Om Touring in February / March with Wovenhand

Posted in Whathaveyou on November 14th, 2019 by JJ Koczan


I cannot stress enough how much you should own Om‘s BBC Radio 1 (review here). Yes, it’s a double 10-inch vinyl, and I’m perfectly willing to admit that that’s kind of a silly thing when it would’ve fit on a single 12-inch platter, but face it, you’re going to listen to the download anyway, so quitcherbitchin and get on board. I’m only trying to make your life better by telling you this.

Do I think it’s a coincidence that Om have announced tour dates the same week that bassist/vocalist Al Cisneros‘ other band — they’re called Sleep, you know — have announced a hiatus? I don’t know. Probably? They’ll have Wovenhand out with them though, as they did on a tour leading to Monolith on the Mesa earlier this year, so if you want to think of this as a fuller leg of that run, go for it. Om have toured pretty steadily over the time that Cisneros has been/was involved in Sleep again, so it’s not like it’s some sudden resurgence or anything.

Of course, the big question is when/if/whether there will be a new album out next year, and if this tour might preface or accompany or otherwise somehow relate to that possibility. I have no insight on the matter other than to say, “golly, that sure would be nice,” so yeah, no insight at all basically. Shrug.

Go see Om. And buy that goddamn live record.


om tour poster

OM Live:
12/14/19 Pioneer Works Brooklyn NY
2/21/20 Mohawk Austin TX w/ Wovenhand
2/22/20 Gas Monkey Bar & Grill Dallas TX w/ Wovenhand
2/24/20 George’s Majestic Lounge Fayetteville AR w/ Wovenhand
2/25/20 Growlers Memphis TN w/ Wovenhand
2/26/20 Saturn Birmingham AL w/ Wovenhand
2/27/20 Terminal West Atlanta GA w/ Wovenhand
2/28/20 Grey Eagle Asheville NC w/ Wovenhand
2/29/20 Motorco Chapel Hill NC w/ Wovenhand
3/2/20 Black Cat Washington DC w/ Wovenhand
3/3/20 Underground Arts Philadelphia PA w/ Wovenhand
3/5/20 The Sinclair Cambridge MA w/ Wovenhand
3/6/20 Columbus Theatre Providence RI w/ Wovenhand
3/8/20 Spirit Hall w/ Wovenhand
3/9/20 Grog Shop Cleveland Heights OH w/ Wovenhand
3/11/20 Headliners Music Hall Louisville KY w/ Wovenhand
3/12/20 The Pyramid Scheme Grand Rapids MI w/ Wovenhand
3/13/20 Garfield Park Conservatory Chicago IL w/ Wovenhand
3/16/20 Fine Line Minneapolis MN w/ Wovenhand
3/17/20 Wooly’s Des Moines IA w/ Wovenhand
3/18/20 Slowdown Omaha NE w/ Wovenhand
3/19/20 The Bottleneck Lawrence ks w/ Wovenhand
3/20/20 89th Street Oklahoma City OK w/ Wovenhand
3/21/20 Sister Albuquerque NM w/ Wovenhand

OM lineup:
Al Cisneros
Emil Amos
Tyler Trotter

Om, Live in Copenhagen, Denmark, July 31, 2019

Tags: , , ,

Om Heading Back to Europe This Summer; Monolith on the Mesa This Week

Posted in Whathaveyou on May 13th, 2019 by JJ Koczan


This week, Om embark on a Southwestern tour (it’s spicier) alongside Wovenhand that will pass through the Monolith on the Mesa festival in Taos, New Mexico, on Friday, May 17, where Om will headline. It’s been a busy year so far for them. They’re fresh off a quick trip to Europe for Desertfest in London and Berlin as well as two shows in Oslo and one in Stockholm, and in February, they toured the West Coast as well. Newly unveiled summer plans reveal they’ll be back in Europe throughout July and August — they’d been announced for SonicBlast Moledo and Lake on Fire, so yeah, a tour makes sense — and as posted by Odyssey Booking (which put together the European tour), they would seem to have a new lineup with Tyler Trotter taking the multi-instrumentalist role formerly occupied by Robert Aiki Aubrey Lowe. I have no clue if that’s a permanent change or what, but it would seem to have been Trotter with Al Cisneros and Emil Amos at Desertfest, so there you go.

I’ll keep my fingers crossed that autumn brings Om east, more specifically northeast, even more specifically to my house for a nice Sunday brunch, but of course, if they wanted to go ahead and spend that time finishing a new album, it would be hard to complain about that.

Dates follow, as seen on social media:

om summer tour

OM / Wovenhand
Southwest 2019 tour
5/15/2019 Mesa, AZ The Nile
5/16/2019 Flagstaff, AZ Green Room
5/17/2019 Taos, NM Monolith at the Mesa
5/18/2019 Grand Junction, CO Mesa Theater
5/19/2019 Denver, CO Gothic Theater

OM European summer tour 2019 dates announced! Tickets now onsale for all shows

26-07 DE Karlsruhe @ Jubez
27-07 NL Utrecht @ Tivoli – Pandora
28-07 DE Dortmund @ FZW
30-07 DE Bremen @ Tower
31-07 DK Copenhagen @ Pumpehuset
01-08 DE Leipzig @ UT Connewitz
02-08 PL Katowice @ OFF festival
03-08 AT Waldhausen @ Lake On Fire fest
04-08 HU Budapest @ Durer Kert
06-08 CH Zurich @ Bogen F
07-08 IT Livorno @ Fortezza Vechia
08-08 IT Milan @ Magnolia
10-08 PT Moledo @ Sonic Blast
12-08 CH Valais @ Palp festival – Rocklette

OM – 2019 lineup:
Al Cisneros
Emil Amos
Tyler Trotter

Om, Live in Los Angeles, Feb 28, 2019

Tags: , , , ,

Tomorrow’s Dream: 200+ of 2017’s Most Anticipated Releases

Posted in Features on January 23rd, 2017 by JJ Koczan

tomorrow's dream 2017

Looks like it’s going to be another busy 12 months ahead. It’s been a busy better-part-of-a-month already, so that stands to reason, but you should know that of the several years now that I’ve done these ‘Tomorrow’s Dream’ posts, this is the biggest one yet, with over 150 upcoming releases that — one hopes — will be out between today and the end of 2017.

Actually, at last count, the list tops 180. Do I really expect you to listen to all of them? Nope. Will I? Well, it would be nice. But what I’ve done is gone through and highlighted 35 picks and then built lists off that in order of likelihood of arrival. You’ll note the categories are ‘Gonna Happen and/or Likely Candidates,’ ‘Definitely Could Happen’ and ‘Would be Awfully Nice.’

