song,” Garcia says. “Whereas before each song was meant to induce a trancelike state, now more of the songs have their own arc built in.” Similarly, the guitar sounds themselves herein eschew the fuzz pedals of previous recordings, going for the directness of pure amp overdrive and distortion using an interconnected rig of 4 amplifiers. And, here, the well-versed live band is able to record as a unit, giving it much more of a live and dynamic feel.

“We’re very conscious of how the rhythms service the riffs,” Garcia explains. “Tony Iommi’s (Black Sabbath) innovation was to make the riff the organizing principle of a song. We are taking that same approach but employing a different organizing principle: For Iommi it was the blues, for us it comes directly from Africa.”

Ritual Divination will be available on LP, CD and download on January 22nd, 2021 via RidingEasy Records.

Artist: Here Lies Man
Album: Ritual Divination
Record Label: RidingEasy Records
Release date: January 22nd, 2021

01. In These Dreams
02. I Told You (You Shall Die)
03. Underland
04. What You See
05. Can’t Kill It
06. Run Away Children
07. I Wander
08. Night Comes
09. Come Inside
10. Collector of Vanities
11. Disappointed
12. You Would Not See From Heaven

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All Souls Post “Winds” Video; Songs for the End of the World out Now

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

all souls

Hey look, I’ve been out here telling you to check out All Souls‘ new record, Songs for the End of the World (review here), since before it even had a release date, so don’t put on the video for “Winds” below and be like “Holy crap this is amazing I had no idea I need to buy both this band’s records right now why didn’t anyone tell me?” because the truth is even with 2020’s great many distractions, you’ve had ample warning. The video for “You Just Can’t Win” (posted here) came out in February. That’s before lockdown. And “Winds” was a pre-release single too in July. Really, plenty of warning.

However! — and I put that exclamation point there to emphasize what I’m about to say — if the video below for “Winds” is what gets you on board with Songs for the End of the World or All Souls in general, you’re by no means late to any sort of party and that’s only a good thing. You’ll note they’re a band with many associations — Antonio Aguilar and Meg Castellanos were in Totimoshi together, Tony Tornay drums in Fatso JetsonErik Trammell plays in Black Elk, and they record with Toshi Kasai whose done records for the Melvins among an entire planet of others, and they toured with Tool which I hear is a good thing for bands to do if they like playing in front of people and/or just want to hang out with Danny Carey, who I hear is a nice guy — and that theme continues here as the esteemed Josh Graham (formerly visuals for Neurosis, videos/art for Soundgarden, also of A Storm of Light and IIVII) brings a visual grace to work in accord with the song’s melodic flow, particularly resonant in the back-half instrumental stretch.

You’ll note the intersection of geometric shapes and environmental themes, something from Songs for the End of the World that ties to Graham‘s visual style as well. That makes the two parties an even better fit, and while it may be another choice association in All Souls‘ collection thereof, the truth about the band and about Songs for the End of the World is that what makes it all work is the songs and the performances themselves, as the group ties rare emotionality to sociopolitical ideas and remains heavy while digging into a nuanced approach that is even more their own now than it was on their 2018 self-titled debut (review here).

I hope my going on about it doesn’t delay you watching the video, which really is the point of this post. Just know that you’re not late just because the album’s already out — the internet makes everything seem over once it exists — and that this band is something special.

Album stream’s also down at the bottom.

Enjoy:

All Souls, “Winds” official video

Los Angeles quartet All Souls share an official video for “Winds” from their new album Songs For The End of The World today. The video is directed by Josh Graham (Soundgarden, Neurosis visuals) and is available to watch/share HERE.

A stunning animated video for album track “You Just Can’t Win” was released earlier this year. Watch the dark portents via YouTube.

All Souls formed in Los Angeles in the winter of 2016 and have gone from playing local gigs to performing in theaters and arenas. Featuring Tony Tornay (Fatso Jetson, Josh Homme’s Desert Sessions, Deep Dark Robot with Linda Perry) Antonio Aguilar and Meg Castellanos (Totimoshi) and Erik Trammell (Black Elk), they were recently hand-picked to tour with Tool, The Jesus Lizard, (the)MELVINS, and Meat Puppets.

All Souls, Songs for the End of the World (2020)

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Friday Full-Length: Fatso Jetson, Archaic Volumes

Posted in Bootleg Theater on October 16th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

Even in the outlier context of Fatso Jetson releases overall, the band’s sixth album, Archaic Volumes, is an outlier. But damn it’s a hooky outlier. The long-running Palm Desert/Los Angeles desert rock stalwarts — they of the generator parties, they of the haven desert venue Rhythm and Brews, much heralded and yet somehow still underrated as a live act, and so on — went nine years between full-lengths. The mid/late ’90s saw a bang-bang-bang-bang succession of albums in their 1995 debut, Stinky Little Gods and 1997’s Power of Three — both on Greg Ginn‘s SST Records — as well as 1998’s Toasted (discussed here) on Bong Load and 1999’s Flames for All on Man’s Ruin, and even as that label collapsed, they crossed into the new century by issuing Cruel & Delicious in 2001 through Queens of the Stone Age frontman Josh Homme‘s Rekords Rekords imprint.

