The Obelisk Questionnaire: Jennifer Israelsson

Posted in Questionnaire on February 26th, 2021 by JJ Koczan

hot breath

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

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

Thank you for reading and thanks to all who participate.

The Obelisk Questionnaire: Jennifer Israelsson of Hot Breath

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

Composing feelings and thoughts, that’s probably how I define what I do. I discovered early on that it was a way for me to get out of all the hard and sometimes difficult feelings and thoughts and leave them there, in the song. Just like therapy with a melody that I can (and want to) share.

Describe your first musical memory.

It’s hard to remember a first memory of something I always somehow lived in.

But one of many strong memories is probably still when me and dad sat in the car a few days a week, on our way to figure skating training (yes this was a long time ago) and listened to the Kiss Destroyer album. Just as much goosebumps every time the intro to “Detroit Rock City” kicked off.

Describe your best musical memory to date.

In today’s situation, it really feels like a luxury problem to be able to barely choose your favorite memory of something you have seen or experienced. But one of my absolute strongest memories is probably when Honeymoon Disease played at Speedfest, in Eindhoven, 2015. It felt so unreal to stand on that big stage and play our own songs for so many people. I can still remember that surreal, but amazing, feeling.

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

(Do not know if I understand the question right now, but will try to answer anyway.)

In Hot Breath, we try to challenge ourselves (both in genre and in mind) all the time in our songwriting. One of us may come up with an idea that from the beginning does not feel quite right for all of us, but we test it anyway, and I would still say that in nine cases out of 10 that idea develops into a song or a riff that we can use later on.

Where do you feel artistic progression leads?

Artistic development means everything. I mean, development in any area is important, but of course you always strive to be able to develop more all the time in the form you are passionate about.

How do you define success?

I think success is when you feel happy.

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

Interesting question, haha. Can’t think of anything actually, so I probably suppressed it pretty well.

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

I’d like to create the world’s best ’70s-inspired disco band.

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

To be able to express oneself in something completely different than in speech. We have so many other senses that we do not think we can use, but once we do, the expression becomes so much stronger and, in my opinion, much more honest.

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

I wish I could be free from work and be able to enjoy a hot, nice summer with my friends.

(A very telling answer for how everything is right now. Just two years ago I would probably have laughed at this answer and I hope for everything in the world that I can laugh at it very soon again.)

https://www.facebook.com/hotbreathgbg
https://www.instagram.com/hot.breath/
https://hotbreathofficial.bandcamp.com/
https://www.facebook.com/thesignrecords/
http://www.thesignrecords.com

Hot Breath, “What You’re Looking for, I Have Already Found” lyric video

Tags: , , , , ,

Friday Full-Length: Rickshaw, Sonic Overload

Posted in Bootleg Theater on February 19th, 2021 by JJ Koczan

Sometimes you gotta go back to basics. I first encountered Sweden’s Rickshaw circa 2003, probably because they put out a split single with The Awesome Machine (among many others), who I way into at the time. I was in college, feeling my way through the post-Man’s Ruin landscape of European and American heavy rock and doom for a radio show I’d started at my school’s station, and with a cable modem and file-sharing know-how, I was able to experience records like this at a point when there was just about no way I could’ve done so otherwise. I’m still going back and buying CDs from that stretch of years, by the way. At least those that are available. This one I was fortunate to get in a promo pack from Devil Doll Records a long time ago, and as I’ve said on numerous occasions, I keep everything.

If their Bandcamp page is anything to go by, Rickshaw now think of themselves mainly as a precursor to The Chuck Norris Experiment, who debuted in 2005 — another good record — and put out their most recent offering, a split 7″ with Scumbag Millionaire, in January, continuing an apparently long tradition of cohabitating releases. Fair enough for the catalog that The Chuck Norris Experiment have amassed since Rickshaw gave way, but even if they’re assuming it’s fans of the one who’ll go back to the other, it’s on its own merits that I pay Sonic Overload, the second and final Rickshaw full-length, another visit.

Those merits are plenty and plain to be heard. It is heavy rock of its era in Sweden. Issued in 2002, the band would have come up as contemporaries of the likes of Dozer, Lowrider, the aforementioned The Awesome Machine as well as other splitmates in Adam West, Hateball, Trigger, and so on. Unsurprisingly, it’s more in line with the hard-garage latter grouping that Rickshaw fit, rather than with the post-Kyussism happening elsewhere. That said, the band — formed by the core duo of vocalist Joacim “Jocke” Olsson and guitarist Robert “Bobby Dawn” Nilsson — flirt with that style on their sophomore outing in a song like “Last Man Standing,” which finishes a maddeningly catchy four-song opening salvo that elsewhere finds Olsson tapping his inner Dave Wyndorf on opener “Point of Orange” and the subsequent “Lick My Flames,” both of which work to set the scene for the various punker bursts that will follow, including in “I’m Ready,” another hard-landing chorus that stands out all the more with the contrast of a subdued middle section and a runtime that dares pass the four-minute mark. Rickshaw do that only twice on Sonic Overload; the second time is “Get You Down” (4:53) a few tracks later.

