Hemptress Sign to Cursed Tongue Records; Alchemy Due in October

Posted in Whathaveyou on August 21st, 2019 by JJ Koczan

hemptress

Hemptress issued their debut long-player, Alchemy, earlier this year to a generally warm welcome, and the British Columbia-based four-piece will now release the album through Cursed Tongue Records on vinyl this Fall. Considering the DL version came out in March, that’s a pretty efficient turnaround, and I’m going to guess this one has been in the making since well before right now, when the deal is being made public. I’m sure you’ve heard it by now, because you’re hip like that, but if not, Alchemy can be streamed in full via Bandcamp — you’ll find it below — and though I’ve no doubt a Tony Reed master for vinyl will only make it sound more righteous, there’s no real mystery as to why a label like Cursed Tongue would want to lock in the release. Kind of rules.

No word on what Hemptress‘ plans are for a follow-up, but recall that Alchemy is still pretty new, so I wouldn’t necessarily expect any at this point. In the meantime, the news that this one is getting a proper look is welcome, and most certainly deserved. Release date is Oct. 11.

Here’s the announcement from the label:

CANADIAN RIPPERS HEMPTRESS SIGN TO CURSED TONGUE RECORDS FOR A WORLDWIDE VINYL RELEASE OF THEIR SCORCHING DEBUT ALBUM ‘ALCHEMY’ OCTOBER 2019

Cursed Tongue Records is damn proud to announce the signing of Kamloops, British Columbia, Canada based stoner-fuzzing and heavy-doom-tripping quartet Hemptress. Cursed Tongue Records is dead-set on a mission to bring ‘Alchemy’ and its maple-syrup-dripping, iron-chopping, metal encrusted stoner-doom hymns to a wider audience across the global Heavy Underground ensuring that any heady, heavy music worshipper is reached!

It’s with a fierce fury that Hemptress convey their fuzzed out and amped up riffs that are dragging us head first in the mud to make sure our ears are firmly embedded in the furrows of the sonic landscape conjured up by their alchemistic rituals. Only one listen and we knew that these wizards had actually managed to create gold.

The band has delivered a blistering collection of wild and far-out bluesy stoner rock with enough grit and meat to keep you full for countless spins of their gripping take on an old but well-executed formula. Rest assure these guys know that not all that glitters is gold, but whatever rips and fuzzes like a lazer-tazed bull surely has a lasting impact!

As the band expresses it: “Hemptress is like being saddled on a beastly rock n roll engine trailed by flaming tumbleweeds down a southern psychedelic desert highway, fresh outta hell with the devil’s tears in a hip flask, riding high with a crooked grin while Lady Luck kisses your neck and the wild wind wonders where you’ve been.”

Hemptress debuted their ‘Alchemy’ album digitally on Bandcamp back in March 2019 to general accolade amongst stoner heads and reviewers of the Heavy Underground it is therefore with much joy that Cursed Tongue Records can roll out the red carpet and give this badass beast of an album its well-deserved vinyl treatment. We open the doors for the tangible wonders of alchemy this fall with a slated vinyl release in early October. Pre-orders will run from the latter half of September. More info, details and dates as we approach the witching hour!

‘Alchemy’ has been mastered for optimal vinyl playback by Tony Reed (of Mos Generator fame) and will sport brand spanking new and bewitching artwork by Shane Jones of Shane Horror design. The vinyl release will be out on vinyl via Cursed Tongue Records in October 2019. Pre-orders to commence a few good weeks in advance of release – more on that soon…

CTR-025 Hemptress – ‘Alchemy’; vinyl official release date slated for October 11. 2019.

All tracks written and performed by Hemptress
Recorded, mixed and mastered by Jon Matthies
Artwork & design by Shane Jones
Mastering for vinyl by Tony Reed at HeavyHead Rec.
Additional layout & design by Michael Andresakis

Track listing:
Side A
1. I Hear You Howlin’
2. Moonlight Gunnin’
3. Alabaster
4. When The Sun Goes Down
5. Electric Fire
Side B
1. Mind Corruptor
2. Maniac
3. Alchemy

Hemptress is:
Jesse Mac Taylor – Vocals/Guitar (+ Drums on ‘Alchemy’ album)
Jordan David Easson – Bass
Jordan Peter Bennee – Guitar
Matthew Michael John Bayley – Drums (new member, not on ‘Alchemy’ album)

https://hemptressband.bandcamp.com/
https://www.facebook.com/Hemptress-1430126427206913/
https://instagram.com/hemptressband
http://cursedtonguerecords.bigcartel.com/
https://www.facebook.com/CursedTongueRecords/

Hemptress, Alchemy (2019)

Tags: , , , , , ,

Chron Goblin Premiere “Slipping Under”; Here Before Due Sept. 27; Touring in October

Posted in audiObelisk, Whathaveyou on August 16th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

chron goblin

Although Chron Goblin ultimately keep the foundation of classically structured songwriting that has served them well up to this point, there’s no question the mood has shifted somewhat on the Calgary natives’ fourth full-length, Here Before, for which preorders begin Aug. 27. It’ll be out a month later — Sept. 27 — through Grand Hand Records, and while there’s no doubt the four-piece are still having a good time, there’s a little bit of a darker edge to the proceedings that shows up as well in the Here Before cover art, which is way closer to Stranger Things than the stonerly hand-drawing of a nonetheless haunted mountain town that adorned 2015’s Backwater (review here). The 11-tracker digs into some of the most atmospheric work they’ve ever done in songs like “Ghost,” “Giant” and “Slipping Under,” which isn’t to mention the ambience bookending the album in intro “Aurora” and outro “Afterglow,” but even “Giving in to Fun” seems to hold some measure of aggression.

You can hear the premiere of “Slipping Under” at the bottom of this post, and drummer Brett Whittingham offered some comment on the track to coincide with the unveiling of it and the album art and details, as well as tour dates for after the release.

