Solace: The Brink Preorders Available from Blues Funeral Recordings

Posted in Whathaveyou on October 15th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

New Jersey stalwarts-in-defiance-of-all-gods-and-all-sciences Solace — they of the broken bodies and suffering spirits — will release their first album in nine frickin’ years on Dec. 13. Titled The Brink, the 11-tracker is available now to preorder from Blues Funeral Recordings, which has decided to do us all a solid and get behind the release. Two vinyl versions available for the Tommy Southard in all of us — dude is a well-documented LP fiend; also beer — and a CD digipak if you prefer your discs of a smaller sort that can commune with lasers. You know I like me some lasers.

I was granted access to an early stream of the offering, and though there have been copious changes since their last time out, I assure you, this is still Solace. Their life-on-the-edge-of-oblivion — or, you know, a brink — style pulling together elements of thrash, hardcore, classic heavy and doom is unmistakable, and for the fact that they’ve turned over three-fifths of their lineup, they are and remain Solace. There is not and there never could be another to do what they do.

I’m gonna cross my fingers and hope to have a track premiere or some such with a review before the album is out, or maybe if I play my cards right I’ll get to give it the ol’ week-before-release-album-stream treatment, but until then, rest assured, your preorder investment will result in a Solace record. You couldn’t possibly call it anything else.

As posted by the band:

solace the brink

Ok friends, here’s the preorders for both vinyl versions & the CD version of our new record THE BRINK. These ship internationally so add to cart and check rates. We are super stoked about this record and can’t wait for y’all to experience it.

‘The Brink’ tracklisting:
1- Breaker Of The Way
2- Desert Coffin
3- Dead Sailors Dream
4- Waste People
5- The Light Is A Lie
6- Crushing Black
7- Bird Of Ill Omen (Remix)
8- Shallows Fade
9- The Brink
10- Until The Last Dog Is Hung
11- Dead Sailors Reprise

Dark Blue & White swirl Vinyl (limited to 100)
https://www.bluesfuneral.com/products/copy-of-solace-the-brink-us-limited-edition-gatefold-lp-on-translucent-aqua-translucent-sea-blue

Translucent Aqua & Sea Blue vinyl
https://www.bluesfuneral.com/collections/releases/products/copy-of-howling-giant-the-space-between-worlds-limited-edition-gatefold-lp-on-translucent-green-vinyl

CD Link
https://www.bluesfuneral.com/collections/releases/products/solace-title-the-brink-us-limited-digipack-cd

Solace is:
Tommy Southard – Guitar
Justin Daniels – Guitar
Justin Goins – Vocals
Mike Sica – Bass
Timmy Gitlan – Drums

https://www.facebook.com/SolaceBand/
https://www.facebook.com/bluesfuneral
https://www.bluesfuneral.com/

Solace, The Brink teaser

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Monster Magnet Announce Powertrip European Tour

Posted in Whathaveyou on October 10th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

monster magnet (photo jeremy saffer)

The year was 1998 and the band stomping all over hearts and minds in the most righteous fashion possible was Monster Magnet. The great heavy rock hope. A band who, over the next year-plus, would find commercial viability in a way that just about no one had before and just about no one has since. Powertrip may have been the NJ outfit’s fourth record, but it’s an unquestionable landmark. It put their home state and mine on the map for heavy rock and roll in a way that still ripples out, and it brought them not only fame, but to a new place stylistically where they turned pop culture back on its own head and delighted as it ate both itself and what they were feeding it. That record was something else.

They’ll tour Europe for a month-plus this coming winter playing it in full. Yeah, you’re gonna hear “Space Lord,” which you probably were anyhow at a Monster Magnet gig, but you’re also gonna hear “Goliath and the Vampires,” and that’s some shit that doesn’t happen every day. I don’t know if they’re doing it in order or what, but whatever, it’s a celebration worth celebrating.

Dates follow, as dutifully transcribed from the Chris Smith poster by yours truly and probably all screwed up:

monster magnet europe 2020

Monster Magnet is back!! We are stoked to announce Monster Magnet Europe 2020! A Celebration of the Record “Powertrip” plus much more! Stay tuned for ticket links!

