Quarterly Review: Alcest, Superchief, Test Meat, Stones of Babylon, Nightstalker, Lewis & the Strange Magics, Room 101, Albatross Overdrive, Cloud Cruiser, The Spiral Electric

Posted in Reviews on January 8th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

quarterly review

Welcome to Day Three of The Obelisk’s Winter 2020 Quarterly Review. It’s gonna be kind of a wild one. There’s a lot going on across this batch of 10 records, and it gets kind of weird — also, it doesn’t — so sit tight. It’ll be fun either way. At least I hope so. I’ll let you know when I’m finished writing. Ha.

Today we pass the halfway point on the road to 50 reviews by Friday. I think I’m feeling alright up to this point. It’s been a crunch behind the scenes, but it usually is and I’ve done this plenty of times now, so it’s not so bad. I always hold my breath before getting started, but once I’m in it, I rarely feel anymore overwhelmed than I might on any other given day. Which is still plenty, but you know, you make it work.

So let’s do that.

Quarterly Review #21-30:

Alcest, Spiritual Instinct

alcest spiritual instinct

Perhaps unsurprisingly given the label’s modus in this regard as it’s picked up bands from the heavy underground over the last eight to 10 years — arguably a movement that began with Graveyard in 2012 — but Parisian post-black metal innovators Alcest make something of an aesthetic shift with their first outing for Nuclear Blast, Spiritual Instinct. Melody, of course, remains central to their purposes, but in the nine-minute side B opener “L’Île des Morts” as in its side A counterpart “Les Jardins de Minuit,” the subsequent “Protection” and “Sapphire” and even in the crescendo — glorious wash as it is — of the closing title-track, one can hear a sharper, decidedly metallic edge to the guitar and impact of the drums. That’s a turn from 2016’s Kodama (review here), which offered more of a conceptual progressivism, and of course the prior 2014 LP, Shelter (review here), which cast of metallic trappings almost entirely. Why the change? Who cares, it works, and they still have room for the cinematic keyboard-led drama of “Le Miroir” and plenty of the wistful emotionalism that’s been their hallmark since their debut in 2007. They’ve long since mastered their approach and Spiritual Instinct serves as another example of their being able to make their sound do whatever they want.

Alcest on Thee Facebooks

Nuclear Blast webstore

 

Superchief, Moontower

superchief moontower

Four records and just about a decade deep into a tenure that began with the 2010 Rock Music EP (review here), Iowa heavy rockers Superchief have found ways to bring an inventiveness to what’s still an ostensibly straightforward approach. Moontower, named for a lookout point where — at least presuming from the album’s artwork — people tailgate and get drunk, finds the dudely five-piece no less embroiled in burl than they’ve ever been, but using samples and other elements in interesting ways as with the revving motor matching step with the drums at the start of “Barking Out at the Blood Moon” or keyboards in “Rock ‘n’ Roll War” filling out the breaks where the riffs take a step back. Handclaps early in “Beer Me Motherfucker” — as much post-“Introduction” mission statement for the LP as a whole as anything — set the party tone, and from the shaker on “The Approach” to the Southern tinged shred and organ on closer “Priority of the Summer,” a car speeding by at the finish, Superchief find ways to make each of their songs stand out from its surroundings. Then they pair that with choice riffery, pro-shop sound and hooks. Sure enough, it’s once again a winning formula and a distinct showing of personality and craft that still comports with classic heavy style.

Superchief website

Superchief on Bandcamp

 

Test Meat, Enjoy

test meat enjoy

Boston duo Test Meat are so utterly bullshit-free as to be almost intimidating. Guitarist/vocalist Darryl Shepard (Kind, Blackwolfgoat, Hackman, Milligram, etc.) and drummer Michael Nashawaty (Planetoid) dig into heavy grunge and noise rock influences across a 10-track/27-minute full-length that resounds with punker roots and an ethic of willful straightforwardness. It’s not that the music is so intense there would be no room for frills, it’s that the structures are so tight and so purposefully barebones that they’d be incongruous. And it’s not that Test Meat are writing half-hearted songs, either. Frankly, neither the quality of their material nor the sharpness of the sound they captured at New Alliance Studio with Alec Rodriguez would remotely lead one to believe so, and nothing with such stylistic clarity happens by mistake. This is a band with a mission, and Enjoy finds them bringing that mission to life with a complete lack of pretense. It’s a reminder of what made grunge so appealing in the first place some 30 years and an entire internet ago. Songs and performance. Yes.

