Quarterly Review: Boris, DVNE, Hydra, Jason Simon, Cherry Choke, Pariiah, Saavik, Mountain Tamer, Centre El Muusa, Population II

Posted in Reviews on December 21st, 2020 by JJ Koczan

THE-OBELISK-FALL-2020-QUARTERLY-REVIEW

Kind of a spur of the moment thing, this Quarterly Review. I’ve been adding releases all the while, of course, but my thought was to do this after my year-end list went up, and I realized, hey, if I’ve got like 70 records I haven’t reviewed yet, maybe there’s some of that stuff worth considering. So here we are. I’ve pushed back my best-of-2020 stuff and basically swapped it with the Quarterly Review. Does it matter to you? I seriously, seriously doubt it, but I believe in transparency and that’s what’s up. Thought I’d let you know. And yeah, this is going to go into next week, take us through the X-mas holiday this Friday, so whatever. You celebrate your way and I’ll celebrate mine. Let’s roll.

Quarterly Review #1-10:

Boris, No

boris no

As a general project, reviewing Investment Business Plan Template Service. 13 likes. Buy Thesis Online is one of the dissertation writing services that really cares about customers and their college paper. Boris is damn near pointless. One might as well review the moon: “uh, it’s big and out there most of the time?” The only reason to do it is either to exercise one’s own need to hyperbolize or help the band sell records. Well, Work with the visit for Perfect Results. Our PhD writing team is the greatest advantage we have over other dissertation services. We handpicked the best writers with doctoral degrees, and we only assign them to orders that fall under their expertise. When you choose our dissertation writing service, youíll work with an expert who has successfully gone through the same Boris doesn’t need my push and I don’t need to tell them how great they are. Non-Stop affordable dissertation writing service by dedicated experienced dissertation writers. For dissertation help buy Essay On Deforestation online. No is 40 minutes of the widely and wildly lauded Japanese heavy rock(s) experimentalists trying to riff away existing in 2020, delving high speed into hardcore here and there and playing off that with grueling sludge, punk, garage-metal and the penultimate “Loveless,” which is kind of Graphic Organizers For Argumentative Essays Astronomy Essays - Title Ebooks : Astronomy Essays - Category : Kindle and eBooks PDF - Author : ~ unidentified - ISBN785458 - File Type Boris being their own genre. Much respect to the band, and I suppose one might critique Plagiarism-Free Research look at this site with 100% Moneyback Guarantee. We have an exclusive way to check the uniqueness of your research paper. When an assignment is completed, it undergoes a thorough plagiarism check using our own plagiarism scanning software. Only when it passes the plagiarism check will your work be sent to you. You receive only the best quality plagiarism-free Boris for, what?, being so math term papers Best College Application Essay Ever Read ways to end a essay 2013 college application essay writing Boris-y?, but there really isn’t a ton that hasn’t been said about them because such a ton has. I’m not trying to disparage their work at all — Search results for: read review dictionary. Click here for more information! No is just what you’d expect as regards defying expectation — but after 20-plus years, there’s only so many ways one wants to call a band genius.

Boris on Thee Facebooks

Boris on Bandcamp

 

DVNE, Omega Severer

DVNE Omega Severer

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DVNE on Thee Facebooks

Metal Blade Records website

 

Hydra, From Light to the Abyss

hydra from light to the abyss

There’s no questioning where Hydra‘s heart is at on their debut full-length, From Light to the Abyss. It belongs to the devil and it belongs to Black Sabbath. The Polish four-piece riff hard and straightforward throughout most of the five-track offering (released by Piranha Music), and samples set the kind of atmosphere that should be familiar enough to the converted — “No One Loves Like Satan” reminds of Uncle Acid in its initial channel-changing and swaggering riff alike — but doomly centerpiece “Creatures of the Woods” and the layered vocal melodies late in closer “Magical Mind” perhaps offer a glimpse at the direction the band could take from here. What matters though is where Hydra are at today, and that’s bringing riffs and nod to the converted among the masses, and From Light to the Abyss offers no pretense otherwise. It is doom rock for doom rockers, grooves to be grooved to. They’re not void of ambition by any means — their songwriting makes that clear — but their traditionalism is sleeve-worn, which if you’re going to have it, is right where it should be.

Hydra on Thee Facebooks

Piranha Music on Bandcamp

 

Jason Simon, A Venerable Wreck

jason simon a venerable wreck

Dead Meadow guitarist/vocalist Jason Simon follows 2016’s¬†Familiar Haunts¬†(review here) with the genre-spanning A Venerable Wreck, finding folk roots in obscure beats and backwards this-and-that, country in fuzz, ramble in space, and no shortage of experimentalism besides. A Venerable Wreck consists of 12 songs and though there are times where it can feel disjointed, that becomes part of the ride. It’s not all supposed to make sense. Yet what happens by the time you get around to “No Entrance No Exit” is that Simon (and a host of cohorts) has set his own context broad enough so that the drone reach of “Hollow Lands” and sleek, organ-laced indie of closer “Without Reason or Right” can coexist without any real interruption of flow between them. The question with A Venerable Wreck isn’t so much whether the substance is there, it’s whether the listener is open to it. Welcome to psychedelic America. Please inject this snake venom and turn in your keys when you leave.

Jason Simon on Bandcamp

BYM Records website

 

Cherry Choke, Raising Salzburg Rockhouse

Cherry Choke-Raising Salzburg Rockhouse-Cover

You won’t hear me take away from the opening psych-scorch hook of “Mindbreaker” or the fuzzed-on, boogie-down, -up, and -sideways of “Black Annis” which follows, but there’s something extra fun about hearing Frog Island’s Cherry Choke jam out a 13-minute, drum-solo-inclusive version of “6ix and 7even” that makes Raising Salzburg Rockhouse even more of a reminder of how underrated both they are as a band and Mat Bethancourt is as a player. Look no further than “Domino” if you want absolute proof. The whole band rips it up at the Austrian gig, which was recorded in 2015 as they supported their third and still-most-recent full-length, Raising the Waters (review here), but Bethancourt puts on a Hendrixian clinic in the nine-minute cut from 2011’s A Night in the Arms of Venus (review here), which is actually less of a clinic than it is pure distorted swagger followed by a mellow “cheers, thanks” before diving into “Used to Call You Friend.” A 38-minute set would be perfect for an vinyl release, and anytime Cherry Choke want to get around to putting together a fourth studio album, well, that’ll be just fine too.

Cherry Choke on Thee Facebooks

Cherry Choke on Bandcamp

 

Pariiah, Swallowed by Fog

Pariiah swallowed by fog

It’s a special breed of aggro that emerges as a result of living in the most densely populated state in the union, and New Jersey’s Pariiah have it to spare. Bringing together sludge tonality with elder-style New York hardcore lumbering riffs on their Trip Machine Laboratories tape, Swallowed by Fog, they exude a thickened brand of pissed off that’s outright going to be too confrontation for many who take it on. But if you want a middle finger to the face, this is what it sounds like, and the six songs (compiled into four on the digital version of the release) come and go entirely without pretense and leave little behind except bruises and the promise of more to come. They’re a new band, started in this most wretched of years, but there’s no learning curve whatsoever among the members of Devoid of Faith, The Nolan Gate, Kill Your Idols, Change√∂rder and others. I’d go to Maplewood to see these cats. I’m just saying. Maybe even Elizabeth.

Pariiah on Bandcamp

Trip Machine Laboratories website

 

Saavik, Saavik

saavik saavik

So you’ve got both members of Holly Hunt in a four-piece sludging out with spacey synth and the band is named after a Star Trek character? Not to get too personal, but that’s going to pique my interest one way or the other. Saavik — and they clearly prefer the Kirstie Alley version, rather than Robin Curtis, going by drummer Beatriz Monteavaro‘s artwork — are damn near playing space rock by the end of “He’s Dead Jim,” the opener of their self-titled debut EP, but even that’s affected by a significant tonal weight in Didi Aragon‘s bass and the guitar of Gavin Perry, however much Ryan Rivas‘ synth and effects-laced vocals might seem to float overhead, but “Meld” rolls along at a steadier nod, and “Horizon” puts the synth more in the lead without becoming any less heavy for doing so. Likewise, “Red Sun” calls to mind Godflesh in its proto-machine metal stomp, but there’s more concern in Saavik‘s sound with expanse than just pure crush, and that shows up in fascinating ways in these songs.

Saavik on Thee Facebooks

Other Electricities on Bandcamp

 

Mountain Tamer, Psychosis Ritual

mountain tamer psychosis ritual

There’s been a dark vibe all along nestled into Mountain Tamer‘s sound, and that’s certainly the case on Psychosis Ritual, with which the Los Angeles-based trio make their debut on Heavy Psych Sounds. It’s their third full-length overall behind 2018’s Godfortune // Dark Matters¬†(review here) and 2016’s self-titled debut (review here), and it finds their untamed-feeling psychedelia rife with that same threat of violence, not necessarily thematically as much as sonically, like the songs themselves are the weapon about to be turned on the listener. Maybe the buzz of “Warlock” or the fuckall echo of the prior-issued single “Death in the Woods” (posted here) aren’t out there trying to be “Hammer Smashed Face” or anything, but neither is this the hey-bruh-good-times heavy jams for which Southern California is known these days. Consider the severity of “Turoc Maximus Antonis” or the finally-released screams in closer “Black Noise,” which bookends¬†Psychosis Ritual¬†with the title-track and seems at last to be the point where whatever grim vibe these guys are riding finally consumes them.¬†Mountain Tamer continue to be unexpected and righteous in kind.

Mountain Tamer on Thee Facebooks

Heavy Psych Sounds on Bandcamp

 

Centre El Muusa, Centre El Muusa

centre el muusa centre el muusa

Hypnotic Estonian psychedelic krautrock instrumentals not your thing? Well that sounds like a personal problem¬†Centre El Muusa are ready to solve. The evolved-from-duo four-piece get spaced out amid the semi-motorik repetitions of their self-titled debut (on¬†Sulatron), and that seems to suit them quite well, thanksabunch. Drone trips and essential swirl brim with solar-powered pulsations and you can set your deflectors on maximum and route all the secondaries to reinforce if you want, there’s still a decent chance 9:53 opener an longest track “Turkeyfish” (immediate points, double for the appropriately absurd title) is going to sweep you off what you used to call your feet when that organ line hits at about six minutes in. That’s to say nothing of the cosmic collision later in “Burning Lawa” or the just-waiting-for-a-Carl-Sagan-voiceover “Mia” that follows. Even the 3:46 “Ain’t Got Enough Mojo” lives long enough to prove itself wrong. Interstellar tape transmissions fostered by obvious weirdos in the great out-there in “Szolnok,” named for a city in Hungary that, among other things, hosts the goulash festival. Right fucking on.

