Sons of Otis Announce Isolation out Oct. 16; New Track Streaming

Posted in Whathaveyou on August 25th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

sons of otis

Look. It’s not that I go around thinking a band like Sons of Otis are about to write a song that’s actually about me in any way, shape or form. That’s not the case. But it’s not like “JJ” is a common name, so yeah, when I see a song with that as the title, of course I’m curious to now what’s up. If your name is something goofy and specific, maybe you’ve experienced the same thing. So yes, I asked Sons of Otis about where the song comes from, and indeed, not in any way, shape or form about me. Probably for the best. Different “JJ” entirely.

“Blood Moon,” however, totally about me. It’s the oddest thing.

No, of course not.

Anyway, for those of you playing at home, it’s been eight friggin’ years since Sons of Otis offered 2012’s Seismic (review here) for public consumption through Small Stone. Isolation finds them well at home on Totem Cat Records with an Oct. 16 release date, and mark your calendar for it, because I’m not saying I’ve heard the record or anything, but yes I have and it’s R-I-F-F-S like your mama used to bake.

Announcement from the PR wire:

Sons of Otis Isolation

Doom blues stalwarts SONS OF OTIS return with new full-length ‘Isolation’ on Totem Cat Records; first track streaming now!

Toronto’s doom blues legends SONS OF OTIS return from their smoke-filled lands with their first studio album since 2012. ‘Isolation’ will be released on October 16th via Totem Cat Records, and you can stream its crushing first single “Ghost” right now!

From the vast Northern land known as Canada comes an enormous sound: the sound of SONS OF OTIS. Gargantuan, rumbling like the innards of Earth, the trio has been pushing aside entire star systems in its unstoppable path since 1993. Their last studio offering ‘Seismic’ was released in 2012 on Small Stone Records, followed by an extra limited ‘Live In Den Bosch’ album in 2018. Standing strong as ever on their veterans feet, their new album ‘Isolation’ delivers the heaviest stoner doom ever known to man, reminding fans and heavy lovers across the globe of the potency of the trio’s signature fuzz and über-stoned grooves.

‘Isolation’ will be issued on October 16th, 2020 on vinyl, CD and digital through Totem Cat Records, and available to preorder from September 14th, 2020 at this location: https://totemcatrecords.bandcamp.com/album/isolation

SONS OF OTIS New album ‘Isolation’
Out October 16th on Totem Cat Records
on vinyl, CD and digital

TRACK LISTING:
1. Hopeless
2. JJ
3. Trust
4. Blood Moon
5. Ghost
6. Theme II

SONS OF OTIS IS
Ken Baluke – Guitars, Vocals
Frank Sargeant – Bass
Ryan Aubin – Drums

https://www.facebook.com/sonsofotis/
https://sonsofotis.bandcamp.com/
https://www.facebook.com/totemcatrecords/
https://www.instagram.com/totemcatrecords/
http://totemcatrecords.bigcartel.com/

Sons of Otis, Isolation (2020)

Tags: , , , , , ,

IRN Release Self-Titled Cassette EP on Breathe Plastic Records

Posted in Whathaveyou on August 4th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

What I know about Toronto, Ontario’s IRN you could just about fit in your left shoe — open-toed, because all knowledge that goes into my brain subsequently leaks out from it — but I know their new self-titled two-song EP sounds absolutely F-I-L-T-H-Y, and I know it’s out on tape now through cassette cultists Breathe Plastic, so not nothing at all. The tracks should appeal to anyone who’s worshiped at the altar of Thou‘s atmosphere-via-skin-peel scathe, and the rawness is especially primal and especially satisfying for that. It’s good to know that as the heavy underground floods with neo-progressive rock bands and psychedelic whatnot (nothing against either), there’s an equal and opposite reaction of sheer wretchedness taking place concurrently. They play both kinds of sludge: brutal and unsettling.

I’m sure you’re already hip to them, because you’re like that, but they’ve been around since 2012, and if you’re feeling brave, their Bandcamp is linked below, as is that of Breathe Plastic, whose announcement follows:

irn irn

Formed in Toronto in 2012 with the idea of creating diseased & brooding music, IRN have been actively releasing material since their formation and have toured Canada extensively.

Their new EP consists of two songs, just shy of 23 minutes. Its atmosphere is set from the second it starts and does not let go until the bitter end. Although IRN can be described as being influenced by Noothgrush, Corrupted, Iron Monkey & Grief, they take an extra step in sculpting their anxieties, making this EP, much like their previous releases, a uniquely sounding piece of miserable music.

For lovers of both 90s sludge and fans of “the new shape of sludge that came”.

EP is due July 1st. Tapes by Breathe Plastic, tapes come in a white slipcase, with hotfoil printing. First 15 orders receive an IRN patch

LP via Rope or Guillotine (Europe), Bad Moon Rising ???? (Asia) & Craniophagus Parasiticus (North America) and will be rendered in 140g black vinyl, with amazing artwork by Yannis Panos.

