Quarterly Review: Howling Giant, Rose City Band, The Tazers, Kavrila, Gateway, Bala, Tremor Ama, The Crooked Whispers, No Stone, Firefriend

Posted in Reviews on July 9th, 2021 by JJ Koczan

the-obelisk-fall-2016-quarterly-review

You know what? We’re through the first week of the Quarterly Review as of this post. Not too bad. I feel like it’s been smooth going so far to such a degree that I’m even thinking about adding an 11th day comprised purely of releases that came my way this week and will invariably come in next week too. Crazy, right? Bonus day QR. We’ll see if I get there, but I’m thinking about it. That alone should tell you something.

But let me not get ahead of myself. Day five commence.

Quarterly Review #41-50:

Howling Giant, Alteration

howling giant alteration

Let the story be that when the pandemic hit, Nashville’s Howling Giant took to the airwaves to provide comfort, character and a bit of ‘home’ — if one thinks of live performance as home — to their audience. With a steady schedule of various live streams on Twitch, some playing music, some playing D&D, the band engaged their listenership in a new and exciting way, finding a rare bright point in one of the darkest years of recent history. Alteration, a crisp four-song/20-minute EP, is born out of those streamed jams, with songs named by the band’s viewers/listeners — kudos to whoever came up with “Luring Alluring Rings” — and, being entirely instrumental from a band growing more and more focused on vocal arrangements, sound more like they’re on their way to being finished than are completely done. However, that’s also the point of the release, essentially to showcase unfinished works in progress that have emerged in a manner that nobody expected. It is another example from last year-plus that proves the persistence of creativity, and is all the more beautiful for that.

Howling Giant on Facebook

Blues Funeral Recordings website

 

Rose City Band, Earth Trip

Rose City Band Earth Trip

Vaguely lysergic, twanging with a non-chestbeating or jingoistic ’70s American singer-songwriter feel, Rose City Band‘s Earth Trip brings sentiment without bitterness in its songs, engaging as the title hints with nature in songs like “Silver Roses,” “In the Rain,” “Lonely Planes,” “Ramblin’ with the Day,” “Rabbit” and “Dawn Patrol.” An outlet for Ripley Johnson, also of Wooden Shjips and Moon Duo, the “band” isn’t so much in Rose City Band, but there is some collaboration — pedal steel here and there, as on “Ramblin’ with the Day” — though it’s very much Johnson‘s own craft and performance at the core of this eight-song set. This is the third Rose City Band long-player in three years, but quickly as it may have come about, the tracks never feel rushed — hushed, if anything — and Johnson effectively casts himself in among the organic throughout the proceedings, making the listener feel nothing if not welcome to join the ramble.

Rose City Band on Facebook

Thrill Jockey Records website

 

The Tazers, Dream Machine

The Tazers Dream Machine

Johannesburg, South Africa’s The Tazers are suited to a short-release format, as their Dream Machine EP shows, bringing together four tracks with psychedelic precociousness and garage rock attitude to spare, with just an edge of classic heavy to keep things grooving. Their latest work opens with its languid and lysergic title-track, which sets up the shove of “Go Away” and the shuffle in “Lonely Road” — both under three and a half minutes long, with nary a wasted second in them, despite sounding purposefully like tossoffs — and the latter skirts the line of coming undone, but doesn’t, of course, but in the meantime sets up the almost proto-New Wave in the early going on “Around Town,” only later to give way to the band’s most engaging melody and a deceptively patient, gentle finish, which considering some of the brashness in the earlier tracks is a surprise. A pleasant one, though, and not the first the three-piece have brought forth by the time they get to the end of Dream Machine‘s ultra-listenable 16-minute run.

