Friday Full-Length: YOB, The Illusion of Motion

Posted in Bootleg Theater on August 9th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

In 2003, YOB released their second album, Catharsis. In 2005, they’d issue The Unreal Never Lived (discussed here), which was their final outing before their flameout and eventual return a few years later. The former is an emotional landmark and sonic breakthrough and the latter both a stylistic and spiritual achievement that stands as one of the best records of its decade. So maybe it’s the case that 2004’s The Illusion of Motion gets lost in the mix sometimes between its higher-profile year-earlier predecessor and year-later follow-up. Fair enough, but at four tracks and 56 minutes, The Illusion of Motion nonetheless represents what at the time were several pivotal steps forward for the Eugene, Oregon, trio, in production and execution alike.

The Illusion of Motion was YOB‘s first outing through Metal Blade Records, which picked them up after Catharsis even though the band had never really toured showed no real signs of doing so. It was set to be released on my birthday in 2004, but I recall the CD showed up at my office — because in 2004, physical promos were very much still a thing — some time before that for review. Having been such a fan of the prior outing, I was obviously excited to know what they’d do this next time out, especially on such a continued quick turnaround; YOB‘s album-per-year pace started with their 2002 debut, Elaborations of Carbon, on 12th Records. Immediately the breadth of the production was wider and fuller. YOB — then the trio of guitarist/vocalist Mike Scheidt, bassist Isamu Sato and drummer Travis Foster — had yet to sound so clear and powerful, but what “Ball of Molten Lead,” “Exorcism of the Host,” “Doom #2” and the 26-minute title-track itself would accomplish was much more than just an uptick in basic quality of sound. Engineer Jeff Olsen (not to be confused with former Trouble drummer Jeff Olson) had worked on YOB‘s 2000 demo (discussed here) as well as their first two albums, and would continue his relationship with the band on The Unreal Never Lived and Scheidt‘s short-lived post-YOB unit Middian, before coming back in to work with the band again on 2011’s Atma (review here), which followed 2009’s Sanford Parker-produced return outing, The Great Cessation (review here; discussed here), but already after three times in the studio together, he and the three-piece would’ve been well familiar with each other’s methods, and a progression of both sides was evident across those early YOB offerings, including The Illusion of Motion.

But still, the album was more than just a bridge from Catharsis to The Unreal Never Lived, and that’s the pointyob the illusion of motion that to me is so worth underscoring. The noise that YOB brought to bear on “The Illusion of Motion” — not to mention the excruciating patience with which the song was delivered; that ending where it cut back to the quiet part — would serve as a reference point for future outings, particularly The Great Cessation before their melodic progression really came to the fore with Atma and the two albums to-date since. At the same time, the intensity of “Doom #2,” which at just over six minutes long remains the shortest song YOB have ever put out as well as arguably the most forwardly intense. It was basically a hardcore track filtered through YOB‘s tonality, resulting in a cacophony that still leaves me wondering why they don’t play it live every now and again. Of course, “Ball of Molten Lead” was and 15 years later still is a clarion to come worship at the altar of sonic largesse, and though it wouldn’t be proper to call its winding movement subtle, the sense of attack it fostered, particularly in its later reaches — that start-stop crashing behind the riff that YOB would use again on The Unreal Never Lived‘s own epic, “The Mental Tyrant,” while also introducing the gallop that would become yet another signature of their approach — was a standout even among the most aggressive material they’d yet constructed, and to answer it with the noise wash of “Exorcism of the Host,” with its gruelingly slow churn initially giving way to something as primal as it was cosmic, only made The Illusion of Motion more stunning in its impact and more expansive in its reach. It was a record that signaled YOB‘s continued forward creative movement, which is something that thankfully is ongoing, but at the time, it was also the apex of it, and whatever they’d go on to do afterward, it was a pinnacle moment that marked their arrival in more ways than just the wider distribution of a Metal Blade release — though I’m sure that didn’t hurt either.

For me to point out some 20-plus years after they got their start that YOB are a once-in-a-generation band is superfluous. I’ll make no pretense toward not approaching their work from a fan’s perspective — because I’m a fan — but even so, the level of artistry they’ve brought to doom, the influence they’ve had across borders and subgenres especially after getting back together with Aaron Rieseberg on bass and pursuing their craft through Atma, 2014’s Clearing the Path to Ascend (review here) and last year’s Our Raw Heart (review here) is still and will likely continue to ripple out. The Illusion of Motion was an essential moment in making that happen — the first time they really brought their style out to engage a wider audience and began to translate their forward-thinking creativity into an increasingly realized songcraft. You wouldn’t have The Illusion of Motion without Catharsis, and you wouldn’t have The Unreal Never Lived without The Illusion of Motion. Those albums are intertwined in how they tell the narrative of YOB discovering their sound and, ultimately, needing to step away from it before coming to realize how crucial that expression truly was and still is.

YOB toured in North America this Spring with Voivod and Amenra and just wrapped a European run with Neurosis. They’ll be at Psycho Las Vegas next week, playing the Beach Stage at Mandalay Bay, which is a thing that I expect those who are fortunate enough to see will be speaking about for a long time. I haven’t seen Fall tour plans, but if they wanted to take a season off, it’d be nothing if not well earned.

As always, I hope you enjoy. Thanks for reading.

We’ve been back up in Massachusetts since… Wednesday? There’s a large stack of boxes behind me in the kitchen. More upstairs, more downstairs in the basement, and more to be packed. The movers come at 9AM. The 27-footer U-Haul which I’ll drive down to NJ tomorrow needs to be picked up before they get here. The baby is awake, and I’m sure The Patient Mrs. is too. We’re all out of our minds. Moving is awful. To wit, the Hierarchy of Terrible Shit that Happens to Everyone:

  1. Cancer
  2. Divorce
  3. Moving

Everything else is somewhere under that.

