Quarterly Review: Elara Sunstreak Band, Lost Breed, T.G. Olson, Acid Reich, White Powder, Hellish Form, Mosara, Tombstunner, Moanhand, Appalooza

Posted in Reviews on July 12th, 2021 by JJ Koczan

the-obelisk-fall-2016-quarterly-review

Second week, locked in and ready to roll. The message of today is that the Quarterly Review goes where it wants when it wants. If I’m steering this ship at all, it’s in only the most passive of ways. I hope you had a good weekend. I hope you spent it listening to killer music. I hope you managed to get all your reviews done. Ha.

So much good stuff to come this week. I’m looking forward to diving into it. And you know what? I did end up adding the extra day, so the Summer 2021 QR will go 11 days instead of 10, bringing it to 110 releases covered. Pretty sure that’s the longest I’ve ever gone.

Better get to it.

Quarterly Review #51-60:

Elara Sunstreak Band, Vostok I

Elara Vostok 1

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Elara Sunstreak Band on Facebook

Sulatron Records webstore

 

Lost Breed, Speak No Evil

Lost Breed Speak No Evil

Classic doom metal from experienced practicioners of the art. http://uegg.eu/?paid-article-writing - Top affordable and professional academic writing service. commit your essay to us and we will do our best for you Give your Speak No Evil is kind of a curious release. Vinyl only as yet, and self-released by the band, it answers back to the group’s initial look at this site with Confidence. You just cannot call dissertation writing a simple task, even if you know how to proceed with the whole thing. The problem is that writing a dissertation is an extremely time-consuming task, and most students will never have enough time to have their complete focus on researching, writing, and formatting their synthesis essay topics and dissertations. They Hellhound Records run in the 1990s and also their 1989 I need someone to write my college essay, Dissertation Thesis Phd, buying locally essay | Complete set of services for students of all levels including Wino Daze demo that featured The Custom Essays In Uk, which is started under the user account with SYSDBA privileges, runs separately from the database instance. Scott “Wino” Weinrich on vocals around the same time he left Saint Vitus and restarted The Obsessed. Weinrich appears on vocals and lead guitar throughout the first half of Speak No Evil, fronting the catchy opener “My Way Out” as well as “Thrift Store Girl,” “Cradle to the Grave” and the double-kick-laced “Doom,” which is nothing if not aptly-titled, while guitarist Pat Lydon sings on “Snakebite,” the less outwardly political “Wake the Dead,” “Siren Song” and “Stalker,” the pairing of which feels intentional. One might think the two sides/two-frontmen thing would make the release uneven, or the fact that it was recorded across two coasts, but nah, it’s doom either way and these guys know what they’re doing. Don’t sweat it. Do hope it gets a wider release.

Lost Breed on Facebook

Pat Lydon on YouTube

 

T.G. Olson, T.G. Olson

T.G. Olson T.G. Olson

Though it’s been a minute as he’s reprioritized Across Tundras, embarked on other projects, relocated to Iowa, farmed, and so on, T.G. Olson has still put out enough records under his own name that to have one arrive as a self-titled is significant in itself. Sure enough and somewhat ironically for someone who’s done so much him-and-guitar work in the past, the nonetheless-unassuming 35-minute eight-tracker features more personnel and broader arrangements than one might expect. That’s hardly a detriment, as even the layers of voice on “Steal a Day” come through as benefitting from the attention to detail, and the harmonica-inclusive twang of “Scythe” has its blues all the more emphasized for the clarity of its strum, while closer “Downer Town” invites a singalong. Personnel varies throughout, but the contibutions of Abigail Lily O’Hara (vocals), Ben Schriever (guitar, bass) and Caleb R.K. Williams (synth, guitar, banjo) — all of whom feature in the latest incarnation of Across Tundras as well — aren’t to be understated, as identifiable as Olson‘s songcraft is at the core of this material.

