The Well Post “Raven” Video; Touring to Levitation Festival

Posted in Bootleg Theater on October 28th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

the well (photo by Cecilia Alejandra Blair)

We’re getting into November this week, which as far as I’m concerned means two things. 1: The holidays are coming, and man, fuck the holidays. 2: It’s getting to be year-end list time. For your consideration, Austin dark heavy psych three-piece The Well humbly submit the clarity of a 4K ultra-high-def video for the track “Raven” from their 2019 album, Death and Consolation (review here). Released this past April in a continuing alliance with RidingEasy Records as the band’s third full-length, it was yet another argument for them as an underrated outfit, the dual vocals of guitarist Ian Graham and bassist Lisa Alley — the three-piece completed by drummer Jason Sullivan — growing as an ever-more-prevalent standout factor of their approach. They’ve done no shortage of road time since their 2014 debut, Samsara (review here), and are currently touring the Eastern Seaboard with a stop in Puerto Rico before heading home to play Levitation Fest early next month. In the New Year, it’ll be the UK & EU — whatever configuration they might be in at that point; the nation-states, not the band — followed by the West Coast in February and March, so yes, they’re keeping plenty busy.

But as we get down to the nitty-gritty end-of-year business around these parts, The Well are a band who clearly deserve some manner of recognition, and if you want to hear/see why, they’re basically presenting their case in the clearest manner available in the “Raven” video. If you can watch the clip in 4K, you should, because it looks cool and is almost too real in its smoothness, but however you check it out, it’s easily worth the four minutes of your time, with its stonerly riff engaging a classic heavy rock nodder mindset even as their vaguely cultish leanings come through in the vocal melody. It’s never been about reinventing the wheel with The Well, but their radness is pervasive and multifaceted, and their approach has grown with each offering they’ve made. Death and Consolation is the kind of record you can put on regardless of mood and get into it. No pretense, quality craft, deep mix to lose your head in, and a heavy groove to march you right to oblivion. The only thing it asks is you take a little time to dig it.

So dig it:

The Well, “Raven” official video

Austin trio The Well share a new video from their recently released album, Death and Consolation (RidingEasy Records). Watch & share the 4K UHD video for album track “Raven” which was directed, shot and edited by William Orendorff HERE.

The band has spent much of the year on tour, and continue the trek now into November. Early in the new year, The Well return to headline shows in the EU & UK, followed by West Coast dates with labelmates Zig-Zags in February 2020. 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 2019:
(remaining dates)
10/28 – Atlanta, GA – 529
10/29 – Gainesville, FL – Hardback Cafe
10/30 – St Petersburg, FL – The Bends
11/01 – Puerto Rico – Club 77
11/03 – Austin, TX @ COTA F1 Races
11/09 – Austin, TX – Levitation Festival – RidingEasy stage

THE WELL TOUR 2020:
EU/UK – January/February (dates TBA)
02/19 – El Paso, TX
02/20 – Phoenix, AZ
02/22 – Oceanside, CA *
02/23 – Los Angeles, CA *
02/25 – San Francisco, CA *
02/26 – Arcata, CA *
02/27 – Portland, OR *
02/28 – Seattle, WA *
02/29 – Vancouver, BC *
03/02 – Kalispell, MT *
03/03 – Missoula, MT
03/04 – Boise, ID *
03/05 – Salt Lake City, UT *
03/06 – Denver, CO *
03/07 – Albuquerque, NM *
* w/ Zig-Zags

The Well, Death and Consolation (2019)

The Well on Thee Facebooks

The Well on Instagram

The Well on Bandcamp

The Well website

RidingEasy Records website

RidingEasy Records on Instagram

RidingEasy Records on Bandcamp

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Psycho Smokeout 2.0 Set for April 18; Weedeater, Acid King & More Confirmed

Posted in Whathaveyou on September 20th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

Hey Psycho Smokeout 2.0 — sick fuggin’ lineup. With one headliner still TBA next month Psycho Entertainment and RidingEasy Records pair up to present the likes of Weedeater, Acid King, The Obsessed, Cough, Mondo Drag, Heavy Temple, The Well, Holy Grove, Salem’s Bend, and on and on, all on one day — April 18, 2020. Considering there are 19 acts confirmed, let’s assume there will be multiple stages going. I don’t know what that’ll do to the schedule — certainly possible to alternate — but however it happens, it’s a badass assemblage and there’s more to come. Tickets are on sale now, because seriously, why the hell wait?

So yes. Why wait?

