Quarterly Review: Slift, IIVII, Coogans Bluff, Rough Spells, Goblinsmoker, Homecoming, Lemurian Folk Songs, Ritual King, Sunflowers, Maya Mountains

Posted in Reviews on March 26th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

quarterly review

Thursday. Everyone doing well? Healthy? Kicking ass? Working from home? There seems to be a lot of that going around, at least among the lucky. New Jersey, where I live, is on lockdown with non-essential businesses shuttered, roads largely empty and all that. It can be grim and apocalyptic feeling, but I’m finding this Quarterly Review to be pretty therapeutic or at least helpfully distracting at a moment when I very much need something to be that. I hope that if you’re reading this, whether you’ve been following along or not, it’s done or can do the same for you if that’s what you need. I’ll leave it at that.

Quarterly Review #31-40:

Slift, Ummon

slift ummon

The second album from French space/psych trio Slift is a 72-minute blowout echoshred epic — too aware not to be prog but too cosmic not to be space rock. Delivered through Stolen Body Records and Vicious Circle, Ummon is not only long, it speaks to a longer term. It’s not an album for this year, or for this decade, or for any other decade, for that matter. It’s for the ongoing fluid now. You want to lose yourself in the depths of buzz and dreamy synth? Yeah, you can do that. You want to dig into the underlying punk and maybe a bit of Elder influence in the vocal bark and lead guitar shimmer of “Thousand Helmets of Gold?” Well hell’s bells, do that. The mega-sprawling 2LP is a gorgeous blast of distortion, backed by jazzy, organic drum wud-dum-tap and the bass, oh, the bass; the stuff of low end sensory displacement. Amid swirls and casts of melodic light in “Dark Was Space, Cold Were the Stars,” Slift dilate universal energy and push beyond the noise wash reaches of “Son Dong’s Cavern” and through the final build, liftoff and roll of 13-minute closer “Lions, Tigers and Bears” with the deft touch of those dancing on prior conceptions. We’d be lucky to have Ummon as the shape of space rock to come.

Slift on Thee Facebooks

Stolen Body Records store

Vicious Circle Records store

 

IIVII, Grinding Teeth/Zero Sleep

Two LPs telling two different stories released at the same time, Grinding Teeth/Zero Sleep (on Consouling Sounds) brings Josh Graham‘s aural storytelling to new cinematic reaches. The composer, guitarist, synthesist, programmer, visual artist, etc., is joined along the way by the likes of Jo Quail, Ben Weinman (ex-The Dillinger Escape Plan), Dana Schecter (Insect Ark), Sarah Pendleton (ex-SubRosa) and Kim Thayil (Soundgarden) — among others — but across about 90 minutes of fluidity, Graham/IIVII soundtracks two narratives through alternatingly vast and crushing drone. The latter work is actually an adaptation from a short sci-fi film about, yes, humanity losing its ability to sleep — I feel you on that one — but the former, which tells a kind of meth-fueled story of love and death, brings due chaos and heft to go with its massive synthesized scope. Josh Graham wants to score your movie. You should let him. And you should pay him well. And you should let him design the poster. And you should pay him well for that too. End of story.

IIVII on Thee Facebooks

Consouling Sounds store

 

Coogans Bluff, Metronopolis

coogans bluff metronopolis

Following the initial sax-laden prog-rock burst and chase that is opener “Gadfly,” Berlin’s Coogans Bluff bring a ’70s pastoralia to “Sincerely Yours,” and that atmosphere ends up staying with Metronopolis — their fifth album — for the duration, no matter where else they might steer the sound. And they do steer the sound. Sax returns (as it will) in the jabbing “Zephyr,” a manic shred taking hold in the second half accompanied by no-less-manic bass, and “Creature of the Light” reimagines pop rock of the original vinyl era in the image of its own weirdness, undeniably rock but also something more. Organ-inclusive highlight “Soft Focus” doesn’t so much touch on psychedelics as dunk its head under their warm waters, and “The Turn I” brings an almost Beatlesian horn arrangement to fruition ahead of the closer “The Turn II.” But in that finale, and in “Hit and Run,” and way back in “Sincerely Yours,” Coogans Bluff hold that Southern-style in their back pocket as one of several of Metronopolis‘ recurring themes, and it becomes one more element among the many at their disposal.

