Curse the Son Announce Delirium Out Sept. 6; Premiere Video for Witchfinder General Cover “R.I.P.”

Posted in audiObelisk, Whathaveyou on June 20th, 2024 by JJ Koczan

Curse the Son

If it seems a little odd that Connecticut stonerolling trio Curse the Son would lead off the promotional cycle for their upcoming fifth LP — titled Delirium and due out Sept. 6 as their third LP for Ripple Music, announced as of… wait for it… rightnow! — with a cover tune, that’s the point. Following on from the relatively expansive mindset that 2020’s Excruciation (review here) wrought, Delirium brings both a new lineup around founding guitarist/vocalist Ron Vanacore — bassist Dan Weeden, (perhaps a relative of bass alum Richard “Cheech” Weeden?), takes up the low end while on-album drummer Brian Harris has already been replaced by Vanacore‘s teenaged son, Logan Vanacore, who nails it in live videos and clearly keeps his father on his toes in terms of tempo — and a redirection of purpose that comes through clearly in their take on Witchfinder General‘s doomly classic “R.I.P.”

The song is the medium, the medium is the message, and the message is that the band have stripped back a lot of the flourish as regards production, melody and darkness of mood as manifest on Excruciation in favor of a more direct tonality, unbridled Sabbath worship — that comes through in the rhythmic stop-and-turn of “R.I.P.,” and also the rest of it — and a focus on the root principles of dense tones and weighted roll heralded by their earlier work. Doesn’t mean they forgot the lessons of Excruciation, but if you see the cover below and are somewhat reminded of 2012’s Psychache (review hereinterview herevinyl review here, reissue featured here, also discussed here), with the creepy clown vibes in keeping with their black-and-white visual aesthetic, I don’t think that’s a coincidence either.

The video for “R.I.P.” premieres below, following the announcement and info for Delirium, which I’ll just tell you flat out rules. There. Sorry if you didn’t want the spoiler.

From the PR wire:

Curse The Son Delirium

Curse the Son – Delirium

Curse the Son have endured the tests of time. Lineup shifts, traumatic personal losses and a global pandemic have found the band in a vastly different world. A dark world. A world that doesn’t feel very stable. Lyrically and conceptually, “Delirium” finds Curse the Son exploring and re-experiencing the fear, isolation, confusion and death from a time not so long ago. A slow descent into madness as we self medicated, forced others away and suffered from the greatest losses of all…..each other. Psychologically, the devastating emotional damage inflicted upon us and our children will never fully be understood. Drenched in these drowning vibes, “Delirium” was created.

Musically and sonically “Delirium” has the fuzzed out gloomy electricity of “Psychache”, with a knowing glance towards the advanced songwriting structures found on “Isolator”. Following 2020’s more experimental “Excruciation” album, Curse the Son decided to make “Delirium” a return to more familiar territories. Elements of all eras of the band are evident here on this release. Crushing doomed out numbers like “Liste Of The Dead” and “This Suffering Is Ours” state their case with mind numbing heaviness. In contrast, the more uptempo and challenging “Deliberate Cruelty” and “Delirium” offer more dynamic and complex themes. A cover version of “R.I.P.” by Witchfinder General finds its way into the grooves of “Delirium” as well!  As long time fans of Witchfinder General, it was an honor to pay homage to one of the greatest and underrated stoner/doom originators!

Once again the band teamed up with Eric Lichter and Dirt Floor Recording to record “Delirium”. This longtime partnership has proven very  successful and fulfilling over the years starting with the recording of “Isolator” in 2016. Curse the Son is extremely proud to once again be working with Ripple Music for the worldwide release or “Delirium” on September 6, 2024.

1. The Suffering is Ours
2. Deliberate Cruelty
3. R.I.P.
4. Riff Forest
5. In Dismal Space
6. Brain Paint
7. Delirium
8. May Cause Drowsiness
9. Liste of the Dead

“Delirium” was written and recorded in the many months of 2022-2023. This time the band returned to Dirt Floor with a sense of rejuvenation, rebirth, and a deeper connection to the material being performed. Dan Weeden joined the band on bass in 2022. Dan has been a friend and writing partner of Ron’s since the early 1990s. Shortly after the recording of “Delirium”, drummer Brian Harris amicably parted ways with the band. Shortly after, Ron’s son Logan Vanacore took over as the drummer for the band. At 14 years old, Logan is a widely recognized drumming phenom and he and Dan play vital roles as Curse the Son’s concussive rhythm section. “Delirium” will be released by Ripple Music in September, 2024.

Current line-up:
Ron Vanacore (guitar, vox)
Dan Weeden (bass)
Logan Vanacore* (drums)

*Drums on “Delirium” performed by Brian Harris

Curse the Son, “R.I.P.” (Witchfinder General cover) official video

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Quarterly Review: Motorpsycho, Severed Satellites, Edena Gardens, Delco Detention, The Gray Goo, Shit Hexis, Oromet, Le Mur, 10-20 Project, Landing

Posted in Reviews on July 21st, 2023 by JJ Koczan


I’m drinking coffee out of a different mug today. It may not surprise you to learn that I’m particular about that kind of thing. I have two mugs — one from Baltimore, one from Salem, Mass. — that are the same. They are huge, blue and black, and they curve slightly inward at the top. They can hold half of a 10-cup pot of coffee. I use one of them per day for a pot in the morning.

Not today. The Pecan gifted me a Mr. Spock mug — he’s in his dress uniform, so it’s likely based on the TOS episode ‘Journey to Babel,’ where we meet his parents for the first (our time) time — and it’s smaller and lighter in the hand, will require an extra trip up to the kitchen to finish the pot, but I think she’ll be glad to see me use it, and maybe that’ll help her get a decent start to the day in a bit when she comes downstairs.

Today’s the last day for this week of QR, but we dive back in on Monday and Tuesday to close out. Hope you find something you dig, and if I don’t catch you at the closeout post for the week, have a great weekend.

Quarterly Review #41-50:

Motorpsycho, Yay!


Long-running and prolific Norwegian prog rockers Motorpsycho have proven time and again their stylistic malleability across their north-of-100-strong catalog of releases, and comprised of 10 tracks running 42 minutes of acoustic-led-but-still-lushly-arranged, melodic and sometimes folkish craft. If you ever needed an argument that Motorpsycho could have been writing simplified, ultra-accessible, soundtrack-to-your-summer fare — and I’m not sure you have — Yay! provides that, with a classic feel in the harmonies of “Sentinels” and “Dank State,” though the lyrics in that last cut and in pieces like the leadoff “Cold & Bored,” the later isolated strummer “Real Again (Norway Shrugs and Stays at Home)” and in the lost-love-themed “Loch Meaninglessness and the Mull of Dull” have a cynical current to their framing contrasts that the outwardly pretty face lent to it by the Paul Simon-style lead vocals from Bent Sæther (also guitar, mandolin, omnichord here and more elsewhere). If the record is a gimme for an audience looking for a more earthbound Motorpsycho, then the arrival of the 7:46 “Hotel Daedalus” is where they give a nod to the heavier heads in their fanbase, with one of several guest spots from Reine Fiske (Dungen, Träden, etc.) and a shift in the balance between electric and acoustic guitar and synth at the foreground. Standout as that is, it’s also consistent with the spirit of Yay! more generally, which is built to be more complex in emotion than it presents on its face, and the work of masters, whether they’re writing longform prog epics or sweet closer “The Rapture,” which paints the change of seasons through an image of unmelted leftover snow “sulking in the shade.” One should expect no less than that kind of reach and attention to expression, and one should never engage Motorpsycho with expectations beyond that.

