Galactic Cross Announce Self-Titled Debut LP Release Show for Jan. 31

Posted in Whathaveyou on November 13th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

galactic cross

I’m not actually sure how far back the roots of Galactic Cross stretch, but I could’ve sworn I saw somewhere on the social medias that their first live appearance was like 30 years in the making? If that’s the case, then I have no doubt it will have proven more than enough time to get a setlist together. The three-piece with none other than Dave Sherman (EarthrideWeed is Weed, etc.) on vocals and bass will make this live debut on Jan. 31, 2020, at Atlas Brew House in Washington, D.C., on what seems to be an evening of Frederick, Maryland, exports, with Mangog (featuring Bert Hall, Jr., of Revelation, and of an always masterful hat) and Spiral Grave, which is the new band from former members of Iron Man and Virginia’s Lord.

And though Spiral Grave‘s debut is also expected out sometime next year, it’s Galactic Cross for whom the show will serve as the release gig, as their self-titled debut long-player sees its vinyl issue, also awaited. I’m interested to hear it, as some of the studio clips have been intriguing to say the least.

Here’s the info from the event page:

galactic cross show poster.jp

Galactic Cross Vinyl Release Party

Friday, January 31, 2020 at Atlas Brew Works
2052 West Virginia Avenue North East, Washington, D.C.

Please come out and help celebrate Galactic Cross, as they release their debut, self titled album, and take the stage with friends, and local doom favorites Spiral Grave and Mangog.

Galactic Cross put their own blood, sweat, and tears into the making of this vinyl, and the proof can be heard in the finished product. Special thanks goes out to Brad Divens for mastering the material, and giving his special twist, that allowed it to be become the gem it transformed into.

Dave Davidson will be running sound for the event, and we hope to see you there.

Set Times:
Mangog – 8:00 – 8:45
Spiral Grave – 9:00 – 10:00
Galactic Cross – 10:15 – 11:45

https://www.facebook.com/MangogOfficial/

https://www.facebook.com/SpiralGrave/

https://www.facebook.com/galacticcross/

There will be a $10 cover at the door, and Galactic Cross will have vinyl, and logo tees onhand at the event.

Galactic Cross is:
Tony Saunders – Drums
Brian Virts – Guitar
Dave Sherman – Bass/vocals

https://www.facebook.com/events/2227404090890196/
https://www.facebook.com/galacticcross/

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Friday Full-Length: The Obsessed, Live at the Wax Museum

Posted in Bootleg Theater on November 8th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

First off, I like bootlegs. The act of putting yourself in the raw moment of seeing a band play via a sometimes rough recording from a microphone somewhere in the audience. You can hear people talking between the songs, and you can hear the band as they were from the stage — no cleanup, no mixing, nothing. Bootlegs are the truest of “warts and all” presentations for live music. I’ll take a soundboard recording, to be sure, and a good-sounding A+ boot is like a gift from the gods — thinking specifically of Black Sabbath‘s Asbury Park ’75 recording (discussed here), but of course there are many examples among live and studio unofficial releases — but there’s for sure an appeal to a harsher-audio bootleg. It’s a document of a moment that would otherwise be lost to time and memory.

They’re not for everyone, and that’s cool. If they’re not for you, you might want to move on, skip to the bottom part where I bitch about life or just go about your day or whatever. But if you count yourself among the number who can be entranced by such things, and you’re a fan of the band, then the pure aural force The Obsessed display on Live at the Wax Museum should be considered utterly essential. Recorded on July 3, 1983, it first showed up in 1992 as an unofficial release through Doom Records and it wasn’t until last year that The Church Within (fittingly enough) gave it its first official pressing, with a glow the dark cover and a CD encased in a DVD-style digipak, textured artwork and all. The Obsessed have had a few archival live offerings this decade, including Live at the Melkweg November 28th 1992 and Live Music Hall Köln December 29th 1992 in 2012 when the band first got back together, but Live at the Wax Museum has a different feel, its title giving it a sense of importance as a milestone for the band: that time they were in that place. Also distinguishing Live at the Wax Museum is the fact that it was recorded some nine years before those other shows, with guitarist Scott “Wino” Weinrich, bassist Mark Laue and drummer Dave Flood — who demolishes a drum solo in “Sister Sin” right around the middle of the set, igniting howls from the crowd — playing as intense as I’ve ever heard any incarnation of the band.

Across songs like “Concrete Cancer,” which is introduced during Wino‘s minimalist stage banter as an “old tune,” and “Touch of Everything” (a “dance tune”) and “Mental Kingdom” (a “brand new song”),

the obsessed live at the wax museum

along with 11 others for a total of 14 cuts plus an intro, The Obsessed absolutely tear into this show. There’s a minute-long intro from some preacher talking about how rock music is the devil and blah blah blah and then the three-piece rip into “Burning Gland” and there’s no going back. “Iron & Stone” and set-finale “Sodden Jackal” would show up in ’83 on the band’s first 7″ single following two should-probably-be-reissued demos — their 1984 Concrete Cancer demo was given a limited run by Relapse in 2017, so it’d be as simple as repackaging 1999’s Incarnate, I think — but what’s most striking about Live at the Wax Museum is the sheer intensity of it, and that’s something that comes through despite the rough audio. Because, let’s face it: it’s a bootleg. It ain’t a cleaned-up live record, or something that’s been remastered and remastered, the tape gone over with a fine-toothed comb to remove the static noise. It’s all there. You get to hear someone in the crowd after “Concrete Cancer” shout that “FM radio sucks!” — nothing changes — and someone else later call out for them to play some Sabbath after they nail “Mental Kingdom” — again, nothing changes — and if you’re in the right mindset listening, all of that feeds into the specific atmosphere of the release.

Maybe that’s an added academic or theoretical appeal, but Live at the Wax Museum has no shortage of highlight performance moments to go along with that, from the winding and chugging of “Failsafe” to the utterly indispensable “Neatz Brigade,” which is probably the catchiest hook Wino ever wrote — that’s a pretty vast pantheon of stuff between The ObsessedSpirit CaravanThe Hidden HandPremonition 13, and the sundry other units in which he’s been involved or led — but in terms of the way the verse builds tension for the chorus to open up and release, I can’t come up with a match for it. Especially not listening to it as it appears here. Certainly the catchiest The Obsessed tune, at the very least, and one that, 36 years later, you’re still pretty much guaranteed to see them play at every show. With good reason.

