Quarterly Review: Salem’s Bend, Motorpsycho, Sigils, Lord Dying, Sunn O))), Crimson Heat, Molior Superum, Moros, Glitter Wizard, Gourd

Posted in Reviews on July 2nd, 2019 by JJ Koczan

quarterly-review

Today is Tuesday, I’m pretty sure, and hey, that’s nifty. I thought yesterday kicked off the Summer 2019 Quarterly Review really well, and any time I get through one of these without my head caving in on itself, I feel like that’s a victory, so yeah. Now we wade even deeper into what will ultimately be a 60-review plunge, with another 10 offerings of various stripes and takes on heavy. Some higher profile stuff in here, which is fine, I guess, but most of it is pretty recent, so if there’s something you haven’t heard yet, I hope you find something you dig, as always.

Quarterly Review #11-20:

Salem’s Bend, Supercluster

salems bend supercluster

This is the sound of a band who’ve figured it out. Salem’s Bend have taken retroist boogie and modern tonalism, production and melody and turned it into something of their own. Supercluster (on Ripple) follows the Los Angeles trio of guitarist/vocalist Bobby Parker, bassist/vocalist Kevin Schofield and drummer Zach Huling‘s 2016 self-titled debut (review here), and with an uptick in the complexity of songwriting overall and particularly in the arrangements of dual-vocals, it is a marked step forward palpable as much in the hook of “Ride the Night” — and if you’re gonna call a song that, you better bring it — as the heavy crash ending “Heavenly Manna” and the languid, lucidly dreaming groove in “Infinite Horizon,” which appears ahead of the acoustic hidden track “Beltaine Chant.” That won’t be the last time these guys unplug, but whether it’s the raw Zeppelin vibe of “Show Me the Witch” or the crunching low-end nod of “Thinking Evil” or the leadoff thrust in “Spaceduster,” the message is clear that Salem’s Bend have arrived.

Salem’s Bend on Thee Facebooks

Ripple Music webstore

 

Motorpsycho, The Crucible

motorpsycho the crucible

The latest in Motorpsycho‘s nigh-on-impossible-to-chart and ever-growing discography is The Crucible, issued through Stickman Records, and taking some of the heavy rock push of 2017’s The Tower (review here) and stretching out to more willfully progressive execution across three increasingly extended tracks. Running from shortest to longest, the album begins with “Psychotzar” (8:44) which resolves itself in maddening turns after fleshing through an energetic beginning, and rounds out side A with the 11-minute “Lux Aeterna,” with vocal harmonies and mellotron building into a graceful swell of volume before a headspinner solo and jam take hold, break to near-silence and finish in a burst of directly earliest-King Crimson majesty. This all before the 20:51, side B-consuming title-track crashes in with immediate tension and plays back and forth at releasing that through a course that is rife with melody and an emphasis on the mastery of Motorpsycho over their sound and direction. Onto the list of the year’s best records it goes.

Motorpsycho on Thee Facebooks

Stickman Records website

 

Sigils, You Built the Altar, You Lit the Leaves

Sigils You Built the Altar You Lit the Leaves

Hypnotic and immersive heavy post-rock and metal becomes the genre tag well enough, but what New York’s Sigils do on their markedly impressive self-recorded, self-released debut album, You Built the Altar, You Lit the Leaves, is more soulful and emotive than “post-” anything generally conveys. With four tracks/38 minutes best taken as a whole, single listening experience, the band offer resonant depths of tone and vocal echoes centered around airy but still weighted guitar and consuming rhythms brought to bear with the patience of an organic Jesu. The ultimate triumph is in the melody and payoff of 13-plus-minute closer “The Wicked, the Cloaked,” which seems to manifest the haunting sensibility that “Samhain” and “Ritual” advocate on side A, but neither will I discount the chug of the prior “Faceless” or the underlying churn in those two leadoff tracks. Especially as a first album, You Built the Altar, You Lit the Leaves casts a sonic identity for itself that is striking and sees the band already beginning to push themselves forward. One hopes they continue to do so.

Sigils on Thee Facebooks

Sigils on Bandcamp

 

Lord Dying, Mysterium Tremendum

Lord Dying Mysterium Tremendum

Following 2015’s Poisoned Altars (review here), subsequent years of touring and a jump from Relapse to eOne Metal, Lord Dying‘s Mysterium Tremendum is enough of a stylistic melting pot that the best thing to do is call it progressive and just let it roll. Comprised of 11 tracks themed around death and the afterlife, the record takes the Portland, Oregon, outfit’s prior death-doom ways and expands them to incorporate an array of styles and melodies, like a vocoder-less Cynic or even Atheist, but more focused on the songs themselves. It’s being widely hailed as one of 2019’s best metal releases, and honestly I can’t speak to that because who the hell knows what “metal” even means, but it sees Lord Dying pull off a major sonic leap and if this is the direction they’re headed from now on, then I guess “metal” is going to be whatever the hell they want. So there. Expect to see a lot of Lord Dying t-shirts around in the years to come.