Beyond that last one, anything else just seems like speculation — one might as well go “new Sabbath this year!” with zero info backing it up. The idea here is that no matter where a given band is placed, there has been some talk of a new release. In some cases, it’s been years, but I think they’re still worth keeping in mind.

Another caveat: You can expect additions to this list over the next week — probably album titles, band names people (fingers crossed) suggest in the comments, and so on — so it will grow. It always does. The idea is to build as complete a document as possible, not to get it all nailed down immediately, so please, if you have something to contribute and you’re able to do so in a non-prickish, “You didn’t include Band X and therefore don’t deserve to breathe the same air as me,” kind of way, please contribute.

Other than that, I think it’s pretty straightforward what’s going on here and I’ll explain the category parameters as we go, so by all means, let’s jump in.

— Tomorrow’s Dream 2017 —

Presented Alphabetically

1. Abrahma, TBA

Late last year, Paris heavy progressives Abrahma announced a new lineup and third full-length in progress. No reason to think it won’t come to fruition, and a follow-up to 2015’s Reflections in the Bowels of a Bird (review here) is an easy pick to look forward to. Even with the shift in personnel, it seems likely the band will continue their creative development, driven as they are by founding guitarist Seb Bismuth.

2. All Them Witches, Sleeping Through the War

all them witches sleeping through the warIf 2017 ended today, Sleeping Through the War would be my Album of the Year. Of course, there’s a lot of year to go, but for now, Nashville’s All Them Witches have set the standard with their second album for New West Records behind 2015’s Dying Surfer Meets His Maker (review here) and fourth overall outing. They’ve got videos up so far for “3-5-7” (posted here) and “Bruce Lee” (posted here). Both are most definitely worth your time. Out Feb. 24. Full review should be later this week.

3. Alunah, Solennial

Seems like UK forest riffers Alunah are on this list every year. Wishful thinking on my part. Nonetheless, their fourth LP and Svart Records debut, Solennial, is out March 17, and if the tease they gave already with the clip for “Fire of Thornborough Henge” (posted here) is anything to go from, its Chris Fielding-produced expanses might just be Alunah‘s most immersive yet.

4. Arbouretum, TBA

I asked the Baltimore folk fuzzers a while back on Thee Facebooks if they had a new record coming in 2017 and they said yes, so that’s what I’m going on here. The last Arbouretum album was 2013’s Coming out of the Fog (review here), and even with frontman Dave Heumann‘s 2015 solo outing, Here in the Deep (review here), factored in, you’d have to say they’re due. Keep an eye on Thrill Jockey for word and I’ll do the same.

5. Atavismo, Inerte

This is another one that already has a spot reserved for it on my Best-of-2017 year-end list. Spanish heavy psych rockers Atavismo up the progressive bliss level with their second full-length, Inerte, without losing the depth of style that made 2014’s Desintegración (review here) so utterly glorious. It probably won’t have the biggest marketing budget of 2017, but if you let Atavismo fly under your radar, you are 100 percent missing out on something special.

6. Bison Machine, TBA

In addition to the video for new track “Cloak and Bones” that premiered here, when Michigan raucousness-purveyors Bison Machine put out the dates for their fall 2016 tour, they included further hints of new material in progress. As much as I dug their earlier-2016 split with SLO and Wild Savages (review here) and 2015’s Hoarfrost (review here), that’s more than enough for me to include them on this list. Killer next-gen heavy rock.

7. Brothers of the Sonic Cloth, TBA

News of a follow-up to Brothers of the Sonic Cloth‘s 2015 Neurot Recordings self-titled debut (review here) came through in October, and it remains some of the best news I’ve heard about 2017 doings. Took them a while to get the first record out, so we’ll see what happens, but it kind of feels like looking forward to a comet about to smash into the planet and cause a mass extinction, and by that I mean awesome. Can’t get here soon enough.

8. Cloud Catcher, Trails of Kosmic Dust

cloud catcher trails of kosmic dustOkay, so maybe I jumped the gun and did a super-early review of Denver trio Cloud Catcher‘s second long-player and Totem Cat Records debut, Trails of Kosmic Dust, but hell, no regrets. Some albums require an early-warning system. Their 2015 debut, Enlightened Beyond Existence (discussed here), was a gem as well, but this is a band in the process of upping their game on every level, and the songwriting and momentum they hone isn’t to be missed.

9. Colour Haze, TBA

I’ve gotten some details on the upcoming full-length from Colour Haze. They do not include a title, artwork, audio, song titles or general direction. Less details, I guess, than word that the CD version of this answer to 2015’s To the Highest Gods We Know (review here) is set to come out next month, as ever, on Elektrohasch. That puts it out in time for Colour Haze‘s upcoming tour with My Sleeping Karma (announced here). Fingers crossed it happens. Colour Haze are perpetual top-albums candidates in my book.

10. Corrosion of Conformity, TBA

Signed to Nuclear Blast after being rejoined by guitarist/vocalist Pepper Keenan, North Carolina’s C.O.C. have been in the studio since last year. The lineup of Keenan, bassist/vocalist Mike Dean and guitarist Woody Weatherman and Reed Mullin on drums is the stuff of legend and last worked together on 2000’s America’s Volume Dealer, so no question this reunion makes for one of 2017’s most anticipated heavy rock records. They nailed the nostalgia factor on tour. Can they now add to their legacy?

11. Elder, TBA

I was incredibly fortunate about a month ago to visit progressive heavy rockers Elder at Sonelab in Easthampton, MA, during the recording process for their upcoming fourth album. I heard a couple of the tracks, and of course it was all raw form, but the movement forward from 2015’s Lore (review here) was palpable. That LP (on Stickman) brought them to a wider audience, and I expect no less from this one as well, since the farther out Elder go sound-wise, the deeper the level of connection with their listeners they seem to engage.

12. Electric Wizard, TBA

Could happen, could not happen. That’s how it goes. Announced for last Halloween. That date came and went. Word of trouble building their own studio surfaced somewhere along the line. That was the last I heard. Frankly, I wouldn’t be surprised if it showed up tomorrow, if it showed up in 2018, or if the band broke up and never put it out. They’re Electric Wizard. Anything’s possible.

13. John Garcia, The Coyote Who Spoke in Tongues

Out Jan. 28 on NapalmThe Coyote Who Spoke in Tongues (review here) is the first-ever acoustic album from former Kyuss frontman John Garcia, also of Unida, the reunited Slo BurnHermanoVista ChinoZun, etc. — basically the voice of desert rock. He does a couple Kyuss classics for good measure, but shines as well on the new/original tracks, and while it’s a piece for fans more than newcomers — that is, it helps if you know the original version of “Green Machine” — his presence remains as powerful as ever despite this new context.