Test Meat on Thee Facebooks

Test Meat on Bandcamp

 

Stones of Babylon, Hanging Gardens

Stones of Babylon Hanging Gardens

Following a 2018 live demo, Portuguese instrumental three-piece Stones of Babylon — guitarist Rui Belchior, bassist João Medeiros, drummer Pedro Branco — embark with a conceptualist intent on their debut full-length, Hanging Gardens, issued through Raging Planet. An opening sample in the leadoff title-track describing the hanging gardens of Babylon sets the stage for what the band goes on to describe with wordless atmospheres over the five-song/47-minute long-player, their vision of heavy psychedelia touched with a suitable Middle Eastern/North African influence in the initial unfolding of the meditative 11-minute “Coffea Arabica” or the winding lead work over the punchy low end of “Black Pig’s Secret Megalith.” But Hanging Gardens is still very much a heavy rock release, and its material showcases that in tone and mood, with volume changes and builds taking hold like that in centerpiece “Ziggurat,” which in its second half sets a march of distorted largesse nodding forth until its final crashout. They save the most drift for “Babylonia (The Deluge),” and if they’re finishing with the story of the flood, one can’t help but wonder what narrative course they might follow in a second record. On the other hand, if one comes out of Hanging Gardens trying to envision Stones of Babylon‘s future, then the debut would seem to have done its job, and so it has. There’s stylistic and tonal promise, and with the edge of storytelling, an opportunity for development of which one hopes they avail themselves.

Stones of Babylon on Thee Facebooks

Raging Planet website

 

Nightstalker, Great Hallucinations

nightstalker great hallucinations

Frontman Argy and Greek heavy rock institution Nightstalker return with their eighth album in a quarter-century run, Great Hallucinations. Also their first LP for Heavy Psych Sounds after issuing 2016’s As Above So Below (review here) on Oak Island Records, it’s an up-to-par eight-track collection of catchy tracks marked out by psychedelic elements but underpinned by traditionalist structures, Argy‘s distinctive frontman presence, and an all-around unforced feeling of a mature, established band doing what they do. Not going through the motions in the sense of fulfilling some perceived obligation to stay on the road, but creating the songs they want to create in nothing less than the manner they want to create them. I won’t take away from the roll of “Seven out of Ten,” but as “Cursed” taps into a legacy of European heavy rock that runs from Dozer‘s turn of the century work — not to mention Nightstalker‘s own — to outfits today, it’s hard not to appreciate an act being so assured in what they do in terms of execution while actually doing it. In that way, Great Hallucinations is as refreshing as it is familiar.

Nighstalker on Thee Facebooks

Heavy Psych Sounds website

 

Lewis and the Strange Magics, Melvin’s Holiday

Lewis and the Strange Magics Melvins Holiday

From their beginnings in garage doom and subsequent dive into exploitation/vamp psych, Barcelona’s Lewis and the Strange Magics put themselves in even weirder territory on their third album, Melvin’s Holiday, centering a story around the titular character whose life is in turmoil and so he goes on vacation. The sound of the band seems to do likewise, veering into ’70s lounge sleaze and island influences, toying with funky rhythms and keyboards amid catchy choruses across what still would have to be called an experimental 34-minute run. It is a concept album, to be sure, and one that comes through in its stylistic choices like the dreamy keyboards of the centerpiece “Carpet Sun” or the fuzzy stomp in “Sad in Paradise” and the percussion amid the Ween-sounding lead guitar buzz of “Lounge Decadence.” This could be Lewis and the Strange Magics working purposefully to cast off any and all expectation that might be placed on them, or it could just be a one-off whim, but there’s no question they pull off an impressive turn and carry the concept through in story and substance. When it comes to what they might do next time, the payoff of closer “Afternoon on the Sand” serves as one more demonstration that the band can do whatever the hell they want with their sound, so I’d expect them to do no less than precisely that.

Lewis and the Strange Magics on Thee Facebooks

Lewis and the Strange Magics on Bandcamp

 

Room 101, The Burden

room 101 the burden

The debut EP from Lansing, Michigan, four-piece Room 101, called simply The Burden, would seem to take a scorched-earth approach to atmospheric sludge, setting their balance to exploring ambient textures and samples in pieces like “You Will Never Know Security” — which, sure enough, samples 1984 to recount the origin of the band’s name — and the brief “A Place to Bury Strangers,” while the churning “As the Crow Flies” and “Missing Rope” present an outright extremity that comes through in post-Godflesh vocal barks and a Through Silver in Blood-style intensity of churn and general approach. Yet I wouldn’t necessarily call Room 101 post-metal — at least not here. The solo on “Missing Rope” seems to draw from more traditional sources, and the manner in which the chugging in “Plague Dogs” caps with a sudden quick series of hits recalls grindcore’s pivoting brutality. One might hope all of these elements get fleshed out more over subsequent releases, but as a first outing, part of The Burden‘s promise is also drawn from the sheer rawness of its impact and the lack of compromise in its wrench of gut.

