Quarterly Review: Amenra, Liquid Sound Company, Iceburn, Gods and Punks, Vouna, Heathen Rites, Unimother 27, Oxblood Forge, Wall, Boozewa

Posted in Reviews on July 14th, 2021 by JJ Koczan

the-obelisk-fall-2016-quarterly-review

You’ll have to forgive me, what the hell day is it? The url says this is day eight, so I guess that’s Wednesday. Fine. That’s as good as any. It’s all just 10 more records to my brain at this point, and that’s fine. I’ve got it all lined up. As of me writing this, I still haven’t heard about my busted-ass laptop that went in for repair last Saturday, and that’s a bummer, but I’m hoping that any minute now the phone is going to show the call coming in and I’ll just keep staring at it until that happens and I’m sure that will be awesome for my already brutalized productivity.

My backup laptop — because yes, I have one and will gladly argue with you that it’s necessary citing this week as an example — is a cheapie Chromebook. The nicest thing I can say about it is it’s red. The meanest thing I can say about it is that I had to change the search button to a caps lock and even that doesn’t respond fast enough to my typing, so I’m constantly capitalizing the wrong letters. If you don’t think that’s infuriating, congratulations on whatever existence has allowed you to live this long without ever needing to use a keyboard. “Hello computer,” and all that.

Enough kvetching. Too much to do.

Quarterly Review #71-80:

Amenra, De Doorn

Amenra De Doorn

I’ve made no secret over the last however long of not being the biggest Amenra fan in the universe. Honestly, it’s not even about the Belgian band themseves — live, they’re undeniable — but the plaudits around them are no less suffocating than their crushing riffs at their heaviest moments. Still, as De Doorn marks their first offering through Relapse Records, finds them departing from their Mass numbered series of albums and working in their native Flemish for the first time, and brings Caro Tanghe of Oathbreaker into the songs to offer melodic counterpoint to Colin H. van Eeckhout‘s nothing-if-not-identifiable screams, the invitations to get on board are manifold. This is a band with rules. They have set their own rules, and even in pushing outside them as they do here, much of their ideology and sonic persona is maintained. Part of that identity is being forward thinking, and that surfaces on De Doorn in parts ambient and quiet, but there’s always a part of me that feels like Amenra are playing it safe, even as they’re working within parameters they’ve helped define for a generation of European post-metal working directly in their wake. The post-apocalyptic breadth they harness in these tracks will only continue to win them converts. Maybe I’ll be one of them. That would be fun. It’s nice to belong, you know?

Amenra on Facebook

Relapse Records website

 

Liquid Sound Company, Psychoactive Songs for the Psoul

Liquid sound company psychoactive songs for the psoul

A quarter-century after their founding, Arlington, Texas, heavy psych rockers Liquid Sound Company still burn and melt along the lysergic path of classic ’60s acid rock, beefier in tone but no less purposeful in their drift on Psychoactive Songs for the Psoul. They’re turning into custard on “Blacklight Corridor” and they can tell you don’t understand on “Who Put All of Those Things in Your Hair?,” and all the while their psych rock digs deeper into the cosmic pulse, founding guitarist John Perez (also Solitude Aeturnus) unable to resist bringing a bit of shred to “And to Your Left… Neptune” — unless that’s Mark Cook‘s warr guitar — even as “Mahayuga” answers back to the Middle Eastern inflection of “Blacklight Corridor” earlier on. Capping with the mellow jam “Laila Was Here,” Psychoactive Songs for the Psoul is a loving paean to the resonant energies of expanded minds and flowing effects, but “Cosmic Liquid Love” is still a heavy rollout, and even the shimmering “I Feel You” is informed by that underlying sense of heft. Nonetheless, it’s an acid invitation worth the RSVP.

Liquid Sound Company on Facebook

Liquid Sound Company on Bandcamp

 

Iceburn, Asclepius

iceburn asclepius

Flying snakes, crawling birds, two tracks each over 17 minutes long, the first Iceburn release in 20 years is an all-in affair from the outset. As someone coming to the band via Gentry Densley‘s work in Eagle Twin, there are recognizable elements in tone, themes and vocals, but with fellow founders Joseph “Chubba” Smith on drums and James Holder on guitar, as well as bassist Cache Tolman (who’s Johnny Comelately since he originally joined in 1991, I guess), the atmosphere conjured by the four-piece is consuming and spacious in its own way, and their willingness to go where the song guides them on side A’s “Healing the Ouroboros,” right up to the long-fading drone end after so much lumbering skronk and incantations before, and side B’s “Dahlia Rides the Firebird,” with its pervasive soloing, gallop and veer into earth-as-cosmos terradelia, the return of Iceburn — if in fact that’s what this is — makes its own ceremony across Asclepius, sounding newly inspired rather than like a rehash.

