Lord Dying Announce Live Lineup; European Tour Starts Oct. 14

Posted in Whathaveyou on September 19th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

lord dying

What do you do after you release one of the year’s most lauded metal records and crisscross the country promoting it? Well, you go to Europe, silly. So it is that Portland, Oregon, progressive metallers Lord Dying follow-up their late Spring jaunt across the US with a European run set to begin next month that includes stops at Into the Void, Desertfest Belgium, Dudefest, Darkhorse Festival and Damnation Festival heralding the formidable scope of Mysterium Tremendum (review here), their third album overall and debut release for eOne Heavy. Because that’s what you do.

It’s their first trip abroad since they toured with Voivod and Entombed AD in Europe circa 2016, following the willful aural gruel that was 2015’s Poisoned Altars (review here), and founding guitarists Chris Evans and Erik Olson — the latter also vocals — will welcome a new live lineup aboard as they go. The lucky rhythm section is comprised of bassist Alyssa Maucere (also Glory in the Shadows) and drummer Kevin Swartz (also Tithe and Serial Hawk), and the shows will begin Oct. 14, following Lord Dying‘s appearance at Northwest Hesh Fest this weekend, where they’ll be joined by original drummer Jonathan Reid (now also Glory in the Shadows, formerly also Megaton Leviathan) as a special one-off.

All sounds pretty badass, right? It is. Lord Dying are having that kind of year, much aided by the killer album. Funny how that kind of thing works.

Here are the tour dates:

lord dying euro tour

Lord Dying – Euro Tour

This tour is to promote the new record, “Mysterium Tremendrum”, put out only a few months back (on eOneHeavy). This EU tour is shared with the excellent and heavy-trippin Earth Ship (Berlin, DE), who will be LD’s main support throughout (*Earth Ship not playing)

Lord Dying will also be playing INTO THE VOID FESTIVAL leeuwarden, 18.10 , DESERTFEST* BELGIUM Antwerp 20.10, DUDEFEST Karlsruhe 31.10, DARKHORSE FESTIVAL Paris 01.11, and DAMNATION FESTIVAL* Leeds 02.11!

NorthWest Hesh Fest in Portland OR is this weekend and Lord Dying asked the original drummer Jon Reid to come back to do a ONE-TIME ONLY classic LD set, blasting out several bangers from their first record, “Summon The Faithless” and their following, “Poisoned Altars”. Jon is also drummer in Glory In The Shadows.

Lord Dying EU Tour with Earth Ship –
14-10 CH Bellinzona @ The Pit
15-10 DE Munich @ Backstage
16-10 DE Wiesbaden @ Schlachthof
17-10 DE Bochum @ Trompete
18-10 NL Leeuwarden @ Into The Void
20-10 BE Antwerp @ Desertfest*
22-10 ES Barcelona @ Sala Rocksound
23-10 ES Bilbao @ La Nube
24-10 CH Martigny @ Sunset Bar
25-10 DE Cologne @ MTC
26-10 DE Lubeck @ Treibsand
28-10 CZ Prague @ Club Fatal
29-10 DE Berlin @ Zukunft
31-10 DE Karlsruhe @ Dudefest
01-11 FR Paris @ Darkhorse Festival – Espace B
02-11 UK Leeds @ Damnation Festival*
03-11 UK Glasgow @ Audio
05-11 UK London @ New Cross In

https://www.facebook.com/LordDying/
http://instagram.com/lorddying
http://lorddying.bandcamp.com/
https://www.facebook.com/eOneHeavy

Lord Dying, Mysterium Tremendum (2019)

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Abronia Announce New LP The Whole of Each Eye out Oct. 25

Posted in Whathaveyou on September 16th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

abronia

Psychedelic pastoralia would seem to be the order of the day on Abronia‘s second album, The Whole of Each Eye, which is set to release next month through Cardinal Fuzz and Feeding Tube Records. All the better. Their 2017 debut, Obsidian Visions/Shadowed Lands (review here), certainly had its share of soundscape-driven characteristics, and to hear the six-piece outfit transpose that onto far-out and more folkish vibes only adds a refreshing feel to what was an already individualized approach. Mixed by Billy Frickin’ Anderson, the long-player is out Oct. 25 and there’s no audio public from it yet, but it’s got six tracks, they’re post-everything, and absolutely work their own kind of moodiness into the proceedings. I dug the last one a lot. I have the feeling that as I get to know it better the situation will be much the same with the follow-up.

Album info follows, courtesy of the PR wire:

abronia the whole of each eye

Cardinal Fuzz and Feeding Tube Records are proud to bring to you the latest long player from ‘Abronia’ (Portland USA)

The follow up to their debut, The Whole of Each Eye sees Abronia cementing its very singular place in the canon of the broader psych rock universe. A six piece consisting of two guitars, electric bass, tenor saxophone, pedal steel, and one 32” inch bass drum (no drum set here), Abronia pulls from kraut rock, spaghetti Western soundtracks, doom, 60’s UK folk, spiritual jazz, ritualistic drone, and infuse it all with the arid haze of deserts near and far.

Recorded, as the first album was, at Type Foundry in Portland, but mixed this time by Billy Anderson (known for his work with Sleep, OM, Neurosis, and many other heavy legends), the band builds off of the solid foundation of the first album. There are still hooks and visceral, crushingly satisfying payoffs, but there’s a deeper complexity to these arrangements that rewards careful listeners and searchers.

And while almost half of the last album was entirely instrumental, you’ll find no purely instrumental tracks on this one. This time Keelin’s voice has come to the forefront–a deep and deadly force that brings to mind Nico, Grace Slick, Jarboe, Malaria’s Bettina Köster, and White Magic’s Mira Billotte. Note the dynamics–from the subdued falsetto on the first half of “Cauldron’s Gold” to the murderous scream at the end of “Half Hail.”