Room 101 on Thee Facebooks

Room 101 on Bandcamp

 

Abatross Overdrive, Ascendant

albatross overdrive ascendant

Albatross Overdrive‘s 2016 LP, Keep it Running (review here), ran 31 minutes. Their follow-up, Ascendant, reaches to 33, but loses two tracks in the doing. Clearly, one way or the other, this is a conscious ethic on the band’s part, and it tells you something about their approach to heavy rock as well. There’s nothing too fancy about it — even in “Come Get Some,” which is the longest song the band have ever written at 6:40 — and they are not an outfit to waste their time. Structures run from verse to chorus to verse to chorus led through by guitarists Andrew Luddy and Derek Phillips and Art Campos‘ gritty delivery with an expectedly solid underpinning from bassist Mark Abshire (ex-Fu Manchu) and drummer Rodney Peralta and songs like the careening title-track and the blues-licked shover “Undecided” are enough to give the impression that anything else would be superfluous. They’re not lacking style — because ’70s-meets-’90s-straight-ahead-heavy is, indeed, a style — but it’s the level of their craft that stands them out.

Albatross Overdrive on Thee Facebooks

Albatross Overdrive on Bandcamp

 

Cloud Cruiser, I: Capacity

Cloud Cruiser I Capacity

Kyuss-style riffing takes a beating at the hands of Chicago newcomers Cloud Cruiser — who are not to be confused with Denver’s Cloud Catcher — who make their debut on vinyl through Shuga Records with I: Capacity, giving an aggressive push to what’s commonly considered a more laid back sound. In tone and rhythm and general gruffness, they are a deceptively pointed outfit, with turns of broader groove like that at the outset of “575” that speak to more influences than simply those of the Cali desert. They start off catchy and familiar-if-reshaped, though, on “Transmission” and “Glow,” letting their tale of alien abduction unfold across the lyrics while setting up the shifts that “Gone” and “575” and the thick-boogie of “Orbitalclast” will make before the EP’s would-be-clean-but-for-all-that-dirt-it’s-kicked-up 23-minute run is through. The balance they present speaks to a background in metal, though if they’re fresh arrivals in this realm of heavy, you’d never know it from the lumbering finish they present. Sometimes you just gotta get mean to get your point across. It suits

Cloud Cruiser on Thee Facebooks

Shuga Records website

 

The Spiral Electric, The Spiral Electric

the spiral electric the spiral electric

It is a progressive interpretation of fuzz ‘n’ buzz that San Francisco four-piece The Spiral Electric realize on their self-titled, self-released debut long-player, with recording and mixing by Dead Meadow‘s Steve Kille, the band — vocalist/synthesist/noisemaker/guitarist/percussionist/co-producer Clay Andrews, lead guitarist/backing vocalist Nicolas Percey, bassist Michael Summers and drummer Matias Drago — bridge the generally disparate realms of heavy psych and riffer heavy rock, giving a dreamy sensibility to “Marbles” with no less an organic vibe than they brought to the howling, attitudinal push of “No Bridge Left Unburned” earlier. They skillfully mess with the scale across the lengthy 14-track span, and thereby hold their audience for the duration in longer pieces like “The True Nature of Sacrifice” (8:24) as easily as they do in a series of three episodic interludes of noise, field recordings, synth, etc. This is a band ready, willing and able to space. the hell. out., and after listening to the record, you’d be a fool if you wanted to try. Not that they don’t have aspects to shore up or shifts that could be tightened and so on, but from ambition to fruition, it’s the kind of first record bands should aspire to make.

The Spiral Electric on Thee Facebooks

The Spiral Electric on Bandcamp

 

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Review & Full Album Stream: Domo, Domonautas Vol. 1

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on December 13th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

domo domonautas vol 1

[Click play above to stream Domonautas Vol. 1 by Domo in its entirety. Album is out Dec. 15 on Clostridium Records.]

With psychedelia itself so often given to ideas of fluidity, being molten and/or in some way liquid, it only seems fair that Domo‘s Domonautas Vol. 1 should be such a melting pot. Issued on limited LP in an edition of 400 copies by Clostridium Records — 250 black, 150 red/black transparent splatter for a die-hard edition — the four-track/37-minute offering is the first offering of any kind from the Alicante, Spain, four-piece since 2015’s split with Pyramidal, Jams from the Sun (review here), which also followed some four years after their 2011 self-titled debut (review here).

Their stated intention is that Domonautas Vol. 1 is to be the first of a two-part continuity of albums with Maarten Donders cover art, and that Domonautas Vol. 2 will follow next year, essentially completing the single work across two LPs. I don’t know if Vol. 2 is written, let alone recorded — it could very well be both or either — but it’s an ambitious undertaking for the jam-based psych outfit, and however it works out over the next 12 months, it’s worth noting that Domonautas Vol. 1 in no way sounds incomplete. Its four included tracks are arranged for maximum immersion, with “Oxímoron” (5:15) at the outset giving way to “Astródomo” (12:28) on side A, and “Ritual del Sol” (12:04) and closer “Planisferio” (7:56) finishing the thread on side B.