Motorpsycho on Facebook

Stickman Records store

Det Nordenfjeldske Grammofonselskab site


Severed Satellites, Aphelion

Severed Satellites Aphelion

“Apollo,” which was the first single released by Severed Satellites, opens the Baltimore instrumentalists’ first EP, Aphelion, as well, its uptempo blues-informed groove an enticing beginning before “Lost Transmissions” digs further into riffer nod. With five tracks running 27 minutes, Severed Satellites — guitarist Matt Naas, keyboardist Dave Drell, bassist Adam Heinzmann and drummer Chuck Dukehart, the latter two both of heavy rockers Foghound, among others — offer material that’s built out of jamming but that is not itself the jam. Songs, in other words. Recorded by Noel Mueller at Tiny Castle Studio, the EP proves solid through “Lost Transmissions” and the bassier “Hurtling Toward Oblivion” with its ending comedown leading into the coursing keyboard waveform at the start of “Breaking Free From Orbit,” which is the longest inclusion at 7:21 and uses most of that extra time in the intro, building afterward toward a ’70s strutting apex that puts energy ahead of largesse before the keys lead the way out in the two-minute outro “Reaching Aphelion.” Through the variety in the material, Severed Satellites showcase a persona that knows what it’s about and presents that fluidly to the listener with a minimum of indulgence. A rousing start.

Severed Satellites on Facebook

Severed Satellites on Bandcamp


Edena Gardens, Live Momentum

edena gardens live momentum

The collaboration between baritone/bass guitarist Martin Rude, drummer Jakob Skøtt, both also of Danish psych-jazz and psych-as-jazz explorers Causa Sui, and guitarist Nicklas Sørensen of molten-but-mellow jammers Papir, Edena Gardens issue their first and perhaps not last live album in Live Momentum, a three-song set taped at Jaiyede Jazz Festival — their first onstage appearance — in 2022 and pressed concurrent to the second Edena Gardens studio full-length, Agar (review here) while still not so far removed from their 2022 self-titled debut (review here). “Veil” from the sophomore LP opens, with a thicker guitar sound and more active delivery from the stage, a heavier presence in the guitar early on, hinting at Link Wray and sounding clear enough that the applause at the end is a surprise. Taken from the self-titled, “Now Here Nowhere” is more soothing and post-rocking in its languidity — also shorter at seven minutes — an active but not overbearing jazz fusion, while side B’s 17-minute “Live Momentum” would seem to be the occasion for the release. Exploratory at the start, it settles into a groove that’s outright bombastic in comparison to the other two tracks, brings down the jam and pushes it out, growing in volume again late for a slow, howling finish. What should be a no-brainer to those who’ve heard the band, Live Momentum portrays a side of Edena Gardens that their ‘proper’ albums — which is also where new listeners should begin — hasn’t yet shown, which is no doubt why it was issued to start with. Only fortunate.

Edena Gardens on Facebook

El Paraiso Records store


Delco Detention, Come and Get It!


Following up 2022’s What Lies Beneath (review here) and the intervening covers collection, Cover Ups, and the Crack the Lock EP, prolific Pennsylvania heavy rock outfit Delco Detention, led by the son/father duo of Tyler and Adam Pomerantz return with their Come and Get It! is suitably exclamatory fashion. The nine-track collection is headlined by a guest guitar spot from EarthlessIsaiah Mitchell on “Earthless Delco” near the album’s middle, but stop-bys from familiar parties like Kevin McNamara and Mike DiDonato of The Age of Truth and Jared Collins of Mississippi Bones, among others, assure diversity in the material around the foundation of groovy heavy rock. Clutch remain a strong influence — and the record finishes with a take on “I Have the Body of John Wilkes Booth” — but the fuzzy four minutes of the penultimate “Rock and Roll God” and the swing in opener “Domagoj Simek Told Me Quitters Never Smoke” continue to show the band’s growth in refining their songwriting process and aligning the right performers with the right songs, which they do.

Delco Detention on Facebook

Delco Detention on Bandcamp


The Gray Goo, Circus Nightmare

the gray goo circus nightmare

The second full-length from Montana heavy-funk shenanigans purveyors The Gray Goo, Circus Nightmare, sounds like there’s a story to go along with every song, whether it’s the tale of “Nightstocker” no doubt based on a 24-hour grocery store, or the smoke-weed-now anthem “Pipe Hitter” that so purposefully and blatantly takes on Sleep‘s “Dragonaut,” or even the interlude “Cerulean” with its backward wisps of guitar leading into the dreamy-Ween-esque, Beatles-reference-dropping “Cosmic Sea,” or the Primus-informed absurdity of “Alligator Bundee,” which leads off, and the garage punk that caps in “Out of Sight (Out of Mind).” Equal parts brilliant and dopey, “BEP” is a brief delve into surf-toned weirdness while “Wizards of the Mountain” pays off the basement doom of “Pipe Hitter” just before with its raw-captured slowdown, organ included in its post-midpoint creep and “Cumbia de Montana” is perhaps more dub than South American-style mountain jamming — though there’s a flute — but if you want to draw a line and tell me where one ends and another starts, I won’t argue. Bottom line is that after an encouraging start in last year’s 1943 (review here), The Gray Goo are more sure of themselves and more sure of the planet’s ridiculousness. May they long remain so certain and productive. Heavy rock needs more oddballs.

The Gray Goo on Facebook

The Gray Goo on Bandcamp


Shit Hexis, Shit Hexis

shit hexis shit hexis

It’s like they packed it with extra nasty. The seven-song/27-minute Shit Hexis is the debut offering from Saarbrücken, Germany’s Shit Hexis, and it stabs, it scathes, it skin-peels and not in the refreshing way. Flaying extreme sludge riffs presented with the cavernous echo and murky purposes of black metal, it is a filthy sound but not completely un-cosmic as “Latrine Odins” feedsback and lumbers through its 92 seconds, or “Erde” drone-plods at terrifying proportion. On paper, Shit Hexis share a mindset with the likes of Come to Grief or even earlier Yatra in bringing together tonal weight with aesthetics born out of the more extreme ends of heavy metal, but their sharp angles, harsh tones and the echoing rasp of “Le Mort Saisit le Vif” are their own. Not that fucking matters, because when you’re this disaffected you probably don’t give a shit about originality either. But as their first release of any kind, even less than a half-hour of exposure seems likely to cause a reaction, and if you’re ever somewhere that you need people not to be, the misanthropic, loathing-born gurgling of “Mkwekm” should do the trick in clearing a room. This, of course, is as the duo of guitarist/vocalist Mo and drummer Pat designed it to be, and so, wretched as it is, their self-titled can only be called a success. But what a vision thereof.