Coogans Bluff on Thee Facebooks

Noisolution store

 

Rough Spells, Ruins at Midday

rough spells ruins at midday

An underlying current of social commentary comes coated in Rough Spells‘ mysticism on Ruins at Midday, the Toronto unit’s second LP. Recorded by Ian Blurton and presented by Fuzzed and Buzzed and DHU Records, the eight-track LP has, as the lyrics of “Chance Magic” say, “No bad intentions.” Indeed, it seems geared only toward eliciting your participation in its ceremony of classic groove, hooks and melodies, even the mellow “Die Before You Die” presenting an atmosphere that’s heavy but still melodic and accessible. “Grise Fiord” addresses Canada’s history of mistreating its native population, while “Pay Your Dues” pits guitar and vocal harmonics against each other in a shove of proto-metallic energy to rush momentum through side B and into the closing pair of the swaggering “Nothing Left” and the title-track, which is the longest single cut at five minutes, but still keeps its songwriting taut with no time to spare for indulgences. In this, and on several fronts, Ruins at Midday basks in multifaceted righteousness.

Rough Spells on Thee Facebooks

Fuzzed and Buzzed store

DHU Records store

 

Goblinsmoker, A Throne in Haze, A World Ablaze

goblinsmoker a throne in haze a world ablaze

Upside the head extreme sludgeoning! UK trio Goblinsmoker take on the more vicious and brutal end of sludge with the stench of death on A Throne in Haze, A World Ablaze (on Sludgelord Records), calling to mind the weedian punishment of Belzebong and others of their decrepit ilk. Offered as part two of a trilogy, A Throne in Haze, A World Ablaze is comprised of three tracks running a caustic 26 minutes thick enough such that even its faster parts feel slow, a churning volatility coming to the crash of “Smoked in Darkness” at the outset only to grow more menacing in the lurch of centerpiece “Let Them Rot” — which of course shifts into blastbeats later on — and falling apart into noise and echoing residual feedback after the last crashes of “The Forest Mourns” recede. Beautifully disgusting, the release reportedly furthers the story of the Toad King depicted on its cover and for which the band’s prior 2018 EP was named, and so be it. The lyrics, largely indecipherable in screams, are vague enough that if you’re not caught up, you’ll be fine. Except you won’t be fine. You’ll be dead. But it’ll be awesome.

Goblinsmoker on Thee Facebooks

Sludgelord Records on Bandcamp

 

Homecoming, LP01

homecoming lp01

Progressive metal underpins French trio Homecoming‘s aptly-titled first record, LP01, with the guitars of second cut “Rivers of Crystal” leading the way through a meandering quiet part and subsequent rhythmic figure that reminds of later Opeth, though there’s still a strong heavy rock presence in their tones and grooves generally. It’s an interesting combination, and all the more so because I think part of what’s giving off such a metal vibe is the snare sound. You don’t normally think of a snare drum determining that kind of thing, but here we are. Certainly the vocal arrangements between gruff melodies, backing screams and growls, etc., the odd bit of blastbeating here and there, bring it all into line as well — LP01 is very much the kind of album that would title its six-minute instrumental centerpiece “Interlude” — but the intricacy in how the nine-minute “Return” develops and the harmonies that emerge early in closer “Five” tell the tale clearly of Homecoming‘s ambitions as they move forward from this already-ambitious debut.

Homecoming on Thee Facebooks

Homecoming on Bandcamp

 

Lemurian Folk Songs, Logos

lemurian folk songs logos

Tracked in the same sessions as the Budapest outfit’s 2019 album, Ima (review here), it should not come as a major surprise that the six-track/49-minute Logos from Lemurian Folk Songs follows a not entirely dissimilar course, bringing together dream-drift of tones and melodies with subtle but coherent rhythmic motion in a fashion not necessarily revolutionary for heavy psych, but certainly well done and engaging across its tracks. The tones of guitar and bass offer a warmth rivaled only by the echoing vocals on opener/longest cut (immediate points) “Logos,” and the shimmering “Sierra Tejada” and progressively building “Calcination” follow that pattern while adding a drift that is both of heavy psych and outside of it in terms of the character of how it’s played. None of the last three tracks is less than eight minutes long — closer “Firelake” tops nine in a mirror to “Logos” at the outset, but if that’s the band pushing further out I hear, then yes, I want to go along for that trip.

Lemurian Folk Songs on Thee Facebooks

Para Hobo Records on Bandcamp

 

Ritual King, Ritual King

ritual king ritual king

Progressive heavy rockers Ritual King display a striking amount of grace and patience across their Ripple Music-issued self-titled long-player. Tapping modern influences like Elder and bringing their own sense of melodic nuance to the proceedings across a tightly-constructed seven songs and 42 minutes, the three-piece of vocalist/guitarist Jordan Leppitt, bassist Dan Godwin — whose tone is every bit worthy of gotta-hear-it classification — and drummer/backing vocalist Gareth Hodges string together linear movements in “Headspace” and “Dead Roads” that flow one into the next, return at unexpected moments or don’t, and follow a direction not so much to the next chorus but to the next statement the band want to make, whatever that might be. “Restrain” begins with a sweet proggy soundscape and unfolds two verses over a swaying riff, then is gone, where at the outset, “Valleys” offers grandeur the likes of which few bands would dare to embody on their third or fourth records, let alone their first. Easily one of 2020’s best debuts.