The feedback that begins “White Light” after “Last Man Standing” is kind of a signal that Sonic Overload is moving into its next phase. Recall this is arguably the peak of the CD era, so while 1999’s rickshaw sonic overloaddebut, Tender Songs of Love, and various splits along the way only came out on vinyl, Devil Doll pressed to compact disc, and so far as I know, an LP version has never followed. For what it’s worth, with 12 songs in 40 minutes, it would split into two sides easily enough, but alas. In any case, “White Light” is a direct beam to the heavy punk/garage rock side of Rickshaw‘s sound, and it pairs dynamically with the already-noted “Get You Down,” another fuzzier vibe, that lets the bass take the fore momentarily even as it pushes outward in a fashion that ends up being near motorik despite the grounding factor of its hook. The shifts throughout Sonic Overload can be subtle or not, but the album was clearly constructed with a live show in mind, and it works in that spirit throughout.

Thus, the opening salvo that leads into the back and forth of “White Light” and “Get You Down,” which is followed by “Kitten Natividad,” a paean to the Russ Meyer-era actress of the same (stage) name that seems to play off Alice Cooper lyrical patterning, thinking of lines cribbed from “Poison” particularly. So be it: Rickshaw‘s purposes are their own. From there, “Ahead of the Game” and “Perfect Crime (Electrified)” follow in succession, the former faster, the latter still pretty fast in the grand scheme, and both somewhat overwhelmed by the catchiness of “All You Jazz” immediately after. It’s a trope of the compact disc form that, if songs are going to get lost anywhere on a record, that’s the spot — right past the opening, before the closing, of what would be side B on a 12″. Fair enough. “Kitten Natividad” and “All You Jazz” are stronger in their delivery, but it’s not like “Ahead of the Game” and “Perfect Crime (Electrified)” are hurting anybody. Far worse ways to spend about six minutes of your life.

Sonic Overload, again, as a live show would, finishes strong with “Islands in Your Stream” and “Who’s Your Bobby?,” the latter marking the age in which the disc arrived perhaps even more than the progression of the tracks could. The penultimate cut seems to be a kind of apex, and it fades out gently on guitar until “Who’s Your Bobby?” brings one final two-minute thrust that nonetheless summarizes one of Rickshaw‘s greater strengths throughout, which is being able to leave a landmark of a chorus for the listener to hold onto even as the band seems to sprint onward to the next part. Strong songwriting structure is a tenet of garage rock and punk, and in drawing from both traditions while edging them further toward heavier riff rock, the band found a niche for themselves that was distinct and deceptively multifaceted.

But at its heart, this is a rock and roll album. It didn’t change the world. I don’t think you’d call it “classic” except maybe as being representative of the the style of its time, and maybe the band are right when they note that mostly what Rickshaw did at the end was provide the transition to The Chuck Norris Experiment. Fine. Truth be told, I needed some straight-up rock, and this was that. Maybe feeling the same. Either way, as always, I hope you enjoy.

Thanks for reading.

My mouth hurts. It’s been eight days now since I had that molar unceremoniously yanked from my face — by a surgeon, don’t worry; not a Cardassian interrogation or any such thing — and though The Patient Mrs. assures me that the hole in my mouth “looks good” in the relative way a hole in the mouth might, I have visions of continued infection and an ache that extends down my jaw. I took my last antibiotic this morning. I’ve been rinsing my mouth with the prescription mouthwash I was given. I have not yet taken ibuprofen today, but I will shortly.

This is supposed to be a 10-month dental process at the best. Have tooth pulled and infection cleaned out, bone graft put in. Heal. Then in like April or May I guess have the foundation put in for an implant. Heal again. Then sometime by October or November, get the implant in and actually be done. Human bodies are so, so, so stupid. Anyone who tries to sell you on “intelligent design” has clearly been designed with their head up their ass. If we were intelligently designed, we’d grow new teeth when our old ones come out. You know, more than once.

Anyhoo, hurts, so I’m bitching about it.

While I’m bitching, yesterday was a virtual-school day because of snow. The Pecan — still three years old — and I do virtual preschool together, him sitting on my lap in front of my laptop. It’s a fucking nightmare. Yesterday, he bit me hard enough that I was bleeding on one arm, and scratched the other hard enough that, again, I was bleeding. I also had to stop him from biting himself, which he did on several occasions and does regularly — you want unnerving, there’s your toddler self-harming — when overwhelmed or frustrated or asked to do anything. Yesterday he would not say the words “cement mixer.” He knows cement mixer. He points them out on the road. And yet, when called upon to do say “cement mixer,” he lost it. I wanted to take a hammer and smash myself in the face. I still do.

Today is another all-virtual “snow day,” but in hope of preserving the rest of the day surrounding from turning to absolute shit, we’re skipping it. I feel bad for The Patient Mrs., who no doubt dreads coming downstairs from work only to be immersed in my sundry fucking miseries.

Did I tell you we bought a boat? We need to move it at some point this weekend. I don’t know.