From the PR wire:

psycho smokeout 2.0

PSYCHO SMOKEOUT 2.0 To Take Place April 18th, 2020; Lineup Includes Weedeater, The Obsessed, Acid King, Cough, And More + Early Bird Tickets On Sale Now!

Behold! PSYCHO SMOKEOUT 2.0 will make its annual descent upon Los Angeles’ multi-level Catch One Riff Compound April 18th, 2020!

Brought to you by Psycho Entertainment and RidingEasy Records, this year’s day-long puffathon features performances from nearly two-dozen artists including North Caroline stoner metal goliaths Weedeater, Maryland doom icons The Obsessed, California stoner rock veterans Acid King, and Virginia sludge bringers Cough, with the final headliner to be unveiled later this fall. Spread across three stages, the glassy-eyed gala will include a massive vendor market and more surprises to be announced in the weeks to come.

Early bird tickets for PSYCHO SMOKEOUT 2.0 go on sale Thursday September 19th. The limited early bird tickets are a cool $39 plus fees and are expected to sellout within 48 hours of being announced. The next tier will be $49 plus fees. The final tier will be $59 plus fees. Don’t sleep on this!

Nab your tickets today at THIS LOCATION.

PSYCHO SMOKEOUT 2.0 is a 420 friendly, 18 and over event.

Psycho Entertainment & RidingEasy Records Presents:
PSYCHO SMOKEOUT 2.0
April 18th, 2020
Catch One Riff Compound
Los Angeles, California

Lineup (in alphabetical order):
Acid King
Casket Raider
Cough
Deathchant
Great Electric Quest
Heavy Temple
Holy Grove
India Tigers In Texas
Leather Lung
Mondo Drag
Mother Iron Horse
Mountain Tamer
Pale Mare
Salem’s Bend
The Munsens
The Obsessed
The Well
Vaelmyst
Weedeater

http://www.vivapsycho.com/
http://www.ridingeasyrecs.com

Holy Grove, II (2018)

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The Well Announce October East Coast Tour Dates

Posted in Whathaveyou on August 5th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

the well

So am I crazy, or are The Well playing Tulsa, Oklahoma, two nights after they play in Helsinki, Finland? I mean, that’s not an impossible scenario, by any means — it’s enough time to travel from one place to the other — but as the Austin, Texas-based three-piece get ready to embark on a Fall tour supporting their earlier-2019 offering, Death and Consolation (review here), it’s barely enough time for them to get their luggage from the baggage claim. I know there’s a day in between there, but still, that’s pretty tight. All the more so if they’re flying into Austin to get their gear and then driving north to play that Tulsa gig. And then they’ve got like 20 shows in a row! Clearly not a band big on doing themselves favors.

But hey, if you weren’t soul-obliteratingly tired afterward, would it really be rock and roll?

(Yes.)

If none of the three of them is yet writing their book about being on the road, I can only consider that an oversight. Hey, The Well. If you wanna do a tour diary, hit me up. I’d run that shit in a heartbeat. Also, your record rules.

Here’s info from the PR wire:

the well poster

The Well announce new tour dates in support of new album Death and Consolation

Austin trio extend North American dates; first time in Puerto Rico

Austin trio The Well announce additional tour dates in support of their beloved new album, Death and Consolation (RidingEasy Records) today. The band has spent much of the year on tour, and here continue the trek through into November. Please see all dates below.

Death and Consolation is without a doubt a weighty album title. And, The Well is among the heaviest heavy psych bands in existence. So when we say that there’s even more darkness and intensity to the band’s third album than previous efforts, take heed. It’s a deep sea diving bell of enveloping heaviness and longing.

“This one is a little more personal,” says guitarist/vocalist Ian Graham. “2018 was a strange, dark year. A lot of change going on in my life, there was a lot of depression and coming out of it over the last year. I wanted to call this Death and Consolation, because in life that’s a constant.”

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 2019:
09/13 – Austin, TX – Empire Control Room
10/10 – Helsinki, FI – Blow Up Festival
10/12 – Tulsa, OK – Mercury Lounge
10/13 – Lawrence, KS – Replay Lounge
10/14 – Des Moines, IA – Vaudeville Mews
10/15 – Milwaukee, WI – Cactus Club
10/16 – Chicago, IL – Live Wire
10/17 – Detroit, MI – Sanctuary
10/18 – Toronto, ON – Grand Gerrand
10/19 – Ottawa, ON – House of Targ
10/20 – Montreal, QC – Katacombs
10/21 – Winooski, VT – Monkey House
10/22 – Rochester, NY – Bug Bar
10/23 – Brooklyn, NY – Saint Vitus *
10/24 – Philadelphia, PA – Barbary *
10/25 – Baltimore, MD – The Depot
10/26 – Richmond, VA – Wonderland
10/27 – Raleigh, NC – Slim’s
10/28 – Atlanta, GA – 529
10/29 – Gainesville, FL – Hardback Cafe
10/30 – St Petersburg, FL – The Bends
11/01 – Puerto Rico – Club 77
11/02 – Jacksonville, FL – Justice Pub
11/09 – Austin, TX – Levitation Festival
* w/ Heavy Temple

