PostWax Announces New Releases From Acid King & Josiah

Posted in Whathaveyou on April 7th, 2021 by JJ Koczan

Yeah, I knew this announcement was coming. Didn’t know when, but yes. I tried to drop hints about new Josiah in writing about the UK band’s forthcoming reissue on Heavy Psych Sounds, but I didn’t want to inadvertently give anything away. And you should note that Acid King bringing Jason Landrian aboard as part of an expanded lineup for this release kind of makes that band combined with Black Cobra, since Rafa Martinez, who drums in the latter, plays bass in the former. I do not expect the liner notes to be easy to write. I need to talk to Josiah‘s Mat Bethanourt this week and get on it before I start holding up vinyl pressing. Again. Which I probably already am.

I’m not going to try to sell you on the thing — that’s not my job — but I know a couple other of the NINE — oh my god — releases coming out as part of PostWax Vol. II, and there’s not what you’d call a “filler” in the bunch.

This came down the PR wire. Nine volumes. Oof…:

postwax year ii logo

ACID KING and JOSIAH to release new music as part of PostWax Vol. II series; Blues Funeral Recordings launches Kickstarter for exclusive vinyl subscription!

Blues Funeral Recordings have revealed stoner metal pillars ACID KING and cult heavy psych rockers JOSIAH will join the second volume of their groundbreaking PostWax vinyl subscription series. The label launched a Kickstarter on April 1st to sign up subscribers for the 9-volume project.

The PostWax series presents exclusive limited edition records from some of the best stoner rock, doom and heavy psych bands on the planet. Benefiting from a spectacular Kickstarter success in 2018, PostWax Year One debuted monster releases to subscribers first — including Elder’s “The Gold & Silver Sessions” and the seminal comeback album “Refractions” from Lowrider — which were subsequently released in standard retail versions to the public several months later.

Announced on the PostWax Vol. II series are Bay Area legends ACID KING, who are joining forces with Jason Landrian (Black Cobra) and Bryce Shelton (Nik Turner’s Hawkwind, Bädr Vogu, High Tone Son of a Bitch) for a mind-altering soundtrack-inspired sonic journey created exclusively for this project.

PostWax Vol. II will also mark the blistering return of Britain’s the fuzz-fueled power trio JOSIAH, who are making the most of the Blues Funeral collaboration to present their first studio album in over a decade, the followup to their 2009 Eletrohasch release ‘Procession’. Fans of heavy-psych meets straight ahead riff-rock should take notice!

PostWax Vol. II will unfold as a series of 9 deluxe releases on gorgeous vinyl, with every record set to include at least one exclusive track that only those who join PostWax will ever receive. Blues Funeral also invited each band to contribute one or more riffs to a “share pool” that every other band in the series can dip into and to integrate into what they’re doing, in order to create more connectivity and shared DNA across all the releases in the series.

View the PostWax Vol. II Kickstarter: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/bluesfuneral/postwax-vol-ii

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Josiah to Reissue Out of the First Rays EP on Heavy Psych Sounds

Posted in Whathaveyou on March 26th, 2021 by JJ Koczan

Josiah this cover on Instagram yesterday and I had the feeling something was up. It’s been 20 years since the UK heavy fuzzbringers made their debut with the Out of the First Rays EP, and today comes word that a Heavy Psych Sounds reissue of same will be out June 11 with preorders up now. It’s been kind of apparent something’s up with the long-defunct outfit, who broke up in 2009 as guitarist/vocalist Mathew Benthancourt pursued garage psych with subsequent outfit Cherry Choke, since they’re essentially new to current social media and their Bandcamp lists them as reactivated as of last year.

Does that mean new material? Maybe. In the meantime, it means this reissue, and if this is the first of several — certainly their 2002 self-titled and 2004’s No Time and 2007’s No Time are nothing if not ripe for a look from the post-Facebook generation of rockers — then all the better. If there’s a record to come, it’ll come. Let them remind people who they are first.

