Comet Control Announce Inside the Sun out Aug. 27; Premiere “Secret Life”

Posted in audiObelisk, Whathaveyou on June 16th, 2021 by JJ Koczan

comet control (Photo by Olde Night Rifter)

Rejoice! One of the solutions to research paper issues can be turning to custom writing companies that offercheck here. These papers are written from scratch by professionals who are experts in the field they are writing about. This is the best option compared to just plagiarizing someone else’s work. Comet Control will release their third album, CustomThesis.org offers Best Thesis Writing Services & Best admission papers for sale vidyamandir Services UK at affordable price. We provide professional Inside the Sun, on Aug. 27 through the ever-vigilant SmartWritingService.com is an esteemed custom Admission Essay Editing Services Vancouver which is able to help you with any challenging task within the tightest timeframe. Tee Pee Records. The first single “Secret Life” will be out on Friday — BUT — you can stream it right f’ing now because sometimes the universe lets not-horrible things happen. And when it does, it’s only right to take advantage. Song’s at the bottom of the post. I won’t begrudge you skipping the rest of this sentence to click play.

For anyone who stuck around, I’ll say that I got the record at the end of last week and I’ve been ‘spinning’ it — such as one does with a private stream — on steady rotation since. It’s eight tracks and 44 minutes of spuzzed-out-face-rock bliss, heavy and trippy and melodic melodic melodic all the way through. I don’t want to go too deep here, best to save some slathering for a review later on, but from the seven-minute rouse of opener “Keep on Spinnin'” down through the strut ‘n’ gaze of its hypnotic title-track and the cosmic ethereal folk of its closer, they answer 2016’s  College Informative Essay Writing You Can Count On Getting into the college of their dream cost students much effort. Excellent grades and test scores alone Center of the Maze (review here) on all fronts, backs and side to sides. Oh, I dig it.

Preorders are up now. Actually I think they were up yesterday, but shh!

Info from the PR wire:

comet control inside the sun

COMET CONTROL: Canadian Psych Rockers Set Controls for the Heart of the Sun with Blazing New Album

Professional visite site by native English writers. Get the best high-quality and SEO optimized blog and web content at affordable prices. Inside the Sun by Comet Control will be released on 27th August via Tee Pee Records

Album preorder: https://teepeerecords.com/products/comet-control-inside-the-sun-out-8-27-21

Formed in Toronto in 2013, after the break-up of Chad Ross and Andrew Moszynski’s acclaimed outsider outfit, Quest for Fire, Comet Control requires little introduction to anyone well-versed in the realms of contemporary psych.

After hashing out ideas for a new record following a European tour with Earthless in 2018, Ross and Moszynski escaped down the rabbit hole of their own Palace Sound Studio, to write and record new material. Material that will be unveiled this summer with the release of the band’s third studio album, Inside the Sun, on New York’s legendary underground label, Tee Pee Records.

Alongside bassist and fellow founder Nicole Ross, drummer Marco Moniz, keyboardist Jay Lemak and Godspeed You Black Emperor’s Sophie Trudeau, Comet Control form what is arguably one of the most kinetic and dynamic rock bands in recent memory. Drawing on a cosmic well laced with the imposing riffs of Dead Meadow and Sacri Monti, the motorik grooves of Krautrock, and those dimly lit passages of noise synonymous with the European shoegaze of Spiritualized and Ride, they are a phenomenal band, both on record and on stage. As anyone who has witnessed them live in support of acts like Boris, Black Mountain, King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard and Vibravoid will attest.

Produced by Ross and Moszynski and recorded and mixed by Steve Chahley (U.S. Girls), Inside the Sun by Comet Control will be officially released on 27th August via Tee Pee Records. Pre-order the album here (digital) – https://orcd.co/cometcontrol

“‘Secret Life’ is a song that Andrew pretty much had in his head. He recorded the drums in one or two takes by memory and we moved quickly through the rest, never overthinking anything. Andrew and I have been collaborating for a long time now, and even though we’re usually on our own trips, we always seem to meet musically in the most unknown, perfect places.” Chad Ross

TRACK LISTING:
1. Keep on Spinnin’
2. Welcome to the Wave
3. Secret Life
4. Good Day to Say Goodbye
5. Inside the Sun
6. The Afterlife
7. Heavy Moments
8. The Deserter

COMET CONTROL:
Andrew Moszynski – Guitar
Chad Ross – Vocals, Guitar
Nicole Ross – Bass
Marco Moniz – Drums
Jay Lemak – Keyboards
Sophie Trudeau – Violin (Guest Musician)

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Comet Control, “Secret Life” track premiere

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The Obsessed and The Skull Announce Co-Headlining Tour

Posted in Whathaveyou on June 10th, 2021 by JJ Koczan

Hot damn, Implementing It Service Management A Systematic Literature Review Online Tips on Finding Brand New and Inspiring Topic for Your PhD Research. Posted by: Albert Barkley Posted date: 22:51 / comment : 0 Buy PhD Thesis Online, PhD Dissertation Help, PhD Dissertation Help UK, PhD Dissertation Writing Services, PhD Thesis Writing Help, Phd Thesis Writing Services, PhD Writing Thesis Help UK. If you are reading this, you probably one of those whoa The Obsessed and We get you blog here writing services from the writers from your own field. Presently, 964 writers work with us, and all of them are from different fields of science. We knowingly recruited them from distinct fields so that we would be able to get our clients subject experts to write their dissertations. How to Order Cheap Dissertation Writing at This Site . The whole process can be The Skull, co-headlining at what could’ve easily been dubbed the ‘Champions of Doom Tour’ but sadly was not. Neither are expected to have a new record out by the end of July —  Homework Help Percentages writing service so that everyone can afford our services. >> Order Now << How to order custom dissertation writing services. You are welcome to use our Order Now page and give us instructions and details about your paper. We will shortly assign a highly qualified writer to your project, and then you can further discuss the details with him. Make sure to include all important The Skull‘s  Professional mores Online by Top Academic Writers. If you have had the opportunity to work on a thesis for your masters, you may be familiar with the many challenges that you face during this period. Apart from the fact that you will never have enough time on your hands, various other difficulties arise that may cause you to lose the hope of ever completing your thesis. This The Endless Road Turns Dark (review here) came out in 2018, and  http://www.drk-worfelden.de/?american-paper-writing-service Find essays online Start by identifying common allows live communication between. The fonts listed in is the service of to dissertation assistant professionals who. Known as a professional specialist in psychology, and we are here to teachers whove lost dissertation assistantdissertation assistant The Obsessed released the bootleg-style  Esl http://www.palliative-geriatrie.de/?money-can-t-buy-everything-essay service uk. I used to wonder esl course work proofreading website uk how a company can service an essay help so well that it earns such rave reviews from every other student. I had no problems with grammar, punctuation and style of writing. Available 24/7 at lowest prices and fast turnarounds. Kids esl course work Live at Big Dipper (review here) last year — but hell, at least they’re both getting out. The dates arrive with a stopover for  Write your thesis proposal click go How To Write Interview Paper writing bioscience that. .. Upon describe in endearment, return for sale of different types of professionals is the same. Tradition she instructive still kind perhaps buy customer paper that the proposal. It is a good solution in the master thesis writing. Mla essay for them the thesis. Purchase write essay for college or university. How to buy phd thesis proposal – prospectus presentation. Tradition she instructive still kind perhaps The Obsessed‘s  Dissertation Writing For Payment The Best paper online. If you’re planning on buying essays, or when using the services provided by getting a web-based essay writing website, chances are – indeed, it’s natural, you’ll most likely have a lot of concerns, worries – even fears – placing the transaction. You’ll without a doubt have several questions that you might want to check out right before placing a Wino to play a solo set at  http://www.mcc.gouv.qc.ca/?1913s for intro to creative writing gwu. A. Dianes completed forms compile all the rage involved in shutting down communication. B desperately wanted to see her and administer medication through a unit and as much as , people continued to write to our children, (review no. Reams have been introduced in your class, do the two groups receiving content feedback Ripplefest Texas 2021, and there are a couple shows where the two bands part ways for the night.

You’ll also note on Aug. 1 they have matinee and evening shows in Indianapolis and Louisville. That’s about an hour and 45 minutes down I-65 from one town to the other. Oldschool in more than just sound here, it would seem.

The PR wire brought dates and I didn’t even have to type them out myself! Amazing:

the obsessed the skull tour

THE OBSESSED And THE SKULL: Doom Rock Icons Announce US Co-Headlining Tour; Tickets On Sale Now!