Iceburn on Facebook

Southern Lord Recordings website

 

Gods & Punks, The Sounds of the Universe

gods and punks the sounds of the universe

As regards ambition, Gods & Punks‘ fourth LP, The Sounds of the Universe, wants for nothing. The Rio De Janeiro heavy psych rockers herein wrap what they’ve dubbed their ‘Voyager’ series, culminating the work they’ve done since their first EP — album opener “Eye in the Sky” is a remake — while tying together the progressive, heavy and cosmic aspects of their sound in a single collection of songs. In context, it’s a fair amount to take in, but a track like “Black Apples” has a riffy standout appeal regardless of its place in the band’s canon, and whether it’s the classic punch of “The TUSK” or the suitably patient expansion of “Universe,” the five-piece don’t neglect songwriting for narrative purpose. That is to say, whether or not you’ve heard 2019’s And the Celestial Ascension (discussed here) or any of their other prior material, you’re still likely to be pulled in by “Gravity” and “Dimensionaut” and the rest of what surrounds. The only question is where do they go from here? What’s outside the universe?

Gods & Punks on Facebok

Abraxas on Facebook

Forbidden Place Records website

 

Vouna, Atropos

vouna atropos

Released (appropriately) by Profound Lore, Vouna‘s second full-length Atropos is a work of marked depth and unforced grandeur. After nine-minute opener “Highest Mountain” establishes to emotional/aural tone, Atropos is comprised mostly of three extended pieces in “Vanish” (15:34), “Grey Sky” (14:08) and closer “What Once Was” (15:11) with the two-minute “What Once Was (Reprise)” leading into the final duo. “Vanish” finds Vouna — aka Olympia, Washington-based Yianna Bekris — bringing in textures of harp and violin to answer the lap steel and harp on “Highest Mountain,” and features a harsh guest vocal from Wolves in the Throne Room‘s Nathan Weaver, but it’s in the consuming wash at the finish of “Grey Sky” and in the melodic vocal layers cutting through as the first half of “What Once Was” culminates ahead of the break into mournful doom and synth that Vouna most shines, bridging styles in a way so organic as to be utterly consuming and keeping resonance as the most sought target, right unto the piano line that tops the last crescend, answering back the very beginning of “Highest Mountain.” Not a record that comes along every day.

Vouna on Facebook

Profound Lore website

 

Heathen Rites, Heritage

heathen rites heritage

One gets the sense in listening that for Mikael Monks, the Burning Saviours founder working under the moniker of Heathen Rites for the first time, the idea of Heritage for which the album is titled is as much about doom itself as the Scandinavian folk elements that surface in “Gleipner” or in the brief, bird-song and mountain-echo-laced finish “Kulning,” not to mention the Judas Priest-style triumphalism of the penultimate “The Sons of the North” just before. Classic doom is writ large across Heritage, from the bassline of “Autumn” tapping into “Heaven and Hell” to the flowing culmination of “Midnight Sun” and the soaring guitar apex in “Here Comes the Night.” In the US, many of these ideas of “northern” heritage, runes, or even heathenism have been coopted as expressions of white supremacy. It’s worth remembering that for some people it’s actually culture. Monks pairs that with his chosen culture — i.e. doom — in intriguing ways here that one hopes he’ll continue to explore.

Heathen Rites on Facebook

Svart Records website

 

Unimother 27, Presente Incoerente

Unimother 27 Presente Incoerente

Some things in life you just have to accept that you’re never going to fully understand. The mostly-solo-project Unimother 27 from Italy’s Piero Ranalli is one of those things. Ranalli has been riding his own wavelength in krautrock and classic progressive stylizations mixed with psychedelic freakout weirdness going on 15 years now, experimenting all the while, and you don’t have to fully comprehend the hey-man-is-this-jazz bass bouncing under “L’incontro tra Phallos e Mater Coelestis” to just roll with it, so just roll with it and know that wherever you’re heading, there’s a plan at work, even if the plan is to not have a plan. Mr. Fist‘s drums tether the synth and drifting initial guitar of “Abraxas…il Dio Difficile da Conoscere” and serve a function as much necessary as grooving, but one way or the other, you’re headed to “Systema Munditotius,” where forward and backward are the same thing and the only trajectory discernible is “out there.” So go. Just go. You won’t regret it.