The Tazers on Facebook

The Tazers on Soundcloud

 

Kavrila, Rituals III

Kavrila Rituals III

Pressed in an ultra-limited edition of 34 tapes (the physical version also has a bonus track), Kavrila‘s Rituals III brings together about 16 minutes of heavy hardcore and post-hardcore, a thickened undertone giving something of a darker mood to the crunch of “Equality” as guitars are layered in subtly in a higher register, feeding into the urgency without competing with the drums or vocals. Opener “Sunday” works at more of a rush while “Longing” has more of a lurch at least to its outset before gradually elbowing its way into a more careening groove, but the bridge being built is between sludge and hardcore, and while the four-piece aren’t the first to build it, they do well here. If we’re picking highlights, closer “Elysium” has deft movement, intensity and atmosphere in kind, and still features a vocal rawness that pushes the emotional crux between the verses and choruses to make the transitions that much smoother. The ending fades out early behind those shouts, leaving the vocals stranded, calling out the song’s title into a stark emptiness.

Kavrila on Facebook

The Chinaskian Conspiracy on Bandcamp

 

Gateway, Flesh Reborn

gateway flesh reborn

Brutal rebirth. Robin Van Oyen is the lone figure behind Bruges, Belgium-based death-doom outfit Gateway, and Flesh Reborn is his first EP in three years. Marked out with guest guitar solos by M., the four-track/25-minute offering keeps its concentration on atmosphere as much as raw punishment, and while one would be correct to call it ‘extreme’ in its purpose and execution, its deathliest aspects aren’t just the growling vocals or periods of intense blast, but the wash of distortion that lays over the offering as a whole, from “Hel” through “Slumbering Crevasses,” the suitably twisting, later lurching “Rack Crawler” and the grandeur-in-filth 12-minute closing title-track, at which point the fullness of the consumption is revealed at last. Unbridled as it seems, this material is not without purpose and is not haphazard. It is the statement it intends to be, and its depths are shown to be significant as Van Oyen pulls you further down into them with each passing moment, finally leaving you there amid residual drone.

Gateway on Facebook

Chaos Records website

 

Bala, Maleza

Bala Maleza

Admirably punk in its dexterity, Bala‘s debut album, Maleza, arrives as a nine-track pummelfest from the Spanish duo of guitarist/vocalist Anx and drummer/vocalist V., thickened with sludgy intent and aggression to spare. The starts and stops of opener “Agitar” provide a noise-rock-style opening that hints at the tonal push to come throughout “Hoy No” — the verse melody of which seems to reinvent The Bangles — while the subsequent “X” reaches into greater breadth, vocals layered effectively as a preface perhaps to the later grunge of “Riuais,” which arrives ahead of the swaggering riff and harsh sneer of “Bessie” the lumbering finale “Una Silva.” Whether brooding in “Quieres Entrar” or explosive in its shove in “Cien Obstaculos,” Maleza offers stage-style energy with clarity of vision and enough chaos to make the anger feel genuine. There’s apparently some hype behind Bala, and fair enough, but this is legitimately one of the best debut albums I’ve heard in 2021.

Bala on Facebook

Century Media Records website

 

Tremor Ama, Beneath

Tremor Ama Beneath

French prog-fuzz five-piece Tremor Ama make a coherent and engaging debut with Beneath, a first full-length following up a 2017 self-titled EP release. Spacious guitar leads the way through the three-minute intro “Ab Initio” and into the subsequent “Green Fire,” giving a patient launch to the outing, the ensuing four songs of which grow shorter as they go behind that nine-minute “Green Fire” stretch. There’s room for ambience and intensity both in centerpiece “Eclipse,” with vocals echoing out over the building second half, and both “Mirrors” and “Grey” offer their moments of surge as well, the latter tapping into a roll that should have fans of Forming the Void nodding both to the groove and in general approval. Effectively tipping the balance in their sound over the course of the album as a whole, Tremor Ama showcase an all-the-more thoughtful approach in this debut, and at 30 minutes, they still get out well ahead of feeling overly indulgent or losing sight of their overarching mission.