Monster Magnet live:
Jan 22 Glasgow UK The Garage
Jan 23 Leeds UK O2 Academy Leeds
Jan 24 London UK The Forum
Jan 25 Utrecht NL Tivoliredenburg
Jan 27 Oslo NO John Dee
Jan 28 Gothenburg SWE Pustervikbaren
Jan 29 Malmo SWE Kulturbolaget (KB)
Jan 31 Leuven BE Het Depot V2W
Feb 01 Berlin DE Metropol
Feb 03 Cologne DE Essigfabrik & Sensor Club
Feb 04 Munich DE Muffathalle
Feb 05 Hamburg DE Markthalle
Feb 07 Bremen DE Schlachthof
Feb 08 Dresden DE Reithalle
Feb 09 Stuttgart DE LKA Longhorn
Feb 10 Dortmund DE FZW
Feb 12 Antwerp BE Trix
Feb 13 Wiesbaden DE Schlacthof
Feb 15 Zagreb CR Mochvara
Feb 16 Vienna AT Simm City
Feb 17 Zurich CH Dynamo
Feb 18 Trezzo Sull’Adda IT Live Club
Feb 20 Pamplona Navarra ES Sala Zentral
Feb 21 Santiago de Compostela ES Sala Capitol
Feb 22 Madrid ES Sala Mon
Feb 23 Barcelona ES Razzmatazz

MONSTER MAGNET line up:
Dave Wyndorf (vocals, guitar)
Garrett Sweeny (guitar)
Phil Caivano (guitar)
Chris Kosnik (bass)
Bob Pantella (drums)

http://zodiaclung.com
https://www.facebook.com/monstermagnet/
https://www.instagram.com/monstermagnetofficial/

Monster Magnet, “Powertrip” official video

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Live Review: Brant Bjork & Ecstatic Vision in New Jersey, 09.20.19

Posted in Reviews on September 21st, 2019 by JJ Koczan

Brant Bjork (Photo by JJ Koczan)

Good coffee at the Debonair Music Hall. Someone there clearly gives a crap about it. The menu advertises it as a custom blend, which can mean anything from they hand-pick the beans at the roaster to they pour two smaller cans of instant into one bigger can, but it came in a small French press and was served with a glass mug that perfectly contained the liquid when poured into it with nothing left to sit too long in its own grounds. Even the little bit of sludge that came through in the bottom of the mug tasted good. It was $3 a cup and worth every penny and then some.

I found this out while sitting upstairs and watching Added Color launch the three-band evening topped by Ecstatic Vision and Brant Bjork. They were more hard rock than heavy rock, and if you don’t think there’s a difference I’m going to guess you haven’t heard much hard rock lately. Just not my thing. They covered Rage Against the Machine‘s “Bulls on Parade” with the drummer and guitarist sharing vocal duties. They were tight, performed well, all the rest of it. Just not my thing. So I went up to the balcony, sat down, and ordered a coffee. No regrets on that.

It was release day for Ecstatic Vision‘s new album, For the Masses (review here), and they celebrated with a good amount of the new album live, including closer “Grasping the Void” and, reportedly for the first time, the especially-wild “Like a Freak.” Line of the night went to frontman Doug Sabolik — joined in the band by bassist Michael Field Connor, guitarist/saxophonist/flutist Kevin Nickles and drummer Ricky Kulp — who, before they ignited into one or the other of their riotous heavy space rock anthems of personal freedom, said, “I called Dave Wyndorf to try and get him to come to the show, but he never takes my calls.” That got a chuckle out of me, and it was backed by the kind of cosmic burst that called to mind Monster Magnet at their most Hawkwindian, as Sabolik switched back and forth between playing guitar and not, seeming to wind up and throw his buried-under-wash, semi-shouted lyrics at the crowd standing up front, who only increased in number while they played.

The new stuff? Killer. The tour had hit Brooklyn the night before with River Cult and It’s Not Night: It’s Space on the bill, and would head down to Ecstatic Vision‘s native Philly the following night, with Heavy Temple opening, but either way, this show was just about halfway through the 16-gig run, and Ecstatic Vision played like it. Smiling on stage, their energy was infectious, and with the flashing lights, Nickles swapping out his guitar for a sax or flute — and yes, he did kick his leg up Ian Anderson-style when the flute came out; how could he not? — and Sabolik‘s nigh-on-perfected Stooges-era-IggyPop-turned-acid-priest preach met by periodic megaphone harmonica or stepping down into the crowd to go over and stand on one of the chairs toward the back of the room, yeah, it was right on. Very much the kind of set an album like For the Masses deserved on the day it came out. It had been a while since I last saw them, but they were pure, righteous mania.