Ritual King on Thee Facebooks

Ripple Music on Bandcamp

 

Sunflowers, Endless Voyage

sunflowers endless voyage

You know what? Never mind. You ain’t weird enough for this shit. Nobody’s weird enough for this shit. I have a hard time believing the two souls from Portugal who made it are weird enough for this shit. Think I’m wrong? Think you’re up for it and you’re gonna put on SunflowersEndless Voyage and be like, “oh yeah, turns out mega-extreme krautrock blasted into outer space was my wavelength all along?” Cool. Bandcamp player’s right there. Have at it. I dare you.

Sunflowers on Thee Facebooks

Stolen Body Records store

 

Maya Mountains, Era

maya mountains era

Italian heavy rockers Maya Mountains formed in 2005 and issued their debut album, Hash and Pornography, through Go Down Records in 2008. Era, which follows a narrative about the title-character whose name is given in lead cut “Enrique Dominguez,” who apparently travels through space after being lost in the desert — as one does — and on that basis alone is clearly a more complex offering than its predecessor. As to where Maya Mountains have been all the time in between records — here and there, in other bands, etc. But Era, at 10 tracks and 44 minutes, is the summation of five years of work on their part and its blend of scope and straight-ahead heavy riffing is welcome in its more heads-down moments like “Vibromatic” or in the purposefully weirder finale “El Toro” later on. Something like a second debut for the band after being away for so long, Era at very least marks the beginning of a new one for them, and one hopes it continues in perhaps more productive fashion than the last.

Maya Mountains on Thee Facebooks

Go Down Records store

 

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Häxan: Debut Album Aradia Preorders Start Tomorrow

Posted in Whathaveyou on March 13th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

haxan

The latest pickup for collaboration between Fuzzed and Buzzed Records in Canada and DHU Records in Europe is Häxan, a Toronto-based four-piece whose debut album, Aradia, is set to come out on April 11 with preorders going live, oh, how’s tomorrow sometime in the afternoon sound? That work for you? Good. We’ll roll with that. I haven’t heard the full release, but the track “Baba Yaga” is streaming below and is right on in its balance between raw classic doom and cultish-style melody. The album was produced by Alia O’Brien of Blood Ceremony, and of course Häxan complete the trilogy of artists whose releases will have been backed by Fuzzed and Buzzed after appearing on the label’s ambitious 7″ compilation The Altar Box — the other two being Astral Witch and Rough Spells. Clearly working on a theme.

Three different versions of the record being pressed. Dare you to collect ’em all:

haxan aradia

Fuzzed and Buzzed & DHU present Aradia the debut album by hex groovers Häxan

Heavy groove hexers Häxan release their debut album Aradia on Fuzzed and Buzzed Records in North America and DHU in Europe.

Produced by the high goddess of heavy enchantment Alia O’Brien from Blood Ceremony, Aradia is the grooviest hipshakinest story of a Tuscan witch ever committed to wax.

That wax comes in three different colorways including the Band edition, the DHU edition and the Fuzzed and Buzzed edition.

Pre-orders will be on Mar 14 at Noon EST and 5pm CEST from fuzzedandbuzzed.com in North America and darkhedonisticunionrecords.bigcartel.com in Europe or straight from the band haxanto.bandcamp.com/ who will release Aradia digitally that same day.

Aradia will officially drop on wax on April 11 with a celebratory party that includes special guests epic dume metallers Smoulder (https://smoulder.bandcamp.com/) celebrating the release of their latest EP Dream Quest Ends and beats & riffs party doomers NLP (https://nlpmusic.bandcamp.com/).

Party details can be found here: https://www.facebook.com/events/monarch-tavern/aradia-record-release-h%C3%A4xan-smoulder-nlp/622294925225623/

Häxan are:
Kayley Bomben – Vocals
Paul Colosimo – Lead guitar
Eric Brauer – Bass
Paul Ciuk – Drums

https://www.facebook.com/Haxantoronto/
https://www.instagram.com/haxanto/
https://haxanto.bandcamp.com/
https://www.facebook.com/Fuzzedandbuzzed-631019733954614/
https://www.instagram.com/fuzzedandbuzzed/
https://www.fuzzedandbuzzed.com/
https://www.facebook.com/DHURecords/
https://www.instagram.com/dhu_records/
https://darkhedonisticunionrecords.bandcamp.com/
darkhedonisticunionrecords.bigcartel.com/

Häxan, “Baba Yaga”

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Woodhawk Announce Full Canadian Touring in March/April

Posted in Whathaveyou on March 2nd, 2020 by JJ Koczan

woodhawk

When you’re doing it right, you put out a record, then you tour. Sometimes you tour first. That’s cool too, so long as you tour again later. Point is, if you’re going to be the kind of band who tours, you frickin’ get up and you tour.

