Days of Rona: Erik Conn of Tia Carrera

Posted in Features on April 2nd, 2020 by JJ Koczan

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

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

Thanks to all who participate. — JJ Koczan

erik conn tia carrera (Photo by Howard Dvorsky)

Days of Rona: Erik Conn of Tia Carrera (Austin, Texas)

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

Like everyone else, just trying to stay put, stay healthy, stay informed. Go towards the facts and helpful info, vs. hoarding shit tickets and hysteria.

Everything from work to gigs, to booking, to hangin’ out with friends is just put on hold.

Far as I know this second, everyone I know is holding up well, healthy and sound. Albeit a little stir-crazy… suffering from the early signs of cabin fever. I most certainly am.

What are the quarantine/isolation rules where you are?

Here in Austin, Texas, we’re like most folks abroad, under a stay at home ordinance/ practicing social distancing, etc. By law, no gathering of more than a few people, six feet apart, etc. All bars/restaurants are closed. Only supposed to be out and about for necessities.

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

This virus has effectively shut down everything that I’m a part of personally.

As a musician, teacher thereof and technician, (tuning drums, etc.) I’ve lost a sizable chunk of money with canceled gigs both performance-wise and tech work (tuning backline drums, etc.). I’ve also had to finally (after 10 years) give up a lock-out rehearsal studio that I shared with The Well and another local band called The Reeks. Nobody’s able to work, much less pay rent for something we can’t currently access. Fuckin’ major bummer. With SXSW being cancelled, all of those shows alongside all other regular local gigs, and everything in the foreseeable future, the entire music community has been shut down.

For Tia Carrera specifically, we have had several shows cancelled, unfortunately all of which were high-profile with touring bands. Shit can’t be helped though, we understand.

Our current concern is how this will effect our late-summer plans to tour Europe. A long anticipated adventure likely to be postponed. We’ll see.

The flipside to this crazy virus jive is that there’s been lots if creative energy flowing, not just for the music but most any creative outlet. Regarding the tunes, lots of musicians here and abroad have been live-streaming porch jams, or living room shows, etc. That’s all really cool.

As for us? No. I think we’re all of the mind that we need not be in any enclosed space together for a while.

Personally, I miss playing my drums like I’m going through a rough withdrawal. I live in an apartment and have settled for dusting off the rust on the guitar. Relearning lots of tunes I forgot over the years, but yeah no, I’m a fuckin’ drummer. I miss my realm, my happy place behind my cannons, not to mention peeling the paint and carving lines in the cosmos with Jason [Morales, guitar] and Curt [Christenson, bass].

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

I’d like any interested folks to know that barring any unforeseen circumstances regarding playin’ live, we still have a record coming out regardless!

Our eighth official release, Tried and True, is slated to come out this summer. Both on bitchin’ vinyl and a CD. The CD version will also feature the two tracks from our last record release stateside, Early Purple/Visitors.

I’m biased, so whatever, yet I’ve gotta say these five new tracks are our best public offering to date. As per the past three releases, we recorded at Jason’s home studio with him as our engineer and technical wizard — shit sounds incredible! We managed to capture some really good stuff. As usual, all live and improvised, all of us together in the same room. We nailed a couple of groovy new riffs alongside one of our oldest jams from the beginning (the title-track), plus two really ethereal “no-planners.” We’re just really stoked on it and can’t wait for everyone to hear it.

Folks can pre-order the vinyl now off of the Small Stone site. Also the first track, “The Layback,” is available for folks to peep if they wanna a listen.

Fingers crossed everyone stays healthy and positive. We still hope to tour both stateside and abroad. We have a tour booked for Europe come September, at this point though we’ll just have to wait and see how it goes with the health of the world. Regardless though, the music lives! And will be coming out as scheduled!

Until we can all get together and rage, I’ve been telling all of my tribe that line in “Radar Love” from Golden Earring. “Gotta be cool now gotta take care”…. Duty now for the future so we can all keep on livin’ and doing what we love with the people we love.

https://www.facebook.com/tiacarreraofficial/
http://www.smallstone.com
http://www.facebook.com/smallstonerecords
https://smallstone.bandcamp.com

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Lord Buffalo Post “Dog Head” Official Live Video; Tohu Wa Bohu Out This Week

Posted in Bootleg Theater on March 24th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

lord buffalo

I’ve had occasion more than once now to say I dig Lord Buffalo‘s second album, Tohu Wa Bohu, which is released this week through Blues Funeral Recordings, and hey, here’s one more before the thing actually comes out. It’s fitting the Austin, Texas, four-piece’s dug-in heavy Americana ethic that the video they’d make and put out closest to the record’s arrival is live, and that it’s performed somewhat differently from what’s actually on said record, and that it’s for a deep cut, down on side B rather than something frontloaded onto side A like some outfits do. It is, then, an invitation to dig further.