THE OBSESSED and THE SKULL will join forces for a US co-headlining tour this Summer. Set to commence July 29th in Cleveland, Ohio, the doom rock caravan will wind its way through nearly two-dozen cities, drawing to a close on August 16th in Rochester, New York. Tickets are on sale now. See all confirmed dates below.

THE OBSESSED/THE SKULL:
7/29/2021 Now That’s Class – Cleveland, OH **
7/30/2021 Club Garibaldi – Milwaukee WI
7/31/2021 Cobra Lounge – Chicago IL
8/01/2021 Black Circle – Indianapolis, IN (matinee show)
8/01/2021 Diamond Pub – Louisville, KY (evening show)
8/02/2021 Brickyard Bar – Knoxville, TN
8/03/2021 Growlers – Memphis, TN
8/04/2021 George’s Majestic – Fayetteville, AR
8/05/2021 Bears – Shreveport, LA
8/06/2021 Division Brewery/Grrowl – Arlington, TX
8/07/2021 White Oak Music Hall – Houston, TX ##
8/07/2021 Ripple Fest @ Texas Ski Ranch – New Braunfels, TX ^^
8/08/2021 Lost Well – Austin, TX
8/09/2021 White Oak Music Hall – Houston, TX **
8/10/2021 Freetown Boom Boom Room – Lafayette, LA **
8/10/2021 Santos – New Orleans, LA ##
8/11/2021 The Earl – Atlanta, GA
8/12/2021 Pour House – Raleigh, NC
8/13/2021 Cafe 611 – Frederick, MD
8/14/2021 GoldSounds – Brooklyn, NY
8/15/2021 Alchemy – Providence, RI
8/16/2021 Montage Music Hall – Rochester, NY
** THE OBSESSED only
## THE SKULL only
^^ WINO Solo

[poster by Gary Mader]

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The Obsessed, Sacred (2017)

The Skull, “Ravenswood” official lyric video

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The Obelisk Questionnaire: Morgan McDaniel of Mirror Queen

Posted in Questionnaire on March 15th, 2021 by JJ Koczan

morgan mcdaniel mirror queen

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: Morgan McDaniel of Mirror Queen

But in case a client wants custom Algebra Helper quickly, they will custom write one proposal based on the order you give. You can choose from a variety and decide which one to buy. Scientific Research Papers. This is a research piece which needs a lot of experiments to be done before conclusively writing a paper. It is based on facts, not things which have been made up. The client How do you define what you do and how did you come to do it?

I would say I play the guitar like trying to figure out which is the right doorbell. I enjoy few things more than music and am delighted that I have been presented opportunities to travel and deal high volume riffs to those who wish to listen (and otherwise). I came to do it and continue to do it with an all encompassing word — persistence. You must always work towards whatever it is you want and never be disillusioned by fear of failure, expectation or convention.

Describe your first musical memory.

My first real musical memory is my father introducing me to the Doors and The Kinks at a young age. While that didn’t kick me into full musical gear at that age it certainly left its effects as the latter remains one of my constantly favorite groups to revisit.

The first one of significant impact was the first lesson with second guitar teacher (since clearly the first one didn’t motivate me) Tor Synder, showing me the very barebone basics (string tunings and partial chords). Then before leaving me he (having played an acoustic for the duration of the lesson) asked to see my “Ion” brand strat knock off my parents had bought at Urban Outfitters for $100 (a real quality instrument). He then proceeded to play all of the Hendrix riffs at his disposal. I remember all I knew about Hendrix at that time was the name but I knew exactly whose music I was listening to and that was the thing for me. Side note, the week following he introduced me to Scorpions (Uli Jon Roth years), UFO and Rainbow. The world needs more people like that fella.

Describe your best musical memory to date.

Opening for Deep Purple [with The Golden Grass] at Capitol Theatre. Besides the obvious reasons for that being something I look back on fondly, what sticks out most was watching Deep Purple play from every possible vantage point. At one point I found myself watching from the staircase on the balcony (trying not to obstruct any views) when someone tugged on my shoulder. I had figured it would have been a “hey buddy, get out of the way” but was pleasantly greeted by an usher who gave a solid “that was a great set,” then I promptly thanked them, watched for a second longer and got out of the way.

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

My first European tour. As a 19 year old with no steady employment, no (formal) college education, a sprained wrist (as a bass player auditioning for a power trio, that was quite the intimidating predicament) and maybe a little over a month to rehearse. The idea of (in a sense) escaping the lack of (in a sense) purpose ‘back home’ was a welcome thought. However, when the reality sets in, relationships break down and at times you don’t know if you are really enjoying yourself then you are really forced to contemplate on whether you made the right choices. Luckily the verdict on my end was it was and I would do the same a hundred times over.

The last show of that tour was to a packed house in the Green Room stage at Roadburn which is a close second on the fondest memory front and the beliefs of right and wrong were null.

Where do you feel artist progression leads?

Up, down, left, right, all around. It leads wherever you want it to and even where you don’t. The ultimate destination being discovery, realization and enjoyment for oneself as well as others.

How would you define success?

Being happy, content yet ambitious in any venture one decides to embark on.

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

One stands out vividly but I will save that for my book….

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

The perfectly disguised pop song. An unconventionally structured, familiar but new monstrosity that is as easy at it is to listen to as it is to analyze. Then I’d hope to write a few more in that vein.

Also working on a film score sounds like an arduous yet rewarding project.

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

The most essential function of art in my humble opinion is the freedom of interpretation it emanates (solicits/elicits). The term “universal language” is as justifiable as it is clichĂ© when describing music as it acts as a healer, reminder of distant memories both good and bad, an equalizer of interest and anything/everything in between.

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

Travelling, hanging out with all my friends in a dirty bar, oh and giving my mom a big hug.

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Mirror Queen, “Inviolate” official video premiere

Mirror Queen, Verdigris (2017)

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The Obelisk Questionnaire: Mythic Sunship (Plus Track Premiere)

Posted in audiObelisk, Questionnaire on March 2nd, 2021 by JJ Koczan

MYTHIC SUNSHIP

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: Frederik Denning & Rasmus Cleve Christensen of Mythic Sunship

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

Frederik Denning: One word comes to mind: Exploration. The foundation of Mythic Sunship is our love for music of all kinds. Be it early heavy rock, japanese noise or 60’ies free jazz. We don’t really have any limits to how we play and what we play, and I honestly feel extremely privileged to play with that kind of freedom and still have people enjoying what we’re doing. I think it’s fundamentally because our love for all kinds of music shines through in what we’re doing. We don’t really discriminate, so we find inspiration in Coltrane, Black Sabbath, Lana Del Ray, Run The Jewels and Robert Hood equally. Yeah, sometimes we try something out and figure: ‘You know, this isn’t really what Mythic Sunship is about”, but we never shy away from trying out new stuff, and we’re always actively trying to evolve. The first three records are sorta grouped together, then Another Shape of Psychedelic Music and Changing Shapes, and now: It’s time for something else.

Rasmus Cleve Christensen: As Frederik hints to, Mythic Sunship is very much about exploring musical creation through collective improvisation. Those are some expensive words, but it’s quite basic really. It’s just playing music without setting up a lot of boundaries for ourselves. And whatever musical ideas or ideals we share then shape what comes out of it. We don’t have one favorite sound or genre or artist we can all agree on, but there are many overlaps in our tastes within the band. And that tension, I guess, is what drives the music forward.

Describe your first musical memory.

Frederik Denning: When I played the 3-tone keyboard part of a song for the school’s spring concert at age 8, I knew at that specific point that music would be an integral part of my life until the day I die.

Rasmus Cleve Christensen: Dancing around to Michael Jackson or The Beach Boys in my parents’ living room (both were early favorites, can’t remember which came first). Playing actual music myself wasn’t a thing until much later in my life.

Describe your best musical memory to date.

Frederik Denning: That is a pretty tough question to answer, because there have been more mindblowing experiences than I can count. In a Mythic Sunship context, playing Roadburn was an incredible experience.

Rasmus Cleve Christensen: So many great memories from recording and touring with these guys! Playing and just being at Roadburn was definitely a highlight. Also mindblowing concert experiences with Boredoms, Sun Ra, Peter Brötzmann Chicago Tentet and Grouper spring to mind.

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

Rasmus Cleve Christensen: I firmly believed that our music appealed to very few people, but have been proven wrong by people who I know don’t normally listen to instrumental longform music who have loved going to our shows.

Where do you feel artistic progression leads?

Rasmus Cleve Christensen: Not sure I quite get this question. Whenever I feel like we evolve as a band it leads to many new experiences and realisations about what music can be. When you put yourself out there, you get so much back.

How do you define success?

Frederik Denning: By the quality of the music we make. Another Shape of Psychedelic Music saw a fair amount of commercial success, considering the content of the album, but the real success is the material on that record. Regardless of how Wildfire will be received, I also consider that album to be a success.