And though it’s a somewhat counterintuitive match on paper, Ecstatic Vision were also a great lead-in for their Heavy Psych Sounds labelmate Brant Bjork. Of course, the desert rock mainstay’s style is more laid back as it would almost have to be, but the vibe was nothing if not warm after Ecstatic Vision played — scorched, more like — so as Bjork and his Low Desert Punk Band came out and did a quick line check before hitting into “Swagger and Sway” and “Chocolatize” from last year’s Mankind Woman (review here), “Stokely up Now” from 2014’s Black Power Flower (review here) and the boogie-down “Humble Pie” from 2016’s Tao of the Devil (review here). With collaborator Bubba Dupree on guitar, secret-weapon Dave Dinsmore on bass and Ryan Güt on drums, it was the same lineup that featured on the Europe ’16 (review here) live record, and well, they had it nailed three years ago, so, what, they would have lost it? Hell no. Chemistry full-on, groove full-on, heavy full-on. If you ever needed a reason to visit Teaneck, New Jersey, on a surprisingly balmy Friday, watching Brant Bjork and his band jam out more than an hour of the finest in Low Dez-nod is about the best I could hope to come up with.

I can’t imagine Debonair Music Hall was as packed as either Brooklyn or Philly would’ve been, but shit. The chance to see Brant Bjork play at all is something special, let alone play in my beloved Garden State. And whether or not the building hit capacity, I don’t think anything was going to stop Brant Bjork from delivering his show. “Mankind Woman,” “The Greeheen,” “Controllers Destroyed” and the mellow jam “Somebody” that brought Dupree‘s vocals into the mix emphasized the crucial work Bjork has done over his last couple records, while a particularly dug-in take on “Let the Truth Be Known” from 2005’s Saved by Magic, and “Too Many Chiefs… Not Enough Indians,” “Low Desert Punk” and the set-finale “Automatic Fantastic” with its clarion riff prefaced by Dinsmore in the jammy “Lazy Bones” represented Bjork‘s recently-reissued ultra-essential 1999 solo debut, Jalamanta (review here; also discussed here), with due vitality. The classics, alive! By the time they were hitting into “Low Desert Punk,” they owned the room and did not relinquish that until Bjork gradually turned down his guitar feeding back as it rested in front of his cabinet on stage. I called it his Sunn O))) cover, because I’ve always been the clever sort, but the bit of residual noise was welcome either way. You take what you can get.

If you’re reading this — and thanks if you are — I’m going to assume you don’t need me to tell you to go see Brant Bjork when and if the opportunity should present itself. Aside from his legit-legendary pedigree as drummer for Kyuss and Fu Manchu, his founding and underrated work with Ché and the two decades he’s put into building a solo-ish catalog that’s made for more than a few highlights of desert rock as a whole, the set’s a party. There’s no substitute for a good time, and that’s a good time. So yes, go. And have a good time. Buy a shirt when it’s over and tell Bubba Dupree his lead tone is incredible, because it is.

Because it was Teaneck and that’s how North Jersey rolls, I was back at my ancestral homestead about half an hour after the show ended, give or take for a wrong turn or two on the way. Takes a while to get your bearings after something like that, I guess, which is a small price to pay for having “Automatic Fantastic” stuck in my head, I can only hope into perpetuity.

More pics after the jump. Thanks again for reading.

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Live Review: Corrosion of Conformity, Crowbar, Quaker City Night Hawks & Lo-Pan in NJ, 08.25.19

Posted in Reviews on August 26th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

Corrosion of Conformity (Photo by JJ Koczan)

It seems unlikely to me, but apparently the last time I was at Starland Ballroom in Sayreville, New Jersey, was 2011? Not much has changed. They still have the big screen that comes down between bands to promote upcoming shows — a lot of pop-punk, some bigger metal, and DJ Pauly D will be there in December, just in case you forgot you were in NJ — and they still have the bars liberally strewn about the back and sides of the venue. I feel like I’ve spent significant time in that room in the past, but apparently not in the last eight years. It’s like I lived in a different state for most of that time or something. Huh.

