Healthyliving Announce UK Tour Dates With Dawnwalker

Posted in Whathaveyou on August 30th, 2023 by JJ Koczan

You know, I guess maybe it was Roadburn that put me on to all-lowercase atmospheric heavies healthyliving, as the band played their first show ever at the rightly venerated Dutch festival; a singular honor for an underground act of any stripe. And you know what else, that shit would be the first line in my bio too. Pretty much forever.

And when it came to the record — that being their debut, Songs of Abundance, Psalms of Grief (review here) — I dug it a lot. It’ll be on my year-end debuts list, I look forward to the next one, on and on. Listening to it again as I write this, I’m glad to be revisiting it, though that makes it sound like it’s been forever and it only came out a few months ago. Weird living in an utterly saturated market in which somehow nobody makes any money.

This isn’t the longest UK tour you’ve ever seen, but they’re going from Glasgow to London the next night, so respect for the seven and a half hours in the car that day, though if I was tour managing we’d cut out of Glasgow asap after the show and start the drive south, stop somewhere cheap but not too creeper if possible for the night and pick up in the morning. Actually, if I look at the four shows, it’s kind of a wild routing, starting in the southwest UK on the inland coast, heading north for successive nights in Manchester and Glasgow and then swinging all the way down to London the last night, further south than was Newport, if not by much, but considerably further east. It’s not even close to the craziest shit I’ve ever seen, but neither would I call it easy.

The PR wire brought details, links, dates, all sorts of fun stuff:

Healthyliving uk tour

healthyliving announce UK tour w/ Dawnwalker

Following on from their debut live performance at Roadburn in Tilburg this year and recent set at the inaugural edition of Core. in Glasgow, doomy noise/post-rock act healthyliving will embark on a co-headlining UK tour alongside post-metal band Dawnwalker in December.

healthyliving, the transnational collective across Scotland, Spain, and Germany, released their debut album, Songs of Abundance, Psalms of Grief, in April of this year, garnering significant critical acclaim. Joining them on tour is London-based Dawnwalker, lauded for their unique blend of prog and post-metal. Dawnwalker is currently on tour supporting their 2022 album, House of Sands, their darkest and most human to date. Together, the bands offer up a series of nights of unique heavy and emotive music with handpicked supports for each show.

healthyliving + Dawnwalker December UK Tour:
07 Dec – Le Pub – Newport (w/ Goat Major)
08 Dec – Retro Bar – Manchester (w/ Deathbloom)
09 Dec – The Flying Duck – Glasgow (w/ Cwfen)
10 Dec – The Black Heart – London (w/ Codex Serafini)


healthyliving is the project of long-time collaborators and friends Scott McLean (Ashenspire, Falloch), Stefan Pötzsch and Amaya López-C (Maud the moth). Having worked on various musical projects together for years, their artistic and personal connection coalesced organically and fuelled a small transnational collective across Scotland, Spain and Germany. healthyliving emerges to honour this natural connection; something which is reflected in the simplicity, rawness and immediateness of their approach to songwriting. Artistically, the band draws from the beauty and horror of the mundane to create a kaleidoscopic and evocative musical world that commutes across genre borders.

Stream Songs of Abundance, Psalms of Grief on your preferred digital media AT THIS LOCATION:

ORDER Songs of Abundance, Psalms of Grief on vinyl, CD, or Digital on BANDCAMP:

healthyliving is:
Amaya López Carromero – Vocals
Scott McLean – Guitars, Bass, Synth
Stefan Pötzsch – Drums
Andrés Ramos — bass (live)

Healthyliving, Songs of Abundance, Psalms of Grief (2023)

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Quarterly Review: Smokey Mirror, Jack Harlon & the Dead Crows, Noorag, KOLLAPS\E, Healthyliving, MV & EE, The Great Machine, Swanmay, Garden of Ash, Tidal

Posted in Reviews on May 9th, 2023 by JJ Koczan


Hey there and welcome back to the Spring 2023 Quarterly Review. Today I’ve got another 10-record batch for your perusal, and if you’ve never been to this particular party before, it’s part of an ongoing series this site does every couple months (you might say quarterly), and this week picks up from yesterday as well as a couple weeks ago, when another 70 records of various types were covered. If there’s a lesson to be learned from all of it, it’s that we live in a golden age of heavy music, be it metal, rock, doom, sludge, psych, prog, noise or whathaveyou. Especially for whathaveyou.

