Bongzilla Reissuing Apogee on Vinyl Through New Label

Posted in Whathaveyou on January 22nd, 2020 by JJ Koczan

Wisconsin-based masters of the stoner crust riff Bongzilla announce they’re reissuing 2001’s Apogee on vinyl through their newly-formed label. The album has been remastered by Adam Gonsalves at Telegraph Mastering and features revamped artwork based on the original cover’s theme by gERM?. Info is pretty sparse on the label end at this point, but Crash Assailant Records and Flail Records are handling distribution and orders are being taken now.

Among Bongzilla‘s discography, it’s fair to consider Apogee a classic for “H.P. Keefmaker” alone, never mind “Grim Reefer” or the live tracks. The nastiness of Bongzilla‘s scorched-lung approach is on full display, to be sure, and as they celebrate the release with a slew of tour dates in March — there may be more in addition to what you see below; that’s around SXSW time, so keep an eye out — and herald an upcoming appearance at Muddy Roots this summer in Tennessee, a new visit to Apogee‘s weedian fields could hardly be more suitable. I don’t care how stoned you think you are. You ain’t more stoned than Bongzilla.

Art, info, links, and exclamation points came down the PR wire:

bongzilla apogee

Bongzilla – Apogee – Repress

For the first time in about 20 Years Apogee will be released on Vinyl!!! Remastered!!! New Album Art!!! Available now for pre-order in Clear, Opaque Green, Purple Kush, and Black Vinyl!!!

https://crashassailantrecords.com/product/bongzilla-apogee/

The members of Bongzilla are putting this one out independently as they start their own label. More to come about that soon! New Artwork by gERM?! Cascade Record Pressing is handling the pressing!!! Adam at Telegraph Mastering did the Mastering!!! And Crash Assailant Records and Flail Records are helping with the distribution!!!

BONGZILLA Live:
– Minneapolis!!! March 11th!!! Bongzilla w/ Lord Dying at First Avenue & 7th St Entry!!!
– Milwaukee!!! March 13th at Walker’s Point Music Hall!!! Bongzilla w/ Gravedirt and Cold Black River!!!
– Bongzilla in Omaha, NE!!! March 16th at Lookout Lounge!!!
– Bongzilla in St Louis on St Paddy’s!!! March 17th at Red Flag!!!
– March 18th!!! Bongzilla at the The Riot Room in Kansas City!!!
– March 20th!!! Houston, TX!!! Bongzilla at Secret Group!!!
– Bongzilla will be blazing up at Muddy Roots Music Festival 2020

Bongzilla are:
Mike “Muleboy” Makela – Guitar/Vocals
Jeff “Spanky” Schultz – Guitar
Cooter Brown – Bass
Mike “Magma” Henry – Drums

https://www.facebook.com/Bongzilla/
https://www.instagram.com/bongzillaband
https://bongzilla.bandcamp.com/
https://crawlspacebooking.com/

Bongzilla, Apogee (2001)

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Astral Hand Release Debut Single “Universe Machine”

Posted in Whathaveyou on April 4th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

astral hand

Perhaps you feel the galaxy could stand a good smiting. Fair. Meet Astral Hand from Milwaukee. The band arrive as the result of a maybe-permanent teardown of their former outfit Calliope, whose third and seemingly final album, Chapel Perilous (discussed here), came out last year. Same dudes, new vibe, new name. Their first offering under the Astral Hand banner is “Universe Machine,” which indeed resolves its space-rocky groove with the noted threat of smiting, and which for something that sets such dire stakes is still a pretty good time. It’s a shift in sound, but they pretty obviously know what they’re doing with it. Not exactly like they’re strangers to each other.

You can hear the track here, and it’s a free download as well, because it’s the future and the future is in space.