But we’ll get through, and if we need to come back up here to finish more stuff before the sale on this place closes on the 23rd, we’ll do that. It’ll get done, one way or the other. If it has to happen during naptimes, so be it. Clearly it does.

I know I’ll be in Brooklyn for Neurosis on Sunday. I know that. We drive south tomorrow — why not today? I’m not sure; need to ask; traffic concerns, maybe? but we’re packing our bed so would need to buy an aerobed if we stay — and hey, maybe after today, it’s done. Maybe we’ll get it all finished. That’d be a nice surprise.

But anyway, after that Neurosis live review on Monday and a long-delayed Lightning Born review on Tuesday, I don’t know what’s up for the week. Let’s assume stuff.

Would anyone have interest if I posted audio interviews around here? I’d like to get back to doing proper phone interviews, but I don’t really have time to transcribe them. What if I tried to kind of do a more conversational kind of thing, like Fresh Air with Riffs or something like that? Let me know what you think? I’m super-awkward on the phone or Skype, but that might be fun too. Just an idea I had this week while I was thinking about 15 other things as well.

Alright.

Great and safe weekend. No Gimme show this week, but the repeat is Sunday at 7PM Eastern. Forum, radio, merch, awesome.

The Obelisk Forum

The Obelisk Radio

The Obelisk shirts & hoodies

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Quarterly Review: Earth, Heilung, Thronehammer, Smear, Deadbird, Grass, Prana Crafter, Vago Sagrado, Gin Lady, Oven

Posted in Reviews on July 1st, 2019 by JJ Koczan

quarterly-review

Deep breath. And… here we go.

Welcome to The Obelisk’s Summer 2019 Quarterly Review. You probably know the drill by now, but just in case, here’s what’s up: starting today and through next Monday, I’ll be reviewing 10 records per day for a total of 60. I’ve done this every three months (or so) for the better part of the last five years, each one with at least 50 releases included. Some are big bands, some are new bands, some are releases are new, some older. It’s a mix of styles and notoriety, and that’s exactly the intent. It’s a ton of stuff, but that’s also the intent, and the corresponding hope is that somewhere in all of it there’s something for everyone.

I’ll check in each day at the top with what usually turns out to be a “hot damn I’m exhausted, but this is worth it”-kind of update, but otherwise, if we’re all on board, let’s just get to it. First batch below, more to come.

Quarterly Review #1-10:

Earth, Full Upon Her Burning Lips

earth

Finding post-Southern Lord refuge with Sargent House in similar fashion to Boris, Earth seem to act in direct response to 2014’s Primitive and Deadly (review here) with the 10-track/62-minute Full Upon Her Burning Lips, stripping their approach down to its two essential components: Dylan Carlson‘s guitar and Adrienne Davies‘ drums. The former adds bass as well, and the latter some off-kit percussion, but that’s about as far as they go in the extended meditation on their core modus — even the straightforward photo on the cover tells the story — psychedelic and brooding and still-spacious as the music is. Gone are folk strings or vocals, and so on, and instead, they foster immersion through not-quite minimalist nod and roll, Carlson‘s guitar soundscaping atop Davies‘ slow, steady pulse. It’s not nearly so novel as the last time out, but timed to the 30th anniversary of the band, it’s a reminder that if you like Earth, this dynamic is ultimately why.

Earth on Thee Facebooks

Sargent House website

 

Heilung, Futha

heilung futha

It might seem like an incongruity that something so based in traditionalism conceptually would also turn into experimentalist Viking jazz, but I defy you to hear “Galgadr,” the 10-minute opener of Heilung‘s third full-length, Futha (on Season of Mist), and call it something else. Cuts like the memorable and melodic “Norupo” and the would-be-techno-but-I-think-they’re-actually-just-beating-on-wood “Svanrand,” which, like “Vapnatak” before it, is rife with the sounds of battle, but it’s in the longer pieces, “Othan,” 14-minute closer “Hamrer Hippyer,” and even the eight-plus-minute “Elivgar” and “Elddansurin” that precede it, that Heilung‘s dramas really unfold. Led by the essential presence of vocalist Maria Franz — who could hardly be more suited to the stated theme of calling to feminine power — Heilung careen through folk and narrative and full cultural immersion across 73 minutes, and craft something willfully forward thinking from the history it embellishes.

Heilung on Thee Facebooks

Season of Mist website

 

Thronehammer, Usurper of the Oaken Throne

thronehammer usurper of the oaken throne

The reliable taste of Church Within Records strikes again in picking up Thronehammer‘s first full-length, Usurper of the Oaken Throne. The project is a dark and warmaking epic mega-doom working mostly in longform material — it’s six tracks/78 minutes, so yeah — conjured in collaboration by the trio of vocalist Kat Shevil Gillham (Lucifer’s Chalice, etc.), guitarist/keyboardist Stuart Bootsy West (ex-Obelyskkh, ex-The Walruz) and drummer/bassist Tim Schmidt (Seamount), that hits with a massive impact from 17-minute opener “Behind the Wall of Frost” into “Conquered and Erased” (11:24) and “Warhorn” (19:12), making for an opening salvo that’s a full-length unto itself and a beast of doomed grandeur that balances extremity with clearheaded presentation. They simplify the proceedings a bit for “Svarte Skyer” and the eponymous “Thronehammmer,” but are clearly in their element for the 15-minute closing title-track, which rounds out one of the best doom debuts I’ve heard so far this year with due heft and ceremony.