Enjoy:

chron goblin here before

Brett Whittingham on “Slipping Under”:

Slipping Under is one of the more complex arrangements on the album. It starts off with a dark n’ dreamy clean intro, experimenting with some electronic drums and a leslie speaker for the guitar , before it kicks into the heavy bridge and on to the tight n’ groovy verses. The pre-solo section also includes more experimentation with the inclusion of some dirty 808 drops, something we haven’t tried before! This song is a blast to play live with its multitude of changes and dynamics. Mike Fraser mixed this song, along with Ghost, and his take on both tracks added a nice depth and diversity to the album as a whole.

Album Title: Here Before
Release Date: September 27, 2019
Preorders: August 27, 2019
Label: Grand Hand Records

Recorded in July 2018 at Juno Award Winning OCL Studios, ‘Here Before’ is the fourth full-length album from Chron Goblin and will be released and distributed by Grand Hand Records. Produced, recorded and mixed by Josh Rob Gwilliam (Michael Bernard Fitzgerald, Ghosts of Modern Man), Here Before demonstrates a new maturity in songwriting and production for the band. From the propulsive singles of ‘Slipping Under’ and ‘Ghost’; mixed by Mike Fraser (AC/DC, Metallica, Corrosion of Conformity), to the hypnotic riffs of ‘Oblivion’ – Chron Goblin has created an intoxicating collection of rock n’ roll.

Track Listing:
1. Aurora (0:22)
2. Oblivion (4:16)
3. Giving In To Fun (3:37)
4. Out Of My Mind (3:49)
5. Ghost (6:04)
6. War (3:51)
7. Giant (4:40)
8. Slipping Under (4:43)
9. Little Too Late (4:46)
10. Waiting (3:53)
11. Afterglow (1:52)
Album Length: 41:57

Chron Goblin live:
October 10 – Lethbridge – Owl Acoustic Lounge
October 11 – Calgary – The Palomino Smokehouse
October 12 – Regina – The German Club
October 13 – Winnipeg – The Handsome Daughter
October 15 – Sudbury – The Asylum
October 16 – Ottawa – House of Targ
October 17 – Montreal – Turbo Haus
October 18 – Toronto – Hard Luck
October 19 – Windsor – Dominion House
October 25 – Edmonton – Temple

Album Band and Live Line Up: Josh Sandulak (vocals), Brett Whittingham (drums), Richard Hepp (bass), Devin ‘Darty’ Purdy (guitar)

Tags: , , , , , ,

Elektric Mistress Stream Self-Titled EP in Full; Out Friday

Posted in audiObelisk on July 18th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

elektric mistress

This Friday, July 19, marks the release of the self-titled debut EP from Nova Scotia five-piece Elektric Mistress. The outing is a 16-minute three-songer, about half of which is dedicated to the eight-minute opener “Turn to Grey,” with its mellow, bluesy procession, lyrical introspection about aging — the early line, “Trees are dying and the leaves are on their own,” feels particularly layered with meaning in a about-more-than-just-hair kind of way — steady organ and basslines, flowing guitar and duly moving drums. Soon enough they’ll get down to drinking in the tropics with frontman Steve Poole calling out drink orders in “Cuba Time” while the band behind — guitarist Kyle Cantfell, bassist Kieran Richardson, drummer Victor Canales and keyboardist Riley MacDonald — execute more of a classic shuffle, but the impression of the opener remains crucial, not just because it’s longer, but because it sets such a fine balance between its atmospheric and rocking elements. Make no mistake, Elektric Mistress are a heavy rock and roll band and they’ve got the ‘k’ in “electric” to prove it, which isn’t to mention the EP’s eyeroll-worthy naked-chick-in-a-feather-headdress-holding-a-bong artwork (well enough drawn, but really?), but part of the value of putting the longest song first is that it immediately changes the context in which “Cuba Time” and closer “Meeting of the Minds” appear. That works well in Elektric Mistress‘ favor on this first offering.

The closer, a couple The Doors references later, is about playing a show, the tension and anticipation before and the satisfaction of hitting a stage. Nothing wrong with that, of course, and the middle-range tempo and general activity level draws a line between “Turn to Grey” — which does pick up in the middle and get loud, but still does so as part of a larger purpose of mood — and “Cuba Time,” which has more libidinous ends, with the mojitos and the “señoritas” and all. Still, Elektric Mistress — and if they really want to throw people for a loop their next time out, they should call whatever they release next Electrik Mistress, just to be subtle and screw with anyone only paying casual attention — gives three distinct looks at the band’s approach and for a first release and even more so for a first EP, there’s nothing else one could reasonably ask of it than that. There are some production/mix kinks to work out, but hell if I know any big-time New Scotland heavy rock engineers to suggest, and I make it a policy not to rag on self-releasing bands getting their start whether that’s a “debut EP” or a “demo” as it used to be called, so particularly as everything comes through clear and seems to convey their purpose well, I’m not inclined to quibble. And as regards their purpose, these guys aren’t changing the world, and I don’t think they’re trying to, but they’ve got their hearts in the right place as regards rock and an obvious focus on traditional songwriting that makes the most of their choruses.

You can stream the EP in its entirety on the player below. Official release date, once again, is tomorrow, and they’ll have it up on Bandcamp and all the rest.

Please enjoy:

Elektric Mistress, Elektric Mistress EP full stream premiere

Elektric Mistress on self-titled EP:

“Our self-titled EP is the band’s first studio recording. Influenced by the members’ psychedelic and stoner rock roots, each track has a unique sound and showcases their varied influences and songwriting abilities. With riffing low guitar/bass chug fused with B3/Rhodes/Synth sounds, the EP recaptures the retro rock sound of the 70s with a modern tinge, and stands as a tribute to the bands’ early influences.”

The first studio release from Elektric Mistress!

ELEKTRIC MISTRESS is face punching psychedelic rock firmly rooted in what has come before. Channeling the energy of inspirations such as Black Sabbath, Deep Purple, and Pink Floyd the stoner rock quintet is all about the groove.

Each track on the EP has a unique sound and showcases their varied influences and songwriting abilities with riffing low guitar/bass chug fused with B3/Rhodes/Synth sounds, the EP tries to recapture the retro rock sound of the 70s with a modern tinge and stands as a tribute to the band’s early influences.