Bottom line is this is a killer band and good news any way you look at it.

From the PR wire:

josiah out of the first rays

Heavy Psych Sounds to announce JOSIAH repress of the debut EP Out Of The First Rays – presale starts TODAY!!!

Today we are extremely proud to start the presale of the JOSIAH legendary debut and sold-out EP Out Of The First Rays!!!

ALBUM PRESALE:
https://www.heavypsychsounds.com/shop.htm#HPS171

USA PRESALE:
https://www.heavypsychsounds.com/shop-usa.htm#HPS171

20 years on and Out Of The First Rays is still as powerful today. As the band rip straight into “Head On” it’s clear that Josiah wanted to take heavy rock back to it’s opiate drenched roots. Psychedelic lyrics sung with soul and the heavy as fuck grooves laid down across this release owe a debt to Black Sabbath and Monster Magnet.

“Malpaso” quickly became the bands signature track (featuring on film soundtracks and TV shows) with its pulsating riffs and trippy middle section and “Spacequake” makes you start to think there must be something in the midlands water supply, as Bethancourt echoes Ozzy with “come take my hand my child” and the Iommi styled guitar hooks kick you straight in the gut. “Sweet Smoke” kicks off side B with its Cactus meets Grand Funk early 70’s rock vibes. The sonic interplay between the power trio, back the vocals up for this anthem to a burning earth – “Let the flames just take you higher”.

The 10 minute closer “Black Maria” with its psychedelic twin vocals and one of the heaviest riffs you’ll hear this side of dead, gives way to uptempo bass grooves and a wah drenched lead break. Take another sip of the electric kool-aid baby, before we “slide down the cosmos” and fall into the big black sleep.

It’s the year 2000 – the world did not end, Uncle Acid, Graveyard and Kadavar are nothing but twinkles in Satan’s eye – and Josiah are about to come together to make something very heavy happen. From the beating heart of the UK, Mathew Bethancourt, Sie Beasley and Chris Jones laid down a dark sound, laced with acid and fuelled by Bethancourts heavy fuzz-wah guitar playing. Early live shows with the likes of Nebula, Zen Guerilla, Atomic Bitchwax and more, unleashed the loud, full stack, heavy psych rock experience of Josiah.

The group quickly rose to prominence on the UK scene with heavy touring and in June 2001 released their debut record Out Of The First Rays via Cargo Records. The quick to sell out 10″ EP’s killer cut “Malpaso” was aired by Marianne Hobbs on the Radio One Rock Show and Metal Hammer included “Spacequake” on their best new UK bands compilation CD.

RELEASED IN
15 ULTRA LTD TEST PRESS VINYL
150 ULTRA LTD SIDE A/SIDE B WHITE-YELLOW-RED VINYL
300 LTD RED VINYL
BLACK VINYL

PRESALE STARTS: MARCH 25th

RELEASE DATE: JUNE 11th

TRACKLIST
Head On
Malpaso
Spacequake
Sweet Smoke
Black Maria

JOSIAH is
Mathew Bethancourt – vocals & guitar
Sie Beasley – bass & vocals
Chris Jones – drums

https://www.instagram.com/josiah_rock_uk/
https://josiah-rock-uk.bandcamp.com/
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Josiah, “Black Maria” from Josiah

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Mathew’s Hidden Museum Streams Golden Echoes EP in Full

Posted in audiObelisk on December 2nd, 2020 by JJ Koczan

mathews hidden museum

This Friday, Dec. 4, UK-based multi-instrumentalist and vocalist Mathew Bethancourt — known for his work in Josiah, Cherry Choke, The Kings of Frog Island‘s first three LPs, etc. — will release the debut EP from a new solo endeavor, Mathew’s Hidden Museum. Comprised of three tracks, Golden Echoes follows behind two singles posted in October (one of which was a remake of The Kings of Frog Island‘s “Satanica”), and while Bethancourt has in the past produced some of the most diggable fuzz ever put to tape — yes, I mean that — Golden Echoes pushes beyond the hairy riffs once proffered by Josiah and even Cherry Choke‘s blend of garage rock and psychedelia to offer a decided turn toward the weird.

