King Buffalo Post “Silverfish” Video From The Burden of Restlessness

Posted in Bootleg Theater on May 28th, 2021 by JJ Koczan

king buffalo (Photo by Mike Turzanski)

We’re inching inexorably closer to the June 4 release of King Buffalo‘s third album, The Burden of Restlessness (review here). “Silverfish” is the second and likely final single to come ahead of the record itself, and it brings out some of the moodier atmospherics that perpetuate throughout the release, the feeling of internalizing covid-era isolation as a state of being, almost Kafka-esque in the lyric complementing its multi-legged tension of riff. It’s short at under three minutes, and of course in the video you don’t get a sense of how it ties into the songs around it, either “Locusts” before or “Grifter” after — both also documents of the time of their making and emblematic of the album’s overall progressive crux.

But still, it’s another slice of the whole, and all the more satisfying with the visual effects in Mike Turzanski‘s accompanying video here, turning the cracks duly inward while also emphasizing the interpersonal connection between players in the band perhaps as a means of reaching out from one human being to another. As the band has announced their first round of touring for 2021 — and there are more dates to come — and news to be told of the second of their three intended albums for 2020, things would seem to be proceeding according to plan for King Buffalo, which, you know, is nice that it’s going that way for anybody at this point.

Is The Burden of Restlessness album of the year? I won’t pretend to know. I’ve got two more King Buffalo LPs to listen to before I’ll be willing to make that determination, let alone anything anyone else puts out. You know I keep a running list though, and it’s certainly right on there. We’ll see how the rest of 2021 shakes out.

Enjoy the video:

King Buffalo, “Silverfish” official video

From the new album, ‘The Burden of Restlessness’ available June 4th. Pre-order now: https://kingbuffalo.com/get-it-now

Directed by Mike Turzanski

The Burden of Restlessness was written and recorded by King Buffalo in Rochester, NY at the Main Street Armory in December of 2020 & January 2021. Produced, engineered & mixed by Sean McVay, and mastered by Bernie Matthews. The artwork was created by Zdzislaw Beksinski with cover fonts by Mike Turzanski and album layout by Scott Donaldson.

2021 Tour Dates (Tickets on sale NOW at kingbuffalo.com)
9/10 Denver, CO @ Larimer Lounge
9/11 Denver, CO @ Larimer Lounge
9/14 Los Angeles, CA @ Moroccan Lounge
9/15 San Francisco, CA @ Bottom of the Hill
9/17 Seattle, WA @ Barboza
9/18 Vancouver, BC @ Fox Cabaret
9/19 Portland, OR @ Lola’s Room
11/5 Philadelphia, PA @ Johnny Brenda’s
11/6 New York, NY @ Mercury Lounge
11/11 Pittsburgh, PA @ Club Café
11/12 Detroit, MI @ Loving Touch
11/13 Indianapolis, IN @ HI-FI
11/14 St. Louis, MO @ Off Broadway
11/16 Madison, WI @ The Bur Oak
11/17 Minneapolis, MN @ 7th St. Entry
11/18 Milwaukee, WI @ Colectivo
11/19 Chicago, IL @ Lincoln Hall
11/20 Cleveland, OH @ Beachland Ballroom

King Buffalo is:
Sean McVay – Guitar, Vocals, & Synth
Dan Reynolds – Bass & Synth
Scott Donaldson – Drums & Percussion

King Buffalo, The Burden of Restlessness (2021)

King Buffalo BigCartel store

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Album Review: King Buffalo, The Burden of Restlessness

Posted in Reviews on May 11th, 2021 by JJ Koczan

king buffalo the burden of restlessness

From the time Rochester, New York, trio King Buffalo announced in March that they’d be releasing three full-lengths over the course of the next 12 months — #3recordsin2021; a challenge as much about logistics in pressing and distributing schedules, if not more so, as about recording the material itself — with each one recorded in a different circumstance, anticipation has justly run high. The first of them, which is both part-one-of-three and the band’s third standalone long-player in its own right — a pivotal arrival for any act — is The Burden of Restlessness, which collects seven tracks across 40 minutes of existence plainly derailed. That is to say, had 2020 not played out as it did in times of pandemic and sociopolitical unrest, King Buffalo‘s third LP would invariably be a much different outing.

The Burden of Restlessness captures the tension of paranoia and fear in its sharp guitar chugs, the notion of things going wrong but proceeding apace in its odd time signatures, churning and roiling grooves and the melancholy and languishing brought on by lockdown and lack of direction in its lyrics, as well as the inward and outward frustration brought on by the decaying of American political norms, the country nearly confronting its troubled history with racism in the wake of the murder of George Floyd and the ensuing protests, as well as the right wing anti-progress cacophony that eventually manifested in the (arguably successful) terrorist putsch on the US Capitol in January.

These things are real and brought to life throughout The Burden of Restlessness, which tightens some of the more open, jammier spirit King Buffalo has brought to bear across prior releases — they put out an EP, Dead Star (review here), last year to coincide with subsequently canceled tours; Live at Freak Valley (review here) followed months later, presenting their 2019 set at the German festival of the same name, then supporting their 2018 sophomore album, Longing to Be the Mountain (review here) — into a concise progressive aggression, at times reminiscent of earlier Tool, as with some of the lead work on “Locusts” or the thudding culmination of the penultimate “The Knocks,” but one way or the other a streamlining of purpose and expression on the part of the band, as ever comprised of guitarist/vocalist Sean McVay, bassist Dan Reynolds and drummer Scott Donaldson.

