Here’s a Bio I Wrote for Lo-Pan’s Colossus

Posted in Whathaveyou on July 28th, 2014 by JJ Koczan

I gotta say, of the several band bios I’ve been fortunate enough to be asked to write over the last couple years — for Neurosis, for Conan, for Wo Fat, etc. — the one below for Lo-Pan‘s upcoming fourth album, Colossus, was among the easiest. It required little flourish, as the band’s accomplishments since the release of 2011’s Salvador (review here) speak for themselves, and the record itself is so direct and driving, that to pepper the piece with a bunch of extra descriptors or grandiose language would immediately be overdoing it. And one doesn’t want to overdo it.

Last Friday evening, Lo-Pan announced they’d be supporting Black Cobra for a month on the road ahead of Colossus‘ Oct. 7 release on Small Stone, and you’ll find those dates under the bio below, which I’ll keep in PR wire blue even though it’s my byline, just for form’s sake:

Lo-Pan, Colossus bio:

Lo-Pan’s fourth album, Colossus, is named for the Colossus of Rhodes – a 96-foot statue constructed in 280 BC to mark a failed siege and the indomitable nature of the city of Rhodes itself. No surprise it’s the Columbus, Ohio, four-piece’s most personal album yet and a testament to their growth and survival, as a band and as human beings.

Three years on from their third record, Salvador, Lo-Pan have logged countless miles, crossing the country multiple times over on headlining tours and supporting the likes of Torche, High on Fire, KENmode, Whores, Fu Manchu and Weedeater. They’ve become one of the most ferocious live acts in American heavy rock, and Colossus stands tall to reap the rewards of their experience.

For the first time in nearly a decade together, Lo-Pan knew exactly what they wanted when they hit the studio. They’d road-tested songs like “Eastern Seas” and “Colossus” for over a year, and partnering with producer/engineer Andrew Schneider at his Translator Audio studio in Brooklyn just days after headlining Small Stone showcases in that city and Boston this March, they belted out songs that show just how much they’ve moved beyond their influences and arrived at their own sound – a style built on aggression without caricature, fuzz without cliché, melody without redundancy and their meanest groove to date.

Completed with a cover courtesy of Jason Alexander Byers (ex-Disengage, Black Black Black), Colossus will be supported by numerous tours including a full US stint this fall alongside fellow road dogs Black Cobra and much more to come. Like its namesake, Colossus was built in defiance of gods and men, and while Lo-Pan’s loudest statement has always been made on stage, the material they craft and the power with which they execute it on this album is bound to stand for years to come.

BLACK COBRA US Tour w/ Lo Pan:
8/28/2014 Club Red – Phoenix, AZ
8/29/2014 Sister – Albuquerque, NM
8/30/2014 Conservatory – Oklahoma City, OK
8/31/2014 Doublewide – Dallas, TX
9/02/2014 Red 7 – Austin, TX
9/03/2014 Fitzgeralds – Houston, TX
9/04/2014 Siberia – New Orleans, LA
9/05/2014 Handlebar – Pensacola, FL
9/06/2014 Orpheum – Tampa, FL
9/07/2014 Gramps – Miami, FL
9/08/2014 Back Booth – Orlando, FL
9/09/2014 529 – Atlanta, GA
9/10/2014 The Mothlight – Asheville, NC
9/11/2014 Chop Shop – Charlotte, NC
9/12/2014 Strange Matter – Richmond, VA
9/13/2014 The Pinch – Washington, DC
9/14/2014 Dusk – Providence, RI
9/15/2014 Nectars – Burlington, VT
9/16/2014 TT The Bears – Boston, MA
9/17/2014 Kung Fu Necktie – Philadelphia, PA
9/18/2014 Saint Vitus – New York, NY
9/19/2014 Lost Horizon – Syracuse, NY
9/20/2014 Bug Jar – Rochester, NY
9/22/2014 Howlers – Pittsburgh, PA
9/23/2014 Reggie’s – Chicago, IL
9/24/2014 7th St Entry – Minneapolis, MN
9/26/2014 Replay – Lawrence, KS
9/27/2014 Lost Lake Lounge – Denver, CO
9/28/2014 Burt’s Tiki Bar – Salt Lake City, UT
9/29/2014 Dive Bar – Las Vegas, NV
10/01/2014 The Garage – Ventura, CA
10/02/2014 New Parish – Oakland, CA