Tracklisting:
1. Blood Seeping From Your Eyes 10:45
2. Forever Miserable 11:41

https://www.facebook.com/IRNDOOM
https://www.instagram.com/irndoom/
https://ir-n.bandcamp.com/
http://www.facebook.com/breatheplastic
https://breatheplastic.bandcamp.com/
https://tapes.breathe-plastic.org/

Irn, Irn (2020)

Tags: , , , , , ,

Quarterly Review: Paradise Lost, Vinnum Sabbathi, Nighthawk, Familiars, Mountain Witch, Disastroid, Stonegrass, Jointhugger, Little Albert, Parahelio

Posted in Reviews on July 10th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

the-obelisk-qr-summer-2020

Last day, you know the drill. It’s been a pleasure, honestly. If every Quarterly Review could feature the quality of material this one has, I’d probably only spend a fraction of the amount of time I do fretting over it. I hope you’ve enjoyed reading and enjoyed the music as much as I have. If you haven’t found something here to sit with and dig into yet, well, today’s 10 more chances to do just that. Maybe something will stick at last.

See you in September.

Quarterly Review #41-50:

Paradise Lost, Obsidian

paradise lost obsidian

It is impossible to listen to Obsidian and consider Paradise Lost as anything other than masters of the form. Of course, that they were one of the original pioneers of gothic death-doom helps, but even in the decade-plus since they began to shift back toward a more metallic approach, they have established a standard that is entirely their own. Obsidian collects nine tracks across a palatable 45 minutes, and if the hook of “Fall From Grace” is fan-service on the part of the band, then it is no less righteous for that. In atmosphere and aggression, cuts like “The Devil Embraced” and the galloping “Ghosts” deliver on high expectations coming off 2017’s Medusa (review here), even as side B’s “Ending Days” and “Hope Dies Young” branch into a more melodic focus, not departing from the weight of impact presented earlier, but clearly adjusting the approach, leading to an all the more deathly return on “Ravenghast,” which closes out. Their doom remains second to none; their model remains one to follow.

Paradise Lost on Thee Facebooks

Nuclear Blast webstore

 

Vinnum Sabbathi, Of Dimensions and Theories

Vinnum Sabbathi Of Dimensions and Theories

The narrative thread carried through the six tracks of Vinnum Sabbathi‘s Of Dimensions and Theories is a futuristic sci-fi tale about humanity’s first foray into deep space amid a chaos of environmental collapse and nuclear threat. The real story, however, is the sense of progression the instrumentalist Mexico City outfit bring in following up their debut LP, 2017’s Gravity Works (review here). Tying thematically to the latest Cegvera album — the two bands share personnel — pieces at the outset like “In Search of M-Theory” and “Quantum Determinism” maintain the exploratory vibe of the band’s jammier works in their “HEX” series, but through spoken samples give a human presence and plotline to the alternately atmospheric and lumbering tones. As the record progresses through the airier “An Appraisal” and the feedback-drenched “Beyond Perturbative States,” their dynamic finds realization in “A Superstring Revolution I” and the drum-led “A Superstring Revolution II.” I don’t know about humanity’s prospects as a whole, but Vinnum Sabbathi‘s remain bright.

Vinnum Sabbathi on Thee Facebooks

Stolen Body Records website

 

Nighthawk, The Sea Legs EP

Nighthawk The Sea Legs EP

Composed as a solo outing prior to the founding of Heavy Temple, the Nighthawk solo endeavor (presumably she wasn’t a High Priestess yet), The Sea Legs EP, is plenty self-aware in its title, but for being a raw execution of material written performed entirely on her own, its four tracks also have a pretty significant scope, from the post-QOTSA heavy pop of “Goddamn” leading off through the quick spacegaze of “I’m From Tennessee Woman, All We Do is Honky Tonk,” into the deceptively spacious “I Can Haz” with its far-back toms, dreamy vocal melody and vaguely Middle Eastern-sounding guitar, and ending with the if-Ween‘s-country-album-had-been-weirder finish of “Stay Gold.” Nighthawk has issued a follow-up to The Sea Legs EP in the full-length Goblin/John Carpenter-style synth of The Dimensionaut, but given the range and balance she shows just in this brief 12 minutes, one hopes that indeed her songwriting explorations continue to prove so multifaceted.

Nighthawk on Bandcamp

Heavy Temple on Thee Facebooks

 

Familiars, All in Good Time

familiars all in good time

Contending for one of the year’s best debut albums, FamiliarsAll in Good Time offers eight songs across 43 minutes that blend organic-feeling grit with more ethereal, landscape-evocative psychedelics. The Ontario three-piece have a few singles to their credit, but the lushness of “Rocky Roost” and the emergent heft of “Barn Burning,” the fleshy boogie of “The Dirty Dog Saloon” and the breadth of “Avro Arrow” speak not just to Familiars‘ ability to capture a largesse that draws their songs together, or the nuance that lets them brings subtle touches of Americana (Canadiana?) early on and echoing desert roll to the fuzzy “The Common Loon,” but also to the songwriting that makes these songs stand out so much as they do and the sense of purpose Familiars bring to All in Good Time as their first long-player. That turns out to be one of the most encouraging aspects of the release, but in that regard there’s plenty of competition from elements like tone, rhythm, melody, craft, performance — so yes, basically all of it.