I wasn’t there in 1983 for this show. I was going on two, so let’s assume I wouldn’t have been able to make it even if I’d been aware of it, or, say, anything. But having Live at the Wax Museum as not just proof that it happened but kind of a glimpse at who The Obsessed were at the time and how much their miraculously-not-punk grit and working-class disaffection flew in the face of the burgeoning grandeur of the NWOBHM is not only helpful in explaining who they were at the time and how they earned the reputation they’ve long enjoyed, but also just a badass-sounding recording of a raw three-piece working to shape what we now know as Maryland doom. Hell yes that gets multiple spins from me.

The history of The Obsessed is tumultuous and ongoing, but their long absence ended in 2012 and in 2017, they produced the LP Sacred (review here), their first new album in some 23 years. They’ve been touring steadily for it since. They did Muddy Roots in Tennessee in August, Descendants of Crom III in Pittsburgh in September, last weekend were at Cafe 611 — home of Maryland Doom Fest — with Spiral Grave and others, and will travel to California next Spring for Psycho Smokeout. So yes, keeping busy. I don’t know if they’re planning another record or what, but they’ve got plenty of time to keep aligned with their every-two-decades pace, and I’m happy to see them play whenever the opportunity presents itself. Hearing Live at the Wax Museum only underscores why.

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

New merch is out. Including sweatpants.

Get it here: https://mibk.bigcartel.com/products

And thank you for your support.

Today is also a new episode of The Obelisk Show on Gimme Radio. The first new one in more than a month. You hopefully already saw the playlist. It’s on at 1PM Eastern.

Listen on the Gimme app or here: http://gimmeradio.com

And thanks again for your support.

While I’m indulging shameless plugs, I’ll be at Ode to Doom tomorrow in Manhattan, presented in part by this site. Horehound, Thunderbird Divine, Mantismass and Iron Rider are playing.

Event page is here: https://www.facebook.com/events/298666037420426/

And hey, thanks for your support.

Before you say it, I know Slayer and Primus are at MSG tomorrow night. In the hallowed halls of the Knicks and Billy Joel. Cough. I won’t ever tell you not to go see Primus, and I get that it’s Slayer’s alleged farewell tour, but yeah. Seems like as regards Slayer, I’ve got my memories of seeing them destroy, and I’d rather make new memories than relive old ones. So I’ll be at Arlene’s Grocery. I’m not telling you you’re wrong for being nostalgic — Primus are one of my all-time favorite bands; I’ve loved Primus since I was single digits, and I’ve loved seeing them every chance I’ve had — or trying to get while the getting’s good, but yeah. I’ve never seen Thunderbird Divine, or Mantismass, or Iron Rider, and Horehound rule, so I’ll take the lower key option and be grateful for it.

This weekend is also my sister’s birthday, so we’re doing family dinner tonight because I’ll be out tomorrow — not at all the first time I’ve rescheduled such things for a show; these people are very indulgent, these relatives of mine — and then I guess other whatnot over the course of the next couple days that I’m sure will be good.

That’s fine. It was a shit week. They all are. I spent most of it overthinking food, yelling at a two-year-old, feeling bad for yelling at a two-year-old, getting hit, kicked and bit at various points, being wrong about fucking everything, going back and forth with homeowners insurance, waiting for the other shoe to drop that will make us have to move again and daydreaming about being dead. In any case, a little time out of my head is welcome.

Thanks to everyone who has added a list so far to the end-of-decade poll. If that’s not you, I humbly point you to the form to do so here. Include whatever you want. Have fun with it.

I think that’s the last of the plugs.

Well, unless you count all the stuff for next week. Monday is that Ode review, plus a stream of the new Midas EP. Tuesday a Canyon of the Skull album stream. Wednesday an Onhou album stream — dark, dark, dark that one is. Thursday a track premiere and review of the new Solace record that I should probably just start writing now to get it done in time. Next Friday a Czar track premiere. Whole week, nailed down. Most of the week after as well. Busy times for being the “off season” in rock and roll, but it usually is, so fair enough.

Gonna try to get my head into the day to come (still early as I write) and probably fail miserably, as I so, so often do.

Great and safe weekend. Forum, radio and NEW merch.

The Obelisk Forum

The Obelisk Radio

The Obelisk merch

 

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Maryland Doom Fest 2020 Announces Full Lineup

Posted in Whathaveyou on October 31st, 2019 by JJ Koczan

maryland doom fest 2020 banner

In the immortal words of one Peter Steele: Happy Halloween, baby. Those playing along at home know that today means one thing to the realms of doom, and it’s that it’s time for Maryland Doom Fest to unveil next year’s lineup. Maryland Doom Fest 2020 has some significant shoes to fill in following up this year’s, which of course was held in June in Frederick, Maryland, and they’ve lined up a full four-dayer onslaught to make a go of it.

Headlining sets from Cirith UngolBlood CeremonySpeedealer and Mondo Generator, with direct killage from The SkullVictor Griffin‘s Death Row Assembly (this will be incredible, especially there), Witch Mountain and Sorcerer, the fest is pretty much blowing its own prior reach out of the water. I’ll especially look forward to Arduini/Balich and hope that this performance accompanies a new album, but return appearances from The Age of TruthBailjackEarthride (yes!), Shadow WitchSpiral GraveKnoxxville and Helgamite will be awesome as well, and I’ve no doubt the likes of Vessel of Light, Galactic Cross (with Dave Sherman of Earthride), YatraBlack LungPlainrideCavernMolasses BargeAdmiral BrowningBlack RoadPoobahOmen Stones and Crystal Spiders will be made to feel welcome into the MDDF family vibe, at least those who aren’t already a part of it. I guess particularly in the case of Admiral Browning, it’s more like family reunion.

Keeping with the festival’s no-dragged-out-staggered-announcements spirit, I’ll be up front about this: it’s gonna be a good ‘un. You should do whatever you need to do to make it happen.