So here we are, you and I, exploring the explorations in these many works and across a range of styles. As always, I hope you find something that feels like it’s speaking directly to you. For what it’s worth, I didn’t even make it through the first 10 of the 50 releases to be covered this week yesterday without ordering a CD from Bandcamp, so I’m here in a spirit of learning too. We’ll go together and dive back in.

Quarterly Review #11-20:

Smokey Mirror, Smokey Mirror

Smokey Mirror Smokey Mirror

Those in the know will tell you that the vintage-sound thing is over, everybody’s a goth now, blah blah heavygaze. That sounds just fine with Dallas, Texas, boogie rockers Smokey Mirror, who on their self-titled Rise Above Records first LP make their shuffle a party in “Invisible Hand” and the class-conscious “Pathless Forest” even before they dig into the broader jam of the eight-minute “Magick Circle,” panning the solos in call and response, drum solo, softshoe groove, full on whatnot. Meanwhile, “Alpha-State Dissociative Trance” would be glitch if it had a keyboard on it, a kind of math rock from 1972, and its sub-three-minute stretch is followed by the acoustic guitar/harmonica folk blues of “Fried Vanilla Super Trapeze” and the heavy fuzz resurgence of “Sacrificial Altar,” which is long like “Magick Circle” but with more jazz in its winding jam and more of a departure into it (four minutes into the total 7:30 if you’re wondering), while the Radio Moscow-style smooth bop and rip of “A Thousand Days in the Desert” and shred-your-politics of “Who’s to Say” act as touch-ground preface for the acoustic noodle and final hard strums of “Recurring Nightmare,” as side B ends in mirror to side A. An absolute scorcher of a debut and all the more admirable for wearing its politics on its sleeve where much heavy rock hides safe behind its “I’m not political” whiteness, Smokey Mirror‘s Smokey Mirror reminds that, every now and again, those in the know don’t know shit. Barnburner heavy rock and roll forever.

Smokey Mirror on Facebook

Rise Above Records website


Jack Harlon & The Dead Crows, Hail to the Underground

Jack Harlon & The Dead Crows Hail to the Underground

The moral of the story is that the members of Melbourne’s Jack Harlon and the Dead Crows — may they someday be famous enough that I won’t feel compelled to point out that none of them is Jack; the lineup is comprised of vocalist/guitarist Tim Coutts-Smith, guitarist Jordan Richardson, bassist Liam Barry and drummer Josh McCombe — came up in the ’90s, or at least in the shadow thereof. Hail to the Underground collects eight covers in 35 minutes and is the Aussie rockers’ first outing for Blues Funeral, following two successful albums in 2018’s Hymns and 2021’s The Magnetic Ridge (review here), and while on paper it seems like maybe it’s the result of just-signed-gotta-get-something-out motivation, the takes on tunes by Aussie rockers God, the Melvins, Butthole Surfers, My Bloody Valentine and Joy Division (their “Day of Lords” is a nodding highlight) rest organically alongside the boogie blues of “Roll & Tumble” (originally by Hambone Willie Newbern), the electrified surge of Bauhaus‘ “Dark Entries” and the manic peaks of “Eye Shaking King” by Amon Düül II. It’s not the triumphant, moment-of-arrival third full-length one awaits — and it would be soon for it to be, but it’s how the timing worked with the signing — but Hail to the Underground adds complexity to the narrative of the band’s sound in communing with Texan acid noise, country blues from 1929 to emo and goth rock icons in a long-player’s span, and it’ll certainly keep the fire burning until the next record gets here.

Jack Harlon & The Dead Crows on Facebook

Blues Funeral Recordings website


Noorag, Fossils

Noorag Fossils

Minimalist in social media presence (though on YouTube and Bandcamp, streaming services, etc.), Sardinian one-man outfit Noorag — also stylized all-lowercase: noorag — operates at the behest of multi-instrumentalist/producer Federico “WalkingFred” Paretta, and with drums by Daneiele Marcia, the project’s debut EP, Fossils, collects seven short pieces across 15 minutes that’s punk in urgency, sans-vocal in the execution, sludged in tone, metallic in production, and adventurous in some of its time changes. Pieces like the ambient opener “Hhon” and “Amanita Shot,” which follows headed on the quick into the suitably stomping “Brachiopod” move easily between each other since the songs themselves are tied together through their instrumental approach and relatively straightforward arrangements. “Cochlea Stone” is a centerpiece under two minutes long with emphasis rightfully on the bass, while “Ritual Electric” teases the stonershuggah nuance in the groove of “Acid Apricot”‘s second half, and the added “Digital Cave” roughs up the recording while maybe or maybe not actually being the demo it claims to be. Are those drums programmed? We may never know, but at a quarter of an hour long, it’s not like Noorag are about to overstay their welcome. Fitting for the EP format as a way to highlight its admirable intricacy, Fossils feels almost ironically fresh and sounds like the beginning point of a broader progression. Here’s hoping.