Lord Dying on Thee Facebooks

eOne Heavy on Thee Facebooks

 

Sunn O))), Life Metal

sunn life metal

The core of Sunn O)))‘s sound — that is, the drone-riffed tonality of Greg Anderson and Stephen O’Malley, has proven amorphous enough over the last two decades to either be orchestral, minimalist, impossibly bleak, or now, something brighter. The Steve Albini-recorded Life Metal is one of two purported Sunn O))) releases slated for this year, and it follows behind 2015’s Kannon (review here) in manifesting their project in a new way. It is 68 minutes long, comprised of four tracks — the first, “Between Sleipnir’s Breaths,” is notable for the inclusion of vocals from Hildur Guðnadóttir; the rest is instrumental — and while one wonders how much is the power of suggestion amid their colorful artwork and titular presentation, “life” as opposed to death metal, etc., their resonance throughout “Aurora” (19:07) and “Novae” (25:24) strips away much of the flourish that has engulfed Sunn O))) in their post-maturity years and reminds of the power at their center. They chose the right producer.

Sunn O))) on Bandcamp

Southern Lord Recordings website

 

Crimson Heat, Crimson Heat

Crimson Heat Crimson Heat

With a handful of tracks of dirt-coated Sabbathian doom rock, Crimson Heat make their debut with a self-titled demo/EP in no small part defined by its lack of pretense. I’d buy the tape at the show. You’d buy the tape at the show. The download is free. Clearly this is a band figuring out what they want to do and trying to catch a few ears, but the sound is right on. Notable as well for the participation of Sam Marsh of Sinister Haze, tracks like “At My Door” blend Tee Pee Records-style skate vibes with darker traditionalist crunch, and the subsequent acoustic interlude “Firewood” indeed adds a bit of burning-stove smell to the procession ahead of doomed shuffler finale “Deep Red.” They might be new, but from the nod of “Premonition” and the double-layered guitar of “Fortune Teller,” they very clearly know where they’re coming from. What they do with that from here will tell the tale, but for now, selling the tape at the show isn’t nothing. Guess they better get on pressing some up.

Sinister Haze on Thee Facebooks

Crimson Heat on Bandcamp

 

Molior Superum, As Time Slowly Passes By…

Molior Superum As Time Slowly Passes By

The boogie runs strong in Molior Superum‘s first album in seven years, As Time Slowly Passes By… (on H42 Records), the title of which might just hint at the distance between their two full-lengths. Their debut was Into the Sun (discussed here) in 2012, and they answered that with 2014’s Electric Escapism (review here), but for a band who sound so energized on cuts like “Att Födas Rostig” and “Through Valleys of Wonder,” the time differential from one record to the next is curious. Still, no question the Swedish four-piece make the most of the 36 minutes they present on their sophomore offering, realizing classic vibes and fuzz tones through modern production that recalls the likes of GraveyardJeremy Irons and the Ratgang Malibus and even, on “Into the Grey,” Demon Head‘s doomier fare, with an overarching bluesy sensibility that remains exciting even in moments like the hypnotic midsection build of centerpiece “Divinity Blues.” Even the closing soft-guitar title-track has movement. They sound hungry in a way that suggests maybe it won’t be another seven years before a third LP arrives.

Molior Superum on Thee Facebooks

H42 Records

 

Moros, Weapon

moros weapon

Just because Philly is leading the Eastern Seaboard in terms of psychedelic charge, that doesn’t mean there isn’t room for the guttersludge extremity of a unit like Moros. The destructive three-piece’s first full-length, Weapon (on Hidden Deity Records), is vicious in its bite and downright nasty in its groove, abrasive from the static intro “(Vortexwound)” onward through “We Don’t Deserve Death” and “Devil Worshipper,” which recalls slower Napalm Death in its riff but is met with a harsh scream as well as shouts. The brutality continues through “Wizard of Loneliness” and into the outright pummel of “Death Nebula,” such that the locked-in nodder groove in the second half of “Every Day is Worse Than the Last” feels almost like a lifeboat, though there’s little salvation on offer in the closing title-track, which fades out on a noisy note in much the same way it faded in. Filthy, mean and heavy. The crust is real and it is thick.

Moros on Thee Facebooks

Hidden Deity Records website

 

Glitter Wizard, Opera Villains

glitter wizard opera villains

I was enticed to dig further into Glitter Wizard‘s Opera Villains (on Heavy Psych Sounds) by the recent video for opener “A Spell So Evil” (posted here), and it’s not a choice I regret. The San Fran-based weirdo collective are putting on a show, no doubt, but the quality of their songwriting on “The Toxic Lady” and the punkish underpinning of “Dead Man’s Wax,” etc., puts them in a classic rocking no man’s land in which they absolutely revel. The laser-strewn drama of “March of the Red Cloaks” and the organ- and flute-laced swing of “Hall of the Oyster King” embrace the grandiose in brazen fashion, and thereby make it that much easier for the listener to join them on this wavelength that is so thoroughly their own. Closer “Warm Blood” taps prog-of-old pomposity in its largesse while the earlier “Fear of the Dark” seems to do the same thing with just an acoustic guitar and some vocal harmonies. A record that knew exactly what it wanted to be and then became that thing. Awesome.

