Friday Full-Length: The Brought Low, Right on Time

Posted in Bootleg Theater on March 27th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

They took my neighbor out last night on a stretcher. Ambulance, lights flashing. It was dark over here by then — maybe 8:30PM — so the walls started turning red and blue like we were having a rave of plague anxiety. Older lady. Maybe she fell. She did seem to have bad knees. I don’t know.

That’s what all the pandemic sci-fi literature/pop culture gets wrong. The waiting for what’s coming by those not on the frontlines. The not knowing. There are things happening so fast around us — but locked in our houses, what are we trying to do? We’re trying to clean. We’re doing laundry. The Patient Mrs. and I are trying to keep The Pecan entertained, decently fed. We’re constantly reading the news, quoting statistics at each other, but we’re also just trying to get through another day. We’re asking whether we want the diner or pizza for takeout. I’m grinding coffee for the morning. She’s working. I’m writing reviews.

Life.

You never hear about that waiting, or the worry that’s hiding behind the day-to-day. Consider Cormac McCarthy’s post-apocalyptic The Road. How cheap that story seems. They don’t even know what happened to collapse society. It was just gone and okay fine so off we go. Are you kidding me? Nothing in life happens like that. It happens like this. People start dying in numbers we can’t even conceive, so you know what? We don’t conceive them. We see them, we tell ourselves, “that’s awful,” and we make cookies. Those who have to go to work, do.

My sister got laid off yesterday from her corporate gig of long-standing. Sucks, of course, but she’s healthy, experienced and frighteningly competent, so I’m not worried for her. If she doesn’t get rehired to this job, she’ll get another as soon as there are jobs to get. With three million unemployment claims last week, obviously she’s not alone. Your bosses and your bosses’ bosses do not care if you live or die. That’s not their job.The Brought Low Right on Time

We don’t know how many people will get COVID-19. We don’t know how well sheltering in place will work. Maybe by August we’ll all be dancing madly backwards at Psycho Las Vegas, breathing hot desert air through our unaffected lungs and headbanging through our reborn appreciation for being alive. It’s impossible to know what’s coming.

The Brought Low, above, are comfort music for me. Right on Time came out through Small Stone in 2006, and the NYC trio were on top of their game. 14 years later, these songs continue to smoke, and the band — massively underrated — put out one record after it and continue to do periodic shows after a few years away. This was their second and I don’t know if they’ll make a fourth album, but I love these songs and so wanted to close out the week with them, even if I didn’t include the usual critique-style blah blah blah.

I reserve the right to do another Friday Full-Length with Right on Time at some point under more normal circumstances — because not only do I love it, but I think it holds up on the merits of its songs, performance and aesthetic; “Dear Ohio,” “A Better Life,” “Vernon Jackson,” “Shake Down,” “Blues for Cubby,” all of it — it just didn’t seem to work this week.

Not that much did. The wheels came off around Wednesday and I was never really able to get it going again. I made it through the Quarterly Review, but shit, Enslaved announced their new album title this week and I wasn’t even able to get that posted. It’d take me like 20 minutes, max, to put that together, and nope. Just didn’t have it in me, didn’t have time. It has been a difficult, difficult week. I’m sleeping a lot. Even this morning, I slept until 5:30. Tried to get up earlier and couldn’t. And I’ve been sleeping when The Pecan takes a nap, which is like two hours in the afternoon.

Hard days. We go for runs in the morning, he and I, and that seems to help him even out. But he misses doing things, clearly. Gymnastics class, swimming class, daycare. Quarantine has been tough on him, and he’s really just too young to understand what any of it means, so all he knows is he can’t even go see grandma’s dogs and he doesn’t know why. I feel for him, and I feel for The Patient Mrs., who of course is the force keeping the entire household together, as always. She is the center around which my universe spins.

Be healthy. Be smart. Do what you can to enjoy your days, to enjoy each other. If you have someone, hold them. If you’re alone, reach out to someone else. Even if it’s texting, that contact makes a difference. Hell, drop me a line. I’m around. Be well.

Back next week. It’s front-to-back packed.

FRM.

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Review & Full Stream: King Buffalo, Dead Star EP

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on March 17th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

King Buffalo Dead Star

[Click play above to stream King Buffalo’s Dead Star in full. It’s out this week and available to preorder from the band. Their Spring tour is in the process of being rescheduled due to pandemic. Read their statement here.]

Dead Star is anything but. What’s billed as the fourth King Buffalo EP is actually a sneaky third full-length from the Rochester, New York, three-piece of guitarist/vocalist Sean McVay, bassist Dan Reynolds and drummer Scott Donaldson, clocking in at 35-plus minutes long and marked out by an expansive, creative and spacious flow that willfully builds on the accomplishments of the band’s past while bringing them to new places in terms of sound and arrangements.