Tremor Ama on Facebook

Tremor Ama on Bandcamp

 

The Crooked Whispers, Dead Moon Night

The Crooked Whispers Dead Moon Night

Delivered on multiple formats including as a 12″ vinyl through Regain Records offshoot Helter Skelter Productions, the bleary cultistry of The Crooked Whispers‘ two-songer Dead Moon Night also finds the Los Angeles-based outfit recently picked up by Ripple Music. If it seems everybody wants a piece of The Crooked Whispers, that’s fair enough for the blend of murk, sludge and charred devil worship the foursome offer with “Hail Darkness” and the even more gruesome “Galaxy of Terror,” taking the garage-doom rawness of Uncle Acid and setting against a less Beatlesian backdrop, trading pop hooks for classic doom riffing on the second track, flourishing in its misery as it is. At just 11 minutes long — that’s less than a minute for each inch of the vinyl! — Dead Moon Night is a grim forecast of things to come for the band’s deathly revelry, already showcased too on last year’s debut, Satanic Whispers (review here).

The Crooked Whispers on Facebook

Regain Records on Bandcamp

 

No Stone, Road into the Darkness

No Stone Road into the Darkness

Schooled, oldschool doom rock for denim-clad heads as foggy as the distortion they present, No Stone‘s debut album, Road into the Darkness, sounds like they already got there. The Rosario, Argentina, trio tap into some Uncle Acid-style garage doom vibes on “The Frayed Endings,” but the crash is harder, and the later 10-minute title-track delves deeper into psychedelia and grunge in kind, resulting in an overarching spirit that’s too weird to be anything but individual, however mmuch it might still firmly reside within the tenets of “cult.” If you were the type to chase down a patch, you might want to chase down a No Stone patch, as “Devil Behind” makes its barebones production feel like an aesthetic choice to offset the boogie to come in “Shadow No More,” and from post-intro opener “Bewitched” to the long fade of “The Sky is Burning,” No Stone balance atmosphere and songcraft in such a way as to herald future progress along this morose path. Maybe they are just getting on the road into the darkness, but they seem to be bringing that darkness with them on the way.

No Stone on Facebook

Ruidoteka Records on Bandcamp

 

Firefriend, Dead Icons

Firefriend Dead Icons

Dead Icons is the sixth full-length from Brazilian psychedelic outfit Firefriend, and throughout its 10 songs and 44 minutes, the band proffer marked shoegaze-style chill and a sense of space, fuzzy and molten in “Hexagonal Mess,” more desert-hued in “Spin,” jangly and out for a march on “Ongoing Crash.” “Home or Exile” takes on that question with due reach, and “Waves” caps with organ alongside the languid guitar, but moments like “Tomorrow” are singular and gorgeous, and though “Three Dimensional Sound Glitch” and “666 Fifth Avenue” border on playful, there’s an overarching melancholy to the flow, as engaging as it is. In its longest pieces — “Tomorrow” (6:05) and “One Thousand Miles High” (5:08) — the “extra” time is well spent in extending the trio’s reach, and while it’s safe to assume that six self-recorded LPs later, Firefriend know what they want to do with their sound, that thing feels amorphous, fleeting, transient somehow here, like a moving target. That speaks to ongoing growth, and is just one of Dead Icons‘ many strengths.

Firefriend on Facebook

Cardinal Fuzz store

Little Cloud Records store

 

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Evert Snyman Premieres “Operation Human Shield” Video; Hot Mess Out Jan. 22

Posted in Bootleg Theater on November 13th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

Evert Snyman operation human shield

Evert Snyman will release his second solo album, Hot Mess, on Jan. 22 through Mongrel Records. The longtime producer recently made his debut as a full-time guitarist, keyboardist, vocalist of Ruff Majik on that band’s The Devil’s Cattle (review here) and has been involved in a range of other projects in and around Johannesburg, South Africa, including Mad God and Pollinator, in addition to having issued his own first LP, The Aviary, last year. With Hot Mess, he brings 11 tracks and 40 minutes of richly varied and organic-sounding rock and roll, some of it weighted in tone or fuzz, but most within the sphere of latter day Queens of the Stone Age, if somewhat meatier sounding on the whole and maintaining an adventurousness of its own when it comes to arrangements. Snyman is not shy with keyboards, as the title-track of Hot Mess shows.

