Sun Voyager Cover Budgie; Playing Deserfest NYC This Weekend & More

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

sun voyager

If a new Sun Voyager track covering Budgie with a digital release through Tee Pee isn’t enough to make your day, well, jeez, you must be having either a really good a really shitty day. For what it’s worth, I hope it’s the former, and as the New York trio continue to step into the shoes emptied by NYC’s bygone psych scene of the aughts — everyone either moved to Philly or grew up, I guess; priced right out of the neighborhood, either way — their homage to the classics of the form comes through with due sincerity and shuffle. They’ll be at the inaugural Desertfest New York this weekend — hey! me too! — and will make their way westward in June for Electric Funeral Fest in Denver and some tour dates thereafter, then Descendants of Crom III in September. They’re a good band, and they’re only getting better. Seems like people are starting to catch on.

The alliance with Tee Pee is particularly interesting. Have to wonder if that might mean anything going forward as the band will look to follow-up their 2018 debut LP, Seismic Vibes (review here). We’ll see, I guess.

They sent the following down the PR wire:

sun voyager crash course in brain surgery

It’s been just over a year since our album came out and to say we’ve been busy would be an understatement. We’re thrilled to share our cover of Budgie’s 1971 classic, “Crash Course in Brain Surgery” with you today, which is now streaming everywhere thanks to the mighty Tee Pee Records.

Budgie was part of an era of heavy rock that inspired us from the beginning. Their influence is virtually everywhere in metal and they don’t get nearly enough recognition for that. We hope you enjoy our take.

Please stream, share, add to playlists, etc, etc
Amazon: https://amzn.to/2PoAL9X
Spotify: https://spoti.fi/2PnnBtV
iTunes: https://apple.co/2PoAmUZ

We also have a limited run of dugouts available on our bandcamp that come with a free download of the song.
https://sun-voyager.bandcamp.com/album/crash-course-in-brain-surgery

We will be performing the song on the road this spring and hope to see many of you out there.

4/25 – Philadelphia, PA – Kung Fu Necktie w/ Here Lies Man, Narcos Family Band
4/28 – Brooklyn, NY – Desertfest NYC w/ Elder, Monolord, ASG, Ruby The Hatchet, Fatso Jetson, Mick’s Jaguar, Duel, Green Milk from the Planet Orange (Tickets available here)
5/3 – Utica, NY – Nail Creek Pub w/ Here Lies Man
6/15 – Denver, CO – Electric Funeral Fest w/ Torche, Dead Meadow, Tombs, Call of the Void, Fotocrime, Gozu, Un, The Lion’s Daughter, Bummer, The Munsens, Chrome Waves, Trapped within Burning Machinery, Teeth, Casket Huffer, Horseneck, Thra, Yatra, Dizz Brew, Red Mesa
6/16 – Wichita, KS – Kirby’s Beer Store w/ Snowchild, Easy Killer
6/17 – Kansas City, MO – Riot Room w/ Kyle Shutt (of the Sword), Keef Mountain, Stoner Grower
6/18 – St. Louis, MO – The Sinkhole w/ Spacetrucker, Cyanides
6/19 – Chicago, IL – LiveWire Lounge w/ Dead Feathers, Diagonal
6/20 – Indianapolis, IN – State Street Pub w/ Hemperor
6/21 – Detroit, MI – Outer Limits Lounge w/ Eroders, Werewolf Jones
6/22 – Cleveland, OH – Now That’s Class w/ Contra, Earth Chief
9/21 – Pittsburgh, PA – Descendants of Crom III

More merch available here: https://sun-voyager.bandcamp.com/merch
There are only 2 gold copies of Seismic Vibes left so get those quick!

www.facebook.com/sunvoyagerband
http://www.twitter.com/sunvoyager_rock
http://www.instagram.com/sunvoyager
http://www.sunvoyagerband.com/
https://sun-voyager.bandcamp.com/track/trip
https://soundcloud.com/sunvoyager/trip/
http://www.kingpizzarecords.com/
https://www.facebook.com/kingpizzarecs/
https://kingpizzarecords.bandcamp.com/

Sun Voyager, “Crash Course in Brain Surgery”

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Fatal Curse Stream Debut Album Breaking the Trance in Full