Shit Hexis on Facebook

Bleeding Heart Nihilist Productions website


Oromet, Oromet

oromet oromet

That Sacramento, California, two-piece Oromet — guitarist/vocalist/layout specialist Dan Aguilar and drummer/bassist/synthesist/backing vocalist/engineer Patrick Hills — have a pedigree between them that shares time in Occlith accounts for some of the unity of intent on the grandly-unfolding death-doom outfit’s self-titled three-song Transylvanian Recordings debut full-length. Side A is dedicated solely to the opener/longest track (immediate points) “Familiar Spirits” (22:00), which quiets down near the finish to end in a contemplative/reflective drone, and earlier positions Oromet among the likes of Dream Undending or Bell Witch in an increasingly prevalent, yet-untagged mournful subset of death-doom. “Diluvium” (11:31) and “Alpenglow” (10:07) follow suit, the former basking in the beauty in its own darkness and sounding duly astounded as it pounds its way toward a sudden stop to let the residual frequencies swell before carrying into the latter, which is gloriously tortured for its first six minutes and comes apart slowly thereafter, having found a place to dwell in the melodic aftermath. Crushing spiritually even as it reaffirms the validity of that pain, it is an affecting listening experience that can be overwhelming at points, but its extremity never feels superfluous or disconnected from the sorrowful emotionality of the songs themselves.

Oromet on Instagram

Transylvanian Recordings on Bandcamp


Le Mur, Keep Your Fear Away From Me

Le Mur Keep Your Fear Away From Me

Each of the four tracks of Le Mur‘s fourth record, Keep Your Fear Away From Me, corresponds to a place in time and point of view. That is, we start in the past with 15-minute leadoff “…The Past Will Be Perfect…” — and please note that the band’s name is also stylized all-caps where album and song titles are all-lowercase — moving through “Today is the Day/The Beauty of Now” (9:27) in the present and “Another Life/Burning the Tree/I See You” (11:19) confirming the subjectivity of one’s experience of self and the world, and closer “…For the Puzzles of the Future.” (12:12) finishing the train of thought by looking at the present from a time to come. Samples peppered throughout add to the otherwise mostly instrumental proceedings, focused on flow and at least semi-improvised, and horns on the opener/longest cut (immediate points) sets a jazzy mindset that holds even as “Another Life/Burning the Tree/I See You” forays through its three-stage journey, starting with a shimmy before growing ever-so-slightly funky in the middle and finishing acoustic, while the (electric) guitar on “…For the Puzzles of the Future.” seems to have saved its letting loose for the final jam, emerging out of the keyboardy intro and sample to top a raucous, fun finish.

Le Mur on Facebook

Aumega Project website


10-20 Project, Snakes Go Dark to Soak in the Sun

10-20 project snakes go dark to soak in the sun

Pushing through sax-laced, dug-in space jamming, Tunisia’s 10-20 Project reportedly recorded Snakes Go Dark to Soak in the Sun during the pandemic lockdown, perhaps in a bid just to do anything during July 2020. Removed from that circumstance, the work of the core duo of guitarist Marwen Lazaar and bassist Dhia Eddine Mejrissi as well as a few friends — drummer Manef Zoghlemi, saxophonist Ghassen Abdelghani and Mohammed Barsaoui on didgeridoo — present a three-track suite that oozes between liquid and vaporous states of matter across “Chutney I” (25:06), “Chutney II” (14:32) and “Chutney III” (13:00), which may or may not have actually been carved out of the same extended jam. From the interweaving of the sax alongside the guitar in the mix of the opener through the hand-drumming in the middle cut and “Chutney III” picking up with an active rhythm after the two pieces prior took their time in building quietly, plus some odd vocalizations included for good measure, the 52-minute outing gets its character from the exploratory meld in their arrangements and the loose nature with which they seem to approach composition generally. It is not a challenge to be entranced by Snakes Go Dark to Soak in the Sun, as even 10-20 Project seem to have been during its making.

10-20 Project on Facebook

Echodelick Records store

Worst Bassist Records store

We Here & Now Recordings store


Landing, Motionless I-VI

landing motionless i-vi

If one assumes that “Side A” (19:58) and “Side B” (20:01) of Landing‘s are the edited-down versions of what appeared as part of the Connecticut ambient psych troupe’s Bandcamp ‘Subscriber Series Collection 02’ as “Motionless I-III” (29:56) and “Motionless IV-VI” (27:18), then perhaps yes, the Sulatron Records-issued Motionless I-VI has been markedly altered to accommodate the LP format. The (relatively) concise presentation, however, does little to undercut either the floating cosmic acoustics and drones about halfway through the first side or the pastoral flight taken in “Side B” before the last drone seems to devour the concept with especially cinematic drama. Whereas when there are drums in “Side A” the mood is more krautrock or traditional space rock, the second stretch of Motionless I-VI is more radical in its changes while still being gentle in its corner turning from one to the next, as heard with the arrival of the electric guitar that fades in at around six and a half minutes and merrily chugs through the brightly-lit serenity of what might’ve at some point been “Motionless V” and here is soon engulfed in a gradual fade that brings forward the already-mentioned drone. There’s more going on under the surface than at it — and that dimension of mix is crucial to Landing‘s methodology — but Motionless I-VI urges the listener to appreciate each element in its place, and is best heard doing that.

Landing on Facebook

Sulatron Records store


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The Obelisk Questionnaire: John Harrison of Afghan Haze

Posted in Questionnaire on February 23rd, 2023 by JJ Koczan

John Harrison of Afghan Haze

The Obelisk Questionnaire is a series of open questions intended to give the answerer an opportunity to explore these ideas and stories from their life as deeply as they choose. Answers can be short or long, and that reveals something in itself, but the most important factor is honesty.

Based on the Proust Questionnaire, the goal over time is to show a diverse range of perspectives as those who take part bring their own points of view to answering the same questions. To see all The Obelisk Questionnaire posts, click here.

Thank you for reading and thanks to all who participate.

The Obelisk Questionnaire: John Harrison of Afghan Haze

How do you define what you do and how did you come to do it?

I am a guitarist for my band Afghan Haze which is a heavy,loud stoner/doom band out of Connecticut. As far as how I started playing guitar I have to thank my uncle for getting me into playing guitar. As far as how Afghan Haze started. I and we in the band have to thank our brother Randall Colbourne who we unfortunately lost almost a year ago. He was talking to me about starting a band for a while but me being a typical stoner I kept putting it off. One day me and our singer saw his old band playing a show with the Cro-Mags. Randy and Erik (our bassist) were in that band together.

