Robby Staebler Leaves All Them Witches

Posted in Whathaveyou on April 24th, 2024 by JJ Koczan

all them witches robby (Photo by Dylan Handley)

Not the kind of announcement you expect to see on a given morning, but founding drummer Robby Staebler has announced his departure from Nashville’s All Them Witches. What you see in blue text below was sent out in an update to Bandcamp followers, and it comes as the four-piece are (were?) set to begin a tour through the southeastern US following their appearance this weekend at Austin Psych Fest. Comprised until today of Staebler, bassist/vocalist Charles Michael Parks, Jr., guitarist Ben McLeod and Rhodes pianist/violinist/keyboardist Allan Van Cleave, the band also have European shows ahead of them this summer, including a stop at Hellfest in France and other festivals besides. I have no idea what the status is of any of those shows, and the best I can tell you is to keep an eye on the band’s social media, which is where any further update is likely to come from.

Staebler, with a restless energy on stage that gave movement to even the band’s most minimalist moments, brought fluid energy and expansive creativity to All Them Witches across their six to-date full-lengths — the latest, 2020’s Nothing as the Ideal (review here), featured drones and tape loops that as I understood it were in no small part his contribution — and non-LP releases like the Baker’s Dozen singles series (posted here) that carried them through the end of the pandemic on 2022 en route to a 2023 spent mostly on the road for whole-album performances and other shows. Since Van Cleave rejoined in 2021 after quitting the band following 2017’s Sleeping Through the War (review here), they’ve wanted nothing for momentum. I guess maybe when you’re done you’re done.

But in addition to drumming and other sundry noisemaking, Staebler has also served as the primary visual artist for All Them Witches since their inception. And like his playing, his painting style is not something that will be easily replaced. I have no info on what his departure means for All Them Witches as regards the dates in the two posters below — maybe he’ll play them and leave after, for all I know — but Staebler will continue with the experimental audio/visual project Uvways, as he says below, and if All Them Witches do keep going, there’s no question any new player brought in will be a marked change in dynamic.

My best to Staebler and to ParksMcLeod and Van Cleave, whatever the future brings. If I hear more I’ll post it:

[UPDATE April 24: Guitarist Ben McCleod posted the following in the band’s Facebook group a short time ago:

Hello everyone. ATW will be making an official post later today, however I wanted everyone to know the shows are not canceled. We have a replacement drummer for the time being and will be fulfilling all these shows.
Thank you for your patience and understanding. We will see you soon.
Best of luck to Robby and his future endeavors. He has been an asset to this band and he will be missed.

The band followed up with a collective statement, specifically addressing the coming shows and their plans going forward:

all them witches statement on robby staebler leaving

So there you go. Staebler‘s original announcement and All Them Witches‘ tour dates still follow below, but it’s encouraging to have some clarity and to know that the band will keep going.]

All good things must come to an end.
At this time I’ve decided to step back from ATW and put
my energy into other music and projects that I love.
Thanks to everyone who has supported me and the band I created
and labored over. The fans have made my dreams comes true
in every way and I’m extremely grateful for you all.
I put every ounce of energy and resources I had towards
building something truly unique and honest that I could stand behind.
Moving forward I feel it’s important to follow my intuition and inspiration.
I’ll be releasing two new albums this year under UVWAYS
with faces you know and some you don’t.
If you want to follow what I’m doing I set up a Patreon
where I’ll be doing everything from drum videos to live chats as well as
monthly art and merch deliveries. Check out,
visit for paintings and prints.
Follow @uultrasoundss for new music
and @ultraafree for my merch company that promotes unity and freedom
in the tune of rock and roll. The world is a vampire. Stay awake.

[Photo by Dylan Handley.]

Uvways, Moses Lynx (2020)

All Them Witches, Baker’s Dozen playlist

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Howling Giant Post “Juggernaut” Video; Tour w/ The Obsessed & Gozu Starts March 13

Posted in Bootleg Theater on March 4th, 2024 by JJ Koczan

Howling Giant four-piece

Oh, alright, I guess we can talk again about how much Howling Giant outdid themselves with this past Fall’s Glass Future (review here). It’s been about 10 minutes. The Nashville-based outfit appear in the photo above in their recently-announced four-piece incarnation, making it official with James Sanderson on guitar and vocals, who has contributed to their records and songwriting before — as well as, apparently, DM’ing — but their new video for “Juggernaut” still features them as the trio of guitarist/vocalist Tom Polzine, drummer/vocalist Zach Wheeler and bassist/vocalist Sebastian Baltes, who it would appear is also in charge of the hot sauce.