In the live version of “Dog Head,” some more of the All Them Witches vocal influence comes through, but that violin is sweet and sad and it seems to carry its own melody for the voice to play soulfully off of in full-on earlier-Woven Hand fashion, all the while a swell of tone and rhythm builds up around it and seems to consume the entire thing by the time it’s done. There’s no piano, as there is in the studio incarnation of “Dog Head,” and there’s a part of me that misses that crash of the keys here, but you can only be in so many places playing so many instruments at one time, and Lord Buffalo have clearly positioned themselves well. It works, is all I’m saying.

And guess what? I dig the album. It’s out Friday.

Enjoy the video:

Lord Buffalo, “Dog Head” official video

Live version of “Dog Head” by Lord Buffalo. Performed at Breathing Rhythm Studio, August 3rd, 2019. Recorded and mixed by Steve Boaz. Filmed and edited by Brian Blackwood.

Studio version of Dog Head appears on the album “Tohu Wa Bohu” Available March 27th, 2020 from Blues Funeral Recordings.

Austin, TX dark rock / post-Americana band Lord Buffalo will release its new LP, ‘Tohu Wa Bohu’, on March 27 via Blues Funeral Recordings. Recorded in Lockhart, TX with producer Danny Reisch (Chelsea Wolfe, Okkervil River) and mastered by Dave Shirk (Mastodon, Sun Ra), the album is the follow-up to the folk-psych group’s 2017 self-titled full length.

“Dog Head” is a song from our new LP, ‘Tohu Wa Bohu’, and while the album version begins as a dark, downtempo piano creeper, we’d been doing the song live with an extended intro of bowed guitar and violin,” says vocalist / guitarist Daniel Jesse Pruitt. “Lord Buffalo songs often come out a little different every night, and we wanted to capture a little of that with this live-in-studio version of ‘Dog Head’. ‘Dog Head’ begins with a drone of bowed guitar and violin and the holds to the low road until the switch gets flipped and fuzzed-out guitar breaks in to end the piece with an exclamation point. The end gets chaotic, the song comes off the tracks a bit, but the heaviness feels redemptive, a release from the previous dirge.”

Lord Buffalo are:
G.J. Hellman
P.J. Patterson
Yamal Said
D.J. Pruitt

Lord Buffalo on Thee Facebooks

Lord Buffalo on Instagram

Lord Buffalo on Bandcamp

Lord Buffalo website

Blues Funeral Recordings on Thee Facebooks

Blues Funeral Recordings website

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Desert Records Announces Legends of the Desert Splits; Lord Buffalo & Palehorse/Palerider Due Jun 12

Posted in Whathaveyou on February 25th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

Albuquerque-based imprint Desert Records would seem to be working on the Ripple Music model in terms of embarking on a new series of splits, which it has opted to call Legends of the Desert, and you might note that the first installment of the series — which isn’t to be confused with that of the same name run by H42 Records to coincide with Desertfest London and Berlin — comes with a definitive end date in mind as well. Given production schedules and the fact that this isn’t all Desert Records is planning to put out in that time, seven vinyl releases of any sort over two years is an ambitious undertaking, as I think PostWax could probably confirm if Ripple can’t, but they’ve got their modus in the right place with the first pairing, which brings together Austin’s Lord Buffalo and Denver’s Palehorse/Palerider and is due out June 12.

You ever have one of those bands you avoided listening to because you knew you’d dig it and you kind of felt like maybe you didn’t have the energy to spare for the emotional commitment of actually undertaken a considered listen of their work? That’s me and Palehorse/Palerider. I knew I’d be into it, but I hadn’t actually listened to them for the first time until putting this post together. And you know what? I dig it. Not a surprise.

Desert Records sent the announcement down the PR wire. For what it’s worth, I heart-emoji Sister Bar, should you happen to be in the neighborhood:

lord buffalo

palehorse palerider

“Legends of the Desert” new album series by Desert Records

Desert Records is excited to announce a new compilation series called “Legends of the Desert”. The series kicks off on June 12th with the release featuring the split with Lord Buffalo (Austin, TX) and Palehorse/Palerider (Denver, CO).
Spanning seven albums total over the course of two years, the series will include legendary Desert Rock bands (to be announced) mixed in with new and upcoming bands.