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on April 17th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

fatal curse

New York-based classic metal trio Fatal Curse release their debut full-length on April 19 through the venerable Shadow Kingdom Records. By and large, it is a ripper. Sure, they cut the pace a bit on “Priestess of Fire,” which is also the longest inclusion on the record at 5:39 and appears right ahead of closer “Eyes of the Demon,” but for the greater majority of its seven tracks and 28 minutes, Breaking the Trance is more about the three-piece tearing through their material with righteous velocity and headbanging intent. It is not an overly complex aim, but a noble one particularly when it comes to homage to the metal of yore. One could rattle off a list of reference points of varying obscurity, but at this point, the style of classic metal, whether it’s infused with retro thrash or NWOBHM pomp or as in the case of Fatal Curse some combination thereof, has become its own aesthetic. Fatal Curse seem less outwardly committed to the style than some — at least going by their press shot, you wouldn’t look at them and say they’re “in costume” as others might be — but their bleed-for-metal ideology is writ large all throughout the brief, intense and well stated long-player.

So maybe cuts like the opening title-track and subsequent “Blade in the Dark” are about fist-pumping, neck-breaking metal for metal’s sake, but the production on Breaking the Trance — and indeed the cassette-ready thrash-rasp of vocalist Mike Bowen when he’s not soaring over the razor-edged riffs of guitarist Dave Gruver and the rush of Chris Bowen‘s drums — gives a sense Fatal Curse Breaking the Tranceof rawness that doesn’t tip over to retroism in terms of trying to sound like it’s 1984, but neither comes across as overblown in such a way that would detract from the naturalism at heart in the material. It’s not quite garage thrash, but if you’ve got a garage, and they could play there every now and again, that’d be really cool, man. “Gang Life” follows the opening salvo and continues the energy with a catchy chorus and a oh-hello solo in its second half that works in stages and works its way toward blisters one way or another before bass gallop reignites the charge for the full band, soon enough joined by a blazing motor-riff. I’m just going to go ahead and give heavy metal bonus points — for those of you keeping score at home — to the band for calling the centerpiece of their debut album “Can’t Stop the Thunder.” Somewhat shockingly, they don’t have any songs specifically about “the night” — “Blade in the Dark” might count; I’d have to see a lyric sheet — but at an all-go 2:49, “Can’t Stop the Thunder” is as charged as Fatal Curse get on Breaking the Trance, and the method suits them, to put it mildly.

The sense of precision there underscores how crucial it’s always been for a band like this to be tight. In some respects, heavy metal has always been a test — can you play this fast? can your ears take this? do you get it? — and those who’ve passed have been all the more loyal for it, but there’s no pretense on Breaking the Trance, and while Fatal Curse have their chops, at least on their first record there’s no condescension in their songwriting or grandiosity in their approach. The vibe throughout is that these are dudes who love metal and just want to manifest that. It’s not about picking out which riff sounds like which one from which year — though that’s fun too, and I’m sure there’s plenty of fodder for it throughout — but about celebrating the release that metal was in its adolescence. Fatal Curse careen and chug their way through “Chains of Eternity” before “Priestess of Fire” and the mosh-shove of “Eyes of the Demon” cap off, and even then, their style remains brash but not conceited. They very clearly take what they do seriously, but that never had to come at the expense of a good time, and it doesn’t here either.

I’ve said this before, but it’s worth repeating that Shadow Kingdom has an ear for classic metal and doom that is simply unmatched in its reliability. Fatal Curse aren’t reinventing metal or classic metal their first time out, but Breaking the Trance is all-heart, front-to-back, and even more than how well the songs come together or the band’s performance, it’s the heart behind it that makes it so prime for repeat listens.

To that end, I’m thrilled today to host the full stream of Breaking the Trance ahead of the release on Friday. Please find it below, followed by more from the PR wire.

Enjoy:

SHADOW KINGDOM RECORDS is proud to present FATAL CURSE’s striking debut album, Breaking the Trance, on CD, vinyl LP, and cassette tape formats.