Check it:

maryland doom fest 2020 poster

MARYLAND DOOM FEST Announces 2020 Lineup: June 18-21 – Feat. CIRITH UNGOL, BLOOD CEREMONY, MONDO GENERATOR, SPEEDEALER + MORE! EarlyBird Sales Start Dec. 17!

The Maryland Doom Fest celebrates its 6th anniversary next June and today brings you its confirmed roster of over 50 of today’s heaviest bands to hit its stages in 2020.

Maryland Doom Fest brings both U.S. and international artists from all over the map into Frederick, MD for a full four days of mayhem, featuring the legendary Cirith Ungol and Blood Ceremony, to Speedealer and Mondo Generator set to headline the four nights of top shelf doom metal and heavy underground sounds! This year includes more than fifty bands to cover every dark and dank corner of metal subgenres across every inch of the stage from start to finish each night.

A few words from JB Matson, founder and organizer of The Maryland Doom Fest:

“I simply could not be more excited about the fifty-plus band roster for the Maryland Doom Fest’s 6th annual show in 2020!! This will be a splendid #4daysofdoom!!!”

We invite all to become part of the family at the Maryland Doom Fest 2020 weekend events! Please support the Doom and Heavy Music scene and come share in this epic event with us. We will see you at #4daysofdoom!!

THE MARYLAND DOOM FEST 2020

CIRITH UNGOL + BLOOD CEREMONY + SPEEDEALER + MONDO GENERATOR

THE SKULL + SORCERER + DEATH ROW ASSEMBLY + WITCH MOUNTAIN

Ol’ Time Moonshine + Arduini/Balich + Dirt Eater + Switchblade Jesus
Doperider + Condenados + Cultic + Yatra + Bailjack + Poobah
Earthride + Black Lung + Jake The Hawk + Black Road + Warmask
Admiral Browning + Sourpuss + Molasses Barge + Thunderbird Divine
Dust Prophet + Wolftooth + Vessel Of Light + Wrath Of Typhon + Spiral Grave
Plainride + Mangog + Cavern + Galactic Cross + Shadow Witch + Burgan
Akris + Plague Wielder + The Age Of Truth + Knoxxville + The Astral Void
Serpents Of Secrecy + Omen Stones + Crystal Spiders + Helgamite
VRSA + Conclave + Et Mors + Strange Highways + Alms + Dyerwulf

June 18th – 21st, 2020 + Frederick, MD

www.marylanddoomfest.com

Early Bird Discount tickets are available from December 17th through 31st.

Standard ticket sales start January 2020.

RSVP: https://www.facebook.com/events/827407774319811/

https://www.facebook.com/events/827407774319811/
https://www.facebook.com/MdDoomFest/
https://www.instagram.com/marylanddoomfest/
www.marylanddoomfest.com

Cirith Ungol, “I’m Alive” live at Up the Hammers Festival 2017

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Grim Reefer Fest 2020 Announces Date; Lineup Coming Soon

Posted in Whathaveyou on October 31st, 2019 by JJ Koczan

grim reefer fest logo

It should probably (and hopefully) go without saying that the bigger story here will be when Grim Reefer Fest 2020 actually announces its lineup, but that’s not until Nov. 21 and maybe you, like me, enjoy making plans in advance. Though it’s been traditionally held on April 20 going back to its time operating under the banner of Stoned to Death, next year will find Grim Reefer taking place on April 18, once again at The Ottobar. It’s okay, you’re allowed to get high on two days in April, though I say that with zero knowledge of where legalization stands in Maryland.

Just checked: medical, yes, less than 10 grams decrim. There you go. Homework done for you.

So yeah, it’s April 18. Fine. Who do you think will play? Well, Haze Mage run the thing, and they seem to have played all the years, so it’s their party, I wouldn’t be surprised to find them taking part. And Heavy Temple have done at least the last two editions of the gathering as well, so maybe a return and maybe not from the Philly trio, but rest assured, no matter who’s ultimately involved, there will be riffs, there will be volume, and if you, I don’t know, trip and fall maybe?, there will be blood.

Oh, there’ll be a food truck! That’s fun too.

Date reveal was quick and to the point:

grim reefer fest 2020 dates

Are you ready for next year’s fest? Because we sure are! Join us for the 4th annual Grim Reefer Fest on 4.18.20 at the Ottobar ! The full lineup will be announced next month on 11.21.19!

https://www.facebook.com/events/1016565088689615/

Are you ready to get grim? Because we sure are! Join us for the 4th annual Grim Reefer Fest on 4.18.20 at the legendary Ottobar in Baltimore, MD!

A full day of incredible live music, a food truck, and heavy riffs to keep you in the right head space!

The full lineup will be announced next month on 11.21.19! Help spread the word and get hyped!

Logo design by Ghostbat

https://www.facebook.com/events/1016565088689615/
https://www.facebook.com/GrimReeferFest/
https://www.instagram.com/GrimReeferFest/
http://www.grimreeferfest.com/
http://www.theottobar.com/
https://www.facebook.com/hazemage/

Heavy Temple, Live at Grim Reefer Fest 2019

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Yatra Begin Next Round of US Tour Dates on Halloween

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

yatra (photo by JJ Koczan)

At this point, Baltimorean extreme-ish sludge three-piece Yatra tour with a frequency that makes one only hope they really get along as human beings in addition to, you know, being a good band. Otherwise, that’s an awful lot of time to spend together. With a new album in some stage of completion — mixed? mastered? in the can? at the press? promo just came down the PR wire? wouldn’t that be a fun coincidence of timing if it were true (it isn’t)? — and recently signed to STB Records for its release, the trio just wrapped a European stint that included stops at Desertfest Belgium, Into the Void, and Høstsabbat (review here), where both they and their tourmates in Polish prog-heavies Sunnata properly killed.