“Legends of the Desert” meaning is a double entendre, with the most obvious referring to the legendary Desert Rock bands that will be featured throughout the series. The second meaning is “musical tales or legends of the desert”, reflected in the songs from all the bands.

The artist for the series will Joshua Mathus (Phoenix, AZ) , the creator of the comic Sherbet Lock and stunning album covers for bands over the years.

The albums will be released on limited edition 12″ Vinyl LP, deluxe CD, and on all digital platforms worldwide via Desert Records.

Each album release will be accompanied by the “Legends of the Desert release shows in each of the band’s cities.

Lord Buffalo / Palehorse/Palerider “Legends of the Desert” upcoming shows
June 26th – Albuquerque, NM – Sister Bar
June 27th – Denver, CO – High Dive

https://www.facebook.com/desertrecordslabel/
https://desertrecords.bandcamp.com/
https://desertrecords.bigcartel.com/

Lord Buffalo, Tohu Wa Bohu (2020)

Palehorse/Palerider, Fire Gone Out/Haxan (2019)

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Lord Buffalo Set March 13 Release for Tohu Wa Bohu; Tour Dates Announced

Posted in Whathaveyou on February 24th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

lord buffalo

This is a record I dig, and while I’m fairly certain the news of the March 13 release date isn’t new, I realized that the last time I posted about Lord Buffalo was in December, when they signed to Blues Funeral Recordings and premiered the title-track of their impending second album, Tohu Wa Bohu. Clerical error. Not my first.

So yes, March 13. The band will tour to support it — pretty sure that news is newer, if it helps — and they have a second single streaming through a YouTube channel that isn’t the one that caused the kerfuffle last week but you’ll pardon me anyhow if I’m more gunshy than usual on posting from such sources. If you want to search it out, the song is “Halle Berry” and it’s my favorite on the record for more than just the title. I assume it’ll be on Bandcamp eventually, so I’ve included the album’s embed below to be ready for when it might show up there. See? I can be ahead of the game even as I’m behind it.

As Ronnie James Dio once said, “magic.”

To the PR wire:

Lord Buffalo Tohu Wa Bohu

Austin’s LORD BUFFALO Embrace Dark Folk and Psychedelic Americana on TOHU WA BOHU

Atmospheric quartet capture western skies and unsettling prairie on Blues Funeral Recordings debut

America’s vast ocean of rolling prairie, brutal in its rhythmic repetition and sameness, can be unsettling to take in. The plains force a communion with the open sky, the endless landscape turning the eyes inward.

LORD BUFFALO’s second LP is just that: the outward gaze forced inward, where the unknowable treads the blurred borders between land, sky and mind.

On March 13, Blues Funeral Recordings will release Tohu Wa Bohu, the new album from Austin’s Lord Buffalo, a band whose dark folk and Gothic Americana sees them chasing the same storm-threatening horizon sky as All Them Witches, Woven Hand, Nick Cave and Dead Meadow.

With their spacious soft/loud dynamics and violin drone, Lord Buffalo is often the loudest band on folk night and the softest on a metal bill, never failing to hold their own and make the dichotomy feel effortless.

An unsettling ride through open plains and melancholic Midwestern imagery, Tohu Wa Bohu is thick with captivating intensity and brooding heaviness of the soul. With its haunted themes and spacious soundscapes, the record plays across genres, taking cues equally from Morricone and Badalementi as well as Sabbath and Swans.

Tohu Wa Bohu will be released on digital, CD and LP from Blues Funeral Recordings on March 13th.

LORD BUFFALO is on tour in March and will perform at this year’s Psycho Las Vegas festival (August 2020).

Live Dates:
Fri 3/6/20 Austin, TX— The Lost Well
Wed 3/11/20 El Paso, TX — Rockhouse
Thu 3/12/20 Bisbee, AZ — The Quarry Bisbee
Fri 3/13/20 Tempe, AZ — Yucca taproom
Sat 3/14/20 Los Angeles, CA — 5 Star Bar
Sun 3/15/20 Spring Valley, Ca — Bancroft
Tue 3/17/20 Salt Lake City, UT — Loading Dock
Wed 3/18/20 Denver, CO — Cervantes
Thu 3/19/20 Albuquerque, NM — Sister Bar
Sat 3/21/20 Arlington, TX — Division Brewing
Thu 4/30/20 Austin, TV — Waterloo Records (in-store performance)
August 2020 Las Vegas, NV — Psycho Las Vegas Festival