14. Goya, Harvester of Bongloads

Riffs, dude. Goya seem to have them to spare. The Arizona-based wizard doomers have set a pretty prolific clip for themselves at this point, with at least two short releases out in 2016, one a 7″ of Nirvana covers (review here), and the The Enemy EP (review here). Set for a March 3 release through their own Opoponax Records imprint, Harvester of Bongloads continues the march into the abyss that 2015’s Obelisk (review here) and 2013’s 777 set in motion, finding the band coming more into their own as well. Creative growth — and bongloads! The best of both worlds.

15. Ides of Gemini, TBA

Ides of Gemini are set to record their yet-untitled third album with Sanford Parker early this year, and it will also mark their debut on Rise Above Records upon its release. They’ve also got a new lineup around vocalist Sera Timms and guitarist J. Bennett, so as they look to move forward from 2014’s Old World New Wave (review here), one can’t help but wonder what to expect, but to be honest, not knowing is part of the appeal, especially from a band who so readily specialize in the ethereal.

16. Kind, TBA

Three-fourths of Kind feature elsewhere on this list. Bassist Tom Corino plays in Rozamov. Drummer Matt Couto is in Elder. Vocalist Craig Riggs is in Roadsaw. And for what it’s worth, guitarist Darryl Shepherd has a new band coming together called Test Meat. How likely does that make Kind to release a second LP in 2017? I don’t know, but their 2015 Ripple Music debut, Rocket Science (review here), deserves a follow-up, and I know they’ve demoed some new songs. If it happens, great. If it’s 2018, at least these dudes will be plenty busy besides.

17. Lo-Pan, In Tensions

lo-pan in tensionsYes, Lo-Pan‘s In Tensions (review here) has already been released — CD/LP with an artbook on Aqualamb. It’s out. Limited numbers. You can get it now. Why include it on a list of most anticipated releases? Because that’s how strongly I feel about your need to hear it. The fruit of a shortlived lineup with guitarist Adrian Zambrano, it distinguishes itself from everything they’ve done before in style while still keeping to the core righteousness that one hopes the Ohio outfit will continue to carry forward. It’s more than a stopgap between albums. Listen to it.

18. The Midnight Ghost Train, TBA

It seems to have been a rough ride for hard-boogie specialists The Midnight Ghost Train since their 2015 Napalm debut and third album overall, Cold was the Ground (review here). They’ve never taken it easy on the road or in terms of physicality on stage, and between injuries and who knows what else, their intensity at this point veers toward the directly confrontational. Nonetheless, they’ve been writing for album number four, may or may not have started the recording process, and I expect that confrontationalism to suit them well in their new material.

19. Monster Magnet, TBA

I have it on decent authority that NJ heavy psych innovators Monster Magnet were in the studio this past autumn. I’ve seen no concrete word of a new album in progress from Dave Wyndorf and company, and I wouldn’t necessarily expect to until it was time to start hyping the release, but after their two redux releases, 2015’s Cobras and Fire (review here) and 2014’s Milking the Stars (review here), their range feels broader than ever and I can’t wait to hear what they come up with next.

20. Mothership, High Strangeness

A pivotal moment for Mothership arrives with High Strangeness, and the heavy-touring, heavy-riffing Texas power trio seem to know it. Their third record on Ripple Music pushes into new avenues of expression and keeps the energy of 2014’s Mothership II (review here) and 2012’s Mothership (review here), but thus far into their career, it’s been about their potential and what they might accomplish going forward. 2017 might be the year for Mothership to declare a definitive place in the sphere of American heavy rock.

21. The Obsessed, Sacred

On Halloween 2016, founding The Obsessed guitarist/vocalist and doom icon Scott “Wino” Weinrich announced a new lineup for the band, with his former The Hidden Hand bandmate Bruce Falkinburg on bass/vocals, Sara Seraphim on guitar and Brian Costantino continuing on drums. A genuine surprise. Their first album since 1994, Sacred (due on Relapse) was tracked as the trio of WeinrichCostantino and bassist/vocalist Dave Sherman, but clearly they’ve moved into a new era already. Wouldn’t even guess what the future holds, but hopefully Sacred still comes out.

22. Orange Goblin, TBA

When it was announced that London’s Orange Goblin were picked up by Spinefarm as part of that label’s acquisition of Candlelight Records last Spring, the subheadline from the PR wire was “Working on Ninth Studio Album.” I haven’t heard much since then, but even as 2014’s Back from the Abyss (review here) pushed them deeper into metallic territory than ever before, their songs retained the character that’s made the band the institution they are. Always look forward to new Orange Goblin.

23. Pallbearer, Heartless

pallbearer heartlessDoomers, this is your whole year right here. I haven’t heard Pallbearer‘s third album, Heartless (out March 24 on Profound Lore), but I have to think even those who haven’t yet been won over by the Arkansas four-piece’s emotive, deep-running style have to be curious about what they’ve come up with this time around. I know I am. These guys have been making a mark on the genre since their 2012 debut, Sorrow and Extinction (review here), and there’s little doubt Heartless will continue that thread upon its arrival.

24. Radio Moscow, TBA

Fact: Radio Moscow stand among the best classic heavy rock live acts in the US. They’re the kind of band you can watch upwards of 15 gigs in a row — I’ve done it — and find them putting on a better show night after night, in defiance of science, logic and sobriety. Word of their signing to Century Media came just this past week and brought with it confirmation of a follow-up to 2014’s stellar Magical Dirt (review here), and for me to say hell yes, I’m absolutely on board, seems like the no-brainer to end all no-brainers. Can’t wait.

25. Roadsaw, TBA

Nearly six full years later, it’s only fair to call Boston scene godfathers Roadsaw due for a follow-up to their 2011 self-titled (review here). Granted, members have been busy in KindWhite Dynomite, and other projects, but still. Their upcoming outing finds them on Ripple Music after years under the banner of Small Stone Records, and though I haven’t seen a solid release date yet, my understanding is they hit Mad Oak Studio in Allston, MA, this past fall to track it, so seems likely for sooner or later. Sooner, preferably.

26. Rozamov, This Mortal Road

Speaking of albums by Boston bands a while in the making, This Mortal Road (out March 3 on Battleground Records and Dullest Records) is the debut full-length from Boston atmospheric extremists Rozamov. Haven’t heard it yet, but I got a taste of some of the material when I visited the band at New Alliance Audio in Aug. 2015, and the bleak expanses of what I heard seem primed to turn heads. I’m a fan of these guys, but in addition, they’ve found a niche for themselves sound-wise and I’m curious to hear how they bring it to fruition.

27. Samsara Blues Experiment, TBA

It’s been a pleasure over the last couple months to watch a resurgence of Berlin heavy psych trio Samsara Blues Experiment take shape, first with the announcement of a fourth album in October, then with subsequent confirmations for DesertfestRiff Ritual in Barcelona, and a South American tour. Reportedly due in Spring, which fits with the timing on shows, etc., the record will follow 2013’s righteous Waiting for the Flood (review here) and as much as I’m looking forward to hearing it, I’m kind of just glad to have these guys back.

