Album Review: Yawning Sons, Sky Island

Posted in Reviews on April 12th, 2021 by JJ Koczan

yawning sons sky island

It is no small task to separate Sky Island — the title referring to the phenomenon of higher-altitude forests on mountains in deserts, as depicted on the front cover — from the context of its predecessor. Issued in 2009 through Lexicon Devil, the first Yawning Sons album was Ceremony to the Sunset (review here), also reissued by Alone Records on vinyl (review here) in 2014. At the core of the release was the collaboration between UK progressive instrumentalists Sons of Alpha Centauri — bassist Nick Hannon, guitarist Marlon King, drummer Stevie B.(Kyle Hanson is also credited with drums) and noisemaker Blake — and founding Yawning Man guitarist Gary Arce. The two parties recorded together for a week in England and enlisted for vocalists a sampling of some of the Californian desert underground’s finest, including Arce‘s bandmate Mario Lalli (also Fatso Jetson), as well as Wendy Rae Fowler (Mark Lanegan BandArce‘s WaterWays project) and Scott Reeder (KyussThe Obsessed, etc.). To call the results striking is to undersell the quality of the work. I have said before and will probably say again that Ceremony to the Sunset is one of the best desert rock albums ever made, and I stand by that assessment.

The project has been likened to Desert Sessions, the show-up-at-the-studio-and-make-a-record project helmed by Josh Homme. This is incorrect. Yawning Sons are entirely more cohesive, and that’s even clearer on the Ripple Music-issued Sky Island than what’s now to be thought of as the debut. Though LalliFowler and Reeder, as well as Dandy Brown (HermanoOrquesta del Desierto) and Sons of Alpha Centauri‘s Marlon King add their own personalities to their respective offerings — Brown gets two, which is earned in his performance in them — they do so upon a largely consistent bed of desert-hued heavy psych, marked out by Yawning Sons‘ steady rhythms, Arce‘s signature tone, and a remarkable instrumental flow. They are guests, and the appearances they make comprise a part of the substance of Sky Island, not the whole. That is emphasized in “Passport Beyond the Tides” and “Limitless Artifact,” the two sans-vocal tracks that end sides A and B, respectively. At the same time, Sky Island seems conscious of the standard it’s engaging. Reeder, who would seem to have recorded his own backing track at least in part, tops “Digital Spirit” in harmony that feels like a direct sequel to “Garden Sessions III” and Fowler‘s “Shadows and Echoes,” which leads off side B, effectively channels the spaciousness of “Ghostship – Deadwater” while remaining more grounded.

Still, Sky Island offers more than answer-back or a retread. King‘s contribution to opener “Adrenaline Rush” is enough to make one wonder how Sons of Alpha Centauri have stayed instrumental for so long. I might have switched them it with “Gravity Underwater” the running order, but “Adrenaline Rush” is catchier and that would’ve put Dandy Brown‘s two tracks next to each other, so there are arguments to be made in “Adrenaline Rush”‘s favor as well. Its lyrical narrative, hunting for treasure, seeking out the next titular rush, and so on, is an immediate push on the conception of desert psych as laid back, as well as much of the flow that follows, but it still works sonically, and exemplifies the fact that Yawning Sons don’t need anyone other than themselves to make a track with vocals work. Does that mean a third LP is coming without guests? I have no idea. But the potential is there and apparently has been all along. That they follow “Adrenaline Rush” with the Brown-fronted “Low in the Valley” (as noted) positions them squarely in the desert, and Mario Lalli‘s “Cigarette Footsteps” — the longest inclusion at 8:32 — follows an ethereal narrative that is an outbound joy of sung weirdo poetry and mellow psych, Arce‘s guitar ringing out like the call to prayer it is, a solid but likewise exploratory rhythm happening beneath, never quite hitting the same surge as “Low in the Valley” does when the bass comes forward in its second half, but offering flashes of its own lumber and bolstering the atmosphere in a manner that gives way fluidly to the keyboard intro of “Passport Beyond the Tides.”

yawning sons

That keyboard itself feels different, and is plainly meant to, but makes a fitting complement to the meandering guitar as the longer half of the tracklist rounds out. Interesting that “Adrenaline Rush” and “Passport Beyond the Tides” were recorded in the UK, while the bulk of Sky Island was done at Desert Sky Studios in Joshua Tree, California — the Reeder-topped piece aside. One wonders when those recordings took place, if it was 2019 or earlier. In any case, the inherent differentiation in them only broadens the scope of Sky Island as a whole, and that’s something that “Shadows and Echoes” and “Digital Spirit” benefit from as the album moves gracefully into side B with Fowler‘s echoing lines living up to the intangible nature of her song’s title. Reeder too, come to think of it. Both pieces are short, but effective. Toms and hand percussion back “Digital Spirit” as the guitar and vocals take forward position, Reeder referencing “The Star-Spangled Banner” in the lyrics in a way that feels grounding but is transposed into the melancholy of the melody just the same. That leaves “Gravity Underwater” as the final vocalized cut, and it comes through as a return for Yawning Sons — which in itself is fascinating, since so much of what they’ve done as a group has been based around this open collaboration with others.