Across Tundras/T.G. Olson on Bandcamp

 

Acid Reich, Mistress of the Perpetual Harvest

Acid Reich Mistress of the Perpetual Harvest

John McBain, Tim Cronin and Dave Wyndorf — in Dog of Mystery together at the time — would go on to form Monster Magnet a short time after, seemingly on a whim, Acid Reich‘s freakout Mistress of the Perpetual Harvest was put to tape in their rehearsal space as one of a number of “fake” weirdo projects. Listening to these five tracks, including likewise irreverent takes on “Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun” and “Amazing Grace,” the feel here is like an acid psych treasure trove of Jersey Shore fuckery. Joining the trio were Ripping Corpse‘s Shaune Kelley and Joe Paone of hellSausage, and by their own admission, the audio’s a mess. It’s an archival tape dug up from 1989 — if you’re thinking you’re getting high fidelity, you’re missing at least one of the points of putting it out in the first place. Laced with acid culture samples that may or may not have been added after the fact, this is the first official release this material has ever gotten, and it’s nasty, raw, demo fare that, if it wasn’t so blown into the cosmos you’d call it punk rock. If that doesn’t sound right on to you, it’s probably your loss.

Guerssen Records on Bandcamp

Guerssen Records website

 

White Powder, Blue Dream

white powder blue dream

Based in Austin, Texas, and operatin as the four-piece of guitarist Jason Morales (also Tia Carrera), bassist Win Wallace, keyboardist Ezra Reynolds and drummer Jeff Swanson, White Powder recorded their whoa-this-shit-is-awesome mostly-instrumentalist debut LP, Blue Dream in 2014 and only now is it being at last pressed to vinyl. Given their chosen moniker, the 46-minute/nine-song session is perhaps surprisingly laid back, with the keys/synth and guitar coming together in mellow-prog style atop not-entirely-languid-but-not-overly-insistent grooves; all parties seeming geared toward immersion as much of self as for their listenership, be it in the piano of “Connemara” or the later fuzzer “Rula Jabreal,” where ripplng organ lines top the popping-snare rhythmic tension until the guitar pushes it over the edge of volume swell and wash. Some classic heavy for good measure in “Alice Walker,” but Blue Dream works best taken in its entirety, and listening to it that way, one only hopes they manage to do another in seven years or so. Or seven months. That’d work too. Extra points for the sleek-as-hell soul vocals in the Steely Dan cover “Dirty Work” on side B.

White Powder on Spotify

White Powder on Bandcamp

 

Hellish Form, Remains

Hellish Form Remains

Quarantine-era cross-country duo Hellish Form earn a Khanate comparison on their debut release, Remains, for their sheer unwillingness to pull back from the grueling, punishing tension they create in the slowly unfolding opener/longest track (immediate points) “Your Grave Becomes a Garden.” The dirge is so much forward that it makes the post-Bell Witch lead guitar mourning feel like an afterthought, and the screaming, echoing vocals shared between multi-instrumentalists Willow Ryan (Body Void) and Jacob Lee — who both recorded their parts at home — are a harsh reminder of the existential chaos serving as the background to these songs’ making. “Ache” is shorter and puts synth more forward, and “Shadows with Teeth” thicker and nastier if that’s possible, but through them and the 10-minute finale “Another World,” the feeling of dread, fear, and loss is palpable, and Remains is a fitting name for a record that feels so much like an aftermath.

Hellish Form on Facebook

Translation Loss Records website

 

Mosara, Mosara

Mosara Mosara

Mosara emerge from Phoenix, Arizona, with a sound that just as easily could’ve come down from the mountains as out of the desert, and that’s by no means a complaint. Big riffs promulgate their eight-song self-titled debut LP, and they bring forth aggro sludge undertones alongside lumbering rollout, rawly-captured in the recording but not lacking presence for that, as the mounted chug of “Cypher” demonstrates. Is it heavy enough to crash your hard drive? I’m not trying to lay blame on Mosara‘s riffs or anyone else’s, but apparently there’s only so much assault modern technology can take before falling victim. We’ll call that computer a sacrifice to the eight-minute “Earth God,” its crashing drums and deceptively spacious mix creating a cavernous largesse in spite of the barebones vibe that persists across the span, “Clay and Iron” and “Majestik XII” establishing the atmosphere early but not the full sonic reach of the band, whose plunge is made all the deeper by the High on Fire-style drive of “Oumuamua.” Doesn’t have to be a revolution to fuck you up.