This shorter-longer-longer-shorter construction, parabolic in its way, creates an arc that brings the listener deeper into the proceedings from the start of “Oxímoron,” which sets off in grandiose fashion, with effects-laced synth severity, like something out of a lysergic Ben-Hur, for almost its full initial two minutes, acting more as an intro to the album(s). From there, a drift of wah with a still-vaguely Middle Eastern vibe takes hold, echoing trumpet in the distance playing out alongside quiet drums from Paco and melodic guitar lines. Sam and Pablo (the latter also trumpet) handle six-string duties with due attention to effects sprawl.

Perhaps some of that Moorish architecture in the arrangement comes from a Viaje a 800 influence from further south in Algeciras on the coast, but, one way or the other, Domo use the final build to introduce bassist Óscar‘s first vocals of the record and with just a beat of a pause between, go from the end of “Oxímoron” to the full-on fuzz roll verse riff of “Astródomo,” thick and righteous, with vocals echoing up to further a sense of space, subtle layering of shouts and acoustic guitar flourish (or what sounds like it, anyhow) for further breadth. “Astródomo” is the longest cut on Domonautas Vol. 1 — not by a lot, but still — and it uses its time to affect multiple changes in movement, beginning a more winding transitional course at about three and a half minutes in as a bed for an emergent lead over a more forward rhythm before crashing into another verse, this one with a stomping march behind, and an extended ring-out and feedback course around the seven-minute mark, underscored and held together by the bassline.

domo (Photo by Rafa Perdomo)

It is a moment of hypnosis led by Óscar that the band will soon enough pay off with a return of vocals, guitar and drums, but that bassline — which seems to draw a bit from Clutch‘s “Spacegrass” in its construction; not a complaint — is a quiet moment that does much to showcase the range that seems to be at play across Domonautas Vol. 1, as the band are perfectly capable of moving between loud and quiet stretches, either creating a wash of effects and riffs or leaving open space for the unsuspecting audience to lose itself within. This serves them well during the instrumental passages of “Astródomo” and “Ritual del Sol,” the latter of which is arguably the most patient of the inclusions on the record.

It unfolds gradually across a multi-stage linear build, led by the guitar with effects/horn backing for atmosphere, and kicks in its fuzz at 3:45, still maintaining a post-rock kind of spirit, which will tie into “Planisferio” as well soon enough. A surge of low end accompanies the entry of vocals, and a new stage of nod is entered, but it’s short-lived as the bass and drums drop out to leave the guitar to set up a more forward riff that becomes the central adrenaline charge of the progression. They shift smoothly into a solo that carries them to and through the halfway point, turn back to a quick couple lines, then blast out even more desert-cosmic, eventually bringing the proceedings downward in energy level to a stretch of effects and subdued guitar float, tension holding in the bass as a tell that they’re not actually done yet.

Sure enough, after 10 minutes, they’re off and running again on the jam, and that leads them out in full party fashion. It would seem to be the apex of Domonautas Vol. 1 were it not for the instrumentalist work “Planisferio” does in setting up its grand finale, working from the ground up on a larger riff, receding again and gracefully executing a heavy psychedelic interpretation of what post-metal has taken on as a signature element: the “Stones from the Sky” moment, wherein that ultra-landmark Neurosis riff provides the foundation of a crescendo, usually manipulated in some way.

Domo join it to a melodic flourish of guitar and keep the central rhythm in focus all the while, pushing forward through that key progression and — most importantly — making it their own as the wind and twist toward the finish of the record, which comes in last crashes and residual guitars. I don’t know when Domonautas Vol. 2 might surface, and if there’s more to the story than Domo are telling here, I’ll be curious to find out just what that is, but it bears repeating that Domonautas Vol. 1 comes through as a coherent, complete statement, and doesn’t seem at its conclusion to be missing anything. That is, it doesn’t sound like you’re listening to half of a record, which is only a positive. Whatever Domo‘s future plans might be, after some years’ delay, they’ve given listeners plenty to explore with these tracks and the scope that seems to come so naturally from them.

Domo on Thee Facebooks

Domo on Instagram

Domo on Bandcamp

Domo website

Clostridium Records on Thee Facebooks

Clostridium Records website

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Sun of the Dying Release The Earth is Silent Vinyl

Posted in Whathaveyou on December 4th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

It’s winter and there’s snow on the ground, which means only two things: I want to leave the house even less than usual and it’s time for death-doom. Madrid-based Sun of the Dying have plenty of the keyboard-orchestral morose vibes and mournful wails that my soul needs this time of year, and their new album, The Earth is Silent, is newly issued through Art of Propaganda. The PR wire mentions Swallow the Sun as a reference point amid the classics of the style, and yeah, I can hear that in some of the more melodic moments of “A Dying Light,” but when that deathliness hits in Eduardo Guilló‘s growls, one almost can’t help but raise a claw in salute. I guess I missed out on their 2017 debut, The Roar of the Furious Sea, when that came out — hi, I suck at this, thanks — but I’m glad to be getting caught up now.

