Jakethehawk Premiere “June” From Hinterlands out Feb. 19

Posted in audiObelisk on January 7th, 2021 by JJ Koczan

Jakethehawk Hinterlands

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania-based heavy rockers Jakethehawk will release their third album, Hinterlands, on Feb. 19 as their first offering through Ripple Music. It is the follow-up to 2018’s To Build a Fire (discussed here) and pushes outward into new ranges of progressive melody driven both by airy guitar effects for a post-rock vibe and the vocals of guitarist/keyboardist John Huxley — joined by guitarist Josh Emery and bassist Justin Lober on vocals here and there throughout, while Jordan Lober rounds out the four-piece on drums — across six songs and a dynamic 38 minutes that build on influences from the likes of The OceanOpeth and maybe even Between the Buried and Me as much as Elder or any number of their acolyte heavy-made-prog outfits.

Most of all what Jakethehawk do throughout Hinterlands is distinguish themselves. Each track is between five and a half — the shortest is the penultimate “Uncanny Valley” at 5:31 — and about seven minutes long, but how that time is used varies widely and creates an full-album immersion that speaks to the root intent of the band. That is, Hinterlands should be taken as a whole, or at very least as its two three-song halves on an LP. In any case, the overarching flow is established early in “Counting” as the carefully controlled rhythm brings to mind a patience of songwriting that resists the urge to fully break out and run, even at its max-weight apex in the second half.

Instead, it’s the subsequent “Ochre and Umber” that starts off at a sprint, but even that’s momentary, as the band instead turns to a drift and floating Jakethehawk Hinterlandsprogression as setup for the central riff that emerges complemented/contrasted by acoustic strum in the verse. Hooky and revealing of the band’s metalloprog leanings, “Ochre and Umber” is backed by “Interzone Mantra,” which is fuzzed, stretched, intense and patient all at the same time, a consuming highlight for a record that’s already shown marked grace and only continues to do so throughout side B, as “Still Life” (lest we forget Opeth) leans more toward the acoustics in longer subdued stretches before unveiling its full doomly march.

Somewhere between weighted prog and heavy post-rock, Jakethehawk stand out because of their underlying punk influence without being at all punk. As the bass rumbles in “Uncanny Valley” and the guitars once more embrace a wider breadth intertwined with acoustics, the atmosphere is central in a way that most heavy rock doesn’t dare toward, while keeping a sense of not just continuity with the material surrounding, but a point of arrival at the album’s crescendo, which it might be were it not for “June” at the end crashing in with its initial roll, the opening riff familiar but hard to pick out of a half-remembered ether as the band twist it into their own and proceed to summarize the blend of craft and mood they’ve harnessed all along throughout Hinterlands, culminating in a significant round of pummel and shouts before rumbling to the album’s finish.

Jakethehawk were announced as signing to Ripple last September as part of a cohort that includes Thunder HorseStarified and Appalooza. As records have started to arrive from this set, they each bring something new to the label’s aesthetic, and Jakethehawk‘s penchant for heavy and progressive melody does likewise. Parts may ring recognizable, but they’re no one here so much as themselves.

“June” is premiering below, followed by the album preorder link and more info from the PR wire.

Please enjoy:

Album preorder: https://ripplemusic.bigcartel.com/products?utf8=%E2%9C%93&search=jakethehawk

Formed in 2016, Jakethehawk has always sought to synthesize the classic, riff-centric sound of proto-metal’s pioneers with the textures of psychedelic rock and progressive rock. Additionally, heavy influence is drawn from the band’s home turf… both from the the lush, wooded river valley and from the rich tradition of folk music that still blossoms here. Really, it would be disingenuous for a band from this place to call themselves “desert rock”… much as the landscape and the culture shaped the music of the Palm Desert scene in the early 90’s, so too does Jakethehawk embrace the influence from their homeland. The band embrace their self-given, oxymoronic moniker, “Appalachian Desert Rock” because, they feel it sums these things up… but more importantly than that.. they like it.

2020 sees core members Huxley, Lober and Lober adding guitarist and “sometimes vocalist” Josh Emery to the band as a permanent member to expand their sonic palette in both a live and studio setting.

Jakethehawk is:
John Huxley (Vocals, Guitars, Keyboards)
Jordan Lober (Drums)
Justin Lober (Bass, Vocals)
Josh Emery (Guitar, Vocals)

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Jakethehawk on Instagram

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Jakethehawk on Spotify

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Ripple Music website

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Fuzznaut Premiere New Single “Haunting Mantra” out This Week

Posted in audiObelisk on October 27th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

fuzznaut

Pittsburgh one-man drone outfit Fuzznaut will release the new single Haunting Mantra on Friday, Oct. 30. It is a crowded pre-Halloween release date, to be sure, but one expects few among the multitudes will so effectively convey the paranoia and uncertainty of the right-now in which we’re living. Part X-Files soundtrack, part post-metallic atmospheric sludge tonality, part pure exploration, the 8:40 work from guitarist Emilio Rizzo follows the 2019 debut Fuzznaut EP, Form is Emptiness (review here), and though it is comprised of material from the same sessions, it feels less specifically Americana-gothic than the prior offering. That could be an affect of the way in which the song was built up from already-recorded pieces, but either way, the somethingelseness works to its benefit.

