Descendants of Crom 2018 Lineup Finalized; Single-Day Tickets Available

Posted in Whathaveyou on September 7th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

descendants of crom 2018 banner

Golly that’s a good lineup. An awfully good lineup. Like, a really good lineup. Like, Lo-Pan and Mos Generator and Geezer and Forming the Void and Heavy Temple and Freedom Hawk and Worshipper on the same bill kind of good. The kind of lineup that makes you start pricing out drives to Pittsburgh, or flights, I guess. There are a lot of bands here I sure wouldn’t mind seeing, some for the first time, some seeing again, but yeah. Woof. It’s exhausting to think about the logistics involved in making it happen, and I don’t think I’ll be able to not the least because that weekend is my anniversary — “Hey love, you take the baby for like three days while I hop off to Pittsburgh to doom out for a while, ‘kay thanks!” — but from Destroyer of Light to Devil to Pay to Thunderbird Divine, this is one hell of a show, and if you’re gonna be there, consider yourself lucky.

I just basically wanted to say that and to get the final lineup posted here after running the initial one. Some slight changes, as with any fest. But yeah, clearly Descendants of Crom 2018 isn’t just any fest. Gadzooks.

Check it out:

descendants of crom 2018 poster

DESCENDANTS OF CROM 2018 set for Sept. 27-29th; Featuring MOS GENERATOR, LO-PAN, DUEL, COME TO GRIEF, & 30+ More!

A GATHERING OF ROCK, DOOM, SLUDGE, AND METAL.
SEPTEMBER 27th-29th, 2018 – STEEL CITY, USA

The second annual Descendants of Crom will be held in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania – whose underground scene of heavy rock, stoner, and doom metal is healthy and thriving and the location is perfect. Feeding great regional bands to a hungry crowd and utilizing legendary, international fan-favorites to entice music lovers in the door to bear witness to these amazing local artists.

As anticipated, the first year was a strong gathering of music fans and this year’s event is expanded to a full weekend event on Friday and Saturday, based once again at Cattivo’s in Pittsburgh, with a Pre-gala evening at the more intimate location of Howlers on Thursday.

We invite all to become part of the experience at the 2018 Pre-Gala and Weekend Events! After all, we are all Descendants of Crom.

Blackseed Records Presents: DESCENDANTS OF CROM 2018
September 28th – 29th @ Cattivo / Pre-Gala September 27th @ Howlers

Mos Generator + Lo-Pan + Come To Grief + Duel + Devil To Pay + Freedom Hawk + Disenchanter + Geezer + Howling Giant + Forming The Void + Sierra + Toke + Heavy Temple + Cavern + Demon Eye + Ironflame + Horehound + Worshipper + Doomstress + Wolftooth + Doctor Smoke + River Cult + Curse The Son + Urns + Eternal Black + Thunderbird Divine + Yatra + Molasses Barge + Solarburn + OutsideInside + The Long Hunt + Jakethehawk

PRE-GALA: Destroyer Of Light + Rebreather + Fist Fight In The Parking Lot + Gran Gila + Mires

TICKETS: www.descendantsofcrom.com/Tickets.php

Two and Three Day passes available. Single day tickets available after 9/1.
Pre-gala is limited to 75 tickets, get your tickets now!

https://www.facebook.com/DescendantsOfCrom/
www.instagram.com/descendantsofcrom/
https://www.facebook.com/events/177536592803763
www.descendantsofcrom.com/Tickets.php
http://descendantsofcrom.com

Descendants of Crom 2018 promo video

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T-Tops to Release Disease EP Sept. 28

Posted in Whathaveyou on August 28th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

t-tops

Seven minutes. That’s all it takes for Pittsburgh noisemakers T-Tops to inflict the searing aggression of their new EP, Disease, and if I’m perfectly honest, the job’s done before the songs are actually finished. The trio have a couple strings of dates coming up in the Midwest and on the East Coast — you can basically pick and choose where you want to go when you live in Pittsburgh — and they’ll release Disease soon after in conjunction with Magnetic Eye Records. It’s got three songs, they’re all pissed, and none of them touch three minutes long. Noise rock, man. It’s like anger as a lifestyle. I’ve got Disease on as I write this and it’s like being ground down into puddly ex-human goo. Obviously that’s the point.

So needless to say it’ll be interesting to hear their Floyd cover.

Time and places for such things. For now, here’s this from the wire of PR:

NEW RELEASE: T-Tops “Disease EP”

Pittsburgh’s T-TOPS deliver their latest clutch of full-stack, full-throttle noise-rock, the 3-track EP DISEASE, on September 28th, with tour dates and an unexpected Pink Floyd cover rounding things out.

T-Tops started jamming when Pittsburgh guitarist/vocalist Patrick Waters, who fronted well-regarded and spastic-rock group The Fitt, joined up with bassist/vocalist Jason Orr (Holy Rivals).

Struggling at first to find the right drummer, the pair nearly gave up before coming across a post on a local message board by Jason Jouver, a recording engineer at +/- Studios on the city’s South Side and multi-instrumentalist from bands including Don Caballero, Teddy Duchamp’s Army and German Shepherd. They knew the name but hadn’t even realized he played drums, and gave it a try.