Elektric Mistress are:
Steve Poole: Vocals
Kyle Cantfell: Guitars
Riley MacDonald: Keys
Kieran Richardson: Bass
Victor Canales: Drums

Elektric Mistress on Thee Facebooks

Elektric Mistress on Instagram

Elektric Mistress on Bandcamp

Elektric Mistress website

Tags: , , , , , ,

Quarterly Review: Elizabeth Colour Wheel, Black Lung, Giant Dwarf, Land Mammal, Skunk, Silver Devil, Sky Burial, Wizzerd, Ian Blurton, Cosmic Fall

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

quarterly-review

Got my laptop back. Turned out the guy had to give me a new hard drive entirely, clone all my data on it, and scrap the other drive. I’m sure if I took it to another technician they’d have said something completely different, either for better or worse, but it was $165 and I got my computer back, working, in a day, so I can’t really complain. Worth the money, obviously, even though it was $40 more than the estimate. I assume that was a mix of “new hard drive” and “this is the last thing I’m doing before a four-day weekend.” Either way, totally legit. Bit of stress on my part, but what’s a Quarterly Review without it?

This ends the week, but there’s still one more batch of 10 reviews to go on Monday, so I won’t delay further, except to say more to come.

Quarterly Review #41-50:

Elizabeth Colour Wheel, Nocebo

elizabeth colour wheel nocebo

A rare level of triumph for a first album, Elizabeth Colour Wheel‘s aesthetic scope and patience of craft on Nocebo result in a genre-spanning post-noise rock that maintains an atmospheric heft whether loud or quiet at any given moment, and a sense of unpredictability that feels born out of a genuinely forward-thinking songwriting process. It is dark, emotionally resonant, beautiful and crushing across its eight songs and 47 minutes, as the Philadelphia five-piece ebb and flow instrumentally behind a standout vocal performance that reminds of Julie Christmas circa Battle of Mice on “Life of a Flower” but is ultimately more controlled and all the more lethal for that. Bouts of extremity pop up at unexpected times and the songs flow into each other so as to make all of Nocebo feel like a single, multi-hued work, which it just might be as it moves into ambience between “Hide Behind (Emmett’s Song)” and “Bedrest” before exploding to life again in “34th” and transitioning directly into the cacophonous apex that comes with closer “Head Home.” One of the best debuts of 2019, if not the best.

Elizabeth Colour Wheel on Thee Facebooks

The Flenser on Bandcamp

 

Black Lung, Ancients

black lung ancients

Ancients is the third full-length from Baltimore’s Black Lung, whose heavy blues rock takes a moodier approach from the outset of “Mother of the Sun” onward, following an organ-led roll in that opener that calls to mind All Them Witches circa Lightning at the Door and following 2016’s See the Enemy (review here) with an even firmer grasp on their overarching intent. The title-track is shorter at 3:10 and offers some post-rock flourish in the guitar amid its otherwise straight-ahead push, but there’s a tonal depth to add atmosphere to whatever moves they’re making at the time, “The Seeker” and “Voices” rounding out side A with relatively grounded swing and traditionalist shuffle but still catching attention through pace and presentation alike. That holds true as “Gone” drifts into psychedelic jamming at the start of side B, and the chunkier “Badlands,” the dramatic “Vultures” and the controlled wash of “Dead Man Blues” take the listener into some unnamed desert without a map or exit strategy. It’s a pleasure to get lost as Ancients plays through, and Black Lung remain a well-kept secret of the East Coast underground.

Black Lung on Thee Facebooks

Ripple Music website

Noisolution website

 

Giant Dwarf, Giant Dwarf

Giant Dwarf Giant Dwarf

This just fucking rules, and I feel no need to couch my critique in any more flowery language than that. Driving, fuzzy heavy rock topped with post-Homme melodies that doesn’t sacrifice impact for attitude, the self-released, self-titled debut from Perth, Australia’s Giant Dwarf is a sans-pretense 35 minutes of groove done right. They may be playing to genre, fine, but from the cover art on down, they’re doing so with a sense of personality and a readiness to bring an individual sensibility to their sound. I dig it. Summery tones, rampant vocal melodies in layers, solid rhythmic foundation beneath. The fact that it’s the five-piece’s first album makes me look less for some kind of stylistic nuance, but it’s there to be heard anyway in “Disco Void” and the bouncing end of “High Tide Blues,” and in surrounding cuts like “Repeat After Defeat” and “Strange Wool,” Giant Dwarf set to the task before them with due vitality, imagining Songs for the Deaf with Fu Manchu tonality in “Kepler.” No big surprise, but yeah, it definitely works. Someone should be beating down the door to sign this band.

Giant Dwarf on Thee Facebooks

Giant Dwarf on Bandcamp

 

Land Mammal, Land Mammal

land mammal land mammal

Land Mammal‘s debut outing is a 14-minute, proof-of-concept four-songer EP with clarity of presentation and telegraphed intent. Marked out by the Robert Plant-style vocal heroics of Kinsley August, the band makes the most of a bluesy atmosphere behind him, with Will Weise on wah-ready guitar, Phillip PJ Soapsmith on bass, Stephen Smith on drums and True Turner on keys. On opener “Dark with Rain” and closer “Better Days,” they find a pastoral vibe that draws from ’90s alternative, thinking Blind Melon particularly in the finale, but “Earth Made Free” takes a bluesier angle and “Drippin’ Slow” is not shy about nor ashamed of its danceability, as its lyrics demonstrate. For all the crispness of the production, Land Mammal still manage to sound relatively natural, which is all the more encouraging in terms of moving forward, but it’ll be interesting to hear how they flesh out their sound over the course of a full-length, since even as an EP, this self-titled is short. They have songwriting, performance and production on their side, however, so something tells me they’ll be just fine.