Mosara on Facebook

Transylvanian Tapes on Bandcamp

 

Tombstunner, Call to the Void

Tombstunner Call to the Void

I don’t know if Grand Rapids, Michigan, yet has an officially designated “scourge,” but I’d be happy to see Tombstunner end up with the title. The band’s debut album, Call to the Void, reminds at once of fellow sneering Midwestern chicanery-bringers Bloodcow and also of early ’90s, Blind-era C.O.C., their tones refusing to give themselves over to one side or the other of the argument between metal and heavy rock. Marked out by considered and sometimes willfully clever lyrics, the record strikes with plenty of groove — plenty of “strike,” for that matter — and not an ounce of pretense on pieces like “ASH” or the later “Contempt’s Concrete,” which touches on harsher fare, but again, isn’t really keen to leave its rock foundation behind. They probably make the right choice in that. Eight-minute capper “The Last Ride” is catchy and weighted in kind, seeming to pack as much as possible into its finale as though to let there be no uncertainty the band has more to say. Fair enough. There’s growing to be done, but Call to the Void‘s untamed sensibility is ultimately a strength, not a weakness.

Tombstunner on Facebook

Tombstunner on Bandcamp

 

Moanhand, Present Serpent

moanhand present serpent

Sometimes there’s nothing like a good scream. Moscow-based Roman Filatov has one. The lone figure behind Moanhand can growl, and unlike many harsher metal vocalists, he can also sing, and does so readily across his band’s first album, Present Serpent, but god damn, that’s a good scream. Enviable. Comprised of six tracks, Present Serpent is as progressive as it is extreme, as doom as it is any number of other microgenres, and despite the formidable and varied nature of his performances throught — second track “The Charmthrower” has more scope than many bands do in an entire career arc — he does not fail to put songwriting first ahead of either technique or impact. Present Serpent will not hit a nerve with everyone, but the lumbering “Raw Blessings” and the atmosludge metal of finisher “The Boomering of Serpents,” calling back to opener “Serpent Soul (A Tale of Angels’ Slaughter)” in semi-blackened throb, just leaves me wondering why the hell not. On the level of Moanhand‘s forward potential alone — never mind any of the actual songs — it is a staggering debut.

Moanhand on Facebook

Moanhand on Bandcamp

 

Appalooza, The Holy of Holies

appalooza-the-holy-of-holies-cover

The percussion nuance and guitar lick nodding at Morricone in opener “Storm” amid all the post-Alice in Chains vocal arrangements should be a signal of the reach France’s Appalooza bring to their second LP and Ripple debut, The Holy of Holies. To wit, the subsequent “Snake Charmer” is off and careening almost immediately on its own path, and it’s commendable on the band’s part that where they go on the burlier “Reincarnation” and the more spacious “Nazareth” and the centerpiece “Conquest” — which starts out particularly hard-hitting and by the time it’s done is given over to standalone acoustic guitar without sounding disjointed in getting there — remains so seemingly even-handed in its delivery. Their material is considered, then. It proves no less so through the brash/tense “Azazael,” the desert-but-not “Distress” and “Thousand Years After,” which is a melodic highlight even among the many other surrounding. Tasked with summarizing, closer “Canis Majoris” answers “Conquest” with melancholy and heft, its ending satisfying in an emotional context in additing to being a well earned sonic payoff.

Appalooza on Thee Facebooks

Ripple Music website

 

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Days of Rona: Graham Brooks of Barishi

Posted in Features on May 26th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

The ongoing nature of the COVID-19 pandemic, the varied responses of publics and governments worldwide, and the disruption to lives and livelihoods has reached a scale that is unprecedented. Whatever the month or the month after or the future itself brings, more than one generation will bear the mark of having lived through this time, and art, artists, and those who provide the support system to help uphold them have all been affected.

In continuing the Days of Rona feature, it remains pivotal to give a varied human perspective on these events and these responses. It is important to remind ourselves that whether someone is devastated or untouched, sick or well, we are all thinking, feeling people with lives we want to live again, whatever renewed shape they might take from this point onward. We all have to embrace a new normal. What will that be and how will we get there?