Yes, friends. The sometimes-mandated idleness of 2020’s quarantine months has produced any number of offshoot projects from artists, but honestly, as it’s been five years since the last Cherry Choke studio LP, 2015’s stunning Raising the Waters (review here), I’m glad to hear from Bethancourt at all. And Golden Echoes — as the title might hint — is far from another “hey I’ve been stuck in my house for five months so here’s a dungeon synth”-style experience. The bulk of the 16-minute outing takes place in “Golden” and “The Voyage of Psyche,” while closer “Golden (Echoes Flow)))” builds off the opener with a quiet, drifting three and a half minutes, easing into the end of the proceedings. Prior to, the five-minute “Golden” starts with far back drums and piano and Mathews Hidden Museum golden echoesvocals, establishing a hook early on. A hint of melodica prefaces the soon-to-dominate-the-mix arrival of that overlaid progression, and when Bethancourt joins with a second layer of vocals, the experimentalist vibe is set and ready to be fleshed out for the remainder of the piece, which is backed by the 7:20 “The Voyage of Psyche”‘s immediately bizarro-Floydian organ.

Less structured overall, and without the solidity of the same kind of prominent drumbeat to keep it grounded — at least initially — “The Voyage of Psyche” is a semi-directed self-jam that unfolds in two, maybe three, stages. The organ holds sway initially until the arrival of harder drums and electric guitar near the midpoint. A solo gives way to a lower-toned, deceptively fuzzy riff, like Bethancoursneaking into his wheelhouse without telling anyone, but it’s the drums that ultimately dominate, as a relatively simple but locked in groove is backed by quiet bass as the guitar takes a momentary rest before picking up again and carrying to the sudden finish. After that aptly-named journey, the drone-patient beginning of “Golden (Echoes Flow)))” feels suitably like an arrival, with quietly woven guitar figures hinting toward a wash but never becoming quite so overbearing before the already-noted soft let-go at the finish.

The overarching lesson of Golden Echoes is that Mathew’s Hidden Museum is unhindered, unbound by expectation or some imaginary genre limit. The grace in the closer particularly speaks to future explorations that might come, but the same could easily be said of the entire release and the project as a whole. Whatever Bethancourt does with his Hidden Museum, or if he does nothing with it at all from here on out, these songs effectively speak to their moment of creation and set an open foundation upon which subsequent work might build. One doesn’t want to go around making predictions, but Golden Echoes sounds far more like a beginning than an end.

You’ll find the EP streaming below in its entirety, followed by some comment from Bethancourt about its making.

Please enjoy:

Mathew Bethancourt on Golden Echoes:

Like so many, I suddenly found myself with the gift of time. Time to think, reflect, step back and watch the world deconstruct itself. Watching some turn to fear and panic, now aware of the unquenchable thirst created by the sudden lack of rampant consumption in their lives. Whilst I calmly looked on, observed and slowly started to make music.

The enforced social isolation meant I had to do everything myself. My parameters and limitations forced the creative solutions unique to my situation. This music will never happen again. It’s a one off product of a freak moment in time. Born of an experience that will echo across all our lives. All written and performed during the UK lockdown. I hope my observations, of the delicate construct we call society and the people existing within, reflect in the sound. Like – Golden Echoes)))

Tracklisting:
1. Golden
2. The Voyage Of Psyche
3. Golden (Echoes Flow)))

Composed, Performed & Recorded by Mathew’s Hidden Museum somewhere between the months of April & September 2020.

