The Obelisk Show on Gimme Radio Playlist: Episode 32

Posted in Radio on April 17th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

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Last episode, I did comfort songs the whole way through, new stuff and old, and at the risk of saying something remotely nice about myself, I thought it was the best show I’ve ever done. This time, of course, something completely different.

Yeah, the theme is still affected by the COVID-19 pandemic — how could it not be? — but it’s basically me reminding myself that when times are hard, harder, harder than that, still harder, okay-hardest-my-head’s-gonna-friggin’-explode-make-it-stop-make-it-stop, there’s still new music and new music is still awesome.

So here we are. Brand new tracks from Curse the Son, Vine Weevil, Ten Foot Wizard (who emailed me as I was putting the playlist together, as though to emphasize the point), Witchkiss, Dopelord, Nighthawk & Heavy Temple, The Mountain King, High Priestess, Wight, Marmalade Knives, Kanaan, Frozen Planet….1969 and The Swell Fellas. Some of this has been streamed here, some of it hasn’t, but it’s all new and it’s all excellent and I found that this week, at just this particular moment in time, that’s what I needed. It’s that simple, and I hope you can relate.

Thanks for listening if you do. I hope you enjoy. Or even if you just look at the list and find something new to dig on, I hope you enjoy that too. Thanks.

The Obelisk Show airs 5PM Eastern today on the Gimme app or at

Full playlist:

The Obelisk Show – 04.17.20

Curse the Son Suicide by Drummer Excruciation*
Vine Weevil You are the Ocean Sun in Your Eyes*
Ten Foot Wizard Namaste Dickhead Get Out of Your Mind*
Witchkiss Splitting Teeth Splitting Teeth*
Dopelord Doom Bastards Sign of the Devil*
Nighthawk & Heavy Temple Astral Hand VA – Women of Doom*
The Mountain King As Below, So Below Wicked Zen*
High Priestess Invocation Casting the Circle*
Wight Motorgroove Spank the World*
Marmalade Knives Rivuleting Marmalade Knives*
Kanaan O?resund Double Sun*
Frozen Planet….1969 900 Mile Head Rush Cold Hand of a Gambling Man*
The Swell Fellas Scatterbrain The Great Play of Extension*

The Obelisk Show on Gimme Radio airs every Friday 5PM Eastern, with replays Sunday at 7PM Eastern. Next new episode is May 1 (subject to change). Thanks for listening if you do.

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The Swell Fellas Stream The Great Play of Extension EP in Full

Posted in audiObelisk on April 14th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

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Ocean City, Maryland, three-piece The Swell Fellas will issue their new EP, The Great Play of Extension, this coming Friday, April 17. Comprised of just three tracks, the offering runs a not-insubstantial 26 minutes and brings forth hypnotic breadth at the behest of spacious guitar and echoing vocals floating out over molten basslines and laid back drums on opener “Placebo,” the everybody-sings-at-one-point-or-another trio of guitarist Conner Poole, drummer Chris Poole (let’s just assume they’re related), and bassist Mark Rohrer throwing a bit of mathier angularity in “Acid Tone” while keeping the psychedelic fervor of the lead cut, and rounding out with the decidedly prog rocking “Scatterbrain,” which if it didn’t dedicate its last two minutes to drifting into oblivion, would be almost intimidatingly clear-headed. Running nearly 12 minutes long, “Scatterbrain” is obviously a focal point of The Great Play of Extension — which itself follows The Swell Fellas‘ likewise-self-awarely-titled debut LP, The Big Grand Entrance, which was released in January — and whether these are tracks left off that release or songs recorded in another session with co-producer/mixer Ben McLeod (best known as the guitarist for All Them Witches) with mastering by Mikey Allred (Across Tundras, All Them Witches, etc.), they each present a different aspect of the band’s sound, soaring between instrumental crescendos and intricate meditations.

The mix puts Conner‘s guitar forward, and that’s nothing to complain about, but if you had any doubt as to his and Chris‘ last names being the result of familial relation, the established-seeming chemistry between the guitar and drums speaks to the two having been playing together for longer than, say, the last year or two as the debut album and this release came together. To the same end, Rohrer‘s bass fits gracefully and fluidly the swell fellas The Great Play of Extensioninto the progressions of “Placebo,” and the low end serves not only to reinforce the drum punctuation, but to add character and depth to the guitar as well. They are, then, a power trio. Fair enough. But it’s not just about the bass and drums locking in a groove while the guitar goes a-wanderin’, either. “Acid Tone” shifts into a pastoralism for a few measures born out of traditionalist psychedelic rock before returning to its central push, and it’s that kind of complexity that makes these songs so well suited to the EP format — each one standing out in a way that might be lost or subsumed in a full-length context. It’s worth noting that “Scatterbrain” and “Placebo” (8:22) are also longer than anything that appeared on The Big Grand Entrance, so whether that speaks to some kind of departure there, I can’t say without further investigation, though The Great Play of Extension certainly warrants and invites that.

And as much as that dynamic between the band members feels set, there is a corresponding sense of The Swell Fellas feeling out ideas and different methods to find what’s working best in (and as) their sound. It’s the way of such things generally that one side wins out over another, but in the best of cases, a group is able to bring together the angles they forge in their early work as a fuller realization of a new, individualized identity. Frankly I hear nothing in The Swell Fellas‘ sound that would make me think that couldn’t do precisely that. They have an obvious attention to detail and aesthetic and are able to convey a sense of technicality without coming across as any more indulgent than their songs want them to be. They were due to tour this month to promote The Great Play of Extension and The Big Grand Entrance, but of course that would require gathering at least three people in room, so that’s out (even though two are relatives), and one only hopes they reschedule as soon as possible, because where that fusion of elements in their sound is going to happen is on stage, and they are very clearly interested in continuing the evolution in their sound that’s obviously already in progress.

So go for it, I say.

You can stream The Great Play of Extension in its entirety below. Some quick comment from the band and more info follows.

Please enjoy:

The Swell Fellas on The Great Play of Extension:

In the midst of our 2019 fall tour we were invited to TN to record with Ben after working for a couple months on The Big Grand Entrance together. The Church where we recorded has this huge room that brought forth an amazing sound and energy, and it enabled us to track all of the instrumentation live. The bulk of our writing process happens while jamming together, so recording the EP in this environment felt really natural. This EP is a compilation of songs that stem straight from the way our minds tend to pace around during times of change and unease, while continuing to hold onto complete focus throughout the ride. Past the lyrics, we took that idea into the instrumentation by meditating on certain parts and letting the songs be as they were intended to be on that October day in The Church. These songs are extremely special to us, and we’re psyched to premiere them here with you.

The Swell Fellas are a psych rock trio out of Ocean City, MD. Following the January release of their debut full length, The Big Grand Entrance, they are gearing up for an independent release of a new EP, The Great Play of Extension.

The Great Play of Extension was recorded at The Church outside of Nashville, TN by Ben McLeod, who also mixed the EP and the band’s debut album. Mastering by Mikey Allred at Dark Art Audio.

The Swell Fellas are:
Conner Poole // Guitar and Vocals
Chris Poole // Drums and Vocals
Mark Rohrer // Bass and Vocals

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