Unimother 27 on Facebook

Pineal Gland Lab website

 

Oxblood Forge, Decimator

Oxblood Forge Decimator

Not, not, not a coincidence that Massachusetts four-piece Oxblood Forge — vocalist Ken Mackay, guitarist Robb Lioy, bassist Greg Dellaria and drummer/keyboardist Erik Fraünfeltër — include an Angel Witch cover on their third long-player, Decimator, as even before they get around to the penultimate “Sorcerers,” the NWOBHM is a defining influence throughout the proceedings, be it the “hey hey hey!” chanting of “Mortal Salience” or the death riders owning the night on opener “Into the Abyss” or the sheer Maidenry met with doom tinge on “Screams From Silence.” Mackay‘s voice, high in the mix, adds a tinge of grit, but Decimator isn’t trying to get one over on anyone. This blue collar worship for classic metal presented in a manner that could only be as full-on as it is for it to work at all. No irony, no khakis, no bullshit.

Oxblood Forge on Facebook

Oxblood Forge on Bandcamp

 

Wall, Vol. 2

wall vol 2

They keep this up, they’re going to have a real band on their hands. Desert Storm/The Grand Mal bandmates and twin brothers Ryan Cole (guitar/bass) and Elliot Cole (drums) began Wall as a largely-instrumental quarantine project in 2020, issuing a self-titled EP (review here) on APF Records. Vol. 2 follows on the quick with five more cuts of unbridled groove, including a take on Karma to Burn‘s “Nineteen” that, if it needs to be said, serves as homage to Will Mecum, who passed away earlier this year. That song fits right in with a cruncher like “Avalanche” or “Speed Freak,” or even “The Tusk,” which also boasts a bit of layered guitar harmonies, feeling out new ground there and in the acousti-handclap-blues of “Falling From the Edge of Nowhere.” The fact that Wall have live dates booked — alongside The Grand Mal, no less — speaks further to their real-bandness, but Vol. 2 hardly leaves any doubt as it is.

Wall on Facebook

APF Records website

 

Boozewa, Deb

Boozewa Deb

The second self-recorded outing from Pennsylvania trio Boozewa, Deb, offers two songs to follow-up on Feb. 2021’s First Contact (review here) demo, keeping an abidingly raw, we-did-this-at-home feel — this time they sent the results to Tad Doyle for mastering — while pushing their sound demonstrably forward with “Deb” bringing bassist Jessica Baker to the fore vocally alongside drummer Mike Cummings. Guitarist Rylan Caspar contributes in that regard as well, and the results are admirably grunge-coated heavy rock and roll that let enough clarity through to establish a hook, while the shorter “Now. Stop.” edges toward a bit more lumber in its groove, at least until they punk it out with some shouts at the finish. Splitting hairs? You betcha. Maybe they’re just writing songs. The results are there waiting to be dug either way.

Boozewa on Instagram

Boozewa on Bandcamp

 

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The Penitent Man Premiere “A Long Deep Breath of Sadness” from Legends of the Desert Vol. 2

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on June 1st, 2021 by JJ Koczan

the penitent man

cortege

This Friday, June 4, marks the release of Legends of the Desert Vol. 2, the second in an intended series of seven splits put together at the behest of New Mexican imprint Desert Records. And while the two bands differ some in aesthetic and certainly in composition — The Penitent Man a five-piece from Salt Lake City, Utah, and Cortége a duo from Austin, Texas — they’re united here by a focus on atmosphere and an underlying heavy Western theme. On a more practical level, neither act is a stranger to the Desert Records sphere. The Penitent Man issued their previously self-released, self-titled debut (review here) through the label in Fall 2020, while Cortége‘s two-songer Chasing Daylight EP (review here) landed in February. As each one follows up recent work, it shouldn’t be a surprise that there’s consistency of sound, but as with 2020’s Legends of the Desert Vol. 1 (discussed here), the intention here leans toward storytelling, and from the lyrics and moody vibes in The Penitent Man‘s three songs to the gunslinger samples that provide the transition between Cortége‘s two, there’s a classic balladeerism happening one way or the other.

For “A Long Deep Breath of Sadness,” which stands on its own in addition to serving as an intro for the subsequent “The Butcher,” and across those two as well as “Rest My Weary Head,” which rounds out, the band pays particular attention to arrangement and presentation. Todd Ogren of Rival Sons steps in on keys and makes an argument for the group acquiring a sixth member, following up the 10,000 Days-era Tool guitar moodiness and ambient echoing lead lines of “A Long Deep Breath of Sadness” the penitent man cortege legends of the desert vol 2with Deep Purple-style Hammond and ’60s-ish maybe-Hohner flourish later into “The Butcher,” taking the band’s patient unfurling and depth of mix to another level entirely. They readily cross genre boundaries between heavy country, blues and prog, but beneath that is a core of bedrock from which they explore outward. The acoustic that serves to underscore “Rest My Weary Head” feels earned and organic, and the buildup that surrounds over the track’s nine minutes is much the same, somehow grunge while being largely disconnected from that sound in its entirety. Maybe it’s just dirt. Downer dirt rock, and brimming with purpose in that.