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Friday Full-Length: Josiah, Procession

Posted in Bootleg Theater on June 19th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

It continues to be a matter of some debate as to whether rock and roll will save or damn your eternal soul. Well, your soul is a myth, and if rock and roll gets your blood moving during your limited, mostly futile existence, then fuck it, run with that. Once upon a United Kingdom there was a band called Josiah, and oh my, could they boogie. In the annals of pre-mobile/social media ubiquity, they were a well-kept secret of fuzz worshipers, riff heads and those frequenting the message boards of the day, but my oh my their grooves hold up. Procession (review here) was their final outing, arriving in 2010 through Colour Haze guitarist/vocalist Stefan Koglek‘s Elektrohasch Schallplatten imprint, and it only underscored the point of how fierce they could be in their prime.

Fronted by guitarist Mat Bethancourt — who also did time with The Kings of Frog Island and Dexter Jones Circus Orchestra and was last heard from in Cherry Choke, running his own festival and doing artwork for various acts — and completed in their final incarnation by bassist Sie Beasley and drummer Keith Beacom, Josiah started around the turn of the century and were well ahead of the pack when it came to ’70s-style riffing, most especially in the UK, where doom and more straight-ahead stoner rock largely reigned supreme, Bill Steer‘s Firebird notwithstanding. Josiah‘s 2002 self-titled debut has been reissued a number of times at this point and it remains undervalued for what it accomplished in heavy boogie, and the organic tonality that came with Into the Outside in 2004 and 2007’s harder-driving No Time was not to be taken lightly or overlooked. Releasing through Elektrohasch and Molten Records, their profile was never as high as some of England’s forerunners in Orange Goblin, Electric Wizard or Cathedral, but even unto the post-breakup swansong that was Procession, the force of their delivery and groove was palpable, and whatever direction it was sending you, it sent you.

Of course, by 2010, the situation had changed, or at very least it was changing. The rise of Witchcraft and the first Graveyard record in Sweden has brought retroism to a broader audience, and Kadavar would soon rise up from Germany to continue the movement. Still though, Josiah were never a purely retro band, and Procession‘s early tracks remind of the niche they occupied between the classic and more modern josiah processionbranches of heavy rock. Certainly the swing and proto-punk rush of the opening title-track and “Broken Doll” after it have their foundations in a ’70s mindset, but “Thirteen Scene” was and is distinguished by its Queens of the Stone Age-style bounce, and even the strut of “Dying Day,” which follows, seems to modernize a one-guitar Thin Lizzy groove, all that swagger and attitude channeled into a nod-ready rhythm that is a timeless vision of cool refusing to be denied. That these first four tracks were recorded in 2006 is important. That puts them before or at least vaguely concurrent to No Time, but if they sat around after those sessions and were going to show up elsewhere and didn’t, then at least the band was able to put them to good use posthumously and remind their audience of what was.

“Dead Forever” serves as a transition point following “Dying Day” — two morose-sounding cuts, to be sure, but neither of which is particularly dark in terms of sound — and is a rawer take in the actual recording. It veers into some spaced-out guitar over the shove of its apex, and might represent the last of Josiah‘s studio work, given that it came after the final album-album. If that’s the case, it’s somewhat emblematic of the changing mindset on the part of Bethancourt, whose appreciation for garage rock came through not only in the third album from The Kings of Frog Island, which was his last with the band, but with the first Cherry Choke LP as well. “Dead Forever” harnesses some of that same style, but the personality of the rhythm section is still prevalent in what they’re doing, and so the five-and-a-half-minute cut keeps a more weighted edge. It makes for a fascinating blend, and if Josiah had wanted to, no doubt they could’ve put together a full-length of such material and continued to refine their niche and songwriting processes, but it wasn’t to be.

I don’t know what became of Beasley or Beacom, but from the first Cherry Choke album in 2009 through the most recent one in 2015, Bethancourt kept expanding that band’s sonic palette to suit shifting influences between garage rock, heavy psychedelia and classic-styled boogie. When last they were heard from on social media, they were working on material for a fourth record, though who knows what the status of that might be.