And of course Howling Giant have hot sauce. They had coffee at one point too (review here), so it’s only fair game for a band who so obviously put hot sauce in their coffee in order to obtain their particular melodic consciousness, poppy in a get-off-your-ass kind of way, Glass Future retains substance even in its showy style, with hook after hook after hook and a momentum not at all undercut by the fact that they’re also dynamic and not just doing the same thing all the time. Really, give me two seconds to put the record on and we could take the whole afternoon to talk about it even before we get to the persona on display in the songs manifest in the video as an infomercial for, duh, the hot sauce.

Casting puts Wheeler and Polzine as the salesmen, and with performance footage interspliced, they send up outdated notions of advertising and maybe even a bit themselves. After all, they’re making a joke of selling the hot sauce on tv and joking about torturing Baltes as a captive chef to eventually make it from… his… life force?, but I bet if you put yourself in front of the merch table on the band’s upcoming tour with The Obsessed and Gozu — both also with new records out, the former the most recent of them — that hot sauce will be there waiting for you. Not sure they’ll push it quite as vigorously as they do in the video, but that’s probably fine too.

As for the track itself, it joins Glass Future‘s title-track and “Aluminum Crown,” the clips for which you can see below, and if Howling Giant wanted to bang out three or four more videos before they move on from the record to whatever’s next, I’ll gladly post those too. Few bands who can write songs at their level either do or put the work in afterward to let people know about it as well as Howling Giant — also on their side is the fact that they’re fun but not dicks about it — who also toured Europe this past Fall in the company of Philadelphian labelmates Heavy Temple and will no doubt be headed back that way before too long.

Video’s below, tour dates under that. You know the drill. PR wire and such:

Howling Giant, “Juggernaut” official video

HOWLING GIANT dish out a jar full of spicy news today. First helping is a hot sauce-filled video clip for the yummy track ‘Juggernaut’ taken from the band’s current album “Glass Future”, released in October 2023 through Magnetic Eye Records (order at Next on the menu is a tasty US tour in spring 2024 in support of THE OBSESSED, find all dates listed below!

HOWLING GIANT will embark on an extended US tour as direct support for THE OBSESSED in March and April this spring. The now quartet from Nashville, TN will hit the roads in support of their highly acclaimed current album “Glass Future”, which is also the official introductory round for new rhythm guitarist and backing vocalist James Sanderson.

HOWLING GIANT welcome their new member: “James started working with us while we were writing ‘Masamune’, helping break down lyrical barriers and working on song arrangements, and followers of our online shenanigans might recognize him as the Dungeon Master in our streamed D&D campaigns”, drummer and vocalist Zach Wheeler reveals. “We are stoked to welcome James officially into the Howling Giant fold, and can hardly wait to show off the four-piece fury that we’ll be bringing forth on our upcoming run with The Obsessed and Gozu. See you all on the road!”

13 MAR 2024 Philadelphia, PA (US) Milk Boy
14 MAR 2024 Baltimore, MD (US) Metro Gallery
15 MAR 2024 Richmond, VA (US) Cobra Cabana
16 MAR 2024 Wilmington, NC (US) Reggie’s 42nd Street Tavern
17 MAR 2024 Asheville, NC (US) The Odd
19 MAR 2024 Atlanta, GA (US) Boggs Social & Supply
20 MAR 2024 New Orleans, LA (US) Siberia
22 MAR 2024 Fort Worth, TX (US) Tulips
23 MAR 2024 Austin, TX (US) The Lost Well
25 MAR 2024 Albuquerque, NM (US) Launchpad
26 MAR 2024 Mesa, AZ (US) The Nile Underground
27 MAR 2024 Los Angeles, CA (US) Resident
28 MAR 2024 Palmdale, CA (US) Transplants Brewing
29 MAR 2024 San Diego, CA (US) Brick By Brick
30 MAR 2024 Las Vegas, NV (US) The Usual Place
31 MAR 2024 Salt Lake City, UT (US) Aces High Saloon
01 APR 2024 Denver, CO (US) Hi-Dive
03 APR 2024 Chicago, IL (US) Reggies
04 APR 2024 Lakewood, OH (US) The Foundry
05 APR 2024 New Kensington, PA (US) Preserving Underground
06 APR 2024 Rochester, NY (US) Montage Music Hall
07 APR 2024 Brattleboro, VT (US) The Stone Church
09 APR 2024 Cambridge, MA (US) Sonia
10 APR 2024 Portland, ME (US) Geno’s Rock Club
11 APR 2024 Hamden, CT (US) Space Ballroom
12 APR 2024 Brooklyn, NY (US) The Meadows