Familiars on Thee Facebooks

Familiars on Bandcamp

 

Mountain Witch, Extinct Cults

Mountain Witch Extinct Cults

Mountain Witch‘s fourth album, Extinct Cults, brings the Hamburg-based duo of guitarist René Sitte and drummer/vocalist René Roggmann back after a four-year absence with a collection that straddles the various lines between classic heavy rock, proto-metal, ’70s heavy prog and modern cultism. Their loyalties aren’t necessarily all to the 1968-’74 period, as the chug and gruff vocals of “Back From the Grave” show, but the post Technical Ecstasy sway of the title-track is a fascinating and rarely-captured specificity, and the vocal melodies expressed in layers across the record do much to add personality and depth to the arrangements while the surrounding recording remains essentially raw. No doubt vinyl-minded, Extinct Cults is relatively brief at six songs and 33 minutes, but the Priestly chug of “Man is Wolf to Man” and the engrossing garage doom of closer “The Devil Probably” offer plenty of fodder for those who’d dig in to dig into. It is a sound familiar and individual at once, old and new, and it revels in making cohesion out of such contrasts.

Mountain Witch on Thee Facebooks

This Charming Man Records website

 

Disastroid, Mortal Fools

disastroid mortal fools

You might find San Francisco trio Disastroid hanging out at the corner of noise and heavy rock, looking disreputable. Their first record for Heavy Psych Sounds is Mortal Fools, and to go with its essential-bloody-essential bass tone and melodic semi-shouted vocals, it brings hints of angularity rounded out by tonal thickness and a smoothness between transitions that extends to the flow from one song to the next. While for sure a collection of individual pieces, Mortal Fools does move through its 43 minutes with remarkable ease, the sure hand of the three-piece guides you through the otherwise willfully tumultuous course, brash in the guitar and bass and drums but immersive in the overarching groove. They seem to save a particular melodic highlight for the verses of closer “Space Rodent,” but really, whether it’s the lumbering “Hopeless” or the sharper-toothed push of “Bilge,” the highlight is what Disastroid accomplish over the course of the record as a whole. Plus that friggin’ bass sound.

Disastroid on Thee Facebooks

Heavy Psych Sounds website

 

Stonegrass, Stonegrass

stonegrass self titled

I don’t know when this was first released, but the 2020 edition seems to be a remaster, and whenever it first came out, I’m pleased to have the chance to check it out now. Toronto duo Stonegrass brings together Matthew “Doc” Dunn and Jay Anderson, both of a markedly psyched-out pedigree, to dig into experimentalist acid-psych that pushes boundaries stylistic and national, tapping Afrobeat vibes with closer “Drive On” and the earlier 13-minute go-go-go jam “Tea” while “The Highway” feels like a lost psychedelic disco-funk 45, “The Cape” drones like it’s waiting for someone to start reading poetry over-top, and mellow hand-percussion and Turkish psych on centerpiece “Frozen Dunes.” The whole thing, which runs a manageable 39 minutes, is as cool as the day is long, and comes across like a gift to those of expanded mind or who are willing to join those ranks. I don’t know if it’s new or old. I don’t know if it’s a one-off or an ongoing project. I barely know if it’s actually out. But hot damn it’s rad, and if you can catch it, you should.

Cosmic Range Records on YouTube

Cosmic Range Records on Bandcamp

 

Jointhugger, I Am No One

jointhugger i am no one

Norwegian half-instrumental trio Jointhugger have already captured the attention of both Interstellar Smoke Records and Ozium Records with their four-song debut long-player, I Am No One, and as the follow-up to their 2019 Daemo, it leaves little question why. The more volume, the merrier, when it comes to the rolling, nodding, undulations of riff the band conjure, as each member seems geared toward bringing as much weight to bear as much as possible. I’m serious. Even the hi-hat is heavy, never mind the guitar or bass or the cave-echoing vocals of the title-track. “Domen” slips into some shuffle — if you can call something that dense-sounding a shuffle — and underscores its solo with an entire bog’s worth of low end, and though closer “Nightfright” is the only inclusion that actually tops 10 minutes, it communicates an intensity of crush that is nothing if not consistent with what’s come before. There are flashes of letup here and there, but it’s impact at the core of Jointhugger‘s approach, and they offer plenty of it. Don’t be surprised when the CD and LP sell through, and don’t be surprised if they get re-pressed later.