Simply put, Brown tops “Gravity Underwater” like he belongs there. Able to work in the more open-feeling structure, especially in the later playfulness that comes after the hook, but still following his own course, capable and genuine-feeling in emotional conveyance. Layers back as they push into the second half of the track, and it’s not an instrumental shove that serves as the apex of Sky Island, but that warm-night melody and ambience itself. It carries into the seven-minute “Limitless Artifact,” which caps, again, without vocals, feeling like a parting gift from Arce and Sons of Alpha Centauri and also a last emphasis on what serves as the foundation of the project in the first place. More than a worthy successor, what this second Yawning Sons album does is demonstrate the sustainability of the group. It features elements that are familiar from the debut, the encore guest performances among them, but it also puts forth their most straight-ahead songwriting in “Adrenaline Rush” and a palpable sense of growth as a unit in the experimentalism of “Passport Beyond the Tides,” as well as the sheer flow of “Low in the Valley” and “Cigarette Footsteps,” putting the listener exactly where the band — yeah, a band — want them to be. I won’t speculate on what the future of Yawning Sons might bring, if anything, but the vitality of what they do in these songs professes loudly to forward potential. They may yet have more to say, whatever, whenever, if ever, they choose to say it. 2021 is lucky to have Sky Island in the meantime.

Yawning Sons, Sky Island (2021)

Yawning Sons on Thee Facebooks

Yawning Sons on Bandcamp

Yawning Sons website

Ripple Music website

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Yawning Sons Sign to Ripple Music; New Album Due in 2021

Posted in Whathaveyou on December 1st, 2020 by JJ Koczan

I’ll happily go on record saying I count the first Yawning Sons album, 2009’s Ceremony to the Sunset (review here, vinyl review here), among the finest desert rock albums ever made. Word of a follow-up from the collaboration between founding Yawning Man guitarist Gary Arce and the members of UK progressive heavy rockers Sons of Alpha Centauri has been kicked around for a couple years now, and with the group’s signing to Ripple Music, it would seem to have just become that much more real.

Among the great many things to which one might look forward to happening in 2021, this might top my list in terms of LPs. If you don’t understand that or don’t agree, Ceremony to the Sunset is streaming below. We’ll talk again after you listen.

The PR wire has this:

yawning sons

YAWNING SONS (with Yawning Man and Sons Of Alpha Centauri members) join the Ripple Music family for new album release in 2021.

Ripple Music are exceptionally happy to announce that YAWNING SONS, the transatlantic collaboration between instrumental desert legends Yawning Man and UK trance rock cultists Sons of Alpha Centauri, have joined the Ripple Music family and will return with their eagerly awaited sophomore album in spring 2021.

Formed in 2008 when Yawning Man’s signature sound guitarist Gary Arce travelled to the UK to work with Sons of Alpha Centauri. Upon the first day of working in the studio, it was clear that something special was taking place. Within the space of a week, a new band was formed with the resulting sound is like no other experienced before.

In 2009, the debut album and instant cult classic ‘Ceremony to the Sunset’ followed, receiving near universal critical acclaim with performances from Mario Lalli (Fatso Jetson, Desert Sessions), Scott Reeder (Kyuss, The Obssesed) and Wendy Rae Fowler (QOTSA, Earthlings?) on vocals. The band have since released two singles with fellow Palm desert rockers WaterWays in 2011 and Fatso Jetson in 2018.

YAWNING SONS will return in 2021 with a new album on Ripple Music, with more details to be unveiled very soon. Founding member and bass player Nick Hannon declares: “Since 2009, we’ve been looking for a home that reflected the ideology of the band and our collaborative ethos and Ripple Music are perfect – looking forward!”

YAWNING SONS lineup:
Gary Arce – guitars
Marlon King – guitars/vocals
Nick Hannon – bass
Stevie B – drums
Kyle Hanson – drums
Blake – effects
Scott Reeder / Wendy Rae Fowler / Dandy Brown / Mario Lalli – vocals

https://www.facebook.com/yawningsons
http://www.sonsofalphacentauri.co.uk/yawningsons.php

Yawning Sons, Ceremony to the Sunset (2009)

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Yawning Man to Tour Australia and New Zealand in 2020

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

yawning man heavy psych sounds

You think you’re ready for a Yawning Man + koala bear photo op? Because you’re probably not. None of us are. The good news is we’ve got some time to steel ourselves for such adorableness before the Cali desert rock progenitors land in Auckland, New Zealand, in January, to begin what’s one of the most comprehensive Aus/NZ tours I’ve ever seen. Some bands pop over there for like four shows. Yawning Man are making it count. Fair enough. That’s a substantial trip, even from California. If you’re going to do a thing, do it right.

Already in 2019, Yawning Man have toured the US and Europe, and I wouldn’t be surprised in the slightest if they had more of that in store for 2020 as well, but starting the year off Down Under puts them in new territory where they’ve never been. Well over three decades after the band’s inception, that’s gotta be a trip for guitarist Gary Arce and bassist Mario Lalli, as well as drummer Bill Stinson. They go in support of 2019’s Macedonian Lines (review here) on Heavy Psych Sounds, and I don’t think there can be any question this is a major event in the existence of the band. I know they’ve done recording on tour before, but I have to wonder if they might have a couple days reserved for hitting the studio as well as the requisite sightseeing/koala selfies, etc.