Recording line-up
Tom Polzine – guitar, vocals
Zach Wheeler – drums, vocals
Sebastian Baltes – bass, vocals

Guest musicians
Drew David Harakal II – organ, piano, synths
James Sanderson – additional vocals on ‘Siren Song’, ‘Hawk in a Hurricane’, and ‘There’s Time Now’

Current line-up
Tom Polzine – guitar, vocals
Zach Wheeler – drums, vocals
Sebastian Baltes – bass, vocals
James Sanderson – rhythm guitar, backing vocals

Howling Giant, “Glass Future” official video

Howling Giant, “Aluminum Crown” official video

Howling Giant, Glass Future (2023)

Howling Giant on Facebook

Howling Giant on Instagram

Howling Giant on Bandcamp

Blues Funeral Recordings on Facebook

Blues Funeral Recordings on Instagram

Blues Funeral Recordings on Bandcamp

Blues Funeral Recordings website

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The Obsessed Announce US Tour With Gozu and Howling Giant; Gilded Sorrow Out Feb. 16

Posted in Whathaveyou on January 9th, 2024 by JJ Koczan

As ever fronted by founding guitarist/vocalist Scott ‘Wino’ Weinrich — who makes ready to embark on a stint of solo acoustic shows in Europe even as their announcement arrives — The Obsessed have announced the first US run of headlining touring they’ll undertake to support the Feb. 16 release of their first album in seven years and first with the current lineup, Gilded Sorrow. Joining the doom legends in the endeavor are Boston’s Gozu and Nashville’s Howling Giant, who both issued their own stellar LPs in 2023, be it the former’s Remedy (review here) or the latter’s breakout, Glass Future (review here), which they’ve newly revamped their own lineup to support, adding a second guitarist to play as a four-piece.

The Obsessed, who for most of their decades have been a trio, have also been working with two guitars the last couple years, and it doesn’t seem to have hurt them any. They note below they’re about to put out a new single from Gilded Sorrow later this week, so that’ll be something to look out for, and you can find their comment, what Gozu and Howling Giant also had to say about it, and the dates, below, along with far too many links and videos from all involved parties, cobbled together from hither and yon across various social media outlets and so on. Who the hell doesn’t like a package tour?

Have at it:

the obsessed tour

Says The Obsessed: “Hitting the American highways with our friends Howling Giant and GOZU this March/April. Let’s see y’all out there! We will have our new record, Gilded Sorrow, on the merch table at all these shows. Stay tuned for another new single THIS FRIDAY!!”

Says Gozu: “2024 looking good! Who will we see?”

Says Howling Giant: “Back on the road we go! Very excited to be heading out with The Obsessed and GOZU this March/April. We’ve got James locked and loaded for a set chock full of tunes from Glass Future, we can’t wait to see everyone!”

3/13 Philadelphia, PA – Milk Boy
3/14 Baltimore, MD – Metro Gallery
3/15 Richmond, VA – Cobra Cabana
3/16 Wilmington, NC – Reggie’s 42nd Street Tavern
3/17 Asheville, NC – The Odd
3/19 Atlanta, GA – Boggs Social & Supply
3/20 New Orleans, LA – Siberia
3/22 Fort Worth, TX – Tulips
3/23 Austin, TX – The Lost Well
3/25 Albuquerque, NM – Launchpad
3/26 Mesa, AZ – The Nile Underground
3/27 Los Angeles, CA – Resident
3/28 Palmdale, CA – Transplants Brewing
3/29 San Diego, CA – Brick By Brick
3/30 Las Vegas, NV – The Usual Place
3/31 Salt Lake City, UT – Aces High Saloon
4/1 Denver, CO – Hi-Dive
4/3 Chicago, IL – Reggies
4/4 Lakewood, OH – The Foundry
4/5 New Kensington, PA – Preserving Underground
4/6 Rochester, NY – Montage Music Hall
4/7 Brattleboro, VT – The Stone Church
4/9 Cambridge, MA – Sonia
4/10 Portland, ME – Geno’s Rock Club
4/11 Hamden, CT – Space Ballroom
4/12 Brooklyn, NY – The Meadows