In the meantime, though, Procession rounds out Josiah‘s run with five corresponding live tracks that were taped in Sweden circa 2007. Among them are four songs from No Time in “Time to Kill,” “Looking at the Mountain,” “Silas Brainchild” and “I Can’t Seem to Find It,” which closes, as well as “Malpaso,” which comes from the first record and is perhaps truest to the original era of late-’90s/early-’00s stoner rock of anything Josiah have on offer here. That Procession is split between studio and live material doesn’t really matter to the overall listening experience — if anything, it brings into relief just how much in common they had between performing in one context and the other — and the front-to-back progression of Procession (yes, I’m a little ashamed of that phrasing) feels all the more appropriate as an encapsulation of who Josiah were for having both sides represented. I like the idea of a goodbye offering, and Procession is a particularly encompassing one that puts a stamp on Josiah‘s career and even a decade after the fact reminds of what they managed to accomplish during their time together.

And anytime Elektrohasch want to go ahead and do another pressing of JosiahInto the Outside or No Time, or hell, even this, I can’t imagine they’d run into much argument. Someday some Akarma-style label is going to come for all this stuff. I hope I’m around to dig it all over again when that happens.

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

I wrote the above yesterday so I’d have time this morning to work on the Mars Red Sky review that went up a bit ago. Nice to have that kind of flexibility, but I honestly don’t think it matters much to anyone other than me. Reviewing streams makes for interesting discussion in my mind, but to this point it’s a conversation I’m having with myself. Ups and downs to that, like anything. Humbling, usually.

Next week is full. There’s a lot of premieres. One for Temple Fang that’s been pushed back a couple times. A Psychlona video. A track from Morton Gaster Papadopoulos, who’ve been featured here before.

I’d find you the link to the last time I posted about that project with members of Stinking Lizaveta and Clutch and so on, but I’m writing in the car and as you might expect, running the wifi off my phone is for crap, especially as we’re driving through a rural area in New Jersey to go to Space Farms basically so my kid can throw corn out the window to animals as we drive past — “1-2-3-corn!” he yells while throwing. It’s usually a walk-around zoo, but they’ve made it a driving thing during the pandemic. This is the second time we’ve gone in the last week.

Because that’s real life. You do what you need to do.

Anyhow, that’s basically the weekend plans. Get through it. Went for a run this morning with the kid and he face-planted on the pavement, got a big scrape and knot on his forehead that’s gonna be there for at least the next week. We hold hands while we run, but frankly, we were both sweaty and he just slipped out of my grasp while falling. I had caught him like four other times, which is pretty standard, but yeah. The one time. He was up and finishing the run shortly after though. Dude is way tougher than my ass. I’d be in bed for the rest of the day. If not two days.

More real life.

Thanks for reading. Great and safe weekend. If you’re reading this, I hope you and yours are well; life, limb, livelihood.

FRM.

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Buried Treasure: Hurricane Irene and the Red Lion Haul

Posted in Buried Treasure on August 30th, 2011 by JJ Koczan

Every now and then, I do a Craigslist search for the word “stoner,” just to see what comes up. Early this past week was one such occasion, and what I found was a listing from a guy outside of York, Pennsylvania, who was selling off what he touted as a massive CD collection, with lots of varied kinds of metal, stoner/desert rock and ’70s heavy bands. Needless to say, my interest was piqued.

York is more than three hours from where I live in New Jersey, so going during the week was out because of work. And I wouldn’t want to go on Sunday, because six hours in a car is no way to lead into a Monday morning, so I called the guy and said I was interested in taking a look at what he had for sale and asked him if Saturday was cool. He said it was.

Only hitch in that plan was that Hurricane Irene was expected to rail the Northeast on Saturday, making its way up the coast, bringing floods, high winds, downed trees, lightning and other things not conducive to driving at all, let alone 170 miles. You know, now that I put the number to it, the whole proposition seems unreasonable.