28. Seedy Jeezus, TBA

Work finished earlier this month on Melbourne trio Seedy Jeezus‘ second full-length. As with their 2015 self-titled debut, the band brought Tony Reed of Mos Generator to Australia to produce, and after their blissed-out 2016 collaboration with Earthless guitarist Isaiah MitchellTranquonauts (review here), it’s hard not to wonder what experimentalist tendencies might show in the trio’s style this time out, and likewise difficult not to anticipate what guitarist Lex “Mr. Frumpy” Wattereus comes up with for the cover art.

29. Shroud Eater, Strike the Sun

Not to spoil the surprise, but Feb. 1 I’ll host a track premiere from Florida’s Shroud Eater that finds them working in a different context from everything we’ve heard from them to this point in their rightly-celebrated tenure. They also recently had a split out with Dead Hand, and their second long-player, Strike the Sun, will be their debut through STB Records. It’s been since 2011’s ThunderNoise (review here) that we last got a Shroud Eater album, so you bet your ass I’m dying to know what the last six years have wrought.

30. Sleep, TBA

If Sleep were any other band, they’d probably be in the “Would be Awfully Nice” category. But they’re Sleep, so even the thought of a new record is enough to put them here. The lords of all things coated in THC are reissuing their 2014 single, The Clarity (review here), on Southern Lord next month, but rumors have been swirling about a proper album, which of course would be their first since the now-legendary Dopesmoker. If it happens, it’ll automatically be a heavy underground landmark for 2017, but it’s one I’m going to have in my ears before I really believe it.

31. Stoned Jesus, TBA

Even as they tour playing their second album, 2012’s Seven Thunders Roar (review here), to mark its fifth anniversary and continued impact, Ukrainian trio Stoned Jesus are forging ahead with a fourth record behind 2015’s The Harvest (review here). The capital-‘q’ Question is whether or not looking back at Seven Thunders Roar and engaging that big-riffing side of their sound will have an impact on the new material, and if so, how it will meld with the push of The Harvest. Won’t speculate, but look forward to finding out.

32. Stubb, TBA

Since reveling in the soul of 2015’s Cry of the Ocean (review here) on Ripple, London trio Stubb have swapped out bassists, and they were in Skyhammer Studio this month recording a single that may be an extended psychedelic jam. I’ll take that happily, but I’m even more intrigued at the prospect of a third LP and what guitarist/vocalist Jack Dickinson, bassist/vocalist Tom Hobson and drummer Tom Fyfe might have in store as the band moves forward on multiple levels. Might be 2017, might not.

33. Sun Blood Stories, It Runs Around the Room with Us

sun blood stories it runs around the room with usIt Runs around the Room with Us seems to find peace in its resonant experimentalist drones, loops, open, subdued spaces, but there’s always some underlying sense of foreboding to its drift, as if Boise’s Sun Blood Stories could anticipate the moment before it happened. Toward the end of the follow-up to 2015’s Twilight Midnight Morning (review here), they execute the 90-second assault “Burn” and turn serenity to ash. Look for it in April and look for it again on my best of 2017 list in December.

34. Ufomammut, TBA

Any new offering from the Italian cosmic doom magnates is worth looking forward to, and while Ufomammut have left the 15-year mark behind, they’ve never stopped progressing in style and form. To wit, 2015’s Ecate (review here) was a stunner after 2012’s two-part LP, Oro (review here and review here), tightening the approach but assuring the vibe was no less expansive than ever. They started recording last summer, finished mixing in November, so I’m hoping for word of a release date soon.

35. Vokonis, The Sunken Djinn

Born out of Creedsmen Arise, whose 2015 demo, Temple (review here), offered formative thrills, Swedish trio Vokonis debuted with last year’s Olde One Ascending (review here) and proved there’s still life in post-Sleep riffing when it’s wielded properly. They signed to Ripple in November and confirmed the title of their sophomore effort as The Sunken Djinn, as well as a reissue for the first album, which will probably arrive first. I don’t know how that will affect the timing on this one, but keep an eye out anyway.

Gonna Happen and/or Likely Candidates

Obviously some of these are more likely than others. Some have solidified, announced release dates — Dopelord‘s out this month, Demon Head‘s out in April, etc. — and others come from social media posts of bands in studios and hints at upcoming releases and so on. A big tell is whether or not a band has an album title with their listing, but even some of those without have their new albums done, like Atala and Royal Thunder, so it’s not necessarily absolute.

Either way, while I’m spending your money, you might want to look into:

36. Against the Grain
37. Amenra
38. Atala
39. Attalla, Glacial Rule
40. Ayahuasca Dark Trip, II
41. Beastmaker
42. Beaten Back to Pure
43. Blackout
44. Bretus
45. Buried Feather, Mind of the Swarm
46. The Clamps
47. Cold Stares
48. Coltsblood, Ascending into the Shimmering Darkness
49. Come to Grief, The Worst of Times EP
50. Cortez
51. Cruthu, The Angle of Eternity
52. The Dead-End Alley Band, Storms
53. Dead Witches, Dead Witches
54. Dealer
55. Death Alley, Live at Roadburn
56. Demon Head, Thunder on the Fields
57. The Devil and the Almighty Blues, II
58. Devil Electric
59. Doctor Cyclops, Local Dogs
60. Dool, Here Now There Then
61. Dopelord, Children of the Haze
62. Doublestone, Devil’s Own/Djævlens Egn
63. Dread Sovereign, For Doom the Bell Tolls
64. Drive by Wire
65. Elbrus, Elbrus
66. Electric Age
67. Electric Moon, Stardust Rituals
68. Endless Floods, II
69. Five Horse Johnson
70. Forming the Void, Relic
71. Funeral Horse
72. Greenbeard
73. Green Desert Water
74. Greenleaf
75. Grifter / Suns of Thunder, Split
76. Hair of the Dog, This World Turns
77. Heavy Temple, Chassit
78. Here Lies Man, Here Lies Man
79. Hollow Leg, Murder EP
80. Holy Mount, The Drought
81. Hooded Menace
82. Horisont, About Time
83. Hymn, Perish
84. Lecherous Gaze
85. Magnet, Feel Your Fire
86. Mastodon
87. Merlin, The Wizard
88. Merchant
89. Mindkult, Lucifer’s Dream
90. Mirror Queen
91. Moonbow, War Bear
92. Mos Generator
93. The Moth
94. MotherSloth
95. Mouth, Vortex
96. My Sleeping Karma, Mela Ananda – Live
97. Orango
98. Papir
99. PH, Eternal Hayden
100. Psychedelic Witchcraft, Magick Rites and Spells
101. Royal Thunder
102. Saturn, Beyond Spectra
103. Season of Arrows, Give it to the Mountain
104. Siena Root
105. Six Organs of Admittance, Burning the Threshold
106. Six Sigma, Tuxedo Brown
107. Sólstafir
108. The Sonic Dawn, Into the Long Night
109. Spelljammer
110. Spidergawd, IV
111. Steak
112. Stinking Lizaveta, Journey to the Underworld
113. Sula Bassana, Organ Accumulator
114. Summoner
115. Sun Voyager, Sun Voyager
116. Sweat Lodge, Tokens for Hell EP
117. Thera Roya, Stone and Skin
118. Toke
119. Troubled Horse, Revelation on Repeat
120. VA, Brown Acid The Third Trip
121. Weedpecker
122. Youngblood Supercult, The Great American Death Rattle

