White Hills Announce European Tour Dates & New Collaborations

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

Let’s face it: Long after the floods and storms and famine and whatever else claim humanity, the sentient dolphins who inherent the earth will still be dedicating their best scholars to the task of trying to understand just what the hell level White Hills were working on. Most certainly, whatever it was — or, you know, is — it’s their own. In the best tradition of New York’s underground, they’ve long been an in-the-know-type band. The sort who might record and play shows with Martin Bisi and whose experimentalism extends through things like covering obscure ’80s synth tracks and scooting off to their kinda-adopted-home-base on the European circuit for a Fall tour that includes a slew of festivals psychedelic and otherwise.

White Hills thrive in this hard-to-get-a-handle-on aesthetic territory between genres, and as they’re in the studio putting together a new album that, you know, just has Jim Jarmusch on it — as one does — they’ll no doubt continue that thread of casting out mysteries for future aquatic-mammalian historians to try and unravel.

Good fucking luck.

From the PR wire:

WHITE HILLS Tour

New York’s acclaimed fuzz art-rock duo White Hills return to Europe

Having gathered a reputation as one of the most prolific and exciting live bands of their generation, White Hills are scheduled to descend upon mainland Europe this Autumn, playing for the very first time as a duo; with Ego Sensation on drums, electronics and vocals and Dave W on guitar and vocals.

On this tour the set will include new never-before-heard material which the band are currently working on (more on this below) as well as songs from the band’s vast catalogue including tracks from Glitter Glamour Atrocity, White Hills, H-p1, So You Are…So You’ll Be, Walks For Motorists and Stop Mute Defeat.

The tour includes several shows with collaborator and legendary NYC producer Martin Bisi (Sonic Youth, Swans, Foetus). Dave and Ego comment further on this collaboration. “We’re honored to have been able to work with Martin on three White Hills’ albums and the BC35 collaboration which brought together members of The Swans, Sonic Youth, Pop 1280, Foetus, Dresden Dolls and many other unique artists. BC Studios continues to be a vibrant breeding ground for New York noise and innovative music.” Bisi is curating The Transmission Festival in Ravenna, Italy which will feature several other NYC artists who appear on the BC35 Volume II compilation, which is released by the hosts of the festival, Bronson Recordings.

White Hills are currently in the studio working on a new album with Jeff Berner (Psychic TV) at Studio G in Brooklyn featuring a slew of unique collaborators including; Jim Jarmusch (Filmmaker & Musician), Yasmine Hamden (singer-songwriter who also appears in Jarmusch’s “Only Lovers Left Alive”), Simone Marie Butler (bassist with Primal Scream), Jim Coleman (Cop Shoot Cop) and Alex Macarte (GNOD).

White Hills – Buy The Ticket Take The Ride EU tour 2019 Dates:
14/11 CH Bern Spinnerei
15/11 ITA Busto Arsizio Circolo Gagarin (with Martin Bisi)
16/11 ITA Roma Roma Psych Fest
17/11 ITA Loreto Reasonanz (with Martin Bisi)
18/11 ITA Perugia T-Trane
19/11 ITA Torino BlahBlah
20/11 ITA Padova Nadir
21/11 ITA Ravenna Transmission Festival (with Martin Bisi)
22/11 ITA Ravenna Transmission Festival
23/11 AT Salzburg Dome of Rock Festival
24/11 DE Karlsruhe Alte Hackerei
25/11 DE Leipzig Nato
26/11 DE Berlin Urban Spree (with Martin Bisi)
27/11 SWE Malmo Plan B
28/11 SWE Gothenborg Musikenhus
29/11 DK Copenhagen BASEMENT
30/11 DE Munster Rare Guitar
1/12 NL Den Bosch W2 Poppodium
2/12 BE Bruxelles Mag 4 (with Martin Bisi)
3/12 FRA Paris Supersonic

http://whitehillsmusic.tumblr.com/
https://www.facebook.com/WHITE-HILLS-90476409450/
https://whitehills.bandcamp.com/

White Hills, “Putting on the Pressure”

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

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

quarterly review

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

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

Quarterly Review #1-10:

Monkey3, Sphere

monkey3 sphere

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

Monkey3 on Thee Facebooks

Napalm Records website

 

Asthma Castle, Mount Crushmore

Asthma Castle Mount Crushmore

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

Asthma Castle on Thee Facebooks

Hellmistress Records website

 

The Giraffes, Flower of the Cosmos

the giraffes flower of the cosmos

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

The Giraffes website

The Giraffes on Bandcamp

 

Bask, III

bask iii

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

Bask on Thee Facebooks

Season of Mist on Bandcamp

 

Faerie Ring, The Clearing

fairie ring the clearing

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

Faerie Ring on Thee Facebooks

King Volume Records on Bandcamp

 

Desert Sands, The Ascent EP

Desert Sands The Ascent

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

Desert Sands on Thee Facebooks

A Recordings on Thee Facebooks

 

Cavalcade, Sonic Euthanasia

Cavalcade Sonic Euthanasia

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

Cavalcade on Thee Facebooks

Cavalcade on Bandcamp

 

Restless Spirit, Lord of the New Depression

restless spirit lord of the new depression

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

Restless Spirit on Thee Facebooks

Restless Spirit on Bandcamp

 