Chris Angleberger – bass and vocals
Jason Taylor – guitar and vocals
Brian Costantino – drums
Scott “Wino” Weinrich – guitar and vocals

GOZU is:
Marc Gaffney – guitar and vocals
Joe Grotto – bass
Doug Sherman – lead guitar
Seth Botos – drums

Howling Giant are:
Tom Polzine – Guitar and Vocals
Zach Wheeler – Drums and Vocals
Sebastian Baltes – Bass and Vocals
James Sanderson – Guitar and Vocals

The Obsessed, “It’s Not OK” live at Freak Valley Festival 2023

Gozu, “Tom Cruise Control” official video

Howling Giant, “Glass Future” official video

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Howling Giant Add Second Guitarist/Vocalist James Sanderson

Posted in Whathaveyou on January 4th, 2024 by JJ Koczan

Of course there’s always the risk of a band trying to fix something that isn’t broken, and Howling Giant‘s dynamic and approach on 2023’s Glass Future (review here) had not-broken as a defining characteristic, but listening to the record, it doesn’t seem unreasonable that they’d look to bring in a second guitar for live shows. There’s enough depth of layering there, then you get into keys, which having another guitar adds more flexibility for, and it makes sense. Their sound is getting bigger and they’re nothing if not focused on how they present their material to an audience, so yeah, second guitar, more vocals to add to the mix for harmonies. No problem trusting this is a win.

And I guess that’s the power of what putting out one of the best albums of the year gets you: trust. What, you think Howling Giant — who just went to Europe for the first time in Heavy Temple this Fall and you know are looking to go back — are going to try to screw up the momentum they just spent four years working to build, half during a global lockdown? If they were that dumb they wouldn’t be where they are in the first place.

I hope I get to see them live soon. I’ve watched a bunch of videos and all that, but this set is something I want to be in a room with. Would also accept the out of doors, weather providing.

From their socials:

howling giant four piece

Happy New Year to all and thank you for an amazing 2023! Releasing Glass Future, touring with the likes of Elder, Ruby the Hatchet, Heavy Temple, and Restless Spirit, and finally getting over to Europe was a true pleasure.

We’ve got dates coming very soon for this spring to continue the Glass Future release tour, and we will also be bringing a familiar face into the HG fold as a full-fledged member of the band. Everyone welcome James Sanderson, guitarist/lyricist/merchboi to the stars! He had his first performance with us in town at the Glass Future release show and he passed his final exam with flying colors. See y’all out there

Howling Giant are:
Tom Polzine – Guitar and Vocals
Zach Wheeler – Drums and Vocals
Sebastian Baltes – Bass and Vocals
James Sanderson – Guitar and Vocals

Howling Giant, “Glass Future” official video

Howling Giant, “Aluminum Crown” official video

Howling Giant, Glass Future (2023)

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Album Review: Howling Giant, Glass Future

Posted in Reviews on October 20th, 2023 by JJ Koczan

Howling Giant Glass Future

Thoughtful and clever, Howling Giant‘s Glass Future demonstrates its consideration of craft even in its choice of samples, as intro “Hourglass” begins with a sample of Burgess Meredith in The Twilight Zone talking about how he has time to read because everyone else is dead — “there’s time enough at last” — and the 10-track/41-minute album closes with “There’s Time Now,” bookend-referencing the same soliloquy. The Nashville trio have put in as much work as possible over the years since their debut, 2019’s The Space Between Worlds (review here), and the songs of Glass Future would seem to reap the benefit of that experience in positioning the band to make a record that sets high goals for itself and meets them, not just tightening the melodies and harmonies of the vocals — to which guitarist Tom Polzine, drummer Zach Wheeler and bassist Sebastian “Seabass” Baltes all contribute — but enabling Howling Giant to hone a sound at once informed by progressive heavy rock and pop-punk.