Noorag on YouTube

Noorag on Bandcamp


KOLLAPS\E, Phantom Centre

Kollapse Phantom Centre

With the notable exceptions of six-minute opener “Era” and the 8:36 “Uhtceare” with the gradual build to its explosion into the “Stones From the Sky” moment that’s a requisite for seemingly all post-metal acts to utilize at least once (they turn it into a lead later, which is satisfying), Sweden’s KOLLAPS\E — oh your pesky backslash — pair their ambient stretches with stately, shout-topped declarations of riff that sound like early Isis with the clarity of production and intent of later Isis, which is a bigger difference than it reads. The layers of guttural vocals at the forefront of “Anaemia” add an edge of extremity offset by the post-rock float of the guitar, and “Bränt Barn Skyr Elden” (‘burnt child dreads the fire,’ presumably a Swedish aphorism) answers by building tension subtly in its first two minutes before going full-barrage atmosludge for the next as it, “Anaemia,” and the closing pair of “Radiant Static” and “Murrain” harness short-song momentum on either side of four minutes long — something the earlier “Beautiful Desolate” hinted at between “Era” and “Uhtceare” — to capture a distinct flow for side B and giving the ending of “Murrain” its due as a culmination for the entire release. Crushing or spacious or both when it wants to be, Phantom Centre is a strong, pandemic-born debut that looks forward while showing both that it’s schooled in its own genre and has begun to decide which rules it wants to break.

KOLLAPS\E on Facebook

Trepanation Recordings on Bandcamp


Healthyliving, Songs of Abundance, Psalms of Grief

Healthyliving Songs of Abundance Psalms of Grief

A multinational conglomerate that would seem to be at least partially assembled in Edinburg, Scotland, Healthyliving — also all-lowercase: healthyliving — offer folkish melodicism atop heavy atmospheric rock for a kind of more-present-than-‘gaze-implies feel that is equal parts meditative, expansive and emotive on their debut full-length, Songs of Abundance, Psalms of Grief. With the vocals of Amaya López-Carromero (aka Maud the Moth) given a showcase they more than earn via performance, multi-instrumentalist Scott McLean (guitar, bass, synth) and drummer Stefan Pötzsch are able to conjure the scene-setting heft of “Until,” tap into grunge strum with a gentle feel on “Bloom” or meander into outright crush with ambient patience on “Galleries” (a highlight) or move through the intensity of “To the Gallows,” the unexpected surge in the bridge of “Back to Back” or the similarly structured but distinguished through the vocal layering and melancholic spirit of the penultimate “Ghost Limbs” with a long quiet stretch before closer “Obey” wraps like it’s raking leaves in rhythm early and soars on a strident groove that caps with impact and sprawl. They are not the only band operating in this sphere of folk-informed heavy post-rock by any means, but as their debut, this nine-song collection pays off the promise of their 2021 two-songer Until/Below (review here) and heralds things to come both beautiful and sad.

Healthyliving on Facebook

LaRubia Producciones website


MV & EE, Green Ark

mv & ee green ark

Even before Vermont freak-psych two-piece MV & EEMatt Valentine and Erika Elder, both credited with a whole bunch of stuff including, respectively, ‘the real deal’ and ‘was’ — are nestled into the organic techno jam of 19-minute album opener “Free Range,” their Green Ark full-length has offered lush lysergic hypnosis via an extended introductory drone. Far more records claim to go anywhere than actually do, but the funky piano of “No Money” and percussion and wah dream-disco of “Dancin’,” with an extra-fun keyboard line late, set up the 20-minute “Livin’ it Up,” in a way that feels like surefooted experimentalism; Elder and Valentine exploring these aural spaces with the confidence of those who’ve been out wandering across more than two decades’ worth of prior occasions. That is to say, “Livin’ it Up” is comfortable as it engages with its own unknown self, built up around a bass line and noodly solo over a drum machine with hand percussion accompanying, willfully repetitive like the opener in a way that seems to dig in and then dig in again. The 10-minute “Love From Outer Space” and nine-minute mellow-psych-but-for-the-keyboard-beat-hitting-you-in-the-face-and-maybe-a-bit-of-play-around-that-near-the-end “Rebirth” underscore the message that the ‘out there’ is the starting point rather than the destination for MV & EE, but that those brave enough to go will be gladly taken along.