Children of the Sün, Flowers

Children of the Sun Flowers

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

Children of the Sün on Thee Facebooks

The Sign Records on Thee Facebooks

 

Void King, Barren Dominion

void king barren dominion

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

Void King on Thee Facebooks

Off the Record Label BigCartel store

 

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Leeds Point Premiere Title-Track of New Album Equinox Blues; Out Oct. 4

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

LEEDS POINT

Long Island-based heavy trio Leeds Point will issue their third album, Equinox Blues, on Oct. 4. They’ve been kicking around the NY heavy underground for the better part of six years, with Eddie Combs on vocals and bass, Mike Minolfo on guitar and Anthony Minolfo on drums, and Equinox Blues follows a host of self-released outings; singles and EPs, but also 2016’s Fahnestock Rock and their 2014 debut, The Hooded Ones, which more openly embraced a straight-ahead stoner metal ethic. True to its title, Equinox Blues takes a bluesier approach across its seven-track/39-minute run, and considering the fact that the band record everything they do themselves — this time on analog equipment; self-recording is one thing, self-recording to tape quite something else — one can only think of the shift in sound as purposeful. Combs‘ vocals reside comfortably deep in the mix and are backed by harmonized layers. The guitar sound is wide-open and classic feeling but still weighted, and the drums push ahead through one rolling nodder groove after the next, resulting in a naturalism reminiscent of Mos Generator and Australia’s Child at the same time, but not really sounding like either.

After opening with its longest track (immediate points) in “Elemental Haze,” the album shoves its momentum forward on “Turn of the Wheel” while letting organ and mellotronLeeds Point Equinox Blues add shimmer to “Valley of Torches,” managing to keep an organic feel despite obvious and necessary use of layering — otherwise they’d need about six people — but I have to believe some amount of basic tracking was done live given the energy in the build of “Valley of Torches” or the way the boogie of “Elemental Haze” seems to follow the guitar’s direction in its later reaches. The title-cut is the shortest inclusion on the record at 3:34, but proffers a shuffle worthy of any heavy ’70s comparison you’d want to put to it, and still seems to bring a reminder that once upon a time a Cactus grew and a Mountain emerged from Long Island. Leeds Point aren’t doing pure ’70s worship either in songwriting intent or production style, but Equinox Blues tips the balance that’s always been in their sound to that direction, and as they find the right position of elements in the mix such as to maximize the fluidity and hook of “Sunken Mine” without any single piece being too high or too far back, it’s hard to argue with the notion that they nailed the stylistic shift that they undertook with such clearheaded intent.

By the time they get to the rampaging solo in “Sunken Mine,” they know it, and that swagger suits their sound as well, whether it’s the swing in Minolfo‘s drumming or the smooth air push in Combs‘ bass. “Sunken Mine” jams its way into a last roll and leads into “Blood from a Stone,” a more forceful boogie that acts as the penultimate shove before the mellotron drama of “The Ritual” closes out with a fervent final build culminating in tight but still natural twists as the band circle around the crisp rhythm they’re putting forth. They make it easy to imagine seeing that live, which likewise can only be purposeful, and underscores the success of the album as a whole in conveying its intended vibe. I don’t know what gave Leeds Point the blues sometime in the last three years, but it works for them, and seems to have taught them a more patient vision of songcraft and execution that allows parts to breathe without becoming redundant. If nothing else, Equinox Blues seems to be begging for a vinyl release, and if the band don’t do it on their own — they are pretty self-sufficient, remember — no doubt someone out there will pick them up for one.

Happy to premiere the title-track below ahead of the Oct. 4 release. Leeds Point have dates lined up in October around New York and Connecticut and you’ll find those listed below.

Please enjoy:

LEEDS POINT is a heavy rock band from New York, bent on doing things the old way. Drawing inspiration from many different eras of music, Leeds Point has used this as a foundation to create its own unique, timeless sound. With only three members, the band still manages to pack a punch utilizing a deep, heavy groove, and powerful riffage.

Tracklisting:
1. Elemental Haze
2. Turn of the Wheel
3. Valley of Torches
4. Equinox Blues
5. Sunken Mine
6. Blood From a Stone
7. The Ritual

Leeds Point live:
10.07 Tipperary Huntington NY
10.08 Mr. Beery’s Bethpage NY
10.21 Lucky 13 Brooklyn NY
10.28 Outer Space Ballroom Hamden CT
11.18 Mr. Beery’s Bethpage NY

Leeds Point are:
Eddie Combs – Vocals/Bass
Mike Minolfo – Guitar
Anthony Minolfo – Drums

Leeds Point on Thee Facebooks

Leeds Point on Instagram

Leeds Point on Bandcamp

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Shadow Witch Post New Single “Wolf Among the Sheep”; Under the Shadow of a Witch out Early 2020

Posted in Whathaveyou on September 27th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

shadow witch

Oh hey, what’s Shadow Witch up to? If that’s the question you’re asking, you probably already know the answer: “Something.” These cats are almost always up to something. They must be itching to get their new album, Under the Shadow of a Witch, released by now, as it was first announced late last year when they signed to Argonauta Records, it’s been given a still-kinda-nebulous “early 2020” due date, and they’re posting a song from it anyhow at least three months in advance of its actual arrival. Understandable. Nobody likes sitting on new material. And frankly, if I had a song sitting around that sounds as cool as “Wolf Among the Sheep” — as much classic metal as it is dark heavy rock — I’d probably want people to hear it too. And longer-term marketing concerns aside, the track is certainly welcome.