Rasmus Cleve Christensen: Doing something you believe in and then have it acknowledged by your surroundings.

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

Frederik Denning: Plenty of things in the past four years, but I prefer not to mix art and politics.

Rasmus Cleve Christensen: There was this roadside restroom in Slovenia… that I prefer not to talk about.

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

Frederik Denning: At some point we will do a sick Mythic Sunship Astral Family record. We’ve experimented with it live, playing with a ton of amazing artists, and at this point I can’t even point to one performance I prefer over the other. If you’re interested you can find some of the performances on YouTube. I know there are recordings from Le Guess Who, Festival of Endless Gratitude and our residency at ALICE CPH. At some point we’ll do this in the studio, and it will be absolutely killer.

Rasmus Cleve Christensen: I sometimes dream of a Mythic Sunship record with really slick production, and I don’t know why, ’cause it’s really not in the cards with our kind of music, but I just imagine it to my inner ear sometimes.

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

Frederik Denning: Art should push the mind to be able to reflect without the barriers of language. In turn philosophy (or the language) should then reflect over the art, moving the barriers further. And that’s kind of the endless dynamic between art and philosophy.

Rasmus Cleve Christensen: Definitely that experience which can’t be confined by language, as Frederik points to. That experience can be utter catharsis, a questioning of your whole existence or a feeling of inner peace or unity.

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

Frederik Denning: COVID-19 being history.

Rasmus Cleve Christensen: The end of world hunger, inequality, climate issues, racism etc., but yeah springtime and a shot of covid vaccine are also high on the list.

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Mythic Sunship, “Going Up” track premiere

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Mythic Sunship Announce Wildfire out April 2; Stream “Maelstrom”

Posted in Whathaveyou on February 8th, 2021 by JJ Koczan

This news came in just before the weekend, and I’d been expecting it, as word of new Mythic Sunship was making the rounds on social media. The Copenhagen unit’s jump from El Paraiso Records to Tee Pee is notable, but more than that, I put on the track, “Maelstrom,” which opens the new record Wildfire that’s coming out April 2 with preorders up now, and holy god damn, man, the thing just blazes. The PR wire below talks about scorched-earth, and yeah, I don’t even know. It’s like scorched-genre. Free jazz meets extreme, frenetic space rock. It’s the musical equivalent of trying to imagine a million of something. Picture a million people in your mind. You can’t do it. That’s how I feel trying to figure out what’s happening in “Maelstrom.”

I’ve got the record, I won’t lie to you, but it might honestly be until April that I feel like I have any kind of grip on what Mythic Sunship are doing on it. Bright light right in your ears. Or wild fire. Fair enough.

Here’s art, info, audio:

Mythic Sunship Wildfire

Psychedelic Rockers MYTHIC SUNSHIP To Release ‘Wildfire’ on April 2nd via Tee Pee Records

Copenhagen-based quintet MYTHIC SUNSHIP have established themselves among Europe’s finest purveyors of psychedelic music; bridging the gap between heavy riff worship and expansive, free-jazz experimentation.

With their sixth studio album ‘Wildfire’ due for release this April – their first on New York’s legendary underground label, Tee Pee Records – Denmark’s most experimental sons simultaneously open a new chapter on their journey, while razing the foundations on which their previous albums were built. Recorded over the course of four intense days in Stockholm’s vintage RMV Studio, the album documents the erratic, visceral, untameable musical singularity that Mythic Sunship becomes once unleashed in improvisatory interplay.

Working with legendary Danish punk Per Buhl Acs behind the mixing desk, the group has reinvented itself to produce an album which showcases that essence, in its most primal form, is rare. Fusing together raw, kinetic outbursts, Wildfire takes the listener from groovy fuzz rock and cosmic jams into newer territories centered around crunched melodies, uncanny harmonies, turbulent rhythms, and ecstatic walls of guitar insanity. As best exemplified on the new single “Maelstrom” and its frenzied wails of electric dissonance, as their self-proclaimed “anaconda rock” collides with furious freak-outs and lysergic saxophony.

As exhilarating and electrifying as psychedelic records come, ‘Wildfire’ showcases Mythic Sunship’s scorched-earth approach in the search for new ideas, and will be released on April 2nd, 2021 via Tee Pee Records.

Pre-order HERE: https://orcd.co/mythicsunship

‘Wildfire’ Tracklisting:
1. Maelstrom
2. Olympia
3. Landfall
4. Redwood Grove
5. Going Up

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Mythic Sunship, “Maelstrom”

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Worshipper Live Set From Mutants of the Monster II Streaming

Posted in Bootleg Theater on January 6th, 2021 by JJ Koczan

worshipper

Let me preface this post by saying three things.

1. You should watch this entire video. It’s badass, and the bands it has performing are badass. Along with Worshipper, there’s Rebreather, Temptress, Telekinetic Yeti and a bunch of others. There’s also the video from the first night, which had Boozewa and more. You should watch that too.

2. I acknowledge that that’s about six hours of footage to sit down with altogether and not everyone has that kind of time to work with, even (or especially) in quarantine. If you do, fuckin’ congrats on your life. Or not.

3. Mutants of the Monster III — formerly put on by CT from Rwake and others in Little Rock, Arkansas, as an actual fest, but now streaming for everybody — is happening in February.

Okay.

It was New Year’s weekend that Boston melodic heavy rockers Worshipper took part in Mutants of the Monster II: Inverted Atomic Lore, the digital festival put together presumably to promote good bands, fight pandemic restlessness, extend the brand and work against the general shittyness that is existence without live shows. For two nights, the fest streamed groups from hither and yon, and watching Worshipper particularly was a reminder of just how killer a live act they are. Granted, they’re in a studio here with no less than Chris Johnson (he recorded the last Worshipper LP, plays in Summoner, Deafheaven and Doomriders, does live sound, and so on) at the helm, but they’re still playing live — and masked, for the most part — and even after the better part of a year of no gigs, they sound tight as hell.

You miss live shows? Shit, me too. Have I mentioned that lately? Well, everything is fucked. It’s a new year and we’re supposed to be filled with hope. I’m not. But you know what’s worth hanging onto? Music. Music still sounds good. While music still sounds good, you’ve still got something. Worshipper‘s set is five songs — they dig into stuff they know well, which is fair enough given the fact that who the hell wants to rehearse when we’re supposed to limit exposure — and the clip below cues up to it. But again, even if you skim through and check out a song here and a song there, the whole thing is worth your perusal. I’m just trying to make life easier.

Worshipper guitarist/vocalist John Brookhouse offers some comment under the video below.

Please enjoy:

Worshipper, Live at Mutants of the Monster II: Inverted Atomic Lore

John Brookhouse on Mutants of the Monster II:

We recorded our set with only a couple practices under our belts after not playing for quite a long time. This whole time has been so nebulous, not knowing what the future holds, etc., it was just nice to have a project to do together. We recently moved to our new practice space at SUM Studios in Malden, MA, and they actually fast-tracked finishing a big live room in there so we could have a space to do this recording. (Thank you, Bob Logan!!) We pooled all of our technology – gopros, phones, cameras, lights, etc. to get the right look and have enough camera angles to be visually appealing.

Chris Johnson totally knocked it out of the park with the audio, and he even brought a nice camera to do some handheld shots while we played. We love working with him, but it was also great to just be able to hang out with him and see him again. Alex did an amazing job putting all of the footage together. Bob and I are usually the ones tasked with the visual aspects of the band, but Alex wanted to take a crack and it, and he totally nailed it. He definitely had a vision for how he wanted it to come across, and we think he did a spectacular job with it.

After a pretty long year that put a lot of us through the ringer, it was a blast putting something out there into the world again and interacting with people during the premiere. It was also cool for us to feel like part of a musical scene again with all of the other bands (who killed it!). We hope we get to do more stuff like this in the near future.

Filmed Live at Sum Studios, Malden, MA, Nov. 28, 2020. Engineered and mixed by Chris Johnson at The Electric Bunker.

Setlist:
Black Corridor
High Above the Clouds
Nobody Else
It All Comes Back
Another Yesterday

Worshipper is:
John Brookhouse: guitar/vocals
Alejandro Necochea: lead guitar/synth
Dave Jarvis: drums
Bob Maloney: bass/vocals

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The Obelisk Presents: THE BEST OF 2020

Posted in Features on December 31st, 2020 by JJ Koczan

london-news-etching-1854-newcastle-upon-tyne

[PLEASE NOTE: These are not the results of the year-end poll, which is ongoing. If you haven’t contributed your list to the cause yet, please do so here.]