So we all were talking after that show and Randy introduced me to Erik and said this is the guy I want to start a stoner band with. So I said hell yeah let’s try this out and see what happens. That was probably about four years ago and we are still pushing on. So short answer on how I define what I do is I play heavy music with my brothers that I love and we write music that we just feel and dig and hopefully people also enjoy it.

Describe your first musical memory.

When I was younger I wasn’t really into music and I didn’t really understand people being into it. Especially to the extreme that I am with it now. My childhood friend Miki got me into my first love of music with Pyromania by Def Leppard and it was off to the races. That record right there got me into music and just blew me away. I mean I heard music when I was a kid but Def Leppard “Pyromania” is what made me fall in love with music.

Describe your best musical memory to date.

Well I guess I could say being introduced to Def Leppard at a young age and learning what enjoying music was all about. But I guess cuz I already mentioned that I’ll go with going to my show ever. Which I went to with my friend Miki that originally got me into music in the first place. We went to see the Gorilla Biscuits at the legendary Anthrax in Norwalk. I was just blown away at how incredible of a show that was and how awesome the whole hardcore community is. Then what followed was years and years of incredible hardcore shows.

When was a time when a firmly held belief was tested?

Hmm well I’m definitely not a religious person but I do like to read about different religions and philosophies. I have gotten into a few discussions on religion with my in-laws which are all born again Christians or with my own family. I can and I enjoy talking about religion but not when it’s one sided and the party is just saying “you’re wrong and here’s why…” Not sure if that really answers that question though haha.

Where do you feel artistic progression leads?

It leads to making great music or great art in whatever your art is. It leads to making people happy, giving them an experience and a memory.

How do you define success?

Just being happy with what you do in life. Whether it’s your job or your hobbies or just your interests. Also being around good positive people. I am not really interested in material bullshit.

What is something you have seen that you wish you hadn’t?

Uh well this isn’t a music answer but seeing one of my uncle’s getting his fingers chopped off in a work accident. That shit definitely fucked me up.

Describe something you haven’t created yet that you’d like to create.

As far as for music I always wanted to do my own solo grindcore project. Maybe one day I’ll sit down and get on that.

What do you believe is the most essential function of art?

Expressing the artists feelings and mood at the time of writing or creating. Giving the listener or viewer an experience and a memory.

Something non-musical that you’re looking forward to?

I’m a simple person. So the one thing I look forward to and it’s the same thing I always look forward to. It’s just spending time with my wife and my dogs and relaxing watching a good horror movie and most likely doing some cooking.

Afghan Haze, Hallucinations of a Heretic (2022)

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Quarterly Review: Black Math Horseman, Baker ja Lehtisalo, Chrome Ghost, Wölfhead, Godzilla in the Kitchen, Onhou, Fuzzerati, Afghan Haze, Massirraytorr, Tona

Posted in Reviews on January 11th, 2023 by JJ Koczan

quarterly-review-winter 2023

Not to get too mathy or anything — stay with me, folks — but today is the day the Winter 2023 Quarterly Review passes the three-quarter mark on its way to 80 of the total 100 releases to be covered. And some of those are full-lengths, some are EPs, some are new, one yesterday was almost a year old. That happens. The idea here, one way or the other, is personal discovery. I hope you’ve found something thus far worth digging into, something that really hits you. And if not, you’ve still got 30 releases — 10 each today, tomorrow, Friday — to come, so don’t give up yet. We proceed…

Winter 2023 Quarterly Review #71-80:

Black Math Horseman, Black Math Horseman

Black math Horseman self titled

Though long foretold by the prophets of such things, the return of Black Math Horseman with 2022’s self-titled, live-recorded-in-2019 EP some 13 years after their 2009 debut full-length, Wyllt (discussed here, interview here), helped set heavy post-rock in motion, is still a surprise. The tension in the guitars of Ian Barry (who also handled recording/mixing) and Bryan Tulao in the eponymous opener is maddening, a tumult topped by the vocals of Sera Timms (who here shares bass duties with Rex Elle), and given thunder by drummer Sasha Popovic, and as part of a salvo of three cuts all seven minutes or longer, it marks the beginning of a more intense extraction of the atmospheric approach to heavy songcraft that made their past work such a landmark, with the crashes of “Cypher” and the strummy sway of “The Bough” following ahead of shorter, even-driftier closer “Cypber.” There’s a big part of me that wishes Black Math Horseman was a full-length, but an even bigger part is happy to take what it can get and hope it’s not another decade-plus before they follow it with something more. Not to be greedy, but in 2009 this band had a lot more to say and all this time later that still feels like the case and their sound still feels like it’s reaching into the unknown.

Black Math Horseman on Facebook

Profound Lore Records store


Baker Ja Lehtisalo, Crocodile Tears

Baker Ja Lehtisalo Crocodile Tears

The names here should be enough. It’s Aidan Baker from heavy drone experimentalist institution Nadja ja (‘and’ in Finnish) Jussi Lehtisalo from prog-of-all masters Circle, collaborating and sharing guitar, bass, vocal and drum programming duties — Lehtisalo would seem also to add the keyboards that give the the titular neon to centerpiece “Neon Splashing (From Your Eyes)” — on a 53-minute song cycle, running a broad spectrum between open-space post-industrial drone and more traditional smoky, melancholic, heady pop. Closer “Racing After Midnight” blends darker whispers with dreamy keyboard lines before moving into avant techno, not quite in answer to “I Wanna Be Your Bête Noire” earlier, but not quite not, and inevitably the 14-minute opener and longest track (immediate points) “(And I Want Your Perfect) Crocodile Tears” is a defining stretch in terms of ambience and setting the contextual backdrop for what follows, its howling guitar layered with drum machine churn in a way that’s analogous to Jesu in style but not form, the wash that emerges in the synth and guitar there seeming likewise to be the suddenly-there alt-reality New Wave destination of the more languid meander of “Face/Off.” The amalgam of beauty and crush is enough to make one hope this isn’t Baker and Lehtisalo‘s last get together, but if it is, they made something worth preserving. By which I mean to say you might want to pick up the CD.