Lo-Pan, “Eastern Seas” Live at Ralph’s Diner

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Isaak Get Robbed; Fundraiser on Now

Posted in Whathaveyou on September 18th, 2013 by JJ Koczan

Boldly declaring they won’t be defeated, Italian heavy rock four-piece Isaak have begun efforts to recover after a recent rehearsal space robbery reportedly stripped them of a good amount of their amps and other equipment. And by “good amount,” I mean all of it. Amps, computers, instruments, cables, mics. Name it and it’s gone.

For any band unfortunate enough to have it happen to them, it’s positively devastating, but even more so for a group like Isaak, who released their The Longer the Beard the Harder the Sound album on Small Stone this summer and aren’t millionaire rockstars who can just go out and replace all their shit. I’ve said it many, many times: Only assholes steal from bands. Steal from corporations instead. They’ve got computers too, and no matter what anyone tells you, they’re not actually people.

If you’ve got a couple extra bucks, Isaak have a crowdfunding-type fundraiser going on now to help them raise money for new gear, including some nifty thank-you gifts for those who donate. Info and links follow:


Try to imagine going to rehearsals, thinking about the riffs, building the songs of your new record…. but feeling something bad in the air, getting there and discovering nothing more has left…Doors damaged, locks broken. It’s something you won’t wish to anybody… like your whole life suddenly disappears.

Now we are here, asking you for some help… participating to our fundraising will support us to keep on with our adventure!

We want to thank you in advance for every kind of help you give us..

THANKS by heart..

Andre, Giacomo, Francesco, Maso

And don’t forget to check out what you can get in our crowdfunding!

Isaak, The Longer the Beard the Harder the Sound (2013)

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Monday Long-Player: Mellow Bravo, Ripper EP

Posted in audiObelisk on September 16th, 2013 by JJ Koczan

It’s a gloomy Monday morning here on the South Shore, but I’m combating the greys with coffee, mini-muffins and upbeat heavy rock, the organ-laced, thickened Thin Lizzy-isms of Boston’s Mellow Bravo suiting me just fine as I make my way through their brand new EP, Ripper. I’ve caught these cats live a couple times at this point and they’re killer, and from where I sit, the EP does an even better job of capturing the experience of seeing them than did their self-titled debut (review here), which came out on Mad Oak Records/Small Stone. Solid rock band, and as I listen to the tradeoffs between keys and guitar leads on “Party,” I’ve got no regrets in starting the week with it. Was up late last night and Ripper‘s exactly the kind of kick in the ass I didn’t know I needed until I got it.

…And yes, I know an EP can’t technically be a “long-player.” Just go with me on it, I beg you.

Last night, I drove all the way into Boston. Down past Fenway Park and into Cambridge, over to the Middle East, where Anathema and Alcest were playing. It was early, but I got there. There was a whole line of people around the building, and parking was blocks away. I was all set to go to that show — I was right there — and I left. I looked at the line of people and I just couldn’t bring myself to get out of the car. I was exhausted from a fantastic but busy weekend, and I just didn’t have it in me to go stand on that line, go to the club, take pictures, be in the way up front at the venue, get home late, etc. I just couldn’t do it. I called The Patient Mrs. and said I was going to come home, and I did. That was it. I got there and didn’t go to the show.