If this one doesn’t make you feel good, check your pulse. I’ll go. Can I go?

yawning man aus nz

Desert Rock pioneers Yawning Man will finally make a soaring flight to our shores for a long-awaited tour of Australia and New Zealand in January 2020.

Over the past 33 years (!!!), Yawning Man have released 7 studio albums and 5 split LPs/EPs and Brant Bjork once said that “Yawning Man is the sickest band of all time.”

Joining these Masters is Psych/Prog Numidia, who will support YAWNING MAN for the East Coast of Australia.

Friday 17th January
Whammy Bar, AUCKLAND
Saturday 18th January
The Club Tavern Christchurch
Sunday 19th January
Valhalla, WELLINGTON
Tuesday 21st January
Heritage Hotel Bulli
Wednesday 22nd January
Transit Bar, CANBERRA
Thursday 23rd January
The Vanguard, NEWTOWN
Friday 24th January
Crowbar Brisbane, FORTITUDE VALLEY
Saturday 25th January
Bendigo Hotel, COLLINGWOOD
Sunday 26th January
Bendigo Hotel, COLLINGWOOD
Monday 27th January
Enigma Bar, ADELAIDE
Thursday 30th January
Amplifier Capitol, Perth
Friday 31st January
Indian Ocean Hotel, Scarborough
Saturday 1st February
The Den, Inglewood

TIX ON SALE NOW

New Zealand www.utr.co.nz
Melbourne, Wollongong www.ymb.eventbrite.com
Sydney, Adelaide, Canberra, Perth www.moshtix.com.au
Brisbane www.oztix.com.au

YAWNING MAN IS:
Gary Arce – Guitar
Mario Lalli – Bass
Bill Stinson – Drums

https://www.facebook.com/yawningmanofficial/
https://yawningman.bandcamp.com
http://www.yawningman.com/
https://www.facebook.com/HEAVYPSYCHSOUNDS
http://www.heavypsychsounds.com
https://heavypsychsoundsrecords.bandcamp.com

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Review & Full Album Premiere: Yawning Man, Macedonian Lines

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on June 11th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

Yawning Man Macedonian Lines

[Click play above to stream Yawning Man’s Macedonian Lines in full. It’s out June 14 through Heavy Psych Sounds.]

Between 1986 and 2005, Yawning Man released no albums. Between 2016 and 2019, with the advent of Macedonian Lines on Heavy Psych Sounds, they’ve now released three. That debut outing was 2005’s Rock Formations (discussed here), and it helped lead the band toward not just the subsequent Pot Head EP, but also to the 2007 release of their demo tracks,  The Birth of Sol (discussed here), and 2010’s sophomore studio album Nomadic Pursuits (review here), which launched what has unquestionably been the band’s most productive decade to-date. Solidified as the trio of guitarist Gary Arce (also Big Scenic Nowhere, Ten East, Zun, etc.), bassist Mario Lalli (also Fatso JetsonBig Scenic Nowhere, etc.) and drummer Bill Stinson (Chuck Dukowski, etc.), Yawning Man has at last begun to capitalize on the incredible reputation that precedes them as one of the founding architects of Californian desert rock.

For the last several years, they’ve toured in Europe and — more surprisingly — the US, releasing a split with Fatso Jetson in 2013, Historical Graffiti (review here) in 2016 and last year’s The Revolt Against Tired Noises (review here), the latter beginning the alliance with Heavy Psych Sounds, to which Lalli‘s outfit Fatso Jetson are also signed. Arce, whose drifting guitar tone is as much a signature for Yawning Man as any band could have, has always been involved in a number of projects and continues to be, but a successive-year turnaround for Yawning Man full-lengths is simply unprecedented in the band’s 33-year history. Yet Macedonian Lines, with six tracks and an almost humble 31-minute runtime, offers not just a batch of new jams from a trio of nigh-unmatched sonic fluidity — somewhat ironic since, you know, the desert and all — but also a showcase of the potential that’s been in their dynamic all along, waiting, essentially, to be honed by the players involved. Stinson is not an original member, but he plays like one, and Lalli and Arce are, and the chemistry between the three of them, especially as it’s been honed on tour over the last few years, is at a new level in these songs.