From the outset, the sprawl in their sound that came to such satisfying fruition on 2018’s sophomore LP, Longing to Be the Mountain (review here) — which was the best record put out that year not by a band called Sleep — is pushed further, as the 16:21 opener and longest track (immediate points) “Red Star Pt. 1 & 2” embarks on an extended, from-silence-up linear build through its first part only to find itself nearly 12 minutes in as Donaldson‘s drums begin to gallop through its second part and McVay‘s vocals take on more of an urgent delivery suited to the space rocking thrust surrounding.

Underscored with reliable, underrated, secret-weapon-type low-end from Reynolds and fleshed out with undulations of synth and/or effects, it is King Buffalo on a cosmic grandstand in a way they simply never have been. Even their Jan. 2018 EP Repeater (review here), which opened with its 13-minute title-track, didn’t dare explore the regions of far-out that “Red Star Pt. 1 & 2” claims as the trio’s own, and certainly the heavy-psych-blues of 2016’s debut LP, Orion (review here), or the 2015 split with Sweden’s Lé Betre (review here) and the 2013 demo (review here) that preceded it only hinted at the barriers of sound the band would soon enough be breaking.

The latter piece of “Red Star Pt. 1 & 2” is immediate in classic space rock tradition, but still consistent with the slower psychedelic unfolding over the 11-plus minutes that it grew from, and when it crashes, it does so in righteous fashion, a slowdown-into-nod landing heavy and letting go into about a minute of cast-aloft noise and effects drift on a long fade.

If that was it, then sure, Dead Star would be an EP, but the progressive guitar piece “Echo of a Waning Star” — much shorter and just over three minutes long — picks up with a quieter melody of its own that comes to life at about halfway through. Beginning with plucked start-stop notes that stay consistent even as the full tonality and drums kick in circa 1:30 and then come back to the fore after that wave recedes, fleshed out with soft-hit toms and keys, the track is perhaps most reminiscent indeed of an echo — an atmospheric impression rather than a fully structured statement of its own, something intended to set a mood and feel not only hypnotic with that guitar line repeating.

But the complement that follows with the arrival of “Ecliptic” is cinematic in a way King Buffalo have never attempted to be, with McVay taking on the task of setting a four-minute John Carpenter or Goblin-style bed of ’70s prog synthesizer, complete with an underlying pulse of a beat. Entirely instrumental, it is a clear experiment for the band — a way for them to grasp for something new in their sound as they’ve done on EPs in the past — but with the addition of what seems to be a fluidly-mixed wave of distorted guitar (it’s hard to tell after a certain point), there’s a way forward for them in terms of future integration of these elements with their already established modus.

King Buffalo

That is, they’re not just throwing “Ecliptic” in without giving it some context; they’re hinting at what might be things to come as their evolution continues on their next full-length, whether you want to call it their third or fourth, after this. Sampled television or radio static — which used to actually be a thing, you know — underscores the point of interaction with soundtrack media and serves as a transition into the tense guitar line that opens “Eta Carinae.” Also proggier and more exacting in its central riff than some of King Buffalo‘s past work, it is in the Reynolds‘ bass that one most finds the groove holding sway even as Donaldson‘s snare provides steady pops along the way.

A subtle line of synth signals a change to a winding transition and the band are soon enough underway on a still-precise, plotted jam, with a lead and instrumental stretch bringing about a section of chug and the return of McVay‘s vocals, soon enough opening to a stretch of tension-release guitar soloing, but ending ultimately on that chugging riff, accompanied by a touch of synth before a sudden stop.

The title-track, which presses the words together to present as “DeadStar,” is a sweetly melodic four-minute piece based around acoustic guitar that still manages to bring all the pieces of the EP into one shared space, whether it’s the cosmic psych, the spaciousness, the weight of tone — which, yes, shows up — the synth and the vocal melody. McVay‘s presence as a frontman here is undeniable and perhaps a corresponding narrative along with the stylistic development of King Buffalo as a whole, but it’s important to note that the group remains balanced, and “DeadStar” shows this as well as it moves fluidly into its second and third minute, Reynolds smoothing out what might otherwise be stark shifts and Donaldson on the bell of his ride cymbal.

That King Buffalo should not only be toying with their aesthetic in these ways, but also finding solid footing as they do so probably shouldn’t be a surprise to listeners who’ve been exposed in the past to their songwriting, but it remains impressive all the same and it speaks to the quality of their work that seven years on from their demo, with multiple domestic and international tours behind and likely ahead of them — not to mention the specter of an always-pivotal third LP (if this isn’t it) looming on the horizon — that their potential should still resonate so vividly.

I’m a fan of their work, so if you need your grain of salt, take it, but I’ll bottom line this for you as best I can: King Buffalo are a special band. They’ve yet to put out a release that did not significantly bolster their reach, and their progression is met likewise by melodic growth and a consistency of songcraft that make their output all the more a joy to hear. They make it easy to open your mind and embrace new ideas, and if Dead Star is an EP, then it seems damn unlikely 2020 will see a better one.

