BleakHeart to Release Silver Pulse May 24

Posted in Whathaveyou on April 1st, 2024 by JJ Koczan

If you, like me, found dark-times comfort in BleakHeart‘s Fall-2020 debut, Dream Griever (discussed here), then word of an impending follow-up will no doubt be likewise well received. The band expanded to a five-piece for the 2022 two-songer, Twilight Visions, and bring breadth and depth to melancholy cuts like the string-laced “Sinking Sea” and the soulfully spacious “Where I’m Disease,” the latter of which serves as the goth-tinged first single from Silver Pulse, due out May 24 on Seeing Red Records. Minimal in “Let Go” and heavy with more-than-obligatory purpose as “Weeping Willow” culminates, the album reaches farther in sound and emotive expression, and while I’m just getting to know the songs, the space provided feels sympathetic in a way that not a lot of even tangentially-heavy anything is willing to be.

For more, the “Where I’m Disease” video is under the PR wire info following here. See where it takes you:

Bleakheart silver pulse

New album from Gloom Rockers BLEAKHEART launches today!

To make sense of a senseless world, the crux behind BleakHeart’s second full length album, Silver Pulse, expands beyond the mourning of Dream Griever (2020) into a lush melancholic personal telling of cellular decay and the wish to understand and break down powers outside of our control. It both expresses the pain felt within the wake of disease, loss, and the unknown, as well as surrendering to its taking.

“Once you have grappled with the sheer physicality that your body will have to be in, and go through for the rest of your life,” explains backing vocalist, lyricist, synth player Kiki GaNun about her experience with dynamic disability, “then comes the waves of emotions, and the reality that although this is not a fully inclusive and complete identity, it absolutely will color every part of you and your experience.”

Sonically, BleakHeart intertwines raw, rich interweaving guitars with string quartets, pulsating bass, and celestial synths and pianos, all beautifully blended as the underbelly for emotive, ethereal vocals. Produced by Pete de Boer of World Famous Studios, the all analogue production amplifies BleakHeart’s expansive sound and somber songwriting, inviting the listener in for a heart wrenching, intimate experience.

Vinyl / CD / Digital
Seeing Red Records:

Lyrics written by Kiki GaNun and Kelly Schilling. String quartet written and arranged by Kelly Schilling.

Performed by:
Violin – Amy Rosenberg
Violin – Ciarra Denman
Viola – Anthony Limon
Cello – Ron Schilling III
Produced, recorded, mixed and mastered by Pete de Boer at World Famous Studios April 2023
Cover art by Brian d’Agosta of Gostworks Art

Bleakheart is:
JP Damron – guitars
Mark Chronister – guitars
Kiki GaNun – vocals, synth
Kelly Schilling – vocals, keys, synth, bass guitar
Joshua Quinones – drums (album)
Garrett B Jones – drums (live)

BleakHeart, “Where I’m Disease” official video

BleakHeart, Silver Pulse (2024)

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Hashtronaut Unveil New Single “Dweller”; No Return Out March 22

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on March 4th, 2024 by JJ Koczan

hashtronaut no return

Denver’s Hashtronaut make their full-length debut on March 22 with No Return, issued through Blues Funeral Recordings. “Dweller,” premiering below, is the third single from the nine-song/41-minute long-player, and like the preceding “Rip Wizard” and “Cough it Up,” it is not subtle as regards intention. At the floor of the open verse is Daniel Smith‘s bass and the crash of Eric Garcia‘s drums (Michael Honiotes is in the lineup now, apparently), setting a languid march that, unlike “Rip Wizard” with its war-on-drugs-PSA samples and unbridled next-gen stoner idolatry — and I say “next-gen” both because Hashtronaut have a modern style and because when bands were following riffs to the Failed-Piss-Test Land about 20-25 years ago, nobody wanted to call themselves “stoner rock”; stigma is clearly not an issue in the same way anymore — emphasizes largesse in the space it creates rather than the fullness of its roll or, as with “Cough it Up,” which seems to come apart during its own sample-laced course and emerge boogieing at the end in genuine Sabbathian scoot, the four-piece’s readiness to conjure an addled feel.

But especially when taken together as representing a third of the tracklist (and more than a third of the runtime) of No Return, the three singles give a suitable impression of the places Hashtronaut go throughout this first collection while still holding back the lurch of eight-minute third cut “Carcinogen,” which dutifully slogs through its first half, sounding like it’s an effort to carry itself through and very much wanting to sound like that, before Robb Park — credited with ‘stunt guitar’ below, as opposed to Kellen McInerney‘s ‘regular guitar,’ which might want further clarification as I don’t know if regular guitars are so huge — slow-wah’s out a solo, Smith‘s vocals grow rougher in their cavernous echo in preface to the harsh-your-mellow, sludgier vibe brought to the gutturalisms of “Lung Ruiner,” which as the PR wire notes situates Hashtronaut in a sphere of low-key volatility — that is to say, the aggression might come but you don’t necessarily know when until it happens — not unlike their now-labelmates in Poland’s Dopelord, while the lumber and melodic reach of “Dead Cloud” solidifies the procession coming out of “Carcinogen.” Hashtronaut show themselves as comfortable shifting into a medium-paced nod, getting noisy, and answering the hook of “Rip Wizard,” which is fortunate because the 1:51 blowout “Hex” awaits at the start of side B.

Well, it’s the first blowout, anyhow. Waiting at No Return‘s endgame is the 30-second punker gallop of “Blast Off” — if you need a High on Fire comparison to make it fit, it’s applicable, but it had me wondering if it was named in honor of B’last — to which “Hex” serves as a brash if more complete precursor, with time to squeeze a verse and chorus and a bit of thrashy-scorch soloing before the still-thick movement ends cold to let “Lung Ruiner” take hold as the benefactor of its momentum. Some of the spaciousness to follow in “Dweller” shows itself in the song before as well, in the spoken-word-topped early stretch made foreboding in hindsight as the riff floods in and the vocals turn to a low-register growl for the first time. Higher screams are layered in, but Hashtronaut don’t really depart from the atmosphere they’ve already cast — and it’s murky enough that they don’t need to — so the more extreme turn isn’t out of place as they go back to the verse and cycle through again before they ride the elephantine stomp of the main riff to the finish. “Dweller” certainly has its shout as well, but accompanies that with more of a melodic lean and a feel like they’re doubling-down on what “Lung Ruiner” just proffered without really repeating themselves, finding another corner in the sonic landscape from which to strike.