Chelsea Wolfe and True Widow were also in town last night, and I guess I was hoping everyone would be at that. Maybe they were. I don’t know. I came back home and put on pajamas. It would’ve been an existential fucking crisis for me had the issue not been so cut and dry: I wasn’t going to enjoy myself and if I’m not having fun then what the fuck am I doing? I wasn’t getting paid to be there. It’s not my job. It’s something I do because I want to, and if I don’t want to, well, there you go. Anathema‘s not going to fucking cry if I don’t show up. And hell, if they do, then fine — they make really good music when they’re sad, so it’s a win either way. But I was there. I just couldn’t get out of the car.

Burnt out on working hard and being broke and a lot of other shit, and to be honest, I still feel like I’m drained from the move north six weeks ago. But music still sounds good and if that’s what I’ve got going then at least it’s something. Right now I’m gonna grab another cup of coffee and dig into the start of the week. In a little bit I’m going to have a track premiere from Second Grave, then hopefully later today a review of the new Sasquatch album. Tomorrow I’m supposed to be interviewing Dave Wyndorf about the new Monster Magnet (review here), so that’ll get up at some point, plus I’m sending some questions out to Ufomammut about their new tour today, and trying to sort a stream of the new Gonga, and I’ve got reviews slated for I are Droid and Don Juan Matus. I also picked up some awesome buried treasure-type stuff this weekend (on the cheap, considering) that I’ll have something about in the next couple days. So, much to come this week and I hope you’ll stay tuned and check out the forum and the radio stream as well.

Have a great and safe week. More in a bit.

The Obelisk Forum

The Obelisk Radio

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Friday Full-Length: Sasquatch, IV

Posted in Bootleg Theater on September 6th, 2013 by JJ Koczan

Sasquatch, IV (2013)

Either next week — or more likely the week after, with the pace I’m working at these days — I’m going to do a full review of IV, the voluminous and aptly-titled fourth album from L.A. power trio Sasquatch, so I guess I’ll save whatever deep analysis I might make about it for that, but suffice it to say that if you were looking forward to this one, you were right. It’s the songs. Sasquatch toss of rock classics like they were empty bottles — downed another one, on to the next — and IV is silly with them, and also pushes the duly heralded outfit into new sonic territory with the psychedelic sprawl of “Smoke Signal” (more a suggestion to begin than a linguistic communication; though maybe it winds up the same), which features a guest appearance by Marc Gaffney of cross-country labelmates Gozu.

So not only is it Sasquatch doing what they do best, but also taking steps forward with their sound. I’ve been through it a couple times, but I’m looking forward to getting to know it better for a review. Not sure when the CD is due, but a stream/download in the meantime isn’t exactly a hardship, my general disdain for non-physical media notwithstanding. And by that I mean I can’t stand it.

There were two or three other posts I wanted to get up today, but I just ran out of day to do it. I ran into town (which, yes, is what I now call driving to Boston; it’s friggin’ awesome to not have to take 70 minutes to get to an urban center) in the afternoon and then had to play catchup with work for what’s now my only job. Yup, got completely shitcanned from the other job at NECA this week; won’t even be getting the it-was-a-quarter-of-my-former-salary freelance rate. One email and poof. I worked there longer than both my supervisors. Put together. It doesn’t matter.

I’m here with The Patient Mrs. and the little dog Dio, we had a good dinner, watched the ball game, had a good night. All told, the week ended on an up. Job shit, work drama. I don’t want any part of it. I’ve got only the vaguest of prospects and everyone I’ve hit up for potential writing work has blown me off. The other day I was looking up $10 an hour night security work for the fucking Pinkertons — hey, it’s a job — but it doesn’t matter. That will all get sorted. I’m going to keep plugging away, keep doing my best, try to laugh, remember to smile.

I didn’t get out this week to that Nightstick show — to either of them — and that was a bummer. Sunday though I’m going to do an in-studio with Darryl Shepard as he records the new Blackwolfgoat, so expect pics and a writeup on that on Monday, and next week I’ll also have reviews of Windhand and maybe the new Monster Magnet. I’ve got an interview with Red Fang in the can that I’d like to get posted as well, but maybe closer to the album release. Depends on time, basically.