King Buffalo BigCartel store

King Buffalo website

King Buffalo on Thee Facebooks

King Buffalo on Instagram

Stickman Records website

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King Buffalo Post 2019 Live Bootlegs; Tour Starts March 19

Posted in Whathaveyou on March 10th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

Ahead of kicking off a round of touring with The Sword, King Buffalo have posted an 18-show bootleg collection for free public consumption. As I recall watching their performance as it happened at Freak Valley 2019 — I was at Maryland Doom Fest at the time, but with the time difference it worked — and being stunned by it on multiple levels, I immediately went there first. Needless to say, it holds up.

All the links are posted on their website direct to a Google Drive file, so you can stream or download from there as you will. King Buffalo will release their new EP, Dead Star, on March 20, and I hear tell that it might be streaming here a couple days before. Because the truth is King Buffalo are probably too cool for this site at this point, but they either don’t know it yet or are too nice to tell me to screw off when I asked. I’ll take it in any case, keeping my expectations reasonable as regards whatever they do next. One doesn’t want to take advantage.

Some calendar jumbling to do, but I’m hoping to catch them on this run at some point:

King Buffalo

We’ve just added 18 shows from 2019 to our Bootleg Series! Download them all for FREE at kingbuffalo.com/bootlegs.

Come be a part of our Bootlegs for 2020…
?3/19 Burlington, VT @ Higher Ground?
?3/20 Boston, MA @ Great Scott?
?3/21 New York, NY @ Mercury Lounge?
?3/26 Lansing, MI @ Mac’s Bar?
?3/27 Milwaukee, WI @ Colectivo?
?3/28 Minneapolis, MN @ 7th St. Entry?
?3/29 Winnipeg, MB @ Park Theatre?
?3/31 Calgary, AB @ Palomino?
?4/2 Vancouver, BC @ Fox Cabaret?
?4/3 Seattle, WA @ Barboza?
?4/4 Seattle, WA @ Barboza?
?4/5 Portland, OR @ Lola’s Room?
?4/7 San Francisco, CA @ Bottom of the Hill?
?4/8 Los Angeles, CA @ The Echo?
?4/10 Denver, CO @ Larimer Lounge?
?4/11 Denver, CO @ Larimer Lounge?
?4/13 Kansas City, MO @ Riot Room?
?4/14 St Louis, MO @ Duck Room?
?4/15 Louisville, KY @ Zanzabar?
?4/16 Cleveland, OH @ Beachland Tavern?
?4/17 Pittsburgh, PA @ Club Café?
?4/18 Syracuse, NY @ Funk N Waffles?
?5/9 Springfield, MO @ Mother’s Brewing?
?5/14 Northampton, MA @ The Parlor Room?
?5/15 Hamden, CT @ Space Ballroom?
?6/5 Toronto, ON @ Velvet Underground?
?6/11 Grand Rapids, MI @ Elevation +?
?6/12 Madison, WI @ Majestic Theatre +?
?6/13 Indianapolis, IN @ Vogue +?
?6/25 Buffalo, NY @ Mohawk Place +?
?6/26 Ashbury Park, NJ @ Wonder Bar?
?6/27 Baltimore, MD @ Metro Gallery?
?7/1 Chicago, IL @ Empty Bottle +?
?+ w/ The Sword

King Buffalo is:
Sean McVay – Guitar, Vocals, & Synth
Dan Reynolds – Bass & Synth
Scott Donaldson – Drums & Percussion

kingbuffalo.com
facebook.com/kingbuffaloband
instagram.com/kingbuffaloband
kingbuffalo.bandcamp.com
stickman-records.com
facebook.com/Stickman-Records-1522369868033940

King Buffalo, “Red Star Pt. 2” official video

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Göden (ex-Winter) Sign to Svart Records; Debut Album Beyond Darkness Coming May 7

Posted in Whathaveyou on February 14th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

When they were last heard from, New York death-doom pioneers Winter — who formed in 1988 and cast their legacy in their 1990 full-length debut/swansong Into Darkness (discussed here) — were about to announce a European tour in 2015 to take place the next year. The would-be stint was canceled, and any further plans the band had in working toward an awaited follow-up to the since-reissued Into Darkness or their 1994 Eternal Frost EP were likewise shelved. So much for that.

Founding guitarist Stephen Flam shortly set to work on what has become Göden, a project that has inherited much of Winter‘s ultra-bleak apocalyptic scope, but in the spirit of the transition between Celtic Frost and Triptykon, also taken the opportunity presented by the new identity to forge its own forward path. That forward path, by the way, leads to utter sonic devastation.

I mean it. Flam — joined in the endeavor by Vas Kallas (Hanzel und Gretyl) and Tony Pinnisi (also ex-Winter) — wasn’t just playing off the reference when he titled Göden‘s debut album Beyond Darkness. The record follows a hyper-complicated and hyper-immersive narrative course, and all the while the sound seems to dig further and further into an chasm of its own making. It is deeply creative and genuinely challenging, and whatever totally-fucked image you might have in your head of what it sounds like, I guarantee you’re wrong.