Not unreasonable enough, it turns out. Relatively early Saturday morning, The Patient Mrs. and I loaded into the car and made our way south and west to Red Lion, a small-ish town outside of York. I had heard and read and looked at all the maps and the progression of the storm and everything seemed to point to our being able to get to Pennsylvania and back before the worst hit. I’ve already driven in some pretty atrocious weather this year. What was the worst this hurricane could do?

It was raining when I got out there, and hard. The picture above of dark clouds and rolling hillsides I took after dropping The Patient Mrs. at a local Panera so she could continue the work on her laptop she’d been doing the whole drive and headed to the guy’s apartment to spend some time perusing his collection. Not too much time, though, because the wind was picking up.

When he met me outside, Frank, the man in his late-50s/early-60s whose collection I was there to see, asked if I had any weapons on me. I did not, and I judged by the awesomeness of his moustache that he didn’t either, so we made our way inside so I could see his wares. His chihuahua growling at me the entire time, I made my way slowly and, at first, haphazardly through the rows and stacks of alphabetized discs, periodically looking outside to check the conditions, which seemed to ebb and flow as different arms of the storm passed through.

The collection itself was as advertised in both quality and quantity. There had to be 5,000-plus discs spread across the racks. They were stacked two rows deep on bookshelves and piled — organized; nothing was without purpose — in corners. I’d been hoping to find a copy of Keg Full of Dynamite by Pentagram, or some old Sabbath bootlegs, but no such luck. Nonetheless, our man Frank was clearly someone who had just been collecting CDs since the inception of the format, and I was able to find (literally) a stack of releases that saved me months of eBaying.

He charged $10 a piece for each of the three Pagan Altar full-lengths, for Speed, Glue & Shinki‘s 1971 outing, Eve, for the long out of print first edition of Spiritual Beggars‘ debut, for records by Dust, Abramis Brama, Elonkorjuu, Terra Firma, Desert Saints, Privilege, Generous Maria, Toad and Riff Cannon, for the first issue of Josiah‘s self-titled, and, in a departure from the others that even Frank noted, The Arcanum by German folk metallers Suidakra.

A word about that record: I first heard it via downloaded mp3s in 2000, when it was released. The whole folk metal thing was still at least half a decade off, and I was into it because it was a more extreme version of melodeath. But I had little interest in owning physical media at the time (I burned discs and kept them in a binder), and it later turned out that the label screwed over the band, kept the rights, and the album went out of print. It’s something I’ll probably listen to once — haven’t yet — and stick on my shelf to gather dust, because it’s just not where my tastes lie at this point, but it’s something I genuinely never thought I’d find. I never thought I’d find that record. And then, $10 to Frank and it was mine.

The only thing he didn’t charge me $10 for, in fact, was the digipak special edition of Hammer of the North, by Grand Magus. It was $20, but the album has yet to have a CD release in the US, and I figured he had probably paid even more for the import than I was, so it was worth the price nonetheless.

As he totaled up my selections from the sundry shelves and stacks of his library, I began to put myself in his place, and wonder what it would take for me to allow someone into my home to peruse, pick out, scrutinize and ultimately walk away with pieces of my collection. I had more selections than I took home with me. Albums by Fuzzy Duck, Bloodrock (it was Bloodrock 2), Lucifer’s Friend and the recently-burned-for-me Tin House he said I simply couldn’t have, as they were too dear to him to part with. He explained that all the metal stuff, all the more modern rock stuff, that could all go, but the ’70s heavy bands were what he grew up with, and he was sorry.

His failing health turned out to be the reason he was selling. He needed the money more than he needed the discs, so out they were going. I expressed my sympathies, forked over $190 of the total $200 I’d brought with me, and left knowing I could have spent hours more finding treasure among those racks, of which I’ve dreamed not once, but twice in the now-four nights since.