Glitter Wizard on Thee Facebooks

Heavy Psych Sounds website

 

Gourd, Moldering Aberrations

gourd moldering aberrations

Ambient darkness is inflicted with only the cruelest of spirit throughout Gourd‘s Moldering Aberrations EP, the Irish two-piece alternating minimalist spaciousness with gurgling drone intensity, the extremity of which doesn’t so much come through in pummel or drive, but in the swell of volume and its contrast with the emptiness surrounding. Also the growls. Three tracks are offered up like monuments to pain, and through “Befoulment,” “Mycelium” and the title-track, they conjure a heft of atmosphere as much as one of low end, the claustrophobic feeling of their craft coming through even in the relatively peaceful opening of the last song. That peace, of course, isn’t so much moment of respite as it is precursor to the next plunge, and either way, Gourd work in grueling fashion over 23 minutes to dismantle consciousness and expectation with a grim, distortion-fueled chaos from which there seems to be no escape, until the rumble and noise leave “Moldering Aberrations” and there’s just residual hum and a cymbal crash left. Madness.

Gourd on Thee Facebooks

Cursed Monk Records on Bandcamp

 

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Sunn O))) ‘Life Pedal’ Now Available; Touring West Coast in September

Posted in Whathaveyou on June 19th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

For a band who’ve never made a habit of doing anything other than whatever the hell they want to, Sunn O))) sure have a lot of tour dates lined up, leading one to assume that, well, they want to be touring. In April, they released Life Metal on Southern Lord, bringing a new vision of melody to their long-established abyss of drone, changing the character thereof after two decades of slow-motion slaughter. And that was just the first track. So yeah, only fair they’re wanting to show it all off, as they’ll do both domestically and abroad throughout the Summer and Fall, and as they’ve already done on the East Coast. The latest batch of dates cover the West Coast, and they’ll take place between journeys to Europe, as they’ll pop over to Germany and the Netherlands for fest appearances next month and then be back in October for another run. Go go go.

They have a fancy new pedal available now made in an edition of 1,000 in league with EarthQuaker Devices. Kudos to whichever clever soul decided to call it ‘Life Pedal.’

Life Metal is streaming in full below courtesy of Southern Lord‘s YouTube, and the dates came down the PR wire. You know how this works:

sunn o (photo by A F Cortes)

SUNN O))): EARTHQUAKER RELEASE EXCLUSIVE DISTORTION PEDAL; LIFE PEDAL MARKS COMPANY’S FIRST ARTIST-ORIENTED COLLABORATION

SUNN O))) Announces West Coast US September Tour Dates; Life Metal Out Now On Southern Lord

SUNN O))) and EarthQuaker Devices join forces to create Life Pedal. This is a limited, hand numbered, tube amp crushing octave fuzz and distortion with boost. Life Pedal empowers the operator to immerse themselves in the same full spectrum overdriven sonic palette as used on the Life Metal album. Details below.

In the writing sessions for Life Metal SUNN O))) worked extensively shearing our tones toward a broader energy spectrum over high powered saturation and across planes of sonic character, with the ambition to take full advantage of producer/engineer Steve Albini’s exacting capture skills. The results are astounding: there is breadth and luminosity of colour, vast sonic cosmoses, flashes of abstract colour (synthetic and objective) through resulting themes which emerged from the mastered depths of saturation and circuits between the two players and their mountains of gear.

The Life Pedal is designed to represent the core front-end chain used in those sessions, to drive the tubes of the band’s multiple vintage Sunn O))) Model T amplifiers into overload and ecstasy. This is a 100w tube amp full stack’s holy dream, or its apostate nightmare. An octave fuzz inspired by the Shin-Ei FY2 & FY6 units leads the circuit into a LM308 chipped and brutal rodent big box distortion, recreated with the best components, and including a three-way clipping switch (op Amp, Asymmetric & Symmetric). Second stage is a purely clean boost to further overdrive the preamp tubes of ones vintage system into -scaped harmonics, and feedback overtone bliss. Chasms are cleared, mountains sheared, glaciers calved, novæ birthed. Transcend to complete saturation enlightenment.

Order the Life Pedal, in an edition of 1000 pedals, exclusively from the official SUNN O))) Reverb Shop hosted by Reverb.com HERE and view the Life Pedal trailer HERE.

Southern Lord is also pleased to announce that SUNN O)))’s Life Metal is now available in a second vinyl pressing with exclusive new colours.

SUNN O))) will play select festival shows in Europe this July, before returning to US soil for the second leg of their Let There Be Drone: Multiple Gains Stages tour. SUNN O))) will then head back to Europe and the UK this October.

Life Metal can now be purchased via the SUNN O))), Southern Lord, and Southern Lord Europe stores.