Centre El Muusa on Thee Facebooks

Sulatron Records webstore

 

Population II, √Ä La √Ē Terre

Population II a La o Terre

The first Population II album, a 2017 self-titled, was comprised of two tracks, each long enough to consume a 12″ side. Somehow it’s fitting with the Montreal-based singing-drummer trio’s aesthetic that their second long-player,¬†√Ä la √Ē Terre, would take a completely different tack, employing shorter freakouts like “L’Offrande” and “La Nuit” and the garage-rocking “La Danse” and what-if-JeffersonAirplane-but-on-Canadian-mushrooms “√Ä la Porte de Demain” and still-more-drifting finisher “Je Laisse le Soleil Briller” amid the more stretched out “Attaction,” the space-buzzer “Ce n’est R√©ve” while cutting a middle ground in the greaked-out (I was gonna type “freaked out” and hit a typo and I’m keeping it) “Il eut un Silence dans le Ciel,” which also betrays the jazzy underpinnings that somehow make all of √Ä la √Ē Terre¬†come across as progressive instead of haphazard. From the start to the close, you don’t know what’s coming next, and just because that’s by design doesn’t make it less effective. If anything, it makes¬†Population II¬†all the more impressive.

Population II on Thee Facebooks

Castle Face Records website

 

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The Electric Cool 2015 Announces Lineup: Siena Root, Cult of Dom Keller, Cherry Choke and More to Play

Posted in Whathaveyou on August 2nd, 2015 by JJ Koczan

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The 2015 edition of¬†The Electric Cool¬†festival — otherwise known as¬†ThElectriCool — is set for Oct. 17 at the¬†02 Academy¬†in Leicester, UK. This is the second year of the fest, and along with the returning¬†Cherry Choke, the lineup features headliners¬†Siena Root as well as¬†Roadburn¬†veterans¬†Cult of Dom Keller,¬†as well as¬†Alfa 9 and¬†Electroshock Therapy. It’s a more than solid bill, but that seems like the music is only part of the experience.¬†HeviSike Records¬†will also be on hand with a distro, and there are DJs and vintage clothes around to buy.

Sounds like a psychedelic freakout party? Yeah, I think that’s pretty much the whole idea. Info follows, yoinked off the PR wire:

the electric cool 2015

ThElectriCool – Festival of Psychedelic Rock will be held at 02 Academy, Leicester, UK, October 17th 2015. Organised by promoters ‘The Hidden Museum’ The second edition of The Electric Cool has again curated a fine collection psychedelic rock and sunshine pop groups from across the UK and Europe, including Siena Root, The Cult of Dom Keller, Cherry Choke, Alfa 9 and Elektroshock Therapy.

Also featuring visuals by the Innerstrings Psychedelic Lightshow, Psych Soundz by The Early Remains & DJ Biff!Bang!Pow!, Hevisike Record Store, Vintage Clothing by Yesterday’s Children. The University of Leicester campus venue opens its doors at 5pm. First live act 5:45pm. Curfew 1:00am.

SIENA ROOT came to life in Stockholm in the late 90’s and today are considered as pioneers of an old school Deep Purple influenced psych-prog rock sound. From flaming gongs to sitar solos this amazing live act put on an uncompromising show. Their heavy duty vintage ooze will expand your mind and make your body move to its cosmic caftan wearing sound scape. sienaroot.com

THE CULT OF DOM KELLER Whether melting the minds of an over-capacity packed-out room at the legendary Roadburn Festival in Tilburg, Netherlands, following Walter Roadburn‚Äôs ‚ÄėAlbum of The Day‚Äô feature in February for The Second Bardo or performing at the Austin Psych Fest in the big old US of A. This Nottingham based four piece will blow you away.¬†facebook.com/cultofdomkeller

CHERRY CHOKE have become one of the UK’s finest heavy psych rock groups. The band recorded their third LP ‚ÄúRaising The Waters‚ÄĚ for Elektrohasch Records with Stefan Koglek of Colour Haze at the controls. Live these new tracks take on a life of their own with wigged out jams and heart attack inducing rhythms. cherrychoke.co.uk

ALFA 9 Cosmic sunshine folk-psych masters influenced by late 60’s masters The Byrds and the Paisley Underground bands of early ’80s. Rich harmonies, ringing 12 string guitars and naturally overdriven and fuzz. alfa9.co.uk

ELECTROSHOCK THERAPY Inspired by the counter-culture movement of the late 1960’s, and with a sound akin to the West Coast bands of the day, you could easily be mistaken into believing that an intense acid trip had sent them deep into the space‚Äďtime continuum, before dumping them on earth, nearly half a century into the future. electroshocktherapy.bandcamp.com

http://www.ticketweb.co.uk/event/the-electricool-festival-of-psychedelic-rock-tickets/150941
https://www.facebook.com/ThElectriCool
https://www.facebook.com/events/379944478855546/

Cherry Choke, Live at ThElectriCool 2014

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Cherry Choke, Raising the Waters: Hypnotized with Flesh and Bone

Posted in Reviews on May 11th, 2015 by JJ Koczan

cherry choke raising the waters

It’s been a fascinating journey Mat Bethancourt has undertaken for the last half-decade or so. Since putting underrated fuzz rock trio Josiah to rest in 2009 with Procession (review here), a collection of unreleased and live tracks, the Leicester-based guitarist/vocalist has spent time in Dexter Jones’ Circus Orchestra, been in and out of The Kings of Frog Island and founded and released two, now three, albums with Cherry Choke, all operating under different parameters within the umbrella of heavy rock and psychedelia. With The Kings of Frog Island, Bethancourt explored a fuzzed-out expanse on the first two records and then stripped down the methods for his final album with them, 2010’s III (review here), his songwriting not comprising the whole core of their sound — as subsequent Kings outings would prove — but having a significant impact on it all the same. That more garage rock style would seem to be foundation on which Cherry Choke was based. On Elektrohasch, the trio released their self-titled debut (review here) in 2009 and followed it relatively quickly with A Night in the Arms of Venus (review here) in 2011, the second album expanding on the ideas of the first but keeping the elemental feel intact. Four years later, Cherry Choke offer Raising the Waters, their third full-length on Elektrohasch, recorded and mixed analog with label head and Colour Haze guitarist/vocalist Stefan Koglek at his Colour Haze Studio (Koglek also adds some vocals and 12-string acoustic), which brings together Bethancourt and drummer Daniel Lockton with bassist/vocalist Simon Beasley, formerly of — wait for it — Josiah.

So yes, more than half a decade and numerous twists and turns of sound and cohort later, Cherry Choke brings together a two-thirds reunion of Josiah on their third album, but they’re doing precious little across the 10-track/50-minute outing to recapture former glories, and instead, Cherry Choke‘s Raising the Waters pursues a blend of classic, laid-back heavy rock songwriting and psychedelic exploration, beginning with the seven-minute “Rage On,” which presents with its first lines one of the record’s landmark and defining hooks, “You move like Lucifer on the floor/Hypnotize me with your flesh and bone,” around which the three-piece builds a psychedelic roll that proves immediately immersive, Bethancourt‘s well-established penchant for layering wah leads and nodding rhythm tracks met by Lockton‘s swinging groove and Beasley‘s warm-toned low-end. The opener is a fitting summary of what the album as a whole has to offer, and there’s no shortage of vibe throughout the rest of side A, but as the hooks of the speedier,¬†Monster Magnet-esque “Mindbreaker,” the preaching “Black Aniss” and the jamming-but-still-chorus-driven “Used to Call You Friend” play out, it’s easy to lose touch with the more psychedelic aspects presented in “Rage On,” perhaps even more so since the aforementioned “You move like Lucifer…” line is given a reprise on “Hypnotize Me,” but the second half of the tracklist brings this further into focus, making Raising the Waters not just a step forward in the aesthetic presented on the first two Cherry Choke outings, but a grander leap into a pool of tone that more than lives up to the goal a title like “Hypnotize Me” sets forth. With guest sitar from Mario Oberpuncher — who also mastered with Koglek — and Hammond M3 and Fender Rhodes by Martin Bischof, the back end of Raising the Waters¬†fulfills in short order the atmospheres that “Rage On” seems to promise, still in league with the memorable songwriting of “Mindbreaker” and “Black Aniss,” but pushing throughout the rolling “6ix and 7even,” the grounded “My Mind to Lose” and acoustic-led “Discarded Hearts” into a bliss of their own making.

cherry choke

That’s not to say the earlier tracks aren’t likewise tripped out or that¬†Raising the Waters¬†plays out like two records in one. There’s a flow between the album’s two halves and the creativity across both is open to be sure, it’s just a question of structure, and what turns out to be side B on the vinyl is clearly intended to expand on the ideas of side A, bringing about a bold, unexpected sonic foray into Euro-style heavy psych that, by the time “Discarded Hearts” is over, has offered as much emotional as aural breadth. “Where the Sun Rises” is an instrumental highlight as deep and lush in sound as one might ask, and “6ix and 7even” picks up that psychedelic thread and adds — Hammond! — yes, the Hammond, but also the fervent rhythmic push of “Mindbreaker” and “Rage On”‘s clever structuring, and while “My Mind to Lose” has a back-to-earth-again effect for the clarity of its chorus, it still spreads wide across a back-half lead section that recalls the best of¬†Bethancourt‘s work with¬†The Kings of Frog Island. A tone wash emerges to carry “Discarded Hearts” into a moment of silence, from which “Where the Sun Sets” picks up as the album’s closer and, entirely backwards, provides a mirror to “Where the Sun Rises” in much the same way “Hypnotize Me” answered back “Rage On” on side A. It’s a dreamy, droning kind of finish a long way from the already-stuck-in-your-head “Rage On,” but fitting somehow for the progression that¬†Cherry Choke¬†have undertaken across¬†Raising the Waters, as¬†Bethancourt,¬†Beasley and¬†Lockton¬†take the band to ground new and familiar and forge a character sound-wise that’s neither one thing nor the other, but encompassing with songwriting that remains graceful in the expanse. It’s a delicate balance to strike, but¬†Cherry Choke¬†make it seem easy and manage to stay afloat no matter how high the waters rise.