“Siren Song” tells the tale. At five minutes, it’s longer than the brooding “Aluminum Crown” or the rush of sample-topped instrumental “First Blood of Melchior” — Frankenstein isn’t quite on theme with the apocalyptic sci-fi being engaged elsewhere in the lyrics (also debatable whether the apocalypse is fiction), but the dialog fits the mood and is timed well to the mosh riff in its second half — or the penultimate rush of “Juggernaut,” and “Siren Song” has a hook of the caliber of that song or “Glass Future” itself, or “Sunken City,” or even the suitably mournful and slow “There’s Time Now,” but its structure is different. Where even the verse of “Hawk in a Hurricane” is a hook, and “Sunken City” wants so badly to get to its next chorus that it barely ends the first, “Siren Song” holds back slightly, at least on relative terms. To be sure, the initial flurry of riff, Elderian verse/bridge spaciousness and even the earlier stage of the chorus make a positive impression, but they’re playing for the blindside when “Siren Song”  opens up at 2:34 and unveils the first of Glass Future‘s made-for-the-stage megahooks. And the play works. All of a sudden, the end of the world is a party.

And one could rail on and on about the post-modernism of that point of view and I’m sure that that would be a whole lot of fun for my brain and typing fingers and for exactly nobody else. More important is that between “Hourglass” and “Siren Song,” Howling Giant are telling you much of what you need to know in terms of how to read Glass Future. Before the album hits six minutes, they’ve given a sense of atmosphere and dropped hints of melancholy that will flesh out further on “Aluminum Crown,” “Tempest and the Liar’s Gateway” and “There’s Time Now,” established the tones and the righteous punch of the Kim Wheeler production and mix, reminded handily of the difference talking out melodies and vocal arrangements can make, and began the impeccable construction of the whole album from the first of the songs around which its overarching flow is based. “Siren Song” represents multiple sides there as well, and it’s worth emphasizing that Howling Giant are not simply unipolar fast in “Hawk in a Hurricane” — its ambient finish is a purposeful comedown ahead of “First Blood of Melchior” — or slow in “Aluminum Crown,” which answers its more languid roll with later push, but that the material included here has functional intent behind it.

This dynamic extends to what each track brings to the record, and involves the interplay of one piece into the next. Side A builds momentum as “Aluminum Crown” gives over to “Hawk in a Hurricane,” which plays midtempo through tis chorus complemented as many of the songs are here by the organ of Drew David Harakal II (also synth/piano), who’s already bolstered “Siren Song” and “Aluminum Crown” and soon takes a solo on the title-track that reminds me of Amorphis and is thus endeared forever, the keys adding depth to the arrangements, variety to the sound and reach to the melodies. As Polzine and Wheeler‘s voices pair (James Sanderson also contributes to “Siren Song,” “Hawk in a Hurricane” and “There’s Time Now), so too do Polzine‘s guitar and Harakal‘s keys, and the level of detail and consideration in those arrangements shouldn’t be understated. With “Glass Future” capping side A through a lyrical narrative around an asteroid smashing into the planet — the first verse begins with the image, ‘Flashing lights race on monitors lining the wall’; we’re already running, grounded in the human experience of watching a mass extinction not in slow motion — the speed and twisting course come around to preface the sharpening of focus across side B.

howling giant (Photo by Mollie Crowe)

“Tempest and the Liar’s Gateway” begins a succession of four tracks of unflinching poise and mastery. Slow, Fast, Fast, Slow, if you want the basic pattern, with “Tempest and the Liar’s Gateway” expanding on the quieter delivery of “Aluminum Crown” and a hook about death waiting up ahead before “Sunken City” and “Juggernaut” comprise a one-two punch of two of the sharpest heavy rock songs one might hear in 2023. In their energy, lyrical themes, catchiness and the exquisiteness of the performances captured, “Sunken City” and “Juggernaut” feel like a realized version of the pop-heavy that was promised with Torche but which Torche never had much interest in being. Howling Giant could hardly make it easier for a heavy rock audience to get on board. After years of willful progression live and in the studio, they come bearing gifts, which are the songs themselves, and where the first half of Glass Future had “Hourglass” and “First Blood of Melchior” and the end of “Hawk in a Hurricane” for atmospheric sprawl, that side B’s softer or more contemplative moments occur within “Tempest and the Liar’s Gateway” and “There’s Time Now” lend an even more focused feel. “Sunken City” and “Juggernaut” would be frontloaded on a lot of records. Howling Giant are smarter than that.