Another obvious change if you read the liner notes–three of the six members have switched out since the last album, which would seem like a big deal if it hadn’t happened in such a staggered and organic way. Rick Pedrosa is deeply part of the crew by this point–he joined the band on pedal steel a month after the first album was recorded (September 2016)–replacing the lap steel player–Andrew Endres, Paul Michael Schaefer replaced Benjamin Blake on guitar just after the album release show (July 2017). Shaun Lyvers is the newest member–replacing the continent roaming Amir Amadi on bass in spring of 2018.

Abronia is very much a band. Songs are written together at practice with everybody contributing.

Tracklisting:
1. Wound Site
2. Rope of Fire
3. Cross the Hill
4. New Winds for the Warming Sands
5. Half Hail
6. Cauldron’s Gold

https://www.facebook.com/AbroniaPDX
https://www.instagram.com/abroniaband/
https://abronia.bandcamp.com/
https://www.facebook.com/CardinalFuzz/
https://cardinalfuzz.bigcartel.com/
https://cful.bandcamp.com/
https://www.facebook.com/FeedingtubeRecords/
https://feedingtuberecords.bandcamp.com/
http://feedingtuberecords.com/

Abronia, Obsidian Visions/Shadowed Lands (2017)

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Blackwater Holylight Post New Single “Death Realms”

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

I have all kinds of crap that I should be listening to on any given day, but I just keep going back to this Blackwater Holylight record and its genre/anti-genre approach, the radness of which would be hard for me to overstate. Veils of Winter is out a month from tomorrow through RidingEasy, and the five-piece have just unveiled the second advance cut from the album in the form of “Death Realms,” so yes, I’m posting about it again, if only to have a legit excuse to put the album on again and listen to it front to back. I’ve already got their upcoming Brooklyn show with Monolord in the calendar, and it’s been a while since I looked forward so much to seeing a band for the first time.

As of right now, I have an album review slated for about two weeks from today, so I’ll reserve any further gushing for that, I guess, and just turn things over to the PR wire, which brings much background and of course the stream of the track itself, which is down there at the bottom. You gotta hear it.

Here goes:

blackwater holylight veils of winter

Portland, OR quintet Blackwater Holylight share the second single from their forthcoming sophomore album Veils of Winter (RidingEasy Records) today. Hear and share the pop-hook laced “Death Realms” via YouTube and Bandcamp.

The band previously dropped the immediately classic lead track “Motorcycle” via YouTube and all streaming platforms last month.

Blackwater Holylight hit the road later this month, supporting Thou for a handful of Southern dates, followed by the full US with former RidingEasy label mates Monolord in November. Please see complete dates below.

Blackwater Holylight, as the name suggests, is all about contrasts. It’s a fluid convergence of sound that’s heavy, psychedelic, melodic, terrifying and beautiful all at once.

As a heavy band, their songs aren’t anchored to riffs, but rather riffs come and go in waves that surface throughout the band’s meditative, entrancing songs. It’s a hypnotic sound, with orchestral structures that often build tension and intrigue before turning the song on its head — not by simply getting louder or heavier, nor by just layering elements. They expertly subvert the implied heaviness of a part, dissecting it and splaying the song’s guts out to seep across the sonic spectrum.

Now, having toured extensively following the band’s wildly-successful breakout self-titled debut in 2018, Blackwater Holylight has honed their sound and identity to a powerfully captivating beast. Their live set is all about the slow build, seeming to combine the melodic tension of early Sonic Youth crossed with the laconic fever-dream blues of the first Black Sabbath album and wiry experimentation of post-punk and krautrock.

The lineup on this album is Allison (Sunny) Faris (bass/vocals), Laura Hopkins (guitar/vocals) and Sarah McKenna (synths), with new guitarist Mikayla Mayhew and drummer Eliese Dorsay fleshing out their sound in exciting ways.

“The process of this album was vastly different from our first record,” says Faris. “One, because we recorded it over the course of a few weeks, whereas the first record was over the course of about a year. And two, this album was a true collaboration between the five of us. Each of us had extremely equal parts in writing and producing, we all bounced ideas off each together, and we all had a say in what was going on during every part of the process.”

“One of our favorite things about this album is that because it was so collaborative, we didn’t compartmentalize ourselves into one vibe.” She continues. “It’s heavy, psychedelic, pop, shoegaze, doom, grunge, melodic and more. The whole process was extremely organic and natural for us, we were just being ourselves.”

Veils of Winter opens with fuzzed-drenched, drop-tuned bass and baritone guitar leading a dirge riff on “Seeping Secrets.” Faris’ lilting and funereal vocals drop in, adding to the mournful atmosphere until a short turnaround progression hints at changes to come, as Faris and Hopkins harmonize eerily and the tune suddenly turns into a krautrock charge. “Motorcycle” kicks off deceptively with a heavy grunge riff building up for about 40-seconds before the song abruptly shifts gears into a synth-led post-punk harmony, sounding something like Lush meets Syd Barrett era Pink Floyd. “Death Realms” is perhaps the poppiest track, based around soaring shoegaze guitars and interwoven light vocal harmonies. Soft piano notes, occasional woozy whammy bar dives and a driving tom-tom beat solidify its hooks. “Spiders” is a creepy-crawly guitar riff and counterpoint keys, while “Moonlit” explores prog-structures with a shredding guitar solo crescendo. The penultimate track, “Lullaby” is exactly that, a lulling, expansive tune exemplifying Blackwater Holylight’s genre smashing sound as it subtly moves across a vast sonic landscape atop a hypnotic 6/8 beat and repetitive 3-note motif. Throughout the album, their songs shirk traditional verse-chorus-verse structure in favor of fluid, serpentine compositions that move with commanding grace.

Veils of Winter will be available on LP, CD and download on October 11th, 2019 via RidingEasy Records. Pre-orders are available at www.ridingeasyrecs.com.