Not a group to rest on laurels or rest, period, Yatra will embark next week on a new round of touring, this time playing dates with — among others — StonecuttersDestroyer of Light and Black Tusk as they cut a pretty broad swath across the Midwest and Southeast. The tour isn’t actually all that long by the standard of some they’ve done, but looks like a pretty fair bit of geographical ground to cover in less than two weeks of every-night shows — a Nov. 4 TBD notwithstanding; someone better call Vegas Rock Revolution and get them on the case — while still saying South-centric. I wouldn’t be surprised if they were back out in January either, or if they snuck in a couple shows around the coming holidays. Because that’s how they do.

Hoping for actual release news soon about their record, but till then, here are the dates:

yatra tour

Alright ‘merica we are back inside you!…..

This lil U.S. tour starts next week! Playing with some rad bands in awesome places! Stoked to get back in the van again!

YATRA needs to fill one date on this tour! November 4th! Somewhere between SLC and Pheonix (thinking Vegas or Flagstaff)! Any booking help or info on shows we could hop on would be rad! Thanx!

Check it…..!

YATRA live:
10/31 Louisville KY Magbar
11/01 Witchita KS Barleycorns
11/02 Denver CO 7th Circle
11/03 Salt Lake City UH Urban Lounge
11/04 TBD
11/05 Phoenix AZ Yucca Tap Room
11/06 Taos NM Taos Mesa Brewery
11/07 Austin TX The Lost Well
11/08 Memphis TN B-Sides
11/09 Greenville SC Gottrocks
11/10 Baltimore MD Metro Gallery

YATRA:
Dana Helmuth – guitars/vocals
Maria Geisbert – bass
Mike Tull – drums

http://www.facebook.com/yatradoom
https://www.instagram.com/yatra_doom
https://yatradoom.bandcamp.com
http://stbrecords.bigcartel.com/
https://www.facebook.com/STB-Records-471228012921184/

Yatra, Death Ritual (2019)

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Quarterly Review: Russian Circles, War Cloud, Here Lies Man, Book of Wyrms, Möyhy-Veikot, Darsombra, Set Fire, Jesus the Snake, Föllakzoid, Dresden Wolves

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

quarterly review

Had to take a second this morning to get my email back under 100 unread. It currently stands at 95. There’s just something about being in triple digits that I can’t stand. Press releases and stuff I can usually file right away since not everything’s relevant to the site, etc., but that’s all stuff that either wants follow-up or could be a factor here if there was time. I do my best to try to keep up. And I fail, consistently.

The tradeoff, of course, is I spend that time writing reviews and other stuff for the site. Today’s hump day when we pass the halfway mark of the Fall 2019 Quarterly Review, and we’re doing it in absolutely all-over-the-place style, so all the better. Some pretty familiar names today, but some that might not be as well, so whatever your poison, I hope you enjoy the picking.

Quarterly Review #21-30:

Russian Circles, Blood Year

russian circles blood year

There’s simply no denying the force behind the depths and swell of a song like “Kohokia” on Russian Circles‘ latest offering, Blood Year (Sargent House), and though one knows what to expect to some degree from the Chicago heavy post-rockers at this point in their career, they seem to be doing all they can to deliver their instrumental progressions with energy to match the breadth of the spaces and the heft they conjure. Like 2016’s Guidance (review here), the seven-track/39-minute Blood Year — was recorded with Kurt Ballou, whom the trio imported to their hometown to work at Electrical Audio (aka Steve Albini‘s stomping ground) instead of traveling to Massachusetts to track at Ballou‘s Godcity. If it was the long-famed drum sound of Electrical Audio that they wanted and the live feel that so many of the recordings done there have, they got both, so mark it a success and another notch in the belt of one of the heavy underground’s most immersive and evocative outfits. Their building and releasing of tension is second to none and moves into the spiritual by the time they even get to side B, let alone through it.

Russian Circles on Thee Facebooks

Sargent House website

 

War Cloud, State of Shock

war cloud state of shock

Oh, the riffs you’ll gallop. Oakland, California’s War Cloud skirt the line between classic thrash and heavy rock and roll on their second album for Ripple Music, State of Shock, and from the sound of things, they have a good time doing it. The record’s not much over a half-hour long, which is as it should be for this kind of party, and they toy a bit with the balance between their two sides on a rocker like “Do Anything” or the subsequent “Means of Your Defeat” on side B, but the main crux of State of Shock and certainly the impression it makes off the bat with “Striker” and “White Lightning” up front ahead of the six-minute that-moment-when-ThinLizzy-turned-into-IronMaiden “Dangerous Game” is one of homage to the metal of yore, and in following-up the band’s 2017 self-titled debut (review here), it’s a showcase of energy and craft alike as two guitars shred, chug, groove and charge through the material. If they were from the Eastern Seaboard, I’d say something about getting caught in a mosh. As it stands, I’ll go with urging you to jump in the fire instead. Horns up, either way.

War Cloud on Thee Facebooks

Ripple Music website

 

Here Lies Man, No Ground to Walk Upon

here lies man no ground to walk upon

They should’ve just called it an album. Yeah, it would be short at 26 or so minutes, but it’s got everything you’d want from a full-length, and if they’d put a four-minute jam or something on it, they’d have been there anyhow. In any case, Los Angeles’ Afrobeat-infused heavy psych rockers Here Lies Man present seven tracks of dug-in glory with No Ground to Walk Upon (on RidingEasy), continuing to build on the potential shown across their first two LPs, 2017’s self-titled debut (review here) and last year’s You Will Know Nothing (review here), even as they swagger their way through a groove like “Long Legs (Look Away)” and show their continued forward potential. They continue to be a special band — the kind of band who doesn’t just come along every day and who shouldn’t be overlooked during their time, because maybe they’ll be around 30 years and maybe they won’t, but what they’re doing now is bringing something wholly individual to a heavy context. They’ve already proven influential to some degree, but listening to No Ground to Walk Upon cuts like the dream-keyed “Iron Rattles” and the opening strut-into-drone of “Clad in Silver,” one wonders if they wouldn’t be more so if people weren’t too afraid to try to pull this thing off. Hard to argue with that, since more likely than not most couldn’t.