Thanks to all who participate. To read all the Days of Rona coverage, click here. — JJ Koczan

barishi

Days of Rona: Graham Brooks of Barishi (Jamaica, Vermont)

How have you been you dealing with this crisis as a band? As an individual? What effect has it had on your plans or creative processes?

We are holding up ok. We had a couple practices and did a live streamed show a few weeks back, but we haven’t really been up to too much as we’ve all been social distancing. I personally am doing pretty well. I’ve been hunkering down. As far as plans go, we had a couple tours get canceled along with all of our shows this summer. The biggest hurdle has been dealing with the physical release of our new record. The digital version came out in April, but its looking like the physical version won’t be coming out in the States until early July. That’s been tough to deal with logistically.

How do you feel about the public response to the outbreak where you are? From the government response to the people around you, what have you seen and heard from others?

In terms of governmental and public response, Vermont has done comparatively well. It has one of, if not the slowest growth rate of new cases in the country. Part of the glacial spread is probably due to having a small population in a predominantly rural state, but credit where credit is due. The vast majority of Vermonters wear masks and are pretty vigilant about social distancing. The state has given the green light for retail to re-open. We’ll see how much of the downward trajectory is maintained.

What do you think of how the music community specifically has responded? How do you feel during this time? Are you inspired? Discouraged? Bored? Any and all of it?

It seems to me that due to the nature of the industry, musicians are inherently resilient and cut from a particularly tough cloth. I’m hoping that those qualities will see musicians through this time. That being said, everyone’s plans have been crushed and there is little to no safety net for musicians and the event industry. Those two days that Bandcamp waived their fee was a huge help and the music fan community is reliably generous and engaged with artists they love, but there is only so much they can do. I’m particularly concerned about venues and the already strained infrastructure surrounding live events. Check out saveourstages.com if you want to lend a hand with that.
As for me personally, I’m trying to keep an even keel and stay busy.

What is the one thing you want people to know about your situation, either as a band, or personally, or anything? What is your new normal? What have you learned from this experience, about yourself, your band, or anything?

I’m realizing how much I took for granted. The ability to play shows, meet new people and hear new music. I think that added perspective will be valuable in the long run. I’m hoping that when the time comes where touring and shows become viable once again, music will play an even bigger part in all our lives. I think it may be big part of the healing process.

https://www.facebook.com/barishiband/
https://barishi.bandcamp.com/
https://linktr.ee/barishi
https://www.facebook.com/seasonofmistofficial
http://www.season-of-mist.com/

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Fall Tour Pt. 20: Pentagram, Blood Ceremony, Bang and Kings Destroy, Burlington, VT, 10.31.14

Posted in Reviews on November 1st, 2014 by JJ Koczan

artsriot (Photo by JJ Koczan)

I’ll admit that even after being there all night, I’m still not sure if it’s ArtsRiot, one word, or Arts Riot, two words. Or maybe it’s just my small-minded traditionalism that needs it to be one or the other. Or something. It’s pretty much a box with a concrete floor and admirable pastrami and steak fries, either way. Probably better as a strict gallery space than a music venue, just going by their sound setup, lighting, etc., but to be honest, I’m not about to fault the place for doing cool work in multiple arenas. Clearly it’s a joint run with passion and an emphasis on supporting creativity in and beyond its community. Hard to mess with that.

No Radio Moscow for this one, since they’re out west at Day of the ShredBlood Ceremony stepped in to fill that spot in the bill, and certainly fit with the evening’s Halloweenery. A goodly portion of the crowd was also dressed up, one dude as King Diamond, a bunch of demons, ladies at hot nuns, and so on. I don’t know at what point Halloween just became an excuse to get girls to wear less clothes. I guess I was too busy watching Garfield’s Halloween Adventure to notice that happening, but it happened. A weird kind of male gaze parade going on, perpetuating cycle of submission and reward for submission. I felt dirty and complicit in kind, but it is what it is. No escape for anybody.