Today, Göden announce they’ve signed to Svart Records — a choice alignment on both sides — and the label will release Beyond Darkness on May 7. Winter reissue is booked for the same day.

More background follows:

goden beyond darkness

Göden – Beyond Darkness – Svart Records

Göden is the spiritual successor to Winter, a band that has been heavily influential and highly revered in the metal underground since its inception and treasured demos. A long-awaited continuation of what Winter would have been from co-founder Stephen Flam’s vision, the new album “Beyond Darkness” throws us into an existential voyage out of the past and into the future. A familiar yet distinctive new opus that expands the unmapped shadow world that Winter once opened in our nightmares.

A soundtrack that takes the listener on a dark and ominous journey, Beyond Darkness is a conceptual deep dive into wildly unexplored and unknown sonic territory. The story has three characters, each with different symbols: Stephen Flam as “Spacewinds”, the time and space in which these characters dwell; Vas Kallas as “NXYTA (Goddess of Night)”, lead vocalist and the darkness: Tony Pinnisi as “The Prophet of Göden”, who speaks in the name of Göden and is the light, plays keyboards and also played in Winter. Beyond Darkness is a tale of the dark and the light, set to a score of heavy music.

The artwork was conceived by Eva Petric, a Slovene multimedia artist based in Vienna, Austria and New York. Eva worked with Stephen Flam, creating a visual story book within the LP/CD booklet that the listener can look at while they are consumed by this heavy sound trip.

Stephen Flam leaves us in the outer blackness and inner gloom with these last words as ethereal guidance: “I hope you enjoy this endeavor. Listen with a free and open mind, and journey now Beyond Darkness.”

https://www.facebook.com/Goden-108097534096988
https://goden.net/
https://www.facebook.com/Winter-official-172406259480429/
www.facebook.com/svartrecords
https://www.instagram.com/svartrecords/
https://svartrecords.bandcamp.com/
www.svartrecords.com

Winter, Into Darkness/Eternal Frost

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Review & Full Album Stream: Shadow Witch, Under the Shadow of a Witch

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on February 12th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

Shadow Witch Under the Shadow of a Witch

[Click play above to stream Under the Shadow of a Witch by Shadow Witch in its entirety. Album is out Friday on Argonauta Records.]

The two halves of Shadow Witch‘s Under the Shadow of a Witch break just about evenly into vinyl sides, each one bearing its own subtitle. The first is ‘Spearfinger and Other Cautionary Tales’ and the second is ‘Fountain and Other Love Songs.’ In this way, the Kingston, New York, four-piece of vocalist/Mellotronist/noisemaker Earl Walker Lundy, guitarist Jeremy Hall, bassist David Pannullo and drummer Doug Beans (since replaced by Justin Zipperle) introduce the two central concepts with which their third album is working, largely through metaphor, bluesy, distinctly Southern-rooted storytelling, but rife with a realization of the dark heavy rock aesthetic the band have been building toward over the course of their two prior LPs, 2017’s Disciples of the Crow (review here) and 2016’s Sun Killer (discussed here), as they’ve moved from labels like Snake Charmer Coalition, Salt of the Earth and Kozmik Artifactz to find a home on Argonauta Records.

Under the Shadow of a Witch contains nine songs and altogether runs just under 40 minutes in total, indeed opening with “Spearfinger” in immediate and intense fashion, the four-piece clearly rushing to get their audience swept up in the energy of their shortest inclusion, while on the other end, “Fountain” closes at over eight minutes as the longest cut. All between, their songs are crafted, arranged thoughtfully, and very much playing with a studio presentation toward a live energy. That is, they’re not trying to ape a live show by being overly or needlessly raw, but there is attention given in the recording by Paul Orofino at Millbrook Sound to maintaining to one degree or another the vitality with which “Spearfinger” casts such a striking initial impression. Even as the penultimate “Sour” leads into the finale, it does so on a swell of noise and layered soloing from Hall with crashing cymbals behind.

As there would be on a record with such consideration underlying its execution, there is no shortage of dynamic at play in terms of tempo and general style, whether it’s the subdued acoustic beginnings of early highlight “Demon’s Hook” or side B leadoff “Saint Magdalene” — fleeting though they may be — or the effectively-placed emergence of Mellotron in the final-minute slowdown of the former, the chorus of which lives up to its title, i.e., that hook is for sure a demon in its potential to possess. It would perhaps be the catchiest song on Under the Shadow of a Witch — the great irony of the album is that for as much as it’s meant to be taken as Side Caution and Side Love, as it were, the component tracks do so much work to stand out individually — but for the subsequent “Wolf Among the Sheep,” begun with a spoken preach and working along an anti-dogmatic theme critiquing organized religion in a manner well presented if familiar.