Thronehammer on Thee Facebooks

Church Within Records on Bandcamp

 

Smear, A Band Called Shmear

Smear A Band Called Shmear

Smear‘s live-recorded A Band Called Shmear EP is basically the equivalent of that dude getting dragged out of the outdoor concert for being at the bottom of the puffing clouds of smoke going, “Come on man, I’m not hurting anybody!” And by that I mean it’s awesome. The Eugene, Oregon, four-piece get down on some psychedelic reefer madness tapped into weirdo anti-genre tendencies that come to fruition in the verses of “Guns of Brixton” after the drifting freaker “Old Town.” The whole thing runs an extra-manageable 21 minutes, and six of that are dedicated to the fuzzed jam “Zombie” — tinged in its early going with a reggae groove — so Smear make it easy to follow their outward path, whether it’s the surf-with-no-water “Weigh” at the outset or “Quicksand,” which hints at more complex melodic tendencies almost in spite of itself. You like vibe, right? These cats have plenty to go around, and they deliver it with an absolute lack of pretense. Whatever they do next, I hope they also record it live, because it clearly works.

Smear on Thee Facebooks

Smear on Bandcamp

 

Deadbird, III: The Forest Within the Tree

deadbird iii the forest within the tree

One hesitates to speculate on the future of a band who’ve just taken 10 years to put out an album, but Deadbird sound vital on their awaited third full-length: III: The Forest Within the Tree (arrived late 2018 through 20 Buck Spin), and with a revamped lineup that includes Rwake vocalist Chris Terry and Rwake/The Obsessed bassist Reid Raley as well as bassist Jeff Morgan, guitarist Jay Minish and founders Phillip (drums) and Chuck (guitar) Schaaf and Alan Short — all of whom contribute vocals — Deadbird emerge from the ether with a stunningly cohesive and varied outing of post-sludge, tinged Southern in its humid tonality but still very much geared toward heft and, certainly more than I recall of their past work, melody. In just 38 minutes they push the listener into this dank world of their creation, and seem to find just as much release in experiments “11:34” and “Ending” as in the crashes of “Brought Low” or “Heyday.” Are they really back? Hell if I know, but these songs are enough to make me hope so.

Deadbird on Thee Facebooks

20 Buck Spin on Bandcamp

 

Grass, Fresh Grass

grass fresh grass

Brooklyn four-piece Grass released a live recording in 2017, but the late-2018 EP Fresh Grass marks their studio debut, and it comprises five tracks digging into the traditions of heavy rock with edges derived from the likes of Clutch, Orange Goblin, maybe a bit of Kyuss and modern bluesier practitioners as well in cuts like “Black Clouds” — the lone holdover from one release to the next — and the swaggering “Runaway,” which veers into vocal layering in its second half in a way that seems to portend things to come, while the centerpiece “Fire” and closer “Easy Rider” roll out in post=’70s fashion a kind of rawer modern take. Their sound is nascent, but there’s potential in their swing and the hook of opener “My Wall.” Fresh Grass is the band searching for their place within a heavy rock style. I hear nothing on it to make me think they won’t find it, and if they were opening the show, you’d probably want to show up early.

Grass on Thee Facebooks

Grass on Bandcamp

 

Prana Crafter, MindStreamBlessing

Prana Crafter MindStreamBlessing

Reissued on vinyl through Cardinal Fuzz with two bonus tracks, Prana Crafter‘s 2017 offering, MindStreamBlessing, originally saw release through Eidolon Records and finds the Washington-based solo artist Will Sol oozing through acid folk and psychedelic traditions, instrumentally constructing a shimmer that seems ready for the platter edition it’s been granted. Songs like “As the Weather Commands” and “Bardo Nectar” are experiments in their waves of meandering guitar, effects and keys, while “Mycellial Morphohum” adapts cosmic ecology to minimal spaciousness and vague spoken word. Some part of me misses vocals in the earthy “FingersFlowThroughOldSkolRiver,” but that might just also be the part of me that’s hearing Lamp of the Universe or Six Organs of Admittance influences. The interwoven layers of “Prajna Pines,” on the other hand, seem fine without; bluesy as the lead guitar line is, there’s no doubting the song’s expressive delivery, though one could easily say the same of the krautrock loops and keys and reverb-drenched solo of “Luminous Clouds.”

Prana Crafter on Thee Facebooks

Cardinal Fuzz webstore

 

Vago Sagrado, Vol. III

vago sagrado vol iii

Heavy post-rockers Vago Sagrado set a peaceful atmosphere with “K is Kool,” the opening track of their third album, Vol. III, that is hard to resist. They’ll soon enough pump in contrast via the foreboding low end of “La Pieza Oscura,” but the feeling of purposeful drift in the guitar remains resonant, even as the drums and vocals take on a kind of punkish feel. The mix is one that the Chilean three-piece seem to delight in, reveling in tonal adventurousness in the quiet/loud tradeoff of “Fire (In Your Head)” and the New Wave shuffle of “Sundown” before “Centinela” kicks off side B with the kind of groove that Queens of the Stone Age fans have been missing for the last 15 years. Things get far out in “Listen & Obey,” but Vago Sagrado never completely lose their sense of direction, and that only makes the proceedings more engaging as the hypnotic “One More Time with Feeling” leads into the nine-minute closer “Mekong,” wherein the wash teased all along comes to fruition.