While the overarching three-album storyline remains untold, there is nothing that feels incomplete about The Burden of Restlessness. The darker themes are telegraphed by the album cover courtesy of Zdzislaw Beksinski and the band — McVay also helmed the recording and mixed — extend the thoughtfulness of their presentation to the material, telling of confusion without becoming confused in the telling. The synths that came to prominence in Dead Star and seemed to foreshadow where King Buffalo might have been headed with their next long-player are shouldered out of the foreground by the intensity of “Burning,” as the album’s opening line, “I turn my head from the stars,” feels like a direct and willful contrast to the title-track of their debut, 2016’s Orion (review here), which began with the call to the constellation, “Orion can you hear me?” The ensuing chorus, “Another year lost in the wasteland/Another day drowns in dust/Another one dead in the wasteland,” picks apart the passage of time in pandemic quarantine, familiar surroundings made ominous with a looming specter of death outside. Perhaps it’s a processing of trauma happening throughout The Burden of Restlessness, but the perspective is individual.

King Buffalo

On a thematic level, King Buffalo are no strangers to lonelier or more depressive fare, but as the third verse of “Hebetation” finds McVay narrating, “Every night I close my eyes/I lie awake and try to pacify a listless mind/Nothing’s changed at 35/Still every night I dream a million different ways for me to die,” and the later “Silverfish” talks of “slithering away, from everything, and everyone,” the images are striking and real. In terms of point of view, the metaphor-laced approach holds consistent in what might be considered the more outward-facing “Locusts” and “Grifter,” which seem to speak to police brutality — “Hand of the shield/Suppressing the field” — and the cult of personality surrounding the American right wing’s descent into fascism — “He promises deliverance, day after day/Releasing only pestilence, and festering decay” — respectively.

The lyrics are essential here, of course, with McVay and Donaldson collaborating throughout, but it’s in the pairing of the final two tracks, “The Knocks” and “Loam,” that the full storyline of The Burden of Restlessness finds its self-contained resolution, regardless of what’s to come on King Buffalo‘s intended fourth and fifth long-players. “The Knocks” pushes as close to bottom as the band gets, “As I press my ear against the floor/A knocking beckons from the barricade on the door/I can hear it pounding more and more/Don’t think that I can take no more, don’t think I wanna live no more,” and “Loam” complements with an earned hopeful feeling, bringing the title-line in the context of, “I’m shedding the burden of restlessness/To rise from the loam of the nothingness,” the last lyrics and a far cry from the turning-eyes-from-the-sky setting out in “Burning.”

McVay in the position of producer/engineer is nothing new for King Buffalo, as he also helmed 2018’s Repeater EP (review here), Orion and Dead Star, but in addition to bringing lyrics into focus in new, pointed ways, The Burden of Restlessness is all the more complete for the manner in which the lyrics and instrumental progressions play off each other. To listen to Reynolds‘ bassline — he remains the secret weapon in King Buffalo‘s arsenal; low-key, keeping it all together as the drums push inextricably forward and the guitar stretches out — beneath the soaring lead of “Locusts,” or to chart the build of “The Knocks” or find the synth balanced into the midsection of “Loam” for melodic emphasis is to understand the individualized dynamic that King Buffalo have honed over the last seven years, and in encapsulating that as they have, The Burden of Restlessness fulfills its apparent promise in portraying the troubled time of its creation.

It is both a culmination of horrors and the initial steps beyond them, and the turn it makes in sound is no less full than anything they’ve done before; they are adjusting the balance of elements that have worked in their favor all along. I at this point have precious little insight as to how The Burden of Restlessness will play into the next King Buffalo full-length, or if it is intended to at all. Will that album pick up from this one, move into a different aspect of their style, readjust the balance again, and so on? Unknown. But not knowing doesn’t make the band’s overarching project any less exciting, and in making them a less predictable outfit as it does, The Burden of Restlessness can only be considered a success. It not only realizes a bridge between progressive heavy rock and psychedelia in a manner that is their own, but perhaps serves just as an initial stretch in an even wider blossoming of sound and craft. No matter what the next one or the one after brings, The Burden of Restlessness is one of 2021’s best and a fittingly otherworldly document of this surreal era.

King Buffalo, The Burden of Restlessness (2021)

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The Obelisk Questionnaire: James Benson of Chrome Waves, Comatose & Amiensus

Posted in Questionnaire on April 21st, 2021 by JJ Koczan

JAMES BENSON chrome waves

The Obelisk Questionnaire is a series of open questions intended to give the answerer an opportunity to explore these ideas and stories from their life as deeply as they choose. Answers can be short or long, and that reveals something in itself, but the most important factor is honesty.

Based on the Proust Questionnaire, the goal over time is to show a diverse range of perspectives as those who take part bring their own points of view to answering the same questions. To see all The Obelisk Questionnaire posts, click here.

Thank you for reading and thanks to all who participate.

The Obelisk Questionnaire: James Benson of Chrome Waves, Comatose & Amiensus

How do you define what you do and how did you come to do it?

I simply describe myself as a musician. I grew up with some music around me but wasn’t interested until my early teen years when I was introduced to Led Zeppelin and hardcore/metal of the early 2000s.

Describe your first musical memory.

My friends and I, around age 15, joined in and pressed record on a single Logitech mic with a few instruments and tried to put together a song. It was horrible.