Info follows. Have at it:

astral hand universe machine

Astral Hand – Universe Machine

Over the course of the past year the 4 members of ASTRAL HAND have been carefully programming their very first radio transmission. Al Kraemer, Vic Buell, Anthony Smith and Dan Dahl step away from their previous sonic incarnation, CALLIOPE, to allow for the expansion into something brand new. After spending 7 years on three full length albums through a changing member lineup, it was time to move on from the psychedelic circus. This may not be the end of Calliope, but it is ‘farewell for now’ as the band turns away from the past and into the future.

Channeling a much more cosmic spirit, ASTRAL HAND uses pop-sensitive, synth-driven melodies accompanied by tastefully heavy guitars and thundering drums for a deeper sound that will completely stand alone from their other projects. Expect the unexpected when their first album drops later this year. In the meantime, experience ‘UNIVERSE MACHINE’ and learn to fear the wrath of the flippant cosmic deities known collectively as ASTRAL HAND.

I’ll smite your galaxy
With my Universe Machine

Released April 1, 2019
Recorded at Silver City Studios
Mixed by Victor Buell IV
Mastered by Justin Perkins @ The Mystery Room

Astral Hand:
Al Kraemer: Vocals / Organ
Victor Buell IV: Guitar
Anthony Smith: Bass
Dan Dahl: Drums

https://www.facebook.com/astralhandband/
https://astralhand.bandcamp.com/

Astral Hand, “Universe Machine”

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Attalla Announce March Tour Dates

Posted in Whathaveyou on February 12th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

attalla

Got a couple shows in Texas, a couple shows in Tennessee, a couple in the Greater Midwest and a stop at the Freetown Boom Boom Room in Lafayette, Louisiana, which seems to have made its way onto the circuit (perhaps solely at the will of Forming the Void), so yeah, Attalla‘s Spring 2019 tour covers a decent amount of ground. They’ll do three shows along the way with Black Road out of Chicago, and they begin with a stop in Fort Wayne, Indiana, which if you’ll recall was where Taylor from Planet of the Apes was from (“a fort!”). That novelty aside, this is a grind-it-out stretch of road time, and as Attalla go supporting the nonetheless worthy cause of 2017’s Glacial Rule (review here), I can’t help but wonder if perhaps two years after the fact they might be hammering out new material with intentions toward a new release of one sort or another.

Entirely possible they’re just getting out to shake off whatever rust might’ve accumulated over the winter in Oshkosk, Wisconsin, from whence they hail, but even so, I wouldn’t be surprised if there was a new song or two in the set. And that’s always fun to show up for, if you needed another reason, which I suspect you didn’t.

Dates came down the PR wire:

attalla tour poster

Attalla – Spring Tour 2019

A cold front is headed south this March…

Frozen tundra heavy riff rockers, ATTALLA, will venture south this spring with their wall of glacial tone in tow. After a long winter hibernation of riff writing the crew look to tame some new material on the unsuspecting southern states. Chicago-based stoner rock quartet Black Road will be joining in the destruction on select dates of the tour.

ATTALLA Spring Tour 2019
3/08/2019 Fort Wayne, IN – The Brass Rail
3/09/2019 Nashville, TN – Little Harpeth Brewing
3/10/2019 – TBA
3/11/2019 Memphis, TN – Growlers
3/12/2019 Lafayette, LA – Boom Boom Room
3/13/2019 Houston, TX – Rudyard’s Pub *
3/14/2019 Dallas, TX – Gas Monkey Bar N Grill
3/15/2019 Oklahoma City, OK – 89th Street *
3/16/2019 Ames, IA – DG’s Taphouse *
*w/ Black Road

Attalla is:
Cody Stieg – Lead Guitar/Vocal
Brian Hinckley – Rhythm Guitar
Bryan Kunde – Bass
Ron Kunde – Drums

www.attallawi.com
www.facebook.com/attallawi
https://www.instagram.com/attallawi/
www.attallawi.bandcamp.com

Attalla, Glacial Rule (2017)

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Bongzilla to Release Thank You… Marijuana Compilation Nov. 15

Posted in Whathaveyou on October 29th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

bongzilla

Though it’s kind of a wonder they can manage to cross state lines let alone international borders, Wisconsin’s Bongzilla toured Europe this past summer, and they had copies of their compilation Thank You… Marijuana, along with them for the ride. The 2LP brings together the band’s off-album catalog — tracks from splits, EPs, singles and so on. Other songs that presumably got high and wandered off. With a suitably stonerly respite between, Totem Cat will release Thank You… Marijuana on Nov. 15, with preorders starting next week.