Vago Sagrado on Thee Facebooks

Vago Sagrado on Bandcamp

 

Gin Lady, Tall Sun Crooked Moon

gin lady tall sun crooked moon

I’m more than happy to credit Sweden’s Gin Lady for the gorgeous ’70s country rock harmonies that emanate from their fourth album, Tall Sun Crooked Moon (on Kozmik Artifactz), from the mission-statement opener “Everyone is Love” onward, but I think it’s also worth highlighting that the 10-track outing also features the warmest snare drum sound I’ve heard maybe since the self-titled Kadavar LP. The Swedish four-piece have nailed their sound down to that level of detail, and as they touch on twang boogie in “Always Gold” or find bluesy Abbey Roadian deliverance in the more riff-led chorus of “Gentle Bird,” their aesthetic is palpable but does not trump the straight-ahead appeal of their songwriting. The closing duo of “The Rock We All Push” and the piano-soother “Tell it Like it Is” are the only two tracks to push past five minutes long, but by then the mood is well set and if they wanted to keep going, I have a hard time imagining they’d meet with complaints. Serenity abounds.

Gin Lady on Thee Facebooks

Kozmik Artifactz website

 

Oven, Couch Lock

oven couch lock

For an EP called Couch Lock — i.e., when you’re too stoned to even stand up — there’s an awful lot of movement on Oven‘s debut release, from the punk thrust of “Get It” to the arrogant sleaze of “Go James” and even the drums in “This Time.” And the nine-minute “Dark Matter” is basically space rock, so yeah, hardly locked to the couch there, but okay. The five-tracker is raw in its production as would seem to suit the Pennsylvania trio, but they still get their point across in terms of attitude, and a closing cover of Nebula‘s “To the Center” seems only to reinforce the notion. One imagines that any basement where they unleash that and the nod that culminates “Dark Matter” just before it would have to be professionally dehumidified afterward to get the dankness out, and an overarching sense of stoner shenanigans only adds to the good times that so much of East Coast-ish psych misses the point on. They’re having fun. You should too.

Oven on Bandcamp

Oven on Thee Facebooks

 

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YOB Announce Summer European Tour with Neurosis

Posted in Whathaveyou on February 12th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

yob (Photo by James Rexroad)

So the deal is that within the span of three months YOB are going to be out on tour with Voivod and then Neurosis? Sounds like it’s a damn good year to be YOB. Well earned, of course, what with the universal acclaim that greeted 2018’s Our Raw Heart (review here), and the fact that, uh, they’re incredible. The Voivod dates — they’re also with Amenra, lest they be left out — were previously announced, but I wanted to include them here as well, both because that tour is badass and because it emphasizes how much YOB have long since become a full-on, full-time act over the last however many years. “Oh, they’re hitting the road for a month in the States and then doing fests in Europe? Yeah, that’s how it goes.” One remembers it being a novelty that they were leaving Oregon at all.

But then, one is old as hell, so there you go.

From the PR wire:

YOB: Announce Summer European Tour Dates w/ Neurosis

Oregon’s cosmic trio YOB return to Europe this summer opening for doom metal legends Neurosis. The tour begins July 11 in Alperstedt, DE and ends July 26 in Gdasnk, PL. All confirmed tour dates are listed below.

YOB are touring in support of their critically acclaimed album Our Raw Heart.

“We are deeply honored to be supporting Neurosis in Europe this Summer. We’ve said it before and will say it again: collectively, they are our favorite band. We cannot wait for these shows, to play for people who are in attendance, and watch Neurosis every night. It can’t get better than that.”

YOB’s Our Raw Heart is out now on CD/LP/Digital via Relapse Records. Physical packages are available via Relapse.com HERE and Digital Downloads / Streaming Services HERE.

YOB Spring Tour w/ Voivod & Amenra:
03.26 Minneapolis MN Fine Line
03.27 Chicago IL Thalhia Hall
03.28 Columbus OH Ace of Cups
03.29 Cleveland OH Grog Shop
03.30 Toronto ON Phoenix
03.31 Buffalo NY Town Ballroom
04.02 Portland ME Geno’s
04.03 Boston MA Royale
04.04 Brooklyn NY Warsaw
04.05 Philadelphia PA Union Transfer
04.06 Richmond VA Broadberry
04.07 Raleigh NC Kings
04.09 Knoxville TN Concourse (Co-presented with American Icon)
04.10 Atlanta GA Masquerade / Hell
04.11 New Orleans LA One Eyed Jack’s
04.12 Houston TX Warehouse Studios
04.13 Austin TX Barracuda
04.14 Dallas TX Gas Monkey
04.16 Denver CO Marquis Theater*
04.18 Mesa AZ Club Red+
04.19 San Diego CA Brick by Brick w/ Monolord+
+ = YOB only
* = no Voivod

YOB Tour Dates:
Jul 11 Rome, IT @ Ostia Antica Roman Amphitheater *
Jul 12 Milan, IT @ Carroponte *
Jul 13 Dour, BE @ Dour Festival *
Jul 14 Bern, CH @ Dachstock *
Jul 16 Barcelona, ES @ Sala Apolo *
Jul 17 Biarritz, FR @ Atabal *
Jul 18 Paris, FR @ Bataclan *
Jul 19 Birmingham, UK @ Supersonic Festival +
Jul 20 London, UK @ 02 Forum Kentish Town +
Jul 23 Vienna, AT @ Arena *
Jul 24 Budapest, HU @ Durer Kert *
Jul 25 Berlin, DE @ Festival Kreuzberg *
Jul 26 Warsaw, PL @ Progresja *
Jul 27 Gdansk, PL @ B90 *
* w/ Neurosis
+ w/ Neurosis & Godflesh