And okay, a word about the cover art for Under a Shadow of a Witch. “Nightmarish.” I guess that’s the one word. It’s not the kind of thing I’d want on a t-shirt, but they have a history of striking art one way or another, it’s bound to be noticed, and it’s oddly appropriate to the vibe of “Wolf Among the Sheep.” But yeah. Nightmarish. I have to think that’s what they were going for.

Here’s the announcement from the PR wire and the stream of the track:

shadow witch under the shadow of a witch

Kingston, New York, doom rock collective SHADOW WITCH premieres single of upcoming album!

Under The Shadow Of A Witch will haunt you in early 2020 on Argonauta Records!

Kingston, New York, dark ‘n doom heavy rockers Shadow Witch, have finally revealed the first details about their upcoming, third full length titled Under The Shadow Of A Witch! Set for a release in early 2020, today the music veterans collective has shared the album artwork, created by Shadow Witch’ voice and primary lyricist Earl Lundy, as well as a first single to the track Wolf Among The Sheep.

Says the band:”We’re very excited about this release, and the new partnership with Argonauta Records. The record takes SHADOW WITCH places we haven’t ventured before, both sonically and emotionally. There’s a lot of vulnerability in the lyrics and the vocal performance, and the band worked hard to match that. We’re very proud of the results. This first taste of the album, “WOLF AMONG THE SHEEP”, stands alone in that it’s the only song with possible political overtones. Production-wise though, it very much flows with the rest of the material. We’re really psyched for y’all to hear what we’ve been up to.”

Listen to the appetizer, Wolf Among The Sheep, that makes hunger for more!

SHADOW WITCH is:
Scott Wadowski – drums
David Pannullo – bass
Earl Lundy – voice / mellotron / loops
Jeremy Hall – guitars

www.facebook.com/shadowwitch.band
www.shadowwitch.bandcamp.com
www.argonautarecords.com

Shadow Witch, “Wolf Among the Sheep”

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Black Electric Debut Album Due on Vinyl Nov. 17; Streaming Now

Posted in Whathaveyou on September 20th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

black electric

So, maybe it’s not a surprise that Black Electric are releasing their debut album on CD and LP through Magnetic Eye Records this Nov., and less so when you consider that Mike Vitali, who handles multiple instruments as well as vocals on the offering — which the band put out digitally last month — is also the honcho behind the label. At that point, why go anywhere else?

Vitali has a live incarnation of the band playing shows now — two are booked for this weekend in Albany, New York, for example — and reportedly there’s already more new stuff in the works, so I’ll be curious to know which version of the band ultimately wins out, or if one does at all and there isn’t just a live version and a studio version going forward. That’d be kind of interesting too. Don’t see a lot of that kind of thing these days.

Did you catch the part where I said the album’s been out for a month? Cool, because I wouldn’t want you to miss it streaming at the bottom of the post. I know how easy it is to get to the links and begone. Here’s info from the PR wire before you get there:

Black Electric Black Electric

BLACK ELECTRIC Strips Rock Down to its Essence on Self-Titled Debut

Albany heavy blues rockers BLACK ELECTRIC have emerged with a stripped-down, hook-centric debut that’s as catchy as it is understated.

The creation of multi-instrumentalist Mike Vitali, Black Electric’s music has a bit in common with his previous bands, but draws far more from the intersection of traditional blues and early 70s dive bar rock ‘n roll.

With boundary-pushng and heavily distorted past projects like Ajna Chakra, Ironweed and Greatdayforup to his credit, Vitali spent several years building taste-maker independent label Magnetic Eye Records, which (of course) inevitably demanded much of the attention he’d once devoted to music.

So, in 2018, when he returned some of his energy to writing and playing, it was with a new shift in perspective. Vitali explains:

“Growing up next door to longtime Billy Joel drummer Liberty DeVitto and getting to know him, I learned that, at the end of the day, music is really all about the song. My other bands were always about everyone sharing the creative input and writing process each step of the way, but with Black Electric, I wanted to create material that’s singularly-focused on delivering the songs and hooks as concisely as possible.”

Re-emerging as a musician after years on the business side of rock has produced a new energy and passion for playing and performing that are evident on the Black Electric debut album.

With a full band assembled in the wake of completing the album with noted Saratoga engineer/producer David Tyo, Vitali and his cohorts have already undertaken their first live outings, with more to come and work already commencing on the band’s next studio release.

Upcoming Black Electric shows:
Sat Sept. 21 at Lark Fest, Albany, NY
Sun Sept. 22 at Pauly’s Hotel, Albany, NY (with High Reeper)

Black Electric is available now digitally on all streaming and download outlets including their Bandcamp, with physical formats forthcoming from Magnetic Eye Records.

Produced and engineered by David Tyo at Tyo Mixes
Mike Vitali – Vocals, Guitar, Bass Guitar, Electric Piano
David Tyo – Drums, Percussion and Vocals
Mike Langone – Vocals track 5 ‘Fade Along’

Black Electric live is Mike Vitali / Mike Langone / George Lipscom / Zack Cohen / Stew Overocker

https://www.facebook.com/BlackElectric666/
https://theblackelectric.bandcamp.com
http://store.merhq.com
http://magneticeyerecords.com/
https://www.facebook.com/MagneticEyeRecords

Black Electric, Black Electric (2019)

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Review & Track Premiere: Orodruin, Ruins of Eternity

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on September 13th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

orodruin ruins of eternity new cover

[Click play above to stream ‘Forsaken’ from Orodruin’s  Ruins of Eternity. Album is out Oct. 25 on Cruz Del Sur Music. Preorders available now for CD and LP.]