For the bands, apart from Blood Ceremony‘s Alia O’Brien, who I’m pretty sure wears fringe all the time anyway, only Steve Murphy and Rob Sefcik from Kings Destroy made any dress-up attempt. Here’s how it went down:

Kings Destroy

Kings Destroy (Photo by JJ Koczan)

I’m not sure what Murphy was going for with his costume. He’s been called “Peshmurpha” on and off the whole tour for the hat and scarf, so I guess he was running with it. Rob bought the devil mask in Jersey the other day, and they both made it through an admirable amount of the set in costume. Guitarists Carl Porcaro and Chris Skowronski and bassist Aaron Bumpus abstained, so I guess it was a middle-of-the-stage thing. Fair enough. Kings Destroy stretched out the set a little bit, which was cool since the half-hour has been pretty limiting. People were still coming in, but were quick in getting it, a certain nihilism in pushing “Turul” to back “Smokey Robinson” right at the start with “The Whittler,” “Mr. O,” and “Casse-Tête” following. The sound at ArtsRiot wasn’t the best in terms of clarity — it’s an art gallery — but it was plenty loud. “Old Yeller” once again closed out, preceded by “Blood of Recompense,” which was the highlight as Murphy, by then out of costume, hopped off the stage to engage the crowd one-on-one for the song’s finish.

Bang

Bang (Photo by JJ Koczan)

They killed in Philly as well, but I think for not being their hometown, Burlington was the best response Bang have gotten on this tour. People were headbanging to “Our Home” and “Keep On” and “The Maze” and “The Queen,” and only got more into it as the set went on. Even “Last Will and Testament,” had heads grooving. It’s been interesting to see all along who’s been on board for Bang and who’s been treating them like a curio, but ArtsRiot was down from the very start, and the band ate it up. Sharing drums with Pentagram, a Bang t-shirt had been taped on the front of the kick — Kings Destroy had had one there as well — and even that had a special kind of charm for the occasion. Frankie GilckenFrank Ferrara and Jake Leger have been all about the vibe from the start of this run, but spirits were clearly high as they fed off the audience’s energy, which was palpable throughout. Again, they’d done pretty well in Philly too, but they’re from there. To go eight hours north or whatever it is to Burlington and be greeted by such a response could only have been gratifying. Well earned.

Blood Ceremony

Blood Ceremony (Photo by JJ Koczan)

This was the first time I’ve seen Blood Ceremony since Roadburn 2011. The Toronto cult rock four-piece have expanded their influence considerably since then — their second record, Living with the Ancients, was new at that point and has since helped spawn a crop of imitators and been given a follow-up in 2013’s The Eldritch Dark. They played “Witchwood” and “Goodbye Gemini” from the latest outing early on, splicing in highlights from Living with the Ancients and their 2008 self-titled debut like “I’m Coming with You” and “My Demon Brother” along the way, Alia O’Brien switching between vocals, flute, organ and various spooky gestures while drummer Michael Carillo, bassist Lucas Gadke and guitarist Sean Kennedy held down jazzy ’70s prog grooves behind. Theatrics are a big part of what they do, and O’Brien is obviously a focal point there since she’s the one with the mic talking about witches and forests and black magic and all the rest, but the band has some chops to back that stuff up, and their delivery was tight. After watching Radio Moscow for however many days, Blood Ceremony were definitely on a different wavelength, but a retro spirit persisted.

Pentagram

Pentagram (Photo by JJ Koczan)

I don’t really get down with Halloween celebration or anything, but if I did, I’d have a hard time thinking of a better way to do so than check out a Pentagram set. They were pretty clearly too loud for ArtsRiot. Early on, bassist Greg Turley has some power issue on his side of the stage and even later there were moments where the low-end frequency just overwhelmed the room. Still, there were the usual shouts for frontman Bobby Liebling, guitarist Victor Griffin killed it with professionalism and class, and drummer Sean Saley punched in the side of my skull with his kick drum. They broke out “Vampyre Love” I guess for the occasion, and for the first time that I’ve seen on this run, there was a sustained moshpit going for them. Crowds have been rowdy, but this was actual moshing, start to finish. Griffin had the house crew turn the lights up after starting the set in relative darkness, in which Kings DestroyBang and Blood Ceremony had also played for the most part, and he and Liebling played to the crowd, which was as into it as any I’ve seen on this trip. They’ve been fun to watch all along, but especially so with an audience to play off of, and Burlington wasn’t the biggest show or the biggest room, but the people there were going for it, and Pentagram did likewise.