There wouldn’t be another studio full-length for nine years until Archaic Volumes showed up on Cobraside Distribution. They weren’t entirely inactive during that time. They toured some, put out the Fatso Jetson Live LP in 2007, and toured and played regional shows, but founding cousins Mario Lalli (guitar/vocals) and Larry Lalli (bass) had opened a restaurant in Los Angeles called Café 322 — there was a time when I dreamed of reviewing a meal cooked by Larry at the restaurant, but alas, it has since closed —  and as anyone who’s ever worked in the restaurant business might tell you, that kind of thing has a tendency to consume one’s energies.

Time passed accordingly, and so the Fatso Jetson that emerged on the 10 songs/43 minutes was a different sounding band than they’d ever been before, despite the continued presence of both Lallis and founding drummer Tony Tornay. In addition to the recording and organ work of Mathias Schneeberger (Eddie Rivas also recorded), a key factor was the inclusion of Vince Meghrouni on saxophone, harmonica and some vocals, who brought a classy, jazzy feel to the arrangements built outward from the band’s heavy and punkish foundations.

At the same time, a solidification of songwriting took place, so that cuts like opener “Jet Black Boogie” — you don’t have to wait long for that harmonica — and “Play Dead” and the title-track and the punkabilly boogie “Golden Age of Cell Block Slang” and even the comparatively mellow “Let Go” were and remain 10 years later maddeningly catchy. To wit, just by even thinking of the album, I’ve committed to having the verses of “Jet Black Boogie,” let alone the chorus, stuck in my head for the next week, its somewhat depressive lyric brought forth in an uptempo delivery to begin a momentum that the rest of Archaic Volumes continued to push forth, and yes, I do mean push.

“Play Dead” is the second cut and though it holds back the sax, it still has a winding riff andfatso jetson archaic volumes a buildup in its second half, which makes a fitting precursor to the instrumental “Jolting Tales of Tension,” which lives up to its name before finding some footing in its own back end in a quieter section that brings a reminder that Mario Lalli doubles in Yawning Man; airier guitar taking hold for a stretch as the song starts to round out and give way to Tornay‘s snare at the start of “Archaic Volumes” itself and the pulled guitar lead lines that accompany.

There’s something in the lines of the title-track — the opening lyric, “Look at these volumes, carrying thoughts of mine…” and the chorus, “These archaic volumes won’t ever be heard” and its alternate, “These archaic volumes won’t ever really be heard” — that seems to be Fatso Jetson acknowledging their place as an underground band. Widely regarded as desert rock legends a decade later — and rightly so — they’ve never been a household name, but the use of “really” there adds an entirely different layer of meaning, implying the space between hearing and listening and enhancing the emotional effect of the song as a whole. Coupled with “Folklore and fad, destructive searching/Destiny’s dogs keep barking and lurching,” and the double-entendre of “volume,” “Archaic Volumes” can easily be read as Fatso Jetson reconciling with who they are, if perhaps wistfully.

It’s a boogie party from there with the swing rhythm of “Golden Age of Cell Block Slang” and the instrumental “Here Lies Boomer’s Panic,” both highlight examples of Archaic Volumes‘ Fatso Jetson-plus-sax methodology, and the latter seeming indeed to be an opportunity to cast out its titular anxiety. It’s certainly frenetic enough in its jabbing rhythm, and the complement of “Let Go,” still running, but smoother, can only be purposeful. The first lines of the song reaffirm that. “Let Go” winds its way through a quick sub-four minutes, and gives ground to “Black Road Tar,” which is the longest inclusion at 6:20, and offers full-on saxosurf groove and a lengthy instrumental break in its middle that’s a hook unto itself before vocals return for a few final measures and the song ends, giving way to a penultimate cover of The Cramps‘ “Garbage Man” that fits well enough alongside “Black Road Tar” and “Golden Age of Cell Block Slang” and “Here Lies Boomer’s Panic” and is such a blast that it feels like it was written to be where it is on the album, right ahead of the closer “Monoxide Dreams.”

Immediate chill. Flourish in layers of wah guitar speaks to some of the residual quirk of Flames for All, and when they’ve chosen periodically to do so, Fatso Jetson have always been exceptionally good at conveying a psychedelic sensibility. What remains astounding about “Monoxide Dreams” is that it’s so ethereal, so immersive and yet barely over three and a half minutes long. It is enough of a departure from the rest of Archaic Volumes that it can only really round out, and yet in its foundation of tone, the languid groove from Tornay and Larry Lalli and Mario‘s melodic vocal, it’s not necessarily incongruous with what came before either, even as it drifts away at the end. Were it porridge — and it might be — it would be just right.

The good news about Archaic Volumes, aside from the album itself, was that it sparked a surge in activity from Fatso Jetson that is ongoing and especially visible in the European sphere. Coupled with an increase in work from Yawning Man and related projects, Fatso Jetson have spent the last 10 years with more touring and releases, including the 2010 split with Oak’s Mary, a 2013 split with Yawning Man, as well as splits with Herba Mate (review here) and Farflung (review here) in 2014 and 2015, respectively.

Italy’s Go Down Records put out Live at Maximum Fest (review here) in 2014 and Fatso Jetson signed with Heavy Psych Sounds for the release of their seventh long-player, Idle Hands (review here), in 2016, that came roughly concurrent to a split with the Netherlands’ del-Toros (discussed here) and a collaboration with France’s Hifiklub (review here) that also included Yawning Man‘s Gary Arce on guitar. The close relationship between Fatso Jetson and Yawning Man also continues unabated. Tours together with Mario Lalli pulling double-duty — his son Dino von Lalli has also been in lineups on guitar for both bands — festival appearances domestic and international, and a general increase in awareness and reputation owing to a new generational listenership have only served to put Fatso Jetson in their rightful place at the forefront of desert rock consciousness.