Jointhugger on Thee Facebooks

Ozium Records webstore

Interstellar Smoke Records webstore

 

Little Albert, Swamp King

Little Albert Swamp King

Stepping out both in terms of style and substance from his position as guitarist in atmospheric doomers Messa, Little Albert — aka Alberto Piccolo — pronounces himself “swamp king” in the opening lines of his debut solo release of the same name, and the mellow ambiance and psychedelic flourish of tone in “Bridge of Sighs” and “Mean Old Woman” and the aptly-titled “Blues Asteroid” offer an individualized blend of psychedelic blues that seems to delight in tipping the balance back and forth from one to the other while likewise taking the songs through full band arrangements and more intimate wanderings. Some of the songs have a tendency to roll outward and not return, as does “Mary Claire” or “Mean Old Woman,” but “Outside Woman Blues” and the closer “Hard Time Killing Floor Blues” hold tighter to the ground than some of what surrounds, so again, there’s a balance. Plus, as mellow as Swamp King is in its overarching affect, it’s neither difficult nor anything but a pleasure to follow along where Piccolo leads. If that’s off the psych-blues deep end, so be it. Only issue I take with him being king of the swamp is that the album’s domain hardly seems so limited.

Little Albert on Thee Facebooks

Aural Music on Bandcamp

 

Parahelio, Surge Evelia, Surge

Parahelio Surge Evelia Surge

Beautiful, patient and pastoral psychedelia fleshes out across the three tracks of Parahelio‘s debut full-length, Surge Evelia, Surge. Issued on vinyl through Necio Records, the three-song offering reportedly pays homage to a mining town in the band’s native Peru, but it does so with a breadth that seems to cover so much between heavy post-rock and psych that it’s difficult not to imagine places decidedly more ethereal. Beginning with its title-track (12:33) and moving into the swells and recessions of “Gestos y Distancia,” the album builds to an encompassing payoff for side A before unveiling “Ha’Adam,” a 23-minute side-consuming rollout that encompasses not only soundscaping, but a richly human feel in its later take, solidifying around a drum march and a heavy build of guitar that shouldn’t sound strange to fans of Pelican or Russian Circles yet manages somehow to transcend the hypnotic in favor of the dynamic, the immersive, and again, the beautiful. What follows is desolation and aftermath, and that’s how the record ends, but even there, the textures and the spirit of the release remain central. I always do myself a favor with the last release of any Quarterly Review, and this is no exception.

Parahelio on Thee Facebooks

Necio Records on Bandcamp

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Lammping Premiere Two-Song Greater Good Single; Bad Boys of Comedy out July 21

Posted in audiObelisk on June 11th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

lammping

Lammping will release their debut album, Bad Boys of Comedy, July 21 through Nasoni Records. The unpretentious eight-song/36-minute jaunt makes itself comfortable amid a lush sunshine of melodic vibe, the Toronto-based duo of multi-instrumentalist/vocalist Mikhail Galkin and drummer Jay Anderson (Stonegrass, Comet Control) taking advantage of the studio setting to do the work of at least four players between layers of guitar, synth, bass and drums. Effects ebb and flow in a wash that reminds at times of the ’90s revivalist psych that ultimately spawned shoegaze, but there’s something classically playful about the insistent rhymes of the lyrics in opener “Forest for the Trees” and the subsequent “Soakin'” as well that seems to offer a kind of garage-rocking wink to the listener, as if to say, “S’all a joke, innit?” and already know the answer.

All around, languid instrumental flow taps varied realizations of psych — some poppy, some not — and meandering excursions that resonate with an improvised feel if not actual improvisation. Galkin and Anderson may be crafting a full-band sound, but the sense of space in the recording also becomes a presence as the echoes stretch out, coming and going to allow for the Hawkwind-via-MonsterMagnet crunch of “Lightheaded” and the Dead Meadow buzztone boogie in “Greater Good” to shine though no less awash in purpose than they are in reverb.

Let’s get personal for a minute. This is about where my head’s at these days. That’s as honest as I can be with you. I put this record on for the first time a couple weeks ago and it was an utter relief to hear it. “Oh good,” I said. Really. Sweetly melodic, LAMMPING THE BAD BOYS OF COMEDYheavy enough to have a presence and some physicality behind the psychedelia, and given some structure of songwriting to complement the fluid rhythms that persist throughout. It’s not in a rush, it’s not trying to blow you away with how aggressive, or progressive, or regressive it is. It’s just two players collaborating on songs that they obviously dig. No doubt there’s some Beatles-awareness happening as they don Middle Eastern scales in “Within You,” but the dream-toned gorgeousness that rolls out with Anderson‘s cymbal crashes is righteously their own. I dig the hell out of this record. It’s not going to be the biggest release of the year. The hype machine probably won’t be about it. It won’t be “of the moment” or whatever we’re valuing right now. All it is is everything it needs to be.