Even the Old Bridge Militia — a name that sounds way more threatening than the reality of being dudes-who’ve-been-going-to-shows-since-probably-before-you-were-born-and-made-shirts-to-prove-it — came out for this one, and fair enough. It was the second to last night of Corrosion of Conformity‘s ‘A Quest to Believe: A Call to the Void’ Tour, an earlier leg of which already saw them on the road with Crowbar. Support this time for the two riffly titans was from Texas four-piece Quaker City Night Hawks and Columbus, Ohio’s own Lo-Pan, who’ve also been doing off-day shows with Crowbar such as that further north in Teaneck, NJ, on July 25 (review here), where they and Crowbar kicked off the tour early with a gig on their own at Debonair Music Hall.

The tour, which C.O.C. and Quaker City Night Hawks joined on July 26 in Poughkeepsie, NY, would wrap up the following evening in Providence, Rhode Island. Starland tapped local progressive rockers Elephant Talk to open, who were young — as in, actually young and no, it’s not just that 30-year-olds are starting to look like kids to me — and tight in kind, with a technical flourish to their play that was well met by the melodies of vocalist Ava Panza. I can’t really say they were my thing, but they held down that stage without question and their bassist’s periodic slaps added a bit of funk to the nuanced proceedings. They also threw in a drum solo, which, for a 20- or 25-minute set felt particularly bold. Kid earned it though, and also nailed it.

I interviewed Lo-Pan drummer Jesse Bartz before the show started (will post probably early next week or later this week; check back, it was a good talk), talking about the tour and a bit of how the different personalities in the band interact in life as well as on stage. I’ll say this, especially for having seen them just a month ago, I can’t remember the last time I caught a band who had their 1,000-yard stare working so hard on stage. Bartz was set up toward the front of the stage in a line with bassist Scott Thompson, vocalist Jeff Martin and guitarist Chris Thompson, and their set too would be short — six songs, all from earlier-2019’s Subtle (review here) — but they were so locked in that the time-to-hit-it feel was automatic.

No warm up, no getting their feet under them, nothing. Not playing, then playing; in that order. They looked and sounded like a band who’d been on the road for four weeks, in that they were doing their set, hell or high water, and that even if the power had gone out, I don’t think that would’ve stopped them. They were their own generators, and their output was as pro-shop as I’ve ever heard them sound in the last decade-plus. The material on Subtle was well suited to such a sharpened execution and it was enough to wonder which came first, the songs being so on point or the on point-ness of the band resulting in the songs.

A couple minutes maybe to breathe, but not much more than that before Quaker City Night Hawks took the Starland stage, playing classic-style Southern blues boogie, not afraid to throw in a little twang or a slow jam here and there amid all the soulful guitar and periodic three-part harmonies. I’d purposefully gone into their set not knowing much of their stuff, but they released the acronymically-titled QCNH in back in March and sounded fluid easing into the sleek groove of “Fox in the Henhouse” from that record, which closed their set and featured a jump-on appearance on stage from C.O.C.‘s Pepper Keenan. It being C.O.C. and Crowbar‘s crowd primarily, some of the more country aspects went over a few heads in the crowd, but I suspect Quaker City Night Hawks made a lot of new friends on this tour, bands and fans alike.

Central Jersey’s special brand of shitkickers was out in full force by the time Crowbar went on, and the mosh that ensued kept up for Corrosion of Conformity as well. Of the New Orleans sludge legends, I’ll note that this was the third time I’ve seen them this year, and if they were coming around again, I’d think long and hard about going. Inimitable frontman Kirk Windstein ignited a couple chants of the band’s name and between familiar inclusions like “Walk with Knowledge Wisely,” “All I Had (I Gave),” “Cemetery Angels” and “Planets Collide,” as well as “To Build a Mountain” — always a highlight — and “To Carry the Load,” the latter taken from 1998’s Odd Fellow’s Rest, which Windstein noted from stage that they rediscovered an affection for as a result of playing the album in full for its 20th anniversary last year.