Until then, I’m looking forward to the weekend, to a bit of running around tomorrow morning and chores followed by a quiet evening. Saturday stuff. Maybe I’ll take a nap.

Whatever you’ve got going, I hope you have a great and safe couple days. I might post some stuff tomorrow, but if I do or don’t I’ll see you back here Monday either way as well. All the best from me and mine to you and yours.

The Obelisk Forum

The Obelisk Radio

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Gozu Added to Roadburn 2014 Lineup

Posted in Whathaveyou on August 12th, 2013 by JJ Koczan

Hot damn! Nothing like starting off the week with good news, and the announcement below that Gozu will play Roadburn 2014 certainly qualifies as that. The Boston natives will travel to the Netherlands to play the 013 venue on April 12 as part of the four-day fest from April 10-13. Earlier this year, Gozu released The Fury of a Patient Man (review here) on Small Stone and most recently, they demolished the stage at The Eye of the Stoned Goat 3 in Brooklyn (review here). Kudos to the band, who are going to kill it in Tilburg.

Here’s the latest:

Gozu to Play Roadburn Festival 2014

Following the instant critical success of their sophomore recording, Locust Season in 2010, Boston’s Gozu continues to go deep into stoner chug territory on their latest album, The Fury of A Patient Man. Dropping colossal bombs of pure rock fury, Gozu thrive on fuzzed-up guitars, tight motorik drumming, sharp melodies that a lot of bands would die for, and the magic ingredient – pure downright soul!

From the swaggering glory of ‘Bald Bull’ to the 12 bar buzzing boogie of ‘Salty Thumb’ and the upright yet dark guitar crunch of ‘Disco Related Injury’, Gozu will totally raze Roadburn Festival 2014 when they take the stage on Saturday, April 12th at the 013 venue in Tilburg, The Netherlands.

On their first ever European tour, Gozu will take no prisoners and leave no room to breathe, cuz the band’s stripped down highly infectious riff rock is as mountainous as it is undulating — Gozu will throw us a rocking bone and fight it out to the end! Hell, we didn’t even mention the band’s ability to bust out a loose yet structured jam like on ‘The Ceaseless Thunder Of Surf’, which sees Gozu invoking the spirit of Neurosis.

Roadburn‘s ready, bring it all on!

Roadburn Festival 2014 will run for four days from Thursday, April 10th to Sunday, April 13th, 2014 at the 013 venue in Tilburg, The Netherlands.

Gozu, The Fury of a Patient Man (2013)

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audiObelisk: Sasquatch Premiere “The Message” from New Album IV

Posted in audiObelisk on August 2nd, 2013 by JJ Koczan

Los Angeles trio Sasquatch have been proffering high-grade fuzz boogie for over a decade now. Having made their recorded debut in 2004 with the immediately-to-be-reckoned-with riffery of Sasquatch, the trio went on to refine a more classic heavy rock approach over the course of their subsequent two outings, 2006’s II and 2010’s III (review here), finding a niche for themselves somewhere between the present and the past while at the same time continuing to distinguish themselves from their peers and furthering the chemistry between founders Keith Gibbs (guitar/vocals) and Rick Ferrante (drums) and bassist Jason Casanova, who joined in 2007 following the departure of Clayton Charles.

On Sept. 24, Sasquatch will issue IV through Small Stone as the latest step in these ongoing processes. What’s remained consistent throughout Sasquatch‘s work since the start is the band’s unhindered ability to craft a chorus that’s crisp, anthemic and forward-thinking all at once, and in that regard, IV is no different. Progress is evident in the band’s maturity of approach and the clarity with which they present their ideas — they know what they’re doing in other words — but even as they seem to have their sound nailed down, splitting the recording between Detroit and Massachusetts (both very far away from Los Angeles) and bringing in guest work from Gozu‘s Marc Gaffney and Small Stone honcho Scott Hamilton on vocals and guitar, respectively, Sasquatch are clearly making some effort to branch out beyond the reaches of their comfort zone.