I’ve been trying to bottom-line Hot Mess since it first came my way, to narrow down what’s the album’s ultimate appeal. It’s the groove, it’s the songwriting, it’s the performances, and so on. The truth is it’s all of it. One track here tops five minutes — “If Eyes Could Kill” at 5:03 — and the sense of craft is remarkably tight. Snyman self-harmonizes easily on vocals, even plays both the Oliveri and Homme roles on the shoutier “Dumb and Dead,” and as the video premiering below for “Operation Human Shield” demonstrates, is comfortable on across various instruments and able to record himself layering a song together one piece at a time. He carries a frontman’s charisma in these tracks, pulling off the Bernie Worrell-style watery weirdness at the end of “Maybe Never” as ably as the desert-hued hooks of opener “The End of Time” and the subsequent piano-meet-fuzz “Debilitate Me” — both of which feel like singles in waiting — and the sudden sweep of “Live the Lie” that takes off from the garage jangle hints toward Evert Snyman operation human shield coversounding unhinged but is too sharply executed to get there, even in its noisier final stretch.

Parts of Hot Mess will underscore some of what Snyman brought to the aforementioned 2020 offering from Ruff Majik, but even as Snyman builds a wall of fuzz backed by keys on “If Eyes Could Kill,” the song carries a melancholy of its own, which earlier keyboardy pieces like “Cleaner Than God” and the nighttime-dancer “Hot Mess” hinted toward, setting the table for the wake-up-call jangle and immediate hook of “Operation Human Shield,” which is nowhere near as speedy as the record gets but likewise far from at rest. To round out, Snyman plays like an impatient McCartney on the early piano of “Consummate” and carries a fuzzy build to a satisfying payoff, and closer “Burn” echoes the theme with a bouncing line that draws together that Beatles-y bounce with the post-QOTSA vibe, not quite summarizing everything Hot Mess has to offer, but certainly giving the album a melodically engaging sendoff as fitting as one could ask.

In addition to his own multi-instrumentalism and vocals, Snyman has a full band — Stiaan Du Preez on guitar, Christiaan Van Reenen on guitars, piano, vocals, Wessel Möller on synth and keys, Andi Cappo on bass and Timothy Edwards on drums and vocals — but it seems to vary who does what on each track, and as a tongue-in-cheek quick series of videos of the group introducing themselves and noting that none of them play “Operation Human Shield” demonstrates, sometimes it’s Snyman all on his own. One assumes that accounts for some of the varied personality throughout Hot Mess, but as much as the album may be titled as a goof on its catchall nature or diversity of influences, the fact is it’s anything but. It is united not only by Snyman‘s vocals and ready higher-register lines, but, again, the songwriting at the core of each of these tracks. They are bridged together through sheer quality of the work being done and thus the flow of Hot Mess, while clearly not intended to be smooth, is exciting to follow from front to back.

During this pandemic year, we’ve seen a number of quarantine-style videos with each member of a band filming their own part and then grouping together the bunch in one clip. It’s become kind of a genre of its own. Snyman plays off that in the clip for “Operation Human Shield,” except he shows himself recording all the instruments and vocals, so yes, very much a solo thing as noted.

PR wire info follows the video below.

Please enjoy:

Evert Snyman, “Operation Human Shield” official video premiere

One rarely encounters that unique sound that draws you in and alerts your senses…that rare quality in a musician that forces you to listen more closely and pay attention. South African musician and producer Evert Snyman is exactly that – a talented songwriter and performer who has enthralled many an audience with his galvanic melodies, poetic, yet straightforward lyrics and hypnotic rhythms. Based in Johannesburg, Evert has launched and collaborated on various projects, cementing himself as a versatile multi-instrumentalist, the most notorious of these being alternative rock bands, Pink Noise and Pollinator. Recording and producing all his own music at his studio in Auckland Park, he quickly become renowned on the local scene as the go to rock producer, working with bands like Caution Boy, Mad God and Ruff Majik, whose ranks he recently joined as a full time member.

What sets Evert apart from other musicians is the raw honesty of his music. Snyman is a fearless and unabated songwriter and lyricist, speaking to emotions we often keep hidden – even from ourselves. Evert’s powerful vocals range from angst-ridden screams to crystal clear melodies that cut through intense rock guitars, drums, and keys. “Operation Human Shield” is the first single taken from Snyman’s forthcoming solo album “Hot Mess” out 22nd January 2021 via Mongrel Records.