“As it Lay (Heavy in the Air)” (10:26) and “Circling Above” (8:37), at just over 19 minutes put together, actually run longer than did Chasing Daylight earlier this year, but unless they’re actually scoring a film — and, really, why aren’t they? — the single-vinyl-side length suits Cortége. It’s consistently a challenge to write anything about them without mentioning Ennio Morricone, but that’s more a credit than a critique since it coincides so much with their stylistic intent. Their use of tubular bells to convey melody as opposed to their guitar adds to the Western feel and plays especially well off the bass in “As it Lay (Heavy in the Air),” an Earth-ier drone march underway quickly (such as it is quick) in the drums with footsteps made that much heavier for the ringing aspect that cuts through the backing ethereal effects. It’s not so much a build, but ricocheting pistol shots ring out ahead of a crying vulture as the first cut ends, and that brings in “Circling Above” to continue the theme. The explosion, topped with horns or something like them, happens after three minutes in, and is gone within a minute’s time, but returns later as “Circling Above” rounds out in surprising cacophony, Cortége loosing the reins for a bit of free jazz crashout before the wind fades.

Beneath all the hard stylization and attention to detail, Legends of the Desert Vol. 2 also functions on the simple level of showcasing two of Desert Records‘ associated acts, and it does well in that, such that the listener will be more drawn to find the common ground between them rather than to see each in opposition to the other. Cortége build on what The Penitent Man establish, and going back to the start again, the entire release seems peopled with characters who resonate with stories of their own to tell.

You can stream “A Long Deep Breath of Sadness” premiering on the player below ahead of the release on Friday. Think of it as the opening credits. More info follows, courtesy of the PR wire.

Enjoy:

Side A:
The Penitent Man is a 5-piece from Salt Lake City. Blending Desert Rock, Classic Rock, Heavy Blues. These exclusive songs featuring the special guest, Todd Ogren from Rival Sons on keyboard for all three tracks! Sounds like Led Zeppelin teamed up with Alice in Chains to make an album in the desert.

A Long Deep Breath of Sadness–4:26
The Butcher–6:32
Rest My Weary Head–9:01
All songs written and produced by The Penitent Man
Drum Tracking and Mixing by Greg Downs at Pale Horse Sound

Steve King–Guitars
Phill Gallegos–Guitars
Allan Davidson–Vocals
Chris Garrido–Drums
Ethan Garrido–Bass
Todd Ogren–Keyboards (from Rival Sons).

Side B:
Cortége is a duo from Austin, TX. They play Ambient Doom mixed with post-western cinematic scores. Heavy bass guitar, drums, and tubular bells. Sounds like if Earth and Pink Floyd teamed up to do a soundtrack to a David Lynch film.

1. As it Lay (Heavy in the Air) – 10:25
2. Circling Above – 8:39

All songs written and recorded by Cortége.
Recorded and mixed by Kevin Sparks.

Mike Swarbrick – Bass, Tubular Bells
Adrian Voorhies – Drums

The Penitent Man on Facebook

The Penitent Man on Instagram

The Penitent Man on Bandcamp

Cortége on Facebook

Cortége on Instagram

Cortége on Bandcamp

Desert Records on Facebook

Desert Records on Instagram

Desert Records on Bandcamp

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Iceburn to Release Asclepius June 25; Teaser Posted

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

Iceburn (Photo by Josh Scheuerman)

I’m not gonna claim to be O.G. Iceburn like I’ve been waiting 20 years for the Salt Lake City band to put out their next record or anything, but I dug both Ascend and Eagle Twin, and words like “recorded by Andy Patterson” tend to catch my eye, so when I listened to the teaser clip streaming below for one of the two presumably-side-long tracks that comprise Iceburn‘s Asclepius — due out June 25 on Southern Lord — and it turned out to be badass, I was duly pleased. And that’s about all I’ve got. Preorders are up now.

For those coming this way via the Eagle Twin or Ascend connections, you’ll find some carryover elements at work in what’s been posted from “Dahlia Rides the Firebird,” notably in the riffing and vocal style of Gentry Densley, but the atmosphere stretches way out here and, yeah, it’s a teaser so it should hopefully be taken as a sign of things to come. I wouldn’t expect two and a half minutes to encompass everything, but still.

From the PR wire:

iceburn asclepius

ICEBURN RETURN WITH THEIR FIRST ALBUM IN OVER TWENTY YEARS

SOUTHERN LORD TO RELEASE ASCLEPIUS ON 25TH JUNE ON LP & DL FORMATS

PRE ORDER VIA BANDCAMP, SOUTHERN LORD & SOUTHERN LORD EUROPE

https://iceburnsl.bandcamp.com/
https://southernlord.com/band/iceburn/
https://southernlordeurope.com/band/iceburn/

Asclepius is the new album from the ever-evolving and adventurous collective Iceburn, who return with their first new material in twenty years, which Southern Lord shall release on 25th June on LP and digital formats.