And by glad, I mean miserable.

You find solace where you can:

sun of the dying the earth is silent

Spain’s quickly rising death/doom band SUN OF THE DYING has released their second album, The Earth Is Silent, with AOP Records. Fans can check out the record that’s storming the genre now!

PURCHASE “THE EARTH IS SILENT” VINYL LP:
AOP Records (EU-Store) https://shop.aoprecords.de
AOP Records (US-Store) https://www.indiemerchstore.com/b/aop-records

SUN OF THE DYING crafts a style of death and doom with its roots drawing influence from early acts like MY DYING BRIDE, PARADISE LOST and ANATHEMA, and adding a more modern sound inspired by the likes of SHAPE OF DESPAIR, AHAB and SWALLOW THE SUN.

SUN OF THE DYING began in 2013 as a side project between Casuso and Lavín from their main bands (APOCYNTHION and CRYSTALMOORS). In April of 2017, the band released their debut record, “The Roar of the Furious Sea,” with the mexican label Throats Productions, and after which they performed shows with OCELON, ADE, TRONO DE SANGRE, MALAMMAR and ATREXIAL and WOMB.

Now the SUN OF THE DYING returns with a breathtaking and ferocious follow up, The Earth Is Silent; a bleak and beautifully chaotic record of some of the best death/doom to come out of Spain in years.

The Earth Is Silent Track Listing:
The Earth Is Silent
A Dying Light
A Cold Unnamed Fear
Orion
When The Morning Came
Monolith
White Skies and Grey Lands

Lineup:
Eduardo Guilló – vocals
Casuso – guitars
Roberto Rayo – guitars
José Yuste – bass
Diego Weser – drums
David Muñoz – keyboards and backing vocals

https://www.facebook.com/SunofTheDying/
https://www.instagram.com/sunofthedying
https://sunofthedying.bandcamp.com
http://www.aoprecords.de/
https://www.facebook.com/aoprecs/
https://www.instagram.com/aop.records/
https://artofpropaganda.bandcamp.com/
https://www.indiemerch.com/aoprecords

Sun of the Dying, The Earth is Silent (2019)

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Surya Premiere Debut Album Overthrown in Full; Out This Week

Posted in audiObelisk on November 19th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

SURYA

Based in Cádiz on Spain’s southern coast, the heavy psychedelic four-piece Surya make their debut through Spinda RecordsSurnia RecordsOdio Sonoro and a host of others — Spanish labels should form a conglomerate and take over the world or at very least the heavy underground — with the eight-track/40-minute LP, Overthrown. Set to release Nov. 20 (which, holy shit, is tomorrow), the unpretentiously atmospheric outing works smoothly to make itself comfortable in a balance between harder-pushing rhythms and tonal warmth, an overarching shimmer of melody coming through the lead work on tracks like “Golden Tower” that reminds some of their countryfolk to the east in Algeciras in groups like Híbrido and Atavismo, though their aims for the most part aren’t so directly progressive at this point. Rather, while “Crystal Gate” is the longest inclusion at 7:29, it uses most of that time in developing a jammy flow, and even the decidedly linear, post-Elder sway of “Turtle Shaman,” which would seem to be side B’s answer back to “Crystal Gate” in terms of soundscaping reach, manages not to overindulge in its own lushness.

I’m not sure if I’d call their approach measured in the sense of being overly controlled, but the songs have an organic, carved-from-jams feel, and whether it’s a SoCal riffer like opener “Tales of the Great Fharats” and the subsequent echoer “Sundazed” or the from-the-ground-up build of the finale in “No Further,” they once again make a noble drive toward finding their identity in a sense of balance between sides. The four-piece of guitarist/vocalist Antonio Hierro, guitarist/synthesist José Moares, bassist José María Zapata (also percussion) and drummer/acoustic guitarist/vocalist Carlos Camisón (also also percussion) do well in setting and attaining this goal for themselves on Overthrown, recounting a surya overthrownnarrative across the record’s span but not sacrificing the impressions made by individual tracks in order to do so — not taking away from the songs for the story, in other words, as “concept records” sometimes do.

Instead, whether it’s the boogie in the penultimate “Begone” or the dreamy acid-strum of side A capper “Thousand Year Bridge,” which though it’s just four and a half minutes long does much to bolster a kind of Floydian pastoralism that only adds to the overall tally of their breadth of sound. “Golden Tower” is a fine example of how they bring these different sides together — the acoustic guitar notwithstanding — but wherever Surya end up on their first full-length, they get there with a remarkable sense of awareness for what they’re doing and a style that’s all the more engaging for that. It’s that much easier to go along with the fluidity they conjure because they seem to present it with such confidence.