Hashtronaut, Dec 15, 2023, Denver, CO. Copyright 2023 Mitch Kline,

I can’t help but wonder if “Marsquake” isn’t somehow a sequel to the band’s 2021 debut standalone single “Moonquake” (discussed here) — perhaps a series is beginning that someday will bring Saturnquakes and, with an inevitable snicker, a Uranusquake — but the shred-topped penultimate instrumental feels like a victory lap as it reaffirms the tone and grooving intent Hashtronaut have been communicating all the while, speaking to the modern sphere of stonerized heavy that’s able to touch on doom, sludge or psych and be confident that the listener can keep up and, at what’s still a pretty nascent stage for the band, starting to mark out their place in the genre. “Marsquake” crashes out with due noise before the feedback and snare-drum-count-in of “Blast Off” lead into No Return‘s final statement, which is rousing in the heated-up-molecules sense of its pace but also for highlighting the fact that this is Hashtronaut‘s first album and for as aware of their approach as they come across in these songs and in the changes in personality between the two sides, their growth could lead them in any number of directions.

It’s not the most likely thing in the universe that a band who spends so much time on their debut exploring the monolithic would suddenly go full-on speed rock, but stranger things have happened. In any case, that last half-minute is crucial to No Return in staking a claim for the band on something they may or may not want to explore further and a bookend for “Hex.” Consistent in production, it nonetheless broadens their scope in a a way even “Hex” wouldn’t, and builds on the vibrancy in even the most grueling reaches of “Carcinogen” (which is more addled than confused, but still) for a surprising, brisk culmination that you might not even catch if you’ve been so lulled by the flow of “Marsquake” or had your brain flattened by the heft paraded throughout. Fodder for repeat visits, then, and a listening experience made richer with efficiency that’s hard to ignore. I’ll tell you outright that No Return is already in my notes under the the ‘best debuts of 2024’ section for year-end list time, but that’s secondary to what Hashtronaut are laying out as their own potential course of voluminous communion and what they might continue to bring to it moving forward.

It’s a hell of a thing.

Enjoy “Dweller” premiering below. Under the player is PR wire info, preorder links, the “Rip Wizard” video and the album player from Bandcamp. By all means, dig in:

Hashtronaut, “Dweller” track premiere

Out March 22nd on Blues Funeral Recordings
Preorder on the Blues Funeral store:
and Bandcamp:

Red-eyed at the crossroads of thunderous stoner sludge and towering doom, HASHTRONAUT is more than ready to daze and inebriate the riff-obsessed masses on this planet and beyond. their debut album “No Return” is a resiny slab in the grand tradition of weed-fiend odysseys from Sleep, Weedeater and Bongzilla, an intoxicating and pummeling trip with a lungful of potent hook-doom and strikingly anthemic vocals that will enthrall fans of Monolord, Windhand and Dopelord.

Their debut album “No Return” will be released in limited Astral High Splatter vinyl edition, limited Heavy Resin vinyl edition, CD digipack and digital on March 22nd, with preorders available on Blues Funeral Recordings. “No Return” was recorded by Felipe Patino at Green Door Recordings in Denver and Seanan Hexenbrenner at Helvete Sound in Portland. Mixed and Mastered by Matt Qualls at Easley McCain Recording, Memphis TN. Cover art by Francisco Abril and Nuria Velasco (Welder Wings), album layout by Peder Bergstrand.

1. Rip Wizard
2. Cough It Up
3. Carcinogen
4. Dead Cloud
5. Hex
6. Lung Ruiner
7. Dweller
8. Marsquake
9. Blast Off

Hashtronaut upcoming US shows:
3/11 – Replay Lounge, Lawrence KS
3/12 – Opolis, Norman OK
3/14 – SXSW Stoner Jam, Far Out Lounge, Austin TX
3/15 – The Lost Well, Austin TX
3/16 – Black Magic Social Club, Houston TX
3/17 – The Living Room, El Paso TX

HASHTRONAUT current lineup:
Michael Honiotes – Drums*
Kellen McInerney – Regular Guitar
Robb Park – Stunt Guitar
Daniel Smith – Bass/Vocals
*all tracks on the album recorded by Eric Garcia

Hashtronaut, “Rip Wizard” official video

Hashtronaut, No Return (2024)

Hashtronaut on Facebook

Hashtronaut on Instagram

Hashtronaut on Bandcamp


Blues Funeral Recordings on Facebook

Blues Funeral Recordings on Instagram

Blues Funeral Recordings on Bandcamp

Blues Funeral Recordings website

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Quarterly Review: Monkey3, The Quill, Nebula Drag, LLNN & Sugar Horse, Fuzzter, Cold in Berlin, The Mountain King, Witchorious, Skull Servant, Lord Velvet

Posted in Reviews on February 29th, 2024 by JJ Koczan


Day four of five puts the end of this Quarterly Review in sight, as will inevitably happen. We passed the halfway point yesterday and by the time today’s done it’s the home stretch. I hope you’ve had a good week. It’s been a lot — and in terms of the general work level of the day, today’s my busiest day; I’ve got Hungarian class later and homework to do for that, and two announcements to write in addition to this, one for today one for tomorrow, and I need to set up the back end of another announcement for Friday if I can. The good news is that my daughter seems to be over the explosive-vomit-time stomach bug that had her out of school on Monday. The better news is I’ve yet to get that.

But if I’m scatterbrained generally and sort of flailing, well, as I was recently told after I did a video interview and followed up with the artist to apologize for my terribleness at it, at least it’s honest. I am who I am, and I think that there are places where people go and things people do that sometimes I have a hard time with. Like leaving the house. And parenting. And interviewing bands, I guess. Needing to plow through 10 reviews today and tomorrow should be a good exercise in focusing energy, even if that isn’t necessarily getting the homework done faster. And yeah, it’s weird to be in your 40s and think about homework. Everything’s weird in your 40s.