Much like the mythical ouroboros that appear in their music, Iceburn have come full circle, as Gentry Densley comments, “Iceburn had always been about progressing and pushing the boundaries, pushing the music ahead of ourselves so we had to work to catch up. This new record comes from a place of rediscovery of who we are deep down, a place that with all it’s challenges and comforts, ultimately feels like home.”

He continues, “In recent years Iceburn basically became four friends hanging out and working on music. After all going in different directions for so many years we found ways to embrace our earliest influences and the foundations of our musical selves. We basically cycled back to the way we made music in our heyday, our salad days, and it felt right once again.”

The rawness of Asclepius harks back to the days of their early records (such as Hephaestus), and fuses elements of metal, jazz, psychedelia, and rock with a seamless flow, monolithic riffs, swirling harmonies, and a groove that are the cornerstones of their sound.

Asclepius comprises two long-form tracks, “Healing The Ouroboros” and “Dahlia Rides the Firebird”, the latter is based on an old traditional Greek tune. With some members majoring in classics/philosophy, music/composition and studying ethnomusicology – classic mythology has always been a key reference point for the themes of their music. That the new record is named after the god of healing and medicine and arriving at this moment in time is coincidence, as the band comments, “It felt like we needed healing even before this pandemic hit.”

The line-up on Asclepius represents the core of Iceburn through the early formative years. Iceburn, later the Iceburn Collective, initially existed from 1990 to 2001. Later reuniting in 2007 with this current lineup again at the core. The band’s initial output slowly evolved from hardcore and metal to free improvisation and noise, The 10 year arc saw the band following their own path and becoming more and more obscure as they got deeper into unknown musical worlds. By 2000 the cycle seemed complete and Iceburn did their final tour in Europe 2001. In 2007 this early core crew reunited to play a local anniversary show focused on the earliest material. Every few years since they would get together for another ‘reunion’ until that word became more of a joke, it was clear the band was back, getting together every week, and working on new material.

TRACK LIST:
1) Healing The Ouroboros
2) Dahlia Rides the Firebird

ICEBURN LINE UP:
Joseph ‘Chubba’ Smith – drums, founding member of Iceburn from 1990-’93 then 2007-present
James Holder – guitar, was also a founding member from ’90-’95 and ’07 to present
Cache Tolman – bass, ’91-97 off and on, and ’07 to present
Gentry Densley – guitar and vocals, 1990 to present

Asclepius was recorded and engineered by Andy Patterson (SubRosa, INVDRS, Insect Ark, and The Otolith) a collaborator also for Gentry’s other bands Eagle Twin and Ascend.

https://www.facebook.com/IceburnSLC
https://iceburnsl.bandcamp.com/
http://www.southernlord.com
http://southernlord.bandcamp.com
http://twitter.com/twatterlord
https://www.facebook.com/SLadmin

Iceburn, ” Dahlia Rides the Firebird” teaser

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The Otolith & Dopelord Announced for PostWax Vol. II

Posted in Whathaveyou on April 29th, 2021 by JJ Koczan

This brings us up to seven of the nine total inclusions for PostWax Vol. II, and if I tell you The Otolith‘s debut album is among the outings I’m most looking forward to in this series, I hope you’ll know I’m not exaggerating. Been waiting a couple years for that post-SubRosa outfit to release their first record, so yeah, I’ll take that as soon as humanly possible thank you very much. New Dopelord — their Reality Dagger EP (review here) — shows how far the reach of this project goes. They have a few albums out, of course, but like REZ and Vinnum Sabbathi, who’ll collaborate on a PostWax offering, they represent an up and coming generation of players. I like that they don’t seem to know what they’re going to do in the quote below. How about a film score? Really mess with people.

So, two more announcements to come, and then all will be revealed. I can’t wait to dig into these for the liner notes in the meantime:

postwax year two logo

DOPELORD and THE OTOLITH confirmed to release new albums as part of PostWax Vol. II vinyl series on Blues Funeral Recordings!

Blues Funeral Recordings announce the next bands to take part in the PostWax Vol. II vinyl subscription series. Polish stoner doom flag-bearers DOPELORD are set to crank their fuzz up to stratospheric levels, and Salt Lake City avant-garde doom unit THE OTOLITH (formed by SubRosa members) will issue their awaited debut album as part of the series.