MV & EE Blogspot

Ramble Records store


The Great Machine, Funrider

The Great Machine Funrider

Israeli trio The Great Machine — brothers Aviran Haviv (bass/vocals) and Omer Haviv (guitar/vocals) as well as drummer/vocalist Michael Izaky — find a home on Noisolution for their fifth full-length in nine years, Funrider, trading vocal duties back and forth atop songs that pare down some of the jammier ideology of 2019’s less-than-ideally-titled Greatestits, still getting spacious in side-A ender “Pocketknife” and the penultimate “Some Things Are Bound to Fail,” which is also the longest inclusion at 6:05. But the core of Funrider is in the quirk and impact of rapid-fire cuts like “Zarathustra” and “Hell & Back” at the outset, the Havivs seeming to trade vocal duties throughout to add to the variety as the rumble before the garage-rock payoff of “Day of the Living Dead” gives over to the title-track or that fuzzier take moves into “Pocketknife.” Acoustic guitar starts “Fornication Under the Consent of the King” but it becomes sprinter Europunk bombast before its two minutes are done, and with the rolling “Notorious” and grungeminded “Mountain She” ripping behind, the most unifying factor throughout Funrider is its lack of predictability. That’s no minor achievement for a band on their fifth record making a shift in their approach after a decade together, but the desert rocking “The Die” that closes with a rager snuck in amid the chug is a fitting summary of the trio’s impressive creative reach.

The Great Machine on Facebook

Noisolution store


Swanmay, Frantic Feel

Swanmay Frantic Feel

Following-up their 2017 debut, Stoner Circus, Austrian trio Swanmay offer seven songs and 35 minutes of new material with the self-issued Frantic Feel, finding their foundation in the bass work of Chris Kaderle and Niklas Lueger‘s drumming such that Patrick Àlvaro‘s ultra-fuzzed guitar has as strong a platform to dance all over as possible. Vocals in “The Art of Death” are suitably drunk-sounding (which doesn’t actually hurt it), but “Mashara” and “Cats and Snails” make a rousing opening salvo of marked tonal depth and keep-it-casual stoner saunter, soon also to be highlighted in centerpiece “Blooze.” On side B, “Stone Cold” feels decidedly more like it has its life together, and “Old Trails” tightens the reins from there in terms of structure, but while closer “Dead End” stays fuzzy and driving like the two songs before, the noise quotient is upped significantly by the time it’s done, and that brings back some of the looser swing of “Mashara” or “The Art of Death.” But when Swanmay want to be — and that’s not all the time, to their credit — they are massively heavy, and they put that to raucous use with a production that is accordingly loud and vibrant. Seems simple reading a paragraph, maybe, but the balance they strike in these songs is a difficult one, and even if it’s just for the guitar and bass tones, Frantic Feel demands an audience.

Swanmay on Facebook

Swanmay on Bandcamp


Garden of Ash, Garden of Ash

Garden of Ash self-titled

“Death will come swiftly to those who are weak,” goes the crooning verse lyric from Garden of Ash‘s “Death Valley” at the outset of the young Edmonton, Alberta, trio’s self-titled, self-released debut full-length. Bassist Kristina Hunszinger delivers the line with due severity, but the Witch Mountain-esque slow nod and everybody-dies lyrics of “A Cautionary Tale” show more of the tongue-in-cheek point of view of the lyrics. The plot thickens — or at very least hits harder — when the self-recorded outing’s metallic production style is considered. In the drums of Levon Vokins — who also provides backing vocals as heard on “Roses” and elsewhere — the (re-amped) guitar of Zach Houle and even in the mostly-sans-effects presentation of Hunszinger‘s vocals as well as their placement at the forefront of the mix, it’s heavy metal more than heavy rock, but as Vokins takes lead vocals in “World on Fire” with Hunszinger joining for the chorus, the riff is pure boogie and the earlier “Amnesia” fosters doomly swing, so what may in the longer term be a question of perspective is yet unanswered in terms of are they making the sounds they want to and pushing into trad metal genre tenets, or is it just a matter of getting their feet under them as a new band? I don’t know, but songs and performance are both there, so this first full-length does its job in giving Garden of Ash something from which to move forward while serving notice to those with ears to hear them. Either way, the bonus track “Into the Void” is especially notable for not being a Black Sabbath cover, and by the time they get there, that’s not at all the first surprise to be had.