Here Lies Man on Thee Facebooks

RidingEasy Records website

 

Book of Wyrms, Remythologizer

Book of Wyrms Remythologizer

I won’t take anything away from the eight-minute “Blacklight Warpriest” earlier in the offering, but the highlight of Book of Wyrms‘ second album, Remythologizer (on Twin Earth & Stoner Witch Records) has to be the closing “Dust Toad,” which at 9:25 is the longest track and the slowest crawl included. Led into by the synth-infused “Curse of the Werecop,” it takes the crunch that showed itself through opener “Autumnal Snow” and, later, the melody and swing of “Undead Pegasus” — as seen on the cover art — and brings them together in order to perfectly summarize the doom rocking ethic the Richmond, Virginia, four-piece are working from. Tonally righteous and more solvent in their songwriting than they were on their 2017 debut, Sci-Fi/Fantasy (review here), the band sound assured as they move in “Spirit Drifter” from a standout keyboard line to a likewise standout guitar solo, giving a feeling of progressive nuance that’s continuing to take hold in their sound, balanced by the underlying naturalism of their approach. That dynamic continues to duke it out on Remythologizer, much to the benefit of anyone who takes the record on.

Book of Wyrms on Thee Facebooks

Twin Earth Records on Bandcamp

Stoner Witch Records BigCartel store

 

Möyhy-Veikot, Huume Jet Set Life

moyhy-veikot huume jet set life

Too weird for planet earth and, well, probably too weird for anywhere else too, Helsinki psych-space-kraut-whathaveyou experimentalists issue their third tape in the form of Huume Jet Set Life and whether it’s the cosmo-jamming on “MITÄ ON TULLUT VEDETTYÄ?” or the who-the-hell-knows-what-ism of “MEDIA-AJOJAHTI 2000,” the band at no point fail to make an impression of being out there in the far gone far out there reaches of the far out there. Talkin’ freaked out next level total, like the cassette just fell into the atmosphere to represent some other planet’s culture where things are both dangerous and interesting and you never really know if you’re going to get laid or eaten or both. Still, they may be doing math of the likes not yet conceived by humanity, but Möyhy-Veikot go about it in suitably friendly if totally over-the-top fashion, and it’s fun to play along while also being completely overwhelmed at the various pushes and pulls happening all at once, the media samples and the Windows 95 compatibility of it all. It’s one small step for man, one giant leap for disco.

Möyhy-Veikot on Thee Facebooks

Möyhy-Veikot on Bandcamp

 

Darsombra, Transmission

Darsombra Transmission

It’s just lovely. Really. In some ways it feels like the 41:20 single-track full-length Transmission — self-released, no less — is what Baltimore ambient exploratory two-piece Darsombra have been building toward all along, but I think the truth is they probably could’ve done this at any time if they’d chosen to do so. Still, the fluidity of “Transmission” itself is something special, with its cascades of manipulated voice, riffs that swell and recede, loops, synth and somehow-manifested light that are as much immersion for the spirit as the eardrum. One doesn’t want to dive too deep into hyperbole and oversell it to the point of dulling the listener’s own impression, but Transmission is the kind of record that even those who profess to never “get” drone or noise offerings can engage with. Part of that is owed to Brian Daniloski‘s guitar, which provides landmarks along the path of swirl conjured by his own effects and the synth from Ann Everton (both add vocals where applicable; don’t look for lyrics or verses) that allow those who’d take it on to do so more easily. But the real joy in Transmission is letting go and allowing the piece to carry you along its progressive course, genuine in its reaching for the unknown. Plus there’s a gong, and that’s always fun too. Go with it.

Darsombra on Thee Facebooks

Darsombra on Bandcamp

 

Set Fire, Traya

set fire traya

Traya is the third three-song full-length from Boston’s Set Fire, and it would seem that, and in addition to marking the last recording to feature drummer Rob Davol, who’s since been replaced by Josh Cronin, it would seem to show the three-piece nailing their sound of classic-tinged duet-fronted heavy rock and roll. With two powerhouse vocalists on board in guitarist Jim Healey (We’re all Gonna Die, Black Thai, etc.) and keyboardist Jess Collins (ex-Mellow Bravo), they work in varying arrangements across a meager 12-minute run that feels short mostly because it is short. Too short. “Any Place Left” puts Collins in the foreground, while “Sacred Song” is more Healey‘s, and unsurprisingly to anyone who’s experienced their past work either together or separate, they’re more than able to carry the material — only more so with the other party backing. “Waves” brings them together around theatrical layers of piano and keyboard and guitar, and that they manage to hold it steady at all, let alone take flight as it does, speaks to how ready they are to embark on a longer offering. Put out an album, already, would ya?

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Set Fire on Bandcamp

 

Jesus the Snake, Black Acid, Pink Rain

Jesus the Snake Black Acid Pink Rain

For those feeling adventurous, Portugal’s Jesus the Snake follow-up their 2017 self-titled EP (review here) with the unmitigated warmth of Black Acid, Pink Rain, their live-recorded full-length debut. And for the sort of heavy psych-jazz-prog meandering, one would almost expect the organ-laced instrumentalist four-piece to track the record as they perform it, if not front-to-back then certainly one song at a time across multiple takes. Not one piece of the five total on the 49-minute offering is under eight minutes long, and sandwiched between opener “Karma” (10:28) and the closing title-track (10:55) are three cuts circa nine that prove no less hypnotic. The beginning of “Floyds I” is so fluid with the interplay of organ and guitar that one almost expects a gentle Portuguese spoken word verse to start, but of course one never does. Instead, Jesus the Snake complement mindful drift with flashes of more weighted or active fare, all the while holding to a central vibe that is peaceful even as “Duna” finds its chill before the halfway point, with no loss of spirit in the process.

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Jesus the Snake on Bandcamp

 

Föllakzoid, I

follakzoid i

As with any kind of sonic minimalism or release based around trance induction — see Darsombra above — there’s a certain amount of buy-in that needs to happen on the listener’s side. Accordingly, those going into the fourth LP from Chilean duo Föllakzoid, titled I and issued through Sacred Bones Records as a double-vinyl, should be aware that it’s requires that kind of interaction from one side to the other. It’s not especially loud or abrasive, or even demanding in terms of the basic sonics of the thing, but as “I” becomes “II” becomes “III” becomes “IIII” and the songs such as they are alternate between 17- and 13-minute runtimes and the blend of effects and electro beats tips to one side or the other — “II” with a fervent ‘ump-tis’ in its early going while “III” brings a more Vangelis-style cinematic wash — of course there’s an ask in terms of indulgence happening on the part of the two-piece to their audience. Whether an individual is willing to make that jump is obviously going to be up to their headspace and where they’re at, but Föllakzoid‘s work here is more than worth the investment, even for those less familiar with their methods.