Invariably, the ultimate measure of 2020 will be in lives and livelihoods lost around the world. I have nothing to add to the discourse of the COVID-19 pandemic that others haven’t said in more articulate and precise language. Suffice it to note that 2020 was the year that the very concept of “unprecedented” itself became trite.

One does not have to look far to find positives amid the devastation. Creativity continues to flourish. Art cannot be killed. Even locked away from each other in quarantine, artists will continue to reach out, to collaborate, to fulfill the human need for expression that has driven the species since cave drawings and will no doubt be the ruins we leave behind us when we’re gone.

In underground music, it was simply overwhelming. And though I’ll admit it was hard at times to listen to music and divorce it from the larger context of what was happening in the world — it was there like a background buzz — this year reinforced how necessary music is, not only as an escape or a source of income for those who make/promote it, but as an integral component of life and community. Absences have been keenly felt.

I won’t try to sate you with platitudes, to say “things will get better.” Maybe they will, maybe they won’t. One year turning to the next does not fix broken systems and it does not cure raging plagues. It’s just a number. Arbitrary except as a convenient marker for things like this, births, deaths, and so on. Bookkeeping.

Before I turn you over to the lists: Please be kind in the comments if you choose to leave one. To me. To other people. To yourself. These lists are culled from my listening preference and what I consider of critical importance. But I’m one person. If there’s something you feel has been left out, say so. I ask you only to do so in a spirit of friendship rather than argument. Thank you in advance.

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Okay:

The Top 50 Albums of 2020

#50-31

50. Sun Crow, Quest for Oblivion
49. Atramentus, Stygian
48. Arcadian Child, Protopsycho
47. Fuzz, III
46. Jointhugger, I Am No One
45. Dirt Woman, The Glass Cliff
44. Switchblade Jesus, Death Hymns
43. Foot, The Balance of Nature Shifted
42. Hymn, Breach Us
41. IAH, III
40. Lord Fowl, Glorious Babylon
39. Acid Mess, Sangre de Otros Mundos
38. 1000mods, Youth of Dissent
37. Deathwhite, Grave Image
36. Soldati, Doom Nacional
35. Cortez, Sell the Future
34. Kadavar, The Isolation Tapes
33. Black Rainbows, Cosmic Ritual Supertrip
32. Shadow Witch, Under the Shadow of a Witch
31. Insect Ark, The Vanishing

Notes: To say nothing of the honorable mentions that follow the rest of the list below, immediately we see the problem of so-many-albums-not-enough-space. People talk about a top 50 as ridiculous, like there’s no way you can like that much music. Bullshit. I agonized over how to fit Sun Crow on this list because their Quest for Oblivion felt like it deserved to be here. Ditto that for Arcadian Child. And the achievements of bands like Kadavar, 1000mods and Switchblade Jesus and Insect Ark in breaking the boundaries of their own aesthetics deserve every accolade they can get, and likewise those who progressed in their sound like Cortez, Shadow Witch, Lord Fowl, Hymn, Foot, Black Rainbows, Deathwhite and IAH. Add to that the debuts from Atramentus, Dirt Woman, Jointhugger, Acid Mess and Sergio Ch.’s Soldati, and you’ve got a batch of 20 records — some born of this year’s malaise, some working in spite of it — that vary in sound but are working to push their respective styles to new places one way or the other.

30. High Priestess, Casting the Circle

high priestess casting the circle

Released by Ripple Music. Reviewed May 5.

There was no shortage of anticipation for what L.A. cultists High Priestess would do to follow their 2018 self-titled debut (review here), and the three-piece did not disappoint, instead gave a ritual mass that included the 17-minute concept piece “Invocation” alongside infectious and ethereal melodies like “The Hourglass.” And now that the circle’s been cast? Seems like they can do anything.

29. Polymoon, Caterpillars of Creation

Polymoon Caterpillars of Creation

Released by Svart Records. Reviewed Oct. 12.

High-powered cosmic metal from Finland pulling apart heavy psychedelia on an atomic level with an urgency that speaks of youth, progress and an ingrained need for exploration? Sign me up. A lot of bands on this list put out their first album this year. There are few for whom my hopes are as high as they are for Polymoon. If you haven’t yet heard Caterpillars of Creation, do.

28. Sons of Otis, Isolation

Sons of Otis Isolation

Released by Totem Cat Records. Reviewed Sept. 30.

Of the sundry horrors 2020 wrought, a new album from long-running Toronto three-piece Sons of Otis was an unexpected positive, and their ultra-spaced, murky riffs on their first studio album since 2012’s Seismic (review here, also here) launched like a slow-motion escape pod of righteous doom (s)tonality. There will never be another Sons of Otis. Be thankful for everything you get from them.

27. Lamp of the Universe, Dead Shrine

Lamp of the Universe Dead Shrine

Released by Projection Records. Reviewed May 25.

Organ, Mellotron, sitar, acoustic and electric guitars, various percussion elements, and of course the inimitable fragility in Craig Williamson‘s voice itself — the ingredients for Lamp of the Universe‘s Dead Shrine were familiar enough for those familiar with the one-man outfit running more than two decades, but the lush acid folk created remains a standout the world over. Dead Shrine was a much-needed gift of peace and meditation.

26. BleakHeart, Dream Griever

bleakheart dream griever

Released by Sailor Records. Reviewed Nov. 18.

The debut album from Colorado’s BleakHeart collected pieces united by melody and overarching atmosphere, positioned stylistically somewhere around heavygaze or heavy post-rock, but feeling less limited to genre bounds than some others working in a similar sphere. As a first outing, it brought a promise of things to come even as the depths of its mix seemed to swallow the listener entirely, equal parts serving claustrophobia and escapism.

25. Pale Divine, Consequence of Time

Pale Divine Consequence of Time

Released by Cruz Del Sur Music. Reviewed June 3.

There is not enough space here to properly commend Pale Divine founding guitarist/vocalist Greg Diener on how much he opened up the band by bringing in his and drummer Darin McCloskey‘s former Beelzefuzz bandmate Dana Ortt on shared guitar, vocal and songwriting duties. Completed by Ron “Fezz” McGinnis on bass/vocals, Pale Divine are a refreshed and ready powerhouse of American traditional doom.

24. Uncle Woe, Phantomescence

uncle woe phantomescence

Released by Packard Black Productions. Reviewed Oct. 21.

One is going to have to get used to the idea of Uncle Woe residing in the places between, I think. An inward-looking cosmic doom that’s likewise morose and reaching, opaque and translucent, Phantomescence could be almost troubling in its feeling of off-kilter expression. Yet that’s exactly what multi-instrumentalist/vocalist Rain Fice was going for. Thriving on contradiction, exploratory, and individualized. Start from doom, move outward.

23. REZN, Chaotic Divine

rezn chaotic divine

Released by Off the Record Label. Reviewed Oct. 15.

I don’t feel like I’m cool enough to offer any substantive comment on what Chicago’s REZN do, but their sax-laced heavy psychedelia comes across warm and is invitingly languid while still delivered with a sense of energy and purpose. It rolls and you want to roll with it, so you do. They were clearly hurt by not being able to tour this year, as were audiences for not seeing them. Call them neo-stoner metal or whatever you want, these songs deserve to be played live.

22. Ruff Majik, The Devil’s Cattle

ruff majik the devils cattle

Released by Mongrel Records. Reviewed Oct. 29.

A revamped lineup for South African desert-ish heavy rockers Ruff Majik brought producer Evert Snyman in as co-conspirator with frontman/principal songwriter Johni Holiday, and found the former trio working as a five-piece with a broader sound underscored by an electric sense of purpose and willingness to push themselves to places they hadn’t gone before. Their third record, it seemed as well to be a new beginning, and they met the challenge head-on.

21. Curse the Son, Excruciation

Curse The Son Excruciation

Released by Ripple Music. Reviewed June 8.

The underheralded children of rolling fuzz riffage, Connecticut’s Curse the Son found new depths of emotion to bring to Excruciation — and I do mean “depths.” Dark times for dark times. Fueled by personal hardship, turmoil, motorcycle accidents and a pervasive sense of struggle, the LP was nonetheless a triumph of their songwriting and brought new melodic character to their established largesse of tone. Your loss if you missed it.

20. The Atomic Bitchwax, Scorpio

The Atomic Bitchwax Scorpio

Released by Tee Pee Records. Reviewed Aug. 26.

Business as usual in ferocious heavy/speed rock from The Atomic Bitchwax on Scorpio — and that was only reassuring since the band’s eighth full-length marked the first since the departure of guitarist/vocalist Finn Ryan and his replacing with Garrett Sweeny, a bandmate of founding bassist/vocalist Chris Kosnik and drummer Bob Pantella in Monster Magnet. They barely stopped to cool their heels and yet still managed to be catchy as hell. How do they do it? Jersey Magic.