Land Mammal on Thee Facebooks

Land Mammal on Bandcamp

 

Skunk, Strange Vibration

skunk strange vibration

Even before they get to the ultra-“N.I.B.” patterning of second track “Stand in the Sun,” Skunk‘s Sabbathian loyalties are well established, and they continue on that line, through the “War Pigs”-ness of “Goblin Orgy” (though I’ll give them bonus points for that title), and the slower “A National Acrobat” roll of “The Black Crown,” and while that’s not the only influence under which Skunk are working — clearly — it’s arguably the most forward. They’ve been on a traditional path since 2015’s mission-statement EP, Heavy Rock from Elder Times (review here), and as Strange Vibration is their second album behind 2017’s Doubleblind (review here), they’ve only come more into focus in terms of what they’re doing overall. They throw a bit of swagger into “Evil Eye Gone Blind” and “Star Power” toward the end of the record — more Blackmore or Leslie West than Iommi — but keep the hooks center through it all, and cap with a welcome bit of layered melody on “The Cobra’s Kiss.” Based in Oakland, they don’t quite fit in with the Californian boogie scene to the south, but standing out only seems to suit Strange Vibration all the more.

Skunk on Thee Facebooks

Skunk on Bandcamp

 

Silver Devil, Paralyzed

Silver Devil Paralyzed

Like countrymen outfits in Vokonis or to a somewhat lesser degree Cities of Mars, Gävle-based riffers Silver Devil tap into Sleep as a core influence and work outward from there. In the case of their second album, Paralyzed (on Ozium Records), they work far out indeed, bringing a sonic largesse to bear through plus-sized tonality and distorted vocals casting echoes across a wide chasm of the mix. “Rivers” or the later, slower-rolling “Octopus” rightfully present this as an individual take, and it ends up being that one way or the other, with the atmosphere becoming essential to the character of the material. There are some driving moments that call to mind later Dozer — or newer Greenleaf, if you prefer — such as the centerpiece “No Man Traveller,” but the periodic bouts of post-rock bring complexity to that assessment as well, though in the face of the galloping crescendo of “The Grand Trick,” complexity is a secondary concern to the outright righteousness with which Silver Devil take familiar elements and reshape them into something that sounds fresh and engaging. That’s basically the story of the whole record, come to think of it.

Silver Devil on Thee Facebooks

Ozium Records website

 

Sky Burial, Sokushinbutsu

sky burial Sokushinbutsu

Comprised of guitarist/vocalist/engineer Vessel 2 and drummer/vocalist Vessel 1 (also ex-Mühr), Sky Burial release their debut EP, Sokushinbutsu, through Break Free Records, and with it issue two songs of densely-weighted riff and crash, captured raw and live-sounding with an edge of visceral sludge thanks to the harsh vocals laid overtop. The prevailing spirit is as much doom as it is crust throughout “Return to Sender” (8:53) and the 10:38 title-track — the word translating from Japanese to “instant Buddha” — and as “Sokushinbutsu” kicks the tempo of the leadoff into higher gear, the release becomes a wash of blown-out tone with shouts cutting through that’s very obviously meant to be as brutal as it absolutely is. They slow down eventually, then slow down more, then slow down more — you see where this is going — until eventually the feedback seems to consume them and everything else, and the low rumble of guitar gives way to noise and biting vocalizations. As beginnings go, Sokushinbutsu is willfully wretched and animalistic, a manifested sonic nihilism that immediately stinks of death.

Sky Burial on Thee Facebooks

Break Free Records on Bandcamp

 

Wizzerd, Wizzerd

wizzerd st

One finds Montana’s Wizzerd born of a similar Upper Midwestern next-gen take on classic heavy as that of acts like Bison Machine and Midas. Their Cursed Tongue Records-delivered self-titled debut album gives a strong showing of this foundation, less boogie-based than some, with just an edge of heavy metal to the riffing and vocals that seems to derive not directly from doom, but definitely from some ’80s metal stylizations. Coupled with ’70s and ’90s heavy rocks, it’s a readily accessible blend throughout the nine-song/51-minute LP, but a will toward the epic comes through in theme as well as the general mood of the riffs, and even in the drift of “Wizard” that’s apparent. Taken in kind with the fuzzblaster “Wraith,” the winding motion of the eponymous closer and with the lumbering crash of “Warrior” earlier, the five-piece’s sound shows potential to distinguish itself further in the future through taking on fantasy subject matter lyrically as well as playing to wall-sized grooves across the board, even in the speedy first half of “Phoenix,” with its surprising crash into the wall of its own momentum.

Wizzerd on Thee Facebooks

Cursed Tongue Records webstore

 

Ian Blurton, Signals Through the Flames

Ian Blurton Signals Through the Flames

The core of Ian Blurton‘s Signals Through the Flames is in tight, sharply-executed heavy rockers like “Seven Bells” and “Days Will Remain,” classic in their root but not overly derivative, smartly and efficiently composed and performed. The Toronto-based Blurton has been making and producing music for over three decades in various guises and incarnations, and with these nine songs, he brings into focus a songcraft that is more than enough to carry song like “Nothing Left to Lose” and opener “Eye of the Needle,” which bookends with the 6:55 “Into Dust,” the closer arriving after a final salvo with the Scorpionic strut of “Kick out the Lights” and the forward-thrust-into-ether of “Night of the Black Goat.” If this was what Ghost had ended up sounding like, I’d have been cool with that. Blurton‘s years of experience surely come into play in this work, a kind of debut under his own name and/or that of Ian Blurton’s Future Now, but the songs come through as fresh regardless and “The March of Mars” grabs attention not with pedigree, but simply by virtue of its own riff, which is exactly how it should be. It’s subtle in its variety, but those willing to give it a repeat listen or two will find even more reward for doing so.

Ian Blurton on Thee Facebooks

Ian Blurton on Bandcamp

 

Cosmic Fall, Lackland

Cosmic Fall Lackland

“Lackland” is the first new material Berlin three-piece Cosmic Fall have produced since last year’s In Search of Space (review here) album, which is only surprising given the frequency with which they once jammed out a record every couple of months. The lone 8:32 track is a fitting reminder of the potency in the lineup of guitarist Marcin Morawski, bassist Klaus Friedrich and drummer Daniel Sax, and listening to the Earthless-style shred in Morawski‘s guitar, one hopes it won’t be another year before they come around again. As it stands, they make the eight minutes speed by with volcanic fervor and an improvised sensibility that feels natural despite the song’s ultimately linear trajectory. Could be a one-off, could be a precursor to a new album. I’d prefer the latter, obviously, but I’ll take what I can get, and if that’s “Lackland,” then so be it.