Definitely Could Happen

Maybe a recording process is upcoming (Gozu, Cities of Mars, YOB), or a band is looking for a label (The Flying Eyes), or they’ve said new stuff is in the works but the circumstances of an actual release aren’t known (Arc of Ascent, Dead Meadow, High on Fire), or I’ve just seen rumors of their hitting the studio (Freedom Hawk, La Chinga, Ruby the Hatchet). We’ve entered the realm of the entirely possible but not 100 percent.

So, you know, life.

Dig it:

123. The Age of Truth
124. Ape Machine
125. Arc of Ascent
126. At Devil Dirt
127. Bantoriak
128. Bask
129. BCAD
130. BoneHawk
131. La Chinga
132. Chubby Thunderous Bad Kush Masters
133. Cities of Mars
134. Crypt Sermon
135. Dead Meadow
136. Death Alley (Studio LP)
137. Dee Calhoun
138. Destroyer of Light
139. Devil
140. Devil Worshipper
141. Duel
142. Dustrider
143. Egypt
144. Electric Moon
145. Elephant Tree
146. Farflung
147. The Flying Eyes
148. Freedom Hawk
149. Gozu
150. The Great Electric Quest
151. Green Meteor, Consumed by a Dying Sun
152. High on Fire
153. Horrendous
154. Insect Ark
155. In the Company of Serpents
156. Iron Monkey
157. Jeremy Irons and the Ratgang Malibus
158. The Judge
159. Killer Boogie
160. King Dead
161. The Kings of Frog Island
162. Lords of Beacon House, Recreational Sorcery
163. Mangoo
164. Mondo Drag
165. Monolord
166. Mountain God
167. The Munsens
168. Naxatras
169. Never Got Caught
170. Ommadon
171. Orchid
172. Ordos
173. Pilgrim
174. Poseidon
175. Purple Hill Witch
176. Ruby the Hatchet
177. Sasquatch
178. Satan’s Satyrs
179. Serpents of Secrecy
180. Shabda
181. Shooting Guns
182. Sleepy Sun
183. Slow Season
184. Snowy Dunes, Atlantis
185. Spectral Haze
186. The Sweet Heat
187. Switchblade Jesus
188. Superchief
189. Tÿburn
190. YOB
191. Zone Six

Would be Awfully Nice

This last category is basically as close as I’m willing to come to rampant speculation. Endless Boogie have hinted at new material, and Queens of the Stone Age have talked about hitting the studio for the last two years. There were rumors about Om, and though Kings Destroy just put out an EP, they have new songs as well, though I doubt we’ll hear them before the end of 2017. I’ll admit that Across Tundras, Fever Dog, Lord Fowl, Lowrider and Hour of 13 are just wishful thinking on my part. A boy can hope:

192. Across Tundras
193. Eggnogg
194. Elephant Tree
195. Endless Boogie
196. Fever Dog
197. Fu Manchu
198. Halfway to Gone
199. Hour of 13
200. Kadavar
201. Kings Destroy
202. Lord Fowl
203. Lowrider
204. Masters of Reality
205. Om
206. Orodruin
207. Queens of the Stone Age

If you’ve made it this far, thanks for reading. Whatever this year brings, I hope it’s been great so far for you and I hope it continues to be so as we proceed inexorably to 2018 and all the also-futuristic-sounding numbers thereafter. At least we know we’ll have plenty of good music to keep us company on that voyage.

As always, comments section is open if there’s anything I’ve left out. I’m happy to add, adjust, etc., as need be, so really, have at it, and thanks in advance.

All the best.

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

Om Announce European Tour Dates

Posted in Whathaveyou on August 12th, 2015 by JJ Koczan


It’s now been over three years since Om released their last album, 2012’s Advaitic Songs (review here), on Drag City. It was, at least as far as I was concerned, the best record that came out that year. Still, Om are about due, with two-to-three years space between the two LPs prior while their first three hit in a row, 2005, 2006, 2007. No doubt their material has gotten more complex since then, and I’m perfectly willing to continue waiting — not much of an alternative, I suppose — but there hasn’t been much word of anything happening for a follow-up to Advaitic Songs, and it seems like it’s getting to be time where one might expect some.

Yeah, I know. It’ll happen when it happens. One wouldn’t get impatient listening to Om, so one probably shouldn’t get impatient waiting for a new Om record to surface, but I definitely wouldn’t have complained if the tour dates below, which are cut and pasted directly as I saw them presented on Thee Facebooks with the poster by David V. D’Andrea, had come with any kind of notice, “New stuff in the works,” or something like that. Even a sentence. Hell, a fragment. Grammar is whatever. New Om would be where it’s at.

As it is, it just so happens that I revisited Advaitic Songs this weekend, and I don’t know when the last time you put it on was but it’s still brilliant. At least if Om are going to make their audience wait, they do so after putting out a record that more than stands up to the stretch of time.

Dates and poster follow:

om euro tour

14-11-2015: CZ Prague- Chapeau Rouge
15-11: DE Leipzig- UT Connewitz
16-11: DE Berlin -Bi Nuu
18-11: NL Groningen -Vera
19-11: NL Utrecht -Le Guess Who
20-11: DE Karlsruhe -Jubez
21-11: CH Vevey -Rocking Chair
22-11: FR Paris -Divan Du Monde
24-11: DE Dortmund – FZW
25-11: BE Antwerp -Trix
26-11: UK London -Electric Ballroom*
27-11: UK Prestatyn -ATP Festival
28-11: IRE Dublin -Button Factory
29-11: UK Brighton -Venue Tbc
*London show co-headline w Lightning Bolt.

Design: D.V. D’Andrea. Photo: Tim Bugbee.