Describe your best musical memory to date.

Being stranded in Kelowna, BC, at the end of a tour because the head in our bus was stripped. Beautiful place, very hospitable.

When was a time when a firmly held belief was tested?

I went to two private colleges, and have a degree in Biblical Theology. That education helped me firmly cement my leaving religion.

Where do you feel artistic progression leads?

Escapism.

How do you define success?

Feeling content.

What is something you have seen that you wish you hadn’t?

Arkansas.

Describe something you haven’t created yet that you’d like to create.

A live album.

What do you believe is the most essential function of art?

Escapism.

Something non-musical that you’re looking forward to?

Growing peppers and making hot sauce during the summer/fall and camping with my four dogs.

http://www.facebook.com/comatoseminnesota
http://www.youtube.com/channel/UCUNpxQDG1DSbsApt8ZScVGw
http://www.instagram.com/comatose507/
https://www.facebook.com/chromewavesofficial
http://chromewaves.bandcamp.com
http://www.instagram.com/chromewavesofficial
http://www.facebook.com/Amiensus
http://www.instagram.com/amiensus
http://twitter.com/AmiensusMn
http://www.transcendingrecords.com
http://www.facebook.com/transcendingrecords
http://www.instagram.com/transcendingrecs
http://www.twitter.com/transcendingrec

Comatose, “Circles” official video

Chrome Waves, Where We Live (2020)

Amiensus, Abreaction (2020)

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Quarterly Review: Sonic Flower, Demon Head, Rakta & Deafkids, Timo Ellis, Heavy Feather, Slow Draw, Pilot Voyager, The Ginger Faye Bakers, Neromega, Tung

Posted in Reviews on April 2nd, 2021 by JJ Koczan

quarterly-review-spring-2019

Friday morning and the Spring 2021 Quarterly Review draws to a close. It’s been a good one, and though there are probably enough albums on my desktop to make it go another few days, better to quit while I’m ahead in terms of not-being-so-tired-I’m-angry-at-everything-I’m-hearing. In any case, as always, I hope you found something here you enjoy. I have been pleasantly surprised on more than a few occasions, especially by debuts.

We wrap with more cool stuff today and since I’m on borrowed time as it is, let me not delay.

Quarterly Review #41-50:

Sonic Flower, Rides Again

sonic flower rides again

Like Church of Misery‘s groove but feel kind of icky with all those songs about serial killers? Legit. Say hello to Tatsu Mikami‘s Sonic Flower. Once upon a 2003, the band brought all the boogie and none of the slaughter of Tatsu‘s now-legendary Sabbathian doom rock outfit to a self-titled debut (reissue review here), and Rides Again is the lost follow-up from 2005, unearthed like so many of the early ’70s forsaken classics that clearly inspired it. With covers of The Meters and Graham Central Station, Sonic Flower makes their funky intentions plain as day, and the blowout drums and full-on fuzz they bring to those cuts as well as the five originals on the short-but-satisfying 28-minute offering is a win academically and for casual fans alike. You ain’t gonna hear “Jungle Cruise” or their take on “Earthquake” and come out complaining, is what I’m saying. This is the kind of record that makes you buy more records.

Sonic Flower on Thee Facebooks

Heavy Psych Sounds on Bandcamp

 

Demon Head, Viscera

demon head viscera

With Viscera, Copenhagen’s Demon Head make their debut on Metal Blade Records. It is their fourth album overall, the follow-up to 2019’s Hellfire Ocean Void (review here), and it continues the five-piece’s enduring exploration of darker places. Dramatic vocals recount grim narratives over backing instrumentals that are less doom at the outset with “Tooth and Nail” and “The Feline Smile” than goth, and atmospheric pieces like “Arrows” and “The Lupine Choir” and “A Long, Groaning Descent” and “Wreath” and certainly the closer “The Triumphal Chariot of Antimony” further the impression that Viscera, though its title conjures raw guts, is instead an elaborate entirety — if perhaps one of raw guts — and meant to be taken in its 36-minute whole. Demon Head make that LP-friendly runtime a progression down into reaches they’d not until this point gone, tapping sadness for its inherent beauty.

Demon Head on Thee Facebooks

Metal Blade Records website

 

Rakta & Deafkids, Live at Sesc Pompeia

Rakta Deafkids Live at Sesc Pompeia

Next time someone asks you what the future sounds like, you’ll have a good answer for them. Combined into a six-piece band, Brazilian outfits Rakta and Deafkids harness ambience and space-punk thrust into a sound that is born of a past that hasn’t yet happened. Their Live at Sesc Pompeia LP follows on from a 2019 two-songer, but it’s in the live performance that the spirit of this unity really shines through, and from opener/longest track (immediate points) “Miragem” through the semi-industrialized effects swirl of “Templo do Caos,” into the blower-noise dance party “Sigilo,” the weirdo-chug-jam of “Forma” and the space rock breakout “Flor de Pele” and the percussed buzz and echoing howls of “Espirais,” they are equal parts encompassing and singular. It is not to be ignored, and though there are moments that border on unlistenable, you can hear from the wailing crowd at the end that to be in that room was to witness something special. As a document of that, Live at Sesc Pompeia feels like history in the making.