Hailing from New York, FATAL CURSE are a veritable throwback to earlier, simpler times. Theirs is a roots-oriented sound squarely focusing on early speed metal on both sides of the Atlantic and America’s contemporaneous power metal movement. No thrashing like a maniac here: FATAL CURSE create classy ‘n’ cruising anthems of ageless heavy metal might on Breaking the Trance!

Indeed, much of FATAL CURSE’s flash ‘n’ finesse stems from their power-trio lineup, with each member locked in to the other and pumping out seamless, gleaming-chrome odes to such timeless topics as “Blade in the Dark,” “Priestess of Fire,” “Chains of Eternity,” and “Eyes of the Demon,” among others. Nope, you “Can’t Stop the Thunder” here, especially those lightning-explosive yet narrative leads at the hands of guitarist Dave Gruver.

From later Thin Lizzy to Tokyo Blade in the prime, early Virgin Steele to early Jag Panzer, Borrowed Time-era Diamond Head to Witch Cross’ Fit for Fight, Liege Lord to Omen to Helstar and beyond: step onto the wayback machine with FATAL CURSE and start Breaking the Trance!

Fatal Curse on Thee Facebooks

Fatal Curse on Bandcamp

Shadow Kingdom Records on Thee Facebooks

Shadow Kingdom Records website

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Witchkiss Welcome New Bassist Tyler Irish; Live Shows Confirmed Including New England Stoner & Doom Fest

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

Okay, so Witchkiss were a trio when they put together their Argonauta-released 2018 debut album, The Austere Curtains of Our Eyes (review here). Then they were a duo. Now they’re a trio again. Guitarist/vocalist Scott Prater and drummer/vocalist Amber Burns welcome new bassist Tyler Irish to the band’s latest three-piece incarnation, and they do so just in time to begin a round of live dates this Spring that will see them take to the streets of the greater Northeast from their homebase in Beacon, New York, going as far north as Maine and as far south as Washington D.C. in support of the record.

Not to knock any of the other shows, but no doubt a highlight will be their slated appearance at the New England Stoner & Doom Fest in Connecticut. If you have not checked out the lineup for that, it’s staggering. Witchkiss have also already been confirmed for Descendants of Crom III in Pittsburgh this September, so perhaps they’ll work in more touring around that.

Info from the PR wire:

witchkiss

Witchkiss announce new bassist/spring tour

Hudson Valley, NY doom duo Witchkiss is happy to announce that they are now a trio, with the recent addition of bassist Tyler Irish to the fold.

Says the band, “We are very excited to welcome Tyler Irish to the WITCHKISS family as our new bassist. We’ve known Tyler for a number of years in admired his work with rock band Take One Car and ambient drone project Bonne Nuit Petit Lion. So when he reached out to us and expressed interest in filling our low end void, it was a no brainer. Things just got a whole lot LOWder! Come and hear it for yourself, our spring tour starts on April 24th.”

Listen to the album here: https://witchkiss.bandcamp.com/

Tour dates:
April 24 – The Anchor – Kingston, NY
April 30 – Kung Fu Necktie – Philadelphia, PA
May 1 – Atlas Brew Works – Washington, DC
May 2 – The Kingsland – Brooklyn, NY
May 3 – New England Stoner & Doom Fest – Jewett City, CT
May 4 – News Cafe – Pawtucket, RI
May 5 – The Bungalow Bar – Manchester, NH
June 6 – Ralphs Rock Diner – Worcester, MA
June 7 – Geno’s Rock Club – Portland, ME
June 8 – Dusk – Providence, RI

Witchkiss:
Amber Burns ~ Drums / Vocals
Scott Prater ~ Guitar / Vocals
Tyler Irish ~ Bass

http://facebook.com/witchkissband
https://witchkiss.bandcamp.com/
www.argonautarecords.com
https://www.facebook.com/ArgonautaRecords/
https://twitter.com/argonautarex
https://www.instagram.com/argonautarecords/

Witchkiss, The Austere Curtains of Our Eyes (2018)

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King Buffalo Announce European Tour Dates with Child

Posted in Whathaveyou on April 9th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

king buffalo

I can’t help but notice that in the list of just-announced European tour dates that King Buffalo will undertake in the company of Australian blues rockers Child, there’s a four-day stretch between their stop at Black Deer Festival in the UK and a date in Caligari, Italy. Does that mean what I think it means? Perhaps a trip to Sardinia on the sly to take part in a certain ultimate-daydream unofficial festival? Yes, I’m talking about Duna Jam. Are King Buffalo playing it? With Child? Fucking take a second and imagine how incredible that will be. Take another second.