Om, “State of Non-Return”

Tags: , , ,

Six Organs of Admittance UK Tour Underway Now

Posted in Whathaveyou on June 15th, 2015 by JJ Koczan

Starting June 10, Six Organs of Admittance began a UK tour not so much in support of its new album Hexadic (review here) — though it works out that way too — as explaining exactly what it is Ben Chasny (also Comets on Fire) has done with it. This past weekend, in addition to performing later in the day at Supersonic Festival, Chasny conducted a seminar explaining the system of songwriting used in the record’s construction. Opaque to non-instrumentalists, it nonetheless resulted in a heavy psychedelic jazz fusion on the record itself, which Chasny and company continue to herald this week, including at a two-night residency in London.

Info and the complete round of tour dates follow, courtesy of the PR wire:

six organs of admittance

Six Organs Of Admittance UK tour dates

This summer, Ben Chasny’s Six Organs Of Admittance will be in the UK spreading the workings of the Hexadic, the system that underpins his most recent album for Drag City bearing the same name. Most of the dates are performances from the full live band, except for a special workshop as part of Supersonic Festival 2015 in Birmingham, where Chasny will be explaining and demonstrating the Hexadic process to patrons of the adventurous arts event. Further details of Six Organs’ two day residency at Cafe Oto will also soon be revealed. Find the full dates below:

10 June – Antwerp, Trix
13 June – Birmingham, Supersonic Festival (performance 9:30pm & workshop 3pm)
14 June – Manchester, Gullivers
15 June – Bristol, Exchange
16 June – Leeds, Brudenell
17 June – Glasgow, Broadcast
18 June – Newcastle, Cluny
20 June – London, Cafe Oto – two day residency
21 June – London, Cafe Oto – two day residency
22 June – Amsterdam, Paradiso

Two day residency from Ben Chasny – aka Six Organs of Admittance – playing a band show on the first night and solo on the second, and following on from new album ‘Hexadic’, which is based upon Chasny’s intricately devised Hexadic System for music composition.

Taking as much inspiration from ambient textures and noise squall as it does on the fingerpicked acoustic guitar which has formed the bedrock of Chasny’s recorded output, the Six Organs of Admittance sound has expanded to encompass a huge sonic span. Initially starting as a solo endeavour, it has since welcomed a wide array of collaborators both on recordings and in live performances, including the likes of Chris Corsano, Elisa Ambrogio (Magik Markers), and Alex Neilson.

Inspired by explorations in the thought of Ramon Llull, Gaston Bachelard, Heinrich Agrippa and many other theorists in the various schools of combinatorial and image theory, Ben Chasny’s goal was to make a system of his own, addressing the most important form of decision making in his life – the decisions made with his guitar. Aligning the cards with the notes in the guitar’s neck by using the card suits and numbers, The Hexadic System unlocks new potentials in guitar composition, while referencing historical, philosophical and even occult precedents for the Hexadic processes. Not just hard theory, the Hexadic system can be enjoyed as a game, while the text is illustrated with 75 ornately designed charts and diagrams to accompany the process.

Ben Chasny as Six Organs Of Admittance released The Hexadic System LP in February, entirely based on the system outlined above. From it, check out the track ‘Wax Chance’, which frames the intuition-defying process in action at the hands of its creator, and rocks hard to a chance beat. You can pick up a copy at the Drag City webstore, where all the Hexadic System components can also be purchased.…

Six Organs of Admittance, “Wax Chance”

Tags: , , , ,

Six Organs of Admittance, Hexadic: Systems and Games of Chance

Posted in Reviews on April 14th, 2015 by JJ Koczan

six organs of admittance hexadic

There are two ways by which a project like Six Organs of Admittance‘s Hexadic comes about: Genius and boredom. I suspect that for Ben Chasny, who has spearheaded the band since its incarnation before the turn of the century, it was some working combination of the two that drove him to create the “Hexadic System,” which uses playing cards in some obscure process to construct various elements of songwriting, piecing material together, picking notes and so forth. Set to be released as part of a decade-long association with Drag City as a bundle with a 115-page book explaining the system and a custom-designed deck of playing cards presumably for use by anyone who might want to give it a shot on their own, it is a challenging record conceptually and in the practice of listening that it seems fair to call Six Organs of Admittance‘s most experimental work to-date. That’s saying something. From Chasny‘s 1998 self-titled debut with Six Organs and certainly through his work with Comets on Fire, he — and a variety of other players included (or not) along the way — has maintained a fiercely creative drive. From early blends of synth and acoustics to bedroom folk to more complex arrangements, drone, psychedelia, brilliant traditional songwriting and far-ranging freakouts, it’s been a journey with more turns than straightaways, and while there’s a consistency in Chasny‘s level of performance and a progressive narrative can be drawn from one album to the next — Hexadic could be his 13th, depending on how and what you count — he’s maintained an ability to surprise each time out. So it is with Hexadic.

I won’t pretend to understand the mechanics of the record’s construction (unless the whole thing is bunk, which would be a much more prickish kind of genius), but as it’s how the songs were made, it seems prudent to include at least part of Chasny‘s explanation. Here it is:

This release is the result of years of working on a new way to compose music. We’ve been using the word “system,” but it would probably be more accurate to describe it as an “open system.” It is very malleable. The particular songs on this record were bent toward the idea of rock music. I composed 30 pieces using this system. Of those 30 songs, I chose nine that could best be worked into a rock format for Hexadic. I wanted to make a rock record. So there you have it.

…The system itself consists of different aspects, or correspondences, that can interact with each other or exist on their own. There are game, graphic, and language aspects that intersect with the plane of tonal relationships in a way that creates a unique assemblage. In fact, all of the words on the record were written using the language aspect of the system. The game aspects of the system can be played for fun or used as a compositional method. They can even be used as a performance in itself if the players are confident enough.

The work draws inspiration and uses ideas from three figures: Ramon Llull, Heinrich Cornelius Agrippa, and Gaston Bachelard.