That’s what Woodhawk are doing and while I’m running my mouth in generalizations, I’ll say that I have no idea why more bands don’t tour Canada. Yes, Woodhawk are from Calgary, so its home turf, but why the hell aren’t more acts from the US hitting Sudbury? Or Winnipeg? Or Saskatoon? I see lists of shows from bands in the States and they play the same room three times in a year? Why not go see someplace new? Meet new people? Who maybe haven’t already seen you three times? Go tour Canada, is what I’m saying. Whether you’re Canadian or not. And hell’s bells, tour Mexico too.

Woodhawk head out supporting later-2019’s Violent Nature (review here) beginning March 26. Dates follow here, courtesy of the PR wire:

woodhawk canadian tour

Riff Wizards WOODHAWK Announce “Violent Nature Canadian Tour”

New Album “Violent Nature” Out Now

Calgary’s riff wizards Woodhawk announce they will be trekking across Canada once again in support of their latest album “Violent Nature” released this past November. The tour will kick off in Vancouver on March 26th and wrap up in Nelson, BC on May 23rd (dates listed below).

The band comments:

“We’re thrilled to be hitting the road in Canada again. This will be our largest Canadian tour yet, going from coast to coast. Always happy to get to some new places and meet some new people, and return to our favourite places. We were thrilled with how well our latest record ‘Violent Nature’ did in Canada, so it only felt natural to roll into as many cities as possible. See you at the gig!”

Woodhawk – “Violent Nature – Canadian Tour”
March 26 – Vancouver, BC – The Astoria
March 27 – Victoria, BC – Upstairs Cabaret
March 28 – Kelowna, BC – Doc Willoughbys
April 1 – Calgary, AB – Ship and Anchor
April 2 – Lethbridge, AB – The Owl Acoustic Lounge
April 3 – Regina, SK – The German Club
April 4 – Winnipeg, MB – The Handsome Daughter
April 6 – Sudbury, ON – The Asylum
April 7 – Windsor, ON – Phog Lounge
April 8 – Hamilton, ON – The Casbah
April 9 – Toronto, ON – The Monarch
April 10 – Ottawa, ON – House of TARG
April 11 – Montreal, QC – Turbo Haus
April 14 – Quebec City, QC – L’Anti
April 15 – Saint John, NB – Taco Pica
April 16 – Fredericton, NB – The Capital Complex
April 17 – Halifax, NS – Gus’ Pub
April 18 – Moncton, NB – The Caveau
April 20 – Oshawa, ON – TBD
April 21 – Sault Ste Marie, ON – Loplops
April 22 – Thunder Bay, ON – Black Pirates Pub
April 23 – Brandon, MB – The 40
April 24 – Saskatoon, SK – Amigos Cantina
April 25 – Edmonton, AB – The Aviary
May 22 – Invermere, BC – Ullr Bar
May 23 – Nelson, BC – The Royal

WOODHAWK:
Turner Midzain – Vocals, Guitar
Mike Badmington – Bass, Vocals
Kevin Nelson – Drums

http://woodhawkriffs.com/
https://www.facebook.com/WoodhawkRiffs/
https://www.instagram.com/woodhawkriffs/
https://woodhawk.bandcamp.com

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Rough Spells to Release Ruins at Midday LP March 7

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

rough spells

Originally released by the band last year and still up as a name-your-price download on their Bandcamp (see below), the Ian Blurton-recorded debut album from Toronto heavy-’70s-meets-heavy-’10s-style cultish rockers Rough SpellsRuins at Midday, will see vinyl release through Fuzzed and Buzzed Records in cooperation with European imprint DHU Records. You might recall the two labels aligned previously behind the Astral Witch LP, and Rough Spells won’t be their final collaboration either, as Fuzzed and Buzzed informs below its intention to release full-lengths from all the bands included in its The Altar Box 7″ collection, which included Rough SpellsAstral Witch and Häxan in a gorgeously realized ambitious first release for the Canadian label (which they’ve since followed with the more glam-minded The Powder Box). So there’s one more to go, and then who knows.

March 7 is  the exact release date for the vinyl, and there’s a release party with Lousy Riders and Witchrot that is a thing that’s happening, and everyone knows happening things are where it’s at.

Behold:

rough spells ruins at midday

Fuzzed and Buzzed and DHU present Ruins At Midday the debut album by witch ‘n rollers Rough Spells

After the successful release last year of The Altar Box featuring Rough Spells, Häxan and Astral Witch, Fuzzed and Buzzed will be co-releasing with DHU Records in Europe, debut albums by each of these bands.

The first will be the Rough Spells full length LP Ruins At Midday.