When it was finished, people in various stages of costume stumbled around and out of the venue. It was cold in Burlington, somewhere in the 40s — another weather system to add to the list — and load-out for the most part had already been done. It’s been interesting to see, traveling with this band and for the most part seeing the same acts night after night, how much a “good show” has to do with where the gig is happening and what it’s like there as much as how any given act is playing. This tour has had its progression, bands getting tighter and whatnot, but a lot of it has been about the places too.

Considering how the norm is staying in the same spot or few spots and having bands come through, it seems even more apparent this time around than in the spring how pivotal the right place is as well as the right band.

We headed out to the Econolodge in Montpelier pretty quickly to get an early start back to New York in the morning, though a lot of good it would do in fighting fatigue. Tour is definitely in wind-down mode, but I have the feeling the last two shows are going to make for a decent final surge. New York tonight, Providence tomorrow.

More pics after the jump. Thanks for reading.

Read more »

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Fall Tour Pt. 19: It’s a Long Way to the Top

Posted in Features on October 31st, 2014 by JJ Koczan

logging truck

10.31.14 — 5:40PM — Pre-show — Arts Riot, Burlington, VT

“This highway’s actually pretty mint.” — Carl Porcaro

It’s like a riot of the arts, this Arts Riot. Decent size room, supposed to hold about 300 people. I guess they do gallery shows and stuff here as well, which I could see pretty easily. Some of the walls have murals on them and the lighting fixtures are pretty wild. A creative space in what two or three years ago was probably an empty warehouse spot. Concrete floor, brick walls, high ceiling. Going by Sean Saley’s soundcheck, it would be a good room in which to record drums, though you might want to put up some wood paneling somewhere if you were going to go that route, if only for form’s sake.

hilltopBlood Ceremony are on the bill tonight in place of Radio Moscow, who had to hightail it back out west to play the Day of the Shred festival, which is tomorrow. I’ve only seen Blood Ceremony once before, at Roadburn 2011, though I can’t seem to find any record of it. Anyway, it happened. They’re stepping in tonight and tomorrow as well and then supposedly Radio Moscow are coming back east to finish out the tour in Providence, which sounds completely insane but totally in character for them. One can only cross one’s fingers and hope last night in Philly wasn’t actually their finish on this tour.

Carl did the drive north this morning. We left Philly with Jim Pitts driving and headed north to Steve’s place in Westchester, which was about two and a half hours on the road, but still it was five-plus more hours north to get to Burlington, and it didn’t really get pretty until we actually got into Vermont. Touched on Massachusetts and stopped for gas, to hit a crummy convenience store, and so on, but got back on the highway as soon as possible. There wasn’t really anything there. Far more productive, at least for the band, was the quick hit to Waterbury, Vermont, to pick up some carl and beerHeady Topper by Alchemist Brewing. Most of these guys are into craft beers, hoppy stuff, and that was apparently a good get. A sense of victory after four and a half hours on the road is a rare enough thing, so if it’s beer you can’t usually get in NYC that does it, fine.

Steve drove up separately from the rest of the band — he’s got his kids this weekend so is going to be back and forth from New York, heading back late tonight/early tomorrow, meeting everyone else in Manhattan for the show tomorrow, heading up to Providence on Sunday — and I haven’t seen him around as yet, but supposedly he’s here somewhere. I don’t know what time doors are, but Arts Riot seems like the kind of place that if you want to get a decent shot, you need to get up front early. Also seems like the kind of place that’s going to have a couple photographers show up. We’ll see how it goes, I guess. I’m not particularly worried at this point. Of slightly greater concern is the fact that it’s 6PM and I’ve eaten nothing today.

Oh yeah, and it’s Halloween. Fucking whoopee.