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

The Well, Death and Consolation (2019)

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The Obelisk Show on Gimme Radio Recap: Episode 18

Posted in Radio on June 24th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

the obelisk show banner

Before I get started, I want to say thanks to Mark Kitchens from Stone Machine Electric for the artwork above. He did the platypus design and I added the blue background and yellow text kind of thinking it would be like one of those old title cards from David Letterman or something. I love it, so yeah. Thanks, Mark.

Like the prior episode, this one was themed around a playlist of some of the best of 2019 so far. I actually didn’t get to hear the whole show because I was at Maryland Doom Fest this past weekend, but I did check in on it while doing other stuff in Frederick. One way or the other, the playlist starts with Holy Grove and has Yawning ManMagic CircleDuelNebulaRoadsawEarth and Across Tundras on it, so you know it’s going to be killer. Really, the only thing I’d have listened for was to make sure I didn’t ruin it with my own derpy derp derp.

I wanted to include some lesser-known stuff here too, so check out the Cosmic Fall, SÂVEREaldor Bealu and Mount Saturn tracks if you haven’t, and that Centrum at the end I really dig a lot. Hell, the whole thing is great. You really can’t go wrong when your operating theme is “stuff that’s awesome.”

Thanks if you got to check it out.

Here’s the full playlist:

The Obelisk Show – 06.21.19

Holy Grove Valley of the Mystics Holy Grove II 0:10:37
Duel Drifting Alone Valley of Shadows 0:04:27
The Well Death Song Death and Consolation 0:04:48
BREAK
Across Tundras The Rugged Ranges of Curbs & Broken Minds The Rugged Ranges of Curbs & Broken Minds 0:06:58
Yawning Man I Make Weird Choices Macedonian Lines 0:07:21
Cosmic Fall Lackland Lackland 0:08:32
Lamp of the Universe Rite of the Spheres Align in the Fourth Dimension 0:05:12
SÂVER Dissolve to Ashes They Came with Sunlight 0:07:43
Atala Upon the Altar The Bearer of Light 0:06:06
Magic Circle I’ve Found My Way to Die Departed Souls 0:05:11
BREAK
Mount Saturn Idol Hands Kiss the Ring 0:04:11
Nebula Man’s Best Friend Holy Shit 0:04:56
Ruff Majik Seasoning the Witch Tårn 0:06:31
Earth An Unnatural Carousel Full Upon Her Burning Lips 0:06:51
Ealdor Bealu Smoke Signals Spirit of the Lonely Places 0:07:32
BREAK
Roadsaw Under the Devil’s Thumb Tinnitus the Night 0:03:54
Centrum Sjön För Meditation 0:08:39

The Obelisk Show on Gimme Radio airs every other Friday at 1PM Eastern, with replays every Sunday at 7PM Eastern. Next show is July 5. Thanks for listening if you do.

Gimme Radio website

The Obelisk on Thee Facebooks

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The Obelisk Show on Gimme Radio Recap: Episode 15

Posted in Radio on April 30th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

gimme radio logo

It was last Friday about an hour before I had to head out for the start of Desertfest NYC that I cut the voice breaks for this episode, once again on my phone, while in transit. I did the same thing last time and it sounded like crap. I know the stakes are pretty low — that is, nobody really cares — but if you’re going to do a thing, at least try to do it well. I backed off the phone this time and hopefully that cut some of the overmodulation in my voice.

I say “hopefully” because I actually haven’t heard the show yet. I was at the fest on Sunday while it aired, so I’ll be catching the rerun at 9AM this Thursday when that’s on. This is the 15th episode of The Obelisk Show and it’s been an exceptionally busy few weeks, but it’s still fun to put together, and there were some killer tracks included this time from Worshipper, Abrahma, Molasses, Stone Machine Electric, The Well, Kandodo, Methadone Skies, and so on. Any opportunity to throw in some Øresund Space Collective makes me happy, so that was a must, and I was kind of also doing myself a favor in including Natas as the “classic track” (yay! classic track!) for the episode.

So basically, unless I crapped it up, at least the music is good. That’s what matters anyhow, or so I’m told.