Check it out here:
https://roughspells.bandcamp.com/album/ruins-at-midday

Ruins At Midday will be released on March 7 with a celebratory party including special guests Lousy Riders (https://lousyriders.bandcamp.com/) and Witchrot (https://witchrot.bandcamp.com/)

Party details can be found here: https://www.thedrake.ca/events/rough-spells-album-release-party/?date=2020-03-07

Womb doom witch ‘n rollers Rough Spells present a night of occult riffs and ritual delights as they celebrate the release of their debut album Ruins At Midday, a co-release of up and coming local label Fuzzed and Buzzed Records and dark hedonistic European label DHU Records. Joining Rough Spells on their journey to the center of the mystical mind are diabolical local Doom duo Lousy Riders and the seventh best band of all time (narrowly pushing the Beatles out of the top ten) Witchrot. This is an early show, so be there on time to brew the cauldron, take the potion and ready the brooms to fly off into the midnight witching hour.

With a successful EP and a forthcoming hit album, Rough Spells blast out of Toronto by way of Montreal, Vancouver and the Maritimes with a sound best described as Heart fronted by Stevie Nicks.

Already notorious for an Instragram band breakup post that went viral, Witchrot are now set to capture infamy with their killer combo of ethereal vocals, crushing riffs and heavy bottom end dredged up from your local graveyard.

Hailing from Eastern Europe, Lousy Riders are here to drop an Iron Curtain on North America like Black Sabbath’s Iron Man.

https://www.facebook.com/roughspells/
https://www.instagram.com/roughspells/
https://roughspells.bandcamp.com/
https://www.facebook.com/Fuzzedandbuzzed-631019733954614/
https://www.instagram.com/fuzzedandbuzzed/
https://www.fuzzedandbuzzed.com/
https://www.facebook.com/DHURecords/
https://www.instagram.com/dhu_records/
https://darkhedonisticunionrecords.bandcamp.com/
darkhedonisticunionrecords.bigcartel.com/

Rough Spells, Ruins at Midday (2020)

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The Electric Highway 2020: Full Lineup & Pre-Party Announced

Posted in Whathaveyou on February 12th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

the electric highway poster

Last time, when The Electric Highway 2020 called out its preliminary lineup, I decided to roll with calling it the inaugural-ish edition of the Calgary-based festival, as it’s grown out of the 420 Music & Arts Festival of years prior, but still, there’s no question they’re doing it up for the occasion of the new name and presentation. Poster art by none other than David Paul Seymour has been unveiled, Mothership have joined on with Sasquatch, Wo Fat and Duel near the top of a Texas-dominant lineup — Sasquatch being the outlier geographically — and a pre-show has been announced with Seattle’s Year of the Cobra crossing the border to headline. These updates would seem to complete the proceedings as they’ll proceed, but of course April’s still a couple months out and you know, subject to change and all that. Still, it looks like a pretty badass time if you can make it.

Info came down the PR wire:

Festival Line-Up Announced! All Roads Lead To The Electric Highway In Calgary, AB, Canada!

Buckle up for The Electric Highway Festival, two days of killer bands, rad artists and fuzzy vibes April 17 & 18, 2020 at the historic Royal Canadian Legion #1 in downtown Calgary, Alberta, Canada.

The Electric Highway Festival has completed its lineup with the addition of the mighty Mothership from Dallas, Texas. The Supersonic Intergalactic Heavy Rock trio’s goal from the beginning has been to carry on the tradition of the classic rock style of the ’70s, updated and amped up for the modern-day. Mothership have created a unique sound that satisfies like a steaming hot stew of UFO and Iron Maiden, blended with the southern swagger of Molly Hatchet and ZZ Top, paired with a deadly chalice of Black Sabbath. Do not miss this chance to hop on board and join Mothership as they tear across the Universal Cosmos!

The Electric Highway Festival has also added Vancouver’s Empress to the lineup. Both Mothership and Empress will be performing at the festival on Saturday, April 18, 2020. That brings the total number of bands performing during the festival to 22.

The Electric Highway Festival is excited to release its official artwork created by the renowned dark surreal artist David Paul Seymour. David Paul Seymour is an internationally known illustrator based in Minneapolis, MN who has created artwork for Municipal Waste, Conan, Mastodon as well as Shadow Weaver and Wo Fat who are both performing at The Electric Highway Festival in 2020. David Paul Seymour is also a driving force behind The Planet of Doom, an Animated Tale of Metal and Art and the creator of the Kumasan comic series.

The rest of the 2020 lineup brings an electric offering of North American bands featuring headliners Sasquatch and Wo Fat laying down their brand of fuzzy, kick-ass Desert Rock & Heavy Psych. Duel from Austin, Texas will be playing Canada for the 1st time at The Electric Highway Festival along with Hippie Death Cult & LáGoon both from Portland, Oregon. Festival favorites La Chinga return from Vancouver for their 4th appearance and Calgary’s Gone Cosmic & Buzzard from Victoria, BC are just a few more of the wicked bands that will be playing on two stages over the two days of The Electric Highway Festival, the full lineup below.