Cherry Choke, Raising the Waters (2015)

Cherry Choke on Thee Facebooks

Cherry Choke on Bandcamp

Elektrohasch Schallplatten

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Tomorrow’s Dream 2015: 90 of the Year’s Most Anticipated Releases

Posted in Features on January 21st, 2015 by JJ Koczan

This is the longest list of anything I’ve ever done, and it might be the longest I ever do. The truth is, when I started keeping track of things coming out in 2015, back around October/November, I had no idea what I was getting into. More and more names just kept getting added to the list, and between solid release dates, bands entering the studio, writing sessions underway and the usual round of vague “they’re due”-type speculation, it kept growing. Even now, I’m quite sure that by the time I’m finished with this, I’ll add something else, and 90¬†will become 91, and then someone will point out something glaring I forgot and 91 will become 92, and so on.

I don’t think I could reasonably expect anyone to read 90¬†complete entries, so I’ve broken it down somewhat. There are 52 weeks in a year, so my thinking is that if you buy one record per week, I’ve got recommendations to carry through till December (with the acknowledgement that we’re already a couple weeks into 2015) and then more beyond that. Even asking you to skim 52 entries is a lot, but hell, we’ve got 12 months until 2016, so there’s plenty of time. We’ll do 52 entries and then list the others, both alphabetically.

Thank you in advance for reading.

1. Acid King, Middle of Nowhere, Center of Everywhere

Acid King Middle of Nowhere, Center of Everywhere

If this was my year-end list instead of my year-start list,¬†Acid King‘s¬†Middle of Nowhere, Center of Everywhere¬†would be my album of the year. Best album of 2015 about 20 days into it? Maybe. The Oakland trio’s first outing in nearly a decade is a joy of languid riffing and heavy spaceout, songs like “Coming down from Outer Space” and “Center of Everywhere” reminding of just what it is we’ve been missing about¬†Acid King¬†all these years. They’ve continued to play live all that time, of course, and¬†Middle of Nowhere, Center of Everywhere, which is due April 14 on¬†Svart, plainly demonstrates that they’ve lost none of the potency for years absent from studio work. More to come.¬†Acid King on Thee Facebooks, Svart Records.

2. All Them Witches, TBA

all them witches tba

The¬†Nashville four-piece blew up following the 2013 digital release of their second album,¬†Lightning at the Door, which saw a physical pressing last year (review here), and with a growing public at their heels and a salivating underground press anxious to hear what they come up with next,¬†All Them Witches¬†hit the studio this month to put together their third full-length. They’re on tour in Feb., and it seems reasonable to expect they’ll be trying out new material on the road, but as free-flowing as¬†Lightning at the Door¬†was, it’s hard not to consider the follow-up one of 2015’s most anticipated records, whenever it arrives and whatever shape(s) it takes.¬†All Them Witches on Thee Facebooks, official website.

3. Anthroprophh, U.F.O.

UFO Vinyl Sleeve.qxp

Guitarist/vocalist¬†Paul Allen, formerly¬†of¬†The Heads,¬†teamed up with Jesse Webb and Gareth Turner of the duo¬†Big Naturals¬†as his rhythm section for 2014’s¬†Outside the Circle¬†(review here), and for his new release under the¬†Anthroprophh¬†moniker for¬†Cardinal Fuzz,¬†Allen¬†centers around different U.F.O. abduction reports from the UK between 1954 and 1978, each of the eight tracks taking its name from the date and location of a reported incident. Sound fucking awesome? Yeah, I agree. Expect raw psychedelic experimentation, heavy swing and interpretive instrumentalism galore on the two-sided release when it gets declassified on Feb. 2, pressed in an edition of 500 copies.¬†Anthroprophh on Thee Facebooks, Cardinal Fuzz.

4. Arenna, TBA

arenna cover

Spanish heavy psych outfit Arenna will release the follow-up to their 2011 Nasoni Records debut, Beats of Olarizu (review here), and they just this week posted the 10-minute opener “Butes” from their sophomore outing (listen here). The first album earned them a hearty following, and it’s been four years since it came out, but somehow I doubt¬†Arenna¬†will have much trouble picking up where they left off in their wide-open, jam-heavy sound. They mark a decade together in 2015, and they seem to just be getting started, so I’m particularly interested to learn how the European heavy underground takes to their second LP, which is due to be mastered next month and released sometime thereafter.¬†Arenna on Thee Facebooks, on Bandcamp.

5. The Atomic Bitchwax, Gravitron

the atomic bitchwax

New¬†Bitchwax? Sold. The stalwart New Jersey three-piece — now featuring¬†two¬†members of¬†Monster Magnet¬†— will release¬†Gravitron¬†on April 21 via¬†Tee Pee Records, just in time to make a stop a few days later at¬†Desertfest¬†London 2015. They toured Europe last summer as well, and I think the fact that they’ll be over that way when they put¬†Gravitron¬†out speaks volumes to their priorities at this point, but who can blame them? Perpetually underappreciated in the US, they’ll follow-up 2011’s¬†The Local Fuzz¬†(review here) in grand form at¬†Desertfest¬†(they play Berlin as well), finally getting their due even if they have to get on a plane to get it.¬†The Atomic Bitchwax on Thee Facebooks, Tee Pee Records.

6. Black Cobra, TBA

black-cobra

Hints were dropped back in November that raging two-piece¬†Black Cobra¬†were working on material for a new album. Whenever it arrives, this year or next, it will be their sixth and first since 2011’s¬†Invernal¬†(review here), which I don’t think I’m alone in counting as their finest moment to-date. They’ll also be at¬†Desertfest¬†for a return appearance, and wherever they go, devastation follows. They posted this week that their tour van has passed the 300,000-mile mark, which is emblematic of the workout they’ve given it over the last decade-plus, and I’d expect no slowdown, tempo¬†or itinerary-wise, from them in 2015, regular oil changes notwithstanding.¬†Black Cobra on Thee Facebooks, Southern Lord Recordings.

7. Black Rainbows, Hawkdope

black rainbows hawkdope

There are 90-someodd bands included in this feature, all told. Might be over 100. I’m not sure anybody beats¬†Italian trio¬†Black Rainbows¬†in the album-title department, however.¬†Hawkdope, man. Hard to mess with that. Guitarist/vocalist¬†Gabriele Fiori¬†continues to keep his finger on the pulse of European heavy rock with his Heavy Psych Sounds¬†imprint, and while I haven’t heard¬†Hawkdope¬†yet, it seems likely they’ll continue the push toward heavy psychedelia that 2013’s¬†Holy Moon¬†EP (discussed here) and their inclusions in last year’s four-way split (review here) spoke of, but of course, they can always throw down some top notch fuzz riffing as well.¬†Black Rainbows on Thee Facebooks, on Bandcamp.

8. Brothers of the Sonic Cloth, Brothers of the Sonic Cloth

brothers of the sonic cloth brothers of the sonic cloth

Six years after the arrival of their demo (review here),¬†Brothers of the Sonic Cloth¬†will make their self-titled debut through¬†Neurot Recordings¬†on Feb. 17. Immediately notable for being the brainchild of guitarist/vocalist¬†Tad Doyle¬†(ex-TAD), bassist¬†Peggy “Pegadeth” Doyle¬†and drummer¬†Dave French,¬†Brothers of the Sonic Cloth¬†pushes plodding heavy into seething aggression with a lumber¬†only made more potent by¬†Billy Anderson‘s production. It’s been a while in the making, true, but the album’s execution leaves no room for argument in¬†its lung-deflating tonal density. Justifies the wait and then some.¬†Brothers of the Sonic Cloth on Thee Facebooks, Neurot Recordings.

9. Chiefs, Tomorrow’s Over

chiefs tomorrow's over

With vinyl to follow in May on¬†Battleground Records, Arizona/SoCal heavy rockers¬†Chiefs¬†will release their debut LP, Tomorrow’s Over, via¬†Roosevelt Row¬†on Feb. 24. Its striking cover art by¬†David Paul Seymour¬†offers immediate intrigue, as did¬†Chiefs‘ inclusion on their 2014 split 7″ with¬†Fuzz Evil¬†(streamed here). The song from that, “Stone Bull,” won’t be featured on the album, but all four cuts from¬†Chiefs‘ 2013¬†Buffalo Roam¬†demo will, which should give you some indication as to how much the trio got it right the first time around. The title-track of the demo opens, and the album takes its name from one of the demo tracks as well, so it all ties together.¬†Chiefs on Thee Facebooks, Battleground Records, Roosevelt Row Records.

10. Clutch, TBA

clutch

Clutch‘s¬†Earth Rocker¬†(review here) was the undisputed high point of 2013, and the long-running Maryland four-piece have returned to the¬†Machine Shop¬†studio (now located in Texas) to record the follow-up to it. They’ve been playing new material live for a while now, as they’ll do, and while they always manage to change things up from album to album, the fact that they’ve going back to work with¬†Machine¬†again makes in plain that they’re where they want to be at this point sound-wise. As if there was ever any doubt. Their forever-tour will continue, but it’s good to know they’re taking a little break from the road to put together another slab for their always-expanding, always-frothing fanbase.¬†Clutch on Thee Facebooks, Weathermaker Music.

11. Conan, TBA

conan

I’m not sure if it will be out before the end of 2015, but whenever it arrives, the next¬†Conan¬†should be a much different affair than we’ve yet heard from the UK thunderplodders, whose 2014¬†Napalm Records¬†debut,¬†Blood Eagle¬†(review here), further established their dominance among the heaviest bands in doom. Since that album hit, guitarist/vocalist¬†Jon Davis¬†has traded out two-thirds of the trio, bringing in producer¬†Chris Fielding¬†on bass/vocals and new drummer¬†Rich Lewis.¬†Davis‘ riffs have always been at the core of what makes¬†Conan¬†the beast they are, so I wouldn’t expect much fixing of what isn’t broken, but don’t be surprised if some different personalities emerge in¬†Fielding¬†and¬†Lewis¬†as well.¬†Conan on Thee Facebooks, Conan’s webstore.