YOB is:
Mike Scheidt – Guitar, Vocals
Aaron Rieseberg – Bass
Travis Foster – Drums

www.yobislove.com
www.facebook.com/quantumyob
www.twitter.com/quantumyob
www.instagram/com/quantumyob
www.relapse.com
www.facebook.com/RelapseRecords

YOB, Our Raw Heart (2018)

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YOB, Voivod and Amenra Announce Spring 2019 Tour

Posted in Whathaveyou on December 19th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

yob alyssa herman photo

Here’s a nifty thought to make your day a little brighter: YOB touring with Voivod on a co-headlining run with support from Amenra. Just to put a check on it, it’s the outfit who defined and continue to reinvent cosmic doom, the band who innovated nerdism in heavy metal and proved that thrash could be progressive, and Europe’s leading purveyor of post-metal. This is not a minor tour. It’s not even the kind of tour you talk about later. It’s the kind of tour that, if you know, you were there, and that’s it. Some experiences don’t need words. “You were at that show?” “Yeah.” And so on.

YOB of course go in support of earlier-2018’s Our Raw Heart (review here), which if the results thus far of the Year-End Poll (add your list!) are anything to go by, yes, you already knew that. Voivod and Amenra have releases too, but really, even if none of them had put out a record in five years, wouldn’t this still be an astounding bill? Yes, yes it would.

Dates are presented by Nanotear and are as follows:

yob voivod amenra tour

Spring 2019: Yob + Voivod + Amenra

03.26 Minneapolis MN Fine Line
03.27 Chicago IL Thalhia Hall
03.28 Columbus OH Ace of Cups
03.29 Cleveland OH Grog Shop
03.30 Toronto ON Phoenix
03.31 Buffalo NY Town Ballroom
04.02 Portland ME Geno’s
04.03 Boston MA Royale
04.04 Brooklyn NY Warsaw
04.05 Philadelphia PA Union Transfer
04.06 Richmond VA Broadberry
04.07 Raleigh NC Kings
04.09 Knoxville TN Concourse (Co-presented with American Icon)
04.10 Atlanta GA Masquerade / Hell
04.11 New Orleans LA One Eyed Jack’s
04.12 Houston TX Warehouse Studios
04.13 Austin TX Barracuda
04.14 Dallas TX Gas Monkey
04.16 Denver CO Marquis Theater*
04.18 Mesa AZ Club Red+
04.19 San Diego CA Brick by Brick w/ Monolord+
+ = YOB only
* = no Voivod

YOB is:
Mike Scheidt – Guitar, Vocals
Aaron Rieseberg – Bass
Travis Foster – Drums

www.yobislove.com
www.facebook.com/quantumyob
www.twitter.com/quantumyob
www.instagram/com/quantumyob
www.relapse.com
www.facebook.com/RelapseRecords

YOB, Our Raw Heart (2018)

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YOB Announce End-of-Year West Coast Dates; Euro Tour Starts Oct. 5

Posted in Whathaveyou on September 28th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

yob (Photo by James Rexroad)

So, unless they post a new video or something or start announcing their inevitable Spring 2019 plans, this is probably the last time I’ll post about YOB before we get to the year-end lists in December. I feel compelled to point out the fact that they’re fucking amazing. Fact? Yes. Fact. It’s established. It’s not like gravity, which is a theory just waiting to be disproved. It’s a fact. Undeniable. They’re a special band. They’re almost certainly the best of their generation, and the innovations in style and form they’ve brought to doom have only made it and listeners richer for their advent. I’m sorry. If you can’t dig on YOB, I’ve got nothing for you.

I guess that’s what I want to say about it. Their latest album, Our Raw Heart (review here), well, if you haven’t heard it, it’s down there at the bottom of this post. But you’ve heard it. I’m actually dying to get to the year-end poll and see how they do against the behemoth that is Sleep. I think they’ve got a shot.

Either way, YOB will round out their year doing what they’ve done a whole lot of in 2018 already: touring. And hey, look at that! The West Coast stint is presented by Gimme Radio, which is a thing I’m on. Good to see the name getting out there, especially on something it’s so easy to wholeheartedly endorse.

Poster and info from the PR wire:

yob dec tour

YOB: Announce End of 2018 West Coast Tour Dates; European Headlining Tour Begins Next Week

Our Raw Heart is out now on CD/2xLP/Deluxe 2xLP Boxset/CS/Digital

YOB returns to North American highways once more before the end of 2018, adding a half-dozen date trek up and down the North American West Coast including a performance Decibel Magazine’s Metal & Beer Fest on Dec. 2 at the Wiltern. Gimme Radio presents the non-Decibel shows.

The new round of tour dates are:

December 1 San Francisco, CA Slim’s ^
December 2 Los Angeles, CA The Wiltern (Decibel Metal & Beer Fest)
December 5 Seattle, WA Neumo’s #
December 7 Vancouver, BC Astoria #
December 8 Bellingham, WA Shakedown #
December 9 Portland, OR Star Theatre #^

# – with Thrones
^ – with Khorada

The dates follow an extensive European tour, which kicks off next week in Germany and includes an Oct. 13 performance at Desertfest.