Using my manliest navigational sensibilities, I suggested cutting north early before heading east to get ahead of the storm, and The Patient Mrs., now retrieved from the aforementioned Panera, was in agreement. It rained most of our way back, heavy at times, but we still got in well under the wire for the most damaging winds, floods, etc. Still funny to see how few people were on the road by the time we landed back in Jersey, though. Cracked open a couple beers, admired the stack of recent acquisitions (at least I did), and waited for the world to end — which, despite the local highway collapse, flooding, downed power lines and the rest, it did not do.

I’ll admit it wasn’t the safest idea I’ve ever had to drive for such a long time with the threat of a hurricane looming. All the same, I regret nothing for what I was able to pick up in Red Lion, and I know I’ll always look at those albums in the picture above and remember the day I went and found them with the wind howling outside and the torrents of rain blocking visibility on the ride home. It was stupid, yeah, but it was also precisely my favorite kind of adventure.

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A Victory Lap for Josiah

Posted in Reviews on May 10th, 2010 by JJ Koczan

Not knowing the circumstances that led British fuzz rockers Josiah to break up, I can only suppose it was a trenchant personal conflict between the three members that caused many studio blowouts, stage walk-offs, canceled personal appearances, etc., that will all be brought to the light of day in a major motion picture documentary this Fall. If that’s not the case, I don’t want to know.

Whatever it was that caused them to call it quits, Josiah have written their epitaph in the form of Procession (Elektrohasch Schallplatten), a 10-track collection half dedicated to yet-unreleased studio material and half to live tracks recorded in Sweden in 2007. Procession is more or less a gimme for fans, but in the case of a band like Josiah, a gimme is most welcome, and if it’s what they’ve got, I’ll take it.

Those who’ve experienced Josiah’s groove-heavy swagger know that it’s the guitar of Mat Bethancourt (now of Cherry Choke and The Kings of Frog Island) in the starring role, but the trio relies almost as much on the backing rhythms of bassist Sie Beasley and drummer Keith Beacom on Procession — perhaps a bit of happenstance making the album a suitable parting word from the band. Blink and you’ll miss the first two tracks, “Procession” and “Broken Doll,” both of which are under two and a half minutes and which bleed into each other, but for the other three cuts of studio material (“Thirteen Scene,” highlight “Dying Day” and the more garage rock “Dead Forever”), it’s just as much Beacom and Beasley’s show as it is Bethancourt’s. All the better for repeat listens, since it only means there’s more to dig into.

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It’s Good to be The Kings of Frog Island

Posted in Features on February 18th, 2009 by JJ Koczan

It doesn't say it anywhere on there, but this is II.II, the aptly-titled second album from the UK‘s The Kings of Frog Island is the very essence of stoner rock, packed so tightly with fuzz-laden grooves that all you can do is sit and space to it. The hypnotic vibe of “Welcome to the Void” could be prescribed as medication for anxiety disorders, and the darkness of cuts like “The Watcher” and “Witching Hour” take a cosmopolitan approach to classic heavy metal paranoia, bringing influences not only from the deserts of California, but also the echoing gospel tones of Southern Appalachia.

To hear multi-instrumentalist/vocalist Mat Bethancourt (also of classic fuzz rockers Josiah and newborn amped up garage trio Cherry Choke) tell it, they’re just a bunch of stoners writing songs about planetary warfare. In any case, right on.

The album comes some three point five years after its predecessor (delivered by none other than heavy psych’s foremost purveyors, Elektrohasch), and was largely recorded live at guitarist Mark Buteux‘s Amphibia Sound Studios on June 6, 2006. Roger “Dodge” Watson provides a classic ping ride behind “Joanne Marie” and drives the rest of II deep into the reaches of a catchy, classic pop-flavored stratosphere, setting expectations high for what will reportedly be the last album of a trilogy. You’ll never guess the title.

After the jump, Bethancourt fills The Obelisk in on all things future, past and present, including what happened to bring Josiah to an untimely end and when we can expect that third installment from The Kings of Frog Island.

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