12. Colour Haze, To the Highest Gods We Know

CH_TTHGWK_BOOKLET 4&1

Yeah, I’m sneaking this one in here. Sorry, but frankly, I think¬†Colour Haze¬†deserve more than a toss-it-out-there mid-December album release date, so instead of the CD release, which was last month, I’m choosing to think of the impending Feb./March vinyl issue as the official one for¬†To the Highest Gods We Know¬†(review here), which is both a fascinating and fitting answer to¬†Colour Haze‘s 2012 outing,¬†She Said (review here). Feels strange so early in the year to start calling out end-of-year highlights, but between this and¬†Acid King, I feel like two of my top five are already set in stone, and that’s a pretty good start to any year.¬†Colour Haze¬†are one of the most important heavy rock bands of their generation, and they continue to expand their form and the genre as a whole.¬†Colour Haze’s website, Elektrohasch Schallplatten.

13. Corrections House, TBA

corrections-house-logo

Their totalitarian fetishizing well intact, the it’s-a-supergroup-but-don’t-call-it-a-supergroup¬†Corrections House¬†announced back in November that they’d have a sophomore effort out this year to follow their 2013 debut,¬†Last City Zero. The returning lineup of guitarist¬†Scott Kelly¬†(Neurosis), vocalist¬†Mike Williams¬†(Eyehategod), saxophonist¬†Bruce Lamont¬†(Yakuza) and keyboardist/programmer¬†Sanford Parker¬†(Buried at Sea, etc.) is enough to warrant attention in itself, and while their industrial tinged output isn’t really my thing sound-wise, they’re not an assemblage easily ignored. Hopefully a recently canceled round of tour dates doesn’t derail the new release plams.¬†Corrections House on Thee Facebooks, at Neurot Recordings.

14. Corsair, One Eyed Horse

corsair one eyed horse

Virginian dual-guitar classic heavy rock/metallers¬†Corsair¬†are now three years removed from their¬†Shadow Kingdom Records¬†self-titled debut (review here), and their new album,¬†One Eyed Horse, arrives with a striking-almost-disturbing cover and a refined progressive edge. Their melodic sensibility has never been in question, and guitarists¬†Marie Landragin and¬†Paul Sebring, bassist¬†Jordan Brunk¬†(who, like the guitarists, contributes vocals) and drummer¬†Michael Taylor¬†will look to expand their reach even further with the eight new vinyl-ready tracks. One looks forward to the album and hopes for a tour in equal measure.¬†Corsair’s website, Shadow Kingdom Records.

15. Crypt Sermon, Out of the Garden

crypt-sermon-out-of-the-garden

Classic doom bleeds through the cover of Philly five-piece Crypt Sermon‘s debut full-length,¬†Out of the Garden. Set to release Feb. 24 on¬†Dark Descent Records, I’d expect¬†Out of the Garden¬†to be an early highlight for the year in doom despite being¬†Crypt Sermon‘s first outing. Their Demo MMXIII¬†(review here)¬†found them well schooled in the tenets of the downtrodden, and while the record may end up a sleeper, it’s one that no doubt will find its way to the right ears; namely those of the old school doomers tired of psychedelic idolatry, who want something dark, beaten and grueling without concern for genre-melding or novelty. So, doom on.¬†Crypt Sermon on Thee Facebooks, Dark Descent Records.

16. Ecstatic Vision, TBA

ecstatic vision

Also based in Philadelphia, heavy psych troupe¬†Ecstatic Vision¬†signed to¬†Relapse¬†on the strength of a demo and an apparent willingness to hit the road — they’ll do so this spring alongside¬†YOB¬†and¬†Enslaved — and as just about any band who’s ever sent that label a rough recording will likely tell you, that’s no small feat. I was fortunate enough to catch them in Brooklyn last month (opening for¬†YOB, as it happened), and the appeal was easy to see in their space rock jamming, lighting effects and propensity for deceptively quick rhythmic turns. A debut offering is reportedly due this year, and as it will come after they spend a month on the road, I expect it will be something to behold.¬†Ecstatic Vision on Thee Facebooks, Relapse Records.

17. Elder, Lore

elder-lore

What to say about¬†Elder? They’re a bright spot in the hope for the next generation of heavy rock, but they were that already. What really distinguishes their third album,¬†Lore, is the fiercely progressive bent of the tracks, songs like “Compendium” (streamed here)¬†taking the hypnotic rhythms of 2012’s¬†Dead Roots Stirring¬†(review here) and refining what¬†Elder¬†— the trio of guitarist/vocalist¬†Nick DiSalvo, bassist¬†Jack Donovan¬†and drummer¬†Matt Couto¬†— do with a newfound clarity of purpose and precision execution. They make well-thought-out songs sound exciting front to back, and if you’ve ever dug anything they’ve done, you’re going to shit a brick when you hear the title-track of¬†Lore.¬†Elder on Thee Facebooks, Armageddon Shop, Stickman Records.

18. Enslaved, In Times

enslaved-in-times

I make no bones or apologies about being an¬†Enslaved¬†fan. The Norwegian progressive black metallers strip down their presentation with¬†In Times, the follow-up to 2012’s¬†Riitiir¬†(review here), solidifying some aspects of their approach while nodding at the brutality of yore in a still-somehow-forward-thinking manner. They never fail to deliver, and they’ve long since hit a stride where they can deliver album after album and come up with ways to advance their sound each time out. Recording themselves has only made them bolder over their last couple records, and¬†In Times¬†benefits from this in its brought-to-fruition experiments as well. It would take a lot for these guys to do wrong in my eyes.¬†Enslaved on Thee Facebooks, Nuclear Blast Records.

19. Eye, TBA

eye

They’re the Midwest’s inadvertent answer to the West Coast’s Moog-prog vibing, and Ohio’s¬†Eye¬†want for nothing in comparison to any of their coastal contemporaries. The photo above was taken recently in the studio — I’ll just assume the room is actually that color when they record and that that is not, in fact, an Instagram filter — tracking their third record and follow-up to 2013’s brilliant-yes-brilliant¬†Second Sight¬†(review here), which rightfully garnered attention far and wide. No release date yet for the new one from what I’ve seen, but the album is reportedly done, so hopefully it won’t be too long before it sees release, most likely on vinyl since that seems to be where the band’s heart lies.¬†Eye on Thee Facebooks, on Bandcamp.

20. Freedom Hawk, TBA

freedom hawk

After an appearance last year at¬†Roadburn¬†and confirmation of a return trip to Europe this spring for¬†Freak Valley¬†in Germany, Virginia’s¬†Freedom Hawk¬†would seem to have considerably expanded their reach. Last year saw them lose guitarist¬†Matt Cave¬†and transition from a four-piece to a trio, and they were in the studio in the fall to record their second album for¬†Small Stone¬†behind their 2011 label debut,¬†Holding On¬†(review here), and while I’m not sure if it’s finished or if it will be out in time for the band’s sojourn abroad, one assumes it will be out sooner or later. Their late-2013¬†Live at the Jewish Mother¬†download makes a decent stopgap if you’ve got a hankering, but they’re due for a new one for sure.¬†Freedom Hawk on Thee Facebooks, Small Stone Records.

21. Glowsun, Glowsun

glowsun glowsun

In a recent discussion about finally picking up¬†Glowsun‘s 2012 outing,¬†Eternal Season, I said¬†I wasn’t going to miss their next record, so I guess you could call this me holding myself to that task. The French heavy psych outfit have a new one, apparently self-titled — though of course I could be wrong; I’m just going by the album art — due out for release this Spring. I haven’t seen an official date from¬†Napalm¬†for when it’s due, but it’s not one I’m going to let slip by one way or another as I did for far too long with¬†Eternal Season. Some mistakes don’t bear repeating, and¬†Glowsun‘s output is of a quality that demands immediacy. At least now I know it. Ha.¬†Glowsun on Thee Facebooks, Napalm Records.

22. Goatsnake, TBA

goatsnake

Rumors abound about a new¬†Goatsnake. They’re in the studio, this is done, that isn’t done, they’re over here, over there. They’re headlining¬†Freak Valley¬†and playing¬†Psycho California, and they headlined¬†Southwest Terror Fest III¬†last fall, but the last official word I saw about a new album — it would be their first since their 2004¬†Trampled Under Hoof¬†EP — was last Sept., when word came down that it was happening at all and that¬†Southern Lord¬†would put it out. A timetable on when would be convenient, but maybe that’s asking too much and I should be grateful¬†it’s even being discussed. They remain on my bucket list of bands to see before I die. One of these days I’ll get there.¬†Southern Lord Recordings, Southern Lord on Thee Facebooks.

23. Gozu, TBA

gozu

Probably the biggest change for Boston’s¬†Gozu¬†since the 2013 release of their second album for¬†Small Stone,¬†The Fury of a Patient Man¬†(review here), is the solidification of their lineup. As they enter into the process for their third¬†Small Stone¬†outing, they’ll do so with bassist¬†Joe Grotto¬†and drummer¬†Mike Hubbard.¬†Grotto¬†played on part of¬†Fury, but¬†Hubbard¬†(ex-Warhorse) is a new presence entirely in the band. They’ve also experimented with a third guitarist, so they might not be¬†so¬†solidified, but they’ve got a monster of a core four-piece to work with in¬†Grotto,¬†Hubbard, guitarist/vocalist¬†Marc Gaffney¬†and guitarist¬†Doug Sherman, and they seem poised to get the most out of the chemistry they’ve busted their collective ass to develop.¬†Gozu on Thee Facebooks, Small Stone Records.

24. High on Fire, TBA

high on fire

I feel like a new¬†High on Fire¬†record isn’t even just an event for heavy rock at this point but for metal as a whole. The¬†Matt Pike-fronted three-piece hit the studio this month (this week?) after a quick tour up the East Coast, returning to Massachusetts to work with¬†Converge‘s¬†Kurt Ballou¬†at his¬†Godcity Studios, where they also busted out 2012’s¬†De Vermis Mysteriis¬†(review here). For anyone who heard that record, it should be plain why they’d want to work with¬†Ballou¬†again — even enough to go to¬†Massachusetts in January — and whenever their next one shows up, no doubt it will do so as one of 2015’s most anticipated offerings. I’m not sure what to expect other than “heavy,” but that’s enough to go on for now.¬†High on Fire on Thee Facebooks, eOne Metal.