A clean creeper of a guitar progression — bass, drums, vocals, keys, etc. need not apply — if offset by dense distortion that carries a home-recorded feel as if to emphasize the notion that some projects were just made to exist in an age of quarantine. Rizzo isn’t out to put on a technical show, but there is a precise feeling to the tempo at which “Haunting Mantra” plays out, and the track’s title serves double-duty as a mission statement. The arrangement is of course sparse, but too restless ultimately to be minimal — Rizzo gives himself away as a writer of riffs in an underlying sense of structure to the track — and you can read in the track info below that the guitarist is playing toward notions of tonal weight and creating something “heavy” in the sense of heavy rock or doom while bringing that to a sound based on drone. Such stylistic aims don’t necessarily account directly for the mood in “Haunting Mantra,” but neither do they dismiss it.

It is perhaps the experimentation in “Haunting Mantra” that most resonates, at least in terms of concept, and the fact that Rizzo is willing to pull pieces apart and remake them in such a way only holds promise for things to come from Fuzznaut as his palette continues to expand, even if that just means working with different effects, loops, etc., to create varied atmospheres. One way or the other, the track is indeed a work of heaviness, and you can hear it premiering below ahead of the glut of offerings out this weekend.

Please enjoy:

“Haunting Mantra” is an 8 + minute sonic experience of echoing riffs and reaping heavy fuzz. The music bursts between lurking feelings of dread, and elation. These atmospheres take hold with pounding intensity. The original pieces were set for “Form Is Emptiness” sessions but were deconstructed and reformed to provide this current offering of earth-shattering tones.

Release Date: October 30, 2020

Music By FUZZNAUT recorded at Strega Sana V2.

Mixed and Mastered by Viking Guitar Productions

Fuzznaut, Form is Emptiness (2019)

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Quarterly Review: The Pilgrim, Polymoon, Doctors of Space, Merlock, Sun Dial, Saturn’s Husk, Diggeth, Horizon, Limousine Beach, The Crooked Whispers

Posted in Reviews on October 12th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

THE-OBELISK-FALL-2020-QUARTERLY-REVIEW

Well, the weekend’s over and it’s time to wrap up the Quarterly Review. Rest assured, I wrote the following during my copious weekend leisure time, resting on the side of a heated Olympic-size pool with a beverage nearby. It definitely wasn’t four in the morning on a Sunday or anything. If I haven’t gotten the point across yet, I hope you’ve found something amid this massive swath of records that has resonated with you. By way of a cheap plug, I’ll be featuring audio from a lot of these bands on the Gimme Metal show this Friday, 5PM Eastern, if you’re up for tuning in.

Either way, thanks for reading and for being a part of the whole thing. Let’s wrap it up.

Quarterly Review #51-60:

The Pilgrim, …From the Earth to the Sky and Back

the pilgrim from the earth to the sky and back

Lest he be accused of laziness, Gabriele Fiori — also of Black Rainbows, Killer Boogie and the head of the Heavy Psych Sounds label, booking agency and festival series — made his solo debut as The Pilgrim with Spring 2019’s Walking into the Forest (review here). Joined by Black Rainbows drummer Filippo Ragazzoni, Fiori ups the scale of the journey with the second The Pilgrim LP, …From the Earth to the Sky and Back. Richer in arrangement, bolder in craft and more confident in performance, the album runs 14 songs and 50 minutes still largely based around an acoustic acid rock foundation, but with a song like “Riding the Horse” tapping ’70s singer-songwriter vibes while “Cuba” touches on Latin percussion and guitar and “Space and Time” journeying out near the record’s end with waves of synthesizer, it seems The Pilgrim isn’t so willing to be pigeonholed. So much the better.

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Heavy Psych Sounds website

 

Polymoon, Caterpillars of Creation

Polymoon Caterpillars of Creation

There is an undercurrent of extremity to the debut release from Polymoon, who hail from the psychedelic hotbed that is Tampere, Finland. The six-song/42-minute Caterpillars of Creation turns in opener “Silver Mt.” to fervent guitar push or from freaked-out cosmic prog into drifting post-universe exploration, setting the stage for the dynamic that unfolds throughout. The wash early in the second half of “Lazaward” is glorious, and it’s not the first or the last time Polymoon go to that adrenaline-pumping well, but the serenity that caps that song and seems to continue into “Malamalama” in closing side A is no less effective. “Helicaling” mounts tension in its early drumming but finally releases it later, and “Neitherworld” gives Caterpillars of Creation‘s most fervent thrust while closer “Metempsychosis” rounds out with a fitting sense of dissipation. As a first album/first release, it is particularly stunning, and to make it as plain as possible, I will think less of any list of 2020’s best debut albums that leaves out Polymoon.

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Svart Records website

 

Doctors of Space, First Treatment

doctors of space first treatment

The two-piece comprised of Martin Weaver (ex-Wicked Lady) and synthesist Scott “Dr. Space” Heller (Øresund Space Collective, Black Moon Circle, etc.) position First Treatment as their proper studio debut, and it certainly hits its marks in galaxial adventuring well enough to qualify as such, but the duo have been on a creative splurge throughout this year — even in lockdown — and so the six songs here are also born out of the work they’ve been doing since releasing their debut single “Ghouls ‘n’ Shit” (video premiere here) late last year. The album launches with “Journey to Enceladus,” which boasts drum programming by Weaver and though one of the movements in the 21-minute “Into the Oort Cloud” is based around beats, the bulk of First Treatment is purely a work of guitar and synth, and it basks in the freedom that being so untethered inherently brings. Running an hour long, it’s improvisational nature isn’t going to be for everyone, but Heller and Weaver make a strong argument that maybe it should be.