SUNN O))) Tour Dates:
Summer European Shows:
7/30/2019 Festsaal Kreuzberg – Berlin, DE #
7/31/2019 Festsaal Kreuzberg – Berlin, DE #
8/01/2019 Dekmantel Festival – Amsterdam, NL

US West Coast
9/01/2019 Granada – Dallas, TX *
9/02/2019 Emo’s – Austin, TX *
9/04/2019 The Gothic – Denver, CO *
9/08/2019 Mayan – Los Angeles, CA *
9/09/2019 The Fillmore – San Francisco, CA *
9/11/2019 The Showbox – Seattle, WA ^
9/12/2019 Revolution Hall – Portland, OR ^

Europe + UK Tour:
10/07/2019 Backstage – Munich, DE %
10/08/2019 HfG / ZKM – Karlsruhe, DE %
10/09/2019 Kaserne Basel – Basel, CH %
10/10/2019 Felsenkeller – Leipzig, DE %
10/13/2019 Kablys + Kultura – Vilnius, LT %
10/14/2019 Vene Teater – Tallinn, EE %
10/15/2019 Kulttuuritalo – Helsinki, FI %
10/17/2019 Kraken Sthlm – Stockholm, SE
10/18/2018 Kulturkirchen Jakob – Oslo, NO
10/19/2019 BLA – Oslo, NO (exclusive duo performance)
10/21/2019 Koncerthuset – Copenhagen, DK
10/22/2019 Doornroosje – Nijmegen, NL
10/24/2019 SWX – Bristol, UK
10/25/2019 QMU – Glasgow, UK
10/26/2019 The Crossing – Birmingham, UK
10/27/2019 Albert Hall – Manchester, UK
10/28/2019 Roundhouse – London, UK
# w/ Caspar Brötzmann
* w/ Papa M, Big|Brave
^ w/ Papa M
% w/ Caspar Brötzmann Bass Totem

https://www.instagram.com/sunnofficial
https://www.facebook.com/SUNNthebandOfficial
https://sunn.bandcamp.com
https://sunn-live.bandcamp.com
http://www.southernlord.com
http://southernlord.bandcamp.com
https://www.facebook.com/SLadmin
https://www.instagram.com/southernlordrecords

Sunn O))), ‘Life Pedal’ introduction

Sunn O))), Life Metal (2019)

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Here Lies Man to Release No Ground to Walk Upon Aug. 16

Posted in Whathaveyou on June 17th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

Here Lies Man are officially — I’m sure there was a ceremony somewhere, someplace — a better band than people know. The thing about that? People know they’re pretty good. But go ahead and dig into “Clad in Silver,” which is the lead track from their new mini-LP No Ground to Walk Upon, and tell me that’s not some of the coolest shit going. I mean, I know they’re not the only ones out there taking cues from Afrobeat, but after two full-lengths and a couple other odds and ends, some touring, etc., they’ve got it down. Listen to that fuzz. Those keys. That percussion. That drone head-trip freakout. It’s all right there. It’s so specific a sonic niche, and so much their own, that I have to wonder if part of why they’re underrated isn’t because of the complexity involved, but either way, you’ve got four minutes — if you’re reading this, face it, you do — so yeah, just listen to the track. It’s down there at the bottom.

No Ground to Walk Upon is out Aug. 16 through RidingEasy Records.

The PR wire makes it true:

here lies man no ground to walk upon

Here Lies Man announce new mini-album No Ground to Walk Upon, share first single

Los Angeles quartet Here Lies Man share the lead single from their forthcoming 7-song mini-album No Ground To Walk Upon today. Hear and share “Clad in Silver” via YouTube and Bandcamp.

Here Lies Man took the music world by storm in 2017 with their self-titled debut positing the intriguing hypothesis: What if Black Sabbath played Afrobeat?

Since that time, Here Lies Man has expanded and expounded upon their sound and ideas of heavy riff rock and psych within the ancient rhythmic formula of the clave. The L.A. based band comprised of Antibalas members have toured relentlessly over the past 2 years, while also releasing a second album, You Will Know Nothing and an EP, Animal Noises, both in 2018.

No Ground to Walk Upon is due worldwide in August 2019. It continues with an ongoing concept of HLM playing the soundtrack to an imaginary movie, with each song being a scene. The lead single “Clad in Silver” is the soundtrack snippet of a journey to the imaginary place called home, which can never be arrived at. With every step, the character imagines getting closer, but it is a hallucination that fades in and out of perception.

“We’re very conscious of how the rhythms service the riffs,” explains founder and vocalist/guitarist/multi-instrumentalist Marcos Garcia (who also plays guitar in Antibalas) of the band’s sound. “Tony Iommi’s (Black Sabbath) innovation was to make the riff the organizing principle of a song. We are taking that same approach but employing a different organizing principle: For Iommi it was the blues, for us it comes directly from Africa.”

No Ground To Walk Upon also includes an interesting conceptual mathematics to the entire proceedings, a theme begun on the prior album. “There are interludes between each song that are 2/3 to 3/4 of the tempo of the previous song,” Garcia says. “The reason it breaks down to 2 over 3 or 3 over 4 is that everything in the music rhythmically corresponds to a set of mathematical algorithms known as the clave. The clave is an ancient organizing rhythmic principle developed in Africa.”