25. Hollow Leg, TBA

hollow leg god-eater

My interest was piqued early last year when Floridian sludgers¬†Hollow Leg¬†issued their¬†God-Eater¬†single and spoke of it as the beginning of a change in direction. The change? More melody, a less outright aggressive style, more of an emphasis on thickness rather than rawness. As a starting point, the song “God-Eater” seemed to bode well, and I’m hoping in 2015 that¬†Hollow Leg¬†follow through at least partially on its promise. Not that the viciousness of 2013’s second LP,¬†Abysmal¬†(review here), left me particularly wanting, just that they seemed to be following a fulfilling new-ish path, and I thought the sound was one worth pursuing. They’ve said their third will be out this year, so I’ll take it.¬†Hollow Leg on Thee Facebooks, on Bandcamp.

26. Horsehunter, Caged in Flesh

horsehunter caged in flesh

Australian four-piece¬†Horsehunter¬†made an impression a few weeks back with the 16-minute “Stoned to Death,” the opening track from their¬†Magnetic Eye Records¬†debut LP,¬†Caged in Flesh, and it stands to reason why. Crushing tones, brutal vibes and hints of psychedelic wash abounded on what was a gripping sample of the album, which the band had recorded, scapped because it wasn’t heavy enough and then recorded again. There are four songs on¬†Caged in Flesh, so “Stoned to Death” is literally just the beginning for¬†Horsehunter, whose foreboding atmospherics come across no less punishing than their most weighted of tones.¬†Horsehunter on Thee Facebooks, Magnetic Eye Records.

27. Kind, TBA

kind (Photo by JJ Koczan)

I’ve been lucky enough to see Boston¬†four-piece¬†Kind¬†play twice, the lineup of¬†vocalist¬†Craig Riggs¬†(also¬†Roadsaw), guitarist¬†Darryl Shepard¬†(also¬†Black Pyramid,¬†Blackwolfgoat, etc.), bassist¬†Tom Corino¬†(also¬†Rozamov) and drummer¬†Matt Couto¬†(also¬†Elder) taking shape visibly from one show to the next. Their debut full-length is in progress now at the¬†Riggs-owned¬†Mad Oak Studios¬†in Allston, and while I¬†don’t think I can say yet what label it’s coming out on (it’s not¬†Small Stone), the latest word I’ve gotten is that a summer release is booked. Definitely interested to hear how the jams I’ve seen live translate to a studio recording, and how Corino‘s tone comes through¬†Mad Oak‘s board.¬†Kind on Thee Facebooks, on Soundcloud.

28. Kings Destroy, Kings Destroy

kings destroy

So, you’d think the pic of Kings Destroy¬†bassist¬†Aaron Bumpus¬†above is from some recent studio shot while they’re tracking their third album, right? Nope. The self-titled’s been in the can for months. It’s out in April on¬†War Crime Recordings. What¬†Kings Destroy¬†are doing now is working on album number four, and I bet before it comes out, they’ll be on number five. Fiercely creative. I’ve had the¬†KD¬†record for I don’t know how long at this point, and it’s the best thing they’ve done yet. I can’t even pretend to feign impartiality after being asked to tour with them twice last year — a fucking blessing both times — but it’s the closest they’ve come to their live sound so far and that progress suits them remarkably well.¬†Kings Destroy on Thee Facebooks, War Crime Recordings.

29. Lamprey, TBA

lamprey logo

The two-bass Portland trio Lamprey‘s¬†recent stop-motion video for “Iron Awake” served due notice of their impending album, as yet untitled, and while it’s the shortest track on there by a considerable margin, it nonetheless represents the big-crash, big-impact severity of the outing as a whole. Not sure through what label it will surface if one at all or on what media it will be pressed — the word burning above, which I hope is the album cover, may or may not be — but the full-length seems poised to establish them as a force after 2012’s¬†The Burden of Beasts¬†EP (review here) brought their sometimes-plodding, sometimes-sprinting heavy rock into focus. Also, one of the songs is called “Lament of the Deathworm,” and that just rules.¬†Lamprey on Thee Facebooks, on Bandcamp.

30. Lord Dying, Poisoned Altars

lord dying poisoned altars

The hard-touring Portlanders teamed up with¬†Dark Castle¬†drummer¬†Rob Shaffer¬†for their sophomore outing for¬†Relapse Records,¬†Poisoned Altars¬†(review here), and though he’s since out of the band, his presence bolsters the songs in¬†Lord Dying‘s blend of¬†High on Fire-style thrash and¬†Crowbar-loyal sludge. A pervasive sense of simplicity helps the material achieve maximum force, but the hard-won nature of¬†Lord Dying‘s cohesion isn’t to be understated or underappreciated — they did about 18 months of touring in support of their first effort,¬†Summon the Faithless. At least they know their time wasn’t misspent. Seems likely they’ll continue to pound the pavement throughout 2015, so keep an eye open.¬†Lord Dying on Thee Facebooks, Relapse Records.

31. Magic Circle, TBA

magic circle (Photo by JJ Koczan)

Rest assured, I’ve seen¬†zero¬†confirmation that a new¬†Magic Circle¬†album is under way. There’s been no word from the by-now-notoriously secretive Massachusetts-based band or their label,¬†Armageddon Shop, on the subject of a follow-up to their 2013 self-titled debut (review here). This is rampant speculation.¬†Their first 7″ was recently re-pressed, though, so there’s activity in their camp one way or another. They also made their way out to Seattle in October to open for¬†Satan, which only emphasizes the fact that you never really know when they’re going to show up until they do. Ditto that their next album, I suppose. Hopefully this year it happens.¬†Armageddom Shop website, on Thee Facebooks.

32. The Midnight Ghost Train, Cold was the Ground

Opmaak 1

Riotous Southern heavy rockers¬†The Midnight Ghost Train¬†have outdone themselves with their¬†Napalm Records¬†debut,¬†Cold was the Ground, taking the rager blues of 2012’s¬†Buffalo¬†(review here) to new heights of manic push. After several years of steady touring, the Kansas-based trio of guitarist/vocalist¬†Steve Moss, drummer¬†Brandon Burghart¬†and¬†bassist¬†Mike Boyne¬†are an explosive live act, and as the recent video premiere for “Gladstone” showcased, their third album reaps the rewards of their labors. It’s due to release March 10 in North America, but I really don’t need to note the date, because you’ll hear it coming a mile away like the freight train that it is.¬†The Midnight Ghost Train on Thee Facebooks, Napalm Records.

33. Minsk, TBA

minsk logo

A new¬†Minsk¬†full-length is an utterly fascinating thought. Sorry if that sounds cold or overly clinical, but it’s true. Consider that it’s been six years since the Chicago post-metallers last released an album. That record, 2009’s¬†With Echoes in the Movement of Stone¬†(review here), hit at what was arguably the pinnacle of post-metal’s stylistic movement, the waters having since receded in no small part because¬†Minsk¬†wasn’t around to push forward creatively. Now, with slots booked at¬†Roadburn¬†and¬†Desertfest, they’ll make a return to the studio as well, and I have absolutely zero idea of what to expect from them.¬†A partially-revamped,¬†Sanford Parker-less lineup only adds further intrigue.¬†Minsk on Thee Facebooks, on Bandcamp.

34. Mondo Drag, Mondo Drag

mondo-drag-mondo-drag

This is one of I think two or three releases on this list that’s already out. The self-titled¬†Mondo Drag¬†(review here) nonetheless warrants inclusion for its heavy psych boogie concoctions and natural-toned spirit, not full-on retro but still well-indebted to the heavy ’70s in its use of organ and guitar and the swing of its rhythm section. That rhythm section?¬†Zack Anderson¬†and¬†Cory Berry, who, fresh out of¬†Radio Moscow, stepped in to record with fellow¬†Iowans Mondo Drag¬†in 2012¬†before founding¬†Blues Pills. A shortlived moment in¬†Mondo Drag‘s history, perhaps, but they got a killer record out of it, and while the recordings are already three years old, they’re well worth the time to appreciate.¬†Mondo Drag on Thee Facebooks, Bilocation Records.

35. Monolord, Vaenir

monolord vaenir

Swedish trio¬†Monolord¬†won over hearts and minds bigtime with their 2014¬†RidingEasy Records¬†debut, Empress Rising,¬†earning a spot on the 2014 Readers Poll right between Eyehategod¬†and¬†Mastodon. That’s rather significant company to keep — and all the more so for a band’s first record — and with¬†Vaenir, we’ll get to hear how the intervening year has seen them progress. They’ve already proven a favorite among the converted, and they’ll tour in Feb./March¬†with¬†Salem’s Pot¬†ahead of an appearance at¬†Roadburn¬†prior to¬†Vaenir‘s April 28 arrival¬†date, so it looks like they’ll keep¬†their momentum moving forward through the release and most likely beyond.¬†Monolord on Thee Facebooks, RidingEasy Records.

36. Neurosis, TBA

neurosis

Okay. I don’t know that¬†Neurosis‘ next album will be out in 2015. It’s just not a thing I know. What I know is that the ultra-seminal five-piece are getting together to write in Feb., and that they’re a no-bullshit band when it comes to writing and recording, so the timing works that, if they make new songs happen this winter, their record would probably be ready for release sometime in the summer or early fall. That’s what I’m going on. It might be that they write half the album now and half in 2016, but from what I hear they’re planning on doing some more significant touring this year, so it would stand to reason they’d want to do it with a follow-up to 2012’s¬†Honor Found in Decay¬†(review here)¬†under their collective belt. We’ll see what we get.¬†Neurosis on Thee Facebooks, Neurot Recordings.

37. Pentagram, TBA

pentagram

I saw¬†Pentagram¬†play 20 shows last year. Believe me when I say the pairing of frontman¬†Bobby Liebling¬†and guitarist¬†Victor Griffin¬†has never seemed stronger musically, and with bassist¬†Greg Turley¬†and drummer¬†Sean Saley,¬†Pentagram¬†head into the making of their next album firing on all proverbial cylinders.¬†Metal Blade, who also issued their 2011 comeback album,¬†Last Rites¬†(review here), seems the likely outlet for the yet-untitled offering, which the band will herald with a headlining performance at¬†Psycho California¬†alongside¬†Sleep¬†and¬†Cult of Luna¬†on May 15-17, and which will no doubt dig deep into¬†Pentagram‘s long history of doom for a trove of classic-style riffs.¬†Pentagram on Thee Facebooks, Metal Blade Records.