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Space Rock Productions website

 

Merlock, That Which Speaks

merlock that which speaks

Who’s ready for a New Wave of PNW Fuckery? That’s right folks, the NWOPNWF has arrived and it’s Spokane, Washington’s Merlock leading the sometimes-awfully-punk-sometimes-awfully-metal-but-somehow-also-always-sludge charge. Aggressive and damning in lyrics, swapping between raw screams, grows, shouts and cleaner vocals and unhinged in terms of its genre loyalties, That Which Speaks seems to find the “melt faces” setting wherever it goes, and though there’s a sense of the four-piece feeling out what works best for them stylistically, the sometimes frantic, sometimes willfully awkward transitions — as in second cut “Prolapse” — serve the overall purpose of undercutting predictability. Eight-minute opener/longest track (immediate points) “Idolon” stomps and shoves and gnashes and nasties its way through, and that’s the modus across what follows, though the scream-along headbanger “Vessel” somehow seems even rawer, and though it ends by floating into oblivion, the start of “Condemnation” heavy fuckin’ metal to me. You never know quite where Merlock are going to hit next, and that’s the joy of the thing. May they remain so cacophonous.

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Merlock on Bandcamp

 

Sun Dial, Mind Control: The Ultimate Edition

sun dial mind control

Long-running UK psychedelic rockers Sun Dial — led by founding guitarist/vocalist Gary Ramon — released Mind Control in 2012. Sulatron Records picked it up in 2015, and now, five years after that, the same label presents Mind Control: The Ultimate Edition, a 2CD version of the original LP-plus-bonus-tracks reissue that brings the total runtime of the release to a well-beyond-manageable 98 minutes of lysergic experimentation. A full 20 tracks are included in the comprehensive-feeling offering, and from early mixes to alternative takes and lost tracks, and if this isn’t the ‘ultimate’ version of Mind Control, I’m not sure what could be, notwithstanding a complete-studio-sessions box set. Perhaps as a step toward that, Mind Control: The Ultimate Edition gives an in-depth look at a vastly underappreciated outfit and is obviously put together as much for the label as by it. That is to say, you don’t put out a reissue like this unless you really love the original record, and if Sulatron loving a record isn’t enough endorsement for you, please turn in your mushrooms on your way out the door.

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Sulatron Records webstore

 

Saturn’s Husk, The Conduit

Saturns Husk The Conduit

Immersion is the goal of Saturn’s Husk‘s third long-player, The Conduit, and the Riga, Latvia, instrumentalist trio accomplish it quickly with the fluid riffs that emerge from the drone-based intro “Death of Imaginary Lights” and the subsequent 10-minute opener “Black Nebula.” At nine songs and 63 minutes, the album is consuming through the welcome nodder “The Heavenly Ape,” the especially-doomed “The Ritual” and the more mellow-float centerpiece “Spectral Haze,” while “Mycelium Messiah” brings more straight-ahead fuzz (for a time) and drones on either side surround the 10:35 “Sand Barrows,” the latter serving as the finale “A Shattered Visage” quoting Percy Bysshe Shelley and the former “City of the Djinn” running just a minute-plus but still doing enough to reset the brain from where “Mycelium Messiah” left it. Almost functioning as two albums side-by-side with “Spectral Haze” as the dividing point, The Conduit indeed seems to join various sides together, with a depth to coincide that invites the listener to explore along with it.

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Diggeth, Gringos Galacticos

diggeth gringos galacticos

Landing a punch of classic metal to go along with its heavy-bottomed groove, Diggeth‘s Gringos Galacticos — one supposes the title ‘Spacecrackers’ was taken — was released by the Dutch trio in 2019 and receives a US limited vinyl edition thanks to Qumran Records. One finds some similar guitar heroics to those of Astrosoniq‘s more straightforward moments, but Diggeth‘s focus remains on hookmaking for the duration, offering hints of twang and acoustics in “In the Wake of Giants” and tipping a hat southwestward in “Three Gringos,” but “Straight-Shooter” is willfully breaks out its inner Hetfield and even as the penultimate “Unshackled” departs for a quieter break, it makes its way back in time for the big finish chorus, adding just a touch of Candlemass grandiosity for good measure before the harmonica-laced closing title-track rounds out with its dynamic spacey weirdness, the name of the album repeating itself in an answer to the Stephen Hawking sample that started the voyage on its way.