Garcia and cofounder/drummer Geoff Mann (former Antibalas drummer and son of jazz musician Herbie Mann) recorded the mini-album much like they did their previous releases, at their own L.A. studio on a Tascam 388 8-track tape machine. Additional layers were recorded with former Antibalas keyboardist Victor Axelrod and other contributors in various other locations, all while the band continued its rigorous touring schedule.

Here Lies Man has already spent much of the past three years on tour, with dates supporting Antibalas, Earthless and Fu Manchu, as well as headlining treks through the EU & UK. The remaining months of 2019 and 2020 will see the band once again performing at numerous International festivals (including Austin’s Levitation Fest in November.)

No Ground to Walk Upon will be available on LP, CD and download on August 16th, 2019 via RidingEasy Records.

Tracklisting:
01. Clad in Silver
02. Swinging From Trees
03. Long Legs (Look Away)
04. Washing Bones
05. Get Ahold of Yourself
06. Iron Rattles
07. Man Falls Down

HERE LIES MAN LIVE 2019:
11/09 Austin, TX @ Levitation Fest 2019

hereliesman.com
facebook.com/hereliesman
hereliesman.bandcamp.com
ridingeasyrecs.com

Here Lies Man, “Clad in Silver”

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Nebula, Holy Shit: Yeah, That About Covers It

Posted in Reviews on June 13th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

nebula holy shit

If nothing else, they gave it the right name. Nebula‘s reunion and new album, their sixth and first for Heavy Psych Sounds, have been a genuine surprise. Their legacy has remained intact over the decade since they released the Heavy Psych (review here) LP in 2009 on Tee Pee Records, growing by social media word of mouth to a new generation of listeners — maybe not as much as if they were touring the whole time, but still — and their unexpected comeback born on stage and reissues of their past work would seem to culminate in Holy Shit, a new full-length of nine songs and 43 minutes that is both a shock and an inevitability. Of course Nebula were going to do another record. Once the reunion happened, another record was bound to follow — shit, even Eyehategod put out an album eventually — the real question was whether or not it would sound like Nebula.

The Los Angeles outfit led by guitarist/vocalist Eddie Glass always had a looser sound than many of their contemporaries. Looser than Fu Manchu from whom they split off originally, looser than Kyuss/Queens of the Stone AgeMonster Magnet, or any number of Euro bands of the era one might want to namedrop. They took their Stooges influence that much more to heart, and it manifest in their sound in a real sense of danger that the whole thing would come apart, and then they took it further, and when it fell apart, they let it. It was a truer vision of stoner rock than most other purveyors of heavy riffs could conjure, and Holy Shit — recorded with the current lineup of Glass, bassist/backing vocalist Tom Davies and drummer Mike Amster (also AbramsBlaak Heat) with Matt Lynch of Snail at the helm of Mysterious Mammal Studios — plays out like a revival for that sensibility. The initial thrust of “Man’s Best Friend” feels like a callout to The Atomic Bitchwax, but it crashes at the halfway point to layered wah-solos and only makes its way into lyrics in its last minute, letting the audience know immediately to toss expectation out the airlock. Nebula are back.

“Messiah” follows and runs a thread of backing effects behind denser fuzz and repeated lines before turning to more of a shuffle, slowing again and then taking off in stoner-punk fashion en route to a fade and the bass and effects at the beginning of “It’s All Over,” which emphasizes that drift in its verse and digs in more for the title-line hook and then gets more brash in a freakout ahead of the final chorus. The subsequent “Witching Hour” would seem to play out in more straightforward fashion, but that might just be Stockholm syndrome to Nebula‘s quick turns and fuzz-drenched rhythmical nuance as the song resolves in a dramatic course of crashes and a plotted lead then shifts back into the central riff to end and bring about the 1:48 centerpiece “Fistful of Pills,” a Western jangle and chorus chant clearly intended as an interlude or otherwise just a departure from the proceedings thus far. It’s telling that the first four cuts on Holy Shit are all within the four-to-five-minute range and nothing on side B save for the penultimate “Let’s Get Lost” follows that pattern.

nebula

It’s not just about putting the rock songs up front, since GlassDavies and Amster get plenty weird in the opening salvo, but the palette would seem to expand nonetheless in the languid “Tomorrow Never Comes,” which is one of two songs over seven minutes long in kind with closer “The Cry of a Tortured World.” Between them, “Gates of Eden” reimagines sunshine psychedelia as motorcycle werewolves ravaging some desert town, and “Let’s Get Lost” resounds like a Black Flag moral judgment with Glass‘ rough vocal in an addled preach atop a bounding groove — again loose, again dangerous. He drawls over a highlight solo in the ultimate show of fuckall, and the song seems to fade out as the jam was coming to a natural conclusion anyway, their point well made in the 4:41 run that would seem to be the willful opposite of “Messiah” early — angel and devil perched on opposite shoulders, and so on. I’m not sure who ultimately wins that argument, if anyone.