38. Ruby the Hatchet, Valley of the Snake

ruby the hatchet valley of the snake

A not-so-subtle¬†Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats¬†influence permeates¬†Ruby the Hatchet‘s Tee Pee Records¬†debut,¬†Valley of the Snake, which is something the Philly-based band seems to acknowledge willfully on “Vast Acid,” frontwoman¬†Jillian Taylor¬†crooning “I’ll cut you down” toward the end of the song in a call-out of one of the UK outfit’s most resonant hooks. Otherwise, the organ-laced five-piece get down on more psychedelic vibes, though the heavy ’70s swing in the drums could be taken as another common factor, if you really wanted to stretch it. Either way, a laid back, less murderous atmosphere persists, and that suits me just fine. Out Feb. 24. Bonus points for the gorgeous¬†Adam Burke¬†cover art.¬†Ruby the Hatchet on Thee Facebooks, Tee Pee Records.

39. Saturnalia Temple, To the Other

saturnalia-temple-to-the-other

The entire meaning of being a “cult” band has changed since Sweden’s¬†Saturnalia Temple¬†released their¬†UR¬†demo in 2007, but after their 2011 debut,¬†Aion of Drakon, hit with such a low-end wash of psychedelic obscurity, I’m intrigued to hear what¬†they’ve come up with on¬†To the Other, the cover’s foreboding darkness, consuming swirl and bizarre patterning seeming a fit for their sonic methodology.¬†To the Other¬†is out April 7 on¬†The Ajna Offensive, and features Tim Call¬†of¬†The Howling Wind¬†and¬†Aldebaran¬†on drums¬†alongside¬†Saturnalia Temple guitarist/vocalist¬†Tommie Ericksson¬†and bassist¬†Peter.¬†Saturnalia Temple on Thee Facebooks, The Ajna Offensive.

40. Six Organs of Admittance, Hexadic

six organs of admittance hexadic

I’ll make no claims toward understanding the theoretical basis driving the latest outing from the¬†Ben Chasny-helmed project¬†Six Organs of Admittance, which in its 17-year history has gone from bedroom folk and avant electronics to the far-ranging heavy psych jamming of 2012’s¬†Ascent¬†(review here).¬†Chasny, joined by members of¬†Assemble Head in Sunburst Sound¬†and¬†Deerhoof¬†on the album — which is due out Feb. 17 on¬†Drag City¬†— seems to have developed a compositional method based around a system involving playing cards and varying tonal intensities. No idea what the hell any of it means, but it sounds like a freakout to me, so I’m in.¬†Six Organs of Admittance website, Drag City Records.

41. Snail, Feral

snail

Come on,¬†Snail. Even if¬†Feral‘s not coming out until later in the year, you can send it to¬†me. I won’t tell anybody if you don’t want me to. I can keep it to myself. Hell, I won’t even review it until I get word that it’s cool to do so, I just want to hear the damn thing. Alright, Snail, have it your way. I’ll just sit here and remember how awesome¬†Terminus¬†(review here) was when that came out in 2012, and¬†Blood¬†(review here) before that in 2009 back when I did snarky headlines for reviews. That’s cool. I’ve waited this long for your¬†Small Stone¬†debut to make its way into my ears, I guess I’ll just keep waiting until it shows up. Which it would be awfully nice if it did as soon as possible. Today works. Now works.¬†Snail on Thee Facebooks, Small Stone Records.

42. Sourvein, Aquatic Fanatic

sourvein-aquatic-occult

At the risk of being sincere, I’ll say it warms my cold, doomed heart to know that¬†Sourvein‘s next album is going to be released by¬†Metal Blade Records. After trudging the Southern sludge underground for, what, 20 years?, the Cape Fear-based outfit led by¬†T-Roy Medlin (whose lineage goes back to¬†Buzzov*en, lest we forget their role in establishing the sound) are finally poised to get their due, and I think it’s fucking awesome.¬†Mike Dean‘s producing the thing, and you know¬†Sourvein¬†are going to tour the hell out of it because that’s what they do whether they’ve got a new record or not. I’m calling it the feelgood story of the year, which is perfect since the music will most likely be utterly scathing.¬†Sourvein on Thee Facebooks, Metal Blade Records.

43. Spidergawd, II

spidergawd ii

Just stop reading and go fucking listen to¬†Spidergawd. Here, I did a track premiere a little bit ago for the song “Tourniquet.” It rules. Go listen to that. For the life of me I have no idea why this band’s name isn’t on the lips of every boogie-loving heavy rocker in the universe.¬†Stickman¬†has the new album,¬†Spidergawd II, sold out in the special edition preorders, but there’s a regular version still available and apparently en route from the plant, and for the love of all things riffed, it’s glorious. So get on it. I implore you. And no, I don’t have any idea what’s going on with the album cover, so don’t ask. No time for questions anyway. Get listening.¬†Spidergawd on Thee Facebooks, Stickman Records.

44. Stoned Jesus, The Harvest

stoned jesus the harvest

Ukrainian heavy rockers¬†Stoned Jesus¬†posted the opening track from their third album,¬†The Harvest, a while back on their Bandcamp page, and my goodness it does swing. They’ll make their way to the US for the first time in support of¬†The Harvest, appearing at the¬†Psycho California¬†fest and hopefully elsewhere, and they do so having built up a steady following with their first two long-players, 2010’s¬†First Communion¬†(noted here)¬†and 2012’s¬†Seven Thunders Roar (review here), their most stonerly of names spread far and wide ahead of the latest offering’s early March arrival following 2013’s jams collection,¬†The Seeds, Vol. 1.¬†Stoned Jesus on Thee Facebooks, on Bandcamp.

45. Torche, Restarter

torche restarter

I haven’t heard it yet, but¬†Torche‘s awaited¬†Relapse Records¬†debut,¬†Restarter, is due out Feb. 24 and the band are kicking into gear once again to mark its coming. They’ve already announced US and European tours to carry them through June, and I don’t imagine there are many markets they’ll leave un-hit ¬†by the time they’re through. Their last album, 2012’s¬†Harmonicraft¬†(review here), was a solid showing of what’s come to be expected of them in terms of hooks, upbeat heaviness and melodies, but especially with the ambitious title, the new label and the energized-seeming schedule, I’m hoping that¬†Restarter¬†gives the band the same kind of boot to the ass they’ve been to delivering the heavy underground for the last decade.¬†Torche on Thee Facebooks, Relapse Records.

46. Ufomammut, Ecate

ufomammut (Photo by Andrea Tomas Prato)

Very, very much looking forward to hearing¬†Ecate, the newest outing from¬†Ufomammut¬†and their “second” album for¬†Neurot Recordings behind the 2012 two-parter¬†Oro (reviews here and here). Why is kind of a silly question — new¬†Ufomammut¬†is its own excuse for anticipation — but truth be told, they’ve always managed to get bigger-sounding and more expansive with each LP, and after having to break their last album in half and release the two pieces months apart from each other, I’m dying to know where they go with¬†Ecate, what shifts in their sound the last couple years — including last year, which was their 15th anniversary — have brought and where in the cosmos they might be headed now.¬†Ufomammut on Thee Facebooks, Neurot Recordings.

47. Valkyrie, TBA

valkyrie

During what I guess we’ll call Valkyrie‘s original run, the Virginia two-guitar four-piece released a pair of albums, 2006’s¬†Valkyrie¬†and 2008’s¬†Man of Two Visions¬†— both of which were reissued through¬†MeteorCity¬†in 2010 — before guitarist¬†Peter Adams, who founded the band with his brother, guitarist/vocalist¬†Jake Adams, got signed to¬†Relapse¬†with his other group,¬†Baroness. Now back with¬†Earthling‘s¬†Alan Fary¬†on bass and drummer¬†Warren Hawkins, they’ve got their new LP recorded with¬†Sanford Parker¬†and reportedly in the can for an early 2015 release, also through¬†Relapse. They’ll no doubt be greeted as heroes when they play the¬†Maryland Doom Fest¬†in June, and understandably so.¬†Valkyrie on Thee Facebooks, Relapse Records.

48. VA, Electric Ladyland Redux & The Best of James Marshall Hendrix

various artists the best of james marshall hendrix

Magnetic Eye Records launched a Kickstarter campaign last fall with the ambitious aim of paying homage to¬†Jimi Hendrix¬†by having current heavy rock artists (Elder,¬†Earthless,¬†Wo Fat,¬†Gozu¬†and more; full list here) re-record¬†Electric Ladyland¬†in its entirety. The project, on track to be released this year to coincide with what would’ve been¬†Hendrix‘s 73rd birthday in November, expanded to include a tribute best-of collection as well, and has grown in repute ahead of its actually being issued to stand as a gathering of some of the finest the underground has to offer playing some of the best rock and roll ever crafted. From the idea to the impending reality of it, there’s really no arguing with this one.¬†Magnetic Eye Records on Thee Facebooks, Magnetic Eye webstore.

49. Wino & Conny Ochs, Freedom Conspiracy

wino and conny ochs

When¬†Scott “Wino” Weinrich¬†entered rehab late last fall, he mentioned in a public statement several projects in the works.¬†Spirit Caravan‘s reunion is ongoing.¬†Saint Vitus¬†are due for a next album, but he also noted the second release for his collaboration with German singer-songwriter¬†Conny Ochs,¬†Freedom Conspiracy, as being in early 2015. Particularly after the ultra-intimate, solo feel of¬†Wino‘s 2010 acoustic debut,¬†Adrift¬†(review here), the first collaboration with¬†Ochs,¬†2012’s¬†Heavy Kingdom (review here), was an unexpected expansion of the form that paid sonic dividends in both the songwriting and performance of both players. A second installment should benefit from the chemistry they built on the road for the debut.¬†Conny Ochs on Thee Facebooks, Exile on Mainstream.

50. Wizard Eye, TBA
wizard eye

Heard it. Slays. Actually, I’m not sure if the version of¬†Wizard Eye‘s sophomore full-length I got was final, but the songs were killer either way, and the Philly stoner-toner three-piece will have the album out on vinyl later this year through a newcomer label that I don’t think I’m supposed to mention yet so I won’t. Either way, they’re included here because the more heads they reach the better, their blend of rolling grooves, sludged out vocals and the occasional bout of theremin is just right for the riff-loving purist in all of us. Their recent live outing,¬†Riff Occult Live¬†(review here) says it better than I could, so make a note to yourself to dig into that at your next convenience. It’s name-your-price on Bandcamp.¬†Wizard Eye on Thee Facebooks, on Bandcamp.