Here’s the full playlist:

The Obelisk Show – 04.28.19

Pelican Midnight and Mescaline Nighttime Stories*
Abrahma Lost Forever In Time for the Last Rays of Light*
Worshipper Coming Through Light in the Wire*
BREAK
Molasses Drops of Sunlight Mourning Haze*
Los Mundos Subterráneo Mar Jurásico Calor Central*
Kandodo King Vulture K3*
Omen Stones Fresh Hell Omen Stones*
The Well This is How the World Ends Death and Consolation*
BREAK
Natas Samurai Delmar
Smear Old Town A Band Called Shmear*
Methadone Skies Where Were You When We Were into the Void? Different Layers of Fear*
Stone Machine Electric Purgatory Darkness, Dimensions, Disillusion*
BREAK
Øresund Space Collective Meets Black Moon Circle Afterglow in the Sea of Sirens Freak Out in the Fjord*

The Obelisk Show on Gimme Radio airs every other Sunday night at 7PM Eastern, with replays the following Thursday at 9AM. Next show is April 28. Thanks for listening if you do.

Gimme Radio website

The Obelisk on Thee Facebooks

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Live Review: Desertfest NYC Night Two, 04.27.19

Posted in Reviews on April 28th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

Windhand (Photo by JJ Koczan)

The Well — not to be confused with the Austin, Texas, band of the same name — is around the corner from where The Acheron used to be in Brooklyn and there still stands The Anchored Inn as a congregation point. I was there for not the day’s first cup of coffee before day two of the inaugural Desertfest NYC kicked off back at the venue. It was cloudy and the air was chilled — April in New York — but by the time Electric Citizen were done, the sun was out and would remain so for the bulk of the day. That helped all the more since the main stage was outside.

A large tent was erected on an expansive enclave of a patio space. In back was the merch area, seating at picnic tables and along the other side there was a bar, taco stand, and the raised shipping container up some stairs that had been converted to a backstage lounge, complete with deck. The vibe was immediately relaxed and cool, with another bar inside and the second stage, in a smaller room off to the side of The Well‘s main corridor. My first time in the space, and it seemed ready for the event from its basic structure to the tent outside, though if Desertfest NYC is going to be an annual event, they’ll need a bigger one.

The afternoon kicked off soon enough, but though the venue switched from the Saint Vitus Bar the evening prior, the mood around was much the same. It was something Ron Holzner of The Skull would effectively summarize in saying, “About damn time we had a European festival come to the States. A sign of good things to come.” One hopes he’s correct in the foresight.

It was a packed nine-band day, mostly alternating back and forth between the stages, and it went vaguely like this:

Electric Citizen

Electric Citizen (Photo by JJ Koczan)

It had been a few years since I last caught Ohio heavy rockers Electric Citizen, but their 2018 album, Helltown (review here), was a stripped down and switched on groover that at the same time offered the band’s most developed sense of melody yet, so yes, it was something to look forward to. I don’t think they were helped by the early slot, but with the bill as stacked as it was, there wasn’t really anywhere else to put them. There was, fortunately, a good crowd to start the day off, and that only grew in number as the RidingEasy Records five-piece went on, their sound pulling elements from cult rock, glam, doom and proto-metal in order to create a brew that’s readily familiar and nuanced at the same time. They played as a five-piece, with keys alongside the guitar, bass, drums and vocals, and frontwoman Laura Dolan noted from the stage that this was their sendoff for a European tour. They’ll spend the month of May in the UK and EU, playing Desertfest in London and Berlin as well as other dates before and after. They sounded ready to go, to say the least.

Tower

Tower (Photo by JJ Koczan)

Immediately after Electric Citizen wrapped on the main stage, the second stage launched with the classic metal stylings of Tower, who continue a tradition of gritty NY homage to the NWOBHM and early thrash that goes back pretty much to when that sound was current. There’s always been a place for that stuff in New York, and Tower represented well what Brooklyn has done in the wake of bands like Early Man in the last decade and Natur and others in this one, two guitars blazing to coincide with the first off-stage frontperson of the weekend — presumably not the last, though one never knows — and a riotous stage presence that all the more justified that spillover onto the floor. They were probably the most metal act of the day, but still well accessible to the Desertfest NYC crowd. I’ve made the argument a thousand times at this point that classic metal is the domain of the heavy underground. Tower were another notch in favor of that position, and they effectively captured the spirit of the metal to which they were paying homage via their material. Not unfamiliar, but that’s the point.