19. Cinder Well, No Summer

cinder well no summer

Released by Free Dirt Records. Reviewed July 21.

Such pervasive melancholy could only be derived from Irish folk, and so it was on Cinder Well‘s No Summer, which managed to move between singer-songwriter minimalism from Amelia Baker and arrangements of deceptive and purposeful intricacy. Wherever it went, from traditional songs “Wandering Boy” and “The Cuckoo” to originals like “Fallen” and the nine-minute “Our Lady’s,” it was equal parts gorgeous and sad and resonant. It remains so, despite the fleeting season.

18. Pallbearer, Forgotten Days

pallbearer forgotten days

Released by Nuclear Blast Records. Reviewed Dec. 24.

Their fourth album and first since crossing the decade-mark since their inception, Pallbearer‘s Forgotten Days wasn’t just heavy, emotional or big-sounding; it was the most their-own of anything they’ve done. It felt exactly like the record they wanted it to be, and reconfirmed that the generation of listeners being introduced to doom by their music is going to be just fine if they follow the cues laid out for them here.

17. Slift, Ummon

slift ummon

Released by Stolen Body and Vicious Circle Records. Reviewed March 26.

Less a reinvention of space rock than a kick in its ass, Slift‘s Ummon pushed well past the line of manageability at 72 minutes and reveled in that. The French outfit were greeted as liberators when they released the album, and with the way the respect has been maintained in the months since they’ve given themselves a high standard to meet, but there’s only promise to be heard as you get lost in the nebular wash of this sprawling 2LP. They’ll have two more records out before this one’s fully digested.

16. My Dying Bride, The Ghost of Orion

my dying bride the ghost of orion

Released by Nuclear Blast Records. Reviewed Feb. 25.

The first album in half a decade from long-established UK death-doom forebears My Dying Bride found vocalist Aaron Stainthorpe coping with his daughter’s cancer diagnosis and translating that into the morose poetry for which the band is so well known and with which they’ve been so influential. My Dying Bride has never wanted for sincerity, but to call them affecting here would be underselling the quality of their craft and the heart they put into it. Follow-up EP is already out with extra non-album tracks.

15. Causa Sui, Szabodelico

causa sui Szabodelico

Released by El Paraiso Records. Reviewed Nov. 11.

Denmark’s Causa Sui may be on a mission to unite jazz and heavy psychedelia — and blessings on them for that — but the mellow jammy vibes they conjured on Szabodelico only emphasized how much it’s the character of what they do and the chemistry they’ve brought as bandmates that has allowed them to branch thusly in terms of aesthetic. It was the kind of album you wanted to put on again even before it was over, and its sweet instrumentals felt born to a greater timeline than a single year can encompass.

14. All Souls, Songs for the End of the World

All Souls Songs for the End of the World

Self-released. Reviewed Sept. 21.

I’m not a punk rocker, but All Souls make me wish I was. Their emotive and engaged heavy rock looks out as much as in on Songs for the End of the World — their second LP behind a 2018 self-titled debut (review here) — but it’s undeniably punk in its foundation, and what the four-piece of Antonio Aguilar and Meg Castellanos (both ex-Totimoshi), Erik Trammell (Black Elk) and Tony Tornay (Fatso Jetson) have put together builds on that in exciting, inventive and individualized ways, while staying nonetheless true to its roots.

13. Kind, Mental Nudge

kind mental nudge

Released by Ripple Music. Reviewed Oct. 20.

Five years after their debut album, Rocket Science (review here), Boston four-piece Kind return with Mental Nudge. And despite the different situations in which it finds the band’s members — bassist Tom Corino is now ex-Rozamov, drummer Matt Couto now ex-Elder — the group’s focus remains on carving memorable, mostly structured tracks out of ethereal heavy psychedelia, guitarist Darryl Shepard (Milligram, etc.) and vocalist Craig Riggs (Roadsaw, Sasquatch, etc.) adding space and melody to the crunching, driving grooves.

12. Molassess, Through the Hollow

Molassess Through the Hollow

Released by Season of Mist. Featured Aug. 17.

Founded by vocalist Farida Lemouchi (ex-The Devil’s Blood) and guitarist Oeds Beydals (ex-Death Alley, also ex-The Devil’s Blood) and commissioned as a project for Roadburn Festival 2019 (review here), Molassess are inextricably tied to Lemouchi‘s groundbreaking former outfit and its tragic ending, but the musical branching out into darkened progressive textures on Through the Hollow isn’t to be understated. It was an album that pushed past the past, not overlooking it, but finding new ways of moving forward in life and sound.

11. Tony Reed, Funeral Suit

tony reed funeral suit

Released by Ripple Music. Reviewed Sept. 28.

While of course the Mos Generator frontman is no stranger to writing or recording on his own, Funeral Suit was Tony Reed‘s debut as a solo artist and it carried his progressive stamp in melody and arrangement. It was not just a guitarist playing acoustic instead of electric, and it was not a manifestation of self-indulgence. Whether it was reworking a Mos Generator song like “Lonely One Kenobi” or pursuing a new piece like the title-track or “Waterbirth,” Reed found balance between personal and audience, evoking traditional songsmithing even as he reminded listeners of his dual role as a producer.

10. Geezer, Groovy

Geezer Groovy

Released by Heavy Psych Sounds. Reviewed May 18.

Spectacular showing from Kingston kingpins Geezer with Groovy as their first offering for Heavy Psych Sounds. Led by guitarist/vocalist Pat Harrington, the three-piece brought material that flowed with the organic feel of jams despite being structured and catchy songs. In pieces like “Dead Soul Scroll” and “Drowning on Empty,” they melded stonerized groove with what felt like genuine emotional expression, and “Dig” and “Groovy” still managed to be a heavy fuzz-blues party. And they still had room at the end to jam out on “Slide Mountain” and “Black Owl.” It was nothing but a win, rising to the occasion on every level.

9. Big Scenic Nowhere, Vision Beyond Horizon

big scenic nowhere vision beyond horizon

Released by Heavy Psych Sounds. Reviewed Jan. 29.

So Bob Balch from Fu Manchu and Gary Arce from Yawning Man have a band. They get Tony Reed from Mos Generator on board. Mario Lalli from Yawning Man/Fatso Jetson comes and goes. Nick Oliveri comes and goes. Bill Stinson from Yawning Man plays drums. Alain Johannes sits in on vocals. Reed does a bunch of vocals; his kid does a track too. Per Wiberg from Spiritual Beggars, Opeth, Candlemass, etc., lends some keys. What do you call such a thing? Who cares? You call yourself lucky it exists. They called the record Vision Beyond Horizon. Can’t wait to find out what they call the next one.

8. Elder, Omens

elder omens

Released by Armageddon Shop and Stickman Records. Reviewed April 27.

Omens marked a new beginning for Elder as the band pushed deeper into the realm of progressive rock and beyond their weightier beginnings. The arrival of Georg Edert (also Gaffa Ghandi) on drums in place of Matt Couto shifted the band’s dynamic in a number of ways, providing not a swinging anchor for the rhythm section necessarily, but another avenue of prog fluidity. Bassist Jack Donovan brought a steady presence in the low end as guitarist/vocalist Nick DiSalvo and guitarist/keyboardist Mike Risberg embarked on new melodic explorations while staying loyal to the band’s established penchant for sweeping changes. Omens may live up to its name as a sign of things to come, but either way, it was a strong display of the band’s will to pursue new ideas and methods.

7. Forming the Void, Reverie

forming the void reverie

Released by Ripple Music. Reviewed April 15.

First words that come to mind here: “eminently listenable.” With seven tracks and 36 minutes, Reverie may not have taken up much of your afternoon… once. But by the time you gave it its proper respect and listened through three times in a row, the situation was somewhat different. The Lafayette, Louisiana, four-piece gracefully brought together structured songwriting with proggier leanings and were able to bring together rampaging hooks like “Trace the Omen” and “Manifest,” casting a sense of sonic hugeness without forgetting to add either melody or personality along with that. The band — who here welcomed bassist Thorn Letulle alongside guitarist/vocalist James Marshall, guitarist Shadi Omar Al-Khansa and drummer Thomas Colley — have worked quickly and evolved with a sense of urgency. Is Reverie the goal or another step on that path?

6. Grayceon, MOTHERS WEAVERS VULTURES

grayceon mothers weavers vultures

Released by Translation Loss Records. Reviewed Nov. 18.