51. Wretch, TBA

wretch

Listed as the “bastard spawn” of¬†The Gates of Slumber,¬†Wretch¬†finds that band’s guitarist/vocalist¬†Karl Simon¬†teamed with bassist¬†Bryce Clark¬†and drummer¬†Chris Gordon, the prior outfit having been laid to rest in 2013 after what seemed like an excellent return to form in 2011’s¬†The Wretch (review here) and subsequent¬†Scion-sponsored EP. I haven’t heard the new band yet, but some demos have made their way out thus far, and you’d have to figure it won’t be too long before¬†Simon,¬†Clark¬†and¬†Gordon¬†make their proper debut as¬†Wretch¬†and start¬†a new chapter in one of modern traditional doom’s most pivotal legacies.¬†Wretch on Thee Facebooks, Tone Deaf Touring.

52. Zun, TBA

zun

Early in 2013, a song called¬†“Come through the Water” (review here) appeared as the first audio from a new project helmed by guitarist¬†Gary Arce¬†of¬†Yawning Man¬†called¬†Zun. It was to be used as¬†Zun‘s portion of a split with¬†Fatso Jetson¬†and while I’m not sure that ever materialized, it drew immediate attention for the collaboration between¬†Arce¬†and vocalist¬†Sera Timms¬†of¬†Ides of Gemini¬†and¬†Black Mare, also formerly of¬†Black Math Horseman. A significant duo for sure. With¬†Bill Stinson¬†(also¬†Yawning Man) on drums, they’re set to debut later this year on¬†Small Stone¬†with their first album, and if¬†Timms¬†and¬†Arce¬†aren’t enough to draw your attention so late in the feature — the hazards of alphabetics — the one and only¬†John Garcia¬†is set for a guest appearance on the record. Dig that, desert rockers.¬†Yawning Man on Thee Facebooks, Small Stone Records.

 

Going Into Overload…

So, okay. At this point, you could literally buy a different record each week of this year and hear something that, unless there’s some disaster between the idea of the album and the actual thing itself, is most likely worth your time. That’s not too bad. But we’re not at 88 yet, so with those 52 already set, I’ve got 36 more that you might want to keep on your radar.

Some of these are solidly lined up, some are slated to be recorded, etc., so the same rule of “things don’t always work out the way they’re supposed to” applies. With that caveat:

 

53. Abrahma, TBA — Their second album for Small Stone is due sometime this year.

 

54. Bedroom Rehab Corporation, Fortunate Some — From what I hear, the Connecticut twosome have their second record in the can.

 

55. Black Black Black, TBA — Brooklyn outfit featuring former members of Disengage should have a sophomore album out in 2015.

 

56. Black Pyramid, New 7″ — The trio will release a new single to coincide with their Euro tour that includes a stop at Desertfest.

 

57. Bright Curse, New 10″ EP — It was mentioned the new lineup would record an EP before taking on their next album.

 

58. Camel of Doom, TBA — Was announced in December there’d be a new Camel of Doom along with a vinyl of their last album.

 

59. Cherry Choke, Raising the Waters — Should be out this month on Elektrohasch.

 

60. La Chinga, TBA — Vancouver¬†group’s Small Stone debut is reportedly being mixed.

 

61. Curse the Son, TBA — I’m hoping this one gets out by the end of the year. It will be the CT trio’s first with their new bassist.

 

62. Egypt,¬†Endless Flight¬†— North Dakota’s favored sons will return with a new full-length this summer. Album trailer posted with a clip of the new song “Tres Madres.”

 

63. Enos, TBA — Not sure where they’re at with it, but worth keeping an eye out.

 

64. Foghound, TBA — The Maryland rockers have finished tracking their new album with Mike Dean of Corrosion of Conformity at the helm.

 

65. Funeral Horse, TBA — They’ve been full of surprises on their first two releases and they work quick, so I wouldn’t be surprised if something new showed up.

 

66. Fuzz Evil, TBA — Interested to see where they go on an LP after their split with Chiefs.

 

67. The Glasspack, Moon Patrol¬†— A snippet clip¬†has been posted that bodes well. Supposed to be done recording in the spring. They’re currently sorting out label whatnots.

 

68. Graves at Sea, TBA — Yeah, it’s been more than a decade since their demo, but a split and an EP into their reunion, they just signed to Relapse, so now might be the time a debut album shows up.

 

69. House of Broken Promises, TBA — Should be a change from the first album after swapping out bassist/vocalists. They killed live last I saw.

 

70. Ice Dragon, TBA — No solid word of a new release from the Boston garage doom forerunners, but they’re always up to something.

 

71. Killer Boogie, Detroit — The debut from this Black Rainbows offshoot is out this month on Heavy Psych Sounds.

 

72. Krautzone, TBA — German synth-heavy prog-jammers have hit a groove and hopefully they continue to ride it as well as they have thus far.

 

73. Leeches of Lore, TBA — Wishful thinking on my part? Maybe. Got my fingers crossed, though.

 

74. Legion of Andromeda, Iron Scorn — They’re about as extreme as extreme doom gets. Album out next month.

 

75. Lord Fowl, TBA — I think they’re writing. Might be 2016 before it gets here, but I’ll take it whenever it comes. They’re worth a mention either way.

 

76. The Machine, TBA — Been a minute since we last heard from the Dutch heavy psych jammers. They were on this list last year as well.

 

77. Mirror Queen, Scaffolds of the Sky — Should be out in April on Tee Pee, and that suits me just fine. Choice grooves for springtime.

 

78. Mountain God, Forest of the Lost — A single-song EP from the Brooklyn post-sludgers is out in Feb. with a release show booked.

 

79. Om, TBA — I’ve yet to see solid evidence that a new Om is in the pipeline, but no one knew that Sleep single was coming last year either.

 

80. Planes of Satori, Planes of Satori — Dug their single, hope the full-length follows suit.

 

81. Pombagira,¬†Flesh Throne Press¬†— Their sixth album and¬†Svart¬†debut is due on March 23 as per this week’s¬†announcement.

 

82. Righteous Bloom, TBA — My understanding was the Beelzefuzz offshoot are writing. Would be good if they can pick up where the prior act left off.

 

83. Royal Thunder,¬†Crooked Doors¬†— The Atlanta outfit’s second album for¬†Relapse¬†is due out April 7.

 

84. Sandrider/Kinski, Split — Don’t know much about Kinski, but new Sandrider is enough to sell me on it. Out Feb. 17 on Good to Die.

 

85. SardoniS, TBA — Expect big lumbering riffs from this Belgian duo, always. A new album is en route, last I heard.

 

86. Sun Voyager, TBA — Didn’t get to hear their last tape, but¬†a¬†five-song EP is due out sometime soon.

 

87. Sweat Lodge, Talismana — Not much word since they signed to Ripple, but they said this year, so until I hear otherwise…

 

88. Throttlerod, TBA — A teaser clip of new riffage came out over this past weekend. New Throttlerod is never something to complain about.

 

89. Venomous Maximus, Firewalker — When they signed to Shadow Kingdom in November, they gave it the ol’ “sometime in 2015.”

 

90. Weedeater, TBA — After a whole series of reissues, their Season of Mist debut is due.

 

91. Wight, Love is Not Only What You Know¬†— Alphabetically last but not at all last in my heart, Germany’s¬†Wight¬†have their third record in progress. More in the comments.

 

92. Wo Fat,¬†Live Juju at Freak Valley¬†—¬†Wo Fat‘s live set from the 2014¬†Freak Valley¬†fest in Germany is due to release on vinyl March 17 in an edition of 500 copies.

 

Others to Keep an Eye On…

Guitarist Ian Gerber of Indianapolis’ The Heavy Co. has a couple side-projects going, but new stuff from his main band doesn’t seem unlikely either. New York’s Geezer might also have something new before December in addition to Ripple‘s CD version of their¬†Gage¬†release, and labelmates King Buffalo are continuing their relationship with STB Records via a new spit next month, so hopefully a debut LP follows that. Let it Breathe should make their debut on the label too¬†in 2015.

Recently streamed trio Wake up Lucid release their EP on March 31. Last I heard The Body had a new one coming too in collaboration with Thou. Sixty Watt Shaman have plans to record tracks for a split due out later this year, and they’ll reissue their first album, 1998’s Ultra Electric, as well. Look out for¬†Godhunter‘s split/collaboration with¬†Amigo the Devil, and the second offering from¬†Black Moon Circle is on the way.¬†Balam‘s full-length should also be out sometime this year, and I anxiously await news of a solid release date for the third¬†Clamfight¬†record.

Murmurings abound also for new ones from Graveyard, Greenleaf, The Sword, Vhöl and others.

Plus, Sleep still exist and that simple fact probably makes them worth more of a mention than this quick aside. Their 2014 single The Clarity was an offering of pure Iommic idolatry. A sign of things to come? Who the hell knows.

If you don’t have enough to go by yet, labels like Sulatron, Tee Pee,¬†El Paraiso, Ripple, Small Stone, STB, Napalm and so on are always worth a keen watch what’s next. There’s always something.

 

Which I guess is the point of this whole thing. I’m sure, even as huge as this list is, someone is going to drop a comment immediately that will make me slap my forehead and wonder how I ever forgot whatever it is. It’s always something. It looks like it’s going to be a tremendous year, so if you’ll pardon me, I’ll cut out quick and get started making my way through it.

No doubt I’ll add to this post over the next couple days, so if the numbers change, don’t be surprised. In any case, if you made it this far, thanks again¬†for reading. May your 2015 be filled with excellent music and even better times.

 

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Cherry Choke Releasing Raising the Waters in January

Posted in Whathaveyou on December 17th, 2014 by JJ Koczan

cherry choke

UK trio¬†Cherry Choke¬†will release their third album,¬†Raising the Waters, in January on¬†Elektrohasch. The heavy garage rocking three-piece were last heard from with 2011’s¬†A Night in the Arms of Venus (review here), which refined the classically-minded push and¬†Who-style heavy of their 2009 self-titled debut (review here) to an even more natural vibe. To have them return four years later with a new record after a period of relative inactivity on their part¬†—¬†Cherry Choke¬†played¬†ThElectriCool¬†festival this fall, and¬†guitarist/vocalist¬†Mat Bethancourt¬†(ex-Josiah, ex-The Kings of Frog Island)¬†designed the cover for the new¬†Colour Haze record, so it hasn’t been complete stillness — I wouldn’t speculate what they might be up to this time around, but that just makes the anticipation more fun until the album’s release next month.