BLACKWATER HOLYLIGHT LIVE 2019:
09/22 New Orleans, LA @ One Eyed Jack’s #
09/23 Tallahassee, FL @ The Bark #
09/24 Tampa, FL @ The Blue Note #
09/26 Miami, FL @ Las Rosa’s #
09/27 Orlando, FL @ Will’s Pub #
09/28 Gainesville, FL @ The Atlantic #
09/29 Pensacola, FL @ Chizuco #
10/10-13 Lake Perris, CA @ Desert Daze Festival
10/24 Portland, OR @ Star Theater – Album release show
11/05 San Diego, CA @ Brick By Brick *
11/06 Tucson, AZ @ Club Congress *
11/07 Albuquerque, NM @ Sister *
11/09 Austin, TX @ Barracuda – Levitation Fest – RidingEasy Stage
11/10 Lafayette, LA @ Freetown Boom Boom Room *
11/11 New Orleans, LA @ One Eyed Jacks *
11/12 Atlanta, GA @ 529 *
11/13 Asheville, NC @ Mothlight *
11/14 Richmond, VA @ Camel *
11/15 Baltimore, MD @ Metro Gallery *
11/16 Philadelphia, PA @ First Unitarian Church *
11/17 New York, NY @ Saint Vitus *
11/20 Chicago, IL @ Reggie’s *
11/21 Indianapolis, IN @ Black Circle Brewing *
11/22 St. Louis, MO @ Fubar *
11/23 Lawrence, KS @ The Bottleneck *
11/25 Denver, CO @ Marquis Theater *
11/27 Los Angeles, CA @ Teragram Ballroom *
12/05 Seattle, WA @ Neumos ^
12/06 Eugene, OR @ WOW Hall ^
12/07 Portland, OR @ Bossanova Ballroom ^
# w/ Thou
* w/ Monolord
^ w/ Yob

https://www.facebook.com/blackwaterholylight/
instagram.com/blackwaterholylight
blackwaterholylight.bandcamp.com
ridingeasyrecs.com

Blackwater Holylight, “Death Realms”

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Alltar Stream Hallowed LP in Full; Album out This Week

Posted in audiObelisk on September 4th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

alltar

Portland, Oregon, post-metallers Alltar — also stylized as A//TAR, as on their logo/cover art — will release their debut album, Hallowed, through Monochord Records this Friday, Sept. 6. The initial offering from the band that also comprises three-fifths of recently-discussed noisemakers Hound the Wolves — those being vocalist, Moog-ist Juan Carlos Caceres, guitarist/sampler Tim Burke and drummer Nate WrightColin Hill plays guitar and Sean Frederick plays bass on the recording and has since been replaced by Casey Braunger — is made up of four songs that run a very vinyl-friendly 35 minutes and brings forth Isis-style hypnotic march and atmospheric spread, dug into with volume trades that remind of Rwake‘s later work with a sense of volatility that seems to revel in never quite letting the listener know when the tension is going to pay off. With everything but vocals recorded and mixed by Fester at Caravan Studios, Haywire Studios, and the Hypercube and vocals helmed by Jeanot Lewis-Rolland at JLR Audio Productions and mastering by Ryan Foster at Foster Mastering, it is straightforward in its arrangements to be positioning itself as a root form of post-metal, bringing the aesthetic full circle and back to its cerebral roots in churning rhythms and shifts between deeply-weighted contemplation and voluminous sway and crash.

The album breaks cleanly into two vinyl sides with two songs apiece, the second longer than the first by about five minutes, but all the more immersive for that. The relative brevity of what Alltar do here — as a style that essentially began with Neurosis in the late ’90s and early ’00s, a pattern of CD-era album lengths for post-metal has been set as a tenet of the subgenre — makes Hallowed effective at creating the impression of playing to essential elements. That’s not to say the record is simple in arrangement or execution, with Moog and samples here and there, spoken word on the 11-minute side A closer “War Altar” and side B opener “Induction” and loud/quiet trades across the span, but that neither is it an effects wash, and the guitars of Hill and Burke are plainly more interested in crunch than sprawl. There’s no post-rock float, and even in the windy intro to opener “Horology,” the quiet stretch is more about creating tension ahead of the punch to come, and the same goes for the Moog-laced beginning of closer “Spoils,” though alltar hallowedthe latter might be as close as they come, even if it’s offset by the slowest and hardest-bashing crash to be found on the record.

It’s interesting to note the idea of worship in what Alltar are doing. Their moniker, for example. “All,” and “altar,” together. And calling their first record Hallowed would seem to be underscoring the point. Their music itself, while of a lineage with the aforementioned Isis and of course that band’s forebears in Neurosis and their many acolytes, is made all the more distinct through this notion, but the prevailing vibe of the tracks themselves is more mournful than celebratory. That’s true as Caceres shifts between clean singing and shouts throughout and even as “Spoils” churn-chugs to its ultimate conclusion, following up on the charged design of “War Altar” in a way that feels conceptual. Alltar, then, seem to be calling more into question in terms of who we are and what we choose to worship. This is a decidedly American ideal: the crafting of identity through reconciliation with history either personal or cultural, and if Alltar‘s scope is set to encompass, well, everything, then it seems only fair to call that ambitious as an understatement and remain impressed at the sense of focus they nonetheless conjure throughout their well-plotted material, delivered with what sounds like a burgeoning sense of patience.

And normally, this is the part where I’d say I expect that sense of patience to come more to the fore their next time out, but frankly, I don’t. Alltar‘s Hallowed has been sitting on the proverbial shelf for nearly two years since it was recorded as the band dealt with label issues — Monochord Records is their own and also put out Hound the Wolves, so technically this is a self-release — and I would think that the pent up frustration, one way or another, would manifest in their next batch of songs, or at least in parts should they keep up the loud/quiet trades one finds throughout these four tracks. All the same, it will be interesting to hear as they move forward just in what fashion they do, how their arrangements grow and flourish and in what manner they build on the solid foundation they’ve given themselves to work from here in theme and style. I’ll reserve any further speculation so as to prevent feeling like a jackass later when I’m so very wrong, but take the intrigue as a sign that whatever Alltar do as a sequel will be worth chasing down to find out where they end up.

They’re on tour later in September out west, and you’ll find those dates under the full stream of Hallowed below, as well as some more background from the PR wire.