Rakta on Thee Facebooks

Deafkids on Thee Facebooks

Rapid Eye Records website

 

Timo Ellis, Death is Everywhere

Timo Ellis Death is Everywhere

A madcap, weighted-but-anti-genre sensibility comes to life in supernova-experimentalist fashion throughout the four songs of Timo EllisDeath is Everywhere. The lockdown-era EP from Ellis (Netherlands, Yoko Ono, Cibo Matto, on and on) makes post-modern shenanigans out of apocalypses inner and outer, and from lines like “this bridal shower is bumming me out” in the unabashedly hooky “Vampire Rodeo” to “the earth will still breathe fire without you!” in “Left Without an Answer,” the stakes are high despite the flittering-in-appreciation-of-the-absurd mood of the tracks themselves. The title-track and “Evolve or Die” blend sonic heft and the experimental pop movement that “Vampire Rodeo” sets forth — the third cut is positively manic and maniacally positive — while “Left Without an Answer” almost can’t help but be consuming as it rolls into a long fade leaving intertwining vocals lines as the last to go, telling the listener to “learn to say goodbye” without making it easy. Won’t be for everyone, doesn’t want to be. Is expression for itself. Feels genuine in that, and admirable.

Timo Ellis on Thee Facebooks

Timo Ellis on Bandcamp

 

Heavy Feather, Mountain of Sugar

heavy feather mountain of sugar

With not-at-all-subtle nods to Humble Pie and Ennio Morricone in its opening tracks, Heavy Feather‘s second LP, Mountain of Sugar, has boogie to spare. No time is wasted on the 38-minute/11-track follow-up to 2019’s Débris & Rubble (review here), and true to the record’s title, it’s pretty sweet. The collection pits retro mindset against modern fullness in its harmonica-laced, duly-fuzzed title-track, and goes full-Fleetwood on “Come We Can Go” heading into a side B that brings a highlight in the soft-touch-stomp of “Rubble and Debris” and an earned bit of Southern-styled turn in “Sometimes I Feel” that makes a fitting companion to all the bluesy vibes throughout, particularly those of the mellow “Let it Shine” earlier. The Stockholm outfit knew what they were doing last time out too, but you can hear their process being refined throughout Mountain of Sugar, and even its most purposefully familiar aspects come across with a sense of will and playfulness.

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The Sign Records on Thee Facebooks

 

Slow Draw, Yellow & Gray

slow draw yellow and gray

Don’t tell him I told you so, but Slow Draw is starting to sound an awful lot like a band. What began as a drone/soundscaping project from Stone Machine Electric drummer/noisemaker Mark Kitchens has sprouted percussive roots of its own on Yellow & Gray, and as Kitchens explores textures of psychedelic funk, mellow heavy and even a bit of ’70s proggy homage in “Sylvia” ahead of the readily Beck-ian jam “Turntable” and acousti-drone closer “A Slow Move,” the band-vibe is rampant. I’m going to call Yellow & Gray a full-length despite the fact that it’s 24 minutes long because its eight songs inhabit so many different spaces between them, but however you want to tag it, it demonstrates the burgeoning depth of Kitchens‘ project and how it’s grown in perhaps unanticipated ways. If this is what he’s been doing in isolation — as much as Texas ever shuttered for the pandemic — his time has not been wasted.

Slow Draw on Thee Facebooks

Slow Draw on Bandcamp

 

Pilot Voyager, Nuclear Candy Bar

plot voyager nuclear candy bar

Freak! Out! The 66-minute Nuclear Candy Bar from Hungarian psychedelicists Pilot Voyager might end mostly drifting with the 27-minute “23:61,” but much of the four tracks prior to that finale are fuzz-on-go-go-go-out-out-out heavy jams, full in tone and improv spirit however planned their course may or may not actually be. To say the least, “Fuzziness” lives up to its name, as guitarist/founder Ákos Karancz — joined by bassist Bence Ambrus (who also mastered) and drummers Krisztián Megyeri and István Baumgartner (the latter only on the closer) — uses a relatively earthbound chug as a launchpad for further space/krautrocking bliss, culminating in a scorching cacophony that’s the shortest piece on the record at just under seven minutes. If you make it past the molten heat of the penultimate title-track, there’s no turning away from “23:61,” as the first minute of that next day pulls you in from the outset, a full-length flow all unto itself. More more more, yes yes yes. Alright you get the point.

Pilot Voyager on Thee Facebooks

Psychedelic Source Records on Bandcamp

 

The Ginger Faye Bakers, Camaro

the ginger faye bakers camaro

Sit with The Ginger Faye BakersCamaro EP for a little bit. Don’t just listen to the first track, or even the second, third or fourth, on their own, but take a few minutes to put it all together. Won’t take long, the thing’s only 17 minutes long, and in so doing you’ll emerge with a more complex picture of who they are as a band. Yeah, you hear the opening title-cut and think early-Queens of the Stone Age-style desert riffing, maybe with a touch of we’re-actually-from-the-Northeast tonal thickness, but the garage-heavy of “The Creeps” feels self-aware in its Uncle Acid-style swing, and as the trio move through the swinging “The Master” and “Satan’s Helpers,” the last song drawing effectively from all sides, the totality of the release becomes all the more sinister for the relatively straight-ahead beginning just a short time earlier. Might be a listen or two before it sinks in, but they’ve found a niche for themselves here and one hopes they continue to follow where their impulses lead them.