If one can trace Archaic Volumes as the point at which that began — and I’d argue that’s so — then outlier or not, it represents a crucial moment for the band. And again, that’s before you even get to the songs themselves, which are stunning.

As always, I hope you enjoy.

That went longer than I had intended. It’s about quarter-to-seven, which is late for me to be writing. I took a break in writing the above to go for a run. 16 minutes, roughly. I’ve added a bit to the regular course, going around a wider path in a park I run through and going to the end of a street instead of turning around earlier. Nothing major, but enough to add a couple minutes and enough that I can feel it in my legs, which is what I was shooting for. If I keep up at this rate, I’ll go three miles a couple times a week by the time I’m 50. It’ll be interesting to see what happens first, that, cancer or a heart attack. The mantra, “don’t be crazy” continues to play on repeat, much like “Jet Black Boogie” from the album above.

Really. That fucking song. Wow.

Quite a week. As regards moving around, I had tweaked my ankle, so actually took a couple days off from running, then it rained so got another day, but felt pretty good after. Also been battling like a third of a cold. The Pecan and I are about on the same wavelength there — he’s coughing a bit, boogers a bit, and me too — but The Patient Mrs. has had it worse. A cough meant she couldn’t go to work on campus all week, and she’s having a COVID test today. It’s the same cold she gets every Fall when it’s work-yourself-int0-oblivion time in the semester and the temperature drops, but of course the circumstances this year are different.

I guess if she has the plague that saves us from running errands for a while. So it goes.

The Pecan, thankfully having already slept late, is waking up — I can see on the monitor — so I’m not sure how much longer I have before he runs into his closet to poop in his diaper. Nothing like waking up and taking a good dump in the closet. He starts Parsippany public pre-K the week after next, which will be after his third birthday. He says he wants to take the bus. I’m on board for letting him. We’ll see how it goes.

Ah, he’s up.

New Gimme Metal show today at 5PM Eastern. The playlist will have been posted by the time this is. Thanks if you listen: http://gimmemetal.com

Review of the new Kind album next week, and a couple premieres — an Uncle Woe LP stream that I’m looking forward to — so stay tuned for that, and I’m already behind on news and videos from Dark Buddha Rising, All Souls and All Them Witches, so I’ll endeavor to play catchup as I always seem to need to do after a Quarterly Review.

By the way, it’s kind of astounding to have just written up 60 records as I did and have at least another 80 on my desktop that I could easily have slated. Might be two full weeks in December, or I might sneak in a week before then? I’m not really sure, but hell’s bells there’s a lot out there right now.

Alright. Gotta go.

Great and safe weekend, whatever you’re up to. Have fun, don’t forget to hydrate — so important — put your nose in your mask and all that. More Monday.

FRM.

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Grayceon Announce New Album Mothers Weavers Vultures out Dec. 18; “Diablo Wind” Streaming

Posted in Whathaveyou on October 15th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

grayceon

I don’t even remember what I was going to post today before this came in, but I know that whatever it was there’s no way in hell I was as excited about it as I am about the new Grayceon album. It is the San Francisco trio’s fifth, following on from 2018’s IV (review here), which also came out on Translation Loss, and if you expected a Grayceon LP before the end of the year, you’re definitely one up on me. After all, it was seven years between 2011’s All We Destroy and IV — even with an EP out in 2013, that’s significant — but even with the rather grim thematic of the environmental collapse we’re currently living through, I’ll take it. I don’t write about them nearly as often as I think about them, but they’d have a hard time doing wrong in my eyes, and I’m listening to Mothers Weavers Vultures for about the fourth time in the last three hours as I put this post together, so I’ll say that the same applies here as well.

Out Dec. 18. Preorders are up. Stream the opener “Diablo Wind” at the bottom of the post. Yes, I really mean that you should do it. Consider yourself urged.

From the PR wire:

grayceon mothers weavers vultures

GRAYCEON ANNOUNCE FULL LENGTH + DROP MIND-BENDING NEW TRACK

Bay Area progressive power trio GRAYCEON announce today a shape-shifting and mind-bending new full length titled, MOTHERS WEAVERS VULTURES, due to be released on December 18, 2020 via Translation Loss Records.

Throughout the five new tracks of MOTHERS WEAVERS VULTURES, melodic density, unmarred percussion, and beautiful melancholic vocals shine bright. Jackie Perez Gratz (GIANT SQUID, SQUALUS, AMBER ASYLUM, and cellist for OM, NEUROSIS, and more) unleashes her soothing and shape-shifting voice to tell a story. Her vocals paint a tale with mournful bellowing and fierce yelling; alongside the deep reverberations of her cello. The two instruments interlace and weave to describe her grief. Darkness is exposed and embraced in MOTHERS WEAVERS VULTURES, each track unfolds with swelling rhythms revealing bleak, and heavy-hearted themes. Cascading with iridescent guitar, and tectonic cello, a grooving path of passionate and powerful rhythms is laid.

Today, the trio have released a new track titled, “Diablo Wind.”