In no time, ravaging riffs, gravely vocals, and thundering beats came together to produce T-Tops’ signature soundtrack for high-velocity destruction.

“There’s not really a theme,” Waters says of the in-your-face, sludgy, hooky heaviness that resulted. “We’re just trying to write catchy, loud, heavy songs.”

The trio’s experience in other bands certainly comes across in both their songwriting and prolific output. Despite moving through a series of drummers, T-Tops have issued a half-dozen EPs, 7-inches, and split releases in just a few short years. Their latest, the Disease EP, is the band’s most urgent helping of raw, furious, garage rock yet, a slab of power best heard at full volume.

T-Tops will be touring to support this killer new EP in September, and also managed to slip an angy, roaring take on Pink Floyd’s “Nile Song” onto the digital version of Magnetic Eye Records’ upcoming Best of Pink Floyd [Redux] project, which lands in November.

Disease releases digitally and on 7-inch via the band in association with Magnetic Eye Records on September 28th.

1. Disease
2. Incest
3. Mouth for Hate

Tour Dates:
Aug 30 Akron, OH @ Hive Mind
Aug 31 Indianapolis, IN @ State Street Pub
Sept 1 Milwaukee, WI @ Cactus Club
Sept 2 Chicago, IL @ Reed’s
Sept 3 Youngstown, OH @ Westside Bowl
Sept 12 State College, PA @ The Brewery
Sept 13 NYC @ El Cortez
Sept 14 East Windsor, NJ @ Toxic Cleanse
Sept 15 Philly, PA @ Century

T-Tops:
Patrick Waters – Guitar/Vocals
Jason Orr – Bass
Austin Bowen – Drums

www.facebook.com/ttopspgh
www.instagram.com/ttopsnoise
https://t-tops.bandcamp.com/
https://www.merhq.net/

T-Tops, Face of Depression (2017)

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Review & Video Premiere: Backwoods Payback, Future Slum

Posted in Bootleg Theater, Reviews on August 15th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

backwoods payback future slum

[Click play above to view the premiere of Backwoods Payback’s ‘Generals.’ Their new album, Future Slum, is out now.]

Future Slum could hardly sound more sincere if Backwoods Payback had cut themselves open and bled it out. And, listening to the melodic, post-grunge ending of “It Ain’t Right” — an Alice in Chains reference, maybe? — I’m not entirely sure they didn’t. There are raging moments as the album begins at a sprint in “Pirate Smile” and “Generals” seems to lay hands on the listener only to shove them out of its way, and the later “Alone” offers tonal thickness and grooving lumber of a more seasoned pace. This while “Lines” finds the three-piece of guitarist/vocalist Mike Cummings, bassist Jessica Baker and drummer Erik Larson locked into blood-boiling tension before skillfully cramming in one last chorus for the opening salvo that ends with the rolling “Whatever” bringing forth a hook that one might call “signature” before guest vocalist Mlny Parsonz of Royal Thunder hurls out a scream that reminds of the harsher edge Backwoods Payback stand ready to unleash at any given moment.

Rest assured, Cummings will answer soon enough in “Threes” at the end of side A as Larson gives his toms a torrential workover, and “Generals” wants nothing either in terms of aggro edge. To the notion of authenticity as a myth in terms of art or, really, anything — it’s a false standard at the very least — Future Slum is a challenge. It is so much the band’s own, and so much of it comes across as an arrival point in their ongoing growth, that in kind with the atmospheric spaces it covers in “Cinderella” and “Alone,” its punk, metal, grunge and heavy rock elements craft an identity that stands in the middle of a Venn diagram of genres while delivering a hard no to committing to any of them for more than the purposes of the single track being served. And as they make their way through the 10 songs/34 minutes of Future Slum, what ties their disparate ideas together — aside from Baker‘s basslines, which would probably be enough on their own — ends up being that flat-out refusal to play to style or be anything other than the band they’ve become.

This isn’t accidental, of course. Backwoods Payback have never been shy in terms of getting out and touring, and as they returned in trio form with 2016’s Fire Not Reason (review here) after a half-decade’s relative quiet — they had a 2012 live release (discussed here) and 2014’s In the Ditch EP (review here) filling that gap — following 2011’s Small Stone-delivered sophomore album, Momantha (review here), they maintained their commitment to pushing their sound forward on stage. Future Slum only benefits from this on a performance level, as CummingsBaker and Larson are tighter as a unit than they were even just two years ago, and one can hear it in the initial thrust of “Pirate Smile” as much as the dug-in emotionalism of the memorable “Big Enough,” a wistful highlight as much for its self-harmonizing as the instrumental build happening beneath, culminating in a wash and some quiet strum soon enough devoured by the opening riff of the penultimate “Alone.”

backwoods payback (Photo by Useless Rebel)

I used to call Backwoods Payback “dirt rock,” and there’s an aspect of that still applicable, but Future Slum makes easy tags a thing of the past, and as a fan, it’s all the more an exciting release for that. It’s been two full-lengths thus far, but since Cummings and Baker brought in Larson on drums, one can hear in the songs not that they’re playing against each other, but that all three members of the band are challenging each other to make the whole group stronger. And they do. Future Slum has three inclusions over four minutes long, and the band’s execution is accordingly teeth-grindingly tight, but as they continue to refine their processes and their delivery, their output makes it plain for anyone to hear that they’ve reached a new level in style and substance. Fortunately, in accord with this is a consistency of songwriting. Cummings‘ lyrics are spit poetry and the forward drive he, Baker and Larson are able to conjure amid dynamic turns of tempo and melody, is unmistakable. Fire Not Reason laid the foundation, and as a result of that, Future Slum is the strongest release they’ve ever had.