Danava

Danava (Photo by JJ Koczan)

Back on the main stage, Portland, Oregon, stalwarts Danava answered such metallurgy with a bit of boogie, a bit of NWOBHM dual-guitar action, and a lot of soul. I’ve been fortunate enough to see Danava a couple times over the years, and though my initial impression of them wasn’t positive, they’ve proven consistent in terms of the high-quality of their work on stage and off — my initial impression, in other words, was wrong. The simple fact that they haven’t put a record out in eight years and continue to get booked on shows like Desertfest NYC and Psycho Las Vegas, where they’ll play the pool party in August, should speak volumes to their continued relevance, and though they had the At Midnight You Die single (review here) out through Tee Pee in 2016, you would have to say they’re due for a record. Overdue. But they killed. Founding guitarist/vocalist Gregory Meleney warned the crowd before they played what was presumably a new song, “Nothing but Nothing,” that they might screw it up, but by all appearances they nailed it, which was basically the case for their entire set.

The Skull

The Skull (Photo by JJ Koczan)

Yeah, I know The Skull is Ron Holzner and Eric Wagner from Trouble, and I know they’ve got Rob Wrong from Witch Mountain on guitar alongside Lothar Keller and they’ve got Brian Dixon from Cathedral on drums (though it was Chad Walls for this show). They’ve got all that, and I won’t take away from anyone’s pedigree whatsoever. But you know what else The Skull have? Songs. Songs. Songs. They’ve got songs that are memorable. Songs that stay with you after you put the album down and move onto the next thing. Songs that, when they play them on stage, you go, “Oh shit yeah, this song!” as I did when they launched into “When the Sun Turns Black” from their 2014 debut, For Those Which are Asleep (review here) and the title-track of last year’s follow-up, The Endless Road Tuns Dark (review here). Stage presence is a factor, of course, and if you’re going to call anyone in American doom a supergroup, it’s probably fair to do so for The Skull, but whatever they do, their foundation is there in the songs, and it’s the songs that carry them most of all. They were and are the best example I can think of for a band building something new out of a storied legacy.

Worshipper

Worshipper (Photo by JJ Koczan)

Boston’s Worshipper packed the second stage room beyond capacity — there was a line out the door to get in — and played like a band who are about to release one of the best records of the year, which they are in the form of their second album, Light in the Wire (review here). They opened with “Visions from Beyond” and “Coming Through” from that offering and gave a preview of what they’re soon to take on the road in Europe with their Tee Pee labelmates in The Skull — they too will be at Desertfest‘s London and Berlin editions — as guitarist John Brookhouse and bassist Bob Maloney proffered dead-on vocal harmonies on material new and old, guitarist Alejandro Necochea tore into leads and offered more harmony alongside Brookhouse‘s guitar, and drummer Dave Jarvis pushed the entire thing forward, grounding the psychedelic stretches and keeping momentum on their side, which it was for the duration. They were the band I was most looking forward to in the lineup for the day, particularly in light of their new album, and they very clearly played to the momentousness of the occasion at the first American Desertfest. It was the kind of thing I’ll be glad to have seen.

Weedeater

Weedeater (Photo by JJ Koczan)

Some technical trouble with the bass amp before Weedeater went on, but plenty of shenanigans to fill the time and bassist/vocalist “Dixie” Dave Colins spat out auctioneer’s chatter and lines like “crack rocks” and “wow, wow, mom” in checking the mic. The North Carolinian trio — Collins, guitarist Dave “Shep” Shepherd, drummer Ramsey Ateyeh (I think; someone please correct me if I’m wrong) — are on a forever-tour, their last record, Goliathan (review here), having come out in 2015, but they absolutely packed that tent and people went apeshit for them to the point that, when I went into the photo pit later for Windhand, the barricade had moved up in front of the stage to the point that there was no more access to the other side. Weedeater do nothing but deliver, and I know Dixie is kind of playing to character, but dude is working from the moment he hits stage to the moment he leaves. He’s the James Brown of sludge, and Weedeater‘s legend has grown all the more over their nearly-25-years because of that. They played the songs they always play, they kicked ass like they always do, and they proved once more that there’s only ever been and there only ever will be one Weedeater. Accept no substitutes.