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Qumran Records website

 

Horizon, The White Planet Patrol

horizon the white planet patrol

Cursed Tongue Records has the vinyl here, and Three Moons the tape, and the CD will arrive through Aladeriva Records, La Rubia Producciones, Aneurisma Records, Surnia Records and Violence in the Veins — so yes, Horizon‘s third album, The White Planet Patrol is well backed. Fair enough for the Kyuss-via-BlackRainbows vibes of “End of Utopia” or the initial charge and flow of “The Backyard” that sets the Alicante, Spain, trio on their way. “King Serpent” and “Death & Teddies” bring well-crafted fuzz to bear, and “Blind World” effectively layers vocals in its chorus to coincide, but the more laid back roll of the title-cut is an unmistakable highlight. Shades of mid-paced Nebula surface in “Meet the Forest” later on, but Horizon are part of a tradition of heavy bands in Alicante and they know it. The smoothness of their tone and delivery speaks volumes on its own in that regard, never mind the actual songwriting, which also leaves nothing to be desired.

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Cursed Tongue Records webstore

 

Limousine Beach, Stealin’ Wine + 2

Limousine Beach Stealin Wine

Debut EP from Limousine Beach out of Pittsburgh, and if the three guitars involved don’t push it over the top, certainly the vocal harmonies get that particular job done. You got six minutes for three songs? Yeah, obviously. They scorch through “Tiny Hunter” to close out, but it’s in the leadoff title-track that Stealin’ Wine + 2 sees the Dave Wheeler-fronted outfit land its most outrageous chorus, just before they go on to find a middle-ground between KISS and Thin Lizzy on “Hear You Calling.” The harmonies open and are striking from the outset, but it’s in how they’re arranged around the standalone parts from Wheeler (also Outsideinside, ex-Carousel) that the outfit’s truest potential is shown. Issued through Tee Pee Records, Stealin’ Wine + 2 is the kind of thing you’d pick up at a show in a normal year and then feel way ahead of everyone else when the LP finally hits. Not a normal year, obviously, but Limousine Beach are serving due notice just the same. In six minutes, no less.

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Tee Pee Records website

 

The Crooked Whispers, Satanic Melodies

the crooked whispers satanic melodies

I’m sure a lot of records show up at Satan’s door with notes, like, “Dear sir, please find the enclosed submitted for your approval,” but it’s not hard to imagine Beelzebub himself getting down with the filth-coated sludge and rolling doom unfurled across The Crooked Whispers‘ debut offering, Satanic Melodies, marked by hateful, near-blackened screams from Anthony Gaglia and the plodding riffs of Chad Davis (Hour of 13, et al). The title-track is longest at 8:23 and in addition to featuring Ignacio De Tommaso‘s right-on bass tone in its midsection, it plays out early like Weedeater sold their collective soul, and drifts out where earlier pieces “Sacrifice” and “Evil Tribute” and “Profane Pleasure” held their roll for the duration. Stretches of clean-vocal cultistry add to the doomier aspects, but The Crooked Whispers seem to care way less about genre than they do about worshiping the devil, and that unshakable faith behind them, the rest seems to fall into place in accordingly biting fashion.

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Quarterly Review: Molasses Barge, Slow Green Thing, Haze Mage & Tombtoker, White Dog, Jupiterian, Experiencia Tibetana, Yanomamo, Mos Eisley Spaceport, Of Wolves, Pimmit Hills

Posted in Reviews on October 6th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

THE-OBELISK-FALL-2020-QUARTERLY-REVIEW

We roll on with day two of the Fall 2020 Quarterly Review featuring another batch of 10 records en route to 50 by Friday — and actually, I just put together the list for a sixth day, so it’ll be 60 by next Monday. As much as things have been delayed from the pandemic, there’s been plenty to catch up on in the meantime and I find I’m doing a bit of that with some of this stuff today and yesterday. So tacking on another day to the end feels fair enough, and it was way easy to pick 10 more folders off my far-too-crowded desktop and slate them for review. So yeah, 60 records by Monday. I bet I could get to 70 if I wanted. Probably better for my sanity if I don’t. Anyhoozle, more to come. For now…

Quarterly Review #11-20:

Molasses Barge, A Grayer Dawn

molasses barge a grayer dawn

Following up their 2017 self-titled debut issued through Blackseed Records, Pittsburgh-based rockers Molasses Barge present A Grayer Dawn through Argonauta, and indeed, in songs like “Holding Patterns” or the melancholy “Control Letting Go,” it is a somewhat moodier offering than its predecessor. But also more focused. Molasses Barge, in songs like stomping opener “The Snake” and its swing-happy successor “Desert Discord,” and in the later lumber of “Black Wings Unfurl” and push of the title-track, reside at an intersection of microgenres, with classic heavy rock and doom and modern tonality and production giving them an edge in terms of overarching heft in their low end. Riffs are choice throughout from guitarists Justin Gizzi and Barry Mull, vocalist Brian “Butch” Balich (Argus, ex-Penance, etc.) sounds powerful as ever, and the rhythm section of bassist Amy Bianco and drummer Wayne Massey lock in a succession of grooves that find welcome one after the other until the final “Reprise” fades to close the album. Its individuality is deceptive, but try to fit Molasses Barge neatly in one category or the other and they’ll stand out more than it might at first seem.