I hope you enjoy:

alltar tour

Founded by guitarist Tim Burke (also of Hound The Wolves) in 2016, the band has developed through a careful, deliberate evolution to reach its perfect lineup with Juan Carlos Caceres (vocals, Moog), Nate Wright (drums), Colin Hill (guitar, samples) and Casey Braunger (bass.) With the same deliberation, the band spent the latter half of 2017 recording their 4-song debut album at 3 different studios in Portland, then mixing and mastering in Spring 2018. A record label came into the picture soon thereafter, though the album release was held up as the label’s funds were scarce. Eventually, the label folded and the band wrestled back their masters, choosing to self-release, now well into 2019.

“Upon the A//TAR we place our past,” the band declares. “Through the triumphs and tribulations of human-kind. From the technical and artistic birth of society’s achievements in art and technology, as well as the rise of power, war, destruction, and the control of humanity. Through the inevitable dark decay and cold loss, our music is inspired.”

Tracked by Jeanot Lewis-Rolland at the Magic Closet and JLR Audio Productions. Mixed by Fester. Mastered by Ryan Foster at Foster Mastering. Hallowed will be available on CD and download on September 6th, 2019. Pre-orders are available HERE.

A//TAR LIVE 2019:
09/04 Portland, OR @ Dante’s
09/20 Eugene, OR @ Sessions’ Lounge
09/21 Boise, ID @ The Shredder
09/22 Reno, NV @ TBA
09/23 Sacramento, CA @ On The Y
09/24 San Jose, CA @ The Ritz
09/25 Santa Cruz, CA @ The Blue Lagoon
09/26 Oakland, CA @ The Golden Bull
09/28 Seattle, WA @ The Highline
10/05 Portland, OR @ Twilight Bar

A//TAR is:
Tim Burke – Guitar, Samples
Juan Carlos Caceres – Vocals, Moog, Spoken Word
Casey Braunger – Bass
Nate Wright – Drums
Colin Hill – Guitar

Alltar on Thee Facebooks

Alltar on Instagram

Alltar on Bandcamp

Monochord Records on Thee Facebooks

Monochord Records on Bandcamp

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Friday Full-Length: YOB, The Illusion of Motion

Posted in Bootleg Theater on August 9th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

In 2003, YOB released their second album, Catharsis. In 2005, they’d issue The Unreal Never Lived (discussed here), which was their final outing before their flameout and eventual return a few years later. The former is an emotional landmark and sonic breakthrough and the latter both a stylistic and spiritual achievement that stands as one of the best records of its decade. So maybe it’s the case that 2004’s The Illusion of Motion gets lost in the mix sometimes between its higher-profile year-earlier predecessor and year-later follow-up. Fair enough, but at four tracks and 56 minutes, The Illusion of Motion nonetheless represents what at the time were several pivotal steps forward for the Eugene, Oregon, trio, in production and execution alike.

The Illusion of Motion was YOB‘s first outing through Metal Blade Records, which picked them up after Catharsis even though the band had never really toured showed no real signs of doing so. It was set to be released on my birthday in 2004, but I recall the CD showed up at my office — because in 2004, physical promos were very much still a thing — some time before that for review. Having been such a fan of the prior outing, I was obviously excited to know what they’d do this next time out, especially on such a continued quick turnaround; YOB‘s album-per-year pace started with their 2002 debut, Elaborations of Carbon, on 12th Records. Immediately the breadth of the production was wider and fuller. YOB — then the trio of guitarist/vocalist Mike Scheidt, bassist Isamu Sato and drummer Travis Foster — had yet to sound so clear and powerful, but what “Ball of Molten Lead,” “Exorcism of the Host,” “Doom #2” and the 26-minute title-track itself would accomplish was much more than just an uptick in basic quality of sound. Engineer Jeff Olsen (not to be confused with former Trouble drummer Jeff Olson) had worked on YOB‘s 2000 demo (discussed here) as well as their first two albums, and would continue his relationship with the band on The Unreal Never Lived and Scheidt‘s short-lived post-YOB unit Middian, before coming back in to work with the band again on 2011’s Atma (review here), which followed 2009’s Sanford Parker-produced return outing, The Great Cessation (review here; discussed here), but already after three times in the studio together, he and the three-piece would’ve been well familiar with each other’s methods, and a progression of both sides was evident across those early YOB offerings, including The Illusion of Motion.

But still, the album was more than just a bridge from Catharsis to The Unreal Never Lived, and that’s the pointyob the illusion of motion that to me is so worth underscoring. The noise that YOB brought to bear on “The Illusion of Motion” — not to mention the excruciating patience with which the song was delivered; that ending where it cut back to the quiet part — would serve as a reference point for future outings, particularly The Great Cessation before their melodic progression really came to the fore with Atma and the two albums to-date since. At the same time, the intensity of “Doom #2,” which at just over six minutes long remains the shortest song YOB have ever put out as well as arguably the most forwardly intense. It was basically a hardcore track filtered through YOB‘s tonality, resulting in a cacophony that still leaves me wondering why they don’t play it live every now and again. Of course, “Ball of Molten Lead” was and 15 years later still is a clarion to come worship at the altar of sonic largesse, and though it wouldn’t be proper to call its winding movement subtle, the sense of attack it fostered, particularly in its later reaches — that start-stop crashing behind the riff that YOB would use again on The Unreal Never Lived‘s own epic, “The Mental Tyrant,” while also introducing the gallop that would become yet another signature of their approach — was a standout even among the most aggressive material they’d yet constructed, and to answer it with the noise wash of “Exorcism of the Host,” with its gruelingly slow churn initially giving way to something as primal as it was cosmic, only made The Illusion of Motion more stunning in its impact and more expansive in its reach. It was a record that signaled YOB‘s continued forward creative movement, which is something that thankfully is ongoing, but at the time, it was also the apex of it, and whatever they’d go on to do afterward, it was a pinnacle moment that marked their arrival in more ways than just the wider distribution of a Metal Blade release — though I’m sure that didn’t hurt either.