Mirror Queen

Mirror Queen (Photo by JJ Koczan)

Let’s face it: you’re never going to beat Weedeater at their own game. Luckily for all involved, Mirror Queen were on a different wavelength entirely. Their progressive-tinged classic heavy rock is a staple of New York’s underground, and with guitarist/vocalist Kenny Sehgal‘s dual-role as the head of Tee Pee Records, their inclusion was all the more fitting. The four-piece, with Morgan McDaniel on guitar, James Corallo on bass and Jeremy O’Brien on drums, bounced and careened through a set that acquitted them well with the Desertfest crowd — doubly fortunate since they’ll be in Berlin soon enough — and asked nothing by way of indulgence while bringing to bear material of melody and weight that wanted neither in perspective or delivery. Mirror Queen have been around, and have had their share of lineup turnover, but the band as they are now was only engaging, and to those familiar with them and not in the crowd, they were a return to consciousness after the bash over the head that the main stage had just delivered. Heavy rock and roll is always welcome, and Mirror Queen were a fitting reminder why.

Windhand

Windhand (Photo by JJ Koczan)

Like Weedeater before them, like Black Cobra the night prior and like Monolord and Elder to follow the next day, Windhand were not an unknown quantity, but for a festival brand feeling its way out in a hard city, they made perfect sense for the bill, and their doom was absolutely massive in the tent that held the main stage. I had been thinking after The Skull played that there was no doom left for anyone else — and certainly Windhand‘s 2018 album, Eternal Return (review here), had more going on than just that — but the Richmond, Virginia, four-piece managed to scrape enough together in order to feel like they were burying the crowd alive in low end. I will gladly argue for Windhand as being among the most important bands of their generation, particularly for those who’ve come up since and have taken influence from the sense of atmosphere they bring to their material in the studio and on stage, and though they had a hard act to follow on the main stage, they lived up to even the mighty expectations that are placed on them at this point wherever they go. They are a headlining band, full stop. They’ve worked hard to become one, and they deserve every bit of significant acclaim they’ve garnered over the years, while still sounding like they want nothing more than to move forward.

Steak

Steak (Photo by JJ Koczan)

Ambassadors from London’s populous heavy underground, Steak were nothing short of a refreshing way to close out the night. They’ve been a staple act of Desertfest London, which guitarist Reece Tee is also involved in organizing via Desertscene, as he was with Desertfest New York, so like Mirror Queen, they also had a family connection to the proceedings, but even their soundcheck drew a crowd keyed in to the fuzz tone and heavy roll they let loose. They were not halfway through the first song before frontman Chris “Kippa” Haley was standing on the front-of-stage riser, and he’d spend a goodly portion of the set up there, toasting the crowd and personifying the entire band’s really-glad-to-be-here mood, which was infectious. They too packed out the second stage room and held the crowd for the duration, begging a revisit for 2017’s No God to Save (review here) and showing off the development in their dynamic since which is set to manifest on their next record, due out before they play Keep it Low in Munich this October. Seeing them live for the first time in I don’t even want to count how many years only made me look forward to that more, whenever and however it might actually show up, and for the first Desertfest New York, they hit stage like a mission statement of what the festival brand is all about, from top to bottom. It was right on and then some.

It was not a small amount of day. As of now, it’s about two hours until it’s time to get back on the road from New Jersey to Brooklyn for the third and final round with Desertfest New York. The weather thus far seems to be uncooperative, but we’ll see how it all pans out this afternoon. Shower first. Shower first.

That’ll be good.

More pics after the jump. Thanks for reading.

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Review & Video Premiere: The Well, Death and Consolation

Posted in Bootleg Theater, Reviews on April 26th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

the well death and consolation

The Well, “This is How the World Ends” official video premiere

[Click play above to stream the premiere of The Well’s video for “This is How the World Ends.” Their new album, Death and Consolation, is out today on RidingEasy Records and streaming in full below.]

Austin trio The Well have always worked with largely familiar elements — riffs, dual vocals, heavy rolling groove, garage-doom burnout and so on — but their third album, Death and Consolation, further demonstrates how they take what’s expected and twist it to suit darker purposes. It’s not just the title of the RidingEasy Records release that seems to be coping and consoling, and as the Austin, Texas, band — who spent a decent portion of the second half of 2018 touring Europe — nod through the nine-track/42-minute offering, their sound retains the raw grit they’ve had since before their debut album, Samsara (review here), came out in 2014. Death and Consolation is very much of a mind with Samsara and Pagan Science (review here), which followed it in 2016, thanks in no small part to guitarist/vocalist Ian Graham, bassist/vocalist Lisa Alley and drummer Jason Sullivan returning to work with producer/engineer Chico Jones, who has been involved in all three of their full-lengths — Jason Morales helmed their 2012 debut single, Seven (review here) — and whose relationship with the band would seem to be deep enough at this point to give them space both to revel in the bleary-eyed riffs and echoes of songs like “Act II” and the unrepentantly uptempo Dio-era Sabbathian bounce of centerpiece “Eyes of a God” just before it.