Vocalist/cellist Jackie Perez Gratz (interview here), guitarist Max Doyle and drummer Zack Farwell comprise Grayceon, and with their fifth record, the band looks around thematically at environmental devastation through the lens of record-breaking California wildfires from their vantage point in the Bay Area. Even as the world shifted priorities (at least most of it did) to yet another global crisis in the COVID-19 pandemic, genre-melting-pot songs like “Diablo Wind,” “The Lucky Ones,” and “This Bed” reminded of the horrors humanity has wrought on its battered home, and still managed to find hope and serenity in “And Shine On” and “Rock Steady,” a closing duo that shifted to a more personal discussion of family and one’s hope for a better future for and by the next generation. 2020 had plenty of horror. At least we got a new Grayceon record out of it.

5. Brant Bjork, Brant Bjork

brant bjork brant bjork

Released by Heavy Psych Sounds. Reviewed April 28.

When Sho’Nuff asked Bruce Leroy “who’s the master?,” dude should’ve said Brant Bjork. It would’ve been a confusing end to Berry Gordy’s The Last Dragon, but ultimately more accurate, as Brant Bjork‘s homegrown kung fu was unfuckwithable as ever on the album that shares his name. After two decades of solo releases in one form or another, Bjork is not just a pivotal figurehead for desert rock, he’s a defining presence, as well as one of its most treasured practitioners. Brant Bjork, the album, brought initial waves of funk in “Jungle in the Sound,” explored weedy worship in “Mary (You’re Such a Lady)” and toyed with religious dogma in offsetting that with “Jesus Was a Bluesman” while still tossing primo hooks in “Duke of Dynamite” and “Shitkickin’ Now” ahead of the more open “Stardust and Diamond Eyes” and the acoustic closer “Been So Long.” With Bjork recording all the instruments himself, a due feeling of intimacy resulted, and yet he still found a way to make it rock. How could it be otherwise?

4. Enslaved, Utgard

enslaved utgard

Released by Nuclear Blast Records. Reviewed Sept. 29.

Why do I feel the immediate need to defend this pick? I’m not sure. Norway’s Enslaved are an institution, not just of black metal, but of bringing an ideology of creative growth to that style that often willfully resists it. They are iconoclastic even unto their own work. Utgard was released as the band stood on the precipice of 30 years together and yet it stood as their most forward-looking offering yet, as co-founders Grutle Kjellson (bass/vocals) and Ivar BjĂžrnson (guitar/sometimes vocals), as well as longtime lead guitarist Arve “Ice Dale” Isdal backed up the change from 2017’s E (review here) that brought in new keyboardist/vocalist Hakon Vinje with the incorporation of drummer Iver SandĂžy, who doubles as a vocalist (and triples as a producer). The “new blood” made all the difference on Utgard, allowing Enslaved to piece together new ranges of melody in their work and offset instrumental shifts into and out of krautrock-derived progressions. Simply the work of a band outdoing itself from a band who does so at nearly every opportunity.

3a. Colour Haze, We Are

colour haze we are

Released by Elektrohasch Schallplatten and Ripple Music. Reviewed Dec. 3, 2019.

Every year I allow myself one addendum pick, and this is it. We Are was on last year’s list because it was digitally released, but the vinyl came out this year and it received its North American release this year as well, so it seemed only right to acknowledge that. So here it is in its proper place.

3. All Them Witches, Nothing as the Ideal

All-Them-Witches-Nothing-as-the-Ideal

Released by New West Records. Reviewed Sept. 3.

This is a band controlling their own narrative. Instead of Nothing as the Ideal being ‘the one they made as a three-piece,’ the Nashville outfit decided to make it ‘the one they recorded at Abbey Road.’ Were they thinking of it on those terms? Yeah, likely not, but it goes to demonstrate all the same just how much of themselves All Them Witches put into what they do musically, since not only are they continuing to refine and define and undefine their approach, but they’re setting the terms on which they do it. Each of their records has been a response to the one prior, but that conversation has never been so direct as to make them predictable. So what are they chasing? Apparently nothing. I’m not entirely sure I buy that as a complete answer, but I am sure I love these songs and the experiments with tape loops and other sounds that fill these spaces. Whatever they do next — or even if nothing — their run has been incredible and exciting and one only hopes their influence continues to spread over the next however many years.

2. Elephant Tree, Habits

elephant tree habits

Released by Deathwish Inc.. Reviewed April 13.

There was a high standard set by Elephant Tree‘s 2016 self-titled debut (review here), but their second LP, Habits, surpassed even the loftiest of expectations. With vocals centered around harmonies from guitarist Jack Townley and bassist Peter Holland, the former trio completed by drummer Sam Hart brought in guitarist/keyboardist John Slattery (also sometimes vocals), and the resultant breadth gave the material on Habits spaciousness beyond even what the first album promised. Drifting, rolling, unflinchingly melodic and somehow present even in its own escapism, Habits was not just an early highlight for a rough 2020, but a comforting presence throughout, and the further one dug into tracks like “Sails,” “Exit the Soul,” “Faceless,” “Wasted” and the acoustic “The Fall Chorus,” the more there was to find — let alone “Bird,” which I’ll happily put against anything else one might propose for song of the year. As their former UK label crumbled, Habits emerged unscathed and Elephant Tree‘s future continues to shine with ever more hope for things to come. Being able to say that about anything feels like a relief.

2020 Album of the Year

1. Lowrider, Refractions

Lowrider Refractions

Released by Blues Funeral Recordings. Reviewed Jan. 24.

Twenty years ago, Sweden’s Lowrider put out what would become a heavy rock landmark in their 2000 debut, Ode to Io (reissue review here). A follow-up years in the making even after the band got back together to play Desertfest in London (review here) and Berlin in 2013, Refractions first saw limited release in 2019 as part of Blues Funeral‘s PostWax series (discussed here), but its proper arrival was in early 2020, and there was really no looking back after that. It wasn’t just the novelty of a new Lowrider album that made Refractions such a joy, but the manner in which the band went about its work. There was no pretending that 20 years didn’t happen. There was no attempt to recapture the bottled lightning that was the first record, and Lowrider did not sound like a band “making a comeback” rife with expectations and fan-service. Refractions acknowledged the legacy of Ode to Io, sure enough, but as a step toward adding to it in meaningful and engaging ways. The songs — “Red River,” “Ode to Ganymede,” “Sernanders Krog,” “Ol’ Mule Pepe,” “Sun Devil/M87” and the 11-minute finale “Pipe Rider” — were fashioned without pretense and came across as the organic output of a band with nothing to prove to anyone but themselves. They made it their own. In a wretched year, Lowrider shined.

The Top 50 Albums of 2020: Honorable Mention

Yeah, okay. There are a lot of these, so buckle in. Last year I just threw out a list of bands. This year I’m a little more organized, so here are bands and records alphabetically.

Across Tundras, LOESS ~ LÖSS
Across Tundras, The Last Days of a Silver Rush
Alain Johannes, Hum
Arboretum, Let it All In
Bell Witch & Aerial Ruin, Stygian Bough Vol. 1
Black Helium, The Wholly Other
Boris, No
Brimstone Coven, The Woes of a Mortal Earth
CB3, Aeons
Celestial Season, The Secret Teachings
Crippled Black Phoenix, EllengĂŠst
Cruthu, AthrĂș Crutha
Domo, Domonautas Vol. 2
DOOL, Summerland
Dopelord, Sign of the Devil
Dwaal, Gospel of the Vile
Elder Druid, Golgotha
Ellis Munk Ensemble, San Diego Sessions
Emma Ruth Rundle & Thou, May Our Chambers Be Full
EMBR, 1823
Familiars, All in Good Time
Forlesen, Hierophant Violent
Galactic Cross, Galactic Cross
The Heavy Eyes, Love Like Machines
Hum, Inlet
Human Impact, Human Impact
Humulus, The Deep
Jupiterian, Protosapien
Kariti, Covered Mirrors
Khan, Monsoons
Kingnomad, Sagan Om Ryden
King Witch, Body of Light
Kryptograf, Kryptograf
Light Pillars, Light Pillars
Lord Buffalo, Tohu Wa Bohu
Lord Loud, Timid Beast
Lotus Thief, Oresteia
Malsten, The Haunting of SilvÄkra Mill
Mindcrawler, Lost Orbiter
Motorpsycho, The All is One
Mountain Tamer, Psychosis Ritual
Mr. Bison, Seaward
Mrs. Piss, Self-Surgery
Mugstar, GRAFT
Murcielago, Casualties
Oranssi Pazuzu, Mestarin Kynsi
Paradise Lost, Obsidian
Parahelio, Surge Evelia Surge
The Pilgrim, …From the Earth to the Sky and Back
Pretty Lightning, Jangle Bowls
Psychlona, Venus Skytrip
Puta Volcano, AMMA
Ritual King, Ritual King
River Cult, Chilling Effect
Rrrags, High Protein
Shores of Null, Beyond the Shores (On Death and Dying)
Sigiriya, Maiden – Mother – Crone
Six Organs of Admittance, Companion Rises
16, Dream Squasher
Slomosa, Slomosa
Somnus Throne, Somnus Throne
Steve Von Till, No Wilderness Deep Enough
Stone Machine Electric, The Inexplicable Vibrations of Frequencies Within the Cosmic Netherworld
Sumac, May You Be Held
Temple of the Fuzz Witch, Red Tide
Temple of Void, The World That Was
The Kings of Frog Island, VI
Tia Carrera, Tried and True
Turtle Skull, Monoliths
Uffe Lorenzen, Magisk Realisme
Ulcerate, Stare Into Death and Be Still
Vessel of Light, Last Ride
Vestal Claret, Vestal Claret
Vinnum Sabbathi, Of Dimensions and Theories
Wight, Spank the World
Wino, Forever Gone
Yatra, All is Lost
Yuri Gagarin, The Outskirts of Reality