The Electric Highway Official Lineup:
Sasquatch (Los Angeles, CA)
Wo Fat (Dallas, TX)
Mothership (Dallas, TX)
Duel (Austin, TX)
La Chinga (Vancouver, BC)
Gone Cosmic (Calgary, AB)
Hippie Death Cult (Portland, OR)
LáGoon (Portland, OR)
Buzzard (Victoria, BC)
Chunkasaurus (Victoria, BC)
Bazaraba (Calgary, AB)
Shadow Weaver (Calgary, AB)
Father Moon (Calgary, AB)
Set & Stoned (Crossfield, AB)
Row of Giants (Calgary, AB)
Hemptress (Kamloops, BC)
Pink Cocoon (Montreal, QC)
The Sleeping Legion (Winnipeg, MB)
The Basement Paintings (Saskatoon, SK)
Empress (Vancouver, BC)
Locutus (Calgary, AB)
The Worst (Calgary, AB)

The Electric Highway Festival is also getting the whole thing started with a Kick-Off Party on Thursday, April 16th, 2020 at The Palomino Smokehouse & Social Club. This killer line up features Seattle powerhouse psychedelic doom duo Year of the Cobra as they return to Calgary. They will be joined by Calgary’s Bloated Pig, Outlaws of Ravenhurst, and newcomers Falcotron along with Red Deer’s Smoothsayer.

2 Day Festival Pass holders can pick up their wristbands a day early at The Electric Highway Festival Kick-Off Party. This event will be free for festival pass holders or $13 at the door for non-pass holders. (Space is limited so make sure to get their early!) Pre-order merch sales will also be available for pick up at this event too. Beat the lineup and come for some bands, beer & BBQ at the Pal!

The Electric Highway 2020 —> www.facebook.com/events/1346173098884903/
The Electric Highway Kickoff Party—> www.facebook.com/events/809469542830729/
The Electric Highway Pinball Tournament —> www.facebook.com/events/2408742202725992/
The Electric Highway Arts Expo & Market —> www.facebook.com/events/476224713238363/

“All Roads Lead to the Electric Highway”

www.facebook.com/ElectricHighwayFestival/
www.instagram.com/TheElectricHighway
www.TheElectricHighway.ca

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Pale Mare Premiere “Voidgazer” from II EP out April 3; Announce Live Dates

Posted in audiObelisk on February 11th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

pale mare

The first time you put on the new single from Pale Mare, it becomes obvious why they chose to name it as they did. Not much else to call such a thing other than “Voidgazer,” which is the title they gave it. The track is shorter by two full minutes than the next shortest of its three compatriot inclusions on the Toronto-based trio’s new EP, Pale Mare II — out April 3 through Seeing Red Records (world) and Ancient Temple Recordings (Canada) — and after the initial charge of “House of War” and the gallop-over-your-head groove in “Zealot,” the intensity and focus on impact feels nothing if not earned. Intensity is the fuel that Pale Mare seem to be huffing, but their pummel isn’t just down to tonal weight and speedy riffs, though as “Zealot” winds its way through its apex, they offer plenty of both. Instead, across the 27-minute EP, Pale Mare cast forth a pummel that harnesses High on Fire-style drive without aping Matt Pike‘s style of guitar playing and calls to mind earlier-Neurosis‘ intertwining vocal patterns without being really at all post-metallic. And not for nothing, but I was listening to a track off the new Sepultura record the other day on a whim and “House of War” kind of feels like there’s a little bit of that going on as well.

But this metallic amalgam has been duly internalized by the trio of guitarist/vocalist Eytan Gordon, drummer/vocalist Kevin Richards and bassist James Tulloch to a degree of surprising individualism. The elements are familiar pale mare iienough, as one might tell from above, and “Voidgazer” has its spoken sample and nine-minute finale “Remains” has its EP-unto-itself vibe and maybe-you’re-imagining-it wisp of a keyboard line worked into its fading guitar finish, but amid the immediate onslaught and the subsequent unfolding across such a compact offering, Pale Mare find footing on ground that’s their own as much as it’s grown up from underlying roots of heavy metal and noise. It is, in its execution, neither and both of these things, and it’s sludge and not sludge, but most importantly, it’s performed with the self-assurance of a band who know that what they’re doing is what they want to be doing. I wouldn’t call it poised, if only because it’s so brash in style that the word doesn’t seem to fit, but in terms of aesthetic, there doesn’t seem to be any doubt on the part of Pale Mare that they’re able to make their songs go where they want, and thus, able to make their audience go where they want. A flash of melody in the guitar during the second half of “House of War” — shh, don’t tell anyone — speaks of more complexity to come, but Pale Mare II already brings plenty to bear, without compromising aggression to do it.