Crowbar‘s legacy goes without saying, but with Tommy Buckley on drums, Matt Buckley on guitar and Shane Wesley on bass, it was a vital impression the whole band made, not just Windstein. You just can’t, can’t, can’t fuck with seeing Crowbar live. It’s like a natural event. Creature in its habitat and whatnot. Further, when Kirk Windstein, who’s been at the heart of the band for 30 years, tells the crowd he loves them, I believe it. I don’t think he’s selling a line, or just filling dead air. This wasn’t the most thoroughly attended show I’ve ever seen Crowbar play, and neither was Teaneck, but they still absolutely crushed as only they could. Working band, giving the people what they want. The story would be simple as that if it wasn’t so rarely done at their level.

And as was the case earlier this year when I caught them in Boston, you’d be hard-pressed to come up with a better complement to close the night than Corrosion of Conformity playing after Crowbar. Though the long-running North Carolinian outfit are still ostensibly supporting 2018’s No Cross No Crown (review here), it’s worth noting that the set didn’t actually feature any songs from that record. Instead, it was heavy on Deliverance (discussed here) and Wiseblood (discussed here), with dips into America’s Volume Dealer for “13 Angels,” “Diablo Blvd.” and “Who’s Got the Fire” later on. Naturally, “Vote with a Bullet” from 1991’s Blind was aired — a song that, like the Old Bridge Militia, was made in a much, much different time than that in which we currently live — and “Stonebreaker” from 2005’s In the Arms of God got the crowd riled up early for a payoff that seemed to come with “The Door” from Wiseblood further into the set. “Albatross,” Born Again for the Last Time,” “Seven Days,” “King of the Rotten,” “Shake Like You,” “Wiseblood,” “My Grain” — these were the bulk of their time, and I’d like to think that’s because the band knows their regional audience has been with them for those decades. Maybe that’s just the idea for this leg of the tour.

I dug No Cross No Crown a lot, but I would, being a fan. It’s interesting to think they might already be moving past that album in favor of more familiar fare, considering that the more touring they do, the more they move beyond “reunion band” and into “working band” in their four-piece incarnation with Pepper Keenan alongside bassist/vocalist Mike Dean, guitarist/vocalist Woodroe Weatherman and drummer/vocalist John Green holding the spot for Reed Mullin. Still, I’d have to think some of the newer material, even if just a single, would make it into the set over the longer term, but the ‘A Quest to Believe: A Call to the Void’ Tour has newly announced a third leg, so maybe more of the No Cross No Crown stuff will pop back up for that. Could happen.

Somewhere right toward the end of Crowbar, I hit the wall h-a-r-d, and though I caught a second wind with about 10 minutes left, the ride home was far from my most graceful. I’d been up since 4AM, it was coming on midnight. No regrets though. Between seeing Crowbar and Lo-Pan on the front and back ends of the tour, getting to hear Quaker City Night Hawks for the first time and the ever-reliable righteousness of C.O.C., it was my little welcome-back-to-Jersey present to myself. Sure enough, it felt like home.

More pics after the jump if you’re interested. Either way, thanks for reading.

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Solace Premiere The Brink Album Teaser; Sign to Blues Funeral Recordings

Posted in Whathaveyou on July 29th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

The basic tracks are done (they posted the photo included here to celebrate), and New Jersey’s Solace are headed back into the studio in early August to mix. After that, mastering, then it’s on to Blues Funeral Recordings for release. It’s a fair enough signing on the part of the label, whose honcho, Jadd Shickler, once upon a turn-of-the-century worked with the band via his old imprint, MeteorCity. The reunion, as it were, will be centered around The Brink, which is Solace‘s first new album since 2010 and from which they’re sharing the first — obviously not final versions — audio in the teaser below. I had the pleasure of taking a couple of the pics included in the montage. That’s always nice.

I’m not going to say The Brink will definitely be out this year, because this is Solace and I know better, but even if it’s Dec. 31, I’ll take it. At this point I’m just happy to know it exists, it’s in the can awaiting finishing touches, and it’s got a home for a proper release.

That’s enough for today.