Cosmic Fall on Thee Facebooks

Cosmic Fall on Bandcamp

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Wykan Premiere Brigid: of the Night EP in Full

Posted in audiObelisk on June 6th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

wykan-band-photo-credit-jeremy-perkins

With a beginning of mellow guitar, Montreal blackened psych-sludge — and if such a thing was going to come from anywhere, it would come from a city with such a history of genre-meld — four-piece Wykan set the atmosphere for the centerpiece of their new EP, Brigid: of the Night. Issued by the band tomorrow with cover art from none other than David Paul Seymour, the release comprises three tracks and stands out for the short-album concept centered around the Celtic goddess named in its title. “Breo-Saighead (Triple Goddess)” is the second of the three slices, with “Imbolc (The Cleansing)” before and “Reul-Iuil Bride (Star of Brigid)” serving as the finale after, and its push into doom and black metal is underscored by a heft of tone and groove that makes the post-midpoint slowdown at about 4:30 into the total 7:31 a turn consistent with what’s come before.

That is, by that point, Wykan — vocalist Barrie Butler, guitarist Jeremy Perkins, bassist Corey Thomas and drummer Dug Kawliss — haveWYKAN BRIGID OF THE NIGHT set a pretty broad range for themselves through the opener and into the centerpiece and are as much focused on dwelling without as within the bounds of genre. Butler‘s vocals unquestionably provide a charred spin to the proceedings, but they’re by far the only forward element at play, as Perkins‘ guitar leading from one part to another in classic riff-based fashion. The band made their debut in 2018 with the Solace EP (review here), but what Brigid: of the Night and the conceptual frame in which it arrives signal is clear growth in just a year’s time and the desire to use aesthetic to tell a story as well as to be blisteringly heavy in terms of sonics. Not every band gets there at all — or wants to, I suppose — but even the ambition lends a progressive edge to Brigid: of the Night, and like the first three-tracker before it, gives Wykan another foundation to build from as they go forward toward, you know, the next one.

Perhaps clearest of all is the signal this offering sends that they will indeed go forward, and that they’re only becoming a more complex outfit as they do so.

Enjoy the full EP stream below, followed by comment from the band:

Wykan, “Breo-Saighead (Triple Goddess)” official track premiere

Jeremy Perkins on Brigid: of the Night:

To add a little bit more detail about the inspiration for this album; it’s based on the thematic for Wykan originally – a ceremonial get together – keeping in mind and heart, an atmospheric take on those three major genres I write with. Being Doom, Blackened whatever you wanna call it death or doom and Rock. This album has a deep representation in regards to my roots personally and musically touches various genres which are my inspirations. Being older Sabbath, Floyd, Hendrix, and bands like Immortal and Mayhem.

To expand on my writing for this album I used an older Ovation acoustic for the intro, a 1992 Fender Stratocaster Ultra I’ve had for 23 yrs for the intro for Song 2 and all solos and a 2018 Ibanez Prestige with high-end Dimarzio pickups for all the rest, cranked through my 15 pedals-pedalboard into a newer 5150’s head.

The transitions from the darker heavier blackened doom into soft rock and vice versa were done smoothly. I wrote most on acoustic beforehand and build. The progressiveness of Wykan continuously evolves and it feels together, feels even though you’re going from like some really soft atmospheric 70s rock beginning with an acoustic then transitioning to the black and death metalesque parts came out amazing to me on this EP and edible for the soul.

Anyone will notice, especially those reviewing this album, that its kind of a trip in itself which is what I want to do with Wykan and which is the idea a story an atmosphere a soundscape for a ceremony, in this case summoning Brigíd.

I was pleased with the overall outcome and look forward to another EP this fall.

“Brigid: Of The Night” EP is slated for release on June 7, 2019, and will be available on Bandcamp as a $1 EP or more Pay-What-You-Want download.

1. Imbolc ( The cleansing )
2. Breo-Saighead ( Triple Goddess )
3. Reul-Iuil Bride ( Star of Brigid )

Wykan is:
Guitars : Jeremy Perkins
Vocals : Barrie Butler
Drums : Dug Kawliss
Bass : Corey Thomas

Featuring guest drummer :
Simon McKay ( The Agonist ) Track 3

Wykan on Thee Facebooks

Wykan on Bandcamp

Tags: , , , , ,

Ian Blurton Sets June 7 Release for Signals Through the Flames

Posted in Whathaveyou on April 24th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

ian blurtons future now

Way back in January, you might recall a track was premiered from Ian Blurton’s Future Now called “Space is Forever.” That first single will be issued as a 7″ next month and even when that was being posted, it was intended as a lead-in for Blurton‘s upcoming solo-ish record, Signals Through the Flames. Well, I got the album yesterday and the short version is it kicks ass, which is why I’m writing about it now. It’s due out June 7 and I’m sure there will be preorders and advance public audio all that fun stuff, but consider this a heads up. If you’re not from Toronto or the surrounding area, maybe you’re less familiar with Blurton‘s three-decade-plus career in bands and producing, and that’s fine. Don’t worry about it. That context is nice, but in listening to Signals Through the Flames, the songs stand on their own. I’m going to hope to have more on the record before it’s out, but yeah, just early warning here, that’s all. It’s the kind of record that’s really going to hit with some people. I think I might be one of them.

Art and PR wire info follow:

Ian Blurton Signals Through the Flames

Ian Blurton – Signals Through The Flame – Pajama Party

Release: 7 June 2019

It’s time for a veteran to show the new generation how it’s done. After 35+ years in the Canadian music industry, playing in over 40 bands and producing, engineering and mixing over 100 albums, Ian Blurton is finally releasing a solo record. You’ve probably seen Blurton play in your town, fronting Change of Heart, Blurtonia, Bionic, C’mon, or the still-active Public Animal. If you missed those bands, his name is still likely to pop up somewhere in your record collection; you’ll find Blurton’s producer credit on career-defining albums for Blood Ceremony, Cursed, Tricky Woo, the Weakerthans and more. Or you may have caught him guest with acts as diverse as Richard Lloyd, Buffy Sainte-Marie , the Sadies, Teenage Head, Twink or The Viletones.