The Ginger Faye Bakers on Thee Facebooks

The Ginger Faye Bakers on Bandcamp

 

Neromega, Nero Omega

Neromega Nero Omega

If you’re not yet keeping an eye on Regain Records offshoot Helter Skelter Productions, Rome’s Neromega are a fervent argument for doing so. The initials-only cultish five-piece are Italian as much in their style of doom as they are in geography, and across their four-song Nero Omega debut EP, they run horror organ and classic heavy rock grooves alongside each other while nodding subtly at more extreme fare like the death ‘n’ roll rumble in closer “Un Posto” or the dirt-coated low end that caps “Pugnale Ardore,” the drifting psych only moments ago quickly forgotten in favor of renewed shuffle. Eight-minute opener “Solitudine,” might be the highlight as well as the longest inclusion on the 24-minute first-showing, but it’s by no means the sum total of what the band have on offer, as they saunter through giallo, psychedelia, doom, heavy riffs and who knows what else to come, they strike an immediately individual atmospheric presence even while actively toying with familiar sounds. The EP is cohesive enough to make me wonder what their initials are.

Neromega on Thee Facebooks

Helter Skelter Productions website

 

Tung, Bleak

TUNG BLEAK

Some of the made-even-bigger-by-echo vocals from guitarist Craig Kasamis might remind of Maurice Bryan Giles from Red Fang, but Ventura, California’s Tung are up chasing down a different kind of party on 2020’s Bleak, though Kasamis, guitarist David Briceno (since replaced by Bill Bensen), bassist Nick Minasian and drummer Rob Dean have a strong current of West Coast noise rock in what they’re doing as well in “Runaway,” a lurcher like “Spit” later on or the run-till-it-crashes finisher “Fallen Crown,” which the only song apart from the bookending opener “Succession Hand” to have a title longer than a single word. Still, Tung have their own, less pop-minded take on brashness, and this debut album leaves the bruises behind to demonstrate its born-from-hardcore lineage. Their according lack of frills makes Bleak all the more effective at getting its point across, and while they’d probably tell you their sound is nothing fancy, it’s fancy enough to stomp all over your ears for about half an hour, and that’s as fancy as it needs to be. Easy to dig even in its more aggressive moments.

Tung on Thee Facebooks

Plain Disguise Records website

 

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King Buffalo to Release The Burden of Restlessness June 4; Preorders Available & Song Streaming; Tour Announced

Posted in Whathaveyou on March 30th, 2021 by JJ Koczan

King Buffalo

Rochester, New York, heavy psych trio King Buffalo take on the darker side of quarantine with The Burden of Restlessness, their third LP, set to release on June 4. Their most progressive album rhythmically is also their more aggressive thematically, and the album’s tracks do a damn fine job of living up to the album’s name. If you happened to be alive last Spring, you probably felt some of that burden yourself. Or you actually got sick, which as I understand it was worse.

Not that the pandemic is over, mind you.

As discussed in the recent interview with drummer Scott DonaldsonThe Burden of Restlessness will serve as one of three full-lengths King Buffalo will issue in 2021/early 2022, with the next one to be recorded next month. I’ll have more on that to come. In the meantime, preorders are up for The Burden of Restlessness, which will be released through the band in the US and through Stickman Records in Europe. And hey, they’ve got tour dates! Will they happen? Maybe!

As per the PR wire:

king buffalo the burden of restlessness

KING BUFFALO RELEASE THIRD RECORD, THE BURDEN OF RESTLESSNESS, ON JUNE 4TH & ANNOUNCE TOUR DATES

Preorder: kingbuffalo.bigcartel.com

King Buffalo’s third full-length record, The Burden of Restlessness, will be released on June 4, 2021. The widely-hailed progressive heavy rock trio will have vinyl & CD preorders available on April 2, via kingbuffalo.bigcartel.com.

This the first of three full-lengths they will release throughout 2021.

REPEAT: THREE

Their most focused progressive offering to-date, The Burden of Restlessness will self-release throughout North America and see European issue via Stickman Records.

Self-recorded in late 2020 and early 2021 by guitarist/vocalist Sean McVay, bassist Dan Reynolds and drummer Scott Donaldson, The Burden of Restlessness continues to push King Buffalo’s progressive aspects forward into new avenues of melody and exploration.

At the same time, it is not mistitled. There are deep undercurrents of frustration and even an aggressive pulse that coincide with the spaciousness for which the band has been so widely lauded since their 2016 debut, Orion. Guitarist/vocalist Sean McVay drops what’s bound to become one of the record’s signature lyrics in opener “Burning” when he declares, “Another year lost in the wasteland,” and more succinct summaries of canceled plans and rescheduled, lost or damaged lives are hard to come by.

“The Burden of Restlessness was written over the course of what most would consider a pretty stark and stressful time period. The end result is our darkest, most aggressive, and most intimate work to date. We are extremely proud of what this record became.” – Sean McVay

Followers of King Buffalo will find the band’s time was not at all wasted. While some of the synthesizer-driven elements of early-2020’s Dead Star EP have been stripped back, the rhythmic complexity in The Burden of Restlessness is yet more new ground the band are claiming as their own. They do so with confidence and a creative depth of atmosphere that comes through in more than just the effects being used, and the urgency in their material is unmistakable.