Quarterly Review #31-40:

Monkey3, Welcome to the Machine

monkey3 welcome to the machine

What are Monkey3 circa 2024 if not a name you can trust? The Swiss instrumental four-piece are now more than 20 years removed from their 2003 self-titled debut, and Welcome to the Machine — their seventh album and fourth release on Napalm Records (three studio, one live) — brings five new songs across 46 minutes of stately progressive heavy craft, with the lead cut “Ignition” working into an early gallop before cutting to ambience presumably as a manifestation of hitting escape velocity and leaving the planetary atmosphere, and trading from there between longer (10-plus-minute) and shorter (six- and seven-minute) pieces that are able to hit with a surprising impact when they so choose. Second track “Collision” comes to crush in a way that even 2019’s Sphere (review here) didn’t, and to go with its methodical groove, heavy post-rock airiness and layered-in acoustic guitar, “Kali Yuga” (10:01) is tethered by a thud of drums that feels no less the point of the thing than the mood-aura in the largesse that surrounds. Putting “Rackman” (7:13, with hints of voice or keyboard that sounds like it), which ends furiously, and notably cinematic closer “Collapse” (12:51) together on side B is a distinct immersion, and the latter places Monkey3 in a prog-metal context that defies stylistic expectation even as it lives up to the promise of the band’s oeuvre. Seven records and more than two decades on, and Monkey3 are still evolving. This is a special band, and in a Europe currently awash in heavy instrumentalism of varying degrees of psychedelia, it’s hard to think of Monkey3 as anything other than aesthetic pioneers.

Monkey3 on Facebook

Napalm Records website

The Quill, Wheel of Illusion

the quill wheel of illusion

With its Sabbath-born chug and bluesy initial groove opening to NWOBHM grandeur at the solo, the opening title-track is quick to reassure that Sweden’s The Quill are themselves on Wheel of Illusion, even if the corresponding classic metal elements there a standout from the more traditional rock of “Elephant Head” with its tambourine, or the doomier roll in “Sweet Mass Confusion,” also pointedly Sabbathian and thus well within the wheelhouse of guitarist Christian Carlsson, vocalist Magnus Ekwall, bassist Roger Nilsson and drummer Jolle Atlagic. While most of Wheel of Illusion is charged in its delivery, the still-upbeat “Rainmaker” feels like a shift in atmosphere after the leadoff and “We Burn,” and atmospherics come more into focus as the drums thud and the strings echo out in layers as “Hawks and Hounds” builds to its ending. While “The Last Thing” works keyboard into its all-go transition into nodding capper “Wild Mustang,” it’s the way the closer seems to encapsulate the album as a whole and the perspective brought to heavy rock’s founding tenets that make The Quill such reliable purveyors, and Wheel of Illusion comes across like special attention was given to the arrangements and the tightness of the songwriting. If you can’t appreciate kickass rock and roll, keep moving. Otherwise, whether it’s your first time hearing The Quill or you go back through all 10 of their albums, they make it a pleasure to get on board.

The Quill on Facebook

Metalville Records website

Nebula Drag, Western Death

Nebula Drag Western Death

Equal parts brash and disillusioned, Nebula Drag‘s Dec. 2023 LP, Western Death, is a ripper whether you’re dug into side ‘Western’ or side ‘Death.’ The first half of the psych-leaning-but-more-about-chemistry-than-effects San Diego trio’s third album offers the kind of declarative statement one might hope, with particular scorch in the guitar of Corey Quintana, sway and ride in Stephen Varns‘ drums and Garrett Gallagher‘s Sabbathian penchant for working around the riffs. The choruses of “Sleazy Tapestry,” “Kneecap,” “Side by Side,” “Tell No One” and the closing title-track speak directly to the listener, with the last of them resolved, “Look inside/See the signs/Take what you can,” and “Side by Side” a call to group action, “We don’t care how it gets done/Helpless is the one,” but there’s storytelling here too as “Tell No One” turns the sold-your-soul-to-play-music trope and turns it on its head by (in the narrative, anyhow) keeping the secret. Pairing these ideas with Nebula Drag‘s raw-but-not-sloppy heavy grunge, able to grunge-crunch on “Tell No One” even as the vocals take on more melodic breadth, and willing to let it burn as “Western Death” departs its deceptively angular riffing to cap the 34-minute LP with the noisy finish it has by then well earned.

Nebula Drag on Facebook

Desert Records store

LLNN & Sugar Horse, The Horror bw Sleep Paralysis Demon

LLNN Sugar Horse The Horror Sleep Paralysis Demon

Brought together for a round of tour dates that took place earlier this month, Pelagic Records labelmates LLNN (from Copenhagen) and Sugar Horse (from Bristol, UK) each get one track on a 7″ side for a showcase. Both use it toward obliterating ends. LLNN, who are one of the heaviest bands I’ve ever seen live and I’m incredibly grateful for having seen them live, dig into neo-industrial churn on “The Horror,” with stabbing synth later in the procession that underscores the point and less reliance on tonal onslaught than the foreboding violence of the atmosphere they create. In response, Sugar Horse manage to hold back their screams and lurching full-bore bludgeonry for nearly the first minute of “Sleep Paralysis Demon” and even after digging into it dare a return to cleaner singing, admirable in their restraint and more effectively tense for it when they push into caustic sludge churn and extremity, space in the guitar keeping it firmly in the post-metal sphere even as they aim their intent at rawer flesh. All told, the platter is nine of probably and hopefully-for-your-sake the most brutal minutes you might experience today, and thus can only be said to accomplish what it set out to do as the end product sounds like two studios would’ve needed rebuilding afterward.

LLNN on Facebook

Sugar Horse on Facebook

Pelagic Records website

Fuzzter, Pandemonium

fuzzter pandemonium

Fuzzter aren’t necessarily noisy in terms of playing noise rock on Pandemonium, but from the first cymbal crashes after the Oppenheimer sample at the start of “Extinción,” the Peruvian outfit engage an uptempo heavy psych thrust that, though directed, retains a chaotic aspect through the band’s willingness to be sound if not actually be reckless, to gang shout before the guitars drift off in “Thanatos,” to be unafraid of being eaten by their own swirl in “Caja de Pandora” or to chug with a thrashy intensity at the start of closer “Tercer Ojo,” doom out massive in the song’s middle, and float through jazzy minimalism at the finish. But even in that, there are flashes, bursts that emphasize the unpredictability of the songs, which is an asset throughout what’s listed as the Lima trio’s third EP but clocks in at 36 minutes with the instrumental “Purgatorio,” which starts off like it might be an interlude but grows more furious as its five minutes play out, tucked into its center. If it’s a short release, it is substantial. If it’s an album, it’s substantial despite a not unreasonable runtime. Ultimately, whatever they call it is secondary to the space-metal reach and the momentum fostered across its span, which just might carry you with it whether or not you thought you were ready to go.