And it’s appropriate, then, that the material throughout Macedonian Lines would find its root in live performances, coming together around jams from the last tour. Bookended by its two longest cuts in leadoff “Virtual Funeral” (6:49) and closer “I Make Weird Choices” (7:25), flows like a short live set, the three-piece building momentum as they move through the title-track and into “Melancholy Sadie” — presumably that’s as opposed to “Sexy Sadie” — as well as “Bowie’s Last Breath” and “I’m Not a Real Indian (But I Play One on TV),” all of which check in at under five minutes long. Being born of jams, it speaks to the band’s songwriting process that the finished products would end up on the shorter side, as Yawning Man seem to be moving toward an efficiency of delivery — five of the eight cuts on The Revolt Against Tired Noises were over five minutes — that, somewhat incredibly, doesn’t take away from the laid back spirit of the LP itself.

yawning man heavy psych sounds

Especially with the memorable melody the guitar brings forth on “Virtual Funeral” accompanied by piano and Lalli‘s rumbling bass beneath, as well as Stinson‘s drums tying it all together, Macedonian Lines works quickly to immerse the listener in its atmospheric warmth, easing into “Macedonian Lines” with a speedier, winding guitar line that’s still very much in their wheelhouse before opening up to a broader progression, building and releasing tension in a way that even just a few years ago the band likely wouldn’t have done. It’s a different kind of awareness and engagement with the audience happening on Macedonian Lines, and the feel throughout is very much like a second album — which it is, of their tenure on Heavy Psych Sounds — in terms of how it builds on what The Revolt Against Tired Noises introduced idea-wise about who and what Yawning Man are as a group. Here, they offer gracefully expansive arrangements of guitar, bass and drums, setting their sights on open spaces and conveying not just the soul of the desert or some idea of what they’re expected to be, but of how they’ve grown and are still progressing as players. Matured and maturing still.

“Melancholy Sadie” is anchored by a bassline that lives up to the title, and the weight Lalli adds to “Bowie’s Last Breath” is likewise crucial, as he and Arce set up in a you-go-high-I’ll-go-low attack as regards frequency range with Stinson cutting through the tonal wash with a punctuating snare even as his crash adds to the methodical, patient patterning of the bass and guitar. Stinson is more than timekeeper, but he’s not an overly flashy player, and part of the reason he has come to fit so well in Yawning Man since joining in 2011 is he allows the string section room to breathe. The longer cuts emphasize this more, unsurprisingly, but even the march he brings to “I’m Not a Real Indian (But I Play One on TV)” resounds with purpose and continues the momentum into the serene beginning of “I Make Weird Choices,” a culmination with far-back keyboard flourish — though I’ll allow that could be guitar effects — that echoes the trance-inducing aspects of the opener even as it calls to mind more of a heavy post-rock feel in its quiet-loud tradeoffs, taking what might otherwise be verses and choruses and setting them up not in opposition to each other, but as complementary elements toward the same purpose.

The same essentially applies to the work of Arce and Lalli throughout Macedonian Lines, as they are two players with different mindsets who come together for the common end of defining Yawning Man‘s ultra-influential sound. Macedonian Lines, though ultimately brief, is a triumph of the cohesion between their two strong personalities, and a showcase of what has not only let the band survive their long tenure, but to do so in such a way as to be more vital now than they’ve ever been. I don’t know if Yawning Man will have another album out in 2020, or what their future will bring, but as they ascend to their rightful place in the forefront of desert rock consciousness, their ongoing progression seems bound to inspire yet another generation of players. As a fan, I hope they keep the momentum going.

Yawning Man, “Macedonian Lines” official video

Yawning Man on Thee Facebooks

Yawning Man on Bandcamp

Yawning Man website

Heavy Psych Sounds on Thee Facebooks

Heavy Psych Sounds website

Heavy Psych Sounds on Bandcamp

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Friday Full-Length: Hermano, …Into the Exam Room

Posted in Bootleg Theater on May 17th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

Hermano, …Into the Exam Room (2007)

In the vast catalog of vocalist John Garcia, which includes Unida, Slo Burn, Vista Chino, three solo records, Zun and more guest appearances than I can count in addition to his time fronting the formative desert rockers Kyuss, Hermano‘s third album, …Into the Exam Room, is the most undervalued. Issued in 2007 by Suburban Records, it was recorded in no fewer than six studios, featured writing contributions from Garcia as well as guitarists Dave Angstrom and Mike Callahan, bassist Dandy BrownChris Leathers completed the lineup and I’m sure came up with his own parts — and Sean Bilovecky, who was one of the 10 engineers credited working in geographic locales like Georgia, Ohio, Kentucky, and indeed, Palm Springs, California. At that point, is it even fair to call …Into the Exam Room a desert rock album? Therein lies the appeal. It is desert rock, and so much more.

Hermano‘s earlier work on 2002’s …Only a Suggestion (discussed here) and 2004’s Dare I Say… was straight-up desert-style songcraft, following in a tradition Garcia helped create. Though it must have been a logistical nightmare to put together, let alone to mix — I think this was the first time I interviewed Garcia; he was working as a vet tech; he mostly spoke about being a family man and was driving his family to a basketball game at the time? pretty sure that’s how it went — …Into the Exam Room blew down the doors of genre. Absolutely, songs like “Left Side Bleeding” and “Hard Working Wall,” “Adoption Boy,” the penultimate “Our Desert Home” and even opener “Kentucky” had desert rock on lockdown. No question. The push, the tonal weight, and of course Garcia‘s vocal style — yes. It was all there. But …Into the Exam Room‘s 12 tracks went so far beyond that as to make it just one more element at their disposal, to be used at moments when it might be most effective, for example, with “Left Side Bleeding” taking off at a sprint from the finish of the acoustic “Dark Horse II.” Garcia’s last crooned line in that song was, “I’m so much more,” and …Into the Exam Room was the record where he proved it.