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Argonauta Records website

 

Slow Green Thing, Amygdala

slow-green-thing_amygdala-2000

Yes, this. Slow Green Thing‘s third album, Amygdala, is melodic without being overbearing and filled out with a consuming depth and warmth of tone. A less jammy, more solo-prone Sungrazer comes to mind; that kind of blend of laid back vocals and heavy psychedelic impulse. But the Dresden four-piece have their own solidified, nodding grooves to unveil as well, tapping into modern stoner with two guitars setting their fuzz to maximum density and Sven Weise‘s voice largely floating overtop, echo added to give even more a sense of largesse and space to the proceedings, which to be sure have plenty of both. The six-track/44-minute outing picks up some speed in “Dirty Thoughts” at the outset of side B, and brings a fair bit of crush to the title-track earlier and lead-laced finale “Love to My Enemy,” but in “Dreamland,” they mellow and stretch out the drift and the effect is welcome and not at all out of place beside the massive sprawl conjured in side A capper “All I Want.” And actually, that same phrase — “all I want” — covers a good portion of my opinion on the band’s sound.

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Fuzzmatazz Records website

 

Haze Mage & Tombtoker, Split

Haze Mage Tombtoker Split

Anyone bemoaning the state of traditionalist doom metal would do well to get their pants kick’d by Haze Mage, and when that’s done, it’s time to let the stoned zombie sludge of Tombtoker rip your arms off and devour what’s left. The two Baltimorean five-pieces make a righteously odd pairing, but they’ve shared the stage at Grim Reefer Fest in Charm City, and what they have most in common is a conviction of approach that comes through on each half of the four-song/19-minute offering, with Haze Mage shooting forth with “Sleepers” and the semi-NWOBHM “Pit Fighter,” metal, classic prog and heavy rock coming together with a vital energy that is immediately and purposefully contradicted in Tombtoker‘s played-fast-but-is-so-heavy-it-still-sounds-slow “Braise the Dead” and “Botched Bastard,” both of which find a way to be a ton of fun while also being unspeakably brutal and pushing the line between sludge and death metal in a way that would do Six Feet Under proud. Horns and bongs all around, then.

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White Dog, White Dog

white dog white dog

Oldschool newcomers White Dog earn an automatic look by releasing their self-titled debut through former Cathedral frontman Lee Dorrian‘s Rise Above Records, but it’s the band’s clearcut vintage aesthetic that holds the listener’s attention. With proto-metal established as an aesthetic of its own going on 20 years now, White Dog aren’t the first by any means to tread this ground, but especially for an American band, they bring a sincerity of swing and soul that speaks to the heart of the subgenre’s appeal. “The Lantern” leans back into the groove to tell its tale, while “Abandon Ship” is more upfront in its strut, and “Snapdragon” and opener “Sawtooth” underscore their boogie with subtle progressive nods. Closing duo “Pale Horse” and “Verus Cultus” might be enough to make one recall it was Rise Above that issued Witchcraft‘s self-titled, but in the shuffle of “Crystal Panther,” and really across the whole LP White Dog make the classic ideology theirs and offer material of eminent repeat listenability.

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Rise Above Records website

 

Jupiterian, Protosapien

jupiterian protosapien

The only thing that might save you from being swallowed entirely by the deathly mire Brazil’s Jupiterian craft on their third full-length, Protosapien, is the fact that the album is only 35 minutes long. That’s about right for the robe-clad purveyors of tonal violence — 2017’s Terraforming (review here) and 2015’s Aphotic (review here) weren’t much longer — and rest assured, it’s plenty of time for the band to squeeze the juice out of your soul and make you watch while they drink it out of some need-two-hands-to-hold-it ceremonial goblet. Their approach has grown more methodical over the years, and all the deadlier for that, and the deeper one pushes into Protosapien — into “Capricorn,” “Starless” and “Earthling Bloodline” at the end of the record — the less likely any kind of cosmic salvation feels. I’d say you’ve been warned, but really, this is just scratching the surface of the trenches into which Jupiterian plunge.

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Transcending Obscurity Records on Bandcamp

 

Experiencia Tibetana, Vol. I

Experiencia Tibetana Vol I

It’s an archival release, recorded in 2014 and 2015 by the Buenos Aires-based band, but all that really does for the three-song/hour-long Vol. I is make me wonder what the hell Experiencia Tibetana have been up to since and why Vols. II and III are nowhere to be found. The heavy psych trio aren’t necessarily inventing anything on this debut full-length, but the way “Beirut” (18:36) is peppered with memorable guitar figures amid its echo-drifting vocals, and the meditation tucked into the last few minutes of the 26:56 centerpiece “Espalda de Elefante” and the shift in persona to subdued progressive psych on “Desatormentandonos” (14:16) with the bass seeming to take the improvisational lead as guitar lines hold the central progression together, all of it is a compelling argument for one to pester for a follow-up. It may be an unmanageable runtime, but for the come-with-us sense of voyage it carries, Vol. I adapts the listener’s mindset to its exploratory purposes, and proves to be well worth the trip.

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Experiencia Tibetana on Bandcamp

 

Yanomamo, No Sympathy for a Rat

yanomamo no sympathy for a rat

Filth-encrusted and lumbering, Yanomamo‘s sludge takes Church of Misery-style groove and pummels it outright on the opening title-track of their four-song No Sympathy for a Rat EP. Like distilled disillusion, the scream-laced answer to the Sydney four-piece’s 2017 debut, Neither Man Nor Beast, arrives throwing elbows at your temples and through “The Offering,” the wait-is-this-grindcore-well-kinda-in-this-part “Miasma” and the suitably destructive “Iron Crown,” the only letup they allow is topped with feedback. Get in, kill, get out. They have more bounce than Bongzilla but still dig into some of Thou‘s more extreme vibe, but whatever you might want to compare them to, it doesn’t matter: Yanomamo‘s unleashed assault leaves bruises all its own, and the harsher it gets, the nastier it gets, the better. Can’t take it? Can’t hang? Fine. Stand there and be run over — I don’t think it makes a difference to the band one way or the other.