While we’re talking about ironies, it’s hard to imagine Shadow Witch, in terms of listeners, aren’t preaching to the converted there, but again, it’s the chorus that’s the real sway of the piece as it rounds out the launchpoint salvo with “Spearfinger” and “Demon’s Hook,” portraying Shadow Witch as a band sure in their approach and ready for consideration at another level from where they’ve been before. They have, in terms of sound, found what they’ve been looking for this whole time.

shadow witch (photo by Kristin Troost Hall)

A third album is a natural place for that to happen, but more specifically, one can’t help but be drawn to the sense of frontman presence Lundy brings to his performance here. Part of that is that his voice, presented often in layers, with harmonies and other nuances of arrangements — dude can sing, and that always helps — is forward in the mix as to stand out from Hall‘s guitar, Pannullo‘s bass and Beans‘ drums, but the storytelling elements that begin with “Spearfinger” continue throughout that lead salvo and into the lush and nodding riff of “Witches of Aendor,” which touches on metal in its later reaches as Shadow Witch are wont to do without ever giving in entirely to aggressive posturing. Through that careening, chugging finish and into the more straightforward side A finale “Shifter” — another chorus not to be discounted — Lundy‘s task is to unite the material through whatever variety surrounds, and he does so impressively while donning a host of characters and perspectives along with ample melodic command.

There are moments where the balance tips one way or the other between band and frontman, but that ends up adding to the overarching dynamic of Under the Shadow of a Witch as a whole. As “Saint Magdalene” introduces the notion of a more patient side B about to unfold, it does so with a stepped-back Lundy (relatively speaking) and a stepped-up groove, an airier guitar returning temporarily in the second half of the song amid soulful, bluesy-almost-in-spite-of-themselves vocals that lead to a rousing solo. The brashest and most aggro of the nine inclusions, “6×6” is call-and-response through the verse and crunch in the rhythm — all business — as it makes its way to the chorus and a jarring strike of guitar after the title line is delivered. If Shadow Witch are metal anywhere on their third LP, it’s in “6×6,” but that doesn’t come at the expense of songwriting, which remains top priority.

It and “Sour” make a fitting pair for a dug-in vibe ahead of the closer, keeping momentum rolling without losing the thread of complexity coinciding, even if less infectious than “Demon’s Hook” or “Wolf Among the Sheep” earlier. The eight minutes of “Fountain” that follow are time well spent, with guest slide guitar from fellow Kingstonian Pat Harrington of Geezer that’s built toward with a payoff of the bluesy aspects both in Lundy‘s singing and in the progression behind him. They cap with howling wails and intertwining solos in a fitting wash atop the solid rhythmic foundation that’s underscored the various moves made all along, and give Under the Shadow of a Witch an earned sendoff into the ether of its own making.

True to its side’s subtitle, “Fountain” is a love song ultimately, and while I’m not sure I’d say the same about “6×6” — I’m not sure I wouldn’t, mind you — Shadow Witch‘s performance across the span of the full-length as a whole, taken in sides or song-by-song, shines with the feeling of an intention fulfilled. It is the work of a band who went into the studio with a purpose, and who realized that purpose in righteous form. Preach on, Shadow Witch.

Shadow Witch, “Wolf Among the Sheep” official video

Shadow Witch on Thee Facebooks

Shadow Witch on Instagram

Shadow Witch on Bandcamp

Argonauta Records website

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Geezer Sign to Heavy Psych Sounds for Groovy LP May 22; Premiere New Track “Dig”

Posted in audiObelisk, Whathaveyou on February 4th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

geezer

Sincere congratulations to Kingston, New York, three-piece Geezer on inking a deal to release their new album, Groovy, on May 22 through Heavy Psych Sounds. I’ve been sitting on my excitement about the record, which is aptly-titled, for more than the last month at this point as they were kind enough to ask me to write the bio for the record, and while I don’t want to say too much about it even now because it’s early heading into the release, it’s their fifth album and it seems to coalesce the jammy impulses they’ve showed across their last couple of releases into pointed, excellently-crafted songs. They show some influence from Brant Bjork — now a labelmate — and by no means let go of those jammy impulses, but using them as a means to grow and move forward. Progress, people. I’m talking about progress.

They’re seven years out from their first record and growing. Not every band can say that.

“Dig” — of which I have the pleasure of hosting the premiere below — opens the record and lays it all out for you. Geezer. Groovy. “Dig.” This is a band stripping it down to the most essential components.

See? I’m getting ahead of myself.

More to come, stay tuned. I’m not wrong to be excited about this album. And we didn’t even talk about the cover art! Blacklight poster immediately!

Announcement from the PR wire, along with the bio I wrote:

geezer groovy

Geezer to Release New LP, ‘Groovy’, May 22

Underground New York Power Trio Signs with Heavy Psych Sounds Records

Preorder link: https://www.heavypsychsounds.com/shop.htm#HPS131

Kingston, New York acid rock band Geezer has signed with Heavy Psych Sounds Records (Brant Bjork, Nebula, Mondo Generator). The cosmic blues unit will release its new LP, ‘Groovy’, on May 22 via the Rome-based independent record label.