“Within You” swirls into a fade ahead of the more percussively intense “Eater” but laid back vocals bring to mind some of The Heads‘ freakouts even as some of Anderson‘s tom sounds feel recognizable from his work in Comet Control. Another jam fades into the tambourine-included “Tumble,” which might be named for something falling over at the end, but uses a steady beat during its four minutes to keep the drift in check as much as possible, or at very least as much as it wants to. Side B is more hypnotic than not, which serves the album well as it moves toward “Closer to the Sun” at the finish. My only complaint with the finale, which tops six minutes, is that it isn’t longer, as I have no trouble imagining Galkin and Anderson diving headfirst into longer-form rehearsal-room improvisations, following the whims of one or the other of them wherever they might go. Particularly interesting in the closer is that the bass seems to come into the forward position where so much of Bad Boys of Comedy to that point is led by the guitar.

Again, I’ll take it either way — if I haven’t gotten the point across yet, I’m on board for what Lammping are doing here — but putting the low-end fuzz up front allows the guitar to jam out overtop all the more at the outset of the track, and that is immersive and satisfying, making the two minutes before the first verse that much more evidence of the natural chemistry between Galkin and Anderson. That, of course, is the foundation of everything that plays out across Bad Boys of Comedy, and it remains a palpable unifying factor in the material.

With the release still a month-plus off, Nasoni are taking preorders on their site, and the band has elected to premiere “Greater Good” and “Within You.” The two songs appear in succession on Bad Boys of Comedy and I’m thrilled to host them here for the reach they represent as a whole.

I hope you dig them half as much as I do:

‘Greater Good’ is the second single off Lammping’s debut LP ‘Bad Boys of Comedy’, out July 2020 on Nasoni Records. The drum heavy, riff driven exploration of working class paranoia is side A of this release, with the introspective, psychedelic “Within You” on side B.

Lammping is a new psych-rock outfit from Toronto, formed by multi-instrumentalist Mikhail Galkin and drummer Jay Anderson. The album incorporates a wide range of influences that Jay and Mikhail bonded over, from Tropicalia and Turkish psych to classic NY boom-bap drum patterns and CSNY-style vocal harmonies.

While rooted in riffs and heavy drumming, the debut LP showcases a fresh, eclectic approach to modern psychedelia, eschewing cliched musical categorizations.

Lammping is:
Mikhail Galkin: Guitar, bass, vocals, etc.
Jay Anderson: Drums

Lammping on Instagram

Lammping on Bandcamp

Nasoni Records website

Tags: , , , , , ,

Days of Rona: Bill Kole of Ol’ Time Moonshine

Posted in Features on June 1st, 2020 by JJ Koczan

The ongoing nature of the COVID-19 pandemic, the varied responses of publics and governments worldwide, and the disruption to lives and livelihoods has reached a scale that is unprecedented. Whatever the month or the month after or the future itself brings, more than one generation will bear the mark of having lived through this time, and art, artists, and those who provide the support system to help uphold them have all been affected.

In continuing the Days of Rona feature, it remains pivotal to give a varied human perspective on these events and these responses. It is important to remind ourselves that whether someone is devastated or untouched, sick or well, we are all thinking, feeling people with lives we want to live again, whatever renewed shape they might take from this point onward. We all have to embrace a new normal. What will that be and how will we get there?

Thanks to all who participate. To read all the Days of Rona coverage, click here. — JJ Koczan

ol time moonshine bill kole

Days of Rona: Bill Kole of Ol’ Time Moonshine (Toronto, Canada)

How have you been you dealing with this crisis as a band? As an individual? What effect has it had on your plans or creative processes?

Ol’ Time Moonshine was in the studio laying down drums and bass for our new record at the beginning of March when the reports of the virus started to become more frequent. It wasn’t long before the shelter in place/quarantine orders came down. It’s now been a bit more than 10 weeks since we’ve all been in the same room playing together. We’ve been working on our parts for the record and taking care of some band business and promotion, including uploading our releases to streaming services after more limited release. The uncertainty of what the musical landscape will look like when this is all over has been weighing a bit heavily – a number of venues in our province have already shut down permanently since the pandemic began, and a lot more are close. Even when they open up, the capacity restrictions are likely to devastate their businesses. As a band we’re just taking everyday and doing what we can; looking after all the little projects we always said we’d do if we ever had time. The plan right now is to get back and start tracking guitars and vocals in June, which was our original target for completing the record. We’re lucky to live in an era of connected technology that can keep us together and informed if we choose to use it that way.