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Iommium Records on Bandcamp

 

Mos Eisley Spaceport, The Best of Their Early Year

mos eisley spaceport the best of their early year

They mean the title literally — “early year.” Bremen, Germany’s Mos Eisley Spaceport — who so smoothly shift between space rock and classic boogie on “Further When I’m Far” and brash tempo changes en route to a final jam-out on “Mojo Filter,” finally unveiling the Star Wars sample at the head of organ-inclusive centerpiece “Space Shift” only to bring early Fu Manchu-style raw fuzz on “Drop Out” and finish with the twanging acoustic and pedal steel of “My Bicycle Won’t Fly” — have been a band for less than a full 12 months. Thus, The Best of Their Early Year signals some of its own progressive mindset and more playful aspects, but it is nonetheless a formidable accomplishment for a new band finding their way. They lay out numerous paths, if you couldn’t tell by the run-on sentence above, and I won’t hazard a guess as to where they’ll end up sound-wise, but they have a fervent sense of creative will that comes through in this material and one only hopes they hold onto whatever impulse it is that causes them to break out the gong on “Space Shift,” because it’s that sense of anything-as-long-as-it-works that’s going to continue to distinguish them.

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Of Wolves, Balance

of wolves balance

One doesn’t often hear “the Wolfowitz Doctrine” brought out in lyrics these days, but Chicago heavy noise metallers Of Wolves aren’t shy about… well, anything. With volume inherent in the sound no matter how loud you’re actually hearing it, conveyed through weighted tones, shouts of progressions unified in intensity but varied in aggression and actual approach, the three-piece take an unashamed stance on a range of issues from the last two decades of war to trying to put themselves into the head of a mass shooter. The lyrics across their sophomore outing, Balance, are worth digging into for someone willing to take them on, but even without, the aggro mosh-stomp of “Maker” makes its point ahead of the 17-second “Flavor of the Weak” before Of Wolves dive into more progressively-structured fare on the title-track and “Clear Cutting/Bloodshed/Heart to Hand.” After “Killing Spree” and the aural-WTF that is “Inside (Steve’s Head),” they finish with a sludgecore take on the Misfits‘ “Die, Die My Darling,” which as it turns out was exactly what was missing up to that point.

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Trepanation Recordings on Bandcamp

 

Pimmit Hills, Heathens & Prophets

Pimmit Hills Heathens Prophets

Comprised of four-fifths of what was Virginian outfit King Giant, it’s hard to know whether to consider Pimmit Hills a new band or a name-change, or what, but the first offering from vocalist David Hammerly, guitarist Todd “TI” Ingram, bassist Floyd Lee Walters III and drummer Brooks, titled Heathens & Prophets and self-released, hits with a bit of a bluesier feel than did the prior outfit, leaving plenty of room for jamming in each track and even going so far as to bring producer J. Robbins in on keys throughout the four-song/29-minute release. I suppose you could call it an EP or an LP — or a demo? — if so inclined, but any way you cut it, Heathens & Prophets plainly benefits from the band’s experience playing together, and they find a more rocking, less moody vibe in “Baby Blue Eyes” and the harmonica-laced “Beautiful Sadness” that has a feel as classic in substance as it is modern in sound and that is both Southern but refusing to bow entirely to cliché.

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Deathwhite Post Lyric Video for “Among Us”

Posted in Bootleg Theater on July 1st, 2020 by JJ Koczan

deathwhite

This is exactly what I needed exactly when I needed it. I’m completely serious. Not only was I thinking about how badass this record was just the other day and hadn’t had a chance to put it on again yet, but I feel like Deathwhite‘s Grave Image (review here) perfectly encapsulates the restless and wrenching melancholy of this year so far. “Among Us” is one of the record’s many deceptively catchy tracks, and it just hits that perfect spot somewhere between Anathema and Paradise Lost for me where melody is priority but there isn’t a corresponding sacrifice of impact for that. It’s like if Katatonia had never developed that keyboard fetish. As we move into the second half of this wretched 2020, I still consider Grave Image — the Pittsburgh-based band’s second offering for Season of Mist behind 2018’s For a Black Tomorrow (review here), about which I felt much the same — one of its best albums.

Further, I know that for whatever reason, whenever I write about something even vaguely informed by death-doom as Deathwhite are, it tends to get a pretty barren response. Well, fine. If I’m 100 percent honest, I’m not posting this video today for you. I’m doing it for me. And I’m not hitting play on the Bandcamp stream of Grave Image because I have to out of some perceived obligation, or because I told PR I’d write about the album, or because it was on my fucking calendar — it wasn’t — but here it is. The video showed up just when I needed it and I’m posting it because it’s something I genuinely enjoy. There. That’s it.