Garden of Ash on Facebook

Garden of Ash on Bandcamp


Tidal, The Bends

Tidal The Bends

Checking in at one second less and 15 minutes flat, “The Bends” is the first release from Milwaukee-based three-piece Tidal, and it’s almost immediately expansive. With shades of El Paraiso-style jazz psych, manipulated samples and hypnotic drone at its outset, the first two minutes build into a wash with mellow keys/guitar effects (whatever, it sounds more like sax and they’re all credited with ‘noise,’ so I’m doing my best here) and it’s not until Sam Wallman‘s guitar steps forward out of the ambience surrounding at nearly four minutes deep that Alvin Vega‘s drums make their presence known. Completed by Max Muenchow‘s bass, which righteously holds the core while Wallman airs out, the roll is languid and more patient than one would expect for a first-release jam, but there’s a pickup and Tidal do get raucous as “The Bends” moves into its midsection, scorching for a bit until they quiet down again, only to reemerge at 11:10 from the ether of their own making with a clearheaded procession to carry them through the crescendo and to the letting-go-now drift of echo that caps. I hear tell they’ve got like an hour and a half of this stuff recorded and they’re going to release them one by one. They picked an intriguing one to start with as the layers of drone and noise help fill out the otherwise empty space in the instrumental jam without being overwrought or sacrificing the spontaneous nature of the track. Encouraging start. Will be ready when the next jam hits.

Tidal on Instagram

Tidal on Bandcamp


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The Obelisk Show on Gimme Metal Playlist: Episode 105

Posted in Radio on March 3rd, 2023 by JJ Koczan

the obelisk show banner

I feel like I’m doubling down on heavy shit, and that’s probably a good thing. This is a killer show. New Dozer, the riffy cut from the new Enslaved right after the Polymoon song where they sound like Enslaved. The most arrogant track from the Mathew’s Hidden Museum record (not a rag on it, the arrogance is what makes it), the closer from the Sandrider record where they do the big riff thing, fucking Stoned Jesus’ “Season of the Witch” that I’ve been dying to share since whenever the hell it was I got the record, god damn, and Black Sky Giant’s gorgeous post-prog immersion and Ruff Majik’s new single speaking of fucking arrogance, but like super-depressed-you’re-actually-kind-of-worried-about-them arrogance. Their new record is so fucking good. I’mma put it on right now, and mark your calendar because I’m streaming it April 27. That’s right. I book shit that early. Hell, I’ve got a stream slated for July 12. Who even knows if the planet will still be here?

Anyway, the list in progress: it’s got that Abanamat and Hail the Void that everyone’s all over, Cleõphüzz whose debut album came out after they already broke up — I love this genre — and new The Freak Folk of Mangrovia that I got like five minutes before making the playlist, and a fucking band called Bong Corleone! Bong Corleone! I don’t know how that alone wouldn’t make you listen to the show. Dread Witch are heavy as hell, and I played the longest Swarm track I could because they rule and I figured the more of the show they take up the better.

I know I always say thanks if you listen. And hey, thanks if you listen. But if you don’t catch this one, it ain’t my damn fault. Show is awesome.

The Obelisk Show airs 5PM Eastern today on the Gimme app or at:

Full playlist:

The Obelisk Show – 03.03.23 (VT = voice track)

Dread Witch Wormtongue Tower of the Severed Serpent
Ruff Majik Cement Brain Elektrik Ram
Black Sky Giant At the Gates Primigenian
Stoned Jesus Season of the Witch Father Light
Sandrider Grouper Enveletration
Dozer Ex-Human, Now Beast Drifting in the Endless Void
Cleõphüzz When the Siren Blows Mystic Vulture
Healthyliving Galleries Songs of Abundance, Psalms of Grief
Mathew’s Hidden Museum Born on the 3rd of July Mathew’s Hidden Museum
Hail the Void Talking to the Dead Memento Mori
Polymoon Instar Chrysalis
Enslaved Congelia Heimdal
Abanamat Voidgazer Abanamat
The Freak Folk of Mangrovia Astral Nomads Astral Nomads
Bong Corleone Offering Bong Corleone
Swarm We Should Know Swarm

The Obelisk Show on Gimme Metal airs every Friday 5PM Eastern, with replays Sunday at 7PM Eastern. Next new episode is March 3 (subject to change). Thanks for listening if you do.