 

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Buried Treasure: Pure Pop, Tiger Blood and Other Burlington Delights

Posted in Buried Treasure on August 2nd, 2010 by JJ Koczan

It was strange walking down the steps into Burlington, Vermont‘s Pure Pop Records this past Saturday, because I’d been there before. Six years ago, when The Patient Mrs. and I were first married, we took off headed north on the Thruway, just as a kind of mini-getaway post-wedding. Our actual honeymoon was still a few months off, and we ended up in Burlington by happenstance, just because it was there, and we must have hit Pure Pop on that trip — don’t ask me what I bought — so being back there was a dreamy deja vu. No, it didn’t affect the shopping experience.

I’d already been in and out of Burlington Records and Downtown Records (?) with no finds. I almost bought a jewel case copy of Scissorfight‘s Mantrapping for Sport and Profit from the latter, because I only own the digipak and because we’re situated right next to New Hampshire and I consider everything north of Massachusetts to be Scissorfight country, but changed my mind last minute. A choice I lived to regret. I didn’t have high hopes for Pure Pop, because it’s one of those super-indie stores that so loves being indie, but I did alright in the end.

They have an experimental/post-metal/doom/stuff-snobs-like section that runs a gamut from Acid Mothers Temple to Sleep to John Zorn, and Slayer was filed under rock, not metal, but most of what I found was in the comedy section anyway. I grabbed Mitch Hedberg‘s Do You Believe in Gosh?, Patton Oswalt‘s Feelin’ Kinda Patton and 222, which is the same show, just unedited, and from the regular old metal section on in the far corner of the store, Ereb Altor‘s second album, The End, which I haven’t listened to yet, but can only imagine from what I remember of 2008’s By Honour sounds like Bathory-style Viking metal played at half speed. Translation: awesome.

I don’t suppose it was the best haul ever — I was at least momentarily more psyched by the shaved ice flavor “Tiger Blood” that was available at the nearby outdoor market — but screw it, comedy records are good for long drives, and I’ve been doing plenty of that lately. And honestly, I’d have grabbed some stuff out of that avant/pretentious section if I didn’t already own everything I wanted from it, so no slight on Pure Pop, which had a reasonably well-organized layout and broad range of available goods.

The dude behind the counter, who seemed to have some kind of animal tooth inserted in his septum (an instant reminder of the unintentionally hilarious Walking with Cavemen; Alec Baldwin‘s finest moment of voice-over) was polite and friendly enough, not condescending to my less than stellar finds, and all in all I felt positive about the experience. Cap the day off with a trip to the Ben and Jerry’s factory off the I-89 in Waterbury and mark it a win.

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Vermont Adventure, Take 2: Arrival Again

Posted in Whathaveyou on July 15th, 2010 by JJ Koczan

Begin 1:21AM: After completing the last item on my “Jersey to-do” list, which had me in Bayonne until 8:15PM, I got in the car and split back up to Vermont, taking the New York Thruway and any number of smaller numbered highways. I had been looking forward to making the trip at night because I figured the roads would be empty, and I was right. At one point I went a solid 25 minutes without seeing another moving car. Fantastic.

I kept track of the evening’s playlist for anyone interested…

Deep Purple, Made in Japan (second disc started the trip)
Arc of Ascent, Circle of the Sun
Queens of the Stone Age, Songs for the Deaf
Colour Haze, Tempel
Neurosis, A Sun that Never Sets

There you go, just in case you want to recreate my driving to VT experience later. Amazing that it’s only really five albums. Felt much longer than that at the time.

I should take a moment to explain the blurry-ass image above. Firstly, when I got back here I was going to take a picture of the sky, the stars, the very-visible Milky Way, etc., but it’s cloudy (rained off and on the whole way up), so that’s out. Instead, I took a picture of what’s probably the biggest non-captive spider I’ve ever seen, currently residing outside — thankfully — the bathroom window of the cabin in which I and The Patient Mrs. are staying. We’ve named him Richard Nixon, because no other name would do.

You can’t really see in the photo here, it being night and all, but his web is actually a complex three-dimensional series of webs, and it’s pretty impressive. The Patient Mrs. looked it up and apparently he’s what’s known in the arachnid-centric community as an “Orb Weaver,” which is about the coolest thing I’ve ever heard. If I don’t get a demo mailed to me in the next six months by a band called Orb Weaver, I’m going to be seriously let down.

Richard Nixon the Orb Weaver. Awesome.