Fair enough. Working on the recording with drummer Noel Von Harmonson, and bassists Rob Fisk and Charlie Saufley, Chasny uses this system of his own creation to craft nine varied tracks that run a gamut from the open-spaced jazzy post-rock of “The Ram” to the noise-caked drone of “Vestige” and the tense basslines and light guitar strums of “Hesitant Grand Light.” There are, as promised, “rock record” moments, but “Maximum Hexadic” — which is as freaked-out as Hexadic gets, with furious swirls of guitar and frenetic drums that pound away in a two-minute furious burst between the drawling, blown-out undulations of “Wax Chance” and centerpiece “Hollow River”‘s more plodding instrumental incantations — is more intricate structurally than one might expect from the quoted phrase. It’s been a long time since Chasny took shelter from the ash. Even the songs that have vocals, “Sphere Path Code C,” for example, use them not necessarily to convey an emotion or single idea in verses and choruses so much as to add another incarnation of the system itself, their patterns chaotic above likewise instrumental shifts. It’s not quite jamming, which Six Organs did plenty of on 2012’s heavy psych-minded Ascent (review here), but aurally kin to some of early Sonic Youth‘s feedback-caked excursions, with a sense of plan underlying and thicker tones. The earlier “Wax Chance” works in something of a similar form, but has a more solidified sense of verse to it, where “Sphere Path Code C” plays toward a more destructive result. All depends on what cards you draw, I guess. Or maybe not.

six organs of admittance notebook page

The more frustrated cuts like “Maximum Hexadic,” “Wax Chance,” “Sphere Path Code C” and the first half of closer “Guild” have a tendency toward the abrasive, and while the whole album is a challenging listen, it’s these most that would seem to convey the restlessness at the heart of Hexadic‘s creation. Still, an unexpected highlight is “Future Verbs,” which arrives late after “Sphere Path Code C” and finds Chasny exploring repetitions of a creeper guitar line over a slow, minimal drum and bass progression. Some ambient changes, but it’s primarily a mood piece, and there isn’t much more to it than that, but it’s one of the album’s most memorable tracks, giving way smoothly to the drone/bass interplay of “Vestige” and “Guild,” which in addition to ending Hexadic is also its longest track at 6:53, successfully ties together the unhinged and atmospheric sides of the release, starting off at full tilt and scaling back as it moves into its second half to end the album with a whisper. Fitting that Six Organs would end off by directly conveying the dynamic possibilities in the system Chasny created, since that’s essentially what the album demonstrates over its course front to back. That does not mean it will be a favorite for everyone who has followed Six Organs of Admittance even just over the last decade, but as open as the system is, it’s just as easy to imagine that Hexadic could take on a life of its own within Chasny‘s songwriting sphere and, amid other releases, become a series — Hexadic IIHexadic III, and so on. That’s getting ahead, obviously, but as much as he is able to put together in these tracks, there’s as much potential for development as there has always been in his work, that progressive thread turning, but continuing ever forward. Approach with an open mind. One of the best aspects of Chasny‘s efforts here is that if a listener doesn’t want to, they don’t have to even think about the songwriting method, the system or anything like that, if they don’t want to do so. Ignore it, if you want, and just listen to the resulting songs. Hexadic works that way, too.

Six Organs of Admittance, Hexadic (2015)

Six Organs of Admittance website

Hexadic Complete Bundle preorder

Drag City

Tags: , , , ,

Om Schedule West Coast Tour in February

Posted in Whathaveyou on December 13th, 2012 by JJ Koczan

Hot on the heels of bassist/vocalist Al Cisneros quietly issuing a solo 7″, Om have announced a 12-day tour in February from Seattle to San Francisco. Having recently seen the band on their stop in New York (review here), I feel like I can say with some certainty that they’re delivering some of their best performances with the material from Advaitic Songs, and if you’re fortunate enough to catch them this go around, be prepared to start thinking of it as a religious ceremony.

The PR wire sees it like this:


OM have announced a run of West Coast dates this February, extending the group’s tour in support of 2012’s masterful Advaitic Songs full length on Drag City. Recently expanded to a trio with the inclusion of Robert AA Lowe (of Lichens), the band’s live presence has never been fuller, turning in performances of seemingly limitless spiritual and sonic depth. The tour begins in Seattle, and includes stops in Vancouver, Denver, Phoenix, Los Angeles, and more as gradually winds its way South before concluding in San Francisco.

2/8/13 Seattle, WA Highline
2/9/13 Portland, OR Doug Fir
2/10/13 Vancouver, BC Media Club
2/12/13 Salt Lake City, UT Urban Lounge
2/13/13 Denver, CO Larimer Lounge
2/15/13 Phoenix, AZ Crescent Ballroom
2/16/13 San Diego, CA Casbah
2/17/13 Santa Ana, CA Constellation Room
2/18/13 Los Angeles, CA Center for the Arts Eagle Rock
2/19/13 Santa Cruz, CA Don Quixote’s Music Hall
2/20/13 San Francisco, CA The Independent

Tags: , , ,

Live Review: Om and Daniel Higgs in Manhattan, 11.21.12

Posted in Reviews on November 22nd, 2012 by JJ Koczan

My office had cleared out pretty early, which I suppose was to be expected. And while I scrambled to get enough work done so that I wouldn’t come back from the Thanksgiving holiday already behind — not to mention Friday’s tasks so that others can have the day off and not be waiting on me; how considerate of them to ask if I had time to pound three days of work into one — I took solace in knowing that at very least I’d be missing the better part of traffic on the way to Manhattan’s Bowery Ballroom, where Om were headlining with Lungfish frontman Daniel Higgs playing solo to support.

I suppose I did — miss most of the traffic, that is. Wednesday before Thanksgiving is both the biggest travel day and the biggest bar-business day of the year (which should account for all the flashing police car lights I saw on the way home), but I got into the city with minimal drama and only one real alone-in-the-car rant about how much I hate driving in New York, hate the people, too many people, fuck this, fuck that, and so on. Yelling at nothing is hardly the proper headspace for embracing Om‘s intimate sense of tonally warm ritual, but such are the flaws of human experience. In a perfect world, they’d play in temples in remote areas and going to see them would be a pilgrimage.

Come to think of it, that’s kind of what it was like seeing them at Roadburn earlier this year. In any case, the parking gods were kind to me and I got a space right across the street from Bowery Ballroom. I wasn’t late, but I wasn’t early either, and I knew I wanted to be up front for Daniel Higgs, though I didn’t even really know why yet. He was on stage when I walked up the stairs and into the venue proper, his set not started yet, but there all the same, sitting in his chair, plucking strings on his banjo. At one point, he pointed a thumb at the sound guy — who I recognized from when he used to work at the old Ace of Clubs when that was open; good for him moving up in the world or at least venue size — and said something about how the union made him stick to a strict start time.

That probably should’ve been a hint as to Higgs‘ level of interaction with the audience, but I didn’t really know what to expect going into his set. Something of a legend in the Dischord Records sense of the word within the D.C post-hardcore set, Lungfish released their first album in seven years in this year’s A.C.R. 1999, and Higgs‘ solo work has been running concurrent since 1998 at a fairly prolific clip. With a booming mostly-white beard and facial expressions to match his vocal manipulations that reminded me at points of “Dixie” Dave Collins from Weedeater, he quickly turned his banjo into more than its folksy reputation.

He touched on bluegrass groove, sure enough, and there may yet exist an alternate reality wherein what he was playing would qualify as “folk” in the traditional sense of being a music of the people — I’d like to see the place where that’s so, and I mean that with no condescension whatsoever — but with a variety of fingering techniques and runs through Eastern-sounding scales and sitar-esque mysticisms,Higgsdid more with a banjo in about 10 minutes than I’ve ever seen anyone do in my life. Periodic verses appeared, but he wasn’t running through songs in a setlist — the effect was more fluid than that, his approach more open. At one point, still playing his banjo as he was for all but the briefest of moments throughout, he said, “There are more verses to that song. I’m still learning them,” and then asked someone in the crowd what time it was and was much relieved to know how much time he had left.