About the track, Jackie Perez Gratz comments:

“MOTHERS WEAVERS VULTURES was written quickly after the release of our last album, IV (released in 2018), during which California was experiencing the worst wildfire season in its history and the world was facing an existential crisis arising from climate change. Many of the massive fires in the San Francisco Bay Area resulted in friends and family losing their homes, belongings, and livelihoods as the fires ravaged the area. California was also rolling out long electricity shut offs to help prevent more wildfires. It was a dark time, literally and figuratively. MOTHERS WEAVERS VULTURES is our reaction to those dark times, specifically this track, Diablo Wind, which is a term used to describe the hot dry wind in this area that often fuels the fires. Grimly, California’s 2020 wildfire season has broken any previous records that were hit when this song was written.”

MOTHERS WEAVERS VULTURES will be released on LP on December 18th and is available for pre-order via Translation Loss Records now. Proceeds from digital pre-orders through the band will be donated to Defenders of Wildlife and the Wildlife Conservation Society.

Track listing:
1. Diablo Wind
2. The Lucky Ones
3. This Bed
4. And Shine On
5. Rock Stready

Engineered, Mixed, and Mastered by Jack Shirley at The Atomic Garden, Oakland, CA
Album artwork by: Kevin Earl Taylor.
Photos: Rohini Moradi Sweeney.

GRAYCEON is:
Max Doyle – guitar
Jackie Perez Gratz – cello and vocals
Zack Farwell – drums

https://www.facebook.com/grayceon
https://grayceon.bandcamp.com/
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Francis Roberts Sets Nov. 6 Release for Story From Another Time

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

francis roberts

Being released exclusively as a tape and a download on Nov. 6, Story From Another Time is not at all the first 2020 release from Old Man Wizard and King Gorm guitarist/vocalist Francis Roberts to be put out under his own name. To trawl through his Bandcamp is to fine a swath of recent live and home-recorded offerings based around weaving soundscapes from synth and electric guitar, but the prolific nature of Roberts‘ work is befitting the form of what he’s doing — as well as someone with home recording capability stuck this year in a pandemic lockdown — and the atmosphere in which he’s operating is cinematic enough that he’s doing actual soundtracks and scores at this point.

Dude keeps busy though — and if you didn’t hear the King Gorm self-titled (review here) earlier this year, you should do that too — but one of the two 18-minute tracks on Story From Another Time is streaming now, and tapes are limited to 33 copies, so as far as I’m concerned, this is a good time.

Word came from the PR wire thusly:

francis roberts story from another time

FRANCIS ROBERTS TO RELEASE NEW ALBUM

Known for his work in Old Man Wizard and King Gorm, producer, composer, and multi-instrumentalist Francis Roberts will release the cinemtatic album Story From Another Time on November 6th in digital and cassette formats. The two tracks, each over eighteen minutes long, are described as ” a film score for your imagination” — and they do indeed transport listeners to “another time.”

Roberts said of the album, ” I wrote and recorded this a few months ago, inspired by additional material and concepts that didn’t make it into my score for a portion of the forthcoming film The Spine of Night. I was so pleased with the result that I decided I had to let it sit while I planned a more proper release. I did this to push the limits of my ability to compose campy 1970s style cinematic music. It’s one of my favorite recordings I’ve created.”

“I used pretty much all of my synthesizers and samplers to record it, with the basis of side one being a heavily edited and resampled guitar improvisation and the basis of side two being seemingly endless string loops and bizarre Berlin school style sequences. The album artwork is from a painting called Slayer of the Old Wyrm by Valin Mattheis, one of my favorite currently active artists (whose work you may recognize from my releases with Old Man Wizard). The album will be available digitally and as a very limited cassette (33 copies).”

Preorder the album on bandcamp: https://francisroberts.bandcamp.com/album/story-from-another-time

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Francis Roberts, Story From Another Time (2020)

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Quarterly Review: The Pilgrim, Polymoon, Doctors of Space, Merlock, Sun Dial, Saturn’s Husk, Diggeth, Horizon, Limousine Beach, The Crooked Whispers

Posted in Reviews on October 12th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

THE-OBELISK-FALL-2020-QUARTERLY-REVIEW

Well, the weekend’s over and it’s time to wrap up the Quarterly Review. Rest assured, I wrote the following during my copious weekend leisure time, resting on the side of a heated Olympic-size pool with a beverage nearby. It definitely wasn’t four in the morning on a Sunday or anything. If I haven’t gotten the point across yet, I hope you’ve found something amid this massive swath of records that has resonated with you. By way of a cheap plug, I’ll be featuring audio from a lot of these bands on the Gimme Metal show this Friday, 5PM Eastern, if you’re up for tuning in.

Either way, thanks for reading and for being a part of the whole thing. Let’s wrap it up.

Quarterly Review #51-60:

The Pilgrim, …From the Earth to the Sky and Back

the pilgrim from the earth to the sky and back

Lest he be accused of laziness, Gabriele Fiori — also of Black Rainbows, Killer Boogie and the head of the Heavy Psych Sounds label, booking agency and festival series — made his solo debut as The Pilgrim with Spring 2019’s Walking into the Forest (review here). Joined by Black Rainbows drummer Filippo Ragazzoni, Fiori ups the scale of the journey with the second The Pilgrim LP, …From the Earth to the Sky and Back. Richer in arrangement, bolder in craft and more confident in performance, the album runs 14 songs and 50 minutes still largely based around an acoustic acid rock foundation, but with a song like “Riding the Horse” tapping ’70s singer-songwriter vibes while “Cuba” touches on Latin percussion and guitar and “Space and Time” journeying out near the record’s end with waves of synthesizer, it seems The Pilgrim isn’t so willing to be pigeonholed. So much the better.