I’m blessed to work for a wonderful, family owned film audio support business that has kept me on payroll, even when the office was shut, and we’ve reached a point where I’m able to come in to the office safely, mostly working alone, for a few hours a few days a week. It helps break up the monotony of the days, and I’ve been walking the few kilometres to work to avoid public transit and get some exercise. It’s been wonderful to see my family pull together and be strong in the face of this, and to have friends and family making masks for one another, shopping for those less mobile, trying to make the kids in the neighbourhood feel special on their birthdays, etc. I finally was able to teach my daughter the basics of riding her bike after several seasons of trying, and we’ve done lots of work on our apartment to freshen it up. I’ve been working on a few album covers and posters in my free time (and a lot of revisions on posters due to shows moving). I’ve tried to keep getting up at the same time everyday and keeping somewhat of a schedule so that the days don’t just fade away into one another. Motivation has its good days and bad days, but I try not to be hard on myself. I’ve found my emotions bubble closer to the surface; joy and sadness bring me to tears pretty quickly these days. Trying to look at the positives each day and stay strong for my family and friends.

How do you feel about the public response to the outbreak where you are? From the government response to the people around you, what have you seen and heard from others?

I generally feel that the federal and provincial and municipal governments have done a decent job of looking after their people in this crisis, though there is always room for improvement and some communities have been more affected than others. Unfortunately, a few have felt that the rules they make do not apply to them. We’re seeing that in a lot of places, though, not just Canada. I fear that a lot of restaurants, theatres, venues and other cultural institutions may not weather this storm without further intervention. It will certainly be interesting to see what survives and thrives on the other side of this unprecedented economic disaster. On a personal level, most of my friends and family have remained rational and followed precaution. I’m proud of them. I am particularly proud of my friends and family in health care and food service that have sacrificed so much to ensure our safety and wellbeing. I haven’t had anyone close to me pass from COVID-19 complications, but I do have several friends and family members that have lost loved ones. It’s probably too late and too difficult for most, but I feel a stricter lockdown, sooner, would have been more effective then and less painful now. We’re a bit too eager to get back to “normal” and I fear that opening up too soon will undo the progress we’ve made. We just loosened a few restrictions last week, and already people are getting lax about wearing masks and distancing. As someone with asthma and autoimmune issues I need to be a bit extra cautious, and it can be disheartening to see someone not wearing a mask in an enclosed space like a store, or just as bad, wearing it as a chin strap or taking it off to lean over a protective barrier and speak to them.

What do you think of how the music community specifically has responded? How do you feel during this time? Are you inspired? Discouraged? Bored? Any and all of it?

I think most of the people in my musical circle have adapted well, but miss being able to see each other and hang out at shows. I’ve watched a number of great live streams, and some cool pro-shot shows are coming online soon. It’s not entirely the same without the atmosphere and immersion, but it’s the best we’ve got for the moment. I’ve had more time to listen to music, so I’ve been diving in and doing a lot of deep listening, catching a lot of great records I missed the first time around. There have been some great articles and discussions in the scene, and it’s been fun to see what a lot of my fellow musicians have been listening to. I’ve talked to a few groups of musicians about contributing guitar or vocals to a few different projects outside of OTM. I’m really proud of the record Ol’ Time Moonshine is working on, and I REALLY want to get it finished and out there. We’ve gone through a lot these past few years since the release of “The Apocalypse Trilogies”, so it has been a bitter pill to swallow to see us get all of our game pieces in order just for the game to change, but we’ll adapt and move forward, we always do. It could have been much worse, though, so I’m grateful we haven’t lost more. So many friends have had to cancel their release parties and tours. So many promoters and touring companies have lost their livelihood for the perceivable future. So many recovering addicts and people with mental health issues have lost their support. If you are having a good, positive day and feel you can handle it, please, reach out to someone you know who might not be and let them know they have someone that loves them.

What is the one thing you want people to know about your situation, either as a band, or personally, or anything? What is your new normal? What have you learned from this experience, about yourself, your band, or anything?

I don’t think things can possibly go back to the way they were. It’s all going to be a bit different, and take some getting used to. I think some have found they are stronger than expected, and some are not as strong as they thought. We need to be compassionate and help one another, especially those that fall through the cracks, and we need to take better care of our mental health. We need to be kinder, and more honest with ourselves and loved ones. I miss my US and worldwide doom family, and hope the borders open back up soon and that everyone stays safe so we can enjoy live music again soon.

https://www.facebook.com/oltimemoonshine/
https://oltimemoonshine.bandcamp.com/
http://www.oltimemoonshine.com/

Tags: , , , ,

Stonegrass Release Self-Titled Debut; Vinyl Preorder Available

Posted in Whathaveyou on May 22nd, 2020 by JJ Koczan

I’ll bottom line it for you: Cool record, out today. Just listen to it.

Vinyl will be out later, but Stonegrass, which has Jay Anderson of Biblical and Comet Control on drums/percussion and Matthew “Doc” Dunn (many projects, most of them delightfully freaked out) on bass/guitar/flute/organ, capture vibes reminiscent of Here Lies Man‘s quest to educate the world on Afrobeat’s righteousness. The recording of Stonegrass‘ self-titled review has some circa-’74 tape grit and the vibe just oozes off jams both longform and cohesive.

Yes, I’ve said this before, but listening to this will make your day better. That’s all I can assure you of.