LORD BUFFALO:
Daniel Pruitt – Vocals, Guitar
Garrett Hellman – Guitar, Organs
Patrick Patterson – Violin
Yamal Said – Percussion

https://www.facebook.com/lord.buffalo.band/
http://instagram.com/lordbuffalo
https://lord-buffalo.bandcamp.com/
http://www.lordbuffalo.com/
https://www.facebook.com/bluesfuneral/
http://bluesfuneral.com/

Lord Buffalo, Tohu Wa Bohu (2020)

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Destroyer of Light to Release Generational Warfare EP March 27

Posted in Whathaveyou on February 20th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

destroyer of light

Austin doomers Destroyer of Light have never been shy about getting a little weird to one degree or another, so to find them taking on a track from The Cure isn’t necessarily out of character by any means. Still, they certainly change the context of the song and give it a sense of heft to go with its sinister lyrics. I’m not going to lay claim to ever being a fan of The Cure — no doubt I’m a loss that continues to burn in Robert Smith‘s belly to this day — but I get the appeal, and Destroyer of Light‘s take on “Lullaby” is a fair interpretation of the darkness one can find in their otherwise harmless-seeming melodies.

While we’re talking about Destroyer of Light not being shy, it’s worth noting that the EP on which “Lullaby” appears, Generational Warfare, is being released on March 27 through Heavy Friends in an edition of 100 copies to coincide with an April tour that will bring the four-piece to the Eastern Seaboard supporting not only the new two-songer, but 2019’s excellent Mors Aeterna (review here) as well. They’ll do shows in the South with Order of the Owl and hit Grim Reefer Fest in Baltimore on the stretch, and no doubt run out of 7″s long before the shows are done.

Announcement came down the PR wire. Preorders are on Bandcamp:

destroyer of light generational warfare

DESTROYER OF LIGHT: New EP and April Tour Announced

Generational Warfare EP is released 27th March on Heavy Friends Records

The EP will be released on ultra-limited edition 7” vinyl (only 100 copies available) and can be pre-ordered HERE: https://destroyeroflight.bandcamp.com/album/generational-warfare

Formed in 2012 in Austin, Texas, harbingers of doom Destroyer of Light are no idlers. Within a year of forming the heavy-as-hell/louder-than-war quartet released their self-titled EP and in doing so kick started what would become an ongoing DIY endeavour; driven by huge riffs, hallowed tales and endless road journeys.

This March the band return with a brand-new two-track EP entitled Generational Warfare, which is ferried deep into the breach by a commanding cover of one of The Cure’s most celebrated songs, ‘Lullaby’:

“For years, I’ve wanted to cover a The Cure song,” explains guitarist/vocalist, Steve Colca. “Not only am I huge fan, but I always thought that they had some songs that could easily be constructed into a doom song. I think a lot of people don’t realize how heavy the Cure’s music is, especially if you’ve seen or heard them live. We all agreed that ‘Lullaby’ was the perfect choice. The lyrics are super dark and when we started working on it, it just fell into place.”

Complemented by ‘These Walls…’ a song written and recorded during sessions for last year’s impressive Mors Aeterna album on Argonauta Records, Destroyer of Light’s Generational Warfare EP is released on 27th March 2020 on Heavy Friends Records. The band also embark on a month-long tour this April and will play a number of dates alongside Atlanta riff-men, Order of the Owl. (For the full list of dates see below.)

APRIL TOUR DATES:
3/4 – Rudyard’s – Houston, TX
4/4 – Freetown Boom Boom Room – Lafayette, LA
5/4 – TBA – New Orleans, LA
7/4 – Blue Note* – Tampa, FL
8/4 – Las Rosas* – Miami, FL
9/4 – Will’s Pub* – Orlando, FL
10/4 – The Jinx* – Savannah, GA
11/4 – The Atlantic* – Gainesville, FL
12/4 – Archtype* – Jacksonville, FL
14/4 – 529* – Atlanta, GA
15/4 – The Odditorium – Asheville, NC
16/4 – Slim’s – Raleigh, NC
17/4 – Wonderland – Richmond, VA
18/4 – Ritual Bar & Venue (GRIM REEFER FEST) – Baltimore, MD
19/4 – Gold Sounds – New York, NY
20/4 – O’Briens – Boston, MA
21/4 – Dusk – Providence, RI
22/4 – Tubby’s – Kingsland, NY
23/4 – Mohawk Place – Buffalo, NY
24/4 – Gooski’s – Pittsburgh, PA
25/4 – Black Circle Brewery – Indianapolis, IN
26/4 – Mag Bar – Louisville, KY
27/4 – Riot Room – Kansas City, MO
28/4 – Whittier Bar – Tulsa, OK
*w. Order of the Owl