Jussi Lehtisalo on Bandcamp

Aidan Baker website

Ektro Records website

Broken Spine Productions on Bandcamp


Chrome Ghost, House of Falling Ash

Chrome Ghost House of Falling Ash

While their crux is no less in the dreamy, sometimes minimalist, melodic parts and ambient stretches of their longer-form songs and the interludes “In the Tall Grass” and “Bloom (Reprise),” the outright crush of Sacramento’s Chrome Ghost on their third record, House of Falling Ash (on Seeing Red), is not to be understated, whether that’s the lumber-chug of 14-minute opener “Rose in Bloom” or the bookending 13-minute closing title-track’s cacophonous wash, through which the trio remain coherent enough to roll out clean as they give the record its growl-topped sludge metal finish. Continuing the band’s clearly-ain’t-broke collaboration with producer Pat Hills, the six-song/50-minute offering boasts guest appearances from him on guitar, as well as vocals from Eva Rose (ex-CHRCH) on “Furnace,” likewise consuming loud or quiet, punishing or spacious, Oakland-based ambient guitarist Yseulde in the lengthy, minimalist midsection of “Where Black Dogs Dream,” setting up the weighted and melodic finish there, with Brume‘s Susie McMullin joining on vocals to add to the breadth. There’s a lot happening throughout, loud/quiet trades, experimental flourish, some pedal steel from Hills, but guitarist/vocalist Jake Kilgore (also keys), bassist Joe Cooper and drummer Jacob Hurst give House of Falling Ash a solid underpinning of atmospheric sludge and post-metal, and the work is all the more expressive and (intermittently) gorgeous for it.

Chrome Ghost on Facebook

Seeing Red Records store


Wölfhead, Blood Full Moon

Wölfhead Blood Full Moon

Straight-ahead, metal-informed, organ-inclusive classic heavy rock is the order of the day on Wölfhead‘s second album, Blood Full Moon, which is the Barclona-based four-piece’s first offering since their 2011 self-titled debut and is released through Discos Macarras, Música Hibrida and Iron Matron Records. An abiding impression of the 11-song offering comes as the band — who filled out their well-pedigreed core lineup of vocalist Ivan Arrieta, guitarists Josue Olmo and Javi Félez, and drummer Pep Carabante with session players David Saavedra (bass) and Albert Recolons (keys) — present rippers like the Motörhead (no real surprise, considering) via Orange Goblin rocker “Funeral Hearse” as the tail end of a raucous opening salvo, or the later “Mother of the Clan,” but from there the proceedings get more complex, with the classic doom roll of “Rame Tep” or the Jerry Cantrell-esque moody twang of “Everlasting Outlaw,” while “Eternal Stone Mountain” blends keyboard grandiosity and midtempo hookmaking in a way that should bring knowing nods from Green Lung fans, while “The Munsters” is, yes, a take on the theme from the tv show, and closer “El Llop a Dins” takes an airier, sans-drums and more open feel, highlighting melody rather than an overblown finish that, had they gone that route, would have been well earned.

Wölfhead on Facebook

Discos Macarras website

Música Hibrida website

Iron Matron Records store


Godzilla in the Kitchen, Exodus

godzilla in the kitchen exodus

Issued through Argonauta Records, Exodus‘ seven inclusions are situated so that their titles read as a sentence: “Is,” “The Future of Mankind,” “Forced By,” “The King of Monsters,” “Because,” “Everything That Has Been Given,” “Will Be Taken Away.” Thus Leipzig, Germany, instrumentalists Godzilla in the Kitchen‘s second album is immediately evocative, even before “Is” actually introduces the rest of what follows across three minutes of progressively minded heavy rock — parts calling to mind Pelican duking it out with Karma to Burn — that give way to the longest cut and an obvious focal point, “The Future of Mankind,” which reimagines the bass punch from Rage Against the Machine‘s “Killing in the Name Of” as fodder for an odd-timed expanse of Tool-ish progressive heavy, semi-psych lead work coming and going around more direct riffing. The dynamic finds sprawl in “Because” and highlights desert-style underpinnings in the fading lead lines of “Everything That Has Been Given” before the warmer contemplation of “Will Be Taken” caps with due substance. Their use of Godzilla — not named in the songs, but in the band’s moniker, and usually considered the “king of monsters” — as a metaphor for climate change is inventive, but even that feels secondary to the instrumental exploration itself here. They may be mourning for what’s been lost, but they do so with a vigor that, almost inadvertently, can’t help but feel hopeful.

Godzilla in the Kitchen on Facebook

Argonauta Records website


Onhou, Monument

Onhou Monument

Megalurching post-sludgers Onhou leave a crater with the four-song Monument, released by Lay Bare Recordings and Tartarus Records and comprising four songs and a 41-minute run that’s crushing in atmosphere as much as the raw tonal heft or the bellowing vocals that offset the even harsher screams. Leadoff “When on High” (8:19) is the shortest cut and lumbers toward a viciously noisy payoff and last stretch of even-slower chug and layered extreme screams/shouts, while “Null” (10:39) is unremittingly dark, less about loud/quiet tradeoffs though there still are some, but with depths enough to bury that line of organ and seeming to reference Neurosis‘ “Reach,” and “Below” (11:55) sandwiches an ambient beginning and standalone keyboard finish around post-metallic crunch and not so much a mournfulness as the lizard-brain feeling of loss prior to mourning; that naked sense of something not there that should be, mood-wise. Sure enough, “Ruins” (11:03) continues this bleak revelry, rising to a nod in its first couple minutes, breaking, returning in nastier fashion and rolling through a crescendo finish that makes the subsequent residual feedback feel like a mercy which, to be sure, it is not. If you think you’re up to it, you might be, or you might find yourself consumed. One way or the other, Onhou plod forward with little regard for the devastation surrounding. As it should be.

Onhou on Facebook

Lay Bare Recordings website

Tartarus Records on Bandcamp


Fuzzerati, Zwo

Fuzzerati Zwo

Less meditative than some of Germany’s instrumental heavy psych set, Bremen’s Fuzzerati explore drifting heavy psychedelic soundscapes on their 47-minute second album, Zwo, further distinguishing themselves in longform pieces like “Claus to Hedge” (13:01) and closer “Lago” (13:34) with hints of floaty post-rock without ever actually becoming so not-there as to be shoegazing. “Lago” and “Claus to Hedge” also have harder-hitting moments of more twisting, pushing fuzz — the bass in the second half of “Claus to Hedge” is a highlight — where even at its loudest, the seven-minute “Transmission” is more about dream than reality, with a long ambient finish that gives way to the similarly-minded ethereal launch of “Spacewalk,” which soon enough turns to somewhat ironically terrestrial riffing and is the most active inclusion on the record. For that, and more generally for the fluidity of the album as a whole, Fuzzerati‘s sophomore outing feels dug in and complete, bordering on the jazziness of someone like Causa Sui, but ultimately no more of their ilk than of My Sleeping Karma‘s or Colour Haze‘s, and I find that without a ready-made box to put them in — much as “instrumental heavy psych” isn’t a box — it’s a more satisfying experience to just go where the three-piece lead, to explore as they do, breathe with the material. Yeah, that’ll do nicely, thanks.