I got up before 5:30 this morning — it’s just after 7 now — and put a fire in the fireplace. I’ve been dealing with a sore wrist because, again, bodies were intelligently designed in god’s image and it hurts when god jerks off too, but in a bit I’ll grab The Pecan from upstairs, do breakfast, and take him outside to shovel snow. In his case, that mostly means shovel it into his mouth with his hands, but that’s fine too. As long as he’s happy, not running into the street and not trying to use the shovel on the car, he can eat all the snow he wants.

Next week, more Questionnaires, as well as some Dozer interviews about their reissues that should’ve gone up this week but apparently I had the release dates wrong because I’m fucking inept. Could’ve sworn I tried to coordinate that with streams like last time, like with Dozer and Nebula both, but there you go. I thought that shit was out in March.

So those’ll be posted. And Monday a review of the Spirit Mother stream that’s this weekend, and this and that and the other thing. New Gimme show today. I got in trouble for it, so please listen. 5PM Eastern: http://gimmeradio.com.

Great and safe weekend. Hydrate.

FRM.

The Obelisk Forum

The Obelisk Radio

The Obelisk merch

 

Tags: , , , , ,

Hot Breath Premiere “What You’re Looking For, I Have Already Found”; Debut Album Rubbery Lips out April 9

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on February 11th, 2021 by JJ Koczan

HOT BREATH

Swedish classic heavy rockers Hot Breath will release their debut LP, Rubbery Lips, on April 9 through The Sign Records. The long-player — and no mistake, it is a long-player in the classic model thereof — follows their 2019 self-titled debut EP (review here), which The Sign also released, and it presents 10 tracks in an air-tight ’70s-inspired groove-led form. From the outset “Right Time,” four-piece fronted by guitarist Jennifer Israelsson with Karl Edfeldt also on guitar, Anton Frick Kallmin on bass and Jimmy Karlsson on drums make a vital argument for themselves, taking unabashedly poppy hooks and transposing them on songs like “Magnetic” and the careen-chugging “Last Barang,” speedier in that highway-at-night fashion but still willfully catchy.

And that argument leaves little room for disagreement. Because they’re a band with some measure of pedigree — members having served the cause in outfits like Honeymoon Disease, Hypnos and Mamont over the last decade — it’s not necessarily a surprise their first album should find them in such a having-their-shit-together state, but in accord with their will and ability to bring their aesthetic to life, they also answer back that the songwriting prowess demonstrated on their EP was no fluke.

“What You’re Looking For, I Have Already Found” is the penultimate track on side A, and that puts it in a transitional role ahead of “Who’s the One,” which rounds out the first half of the record and is the only song to top five (or four, for that matter) minutes long. It is a pop-heavy rock epic in pre-’80s fashion, kind of a piece out of time but grown out of the same impulse toward retro-ism that drives the surrounding boogie. As the riff and soon-joining bassline of “What You’re Looking For, I Have Already Found” make HOT BREATH RUBBERY LIPSplain, one way or the other, Hot Breath have no time to waste; their 34-minute total runtime on Rubbery Lips is further testament.

Suitably, side B of the record gets down to the business of having a good time in clear, concise and effective fashion, launching with “Adapted Mind” and boasting cassingle-ready proto-metal in “Turn Your Back” with a ready B-side in the subsequent “One Hit (To the Body)” and as the four-piece continue the thread of no-nonsense fun. They’ve already done a video for closer “Bad Feeling,” and fair enough, but “What to Do,” which appears just before, is no less striking in its catchiness, and one can say the same of any number of the cuts here. In a time without touring, Hot Breath have no shortage of tracks worth highlighting throughout.

And yet, Rubbery Lips — for being a collection of individual songs — isn’t without an overarching flow, as shown when “What to Do” gives over to “Bad Feeling” and of course elsewhere too. That may seem incongruous, but it’s not when you actually listen. Likewise, I’ll argue that despite their affinity for late-’70s/early-’80s rock and roll, Hot Breath are nothing if not modern in their accessibility, born as that is through the unflinching sense of structure that fuses the songs.

I would have no trouble believing Hot Breath have a marker-board in their rehearsal space where they plot out verses and choruses, since the resultant material throughout Rubbery Lips comes across as so worked on and thought through. And that is a modern ideal, since on the whole, the album is still short enough to play in its entirety even to the most fleeting of 2020s-era attention spans. Want a single? Here are 10 of them. Take your pick.

It’s February, so I’ll spare you speculation about where Rubbery Lips will sit among the year’s best debuts, but in its composition and execution, Hot Breath give life to the kind of party one doesn’t want to miss, and of course, which one misses greatly.

Lyric video for “What You’re Looking For, I Have Already Found” premieres below, followed by more from the PR wire.

Please enjoy:

Hot Breath, “What You’re Looking for, I Have Already Found” lyric video premiere

“What You’re Looking for, I’ve Already Found” is the third single from Hot Breath’s debut album “Rubbery Lips”, released on The Sign Records April 9, 2021.

Lyric video by Oscar Hansen (Urbanslug).

Hot Breath is back and will release their debut studio album “Rubbery Lips” during the spring of 2021. With a foundation built on dirty riffing, memorable hooks, and a nononsense attitude, the new album contains 10 tracks of energetic and catchy garage rock ’n’ roll. With their minds firmly set on releasing nothing but killers, Hot Breath has pushed themselves into perfecting the sound that they presented on their 2019 self-titled EP. The result is a straight-shooting album, guaranteed to twist your hips.