The link in the PR wire info takes you to where you can buy the record through a bunch of digital/physical outlets. One of those portal things. Buy the album or don’t. Give a shit about it or don’t. Even as I listen to it now for the first time in a couple months, I’m swept up in it, so whatever you want to do fine. This is all the impetus I needed and I got it.

Here’s the video:

Deathwhite, “Among Us” official lyric video

Enigmatic dark metal outfit DEATHWHITE has shared a brand new video for the song “Among Us.” The video was made by Guilherme Henriques.

DEATHWHITE comments: “As we are often wont to do, many of the songs on ‘Grave Image’ were revised and tinkered with until we were satisfied, but no song received a bigger overhaul than ‘Among Us.’ The song’s original tempo was half of its current state; it was doomy, perhaps excessively so. Common sense ultimately prevailed and we were able to not only speed the song up (a term we should use loosely in this context) but also work in a somewhat basic chorus by our standards. The song itself has a fairly simple message: Ignorance, falsehoods and gaslighting are not to be tolerated. Unfortunately, these people are still ‘among us,’ spreading their untruths and grievances in very public and far-reaching forums. May it all fall on deaf ears.”

“Among Us” is taken from the band’s latest album, ‘Grave Image,’ which was released earlier this year. ‘Grave Image’ can be streamed/downloaded/ordered at THIS LOCATION.

Deathwhite, Grave Image (2020)

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Deathwhite website

Season of Mist website

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Limousine Beach Set June 19 Release for Stealin’ Wine +2 EP

Posted in Whathaveyou on June 8th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

Limousine Beach (Photo by Nic Lockerman)

Last week in the track premiere for Outsideinside‘s cover of ‘Bang Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down),’ it was noted that that band’s frontman, Dave Wheeler — also formerly of Carousel — had another project going called Limousine Beach, whose debut was forthcoming. The three-song EP, Stealin’ Wine +2, is that release, and it’ll be out June 19 through Tee Pee Records. That Tee Pee has picked up Limousine Beach is interesting; frankly, I wondered what the holdup was on them snagging Outsideinside for either of that act’s LPs after working with Wheeler for Carousel, but whatever the case there, with Limousine Beach, the two parties are rejoined, and yeah, it makes sense listening to the band.

Limousine Beach are a little more modern-tinged than Outsideinside, who wear ’70s rock not so much on their sleeve as more like a sleeve-tattoo, but with three guitars there’s plenty of over-the-topness to be found. I also really dig the image of stealing wine, particularly. Think of stealing wine as opposed to stealing beer. Stealing whiskey. It says something about the kind of party they’re having.

The title-track is streaming at the bottom of the post. Dig it:

Limousine Beach Stealin Wine

LIMOUSINE BEACH to Release “Stealin’ Wine +2” EP on Tee Pee Records June 19th!

Pittsburgh PA’s triple lead guitar outfit Limousine Beach combine concentrated songwriting and nimble fretwork with soaring vocal harmonies to become the world’s first “sizzle rock” band.

Limousine Beach is poised to release its first recorded material on Tee Pee Records June 19, 2020 in the form of an EP entitled “Stealin’ Wine +2.”. Each composition is a compact blast of expertly crafted songwriting, none of which sacrifice complexity or power for brevity. So knock off work early, crank up the Limousine Beach, and if anyone asks where you are, tell ‘em you’re gone sizzlin’.

“Based on true events, ‘Stealin’ Wine’ is a tale of airborne liquor theft. When you have 8 hours left to kill on a transatlantic flight, an unattended booze cart is all the motive you need, says the band.

The EP is available for pre-order HERE: https://orcd.co/limousinebeach

Fronted by vocalist/guitarist Dave Wheeler (Outsideinside, ex-Carousel), the lineup is rounded out by guitarists Evan Mitchell (Cruces) and Jason Sichi (Fist Fight in the Parking Lot), drummer Dan Bhutta (Cruces), and bassist Dan Hernandez (Cruces, Sweat). Drawing inspiration from bands such as The Sweet, The Dictators, Van Halen, The Fucking Champs, Nazareth, Sheer Mag, KISS, Jaguar, and Boston.

Stealin’ Wine +2 Tracklisting:
1. Stealin’ Wine
2. Hear You Calling
3. Tiny Hunter

Lineup:
Jason Sichi – Guitar
Evan Mitchell – Guitar
Dave Wheeler – Guitar/Vocals
Dan Hernandez – Bass
Dan Bhutta – Drums

https://www.facebook.com/limousinebeach/
https://orcd.co/limousinebeach
http://teepeerecords.com/
https://www.facebook.com/teepeerecords/

Limousine Beach, “Stealin’ Wine”

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Outsideinside Premiere “Bang Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down)” Cover; Free Download Available

Posted in audiObelisk on June 4th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

outsideinside

Pittsburgh classic-style heavy rockers Outsideinside issued their second full-length, Outsideinside II (review here), on March 6 through Rock Freaks Records, and this cover was recorded at the same time. If you know the song “Bang Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down)” there’s a decent chance it’s because the track was featured on the soundtrack to Quentin Tarantino’s 2003 two-parter Kill Bill. That version was by Nancy Sinatra, and it appeared on her 1966 album, How Does That Grab You?, and has been covered numerous times over the years by a variety of popsters and other types. The song was originally written by Sonny Bono and appeared on Cher‘s 1966 record, The Sonny Side of Cher, so Sinatra wasn’t first either, even if it’s her take on it that’s probably most recognized at this point. So it goes. Even Cher can’t win ’em all. Stevie Wonder also gave the song a try in ’66, so she’s in good company.