On an album of lyrical highlights, “There’s Time Now” is nonetheless a standout, and its storyline of living in apocalyptic aftermath is well told, whether it’s the notion of “Walking on top of abandoned cars” or stars “blinking out one by one” before they at last lay it all on the proverbial table, “It’s the end of the world.” The second verse utilizes a favorite metaphor of nature’s persistence in “Green pushing through all the grey cement” as a reminder Earth will go on regardless of what happens to humans, and similar to the mirror of the title and the Twilight Zone sample earlier, in “There’s Time Now” they’ve arrived at a point where, “The siren’s still singing, there’s no one to hear,” harmonized for emphasis calling back of course to “Siren Song.” The first verse of “There’s Time Now” repeats as a third, with a key change that underscores the band’s background in theory as well as their knowledge of how to push emotion in a song; it’s one more level on which Glass Future is a model of what a modern heavy rock record can be. The kind of lessons that, especially backed by the efforts of Howling Giant on tour, lead an act to become influential.

Rife with personality, wit, care and heart, Glass Future lets the diverse aspects of Howling Giant‘s sound find coherent existence as a single thing — see “Howling Giant‘s sound” — as the band maintain the high level of craft they’ve fostered in The Space Between Worlds and codify the epic nature of their breakout contribution to the 2021 split with Sergeant Thunderhoof, Masamune/Muramasa (review here), while effectively translating it into shorter, tighter material. This they deliver with class and distinct vitality, everything symmetrical, in its place, serving a purpose, but not hackneyed or forced or cloying. It is an ambitious culmination of the work they’ve done to-date — they might need a full-time keyboardist/organist for live shows — and a step forward on a path they’ll continue to walk. I don’t think they’ve peaked or stopped growing, but they’re going to have a challenge in topping the defining statement they make here. One would hardly call it optimistic, but Glass Future holds nothing but promise to that end.

Howling Giant, “Aluminum Crown” official video

Howling Giant, “Glass Future” official video

Howling Giant, Glass Future (2023)

Howling Giant on Facebook

Howling Giant on Instagram

Howling Giant on Bandcamp

Magnetic Eye Records store

Magnetic Eye Records website

Magnetic Eye Records on Facebook

Magnetic Eye Records on Instagram

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Howling Giant Announce US Tour Dates for Glass Future Release; Band Robbed in Europe

Posted in Whathaveyou on October 13th, 2023 by JJ Koczan

howling giant

I’ve been back and forth with Howling Giant trying to set up an interview to talk about their stellar new record, Glass Future, and the tour in Europe they’re currently undertaking in the company of Philly’s Heavy Temple, and so yesterday caught word that the van the two acts were traveling in together had its window busted in broad daylight and the band lost laptops, merch, clothes, and so on. No gear seems to have been taken, so that’s one expense avoided, but travel documents and other items are gone. Of course there’s a GoFundMe. If you haven’t donated, I’m putting the link on its own line to make it stand out and guilt you into it:

Just looked and they passed their goal. It doesn’t matter. Give them your money. What were you going to do, pay bills with it?

The European run wraps up at Desertfest Belgium on Oct. 22, Glass Future drops Oct. 27 — good for me, casually using ‘drops’ like the kids do (or did, anyway) — and they’ve just announced two more weeks of touring in the Midwest and Southeastern US that will take them into mid-November. They might slow down for winter or they might not, but if you haven’t dug into any of the singles from the album yet, I’ll tell you outright that the onus is on you to see them now or regret it later.

Dates and info from the PR wire:

howling giant glass future release tour

HOWLING GIANT announce US-Tour in Fall 2023

Hot on the heels of the release of their sophomore full-length “Glass Future” on October 27, HOWLING GIANT will hit the roads of North America again. Warming up for their headliner dates, the cosmic stoner metal trio from Nashville, Tennessee will support BLACK TUSK on the first three shows, before taking the helm themselves. After three more gigs, label mates RESTLESS SPIRIT will join the tour as special guests in support of their brand new album “Afterimage”.

Please see below for all confirmed HOWLING GIANT live dates.

HOWLING GIANT comment: “All systems go!”, singer and guitarist Tom Polzine enthuses. “We are stoked to unleash Glass Future on October 27th, and cannot wait to bring this album to life in November at a US dive bar near you. We’re pumped to share the stage with our buds in Black Tusk and Restless Spirit. Come hear the sounds of these new riffs as they plummet towards our fragile planet. We’ll have shirts for sale in the crater.”