“Rubbery Lips” is recorded and mixed by Mattias Nyberg (The Soundtrack Of Our Lives, The Datsuns). The cover artwork is made by Anders Muammar. The album will be released on The Sign Records on April 9, 2021, on digital, vinyl, and CD format.

Hot Breath are:
Jennifer Israelsson – Vocals and Guitar
Anton Frick Kallmin – Bass
Jimmy Karlsson – Drums
Karl Edfeldt – Guitar

Hot Breath, “Bad Feeling” official video

Hot Breath on Thee Facebooks

Hot Breath on Instagram

Hot Breath on Bandcamp

The Sign Records on Thee Facebooks

The Sign Records website

Tags: , , , , ,

Video Interview: Esben Willems of Monolord & Berserk Studio

Posted in Bootleg Theater, Features on January 27th, 2021 by JJ Koczan

monolord

Gothenburg, Sweden’s Monolord released their two-songer single I’m Staying Home on Jan. 14, pairing the title-track with a live version of “Bastard Son” recorded at Freak Valley Festival in 2019. A couple days ago, the band posted a minute-long clip of them in the studio — literally just a riff — as they started working on their fifth full-length.

The thing about Monolord is this: Monolord is no accident. From their 2013 debut, Empress Rising (discussed here), through an immediate barrage of tours, from releasing through RidingEasy to signing to Relapse ahead of 2019’s album of the year, No Comfort (review here), the band has been focused and working according to a plan. And the plan has largely worked, as you can hear in the influence Monolord have had, their own sonic progression, and the fact that across four records in six years they’ve made themselves indispensable among the post-social media generation of heavy. Whether you’re a fan or not, their impact is undeniable.

So what happens when the mother of all wrenches gets thrown in the gears of Monolord-in-progress? On the precipice of recording their fifth album — and for the first time in his own recently-acquired Berserk Studio — I talked with drummer Esben Willems about what it’s been like for the past year as the best laid plans have largely evaporated. He, guitarist/vocalist Thomas V. Jäger (who released a solo album last year on RidingEasy) and bassist Mika Häkki have by now begun the process of getting sounds and working on the album, but the chance to talk about writing, putting together the studio, working remotely with other bands to mix and master releases — not to mention just the weirdness of having something positive like buying a studio happen while the world is falling apart — was much appreciated. His choice in t-shirt, as ever, was fitting.

I don’t know what the rest of 2021 will bring for Monolord beyond, presumably, the fifth album release (summer? fall?), but with the single out, the teaser clip, and work begun, I was grateful for the opportunity to chat and you’ll find the video below.

Please enjoy:

Monolord Interview with Esben Willems, Jan. 20, 2021

Monolord‘s I’m Staying Home single is out through Relapse Records now and can be streamed here:

Monolord, I’m Staying Home b/w Bastard Son (2021)

Monolord, Fifth Album Teaser

Monolord on Thee Facebooks

Monolord on Instagram

Monolord on Bandcamp

Relapse Records website

Relapse Records on Thee Facebooks

Tags: , , , , ,

Altareth Sign to Magnetic Eye Records; Debut Album in 2021

Posted in Whathaveyou on November 24th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

While Magnetic Eye has spent the bulk of 2020 dedicated to its ongoing ‘Redux’ series, gathering bands from hither and yon to pay homage to various classic records, it would seem they’ve not at all forgotten the importance of adding to their cast of characters either. To wit, Altareth, whose doomly 2017 two-songer, The Black Bible Tracks, you can hear below. Granted it’s probably the smarter move for a label not to pick up a huge swath of bands when attention is turned to things like, say, an ongoing plague, but as 2021 rests not-yet-entirely-hopeless on the horizon and announcements start to come through of records worth looking forward to, here’s one more for that list coming together.

Gothenburg strikes again. Interested to hear how the doomly vibe of Altareth three years ago translates into the description below of Altareth to come. Only one way to find out, of course.

To the PR wire:

altareth

ALTARETH sign deal with Magnetic Eye Records

ALTARETH have penned a deal with Magnetic Eye Records, becoming the label’s first signing of 2020 (but not its last). The heavily buzzing doom-mongers from Gothenburg, Sweden will release their debut album on the label in 2021.

Formed in early 2013, ALTARETH are a doom infused five-piece from the Swedish harbour city of Gothenburg. Their sound is heavy, sludgy and melodic, based on fuzzed-out twin-guitars and a solid foundation of quality songs with careful attention paid to arrangements and harmonies.

ALTARETH comment: “For doom fanatics such as ourselves, it’s a monumental victory to be supported by Magnetic Eye Records,” says vocalist Paddy Strömberg. “We are signing up to a quality label that has been pioneering this kind of music for a long time and put out some of the best albums in the genre.”

Niklas Sörum continues: “We’re also very pleased to announce our upcoming debut full-length”, reveals one of the band’s two guitarists. “It will come with 7 new songs that take our brand of Swedish doom to the next level!”