A 16-year differential from one album to the next is significant. Bands have formed, flourished, and broken up in that time. A generational shift in listenership has taken place. Production styles have changed. The list goes on. Fortunately, good doom is timeless, and so it is that Orodruin return from Mordor with Ruins of Eternity, their sophomore LP behind 2003’s rightly vaunted Epicurean Mass (review here). It’s true that the Rochester, New York, three-piece haven’t been totally absent in that time, having put out the Claw Tower… And Other Tales of Terror compilation in 2004 as well as a self-released demo in 2011 and an EP in 2012 — both around performances as the Days of the Doomed in Wisconsin — and guitarist John Gallo released two full-lengths with his other outfit Blizaro, 2010’s City of the Living Nightmare and 2016’s Cornucopia Della Morte (review here), as well as a comp drawing other other work, and also a 2014 solo album under the extra-letter moniker John Gallow called Violet Dreams that dug into his root influence in the work of Paul Chain.

But even with these and the inevitabilities of real life on the part of Gallo, vocalist/bassist Mike Puleo and guitarist Nick Tydelski, to go more than a decade and a half without a proper album release is a long time. And yet Orodruin have been missed all along. They always seemed to maintain there would be another record, and their absence was conspicuous as bands like The Gates of Slumber and Apostle of Solitude moved to the forefront of American doom, let alone relative newcomers like Magic Circle. The nine tracks/47 minutes of Ruins of Eternity serve as a compelling reminder why. Absent longtime drummer Mike Waske, who left the band in 2018, Puleo takes on those duties admirably, and the dynamic between his bass, soaring vocals and the NWOBHM and epic doom-inspired guitars of Gallo and Tydelski stands up to anything in the style you’d want to put it next to, including titans of the form like The Skull or Candlemass, albeit more raw in production than the latter.

If that sounds like hyperbole, consider the guitar heroics in the second half of “Into the Light of the Sun,” the mournful plod and standout melody of “Letter of Life’s Regret” — which appeared on their 2011 demo as well — and the opening gift that is “Forsaken,” which turns after three minutes in and repurposes the speedier riff from Black Sabbath‘s “Falling off the Edge of the World” to its own righteous ends. It would be cliché to say that after 16 years, Orodruin sound on Ruins of Eternity like they haven’t missed a beat, but, well, it’s also true. Granted, it helps that the style of doom they’re playing is loyal to a particular sonic ideal and has its roots in a lost era of ’80s underground metal — even if they came across as dated, that would only work to their advantage — but Ruins of Eternity, even with “Letter of Life’s Regret” and presumably other tracks being of older origin, feels vital. As the chugging march of “Man of Peace” takes hold from “Forsaken,” the Iommic character in the guitar takes on further nuance and deceptive pacing in the verse en route to a more open chorus, the song trading back and forth this way until the lyrics have told their story and a stop brings about the guitar solo section and the return to the central nod at the finish.

orodruin

This is doom songcraft at its most essential, and a message toward the front of Ruins of Eternity to the converted that time has not dulled Orodruin‘s affinity for the style or its substance. As “Grave Illusion” adds more complexity of mood en route to “Letter of Life’s Regret” and the galloping “War on the World,” the experience of the album grows richer, but keeps to the central vibe at its heart. True doom is about bringing character to homage, adding personal perspective to what’s come before. Orodruin do this across Ruins of Eternity with enough grace as to emphasize just how much has been missed by their not putting out an album every two, three or even four years. Is it a chance to affect the scope of doom that’s gone forever? Ruins of Eternity provides a compelling argument otherwise.

As the album moves into its second half, with “Into the Light of the Sun” balancing tempo shifts and dug-in moodiness en route to its aforementioned standout shred and “Voice in the Dark” toying with structure amid a particularly resonant vocal from Puleo, there is some sense of pushing deeper into stylistic reach, but the core mission remains firm. Likewise, “Hell Frozen Over” starts out at a slow burn, picking up to emphasize tone rather than the riff itself, solos panning from one channel to the other ahead of a last tempo kick and some layered harmonies and a last crash-out at the apex that brings about the closing title-track. Somewhat amazingly, “Ruins of Eternity” is the only song over six minutes long on the record that shares its name, and it launches with a commanding stomp ahead of solo-laced swing and a quiet midsection stretch that explodes into faster push, in turn bringing about a slowdown into pure gruel that is as fitting a way to cap Ruins of Eternity as one could possibly ask.

All the while, Orodruin never lose their sense of poise, never lose sight of what they want to do as a band, and never forget that even more than the misery, it’s the song that matters most. It’s hard to listen to the album and not think what might’ve been if this was their fifth or sixth album instead of their second, but that it exists at all is a victory, and that it finds them in such exceptional form all the more so. They’ve rewritten the story of who they are as a band here, and while one wouldn’t predict what the future might hold for them — particularly as they’re short a drummer for playing live — Ruins of Eternity brings into focus just how special Orodruin are and just how much it’s been worth waiting for this one to show up. That’s no easy task, considering, but they nail it.