Not just on mostly-unplugged cuts like “Dark Horse II,” “Bona Fide” or “At the Bar” — which itself appeared ahead of the mega-hook in “Our Desert Home” — but on the unmitigated heavy funk rock of “Exam Room” itself, or the loose-feeling but still tightly constructed “Out of Key, But in the Mood” or even “Don’t Call Your Mama,” with its relatively dead-ahead start and memorable chorus, which ended up reiterated by Garcia alone for the final minute as the instruments largely dropped out behind him. Through complex arrangements and nuanced sonic dhermano into the exam roometailing, these songs pushed well beyond anything Hermano had done before, and that extended even to the in-the-studio atmosphere given to the tracks by the inclusion of short intros, even just toss-off gag lines and things like that. I don’t think one would get away with including the inflected lisp at the beginning of “Our Desert Home” these days without being called out for it — at least I hope not — but whether it was the quick bit of guitar noise at the start of “Hard Working Wall,” the far-away dream vocals that begin “Dark Horse II” or the revving motor that set the album in motion in “Kentucky” and the reference to “Dueling Banjos” that ended that opener, these little moments added to the inherent diversity of the material and helped set a wide-open creative sphere in which the record took place. They gave it more personality, and in the case of “At the Bar,” the recorded child’s voice of Calliope Brown — presumably the progeny of Dandy Brown — set up the closer “Letters from Madrid” two tracks later, which featured Angstrom‘s daughter and son, Audrey Angstrom and Evan Angstrom, strumming an acoustic guitar and repeating the line, “Everyone still believes in you but you” before ending with both kids saying “I love you, daddy.” Tearjerker.

And maybe that’s what Hermano were doing on …Into the Exam Room. I recall Garcia at the time noting that the title referred to looking at one’s life, and certainly the semi-title-track “Exam Room” lived up to that — “Well you’ve got 40 more years to go drown in your tears/And the little hand’s slower than the big hand, honey” — so perhaps this work, spread from one end of the country to the other and recorded in a manner so complicated I can even pretend to have a grasp on how it happened, is Hermano with the advent of middle age, with home life. Maybe it was supposed to be a blowout. I don’t know. Whatever it was, …Into the Exam Room was a mature vision of style that legitimately did desert rock in a way it had never been done before. And it kinda flopped.

Maybe it was the wrong moment? Maybe if it came out today it would do better? I don’t know, but I don’t think it’s a coincidence that …Into the Exam Room was the last record Hermano released — though they were playing new material three years ago, so when I say “last,” take the potential impermanence of that into consideration — and that Garcia subsequently went on to form Garcia Plays Kyuss in 2010, which became the semi-reunion Kyuss Lives!, which in turn became Vista Chino. In some ways, I look at …Into the Exam Room like Vista Chino‘s lone 2013 album, Peace (review here, also discussed here). It was a way to move forward. Still acknowledging the past, but not necessarily dwelling in it. I thought Vista Chino had a real chance to build something new, but I think it was another case where they didn’t get the public response they wanted, so went their separate ways.

Same thing here, though the complex logistics very well could’ve also played a part. Still, Dandy Brown does solo work. Angstrom has stayed involved with Garcia on the songwriting front, Garcia dutifully delivers desert rock with his Band of Gold, and Hermano kind of disintegrated at least until their onstage reunion a few years back at Hellfest in France. Entirely possible they’re working quietly on a follow-up fourth LP, but even if they are, that doesn’t change the fact that …Into the Exam Room has languished for 12 years as a ridiculously underrated album. What should’ve been a springboard to Hermano stepping out of the shadow of Garcia‘s past in Kyuss instead became their final record. A loss for sure in terms of the potential, but listening back to …Into the Exam Room more than a decade after the fact, I can’t help but feel lucky we got this record in the first place.

This one’s for Slevin. As always, I hope you enjoy.

I got unceremoniously fucked out of an audio premiere this week. Brutally. It happens all the time that PR companies and record labels decide to do streams with a bigger outlet, and hey, I get it. They’re getting paid to get shit in front of as many eyes as possible, and just because I might write some hyper-wordy piece about how crucial a band’s work is doesn’t mean I have the same reach as Revolver or Kerrang or whoever. I get it. I’ve been involved one shape or another in the music industry for 15 years. People have dumb hair and wear t-shirts, but at the end of the day, it’s a business. Not personal.

Usually I let it go. This is a low-stakes thing. We’re not solving climate change here. This one hurt though primarily because of the people involved, and because it was something that had been committed to me that was when taken away for ostensibly a bigger outlet (I’m not even sure that it is, but I’m not going to name names, and obviously it was neither of the mags above). I was set to go, and after arranging it like a month ago, this week it got pulled. It’s one of the year’s best records, from band I’ve been writing about for seven years, on a label I’ve been covering voraciously since before this site started 10 years ago, and yeah, I just got straight-up fucked over. As I said, brutal.