It was entertaining to watch someone so clearly endeavored in artistry also be jubilant in his work. I feel like there’s an implication that if you’re doing what you love, you’re supposed to be somberly contemplative about it at all times, but Higgs was clearly enjoying himself and it stands to reason why. In his long run of verses, one in particular was a standout that went something close to, “Half-vulcan is enough to mind-meld/But not enough to ignore the pain/Of the mind control technologies that keep us near insane.” Higgs must have known it too, because he repeated it a second time — “For emphasis,” as he put it. My own affinity for the original Star Trek aside, his Vulcan salute was much appreciated. He wished that we all would live long and prosper and remember “this time” that every day should be Thanksgiving, talked about the hurricane for a bit but surmised we were all okay, since we were there.

Perhaps that was his only misstep, but how could he know how sick everyone is of talking about the storm? Higgs spoke about a Mosque under construction they passed on their way through Rhode Island that had a billboard in front of it with “100 million eggs” printed on it and then left the crowd to ponder the meaning, and all the while tapped his feet and played his banjo with an easy-seeming, natural but well-developed virtuosity that was at points as hypnotic to watch as it was to hear. Once or twice, he looked in a small notebook to refresh himself of other verses and kept a friendly vibe going straight through until he was done, peppering in bits of toyed-with national anthem, “The rockets’ red glare,” “Bombs bursting in air,” and so forth while working around the original notes of the song as casually as one might throw a handful of rocks into a river.

Their equipment was already set up and looked ready to roll, so when Higgs finished, it wasn’t an especially long break before Om came out on stage, one at a time, first Robert A. A. Lowe, who sat in front of his draped table in front of an assortment of synths, samplers, noisemakers and effects, a guitar off to his right and a couple tambourines on the floor to his left — like the secret ingredient, he was, even unto his own gear — then drummer Emil Amos, who looked on edge only until he took his place behind his drums and then suddenly the world righted itself, and finally Al Cisneros, whose shamanistic presence is furthered all the more by his on-stage humility, quiet speaking voice and entranced stage method. He grooves to Om playing it the way the notes themselves flow up, down, to the side.

His tone was clean for most of the set, and no matter what Cisneros does, he’s always going to be a focal point in the band — Sleep‘s legacy alone ensures that, never mind the quiet intensity he brings to Om, his cross-dogma lyrics, unique vocal style and cadence or the simple fact that he’s the only one of the three standing — but as they opened with “Sinai,” it was immediate how different a band Om has become since they first started out in the middle of the last decade. Lowe is obviously a factor. His is the first guitar that’s been heard on an Om record, and aside from rocking a tambourine like no one I’ve ever seen, the textures of synth and even vocals be brings have enriched the band’s sound exponentially. But Amos isn’t to be forgotten in this mix either.

Om‘s set, which was comprised entirely of material from their last three albums — 2007’s Pilgrimage, 2009’s God is Good (review here) and this year’s Advaitic Songs (review here) — was good enough that on my way out of the city, I took the newest record out of my trusty CD wallet in some vain attempt to continue the experience, and what I noted right away (and the sad part about this is it’s true, this is actually how I think when I listen to music) was that Amos, who seemed far back and distant on the album, was so much more an active part of the process on stage. His drumming is more than just a featured component, and particularly as he and Cisneros — and now Lowe as well — have been playing together over the course of two full-lengths, he’s become integral to Om‘s sound, his highly stylized and intricate play as responsible for carrying across the sense of journey in “Meditation is the Practice of Death” as Cisneros‘ basslines.

From there, Om unfolded a gorgeous string of intricate melodies, spiritually weighted grooves and the loud quietness that has come to typify what they do. A lack of cello made some of the arrangements different than on the album, but Lowe is a master at filling those spaces, such that “Cremation Ghat I” and “Cremation Ghat II” from God is Good could hardly be called lacking. As I’d been so bummed out on the crowd my last time at Bowery Ballroom, when Graveyard played, I was glad to note the audience for Om was decidedly less douche-tastic. You’re always going to get a few — Manhattan is nothing if not a playground for assholes of all shapes, sizes and levels of self-importance — but I don’t know if it was the holiday spirit, Om‘s steady vibing or my own choice to stay sober for the night not wanting to pull a dooey on a holiday weekend, but things seemed much more manageable in general. Maybe Om just chilled me the fuck out. Much needed, much appreciated.

A specifically transcendent moment was when Cisneros clicked into his distorted tone for “State of Non-Return” from Advaitic SongsAmos meeting him with a precise whimsy in his intricate fills and Lowe making sure the atmosphere stayed consistent while also adding guitar to further the crunch. The heavier stretch and relatively straightforward material was an effective setup for the comparatively minimal “Gebel Berkal” — the 2008 single which served as Amos‘ introduction point to the band — and an ultra-quiet rearrangement of Pilgrimage highlight “Bhima’s Theme” that found Cisneros quietly playing his bass and trading off vocals with Lowe, reciting the verse lines like incantations while Lowe answered back with spaces of operatic falsetto made ambient through echoing effects.

I was reminded a bit of Higgs, who had done some similar vocal experimenting — inviting the crowd to partake as well, of course — but the affect with Lowe in Om was entirely different. Amos left the stage for a time to give Lowe and Cisneros the space to explore, and they did. The feeling was open and otherworldly and the room, which had not exactly been lacking in this regard the whole show, once more began to sting my nostrils with sweet-smelling smoke. “Bhima’s Theme” gradually emerged, slow but recognizable, when Amos returned, and from my place in back by the bar, I watched as they brought the song up to maximum volume and then brought it back down again carefully, like putting down an artifact, and thus ended their set, Lowe‘s ethereal vocalizing being the last element to go. Cisneros took a quick bow and before one even had time to wonder if an encore was coming, the house lights were brought up and Motörhead was once more piped through the P.A., as though to hurry everyone out of the place.

Within about three minutes, I was back at my car, and with but the slightest hiccup of traffic leading into the Holland Tunnel, on my way home without incident. The busiest travel day of the year was over, I guess. Fine by me. I made it back to my humble river valley shortly after midnight — again, listening to Advaitic Songs en route — and made myself a peanut butter and jelly sandwich to replace the dinner I’d missed on account of the by-now-forgotten workday, thankful for the fact that there were still two slices of bread left to make such a thing possible. Maybe Higgs had the right of it.

Extra pics after the jump.

Read more »

Tags: , , , , , ,