Fuzzter on Facebook

Fuzzter on Instagram

Cold in Berlin, The Body is the Wound

cold in berlin the body is the wound

The listed representation of dreams in “Dream One” adds to the concrete severity of Cold in Berlin‘s dark, keyboard-laced post-metallic sound, but London-based four-piece temper that impact with the post-punk ambience around the shove of the later “Found Out” on their The Body is the Wound 19-minute four-songer, and build on the goth-ish sway even as “Spotlight” fosters a heavier, more doomed mindset behind vocalist Maya, whose verses in “When Did You See Her Last” are complemented by dramatic lines of keyboard and who can’t help but soar even as the overarching direction is down, down, down into either the subconscious referenced in “Dream One” or some other abyss probably of the listener’s own making. Five years and one actual-plague after their fourth full-length, 2019’s Rituals of Surrender, bordering on 15 since the band got their start, they cast resonance in mood as well as impact (the latter bolstered by Wayne Adams‘ production), and are dynamic in style as well as volume, with each piece on The Body is the Wound working toward its own ends while the EP’s entirety flows with the strength of its performances. They’re in multiple worlds, and it works.

Cold in Berlin on Facebook

Cold in Berlin website

The Mountain King, Apostasyn

the mountain king apostasyn

With the expansive songwriting of multi-instrumentalist/sometimes-vocalist Eric McQueen at its core, The Mountain King issue Apostasyn as possibly their 10th full-length in 10 years and harness a majestic, progressive doom metal that doesn’t skimp either on the doom or the metal, whether that takes the form of the Type O Negative-style keys in “The White Noise From God’s Radio” or the tremolo guitar in the apex of closer “Axolotl Messiah.” The title-track is a standout for more than just being 15 minutes long, with its death-doom crux and shifts between minimal and maximal volumes, and the opening “Dødo” just before fosters immersion after its maybe-banging-on-stuff-maybe-it’s-programmed intro, with a hard chug answered in melody by guest singer Julia Gusso, who joins McQueen and the returning Frank Grimbarth (also guitar) on vocals, while Robert Bished adds synth to McQueen‘s own. Through the personnel changes and in each piece’s individual procession, The Mountain King are patient, waiting in the dark for you to join them. They’ll probably just keep basking in all that misery until you get there, no worries. Oh, and I’ll note that the download version of Apostasyn comes with instrumental versions of the four tracks, in case you’d really like to lose yourself in ruminating.

The Mountain King on Facebook

The Mountain King on Bandcamp

Witchorious, Witchorious


The self-titled debut from Parisian doomers Witchorious is distinguished by its moments of sludgier aggression — the burly barks in “Monster” at the outset, and so on — but the chorus of “Catharsis” that rises from the march of the verse offers a more melodic vision, and the three-piece of guitarist/vocalist Antoine Auclair, bassist/vocalist Lucie Gaget and drummer Paul Gaget, continue to play to multiple sides of a modern metal and doom blend, while “The Witch” adds vastness and roll to its creeper-riff foundation. The guitar-piece “Amnesia” serves as an interlude ahead of “Watch Me Die” as Witchorious dig into the second half of the album, and as hard has that song comes to hit — plenty — the character of the band is correspondingly deepened by the breadth of “To the Grave,” which follows before the bonus track “Why” nod-dirges the album’s last hook. There’s clarity in the craft throughout, and Witchorious seem aware of themselves in stylistic terms if not necessarily writing to style, and noteworthy as it is for being their first record, I look forward to hearing how they refine and sharpen the methods laid out in these songs. The already-apparent command with which they direct the course here isn’t to be ignored.

Witchorious on Facebook

Argonauta Records website

Skull Servant, Traditional Black Magicks II

skull servant traditional black magicks ii

Though their penchant for cult positioning and exploitation-horror imagery might lead expectations elsewhere, North Carolinian trio Skull Servant present a raw, sludge-rocking take on their second LP, Traditional Black Magicks II, with bassist Noah Terrell and guitarist Calvin Bauer reportedly swapping vocal duties per song across the five tracks while drummer Ryland Dreibelbis gives fluidity to the current of distortion threaded into “Absinthe Dreams,” which is instrumental on the album but newly released as a standalone single with vocals. I don’t know if the wrong version got uploaded or what — Bauer ends up credited with vocals that aren’t there — but fair enough. A meaner, punkier stonerism shows itself as “Poison the Unwell” hints at facets of post-hardcore and “Pergamos,” the two shortest pieces placed in front of the strutting “Lucifer’s Reefer” and between that cut and the Goatsnake-via-Sabbath riffing of “Satan’s Broomstick.” So it could be that Skull Servant, who released the six-song outing on Halloween 2023, are still sorting through where they want to be sound-wise, or it could be they don’t give a fuck about genre convention and are gonna do whatever they please going forward. I won’t predict and I’m not sure either answer is wrong.

Skull Servant on Facebook

Skull Servant on Bandcamp

Lord Velvet, Astral Lady

lord velvet astral lady

Notice of arrival is served as Lord Velvet dig into classic vibes and modern heft on their late 2023 debut EP, Astral Lady, to such a degree that I actually just checked their social media to see if they’d been signed yet before I started writing about them. Could happen, and probably will if they want it to, considering the weight of low end and the flowing, it’s-a-vibe-man vibe, plus shred, in “Lament of Io” and the way they make that lumber boogie through (most of) “Snakebite Fever.” Appearing in succession, “Night Terrors” and “From the Deep” channel stoned Iommic revelry amid their dynamic-in-tempo doomed intent, and while “Black Beam of Gemini” rounds out with a shove, Lord Velvet retain the tonal presence on the other end of that quick, quiet break, ready to go when needed for the crescendo. They’re not reinventing stoner rock and probably shouldn’t be trying to on this first EP, but they feel like they’re engaging with some of the newer styles being proffered by Magnetic Eye or sometimes Ripple Music, and if they end up there or elsewhere before they get around to making a full-length, don’t be surprised. If they plan to tour, so much the better for everybody.