Fuzzerati on Facebook

Fuzzerati on Bandcamp


Afghan Haze, Hallucinations of a Heretic

Afghan Haze Hallucinations of a Heretic

At least seemingly in part a lyrical narrative about a demon killing an infant Jesus and then going to hell to rip the wings off angels and so on — it’s fun to play pretend — Afghan Haze‘s Hallucinations of a Heretic feels born of the same extreme-metal-plus-heavy-rock impulse that once produced Entombed‘s To Ride Shoot Straight and Speak the Truth, and yeah, that’s a compliment. The bashing of skulls starts with “Satan Ripper” after the Church of Misery-style serial murderer intro “Pushing up Daisies,” and though “Hellijuana” has more of a stomp than a shove, the dudely-violence is right there all the same. “Occupants (Of the Underworld)” adds speed to the proceedings for an effect like High on Fire born out of death metal instead of thrash, and though the following closer “Gin Whore” (another serial killer there) seems to depart from the story being told, its sludge is plenty consistent with the aural assault being meted out by the Connecticut four-piece, omnidirectional in its disdain and ready at a measure’s notice to throw kicks and punches at whosoever should stand in its way, as heard in that burner part of “Gin Whore” and the all-bludgeon culmination of “Occupants (Of the Underworld).” This shit does not want to be your friend.

Afghan Haze on Facebook

Afghan Haze on Bandcamp


Massirraytorr, Twincussion

Massirraytorr Twincussion

My only wish here is that I could get a lyric sheet for the Britpsych-style banger that is “Costco Get Fucked.” Otherwise, I’m fully on board with Canadian trio Massirraytorr‘s debut LP, Twincussion — which, like the band’s name, is also styled all-caps, and reasonably so since the music does seem to be shouting, regardless of volume or what the vocals are actually up to in that deep-running-but-somehow-punk lysergic swamp of a mix. “Porno Clown” is garage raw. Nah, rawer. And “Bong 4” struts like if krautrock had learned about fuckall, the layer of effects biting on purpose ahead of the next rhythmic push. In these, as well as leadoff “Calvin in the Woods” and the penultimate noisefest “Fear Garden,” Massirraytorr feel duly experimentalist, but perhaps without the pretension that designation might imply. That is to say, fucking around is how they’re finding out how the songs go. That gives shades of punk like the earliest, earliest, earliest Monster Magnet, or The Heads, or Chrome, or, or, or, I don’t know fuck you. It’s wild times out here in your brain, where even the gravity slingshot of “The Juice” feels like a relatively straightforward moment to use as a landmark before the next outward acceleration. Good luck with it, kids. Remember to trail a string so you can find your way back.

Massirraytorr on Bandcamp

NoiseAgonyMayhem website


Tona, Tona

Tona tona

Serbian five-piece Tona make their self-titled second LP with a 10-song collection that’s less a hodgepodge and more a melting pot of different styles coming together to serve the needs of a given song. “Sharks” is a rock tempo with a thrash riff. “Napoleon Complex Dog” is blues via hardcore punk. Opener “Skate Zen” takes a riff that sounds like White Zombie and sets it against skate rock and Megadeth at the same time. The seven-minute “Flashing Lights” turns progadelic ahead of the dual-guitar strut showoff “Shooter” and the willful contrast of the slogging, boozy closer “Just a Sip of It.” But as all-over-the-place as Tona‘s Tona is, it’s to the credit of their songwriting that they’re able to hold it together and emerge with a cohesive style from these elements, some of which are counterintuitively combined. They make it work, in other words, and even the Serbian-language “Atreid” gets its point across (all the more upon translation) with its careening, tonally weighted punk. Chock full of attitude, riffs, and unexpected turns, Tona‘s second long-player and first since 2008 gives them any number of directions in which to flourish as they move forward, and shows an energy that feels born from and for the stage.

Tona on Facebook

Tona on Bandcamp


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Mourn the Light Release New EP Stare Into the Face of Death

Posted in Whathaveyou on December 1st, 2022 by JJ Koczan

From the opening riff of ‘The Hunt,’ classic metal pervades the new four-songer from Connecticut’s Mourn the Light, and topped off with another striking performance from vocalist Andrew Stachelek, “The Hunt” earns that vibe well. They doom out a bit more on “It All Comes Down” and the closing title-track reminds me of a double-guitar take on sped up later-’80s metal, but “The Hunt” and “Heavy Metal Destiny” tap into that specific logos-on-notebook, trading tapes, cassette in Walkman during class nostalgia to which headbangers of a certain age can’t help but relate. The keyboards of Alex Newton — prevalent in “The Hunt,” turning to organ to add an epic feel to the slowdown in “Stare Into the Face of Death” — are a further distinguishing factor, but on riffs and stomp alone, Mourn the Light make their point with prime metallurgy that spans eras and styles fluidly. In short, they sound like a band who’ve figured it out.

It ain’t doom. Or at least it ain’t just doom, and that’s fine. They’ll keep moving forward from here, their arrangements growing more complex, dug in, thoughtful in their way, but Mourn the Light put horns-up metal first in this relatively brief offering, and that suits them. May they continue to do so.

Art, info, links, stream. You know the drill. EP’s out now DL and K7, with CD and vinyl pending:

mourn the light stare into the face of death

US Heavy Doom Force MOURN THE LIGHT announce new EP; “The Hunt” Single streaming now

After the critically acclaimed full-length debut “Suffer, Then We’re Gone” (2021), New England-based MOURN THE LIGHT announce their upcoming EP “Stare Into the Face of Death” via Argonauta Records. The band eager to keep the momentum going hard into 2023, offer up 4 new songs true to MOURN THE LIGHT’S signature sound but also paying homage to the metal legends of the past. The new EP was recorded in early 2022 at SONIC TITAN STUDIO by Brian Westbrook (Lich King) and Mixed/ Mastered by Jack Kosto (Seven Spires/Threads of Fate).

The new EP “Stare Into the Face of Death” Tracklisting:
1. The Hunt
2. Heavy Metal Destiny
3. It All Comes Down
4. Stare Into the Face of Death

MOURN THE LIGHT was formed in early 2018 by Dwayne Eldredge, co-founder of The New England Stoner and Doom Festival. Driven by his passion for thunderous, traditional doom metal mixed with lofty progressive metal leanings, Dwayne was hell-bent on creating a band that could sonically push a message of hope in spite of despair.

MOURN THE LIGHT delivers crushingly massive riffs, shades of classic power metal and incredibly memorable songs, with catchy hooks and sing-along choruses.

Watch out for the new EP “Stare Into the Face of Death”, supported by the stunning artwork by renowned artist David Paul Seymour, out now on all digital platforms, with CD, TAPE and VINYL editions to follow shortly.

Mourn the Light is:
Dwayne Eldredge – Guitars and Backing Vocals
Andrew Stachelek – Lead Vocals
Kyle Hebner – Drums
Bill Herrick – Bass
Kieran Beaty – Guitars and Backing Vocals
Alex Newton – Keys and Backing Vocals

Mourn the Light, Stare Into the Face of Death (2022)

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Curse the Son Stream Psychache 10th Anniversary Remaster in Full

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on September 13th, 2022 by JJ Koczan

curse the son psychache

Some records you just keep going back to. This year marks the 10th anniversary of deep-riffing Connecticut trio Curse the Son‘s second full-length, Psychache (review here, interview here, vinyl review here, also discussed here), and the band are celebrating with a well-earned remaster/limited reissue out Sept. 23 through Salt of the Earth Records. They’ve also got a new lineup around founding guitarist/vocalist Ron Vanacore and plans to record a new album for release next year.