Label Director Jadd Shickler bids the Swedes welcome: “With our first official signing of this strange and chaotic year, we’re stoked to present a band who embodies the evolutionary synergy of DOMKRAFT’s towering, apocalyptic tones and ELEPHANT TREE’s warm, infectiously singable harmonies. We knew from the moment we first heard ALTARETH that their future-looking take on epic, fuzzy doom belonged on Magnetic Eye, and we can’t wait to bring forth their official debut album next year.”

Altareth is:
Niklas: Guitar
Swempa: Guitar & backing vocals
Paddy: Vocals
Kalle: Bass
Vigfuzz: Drums

http://www.facebook.com/Altareth
https://www.instagram.com/altareth/
https://altareth.bandcamp.com/
http://store.merhq.com
http://magneticeyerecords.com/
https://www.facebook.com/MagneticEyeRecords

Altareth, The Black Bible Tracks (2017)

Tags: , , ,

The Population Release Self-Titled Debut 7″ Single This Week

Posted in Whathaveyou on November 23rd, 2020 by JJ Koczan

the population

I’ll be honest, a new Swedish duo releasing their first two-songer as a seven-inch probably is news around here most days, and I won’t pretend it’s not, but when that duo consists of guitarist/vocalist John Hoyles and drummer Axel Sjöberg, it’s worth taking a little extra note. The band is called The Population, and between the two players involved, it’s a pedigree that includes Spiders, Big Kizz, Witchcraft and Graveyard. So yes, in other words, significant. That was my point in the first place.

The two tracks, “Sacrifice” and “Anthropocene/Anthropocide,” both hover right around three minutes long, and you can decide for yourself which one is the victor as they duke it out for catchy supremacy. Neither of these cats is a stranger to boogie, of course, but there’s a Detroit-style (Stooges, MC5) thrust here especially in the second cut that speaks volumes of what they might do with a full-length. First of all, probably make it about 28 minutes long. Ha. We’d be lucky to have it.

No socials yet, just Bandcamp. That’s linked below, along with the stream of the song:

the population

Come on and dig The Population!

The Population is John Hoyles and Axel Sjöberg. Two, by now, almost veterans in everything called rock’n’roll. They’ve always enjoyed each other’s friend- and musicianship throughout the years of touring together with different bands (Witchcraft and Graveyard) and also playing together in the early days of Spiders and John’s solo records.

They’ve chosen to present their new band with a brand new 7”, released by themselves. It’s pressed in an edition of 200, with a cover by Karin Lindgren. The two songs Sacrifice backed with Anthropocene/Anthropocide. Sacrifice is a classic classic heavy rock song, it has swinging guitar riffs, heavy drums, wild guitar solos and a slide that sounds like all the whales in the oceans were summoned to sing backing vocals. Anthropocene/Anthropocide is a faster, more energetic and punky song. It deals with the disgust you can feel for yourself and contemporary society.

The songs were recorded and mixed by Oskar Lindberg at Svenska Grammofonstudion. Expect more songs to be released from that session and live shows when the pandemic has come to an end. When the edition of 200 is sold out, the songs will be made available on the standard electronic platforms.

https://thepopulationgbg.bandcamp.com/

The Population, The Population 7″ (2020)

Tags: , , ,

Quarterly Review: Mrs. Piss, Ulcerate, Shroom Eater, Astralist, Daily Thompson, The White Swan, Dungeon Weed, Thomas V. Jäger, Cavern, Droneroom

Posted in Reviews on October 9th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

THE-OBELISK-FALL-2020-QUARTERLY-REVIEW

Today is what would be the last day of the Fall 2020 Quarterly Review, except, you know, it’s not. Monday is. I know it’s been a messed up time for everybody and everything, but there’s a lot of music coming out, so if you’re craving some sense of normalcy — and hey, fair enough — it’s right there. Today’s an all-over-the-place day but there’s some killer stuff in here right from the start, so jump in and good luck.

And don’t forget — back on Monday with the last 10 records. Thanks for reading.

Quarterly Review #41-50:

Mrs. Piss, Self-Surgery

mrs piss self surgery

If “Nobody Wants to Party with Us” as the alternately ambient/industrial-punk fuckall of that song posits, most likely that’s because they’re way too intimidated to even drop a text to invite Mrs. Piss over. The duo comprised of vocalist/guitarist Chelsea Wolfe and guitarist/bassist/drummer/programmer Jess Gowrie issue Self-Surgery as an act of sheer confrontation. The screams of “You Took Everything.” The chugging self-loathing largesse of “Knelt.” The fuzzed mania of ‘M.B.O.T.W.O.,” which, yes, stands for “Mega Babes of the Wild Order.” The unmitigated punk of “Downer Surrounded by Uppers” and the twisted careen-and-crash of the title-track. The declaration of purpose in the lines, “In the shit/I’m sacrosanct/I’m Mrs. Piss” in the eponymous closer. Rage against self, rage against other, rage and righteousness. Among the great many injustices this year has wrought, that Wolfe and Gowrie aren’t touring this material, playing 20-something-minute sets and destroying every stage they hit has to be right up there. It’s like rock and roll to disintegrate every tired dude cliché the genre has. Yes. Fuck. Do it.