Lord Velvet on Facebook

Lord Velvet website

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Hashtronaut Announce March Live Dates; New Single “Cough it Up” Posted

Posted in Whathaveyou on February 12th, 2024 by JJ Koczan


Ahead of releasing their debut album, No Return, on March 22 through Blues Funeral Recordings, Denver, Colorado’s Hashtronaut will head down from their Mile High hometown to play a string of six shows, mostly in Texas (one TBA in Austin; I don’t know if they need help or not but it’s almost never wrong to ask) but starting out in Kansas and Oklahoma as well. Three states in my head makes a definite-tour (that counts weekenders), so there you go. I’m sure you have your own imaginary qualifications for what counts as “shows” and what is a “tour” and “dates” and so on. That’s a perfectly normal thing that perfectly normal people concern themselves with, right? Right?

I haven’t actually purposefully gotten stoned and written about an album in a long time. Like, a long time. And Hashtronaut aren’t the dankest outfit walking the earth — recall it’s 2024 and there’s an entire genre now called ‘bong metal’ — nor are they trying to be, but I feel in listening to new single “Cough it Up” that their grooves are right in a sweet-spot where applying the ‘stone’ part of ‘stoner’ might be an interesting experiment. I don’t know that that’ll happen or not, but a little sensory hyperfocus on these riffs and tones doesn’t sound like the worst kind of deep-dive to make. Could even be… fun? High critique.

I won’t get to these shows, and I realize you probably won’t either. They’re here in hopes of more and in view of the band’s potential more broadly speaking, as well as to let anyone in their path know they’re coming. If there’s more, and hopefully there is, I’ll do my best to keep up.

From the PR wire:

hashtronaut march shows

HASHTRONAUT release ferocious new single off debut album “No Return” on Blues Funeral Recordings; US shows announced!

Denver, Colorado’s stoner doom newcomers HASHTRONAUT unleash their intoxicating new single “Cough It Up” on all streaming platforms, and announce a string of US dates in support of the March release of their debut album “No Return” on Blues Funeral Recordings.

Red-eyed at the crossroads of thunderous stoner sludge and towering doom, HASHTRONAUT is more than ready to daze and inebriate the riff-obsessed masses on this planet and beyond. their debut album “No Return” is a resiny slab in the grand tradition of weed-fiend odysseys from Sleep, Weedeater and Bongzilla, an intoxicating and pummeling trip with a lungful of potent hook-doom and strikingly anthemic vocals that will enthrall fans of Monolord, Windhand and Dopelord.

Listen to Hashtronaut’s new single “Cough It Up”

Their debut album “No Return” will be released in limited Astral High Splatter vinyl edition, limited Heavy Resin vinyl edition, CD digipack and digital on March 22nd, with preorders available on Blues Funeral Recordings. Don’t miss their riff-tastic debut video for “Rip Wizard”!

Hashtronaut upcoming US shows:
3/11 – Replay Lounge, Lawrence KS
3/12 – Opolis, Norman OK
3/14 – SXSW Stoner Jam, Far Out Lounge, Austin TX
3/15 – The Lost Well, Austin TX
3/16 – Black Magic Social Club, Houston TX
3/17 – The Living Room, El Paso TX

Out March 22nd on Blues Funeral Recordings
Preorder on the Blues Funeral store:
and Bandcamp:

HASHTRONAUT launched into orbit from their Denver-based Mission Control in the summer of 2020. Coalescing through a string of hazy jam sessions during the darkest days of the pandemic, the four-piece began playing live the minute they could, and it took only a few gigs to solidify their electrifying reputation in the Colorado heavy scene.

With a distinct sonic identity that channels classic elements from Black Sabbath and Thin Lizzy to mainstays of the modern canon like Windhand and Monolord — along with their collective love of vintage gear, walls of speakers and the sweetest leaf of all — HASHTRONAUT’s galactic tones, colossal riffs and driving rhythms have begun spreading to the farthest corners of the universe.

Keeping momentum high on the heels of a self-released EP and opening slots for icons like Pallbearer, Bongzilla and High on Fire, HASHTRONAUT head into 2024 preparing for the release of their debut LP “No Return” — a resiny slab in the grand tradition of weed-fiend odysseys from Sleep — on March 22nd through New Mexico-based independent label Blues Funeral Recordings.

“No Return” was recorded by Felipe Patino at Green Door Recordings in Denver and Seanan Hexenbrenner at Helvete Sound in Portland. Mixed and Mastered by Matt Qualls at Easley McCain Recording, Memphis TN. Cover art by Francisco Abril and Nuria Velasco (Welder Wings), album layout by Peder Bergstrand.

HASHTRONAUT current lineup:
Michael Honiotes – Drums*
Kellen McInerney – Regular Guitar
Robb Park – Stunt Guitar
Daniel Smith – Bass/Vocals
*all tracks on the album recorded by Eric Garcia

Hashtronaut, No Return (2024)

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Hashtronaut to Release No Return March 22; “Rip Wizard” Video Posted

Posted in Whathaveyou on January 22nd, 2024 by JJ Koczan


If I called the new Hashtronaut single a burner, would it be enough to earn a pun-punch? Here’s hoping. The Denver four-piece have unveiled the first single from their forthcoming debut album, No Return (it’s okay, they probably will), in the form of the riff-clarion “Rip Wizard,” a call to stoner heads, riff worshipers and others skinking their way along the resin-coated chambers of the underground. Blues Funeral Recordings — among the finer endorsements a band can have in America or out — will have the record out on March 22, which puts the newcomer Colorado act as labelmates to Acid King and Dopelord, so, you know, as regards “starting out,” that’s pretty decent.

And should you be curious as to how such a thing came to be, the answer’s in the music. You’ll find the “Rip Wizard” video at the bottom of this post. I got the record the other day but didn’t get the chance to dig in before my laptop met its unceremonious end (see bottom of this post, or this on FB), but I plan to as soon as tech and time allow. Until then, it’s “Rip Wizard” on my phone for a bit. Not the worst of fates by any means.


hashtronaut no return

HASHTRONAUT to release debut album “No Return” on Blues Funeral Recordings; watch “Rip Wizard” video now!