“Initially I just wanted to make a song in 6/8 timing with Jazzy drumbeat and piano. I don’t know what some my songs are about until long after I’ve written them, but I think it’s safe to say the lockdown had a fair bit of influence on this one” – Evert Snyman

Evert Snyman (band) is:
Evert Snyman – Vocals, Guitar and Keys
Timothy Edwards – Drums and Vocals
Andi Cappo – Bass
Christiaan Van Reenen – Guitar, Piano and Vocals
Stiaan Du Preez – Guitar
Wessel Möller – Keyboards and Synthesizer

Evert Snyman on Thee Facebooks

Mongrel Records website

Mongrel Records on Thee Facebooks

Mongrel Records on Instagram

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No Requests Premiere Nobody Knows What We’re Doing… Neither Do We EP in Full; Out Tomorrow

Posted in audiObelisk on September 26th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

no requests

The new No Requests EP — out tomorrow — is called Nobody Knows What We’re Doing… Neither Do We, and fair enough. But I’m not sure I believe it. That is to say, yeah, the South African three-piece probably have a decent amount of improvisation and experimentation at the heart of their approach, but this kind of progressive weirdo psych jazz funk astro rock doesn’t just happen. Even if they’re freely exploring, you can hear it in the way the bass and drums give the guitar room in the expansive solo of opener “Choir on Fire,” or the way the punch of the bass in that song and the vocals in the later title-track seem to echo Parliament-via-Primus, that at very least there’s some kind of masterplan at work. I get a cheeky title, and I’m on board with the fact that a lot of people who listen to this 26-minute four-tracker are going to have no idea what the hell is going on with it — that was part of the appeal for me in hosting the stream, to be perfectly honest — but take at least the second clause of the EP’s title with a grain of salt, because they make it pretty clear they know what they’re doing. You don’t call a song “Tonal Shampoo” that actually sounds like tonal shampoo by mistake.

But while you infuse your conceptual engagement with Nobody Knows What We’re Doing… Neither Do We with the due amount of sodium — however many grains it takes — give the audio a genuine chance. Go into it knowing that,no requests nobody knows what were doing and neither do we yeah, the bass on “Tonal Shampoo” and some of the guitar might be turned backwards. That, yeah, the title-track is way over the top. It’s supposed to be. Guitarist/vocalist Chris van der Walt, bassist Clint Falconer and drummer Gareth Bunge are perhaps playing the kind of freakout prog that’s best appreciated by other musicians but I’m willing to wager that any fan of sonic absurdity in general can get down with the repeated title-line of “Nobody Knows What We’re Doing… Neither Do We” as van der Walt swaps between different voices, and maybe even the free jazz of closer “Row-Bot,” which is just the kind of bizarre out-there six-minute conclusion the rest of the EP earns. It’s a stretch, but this is real life, what isn’t. And if you can’t get down with something that’s genuinely trying to challenge both itself and its listenership, I’ve got nothing for you. Certainly not an EP to listen to.

Otherwise, you can dig into the entirety of Nobody Knows What We’re Doing… Neither Do We via the YouTube embed below. Take a second, take a deep breath, let your expectations get loose a little bit, and be ready to have fun with it, because at its heart, it is a good time. I hope you think so as well.

Please enjoy:

No Requests, Nobody Knows What We’re Doing… Neither Do We (2019)

Nobody Knows What We’re Doing Neither Do We, the new album from South African experimental psychedelic funk rock band No Requests releases today.

Formed by Chris van der Walt (Vulvodynia), Clint Falconer (Dan Patlansky) and Gareth Bunge (The Black Cat Bones) who have been all been a constant force in the SA music scene for the last 15 years. Focusing on different styles of composition and improvisation, the band creates an unheard sound and mood that grooves deep into your soul.

The 4 track EP is a collection of free form jam sessions as bassist Chris explains, “It was a different experience. We walked in, wrote an idea, jammed it, and recorded it. Most of it is improvised.” He goes on to add, “When you jam in that unknown space the magic starts to happen. You rely on other instincts and use your musical bag of tricks to survive.”