By no means is that list exhaustive. And to look at stuff like Psychlona, Oranssi Pazuzu, Wight, Wino, Puta Volcano, Kingnomad, Ellis Munk Ensemble, Paradise Lost, Alain Johannes, Arbouretum, Uffe Lorenzen, Tia Carrera — on and on and on — I can definitely see where arguments are to be made for records that should’ve been in the list proper. I can only go with what feels right to me at the time.

Together with the top 50, this makes over 110 albums in the best of 2020. If you find yourself needing something to hang your hat on, be glad you’re alive to witness this much excellent music coming out.

Debut Album of the Year

Molassess, Through the Hollow

Molassess Through the Hollow

Other notable debuts (alphabetically):

Atramentus, Stygian
Bethmoora, Thresholds
BleakHeart, Dream Griever
Crystal Spiders, Molt
Dirt Woman, The Glass Cliff
Dwaal, Gospel of the Vile
Electric Feat, Electric Feat
Familiars, All in Good Time
Galactic Cross, Galactic Cross
Human Impact, Human Impact
Jointhugger, I Am No One
Light Pillars, Light Pillars
Love Gang, Dead Man’s Game
Malsten, The Haunting of SilvÄkra Mill
Might, Might
Mindcrawler, Lost Orbiter
Mrs. Piss, Self-Surgery
Parahelio, Surge Evelia Surge
Polymoon, Caterpillars of Creation
Ritual King, Ritual King
SEA, Impermanence
Slomosa, Slomosa
Soldati, Doom Nacional
Somnus Throne, Somnus Throne
SpellBook, Magick & Mischief
Spirit Mother, Cadets
Temple of the Fuzz Witch, Red Tide
The Crooked Whispers, Satanic Melodies
White Dog, White Dog

Notes: I sparred with myself every step of the way here. The last couple years I’ve tried to give the top-debut spot to not just a new band, but a new presence. Green Lung, King Buffalo, etc. Molassess, with members from The Devil’s Blood, Death Alley and Astrosoniq, isn’t exactly that. So what do I do? Do I go with something newer like Polymoon, Dirt Woman, BleakHeart, SEA, White Dog or The Crooked Whispers, or something with more established players like Molassess, Soldati, or even Light Pillars?

In the end, what made the difference was not just how brilliant the songs on Molassess’ Through the Hollow, but how honestly the band confronted the legacy they were up against. The songs had a familiar haunting presence, but they were also moving ahead to somewhere new. It was that blend of old and new ideas, and the resonant feeling of emotional catharsis — as well as the sheer immersion that took place while listening — that ultimately made the decision. Turns out I just couldn’t escape it.

And why not a list? Because this feels woefully inadequate as it is. I reviewed over 250 records this year one way or another — and that’s a conservative estimate — but a lot gets lost in the shuffle and somehow it just seemed wrong this time around to call something the 13th best first record of the year. I wanted to highlight the special achievement that was the Molassess album, but really, all of these records kicked my ass one way or the other.

Short Release of the Year 2020

King Buffalo, Dead Star

King Buffalo Dead Star

Other notable EPs, Splits, Demos, etc.:

Big Scenic Nowhere, Lavender Blues
Coma Wall, Ursa Minor
Conan/Deadsmoke, Doom Sessions Vol. 1
Fu Manchu, Fu30 Pt. 1
Grandpa Jack, Trash Can Boogie
Howling Giant/Sergeant Thunderhoof, Masamune/Muramasa (split)
Oginalii, Pendulum
Kings Destroy, Floods
Lament Cityscape, The Old Wet
Limousine Beach, Stealin’ Wine +2
Merlock, That Which Speaks
Monte Luna, Mind Control Broadcast
Mos Generator/Di’Aul, Split
Pimmit Hills, Heathens & Prophets
Rito Verdugo, Post-Primatus
Rocky Mtn Roller, Rocky Mtn Roller
Spaceslug, Leftovers
10,000 Years, 10,000 Years
The White Swan, Nocturnal Transmission
Thunderbird Divine, The Hand of Man
Witchcraft, Black Metal

Notes: If you were wondering why King Buffalo’s Dead Star (review here) wasn’t on the big list, this is why. It was pitched to me as an EP and that’s how I’m classifying it. I’m taking the out. Is it an EP? Not really, but neither is it a full-length album, given its experimental nature and focus around its extended two-part title-track. Whatever it was, it was the best that-thing, and this is the category where such things go.

Again, tough choices after King Buffalo. Thunderbird Divine’s EP was wonderfully funk-blasted and woefully short (new album, please). The newly-issued Spaceslug EP branches out their sound in fascinating ways as a result of the lockdown. Witchcraft’s acoustic EP, Coma Wall’s EP and Big Scenic Nowhere’s EP all signaled good things to come, and Howling Giant’s split with Sergeant Thunderhoof was a highlight of the most recent Quarterly Review. There really isn’t a bummer on the list there, from the bitter psych of Oginalii to the industrial metal of Lament Cityscape, the unadulterated riffery of Merlock to the live-captured rawness of Monte Luna.

So again, why no list? Same answer. I want to highlight the progression King Buffalo made in their sound and leave room open elsewhere for things I missed. Please let me know what in the comments. Cordially.

Live Album of the Year 2020

Yawning Man, Live at Giant Rock

yawning man live at giant rock

Other notable live releases:

Ahab, Live Prey
Amenra, Mass VI Live
Arcadian Child, From Far, for the Wild (Live in Linz)
Author and Punisher, Live 2020 B.C.
Cherry Choke, Raising Salzburg Rockhouse
Dead Meadow, Live at Roadburn 2011
Dirty Streets, Rough and Tumble
Electric Moon, Live at Freak Valley Festival 2019
Kadavar, Studio Live Session Vol. 1
King Buffalo, Live at Freak Valley
Monte Luna, Mind Control Broadcast
Orange Goblin, Rough & Ready: Live and Loud
Øresund Space Collective, Sonic Rock Solstice 2019
Pelican, Live at the Grog Shop
SEA, Live at ONCE
Sumac, St Vitus 09/07/2018
Sun Blood Stories, (a)Live and Alone at Visual Arts Collective
Temple Fang, Live at Merleyn
YOB, Pickathon 2019 – Live From the Galaxy Barn

Notes: In this wretched year (mostly) void of live music, marked by canceled tours and festivals, the live album arguably played a more central role than it ever has, whether it was a band trying to keep momentum up following or leading into a studio release, taking advantage of the emergence of the Bandcamp Friday phenomenon or just trying to maintain some connection to their fans and the process of taking a stage. Or even playing in a room together. Or not a room. Anything. What was once a tossoff, maybe an afterthought companion piece became an essential worker of the listening experience.

You might accuse desert rock progenitors Yawning Man of playing to their base with Live at Giant Rock (featured here), and if so, fine. At no point in the last 50 years has that base more needed playing-to. And in the absence of shows, being able to hear (and watch, in the case of the accompanying video) Yawning Man go out to the landscape that spawned them and engage with their music was a beautiful moment of reconciliation. An exhale for the converted that didn’t fill one with empty promises of better tomorrows or tours to come, but served to remind what’s so worth preserving about the spirit of live music in the first place. The fact that anything can happen. A replaced note here, a tuning change there — these things can make not just an evening, but memories that go beyond shows, tours, to touch our lives.