YOB Tour Dates:
October 5 to November 13 w/ Wiegedood (except *)

October 5 Karlsruhe, Germany Jubez
October 6 Nijmegen, Netherlands Soulcrusher
October 7 Bristol, UK The Fleece
October 9 Glasgow, UK Stereo
October 10 Leeds, UK Brudenell Social Club
October 11 Manchester, UK Gorilla
October 13 Antwerp, Belgium Desertfest *
October 14 Cologne, Germany Gebaeude9
October 16 Hamburg, Germany Molotow Club
October 17 Copenhagen, Denmark Vega
October 18 Gothenburg, Sweden Sticky Fingers
October 19 Stockholm, Sweden Kraken
October 20 Oslo, Norway Blä
October 21 Helsingfors, Finland Tavastia *
October 23 Paris, France Petit Bain
October 24 Feyzin, France L’Epicerie Moderne
October 25 Cenon, France Le Rocher De Palmer
October 26 Bilbao, Spain Santana 27
October 27 Porto, Portugal Hard Club
October 28 Madrid, Spain Caracol
October 29 Barcelona, Spain Boveda
October 31 Langenthal, Switzerland Old Capitol
November 1 Milan, Italy Santeria Social Club
November 2 Bologna, Italy Freakout Club
November 3 Martigny, Switzerland Caves Du Manoir
November 4 Bregenz, Austria Between
November 6 Vienna, Austria Arena
November 7 Budapest, Hungary Robot
November 8 Leipzig, Germany UT Connewitz
November 9 Warsaw, Poland Hydrozagadka
November 10 Kraków, Poland Soulstone Gathering Festival
November 11 Berlin, Germany Musik & Frieden
November 13 Athens, Greece Kyttaro Live Club *

YOB is:
Mike Scheidt – Guitar, Vocals
Aaron Rieseberg – Bass
Travis Foster – Drums

www.yobislove.com
www.facebook.com/quantumyob
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YOB, “Original Face” official video

YOB, Our Raw Heart (2018)

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YOB Post “Original Face” Video; On Tour Now

Posted in Bootleg Theater on September 13th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

yob (Photo by James Rexroad)

It’s been a full week since YOB released the video below, and I’ll admit I held off posting it basically because I didn’t go to the show where it was filmed and of everything I either attended or didn’t this summer, missing YOB probably stings the most. Actually, Portugal stings the most, but YOB at Le Poisson Rouge are a close second. You see, I was there in 2011 the last time they played that room, and they were of course incredible. I’ve seen YOB numerous times since then, but this show had the kind of vibe of being the NYC arrival party for their new album, Our Raw Heart (review here), and in addition to feeling like I should be there on account of that, I wanted to be. It’s fucking YOB. I remember a time when they were never going to play again. Every show since is a gift.

What finally tipped the balance and got me to get over myself and post it was reading that it was filmed by Frank Huang. Frank‘s work has always been top notch and worth highlighting whenever possible, and the clip for “Original Face” that follows here is no exception to that. It’s an exciting performance-capture that’s briskly edited and doesn’t need to be overdone to showcase the impact of YOB live. For everyone who’s seen them before, it’s a reminder of what a special band they are live, and for anyone who hasn’t, it’s a compelling argument to get off your ass next time. I hope to do precisely that when next given the opportunity. I’m also holding out hope they’ll be added to Roadburn next year and make a return there, but I haven’t heard anything either way as yet.

In the meantime, the three-piece of guitarist/vocalist Mike Scheidt, bassist Aaron Rieseberg and drummer Travis Foster are wrapping a quick West Coast run with Acid King and CHRCH, and next month they head to Europe to tour with Wiegedood and hit several festivals along the way on the extended trek. You’ll find those dates below, and if you’re anywhere near where they’re going to be, even if you’ve seen them multiple times before, go. If you don’t, you’ll regret it later. Trust me.

Enjoy the clip:

YOB, “Original Face” official video

YOB, who recently released their critically-acclaimed album, Our Raw Heart, share a live video for “Original Face.”

The clip was directed by Frank Huang (Maximum Volume Silence) and filmed at New York’s Le Poisson Rouge.

YOB Tour Dates:
US WEST COAST TOUR w/ ACID KING & CHRCH
September 13 Phoenix, AZ Club Red
September 14 San Diego, CA Brick by Brick
September 15 Oakland, CA Metro

FALL EUROPEAN TOUR DATES w/ WIEGEDOOD
Oct 05 Karlsruhe, DE Jubez
Oct 06 Nijmegen, NL Soulcrusher Festival
Oct 07 Bristol, UK The Fleece
Oct 09 Glasgow, UK Stereo
Oct 10 Leeds, UK Brudenell Social Club
Oct 11 Manchester, UK Gorilla
Oct 12 London, UK The Garage
Oct 13 Antwerp, BE Desertfest Belgium (No Wiegedood)
Oct 14 Koln, DE Gebaeude9
Oct 16 Hamburg, DE Molotow Club
Oct 17 Copenhagen, DK Vega
Oct 18 Gothenburg, SE Sticky Fingers
Oct 19 Stockholm, SE Kraken
Oct 20 Oslo, NO Bla
Oct 21 Helsinki, FI Tavastia (no Wiegedood)
Oct 23 Paris, FR Petit Bain
Oct 24 Feyzin, FR L’Epicerie Moderne
Oct 25 Cenon, FR Le Rocher De Palmer
Oct 27 Porto, PT Hard Club
Oct 28 Madrid, ES Caracol
Oct 29 Barcelona, ES Boveda
Oct 31 Langenthal, CH Old Capitol
Nov 01 Milan, IT Santeria Social Club
Nov 02 Bologna, IT Freakout Club
Nov 03 Martigny, CH Caves Du Manoir
Nov 04 Bregenz, AT Between
Nov 06 Vienna, AT Arena
Nov 07 Budapest, HU Robot
Nov 08 Leipzig, DE UT Connewitz
Nov 09 Warsaw, PL Hydrozagadka
Nov 10 Krakow, PL Soulstone Gathering Festival
Nov 11 Berlin, DE Musik & Frieden
Nov 13 Athens, GR Kyttaro Live Club (no Wiegedood)