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Sacred Bones Records website

 

Dresden Wolves, Hiedra – Sencillo

dresden wolves Hiedra Sencillo

The sub-three-minute “Hiedra – Sencillo” is the latest in an ongoing series of digital offerings from Mexico City’s Dresden Wolves, and though the two-piece band bill themselves as post-punk and they may actually have a history in playing punk rock — stranger things have happened, certainly — the song finds them working in a taut heavy rock context, brash in delivery but not overly so as to lose the overarching swagger they seem intent on conveying. Particularly as it follows behind two EPs and a swath of other single tracks, and is offered name-your-price through their Bandcamp, “Hiedra – Sencillo” feels like its most nefarious aim is to hook anyone who’d click play on first listen and try and keep them intrigued for next time out. Fair enough. I won’t profess to know what Dresden Wolves‘ plans are, but they’ve got songwriting in their pocket and the production on “Hiedra – Sencillo” is crisp and clear enough to convey the heft of the guitar but not so much so as to dull its rawer aspects. They’ve got the balance ready to go, whatever they might choose to do with it from here.

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Dresden Wolves on Bandcamp

 

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Clutch Announce Annual Holiday Tour

Posted in Whathaveyou on September 30th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

You think by the time Clutch get to Starland Ballroom on Dec. 30 they’ll have any of those vinyl singles left from the Weathermaker Vault Series they’ve been doing? Could go either way, right? I wouldn’t mind finding out though. It’s been a minute since I saw Clutch on one of their annual holiday tours — my fault, not theirs; they do it every year — and as I haven’t gone to pay homage to the groove masters in a little while, it seems only fair to think of myself as due for a good Clutch gig. Might be fun. Philly on New Year’s Eve might be fun too, as I recall it was in 2011 when they rung in 2012 with Earthride and the trio incarnation of Corrosion of Conformity supporting. This time around it’ll be The Steel Woods and Damon Johnson, so yes, a different vibe, but as has been well established, Clutch have no trouble crossing over from one audience to another. They seem to be welcome wherever they go, and for good reason.

The PR wire has the dates:

clutch holiday tour poster

CLUTCH ANNOUNCE ANNUAL US HOLIDAY RUN TOUR DATES

DECEMBER 27th – DECEMBER 31st 2019

Clutch announce December 2019 tour dates for their annual US Holiday Run Tour. The tour kicks off December 27th at Bogarts in Cincinnati, OH and ends with a special New Years Eve show at Union Transfer in Philadelphia, PA. Main support on all dates will be The Steel Woods from Nashville, TN. Damon Johnson, guitarist/singer songwriter will open all shows except Asheville, NC. Our good friends Tyler Bryant and the Shakedown will open the Asheville, NC show.

Tickets go on sale this Saturday, September 28th at noon ET via www.pro-rock.com.

Clutch Annual Holiday Tour Dates:

Fri/Dec-27 Cincinnati, OH @ Bogarts
Sat/Dec-28 Asheville, NC @ Orange Peel (support from Tyler Bryant and the Shakedown)
Sun/Dec-29 Washington, DC @ 9:30 Club
Mon/Dec-30 Sayreville, NJ @ Starland Ballroom
Tue/Dec-31 Philadelphia, PA @ Union Transfer (New Years Eve Show)

Over the past few months, the band has been releasing a series of new studio recordings that comprise the newly launched Weathermaker Vault Series. This is the first new official music Clutch is making available since the release of their critically acclaimed album, Book Of Bad Decisions.

The first three singles (Evil, Precious And Grace, and Electric Worry) were mixed by 6X Grammy Award winner and Clutch collaborator, Vance Powell (Wolfmother, The Raconteurs, Arctic Monkeys) and are available now on all digital platforms.

Clutch is currently on a US Fall Tour with Dropkick Murphys along with metalcore veterans Hatebreed as direct support.

Clutch Fall Tour with Dropkick Murphys:
(headline** and festival* dates) = no Dropkick Murphys.
Clutch headline ** show support below.

Mon/Sep-30 Chicago, IL @ Aragon
Tue/Oct-01 Minneapolis, MN @ The Myth
Thu/Oct-03 Moorhead, MN @ Bluestem Center For The Arts
Fri/Oct-04 Council Bluffs, IA @ Westfair Amphitheatre
Sat/Oct-05 Broomfield, CO @ FirstBank Center
Sun/Oct-06 Salt Lake City, UT @ The Union
Tue/Oct-08 Los Angeles, CA @ The Palladium
Wed/Oct-09 San Diego, CA @ Park at the Park
*Fri/Oct-11 Sacramento, CA @ Aftershock Festival
**Sat/Oct-12 Bend, OR @ Midtown Theater (support: Red Fang, Mos Generator)
**Sun/Oct-13 Eugene, OR @ McDonald Theater (support: Red Fang, Mos Generator)
Mon/Oct-14 Boise, ID @ Outlaw Field at Idaho Botanic Gardens
Tue/Oct-15 Seattle, WA @ WAMU Theatre

** = HEADLINE SHOW
* = FESTIVAL

CLUTCH:
Neil Fallon – Vocals/Guitar
Tim Sult – Guitar
Dan Maines – Bass
Jean-Paul Gaster – Drums/Percussion

www.facebook.com/clutchband
www.instagram.com/clutchofficial
www.twitter.com/clutchofficial
www.pro-rock.com
www.youtube.com/user/officialclutch

Clutch, “Electric Worry (2019)” official video

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Quarterly Review: Monkey3, Asthma Castle, The Giraffes, Bask, Faerie Ring, Desert Sands, Cavalcade, Restless Spirit, Children of the Sün, Void King

Posted in Reviews on September 30th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

quarterly review

Call two friends and tell them to tell two friends to tell two friends, because the Quarterly Review has returned. This time around, it’s 50 records front to back for Fall 2019 and there are some big names and some smaller names and a whole lot of in between which is just how I like it. Between today and Friday, each day 10 album reviews will be posted in a single batch like this one, and although by Wednesday this always means I’m totally out of my mind, it’s always, always, always worth it to be able to write about so much cool stuff. So sit tight, because there’s a lot to get through and, as ever, time’s at a premium.