On rather sad news, HOWLING GIANT got robbed while in the city of Milan during their ongoing European with label mates HEAVY TEMPLE, who are also affected. If you want to lend a helping hand, please feel free to contribute or spread this link:

Howling Giant supporting Black Tusk
03 NOV 2023 Atlanta, GA (US) The Earl
04 NOV 2023 Wilmington, NC (US) Reggie’s 42nd Street Tavern
05 NOV 2023 Asheville, NC (US) The Odd

Howling Giant headlining
07 NOV 2023 Louisville, KY (US) Portal
08 NOV 2023 Cleveland, OH (US) No Class
09 NOV 2023 Detroit, MI (US) Sanctuary
11 NOV 2023 Chicago, IL (US) Reggies, Music Joint

Howling Giant with support Restless Spirit
10 NOV 2023 Cudahy, WI (US) X-Ray Arcade
12 NOV 2023 St Louis, MO (US) Platypus Bar
14 NOV 2023 Dallas, TX (US) Club Dada
15 NOV 2023 Austin, TX (US) The Lost Well
17 NOV 2023 New Orleans, LA (US) Gasa Gasa

13 OCT 2023 Roma (IT) RCCB
14 OCT 2023 Viareggio (IT) Circolo ARCI GoB
15 OCT 2023 Carmagnola (IT) Circolo ARCI Margot
18 OCT 2023 San Sebastian (ES) Dabadaba
19 OCT 2023 Barcelona (ES) Razz3
21 OCT 2023 Paris (FR) Glazart
22 OCT 2023 Antwerp (BE) Trix, Desertfest Belgium

Tom Polzine – Guitar and Vocals
Zach Wheeler – Drums and Vocals
Sebastian Baltes – Bass and Vocals

Howling Giant, “Glass Future” official video

Howling Giant, “Aluminum Crown” official video

Howling Giant, Glass Future (2023)

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Howling Giant Post “Aluminum Crown” Video; Dates Added to Euro Tour w/ Heavy Temple

Posted in Bootleg Theater on September 7th, 2023 by JJ Koczan

Howling Giant

Later this month, Nashville heavy prog rock trio Howling Giant will head out on a European tour alongside their Philadelphia-based labelmates in Heavy Temple. The tour will precede Howling Giant‘s new album, Glass Future, by nearly a month, as that’s slated for Oct. 27, which both feels far away and will be here before you know it. That’s fortunate, because it’s a record that kind of needs to be heard.

Glass Future is their second record, ostensibly the follow-up to 2019’s The Space Between Worlds (review here), but the richly melodic, sometimes propulsive three-piece of guitarist/vocalist Tom Polzine, drummer/vocalist Zach Wheeler and bassist/vocalist Sebastian Baltes are about more than just full-lengths. In 2020 they participated in Magnetic Eye‘s Dirt [Redux] tribute to Alice in Chains (review here), in 2021 they had the instrumental EP Alteration (review here), the material for which emerged from a series of livestreamed lockdown jams. Later 2021 brought another [Redux], this one for AC/DC, and last year they posted an entirely instrumental version of the first album, seemingly just for the hell of it. In an age of ‘content creation,’ they are not a band who wants for it.

And no question that’s an asset working in their favor. They bust their collective ass putting word out there about themselves. Every post on their Facebook page for the last however long, whatever it is, has their European tour dates with it. They could give lessons in that shit. And we could sit here and whine about why does a band need to do that crap in the first place and what does it have to do with music and blah blah blah Gen-X blah. Fortunately, it’s moot because the songs are there as well, and never more so than on Glass Future. Whether you’re showing up for the Torche-esque brightness of the melodies in the instruments and vocals, or the harmonies in the latter, or the way even a mellower piece like “Aluminum Crown” has some shove by the time it’s done, the progressive flourish and thoughtfulness of their craft, or the hooks — god damn, the hooks — of cuts like “Siren Song,” “Hawk in a Hurricane,” “Sunken City,” “Juggernaut,” the maybe-Twilight Zone referencing closer “There’s Time Now” (the repeated line: “It’s the end of the world” bringing Burgess Meredith’s glasses to mind). As an entire work, it is impeccably done but not porcelain or brittle. It both takes and provides bumps, movement. It runs from the outset of “Siren Song,” isn’t afraid of double-kick in “Hawk in a Hurricane” or the ambient drone that follows the ending of the song proper, and uses the sample in “First Blood of Melchor” to launch a metal-as-rock organ-laced instrumental crashfest.

It’s an adventure of an album, and one that, when I started this post, I didn’t want to review. So I guess I’d better leave it there, because I can see where this is going and Glass Future isn’t out for nearly another two months. But if you haven’t yet gotten on board for this one, the video for “Aluminum Crown” — reportedly filmed in a living room — is as good an occasion as any. You’ll find it accompanied by the above-mentioned tour dates, which include stops at Up in SmokeInto the Void Leeuwarden, Keep it Low, and of course, Desertfest Belgium 2023. No doubt Howling Giant will win friends at all of them and more.