That, combined with ongoing tooth pain, kind of colored my week in a distinct hue of “everybody fuck off.” I went saw the Deep Space Nine documentary with The Patient Mrs. on Monday in an opiate fog of leftover percocet from some medical procedure or other, and was still holding my aching head in my hands by the end. I finally got to the dentist on Tuesday afternoon and they indeed found an infection that had spread to multiple teeth and decided I needed an emergency root canal as well as antibiotics. Super duper. So they numbed me up and let me sit there and wait 45 minutes before starting the procedure — dentist had two patients with the same appointment and was next door fitting a crown, as I could hear through an open doorway — then came back, found I wasn’t numb enough when they started digging through my tooth and it was excruciating. Another three shots of novocaine, the last two right in the nerve, which hurt. Significantly.

Eventually I was numb enough that I couldn’t feel the dentist scraping the nerve out of my tooth. He left it open so the infection could drain — yup, gave me a big ol’ hole-in-the-tooth; still got it — and I have to go back Monday so they can finish the procedure. I fainted at the counter making my next appointment. Fell over and everything. Ker-plunk. They put me on the couch and gave me one of those little plastic rinse cups of water. I felt old, and sad, and alone.

So yeah. My mouth still hurts, though nowhere near the constant infected throb it was last weekend. Just enough to still be there.

Here’s what’s up for next week:

MON 05/20 WOLF PRAYER VID PREMIERE; KANDODO3 TRACK PREMIERE/REVIEW
TUE 05/21 VALLEY OF THE SUN REVIEW
WED 05/22 ABRAHMA FULL ALBUM STREAM
WED 05/22 TOUR ANNOUNCE; SLEEP LIVE RECORD REVIEW
FRI 05/24 SLOUGH FEG PREMIERE/REVIEW (MAYBE)

That Slough Feg is going to happen, it’s just a question of whether it happens next Friday or some other time. The rest is pretty much locked in, as much as anything. Subject to change blah blah, as usual.

The process of moving south back to New Jersey has begun as The Patient Mrs. and I have started packing. Home Depot moving boxes haven’t changed much in the last half-decade, it seems. Old t-shirts and stuff go first, I guess. I’ll do records sooner or later. I’d prefer sooner, just to get it done, but who the hell knows. It’s going to be a long, busy summer on the I-95 corridor, I think. Good thing I’m not doing anything crazy like flying to Ireland next week.

Oh wait.

Yeah, that’s happening. The Patient Mrs., in one of her final acts as full-time faculty for Bridgewater State University, here in not-at-all-scenic Southeastern Massachusetts, is taking students on a study-abroad trip from I guess this Thursday through June 3. It’s madness, I tell you. I’m going basically to provide childcare, as I did in London last year. I don’t know how that will affect posts or whatever during travel days. I’d like to buy a throwaway cheapie 11″ laptop rather than risk traveling with this one, which is huge and has like my whole life on it, but I don’t think the money is there for such things.

Oh, and tonight’s like a going-away party The Patient Mrs. is throwing with two of her friends at our place that maybe like 30-50 people are coming to? Strangers to me, mostly. I didn’t invite anyone because I don’t have any friends in real life and I expect to be sad and then to go to sleep early without saying goodnight. Because that’s who I am. I’m the guy who faints at the counter in the dentist’s office.

Fuck it. I’m gonna premiere Kandodo3 and Slough Feg next week. Life is awesome.

Have a great and safe weekend. Please hit up the shirts and such at Dropout Merch, and please check out the forum and radio stream.

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Yawning Man Set June 14 Release for Macedonian Lines; Preorder Up & Video Streaming

Posted in Whathaveyou on April 18th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

yawning man heavy psych sounds

Yawning Man are working on a quick turnaround from 2018’s The Revolt Against Tired Noises (review here) to release their new LP, Macedonian Lines, in June on Heavy Psych Sounds, but listening to the album only confirms the experimentalist approach that’s let them do so. Exploring some moodier atmospheres with keys and their inimitable tones, the pivotal desert rock three-piece will use the long-player’s release as the launch point for a European tour in June, so the timing works on multiple levels. They’ve got a video posted for the title-track that shows some of where they’re coming from in terms of sound this time around, and it’s a twist on the established Yawning Man approach that’s made them so widely influential. Take a second and check it out.

Cover art and PR wire whatnot follow, as well as the preorder link, should you want to get in on that.

And you probably should:

Yawning Man Macedonian Lines

YAWNING MAN share details + stunning video off new “Macedonian Lines” album on Heavy Psych Sounds; preorder available now!

YAWNING MAN continue to establish their exceptionally unique approach to rock music on the bands latest album “Macedonian Lines” (Heavy Psych Sounds Records). The follow up to the critically acclaimed “Revolt Against Tired Noises” shows a further maturing of melody, dynamics and emotion in the bands songwriting. Yawning Man’s roots lay at the foundation of the desert rock and stoner rock sub-genres, however the music the band creates is truly organic and visceral, conjuring a flowing imagery and a emotional response. On this release, the band has a darker and massively heavier sound than past recordings as most of these tracks were developed in live performance and then fully realized in the studio. YAWNING MAN returned to Gatos Trail Studio in the Joshua Tree CA desert to record this album and the space and beauty of the surroundings is ever present in every track. Heavy, beautiful, and delicate. Gary Arce, Mario Lalli and Bill Stinson continue to expand and dig deep with every track.