Even the striking and futuristic cover artwork, courtesy of Casanova, speaks to the band looking forward more than ever before. Nonetheless, whether it’s the psychedelic explorations of “Smoke Signal,” on which Gaffney and Hamilton appear, the fervent Soundgarden-style stomp of “Sweet Lady,” the check-out-what-I-can-make-this-do lead work on “Me and You” or the rush of opener “The Message” that’s bound to carry you along with it, you’d be hard pressed to say Sasquatch aren’t in full command.

Today I have the extreme pleasure of premiering “The Message” from IV as a precursor to the album’s release next month. Please find it on the player below and enjoy:

Here is the Music Player. You need to installl flash player to show this cool thing!

Sasquatch‘s IV is due out Sept. 24, 2013 on Small Stone Records. More to come.

Sasquatch on Thee Facebooks

Small Stone Records

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Mundee Lord Fowl

Posted in audiObelisk on June 24th, 2013 by JJ Koczan

Lord Fowl, Moon Queen (2012)

At some point this weekend, I heard the opening title-track of Lord Fowl‘s Moon Queen and that was it — it’s been stuck in my head ever since. Doesn’t take much to do it from that record (review here), since the whole thing more or less is hooks, and as I’m planning sometime in the next couple days to take another look at my Best of 2012 list as I’m wont to do each year six months after the fact, it seemed only appropriate to give Moon Queen a revisit to start of what was an exhausting week even before it started.

For what it’s worth, I only flipped off one other motorist on the drive back from Cudahy, Wisconsin, where Days of the Doomed III was held. Not bad for 15 hours in the car. I made it all the way to the Delaware Water Gap, but when I came up behind a guy doing 60 in the left lane (it’s a 65mph zone), waited for him to move to let me pass and then whipped around him when he didn’t and had him flash his brights from behind me, that was pretty much it. Sorry, but it was Sunday night at one in the morning. Move the fuck over or get passed. I wouldn’t have been on the road at all if I didn’t have somewhere to be.

I made it back to my humble river valley otherwise without incident and crashed out hard sometime after 3AM to get up in time for work this morning and refresh that overwhelmed feeling I know so well and can’t fucking stand. Over 750 emails later, I’m not quite caught up and, as usual, questioning my life decisions and whether or not I should quit every job I have, cut my hair, take up jogging and go find something where the compensation is remotely commensurate with the effort put in — or, wow — become an actual writer. I won’t. But I should. Also, fuck everything.

Reviews this week of Steak — would like to do it today, but it’s already almost 2 and I probably won’t have time, so tomorrow — and Goatess, plus a Buried Treasure on Sleaze and maybe another on the haul from the Midwest this year, which is staggering. There doesn’t seem to be any way in hell I’ll get to it, but I’ll plug that forthcoming Dust interview just in case, and tomorrow I’ve got tracks going up for streaming from The Flying Eyes‘ new split with Golden Animals. Thursday night, The Atomic Bitchwax are playing a Rocks Off Concert Cruise around Manhattan with Mirror Queen (more info to follow shortly) and you can bet your ass I’m going to that. Will have a review up on Friday.

This weekend was my grandmother’s 98th birthday. It was also the largest full moon in something like 800 years. I wanted to mention both of those things in my Days of the Doomed III conclusion but was too tired to remember at the time. We always think of the best stuff after the fact.

So while I sit here and debate the finer points of tweeting “YOU FUCKING PEOPLE ARE DISGUSTING. EAT SHIT AND DIE.” to the Heritage Foundation 100 times in a row (take ’em down a peg!) and also try to actually accomplish, well, anything, today, I’ll just take a second to say I hope you have a fantastic, truly wonderful week and that just because I’m out of my head doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate you checking in on the site. Thanks again to everyone who took a gander at the updates from the fest this weekend. This site was what got me out of bed this morning.