Track Listing
1. Choir on Fire
2. Tonal Shampoo
3. Nobody Knows What We’re Doing
4. Row-Bot

Nobody Knows What We’re Doing Neither Do We is out now on all digital platforms including Spotify and Apple Music

Order Link: https://music.apple.com/za/album/nobody-knows-what-were-doing-neither-do-we-ep/1477361094

No Requests on Thee Facebooks

No Requests on Instagram

No Requests on Bandcamp

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Hellcats Release The Hex and the Healer; Live Dates Announced

Posted in Whathaveyou on January 25th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

Hellcats 2 - Photographer Andre Badenhorst-1000

The debut full-length, such as it is, from South African two-piece Hellcats runs a brisk 22 minutes. 22 minutes and eight songs. I’m not going to argue for it not being an album, because really what’s the point, but that’s pretty short LP. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a 22-minute cardio workout of uptempo riffs and sharp production value. They’ll do a vinyl release later, but the album is out as of today digitally, and they’ve got live dates booked including a couple of boozy sounding festivals the dates for which you can see below. These guys kind of straddle the line of commerciality, but if only for the shock value of a LP under 25 minutes, I was curious enough to check it out and thought you might be as well.

From the PR wire:

Hellcats The Hex and the Healer

Hellcats Unleash Debut Full-Length Album “The Hex and The Healer”

The Hex and The Healer is the debut full length album from Hellcats. 8 tracks. 22 minutes of hard, fast, emotional, riff-heavy, drum-heavy, vocal range-defying, ear worm, bare knuckle rock ‘n’ roll.

The Hex and The Healer is a light and dark narrative of heart break and coming out of that heartbreak. So ‘The Hex’ concept is this spell casting lover and heartbreaker. And then weaving in and out of the songs throughout the album is a theme of breaking free of that spell and finding something new – ‘The Healer’.

That thematic runs through every aspect of the album, from the music, the lyrics and even the artwork. Hellcats set out to make their biggest sounding album yet alongside Audio Militia producers Craig Hawkins, Nick Argyros, and Paul Norwood, who worked super hard to stay true to the two-piece band format. Still just drums and guitar, but they aimed to make the band sound as big as they do on stage, leaving the listener floored after that 22 minutes, like being hit by a rock ‘n’ roll punch to the gut.

Track Listing:
1. The Hex
2. Vuil Goed
3. Moonlight
4. Time
5. The Healer
6. Leaving with a Hole
7. Something Wicked This Way Comes
8. Wish You Were Dead

Hellcats live:
8 Feb – Up the Creek Jägermeister presents Up the Creek 2019
9 Feb – Saggy Stone Beer Festival Saggy Stone Beer & Music Festival 2019
22 Feb – Mercury Live w/ Shadowclub A Club Called Hell (Cape Town)
23 Feb – Aandklas w/ Shadowclub A Club Called Hell (Stellenbosch)
1 March – Pretoria w/ Black Cat Bones & Shadowclub Shadowcats FT Shadowclub, The Black Cat Bones, Hellcats
16 March – The Cure JHB The Cure Live in JHB | Rock on the Lawns 2019
21 March – The Cure CPT The Cure Live in CT | Rock on the Lawns 2019
28 March – JHB album launch & Online march store launch (vinyl, USBs, badges & tees) TBA

Line Up:
Drums & Vocals: Alessandro Benigno
Guitar: Warwick Rautenbach

https://www.facebook.com/Hellcats.Official/
https://www.instagram.com/hellcatsband
https://twitter.com/Hellcatsband1

Hellcats, A Coffin Full of B-Sides (2017)

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Pollinator Post “Missing the Past” Video

Posted in Bootleg Theater on October 24th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

pollinator

Got two minutes? Yes you do. Pollinator‘s new video doesn’t take much more than that to check out, and time is an invention anyway. That might be a response to the nostalgia of “Missing the Past,” which is the song in question, but it’s a funny coincidence that the fuzz Pollinator proliferate is timeless. So can you be “Missing the Past” and be in a place out of time? For two minutes? Somebody call the Department of Temporal Investigations.