Denver, Colorado stoner doom metallers HASHTRONAUT have signed to Blues Funeral Recordings for the release of their debut album “No Return” this March 22nd, with preorders and a highly addictive first single available now!

Red-eyed at the crossroads of thunderous stoner sludge and towering doom, HASHTRONAUT are ready to daze and inebriate the riff-obsessed masses on this planet and beyond! “No Return” is a resiny slab in the grand tradition of weed-fiend odysseys from Sleep, Weedeater and Bongzilla, an intoxicating and pummeling journey through time and space infused with a lungful of potent hook-doom.

Their debut album “No Return” will be released in limited Astral High Splatter vinyl edition, limited Heavy Resin vinyl edition, limited CD digipack and digital on March 22nd, with preorders available now on Blues Funeral Recordings.

Out March 22nd on Blues Funeral Recordings
Preorder on the Blues Funeral store:
and Bandcamp:

1. Rip Wizard
2. Cough It Up
3. Carcinogen
4. Dead Cloud
5. Hex
6. Lung Ruiner
7. Dweller
8. Marsquake
9. Blast Off

HASHTRONAUT current lineup:
Michael Honiotes – Drums*
Kellen McInerney – Regular Guitar
Robb Park – Stunt Guitar
Daniel Smith – Bass/Vocals
*all tracks on the album recorded by Eric Garcia

Hashtronaut, No Return (2024)

Hashtronaut, “Rip Wizard” official video

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Love Gang Announce Spring European Tour

Posted in Whathaveyou on January 15th, 2024 by JJ Koczan

LOVE GANG (Photo by tiagochediakphoto)

Colorado classic heavy rockers Love Gang are set to head back to Europe this Spring as they continue to support their early-2023 album Meanstreak (review here). That record was issued by Heavy Psych Sounds, who also brought the band over to Europe last summer for a round of dates in July and August. They’d put domestic live action between, coming to the Eastern Seaboard this Fall and keeping momentum on their side as they continued to explore and cover new territories, seeming to dig in their heels for a longer stretch of road time. That is, I think they’re going to be a touring band — you might say they already are, what with all the touring — so expect more of this kind of thing as they move forward and become more established over the next few years.

I typed out these dates from the poster, so if they’re written wrong compared to that poster, the poster is correct. Look, I do my best, but I wake up very early and the AI that can type out tour dates with the proper accents hasn’t been made yet, apparently, though I do hope someone will let me know when such a thing comes along.

Dates were posted on the ol’ timey social media that my mother keeps needing new debit cards because she clicks ads on, and here they are. Festivals in those open slots? Certainly possible:

love gang 2024 european tour poster

Yerrrrup we’re cummin back 🛫 Hit up HEAVY PSYCH SOUNDS ( to book us on any open dates.

28.03 IT Bologna Freakout
29.03 IT Torino Blah Blah
30.03 FR La Clusaz Namass Pamouss
31.03 IT Verona Fine di Mondo
01.04 IT Zero Branco Maximum Festival
02.04 OPEN
03.04 OPEN
04.04 OPEN
05.04 DE Tubingen Null8-15
06.04 OPEN
07.04 DE Dresden Chemiefabrik
08.04 CZ Bilina Rock Pub Moskva
09.04 OPEN
10.04 SK Bratislava Garaze
11.04 SL Ljubljana Channel Zero
12.04 SL Ilrska Bistrica Mknz
13.04 IT Genova Trinita

Kam Wentworth – Guitar & Vocals
Leo Muñoz – Organ
Grady O’Donnell – Bass
Shaun Goodwin – Drums

Love Gang, Meanstreak (2023)

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Hashtronaut Sign to Blues Funeral Recordings; Debut Album Out Early 2024

Posted in Whathaveyou on December 11th, 2023 by JJ Koczan

The debut album from Denver heavy riffers Hashtronaut will be released through Blues Funeral Recordings in early 2024. The record — which begins with a channel-changing media-barrage of dated samples, including the memorable/daily-quotable ‘I learned it watching you!’ of a child speaking to their parent in a War on Drugs PSA from the ’90s — follows the initial 2021 single “Moonquake” (discussed here) and 2022’s potential-wielding Tidal Waves of Ashen Sky four-song EP. Founded by members of Near Dusk and Heavy Eyes, the band roll out big melodies and grooves that will no doubt grab ears caught this year by the likes of Howling Giant and Restless Spirit, while offering something distinct from both.

And not that I’ve heard it or anything as I tell you a spoiler-free bit about what it sounds like, but you’re going to want to keep an ear out for “Dweller” as well.

This announcement came through socials at the end of last week, and I think probably next month, Blues Funeral and the band will start rolling out details like art, title, a first single, release date, preorders and so on. All that ‘putting out a record’ stuff. Word of the signing though is always a good place to start, and that’s right here:

hashtronaut w logo

We are BEYOND excited to announce that Hashtronaut will be releasing our debut LP via @bluesfuneralrecordings!!! Thank you so much for this opportunity 🤘🏼🤘🏼

Keep your eyes peeled for pre-sale info coming early 2024!!

From Blues Funeral:

“In the grand tradition of weed-fiend odysseys from bands like Sleep, Weedeater and Bongzilla, and the hook-doom majesty of Monolord, Windhand and Dopelord, Blues Funeral is stoked as hell to announce the massive, resiny debut of Denver’s Hashtronaut will be our first release in 2024 💪🎸🌿

Fans of riff-heaviness in all its glorious forms, prepare to get blazed to infinity with a hungry young band who stands red-eyed at the crossroads of pummeling stoner sludge and towering doom 🤘👀😍 More to come on this early in the new year!”