Thanks in advance for keeping up, and I hope you find something you dig.

Quarterly Review #1-10:

Monkey3, Sphere

monkey3 sphere

It’s a full-on Keanu Reeves “whoa” when opening track “Spirals” kicks in on Monkey3‘s sixth album, Sphere (released by Napalm), and that’s by no means the last one on the cinematic six-tracker. The long-running Swiss mostly-instrumentalists have been consistently, persistently underappreciated throughout their career, but whether it’s the aural scope of guitar and keys in “Axis” or the swaps between intensity and sprawl in 14-minute closer “Ellipsis,” their latest work is consuming in its sense of triumph. Even the four-minute “Ida,” which seems at first like it’s barely going to be more than an interlude, finds a thread of majestic cosmic groove and rides it for the duration, while the proggy immersion of “Prism” and the harder drive of “Mass” — not to mention that shredding solo — make the middle of the record anything but a post-hypnosis dip. I won’t pretend to know if Sphere is the record that finally gets the Lausanne four-piece the respect they’ve already well deserved, but if it was, one could only say it was for good reason. Blends of heft, progressive craft, and breadth are rarely so resonant.

Monkey3 on Thee Facebooks

Napalm Records website

 

Asthma Castle, Mount Crushmore

Asthma Castle Mount Crushmore

When you call your record Mount Crushmore, you need to bring it, and much to their credit, Baltimorean sludge-rocking five-piece Asthma Castle do precisely that on their debut full-length. Issued through Hellmistress Records, the 37-minute/six-track outing is a wordplay-laced pummeler that shows as much persona in its riffing and massive groove as it does in titles like “The Incline of Western Civilization” and “The Book of Duderonomy.” Trades between early-Mastodonic twists and lumbering sludge crash add a frenetic and unpredictable feel to pieces like the title-track, while “Methlehem” trades its plod for dual-guitar antics punctuated by metallic double-kick, all the while the vocals trade back and forth between growls, shouts, cleaner shouts, the odd scream, etc., because basically if you can keep up with it, Asthma Castle wouldn’t be doing their job. One shudders to think of the amount of Natty Bo consumed during its making, but Mount Crushmore is a wild and cacophonous enough time to live up to the outright righteousness of its title. If I graded reviews, it would get a “Fuckin’ A+,” with emphasis on “fuckin’ a.”

Asthma Castle on Thee Facebooks

Hellmistress Records website

 

The Giraffes, Flower of the Cosmos

the giraffes flower of the cosmos

Some day the world will wake up and realize the rock and roll powerhouse it had in Brooklyn’s The Giraffes, but by then it’ll be too late. The apocalypse will have happened long ago, and it’ll be Burgess Meredith putting on a vinyl of Flower of the Cosmos in the New York Library as “FAKS” echoes out through the stacks of now-meaningless tomes and the dust of nuclear winter falls like snow outside the windows. The band’s tumultuous history is mirrored in the energy of their output, and yet to hear the melody and gentle fuzz at the outset of “Golden Door,” there’s something soothing about their work as well that, admittedly, “Raising Kids in the End Times” is gleeful in undercutting. Cute as well they pair that one with “Dorito Dreams” on this, their seventh record in a 20-plus-year run, which has now seen them find their footing, lose it, find it again, and in this record and songs like the masterfully frenetic “Fill up Glass” and the air-tight-tense “Like Hate” and “Romance,” weave a document every bit worthy of Mr. Meredith’s attention as he mourns for the potential of this godforsaken wasteland. Oh, what we’ll leave behind. Such pretty ruins.

The Giraffes website

The Giraffes on Bandcamp

 

Bask, III

bask iii

In the fine tradition of heavy rock as grown-up punk, North Carolina’s Bask bring progressive edge and rolling-Appalachian atmospherics to the underlying energy of III, their aptly-titled and Season of Mist-issued third album. Their foot is in any number of styles, from Baroness-style noodling to a hard twang that shows up throughout and features prominently on the penultimate “Noble Daughters II – The Bow,” but the great triumph of III, and really the reason it works at all, is because the band find cohesion in this swath of influences. They’re a band who obviously put thought into what they do, making it all the more appropriate to think of them as prog, but as “Three White Feet” and “New Dominion” show at the outset, they don’t serve any aesthetic master so much as the song itself. Closing with banjo and harmonies and a build of crash cymbal on “Maiden Mother Crone” nails the point home in a not-understated way, but at no point does III come across as hyper-theatrical so as to undercut the value of what Bask are doing. It’s a more patient album than it at first seems, but given time to breathe, III indeed comes to life.

Bask on Thee Facebooks

Season of Mist on Bandcamp

 

Faerie Ring, The Clearing

fairie ring the clearing

Listening to the weighty rollout of opening cut “Bite the Ash” on Faerie Ring‘s debut album, The Clearing (on King Volume Records), one is reminded of the energy that once-upon-a-time came out of Houston’s Venomous Maximus. There’s a similar feeling of dark energy surging through the riffs and echoing vocals, but the Evansville, Indiana, four-piece wind up on a different trip. Their take is more distinctly Sabbathian on “Lost Wind” and even the swinging “Heavy Trip” lives up to its stated purpose ahead of the chugging largesse of finisher “Heaven’s End.” They find brash ground on “The Ring” and the slower march of “Somnium,” but there’s metal beneath the lumbering and it comes out on “Miracle” in a way that the drums late in “Lost Wind” seem to hint toward on subsequent listens. It’s a mix of riff-led elements that should be readily familiar to many listeners, but the sheer size and clarity of presentation Faerie Ring make throughout The Clearing makes me think they’ll look to distinguish themselves going forward, and so their first record holds all the more potential for that.