Mrs. Piss on Instagram

Sargent House website

 

Ulcerate, Stare into Death and Be Still

Ulcerate Stare into Death and Be Still

As progressive/technical death metal enjoys a stylistic renaissance, New Zealand’s Ulcerate put out their sixth full-length, Stare into Death and Be Still and seem right in line with the moment despite having been around for nearly 20 years. So be it. What distinguishes Stare into Death and Be Still amid the speed-demon wizardry of a swath of other death metallers is the sense of atmosphere across the release and the fact that, while every note, every guitar squibbly, every sharpened turn the 58-minute album’s eight tracks make is important and serves a purpose, the band don’t simply rely on dry delivery to make an impression. To hear the cavernous echoes of the title-track or “Inversion” later on, Ulcerate seem willing to let some of the clarity go in favor of establishing a mood beyond extremity. In the penultimate “Drawn into the Next Void,” their doing so results in a triumphant build and consuming fade in a way that much of their genre simply couldn’t accomplish. There’s still plenty of blast to be found, but also a depth that would seem to evoke the central intention of the album. Don’t stare too long.

Ulcerate on Thee Facebooks

Debemur Morti Productions on Bandcamp

 

Shroom Eater, Ad.Inventum

shroom eater ad inventum

Nine songs running an utterly digestible 38 minutes of fuzz-riffed groove with samples, smooth tempos and an unabashed love for ’90s-style stoner rock, Shroom Eater‘s debut album, Ad.Inventum feels ripe for pickup by this or that heavy rock label for a physical release. LP, CD and tape. I know it’s tough economic times, but none of this vinyl-only stuff. The Indonesian five-piece not only have their riffs and tones and methods so well in place — that is, they’re schooled in the style they’re creating; the genre-converted preaching to the genre-converted, and nothing wrong with that — but there are flashes of burgeoning cultural point of view in the lead guitar of “God Isn’t One Eyed” or the lyrics of “Arogant” (sic) and the right-on riffed “Traffic Hunter” that fit well right alongside the skateboarding ode “Ride” or flourish of psychedelia in the rolling “Perspective” earlier on. Closing with “Dragon and Tiger” and “Friend in the High Places,” Ad.Inventum feels like the work of a band actively engaged in finding their sound and developing their take on fuzz, and the potential they show alongside their already memorable songwriting is significant.

Shroom Eater on Instagram

Shroom Eater on Bandcamp

 

Astralist, 2020 (Demo)

astralist 2020 demo

I’m not usually one to think bands should be aggrandizing their initial releases. It can be a disservice to call a demo a “debut EP” or album if it’s not, since you only get one shot at having an actual first record and sometimes a demo doesn’t represent a band’s sound as much as the actual, subsequent album does, leading to later regret. In the case of Cork, Ireland’s Astralist, it’s the opposite. 2020 (Demo) is no toss-off, recorded-in-the-rehearsal-space-to-put-something-on-Bandcamp outing. Or if it is, it doesn’t sound like it. Comprised of three massive slabs of atmospheric and sometimes-extreme doom, plus an intro, in scope and production value both, the 36-minute release carries the feel and the weight of a full-length album, earning its themes of cosmic destruction and shifting back and forth between melodic progressivism and death-doom or blackened onslaught. In “The Outlier,” “Entheogen” and “Zuhal, Rise” they establish a breadth and an immediate control thereof, and their will to cross genre lines gives their work a fervently individualized feel. Album or demo doesn’t ultimately matter, but what they say about Astralist‘s intentions does.

Astralist on Thee Facebooks

Astralist on Bandcamp

 

Daily Thompson, Oumuamua

daily thompson oumuamua

Lost in the narrative of initial singles released ahead of its actual arrival is the psychedelic reach Dortmund trio Daily Thompson bring to their fourth album, Oumuamua. Yes, “She’s So Cold” turns in its second half to a more straightforward heavy-blues-fuzz push, but the mellow unfurling that takes place at the outset continues to inform the proceedings from there, and even through “Sad Frank” (video posted here) and “On My Mind” (video posted here), and album-centerpiece “Slow Me Down,” the vibe remains affect by it. Side B has its own stretch in the 12-minute “Cosmic Cigar (Oumuamua),” and sandwiched between the three-minute stomper “Half Thompson” and the acoustic, harmonized grunge-blues closer “River of a Ghost,” it seems that what Daily Thompson held back about the LP is no less powerful than what they revealed. It’s still a party, it’s just a party where every room has something different happening.

Daily Thompson on Thee Facebooks

Noisolution website

 

The White Swan, Nocturnal Transmission

The White Swan Nocturnal Transmission

Following up 2018’s Touch Taste Destroy (review here), Ontario’s The White Swan present their fourth EP in Nocturnal Transmission. That’s four EPs, in a row, from 2016-2020. If the trio — which, yes, includes Kittie‘s Mercedes Lander on vocals, drums, guitar and keys — were waiting to figure out their sound before putting out a first full-length, they were there two years ago, if not before. One is left to assume that the focus on short releases is — at least for now — an aesthetic choice. Like its predecessor, Nocturnal Transmission offers three circa-five-minute big-riffers topped with Lander‘s floating melodic vocals. The highlight here is “Purple,” and unlike any of the other The White Swan EPs, this one includes a fourth track in a cover of Tracy Bonham‘s “Tell it to the Sky,” given likewise heft and largesse. I don’t know what’s stopping this band from putting out an album, but I’ll take another EP in the meantime, sure.