That’s true in terms of performance, craft and overall production sound, which remains thick where and when it needs to be while allowing the three-piece to still have a live feel and highlight nuances like the layered-in guitar effects in the second half of the opener or the timely shouts that punctuate the lines of “Generals.” Following the weighted nod of “Alone,” “Lucky” closes out as the longest cut at 4:57 and seems to find some middle ground in a Sabbathian central riff and steady initial pace, but true to form, it ups the tempo in a classically metallic turn — no less Sabbath, for that matter — that soon enough gives way to the slower chorus before landing in a chug that seems to disintegrate as it fades out, ending Future Slum with a bit of tension that one might even dare to think Backwoods Payback would answer with the start of their next album. Whether they do or don’t, and wherever they might go from here, the organic nature of their progression only makes Future Slum all the more of an accomplishment.

Some 11 years removed from their self-titled debut, they’ve risen to their own challenge and come together to create something special and truly theirs. It’s not dirt rock. It’s not stoner, or Southern rock, or doom or grunge or hardcore punk or whatever else. It’s Backwoods Payback. They’ve carved their sonic persona out of all of these things, and most of all, stayed true to themselves while embracing such a breadth of influence. In their faster and slower songs alike, one can hear the sense of immediacy, and it’s completely reasonable why. Backwoods Payback have been around, and they’re not dumb. This is a moment they’ve managed to capture, and there are parts of Future Slum that sound like they’re almost chasing after themselves before they get away. That’s not a negative at all. Rather, as it manifests here, it serves notice of the consciousness underlying their efforts, and they’re right. This is a watershed for them. Their urgency is nothing if not well placed.

Backwoods Payback, Future Slum (2018)

Backwoods Payback on Thee Facebooks

Backwoods Payback on Instagram

Backwoods Payback on Twitter

Backwoods Payback on Bandcamp

Backwoods Payback website

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Horehound Announce New Album Holocene for Release Later in 2018

Posted in Whathaveyou on July 27th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

horehound (Photo by Trevor Richards)

Not saying I’ve heard it or anything, but Horehound aren’t kidding around when they talk about their second album, Holocene, being a step forward from their 2016 self-titled debut (review here). That album was an impressive showing of potential for their style, somewhere between heavy rock, doom and sludge but not necessarily beholden to any single one of them, and Holocene, from its gorgeous Brian Mercer cover art onward, proceeds to push their vision forward. It’s a bigger but still natural sound with an eye toward atmosphere and they’re giving a first taste in the semi-angular “L’Appel du Vide” now, having premiered a video for the third of the album’s total seven tracks, the last of which is hidden. Don’t tell anybody.

Horehound will appear at Descendants of Crom in their native Pittsburgh at the end of September and have select dates set before that, including opening for Monolord and Brimstone Coven. Good gig.

Here are details from the PR wire:

horehound holocene

Pittsburgh, PA’s Post-Doom Foursome HOREHOUND Reveals Their Second Full-length, ‘HOLOCENE’ & Premieres New Video For Debut Track “L’appel du Vide”

Pittsburgh’s paramount Doom/Sludge underground act HOREHOUND continues their ascension above ground with the announcement of their second full-length album, ‘HOLOCENE’.

Horehound surpassed their own expectations for the self-titled debut in 2016, and this past Spring re-released a remastered version on Digital, CD, and first-time Vinyl format. Now Horehound presents their sophomore album ‘Holocene’. With all music written and performed by Horehound, the album was recorded and mixed by Matt Schor at War Room in Pittsburgh, and mastering done by James Plotkin at Plotkinworks. The incredible cover artwork illustration is by Brian Mercer.

To introduce the new album, the band is premiering a video for the debut of “L’appel du Vide”, the third track from ‘Holocene’. The visualizer was created by Sam McDonald.

Vocalist Shy Kennedy shares a few words about the album: “‘Holocene’ is the single most rewarding contribution I have made as an individual artist and even of any group effort I’ve been a part of. It has been a realization for Horehound and through this recording we really cultivated our sound. The overwhelmingly gratifying experience we’ve had in creating this album will further transcend once we are able to share it with others. “

Guitarist Brendan Parrish adds: “‘Holocene’ is a convergence of our respective influences and a natural evolution in the sound we’ve developed. It represents our growth as songwriters and we are very eager for the rest of the world to hear what we’re so proud to have created.”

Horehound is preparing for a release of Holocene sometime later in 2018. The band has been reviewing incoming offers and invites all who may be interested in partnering for the release to reach out to them soon.