Mario Lalli (bass) says about the new record: “Macedonian Lines represents the spirit of this band beyond the sound and composition. All the elements of this song were created in live improvisations during Yawning Man’s last European tour. The band refined the ideas night after night in front of live audiences. By tour’s end, the composition is what your hear on the new LP…. truly organic. The title comes from the band’s experiences crossing the Eastern European borders during this turbulent time of refugee migrations and political discord, while the music tends to add beauty to these observations.

‘Macedonian Lines’ will be available June 14th in the following formats; preorder at this location: https://www.heavypsychsounds.com/shop.htm#HPS105

– 30 Test Press vinyl
– 250 LTD Orange vinyl
– 650 Yellow splatter/Purple/Red vinyl
– Black vinyl
– CD and digital

YAWNING MAN New album “Macedonian Lines”
Out June 14th on Heavy Psych Sounds

TRACK LISTING:
1. Virtual Funeral
2. Macedonian Lines
3. Melancholy Sadie
4. Bowie’s Last Breath
5. I’m Not A Real Indian (But I Play One On TV)
6. I Make Weird Choices

YAWNING MAN LIVE:
13.06.19 Amsterdam | Melkweg
14.06.19 Achterhoek | Manana Festival
15.06.19 Liège | La Zone
16.06.19 Bristol | The Lane
18.06.19 Manchester | Rebellion
19.06.19 Glasgow | Audio
20.06.19 Coventry | The Phoenix
22.06.19 Tunbridge Wells | Black Deer Festival
25.06.19 Hamburg | Markthalle
26.06.19 Köln | Sonic Ballroom
27.06.19 Karlsruhe | Alte Hackerei
29.06.19 Vitoria | Hell Dorado
02.07.19 Barcelona | Rocksound
03.07.19 Bilbao | Satelite T
04.07.19 Bordeaux | Astroshøw Open Air
06.07.19 Leuven | Sojo
10.07.19 Cottbus | Zum Faulen August
11.07.19 Wien | Arena
12.07.19 Salzburg | Rockhouse
13.07.19 Erfurt | Stoned From The Underground
14.07.19 Pleszew | Red Smoke Festival
23.07.19 Munich | Free & Easy Festival
25.07.19 Breitenbach | Burg Herzberg Festival

YAWNING MAN IS:
Gary Arce – Guitar
Mario Lalli – Bass
Bill Stinson – Drums

https://www.facebook.com/yawningmanofficial/
https://yawningman.bandcamp.com
http://www.yawningman.com/
https://www.facebook.com/HEAVYPSYCHSOUNDS
http://www.heavypsychsounds.com
https://heavypsychsoundsrecords.bandcamp.com

Yawning Man, “Macedonian Lines” official video

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Yawning Man Announce New Album Due in June on Heavy Psych Sounds

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

Yawning Man will release a new album in June through Heavy Psych Sounds to coincide with their previously announced European tour. Info on the record is pretty sparse at this point, as regards title and songs and so on, but preorders start next week and there’s reportedly audio to come then as well, so I assume this preliminary announcement will be followed up with more news next week. Suits me just fine. I don’t know if you heard it, but 2018’s The Revolt Against Tired Noises (review here) was an absolute gem, and it’s awesome that the band are following it up so quickly. Don’t forget they also toured in the US earlier this year, so it’s quite a bit of productivity for the band who count their origins as well over 30 years ago and who still have never quite gotten their due. A sense of urgency suits them. Can’t wait to hear the record.

Fresh off the PR wire:

yawning man heavy psych sounds

HEAVY PSYCH SOUNDS RECORDS is stoked to announce that our desert rock godfathers YAWNING MAN are coming back with a brand new album in June !!!

PRESALE STARTS: APRIL 16th

Formed in the late 1980’s, the lineup of Gary Arce, Mario Lalli, and Bill Stinson rounds out their yearlong active recording and touring schedule. Arce and Lalli’s background together date back to the start of Yawning Man with Stinson’s background steeped in the SST Records world through performing and recording with Greg Ginn and Chuck Dukowski of Black Flag for several years. Yawning Man is acknowledged and recognized throughout the underground heavy music community as a key piece in the developments of the desert/stoner rock subgenres. While their contemporaries gravitated toward the heavy riffs of grunge, and post punk, Yawning Man leaned in another direction with their unique and organic, cinematic compositions and psychedelic improvisations…the perfect soundtrack to encompass the spacious moonscape atmosphere of the well documented “generator parties” of their area in the late 1980’s.