“Since Covid stopped all touring, we’ve been hard at work and made the commitment to not waste the opportunity. We’re excited to share the first of three records of 2021, which has expanded our sound in a lot of different ways. We hope you enjoy it and we look forward to eventually playing these songs live.” – Scott Donaldson

The Burden of Restlessness was written and recorded by King Buffalo in Rochester, NY at the Main Street Armory in December of 2020 & January 2021. Produced, engineered & mixed by Sean McVay, and mastered by Bernie Matthews. The artwork was created by Zdzis?aw Beksi?ski with cover fonts by Mike Turzanski and album layout by Scott Donaldson.

The Burden of Restlessness Tracklist:
1. Burning
2. Hebetation
3. Locusts
4. Silverfish
5. Grifter
6. The Knocks
7. Loam

2021 Tour Dates (Tickets on sale NOW at kingbuffalo.com)
9/10 Denver, CO @ Larimer Lounge
9/11 Denver, CO @ Larimer Lounge
9/14 Los Angeles, CA @ Moroccan Lounge
9/15 San Francisco, CA @ Bottom of the Hill
9/17 Seattle, WA @ Barboza
9/18 Vancouver, BC @ Fox Cabaret
9/19 Portland, OR @ Lola’s Room
11/5 Philadelphia, PA @ Johnny Brenda’s
11/6 New York, NY @ Mercury Lounge
11/11 Pittsburgh, PA @ Club Café
11/12 Detroit, MI @ Loving Touch
11/13 Indianapolis, IN @ HI-FI
11/14 St. Louis, MO @ Off Broadway
11/16 Madison, WI @ The Bur Oak
11/17 Minneapolis, MN @ 7th St. Entry
11/18 Milwaukee, WI @ Colectivo
11/19 Chicago, IL @ Lincoln Hall
11/20 Cleveland, OH @ Beachland Ballroom

King Buffalo is:
Sean McVay – Guitar, Vocals, & Synth
Dan Reynolds – Bass & Synth
Scott Donaldson – Drums & Percussion

kingbuffalo.com
facebook.com/kingbuffaloband
instagram.com/kingbuffaloband
kingbuffalo.bandcamp.com
stickman-records.com
facebook.com/Stickman-Records-1522369868033940

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Cruz Del Sur Announces Orodruin and Pale Divine Reissues

Posted in Whathaveyou on March 22nd, 2021 by JJ Koczan

Late May will see vinyl reissues of Pale Divine‘s 2007 album, Cemetery Earth and Orodruin‘s 2002 debut, Epicurean Mass (discussed here). The two offerings come as a benefit spearheaded by Tom Phillips of While Heaven Wept in support of Solstice guitarist Rich Walker. In other words, this is doomers helping doomers as part of a vibrant underground community that knows no borders and is there when support is needed. Even humans who don’t belong can belong to a thing, and in this instance, that thing is doom.

Both records are killer, which you probably already know if you’re reading this. I don’t know if they’re doing preorders or what, but you should probably be keeping a regular eye on Cruz Del Sur Music anyhow because they’re awesome. That’s the extent of the insight I have on the subject. This is a good cause.

From the social medias:

ORODRUIN EPICUREAN MASS

PALE DIVINE CEMETERY EARTH

CRUZ DEL SUR MUSIC To Re-Release Orodruin And Pale Divine Classics On Vinyl To Support Solstice’s RICH WALKER

Last summer, the metal community learned that legendary SOLSTICE guitarist Rich Walker needed crucial surgery. WHILE HEAVEN WEPT leader Tom Phillips and a few friends came up with an approach to assist Walker in offsetting his mounting medical expenses: A GoFundMe campaign, series of exclusive compilations and lastly, a collection of hand-picked limited-edition LPs re-releases. Phillips has teamed up with Cruz Del Sur Music to release for the very first time on vinyl, ORODRUIN’s 2003 “Epicurean Mass” debut and PALE DIVINE’s heralded third album, “Cemetery Earth”. The releases will be available late May.

“These titles are doom metal classics that are long overdue for the vinyl treatment,” said Phillips. “‘Epicurean Mass’ firmly established ORODRUIN as a powerful force out of the gate at the height of doom metal fever. And, ‘Cemetery Earth’ represents the culmination and consolidation of everything PALE DIVINE was building towards — a rock-solid package that was ‘all killer, no filler.

“The premise here was to do our best to make these companions to the original CD pressings rather than rewriting history. However, there were some subtle changes to both records after much dialogue — both to ensure the best LP listening experience possible and also to rectify some details that had always been intended but for one reason or another didn’t happen for the original releases.”

ORODRUIN frontman John Gallo says the band was first introduced to Walker when he reviewed SOLSTICE’s “New Dark Age” album for his “Born Too Late” website in 2000. From there, Walker was a regular advocate of ORODRUIN. The re-release of “Epicurean Mass” holds special significance for Gallo and his bandmates — the album effectively put ORODRUIN on the map and charted the course for the rest of their career.

“We’ll never forget how it opened many doors for us,” he says. “To host the debut Born Too Late Festival and premier our band alongside PENANCE, REVELATION, WHILE HEAVEN WEPT, PALE DIVINE, THE GATES OF SLUMBER, UNEARTHLY TRANCE and SOULPREACHER to having our first United States ‘Doomination’ tour with THE PROPHECY and MOURNING BELOVETH. In 2004, we went out to Europe to support PENANCE along with our label master at ‘psycheDOOMelic’, the man…Mark Hegedus! It was an amazing ride and we even played ‘Doom Shall Rise II’ in Germany! I pray and hope for new exciting adventures with my band of grim-doomed hobbit-foot brethren! May doom rise from the ashes of the eternal flames from the heart of Mount Doom!”