Speculation on my part. I know nothing about Duna Jam, or if it’s even happening. It might just be the bands needed a little time to travel after the UK stop. I don’t know. But man, even the thought of King Buffalo playing on the beach in Sardinia, well, it sounds like a really good idea to me, and just maybe I’m not the only one.

Whether you see them there or don’t, see them. I’ve been scratching my head for the last little bit trying to think of some of the most crucial up and coming acts in the varying stripes of American heavy, and King Buffalo are a name to which I continually return. See them.

Dates follow:

king buffalo euro tour

We’re European bound this summer with our good friends CHILD!! All dates below:

21.06 GER – Siegen, Freak Valley Festival**
22.06 UK – Royal Tunbridge Wells, Black Deer Festival
27.06 I – Cagliari, Corto Maltese
28.06 I – Bologna, Freak Out
29.06 I – Allesandria, Cascina, Bellaria
30.06 A – Innsbruck, PMK
01.07. GER – Munich, Feierwerk
02.07. A – Vienna, Viper Room
03.07. GER – Cottbus, Fauler August
04.07. GER – Berlin, Badehaus
05.07. GER – Münster – Rare Guitar
06.07. A – Salzburg, Rockhouse
07.07. GER – Cologne, MTC
08.07. GER – Darmstadt, Oetinger Villa
09.07. GER – Hamburg, Hafenklang
10.07. SWE – Motala, Bomber Bar
11.07. NOR – Oslo, Bla
13.07. LIT – Anyksciai, Devilstone
**only KB

Previously announced East Coast shows:
4/20 Toronto, ON @ Velvet Underground
4/26 Boston, MA @ Middle East Upstairs
4/27 Newport, RI @ Rusty’s
5/3 Baltimore, MD @ Windup
5/4 Philadelphia, PA @ Kung Fu Necktie
5/26 Joshua Tree, CA @ Stoned & Dusted
6/1 Brooklyn, NY @ Saint Vitus
6/8 Montreal, QC @ Tattoo Nouvelle Ere

Info & ticket links: http://kingbuffalo.com/

Lineup:
Sean McVay – vocals, guitar, synth
Dan Reynolds – bass, synth
Scott Donaldson – drums

kingbuffalo.com
facebook.com/kingbuffaloband
instagram.com/kingbuffaloband
twitter.com/kingbuffaloband
kingbuffalo.bandcamp.com

King Buffalo, Longing to be the Mountain (2018)

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Geezer to Release Spiral Fires Vinyl April 26; CD out Now

Posted in Whathaveyou on April 9th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

geezer

Hey, you dig Geezer? Hell yeah, me too. Accordingly, it seemed like maybe you’d want to know that their new EP, Spiral Fires (review here), is up for preorder now through Kozmik Artifactz, and that if you’re the type like me who likes those little plastic compact discs in the handy-dandy digipak form, they’ve got those too and you don’t even have to wait until later in the month to get them. I know, right? Pretty badass, but that’s how Geezer do.

Speaking of, they’ve got two shows slated for later this month and both rule. On April 20, they’re doing the hometown-hero thing at The Anchor in Kingston, NY, in the company of River Cult and Eternal Black — nice one — and then a couple days later on April 23, they’re at the Vitus Bar with Ufomammut and Kings Destroy, rounding out an all-excellent three-band bill that’s like an unofficial Desertfest NYC pre-pre-party. Mark your calendar and mark it a win.

The PR wire has the info:

geezer spiral fires

NY’s GEEZER New ‘SPIRAL FIRES’ EP Now Available On CD; Vinyl Out April 26th – Pre-order via KOZMIK ARTIFACTZ!

After recruiting Steve Markota as Geezer’s new drummer in summer of 2017, the band knew it was now the peak time to refocus and start afresh. With gigs as the motivation, over the following year or so the Kingston, NY heavy blues triad set about performing in the U.S.. From Doomed & Stoned Festival to New England Stoner and Doom Festival, from The Maryland Doom Fest to the Descendants of Crom, then throw in a support slot for Acid King, many other righteous shows, and a full year did bloom indeed.