More to come as I hear it, and hopefully I hear it soon. Ha:

solace

From Blues Funeral: “In multiple decades of releasing music, Solace might just be the best band I’ve ever worked with, and probably the most under-appreciated. I nearly bankrupted my last label trying to shove their music down people’s throats, so having the chance to get back into severe debt behind one of the greatest metal bands of all time feels like coming home again. With Solace, you’re always on The Brink… of epic heaviness, drunken disaster, and probably financial ruin. There’s no place we’d rather be!”

Say Solace: “A few riffs from from forth coming album The Brink out later this year on Blues Funeral Recordings! Expect some healthy doses of Heavy 70’s Riff Rock, NWOBHM Riffing, Drunken Sea Shanties, Weighty DOOM, and a smidge of 90’s Noise. You’ve been warned….”

‘The Brink’ tracklisting:
1- Breaker Of The Way
2- Desert Coffin
3- Dead Sailors Dream
4- Waste People
5- The Light Is A Lie
6- Crushing Black
7- Bird Of Ill Omen (Remix)
8- Shallows Fade
9- The Brink
10- Until The Last Dog Is Hung
11- Dead Sailors Reprise

Solace live:
Sept. 20-22 Descendants of Crom Pittsburgh, PA
Sept. 29 Kung Fu Necktie Philly, PA w/ Backwoods Payback & Cavern

Solace is:
Tommy Southard – Guitar
Justin Daniels – Guitar
Justin Goins – Vocals
Mike Sica – Bass
Timmy Gitlan – Drums

https://www.facebook.com/SolaceBand/
https://www.facebook.com/bluesfuneral
https://www.bluesfuneral.com/

Solace, The Brink teaser premiere

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Live Review: Crowbar, Lo-Pan and Dutchguts in New Jersey, 07.25.19

Posted in Reviews on July 26th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

Crowbar (Photo by JJ Koczan)

Teaneck, huh? On a Thursday? Yeah, alright. I’ll waddle down and check that out. One night ahead of starting their tour with Corrosion of Conformity, New Orleans sludgemasters Crowbar and Ohio fuzzy soul-lifters Lo-Pan made a stop at Debonair Music Hall — the former Mexicali Blues — in the suburb of Teaneck, New Jersey, with local modern sludgers Dutchguts opening. It doesn’t feel like a stretch to me to say heavy shows don’t happen every day in North Jersey. And if you’re not up on geography, that’s because right on the other side of that bridge and/or tunnel is New York City, which is where shows do happen every day and are generally guaranteed to draw more people. Seeing a band like Crowbar — or even Lo-Pan, for whom this was their second Jersey show — without having to cross the Hudson River at rush hour? The very least I could do would be to show up. So I did that.

Incidentally and maybe less surprising given their 30-plus-year history, it wasn’t Crowbar‘s first North Jersey show. They played a place called Obsessions in Randolph circa ’93 that’s long since gone, which I remember not becauseDutchguts (Photo by JJ Koczan) I was there — I was 12 — but from graffiti on the wall in the tiny room that was their “backstage” area. Whether or not they returned to the area between the two gigs, I couldn’t say.

They’d headline the early night, with Lo-Pan playing the middle of the three slots and Dutchguts kicking off the proceedings at 7:45PM sharp. The Debonair Music Hall at that point could not be accused of being overly populated, but there were several in the crowd who very clearly knew the four-piece, likely from the DIY scene they’ve built up around the Meatlocker basement venue in Montclair — though as I recall, someone in the band was local enough to me to know the bar Hoover’s on Rt. 53 when the subject came up years ago. Their take on sludge is more brash and less metal than Crowbar‘s, and it had clearly been a while since I last saw them. Like the better part of a decade, since I seemed to remember them as kids. Their roots were the same — big Eyehategod influence, some Converge, some other dark hardcore punk, plenty of tonal heft, and so on — but their delivery was 10 years wiser, more experienced and vicious.

Dutchguts will open for Eyehategod in Jersey City in September and that feels about right in terms of fit. Though their most recent outing is a 2017 split with Chained to the Dead (discussed here), they’ve done a fair amount of touring, including last month, and have something of a reputation that precedes them. I thought they were cool. After 10 years though, it might be time to put out an album if you’re ever going to. I’ll admit a 7″-only attitude is pretty punk, but still. A compilation, maybe?