It’s no surprise that Blurton’s inaugural solo effort pulls from an impressive pool of talent and a range of influences. In 2017 a sudden torrent of inspiration brought him a slew of songs best suited to a power-trio format. Enlisting friends who also happened to be some of his favorite drummers and bassists, he set out on a quest to create a combination of dark pop hooks, molten riffage and ambient soundscapes that is his heaviest work to date. Between Blurton’s layers-upon-layers of guitar, a plethora of gifted musicians such as Mike Armstrong (King Cobb Steelie), PJ Dunphy (Iron Giant), Eric Larock (Tricky Woo), Glenn Milchem (Blue Rodeo), Damon Richardson (Danko Jones), Anna Ruddick (Randy Bachman), Nick Sewell (Biblical), and Darcy Yates (Flash Lightnin’) all make appearance on Signals Through the Flames. The result is a heavy music melting pot with one foot in the past and the other planted firmly in the future.

Mixed by Daryl Smith (Godspeed You! Black Emperor) at Chemical West and mastered by Brad Boatright at Audiosiege, Signals Through The Flames will be released by new Toronto imprint Pajama Party digitally, on vinyl and cassette June 7, 2019.

The first single, Space Is Forever b/w Upon Yesterday, is out May 4 on Yeah Right! Records, launching at a release show at Toronto’s Dakota Tavern and can be heard here: ianblurton.bandcamp.com

The live band, Ian Blurton’s Future Now, draws from the same talent as the record, and currently features drummer Glenn Milchem, bassist Anna Ruddick and Aaron Goldstein as second guitarist. This spring and summer sees the band playing dates between Montreal and Calgary, including appearances at Sled Island and Hillside Festival.

Tracklisting
01 EYE OF THE NEEDLE 4:55
02 SEVEN BELLS 3:34
03 DAYS WILL REMAIN 3:30
04 THE MARCH OF MARS 4:18
05 NOTHING LEFT TO LOSE 3:16
06 ICQ 2:58
07 KICK OUT THE LIGHTS 4:53
08 NIGHT OF THE BLACK GOAT 4:47
09 INTO DUST 6:37

Tour dates
May 1 Montreal – Turbo Haus w/ Dead Quiet, Mountain Dust
May 4 Toronto – Dakota Tavern w/ Sick Things, Rough Spells
May 17 Peterborough – Gordon Best Theatre w/ Mokomokai
June 6 Toronto – Sneaky Dees w/ Spirit Adrift
June 7 Kitchener – The Starlight w/ Hawkeyes
June 14 Toronto – secret show NXNE
June 17 Sudbury – The Townehouse
June 18 Thunder Bay – The Apollo
June 19 Winnipeg – The Handsome Daughter
June 20 Saskatoon – Amigo’s
June 21 Edmonton – The Rec Room Edmonton South
June 22 Calgary – The Palomino/Sled Island Festival
June 23 Regina – The Club at The Exchange
July 14 Guelph – Hillside Festival
July 19 Hamilton – This Ain’t Hollywood
July 20 Toronto – The Horseshoe Signals Through The Flames record release

ianblurton.bandcamp.com
twitter.com/ianblurton

Ian Blurton, “Space is Forever”

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Getaway Van Premiere “Lord I’ve Been Running” Video

Posted in Bootleg Theater on April 22nd, 2019 by JJ Koczan

getaway van

When you’ve got a hook, use it. That lesson would not seem to be lost on Vancouver four-piece Getaway Van, whose recently-issued self-titled debut has a bunch to go around, from the bloodshot repetitions of “Branches” down through the catchy mid-paced sway of “So Long” at the record’s pre-outro conclusion. “Lord I’ve Been Running” might be the most infectious of them, however — though I wouldn’t take away from “Ugh” or the prior “Follow Me,” either — though it’s certainly in resonant company, and though it’s the means by which Getaway Van are making their debut, having formed in 2017, the interplay of vocal arrangements between guitarists Derek Lionas and Charlie Cole and bassist Zach Fox show a care in composition that speaks directly to intentional songcraft. That is, it’s not just verses and choruses piled on top of each other. There’s thought behind what they’re doing, and in listening to the album, it sounds like the work of multiple songwriters, or at least multiple contributors around a central idea for each track. Drummer Devon Sutherland, accordingly, provides the restlessness at the foundation to keep everything moving while still tying the songs together.

Somehow, because it’s in Canada and not Portland, Oregon, or Seattle, Washington, Vancouver seems to be often-unconsidered when it comes to the thriving Pacific Northwest heavy underground. That’s a mistake, obviously. On a song like “Blacktop Mistress,” Getaway Van tap into Red Fang-style forward momentum while the earlier “Comin’ Back” demonstrates more melodic complexity in straightforward, Ripple-style heavy rock, but what makes it all work together is the focus on songwriting at root in what they do. While “Lord I’ve Been Running” takes its central theme from the blues, it makes its impression with its sharply-executed bounce of rhythm and, indeed, its hook.

They are not shy with it, and neither should they be. The video (with videography by Matej Ceska) finds them arriving, loading in and playing a gig at The Bourbon in Gastown, Vancouver, as well as in the rehearsal space where Fox professes, “Somebody’s been practicing,” when complimented on his play. That’s a fun moment in a fun song with a kind of dark theme presented in a manner that borders on maddeningly catchy and appears on an album that functions much the same. “Lord I’ve Been Running” inherently can’t convey the entire scope of Getaway Van‘s songcraft — you know, being one song and all — but in the vocal swaps and its pristine construction, it represents the self-titled well. Probably why they chose it as a single, and further proof these cats know what they’re up to.