There were a ton of live records this year. Some were benefits for worthy causes between saving venues, Black Lives Matter, voting rights organizations, and so on. And whether these were new performances from captured livestreams (Monte Luna, Kadavar) or older gigs that had been sitting around waiting for release at some point (Sumac, Dead Meadow), this, very much, was that point, and these live offerings kept burning a fire that felt at times very much in danger of being extinguished.

Looking Ahead to 2021

A list of bands. Some confirmed releases, some not. Here goes:

Dread Sovereign, Sasquatch, Year of Taurus, Apostle of Solitude, Weedpecker, Borracho, Love Gang, Jointhugger, Demon Head, Iron Man, Greenleaf, Samsara Blues Experiment, The Mammathus, Evert Snyman, Wo Fat, Conclave, Here Lies Man, Kabbalah, Komatsu, Hour of 13, Wedge, Amenra, La Chinga, Spidergawd, Wolves in the Throne Room, Vokonis, Freedom Hawk, Masters of Reality, ZOM, Eyehategod, Sanhedrin, Green Lung, The Mountain King, Albatross Overdrive, Elder, King Buffalo, Sunnata, Howling Giant, SAVER, Conan, Slomatics, Ruff Majik, Kind, Mos Generator, Yawning Sons, LantlĂŽs, Brant Bjork, Spiral Grave, Crystal Spiders, Lightning Born, Samavayo, Wovenhand, Merlock, Comet Control, The Age of Truth, Eight Bells, BlackWater Holylight, DVNE, Monte Luna.

Thank You

You’ve read enough, so I will do my best to keep this mercifully short. Thank you so much for reading — whether you still are or not — and thank you for being a part of the ongoing project that is The Obelisk. I cannot tell you how much it means to me to have such incredible support throughout not just this year, but all the years of the site’s existence. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

Thank you most of all to The Patient Mrs. for her indulgence in letting me get this done. I’m am amazed forever.

More to come.

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Electric Hydra Premiere “Won’t Go to War (With Myself)” Video

Posted in Bootleg Theater on October 22nd, 2020 by JJ Koczan

electric hydra

Sweden’s Electric Hydra will make their self-titled debut with the backing of Majestic Mountain and Tee Pee Records on Nov. 27. That’s still more than a month away, if you don’t have your calendar handy, and yet “Won’t Go to War (With Myself)” is the third and apparently final single/video being released from the 35-minute 10-tracker. Think maybe the band are eager to get their music out there? Well, take that kind of restless, shoving energy, transpose it onto careening heavy riffs and uptempo grooves, big hooks topped with classic melodic vocals, and Electric Hydra‘s Electric Hydra will probably start making sense.

The opening track of the album, and what was the first single released, is called “It Comes Alive,” and if that’s what the album is doing at that point, it’s born running. The dual guitars now handled by Peter Söderberg and Jonas StĂ„lhammar (the latter also of At the Gates and a noted record collector) have no time to waste between them, and amid the rumble of Ellinor Andersson‘s bass, drummer Dennis Åhman finds a natural-feeling propulsion that continues well into “Won’t Go to War (With Myself)” and the added breadth of “Blackened Eyes,” both of which are early highlights of the proceedings as the record heads into the lumbering stomp — still pretty upbeat, but a definite uptick in heft — of “Grab What’s Yours” and the songs begin to flesh out beyond the opening salvo. If there was any doubt of a metallic underpinning beneath the rocking craft of Electric Hydra — and really, from “It Comes Alive” onward, there wasn’t — “Grab What’s Yours” dismisses it outright, Mellotron and spoken break and all.

To back up a second: What we have so far on Electric Hydra‘s first LP is unflappable songwriting, modern sound, un-winded push and engaging performances. They do not represent an aesthetic revolution, but neither are they called upon to do so, especially on their debut. If you’re listening to Electric Hydra and you find you’re not on board by the end of “Grab What’s Yours,” the only thing to do is rethink your position. electric hydra electric hydraDoing so will surely head off feeling like a dope as “Iron Lung” — probably not a tribute to the former Scissorfight frontman, but one never knows — flips the switch, mellows the tempo and adds dual-vocal arrangements to a classically stonerized rollout, only getting more and more massive as it goes on to round out the record’s first half. I’m just trying to save you some trouble.

Side B of the album follows a mirror course but is perhaps even more fierce in its execution as “The Betrayal” and “1,000 Eyes” — watch out for the bass intro to the latter; it is quick, but it is a monster and it will eat you — and though they sound no less full than “It Comes Alive” or “Won’t Go to War (With Myself)” back on side A, the fact that they’re speedier, shorter and even more straight-ahead-all-go-no-stop plays up the direct ’90s-style heavy rock riffing serving as their foundation. Maybe also some Motörhead for good measure. One would hardly call “End of Days” a departure from that method, but it does take a brief detour in its second half for a quiet stretch before surging toward its last chorus, so that’s a differentiating factor, and the penultimate “Rebel” showcases again the arrangement style of “Iron Lung” earlier, but in a harder-driving context.

That leaves “Rise From Below” to close out with its own mellower-start-into-increasing-largesse progression, and there’s even some key work to accompany, though it’s organ and not Mellotron as on “Grab What’s Yours.” The mirrored structure of the LP speaks to intent on the part of Electric Hydra, but to be perfectly honest, it doesn’t even need to because the songs themselves do that so clearly. They may be a new-ish band putting out their first record, but they’re by no means fumbling in terms of their style or the substance of their material. Or the production, for that matter. Particularly as a record made during firelung quarantine, Electric Hydra reaches out to its audience with passion and force and only proves more inviting as it moves through, grabbing, going, coming alive and rising all the while.

Still a month-plus before the release, but you can stream the premiere of the video for “Won’t Go to War (With Myself)” below. I’ll spare you the pontificating on the novelty of seeing a band sharing a space with each other, and just note that quotes from Andersson and Karlsson follow, as well as more info from the PR wire.

Please enjoy:

Electric Hydra, “Won’t Go to War (With Myself)” official video premiere

Ellinor Andersson on “Won’t Go to War (With Myself)”:

“‘Won’t Go to War (With Myself)’ was the very last to be written for the album and came to life quickly, just as we were about to start recording the album. Dennis was doing his final drum recordings for pre-production on some of the other songs and inspiration struck. The song almost wrote itself. Sanne wrote her parts during the actual recording and the lyrics are about how you should not compromise yourself just to fit in with how other people expect you to act.”

Sanne Karlsson on “Won’t Go to War (With Myself)”:

“The video is once again recorded by Max Ljungberg, who also did the video for our first single, ‘It Comes Alive’. We did the recording in a really cool skatepark called ‘Bunkeberget’, which is actually located inside a mountain in Gothenburg. Working with him is always super smooth and easy, and we’re all really satisfied with the end result. This is also our last single before the album is released too so… time for champagne!”

Electric Hydra’s self-titled debut album is released 27th November on Majestic Mountain Records (EU, Scandinavia) and Tee Pee Records (USA, Rest of the World)

Pre-order here – https://linktr.ee/majesticmountain

Following the announcement of Electric Hydra’s conscription to Majestic Mountain Records, the band is thrilled to announce that they band will also be backed stateside by legendary US independent rock label, Tee Pee Records.

Formed on the windswept West Coast of Sweden, amid the dark forests of SmĂ„land, Electric Hydra – formed by Sanne Karlsson, Ellinor Andersson, Jonathan Möller and Jonny Petterson – first met on an impromptu night in late 2017. In doing so they discovered a connection; a newfound friendship through a shared of Kyuss, Fu Manchu, Entombed and Black Sabbath, and decided to book a rehearsal room the very next morning.

Known for delivering high energy shows, the band has played live at Sweden Rock Festival and Malmöfestivalen; toured Europe and shared stages with Lucifer, Monolord, Truckfighters and Greenleaf, among many others.

With Dennis Åhman being brought in to replace Petterson on drums, work on their debut began in early 2020 and continued throughout the COVID-19 pandemic at Shimmer Studios, Studio BO and Welfare Studios. Further reinforced with new recruits in Peter Söderberg and At the Gates/Bombs of Hades’ Jonas StĂ„lhammar (following the departure of Jonathan Möller) the quintet is keen to prove exactly why they are considered one of the most exciting new acts on the Swedish rock scene.

ELECTRIC HYDRA is:
Sanne Karlsson – Vocals
Ellinor Andersson – Bass
Dennis Åhman – Drums
Jonas StĂ„lhammar – Guitar
Peter Söderberg – Guitar

Electric Hydra on Thee Facebooks

Electric Hydra on Instagram

Electric Hydra on Bandcamp

Electric Hydra website

Majestic Mountain Records webstore

Majestic Mountain Records on Thee Facebooks

Majestic Mountain Records on Instagram

Tee Pee Records website

Tee Pee Records on Thee Facebooks

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