All the while, a revitalized Geezer was writing and road-testing new songs. It became clear that one album was not enough to fully capture what was happening. An EP would be the foundation to set the stage for an upcoming full-length. Drawing inspiration from the most recent Child EP vinyl release, Geezer hooked up with Kozmik Artifactz to release their own EP in the same vein. Limited Edition, one color cover, black vinyl, no bells or whistles… just rock and roll.

The result is the mind-altering new EP, ‘Spiral Fires’. A three-song collection edifying the embodiment of Geezer’s quest for all things heavy, trippy, and groovy. ‘Spiral Fires’ is the first passage in their new journey.

‘Spiral Fires’ – Track List:
01. Spiral Fires Part 1
02 Spiral Fires Part 2
03. Darkworld
04. Charley Reefer

‘Spiral Fires’ was produced by Pat Harrington. Recorded at Darkworld Studio in Kingston, NY, by Matthew Cullen and assistant engineers David Daw and Robert Kelly. Mixing was done by Matthew Cullen at The Cat Haus in Catskill, NY, with mastering by Scott Craggs at Old Colony Mastering in Boston, MA. The ‘Spiral Fires’ cover art is by Lee Fenyves, with design layout by Steve Markota.

On April 26th, ‘Spiral Fires’ will be available on vinyl through Kozmik Artifactz, with pre-ordering available now. Both CD and digital is available on Bandcamp:

Kozmik Artifactz: http://shop.bilocationrecords.com/index.php?a=60546

Geezer on Bandcamp: https://geezertown.bandcamp.com/

GEEZER live:
04.20 The Anchor Kingston NY w/ River Cult & Eternal Black
04.23 Saint Vitus Bar Brooklyn NY w/ Ufomammut & Kings Destroy

GEEZER:
Pat Harrington – Guitar/Vocals
Richie Touseull – Bass
Steve Markota – Drums

https://www.instagram.com/geezertown/
https://www.facebook.com/geezerNY/
http://geezertown.bandcamp.com/
http://kozmik-artifactz.com/
https://www.facebook.com/kozmikartifactz

Geezer, Spiral Fires EP (2019)

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The Obelisk Presents: Ode to Doom with Geezer, Grass, Slush & The Ancient Stone, March 20 in Manhattan

Posted in The Obelisk Presents on March 13th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

Ode to Doom is coming up on three years of presenting shows on the regular at Arlene’s Grocery in Manhattan, and I’m proud to have had this site associated with it more or less since the outset. Claudia Crespo, who runs Freebird Productions, has been putting together killer lineups all the while and on March 20 — next week, y’all — she’ll present GeezerGrassThe Ancient Stone and Slush for a four-bands-on-a-weeknight bill the likes of which will make you want to take the next day off.

The kings of Kingston, Geezer headline as they support their recently issued Spiral Fires EP (review here), and they’re joined at the top of the bill by Grass, whose demo has been making the rounds of interwebular hyperbole. The Ancient Stone open and Slush follow shortly thereafter as the night gets a reasonably early start at 7:30, all very civilized, all very heavy. It’ll be a good time.

When Ode to Doom started, I thought part of the appeal was that it was a reminder of 10-15 years ago before Brooklyn took over as New York’s creative hub — I guess Queens is next? wait till the craft-brew crowd takes Weehawken — but at this point, Ode to Doom has built its own community and made its own impact, true to the history of the basement barroom shows of yore, but consistently admirable most of all for its forward-thinking nature.

Bottom line, I guess is it’s worth getting off your ass and going. I don’t say that about everything, but the truth is Manhattan needs less couture and more culture and this is how that happens. Support creative work.

Info follows:

ode to doom flyers

March 20 – Ode To Doom W/ Geezer, Slush, Grass, & The Ancient Stone

DOORS AT 7!!!
The Ancient Stone at 7:30
Slush at 8:30
Geezer at 9:30
Grass at 10:30

Flyer by Ritual Design.