As to what their future might hold, it’s hard to surmise where the mix of sound might take them or, likewise, where they might take it. But that too is part of what makes Overthrown an exciting listening experience, as their prospects seem to unfold with each careening riff or each patiently-delivered turn. And whatever they do, one can only hope that the current of songwriting they bring to these eight tracks continues to develop along with their aesthetic, since it’s what ultimately works to tie the material together, long with Hierro‘s vocals and a quickly-earned sense of trust that they pay back in kind with laudable effort for the converted and open-minded alike.

Happy to host the stream of the full album below. Dig in and enjoy:

Surya is a 4-piece Heavy Rock/ Heavy Psych band based in Jerez de la Frontera, Spain. After an EP (Vol. 1) released in 2017, Overthrown is their first full length album, culmination of almost one year of work. Although they are all in their early 20s, Surya takes influence from 70s dual guitars with plenty of harmonies, classic sounds and powerful vocals, but with a 90s twist to spice it all up. Recorded at Estudio 79 in April 2019 by Rafa Camisón (G.A.S Drummers, Gentemayor), Overthrown tells us the story of an banished prince and his revenge on his father with roaring guitars, earth-shattering bass and huge drums. A very limited 300 copy vinyl (released between Spinda Records, Odio Sonoro, Monasterio de Cultura, Surnia Records, Bandera Records, Violence in the Veins, Sacramento Records, Noizeland Records, Discosxmil and Gato Encerrado Records) is also available for purchase in their bandcamp. Enjoy!

Releases November 20, 2019

Surya:
Antonio Hierro – guitar & vocals
Carlos Camisón – drums, percussion, acoustic guitar & vocals
José Moares – guitars and synth
José María Zapata – bass and percussion

Recorded, produced and mixed at Estudio 79 by Rafa Camisón.
Mastered at Kadifornia by Mario G. Alberni.
Artwork by Nacho Fernández-Trujillo (@nachoooft).

Edited by Spinda Records, Surnia Records, Monasterio de Cultura, Violence In The Veins, Bandera Records, Sacramento Records, Odio Sonoro, Gato Encerrado Records, Discos X Mil and Noizeland Records.

Surya on Thee Facebooks

Surya on Instagram

Surya on Bandcamp

Spinda Records on Thee Facebooks

Spinda Records website

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Lewis and the Strange Magics to Release Melvin’s Holiday Tape on Dec. 20

Posted in Whathaveyou on November 15th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

lewis and the strange magics

I haven’t given Melvin’s Holiday, the third long-player from Barcelona, Spain, retro weirdos Lewis and the Strange Magics, a proper review yet — it came out in September digitally — but perhaps the Dec. 20 tape release will light a fire under my ass in that direction. The record, which follows their 2018 EP, The Ginger Sessions (review here) and 2017’s Evade Your Soul (review here), embraces a narrative concept, telling the story of its titular character who falls into temptation on a post-divorce tropical bender. Lewis and the Strange Magics tell this story by embracing island vibes and heavy psychedelic oddity in a sound that has evolved out of its garage rock beginnings into something as progressive as it is bizarre, and the album is indeed a lot of fun. Their attention to detail is little short of meticulous and Melvin’s Holiday greatly benefits from it.

You can see that even in the vinyl-era artwork for the tape, which looks like something I might’ve picked up at Bradlee’s at the Morris County Mall circa 1988. If you can’t get behind that kind of loyalism, then I’m sorry, I’ve got nothing for you.

Melvin’s Holiday is of course streaming at the bottom of this post, and tape preorders are up now through Bandcamp.

Info follows:

Lewis and the Strange Magics – Melvin’s Holiday

Limited Edition White Cassette Out on December 20 via Wishu Wishu Records

Pre-Order now the ‘Melvin’s Holiday’ Limited Edition Cassette via: https://lewismagics.bandcamp.com/album/melvins-holiday

Ships worldwide on December 20.
Band logo by Branca Studio.

It’s a concept album that tells the story about a rich man, called Melvin, that after a divorce goes to spend his summer vacation to his Mediterranean countryside house, thinking he will feel free and happy.

The songs of the album describe every moment of his holiday, ending in a decadence which makes him coming back to the city and rethinking his life: although he has everything to live like a king he feels lonely and empty.

The album has been produced, recorded and mixed by Luis Pomés at his home studio (Barcelona), and mastered by Jarkko Mattheiszen at Tainted Studio (Finland).

Cover artwork by Shaun Miller (Weather Press).