Outsideinside‘s “Bang Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down)” was recorded at the same time as the album, and as that record marked the first appearance in the band of James Hart on organ and keys, so too does Hart make an impression here, adding to the ’60s pop melancholia of the melody even as vocalist/guitarist David Wheeler, bassist Jim Wilson and drummer Panfilo Dicenzo, give the track a weightier edge of kick in its later payoff. To say Outsideinside are in their element is putting it lightly. Among the many versions out there is that featured on Vanilla Fudge‘s 1967 self-titled debut, so there’s certainly precedent to work from, and I’d be surprised if Outsideinside didn’t have that take in mind, as they’re nothing if not schooled in the ways of formative heavy. That’s been true since they debuted with 2017’s Sniff a Hot Rock (review here) and since Wheeler and Wilson were in Carousel before that.

You can still get Outsideinside II, of course, and you can hear the premiere of “Bang Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down)” on the player below here, followed by some comment from Wheeler. Another Wheeler-fronted project, Limousine Beach, has newly announced an EP out this month through Tee Pee Records, so keep an eye out for more there, but in the meantime, enjoy this one:

David Wheeler on “Bang Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down)”:

“Bang Bang has been in our live set since about 2014 (back when we were still a trio), but James’ organ adds some really nice texture to the arrangement we had back then. Although originally written by Sonny Bono and performed by Cher, there are tons of other versions (Nancy Sinatra, Stevie Wonder, Vanilla Fudge, etc). Jim turned me onto Terry Reid/s version years ago and that’s become my favorite.  We recorded it during the sessions for our last LP and would have loved to have put it on the album but you can only fit so many tunes on two sides of vinyl so we decided to save it to release on its own.” 

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Rock Freaks website

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Days of Rona: David Wheeler of OutsideInside

Posted in Features on April 21st, 2020 by JJ Koczan

The statistics of COVID-19 change with every news cycle, and with growing numbers, stay-at-home isolation and a near-universal disruption to society on a global scale, it is ever more important to consider the human aspect of this coronavirus. Amid the sad surrealism of living through social distancing, quarantines and bans on gatherings of groups of any size, creative professionals — artists, musicians, promoters, club owners, techs, producers, and more — are seeing an effect like nothing witnessed in the last century, and as humanity as a whole deals with this calamity, some perspective on who, what, where, when and how we’re all getting through is a needed reminder of why we’re doing so in the first place.

Thus, Days of Rona, in some attempt to help document the state of things as they are now, both so help can be asked for and given where needed, and so that when this is over it can be remembered.

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

outsideinside-david-wheeler

Days of Rona: David Wheeler of OutsideInside (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania)

How are you dealing with this crisis as a band? Have you had to rework plans at all? How is everyone’s health so far?

Mostly we’re just trying to stay in touch via text and support each other. I actually tested positive for covid-19 and was laid up for a few weeks dealing with that. The symptoms of the first week were pretty mild with fever, coughing and chills kicking in for the second week. Even after the symptoms ended I spent another solid week battling fatigue, but thankfully am now completely recovered. Needless to say I’m just now beginning to think about anything music related. So far all I’ve managed to do is learn “Adam’s Apple” by Aerosmith on guitar.

Luckily, the release show for Outsideinside’s new LP took place on March 6, about a week before all of the shit hit the fan so we managed to sneak it in. My other band Limousine Beach had to delay a mixing session for an LP we’re working on and had to cancel a handful of local and out of town shows we were really looking forward to, but we’ll take it all in stride. The most important thing is to flatten this curve. Luckily none of the other people I make music with have gotten [sick].

What are the quarantine/isolation rules where you are?

All non-life sustaining businesses are closed here in Pittsburgh and social distancing is in full effect.

How have you seen the virus affecting the community around you and in music?

Obviously it’s been financially devastating to anyone who makes a living as a performer, working in a venue or as a sound engineer etc. As is the case in disasters, people are working toward creative solutions. For example, my wife Susan Pedrazzi and her friend Elizabeth Sanchez have started a creative collective called Together___Apart that highlights individual artists and features stickers, tote bags, and t-shirts for sale with proceeds benefiting local performers and gig workers (https://instagram.com/together______apart).

Musicians have also found alternative ways to continue performing via livestream and are blasting out home recordings. Aside from music, I was blown away by the support I received from my friends, (as well as strangers in some cases) while I was sick. It just goes to show you that you see the best of people in times like these. There is real work to do to keep everyone’s head above water, and people are finding ways to accomplish that.

What is the one thing you want people to know about your situation as a band, personally, or anything?

Mostly, as someone who is recovering from a “mild” case of covid-19, I just want to say you do not want it and you do not want your friends and/or family to get it. It’s pretty brutal even if you’re a relatively healthy individual. Let’s do right by each other and stay away.

https://www.facebook.com/outsideinside1/
https://open.spotify.com/artist/1Nb2f7ORXPcKchOjqFqauG
https://www.facebook.com/rockfreaksrecords/
http://www.rockfreaks.de/

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