As with opener “Sabbah,” which seems to take its cues from Kyuss/Vista Chino (thinking “Thumb” or “Dargona Dragona”) in terms of its riffy foundation, “Eyes of a God” acknowledges its influence and sees The Well internalize it to the point of making it theirs. It’s a cliché narrative to say a band’s third album is their moment of arrival, having set out ideas on the first record and corrected initial mistakes on the second — and honestly, in the case of The Well, their work has never needed much in terms of correction. Still, across its span, Death and Consolation shows the steady growth they’ve undertaken and the broader reach they’ve made their own as a result, right from the keyboard chorus in the apex of “Sabbah” to the tolling-for-thee bells that help cap the noisefest ending of closer “Endless Night.”

All along the way, The Well ask few indulgences and deliver a quality of craft indicative of the time they’ve spent hammering out their approach onstage. Their material is efficient while sounding languid, as early cuts like “Raven,” which makes its greater impression in full-push while still varying tempo en route to its Alley/Graham vocal congregation around an effective secondary hook, and the subsequent “Death Song” make plain. The latter rounds out an opening salvo on a record that, while obviously splitting into two sides for the vinyl release, nonetheless seems to work in sets of three. Its riff is more patiently delivered than anything in “Raven” was intended to be, and it builds on the buzz of “Sabbah” at the outset with an intermittent wash of crash from Sullivan that bolsters the Pentagram-style rhythm in the lyrics and righteously adds to the tension in the last verse.

the well

“Cup of Peace,” which follows, feels like the beginning of another movement, and as much as a lumbering intro sets the stage for a guitar dropout during the first part of its verse, Graham‘s voice encased in echo and baring cultish fangs amid the surrounding fuzz. Alley joins in later with a harmony line as the track shifts toward its crescendo solo, a highlight of Death and Consolation as a whole for its blend of technique and raw noise. Obscure, manipulated samples begin “Eyes of a God,” with the central riff kicking in at about the 40-second mark. That introduction makes what’s already the shortest cut at 3:41 seem even shorter, but doesn’t at all detract from its engaging spirit. Instead, it benefits from the sense of contrast, and its sampling helps set up the pulsations of “Act II,” which starts side B while also drawing the middle third of the album to its close — starting the second act in one interpretation of the tracklisting while ending it in another — with a resonant hook and a march that holds sway until the arrival of organ signals the start of the freakout in the second half; solo, thick boogie, crash, noise, threat, stop. The last line, “Forever you will be mine,” echoes out with a due feeling of conclusion.

Likewise, the quiet and slow drums that offer a bed to the bluesy vocals at the beginning of “Freedom Above” seem to be a reset or at least a return to ground. They leave it soon enough, with ambient noise behind Alley and Graham‘s vocals, the rumble of the former keeping one foot on earth even as the sensation of floating becomes ever more prevalent. There’s a subtle build at work, but even as heavy as it gets, it seems to hold back, much to its credit. It might be the best vocal performance The Well have ever had on a record, with Graham giving way to Alley at the end and the latter self-harmonizing to finish, serving as a transition into the penultimate “This is How the World Ends,” with jarring samples of chimpanzees and less-jarring speech leading directly into the verse, drenched in post-Electric Wizard sneer but, again, thoroughly its own. I won’t say it looks good for the world, but The Well at least give planet Earth a characteristic sendoff, the prevailing vibe of “we earned this apocalypse” coming through with due prejudice in its judgment.

The recognizable voice of Rod Serling caps, and “Endless Night” commences with an assault of low distortion from which the winding riff emerges. Together, the three members of The Well seem to be walking into the summation that “This is How the World Ends” laid forth. Sullivan provides the path and Graham and Alley‘s vocal melodies bring order to the chaos of their guitar and bass tones. The aforementioned ringing bells arrive early in the second half and are accompanied soon enough by the noiseiest of the guitar solos on Death and Consolation, which feels well earned and is the last piece to fade out at the end, drawing emphasis on The Well‘s ability to creep even as they entrance the listener. It would be a cliché to say they’ve arrived — they arrived half a decade ago — but Death and Consolation finds them completely in control of their sound when they want to be, and still able to harness an underlying chaos enough to be genuinely dangerous. The growth of arrangement and vocal interaction between Alley and Graham is easy evidence of their progression, but that’s only one of the many ways The Well have carved out their own place in the pantheon of heavy. Their identity is all over these songs like melted candle wax.