That’s not irrelevant, as Curse the Son look back on Psychache‘s six songs/31 minutes, it’s easy to hear both how they’ve grown in the years since and why they’d look to strip back and re-simplify their sound — the album at 31 minutes and six songs is everything it needs to be. Released first by the band in 2012 as the foll0w-up to the previous year’s Klonopain (review here), it was pressed to CD in 2013 and vinyl in 2014, the latter through STB Records — they were ahead of their time in staggering formats, but also it was very much an organic, word-of-mouth kind of growth — and Psychache continues to resonate to a rare degree these 10 years after the fact with its red-eyed sludge rock, encompassing fuzz and languid rolling grooves. It was everything it needed to be and nothing it didn’t. Most bands never get to put out an album like that. A rare achievement of nigh-on-infinite listenability.

And no, I’m not just saying that because I’m hosting the stream — as you can see in the first paragraph’s many links, I’m not hurting for having covered the album — or because I wrote the intro to the liner notes (shout to Billy from Doomed & Stoned, who did the notes proper) accompanying this reissue. The truth is I do return to Psychache on the regular in my own listening, and at this point it feels like visiting an old friend. Its riffs unfold themselves at the center of each song, and around them dance the hooks of “Goodbye Henry Anslinger,” “Spider Stole the Weed,” the lurching “Somatizer” and the even-slower “The Negative Ion,” that finale a more agonized row that, in hindsight, would preface some of the more doomed fare on subsequent outings, 2016’s Isolator (review here) and 2020’s Excruciation (review here), the latter representing their most complex work to-date.

Psychache — fleshed out via the atmospheric meds-pun interlude “Valium For” and its instrumental title-track, the latter of which closes side A, the former opening side B — is best heard rather than read, so I’m going to spare you the glut of blah-blah-blah in the hope that you’ll instead take the time to hit play below and experience it for yourself. Its intangible strengths are right there in the music. The interplay of would-be burl tone and Vanacore’s pattern-setting vocals was upon initial release a sans-pretense prediction of a decade’s worth of Sabbath worship to come, and looking/listening back on it now, the vanguard feel is like a proven theorem. How many ways are there to say they nailed it? Front-to-back, that’s all they did. And for an outing that’s as cannabinoid — we called it “weed” back then — as Psychache is, if you find a wasted second in its 31 minutes, you’ll have to let me know because I’ve been listening to this record for a fucking decade now and I’ve yet to find one that doesn’t serve either the purpose of the song itself or the album as a whole.

Dig in. Whether you were on board when it first came out or if it’s completely new to you — all the better, really — the best advice I can give is to just follow the nod and enjoy. This is a celebration of an offering that defines cult classic.


Ron Vanacore on Psychache reissue and new lineup:

“We have been working extremely hard to recapture and revisit the “original” Curse the Son sound after some years of experimentation. Preparing to play ‘Psychache’ in it’s entirety has been invigorating for us all. Dan and Brian are very excited to be a part of this and their enthusiasm has been infectious. We have already begun to write new songs as well, prepare for the HUGE guitars, fuzzy bass and monstrous drums of the old times. We will be playing “Psychache” in it’s entirety live as a treat for everyone (including ourselves)! Plans are to write this Winter and get back into the studio by Spring ’23 to record the next record. Fans old and new rejoice – we are back!”


Doom metal stalwarts Curse The Son, based in Hamden, Connecticut, announce a new line-up and the tenth anniversary reissue of the album Psychache on Salt of the Earth Records!

Curse the Son has decided to celebrate the 10-year anniversary of Psychache with a special reissue on Salt Of The Earth Records. Fully remastered by long-time Curse the Son engineer and co-producer Steve Wytas, the album sounds reborn.

This one-time limited run of 200 CD’s is packed with behind-the-scenes introspection into the songs, liner notes, photos, memories from the band, in addition to newly remastered audio.

“This is a labor of love,” frontman Ron Vanacore admits. “It has always been my favorite Curse the Son record not only due to the tunes and overall vibe, but also because it’s the record that truly put us on the map.”

Psychache is a reflective effort of the time and still feels as valid today as it did when it originally was released. Produced by Vanacore, the record was originally recorded at Underground Sound in East Haven, Connecticut, with engineer/owner Chris DelVecchio. Sessions began in December 2011 and mixing was completed in August of 2012.

The iconic photograph on the cover of Psychache is mysteriously haunting. Taken in the 1930s, this photo “spoke” to Ron Vanacore and was determined to be the album cover before a single note had been written for the record. “I love the menacing vibe as the
masked kid walks towards you brandishing an unidentifiable weapon,” he says. The album’s central theme being fear, Vanacore felt it was the absolute perfect visual representation for the music.

Curse the Son live:
September 23rd @ The Cellar On Treadwell (Hamden, Ct) CD Release Show w/Joetown and Fractured Reality
September 24th @ Keegan Ales (Kingston, NY) w/Geezer and Shadow Witch
October 7th @ New England Stoner/Doom Festival Prost Music Hall (Jewett City, Ct)
October 29th @ Country Tavern (Guilford, Ct) w/ Alcoholica

More dates TBA

Psychache – 2012 Line-Up:
Ron Vanacore (guitar, vox)
Cheech Weeden (bass)
Michael Petrucci (drums)

Curse the Son – 2022 line-up:
Ron Vanacore (guitar, vox)
Dan Weeden (bass)
Brian Harris (drums)

Curse the Son

Curse the Son on Facebook

Curse the Son on Bandcamp

Salt of the Earth Records on Facebook

Salt of the Earth Records website

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Live Review: King Buffalo and Handsome Jack in Hamden, CT, 09.09.22

Posted in Reviews on September 10th, 2022 by JJ Koczan

King Buffalo (Photo by JJ Koczan)

Handsome Jack were on when I got in. It had been about three and a half hours of road time to get me to Outer Space Ballroom in Hamden, Connecticut, but I’m well familiar with this particular segment of the I-95 corridor, so it was alright. Dropped The Patient Mrs. and The Pecan off with family, sat for all of 15 minutes, then back in the car to the venue, which is tucked just far enough off the main drag to feel a little out of the way. The kind of place where people can probably tell you about the shit they used to get away with in the parking lot.