Hashtronaut is:
Dan Smith: bass/vocals, (Alamo Black)
Kellen McInerney: guitar (Near Dusk)
Eric Garcia: drums (The Heavy Eyes)

Hashtronaut, Tidal Waves of Ashen Sky (2022)

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Quarterly Review: David Eugene Edwards, Beastwars, Sun Dial, Fuzzy Grass, Morne, Appalooza, Space Shepherds, Rey Mosca, Fawn Limbs & Nadja, Dune Pilot

Posted in Reviews on December 1st, 2023 by JJ Koczan


Well, this is it. I still haven’t decided if I’m going to do Monday and Tuesday, or just Monday, or Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, or the whole week next week or what. I don’t know. But while I figure it out — and not having this planned is kind of a novelty for me; something against my nature that I’m kind of forcing I think just to make myself uncomfortable — there are 10 more records to dig through today and it’s been a killer week. Yeah, that’s the other thing. Maybe it’s better to quit while I’m ahead.

I’ll kick it back and forth while writing today and getting the last of what I’d originally slated covered, then see how much I still have waiting to be covered. You can’t ever get everything. I keep learning that every year. But if I don’t do it Monday and Tuesday, it’ll either be last week of December or maybe second week of January, so it’s not long until the next one. Never is, I guess.

If this is it for now or not, thanks for reading. I hope you found music that has touched your life and/or made your day better.

Quarterly Review #41-50:

David Eugene Edwards, Hyacinth

David Eugene Edwards Hyacinth

There are not a ton of surprises to behold in what’s positioned as a first solo studio offering from David Eugene Edwards, whose pedigree would be impressive enough if it only included either 16 Horsepower or Wovenhand but of course is singular in including both. But you don’t need surprises. Titled Hyacinth and issued through Sargent House, the voice, the presence, the sense of intimacy and grandiosity both accounted for as Edwards taps acoustic simplicity in “Bright Boy,” though even that is accompanied by the programmed electronics that provides backing through much of the included 11 tracks. Atop and within these expanses, Edwards broods poetic and explores atmospheres that are heavy in a different way from what Wovenhand has become, chasing tone or intensity. On Hyacinth, it’s more about the impact of the slow-rolling beat in “Celeste” and the blend of organic/inorganic than just how loud a part is or isn’t. Whether a solo career under his name will take the place of Wovenhand or coincide, I don’t know.

David Eugene Edwards on Instagram

Sargent House website

Beastwars, Tyranny of Distance

beastwars tyranny of distance

Whatever led Beastwars to decide it was time to do a covers EP, fine. No, really, it’s fine. It’s fine that it’s 32 minutes long. It’s fine that I’ve never heard The Gordons, or Julia Deans, or Superette, or The 3Ds or any of the other New Zealand-based artists the Wellington bashers are covering. It’s fine. It’s fine that it sounds different than 2019’s IV (review here). It should. It’s been nearly five years and Beastwars didn’t write these eight songs, though it seems safe to assume they did a fair bit of rearranging since it all sounds so much like Beastwars. But the reason it’s all fine is that when it’s over, whether I know the original version of “Waves” or the blues-turns-crushing “High and Lonely” originally by Nadia Reid, or not, when it’s all over, I’ve got over half an hour more recorded Beastwars music than I had before Tyranny of Distance showed up, and if you don’t consider that a win, you probably already stopped reading. That’s fine too. A sidestep for them in not being an epic landmark LP, and a chance for new ideas to flourish.

Beastwars on Facebook

Beastwars BigCartel store

Sun Dial, Messages From the Mothership

sun dial messages from the mothership

Because Messages From the Mothership stacks its longer songs (six-seven minutes) in the back half of its tracklisting, one might be tempted to say Sun Dial push further out as they go, but the truth is that ’60s pop-inflected three-minute opener “Echoes All Around” is pretty out there, and the penultimate “Saucer Noise” — the longest inclusion at 7:47 — is no less melodically present than the more structure-forward leadoff. The difference, principally, is a long stretch of keyboard, but that’s well within the UK outfit’s vintage-synth wheelhouse, and anyway, “Demagnitized” is essentially seven minutes of wobbly drone at the end of the record, so they get weirder, as prefaced in the early going by, well, the early going itself, but also “New Day,” which is more exploratory than the radio-friendly-but-won’t-be-on-the-radio harmonies of “Living for Today” and the duly shimmering strum of “Burning Bright.” This is familiar terrain for Sun Dial, but they approach it with a perspective that’s fresh and, in the title-track, a little bit funky to boot.

Sun Dial on Facebook

Sulatron Records webstore

Echodelick Records website

Fuzzy Grass, The Revenge of the Blue Nut

Fuzzy Grass The Revenge of the Blue Nut

With rampant heavy blues and a Mk II Deep Purple boogie bent, Toulouse, France’s Fuzzy Grass present The Revenge of the Blue Nut, and there’s a story there but to be honest I’m not sure I want to know. The heavy ’70s persist as an influence — no surprise for a group who named their 2018 debut 1971 — and pieces like “I’m Alright” and “The Dreamer” feel at least in part informed by Graveyard‘s slow-soul-to-boogie-blowout methodology. Raw fuzz rolls out in 11-minute capper “Moonlight Shades” with a swinging nod that’s a highlight even after “Why You Stop Me” just before, and grows noisy, expansive, eventually furious as it approaches the end, coherent in the verse and cacophonous in just about everything else. But the rawness bolsters the character of the album in ways beyond enhancing the vintage-ist impression, and Fuzzy Grass unite decades of influences with vibrant shred and groove that’s welcoming even at its bluest.

Fuzzy Grass on Facebook

Kozmik Artifactz store

Morne, Engraved with Pain

Morne Engraved With Pain

If you go by the current of sizzling electronic pops deeper in the mix, even the outwardly quiet intro to Morne‘s Engraved with Pain is intense. The Boston-based crush-metallers have examined the world around them thoroughly ahead of this fifth full-length, and their disappointment is brutally brought to realization across four songs — “Engraved with Pain” (10:42), “Memories Like Stone” (10:48), “Wretched Empire” (7:45) and “Fire and Dust” (11:40) — written and executed with a dark mastery that goes beyond the weight of the guitar and bass and drums and gutturally shouted vocals to the aura around the music itself. Engraved with Pain makes the air around it feel heavier, basking in an individualized vision of metal that’s part Ministry, part Gojira, lots of Celtic Frost, progressive and bleak in kind — the kind of superlative and consuming listening experience that makes you wonder why you ever listen to anything else except that you’re also exhausted from it because Morne just gave you an existential flaying the likes of which you’ve not had in some time. Artistry. Don’t be shocked when it’s on my ‘best of the year’ list in a couple weeks. I might just go to a store and buy the CD.