Nebula‘s ability to make plotted parts sound like off-the-cuff exercises in vibe runs rampant throughout Holy Shit, and that’s much to the credit of the band itself as well as to Lynch as the producer capturing it. The dynamic between Davies and Glass is long-established — the bassist joined in 2003, following the release of Atomic Ritual — but Amster is new in the lineup as of this revitalization, which began in 2017, and one of the questions coming into the album was how his style would mesh with the guitar and bass. One can hear on “The Cry of a Tortured World” as the band sort of desert-dooms out in the chorus and pits acoustics and electric guitars against each other in the verses that the drums are very much the responsible party in terms of holding it together. The key though is to not have that conflict with the strings, and it doesn’t. Amster is a technique drummer, adaptable to different styles, but he balances precision and swing well in this material and Nebula only sounds like Nebula as a result.

In the meantime, Glass and Davies seem to be that much freer to explore effects, noisemaking and melodies as they will. It’s the stuff of classic power trios, so again, very much in Nebula‘s wheelhouse. I didn’t see another Nebula record coming. I’ll admit that. Amid years of rumors of rough addiction and fallouts and whatever else, I just didn’t think Nebula would happen again, but the fact of the matter is they were one of the most essential bands to shape what’s now considered heavy and/or desert rock, and their influence has spread not only over international borders, but over another generation of listeners who’ve emerged since they’ve been gone. They were a special band and they remain one. Whatever Holy Shit might lead to, if they do another record or just tour forever, or break up, or who knows, the fact that it exists only speaks to the band’s utter unpredictability, which has always been one of their greatest assets. You never knew what was coming from Nebula. You still don’t. That’s why it’s fun.

Nebula, “Man’s Best Friend” official video

Nebula, Holy Shit (2019)

Nebula on Thee Facebooks

Nebula on Instagram

Heavy Psych Sounds on Bandcamp

Heavy Psych Sounds website

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LowFlyingHawks to Release Anxious Ghosts EP on June 28

Posted in Whathaveyou on June 5th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

low flying hawks

The initials-only guitarist/vocalist duo of AAL and EHA who comprise the core of LowFlyingHawks — their kind-of-a-big-deal rhythm section happens to feature Trevor Dunn of Mr. Bungle and Dale Crover of the Melvins; which continues to be enough to make me wonder just who the hell these two dudes are, as that’s not a circle easily entered by those who weren’t already too cool for commerce in the ’90s — return with a new EP called Anxious Ghosts. I’ve heard literally none of it, but immediately the release seems to be a departure, what with the title in English — their debut album was 2016’s Kofuku (review here), which they answered the next year with Genkaku (review here) — and the artwork as well is a marked shift in style.

It raises the question, of course, as to whether or not the music on Anxious Ghosts will follow suit or if their atmospheric heavy post-rock/metal will continue the course the first two records laid out. Magnetic Eye, which has been behind the band all along, has the release this time around as well, and it’s somewhat telling of their approach as a whole that even though they’ve worked on relatively quick turnarounds to get stuff out and worked with some high-profile names in order to do so, there’s still a sense of mystique about the band and they still seem to be only a partially-known quantity.

Info on the release is minimal in terms of who recorded and all that kind of thing. Toshi Kasai did the last album, so if this is material from those sessions, he would’ve helmed it. Otherwise, could be anybody. Guess we’ll find out sooner or later.

It’s out June 28. To the tracklisting:

lowflyinghawks anxious ghosts

Brand new Low Flying Hawks EP that ranges from delicate moments of soft beauty to the crushing sludge we’ve come to love from this astonishing band featuring Dale Crover and Trevor Dunn.

1. Night Flight
2. Somewhere (Part 1)
3. Somewhere (Part 2)
4. Hollow Grasp
5. Doors to Nowhere

Releases June 28, 2019.

https://www.facebook.com/Lowflyinghawks-1626755734268513/
https://lowflyinghawks.bandcamp.com/releases
http://magneticeyerecords.merchnow.com/
https://www.facebook.com/MagneticEyeRecords
http://store.merhq.com/

Low Flying Hawks, Genkaku (2017)

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Diesel Boots Post “Whiskey ‘n’ Tears” Video & Release Debut Single

Posted in Whathaveyou on May 7th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

But for the people involved, Diesel Boots probably isn’t the kind of thing I’d generally post about. I’m not big on outlaw country, and there’s a bit of that amid the bluesiness of the debut single from the Los Angeles-based troupe headed by Collyn McCoy. But, McCoy is late of outfits like Aboleth and The Ultra Electric Mega Galactic and Trash Titan, and he’s playing on the single with Matt Lynch and Marty Dodson from Snail, so while it’s probably not the kind of thing i’m going to put on every Saturday afternoon from here until forever, it’s cool to hear these cats try out something different. And McCoy knows how to make a video. I’m pretty sure I saw Skillit (who drew my tattoo) vaping in there near the end. So that’s alright by me, man.

The info for the single follows here, and I’m posting both the Bandcamp stream and the video itself, because I like it when good people do things. Simple as that, folks.

Dig, y’all:

diesel boots

DIESEL BOOTS RELEASES VIDEO AND DEBUT SINGLE “WHISKY ‘N’ TEARS”

Diesel Boots is a singer/songwriter from the place where country and blues split a jug of whiskey on a moonless night. He was born Collyn McCoy (Aboleth, The Ultra Electric Mega Galactic) among the pines of New Hampshire. At the age of 22, he packed his Ford pickup and set out for Los Angeles, where his skills as a bassist and bottleneck guitarist made him an in-demand session musician and composer. As a sideman and leader he has toured the world playing everything from jazz to doom metal.