Holocene – Track List:
1. The Kind
2. Dier’s Dirge
3. L’appel du Vide
4. Sloth
5. Anastatica
6. Highball
7. Hidden Track

Upcoming Live Events:
08/11 – Youngstown, OH – Pabstolutely 11 Festival
09/01 – Pittsburgh, PA w/ MONOLORD, Brimstone Coven
09/28 – Pittsburgh, PA – DESCENDANTS OF CROM

HOREHOUND is:
JD Dauer – drums
Brendan Parrish – guitar
Shy Kennedy – vocals
Nick Kopco – bass

https://www.facebook.com/horehoundband/
http://horehound.bandcamp.com/
https://twitter.com/horehoundband
https://www.facebook.com/blackseedrecords/
http://www.blackseedrecords.com/

Horehound, Holocene

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Quarterly Review: Khemmis, Morag Tong, Holy Mushroom, Naisian, Haunted, Pabst, L.M.I., Fuzz Forward, Onségen Ensemble, The Heavy Eyes

Posted in Reviews on July 18th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

quarterly-review-CALIFORNIA-LANDSCAPE-Julian-Rix-1851-1903

I always say the same thing on the Wednesday of the Quarterly Review. Day 3. The halfway point. I say it every time. The fact is, doing these things kind of takes it out of me. All of it. It’s not that I don’t enjoy listening to all these records — well, I don’t enjoy all of them, but I’m talking more about the process — just that it’s a lot to take in and by the time I’m done each day, let alone at the end of the week, I’m fairly exhausted. So every time we hit the halfway point of a Quarterly Review, I feel somewhat compelled to note it. Cresting the hill, as it were. It’s satisfying to get to this point without my head falling off.

Quarterly Review #21-30:

Khemmis, Desolation

khemmis desolation

Continuing their proclivity for one-word titles, Denver doom forerunners Khemmis take a decisive turn toward the metallic with their third album for 20 Buck Spin, the six-track/41-minute Desolation. Songs like opener “Bloodletting” and its side B counterpart “The Seer” are still tinged with doom, but the NWOBHM gallop in “Isolation” and “Maw of Time” – as well as the sheer force of the latter – is an unexpected twist. Khemmis showed classic metal elements on 2016’s was-a-very-big-deal Hunted (review here) and 2015’s debut, Absolution (review here), but it’s a question of balance, and as they’ve once again worked with producer Dave Otero, one can only read the shift as a conscious decision. The harder edge suits them – certainly suits the screams in “Maw of Time” and side A finale/album highlight “Flesh to Nothing” – and as Khemmis further refine their sound, they craft its most individualized manifestation to-date. There’s no hearing Desolation and mistaking Khemmis for another band. They’ve come into their own.

Khemmis on Thee Facebooks

20 Buck Spin website

 

Morag Tong, Last Knell of Om

morag tong last knell of om

A rumbling entry into London’s Heavy Generation, the four-piece Morag Tong unfold voluminous ritual on their debut full-length, Last Knell of Om. Largely slow and largely toned, the work of guitarists Alex Clarke and Lewis Crane brings the low end to the forefront along with the bass of James Atha while drummer Adam Asquith pushes the lurch forward on cuts like “New Growth” and “To Soil,” the band seemingly most comfortable when engaged in crawling tempos and weighted pummel. Asquith also adds semi-shouted vocals to the mire, which, surrounded by distortion as they are, only make the proceedings sound even more massive. There’s an ambience to “We Answer” and near-13-minute closer “Ephemera: Stare Through the Deep,” which gives the record a suitably noisy finish, but much of what Morag Tong are going for in sound depends on the effectiveness of their tonality, and they’ve got that part down on their debut. Coupled with the meditative feel in some of this material, that shows marked potential on the band’s part for future growth.

Morag Tong on Thee Facebooks

Morag Tong on Bandcamp

 

Holy Mushroom, Blood and Soul

holy mushroom blood and soul

Working quickly to follow-up their earlier-2018 sophomore long-player, Moon (review here), Spain’s Holy Mushroom present Blood and Soul, an EP comprised of two songs recorded live in the studio. I’m not entirely sure why it’s split up at all, as the two-minute “Introito” – sure enough, a little introduction – feeds so smoothly into the 19-minute “Blood and Soul” itself, but fair enough either way as the trio shift between different instrumentation, incorporating sax, piano and organ among the guitar, bass, drums and vocals, and unfold a longform heavy psychedelic trip that not only builds on what they were doing with Moon but is every bit worthy of being released on its own. I don’t know if it was recorded at the same time as the record or later – both were done at Asturcon Studios – but it’s easy to see why the band would want to highlight “Blood and Moon.” Between the deep-running mix, the easy rhythmic flow into and out from drifting spaciousness, and the turn in the middle third toward more expansive arrangement elements, it’s an engaging motion that makes subtly difficult shifts seem utterly natural along the way. And even if you didn’t hear the latest full-length, Blood and Soul makes for a fitting introduction to who Holy Mushroom are as a band and what they can do.