Known for its fuzz-fueled, groove-driven psychedelic blooze, Geezer’s sound has been described as “an application of psychedelic sensibilities” that draws inspiration in equal parts from Robert Johnson and Muddy Waters, to Bad Brains and Black Flag. Formed in 2014, Geezer has enjoyed a steady ascent over the course of multiple releases and a robust live show that has helped the group develop a following both in the U.S. and abroad, while sharing the stage with High on Fire, Acid King, Nebula, Earthless, Ufomammut and more.

“Geezer has been honored to work with some of the best record labels in the underground rock world. That being said, one look at the roster of Heavy Psych Sounds and it’s easy to see why they are the right label for us right now,” says the band in a statement. “Whether it’s legends of the genre like Brant Bjork, Nebula and Yawning Man, or a new generation of bands like Black Rainbows, Ecstatic Vision and Duel, Heavy Psych Sounds reputation speaks for itself. Geezer is looking forward to earning our place among these titans of the riff. Inhale the groove, keep it heavy. Dig.”

A first taste of what the new Geezer LP holds in store can be heard now as the band streams the new song “Dig.”

Track listing:

1.) Dig
2.) Atlas Electra
3.) Dead Soul Scroll
4.) Awake
5.) Groovy
6.) Drowning On Empty
7.) Slide Mountain
8.) Black Owl

Produced by: Pat Harrington
Recorded and Mixed by: Matthew Cullen
Asst. Engineers: David Daw & Robert Kelly
Recorded at Darkworld Studio, Kingston, NY
Mastered by: Scott Craggs
Album cover by: Ryan Williams (A Subtle Difference Design)
Photo by: Monik Geisel

Pre-order ‘Groovy’ AT THIS LOCATION. Heavy Psych Sounds Records is distributed in the USA by All That Is Heavy and Forced Exposure.

Geezer are:
Pat Harrington – Guitar/Vocals
Richie Touseull – Bass
Steve Markota – Drums/Percussion

Jeff Mercel: Keys on “Awake” & “Groovy”

https://www.instagram.com/geezertown/
https://www.facebook.com/geezerNY/
http://geezertown.bandcamp.com/
heavypsychsoundsrecords.bandcamp.com
www.heavypsychsounds.com
https://www.facebook.com/HEAVYPSYCHSOUNDS/

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King Buffalo Announce Dead Star EP and Tour Dates

Posted in Whathaveyou on January 21st, 2020 by JJ Koczan

King Buffalo

When King Buffalo put out their early-2018 EP Repeater (review here) ahead of their second full-length, Longing to Be the Mountain (review here), it was an opportunity for the Rochester trio to explore new ideas and adventure into what at the time was new sonic terrain for the band. To try new things and introduce their audience to the same. It smoothed the transition between 2016’s Orion (review here) and the follow-up LP, and complemented both works.

Their new “short release,” Dead Star, is more substantial. As in, it’s 36 minutes long. From where I sit, that’s an album one way or the other, and certainly the flow of its six tracks bears that out as well. But the function is similar to Repeater in that King Buffalo once again embrace their creative drive in an open and exciting way. The six songs of Dead Star are thrillingly progressive, taking on aspects of synth and new textures and atmospheres that enrich the band’s core melodies and grooves so as to broaden their scope and make them all the more engrossing. Beginning with the 16-minute pair “Dead Star Pt. 1 & 2,” and running through the finale closing track, Dead Star works to push the boundaries of expectation of what King Buffalo can accomplish as a band, and thereby accomplishes them as well.

Preorders go up later this week, and they’ve got tour dates and a track streaming as of next week. Official release of Dead Star is March 20 and I’m hoping to have more to come as we get closer to then.

In the meantime, here’s a press release I kind of wrote:

King Buffalo Announce their 4th EP “Dead Star” and 2020 Tour Dates

King Buffalo will release their fourth EP, Dead Star, on March 20. The widely-hailed progressive heavy rock trio from Western New York will stream the single “Eta Carinae” Jan. 28 from the six-song, 36-minute release now via Bandcamp with preorders available at kingbuffalo.bigcartel.com on Jan. 24. Extensive tour dates will follow.

Their most brazenly experimental offering to-date, Dead Star will self-release throughout North America and see European issue via Stickman Records.

Self-recorded in late 2019 and early 2020 by guitarist/vocalist Sean McVay, bassist Dan Reynolds and drummer Scott Donaldson, Dead Star continues to push King Buffalo’s psychedelic aspects deep into the cosmic ether, and basks in elements of ambient drone, space rock, prog, mantra-style heavy and synthesizer soundtracking, as well as the bluesy, classic riffing and creative urgency that has underscored their particular style since their 2013 demo and 2016 debut album, Orion. A depth of mix comes courtesy of Grant Husselman, while Bernie Matthews mastered.