“Diesel Boots” was summoned by McCoy to battle his demons, both literal and figurative. Stylistically his music draws from Delta blues, country and psychedelic rock – equal parts Howlin’ Wolf, Townes Van Zandt and Roky Erickson. Performing as Diesel Boots forces him to plunge headlong into the depths of his own tragedies, misdeeds and mistakes to find hope within the darkness.

Diesel Boots’ debut single, “Whisky ‘n’ Tears” (as well as its B-side “This Is All I Have”) was recorded live to four-track at All Welcome Studios in Inglewood, CA. No overdubs, no edits — what you hear is what happened in the room. Providing booms and bangs were Matt Lynch (bass) and Marty Dodson (drums), both of the psychedelic doom juggernaut Snail. But weed-metal credentials aside, Dodson and Lynch are seasoned musicians with diverse professional resumes: Dodson is an esteemed blues drummer, having toured with everyone from James Harman to The Fabulous Thunderbirds. And Lynch is a well-regarded producer and engineer whose recent credits include Chicano Batman, Nebula and Duane Betts. Lynch captured the performance with a dirt-simple setup and mixed with minimal digital manipulation, as a harbinger to the full length record that is already underway.

The subject matter of “Whisky ‘n’ Tears” should be self-explanatory from the title: Like many blues songs, it addresses regret, loss, and the pain of a broken heart temporarily numbed by the contents of a whiskey glass. Sonically it recalls Muddy Waters, Jerry Reed, early Black Keys and Drive-By Truckers. Or, as producer Lynch described it, “like a possum roasted over the flames of your ex-wife’s belongings, garnished with gun powder, and washed down with a handle of Wild Turkey. “

For the video, Diesel Boots absconded to his local watering hole for a day-drinking session which was captured verite-style with cell phones to embody the same informal, of-the-moment vibe as the audio recording. Along with a colorful cast of regulars he brought along some friends to imbibe with, including Mariana Fiel (High Priestess), Keith Gibbs (Sasquatch), Trent Ramseyer (Whores of Tijuana), Corey Dean Little (Dirty Red), and lowbrow artist extraordinaire Skillit.

“Whisky ‘n’ Tears” can be streamed and downloaded on all the major digital platforms. A limited run of 100 CDs can be purchased on the Diesel Boots merch table and care of the official Bandcamp site, along with t-shirts, shot glasses and beard wax. Diesel and Lynch will continue to record the full length over the summer, aiming for a Fall 2019 release.

Credits:
Diesel Boots – slide guitar, vocals
Matt Lynch – bass guitar
Marty Dodson – drums
Corey Dean Little – backing vocals

Recorded live to four-track at All Welcome Studios, Inglewood, CA

Mixed and mastered by Matt Lynch (Mysterious Mammal Recording)

https://dieselboots.com
https://dieselboots.bandcamp.com
https://www.facebook.com/DieselBootsUSA
https://www.instagram.com/dieselbootsusa

Diesel Boots, “Whiskey ‘n’ Tears”

Diesel Boots, Whiskey ‘n’ Tears b/w This is All I Have (2019)

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Dommengang Touring East Coast with Dead Meadow; No Keys out May 17

Posted in Whathaveyou on April 26th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

dommengang (Photo by Christie Maclean)

If you haven’t yet told two friends about the badassery of Los Angeles three-piece Dommengang, now would be a good time. They’ve got a new record out next month called No Keys to follow-up on early 2018’s Love Jail (review here), with two new songs currently streaming — player below — and an upcoming East Coast tour alongside fuzzgaze mavens Dead Meadow that hits a few spots in the Northeast before jutting up into Canada and looping back through the Midwest en route home. It’s not the longest tour ever, but that’s all the more reason to show up, quite frankly.

Album is available for preorder, as the PR wire informs:

dommengang no keys

Dommengang touring the East Coast this spring with Dead Meadow

Dommengang’s No Keys out May 17th

A few short weeks ahead of the release of their new album No Keys, Dommengang have announced a tour throughout the U.S. east coast with Dead Meadow in June. Dommengang’s No Keys (out May 17th) channels the wailing, psych-rock abandon of their previous work into a lean, dark-edged record, colored by shared personal loss. Recorded with guitarist and engineer Tim Green (Joanna Newsom, Howlin’ Rain, Sleepy Sun, Fresh and Onlys, Golden Void), the album capture’s the trio’s spontaneous energy and restless spirit.

Dommengang’s spiritual home of LA makes its mark on No Keys. The songs are fit for the late-night drive into the California desert, a real and metaphorical escape for a rootless band always searching for a balance between the city and the rougher expanses of nature. It speaks to the explorer, and to the abandon of those willing to go all in. It is for the rocker giving it all, living out of a van, without a key to a permanent home.