Holy Mushroom on Thee Facebooks

Clostridium Records website

 

Naisian, Rejoinder

naisian rejoinder

Sludge-infused noise rock serves as the backdrop for lyrical shenanigans on the three-song Rejoinder EP from Sheffield, UK, trio Naisian. Running just 12 minutes, it’s a quick and thickened pummel enacted by the band, who work in shades of post-metal for “90 ft. Stone,” “Mantis Rising” and “Lefole,” most especially in the middle cut, but even there, the focus in on harsh vocals and lumbering sonic heft. It’s now been seven years since the band sort-of issued their debut album, Mammalian, and six since they followed with the Monocle EP, and the time seems to have stripped down their sound to a degree. “Lefole” is the longest track on Rejoinder at 5:18 and it’s still shorter than every other song Naisian have put out to-date. Their crunch lacks nothing for impact, however, and to go with the swing of “Lefole,” everybody seems to contribute to a vocal assault that only adds to the punishing but thoughtful vibe.

Naisian on Thee Facebooks

Naisian on Bandcamp

 

Haunted, Dayburner

haunted dayburner

The effects-laden vocal swirl at the outset of Haunted’s “Mourning Sun” and moments in the Italian act’s longer-form material, “Waterdawn” or “Orphic,” for example, will invariably lead some listeners to point to a Windhand influence, but the character of the band’s second album, Dayburner (on Twin Earth, DHU and Graven Earth all), follows their 2016 self-titled (review here) by holding steady to a developing identity of its own. To be sure, vocalist Christina Chimirri, guitarists Francesco Bauso and Francesco Orlando, bassist Frank Tudisco and drummer Dario Casabona make their way into a deep, murky swamp of modern doom in “Dayburner” (video posted here), but in the crush of their tones amid all that trance-inducing riffing, they cast themselves as an outfit seeking to express individuality within the set parameters of style. Their execution, then, is what it comes down to, and with “Orphic” (12:46) and “Vespertine” (13:19) back to back, there’s plenty of doom on the 66-minute 2LP to roll that out. And they do so in patient and successful form, with marked tonal vibrancy and a sense of controlling the storm they’re creating as they go.

Haunted on Thee Facebooks

Twin Earth Records website

DHU Records webstore

Graven Earth Records webstore

 

Pabst, Chlorine

pabst chlorine

So, the aesthetic is different. Pabst play a blend of noise, post-punk, heavy rock and grunge, but with the ready pop influence — to wit, the outright danceability of “Shits,” reminiscent in its bounce of later Queens of the Stone Age – and persistent melodicism, there’s just a twinge of what Mars Red Sky did for heavy rolling riffs happening on Chlorine, their Crazysane Records debut. It’s in that blend of dense low-end fuzz and brighter vocal melodies, but again, Pabst, hailing from Berlin, are on their own trip. Weird but almost more enjoyable than it seems to want to be, the 12-track/35-minute outing indulges little and offers singalong-ready vibes in “Catching Feelings” and “Waterslide” while “Waiting Loop” chills out before the push of “Accelerate” and the angularity of “Cheapskate” take hold. Chrlorine careens and (blue) ribbons its way to the drive-fast-windows-open stylization of “Summer Never Came” and the finale “Under Water,” a vocal effect on the latter doing nothing to take away from its ultra-catchy hook. It’s not for everyone, but it’s a record someone with just the right kind of open mind can come to love.

Pabst on Thee Facebooks

Crazysane Records webstore

 

L.M.I., IV

lmi iv

If you’ve got a dank basement full of skinny college kids, chances are Lansdale, Pennsylvania’s L.M.I. are ready to tear their faces off. The sludge-thickened riff punkers run abut 11 minutes with their five-song release, L.M.I. IV, and that’s well enough time to get their message across. Actually, by the end of “Neck of Tension” and “Weaning Youth,” roughly four and half minutes in, the statement of intent is pretty clear. L.M.I. present furious but grooving hardcore punk more given to scathe than pummel, and their inclusions on L.M.I. IV bring that to life with due sense of controlled chaos. Centerpiece “Lurking Breath” gives way to “First to Dark” – the longest cut at a sprawling 2:55 – and they save a bit of grunge guitar scorch and lower-register growling for closer “June was a Test,” there isn’t really time in general for any redundancy to take hold. That suits the feeling of assault well, as L.M.I. get in and get out on the quick and once they’re gone, all that’s left to do is clean the blood off the walls.

L.M.I. on Thee Facebooks

L.M.I. on Bandcamp

 

Fuzz Forward, Out of Nowhere

fuzz forward out of nowhere

Released one way or another through Discos Macarras, Odio Sonoro, Spinda Records and Red Sun Records, the eight-song/43-minute debut album from Barcelona’s Fuzz Forward, Out of Nowhere, has earned acclaim from multiple corners for its interpretation of grunge-era melodies through a varied heavy rock filter. Indeed, the vocals of Juan Gil – joined in the band by guitarist Edko Fuzz, bassist Jordi Vaquero and drummer Marc Rockenberg – pull the mind directly to a young Layne Staley, and forces one to realize it’s been a while since that low-in-the-mouth approach was so ubiquitous. It works well for Gil in the laid back “Summertime Somersaults” as well as the swinging, cowbell-infused later cut “Drained,” and as the band seems to foreshadow richer atmospheric exploration on “Thorns in Tongue” and “Torches,” they nonetheless maintain a focus on songwriting that grounds the proceedings and will hopefully continue to serve as their foundation as they move forward. No argument with the plaudits they’ve thus far received. Seems doubtful they’ll be the last.