How I found out about this show in the first place was hearing it from the guys in Lo-Pan last month before their set at Maryland Doom Fest 2019 (review here), and frankly, even with Crowbar on top of the bill, I was thinking of it as “the Lo-Pan show” in my head. This site is presenting their upcoming Fall European tour with Steak and Elephant Tree (dates here), and I knew from their Maryland set that they’d be playing mostly if not entirely material from their new album, Subtle (review here), which came out through Aqualamb in May. That indeed Lo-Pan (Photo by JJ Koczan)was the case, and though there was no “Ten Days” this time, having “Everything Burns,” “Law & the Swarm” and “Khan!” in the setlist gave Subtle its due, along with the near-mandatory “Ascension Day,” “Savage Heart” and “Sage.” I’ll be curious to hear how the set changes when they come back through Jersey (further south) with Crowbar and C.O.C. in just about one month.

About that: this was pretty much a warm-up show for them, as well as for Crowbar. The tour with C.O.C. headlining starts in Poughkeepsie at The Chance, and I guess they had occasion to make the show happen — picking up a bus in the Meadowlands, perhaps? — and it was a way to give them a leg-up on getting into the groove of the next month to come. Hey, I’ll take it however it comes, but the first night of a tour is always a specious time to see a band. They’re getting their feet under them. They’re tired from a long day of travel. They’re looking ahead to the weeks to come. They’ve not yet developed every tour’s inevitable thousand-yard-stare, locked-in, almost-traumatized sense of I-live-23-hours-to-play-for-one that they will have, say, after five or so nights of gigs in a row. Lo-Pan held it down, and so did Crowbar, but mostly that means that when they circle back, they’ll be that much more on fire.

Nonetheless, one appreciates seeing bands like this the way one appreciates the breaking of a humid Jersey heatwave. Pro-shop, get-on-stage-and-go professionalism is a marker of who a band are as players and a unit and Crowbar are unmistakable even besides that. Guitarist/vocalist Kirk Windstein thanked the crowd, including specifically a kid up front who couldn’t have been more than 10 if he was that — thereby, one assumes, making a fan for life — and they tore into their set with all the lumbering ferocity one could expect. This was my second time seeing them after catching the earlier legCrowbar (Photo by JJ Koczan) of their tour with C.O.C. in Boston (review here), and whether it was that sold-out date or this Thursday night in Teaneck, Crowbar played their show regardless. It was great to see and of course they killed it, opening with “All I Had I Gave” and rolling “Lasting Dose” into “To Build a Mountain” early on.

It was mostly the same set from February, which is fair enough, but with “Conquering” included ahead of “Planets Collide” and “Like Broken Glass,” so I’ll go ahead and mark that a win if you don’t mind. A “pit” broke out of kids having fun during “To Build a Mountain” — that riff’ll do it — and the vibe on the whole was intimate, friendly and l-o-u-d. I wouldn’t have asked for anything more than that, if I’d felt entitled to ask in the first place.

The tour-proper will be a sight to see, with Quaker City Night Hawks and Corrosion of Conformity alongside Crowbar and Lo-Pan. This show, in addition to being my first-not-last time at Debonair Music Hall unless a piano falls on my head between now and the next one, gave me something to look forward to for August, served to remind of the strength of the local NJ underground, and took less than 35 minutes to drive home from when it was over, which was still on the relatively early end. I kind of felt like they were doing me a favor all the way around.

More pics after the jump. Thanks for reading.

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Solace Complete Recording; Confirm Tracklisting for New Album The Brink (Broken Bodies & Suffering Spirits)

Posted in Whathaveyou on February 28th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

This is the second post I’ve made where it says Solace have finished recording their new album. Here’s the first. Sue me. Last time around, it was basic tracks that were done. This time, all the overdubs, vocals, solos, etc. are finished and the record, which might be called The Brink, or might be called The Brink (Broken Bodies and Suffering Spirits), or might be called Broken Bodies and Suffering Spirits, is ready to move onto the mixing stage. They’re slated to go back into the studio in March — if I’m in NJ when they go, I hope to be there for at least part of it — and work on that, but if you think that after nine years since they dropped the most excellent 2010’s offering, A.D. (review here), I’m going to be making any guesses as to how or when or what their new record is going to sound or look like when it’s done, you’re missing out on one of the great joys of Solace, which is their unpredictable, whirlwind nature.