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Swans Announce New Album Leaving Meaning out Oct. 25; New Song Streaming

Posted in Whathaveyou on September 6th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

swans (Photo by Jennifer Gira)

Alright, sit tight, because there’s a lot going on here. First off, there’s a new Swans record. It’s called Leaving Meaning, it’s out Oct. 25 and it’s available to preorder now from Young God Records. 2CD/2LP. Neat. Second, Michael Gira is introducing a new lineup for the band here, and below, he takes the time to list out the contributors to the new record. There are many of them, some of whom have been involved in Swans before, some who were in woefully underappreciated Gira‘s other outfit, Angels of Light, and some not.

Perhaps most importantly, there’s a new song. It’s called “It’s Coming it’s Real,” and its buildup of tension absolutely lives up to that title. Choral vocals from Anna and Maria von Hauswolff don’t hurt either, but it should go without saying that Gira is in command as much as anyone ever is. He’ll also tour Europe with Norman Westberg next month. Those dates are below. Swans will tour to support the album in Spring. Those dates are not.

From the PR wire:

swans leaving meaning

SWANS – LEAVING MEANING THE FIFTEENTH STUDIO ALBUM OUT ON YOUNG GOD RECORDS / MUTE ( OUTSIDE OF N AMERICA) 25 OCT 2019

SWANS Leaving Meaning is the band’s fifteenth studio album, the follow up to 2016’s The Glowing Man and due for release by Mute / Young God Records (N America) on 25 October 2019. Leaving Meaning will be released on double vinyl in a brown chipboard sleeve, double CD in a brown chipboard digipack and digitally.

Written and produced by Michael Gira, the album features contributions from recent and former Swans, members of Angels of Light as well as Guest Artists Anna and Maria von Hausswolff, Ben Frost, The Necks, Baby Dee, and a Hawk and a Hacksaw – full personnel list below.

Michael Gira explains, “Leaving Meaning is the first Swans album to be released since I dissolved the lineup of musicians that constituted Swans from 2010 – 2017. Swans is now comprised of a revolving cast of musicians, selected for both their musical and personal character, chosen according to what I intuit best suits the atmosphere in which I’d like to see the songs I’ve written presented. In collaboration with me, the musicians, through their personality, skill and taste, contribute greatly to the arrangement of the material. They’re all people whose work I admire and whose company I personally enjoy.”

“Here below are the primary contributors to Leaving Meaning:

Michael Gira – Vocals, words, acoustic/electric guitar, production. I started Swans in NYC in 1982 and have been the primary songwriter, singer and producer throughout the years. In the early years I played bass, but later switched to guitar. During the years of Swans hiatus (1999 – 2010), I released several albums by and toured with a group called Angels of Light.

Kristof Hahn – Lap steel, various guitars throughout, backing vocals, generous and insightful advice on mixes and arrangements. Kristof first became involved with Swans in 1989, was a principal contributor to Angels of Light, and a core Swans member 2010 – 2017. Kristof’s other musical ventures have included the Rock ‘n’ Roll Noir band Les Hommes Sauvages and Kool Kings (with Alex Chilton). He’s currently working on an instrumental record for Lawrence English’s label, Room 40. He holds a master’s degree in Political Science, and when Swans doesn’t pay the bills, he translates books for a living. Kristof’s presence, on and off tape, is pivotal to this record. Kristof lives in Berlin, Germany.

Larry Mullins – Drums, vibes, orchestral percussion, Mellotron, various keyboards, backing vocals. Larry (AKA Toby Dammit) is a trained symphonic percussionist and all-around consummate musician. He played through the 90s with Iggy Pop and later with The Stooges. He played with Swans in the late 90s and was a main contributor to Angels of Light. He is rumored to have been involved with The Residents. His varied and numerous credits also include a stint with Silver Apples as well as recently, Shakespears Sister. His current main job is playing keyboards with Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds. I decided immediately to ask Larry to contribute to Leaving Meaning after watching the German TV series Babylon Berlin, and suddenly, unbeknownst to me, there was Larry as the main focus of various cabaret scenes, drumming behind a huge kick drum in his inimitable style. After laughing in shock for perhaps half an hour, I decided to contact him. We hadn’t been in close touch for a long time and I’m elated I reached out. Larry lives in Berlin, Germany.

Yoyo Röhm – Electric bass, double bass, various keyboards, piano, backing vocals. Yoyo came to my attention through his work with Kristof and Larry in Berlin. In addition to his excellent bass playing, Yoyo’s ears were invaluable in helping to sort out many of the arrangements. Yoyo plays with numerous left field musicians around Berlin and also works with Mick Harvey on his Serge Gainsbourg recordings and tours. Yoyo, Larry, Kristof and I rehearsed in Berlin for 3 weeks prior to recording. Yoyo is a true Berliner – gruff and determined on the outside, a marshmallow inside. He was a great musical resource for this record.