Gimme Metal website

The Obelisk on Facebook

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Healthyliving Announce Debut Album Songs of Abundance, Psalms of Grief Out April 7

Posted in Whathaveyou on February 20th, 2023 by JJ Koczan

healthyliving (Photo by Chris Scott)

It’s relevant news and all that, but you’ll pardon me if I take a second to feel good posting about Healthyliving as the trio look to follow-up their 2021 two-songer Until/Below (discussed here), because my first instinct was to not. The reason for that was, well, it looks like their impending debut, Songs of Abundance, Psalms of Grief, is going to be pretty well hyped, and that kind of thing is generally a turnoff. However, when the below press release came through and I did my usual shrug and ‘well this is too cool for me,’ I took a breath and reminded myself that that attitude is bullshit and that it usually does nothing more for me than to make me miss out on good music. So I took a listen to the track they’re streaming — you can hear it at the bottom of the post — and here we are.

So maybe it will be too cool for my ass in the end — it don’t take much — but at least I didn’t let that stop me from hearing it. Hype comes and goes. Good music lasts longer. I’ll try to get a review going somewhere along the line for Songs of Abundance, Psalms of Grief, even if it’s the Quarterly Review after the next one, and I’m sure with the heaps of critical plaudits headed their way mine will be sub-drop-in-bucket level, but screw it. I’m just glad I get to hear it.

Art, copious narrative, links and song follow, courtesy of the PR wire:

Healthyliving Songs of Abundance Psalms of Grief





healthyliving is the project of long-time collaborators and friends who met through the European underground metal scene – Amaya López-Carromero (Maud the moth), Scott McLean (Falloch, Ashenspire) and Stefan Pötzsch. Having worked on various musical projects together for years, Amaya, Scott’s and Stefan’s artistic and personal connection coalesced organically and fuelled a small transnational collective across Scotland, Spain and Germany.

Songs of Abundance, Psalms of Grief is their concise and direct debut full-length album, funded by Creative Scotland and will be co-released on the 7th April by the band and LaRubia Producciones, followed by a debut live performance at the prestigious Roadburn Festival in Tilburg.

Of the first track, “Galleries”, lyricist Amaya says, “Scott made an amazing video for it, using some clips I had taken from our rehearsal space in Germany during one of our first rehearsals. The lyrics on the song make reference to this physical space and building, and what it signified for us at that time; mostly new beginnings, hope and choices to be made in our lives – not just at band level. I think the video is deeply significant.”

Artistically, the band draws from the beauty and horror of the banal to create a kaleidoscopic and evocative musical world which commutes across genre borders. The album, Songs of Abundance, Psalms of Grief, covers “everyday emotions which are apparently unrelated and mundane” but were chosen for their ability to represent common ground we all share as humans. Indeed, the band themselves describe their music as the soundtrack to “digesting our humanity”, coming to terms with the hopes and fears we all share.

A nocturnal haze of guitar layers lap like mammoth waves, as healthyliving taps into something primal and transfixing with their hypnotic sound. Amaya’s eerie and cosmic vocals sit atop the storm, leaving the listener to find pure human vulnerability and emotion in frequently turbulent and unfettered vocal turns.

Vocalist Amaya expands, “The magic of musical composition/songwriting for me lies in its capacity to create worlds outside of reality where both performers and listeners can explore and process things. A sort of microholiday from everyday life or an exciting meditative state, so I hope that we can share this experience with anyone who listens to the album.”

healthyliving honour this natural connection; something which is reflected in the simplicity, rawness and immediateness of their approach to songwriting. “Whenever an idea was found to be inspiring the whole song and structure needed to be written and finished within the same session.” says guitarist Scott. “Going back to work on it later or changing it was not allowed.” It’s a testament to the band’s conviction in instinct over pre-planning. Stefan confirms – “I’m into things being quite straightforward and intuitive despite the distance between us.”