1. Melvin 02:51
2. Sad in Paradise 03:48
3. The Answering Machine 02:11
4. Fashion Siren 05:31
5. Carpet Sun 02:21
6. Village’s Wizard 04:32
7. Only a Fantasy 04:13
8. Lounge Decadence 02:27
9. Afternoon on the Sand 06:28

Lewis and the Strange Magics is:
Lewis P. – vocals, guitar, keys, synth, bass, percussion
Ivan Miguel – drums, percussion
Javi Bono – guitar, vocals
Pol Parés – bass (track 1)
Marta N. Lloret – wordless vocals (track 5)

https://www.facebook.com/lewismagics
https://lewismagics.bandcamp.com/

Lewis and the Strange Magics, Melvin’s Holiday (2019)

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Kristonfest 2020 Adds Masters of Reality, Brant Bjork and MaidaVale to Complete Lineup

Posted in Whathaveyou on November 13th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

kristonfest 2020 logo

As will happen from time to time, the announcement info below was run through a major tech company’s translation matrix, so take the actual verbiage with a figurative grain of salt. The important thing to note is that there are five bands booked for Madrid’s Kristonfest 2020 all-dayer next May and not a clunker in the bunch. Truth. I haven’t seen Masters of Reality — something I’d hope to correct sooner or later — but I’ve seen the other four and they’re all awesome. MaidaVale, who’ll open the show, bring classic rock vibes straight out of tomorrow, and of course you don’t at all need me to extol the many virtues of Brant Bjork or C.O.C., and probably not Swans either, as I’m sure you’ve already heard their latest record and know it’s ridiculously good.

And if you’re still on the fence, I have the utmost faith Masters of Reality will be astounding. I’m keeping my fingers crossed for a new record from them around Springtime next year. Doing this and Desertfests means perhaps a tour, and a tour is rare enough to make me think a full-length is coming. Fingers crossed.

Here’s that info:

kristonfest 2020 poster

Kristonfest 2020 – May 9 – Madrid

Masters of reality (USA), Brant Bjork & Band (USA) and maidavale (Sweden) Join Swans (USA) and corrosion of conformity (USA) to complete the poster of the kristonfest 2020. Five Bands with a very marked style That will bring diversity and excellence to a new edition in the La Riviera room in Madrid.

The tickets, which are already available through the website of the festival www.kristonfest.com and in Escridiscos, will not vary their price, staying in the 45 € + Distribution Costs announced initially.

Formed in 1981 and led by legendary producer Chris Goss, Masters of reality is a very important band in the history of rock, as it clearly influenced many bands that were springing up in the state of California at the end of the ‘ 80 And principles of the ’90s, coming to create a musical movement with its own name. So much so that bands like kyuss, fu manchu, sleep, Nebula, yawning man, fatso jetson, etc… have openly declared their admiration for masters of reality.

The different stages of masters of reality have counted with relevant musicians, where ginger baker is featured (Cream, hawkwind, p.i.l.), Josh Homme (Kyuss, Queens of the stone age), Mark Lanegan (screaming trees), Dave catching (Queens of The Stone Age, Eagles of death metal, Mondo Generator, etc…. and where the combination of experimenting with hard-Rockers riffs and their tastes for the progressive rock of the ‘ 70 s let their hobby be revealed by King Crimson and Black Sabbath,… so much so the band took its name from the album that these last published in 1971, “Masters of reality”.

The letters of Chris Goss, who is considered the godfather of the whole desert-rock movement, are like reading the Bible of everything that surrounded the birth and development of a scene that was never supported by the great record labels, but that has managed to keep Live thanks to the passion of your followers.

The fourth confirmation is that of Brant Bjork & band, key name of the stoner-rock scene for being the drummer of the legendary kyuss and who has recently reissued one of his best albums, “Jalamanta” (1999). If To this we add that the great Sean Wheeler is part of the band is a news that makes us very excited, since Sean is a key piece of the desert scene for being the leader of throw rag and have collaborated in many projects next to Jesse Hughes, Josh Homme, Chris Goss, Mark Lanegan, etc….

The last confirmation is that of the Swedish MaidaVale, which shines like few in the skies of psychedelia-Rock and heavy-Blues of the last decade. Without a doubt, Mathilda Roth (voice), Sofia Ström (Guitar), Linn Jóhannesson (Bass) and Johanna Hansson (Drums) drink from the influences they left for history the decade of the ‘ 60 s, contributing to their repertoire A more direct, atmospheric and forceful sound.