“Missing the Past,” with its strong hook, warm tone and fervent, in-a-rush-but-not-sounding-rushed groove, comes from Pollinator‘s 2017 second album, Fruit, and while it doesn’t necessarily account for the funk of “Expectations” that follows it on the record or the later grunge-garage burst of “Turn on the AC,” or the master blaster that is “Can You Boogie?,” its good-time thrust is ready to make rockers dance awkwardly with a wallop of 17 energetic tracks most of which clock in under three minutes long and which tend toward traditionalist bounce, an edge of Queens of the Stone Age in “Master of Collisions” and elsewhere. It’s a bit of a head-spinner as it moves from song to song to song to song, bam bam bam — or as they put it with the title of the second cut, “Bingo Bango Bongo” — but the vibe is friendly and even when they dare to top five minutes with closer “Hello and Goodbye,” they keep the party going with vocal harmonies and arrangements between bassist Louise Eksteen and guitarist Every Snyman and drummer Tim Edwards right up till the end of the album.

I’ll admit the video is my first exposure to the record or to the band, and in the spirit of their work, I’ll keep this post relatively short and just say if you dig what you hear in “Missing the Past,” you can stream Fruit in its entirety at the bottom of this post.

Hope you enjoy:

Pollinator, “Missing the Past” official video

Johannesburg based stoner fuzz rock trio Pollinator have released a western themed video for their new single Missing the Past. Taken from their second full length album Fruit which released in September 2017. The video was filmed in one day by Gavin Pincus at Duikerveld Farm in Heidelberg.

Louise Eksteen, bass/vocals comments on the track: “Missing the Past is a song that dives into the theme of nostalgia. The lyrics highlight the sentimentality of fond memories and how the present can pale in comparison.” Tim Edwards, drums/vocals adds: “In typical Pollinator style, the song is over before you know it much like life itself. Gavin messed around with refractions and reflections to intensify certain parts of the video. And hammed them up hard.”

A heartfelt thanks to all the following people:

Gavin Pincus for filming and stealing our souls with his camera.
Mike Jaspan for gaffering on the day.
Sophia Lee for being our grip and cam assist.
Carmen Bekker for the location and accommodation.
Briony Macleod for the grade.
Dayle Frieman for the titling.
Brad Devine for the lenses and extras.

Pollinator, Fruit (2017)

Pollinator on Thee Facebooks

Pollinator on Instagram

Pollinator on Bandcamp

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Mad God Premiere Lyric Video for “I Created God” from Grotesque and Inexorable LP

Posted in Bootleg Theater on September 25th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

mad god

Semi-psych dirt sludgers Mad God are taking preorders now via Bandcamp for their sophomore full-length, Grotesque and Inexorable. The six-song/47-minute long-player follows the Johannesburg, South Africa, trio’s 2017 debut, Tales of a Sightless City, and boasts Lovecraftian themes and a horror-minded atmosphere worthy of the occasion. Amps tuned to 666, riffs a-murky and a plod in Pat Stephansen‘s drumming that finds ground beneath the floating, visibility-zero haze surrounding — it’s got all the makings of stoner ritualism, yet manages to balance its influences from earlier Electric Wizard, with a traditional doom sensibility, guitarist/principal songwriter Tim Harbour offsetting effects-drenched moans with cleaner, clearer vocals in the shifts between songs like “The DeZalze Horror” and the particularly memorable, Manson-themed “I Created God,” the lurch of which you can experience for yourself in the lyric video premiere below.

Whether it’s marching rhythm of that track, given low-end heft via the bassworkMad God Grotesque and Inexorable of Evert Snyman, or the purposeful force-your-head-under-muddy-water deep-dive of opener “Haunting the Graves of the Unhallowed,” there’s a clarity of purpose and intent that underscores the slow-motion onslaught, and there’s an emergent sense of atmosphere especially as the album plays out subsequent to that opener that by the time they get around to “The Crawling Chaos,” fourth of the six inclusions, sees a progressing change in the shape of the record’s personality. I don’t know if they’re following a narrative arc from one song to the next, but the flow between tracks speaks to Grotesque and Inexorable as a linear work despite its obvious vinyl-readiness. The arrangement of the songs with three eight-plus-minute cuts on side A and three shorter (not by much, but still) pieces on side B speaks a platter-ist mindset as well, but the point is the album flows either way.