The Pilgrim on Thee Facebooks

Heavy Psych Sounds website

 

Polymoon, Caterpillars of Creation

Polymoon Caterpillars of Creation

There is an undercurrent of extremity to the debut release from Polymoon, who hail from the psychedelic hotbed that is Tampere, Finland. The six-song/42-minute Caterpillars of Creation turns in opener “Silver Mt.” to fervent guitar push or from freaked-out cosmic prog into drifting post-universe exploration, setting the stage for the dynamic that unfolds throughout. The wash early in the second half of “Lazaward” is glorious, and it’s not the first or the last time Polymoon go to that adrenaline-pumping well, but the serenity that caps that song and seems to continue into “Malamalama” in closing side A is no less effective. “Helicaling” mounts tension in its early drumming but finally releases it later, and “Neitherworld” gives Caterpillars of Creation‘s most fervent thrust while closer “Metempsychosis” rounds out with a fitting sense of dissipation. As a first album/first release, it is particularly stunning, and to make it as plain as possible, I will think less of any list of 2020’s best debut albums that leaves out Polymoon.

Polymoon on Thee Facebooks

Svart Records website

 

Doctors of Space, First Treatment

doctors of space first treatment

The two-piece comprised of Martin Weaver (ex-Wicked Lady) and synthesist Scott “Dr. Space” Heller (Øresund Space Collective, Black Moon Circle, etc.) position First Treatment as their proper studio debut, and it certainly hits its marks in galaxial adventuring well enough to qualify as such, but the duo have been on a creative splurge throughout this year — even in lockdown — and so the six songs here are also born out of the work they’ve been doing since releasing their debut single “Ghouls ‘n’ Shit” (video premiere here) late last year. The album launches with “Journey to Enceladus,” which boasts drum programming by Weaver and though one of the movements in the 21-minute “Into the Oort Cloud” is based around beats, the bulk of First Treatment is purely a work of guitar and synth, and it basks in the freedom that being so untethered inherently brings. Running an hour long, it’s improvisational nature isn’t going to be for everyone, but Heller and Weaver make a strong argument that maybe it should be.

Doctors of Space on Thee Facebooks

Space Rock Productions website

 

Merlock, That Which Speaks

merlock that which speaks

Who’s ready for a New Wave of PNW Fuckery? That’s right folks, the NWOPNWF has arrived and it’s Spokane, Washington’s Merlock leading the sometimes-awfully-punk-sometimes-awfully-metal-but-somehow-also-always-sludge charge. Aggressive and damning in lyrics, swapping between raw screams, grows, shouts and cleaner vocals and unhinged in terms of its genre loyalties, That Which Speaks seems to find the “melt faces” setting wherever it goes, and though there’s a sense of the four-piece feeling out what works best for them stylistically, the sometimes frantic, sometimes willfully awkward transitions — as in second cut “Prolapse” — serve the overall purpose of undercutting predictability. Eight-minute opener/longest track (immediate points) “Idolon” stomps and shoves and gnashes and nasties its way through, and that’s the modus across what follows, though the scream-along headbanger “Vessel” somehow seems even rawer, and though it ends by floating into oblivion, the start of “Condemnation” heavy fuckin’ metal to me. You never know quite where Merlock are going to hit next, and that’s the joy of the thing. May they remain so cacophonous.

Merlock on Thee Facebooks

Merlock on Bandcamp

 

Sun Dial, Mind Control: The Ultimate Edition

sun dial mind control

Long-running UK psychedelic rockers Sun Dial — led by founding guitarist/vocalist Gary Ramon — released Mind Control in 2012. Sulatron Records picked it up in 2015, and now, five years after that, the same label presents Mind Control: The Ultimate Edition, a 2CD version of the original LP-plus-bonus-tracks reissue that brings the total runtime of the release to a well-beyond-manageable 98 minutes of lysergic experimentation. A full 20 tracks are included in the comprehensive-feeling offering, and from early mixes to alternative takes and lost tracks, and if this isn’t the ‘ultimate’ version of Mind Control, I’m not sure what could be, notwithstanding a complete-studio-sessions box set. Perhaps as a step toward that, Mind Control: The Ultimate Edition gives an in-depth look at a vastly underappreciated outfit and is obviously put together as much for the label as by it. That is to say, you don’t put out a reissue like this unless you really love the original record, and if Sulatron loving a record isn’t enough endorsement for you, please turn in your mushrooms on your way out the door.

Sun Dial on Thee Facebooks

Sulatron Records webstore

 

Saturn’s Husk, The Conduit

Saturns Husk The Conduit

Immersion is the goal of Saturn’s Husk‘s third long-player, The Conduit, and the Riga, Latvia, instrumentalist trio accomplish it quickly with the fluid riffs that emerge from the drone-based intro “Death of Imaginary Lights” and the subsequent 10-minute opener “Black Nebula.” At nine songs and 63 minutes, the album is consuming through the welcome nodder “The Heavenly Ape,” the especially-doomed “The Ritual” and the more mellow-float centerpiece “Spectral Haze,” while “Mycelium Messiah” brings more straight-ahead fuzz (for a time) and drones on either side surround the 10:35 “Sand Barrows,” the latter serving as the finale “A Shattered Visage” quoting Percy Bysshe Shelley and the former “City of the Djinn” running just a minute-plus but still doing enough to reset the brain from where “Mycelium Messiah” left it. Almost functioning as two albums side-by-side with “Spectral Haze” as the dividing point, The Conduit indeed seems to join various sides together, with a depth to coincide that invites the listener to explore along with it.