The Well, Death and Consolation (2019)

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The Well to Release Death and Consolation April 26; Playing Monolith on the Mesa and More

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

the well

Busy Spring coming up for The Well. The Austin-based trio are slated to take part in Monolith on the Mesa alongside the likes of Om and Wovenhand. They’ll tour for a few dates with Monolord on a longer stint of their own that will take them into Canada. And because that’s clearly not enough, they’ll have a new album, Death and Consolation out on RidingEasy to follow-up on 2016’s Pagan Science (review here). If it’s a question of scale though, it’s probably worth noting that they went to Europe twice last year — in August and October — so at this point they’re used to a good amount of here and there. And speaking of, check out the routing that has them going from Winnipeg, Manitoba, to Taos, New Mexico, for the aforementioned Monolith on the Mesa. That’s a solid 21 hours by car. Or van, as it were.

They’ve got a few days to make that trip, but even so. Substantial.

By then, the April 26 release date for Death and Consolation will have come and gone, but we’re not there yet. The first-unveiled single, “Raven,” is streaming at the bottom of this post though, so have at it.

The PR wire brings details:

the well death and consolation

The Well – Death and Consolation

Austin trio The Well announce their forthcoming third album Death and Consolation today, sharing the first single.

Death and Consolation is without a doubt a weighty album title. And, The Well is among the heaviest heavy psych bands in existence. So when we say that there’s even more darkness and intensity to the band’s third album than previous efforts, take heed. It’s a deep sea diving bell of enveloping heaviness and longing.

“This one is a little more personal,” says guitarist/vocalist Ian Graham. “2018 was a strange, dark year. A lot of change going on in my life, there was a lot of depression and coming out of it over the last year. I wanted to call this Death and Consolation, because in life that’s a constant.”

While The Well continue to walk an intriguing line between authentic early 70s doom/heavy psych and frayed weirdness of dark folk – especially with their haunting unison male/female vocals – the new album also adds the stark vibe of post-punk acts like Joy Division and early The Cure. “I feel like this album is almost more gothic. We’re big fans of post-punk,” Graham says. There’s also much less jamming, the songs are tight and concise. And, did we mention, heavy? The band tuned down a full step to C-standard tuning for this album, which gives the proceedings its monstrous sound.

Sonically, Death and Consolation picks up where The Well — Graham, bassist/vocalist Lisa Alley and drummer Jason Sullivan — left off with their widely heralded 2016 RidingEasy album Pagan Science. The band once again recorded with longtime producer/engineer Chico Jones at Estuary Studio in 2018, who has turned the knobs for all three of their albums (Jones engineered the band’s debut album Samsara with producer Mark Deutrom [Melvins, Sunn0)))] in 2013.) Samsara, released late September 2014 was ranked the #1 debut album of 2014 by The Obelisk and Pagan Science among the Best of 2016 from the Doom Charts collective. Likewise, the band’s intense — some even say “possessed” — live performances have earned them featured slots at Austin’s Levitation Fest, as well as tours with Kadavar, All Them Witches, Black Tusk and more.

“This album might be a little less produced, because I didn’t want to push technical stuff as much,” Graham says. “I’m so scared of getting too complicated when getting better at guitar. This is still kind of punk rock.”

Death and Consolation will be available on LP, CD and download on April 26th, 2019 via RidingEasy Records. Pre-orders are available HERE.

THE WELL TOUR 2019:
03/01 – Austin, TX @ Hotel Vegas
04/12 – Lafayette, LA @ Freetown Boom Boom Room
04/13 – Cypress Creek, LA @ Fête du Void Festival
04/24 – Dallas, TX @ Club Dada*
04/25 – Austin, TX @ Barracuda*
05/01 – Omaha, NE @ Slowdown*
05/02 – Denver, CO @ Hi-Dive*
05/03 – Phoenix, AZ @ Yucca Tap Room
05/04 – Sacramento, CA @ Blue Lamp
05/09 – Portland, OR @ High Water Mark
05/10 – Seattle, WA @ Substation
05/12 – Calgary, AB @ Palomino
05/13 – Edmonton, AB @ Temple
05/14 – Winnipeg, MB @ The Windsor
05/18 – Taos, NM @ Monolith on the Mesa Fest
05/19 – El Paso, TX @ Monarch
* w/ Monolord

Artist: The Well
Album: Death and Consolation
Label: RidingEasy Records
Release date: April 26th, 2019
01. Sabbah
02. Raven
03. Death Song
04. Cup of Peace
05. Eyes of A God
06. Act II
07. Freedom Above
08. This Is How
09. Endless Night

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

The Well, “Raven”

The Well, Pagan Science (2016)

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