Thanks for reading if you did. Here’s album info and the stream:

stonegrass self titled

Stonegrass – Stonegrass – May 22

It’s out May 22nd digitally on Bandcamp and you can order the vinyl through that. Should ship late summer/early fall.

Let it go. Let it flow. Let it grow. When Matthew ‘Doc’ Dunn and Jay Anderson finally reconnected after the fall of their previous project, The Spiritual Sky Blues Band, that was the M.O. Barely using words to communicate, their instruments became highly charged positive ion conductors for a natural telepathy between these two local burnouts.

On board was Tony Price, manning the controls, with the results, of what you have here, their FRIED AS THE SKY debut LP.

It’s overcooked and burnt to the CORE, but once cooled, these jams come LEAKING out of your mind hole like an unholy baptism of PEACE.

Rough and frayed like yr mind, but comforting like yr old Uncle Billy’s drug rug. Ask the peyote coyote, he’ll tell you its no easy ride, but enlightenment never is. So take it EZ or just TAKE IT.

With more volumes to follow, Stonegrass will be touring this summer all over your mind. Let it burn. LET IT BLOW.”

Tracklisting:
Side A:
1. The Lady In The Moon
2. Tea
3. The Robe
Side B:
4. Frozen Dunes
5. The Highway (To All Known Places)
6. The Cape
7. Drive On

Stonegrass is:
Jay Anderson: Drums & Percussion
Matthew Dunn: Bass, Flute, Guitar & Organ

https://cosmicrangerecords.bandcamp.com/
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCpVjMSgJgE0Mzs8c7NbzmaA

Stonegrass, Stonegrass (2020)

Tags: , , , , , ,

Itus Premiere “Primordial” Lyric Video

Posted in Bootleg Theater on May 5th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

itus (Photo by Justin Ryan Lawrence)

Though the aftermath of the recording finds vocalist Reinier Vandenbosch and bassist/guitarist Brandon Lucking without a drummer, Primordial is nonetheless cohesive as the debut EP from Toronto-based sludge aggressors Itus. The offering is made up of five tracks total and wastes little time on that which isn’t furious, setting an atmosphere of violence and dwelling therein even as Vandenbosch‘s vocals shift between clean melodic singing and guttural growls on opener “Cloud Reader.”

Itus are not without some ambience, either in that cut or “Question Everything” which follows, but that atmosphere is unmistakably bent toward the brutal in tone and general vibe, and Lucking, Vandenbosch and then-drummer Jackson Ward revel in it, both as “Question Everything” chug-plods to its rumbling finish, and as the subsequent title-track distills Primordial‘s punishing aspects to arguably their purest form.

Some clean vocals at the outset remind a bit of Burton C. Bell of Fear Factory in theiritus primordial use of effects, but the growls and screams that come shortly in layers are the stuff of rawer and deathlier fare. With the drums backing the verse, volume recedes and surges again, and the air gives way to solo-topped, screaming chaos later, coming to a stop ahead of the comparatively mellow beginning of “This Can’t Be.” Well shit, “Primordial” did the same thing — I’m not falling for that trap again. False sense of security denied.

Except in this case it’s not false. Itus put “This Can’t Be” on a linear path, daring toward melody in the lead guitar payoff, and that leads smoothly into the closer, “The Chaplain.” A growling resurgence isn’t unexpected, but is welcome just the same over the lumbering progression that it accompanies, and the roll that ensues is a fitting end to Primordial in concept, execution and mindset. By that I mean it’s heavy as shit.

There’s another video out there for “Primordial” if you’re up for a bit of YouTubing, and the whole EP is streaming below if you’re up for something more conveniently located, but if Itus want to highlight the EP’s title-track further with a lyric video maybe to catch a few eyes — like mine — that missed the EP when it first came through because, oh, I don’t know, a global fucking pandemic, I’m hardly one to begrudge them that chance.

Accordingly, here’s this. Enjoy it:

Itus, “Primordial” lyric video premiere

Atmospheric and energetic, this EP is a step in a new musically direction for the duo of Brandon Lucking and Reinier Vandenbosch, and they are encouraged that the reception for their latest endeavour will be well received as they explain:

“We think that Itus could have a much wider appeal than previous efforts of ours. Songs on the EP like ‘Cloud Reader’ and ‘This Can’t Be” are much more accessible, especially with Vandenbosch’s newly developed clean singing. We think the heavier tracks will strike a nice balance with the mellower tracks on the EP as a whole.”

Two very different singles will be released from the EP, the first being the title track ‘Primordial’. Painting the mood like a classic horror creature reveal, it’s both abrasive and calm, and the accompanying music video is shot like a horror film to accentuate the brutality and dark riffage in the track. ITUS details the track:

“We chose to make this the first song we release because to us, it embodies the aspect of human savagery. Primordial uses the idea of coming out of a euphoric bliss into a hellish existence. Its lyrics comment on what forces within people work to pull society back down to chaos. This is the most aggressive song on the EP with its crisp, and aggressive guitar tones that really make it stand out from the other songs.”