For me to point out some 20-plus years after they got their start that YOB are a once-in-a-generation band is superfluous. I’ll make no pretense toward not approaching their work from a fan’s perspective — because I’m a fan — but even so, the level of artistry they’ve brought to doom, the influence they’ve had across borders and subgenres especially after getting back together with Aaron Rieseberg on bass and pursuing their craft through Atma, 2014’s Clearing the Path to Ascend (review here) and last year’s Our Raw Heart (review here) is still and will likely continue to ripple out. The Illusion of Motion was an essential moment in making that happen — the first time they really brought their style out to engage a wider audience and began to translate their forward-thinking creativity into an increasingly realized songcraft. You wouldn’t have The Illusion of Motion without Catharsis, and you wouldn’t have The Unreal Never Lived without The Illusion of Motion. Those albums are intertwined in how they tell the narrative of YOB discovering their sound and, ultimately, needing to step away from it before coming to realize how crucial that expression truly was and still is.

YOB toured in North America this Spring with Voivod and Amenra and just wrapped a European run with Neurosis. They’ll be at Psycho Las Vegas next week, playing the Beach Stage at Mandalay Bay, which is a thing that I expect those who are fortunate enough to see will be speaking about for a long time. I haven’t seen Fall tour plans, but if they wanted to take a season off, it’d be nothing if not well earned.

As always, I hope you enjoy. Thanks for reading.

We’ve been back up in Massachusetts since… Wednesday? There’s a large stack of boxes behind me in the kitchen. More upstairs, more downstairs in the basement, and more to be packed. The movers come at 9AM. The 27-footer U-Haul which I’ll drive down to NJ tomorrow needs to be picked up before they get here. The baby is awake, and I’m sure The Patient Mrs. is too. We’re all out of our minds. Moving is awful. To wit, the Hierarchy of Terrible Shit that Happens to Everyone:

  1. Cancer
  2. Divorce
  3. Moving

Everything else is somewhere under that.

But we’ll get through, and if we need to come back up here to finish more stuff before the sale on this place closes on the 23rd, we’ll do that. It’ll get done, one way or the other. If it has to happen during naptimes, so be it. Clearly it does.

I know I’ll be in Brooklyn for Neurosis on Sunday. I know that. We drive south tomorrow — why not today? I’m not sure; need to ask; traffic concerns, maybe? but we’re packing our bed so would need to buy an aerobed if we stay — and hey, maybe after today, it’s done. Maybe we’ll get it all finished. That’d be a nice surprise.

But anyway, after that Neurosis live review on Monday and a long-delayed Lightning Born review on Tuesday, I don’t know what’s up for the week. Let’s assume stuff.

Would anyone have interest if I posted audio interviews around here? I’d like to get back to doing proper phone interviews, but I don’t really have time to transcribe them. What if I tried to kind of do a more conversational kind of thing, like Fresh Air with Riffs or something like that? Let me know what you think? I’m super-awkward on the phone or Skype, but that might be fun too. Just an idea I had this week while I was thinking about 15 other things as well.

Alright.

Great and safe weekend. No Gimme show this week, but the repeat is Sunday at 7PM Eastern. Forum, radio, merch, awesome.

The Obelisk Forum

The Obelisk Radio

The Obelisk shirts & hoodies

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Holy Grove Present Road Songs Playlist; Tour Starts Aug. 28; Benefit Live Album out Now

Posted in audiObelisk on August 7th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

holy grove

So, in basically the last week-plus, Portland, Oregon’s Holy Grove have announced their latest string of West Coast tour dates and released a live album captured at this year’s Ceremony of Sludge to benefit a three-year-old with leukemia. Get that here at name-your-price and pay handsomely for it. Here are the tour dates:

Holy Grove on tour:
8/28 – Tacoma, WA @ Spanish Ballroom
8/29 – Bellingham, WA @ The Shakedown
8/30 – Vancouver, BC @ SBC
8/31 – Seattle, WA @ Substation
9/1 – Boise, ID @ The Shredder
9/2 – Salt Lake City, UT @ Kilby Court
9/3 – Denver, CO @ Tooey’s Off Colfax
9/4 – Albuquerque, NM @ The Launchpad
9/5 – Tempe, AZ @ Yucca Taproom
9/6 – Los Angeles, CA – 5 Star Bar
9/7 – Oakland, CA – Elbo Room Jack London
9/8 – Cupertino, CA – X Bar
9/9 – Sacramento, CA – Blue Lamp

I’ve still never had the good fortune to see Holy Grove live, and especially after the release of Holy Grove II (review here) last November — the four-piece’s debut on Ripple Music that followed their 2016 self-titled debut (review here) on Heavy Psych Sounds — I feel like I’m genuinely missing out. Sadly, I won’t be anywhere they’re going on this tour — always wanted to hit Vancouver, and Albuquerque seemed like a cool town when I was there — but a bit of insight into what the touring experience is like for Holy Grove is most certainly welcome.

So, here are some road songs. You know, what they play when they’re in the van going from one show to another on those long drives where inside-jokes are made and the bonds between bandmates are formed. Also, you should know that when I was typing that last sentence just now, I first wrote “bongs” instead of “bonds,” so take whatever you will from that. Either way, those times can be drags or they can be great, but they’re an essential part of the touring experience.

As Holy Grove prepare to head out again, they were kind enough to put together a selection of some of their favorite tunes to take with them, and bassist Gregg Emley — joined in the band by vocalist Andrea Vidal, guitarist Trent Jacobs and drummer Eben Travis — also gives some background on their choices.

Please enjoy:

holy grove tour dates

One of the best things about playing in a band is going on tour. Seeing new places and playing your music for new people is always exciting. One of the best things about going on tour for me is spending time with your band mates in the van. This is where all sorts of band bonding occurs. Inside jokes are formed, laughs are had, stories are told. It’s truly the best. Something else I love about touring is getting to spend time on those long drives listening to tunes and turning your band mates on to something they may not have heard before.

Here’s a playlist of some songs we like, and we encourage you to crank ’em on your next road trip.

Popul Vuh – Kleiner Krieger: Sublime little instrumental from my favorite PV record to start things off. Sounds like the beginning of a journey to me.