DESTROYER OF LIGHT:
Steve Colca – Guitar/Vocals
Nick Coffman– Bass
Keegan Kjeldsen – Guitar
Penny Turner – Drums

https://www.facebook.com/destroyeroflight/
http://www.instagram.com/destroyeroflightofficial/
http://destroyeroflight.bandcamp.com/
https://www.facebook.com/heavyfriendsbooking/
https://www.instagram.com/heavyfriendsrecords/
https://heavyfriendsrecords.bigcartel.com/

Destroyer of Light, Generational Warfare EP (2020)

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Stone Machine Electric Revisit Origins on New 7″ Single out March 27

Posted in Whathaveyou on February 13th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

It’ll be a decade later this year since Stone Machine Electric first came to my attention with their debut demo, Awash in Feedback (review here), and going back to that release now, it seems oddly prescient toward the band they’d become. I don’t just mean in the two-piece’s penchant for playing weirdo jammy nuance and heavy crunch off each other in fluid-until-it’s-meant-to-be-jarring fashion as the demo did and they’re still wont to do, but in establishing the sonic bond between William “Dub” Irvin on guitar and Mark Kitchens on drums. With vocals from both or neither, periodic keys from Irvin and an ongoing creative development that’s taken place over the course of four full-lengths — the latest of them, Darkness Dimensions Disillusion (review here), came out last year on Sludgelord Records — the duo have built a dynamic that is entirely their own even among the jammier sphere of heavy rock and psychedelia and even among their many Texan cohorts.

They would bring in players off and on to handle bass alongside the guitar and drums, but none stuck, and I think eventually the band decided that they didn’t need a third. Time has only proven them correct on the issue.

Dub and Kitchens mark 10 years since the first time they played live as Stone Machine Electric by revisiting two of the cuts that originally appeared on Awash in Feedback. With “Walking Among the Blind” and “Mushroom Cloud,” the band take an opportunity to show how far they’ve come even as they recast some of their earliest work. But the most important factor to remember about Stone Machine Electric is that they’re never really at rest. Not just in the sense of working on new material or doing shows or whatever, but creatively and developmentally speaking. One hopes that, perhaps in another decade, they might reinterpret these tracks again, if only to make the point again of the ongoing journey they’ve undertaken together.

No audio yet — it’s two songs and more than a month away; hold your horses — but you can and should stream the most recent album under the release info below.

To the PR wire:

Stone Machine Electric Stone Machine Electric

Stone Machine Electric – Stone Machine Electric – 27 March 2020

It’s no secret that Texas does a good line in the psychedelic stoner trend, and one of the state’s finest exports are Stone Machine Electric. Coming off the back of their Sludgelord Records-backed fourth full-length in April 2019, the duo have wasted no time in plying their self-styled “doom jazz” both within and across state borders, with luminaries such as fellow Texans Wo Fat, Jucifer and Mothership, and a whole host of festivals.

In commemoration of the band’s first ever performance ten whole years ago, Mark Kitchens and Dub Irvin have selected two of the first tracks they ever wrote – take from their original demo Awash in Feedback – to be collated into a 7”, allowing vinyl enthusiasts to experience (or wax lyrical over) the crunch n’ thump of Stone Machine Electric’s wheels.

When the dark and woozy riffs slide in, there’s nowhere else they could be from than the Lone Star State. “Mushroom Cloud” has an instantly infectious rhythm going for it, aided by Kitchens smooth vocals and a swirl of freak-out jamming effects that give a perfect mental picture of their scorching live shows. “Walking Among the Blind”, meanwhile, is a more somber, grittier affair with a wailing blues-inspired solo over the dirty grooves.

Tracklisting:
1. Walking Among the Blind
2: Mushroom Cloud

Stone Machine Electric are:
Dub – Guitar/Vocals
Kitchens – Drums/Vocals/Keyboard

https://www.facebook.com/StoneMachineElectric/
https://www.instagram.com/stonemachineelectric/
http://stonemachineelectric.bandcamp.com/
http://www.stonemachineelectric.net/

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Friday Full-Length: Wo Fat, The Black Code

Posted in Bootleg Theater on January 10th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

 