Saturn’s Husk on Thee Facebooks

Saturn’s Husk on Bandcamp

 

Diggeth, Gringos Galacticos

diggeth gringos galacticos

Landing a punch of classic metal to go along with its heavy-bottomed groove, Diggeth‘s Gringos Galacticos — one supposes the title ‘Spacecrackers’ was taken — was released by the Dutch trio in 2019 and receives a US limited vinyl edition thanks to Qumran Records. One finds some similar guitar heroics to those of Astrosoniq‘s more straightforward moments, but Diggeth‘s focus remains on hookmaking for the duration, offering hints of twang and acoustics in “In the Wake of Giants” and tipping a hat southwestward in “Three Gringos,” but “Straight-Shooter” is willfully breaks out its inner Hetfield and even as the penultimate “Unshackled” departs for a quieter break, it makes its way back in time for the big finish chorus, adding just a touch of Candlemass grandiosity for good measure before the harmonica-laced closing title-track rounds out with its dynamic spacey weirdness, the name of the album repeating itself in an answer to the Stephen Hawking sample that started the voyage on its way.

Diggeth on Thee Facebooks

Qumran Records website

 

Horizon, The White Planet Patrol

horizon the white planet patrol

Cursed Tongue Records has the vinyl here, and Three Moons the tape, and the CD will arrive through Aladeriva Records, La Rubia Producciones, Aneurisma Records, Surnia Records and Violence in the Veins — so yes, Horizon‘s third album, The White Planet Patrol is well backed. Fair enough for the Kyuss-via-BlackRainbows vibes of “End of Utopia” or the initial charge and flow of “The Backyard” that sets the Alicante, Spain, trio on their way. “King Serpent” and “Death & Teddies” bring well-crafted fuzz to bear, and “Blind World” effectively layers vocals in its chorus to coincide, but the more laid back roll of the title-cut is an unmistakable highlight. Shades of mid-paced Nebula surface in “Meet the Forest” later on, but Horizon are part of a tradition of heavy bands in Alicante and they know it. The smoothness of their tone and delivery speaks volumes on its own in that regard, never mind the actual songwriting, which also leaves nothing to be desired.

Horizon on Thee Facebooks

Cursed Tongue Records webstore

 

Limousine Beach, Stealin’ Wine + 2

Limousine Beach Stealin Wine

Debut EP from Limousine Beach out of Pittsburgh, and if the three guitars involved don’t push it over the top, certainly the vocal harmonies get that particular job done. You got six minutes for three songs? Yeah, obviously. They scorch through “Tiny Hunter” to close out, but it’s in the leadoff title-track that Stealin’ Wine + 2 sees the Dave Wheeler-fronted outfit land its most outrageous chorus, just before they go on to find a middle-ground between KISS and Thin Lizzy on “Hear You Calling.” The harmonies open and are striking from the outset, but it’s in how they’re arranged around the standalone parts from Wheeler (also Outsideinside, ex-Carousel) that the outfit’s truest potential is shown. Issued through Tee Pee Records, Stealin’ Wine + 2 is the kind of thing you’d pick up at a show in a normal year and then feel way ahead of everyone else when the LP finally hits. Not a normal year, obviously, but Limousine Beach are serving due notice just the same. In six minutes, no less.

Limousine Beach on Thee Facebooks

Tee Pee Records website

 

The Crooked Whispers, Satanic Melodies

the crooked whispers satanic melodies

I’m sure a lot of records show up at Satan’s door with notes, like, “Dear sir, please find the enclosed submitted for your approval,” but it’s not hard to imagine Beelzebub himself getting down with the filth-coated sludge and rolling doom unfurled across The Crooked Whispers‘ debut offering, Satanic Melodies, marked by hateful, near-blackened screams from Anthony Gaglia and the plodding riffs of Chad Davis (Hour of 13, et al). The title-track is longest at 8:23 and in addition to featuring Ignacio De Tommaso‘s right-on bass tone in its midsection, it plays out early like Weedeater sold their collective soul, and drifts out where earlier pieces “Sacrifice” and “Evil Tribute” and “Profane Pleasure” held their roll for the duration. Stretches of clean-vocal cultistry add to the doomier aspects, but The Crooked Whispers seem to care way less about genre than they do about worshiping the devil, and that unshakable faith behind them, the rest seems to fall into place in accordingly biting fashion.

The Crooked Whispers on Thee Facebooks

The Crooked Whispers on Bandcamp

 

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Quarterly Review: Mrs. Piss, Ulcerate, Shroom Eater, Astralist, Daily Thompson, The White Swan, Dungeon Weed, Thomas V. Jäger, Cavern, Droneroom

Posted in Reviews on October 9th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

THE-OBELISK-FALL-2020-QUARTERLY-REVIEW

Today is what would be the last day of the Fall 2020 Quarterly Review, except, you know, it’s not. Monday is. I know it’s been a messed up time for everybody and everything, but there’s a lot of music coming out, so if you’re craving some sense of normalcy — and hey, fair enough — it’s right there. Today’s an all-over-the-place day but there’s some killer stuff in here right from the start, so jump in and good luck.

And don’t forget — back on Monday with the last 10 records. Thanks for reading.