This is also the second post where I’m including a tracklisting put up by the band for the album. This one has 11 songs where the last one had 10, and the difference is in a track called “Shallows Fade.” Could be nothing more than an interlude recorded when the overdubs were being done, or it could be an entirely new song they decided they couldn’t leave out. Again, you never really know, and that’s why it works.

Solace play New England Stoner & Doom Fest II in Connecticut this May. Here’s their update from the social medias:

solace

It’s official: 11 new tunes are finished. Just some minor tweaking and mixing and the new Solace album “The Brink” (Broken Bodies and Suffering Spirits) will be on its way to the masses!

It’s the last time we will be recording at this place. As of March first Trax East is officially sold and new owners are coming in and taking over. Been recording here since around 1991. It’s an end of an era…. gotta figure out how and where we will finish this new SOLACE record now….

1- Breaker Of The Way
2- Desert Coffin
3- Dead Sailors Dream
4- Waste People
5- The Light Is A Lie
6- Crushing Black
7- Bird Of Ill Omen (Remix)
8- Shallows Fade
9- The Brink
10- Until The Last Dog Is Hung
11- Dead Sailors Reprise

Hang in there and stay tuned!

https://www.facebook.com/SolaceBand/

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The Atomic Bitchwax Welcome Garrett Sweeny on Guitar; Announce Tour Dates with Black Label Society and Conan

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

Since guitarist Finn Ryan made official his departure from New Jersey stalwarts The Atomic Bitchwax — who in 2019 mark 20 years since the release of their 1999 self-titled debut (discussed here) — it’s been kind of assumed that the position would be filled by Garrett Sweeny, but hey, I’m a stickler for making things official, and the band has done just that. Sweeny joins founding bassist/vocalist Chris Kosnik and drummer Bob Pantella, and is now the third member of the band to also play in Monster Magnet, where he’s held down lead guitar for the better part of a decade.

This lineup of The Atomic Bitchwax toured in Europe last year — there’s a full-set video from Desertfest London 2018 at the bottom of this post — and though KosnikPantella and Sweeny all now have another band together, it will be interesting to see how things shake out in the Bitchwax proper. They’ll do a run of dates in April and May with Black Label Society and Conan that will mark their first US touring with Sweeny on guitar, and I’d expect more touring to follow as they continue to hammer out their new dynamic.

Quick welcome announcement and tour dates follow:

the atomic bitchwax

Hell yeah!!!Friends and fans please join us in welcoming Garrett Sweeny of Monster Magnet taking over lead guitar duties for Bitchwax this year!!

Great guy, awesome player! But you knew that already…. Welcome aboard G!!!!

The Atomic Bitchwax with Black Label Society and Conan:
April 24 — Denver, Colo. @ The Oriental Theater
April 25 — Denver, Colo. @ The Oriental Theater
April 27 — Dallas, Texas @ Canton Hall
April 28 — Dallas, Texas @ Canton Hall
April 30 — Chicago, Ill. @ Concord Music Hall
May 01 — Chicago, Ill. @ Concord Music Hall
May 04 — Jacksonville, Fla. @ Welcome To Rockville
May 06 — New York, N.Y. @ The Bowery Ballroom
May 07 — New York, N.Y. @ The Bowery Ballroom
May 11 — Rockingham, N.C. @ Epicenter
May 14 — Toronto, Ontario @ Opera House
May 15 — Toronto, Ontario @ Opera House
May 17 — Columbus, Ohio @ Sonic Temple
May 18 — Clarksville, Tenn. @ O’Connors
May 22 — Los Angeles, Calif. @ El Rey Theatre
May 23 — Los Angeles, Calif. @ El Rey Theatre

http://www.theatomicbitchwax.com/
https://www.facebook.com/The-Atomic-Bitchwax-86002001659/
http://teepeerecords.com/
https://www.facebook.com/teepeerecords/

The Atomic Bitchwax, Live at the Black Heart, Desertfest London 2018

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