Some quick comment from the band follows. Dig in and have fun:

Getaway Van, “Lord I’ve Been Running” official video premiere

Getaway Van on “Lord I’ve Been Running”:

“‘Lord I’ve Been Running’ is the second single from our debut full-length album. Written by bassist Zack Fox, this is a song about the tribulations of life, and the toll it can take on a person. We’ve all always loved this song due to the high energy and its almost desperate nature. The powerful vocals and incessantly running guitars really seem to get people moving, and help make it a memorable track. It’s certainly a song that everyone can find a connection to on a personal level, and as such, it was the natural choice for our first music video to come from this album.”

Getaway Van is:
Devon Sutherland – Drums
Zach Fox – Bass/vocals
Derek Lionas – Guitar/vocals
Charlie Cole – Guitar/vocals

Getaway Van on Thee Facebooks

Getaway Van on Instagram

Getaway Van on Bandcamp

Getaway Van website

Tags: , , , , , ,

Quarterly Review: Kungens Män, PFUND, Crystal Spiders, The Misery Men, Hubris, Woorms, Melody Fields, Oreyeon, Mammoth Grove, Crimson Devils

Posted in Reviews on March 19th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

quarterly-review-spring-2019

I used to be pretty artsy and write poetry. Let’s give it a shot:

There was an old man who wore no-toe shoes.
He said, I’mma go do 60 reviews.
He was out of his head,
Should’ve gone back to bed,
But he loves him some dirty psych blues.

Years from now, when I link back to this post for a “(review here)”-type scenario, I’m going to see that and I’ll still think it’s funny. The planet’s dying. I’d say a bit of silly is more than called for.

Quarterly Review #11-20:

Kungens Män, Chef

kungens man chef

Krautrockers, assemble! Or, you know, whatever krautrockers do — I assume it involves homemade spacecraft that, yes, absolutely fly. Perhaps one of these days I’ll ask Stockholm’s Kungens Män, whose latest outing for Riot Season, simply titled Chef, is an outbound delight of psych-infused progressivism. Beginning with the opening throb of “Fyrkantig Böjelse” and moving into the volume swells, steady drum line and wandering guitar that starts “Öppen För Stängda Dörrar” on side A, its four extended tracks craft otherworldly textures through a meld of organic instrumental flow and waves of synth, the second cut building to a tense wash of distortion all the while keeping that hypnotic march. The two corresponding 10-minute-plus cuts on side B waste no time in offering cosmic boogie in “Män Med Medel” with a more active rhythmic flow, and closer “Eftertankens Blanka Krankhet” — longer than the opener by one second at 11:24 — fades in on meditative guitar and explores a serene minimalism that only underscores the all around joy of the album.

Kungens Man on Thee Facebooks

Riot Season Records webstore

 

PFUND, PFUND

pfund pfund

The self-titled, self-released debut full-length from Kiel, Germany’s PFUND arrives and departs with a guesting horn section, and while that inevitably adds a bit of grandeur to the proceedings, the bulk of the outing is dedicated to straightforward, semi-metallic heavy rock, held to ground even in the seven-minute “Spaceman” by a considered sense of structure and an earthy drum sound that draws the songs together, whether it’s the classic riff rock in “Sea of Life” or the moodier sway in the earlier “Lost in Rome.” Dual guitars effectively multiply the impact, and the vocals showcase a nascent sense of melody that one imagines will only continue to grow as the band moves forward. At nine songs and 44 minutes, it shows some breadth and nuance in “Exhaustion” and “Paranoia,” the former tapping into an edge of progressive metal, but the primary impact comes from PFUND‘s heft of groove and how it blends with a rawer edge to their production. The Kyuss-referencing centerpiece here might be called “Imbalance,” but that’s hardly representative of what surrounds, horns and all.

PFUND on Thee Facebooks

PFUND on Bandcamp

 

Crystal Spiders, Demo

crystal spiders demo

Three songs, 11 minutes and three distinct vibes from the aptly-titled Demo demo of North Carolinian three-piece Crystal Spiders. On “Tigerlily,” “Flamethrower” and “Devil’s Resolve,” the trio of bassist/vocalist Brenna Leath (also Lightning Born), guitarist/vocalist Mike Deloatch and drummer/backing vocalist Tradd Yancey careen from bluesy spaciousness to hard-driving catchiness and end up — because why not? — in repeating cult-sludge chants, “Come to the devil’s resolve!” like Black Widow trying to lure people to the sabbat, except shouting. If the purpose of a demo is for a new band to try different methods of working and thereby take a first step in discovering their sound, Crystal Spiders are well on their way, and for what it’s worth, there isn’t anything within their scope as they present it that doesn’t work for them. There are edges to smooth out, of course, but that too is a part of the process starting here.

Crystal Spiders on Thee Facebooks

Crystal Spiders on Bandcamp

 

The Misery Men, Deathspiration

The Misery Men Deathspiration

If you’d asked, depending on which part of Deathspiration was on, I’d probably have called The Misery Men a bass/drum duo, but nope, that’s guitar. Tonally one is reminded of At Devil Dirt from Chile, but the Portland, Oregon, two-piece of vocalist/guitarist Corey G. Lewis and drummer Steve Jones are entirely more barebones in their craft, eschewing digital involvement of any sort in the recording or mixing process and sounding duly raw as a result throughout the subtle earworm of “C.W. Sughrue” and the lumbering “Harness the Darkness.” The subsequent “Night Creeps In” brings a Northwestern noise payoff to quiet/loud trades and the near-10-minute closer “Stoned to Death,” well, it seems to meet an end befitting its title, to say the least. As their stated intent was to capture the most organic version of their sound possible, and made a point of working toward that ideal in their recording, one could hardly fault them for the results of that process. They wanted something human-sounding. They got it.

The Misery Men on Thee Facebooks

The Misery Men on Bandcamp

 

Hubris, EP #II Live

hubris ep ii live

Some — not all — of what one needs to know about HubrisEP #II Live is right there in the title. Indeed, it’s their second EP. Indeed, it was recorded live. And indeed, like using a ‘#’ sign with a Roman numeral, there’s something about the way the three included songs from the Toulouse, France-based outfit sound that’s just a little bit off-kilter from what you might expect. “Zugzwang” (7:19), “Tergo” (19:58) and “Biotilus” (27:04) are arranged shortest to longest, and while the opener starts off like Queens of the Stone Age on an Eastern-tinged psychedelic bender, the lengthy jams that follow — the first of them with a fervent drum punctuation, the second a gradual intertwining of synth and guitar with hardly any percussion at all until after its 22nd minute. The instrumental flow that ensues from there is almost like a hidden bonus track, at least until they Hubris get to minute 26 and the whole thing explodes in crash and plod. The underlying message, of course, is that if you think you’re safe at any point, you’re not.