It was at these gatherings where they developed this distinctive style and sound by enchanting spectators with their seemingly endless free form instrumental sessions, which echoed through the beautiful deserts, mesas, and landscapes of the Coachella Valley. As time passed, their legend grew with notable names of the Palm Desert music scene paying homage to the group through mention and praise, notably with legendary desert band Kyuss (Joshua Homme, Brant Bjork, John Garcia, Scott Reeder) doing their own rendition of the Yawning Man track “Catamaran” on the 1995 Elektra release ..And The Circus Leaves Town. Festival appearances include Hellfest (FR), Azkena Fest (ES), Reverence Fest (ES) Desertfest London, Desertfest Berlin, Up in Smoke (CH), Psycho Las Vegas (US), Stoned & Dusted I & II (US), and various others. The recent documentaries on the Deserts unique music scene Lo Sound Desert and Desert Age give light on Yawning Man’s influential impact on underground rock music.

13.06.19 Amsterdam | Melkweg
14.06.19 Achterhoek | Manana Festival
15.06.19 Liège | La Zone
16.06.19 Bristol | The Lane
18.06.19 Manchester | Rebellion
19.06.19 Glasgow | Audio
20.06.19 Coventry | The Phoenix
22.06.19 Tunbridge Wells | Black Deer Festival
25.06.19 Hamburg | Markthalle
26.06.19 Köln | Sonic Ballroom
27.06.19 Karlsruhe | Alte Hackerei
29.06.19 Vitoria | Hell Dorado
02.07.19 Barcelona | Rocksound
03.07.19 Bilbao | Satelite T
04.07.19 Bordeaux | Astroshøw Open Air
06.07.19 Leuven | Sojo
10.07.19 Cottbus | Zum Faulen August
11.07.19 Wien | Arena
12.07.19 Salzburg | Rockhouse
13.07.19 Erfurt | Stoned From The Underground
14.07.19 Pleszew | Red Smoke Festival
23.07.19 Munich | Free & Easy Festival
25.07.19 Breitenbach | Burg Herzberg Festival

YAWNING MAN IS
Gary Arce – Guitar
Mario Lalli – Bass
Bill Stinson – Drums

https://www.facebook.com/yawningmanofficial/
https://yawningman.bandcamp.com
http://www.yawningman.com/
https://www.facebook.com/HEAVYPSYCHSOUNDS
http://www.heavypsychsounds.com
https://heavypsychsoundsrecords.bandcamp.com

Yawning Man, Live at Bovine Sex Club, Jan. 20, 2019

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Yawning Man Announce European Tour Dates

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

yawning man

Yawning Man recently finished a plenty-extensive North American tour — I saw them in Brooklyn; they ruled — and were in Europe as recently as last September, so it’s safe to say they’re in high gear at the moment, though one might not know it from the ultra-serene sounds that actually emanate from the stage when they play. The Californian desert rock forebears will return to Europe this summer in genuine working-band-making-a-go-of-it fashion as they continue to support 2018’s The Revolt Against Tired Noises (review here), and we already know that after this run, which features stops at Black Deer Fest in the UK, as well as Stoned from the Underground in Germany, Red Smoke in Poland and Burg Herzberg in Germany, among others, and before they even go, they’ll be in CA this May to appear at their label’s first-ever US edition of its Heavy Psych Sounds Fest. To say they’re keeping busy would be understating it.

But they are. Keeping busy.

I’ll be interested to see what their Fall plans are, if they’ll do another US run or maybe put themselves in full album-cycle mode and start writing again ahead of more touring in 2020. I guess we’ve got some time before we get there. But right now, it seems like Yawning Man are the most active they’ve ever been, and for a band with more than 30 years’ history, that’s saying something.

Sound of Liberation posted the Euro dates thusly:

yawning man euro tour

Yawning Man will be back in Europe next summer! Here are the first dates! More will be added soon.

13.06.19 Amsterdam | Melkweg
14.06.19 Achterhoek | Manana Festival
15.06.19 Liège | La Zone
16.06.19 Bristol | The Lane
18.06.19 Manchester | Rebellion
19.06.19 Glasgow | Audio
20.06.19 Coventry | The Phoenix
22.06.19 Tunbridge Wells | Black Deer Festival
25.06.19 Hamburg | Markthalle
26.06.19 Köln | Sonic Ballroom
27.06.19 Karlsruhe | Alte Hackerei
29.06.19 Vitoria | Hell Dorado
02.07.19 Barcelona | Rocksound
03.07.19 Bilbao | Satelite T
04.07.19 Bordeaux | Astroshøw Open Air
06.07.19 Leuven | Sojo
10.07.19 Cottbus | Zum Faulen August
11.07.19 Wien | Arena
12.07.19 Salzburg | Rockhouse
13.07.19 Erfurt | Stoned From The Underground
14.07.19 Pleszew | Red Smoke Festival
23.07.19 Munich | Free & Easy Festival
25.07.19 Breitenbach | Burg Herzberg Festival

YAWNING MAN IS
Gary Arce – Guitar
Mario Lalli – Bass
Bill Stinson – Drums

https://www.facebook.com/yawningmanofficial/
https://yawningman.bandcamp.com
http://www.yawningman.com/
https://www.facebook.com/HEAVYPSYCHSOUNDS
http://www.heavypsychsounds.com
https://heavypsychsoundsrecords.bandcamp.com

Yawning Man, Live at Bovine Sex Club, Jan. 20, 2019

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