Geezer, Spiral Fires (2019)

Ode to Doom on Thee Facebooks

Ode to Doom event page on Thee Facebooks

Tickets at Arlene’s Grocery website

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Witchkiss Announce Spring Touring Between April and June

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

witchkiss

New York two-piece Witchkiss have Northeastern dates booked for the better part of the Spring, and little doubt the highlight is a stopoff in Jewett City, Connecticut, at the New England Stoner and Doom Festival. Then a trio, the band released their debut album, The Austere Curtains of Our Eyes (review here), last year through Argonauta Records and have been building forward momentum ever since. These shows should do nothing of course to curb that, with key dates and venues locked in for Philly, Brooklyn and Providence along with dates in the company of CastleClamfightShadow Witch and others. You know the drill. The up and coming band plays cool shows.

Familiar though that story is, the fact remains: cool shows. And that’s the best kind! I’m looking forward to seeing them at NES&D.

From the PR wire:

witchkiss spring tour

WITCHKISS ANNOUNCE EAST US TOUR

New York doom band WITCHKISS are pleased to announce that they will embark on a tour of the Eastern United States this spring.

The band commented “This Spring, as we emerge from our winter riff writing hibernation, we will be hitting the road with some new songs and a new bassist as well We will be playing some killer shows with our friends in CASTLE, BACKWOODS PAYBACK, SHADOW WITCH, CLAMFIGHT and YATRA along with a slew of other bands that were looking forward to jamming with for the first time also! Along this run we will be hitting a bunch of rad places we’ve played already, new spots in DC, NH, RI and NY and a stop at the New England Stoner & Doom Fest! We are Beyond Stoked! Hope to see you in the Spring!”

All dates will be in support of the band’s 2018 album The Austere Curtains Of Our Eyes which was released last year.

Listen to the album here: https://witchkiss.bandcamp.com/

Tour dates:
April 24 – The Anchor – Kingston, NY
April 30 – Kung Fu Necktie – Philadelphia, PA
May 1 – Atlas Brew Works – Washington, DC
May 2 – The Kingsland – Brooklyn, NY
May 3 – New England Stoner & Doom Fest – Jewett City, CT
May 4 – News Cafe – Pawtucket, RI
May 5 – The Bungalow Bar – Manchester, NH
June 6 – Ralphs Rock Diner – Worcester, MA
June 7 – Geno’s Rock Club – Portland, ME
June 8 – Dusk – Providence, RI

http://facebook.com/witchkissband
https://witchkiss.bandcamp.com/
www.argonautarecords.com
https://www.facebook.com/ArgonautaRecords/
https://twitter.com/argonautarex
https://www.instagram.com/argonautarecords/

Witchkiss, The Austere Curtains of Our Eyes (2018)

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Geezer, Spiral Fires EP: Light in Darkworld

Posted in Reviews on February 8th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

geezer spiral fires

If Geezer sound different on Spiral Fires, part of that is because they are. The Kingston, New York, trio have charted a marked progression over the last five-plus years, shifting from slide-guitar-prone heavy blues rock to a jammier take with a foundation in songcraft, unafraid to swagger into an ether of whiskey vapor and heavy enough to land on solid ground when they so choose. Guitarist/vocalist Pat Harrington is the last remaining original member of the band, and on Spiral Fires, he and bassist Richie Touseull — who joined in 2015 ahead of the release of their 2016 self-titled LP (review here) — welcome new drummer Steve Markota to the fold. It’s worth noting that despite the turnover in personnel, Geezer have been able to remain steadily prolific over their time, and the four-song/25-minute Spiral Fires EP follows 2017’s Psychoriffadelia (review here), which only furthered the momentum built by the self-titled after 2015’s Gage (review here), bolstered as well by the band’s participation in Ripple Music‘s The Second Coming of Heavy split series (review here), 2014’s Live! Full-Tilt Boogie tape (review here) and sundry odds and ends going back to their 2013 debut, Electrically Recorded Handmade Heavy Blues.