Though perhaps “churns” would be a better word for what it does, since Mad God seem mostly to be stirring a doomly cauldron with their material, sending slow undulations rippling outward as they make their repetitive motions with the aforementioned shifts along the way. The closing salvo of “No Prayers, No Fires” and “The Hunt Begins” reinforces the ethereal presence in Harbour‘s vocals and chugs to oblivion, leaving the bounce in the finale as a kind of revelry of the damned that not only echoes the movement of “I Created God” in the same position or rounding out side A, but pushes further along the same line, dragging the audience into a horror-infused, radioactive creep.

Grotesque and Inexorable arrives Nov. 2. Please enjoy “I Created God” below, followed by more info from the PR wire:

Mad God, “I Created God” lyric video premiere

Johannesburg’s purveyors of sludgy-stoner-doom Mad God are set to release their second album Grotesque and Inexorable on the 2nd November. As a little taste for things to come they’ve unveiled a lyric video for the track I Created God taken from the album.

“This song was written after watching a Charles Manson documentary following his death in 2017. This song does not condone the actions of the cult leader but rather delves into the psyche and motives of both him and his followers around the time of the murders that took place in 1969.” – Tim Harbour

Mad God is:
Tim Harbour – Vocals and Guitar
Pat Stephansen – Drums
Evert Snyman – Bass

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Friday Full-Length: Suck, Time to Suck

Posted in Bootleg Theater on August 30th, 2013 by JJ Koczan

Suck, Time to Suck (1971)

All told, Suck were a band for less than a year. Obviously they were hoping someone would take notice of them — their name and album title cloying at controversy — but I guess it didn’t work out. Time to Suck was issued in 1971, and then where there was a band, there wasn’t a band. That’s how it goes sometimes. It couldn’t have been easy to play heavy rock in Johannesburg, South Africa, without the interwebs for distribution. As I understand it, the 2009 reissue of Time to Suck was also its first official release in the US. They cover both King Crimson — giving “21st Century Schizoid Man” a good dirtying up — and Black Sabbath, so if nothing else, they had their ears to the ground. Couldn’t have been so many people on top of “War Pigs” as to cover it on a studio release the same year it first came out.

Well no, this week wasn’t so mind-bogglingly terrible, thank you for asking. Happy to report that I didn’t lose any more jobs. I did get a brushoff from a bar owner when I inquired about buying his place, but it was hardly the same kind of burn as watching half my already-plenty-meager income go down the toilet in the course of an email. Other than that, a few resumes sent out, a few non-responses, and me, just plugging away because what the hell else can I do? Tonight I cooked sausages. That always helps.

Thanks to everyone who downloaded the podcast this week or otherwise listened to it, shared the link, and so on, and thanks to everyone in general for reading. I’m really happy with where this site is at right now and I’m enjoying the writing and putting the time into it. Other than my marriage, I think I can safely say this is the most rewarding endeavor I’ve ever undertaken. So yes, thanks again.

Next week, reviews of Mansion and the new Trippy Wicked EP, and I’m gonna try my damnedest to get that Vista Chino interview with Brant Bjork up. It was a good one, him talking about the desert and spirituality and whatnot. I dug it, anyway. That record is good, and I’m pretty sure it’s out now. If you haven’t given it one yet, it deserves a fair chance, however you feel about the whole Kyuss reunion thing. You’ll either dig it or you won’t, but it seems better to me to at least not like something for what it is rather than how it came about. Easier said than done sometimes, I know it well.

Might also go see that Fistula and Nightstick show in Allston on Monday on that tour that was just posted. That would probably be the sludgiest show I’ve seen in a while, but sounds like a good way to spend Labor Day, blow out my ears before the week actually starts. Could be worse.

Whatever you’re up to on this long weekend (I may or may not post on Monday, we’ll see), I hope you have a great and safe time.

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