Anyhow, Handsome Jack. Band has some vibe for sure. Strengths include blues groove, guitar and bass tone, three-part harmony and that includes a singing drummer, so yeah. A lot going for them, I guess is the bottom line there. They were low-key-rockin’ the joint, and said joint was fairly packed. I didn’t know what to expect — I almost never do anymore; it was easy when nobody ever showed up — and I caught maybe the last 20-25 minutes of it, but that was enough to make me feel like, okay, the music’s on, everything’s alright. That message was well complemented by the last song Handsome Jack played, which was “Everything’s Gonna Be Alright.” I mean, the oceans are gonna rise up and swallow us all, and the world is full of war, rape, and pestilence, but at least the tunes are good. You hold onto what you can.

This was the second night of a just-beginning domestic touring cycle for King Buffalo‘s newly-issued fifth album, Regenerator (review here), and really, the three-piece are also out to support all three LPs in their unofficially-titled ‘pandemic trilogy,’ with 2021’s The Burden of Restlessness (review here) and the subsequent Acheron (review here) no less fresh in mind for not actually being their newest releases anymore. And yeah, I’d seen King Buffalo at Desertfest New York (review here), but that was a whole album ago. In any case, if Regenerator and the promise of a full set — they went about 90 minutes total — weren’t enough to justify the sit-on-ass in Friday traffic on the way north, certainly Dan Reynolds‘ bass in “Mammoth” alone made it worth the trip.

The set drew mostly from the recent LPs, with the title-track, “Mammoth,” and later “Hours” representing Regenerator, “Shadows” — during which someone by the board remembered the lights could flash — and regular-set-finale “Cerberus” taken from Acheron and opener “Silverfish,” “Hebetation” and the penultimate “The Knocks” coming from The Burden of Restlessness. Filled out by “Eta Carinae” from 2020’s Dead Star EP (review here), the slide-guitar-inclusive “Kerosene” from 2016’s debut full-length, Orion (review here), and “Sun Shivers” from its 2018 follow-up, Longing to Be the Mountain (review here), the regular set was largely unfuckwithable, and yes, I mean that.

It’s a very I-know-touring-bands thing to say that the second night of the tour they’re probably still getting their feet under them. And maybe it’s true that after another four or five nights in a row of gigs, King Buffalo will be more on fire than they were, but there was no doubt they delivered, and the crowd was way into it. It was like one of those movies where the actors in the audience are just told to keep cheering. No, I’m not saying it’s a false flag operation, I’m saying the band is unreal. I stood right in front of the stage, could see and hear them feeding off that energy. They owned the pandemic. Defined it in large part for my listening habits and I’m sure for many others as well. They should be and are right to be reaping their due acclaim, and that includes for the Regenerator just arrived.

Of the several times I’ve been lucky enough to see King Buffalo at this point, this was the best to-date. They played with confidence, and I could feel the intensity of Donaldson‘s drums keeping step with the chug of McVay‘s guitar in “Hours” better, Reynolds‘ bass laying one smooth groove after the other to coincide. I’m sure I’ve said this before, but Reynolds is the one holding it together. The band? It’s all three of them. They all have a pivotal role to play. They are all essential personnel in making King Buffalo arguably the best heavy psychedelic rock band in America right now. Part of Reynolds role in that is that groove, and he played like he knew it.

Same could be said of the whole band, too. McVay and Donaldson as well. King Buffalo? They’re a great band. Great. I can’t urge you strongly enough to go see them. They’re better than they know, and they know damn well they’re good. Just watch them. There’s some strut there. Seeing their dynamic as up close as I was — I think I spent most of the set closer to McVay than his bandmates in the middle and on the other side of the stage, respectively — and hearing Reynolds‘ basslines under the guitar solo in “Sun Shivers,” the breadth in “Kerosene” and the precision intensity of the fuck-yes-hammer-it-into-my-god-damn-skull stops at the end of “The Knocks,” there was no mistaking the sense of being in the presence of a band who have arrived. A special, important moment.

30 years ago, King BuffaloElder and All Them Witches would all be signed to Atlantic Records and putting out albums that would influence a generation. That industry infrastructure doesn’t exist anymore, and while DIY, semi-DIY and even outright signed-to-label acts don’t have the same kind of marketing power, they’re out there doing it anyway. I could see it in the crowd too. Some younger heads, some older ones, and I think that speaks to the transitional generational moment we’re in. In a couple years, those older heads are gonna keep phasing out. And the younger ones are going to bring friends next time King Buffalo roll through. I hope I’m there to see it.

The encore demanded by the room was received. “Orion” will be in my head for the next week and I have no problem with that, and “Centurion” from 2018’s Repeater EP (review here) was a surprise finish, but worked well enough. I’ll allow that the record is still really new, but at some point, they’re going to have to start closing with “Avalon” from Regenerator. Sorry guys, you don’t get to write a song like that and not stick it at the end of the set. Gotta play fair. Same could be said of “Cerberus” coming after “The Knocks.” Both songs are about the build into the payoff, as a fair amount of King Buffalo‘s work is, but that finish in “The Knocks” is another level. The proverbial hard act to follow.

They head up to Buffalo, New York, next, then pick up the tour on Sept. 16 in Ohio before spending a decent portion of the next two months on the road. I wholeheartedly encourage you to make the effort. They’re a band you need to see and now is the time. That’s it.


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Turkey Vulture Announce “Little Monsters” Single Out This Friday

Posted in Whathaveyou on May 4th, 2022 by JJ Koczan

It’ll be an injustice if Turkey Vulture don’t publish the lyrics to their new single. “Little Monsters” is out this week in time for Bandcamp Friday, and it is already not the first instance wherein the duo’s domestic life has informed their creative work — see also 2021’s Tummy Time and “The Boy and the Slide,” both streaming below. Jessie May and Jim Clegg are parents of a young child, and in a refreshing bit of honesty, created this song with that in mind. Clegg says below that the kid even likes it — have I mentioned parenting as a dopamine chase; I wish I cared half as much about my own opinion of anything as much as I care about my son’s — and that’s surely satisfying. Monsters in my house usually means Sesame Street or some such. I’d take a track about Grover.

No word on if that’s where Turkey Vulture are headed, but at least the wait won’t be all that long to find out.

The PR wire brought the cover art and release info, as well as the preorder link for your perusal:

turkey vulture little monsters

TURKEY VULTURE To Release “Little Monsters” Single

Connecticut heavy music duo TURKEY VULTURE takes a walk on the softer side with humorous new single “Little Monsters,” to be released on May 6, 2022. Jim Clegg takes over vocal and bass duties on this song inspired by the arrival of their second son, with Jessie May contributing guitar tracks.

Clegg comments, “I just wanted to write a cute and catchy song about monsters.” May adds, “Compared to the werewolves and aliens of our January EP Twist the Knife, these monsters are a lot more kid-friendly! Our toddler cries when I put on Twist the Knife, but he actually likes this song.”

Preorder “Little Monsters”:

written by Jim Clegg and Jessie May
recorded at The Grand Hotel in Milford, CT
Bass, Vocals, and Artwork by Jim Clegg –
Guitars by Jessie May

Turkey Vulture, “The Boy and the Slide” official video

Turkey Vulture, Tummy Time (2021)

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