Bongzilla releasing a comp called Thank You… Marijuana is nothing if not “on theme.” But any new outing from them is welcome, as it’s been some 13 years since they issued Amerijuanican, their most recent studio album. I of course don’t know what their plans are, but in noting this was coming, Totem Cat also hinted at another announcement to follow shortly behind, and it seems entirely possible that’s a new Bongzilla record or the long-awaited debut LP of side-project Aquilonian, which rumors had circulated might actually take shape sometime this or next year. I wouldn’t complain with either.

When/if I hear something I’ll put a post up, so if you want to consider this the first half of Totem Cat news going on, that’s fine. Certainly worth noting either way:

bongzilla thank you marijuana

[NEW RELEASE ANNOUNCEMENT] Bongzilla – Thank You… Marijuana

Compilation of all their previous splits & EPs, specially remastered for this release.

Available on CD / 2xLP / Totem Cat Exclusive 2xLP / Tour Edition 2xLP.

Tracklisting:
A1 Lighten Up 3:23
A2 Smoke Like The Wind 5:24
A3 Brownie 3:17
A4 Gungeon 4:21
B1 Hemp For Victory 5:17
B2 Smoke 4:26
B3 Budgun/THC 5:48
B4 Witch Weed 5:32
C1 Satan’s Calling 4:21
C2 Smell The Jar 5:39
C3 Proper Stoning 6:26
C4 Dealer McDope 6:49
D1 Gestation 3:46
D2 Trinity 6:44
D3 Witch Weed 6:37

Preorders will start October 30. Release date is November 15.

Artwork by Flog Diver | Illustration & Design

https://www.facebook.com/Bongzilla/
https://bongzilla.bandcamp.com/
https://www.facebook.com/totemcatrecords/
totemcatrecords.bigcartel.com/
https://totemcatrecords.bandcamp.com/

Bongzilla, “Gestation/Greenthumb” live in Paris, June 21, 2018

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Vanishing Kids Premiere “Reaper”; Heavy Dreamer Due Nov. 30

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on October 16th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

vanishing kids

Wisconsin’s Vanishing Kids will release their fifth full-length, Heavy Dreamer, Nov. 30 on Svart Records. It’s been 15 years since vocalist/keyboardist Nikki Drohomyreky and guitarist Jason Hartman made their debut with Rest the Glove that Wears You Down and five since their fourth LP, Spirit Visions, but their history seems to cross genres as much as time, and where their last outing found them dug into post-rock airiness, Heavy Dreamer carries a deep-running gothic heft, with the melodic wisps filling out the mix of “Mockingbird” reminding that indeed it’s the season of October Rust while the 7:57 title-track, second in the playlist behind “Creation” and very much part of an immersion-minded opening salvo with it, pulls elements of new wave into its chorus and transposes them onto the organ-laced doom of the leadoff. Deeply progressive and marked by the patient, standout performance of Drohomyreky on vocals and the low rumble of bass from Jerry Sofran, Heavy Dreamer is nonetheless fluid as it moves through psychedelic pastoralia on “Without a Sun,” creating a wash of tone and melody held together by Hart Allan Miller‘s drumming and the foundation of Hartman‘s guitar. The music is consistently, persistently adventurous, and there’s nowhere it goes to which it does not bring a stately, engaging presence.