Morne on Facebook

Metal Blade Records website

Appalooza, The Shining Son

appalooza the shining son

Don’t tell the swingin’-dick Western swag of “Wounded,” but Appalooza are a metal band. To wit, The Shining Son, their very-dudely follow-up to 2021’s The Holy of Holies (review here) and second outing for Ripple Music. Opener “Pelican” has more in common with Sepultura than Kyuss, or Pelican for that matter. “Unbreakable” and “Wasted Land” both boast screams worthy of Devin Townsend, while the acoustic/electric urgency in “Wasted Land” and the tumultuous scope of the seven-plus-minute track recall some of Primordial‘s battle-aftermath mourning. “Groundhog Days” has an airy melody and is more decisively heavy rock, and the hypnotic post-doom apparent-murder-balladry of “Killing Maria” answers that at the album’s close, and “Framed” hits heavy blues à la a missed outfit like Dwellers, but even in “Sunburn” there’s an immediacy to the rhythm between the guitar and percussion, and though they’re not necessarily always aggressive in their delivery, nor do they want to be. Metal they are, if only under the surface, and that, coupled with the care they put into their songwriting, makes The Shining Son stand out all the more in an ever-crowded Euro underground.

Appalooza on Facebook

Ripple Music website

Space Shepherds, Washed Up on a Shore of Stars

Space Shepherds Washed Up on a Shore of Stars

An invitation to chill the beans delivered to your ears courtesy of Irish cosmic jammers Space Shepherds as two longform jams. “Wading Through the Infinite Sea” nestles into a funky groove and spends who-even-cares-how-much-time of its total 27 minutes vibing out with noodling guitar and a steady, languid, periodically funk-leaning flow. I don’t know if it was made up on the spot, but it sure sounds like it was, and though the drums get a little restless as keys and guitar keep dreaming, the elements gradually align and push toward and through denser clouds of dust and gas on their way to being suns, a returning lick at the end looking slightly in the direction of Elder but after nearly half an hour it belongs to no one so much as Space Shepherds themselves. ‘Side B,’ as it were, is “Void Hurler” (18:41), which is more active early around circles being drawn on the snare, and it has a crescendo and a synthy finish, but is ultimately more about the exploration and little moments along the way like the drums decided to add a bit of push to what might’ve otherwise been the comedown, or the fuzz buzzing amid the drone circa 10 minutes in. You can sit and listen and follow each waveform on its journey or you can relax and let the whole thing carry you. No wrong answer for jams this engaging.

Space Shepherds on Facebook

Space Shepherds on Bandcamp

Rey Mosca, Volumen! Sesion AMB

rey mosca volumen sesiones amb

Young Chilean four-piece Rey Mosca — the lineup of Josué Campos, Valentín Pérez, Damián Arros and Rafael Álvarez — hold a spaciousness in reserve for the midsection of teh seven-minute “Sol del Tiempo,” which is the third of the three songs included in their live-recorded Volumen! Sesion AMB EP. A ready hint is dropped of a switch in methodology since both “Psychodoom” and ” Perdiendo el Control” are under two minutes long. Crust around the edge of the riff greets the listener with “Psychodoom,” which spends about a third of its 90 seconds on its intro and so is barely started by the time it’s over. Awesome. “Perdiendo el Control” is quicker into its verse and quicker generally and gets brasher in its second half with some hardcore shout-alongs, but it too is there and gone, where “Sol del Tiempo” is more patient from the outset, flirting with ’90s noise crunch in its finish but finding a path through a developing interpretation of psychedelic doom en route. I don’t know if “Sol del Tiempo” would fit on a 7″, but it might be worth a shot as Rey Mosca serve notice of their potential hopefully to flourish.


Rey Mosca on Bandcamp

Fawn Limbs & Nadja, Vestigial Spectra

Fawn Limbs & Nadja Vestigial Spectra

Principally engaged in the consumption and expulsion of expectations, Fawn Limbs and Nadja — experimentalists from Finland and Germany-via-Canada, respectively — drone as one might think in opener “Isomerich,” and in the subsequent “Black Body Radiation” and “Cascading Entropy,” they give Primitive Man, The Body or any other extremely violent, doom-derived bludgeoners you want to name a run for their money in terms of sheer noisy assault. Somebody’s been reading about exoplanets, as the drone/harsh noise pairing “Redshifted” and “Blueshifted” (look it up, it’s super cool) reset the aural trebuchet for its next launch, the latter growing caustic on the way, ahead of “Distilled in Observance” renewing the punishment in earnest. And it is earnest. They mean every second of it as Fawn Limbs and Nadja grind souls to powder with all-or-nothing fury, dropping overwhelming drive to round out “Distilled in Observance” before the 11-minute “Metastable Ion Decay” bursts out from the chest of its intro drone to devour everybody on the ship except Sigourney Weaver. I’m not lying to you — this is ferocious. You might think you’re up for it. One sure way to find out, but you should know you’re being tested.

Fawn Limbs on Facebook

Nadja on Facebook

Sludgelord Records on Facebook

Dune Pilot, Magnetic

dune pilot magnetic

Do they pilot, a-pilot, do they the dune? Probably. Regardless, German heavy rockers Dune Pilot offer their third full-length and first for Argonauta Records in the 11-song Magnetic, taking cues from modern fuzz in the vein of Truckfighters for “Visions” after the opening title-track sets the mood and establishes the mostly-dry sound of the vocals as they cut through the guitar and bass tones. A push of voice becomes a defining feature of Magnetic, which isn’t such a departure from 2018’s Lucy, though the rush of “Next to the Liquor Store” and the breadth in the fuzz of “Highest Bid” and the largesse of the nod in “Let You Down” assure that Dune Pilot don’t come close to wearing down their welcome in the 46 minutes, cuts like the bluesy “So Mad” and the big-chorus ideology of “Heap of Shards” coexisting drawn together by the vitality of the performances behind them as well as the surety of their craft. It is heavy rock that feels specifically geared toward the lovers thereof.

Dune Pilot on Facebook

Argonauta Records website

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