Hubris on Thee Facebooks

Hubris on Bandcamp

 

Woorms, Slake

woorms slake

Lumbering fuckall pervades the debut full-length, Slake, from Baton Rouge, Louisiana, sludgers Woorms — also stylized all-caps — which incorporates past singles “Find a Meal Find a Bed Find a God” and “Mouth is a Wound” amid the sample/noise barrage of “Our Lady of Perpetually Shitfaced” and the willfully brash “Racist Kevin” that follows. There’s an edge of Melvinsian chug to the proceedings, but Woorms‘ take, though presented in finished compositions, comes across as almost nihilistic rather than making a show of its experimentalism. That is, they’re trying to say they don’t give a fuck, and in listening, they make it kind of easy to believe, but there’s still something about the cohesiveness of “Veni Vidi Fucki” and “Rice Crispy” and the saved-the-best-nod-for-last finale “Sore Afraid” that undercuts the notion even while making the listening experience all the more pummeling, and from the intro “Corpse Corps” through “Urine Trouble Now”‘s echoing shouts and the closer’s unmitigated stomp, there’s still plenty of exploration being done.

WOORMS on Thee Facebooks

WOORMS on Bandcamp

 

Oreyeon, Ode to Oblivion

Oreyeon Ode to Oblivion

Rebranded since their 2016 debut, Builders of Cosmos (discussed here), from their more phonetically intuitive original moniker, Orion, Italy’s Oreyeon issue a cosmically expansive spacescape follow-up in their six-song/40-minute sophomore outing, Ode to Oblivion, also their first release through Heavy Psych Sounds. Echoing vocals pervade “Big Surprise” after the introductory “T.I.O.” and “Trudging to Vacuity” establish the wide-cast mix and anti-grav rhythmic density, and the nine-minute side A finale title-track runs mostly-instrumental circles around most of what I’d usually call “prog” only after it lays down a sleek hook in the first couple minutes. After “Big Surprise,” the 8:45 “The Ones” trades volume back and forth but finds its breadth at about the sixth minute as the dramatic lead turns on a dime to desert rock thrust en route to wherever the hell it goes next. Honestly, after that moment, everything’s gravy, but Oreyeon lay it on thick with closer “Starship Pusher” and never neglect melody in the face of nod. Worth a deeper dig if you get the chance.

Oreyeon on Thee Facebooks

Heavy Psych Sounds website

 

Melody Fields, Melody Fields

melody fields melody fields

Sometimes you hear a record and it’s like the band is doing you a favor by existing. To that, thanks Melody Fields. The Gothenburg psych troupe lace their lysergic flow with folkish harmonies and an open sensibility on their self-titled debut that comes coupled with enough tonal presence to still consider them heavy not that it matters. They break out the sax on “Morning Sun” to welcome effect, and the sun continues to shine through “Liberty” and the garage-buzzing “Run” before “Rain Man” turns water droplets into keyboard notes and Beatlesian — think “Rain” — voice arrangements atop soothing instrumental drift, every bit the centerpiece and an excellent precursor to the acoustic-based “Fire” and the 10-minute “Trädgränsen,” which is the crowning achievement of this self-titled debut, which, if I’d been hip to it in time, would’ve made both the 2018 best albums and best debuts list. They cap with a reprise of “Morning Sun” and underscore the solid foundation beneath the molten beauty of their work throughout. To ask for another album seems greedy, but I will anyway. More, please.

Melody Fields on Thee Facebooks

Sound Effect Records website

 

Mammoth Grove, Slow Burn

mammoth grove slow burn

Okay, look, enough screwing around. It’s time for someone to sign Mammoth Grove. The Calgary natives have been putting out quality heavy psych rock since their 2011 self-titled debut (review here), and their latest long-player, the four-song Slow Burn is a righteous amalgam of peace-thru-rock that lives up to its freewheeling vibes in “Seasons” after the methodical opener “Valleys” and rolls out a bit of melodic ’70s biker rock bliss in “Black Meadow” before the side-B-consuming “Gloria” (18:42) asks early if you’re ready to go and then goes like gone, gone, gone, and gone further. Given the analog mindset involved and the heart on display throughout, there’s something fitting about it being pressed up in an edition of 100 hand-screenprinted LPs and 100 CDs likewise, but the more people who could hear it, the merrier, so yeah, some label or other needs to step up and make that happen, and I dare you to listen to the solo that hits past the 14-minute mark in “Gloria” and tell me otherwise. Dare you.

Mammoth Grove on Thee Facebooks

Mammoth Grove on Bandcamp

 

Crimson Devils, A Taste for Blood

crimson devils a taste for blood

Since pared down to a trio from the four-piece incarnation they present here, Austin’s Crimson Devils first released their debut, A Taste for Blood, in 2017, but gave it a vinyl revisit last year and it’s little mystery why. The record comprises 11 sharply-composed tracks of Small Stone-style heavy rock, taking cues from Sasquatch in modern-via-classic modus, picking and choosing elements of ’70s and ’90s rock to conjure formidable groove and engaging hooks. There’s considerable swagger and weight in “They Get It,” and while opener “Dead and Gone” seems to show an influence in its vocal patterning from Elder, as the album unfolds, it’s more about the blast of “Captain Walker” or the penultimate “Nothing to Claim” and the straight-ahead vibes of “Bad News Blues” and “No Action” than anything so outwardly prog. There’s plenty to dig in the rock-for-rockers mindset, and it’s the kind of offering that should probably come with an octane rating. However such things are measured, safe to say it would not be low.

Crimson Devils on Thee Facebooks

Crimson Devils on Bandcamp

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,