Between Acid King, Lowrider, Mammoth Volume and Josiah, Blues Funeral Recordings has gathered a wealth of artists who have been hewing riffs from stone, sand and sky for decades, inviting them to bring their immense talents and peerless legacies to their ambitious PostWax series. But, as shown by the inclusions of REZN, Elephant Tree and Vinnum Sabbathi, they also put the spotlight on bands who represent stoner, doom and heavy scene’s present and future, ones with the benefit to peer across the generation of heavy rock greatness before them as they seek to forge enthusiastically forward.

Blues Funeral Recordings is happy to welcome Poland’s fuzz-doom emissaries DOPELORD on board today. These masters of monolithic normally follow a deeply DIY path, having self-released almost their entire catalog while still managing to secure worldwide adoration. Albums like ‘Children of the Haze’ and ‘Sign of the Devil’ are absolute monsters of granite-thick hallucinatory riff-tripping.

Dopelord’s Piotr Klusek declares: “We’ve been aware of the PostWax project for a few years now and thought it sounded interesting but wanted to see how it all came together, plus we were focusing on our new album. After releasing our latest record and seeing how the first PostWax series came out, we absolutely wanted to be involved if they did it again. Whatever we end up doing, look forward to something adventurous and fun but still massive and utterly Dopelord!”

As for THE OTOLITH, the new four-piece formed from the ashes of SubRosa, they will release their highly anticipated debut double LP as part of PostWax Vol. II. Those who’ve been following the aftermath of SubRosa’s dissolution know that Kim Cordray, Levi Hanna, Andy Patterson and Sarah Pendleton announced the formation of The Otolith in 2019, and tantalized acolytes of SubRosa’s avant-garde sonic palette with songs on Magnetic Eye Records’ one-off ‘Dirt [Redux]’ and ‘Women of Doom’ compilations.

THE OTOLITH hint: “Our debut album reveals the musical mutations and mystical wanderings of a soul, scanning the edges of the known universe through cracked glass. Ghostly symphonic strings interlace with crushing bass, guitar, and percussion; voices conducting signals across time and space to arrive through cosmic storms to a sea of liquid stars.”

The purpose of Postwax Vol. II is to create a curated series of releases that stand alone yet also connect, both through art elements and a musical throughline. Unearthing forgotten bands, unveiling new ones, and catching icons at the height of their powers, Blues Funeral Recordings are set to deliver yet another set of next level and highly collectible releases for all heavy rock, fuzz and doom fans out there.

=> Get more info & subscribe to PostWax Vol. II at this location: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/bluesfuneral/postwax-vol-ii

https://www.facebook.com/bluesfuneral/
https://www.instagram.com/blues.funeral/
https://bluesfuneralrecordings.bandcamp.com/
bluesfuneral.com

The Otolith, “Bone Dust”

Dopelord, Reality Dagger (2021)

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The Penitent Man & Cortége Pair for Legends of the Desert Vol. 2 Split

Posted in Whathaveyou on March 23rd, 2021 by JJ Koczan

There’s a lot of info below, and fair enough, but if you’re looking for the essentials, it goes like this: Desert Records is bringing together Salt Lake City’s The Penitent Man and Austin duo Cortége for the second in its seven-part Legends of the Desert split series. June 4 is the release date. You might recall Vol. 1 (discussed here) came out last year, and this will be Vol. 2.

Both bands are Desert Records veterans, with releases out through the New Mexico-based imprint, and it goes without saying that the intention here is to write legends rather than bask in those longstanding of yore. Ls are limited, as will happen, and CDs and downloads will all be out — all that fun stuff. I don’t have preorder info or any audio yet, but you can hear releases from both bands below, and I think it’ll come through one into the next that each one brings something of its own to the release, with The Penitent Man handling more of the rocking traditionalism while Cortége offer a cinematic take with their tubular-belled instrumentals. Looking forward to hearing this one.

Announcement follows courtesy of the label:

the penitent man cortege legends of the desert vol 2

LEGENDS OF THE DESERT: VOL 2 – The Penitent Man & Cortége

Legends of the Desert: Volume 2 releases on June 4th, 2021. Vol. 2 brings us further into the desert showcasing new and classic Desert Rock bands geographically located in the Southwestern United States. Continuing the vision of Vol.1, the second installment will introduce the world to two new “Legends” bands, carefully curated by Desert Record’s owner Brad Frye.

All the music for Legends of the Desert is exclusive to the series.

Maintaining the quality and consistency throughout the 7-part series, we will see the return of the Legends team.

New & stunning album artwork by the series artist, Joshua Mathis, features an album cover with a Gunslinger riding a Gila Monster.

The timeless, classic looking graphics and layout from Garrett Hellman will be featured along with Mathis’s artwork.

Mastering will be handled by the series audio mastering engineer, Mark Fuller.

Vinyl LP’s will be available in a limited edition of 500, including highly limited special color variants. CD’s and digital downloads will be available. Digital streaming will be available worldwide.