The Necks – (Chris Abrahams – piano, organ; Tony Buck – drums, percussion; Lloyd Swanton – double bass). I have been an avid Necks fan since I first saw them perform at a Big Ears Festival in 2010. They subsequently played with Swans at a few shows in Australia. Their live performances and recordings are just about any superlative you can think of – mesmerizing, transcendent, sublime. Their music is entirely improvisational – it’s my understanding that they have no idea what they’re going to play before they start. And yet, mostly using rudimentary jazz trio instrumentation, they manage to fashion burgeoning and ever-evolving, immersive clouds of sound that utterly envelop the listener as the music unfolds. I’m beyond honored and humbled that they agreed to perform the basic tracks for 2 of my songs (The Nub and Leaving Meaning). Their performances were then delicately, and (I hope!) tastefully further orchestrated upon in Berlin. Tony lives in Berlin, and also played drums on the song Some New Things.

Anna and Maria von Hausswolff – Choral backing vocals. Anna is blessed with a soaring voice, lyrical acuity and increasing facility with the church organ. I was impressed recently to learn that she often travels around Europe and visits churches unannounced, where she talks her way into being allowed to use the resident organ – some of them rather massive, I imagine – and plays and explores for hours. Her searing records and live shows reflect the courage of her imagination and have garnered her increasing, much deserved recognition. Maria is an accomplished Swedish cinematographer and director of photography. In 2017 I heard Anna and Maria singing together at a sound check for a special song they were doing in Anna’s set, was instantly enthralled, and resolved at that moment to ask them to participate together on a Swans recording. I’m delighted they agreed to come to Berlin and record for me. They were a joy to work with! They live in Scandinavia.

Ben Frost – Guitar, synthesizers, sound manipulations. Ben’s adventurous sound-craftings, sometimes harrowing and sometimes delicate and quite musical, and his powerful live shows, have afforded him much recognition of late. I’ve also been highly impressed with his soundtrack work for the HBO series, Dark. He’s an extremely talented arranger and composer. His mission for this record was intentionally ill defined. I basically wanted his ears and sensibility, with no particular part or instrument in mind. I arrived at his studio in Reykjavik, Iceland, put up the songs, and he played what he thought a song needed. I was pleasantly surprised to discover his unique approach to the electric guitar as well as his synth work. Ben also was quite helpful with arrangement and mixing ideas. Ben lives in Iceland.

Baby Dee – Lead vocal on The Nub, supported by her friends Fay Christen and Ida Albertje Michels, and Jennifer Gira. Dee has released numerous records (one produced by Bonnie Prince Billie, I think), and if you don’t know them, you should! The first time I saw her she was riding a unicycle in circles outside the now-defunct Avant club, Tonic, in NYC, playing a ukulele (or accordion?) and singing with great mirth. I saw her set that night and was won over. She’s since toured with Swans several times. Her music could loosely be called neo cabaret, but more accurately she’s totally unique and a great performer and songwriter, graced with a powerful voice and high-end ability on the piano, accordion and more. I wrote The Nub specifically for her to sing. I was stymied for words to the main guitar figure to the song, and suddenly she popped into my mind, floating through the universe in diapers, sucking milk from the stars. The song wrote itself. Dee lives in The Netherlands.

Jeremy Barnes and Heather Trost – Jeremy: Santur, hi-hat, fiddlesticks, accordion, engineering; Heather: Stroh violin, violin, viola, fiddlesticks, engineering. Together, Jeremy and Heather comprise the band A Hawk and a Hacksaw. (Jeremy played at one time with the bands Neutral Milk Hotel and Beirut). Again, if you don’t know their music, you should! They’ve released several records. It’s Balkan/Gypsy influenced, somewhat psychedelicized, with great singing, playing and melodies. They’re each multi-instrumentalists and they intrepidly travel the world, both touring and simply exploring the Balkans, in search of adventure and master musicians of the region, some of whom they simply befriend, others whom they record. They toured with Swans a while ago, and I’ve had it in the back of my mind to ask them to record on a record since. I travelled to their home studio in Albuquerque, New Mexico, presented the songs, and did the same thing I did with Ben – I said, “Now what?” You can hear them on several songs on the record, sometimes subtly, at other times more pronounced. In any event, it’s great to have such a pair of wonderful humans on the record.

ADDITIONAL MUSICIANS:

Dana Schechter – Dana played bass on the song ‘Some New Things’. Dana was a core member of Angels of Light. Her current band is Insect Ark. It’s rather heavy and great. Will be working with Dana more soon in the future and very pleased we reconnected recently.

Jennifer Gira – Backing vocals throughout and cameo vocal on Sunfucker. Jennifer has sung backing vocals on the past few Swans albums as well as lead vocal on the song When Will I Return? on the last Swans album, The Glowing Man. She’s also of invaluable help on mixing and arrangement decisions.

Cassis Staudt – Accordion and harmonium. Cassis was a core member of Angels of Light. She moved to Berlin some time ago and we lost touch. Cassis is a composer of music for films in Berlin. I’m very happy to be working with her again.

Norman Westberg – Electric guitar. Norman played on a few key moments on this record. Norman has been in and out of Swans since the beginning (mostly in) and was a core Swans member in 2010 – 2017. We’ll continue to work together into the future, absolutely. Norman releases solo instrumental records through Lawrence English’s Room 40 label. We’re touring (each solo) together in Eastern Europe soon.

Christopher Pravdica – Bass guitar, sounds. Chris played at pivotal moments on this record. He was a core Swans member in 2010 – 2017. We’ll continue to work together in the future, absolutely. Chris has recently been enlisted by Jamie Stewart for his band Xiu Xiu.