Further, the tendency is to think of a band’s early EPs as preludes to full-length albums — because usually they are — but the form suits Pale Mare remarkably well and gives Pale Mare II an almost punkish edge. I’m not sure they’d be well served by having a bunch of filler or trying to play to a sense of breadth in the way an LP might require, since part of what makes these songs work so well is the upfront manner in which they’re presented, but of course there’s no real way to tell what the three-piece would do with a longer-form record until they do it. Presumably they’ll get there in time, and if they handle that task with the same formidable sense of presence they bring to Pale Mare II, they’ll be fine either way. Anything in their destructive path, however, might not be able to say the same.

Pale Mare have newly announced a stretch of live dates alongside Mother Iron Horse. You’ll find those below, following the premiere of “Voidgazer,” which it’s my pleasure to host ahead of the EP’s April 3 arrival.

Please enjoy:

Pale Mare was born out of the desire to play music that is loud, aggressive and full of thick groovy riffs. They released their self-titled EP in November of 2017 through Medusa Crush Records which was met with high praise.

Having provided Canadian support for touring artists such as Eyehategod, Corrosion of Conformity, Windhand, Satan’s Satyrs, Mutoid Man, Weedeater, Serial Hawk, Black Wizard, King Buffalo, Set and Setting and even Perturbator – Pale Mare have established themselves in their home town of Toronto as a massive force to be reckoned with. Their sound has been likened by some in the same sonic territory as early Baroness, High On Fire, Mastodon and Black Tusk; full of fire, attitude, brimstone, tone and soul – and with a new EP (mixed by Andrew Schnieder, Mastered by Brad Boatwright) ready to be unleashed, Pale Mare prepare to take their sound to the masses full guns ablaze.

Recorded at Locust Ridge studios outside of Kitchener, Ontario.

Mixed by Andrew Schnieder (Converge, Mutoid Man, Ken Mode, Old Man Gloom)
(http://andrewschneideraudio.com/what)

Mastered by Brad Boatright (Sleep, COC, Yob)
(http://audiosiege.com/About/engineers.html)

Inspired by the track “Voidgazer” the EP is completed with jawdroppingly dark and twisted artwork by Toronto based tattoo artist Arthur Mills.

Tracklisting:
1. House of War
2. Zealot
3. Voidgazer
4. Remains

PALE MARE live (April 10-16 w/ Mother Iron Horse):
Friday April 10th: Brooklyn, NY: Gold Sounds
Saturday April 11th: Pittsburgh, PA: Gooski’s:
Monday April 13th: Wichita, KS: TBA
Tuesday April 14th: Denver, CO: Seventh Circle
Wednesday April 15th: Colorado Springs, CO: The Nickle
Thursday April 16th: Las Vegas, NV: TBA
Friday April 17th: Phoenix, AZ: YUCCA TAPROOM
Saturday April 18th: Psycho Smokeout 2020: Catch one: Los Angeles, CA
Sunday April 19th: San Fran, CA: The Knockout
Monday April 20th: Portland, IR: High Water Mark
Tuesday April 21st: SEATTLE, WA: The Funhouse

Pale Mare is:
Eytan Gordon – guitar/vocals
James Tulloch – bass
Kevin Richards – drums/vocals

Pale Mare on Thee Facebooks

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Seeing Red Records on Instagram

Seeing Red Records on Bandcamp

Seeing Red Records website

Ancient Temple Recordings on Thee Facebooks

Ancient Temple Recordings BigCartel store

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The Hazytones Premiere “The Hand that Feeds” Video

Posted in Bootleg Theater on February 6th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

the hazytones

Just as the skeletal hand grabs the giant floating joint and the bigger riff kicks in and the nuclear bomb goes off, that’s probably when the new video from Montreal four-piece The Hazytones most gets its message across. The song “The Hand that Feeds” is taken from 2018’s II: Monarchs of Oblivion (review here) on Ripple Music and is a fitting showcase of the band’s druggy garage doom style, thicker in its riffing than some and not as lumbering as others, but able to go where it wants when it, you know, decides it’s time to move. But maybe it’ll just kind of sit around for a while instead, man. Anyway, what’s your rush?

Shenanigans ensue in the video, and hey, that’s awesome. I’m a big fan of shenanigans, and stonerly charm as presented in things like dimensional portals, skeletons, green-screen desert backgrounds, nuclear bombs and giant floating doobers is nearly always welcome as far as I’m concerned, but it doesn’t manage to outshine the hook of “The Hand that Feeds” itself, and the ability to write songs so catchy is one of The Hazytones‘ most powerful assets. They’ve been through some lineup changes along the way around guitarist/vocalist Mick Martel, but as they look to embark on a tour of Europe that includes an already-announced stop at Desertfest London — it’ll be their first time in the UK — that’s no doubt an experience that will only serve to further hone what they do in terms of style and structure.