Fuzz Forward on Thee Facebooks

Fuzz Forward on Bandcamp

 

Onségen Ensemble, Duel

Onsegen ensemble duel

The kind of record you’re doing yourself a favor by hearing – a visionary cast of progressive psychedelia that teems with creative energy and is an inspiration even in the listening. Frankly, the only thing I’m not sure about when it comes to Oulu, Finland, outfit Onségen Enseble’s second album, Duel, is why it isn’t being released through Svart Records. It seems like such a natural fit, with the adventurous woodwinds on opener “Think Neither Good Nor Evil,” the meditative sprawl of the title-track (video posted here), the jazz-jam in the middle of “Dogma MMXVII,” the tribalist percussion anchoring the 12-minute “Three Calls of the Emperor’s Teacher,” which surely would otherwise float away under its own antigravity power, and the free-psych build of closer “Zodiacal Lights of Onségen,” which shimmers in otherworldly fashion and improvised-sounding spark. On Svart or not, Duel is one of the best albums I’ve heard this year, and one the creativity of which puts it in a class of its own, even in the vast reaches of psychedelic rock. Whether it means to or not, it tells a story with sound, and that story should be heard.

Onségen Ensemble on Thee Facebooks

Onsegen Ensemble on Bandcamp

 

The Heavy Eyes, Live in Memphis

the heavy eyes live in memphis

Since so much of The Heavy Eyes’ studio presentation has consistently been about crispness of sound and structured songwriting, it’s kind of a relief to hear them knock into some feedback at the start of “Mannish Boy” at the outset of Live in Memphis (on Kozmik Artifactz). The three-piece of guitarist/vocalist Tripp Shumake, bassist Wally Anderson and drummer Eric Garcia are still tight as hell, of course, and their material – drawn here from the band’s LPs, 2015’s He Dreams of Lions (review here), 2012’s Maera, 2011’s self-titled, as well as sundry shorter offerings – is likewise. They’ve never been an overly dangerous band, nor have they wanted to be, but the stage performance does add a bit of edge to “Iron Giants” from the debut, which is followed by singing “Happy Birthday” to a friend in the crowd. One of the most enjoyable aspects of Live in Memphis is hearing The Heavy Eyes loosen up a bit on stage, and hearing them sound like they’re having as good a time playing as the crowd is watching and hearing them do so. That sense of fun suits them well.

The Heavy Eyes on Thee Facebooks

The Heavy Eyes at Kozmik Artifactz

 

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Thunderbird Divine Announce Debut Album Title Magnasonic; Post “Madras Blue” Video

Posted in Whathaveyou on July 17th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

Tomorrow night, Philadelphia four-piece Thunderbird Divine take the stage at Arlene’s Grocery in Manhattan atop the bill for the latest installment of the Ode to Doom show series. The band is only just now announcing the title of their Salt of the Earth Records debut album will be Magnasonic and that it will be released in the coming months via Salt of the Earth Records. To lead the way into the record, Thunderbird Divine — who first made their presence known in Spring 2017 and confirmed the album being through Salt of the Earth earlier this year — have a new video.

Does the track come from the album? No. It doesn’t. Why not? I think because, at least in part, that would be predictable. You’d see that coming. A band who are about to put out their debut LP? Well of course they have a video, probably for the catchiest cut on the thing. Thunderbird Divine? Their video is for an off-album instrumental weirdo exploration piece called “Madras Blue,” because screw expectation. One can only hope the entire full-length is so willing to follow its own impulses.

And yeah, that means I haven’t heard it yet. Hopefully sooner than later. I watch my email like a hawk these days. Like the sleepiest motherfucking hawk you ever saw in your life.

But that’s a matter for a different discussion. Here’s the latest from Salt of the Earth, as well as the “Madras Blue” video, which is down at the bottom:

thunderbird divine in studio

Thunderbird Divine Reveals Debut Album Title “Magnasonic,” Releases Promotional Video for “Madras Blue”

Philly’s crew of psychedelic riffologists, Thunderbird Divine, has revealed the title of its first recording. Titled Magnasonic, meaning “great sounds” in Latin, the 30-plus-minute album will be released in both CD and digital download formats via Connecticut’s Salt of the Earth Records (https://www.saltoftheearthrecords.com/) in late Summer/early Fall.

“The rough mixes I’ve heard thus far are next-level,” says Scott Harrington, president of Salt of the Earth Records. “Nobody we know has a record like this. With Thunderbird Diviine’s Magnasonic, Salt of the Earth Records is going to have a landmark release. It’s heavy, it’s psychedelic, it’s layered… it’s really like nothing else out there right now.”

Produced by musician/songwriter LD Beghtol (Flare/Moth Wranglers/Magnetic Fields), the sounds on the upcoming release offer a different flavor from past projects made by this conglomeration of musicians. The quartet, which coalesced in March of 2017 from the remains of Wizard Eye (vocalist/guitarist Erik Caplan) and Skeleton Hands (drummer Mike Stuart, bassist Adam Scott and guitarist Flynn Lawrence), is open to experimentation.