Led Zeppelin – Achilles Last Stand: Why screw around? Perhaps the most epic band’s most epic song.

BÖC – Joan Crawford: Apparently, she’s risen from the grave. The hook in this one is huge and fun to sing along with in a van full of buds late at night.

ZZ Top – Nasty Dogs and Funky Kings: My favorite song from one of the best road trip bands ever. That riff, that feel. No one does it better.

Roky Erikson – Two-Headed Dog: This is a recent discovery for me, courtesy of Trent (our guitar player). He played the whole record on our last tour and I was hooked. I remember having headphones on listening to a podcast or something, hearing this and immediately taking my headphones off, asking who it was and listening to the record. It’s been in my rotation since.

Diagonal – Semi-Permeble Menbrain: Diagonal is (maybe was?) a great neo-prog band from the UK with shades of Camel, King Crimson, and UK. They never really did much in the US, but both records rule all the way through.

Opeth – Hjartat Vet Vad Handen Gor: As a prog guy, I wasn’t THAT upset when Opeth ditched the death growls and went full on prog. There has definitely been a bit of stumbling as they perfect their new thing, but if this song is any indication, they may have done it with this upcoming new record.

Cult of Luna – Finland: This band rules. They seem to get overlooked when people talk about the Neurosis/ISIS school of heavy rock, but I think they’re among the best. All of their records evoke a feel and place for me, and as this one comes from Somewhere Along the Highway, it makes sense to me that it would evoke staring out a van window watching the miles roll by. Oh, and those riffs.

Melvins – A History of Bad Men: the Big Biz version of the Melvins lineup is/was unstoppable. One of the greatest live shows I’ve ever witnessed. This is my favorite song from that era of the band. We opened for them two nights in a row in May, and they crushed which was to be expected, but still great to see from a band entering its 4th decade still destroying.

Iron Maiden – The Wicker Man: I remember when this record came out, and really steeling myself to be disappointed. It just didn’t seem possible that they would be able to release something as good as any of the “classic”-era records after Bruce being gone for a few years and the super bummer “Hey…that’s not Bruce!” years. I was wrong. This song was all I needed to hear to know I had nothing to worry about. If your fist isn’t in the air by the time the chorus hits, check yer pulse.

Metallica – Escape: If there is such a thing as an “underrated” Metallica song from the first four, this would have to be it.

Judas Priest – Hell Patrol: Just another great fist pumper about some sort of evil force ripping down the highway (I think?).

High on Fire – Death is This Communion: This band means a whole lot to all of us. Growing up in San Jose, I was lucky enough to be turned on to Sleep around the time Holy Mountain came out. They played the sound I heard in my head. Black Sabbath was my favorite band, and they were doing it. It was a revelation. When Sleep broke up, I was extremely bummed, especially because I had heard about this one epic song they were working on at the time, that I figured would never see the light of day. When I heard that Matt from Sleep had a new band with George from San Jose legends Dear Deceased on bass, my friends and I scoured the Bay Area weekly papers waiting for their name to show up. I must have seen them five or six times before the 12th Records demo came out. All of this to say, this band is in my blood. Getting to open for them in May was a dream come true for all of us.

Crowbar – The Lasting Dose: Riffs. Big giant crushing riffs. ‘Nuff said.

Tomb Mold – Planetary Clairvoyance: Modern Death Metal sounding like old Death Metal is pretty hip right now, and I’m 100% OK with that. These dudes do it right, caveman riffs and a VHS horror atmosphere. Last year’s Manor of Infinite Forms was my favorite DM release of the year, but I think I’m digging this new one even more. This is the title track.

Woe – Carried By Waves To Remorseless Shores Of The Truth: I love how this band combines elements of classic heavy metal, like guitar harmony parts, slower chugging riffs and anthemic choruses into this big swirling aggressive black metal stew.

Ludicra – Truth Won’t Set You Free: My favorite song from Ludicra’s final record, The Tenant. I love how this band incorporates so many different elements to create something distinctly Ludicra. My favorite USBM band ever and they’re sorely missed.

Krallice – Monolith of Possession: Have we been driving for two hours or has it been 19 minutes? Who knows, pretty sure we opened a portal to another dimension. Enjoy.

Torche – Tarpit Carnivore: Monumentally heavy.

John Carpenter – Escape from New York (main title): We’re all huge JC fans. This sounds like the end of a journey to me. Roll credits.

Clarence Carter – Patches: Not sure how this ended up as our band inside joke, but it did. If you’re not smiling by the time the chorus hits, well then I feel bad for you, son.

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Blackwater Holylight Announce New Album Veils of Winter; Stream “Motorcycle”

Posted in Whathaveyou on August 1st, 2019 by JJ Koczan

blackwater holylight

Oh, I was very much hoping that earlier this year when it was announced that Portland, Oregon’s Blackwater Holylight were in the process of recording a follow-up to their 2018 self-titled debut (review here) and then announced their big Fall tour with Monolord, that meant the album would be released concurrently. As it happens, that’s exactly what’s up for what’s been dubbed Veils of Winter and will be released Oct. 11 through RidingEasy Records. If you’re not looking forward to it yet, I’m just going to assume the first record got by you — hey, shit happens; still time to catch up — but seriously, if you don’t take the couple minutes to dig into “Motorcycle” below, you’re missing out.

The organ line, the vocal melodies, the kind of eerie guitar — it’s such a dead-on psychedelic vibe that’s classic in its root but has its identity on lockdown. I can’t wait to hear the rest of the record, and I can’t wait to see them live. Seriously. Sometimes I feel bogged down by the sheer amount of stuff coming out, and then I get word about something like this and I’m a dorky fanboy all over again.

Nerd along with me and the PR wire:

blackwater holylight veils of winter

Blackwater Holylight – Veils of Winter

Portland, OR quintet Blackwater Holylight announce their forthcoming sophomore album Veils of Winter (RidingEasy Records) today, sharing the lead single. Hear and share the immediately classic hooks of “Motorcycle” via Bandcamp and YouTube.