Amaya continues, “All of the lyrics were written using free-association of the music with memories, or emotions that popped into my head in a dream-like manner.” She continues, “I titled “To The Gallows” first, as a summary of the main and oppressive feeling of the song; being stuck in a seamless feedback cycle of abuse that keeps repeating itself in a sisyphus-like vein. “To The Fields” has an opposing energy, invoking growth, vulnerability and hope.”

The Scottish community from which the band mainly operate (and where Scott and Amaya still reside) is clearly of utmost importance to the band. The three members of healthyliving appear in other Scottish musical projects – Ashenspire, Falloch, Maud the moth, All Men Unto Me – are included. “The community has taken a really long time to form and it’s amazing that now there is so much going on around it.” says Scott. “The best thing is being able to create such a wide variety of music with close friends. There is something happening nearly everyday in relation to our little community of musicians which is really incredible and exciting.”

Amaya adds, “Feeling part of an artist community is absolutely crucial to survive long term and have any chance of thriving as an independent artist. When I lived in Madrid, I would go to lots of local shows and felt a relevant part of the scene there, even if there were not many opportunities for us regarding international activity or funding. It was slightly heartbreaking having to start again from 0 when I moved to the UK. Although I stayed in contact with all my friends back in Spain it took me a long time to find my footing again and the right people with a shared vision here in the UK.”

Stefan adds “lest we forget the connection I feel as a friend and fellow musician to Amaya and Scott.” He adds this answer from his home in Germany, “It feels really effortless and rewarding.”

Amaya concludes, “I love connecting people together, and collaborating with others, so I am hoping to build something across the two countries; a mega-scene defined by shared interests and motivations rather than by geographical location.”

9 – OBEY

Songs of Abundance, Psalms of Grief was recorded at Chamber Studio, Edinburgh, engineered by Graeme Young (DVNE, Idlewild), produced and mixed by Scott McLean and mastered by Brad Boatright (The Armed, Sleep, Stranger Things OST).

Healthyliving, Songs of Abundance, Psalms of Grief (2023)

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The Obelisk Show on Gimme Metal Playlist: Episode 65

Posted in Radio on August 6th, 2021 by JJ Koczan

the obelisk show banner

I knew I wanted to start the show with Fuzzy Lights and I knew I wanted to end with Iceburn. Putting together the in-between was where the adventure happened here. I included some stuff still rippling out from the Quarterly Review last month — that’s you, Expo Seventy, The Black Heart Death Cult, LáGoon (also Iceburn) — as well as some more that’s been kicking me around and covered here in the few weeks since one way or the other, like Healthyliving, Horte, The Angelus, Guhts, Hippie Death Cult, Ouzo Bazooka, Kadabra, Ealdor Bealu and Acid Magus. Top that off with The Otolith covering “Would?” and it’s a pretty cool progression of sound and style. There’s a lot to dig here. If you listen, I hope you dig it.

And if you don’t listen — and I don’t have numbers to back this up but in my head no one ever gives a crap about anything I do except me; there are pros and cons to this position — and you’ve made your way to this post anyhow, I hope you take the here’s-a-list-of-bands-you-might-want-to-check-out-cue and hear something you might not have otherwise heard. That’s pretty much what I’m here for.

Either way, thanks for listening and/or reading. I hope you enjoy.

The Obelisk Show airs 5PM Eastern today on the Gimme app or at:

Full playlist:

The Obelisk Show – 08.06.21

Fuzzy Lights Songbird Burials
Expo Seventy Echoes of Ether Evolution
Healthyliving Below Until / Below
Horte Pelko karistaa järjen Maa antaa yön vaientaa
LáGoon Skullactic Visions Skullactic Visions
The Black Heart Death Cult Trees Sonic Mantras
Ouzo Bazooka Monsters Dalya
Kadabra Settle Me Ultra
Acid Magus Conscientious Pugilist Wyrd Syster
Hippie Death Cult Circle of Days Circle of Days
The Angelus Hex Born Why We Never Die
Ealdor Bealu Isolation Spirit of the Lonely Places
Guhts Handless Maiden Blood Feather
The Otolith Would? Alice in Chains Dirt: Redux
Iceburn Dahlia Rides the Firebird Asclepius

The Obelisk Show on Gimme Metal airs every Friday 5PM Eastern, with replays Sunday at 7PM Eastern. Next new episode is Aug. 20 (subject to change). Thanks for listening if you do.