“In the early stages of Dead Star, we made the decision to make a strong commitment to experimentation,” explains guitarist/vocalist Sean McVay. “From exploring different time signatures, tunings and textures, to tweaking the song writing processes themselves. We’re extremely proud of these recordings, and feel it’s some of our most ambitious work yet.”

King Buffalo’s discography includes two full-length albums, Orion (2016) and Longing to Be the Mountain (2018), as well as three prior EPs – 2013’s Demo, a 12” split with Le Bétre in 2015, and 2018’s Repeater.

Dead Star continues the risk-taking that fueled Repeater, honoring the core dynamic of King Buffalo as a band while boldly introducing new ideas and sides of their sound to their audience.

Recent years have found King Buffalo touring throughout North America and Europe, with highlight festival performances, support slots and headlining shows, and they bring that experience to the songwriting of Dead Star’s six tracks, be it the sprawling two-part leadoff “Red Star Pt. 1 & 2” or the John Carpenter-esque instrumental “Ecliptic” ahead of the chug-and-crash-prone “Eta Carinae.” All the while King Buffalo maintain a flow and atmosphere that has served as a hallmark of their approach.

“These six songs deviate and expand on horizons that we as King Buffalo haven’t yet reached,” says drummer Scott Donaldson, who also handled the graphic layout of Dead Star with Ryan T. Hancock’s striking cover art. “It’s extremely exciting to make something familiar, but unlike anything we’ve previously done. I can’t wait for everyone to hear it.”

Vinyl Details:

Test Press – Limited to 20, hand numbered, and ship mid-February. Includes a download code of the Deluxe version, poly bag, a signed “thank you” from the band with wax seal, an exclusive poster and hand numbered insert.

Deluxe Edition – Limited to 250 units and pressed to 12″ Black and White Vinyl. The Deluxe Edition includes a polybag, a hand numbered insert, and audio commentary by the band. A One-Time Only pressing. They’ll be shipped as soon as mid-March.

Standard Edition – Limited to 750 units and pressed to 12″ Bone White Vinyl. They include a polybag and download code.

Written and recorded by King Buffalo in Rochester, NY at the Main Street Armory in December of 2019 & January 2020.

All arrangements by King Buffalo (c) 2019
Produced & Engineered by Sean McVay
Mixed by Grant Husselman
Mastered by Bernie Matthews
Artwork by Ryan T Hancock
Fonts by Mike Turzanski
Layout by Scott Donaldson

Dead Star Track list:
Red Star Pt. 1
Red Star Pt. 2
Echo of a Waning Star
Ecliptic
Eta Carinae
Dead Star

Tour Dates:
1/31 Montreal, QC @ Le Ministere
2/1 Ottawa, ON @ Dominion Tavern
3/19 Burlington, VT @ Higher Ground
3/20 Boston, MA @ Great Scott
3/21 New York, NY @ Mercury Lounge
3/26 Lansing, MI @ Mac’s Bar
3/27 Milwaukee, WI @ Colectivo
3/28 Minneapolis, MN @ 7th St. Entry
3/29 Winnipeg, MB @ Park Theatre
3/31 Calgary, AB @ Palomino
4/2 Vancouver, BC @ Fox Cabaret
4/3 Seattle, WA @ Barboza
4/5 Portland, OR @ Lola’s Room
4/7 San Francisco, CA @ Bottom of the Hill
4/8 Los Angeles, CA @ The Echo
4/10 Denver, CO @ Larimer Lounge
4/11 Denver, CO @ Larimer Lounge
4/13 Kansas City, MO @ Riot Room
4/14 St Louis, MO @ Duck Room
4/15 Louisville, KY @ Zanzabar
4/16 Cleveland, OH @ Beachland Tavern
4/17 Pittsburgh, PA @ Club Café
4/18 Syracuse, NY @ Funk N Waffles

King Buffalo is:
Sean McVay – Guitar, Vocals, & Synth
Dan Reynolds – Bass & Synth
Scott Donaldson – Drums & Percussion

kingbuffalo.com
facebook.com/kingbuffaloband
instagram.com/kingbuffaloband
kingbuffalo.bandcamp.com
stickman-records.com
facebook.com/Stickman-Records-1522369868033940

King Buffalo, Longing to be the Mountain (2018)

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Grey Skies Fallen Premiere “Visions From the Last Sunset” from Cold Dead Lands