Heavy rock and roll’s history — and that of rock more generally — is replete with vehicular infatuation. From Chuck Berry‘s “No Particular Place to Go” to Deep Purple‘s “Highway Star” to Nebula‘s “Down the Highway,” it is a thread that unites subgenres around notions of self-direction, freedom and, of course, movement. In the hands of Dallas three-piece Wo Fat, the idea of the “highway” became “Lost Highway,” with a darker, swampier spin on the trope befitting the album it led off, 2012’s The Black Code (review here; LP review here). The first of two offerings they’d make through Small Stone Records, it followed just a year behind 2011’s Noche del Chupacabra (review here), which if I’m not mistaken gave Wo Fat the distinction of being one of if not the first American band to release through Nasoni Records — if they weren’t actually first, it’s still very select company to be in — and continued momentum built from the success of their 2009 sophomore outing, Psychedelonaut (review here; discussed here). That album solidified elements present on 2006’s nascent The Gathering Dark and established the penchant for hooks and bluesy and well-fuzzed tone of guitarist/vocalist Kent Stump, and furthered a penchant for jammier vibes between Stump, bassist Tim Wilson and drummer/backing vocalist Michael Walter that would continue through all their subsequent work to-date.

What makes The Black Code‘s five-track/46-minute stretch a landmark in Wo Fat‘s catalog, however, is a combination of three factors. I’ll bullet-point them to make everyone’s life easier:

  • The songs.
  • The evolution.
  • The timing.

The first one is probably the most straightforward. “Oh yeah we’re goin’ down the lost highway/Oh yeah there’s gonna be hell to pay” is as righteously catchy as it is righteously simple a hook, but it’s just the first of the bunch on The Black Code, and even the 12-minute “The Shard of Leng” has a chorus it drives home, let alone the album’s 10-minute title-track or closer “Sleep of the Black Lotus.” The centerpiece “Hurt at Gone” would seem to veer elsewhere structurally, but it makes a point to drive wo fat the black codehome repetitions of its title as well, and proves memorable for its use of slide guitar ahead of the Rhodes on “The Shard of Leng.” The songs all came together around an open-feeling sensibility, not necessarily meandering, but willing to flesh out with a natural patience and explore the territory around them with Stump‘s soloing leading the way. Noche del Chupacabra made a point of its swampiness on “Bayou Juju,” but The Black Code — if it didn’t come right out and say so — continued the theme fluidly.

Which brings up the second point. The reason it’s fair to call The Black Code a landmark isn’t just because it’s been influential in the years since it was released, but it was a critical moment in Wo Fat‘s development as a band. There was a lot that worked from the outset on The Gathering Dark, and that potential came forward on Psychedelonaut. Noche del Chupacabra stripped down some of the second album’s reach and put the focus on the combination of craft and jams. The Black Code ultimately succeeded because it — just a year later — took the lessons of all Wo Fat‘s prior LPs and put them to use in a span of songs that brought together in a way that made the record equal parts immersive and memorable. It was a culmination of everything Wo Fat had accomplished to that point, and those accomplishments had already been significant. In short, it was the moment where Wo Fat “figured it out” as regards the band they wanted to be and what they wanted to do with their music. It pushed them past their influences and onto ground more thoroughly their own.

And the timing for that couldn’t have been better. Consider the spread of mobile social media, the advent of YouTube Channel proliferation of music, Bandcamp, Spotify and so on. I don’t think StumpWalter and Wilson were sitting at a Wo Fat board meeting planning out their digital strategy as to how to get the most out of the solo-into-oblivion methodology at play on “Sleep of the Black Lotus,” but no question that word spread of Wo Fat‘s excellence in a space that, even a few years before, didn’t exist in the same way, and that that had an impact on how they were received, particularly by a new generation of fans. They hit their stride, as it were, and the music-on-social-media infrastructure was there to let them reap the benefits. It doesn’t seem like a coincidence that Wo Fat went to Europe for the first time supporting The Black Code, playing Roadburn 2013 (review here) in the Netherlands and a slew of other dates besides.

In 2013, Wo Fat also released their split with EgyptCyclopean Riffs (review here), and that momentum would continue to carry them through 2014’s The Conjuring (review here), a more than worthy follow-up to The Black Code. A limited 7″ split with The Re-Stoned arrived in 2015 ahead of their Ripple Music debut, Midnight Cometh (review here), in 2016. In 2017, Ripple took the 2015 live album, Live Juju at Freak Valley (review here), and with additional tracks, offered it as Live Juju at Freak Valley… and Beyond! on CD and LP, but 2020 will make it four years since their last proper studio offering, which is the longest stretch of their career to-date. They went to Australia in 2019 though and they’re set to play Monolith on the Mesa this year and other gigs, so they’ve been plenty busy one way or the other. Still, I’ve got my fingers crossed for a new record sometime before December.