Phil Puleo – Phil played hammer dulcimer on the song Amnesia. This might be considered a severe underutilization of his considerable talents as a drummer, but there’s more to come quite soon. Phil was a core member in Swans 2010 – 2017 and played as a member of Swans in the late 90s and contributed to Angels of Light.

Thor Harris – percussion, trumpet, clarinet, sounds, bells, gizmos, additional vibes. Thor drove up from Austin to record for me at Heather and Jeremy’s place in Albuquerque. Always a highpoint to be in the presence of this committed musician and friend. Thor was a core member of Swans in 2010 – 2016 as well as Angels of Light. Certainly, more to come! Thor has his own happening combo, Thor and friends, and they make seductive and beautiful records and tour often. He also has recently been recruited by Jamie for Xiu Xiu.

Paul Wallfisch – Paul played piano to great effect here and there on the record. Paul was a touring member of Swans in 2017. He works with the glorious human chanteuse Little Annie. He’s also a musical director for theater productions in Germany, and recently landed a very fancy-pants job as musical director/composer for a theater production at a historical theater in Vienna.

Thanks to All!!!!
MG”

In autumn, Michael Gira will be touring select cities on a solo tour with Norman Westberg. Swans will tour in the spring of 2020.

11 Oct – Skanu Mezs Festival – Riga, Latvia
13 Oct – Saint Petersburg, Russia
15 Oct – Moskva, Russia
18 Oct – Athina, Greece
19 Oct – Thessaloniki, Greece
23 Oct – Ljubljana, Slovenia
25 Oct – Bucharest, Romania
26 Oct – Cluj-napoca, Romania
28 Oct – Warsaw, Poland
29 Oct – Warsaw, Poland
31 Oct – Kyiv, Ukraine
1 Nov – Vilnius, Lithuania
2 Nov – Helsinki, Finland

Leaving Meaning Tracklisting:
Hums
Annaline
The Hanging Man
Amnesia – with Anna and Maria von Hausswolff on backing vocals
Leaving Meaning – feat.The Necks
Sunfucker – with Anna and Maria von Hausswolff on backing vocals
Cathedrals of Heaven
The Nub – with Baby Dee on guest vocals, also feat. The Necks
It’s Coming It’s Real – feat. Anna and Maria von Hausswolff on backing vocals
Some New Things – digital / CD only
What Is This
My Phantom Limb

Pre-order: http://smarturl.it/SWANS-LM

http://www.facebook.com/SwansOfficial
https://swans.bandcamp.com
http://www.younggodrecords.com/

Swans, “It’s Coming it’s Real”

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Friday Full-Length: Masters of Reality, Sunrise on the Sufferbus

Posted in Bootleg Theater on August 23rd, 2019 by JJ Koczan

Masters of Reality, Sunrise on the Sufferbus (1993)

Originally based in Syracuse, New York, Masters of Reality count their beginnings as being in 1981, which as it was also the year I was born, I can tell you was a very long time ago. They released their Rick Rubin-produced self-titled debut, aka The Blue Garden, in 1989 and 1990 on Def American and then Delicious Vinyl, and then it would be three years and a new lineup before Sunrise on the Sufferbus came around as the follow-up via Chrysalis Records. Like much of the band’s work, it inspires these years later a passionate but somewhat obscure fandom, despite being arguably their highest-profile outing thanks to the inclusion of drummer Ginger Baker (who had his 80th birthday this week) — also of Blind Faith, Cream, Hawkwind for a hot minute there in the ’80s, Fela Kuti, and many others besides his own solo output — in the lineup alongside founding guitarist, vocalist and principle songwriter Chris Goss and bassist/backing vocalist Googe, who aside from Goss was the only holdover from the first album to the second.

Now, if you’re playing a kind of then-modern heavy rock that’s super-informed by the blues rock and songwriting modus of the later ’60s and early ’70s, having Ginger Baker on drums is like communing with Buddha, and amid Goss‘ ultra-tight, radio-friendly craft on songs like the boogie-laced opener “She Got Me (When She Got Her Dress On)” and “Tilt-a-Whirl,” the somewhat more pastoral “Rolling Green,” the cult-rock prescient “J.B. Witchdance,” the blues bouncer “Ants in the Kitchen,” and even the less grounded smooth meander of “Rabbit One,” Baker nails it. His style of play is a graceful complement to Goss‘ intricate but accessible guitar work, flowing melodic voice and flourish of psychedelic elements here and there, and while I won’t take away from Googe‘s bass, Sunrise on the Sufferbus becomes about this meeting of minds between Goss and Baker, each one stepping up to the other’s considerable presence in the material and not necessarily competing, but challenging each other to be more on point in the task before them. Whether it’s the popping snare and crisp toms in the later “Gimme Water,” which follows the brief and actually-drumless “Madonna” — can you imagine having Ginger Baker on your record and then being like, “Hey man, it’s cool to sit this one out?” — or the languid fuzzy roll of “V.H.V.,” the collaboration brims with personality and still never loses sight of the fact that the songs are most important. The songs are paramount. The songs are everything. Songwriting bloody songwriting. It’s the songwriting, stupid.