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Healthyliving Post “Until” Video; Until / Below Single out Now

Posted in Bootleg Theater on July 30th, 2021 by JJ Koczan

healthyliving (Photo by Sandrina Schwarz)

Running about seven and a half minutes between its two tracks, the debut release, Until / Below, from multinational trio Healthyliving was released in late June. So about a month ago. I missed it coming in at the time, because blah blah suck at life, but the group based in Scotland and Germany — who stylize their name all-lowercase with spaces between the letters: h e a l t h y l i v i n g — are working their way toward a first full-length next year, and have a new video up for “Until,” the three-minute lead cut from the outing, and I’m happy to take it as a means of getting caught up.

The sonic foundation here is in heavy post-rock, and even in its comparative crunch when set against the subsequent “Below,” “Until” holds its atmospheric focus. Vocalist Amaya López-Carromero — also of Maud the Moth and operating as Amaya López-C. — is forward in the mix and as the chorus of “Until” pushes ahead in its layers, her voice is right there with the insistent rhythm behind, but the track is by no means overselling its hook. A straightforward structure underlieshealthyliving until below, but any pop elements are transmuted to suit Healthyliving‘s purposes. “Below,” a video for which came out at the time of the two-songer’s release and can be found near the bottom this post — which is not to say “below” — is calmer and moves deeper into ambience, with the striking addition of Stefan Pötzsch‘s spacious drums late along the contemplative noodling of guitar and vocal melody as a reminder of the heft that might resurface at any point. The wash that “Below” enacts in its midsection is immersive and brooding in kind, too short to really fully hypnotize, but willful-seeming in its lull and minimal in spite of its fullness, quiet in spite of its loud, expertly presented through the recording by guitarist/bassist Scott McLean.

I’ve included the full PR wire info about the release in no small part so that it’s there when inevitably I write about the band again and want to look back on it without digging through my emails. That’s just me being honest. If you take anything away from it, though, take the fact that one might already be thinking about “the next time” when it comes to Healthyliving as a sign of the potential for where the project might go on future offerings. Or, you know, just check out the video and dig a riff or whatever. Either way, you’re not gonna lose.

And in addition to both videos, you’ll find the Bandcamp stream of Until / Below too, for good measure.

However you go, enjoy:

Healthyliving, “Until” video

healthyliving is the project of long-time collaborators and friends Scott McLean (Falloch) on bass, guitars, and production, Stefan Pötzsch on drums, and Amaya López-C (Maud the moth) on voice and lyric writing. The shoegaze/alternative trio released their two-track release, until / below, last month on digital/streaming platforms.

“‘until’ was the first track written for the band, this was before we had any defined idea of what we were going to be doing as we hadn’t discussed the direction of the band before we had any music; it was informed on reacting to each other’s expression rather than a fixed direction,” shares Scott (bass, guitars). “Although ‘until’ is very different from ‘below’ they are both developed in the same emotive world but we are just responding to it in a different way, with ‘until’ being far more aggressive and ‘below’ having a much more introverted feel.”

“For this video I tried the same approach as for ‘below’, but things got a bit out of hand given my video-making limitations, so I needed help finishing it,” informs Amaya (vocals). “My friend Ana López, who made a video for Maud the moth, did most of the heavy lifting – editing and adding her amazing personal touch and vision which was a perfect match for this song. I somehow find it very aggressive visually which was super fun to do under a symbolic approach and resorting to movement and colour to convey this rather than more explicit imagery.”

until / below is now available on DSPs, access it RIGHT HERE:

After working on music together for years, healthyliving members’ artistic and personal connection coalesced naturally into what is now a small transnational collective and scene across Scotland and Germany. The group emerges to honour this connection which is reflected in the simplicity, rawness, and immediateness of both the compositions and the performances. With a stripped-down approach to instrumentation and visual universe, healthyliving draws from the beauty and horror of the mundane.

until / below, their first release is formed by two tracks — “until” and “below” — which work back to back like two extremely distanced sides narrating the same story. The trio is currently working on their debut album.

Recorded, mixed and mastered by Scott McLean at Fry the rich studio

Scott McLean: Guitar+bass
Stefan Pötzsch: Drums
Amaya López-Carromero: Vocals

Healthyliving, “Below” official video

Healthyliving, Until/Below (2021)

Healthyliving on Facebook

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Healthyliving on Twitter

Healthyliving on Bandcamp

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