Those dates are forthcoming, but y0u can see the premiere of “The Hand that Feeds” on the player below, followed by some more background from the PR wire, and the Bandcamp stream of the album just for the hell of it.

Please enjoy:

The Hazytones, “The Hand that Feeds” official video premiere

Ripple protégés THE HAZYTONES (psychedelic rock / MTL) deliver their trip-inducing new video “The Hand That Feeds.” The song is taken from their latest 2018 album ‘Monarchs of Oblivion’.

Formed in 2015, The Hazytones’ shadowy sound is the epitome of a “hazy tone”. The band’s black acid-drenched shock rock drips with harmonies that harken back to the trippiest of late 60’s psych and its chained-to-the brain hooks bleed with a palpable, eerie energy that surges and swings in equal measure. Live is where the band really finds its swagger, flinging themselves around the stage and converting new disciples with each and every performance. With full European and North American tours already under their belts, The Hazytones are a developing band on the rise, who delivered a sweeping salvo with the release of their substantial sophomore LP, II: Monarchs of Oblivion.

The band will announce their European tour very soon!

The Hazytones are:
Mick Martel
Gabriel Prieur
Ben Dennis
John Choffel

The Hazytones, II: Monarchs of Oblivion (2018)

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The Hazytones on Instagram

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Seven Nines and Tens Sign to Willowtip; Over Opiated in a Forest of Whispering Speakers Coming Soon

Posted in Whathaveyou on February 3rd, 2020 by JJ Koczan

Safe to say Seven Nines and Tens are about to shake hands with an entirely new audience. The Vancouver-based post-whatever-you-got anti-genre purveyors have inked a deal to release their cumbersomely-titled third full-length — deep breath in — Over Opiated in a Forest of Whispering Speakers, through Western Pennsylvania imprint Willowtip Records, who are more known for doling out grind and various other forms of extreme metal than heavy or experimentalist rock, but have always had an ear for the forward-thinking. Certainly that tag would apply to Seven Nines and Tens, at least as much as any.

And their music does tend toward extremes, if not blastbeats, in its sonic pursuit. To-date five tracks are recorded and there are two more to put down, and as it’s the band’s first record in four years since Set the Controls for the Heart of the Slums (review here), they seem to be justifiably looking forward to getting it out.

So okay, interesting band signs to interesting label. Why should you be interested? Because I’ve heard the five tracks that are recorded. I recognize that different people like different things, but the basic fact of the matter is if I didn’t think Over Opiated in a Forest of Whispering Speakers was worth my time writing about and worth your time reading about, I wouldn’t be writing about it. That’s the best I’ve got, and since we’re likely a ways away from the record coming out — as it’s not technically done and all — it’s probably best if I reserve further comment, lest I spoil the Boris-style tonal glories or fleet, purposeful stylistic maneuvers too soon.

More to come. Here’s what the band has to say at this point:

Seven Nines and Tens

Seven Nines & Tens’ third record “Over Opiated in a Forest of Whispering Speakers” will be released on vinyl by Willowtip records in 2020, date tba. Over Opiated is produced by vocalist/guitarist Dave Cotton along with Adam Vee, and Matt Roach. It was recorded at Raincity Recorders in the band’s home of Vancouver. The album artwork was created by award-winning African designer Ahmed Emad Eldin. Emad Eldin designed the artwork for Pink Floyd’s final album “The Endless River” as well. We are currently recording two more songs to add to the album before it’s pressed on vinyl. These two new songs would’ve been on our fourth record, so you can hear the future now.

“We spent about a year recording the songs and doing pre-production at our rehearsal space in North Vancouver leading up to going into the studio,” says Dave Cotton. “When we finally recorded the songs in the actual studio there was a definite air of excitement. Myself and the guys had never been that immersed in pre-producing an album before and it seemed to add to the overall quality of the finished product. We are excited to a join Willowtip’s legendary roster and for them to take a bit of a stylistic risk with our music. 13 years into my career of writing music for Seven Nines & Tens, I feel like I’ve only scratched the surface of what we are going to accomplish.”

The album is the follow up to 2016’s “Set the Controls for the Heart of the Slums.” https://sevenninesandtens.bandcamp.com/album/set-the-controls-for-the-heart-of-the-slums-2

Seven Nines & Tens released a career spanning boxset “Satisfy the Faction’ at the very end of 2018 as well. https://coupsurcoup.bandcamp.com/album/satisfy-the-faction

http://www.facebook.com/sevenninesandtens
https://sevenninesandtens.bandcamp.com/
http://www.sevenninesandtens.com/
http://www.facebook.com/willowtip
https://willowtip.bandcamp.com/
http://www.willowtip.com/

Seven Nines and Tens, Set the Controls for the Heart of the Slums (2017)

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