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on January 13th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

grey skies fallen

New York trio Grey Skies Fallen release their new album, Cold Dead Lands, on Jan. 24. Pick your apocalypse-in-progress and you just might find it in the pages of the story they’re telling across their fifth LP’s six-song/53-minute span, which begins with “Visions From the Last Sunset” and ends with “After the Summer Comes the Fall,” and all throughout paints its point of view clearly in the band’s well-established modus bringing together progressive death and depressive doom melody. The expansive vision the three-piece of founding guitarist/vocalist Rick Habeeb, bassist Tom Anderer and drummer Sal Gregory makes a perfect backdrop on which the theme unfolds, whether it’s the biting extremity of “Procession to the Tombs” and the penultimate “Ways of the World” or the broad reach of longer pieces like the aforementioned opener and closer as well as “Picking up the Pieces.” In these more fleshed-out, 10-minute-plus songs, Cold Dead Lands presents its scope as the first Grey Skies Fallen release in six years and the work of a band who are not just mature in their approach — having come together in 1996 — but who are unwilling to do anything other than continue to push forward and expand their range. “Visions From the Last Sunset,” “Picking up the Pieces” and “After the Summer Comes the Fall” make a kind of mini-album unto themselves, with “Cold Dead Lands,” “Procession to the Tombs” and “Ways of the World” — neither of which lacks breadth for their relatively shorter runtime — expanding the grim palette and theme around which the record is largely based.

The outlier in terms of perspective would seem to be “Picking up the Pieces,” if only because it presents some basic notion of there being any hope on any level whatsoever, but amid its early gallop grey skies fallen cold dead landsand later stateliness of lead guitar and harmonized vocals the prevailing spirit is still markedly doomed. This too is the case with “Visions From the Last Sunset,” which basks in its progressive aspects enough that the standalone guitar line that kicks in shortly before two minutes in reminds of Devin Townsend, and amid all the inevitable Opeth and Paradise Lost comparisons, the prog in prog-death shouldn’t be understated just because it plays out at a nodding tempo. HabeebAnderer and Gregory unfold the opener with a sense of purpose and thoughtful arrangement, not overly dramatic, but with clear intent toward making a statement about the world around them. In this way, Cold Dead Lands is very much built on what the leadoff track lays out. That’s the case tonally and melodically as well, but the title-track and “Procession to the Tombs,” which follow in immediate succession, effectively tip the balance of elements to one side or the other of the deathlier side of their sound. This too is a clear sign of intent as the band executes these changes with grace that might be considered deceptive given the harshness of some of what plays out — those who’d argue there’s no beauty in the grotesque are simply mistaken — and one finds in listening through that as they careen here and there, pauses like that preceding the final march in the title-track and more sudden turns like that from melodic to growling vocals early in “Picking up the Pieces” are united by a sense of creative will to serve the needs of the song and album as a whole at that moment.

In that way, Cold Dead Lands argues to be heard in its front-to-back entirety — so here’s a single track (ha!) — and with as much attention and willing immersion as one is ready to give. It is immediate in its deathly urgency and resonant in its melodicism, not overly emotional in the My Dying Bride sense, but neither unaffected by the decay it convincingly describes and portrays. It’s not an easy thing to position yourself at some distance to comment on the world around you falling apart. Grey Skies Fallen do it well in concept and execution, and if these are the endtimes, at least the fossil record will show we saw it coming.

You can and should stream “Visions From the Last Sunset” on the player below. Some quick band comment and PR wire info follow.

Please enjoy:

Grey Skies Fallen, “Visions From the Last Sunset” official track premiere

Rick Habeeb on “Visions from the Last Sunset”:

We wanted to open the album on an epic note, setting the stage for what’s to come. It’s about the end times and how at that moment people finally realize that humanity is the cause of our own demise. Most of the album shares this theme. We don’t consider it a concept album, but it definitely follows a central theme. There just seems to be a lot of people in denial about the state of the world.

New York-based melodic death/doom metal veterans, Grey Skies Fallen are proud to present “Visions from the Last Sunset.” The track is the second single taken from the group’s forthcoming album Cold Dead Lands. Video was created by former Grey Skies Fallen member, Craig Rossi. Grey Skies Fallen will release the album independently on their own imprint, Xanthos Music on January 24th, 2020. It is the fifth album in the band’s 23-year career.

Cold Dead Lands was recorded and engineered by Keith Moore at Audio Playground and produced by Grey Skies Fallen. Mixed and mastered by renowned musician/producer, Dan Swanö (Witherscape, ex-Edge of Sanity, ex-Bloodbath). Travis Smith (Death, Opeth, Nevermore, Katatonia) created the cover art. Dan Gargiulo (Revocation, Artificial Brain) and Will Smith (Buckshot Facelift, Artificial Brain, Afterbirth) appear as guests.

Cold Dead Lands Tracklist
1. Visions from the Last Sunset
2. Cold Dead Lands
3. Procession to the Tombs
4. Picking Up the Pieces
5. Ways of the World
6. After the Summer Comes the Fall

Grey Skies Fallen is:
Rick Habeeb – Guitar/Vocals
Tom Anderer – Bass
Sal Gregory – Drums

Grey Skies Fallen on Thee Facebooks

Grey Skies Fallen on Instagram

Grey Skies Fallen on Bandcamp

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