Masters of Reality have a few genuinely unheralded classics in their catalog — “Why the Fly?,” “Deep in the Hole,” “The Ballad of Jody Frosty” — but if Chris Goss had never written another song after “100 Years (Of Tears on the Wind),” you’d still have to say he beat the universe. Masters of Reality Sunrise on the SufferbusAnd in just four minutes! The song begins with a fade in of guitar and drums and sets up a waltz of resonant strumming and jazzy ride cymbal and maybe mellotron (?) before Goss unveils the subtle raciness of the hook — “I’ve found my place in bed/Three feet beneath your head/I wanted to stay home/I couldn’t think of nothing new” — and croons into the next verse with the same final line repeating at the end, then comes back around and cycles through one more time, and that’s it. Done. But it’s beautiful and theatrical and lush and affecting, and genuinely shifts the mood of the listener even as the band follows it up with “T.U.S.A.,” which finds Baker taking lead vocals on kind of a goofy semi-spoken rant about how no one in America can make tea properly, which is to say, how the British do it. “Now this is serious,” Baker says in the opening line, signaling that of the many things the song might be, serious is not one of them.

But even that goofball transition is pulled off with aplomb and just like the 48-second wisp of melody “Bicycle” that led into “100 Years (Of Tears on the Wind),” “T.U.S.A.” leaves it behind immediately — on to the next thing. That’s very much how Sunrise on the Sufferbus operates, but in the three or four minutes of each track, the band builds entire worlds. “She Got Me (When She Got Her Dress On)” puts you at some mythical Americana county fair in god knows what year, while “Jody Sings” up-strums classic folk driven simply by the sweetness in Goss‘ voice, and while there’s often a playful aspect to it, as on closer “The Moon in Your Pocket,” that does nothing to pull back from the achievement of craft that the album ultimately is, in fact adding to it because fun is just one more thing Masters of Reality are willing to be.

The band recorded the LP The Ballad of Jody Frosty in 1994, and some of that material would show up on 2004’s Give Us Barabbas — including “The Desert Song” with Baker on drums — but Masters of Reality‘s next released studio album wouldn’t be until 1999’s Welcome to the Western Lodge (would someone please put this on YouTube so I can close out a week with it?). By then, the band was just Goss and drummer John Leamy, and Goss had cut his teeth as a producer in the fledgling Californian desert rock scene, working with Kyuss and Fatso Jetson, among others. That style would inform 2001’s Deep in the Hole (discussed here) and the subsequent European touring with Josh Homme and Nick Oliveri, then both of Queens of the Stone Age, that resulted in the 2003 live album, Flak ‘n’ Flight (discussed here). After Give Us Barabbas in ’04, it would be five years until the arrival of 2009’s Pine/Cross Dover (review here), which stands as their most recent offering. Goss posted a couple tracks on Soundcloud a while back, and I got offered an interview with him a few months that as yet I’ve been unable to make happen that I’d still love to do, but there’s nothing like a release date for a new Masters of Reality album or anything like that. Would be nice, and could certainly happen eventually, but that’s about the extent of what I know on the subject.

I admit, I picked this one just for me because I wanted to listen to it, but as always, I hope you enjoy. Thanks for reading.

Well, the Massachusetts era would seem to be over. We closed the sale on the place in East Bridgewater, MA, on Wednesday. Drove up for it, sat in the office giggling with our lawyer, who is an old college friend of The Patient Mrs., signed and dated all the whatnot. We ended up getting our asking price for it, which astounded me. Hard not to think the entire market is going to collapse, but whatever. Tidy profit on the sale — all the money’s spent, but I’m still gonna sneak a chunk out to buy a lens, hopefully today and celebrate the new New Jersey homecoming tomorrow night at Starland Ballroom — where else? — for C.O.C., Crowbar and Lo-Pan. That’ll be a good time even though I’m going alone.

We also yesterday came down to NJ with the last moving truck, stuff going essentially from one storage unit to another. I got to say a brief hello to the bulk of my CD collection — hello goodbye — which I’d pretty much have to win the lottery in order to have enough space to properly display. That kind of sucks. Here’s this library you’ve been enjoying building for the last quarter-century-plus, stuck in anonymous moving boxes. Would be out of sight out of mind but for the rental cost of the storage unit. But even in this house, there isn’t really a place where it could work, and the climate control here like so much else is a work in progress. We’ve got new windows coming on Monday. That should help, but even if I didn’t have a toddler hell-bent on destruction, I’d still basically need every available inch of wall in the house for a shelf, and that’s neither feasible nor fair. So, you know. Boxes.

And every couple years, more boxes. I don’t sell CDs.

I do, however, keep buying them.

My phone is busted, so I need to get that taken care of today, and between that, that lens purchase (assuming the wire transfer from the house sale comes through), donating some dishes and maybe another trip to Costco, that’s pretty much the day. Should be plenty. Next week look out for the C.O.C. live review and an Orange Goblin live review, as I’ll be hitting their show with The Skull in NYC on Tuesday, and a track premieres Italy’s Bretus and Esogenesi. Didn’t mean to do an Italian doom theme, but kind of did anyhow. I might go see Bask and Begotten as well the night after Orange Goblin, but we’ll see. That’s a lot and I’m just a poor boy. Might be nice to get a couple shows in before The Patient Mrs. goes to a conference next weekend and then starts her new job and life explodes all over again.

But anyway, we’re in Jersey now. There’s work to do but there always is, and sooner or later we’ll start calling this place home without even thinking about it.

I hope you have a great and safe weekend. If you’re at C.O.C. in Jersey tomorrow or Orange Goblin in NYC on Tuesday, please say hi. Otherwise, cheers.

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