The White Swan on Thee Facebooks

The White Swan on Bandcamp

 

Dungeon Weed, Mind Palace of the Mushroom God

Dungeon Weed Mind Palace of the Mushroom God

A quarantine project of Dmitri Mavra from Skunk and Slow Phase, Dungeon Weed is dug-in stoner idolatry, pure and simple. Mavra, joined by drummer Chris McGrew and backing vocalist Thia Moonbrook, metes out riff after feedback-soaked, march-ready, nod-ready, dirt-toned riff, and it doesn’t matter if it’s the doomier tolling bell of “Sorcerer with the Skull Face” or the tongue-in-cheek hook of “Beholder Gonna Fuck You Up” or the brash sludge that ensues across the aptly-named “Lumbering Hell,” all layered solos and whatnot, the important thing is that by the time “Mind Palace” comes around, you’re either out or you’re in, and once you make that choice there’s no going back on it. Opener “Orcus Immortalis/Vox Mysterium” tells the tale (or part of it, as regards the overarching narrative), and if ever there was a band that could and would make a song called “Black Pudding” sound heavy, well, there’s Dungeon Weed for you. Dungeon Weed, man. Don’t overthink it.

Dungeon Weed on Thee Facebooks

Forbidden Place Records website

 

Thomas V. Jäger, A Solitary Plan

thomas v jager a solitary plan

The challenge of rendering songcraft in the nude can be a daunting one for someone in a heavy band doing a solo/acoustic release, but it’s a challenge Thomas V. Jäger of Monolord meets with ease on the home-recorded A Solitary Plan, his solo debut. Those familiar with his work in Monolord will recognize some of the effects used on his vocals, but in the much, much quieter context of the seven-song/29-minute solo release — Jäger plays everything except the Mellotron on the leadoff title-track — they lend not only a spaciousness but a feeling of acid folk serenity to “Creature of the Deep” and “It’s Alright,” which follows. Mixed/mastered by Kalle Lilja of Långfinger, A Solitary Plan is ultimately an exploration on Jäger‘s part of working in this form, but it succeeds in both its most minimal stretches and in the electric-inclusive “The Drone” and “Goodbye” ahead of the buzzing synth-laced closer “The Bitter End.” It would be a surprise if this is the only solo release Jäger ever does, since so much of what takes place throughout feels like a foundation for future work.

Thomas V. Jäger on Bandcamp

RidingEasy Records website

 

Cavern, Powdered

CAVERN POWDERED

Change has been the modus operandi of Cavern for a while now. They still show some semblance of their post-hardcore roots on their new full-length, Powdered, but having brought in bassist/vocalist Rose Heater in 2018 and sometime between then and now let out of Baltimore for Morgantown, West Virginia, their sonic allegiance to a heavier-ended post-rock comes through more than ever before. Guitarist/synthesist Zach Harkins winds lead lines around Heater‘s bass on “Grey,” and Stephen Schrock‘s drums emphasize tension to coincide, but the fluidity across the 24-minute LP is of a kind that’s genuinely new to the band, and the soul in Heater‘s vocals carries the material to someplace else entirely. A song like “Dove” presents a tonal fullness that the title-track seems just to hint at, but the emphasis here is on dynamic, not on doing one thing only or locking their approach into a single mindset. As Heater‘s debut with them, Powdered finds them refreshed and renewed of purpose.

Cavern on Thee Facebooks

Cavern on Bandcamp

 

Droneroom, …The Other Doesn’t

droneroom the other doesnt

Droneroom is the solo vehicle of guitarist Blake Edward Conley and with …The Other Doesn’t, experiments of varying length and degree of severity are brought to bear. The abiding feel is spacious, lonely and cinematic as one might expect for such guitar-based soundscaping, but “Casual-Lethal Narcissism” and “The Last Time Someone Speaks Your Name” do have some measure of peace to go with their foreboding and troubling atmospherics. An obvious focal point is the 15-minute dronefest “This Circle of Ribs,” which feels more forward and striking than someone of Droneroom‘s surrounding material, but it’s all on a relative scale, and across the board Conley remains a safe social distance away from structural traditionalist. Recorded during Summer 2020, it is an album that conveys the anxiety and paranoia of this year, and while that can be a daunting thing to face in such a way or to let oneself really engage with as a listener — shit, it’s hard enough just living through — one of the functions of good art is to challenge perceptions of what it can be. Worth keeping in mind for “Home Can Be a Frightening Place.”