Desert Records is excited to announce the bands: The Penitent Man (Utah) and Cortége (Texas).

Side A:
The Penitent Man is a 5-piece from Salt Lake City. Blending Desert Rock, Classic Rock, Heavy Blues. These exclusive songs featuring the special guest, Todd Ogren from Rival Sons on keyboard for all three tracks! Sounds like Led Zeppelin teamed up with Alice in Chains to make an album in the desert.

A Long Deep Breath of Sadness–4:26
The Butcher–6:32
Rest My Weary Head–9:01
All songs written and produced by The Penitent Man
Drum Tracking and Mixing by Greg Downs at Pale Horse Sound

Steve King–Guitars
Phill Gallegos–Guitars
Allan Davidson–Vocals
Chris Garrido–Drums
Ethan Garrido–Bass
Todd Ogren–Keyboards (from Rival Sons).

Side B:
Cortége is a duo from Austin, TX. They play Ambient Doom mixed with post-western cinematic scores. Heavy bass guitar, drums, and tubular bells. Sounds like if Earth and Pink Floyd teamed up to do a soundtrack to a David Lynch film.

1. As it Lay (Heavy in the Air) – 10:25
2. Circling Above – 8:39

All songs written and recorded by Cortége.
Recorded and mixed by Kevin Sparks.

Mike Swarbrick – Bass, Tubular Bells
Adrian Voorhies – Drums

https://www.facebook.com/thepenitentmanband
https://www.instagram.com/thepenitentmanband/
https://thepenitentman.bandcamp.com/

cortege.bandcamp.com/
facebook.com/cortegeatx/
instagram.com/cortegeatx/

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

The Penitent Man, The Penitent Man (2020)

Cortége, Capricorn (2019)

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The Penitent Man Premiere “Purple Kiss” Video

Posted in Bootleg Theater on December 11th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

the penitent man

Based out of Salt Lake City, Utah, The Penitent Man released their self-titled debut back in March, and followed up this Fall with a vinyl edition through Desert Records. The have-blues-will-share five-piece offer four tracks that run a total 34 minutes, so long enough to be considered an album if it matters anymore — it fits on a 12″, so there — and their vibe is no less shadowy than their new video for “Purple Kiss,” as guitarists Steven “That’s with a ‘V'” King and Phil Gallegos lead (and riff) the way through a Americana-tinged, weighted blues rock vibe, the janga-janga-janga chug of “Purple Kiss” actually something of an anomaly on the outing for its more upbeat motion.

At 5:43, “Purple Kiss” is the shortest of the inclusions on The Penitent Man‘s The Penitent Man, and it mostly matters because how the band — King and Gallegos on guitar, Ethen Garrido on bass, Chris Garrido on drums and Allan Davidson on vocals — use the rest of their time. Beginning with the longest cut (immediate points) in the 10:46 “The Devil was Christ,” they bring moody barroom spirit and country blues-inflected heavy, building to a volume surge across the first six-plus minutes ahead of a the penitent man the penitent mandrop to the bassline that leads into a tent-revival jam, Davidson taking full advantage of the opportunity to testify. While spacious, the track is no less catchy for that in its leaning on the title line, and though “Purple Kiss” is more straight-ahead structurally, it holds much of the same vibe in place. No doubt that’s why they thought it’d make a good video. Fair enough.

The dynamic continues to flesh out on side B with “Stone” (8:44) and “Buffalo” (9:36) bridging high desert landscapes with stonerized drawl, the former biding its time until the breakout can ignite a little funk-twang while “Buffalo” meets slide guitar and vocals with a fervent thud and crash, becoming a highlight for not only its eventual rolling payoff, but the gone-ramblin’ trip it takes getting there, as well as the acoustic finish that speaks to a burgeoning interest in arrangement depth that will only continue to serve the band well. Consider mid-period Wovenhand if you’re wondering what I’m talking about.

The Penitent Man have already given the self-titled a companion live outing in Live at Pale Horse Sound (also on Desert Records), and with the video behind them, will no doubt stare once more into the bluesy abyss and work on their next record — no substitute for momentum, and so on. If you’ve not yet caught wind of their met-at-the-crossroads stylizations, “Purple Kiss” indeed gives a sample of what they’re all about. The clip for it is below, followed by a few words from Davidson, as well as the stream of the entire record.

Please enjoy:

The Penitent Man, “Purple Kiss” official video premiere

Allan Davidson on “Purple Kiss”:

“The ‘Purple Kiss’ video was filmed in the early Fall of 2020 with Greg Downs of Pale Horse Sound in Sugarhouse, UT. When we began to contemplate a music video we immediately thought of ‘Purple Kiss.’ We felt it was a good representation of the energy and vibe that we were trying to convey with this album. We felt that as artists we would prefer that our music (coupled with some pretty cool filming techniques) take the forefront of our video more than us as players. I guess we prefer the shadows and let our music do the talking.”