Dec 01 Los Angeles, CA Decibel Metal & Beer Festival

YOB is:
Mike Scheidt – Guitar, Vocals
Aaron Rieseberg – Bass
Travis Foster – Drums

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YOB Announce European Tour Dates Supporting Our Raw Heart

Posted in Whathaveyou on July 4th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

yob (Photo James Rexroad)

It a little bit broke my heart to miss YOB when they came through last week. They were in New York, I was in Connecticut. It would’ve been at least 90 minutes in the car, but at the end of that trip, I’d have seen YOB on their first run through supporting their new album, Our Raw Heart (review here), with direct support from Bell Witch and Philly’s own Heavy Temple rounding out the bill. That’s a fucking awesome show. But, you know, baby stuff. I’d been to a fest the weekend prior. Taking care of my wife’s sister’s kids. So on and so forth. But yeah, that one stung a little bit to miss. I don’t feel that way nearly about as many shows as I used to, but I for sure did about that one.

YOB, of course, have a fuck-ton of tour dates coming up, and more are being added. They’ll wrap up the stint with Bell Witch next week, then there are shows in September with Acid King and CHRCH which is a bill so righteous it makes me want to price flights to Albuquerque, and then a full European tour with Wiegedood that picks up in October. Then they’re at the West Coast Decibel Metal and Beer Fest in Los Angeles in December. Next year? Probably more touring, if I had to guess. Anyone remember when YOB didn’t tour? That used to be a thing. Now they’re like a Relapse band or something. Ha.

Overwhelming list follows, courtesy of the PR wire:

yob euro tour

YOB: Announce Fall European Headlining Tour Dates

Our Raw Heart is out now on CD/2xLP/Deluxe 2xLP Boxset/CS/Digital

Oregon cosmic trio YOB announce Fall European headlining tour dates throughout October and November. The band will be touring in support of the recently released full-length album Our Raw Heart. Belgium’s Wiegedood will provide direct support throughout the tour. A full list of confirmed tour dates is available below.

YOB’s Our Raw Heart is out now on CD/LP/Digital via Relapse Records. Physical packages are available via Relapse.com HERE and Digital Downloads / Streaming Services HERE.

YOB w/ Bell Witch remaining dates:
July 04 Toronto, ON @ Mod Club
July 06 Pittsburgh, PA @ Rex Theatre
July 07 Detroit, MI @ El Club
July 08 Chicago, IL @ Reggies
July 10 St. Paul, MN @ Club
July 11 Omaha, NE @ Lookout Lounge
July 12 Denver, CO @ Bluebird Theatre
July 13 Salt Lake City, UT @ Urban Lounge
July 14 Boise, ID @ Neurolux

— All Dates Sept 6 – Sept 15th w/ Acid King & Chrch —
Sep 06 Sacramento, CA Harlow’s
Sep 07 Santa Cruz, CA Catalyst Atrium
Sep 08 Pioneertown, CA Pappy & Harriet’s
Sep 09 Los Angeles, CA Teragram
Sep 12 Albuquerque, NM Sister
Sep 13 Phoenix, AZ Club Red
Sep 14 San Diego, CA Brick By Brick
Sep 15 Oakland, CA Metro

YOB FALL EUROPEAN TOUR DATES w/ WIEGEDOOD:
Oct 05 Karlsruhe, DE Jubez
Oct 06 Nijmegen, NL Soulcrusher Festival
Oct 07 Bristol, UK The Fleece
Oct 09 Glasgow, UK Stereo
Oct 10 Leeds, UK Brudenell Social Club
Oct 11 Manchester, UK Gorilla
Oct 12 London, UK The Garage
Oct 13 Antwerp, BE Desertfest Belgium (No Wiegedood)
Oct 14 Koln, DE Gebaeude9
Oct 16 Hamburg, DE Molotow Club
Oct 17 Copenhagen, DK Vega
Oct 18 Gothenburg, SE Sticky Fingers
Oct 19 Stockholm, SE Kraken
Oct 20 Oslo, NO Bla
Oct 21 Helsinki, FI Tavastia (no Wiegedood)
Oct 23 Paris, FR Petit Bain
Oct 24 Feyzin, FR L’Epicerie Moderne
Oct 25 Cenon, FR Le Rocher De Palmer
Oct 27 Porto, PT Hard Club
Oct 28 Madrid, ES Caracol
Oct 29 Barcelona, ES Boveda
Oct 31 Langenthal, CH Old Capitol
Nov 01 Milan, IT Santeria Social Club
Nov 02 Bologna, IT Freakout Club
Nov 03 Martigny, CH Caves Du Manoir
Nov 04 Bregenz, AT Between
Nov 06 Vienna, AT Arena
Nov 07 Budapest, HU Robot
Nov 08 Leipzig, DE UT Connewitz
Nov 09 Warsaw, PL Hydrozagadka
Nov 10 Krakow, PL Soulstone Gathering Festival
Nov 11 Berlin, DE Musik & Frieden
Nov 13 Athens, GR Kyttaro Live Club (no Wiegedood)

Dec 01-02 Los Angeles, CA Decibel Metal & Beer Fest

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YOB, Our Raw Heart (2018)

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YOB, Our Raw Heart: Rise in This Moment

Posted in Reviews on June 7th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

yob our raw heart

One sincerely doubts the band thinks about it this way, but YOB‘s eighth album, Our Raw Heart, arrives at a pivotal moment for the band. Not only does it mark their debut on Relapse Records after outings on Neurot Recordings and Profound Lore — one might argue it’s their highest-profile release since 2004’s The Illusion of Motion and 2005’s The Unreal Never Lived (discussed here), which was issued via Metal Blade — but it’s the point at which they must answer the question of where to go after 2014’s Clearing the Path to Ascend (review here), which was not only a landmark for the Eugene, Oregon, three-piece themselves, but for the genre as whole.