Blackwater Holylight hit the road hard this Fall, supporting former RidingEasy label mates Monolord throughout the US in November, as well as Thou in September, plus a handful of hometown shows. Please see complete dates below.

Blackwater Holylight, as the name suggests, is all about contrasts. It’s a fluid convergence of sound that’s heavy, psychedelic, melodic, terrifying and beautiful all at once.

As a heavy band, their songs aren’t anchored to riffs, but rather riffs come and go in waves that surface throughout the band’s meditative, entrancing songs. It’s a hypnotic sound, with orchestral structures that often build tension and intrigue before turning the song on its head — not by simply getting louder or heavier, nor by just layering elements. They expertly subvert the implied heaviness of a part, dissecting it and splaying the song’s guts out to seep across the sonic spectrum.

Now, having toured extensively following the band’s wildly-successful breakout self-titled debut in 2018, Blackwater Holylight has honed their sound and identity to a powerfully captivating beast. Their live set is all about the slow build, seeming to combine the melodic tension of early Sonic Youthcrossed with the laconic fever-dream blues of the first Black Sabbath album and wiry experimentation of post-punk and krautrock.

The lineup on this album is Allison (Sunny) Faris (bass/vocals), Laura Hopkins (guitar/vocals) and Sarah McKenna (synths), with new guitarist Mikayla Mayhew and drummer Eliese Dorsay fleshing out their sound in exciting ways.

“The process of this album was vastly different from our first record,” says Faris. “One, because we recorded it over the course of a few weeks, whereas the first record was over the course of about a year. And two, this album was a true collaboration between the five of us. Each of us had extremely equal parts in writing and producing, we all bounced ideas off each together, and we all had a say in what was going on during every part of the process.”

“One of our favorite things about this album is that because it was so collaborative, we didn’t compartmentalize ourselves into one vibe.” She continues. “It’s heavy, psychedelic, pop, shoegaze, doom, grunge, melodic and more. The whole process was extremely organic and natural for us, we were just being ourselves.”

Veils of Winter opens with fuzzed-drenched, drop-tuned bass and baritone guitar leading a dirge riff on “Seeping Secrets.” Faris’ lilting and funereal vocals drop in, adding to the mournful atmosphere until a short turnaround progression hints at changes to come, as Faris and Hopkins harmonize eerily and the tune suddenly turns into a krautrock charge. “Motorcycle” kicks off deceptively with a heavy grunge riff building up for about 40-seconds before the song abruptly shifts gears into a synth-led post-punk harmony, sounding something like Lush meets Syd Barrett era Pink Floyd. “Death Realms” is perhaps the poppiest track, based around soaring shoegaze guitars and interwoven light vocal harmonies. Soft piano notes, occasional woozy whammy bar dives and a driving tom-tom beat solidify its hooks. “Spiders” is a creepy-crawly guitar riff and counterpoint keys, while “Moonlit” explores prog-structures with a shredding guitar solo crescendo. The penultimate track, “Lullaby” is exactly that, a lulling, expansive tune exemplifying Blackwater Holylight’s genre smashing sound as it subtly moves across a vast sonic landscape atop a hypnotic 6/8 beat and repetitive 3-note motif. Throughout the album, their songs shirk traditional verse-chorus-verse structure in favor of fluid, serpentine compositions that move with commanding grace.

Veils of Winter will be available on LP, CD and download on October 11th, 2019 via RidingEasy Records. Pre-orders are available at www.ridingeasyrecs.com.

Artist: Blackwater Holylight
Album: Veils of Winter
Label: RidingEasy Records
Release Date: October 11th, 2019
01. Seeping Secrets
02. Motorcycle
03. Spiders
04. The Protector
05. Daylight
06. Death Realms
07. Lullaby
08. Moonlit

BLACKWATER HOLYLIGHT LIVE 2019:
08/09 Portland, OR @ Tonic Lounge – Planned Parenthood benefit
08/24 Portland, OR @ Star Theater w/ Kadavar, Danava
09/23 Tallahassee, FL @ The Bark #
09/24 Tampa, FL @ The Blue Note #
09/26 Miami, FL @ Las Rosa’s #
09/27 Orlando, FL @ Will’s Pub #
09/28 Gainesville, FL @ The Atlantic #
09/29 Pensacola, FL @ Chizuco #
10/24 Portland, OR @ Star Theater – Album release show
11/05 San Diego, CA @ Brick By Brick *
11/06 Tucson, AZ @ Club Congress *
11/07 Albuquerque, NM @ Sister *
11/09 Austin, TX @ Barracuda – Levitation Fest – RidingEasy Stage
11/10 Lafayette, LA @ Freetown Boom Boom Room *
11/11 New Orleans, LA @ One Eyed Jacks *
11/12 Atlanta, GA @ 529 *
11/13 Asheville, NC @ Mothlight *
11/14 Richmond, VA @ Camel *
11/15 Baltimore, MD @ Metro Gallery *
11/16 Philadelphia, PA @ First Unitarian Church *
11/17 New York, NY @ Saint Vitus *
11/20 Chicago, IL @ Reggie’s *
11/21 Indianapolis, IN @ Black Circle Brewing *
11/22 St. Louis, MO @ Fubar *
11/23 Lawrence, KS @ The Bottleneck *
11/25 Denver, CO @ Marquis Theater *
11/27 Los Angeles, CA @ Teragram Ballroom *
# w/ Thou
* w/ Monolord

https://www.facebook.com/blackwaterholylight/
instagram.com/blackwaterholylight
blackwaterholylight.bandcamp.com
ridingeasyrecs.com

Blackwater Holylight, “Motorcycle”

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Hound the Wolves & Glasghote Stream Split LP in its Entirety

Posted in audiObelisk on July 31st, 2019 by JJ Koczan

hound the wolves

glasghote (Photo by William Corwin)

Portland, Oregon, five-piece Hound the Wolves and trio Glasghote will release their new split LP on Monochord Records this Friday, Aug. 2. As one might expect, the two bands share more in common than a hometown, as each group takes its own angle toward post-metallic vibes. Over the course of two songs apiece resulting in a total 31-minute run, the split veers through broad-running atmospherics and an at-times surprising melodic awareness en route to a feedback-soaked crush that would make Conan blush, which of course is a kind of atmosphere unto itself. Either way you go — and each band has clearly made its own choice in that regard; Glasghote‘s work is so deep in low-end it actually demands you turn it up just to hear it properly — the sense of aesthetic runs no less thick than the tones, as Hound the Wolves pull away from some of the more direct Americana of their 2018 debut, Camera Obscura (discussed here), in favor of a still vast but less earthly space.