Along with tours in the US and Europe, the continued stylistic growth evident in Geezer‘s studio work has made them a stronger, more confident band, as well as furthered the chemistry between Harrington and Touseull, who interact fluidly on the included jams throughout Spiral Fires. It may well be they’re testing the waters with Markota in the group ahead of either shows or more writing — something’s always next — but if that’s the case, then simply put, the dynamic works. Spiral Fires is Geezer‘s most out-there release to-date, and though it’s relatively brief — Geezer have always enjoyed an EP-style release; Gage was an EP originally — it flows smoothly throughout “Spiral Fires Part 1,” “Spiral Fires Part 2,” “Darkworld” and “Charley Reefer.” The latter two, which will no doubt comprise side B of the forthcoming Kozmik Artifactz vinyl, both geared more toward hooks, and particularly the closer has a bounce that stands among Geezer‘s sonic signatures, Harrington‘s tone always molasses-thick, but able to move nonetheless. They’re not strangers to boogie, and if that’s what a given listener is looking for, that’s where they’ll find it.

But even that is cosmically directed, and it demonstrates how much Geezer‘s reach has grown that they’re able to conjure such a molten vibe even over what’s ostensibly intended as a one-off recording session. The two parts of “Spiral Fires” of course run one into the next, but that transition is marked by a turn from dense riffing and more forward verses from Harrington to a mellow breadth topped with guest vocals. From roll to spread. It’s important to note that “Spiral Fires Part 1” begins with a wave of synth, since that has a subtle effect on the listener’s expectation that would be different, say, if the guitar or drums had led off. They tease a spacey course there and then make their way in that direction over the course of the nodding opener, cutting short the central riff at the end but still maintaining a direct tie to “Spiral Fires Part 2,” with Markota‘s drums setting the bed for some effects interplay as the track gets going.

geezer

Each side of Spiral Fires has a shorter song and a longer one, in that order, and “Spiral Fires Part 2” doesn’t quite hit the seven-minute mark as does “Charley Reefer” still to come, but it’s an open spirit just the same and while Touseull lays down a smooth bassline, Harrington winds lead guitar overtop where verses might otherwise be. They don’t feel missing, those verses, in no small part because Geezer are so assured in what they’re doing that they simply carry the listener along with them on this outward course. The vocals arrive after five and a half minutes into the total 6:57, so obviously not a focal point, but the quick appearance from Pam Grande (Grande) adds a psych-soul element that, if it’s a context Geezer want to continue to explore in their songwriting, well, that’d be just fine. Though it also begins with a quick splurge of effects, “Darkworld” is a marked shift in atmosphere, with the riff emerging from that initial wash and set to workmanlike punctuation by Markota‘s snare and the steady rumble of Touseull‘s low end. Its lyrics would seem to take on more of a straightforward social commentary position, and that’s fair enough for the more grounded path of the song as a whole.

“Open your eyes/Empty the cages/A new fire rages,” intones Harrington near the midpoint of the track, and the message of “Darkworld” is pretty clear without being overtly politicized or too much of the chaotic and polarized moment in which America is embroiled. All the while, the song moves forward efficiently as the only track under five minutes on Spiral Fires, the section where it might otherwise jam out — and indeed might live — instead keeping to a shorter repetitive course that devolves into swirl at the finish, letting “Charley Reefer” emerge from silence with a transitional keyboard line at the start soon joined by a guitar line reminiscent in its warmth of Colour Haze, and gradually easing its way into the verse riff. There’s some shuffle to “Charley Reefer,” as noted, and it shares a commonality of method with “Darkworld” in its verses and choruses, but at 7:38, it brings the two sides of Spiral Fires together and jams out from about minute-four onward, first building to a fervent wash and then drawing back to quiet and relatively minimal stretching.

All the pieces are still there — guitar, bass, drums, effects/synth — but the tension dissipates and Geezer draw down “Charley Reefer” with a live-feeling psychedelic devolution that ends cold sure enough but along the way serves as no less a reminder of the command the three-piece wield over their sound at this point. Even Markota in making his first appearance is able to bring a softer touch on drums to correspond with that finish, and it’s no less a satisfying moment than Geezer at their heaviest earlier in the track or back on side A for “Spiral Fires Part 1.” The question with an EP is always how indicative it might be of future output, and I don’t know to say for sure, but Spiral Fires fits in the line of their overarching development, and when it’s done, there’s little question left as to whether or not it’s the farthest outward they’ve yet pushed. As a fan of the band, I only want them to keep going.

Geezer, Spiral Fires (2019)

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