It was the moment when YOB pushed beyond even the groundbreaking, crushing and ethereal cosmic doom of their two prior offerings, 2009’s The Great Cessation (review here) and 2011’s Atma (review here), and into new territory of emotionalism and aesthetic individuality. Simply put, it was one of the best if not the best record of the decade, so how the hell do you follow that up? If you’re YOB, the answer turns out to be pretty easy: you keep moving forward.

Our Raw Heart comes accompanied by the narrative of guitarist/vocalist Mike Scheidt coming through a potentially life-threatening bout with diverticulitis that required emergency surgery and a long recovery afterward, and it’s easy enough to read that story and reflection on that into the lyrics of the seven-track/73-minute outing. Even as songs like “In Reverie,” the short and punishing “Lungs Reach” and longest track and immediate focal point “The Beauty in Falling Leaves” — which feels like a natural answer to “Marrow” (discussed here) from the last record and the latest in a tradition of YOB epics going back 15 years to the early declaration of their second album, Catharsis, and their preceding 2002 exploratory debut, Elaborations of Carbon — bleed directly into each other in a natural flow, something here feels unsettled, shaken. As reflective as Our Raw Heart gets, it’s still right that it includes “raw” in the title, as it seems there’s very little distance between the expression and the experience.

At the same time — and somehow not in contradiction — Our Raw Heart is also YOB‘s most expansive-sounding collection yet. Produced by the band, which is the steady lineup of Scheidt, bassist Aaron Rieseberg (also of Norska) and drummer Travis Foster, with Billy Barnett at Gung Ho Studio in their hometown, it’s patient and graceful. It maintains elements that are signature YOB, whether it’s in Rieseberg‘s foundational low end throughout, Foster‘s propensity to make even a quiet drum part like the quiet fade at the end of “Beauty of Falling Leaves” swing, or Scheidt‘s style of riffing on opener “Ablaze” and the galloping chug of the subsequent “The Screen,” but it also pushes ahead along the steady pattern of progression that YOB have tread since making their return nearly a decade ago after splitting up following The Unreal Never Lived.

And even before that. The entire trajectory, from one album to the next, has been a progression of always-developing sonic ideas, and as much as Our Raw Heart may be centered around Scheidt processing and coming to an understanding of what he’s been through — never mind the psychological and emotional implications of facing one’s own mortality; or better, don’t — the story of who YOB are as a band lies in that factor. Like Neurosis before them and few others on this planet, they’re the kind of band whose eighth album you look forward to because you can trust it will bring the next stage of their creative evolution, and certainly Our Raw Heart lives up to that promise.

yob photo by jimmy hubbard

Songs like “Original Face” and and even “The Screen” seem to share some sonic kinship with Atma, and certainly a closing title-track with a stretch of quiet guitar at the beginning is familiar enough ground, but for all three players and for the group as a single entity, these cuts and the rest demonstrate that the larger narrative of YOB is one of an ongoing advance, and the most pivotal accomplishment Our Raw Heart makes in terms of its sheer sound is in pushing beyond its predecessor as fluidly and naturally as that album did its own. Our Raw Heart is the point at which YOB affirm not only the sustainability of their sound as a mature band, which Clearing the Path to Ascend seemed to lay out, but also their unmistakable drive to go deeper into their approach and find a new level of enunciation for who they are and what they do.

This journey is as gorgeous as it is grueling and as beautiful as it is painful. The scope from the lumbering march of “The Screen” to the immersive breadth of “Beauty in Falling Leaves,” or from the momentary extremity and crunching atmosphere of “Lungs Reach” — which at 5:40 is the shortest YOB song ever — and the epilogue of push in “Original Face” and apex wash in the title-track, during which the lead guitar seems to sing through its surroundings almost like a joyous bagpipe on a fadeout that, even after 73 minutes, seems to end the record too soon. Worth noting that while it features the shortest cut they’ve ever written — as its centerpiece, no less — Our Raw Heart is also the longest album YOB have ever produced.

That’s here or there to the listening experience itself, as once you’re in it, you’re in it, but a testament nonetheless to the basic amount of, well, everything put into it. While the title begs the question of who “we” are — the band? the band and audience? the whole of humanity? — YOB make perfectly clear the personal tone of the album, and whatever it might mean to anyone who’d take it on, it obviously holds great meaning for them. Still, looking at it in the context of their arc as a whole, it is the continuity that’s most striking. ScheidtRieseberg and Foster seem to hit turning points almost each time out, and Our Raw Heart is no exception to that, but it’s also the logical next step from where they were four years ago, and as much as it may be fueled and motivated by what Scheidt went through over the last couple years, in its songwriting and execution it continues the band’s progression and says more plainly than ever before that it will not stop.

For as long as YOB go, they will keep growing. I don’t know if it was a question, but if it was, it isn’t anymore, and the answer is that while their style remains one of the most immediately identifiable in doom, and while their influence spreads over an up and coming generation of heavy acts looking to reach expanses of their own, YOB will still refine who they are, still push beyond their collective comfort zone, and still work to arrive at a changing realization of their sound. If Our Raw Heart isn’t a contender for the best album of 2018, I’ve got nothing for you, but more important than where it appears on a given list and more important than any fawning the press might throw its way, it’s the latest stage of YOB‘s resonant and perpetual manifestation, and another landmark along their own expressive path.

YOB, Our Raw Heart (2018)

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