I’ll be back in Jersey next week either Wednesday or Thursday through Sunday, but until then, it’s back to school-type work up here. I have a lot of reviews I want to get to though, and interviews that need posting, so stick around. More to come. End 1:49AM

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Buried Treasure Down I-91 to Brattleboro

Posted in Buried Treasure on July 12th, 2010 by JJ Koczan

I bought three CDs from Turn it Up! in Brattleboro, Vermont, after taking the hour trip south from where The Patient Mrs. and I are staying in Belmont. They were as follows: Goatwhore‘s Funeral Dirge for the Rotting Sun (which I’ll never listen to), Eric Idle‘s solo comedy effort, The Rutland Isles (which I’ll listen to but not laugh at), and the self-titled disc by August Born, which features Ben Chasny of Six Organs of Admittance (which I’ll probably listen to but am not 100 percent sure I don’t already own). It was kind of a bummer trip.

Turn it Up! is a pretty hip shop. There’s a picture of local resident/Tee Pee Records mainstay Dave Sweetapple (of Witch and Sweet Apple) up on the wall — and the numerous used Tee Pee promos for sale make me think maybe he’s been to the store once or twice — and they seem to cater mostly to the town’s abundance of hippie/jam rockers, though there was a small metal section. My major disappointment (aside from how visibly creeped out the girl stocking the bins was by me) came in a lack of Black Sabbath bootlegs. They had Metallica, they had Beatles out the ass, Neil Young and even Led Zeppelin, but not one Sabbath boot. Nothing. Come on, man. Give me one. Anything!

No dice. Don’t mean to harsh your mellow, trust fund hippies willingly living in poverty, but you’re a long way away from Coachella. I took my time looking around the store, partially because I seemed to be imposing on the staff by doing so (they were open until 10PM and I was in there around 5:30), then clumsily bought my three discs and left, feeling like a sucker for having made the trip. I didn’t expect a fucking haven of desert rock overflowing with Man’s Ruin discs, where I’d walk in, be handed a beer and get instantly pointed to the Kyuss, Etc. section, but give me a break. The attitude, the selection, the hyper-indie mindset: blech. Keep it. If I wanted to deal with that kind of bullshit, there are any number of stores in New York I could go to, and they’d probably have the new Woven Hand in stock, which no one on the planet seems to, myself included.

Using the Record Store Day website as my guide, there are a couple stores up in Burlington I might want to visit, but after Turn it Up!, I’m not going to imagine either much success or a particularly friendly reception. Seriously, it made the passive apathy with which I’m generally greeted at Generation Records, or Vintage Vinyl, or even Resurrection Records in CT seem like a warm hug. Was a long way to go for Eric Idle, I’ll tell you that much.

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Vermont Adventure, Take 1: Arrival

Posted in Whathaveyou on July 8th, 2010 by JJ Koczan

Got here yesterday in the evening and it was still light enough for me to appreciate the view. The sun sets across the lake that’s maybe a half-mile straight line from where I’m sitting on the deck as I type this. It’s beautiful here, and though that’s not necessarily a change from the usual (it’s beautiful where I live as well), its novelty acts as an exaggerating agent. I hope it lasts the full month.

The cabin is two rooms: part kitchen, part work area, part bedroom, two rocking chairs, a separate bathroom and a walk-in closet obviously intended for more than one person’s stuff. We brought our clothes in laundry baskets. The town of Belmont, Vermont, which is where I am, is basically an intersection of two roads and a small area surrounding. As I said to The Patient Mrs. when I got out of the car last night, when she gets away, she really gets away.

It’s a ski resort area, so of course it’s empty now, the heatwave engulfing the Eastern Seaboard having made its way too up here in the mountains, and the cabin is on a piece of property belonging to an elderly couple the masculine half of which I believe built both dwellings. I could never do that. I do this instead, and I don’t at all doubt that’s my loss. We can’t all be useful.

But I’m here and shortly to get breakfast at this or that local whathaveyou. Last night for dinner The Patient Mrs. and I successfully tested out the local Irish pub, which I’m glad to say had Boddingtons on draft and a burger brushed in pure maple syrup. This is, as I said, a beautiful place. More when I have it.

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