Tracklisting:
1. Sunny Day Flooding
2. Earth Blues
3. Wild Wash
4. Stir The Sea
5. Blues Rot
6. Kudzu
7. Arcularius – Burke
8. Jerusalem Cricket
9. Happy Death (Her Blues II)

Dommengang tour dates:
May 16 – Long Beach, CA – Good Bar
May 17 – Los Angeles, CA – Zebulon
May 18 – Oceanside, CA – Pour House
May 19 – Landers, CA – Landers Brew
Jun. 5 – Washington, DC – Black Cat *
Jun. 6 – Philadelphia, PA – Underground Arts *
Jun. 7 – Brooklyn, NY – Bell House *
Jun. 8 – Boston, MA – Sonia *
Jun. 9 – Montreal, QC – Bar Le Ritz PDB *
Jun. 10 – Toronto, ON – Velvet Underground *
Jun. 12 – Cleveland, OH – Beachland Ballroom *
Jun. 13 – Chicago, IL – Empty Bottle *
* w/ Dead Meadow

Pre-order Dommengang’s No Keys:
https://thrilljockey.com/products/no-keys

https://www.facebook.com/dommengang/
https://dommengang.bandcamp.com/
http://www.thrilljockey.com/thrill/Dommengang/

Dommengang, No Keys

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Salem’s Bend Release Supercluster Next Month; New Song Streaming

Posted in Whathaveyou on April 17th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

salems bend

Take five minutes out of your busy day and get introduced to Salem’s Bend‘s new record, Supercluster, by streaming the track “Spaceduster” at the bottom of this post. It’s right on classic-style heavy rock, with natural tones and melodies and a vibe that stretches way outside the confines of its runtime. It is — as the kids once said — way cool, and its May 24 arrival will be preceded by a run of dates around the Los Angeles trio’s appearance earlier in May at Desertfest London 2019, for which they’ll join a lineup that itself is way outside the confines of the fuckwithable. Breaking free of confines all around it seems, and the hypnotic jammy feel of “Spaceduster” suits that intention well. It’s not long, and it doesn’t get lost in itself, but yeah, if you’ve got five minutes, do yourself a favor. These guys might just really be onto something here.

Dig it:

salems bend supercluster

SALEM’S BEND: LA-based Psych Trio to Release New Album, Supercluster | European Tour Kicks Off Next Month

Supercluster by Salem’s Bend is officially released on 24th May 2019 on Ripple Music

Ripple Music is thrilled to announce the release of Supercluster, the brand-new album from LA-based rock trio Salem’s Bend.

Cutting their teeth in various outfits over the years, after idly deciding to crawl into a garage one day, three unassuming dudes emerged into sunlight as a mighty hard rock triumvirate skilled in the execution of maximum Sabbath, Priest and Zeppelin worship…

…for on this day, Salem’s Bend was born.

Running an aural gamut of ’70s-sounding classic rock with the influence of melodic heavy-hitters from the contemporary realms of desert, doom metal, psych and stoner rock, the band coalesced in the summer of 2014 with the intention of turning heavy riffs into the catchiest of tunes. With seven songs eventually making the cut on what would become their self-titled debut, the trio earnestly self-released their efforts via Bandcamp, and in doing so caught the ear of Ripple Music. Garnering some early praise one reviewer commented on just how well the band managed to, “Forge their own searing, raucous guitars; intense, deep bass; and athletic, punctuated stickwork around some of the most intelligently interesting melodies to float through the stonersphere in quite some time.”

Salem’s Bend subsequently signed with Ripple, who gave their debut a worldwide release on vinyl, CD and digital in 2016. Since then, they have been taking their hard-hitting live performance on the road, touring every few months around the Western US and Canada and playing festivals such as SXSW, More Beers in Hell, Vantopia, and many more.

This May, thanks to the good folk and fellow Californians at Ripple, Supercluster – Salem’s Bend eagerly awaited follow-up to Salem’s Bend – will receive an official worldwide release on 24th May. In the meantime, you can stream and share new song ‘Spaceduster’ via Ripple Music and catch the band across Europe (see dates below) as they tour in support of the new record.

SALEM’S BEND EUROPEAN TOUR:
02/05 – TBA – Leeds, UK
03/05 – TBA – Birmingham, UK
04/05 – Desertfest – London, UK
08/05 – Muziekcentrum Kinky Star – Ghent, Belgium
09/05 – Don’t Panic Essen – Essen, Germany
10/05 – MTS Records – Oldenburg, Germany
11/05 – Stereo Wonderland – Cologne, Germany
12/05 – Db’S Utrech – Utrecht, Netherlands
13/05 – Pallieter Cafe – Herselt, Belgium

TRACK LISTING:
1. Spaceduster
2. Ride the Night
3. Catamount
4. Heavenly Manna
5. Winds of Ganymede
6. Show Me the Witch
7. Thinking Evil
8. Infinite Horizon

SALEM’S BEND:
Bobby Parker – Guitar, Vocals
Kevin Schofield – Bass, Vocals
Zach Huling – Drums

http://www.facebook.com/salemsbend
https://salemsbend.com/
http://ripplemusic.bigcartel.com/products

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