I’ll admit it felt almost too easy to close out the week with The Black Code, but in thinking about why, it’s because the record so damn relevant. It doesn’t seem nearly as close to eight years old as it is, and given the impact it’s had on the structure of Wo Fat‘s work since — I would expect a new album to bring something of a shift in that, but I’ll save that speculation for another time — the recent discussion here of the best albums of the 2010s, and the ongoing spread of their influence more generally, it speaks as its own best argument. Maybe I’ll shut up finally and just let it do that.

As always, I hope you enjoy.

Thanks for reading.

Thanks for reading.

I lost The Pecan’s hat yesterday evening. Actually my hat, but he has taken it for his own and I have another of the same one, so whatever. Yes, we have matching winter hats. It is a white knit hat that my wife’s grandmother, Helen, first made for me well over 15 years ago. At some point, I came into the second one, and that was the one that didn’t make it out of Stop & Shop at Rt. 10 & 202 last night. Not a tragedy — it’s not like I lost the kid, right? — but an object of marked sentimental value to me and a genuine bummer. I called the grocery store and asked them to keep an eye out. The poor customer service woman thought I was insane. I spared her the full explanation of the hat’s origin.

My sister went twice and looked in the parking lot for it. She also went in and talked to customer service. Her husband went on his way to work this morning too. And The Pecan and I were out this morning early as well. I looked in the parking lot as the sun was coming up and then looked again in the back of the car by his seat and it was there under the floor. It had been there apparently the whole time. Real human relief. Exhale.

Last night, after he went to bed, I also accidentally broke my Chemex carafe that I use to make coffee. I had poured water in the coffee maker (8 cups, same as ever) and was shaking out the excess in the sink and the glass caught the faucet and broke. Again, could’ve been worse. Not a big mess of glass to clean up on the floor, and not the actual, much more expensive, coffee maker broken. But after the day I’d already had running solo point on Pecan duty as The Patient Mrs. is away on a work trip — dude was pissed to have a no-mommy day — and after the thing with the hat, it was clearly time to cut my losses, have dessert and get in bed.

This morning, before I even found the hat, I woke up to a message from a record label whose work I respect telling me that an artist whose work I very much respect has a yet-unannounced new album, and did I want to write the album bio for it. I said yes, and it’s a quick turnaround, so I’ll have to write it tomorrow, but I’m listening to the album now (it’s not Wo Fat, though that’d be cool too), and it’s really good, so all the better. It’s something to look forward to writing about tomorrow, and as it happens, getting blindsided by a new album and then looking forward to writing about it is among my very favorite things in the universe. Right up there with roasted garlic and hot showers.

That was a welcome start to the day, and I haven’t bought a new coffee carafe yet as of this writing — I got a cup at the Panera drive-thru, which was at very least better than Dunkin’ or Starbucks in the realm of “loosely acceptable in a pinch” — but obviously that’s on the agenda. I’m also making pesto this afternoon with kale and hazelnuts and my own roasted garlic that I’ll eat tonight with cauliflower and leftover chicken for dinner. Need to get parm reg at the grocery store when I buy the carafe.

I have a doctor’s appointment at 12:30 — it’s 10:30 now — to do a follow-up ultrasound I guess because they’re worried I might throw a clot after the surgery I had a week ago on my leg and they want to make sure everything’s kosher. Whatever. My father threw a clot in his leg a while back; didn’t kill him. Dude’s heartier than me, but if I dropped dead, well, at least I found that hat and got to hear one more good record that I was looking forward to writing about.

If I did though, I’d miss Ode to Doom next Wednesday in Manhattan, and that’d be a bummer. Apparently it’s Joe Wood from Eternal Black’s birthday. Dude is more than a prince. He’s a king. Seriously one of the nicest people I’ve ever met. If you ever have the opportunity to know him, take it. It will make your life better.

One would expect his birthday would draw a good crowd, even for a weeknight in January.

Tomorrow’s plans include a drive to Connecticut so that The Pecan can visit with The Patient Mrs.’ family and I can continue on to Rhode Island to purchase chicken from the Buffoni Poultry Farm in Johnston. I will get at least 40 pounds of chicken, no bullshit. I was thinking about getting 30 pounds of thighs if I can. It’s almost the start of the semester, so basically we’re stocking up for the next few months ahead of The Patient Mrs.’ break ending, and it’s not like I want to make a three-hour drive for chicken every week. So yeah, I’ll be buying in bulk.

No one in New Jersey runs a free-range, preferably organic, farm that does their processing on-site and sells boneless thighs. These are very exacting standards, and I’ve yet to find anyone who meets them. Plus the chicken from the place in RI is better than anything I’ve had here, and I’ve been through a few farms at this point.