“We all wanted to stretch out and try some different things with our first record,” Caplan says. “It’s not like we abandoned the idea of big riffs, but we went for some progressive moments and embraced the idea of embroidering the songs with textures you don’t tend to hear in heavy music. LD certainly encouraged and instigated this kind of behavior.”

For a band holding a straightforward stoner and riff-rock pedigree, the inclusion of varied textures like piano, sitar, pump organ, bouzouki, marxophone, mandolin, synths and choral voices may seem disparate, or, more damnably, weird for the sake of being weird.

“We were aware this album might be perceived as an attempt to do too much or cram a square peg into a round hole,” Caplan says. “I think the heart of this collection is a solid, heavy band playing good rock songs, and the additional instrumentation takes the music to a fully realized place with the textures the songs need to make them complete. When you’re a musician imagining a piano in one of your songs, for example, it makes sense to get that piano part into the recording of that song if at all possible. The recording will be around forever.”

In keeping with the band’s promise to offer fresh, non-album tracks with promotional videos, Thunderbird Divine’s newest video track, “Madras Blue,” is a trippy intergalactic foray into a realm of swirling electric sitars, pulsing beats and staggered drones. The self-recorded song was set to video by drummer/percussionist Stuart.

“The narrative here follows the story we set in motion with ‘Quaalude Thunder,'” Stuart explains. “There was an arrival in the first video. Now there’s a celebration of that arrival and a birth. We can’t wait to continue telling this tale.”

Check out Thunderbird Divine at New York’s Ode to Doom at Arlene’s Grocery July 18: https://www.facebook.com/events/138916263419072/

https://www.facebook.com/thunderbirddivine
https://www.instagram.com/thunderbird_divine/
https://www.facebook.com/SaltOfTheEarthRec/
www.SaltOfTheEarthRecords.com

Thunderbird Divine, “Madras Blue” official video

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Pale Divine Stream “Spinning Wheel”; Confirm Nov. Release for Self-Titled LP; Tour Starts July 20

Posted in Whathaveyou on July 9th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

Okay, so the new Pale Divine song kicks ass. With guitarist Greg Diener and bassist Ron “Fezzy” McGinnis trading off vocal parts — including some well-placed and well-mixed backing screams — as well as an uptempo kick from drummer Darin McCloskey, “Spinning Wheel” makes it abundantly clear the long-running doom merchants are trying new things on their fifth long-player. Respected purveyor Shadow Kingdom Records unveiled the new track on the occasion of confirming a Nov. 23 release date for the self-titled outing, and the timing is excellent as it also precedes Pale Divine heading out on tour this month with fellow dug-in doomers Apostle of Solitude on an Obelisk-presented run through the Southeast and Midwest that keeps some excellent company along the way. You’d almost think these things were planned out ahead of time.

The point here is, if you’re the list-making type, save a spot on yours for the new Pale Divine. I’ve got a good feeling about it, and “Spinning Wheel” only reinforces that.

From the PR wire:

PALE DIVINE S/T

Pale Divine NEWS!

RELEASE DATES ARE FOR IN PHYSICAL STORES AND DIGITAL ONLY. The physical CDs, Vinyls, and Cassettes will come out and be available to purchase ONLINE before the in store release date. We’ll make further announcements when those will be available.

SKR159 – PALE DIVINE – Pale Divine (Digital) 11/23/2018
SKR159CD – PALE DIVINE – Pale Divine (CD) 11/23/2018 (or before)
SKR159LP – PALE DIVINE – Pale Divine (Vinyl) 11/23/2018 (or before)
SKR159CT – PALE DIVINE – Pale Divine (Cassette) 11/23/2018 (or before)

SHADOW KINGDOM RECORDS is proud to present PALE DIVINE’s highly anticipated fifth album, Pale Divine, on CD, vinyl LP, and cassette tape formats.

For nearly 25 years now, PALE DIVINE have been perfecting the proto-doom sound – rooted in the ’70s, particularly Pentagram and Ozzy-era Black Sabbath but also Sir Lord Baltimore, Leafhound, and even very early Judas Priest – but predating so many cloying pretenders ever since. Not for them is this just another trendy bandwagon to jump on; PALE DIVINE truly LIVE this music. The public’s tastes may be fickle, but diehards know and love the name PALE DIVINE. And for very good reason: albums like 2001’s Thunder Perfect Mind and 2004’s Eternity Revealed are considered classics of the genre, carrying the torch of ’80s forebears like Saint Vitus and Trouble, and keeping that flame burning whatever the cost.

And though it’s been six long years since PALE DIVINE’s last album, 2012’s SHADOW KINGDOM-released Painted Windows Black, the power-trio sound more energized than ever on Pale Divine. A veritable tour de force of everything that’s been brewing in the band’s cauldron lo these many years, Pale Divine explodes with thunder and swagger at every turn: from epic metal excursions to bluesy rockers, groove behemoths to graveyard laments, psychedelic swirl to straight-up crush, this album literally has it ALL! Naturally, actual honest-to-goodness songwriting takes center stage here, and PALE DIVINE possess the panache to pull it all of with style and grace, effortlessly and unselfconsciously so. At the forefront, as ever, are the always soulful vocals of guitarist Greg Diener, who brings pathos and poignancy to such heartrending topics as “Chemical Decline,” “Bleeding Soul,” “So Low,” and “Curse the Shadows.” Which is to say nothing of the production on Pale Divine, which has that rich warmth and as-true-as-it-gets analog sound that further underline the timelessness PALE DIVINE have made their stock-in-trade since the beginning.