The Penitent Man are:
Allan Davidson – Vocals
Chris Garrido – Drums
Steven King – Guitar
Phil Gallegos – Guitar
Ethan Garrido – Bass

The Penitent Man, The Penitent Man (2020)

The Penitent Man on Thee Facebooks

The Penitent Man on Instagram

The Penitent Man on Bandcamp

Desert Records on Thee Facebooks

Desert Records on Bandcamp

Desert Records BigCartel store

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The Penitent Man Sign to Desert Records

Posted in Whathaveyou on September 14th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

This is a good fit. Based in Salt Lake City, The Penitent Man bring a high-desert bluesy sensibility to Desert Records‘ roster, and as the label has established its mission as expanding the notion of what “desert” means in musical terms, the self-titled debut from the five-piece outfit would seem to be a way to do exactly that. A Western melodicism pervades heavy melancholia, and along with acts like label honcho Brad Frye‘s own Red Mesa, as well as The Misery Men, L’Uomo Nero and Book of Wyrms, The Penitent Man stand tall on the budding imprint’s quickly expanding lineup.

Desert Records has an edition of The Penitent Man‘s self-titled up now — there was apparently some trouble with the vinyl pressing the band had done, but they exist — and the label will also release the follow-up live album, Live at Pale Horse Sound for the next Bandcamp Friday, which will feature new material.

Details follow here:

the penitent man

The Penitent Man – Desert Records

The Penitent Man (essentially meaning a “man of constant sorrow”) is a 5 piece stoner/desert/blues rock band based out of Salt Lake City, Utah. Established in the fall of 2018, the band has quickly created a catalogue of music that spans various genres of rock, blues, funk, and soul.

The Penitent Man’s self titled debut album was released on March 20th, 2020 and can now be found streaming on most digital platforms. For more info on the band visit any of the links below. Vinyl and merch can be purchased on the bandcamp website.

Their debut album is now available on Desert Records Bandcamp. The band has put up Vinyl LP’s and a few Test Pressings.

Desert Records will help the band release their “Live at Pale Horse Sound” album on Friday, October 2nd. It will be accompanied by the full performance on Video.

These songs from the live album are all new and not on the debut album. Some of these will show up on their second studio album due out in 2021.

https://www.facebook.com/thepenitentmanband
https://www.instagram.com/thepenitentmanband/
https://thepenitentman.bandcamp.com/
https://www.facebook.com/desertrecordslabel/
https://desertrecords.bandcamp.com/
https://desertrecords.bigcartel.com/

The Penitent Man, The Penitent Man (2020)

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Days of Rona: Elliot Secrist of The Ditch and the Delta (Plus Exclusive Album Stream)

Posted in Features on April 15th, 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. To read all the Days of Rona coverage, click here. — JJ Koczan

elliot secrist the ditch and the delta

Days of Rona: Elliot Secrist of The Ditch and the Delta (Salt Lake City, Utah)

How are you dealing with this crisis as a band?

We haven’t really been practicing due to the crisis. We have the means to record ideas and send them to keep the ball rolling.

Have you had to rework plans at all?

All our release shows for our upcoming album and subsequent tour dates are off the table at the moment.

How is everyone’s health so far?

So far everybody in the band seems like they are doing well. Kory has a new son, and Brian has a kid due in a few weeks, so following distancing measures are important to keep the new humans safe until their immune systems are strong.

What are the quarantine/isolation rules where you are?

Most businesses in the service industry are shut down. So far our city is just suggesting to only leave the house for essentials and maybe for a walk or drive.

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

Unless the band is really well known, shows in Salt Lake are pretty small. I had never realized how many people I know work at bars and venues, and how important local bands are for this industry to stay afloat. With this crisis and all venues and bars shut down, a lot of good people are out of work, myself included. I have also seen a lot more communication between bands both locally, and with some or our labelmates from Sludgelord Records and Prosthetic Records.

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

Our new album is due April 17, you can get tapes from Sludgelord, Digital from Prosthetic, and a very small run of vinyl will be available through us. We’ll hopefully be to a town near you when all this chaos chills out.

The Ditch and the Delta, The Ditch and the Delta (2020) exclusive premiere

https://www.facebook.com/theditchandthedeltaslc/
https://theditchandthedelta.bandcamp.com/
http://facebook.com/prostheticrecords
http://prostheticrecords.bandcamp.com/
https://shop.prostheticrecords.com/
https://www.facebook.com/SludgelordRecords/
http://instagram.com/sludgelordrecords
https://thesludgelord.bandcamp.com/

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