I could go on, but this post is already beyond manageable. Guess I feel like writing. Bodes well for the weekend if I can keep it up. Always plenty of work to do.

Real quick — next week: Premieres for Red Mesa (video), Grey Skies Fallen (track), Yuri Gagarin (video), and another video I’m not sure I’m allowed to talk about ahead of time but that’s slated for next Friday. Also the Ode to Doom review will be up Thursday.

So good stuff to come.

Please, great and safe weekend, and thanks again for reading.

FRM: Forum, Radio, Merch at MiBK.

The Obelisk Forum

The Obelisk Radio

The Obelisk merch

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The Well Return to Europe & UK in January

Posted in Whathaveyou on December 10th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

The only question with The Well is whether they’re more undervalued or taken for granted. “Oh, The Well are popping back over to Europe to tour again? Ho-hum.” Yes, the Austin, Texas, trio are pretty well traveled, no less so to support this year’s righteous Death and Consolation (review here), but just because they’re out there now doesn’t mean they always will be. And hey, I get it, life gets in the way sometimes and you can’t make it to every show. It’s like the story of my existence right now. But if you can’t at least show respect for a band who put in the kind of work that results in a list of impending tour dates like the below — with just nine days between finishing one run in Salzburg, Austria, and starting the next in El Paso, Texas, then what the hell are you pretending to care about anything for? If that doesn’t matter to you, what does?

Songs and performance, you say? Style and substance, you say? Well fucking The Well have that too. Record and their latest video are at the bottom of the post. Take some time and really listen. Shit is awesome. How people aren’t all over The Well‘s collective junk, I just don’t know.

That’s my piece. I’ve said it.

To the PR wire:

the well

The Well announce winter tour dates in North America, EU and UK supporting new album Death and Consolation

Austin trio The Well announce yet another round of North American, EU and UK tour dates in support of their critically acclaimed new album Death and Consolation (RidingEasy Records.) The band has spent much of the year on tour, and now continue the trek into 2020, sharing some US dates with label mates Zig-Zags and R.I.P. These will be The Well’s first ever tour in the UK, having only played London’s DesertFest in 2019, and fans’ first opportunity to see the band performing songs from the new album. Please see all dates below.

Death and Consolation is available on LP, CD and download as of April 26th, 2019 via RidingEasy Records. Orders are available HERE.

THE WELL TOUR 2020:
01/22 – Milan, IT @ Ligera
01/23 – Bologna, IT @ Freakout
01/24 – Turin, IT @ Ziggy
01/26 – Lille, FR @ La Bulle Cafe
01/27 – Tours, FR @ Le Canadian Cafe
01/28 – Nantes, FR @ La Scene Michelet
01/29 – Bordeaux, FR @ Les Voutes
01/30 – Dijon, FR @ Peniche Cancale
01/31 – Rennes, FR @ Le Melies
02/01 – Paris, FR @ Espace B
02/03 – Brighton, UK @ Hope & Ruin
02/04 – Milton Keyes, UK @ The Craufurd Arms
02/05 – Glasgow, UK @ Broadcast
02/07 – London, UK @ Black Heart
02/08 – Bree, BE @ Ragnarok
02/09 – Berlin, DE @ Zukunft am Ostkreuz
02/10 – Salzburg, AT @ Rockhouse

02/19 – El Paso, TX @ Monarch
02/20 – Phoenix, AZ @ Yucca Tap Room
02/21 – San Diego, CA @ Til Two Club *
02/22 – Oceanside, CA @ The Pourhouse *
02/23 – Los Angeles, CA @ Permanent Records Roadhouse *
02/25 – San Francisco, CA @ The Knockout
02/26 – Nevada City, CA @ The Brick
02/27 – Portland, OR @ High Water Mark +
02/28 – Seattle, WA @ Substation +
02/29 – Vancouver, BC @ TBA +
03/02 – Kalispell, MT @ Old School Records
03/03 – Missoula, MT @ TBA
03/04 – Boise, ID @ The Shredder
03/05 – Salt Lake City, UT @ Kilby Court
03/06 – Denver, CO @ Streets of London
03/07 – Albuquerque, NM @ The Launchpad
* w/ Zig-Zags
+ w/ R.I.P.

http://www.facebook.com/thewellband
https://www.instagram.com/thewellband/
http://thewellaustin.bandcamp.com/
https://www.facebook.com/ridingeasyrecords/
http://www.ridingeasyrecs.com/
https://www.instagram.com/easyriderrecord/

The Well, “Raven” official video

The Well, Death and Consolation (2019)

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