Faerie Ring on Thee Facebooks

King Volume Records on Bandcamp

 

Desert Sands, The Ascent EP

Desert Sands The Ascent

Begun as the solo-project of London-based multi-instrumentalist/vocalist Mark Walker and presently a trio including Louis Kinder and Jonathan Walker as well, Desert Sands make their recorded debut through A Records with the three-song/half-hour The Ascent EP, a work of psychedelic existentialism that conveys its cosmic questioning even before the lyrics start, with an opening riff and rhythmic lurch to “Are You There” that seems to throw its central query into a void that either will or won’t answer. Does it? The hell should I know, but The Ascent proves duly transcendent in its pulsations as “Head Towards the Light” and 11:45 closer “Yahweh” — yeah, I guess we get there — bring drifting, languid enlightenment to these spiritual musings. The finale is, of course, a jam in excelsis and if drop-acid-find-god is the narrative we’re working with, then Desert Sands are off to a hell of a start as a project. Regardless of how one might ultimately come down (and it is, by my estimation at least, a comedown) on the question of human spirituality, there’s no denying the power and ethereal force of the kind of creativity on display in The Ascent. One will wait impatiently to see what comes next.

Desert Sands on Thee Facebooks

A Recordings on Thee Facebooks

 

Cavalcade, Sonic Euthanasia

Cavalcade Sonic Euthanasia

Say what you want about New Orleans or North Carolina or wherever the hell else, Midwestern sludge is another level of filth. To wit, the Carcass-style vocals that slice through the raw, dense riffing on “Aspirate on Aspirations” feel like the very embodiment of modern disillusion, and there’s some flourish of melodic guitar pluck there, but that only seems to give the ensuing crunch more impact, and likewise the far-back char of “Freezing in Fire” as it relates to the subsequent “Dead Idles,” as Cavalcade refute the trappings of genre in tempo while still seeming to burrow a hole for themselves in the skull of the converted. “Noose Tie” and “We Dig Our Own Graves” tell the story, but while the recording itself is barebones, Cavalcade aren’t now and never really have been so simple as to be a one-trick band. For more than a decade, they’ve provided a multifaceted and trickily complex downer extremity, and Sonic Euthanasia does this as well, bringing their sound to new places and new levels of abrasion along its punishing way. Easy listening? Shit. You see that eye on the cover? That’s the lizard people staring back at you. Have fun with that.

Cavalcade on Thee Facebooks

Cavalcade on Bandcamp

 

Restless Spirit, Lord of the New Depression

restless spirit lord of the new depression

Long Island chug-rockers Restless Spirit would seem to have been developing the material for their self-released debut album, Lord of the New Depression, over the last couple years on a series of short releases, but the songs still sound fresh and electrified in their vitality. If this was 1992 or ’93, they’d be signed already to RoadRacer Records and put on tour with Life of Agony, whose River Runs Red would seem to be a key influence in the vocals of the nine-track/39-minute offering, but even on their own, the metal-tinged five-piece seem to do just fine. Their tracks are atmospheric and aggressive and kind, and sincere in their roll, capturing the spirit of a band like Down with somewhat drawn-back chestbeating, “Dominion” aside. They seem to be challenging themselves to push outside those confines though in “Deep Fathom Hours,” the longest track at 7:35 with more complexity in the melody of the vocals and guitar, and that suits them remarkably well as they dig into this doomly take on LOA and Type O Negative and others from the early ’90s NYC underground — they seem to pass on Biohazard, which is fine — made legendary with the passage of time. As a gentleman of a certain age, I find it exceptionally easy to get on board.

Restless Spirit on Thee Facebooks

Restless Spirit on Bandcamp

 

Children of the Sün, Flowers

Children of the Sun Flowers

An eight-piece outfit based in Arvika, Sweden, which is far enough west to be closer to Oslo than Stockholm, Children of the Sün blend the classic heavy rock stylizations of MaidaVale, first-LP Blues Pills and others with a decidedly folkish bent. Including an intro, their The Sign Records debut album, Flowers, is eight track and 34 minutes interweaving organ and guitar, upbeat vibes and bluesier melodies, taking cues from choral-style vocals on “Emmy” in such a way as to remind of Church of the Cosmic Skull, though the aesthetic here is more hippie than cult. The singing on “Sunschild” soars in that fashion as well, epitomizing the lush melody found across Flowers as the keys, guitar, bass and drums work to match in energy and presence. For a highlight, I’d pick the more subdued title-track, which still has its sense of movement thanks to percussion deep in the mix but comes arguably closest to the flower-child folk Children of the Sün seem to be claiming for their own, though the subsequent closing duo of “Like a Sound” and “Beyond the Sun” aren’t far off either. They’re onto something. One hopes they continue to explore in such sünshiny fashion.

Children of the Sün on Thee Facebooks

The Sign Records on Thee Facebooks

 

Void King, Barren Dominion

void king barren dominion

Having made their debut with 2016’s There is Nothing (discussed here), Indianapolis downtrodden heavy rock four-piece Void King come back for a second go with Barren Dominion (on Off the Record Label), a title of similar theme that finds them doom riffing through massive tonality on “Burnt at Both Ends,” asking what if Soundgarden played atmospheric doom rock on “Crippled Chameleon” — uh, it would be awesome? yup — and opening each side with its longest track (double immediate points) in a clearly intended vinyl structure hell bent on immersing the listener as much as possible in the lumber and weight the band emit. Frontman Jason Kindred adds extra burl to his already-plenty-dudely approach on “Crippled Chameleon” and closer “The Longest Winter,” the latter with some harmonies to mirror those of opener “A Lucid Omega,” and the band around him — bassist Chris Carroll, drummer Derek Felix and guitarist Tommy Miller — seem to have no trouble whatsoever in keeping up, there or anywhere else on the eight-song/46-minute outing. Topped with striking cover art from Diogo SoaresBarren Dominion is deceptively nuanced and full-sounding. Not at all empty.

Void King on Thee Facebooks

Off the Record Label BigCartel store

 

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