The more things change, the more they stay the same sometimes, and there stands PALE DIVINE, tall and proud. In 2018, you’re not gonna find a better, more rockin’ and more pure DOOM album than Pale Divine!

Check out a NEW SINGLE on BANDCAMP!
https://shadowkingdomrecords.bandcamp.com/album/pale-divine

Apostle of Solitude & Pale Divine – 2018 How the West Was Doomed Tour

7/20 Lafayette LA – Freetown Boom Boom Room w Forming the Void & Doomstress
7/21 Houston TX – Dan Electro’s (1pm early show)
7/21 San Antonio TX – Faust Tavern
7/22 Austin TX – Beerland w Witchcryer
7/23 Dallas TX – Prophet Bar w Kin of Ettins, Space Ape & Stone Machine Electric
7/24 Fort Smith AR – Hero’s w RedWitch Johnny
7/25 Shreveport LA – Bear’s w 18th State
7/26 Memphis TN – Growlers w Admiral Longtooth
7/27 Indianapolis IN – State Street Pub w Desert Planet
7/28 Chicago IL – Reggie’s w deepspacepilots

Pale Divine is:
Greg Diener – vocals & guitar
Ron “Fezzy” McGinnis – bass & vocals
Darin McCloskey – drums

https://www.facebook.com/serpentspath/
http://www.paledivineband.com/
https://www.facebook.com/ShadowKingdomRecords/
https://twitter.com/ShadowKingdom/
https://shadowkingdomrecords.bandcamp.com/
https://www.shadowkingdomrecords.com/

Pale Divine, “Spinning Wheel”

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The Obelisk Presents: Apostle of Solitude & Pale Divine Tour Dates

Posted in The Obelisk Presents on June 19th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

Earlier this year, Indianapolis four-piece Apostle of Solitude threw themselves into contention for the best doom release of 2018 with their fourth album, From Gold to Ash (review here), but before the year is out, one hopes, Pennsylvania-based trio Pale Divine will have their first long-player in more than half a decade released by Shadow Kingdom, and there’s little doubt it’ll have its own argument to make in that regard. If you want a preview of the head-to-head matchup that seems likely to at least make my December more difficult come year-end list time, the two bands will hit the road together next month for a tour of which I’m proud to count this site among the presenters. I know I’ve said this before, but pretty much anytime Apostle of Solitude do anything — video, new track, shows, whatever — I’m happy to be involved somehow. The company they’re keeping on this run only makes that truer.

You can dig the dates below, as well as copious linkage and album streams, because it’s good to be informed and all that kind of thing, but the point here is you should go see these bands. Especially if you haven’t, but even if you have. Apostle of Solitude are riding their best stuff to-date, and Pale Divine are heralding the release of a new record, and I don’t know if you knew this about them, but that’s not exactly something that happens every day.

Dates follow as put together by Hi-Wattage Booking:

pale divine apostle of solitude tour poster

Apostle of Solitude & Pale Divine – 2018 How the West Was Doomed Tour

7/20 Lafayette LA – Freetown Boom Boom Room w Forming the Void & Doomstress
7/21 Houston TX – Dan Electro’s (1pm early show)
7/21 San Antonio TX – Faust Tavern
7/22 Austin TX – Beerland w Witchcryer
7/23 Dallas TX – Prophet Bar w Kin of Ettins, Space Ape & Stone Machine Electric
7/24 Fort Smith AR – Hero’s w RedWitch Johnny
7/25 Shreveport LA – Bear’s w 18th State
7/26 Memphis TN – Growlers w Admiral Longtooth
7/27 Indianapolis IN – State Street Pub w Desert Planet
7/28 Chicago IL – Reggie’s w deepspacepilots

Apostle of Solitude is:
Corey Webb – drums
Chuck Brown – guitars, vocals
Steve Janiak – guitars, vocals
Mike Naish – bass

Pale Divine is:
Greg Diener – vocals & guitar
Ron “Fezzy” McGinnis – bass & vocals
Darin McCloskey – drums

www.facebook.com/apostleofsolitude
twitter.com/Chuck_solitude
apostleofsolitude.com
www.cruzdelsurmusic.com
cruzdelsurmusic.bandcamp.com
www.facebook.com/cruzdelsurmusic
twitter.com/CruzDelSurMusic

https://www.facebook.com/serpentspath/
http://www.paledivineband.com/
https://www.facebook.com/ShadowKingdomRecords/
https://twitter.com/ShadowKingdom/
https://shadowkingdomrecords.bandcamp.com/
https://www.shadowkingdomrecords.com/

Apostle of Solitude, From Gold to Ash (2018)

Pale Divine, Painted Windows Black (2012)

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