PALE DIVINE’s Darin McCloskey said Walker has been there for the band “since the beginning.” Upon recommendation from Black Tears distribution head Russell Smith, they sent Walker an advance of their debut “Crimson Tears” demo for inclusion on one of Walker’s Miskatonic Foundation “At The Mountains of Madness” compilations. Walker soon became one of the first overseas supporters of PALE DIVINE, something McCloskey will never forget.

“He brought us into what would grow to become a doom metal family,” says McCloskey. “Rich always held true to his convictions and had no time for nonsense. He was a soldier for truth and integrity in a constantly compromising music scene. He held a quality of standard that oftentimes polarized him from the ‘herd,’ something that he often wore as a badge of honor.”

Now is the time to get your hands albums that have never been available on vinyl — until now. A portion of the proceeds will be donated to Walker’s medical expenses right away.

“The first two stages of our fundraising efforts for Rich have been fairly successful, but the vinyl was always going to help get us over the top,” says Phillips. “These 2021 editions were a team effort across the board. Don’t miss your chance to grab these doom metal monoliths — they’re ‘one-offs’ and, quite frankly, they deserve a place in any respectable collection of the genre!”

https://www.facebook.com/orodruinofficialband
https://orodruin.bandcamp.com/

https://www.facebook.com/serpentspath/
http://www.paledivineband.com/

cruzdelsurmusic.com
facebook.com/cruzdelsurmusic
cruzdelsurmusic.bandcamp.com

Pale Divine, Cemetery Earth (2007)

Orodruin, Epicurean Mass (2002)

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Video Interview: King Buffalo Announce Three Albums Coming in 2021

Posted in Bootleg Theater, Features on March 2nd, 2021 by JJ Koczan

king buffalo

Rochester, New York, trio King Buffalo will release three full-lengths throughout 2021.

Repeat: three.

The band — comprised of guitarist/vocalist Sean McVay, bassist Dan Reynolds and drummer Scott Donaldson — recently oversaw the release of Live at Freak Valley (review here) as a follow-up to their early-2020 EP, Dead Star (review here). By now the narrative of group-who-should’ve-spent-all-of-2020-touring-but-didn’t should be well familiar, but King Buffalo made exceptional use of the time. As Donaldson explains in the interview below in discussing their project, they actually had enough to use for four albums and decided to whittle it down to three.

This does nothing less than set King Buffalo up to potentially own the year, especially with the way they’re going about it. Each of the three albums will be recorded in a different manner and setting, so that while they’re using songs written during the same span of lockdown months, the presentation of each LP will inherently be different because the experience behind it will be different. In talking to Donaldson, I brought up a kind of second-installment syndrome, thinking of examples from Earth‘s Angels of Darkness, Demons of Light and Ufomammut‘s Oro two-parter projects, wherein the second piece came out and brought more of what the first had on offer. King Buffalo‘s methodological thinking seems like not only a clever workaround, but a way to continue to grow the band each time out.

And, it needs to be said, to take the place, momentum-wise, of touring. One would figure that if King Buffalo put out one album in alternate-reality-2021, they’d tour to support it in Europe and the US. Instead of those two tours, the band makes the jump through albums three, four and five in a span of months. Even if you’re a King Buffalo fan, it might seem like a lot to take in, but if the band have proved anything yet in their tenure, it’s that their work stands up to being digested over a longer time. That is, just because album four has arrived doesn’t mean you’re not still allowed to listen to album three.

Many details about the recording projects are still to be unveiled, but Donaldson talks a bit about the timing below — it may be 2022 before that last LP arrives, and if it is, fine — but his excitement is infectious. I hope you enjoy the interview.

The text of the band’s announcement also follows below:

King Buffalo, Interview with Scott Donaldson, Feb. 17, 2021

Hey Friends,

That’s not a typo, and we know it sounds crazy, but yes, we will be releasing THREE FULL-LENGTH RECORDS in 2021!

It’s all new material and we’re really excited to finally be able to tell you. Since Covid stopped all touring, we’ve been hard at work and made the commitment to not waste this time.

We can’t give you all the details, but each record will be distinct. We’ve chosen different methods to record and produce each one, and we will share that info with you in the coming months.

The artwork and single from the first record will be announced in a few weeks. So sit tight. There’s going to be a lot of new tunes coming and we can’t wait for you to hear them!

For a deeper dive, check out Scott’s interview over at theobelisk.net.

All the best,
KB

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Friday Full-Length: King Buffalo, Live at Freak Valley

Posted in Bootleg Theater on January 29th, 2021 by JJ Koczan

Live at Freak Valley is everything one could reasonably ask a live record from King Buffalo to be. Recorded in 2019 in Germany at the Rockpalast-captured Freak Valley Festival, which has become an institution unto itself in Europe’s heavy rock underground, packed full of outdoor summer fests as it may be, it found the Rochester, New York, trio of guitarist/vocalist Sean McVay, bassist Dan Reynolds and drummer Scott Donaldson supporting their 2018 sophomore full-length, Longing to Be the Mountain (review here), on tour in Europe. And they’re in top form. The 54-minute set pulls together tracks from the second album, their 2016 debut, Orion (review here), as well as the title-cut from earlier-2018’s Repeater EP (review here), and in the energy of their performance and how it melds with their emergent heavy psychedelic grooves, the fluidity in and between the songs, it is nothing less than graceful, and it demonstrates the mastery the three-piece have over the immersive sound they create.