Droneroom on Thee Facebooks

Humanhood Recordings on Bandcamp

 

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

Melody Fields Premiere “Rhymes of Goodbye”; Broken Horse EP out Sept. 19

Posted in audiObelisk on August 21st, 2020 by JJ Koczan

melody fields

Swedish acid folk rockers Melody Fields will issue their new four-song EP, Broken Horse, Sept. 18 on CD and LP through Sound Effect Records and Coop Records, respectively. For the Gothenburg-based five-or-six-piece, it’s the follow-up to the gorgeousness that was their 2018 self-titled debut full-length (review here), and if you haven’t yet caught on to that offering, the fact that the band plays an utterly timeless form of sweetly melodic psychedelia means that you’re in no way too late. I’ve even put it at the bottom of the post to make it easier for you, so really, have at it.

melody fields Broken Horse EPBefore you do, though, dig into the new track “Rhymes of Goodbye” on the player that follows here, because that’s something you’re definitely going to want to hear. It’s like someone decided to build a house on a slowed-down version of “Good Day Sunshine.” The Broken Horse EP runs about 19 minutes long and comprises four tracks — “Långsam Död,” “Rhymes of Goodbye,” “Broken Horse” and “Painted Sky,” in that order — that push even deeper into the band’s affinity for lush and unabashed psych-pop, maintaining a distinctive presence vocally through the employ of multiple singers and instrumentally through varied layers and approaches of guitar, be it acoustic or electric, etc. The release breaks more or less evenly into its two component sides with two tracks each, and each half seems to offer a complementary vibe, beginning with the subdued unfolding spaciousness of “Långsam Död,” which introduces the sitar and wash of instrumental melody that will characterize both that song and “Rhymes of Goodbye.” Sitar follows the notes of the verse, or maybe it’s the other way around; either way, it’s gorgeous and exploratory in kind, a solid underlying structure serving as the bed for a subtly memorable chorus. They’re one song in and already I wish Broken Horse was a full album.

“Rhymes of Goodbye,” as noted, follows a similar path to the opener, up to and including the sitar and the quiet intro. There’s more bounce to the rhythm, with wood block percussion alongside the drums — it’s deep in the mix, but it’s there — and a flowing bassline that complements the drums and the harmonized vocals alike. As lush as “Rhymes of Goodbye” and the preceding cut are, Melody Fields don’t depart from their pop underpinning, and frankly, they don’t need to. Both cuts are shortly under five minutes, which is enough time not only for the chorus to be established, but for the band to meander a bit and give their listener a sense of the particular sunshine in which they’re basking on this good day. “Rhymes of Goodbye” is immersive as it moves toward its finish, with a crash as it passes four minutes and residual melodic hum on a fadeout that brings in “Broken Horse” (after a platter flip, if you’re doing the vinyl thing), replacing sitar with acoustic guitar and an immediately earthier, more folkish presentation. Harmony in the MELODY FIELDSvocals ties the two sides together, but really, Melody Fields make it so easy to go along with them on this short journey that to resist would seem pointless. Why would you even want to, with the sweetness and warmth of what they’re doing? The sheer comforting nature of it? Come on, people. Let go.

Finishing out, “Painted Sky” is the longest cut at 6:35 and gives Melody Fields even more landscape (or skyscape, as it were) to play in. Lines of guitar float with due descriptiveness to rest alongside the regular chants in homage to aurora borealis, weaving and intertwining as magnetic resonance might on a special evening in the north. Particularly on side B, Melody Fields remind of the circa-2010 Swedefolk troupe Barr — whither thou? — but both groups are acting to interpret with a modern edge the classic ideals of psychedelic pop, bringing a focus on the organic to rich and textured melodicism. As on their self-titled, on Broken HorseMelody Fields are nothing if not aptly-named. Perhaps there’s even a breeze blowing through those fields. A pleasant one, that, if you were to step back, you could see patterns in the slightly-overgrown grass like an echo of “Painted Sky” itself.

More info on the EP follows ahead of the Sept. 19 release, and you can and should dig into “Rhymes of Goodbye” right here.

Please enjoy:

MELODY FIELDS – Broken Horse EP

September 19th 2020 Melody Fields release their new EP Broken Horse. The EP is recorded in Studio Parkeringshuset, where bands like Goat, Hills and The Movements previously have been recording and is released by Sound Effect Records and Coop Records Gotland.

Unlike many other contemporary psych and kraut bands Melody Fields put the classic popsong formula in focus. Sunny californian harmonies has been processed, modernised, ragafied and droneified to an honest ”here and now” experience. No retro, no seeking for effects. Melody Fields has a depth and a substance in their song writing, that feels unique in an otherwise effect seeking scene. LA meets mystic Far East meets melancholy North. Here and now, yesterday and tomorrow, east and north and south, all melt together on the Broken Horse EP.

Available from: 18/09/2020
Label: Coop Records (Vinyl 12”EP)
Sound Effect Records (CD)

Line-up:
Thomas Widholm – drums
David Henriksson – vocals, guitar
Ramo Spatalovic – vocals, guitar
Cornelia Adamsson – vocals, string machine
Henrik Bäckström – vocals, guitar
Sebastian Jannesson – bass

Melody Fields, Melody Fields (2018)

Melody Fields on Thee Facebooks

Melody Fields on Instagram

Melody Fields on Bandcamp

Coop Records on Thee Facebooks

Coop Records on Instagram

Sound Effect Records on Thee Facebooks

Sound Effect Records website

Tags: , , , , , ,