Quarterly Review #41-50:

Mrs. Piss, Self-Surgery

mrs piss self surgery

If “Nobody Wants to Party with Us” as the alternately ambient/industrial-punk fuckall of that song posits, most likely that’s because they’re way too intimidated to even drop a text to invite Mrs. Piss over. The duo comprised of vocalist/guitarist Chelsea Wolfe and guitarist/bassist/drummer/programmer Jess Gowrie issue Self-Surgery as an act of sheer confrontation. The screams of “You Took Everything.” The chugging self-loathing largesse of “Knelt.” The fuzzed mania of ‘M.B.O.T.W.O.,” which, yes, stands for “Mega Babes of the Wild Order.” The unmitigated punk of “Downer Surrounded by Uppers” and the twisted careen-and-crash of the title-track. The declaration of purpose in the lines, “In the shit/I’m sacrosanct/I’m Mrs. Piss” in the eponymous closer. Rage against self, rage against other, rage and righteousness. Among the great many injustices this year has wrought, that Wolfe and Gowrie aren’t touring this material, playing 20-something-minute sets and destroying every stage they hit has to be right up there. It’s like rock and roll to disintegrate every tired dude cliché the genre has. Yes. Fuck. Do it.

Mrs. Piss on Instagram

Sargent House website

 

Ulcerate, Stare into Death and Be Still

Ulcerate Stare into Death and Be Still

As progressive/technical death metal enjoys a stylistic renaissance, New Zealand’s Ulcerate put out their sixth full-length, Stare into Death and Be Still and seem right in line with the moment despite having been around for nearly 20 years. So be it. What distinguishes Stare into Death and Be Still amid the speed-demon wizardry of a swath of other death metallers is the sense of atmosphere across the release and the fact that, while every note, every guitar squibbly, every sharpened turn the 58-minute album’s eight tracks make is important and serves a purpose, the band don’t simply rely on dry delivery to make an impression. To hear the cavernous echoes of the title-track or “Inversion” later on, Ulcerate seem willing to let some of the clarity go in favor of establishing a mood beyond extremity. In the penultimate “Drawn into the Next Void,” their doing so results in a triumphant build and consuming fade in a way that much of their genre simply couldn’t accomplish. There’s still plenty of blast to be found, but also a depth that would seem to evoke the central intention of the album. Don’t stare too long.

Ulcerate on Thee Facebooks

Debemur Morti Productions on Bandcamp

 

Shroom Eater, Ad.Inventum

shroom eater ad inventum

Nine songs running an utterly digestible 38 minutes of fuzz-riffed groove with samples, smooth tempos and an unabashed love for ’90s-style stoner rock, Shroom Eater‘s debut album, Ad.Inventum feels ripe for pickup by this or that heavy rock label for a physical release. LP, CD and tape. I know it’s tough economic times, but none of this vinyl-only stuff. The Indonesian five-piece not only have their riffs and tones and methods so well in place — that is, they’re schooled in the style they’re creating; the genre-converted preaching to the genre-converted, and nothing wrong with that — but there are flashes of burgeoning cultural point of view in the lead guitar of “God Isn’t One Eyed” or the lyrics of “Arogant” (sic) and the right-on riffed “Traffic Hunter” that fit well right alongside the skateboarding ode “Ride” or flourish of psychedelia in the rolling “Perspective” earlier on. Closing with “Dragon and Tiger” and “Friend in the High Places,” Ad.Inventum feels like the work of a band actively engaged in finding their sound and developing their take on fuzz, and the potential they show alongside their already memorable songwriting is significant.

Shroom Eater on Instagram

Shroom Eater on Bandcamp

 

Astralist, 2020 (Demo)

astralist 2020 demo

I’m not usually one to think bands should be aggrandizing their initial releases. It can be a disservice to call a demo a “debut EP” or album if it’s not, since you only get one shot at having an actual first record and sometimes a demo doesn’t represent a band’s sound as much as the actual, subsequent album does, leading to later regret. In the case of Cork, Ireland’s Astralist, it’s the opposite. 2020 (Demo) is no toss-off, recorded-in-the-rehearsal-space-to-put-something-on-Bandcamp outing. Or if it is, it doesn’t sound like it. Comprised of three massive slabs of atmospheric and sometimes-extreme doom, plus an intro, in scope and production value both, the 36-minute release carries the feel and the weight of a full-length album, earning its themes of cosmic destruction and shifting back and forth between melodic progressivism and death-doom or blackened onslaught. In “The Outlier,” “Entheogen” and “Zuhal, Rise” they establish a breadth and an immediate control thereof, and their will to cross genre lines gives their work a fervently individualized feel. Album or demo doesn’t ultimately matter, but what they say about Astralist‘s intentions does.

Astralist on Thee Facebooks

Astralist on Bandcamp

 

Daily Thompson, Oumuamua

daily thompson oumuamua

Lost in the narrative of initial singles released ahead of its actual arrival is the psychedelic reach Dortmund trio Daily Thompson bring to their fourth album, Oumuamua. Yes, “She’s So Cold” turns in its second half to a more straightforward heavy-blues-fuzz push, but the mellow unfurling that takes place at the outset continues to inform the proceedings from there, and even through “Sad Frank” (video posted here) and “On My Mind” (video posted here), and album-centerpiece “Slow Me Down,” the vibe remains affect by it. Side B has its own stretch in the 12-minute “Cosmic Cigar (Oumuamua),” and sandwiched between the three-minute stomper “Half Thompson” and the acoustic, harmonized grunge-blues closer “River of a Ghost,” it seems that what Daily Thompson held back about the LP is no less powerful than what they revealed. It’s still a party, it’s just a party where every room has something different happening.