A spoken introduction in German brings them to the stage, and they begin with “Sun Shivers” from Longing to Be the Mountain, starting with a shorter track to draw the crowd in, which seems to work if the captured response is anything to go by. From there, it’s all-in, with “Longing to Be the Mountain” back-to-back with “Repeater” in a gorgeous 25-minute meld of molten, weighted psychedelics. The sprawl King Buffalo establish on stage at Freak Valley is different from on their albums, but no less engaging, and that’s a testament to the band’s commitment to their aesthetic. That is, it would be easy for them to be a rawer band live than they are. Instead, the melodies are intact and songs are drawn together one into the next by improvised-sounding stretches of guitar effects or sort of mini-jams. Consider the way “Repeater” gives way to “Orion,” and the emergence of that recognizable guitar figure as the song itself starts. It is an invitation to those fortunate enough to be assembled in front of the stage watching and hearing the band, to come and take part in the proceedings, as much a journey inward as far-out.

That sounds like hyperbole and maybe it is, but fuck it, I don’t care anymore. Put the song on and listen to the patience in Donaldson‘s drumming KING BUFFALO LIVE AT FREAK VALLEYand Reynolds‘ bassline. Listen closely and you can hear someone in the crowd shout “fuckin’ beautiful!” at the end of “Orion,” and I can’t disagree, as Live at Freak Valley has given me a new appreciation for that song and how it’s obviously grown in the years since they released the album of the same name. But for, well, the rest of the thing, “Orion” would probably be a highlight, with McVay‘s communion with the constellation in the arriving-in-its-own-time first verse leading to the later surge that carries them out into a stop before “Kerosene” from the same record picks up with the drums starting ahead of the guitar, feedback announcing its coming before the actual howling begins. The tension there is palpable and that it gets paid off should be a surprise to no one who heard the album version, its second half working in stages to push through the finish with a winding but energetic pulse.

After due applause, they wrap with Longing to Be the Mountain closer “Eye of the Storm,” McVay saying beforehand that they’ll be hanging out by the merch area after the set. It’s easy to romanticize that idea now, right? Band plays a good show to a ready crowd, it goes out streamed live through one of Germany’s greatest rock and roll properties — that being Rockpalast — and then goes and sees friends new and old, sells some vinyl, some shirts, shakes hands, takes pictures, maybe watches some of A Place to Bury Strangers, who play next, and then probably eventually goes to find some food. It’s like something that happened in a different dimension and it sounds so simple. What the hell.

I’ll spare you the in-a-world-without-live-music-live-albums-are-treasure rant. You’re welcome. More even than that, what Live at Freak Valley does is give a look at the vitality of the band itself. They sound excited to be there. They’re playing like they’re excited to be there, and yet the songs aren’t egregiously fast. King Buffalo aren’t rushed in their delivery. They play through the material with, as noted, a masterful touch; one born of time spent doing exactly what they’re doing here — playing the set. The progression the band undertook between their first album and their second was no accident — they’ve communicated it to their listeners every single step of the way. From Orion to Repeater to Longing to Be the Mountain, the band cast off the trappings of being strictly heavy blues or strictly anything else. Psychedelic, progressive, thoughtful, melodic, heavy, spontaneous — all that and more carried across in the material of Longing to Be the Mountain, and it comes through on Live at Freak Valley as well. Shit, they end with a jam. A jam! What more could they possibly do to signal that the story goes on from here?

And it does. Last year, amid canceled tours and plans upended, King Buffalo issued their Dead Star EP (review here), which showed not only a more meditative aspect of their sound, but a branching out into the realms of atmospheric and dramatic synthesizer as well. What does all that portend when it comes to an awaited third full-length? I have no clue, and likewise I have no clue how spending a year off the road will affect their style or their approach in the studio, because of course these things feed off each other. All of this we’ll have to wait to know, but that the anticipation to do so even exists is evidence of how crucial a purpose Live at Freak Valley serves, not just in bridging the gap between one release and the next — though that too — but in giving a showcase to the depth and multifaceted nature of the band’s evolution. Long may it continue.

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

Another week where I could feel my mind shrink and my ass expand. I’m just trying to get through the days at this point. I don’t even have a reason why. I just want to go to bed, put the pillow over my head, and wake up three times and push the alarm back until I finally just give up and sleep as late as I can. That’s around 7 or so when The Pecan is up. He’s back in school now. Two cases of the plague among the staff this week. They’ll shut down again, I’m sure. Probably a day after he’s used to getting on the bus again. That seems to be how it’s timed thus far. Yes, I take it personally. I take everything personally. It’s fucking called narcissism. Look it up.

Speaking of me, I was doing myself a favor with the King Buffalo pick up there. Feel like I’ve been writing about a lot of live records lately but of course there are a lot to be written about as bands try to keep momentum going between albums when they can’t tour, or want to take advantage of a Bandcamp Friday or want to remind people they exist or whatever it might be. I knew it was something I’d enjoy when I put it on and, sure enough, I enjoyed it. That’s a good band.

Anyway.

Next week is packed. Some of it you’ll give a crap about, some of it you won’t. Same as ever.

No Gimme show this week, though I turned in the playlist for next week already. It’s a weird one. Cool.

I wish you well. Hope you and yours are safe and healthy and all that. Don’t forget to hydrate.

Thanks for reading.

FRM.

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