Produced, mixed and mastered by Luc Chiasson
Drums performed and engineered by Jackson Ward (Strata Recordings)

Itus EP lineup:
Reinier Vandenbosch – Vocals
Brandon Lucking – Guitar and Bass
Jackson Ward – Drums (on EP)

Itus, Primordial (2020)

Itus on Thee Facebooks

Itus on Instagram

Itus on Bandcamp

Tags: , , , , , ,

Astral Witch Premiere “Embodied” Video from Self-Titled LP

Posted in Bootleg Theater on April 17th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

astral witch

Featured as the second track on Astral Witch‘s soon-to-be-issued-on-vinyl 2018 self-titled debut, the cut ‘Embodied’ began its life as — well, probably as a riff, since that’s how these things go — but also as “Embodied by the Stars” from the Hamilton, Ontario, three-piece’s 2015 Bang-Over EP. The later incarnation, is longer, slower and somewhat clearer — though both it and the record it comes from want nothing for a blown-out sensibility — and with DHU Records in the Netherlands and Fuzzed and Buzzed in Toronto standing behind the LP edition of Astral Witch‘s Astral Witch in the requisite limited and oh-so-FOMO-able numbers as they are, the revision the band works only highlights how purposeful the abiding rawness of their debut actually is, and how much that rawness becomes a part of their aesthetic throughout. It sounds rough because it wants to and it wants to sound rough because it does.

The PR wire — blessings and peace upon it — calls them “occult space grunge,” which is brilliant enough to quote directly, the way I see it. I’m not sure I 100 percent agree on the “space” front, but if you want to sit here with me for half an hour and split hairs between what makes something space-doom and what makes it cosmic-doom, we can do that. I’m on quarantine lockdown — I’ve got the time. If, however, you’d prefer to spend your next six minutes in inevitably more constructive fashion, you’ll find the video for “Embodied” premiering below to highlight the fact that preorders are going live for the vinyl from all three parties involved — both labels and the band — tomorrow, April 18. The details of who gets what version of the album are below that, mostly because I think they’re interesting, and I’ve included the full stream of Astral Witch from the band’s Bandcamp too, because I know that after I heard “Embodied,” I wanted more, and hearing the direct lyrical juxtaposition between “Embodied” and “Love,” which follows, is definitely worth the additional effort it takes to, say, click another thing.

Rumble, grit, attitude and mastering by Tony Reed. Some bands have it all.

Please enjoy:

Astral Witch, “Embodied” official video premiere

Occult space grungers Astral Witch release their debut album on wax via Fuzzed and Buzzed Records in North America and DHU in Europe.

Sounding like a Sabbath worshipping L7 or Babes In Toyland, these Babes in Doomland bring the heavy on the vinyl version of their debut mastered by the legendary Tony Reed the mastering master of Mos Generator fame.

The wax comes in three different colorways including the Band edition, the DHU edition and the Fuzzed and Buzzed edition.

Pre-orders will be on April 18 at Noon EST and 6pm CEST from fuzzedandbuzzed.com in North America and darkhedonisticunionrecords.bigcartel.com in Europe or straight from the band https://astralwitch.bandcamp.com/

Side A:
A1. Rune
A2. Embodied
A3. Love
A4. Blood III

Side B:
B1. Black Denim
B2. 86ed
B3. Witch Knife

DHU Records Edition
Limited to 100 copies
Single sleeve w/ 3mm spine
Black flood inside
Full color double sided insert
Black polylined innersleeve
DHU Bside label
A3 poster by Shane Horror
Comes on Bone/Black Aside/Bside 12″ vinyl

Astral Witch Edition
Limited to 100 copies
Single sleeve w/ 3mm spine
Black flood inside
Full color double sided insert
Black polylined innersleeve
Astral Witch Bside label
A3 poster by Shane Horror
Comes on Purple/Black Aside/Bside 12″ vinyl

Fuzzed and Buzzed Edition
Limited to 100 copies
Single sleeve w/ 3mm spine
Black flood inside
Full color double sided insert
Black polylined innersleeve
Fuzzed and Buzzed Bside label
A3 poster by Shane Horror
Comes on Green w/ Black Smoke 12″ vinyl

Astral Witch are:
Alyssa – vox/guitar
Jon – vox/bass
Jen – drums/vox

Astral Witch, Astral Witch (2018)

Astral Witch on Thee Facebooks

Astral Witch on Instagram

Astral Witch on Bandcamp

Fuzzed and Buzzed Records on Thee Facebooks

Fuzzed and Buzzed Records on Instagram

Fuzzed and Buzzed Records website

DHU Records on Thee Facebooks

DHU Records on Instagram

DHU Records on Bandcamp

DHU Records webstore

Tags: , , , , , , ,