Daily Thompson on Thee Facebooks

Noisolution website

 

The White Swan, Nocturnal Transmission

The White Swan Nocturnal Transmission

Following up 2018’s Touch Taste Destroy (review here), Ontario’s The White Swan present their fourth EP in Nocturnal Transmission. That’s four EPs, in a row, from 2016-2020. If the trio — which, yes, includes Kittie‘s Mercedes Lander on vocals, drums, guitar and keys — were waiting to figure out their sound before putting out a first full-length, they were there two years ago, if not before. One is left to assume that the focus on short releases is — at least for now — an aesthetic choice. Like its predecessor, Nocturnal Transmission offers three circa-five-minute big-riffers topped with Lander‘s floating melodic vocals. The highlight here is “Purple,” and unlike any of the other The White Swan EPs, this one includes a fourth track in a cover of Tracy Bonham‘s “Tell it to the Sky,” given likewise heft and largesse. I don’t know what’s stopping this band from putting out an album, but I’ll take another EP in the meantime, sure.

The White Swan on Thee Facebooks

The White Swan on Bandcamp

 

Dungeon Weed, Mind Palace of the Mushroom God

Dungeon Weed Mind Palace of the Mushroom God

A quarantine project of Dmitri Mavra from Skunk and Slow Phase, Dungeon Weed is dug-in stoner idolatry, pure and simple. Mavra, joined by drummer Chris McGrew and backing vocalist Thia Moonbrook, metes out riff after feedback-soaked, march-ready, nod-ready, dirt-toned riff, and it doesn’t matter if it’s the doomier tolling bell of “Sorcerer with the Skull Face” or the tongue-in-cheek hook of “Beholder Gonna Fuck You Up” or the brash sludge that ensues across the aptly-named “Lumbering Hell,” all layered solos and whatnot, the important thing is that by the time “Mind Palace” comes around, you’re either out or you’re in, and once you make that choice there’s no going back on it. Opener “Orcus Immortalis/Vox Mysterium” tells the tale (or part of it, as regards the overarching narrative), and if ever there was a band that could and would make a song called “Black Pudding” sound heavy, well, there’s Dungeon Weed for you. Dungeon Weed, man. Don’t overthink it.

Dungeon Weed on Thee Facebooks

Forbidden Place Records website

 

Thomas V. Jäger, A Solitary Plan

thomas v jager a solitary plan

The challenge of rendering songcraft in the nude can be a daunting one for someone in a heavy band doing a solo/acoustic release, but it’s a challenge Thomas V. Jäger of Monolord meets with ease on the home-recorded A Solitary Plan, his solo debut. Those familiar with his work in Monolord will recognize some of the effects used on his vocals, but in the much, much quieter context of the seven-song/29-minute solo release — Jäger plays everything except the Mellotron on the leadoff title-track — they lend not only a spaciousness but a feeling of acid folk serenity to “Creature of the Deep” and “It’s Alright,” which follows. Mixed/mastered by Kalle Lilja of Långfinger, A Solitary Plan is ultimately an exploration on Jäger‘s part of working in this form, but it succeeds in both its most minimal stretches and in the electric-inclusive “The Drone” and “Goodbye” ahead of the buzzing synth-laced closer “The Bitter End.” It would be a surprise if this is the only solo release Jäger ever does, since so much of what takes place throughout feels like a foundation for future work.

Thomas V. Jäger on Bandcamp

RidingEasy Records website

 

Cavern, Powdered

CAVERN POWDERED

Change has been the modus operandi of Cavern for a while now. They still show some semblance of their post-hardcore roots on their new full-length, Powdered, but having brought in bassist/vocalist Rose Heater in 2018 and sometime between then and now let out of Baltimore for Morgantown, West Virginia, their sonic allegiance to a heavier-ended post-rock comes through more than ever before. Guitarist/synthesist Zach Harkins winds lead lines around Heater‘s bass on “Grey,” and Stephen Schrock‘s drums emphasize tension to coincide, but the fluidity across the 24-minute LP is of a kind that’s genuinely new to the band, and the soul in Heater‘s vocals carries the material to someplace else entirely. A song like “Dove” presents a tonal fullness that the title-track seems just to hint at, but the emphasis here is on dynamic, not on doing one thing only or locking their approach into a single mindset. As Heater‘s debut with them, Powdered finds them refreshed and renewed of purpose.

Cavern on Thee Facebooks

Cavern on Bandcamp

 

Droneroom, …The Other Doesn’t

droneroom the other doesnt

Droneroom is the solo vehicle of guitarist Blake Edward Conley and with …The Other Doesn’t, experiments of varying length and degree of severity are brought to bear. The abiding feel is spacious, lonely and cinematic as one might expect for such guitar-based soundscaping, but “Casual-Lethal Narcissism” and “The Last Time Someone Speaks Your Name” do have some measure of peace to go with their foreboding and troubling atmospherics. An obvious focal point is the 15-minute dronefest “This Circle of Ribs,” which feels more forward and striking than someone of Droneroom‘s surrounding material, but it’s all on a relative scale, and across the board Conley remains a safe social distance away from structural traditionalist. Recorded during Summer 2020, it is an album that conveys the anxiety and paranoia of this year, and while that can be a daunting thing to face in such a way or to let oneself really engage with as a listener — shit, it’s hard enough just living through — one of the functions of good art is to challenge perceptions of what it can be. Worth keeping in mind for “Home Can Be a Frightening Place.”

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