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Lo-Pan: Sasquanaut Vinyl Pre-Orders Coming; Tour Update

Posted in Whathaveyou on June 19th, 2013 by JJ Koczan

At this point, I don’t even know what I’d do if a week went by and I didn’t have some news to post about Ohio four-piece Lo-Pan, who just wrapped a tour alongside Torche and KENmode and will head out over the course of July and August with the likes of Borracho, Devil to Pay, Gozu and Weedeater. Their second album, 2009’s Sasquanaut, is about to receive the vinyl treatment for the first time, so along with that and an excuse to put all their upcoming gigs in one place at the same time — at least those that have been to this point announced — there was no way I could resist.

Plus, all the whatnot about pre-orders and that gives me an excuse to post the stream of the album, which is an automatic win:

Lo-Pan Sasquanaut Vinyl + Tour Info

Small Stone Records is proud to announce the release of Lo-Pan’s highly acclaimed album “Sasquanaut” for the first time on limited edition 180g vinyl. Remastered for vinyl release, this limited edition LP will be available for pre-order July 2, 2013. The release will be available in five distinct color variations (silver, solid light green, translucent red, translucent green, and classic black). Additionally, each copy of the LP release will come with a download card, redeemable for a digital copy of the album.

Priced at $30, the first 100 deluxe pre-order packages will receive:
– choice of color variation
– 12” x 18.7” full color poster signed by the band
– limited edition patch
– lo-pan sticker

The tracklist for the “Sasquanaut” LP is:

Side Alpha
Savage Henry

Side Beta
Wade Garrett

Catch Lo-Pan live at the following upcoming tour stops:

Jul 4, 2013 Dayton, OH Blind Bob’s w/ Devil To Pay, Neon Warship
Jul 5, 2013 Chicago, IL Cobra Lounge w/ Devil To Pay
Jul 6, 2013. Madison, WI Mr. Roberts w/ Devil To Pay, The Garza
Jul 7, 2013 Indianapolis, IN Indy’s Jukebox w/ Devil To Pay
Jul 11, 2013 Detroit, MI PJ’s Lager House w/ Devil To Pay
Jul 12, 2013 Cleveland, OH The Temple w/ Devil To Pay, Venomin James
Jul 13, 2013. Columbus, OH Kobo w/ Devil To Pay, Barely Eagle, the Girls!
Jul 18, 2013 Pittsburgh, PA Howler’s w/ Borracho, Sistered, Supervoid
Jul 19, 2013 Washington DC Rock N Roll Hotel w/ Borracho, Kingsnake, King Giant
Jul 20, 2013 Stroudsburgh, PA The Sherman Theater w/ Borracho, Kingsnake
Jul 21, 2013 York, PA The Depot w/ Borracho
Jul 24, 2013 Worcester, MA Ralph’s Rock Diner w/ Gozu, Birch Hill Dam
Jul 25, 2013 Manchester, NH The Shaskeen Pub w/Gozu, Birch Hill Dam
Jul 26, 2013 Boston, MA O’Brien’s w/Gozu, Black Thai
Jul 27, 2013 Brooklyn, NY The Acheron *The Eye of the Stoned Goat 3 w/Gozu, Supermachine, Black Black Black, Borracho, Wizard Eye, Lord Fowl, Geezer, Wasted Theory
Aug 01 2013 Chicago, IL Ultra Lounge w/Weedeater
Aug 03 2013 Nashville, TN Exit/In w/Weedeater
Aug 04 2013 Johnson City, TN Hideaway w/Weedeater
Aug 06 2013 Asheville, NC Broadways w/Weedeater
Aug 07 2013 Charlotte, NC Chop Shop w/Weedeater
Aug 08 2013 Richmond, VA Strange Matter w/Weedeater
Aug 09 2013 Raleigh, NC The Maywood w/Weedeater
Aug 10 2013 Wilmington, NC Soapbox w/Weedeater
Aug 24 2013 Kent, OH The Outpost w/Rebreather, Mockingbird, The Unclean, The Ravenna Arsenal, Vulture, Deathcrawl, Fully Consumed, Venomin James, Super Predator, Showboy

Lo-Pan, Sasquanaut 2.0 (2011)

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