This process begins with 12-minute opener “Godhead” unfolding the longest and broadest of the inclusions on the split, holding a tension in its bassline even as the guitar stretches out over parts unknown and echoing vocal proclamations recalling earlier Rwake‘s semi-spoken approach in its quieter moments that soon gives over to a more outwardly heavy sway. There are layers at work in clean vocals and screams and louder guitar, bass, drums, synth, etc., but by its eighth minute, “Godhead” has receded and it chooses never to get quite so active again, its initial linear build proving more parabolic as the track goes on. At 7:45, which is also longer than either of Glasghote‘s songs, “Live Through the Day, Run Through the Night” is more even-tempered and given to a post-rock drift rather than the two extremes of the prior track. They are a patient enough band to pull it off, ultimately, and the soulfully fuzzed solo in the second half alone is worth the price of admission, capturing perhaps the wistfulness inherent in Americana without giving over to the actual tropes of the style.

Hound the Wolves Glasghote SplitGlasghote announce their arrival with a riff. As well they should. The let’s-go-CROSH trio skirt the line of abrasion on “Croatoan,” which along with the subsequent “Eye of Ra” was recorded by none other than Billy Anderson, but their plays toward extremity across what turns out to be a relatively short 11 minutes divided over the two songs is fun-brutal rather than no-fun-brutal, and their revelry in psychotic tone and riffage is as immersive as it sounds like a good time to wield. One supposes they’re stylistically less complex than Hound the Wolves — again, Conan are a big influence, right down to the higher- and lower-register shouts that cut through the morass of guitar and bass on “Eye of Ra” — but as they follow-up their 2018 Doom Stew Records debut, Rite of the Siren, the three-piece go full-on into the aural grime and cull righteousness from it, their screamier edge signifying some root in West Coast noise or perhaps more metallic fare, but still put to welcome use amidst all the surrounding punishment. And there is plenty of that to be had in that 11 minutes. They pack it in pretty tight.

And just in case the point hasn’t gotten across, the split brings out two different takes on post-modern heavy, with Hound the Wolves bringing a more contemplative approach to exploring desolation and Glasghote gleefully crafting that desolation through the violence of their material — come to think of it, perhaps the order of appearance should’ve been switched; something about “Godhead” has an “aftermath”-type feel to it — but neither is out of place alongside the other, and someone who snags one of the limited CDs pressed by Monochord likely won’t have any trouble making the leap between them, such as it is. At the same time, the fact that their approaches are different enough means that they avoid the sense of competition that splits can sometimes bring out between acts who are more similar, so that Hound the Wolves only complement Glasghote and Glasghote only do the same for Hound the Wolves. That, to me, seems like a much better system.

Again, release date is Aug. 2, which is Friday. They’ve got a release show in Portland and everything. The full offering is streaming below, and you’ll find all the recording background and whatnot beneath that, courtesy of the PR wire.

Please enjoy:

What started as an art project among friends has transformed into the full-blown heavy rock experience of Portland’s Hound the Wolves. Formed in 2015, Hound the Wolves pulls euphonic inspiration from the mysterious and clandestine maneuvers that occur behind the shroud of darkness. Principal songwriter Juan Carlos Caceres incorporates occultism, numerology, and sacred geometry as leitmotifs in the band’s songs, while the perseverance of man, acceptance of societal ills, and the discovery of light in darkness are written as recurring lyrical themes. These elements find themselves translated sonically through droned patterns; earthy and worldly rhythmic density; and meditative, cyclical repetition that make for a haunted psych-metal experience.

Glasghote is a sludge/doom metal band hailing from Portland, OR. Glasghote formed in 2017 in the basement of founding members Jake Shaffer (guitar and vocals) and Jordan Huston (drums) with the addition of Chad Johnson (bass) coming just a few months later. Glasghote emerged on the Portland local scene with bone shattering tones and a wall of sound in tow. In one short year Glasghote signed with Doom Stew Records and released their debut full length Rite of the Siren. The band pulls influences from Thou, Primitive Man, High on Fire.

Track Listing:
1. Hound The Wolves — “Godhead”
2. Hound The Wolves — “Live Through The Day, Run Through The Night”
3. Glasghote — “Croatoan”
4. Glasghote — “Eye of Ra”

Produced by Hound the Wolves and TRIANGLES. Graphic design by Matt Howl, based on a photograph by Kristin Lee.

HTW’s songs were written and arranged by Hound The Wolves with lyrics by Juan Carlos Caceres. The songs were tracked by Jeanot Lewis-Rolland at the Magic Closet and JLR Audio Productions, mixed by Jeanot Lewis-Rolland, and mastered by Ryan Foster at Foster Mastering.

Glasghote’s songs were tracked, mixed, and mastered by Billy Anderson (Sleep, Melvins, Weedeater) at Hallowed Halls Recording Studio.

Upcoming Live Performances
8/2 @ Tonic Lounge in Portland, OR — Hound The Wolves, Glasghote, WILL
8/8 @ Substation in Seattle, WA — DANGG, Hound The Wolves, Glasghote, Darkmysticwoods

Hound The Wolves are:
Tim Burke – lap steel, drones, soundscapes
Juan Carlos Caceres – Guitar, vocals, words
Cory DeCaire – Bass
Ryan McPhaill – Drums
Nate Wright – Moog, aux percussion

Glasghote are:
Jake Shaffer – Guitar and Vocals
Chad Johnson – Bass
Jordan Huston – Drums

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