From social media:

Howling Giant, “Aluminum Crown” official video

3D and VFX by Polar Desert Studios
YouTube, Instagram, Twitter: @thepolardesert

Aluminum Crown is out today on all streaming services! Smash the link in our down-yonder-ways to check out the accompanying music video by the powerful wizard Polar Desert Studios!

Preorder worldwide:
Preorder US/Canada:

Osnabrück and Paris added to the EU tour with Heavy Temple! Dates below, check em out!

29 SEP 2023 Pratteln (CH) Z7, Up in Smoke Festival
30 SEP 2023 Leeuwarden (NL) Neushoorn, Into the Void Festival
01 OCT Osnabrück (DE) Bastard
02 OCT 2023 Siegen (DE) Vortex
03 OCT 2023 Hamburg (DE) Hafenklang
04 OCT 2023 Jena (DE) Rosenkeller
05 OCT 2023 Kassel (DE) Goldgrube
07 OCT 2023 Munich (DE) Backstage, Keep It Low Festival 2023
09 OCT 2023 Budapest (HU) Robot
10 OCT 2023 Vienna (AT) Arena
11 OCT 2023 Bologna (IT) Freak Out
12 OCT 2023 Milano (IT) Barrios
13 OCT 2023 Roma (IT) RCCB
14 OCT 2023 Viareggio (IT) Circolo ARCI GoB
15 OCT 2023 Carmagnola (IT) Circolo ARCI Margot
18 OCT 2023 San Sebastian (ES) Dabadaba
19 OCT 2023 Barcelona (ES) Razz3
20 OCT 2023 Paris (FR) Glazart
22 OCT 2023 Antwerp (BE) Trix, Desertfest Belgium

Tom Polzine – Guitar and Vocals
Zach Wheeler – Drums and Vocals
Sebastian Baltes – Bass and Vocals

Howling Giant, “Glass Future” official video

Howling Giant, Glass Future (2023)

Howling Giant on Facebook

Howling Giant on Instagram

Howling Giant on Bandcamp

Blues Funeral Recordings on Facebook

Blues Funeral Recordings on Instagram

Blues Funeral Recordings on Bandcamp

Blues Funeral Recordings website

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Sapna Release 38-Minute Single “Servants”

Posted in Whathaveyou on August 23rd, 2023 by JJ Koczan

It should come as no surprise that the new Sapna single is an album unto itself. Seemingly taken from an impending collection called Drones Vol. 1 — the cover art you can see below was posted with the track on Bandcamp — the 38-minute “Servants” follows last year’s self-titled debut (review here) for the project, who here work as the duo of drummer/vocalist/sitarist Kevin Conlon and producer/synthesist/dronemaker Ryon Westover, which leaves them without drummer Logan Kirby, though whether that’s a permanent change or not, I don’t know.

“Servants” is a sprawl of meditative psych-doom, with drones stretched underneath its central movement of drums, airy vocals and the various synths and keyboards that coincide. It enters its first verse at around three minutes in, where one might expect with such a longform piece the verse would come later, but sit tight, because it’s a slow march from there through a mind-psych landscape and it’s gonna be a while before that voice comes back. Sapna demonstrated a penchant for extended works on the self-titled’s 16-minute eponymous closer, but obviously “Servants” ups that reach significantly, and the drone is at least half the point. “Servants” dwells in its midsection and allows the setting to build itself up organically and to hold for the duration as the band seems to plunge deeper and further into its hypnotic breadth.

I dug the gosh darn heck out of that self-titled, was a pleasant surprise toward the end of last year, so will keep an eye out for more from Sapna about Drones Vol. 1. If “Servants” is the entirety of it, you would not call the volume lacking.

Info from Bandcamp is basically there as a placeholder, but it’s got the credits, so relevant just the same:

Sapna drones vol 1


Mixed/Engineered by Ryon Westover at Grey Gardens
Mastered by Mikey Allred at Dark Art Audio

Kevin Conlon – Drums, Vox, Sitar
Ryon Westover – MS-20, Odyssey, Deepmind 12, Wurlitzer, Harmonium, Tanpura, Mellotron

Sapna, “Servants” (2023)

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