His passage through festivals such as Sweden rock, desertfest, freak valley and red smoke festival has helped them to build the reputation of live, soulful and charismatic band, so get ready to be captivated by this quartet that has a lot to say.

https://www.facebook.com/events/793147224452006/
https://www.wegow.com/es-es/festivales/kristonfest-2020
http://www.facebook.com/kristonfest
http://www.instagram.com/kristonfest/
https://www.kristonfest.com/

Brant Bjork, Live at Freak Valley 2019

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Viaje a 800 Reissuing Santa Águeda for 20th Anniversary

Posted in Whathaveyou on November 12th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

At the time of this posting, there are five (5) copies left of Viaje a 800‘s Santa Águeda available on tap through Spinda Records, and as I watch and listen through to the video for the 11-minute closing track “Al-Yazhira,” I have to think they’ll be gone in no time flat. The desert tones are raw and gorgeous in the guitar and yet there’s an airy effects layer as well that serves as foreshadow for some of the more progressive and psychedelic elements the band would bring to their sound later on. After reissuing their first two records through Spinda, putting out a live album and now this demo — the tape limited to just 50 copies worldwide — I have to wonder if maybe the Algeciras-based troupe might be headed toward the inevitability of a new full-length. I know José “Pot” Moreno is plenty busy with other projects, and Algeciras isn’t exactly short on related bands at this point, but there’s an awful lot going on the last couple years with Viaje a 800 in terms of playing shows and putting out releases for a band who are, you know, not really a band anymore.

If you’re lucky enough to grab one of these tapes, congratulations. You will have beat me to it, thereby giving you bragging rights into perpetuity.

Don’t forget Viaje a 800 also play Spinda RecordsSpinda Fest this month. Info on that is here.

From the PR wire:

Santa Águeda viaje a 800

New from Viaje a 800: Santa Águeda, Limited Edition Cassette

A bit earlier than expected… We’ve just started pre-sale for Viaje a 800’s demo tape ‘Santa Águeda’. Ah, and there are only 50 copies worldwide, so be quick!!!

Recorded at Estudios Pinrrel de Santa Águeda in 1997 and 1998.
Please listen to this as a demo as that is what it is.
Re-issued by Spinda Records to celebrate band’s 20th Anniversary

Tracklisting:
1. El dios de mi mentira
2. Equivocación
3. Solo
4. Cardio Límite
5. Esfera Violencia
6. Al-Yazhira

Viaje a 800 is:
José Pot Moreno – vocals, bass
Océano Galindo – guitar
David Ruiz – drums
Carlos Navas – bass
Miguel Acuña – guitar

https://www.facebook.com/Viaje-a-800-373382802690104/
https://viajea800.bandcamp.com/
http://www.spindarecords.com/
https://spindarecords.bandcamp.com/

Viaje a 800, “Al-Yazhira” official video

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Domo Set Dec. 15 Release for Domonautas Vol. 1; Teaser Clip Posted

Posted in Whathaveyou on November 7th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

domo (Photo by Rafa Perdomo)

What’s that you say? You were just thinking it had been a while since we heard from jammy Spanish heavy psych four-piece Domo? Well that’s pretty wild. You’re not wrong. Their last outing was four years ago in 2015, and that was a split with Pyramidal called Jams from the Sun (review here), so yes, if you believe in due, they’re due. They’ve aligned with Clostridium Records for the limited vinyl edition(s) of their new full-length, which is titled Domonautas Vol. 1 and will be out Dec. 15. No full songs from the record — and with four extended tracks making it up, I’m not sure there will be — but there’s a teaser posted that at least offers a kind of ambient glimpse at the mood they’re shooting for.

Of course, those looking to dig further can always go back and revisit Jams from the Sun and/or their 2011 self-titled debut (review here). Jeez. Eight years from their first record to their second. I might have to start calling this band “prog” if they’re going to take that long to put stuff out.

Looking forward to it, either way. They posted the following on thee social medias:

domo domonautas vol 1

Domo – Domonautas Vol. 1

We are very excited to show you the cover of our next album (Domonautas Vol. 1)! , which we can confirm that it will go on sale on December 15 on Clostridium Records. The artwork has been created by the great Maarten Donders, and has done a fantastic job that has left us with our mouths wide open.

Besides, we´re advancing you the tracklist of the album, which will consist of four songs, and as you can imagine, they will be progressive and psychedelic long songs in a classic Domo way:

1. Oxymoron
2. Astródomo
3. Ritual of the sun
4. the planisphere

Soon, more news!

It will be 150 copies in red & black splatter color, and 250 copies in black. And of course, all accompanied by the wonderful artwork made by Maarten Donders.

Remember the date: December 15th 2019.

Video by Javi Peral

Domo is:
Sam (guitar/fx)
Pablo (guitar/fx/trumpet)
Óscar (bass/vocals)
Paco (drums/percussion)

https://www.facebook.com/domorockband/
https://www.instagram.com/domoband/
https://domoband.bandcamp.com/
http://www.domoband.com/
https://www.facebook.com/clostridiumrecords/
http://www.clostridiumrecords.com/

Domo, Domonautas Vol. 1 teaser

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