Cherry Choke will join Radio Moscow and the aforementioned Colour Haze for part of the Up in Smoke V tour in March. Their dates, plus the art and tracklisting for Raising the Waters, follow:

cherry choke raising the waters

Elektrohasch 167 Cherry Choke – Raising The Waters CD & LP

Soon the new Cherry Choke will be released. Produced in the Colour Haze Studio you can look forward to maybe the best record Mat Bethancourt (Josiah, The Beginning, Kings Of Frog island, Dexter Jones Circus Orchestra….) made in his long career so far…

The new Cherry Choke 10 track album “Raising The Waters” out on Elektrohasch Records January 2015 featuring the tracks:

1. Rage On
2. Mindbreaker
3. Black Annis
4. Used To Call You Friend
5. Hypnotize Me
6. Where The Sun Rises
7. 6ix & 7even
8. My Mind To Lose
9. Discarded Hearts
10. Where The Sun Sets

Cherry Choke on Up In Smoke Tour w/ Colour Haze + Radio Moscow

01.03.2015 UK, London, The Garage
02.03.2015 FR, Paris, Le Divan du Monde
03.03.2015 BEL, Brussels, Magasin 4
04.03.2015 GER, Hamburg, Markthalle
05.03.2015 GER, Berlin, SO36
06.03.2015 A, Vienna, Arena
07.03.2015 A, Salzburg, Rockhouse

facebook.com/cherrychoke
soundofliberation.com
elektrohasch.de

Cherry Choke, A Night in the Arms of Venus (2011)

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Colour Haze, Cherry Choke, Stubb and More to Play ThElectriCool Festival

Posted in Whathaveyou on September 2nd, 2014 by JJ Koczan

COLOUR HAZE

Hard to mess with a party when¬†Colour Haze¬†is showing up. The German heavy psych progenitors will headline the inaugural¬†ThElectriCool¬†festival in Leicester, UK, topping a bill that includes the garage whims of¬†Cherry Choke,¬†Stubb‘s fuzz riffery and check-ins from¬†The Exploding Sound Machine,¬†The Kumari¬†and¬†The Junipers. No doubt it’ll be a groovy happening, but adding to the friendly vibes is that the fest is also telling you where and when you might find the afterparty. They might be selling vintage pants, but it’s not like they’re keeping secrets, and I respect that.

No doubt said postshow will consist of any number of smashed denizens ranting and raving about how badass¬†Colour Haze¬†just were — at least that’s been my experience after watching them play — as well as the rest of the night, which seems to push into early psych, mid-’60s-stylizations, psych-folk, shoegaze, and of course Stubb‘s motor-heavy riffing. Cool blend. Wish I could be there to see it.

PR wire had this to say:

thelectricool

ThElectriCool – Festival of Psychedelic Rock will be held at 02 Academy Scholar Bar, Leicester, UK, October 11th 2014. Organised by promoters ‘The Hidden Museum’ ThElectriCool has brought together the cream of current psychedelic/acid rock and pop groups, including Colour Haze, Cherry Choke, The Kumari, Stubb, The Exploding Sound Machine and The Junipers.

The festival also offers a chance to buy vintage clothing, records and custom art under the glow of a psychedelic light show whilst listening to the sounds of DJ Baron Saturday or one of the great live acts. The University of Leicester campus venue opens its doors at 3pm. First live act 3.20pm. Curfew 10.30pm. Then it’s just a 5 minute taxi drive or a 20 minute walk to the aftershow party at Firebug, Millstone Lane, Leicester. Hosted by Biff bang Pow! playing 60’s garage and psych sounds. This will run from 11pm till 3am. Free Entry with ThElectriCool wrist band.

COLOUR HAZE are a German psychedelic/stoner rock group of gigantic proportions. Formed in Munich by Stefan Koglek, they are the leading lights of the European stoner rock scene. The groups tours have included headline slots at rock festivals ranging from the U.S. festival Emissions from the Monolith right through to Germany’s Berg Hertzberg festival. Colour Haze have recorded a live set for the legendary TV show Rockpalast, alongside their 10 studio albums. Tune in, hold on and freek out!
W: colourhaze.de

CHERRY CHOKE fronted by singer/guitarist Mathew Bethancourt (ex Kings of Frog Island and Josiah) are one of the UK’s finest acid rock power trios. Their second album ‘A Night In The Arms of Venus’ and their high energy European tours have firmly placed the band at the forefront of a new contemporary psych rock scene. Live, this band lay down some heavy acid rock grooves.
W: facebook.com/cherrychoke

THE KUMARI are for anyone into groups like The See See or The Black Angels. They evoke an era where punk and paisley were synonymous with full on, ringing mid-60s sounds and cool background chorus harmonies. Neo garage psych pop for the paisley generation.
W: facebook.com/THEKUMARI

STUBB build on the solid foundations laid down by the pioneers of the late 60s and early 70s such as Mountain, Blue Cheer and Black Sabbath. This power trio journey on through psychedelic live jams and stoned riffs. Sounds like Hendrix playing at Altamont. Heavy Psych!
W: facebook.com/Stubbrock

THE EXPLODING SOUND MACHINE just wanna blow ya mind with their hammond driven interstellar psychedlic wall of cosmic sound. This group would have been right at home in Londons UFO club in the late 60’s, but we get to enjoy the acidic excursions and garage psych explosions in the here and now.
W: facebook.com/TheExplodingSoundMachine

THE JUNIPERS are one of the UK’s finest psychedelic pop acts. Their debut album Cut Your Key (2008) gained airplay on BBC Radio from dj’s, Bob Harris, Steve Lamacq, Mark Radcliffe and Janice Long among others. The band played two live sessions for Marc Riley on BBC 6 Music, supported Kasabian and played festivals such as The Big Chill, Summer Sundae, Moseley Folk Festival and many more. The Junipers second album Paint the Ground was released to rave reviews in February 2012. This pop psych outfit are not to be missed.
W: facebook.com/The-Junipers/7935208180

Further information:
Facebook.com/ThElectriCool
https://www.facebook.com/events/1519786661576208/
Tickets: ticketweb.co.uk

The Exploding Sound Machine, “Higher Power”

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Cherry Choke, A Night in the Arms of Venus: Mercury and Other Revived Arcane Treatments

Posted in Reviews on January 4th, 2012 by JJ Koczan

The full title of Cherry Choke‚Äôs second album is A Night in the Arms of Venus Leads to a Lifetime on Mercury, and it‚Äôs a saying taken from the fact that mercury used to be used as a treatment for syphilis. Venus, then, is a prostitute giving you the disease. The vaguely evocative sexuality and antiqueness of the line perfectly suits the sophomore outing from the British threesome, who made their debut on Elektrohasch Schallplatten with a self-titled in 2009 (review here). A Night in the Arms of Venus, for short, collects nine vinyl-minded retro rockers the swing of which will be welcome to anyone on Graveyard‚Äôs trail, but Cherry Choke are rawer, more garage-sounding, injecting a Stooges wiriness into heavy blues grooves and ‚Äė60s proto-psych pop. Fronted by guitarist/vocalist Mat Bethancourt (of Josiah, The Kings of Frog Island and Dexter Jones Circus Orchestra), they are a classically-directed power trio and the songs follow purposefully simple structures, Dan Lockton‚Äôs drums coming on with a casual uptempo swagger and open feel that reminds some of Blue Cheer‚Äôs early bombast, but on the whole, these songs are more melodically aware than were the San Franciscan progenitors of the genre. Bethancourt made his bones as a fuzz rocker in Josiah, but if that‚Äôs to be the object of search here, it‚Äôs found more on Gregg Hunt‚Äôs bass, which pushes the uptempo ‚ÄúWinchester Geese‚ÄĚ over the line of psych rock and heavy psych rock. The guitars are cleaner in a classic combo-amp fashion and well-suited to the mod vibe of the tracks.

And the songs, for their part, are built on catchy choruses and steady execution. They feel natural and retro but not posturing or chic for the sake of being chic. A Night in the Arms of Venus varies in mood and tempo but keeps a consistent aesthetic nonetheless, even as the later ‚ÄúSilver Crossed My Mind‚ÄĚ veers into backwards guitar and mellotron psychedelia, departing from the straightforward 45rpm-single-ready songwriting of ‚ÄúThe Day She Came to Play‚ÄĚ or the Hunt-penned ‚ÄúBlue Mass,‚ÄĚ which directly precedes following side B opener and album highlight ‚ÄúEvol,‚ÄĚ on which Bethancourt layers acoustic and electric guitar to ecstatic effect. It is the guitarist‚Äôs construction acumen all over A Night in the Arms of Venus, but Hunt and Lockton make for more than an enriching presence in the rhythm section, fueling a freakout of their own to contrast Bethancourt‚Äôs calmer approach on ‚ÄúI Need Not Know Redemption‚ÄĚ or playing off the Who-style grandiosity of opener ‚ÄúCrying out Loud‚ÄĚ with solo-worthy runs and fills later in the song. Hunt‚Äôs contributions make some of these cuts stand out, and that‚Äôs as much the case with ‚ÄúCrying out Loud‚ÄĚ as it is with the more extended closer ‚ÄúSplinters,‚ÄĚ which tops seven minutes and finds Bethancourt answering back with a bit of fuzzy warmth of his own while Lockton foreshadows the jam to come as he keeps time on his toms amid sub-swirl channel-pans in the guitar leads and a forward focus that seems impossible given the seemingly unhinged aesthetic in which Cherry Choke are working.

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Cherry Choke and the Big Get On

Posted in Reviews on May 20th, 2009 by JJ Koczan

Bethancourt wants to reach out and grab you.When last we left British guitarist/vocalist Mat Bethancourt, he was detailing the battle between the planets Satanica and Amphibia for all the lost souls in the universe as it played out on the second album from his band, The Kings of Frog Island. Bethancourt (also of Josiah) now joins bassist/backing vocalist Gregg Hunt and drummer Dan Lockton in Cherry Choke, a garage rocking power trio whose self-titled debut album, available via Elektrohasch Schallplatten, revels in its simplicity and rootsy flavor.

Split even on CD into sides one and two, Cherry Choke offers 10 straightforward tracks wherein the fuzzy tone that’s come to be expected from Bethancourt in Josiah and The Kings of Frog Island mostly takes a back seat to a cleaner type of distortion akin to the ’70s-inspired indie that’s dominated the party rock ideal for the better part of this decade. If I said Cherry Choke takes inspiration from Hendrix, The Stooges, MC5 and T-Rex, it would be the same as saying “they play garage rock,” but there it is.

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