The effect of “Creation” and “Heavy Dreamer” at the outset lingers. The latter is particularly memorable for Drohomyreky‘s soulful delivery of the title-line, and together they comprise more than 15 of the record’s total 51 minutes, so it’s not an insubstantial portion. Their placement seems purposeful, as only the nodding-doom-into-holy-crap-where’d-that-solo-come-from “Reaper” on side B hits the seven-minute vanishing kids heavy dreamermark otherwise, but more than runtime it’s a question of atmosphere and setting the mood. And whatever else Heavy Dreamer is — it is many things, and I suspect many different things for different listeners — it is a work of mood. Caked in echo and begun with a flourish of synthesized beats, “Without a Sun” projects a massive but not overwrought vibe, and while side B opener “Eyes of Secrets” isn’t without its shoegazing aspects, the flow between the back and forth swells of volume atop Miller‘s steady beat are nigh on hypnotic, with a finish of harsher guitar noise as though to willfully shock the listener back to consciousness. Following “Reaper,” which encases the aforementioned guitar showcase with a memorable chorus, “Rainbows” eases into a vision of post-rock and psychedelic doom that gracefully brings the styles together in a manner that’s an immediate highlight. A drifting figure on guitar in its second half opens to a blurring of the line between itself and keys — it’s all melody, right? — and once more the vocals provide a human presence in the wash of volume and tone, albeit an otherworldly one.

There’s a late spoken sample in “Rainbows” that’s somewhat obscured by the guitar solo, but the penultimate track ends with poise and gives way to “Magnificent Magenta Blue” as it once more revives the melodic reach of the keys and guitar and the dynamic they share with the earthbound drums pushing them forward. Hartman, who’s also played in Jex Thoth since 2013, doesn’t waste the opportunity to cast out one last stretch of deceptively shredding leadwork, and the vibe of culmination is palpable as he does so, with Sofran and Miller rolling the finale through its procession as the vocals recede and wait to return for a last chorus. Always, the keys remain, and the organ is not only essential to Vanishing Kids‘ overall approach, but it’s the base around which they’re able to shift between styles with such apparent ease while remaining sonically coherent. They’re not the only element doing so at any given time between the vocals, guitar, bass and drums, but the keys do a lot of work in tying the songs together throughout Heavy Dreamer, and ultimately allow the record to live up to its title with an unflinching sense of its own mission, knowing what it wants to be and how to be it. Or them, as it were for material so multifaceted.

I’m happy today to host the premiere of “Reaper” from Heavy Dreamer. You’ll find the track below, followed by more info from the PR wire.

Please enjoy:

Vanishing Kids, “Reaper” official track premiere

Svart Records sets November 30th as the international release date for Vanishing Kids’ highly anticipated fourth album, Heavy Dreamer. The somnambulic doom metal group’s new album will be available on CD, vinyl LP, and digital formats.

Hailing from Wisconsin, Vanishing Kids has been an ever-evolving artistic and musical journey since the early 2000s, with core members and founders Jason Hartman (Jex Thoth) and Nikki Drohomyreky on vocals. As kids of the ’70s and ’80s who grew up on metal, prog rock, krautrock, psych, punk, and goth, they have managed to carve out a niche of their own for themselves.

The band’s newest and most powerful culmination arose when Jason Hartman’s childhood hero – and Midwest metal legend – Jerry Sofran (Lethal Heathen, Mirrored Image) joined in 2013. Shortly thereafter, the hard-hitting Hart Allan Miller (Wartorn, Deathwish, Tenement) joined on drums to complete the lineup.

Being the first full-length outing from Vanishing Kids in over five years, Heavy Dreamer is soaked in captivating shoegazey fuzz vaguely reminiscent of what My Bloody Valentine would sound like had they grown up on a diet of psychedelic doom metal and occult rock.

Tracklisting for Vanishing Kids’ Heavy Dreamer
1. Creation
2. Heavy Dreamer
3. Without A Sun
4. Mockingbird
5. Eyes of Secrets
6. Reaper
7. Rainbows
8. Magnetic Magenta Blue

Vanishing Kids is:
Nikki Drohomyreky- Vocals, Organ, Synths, Percussion
Jason Hartman- Guitar
Jerry Sofran- Bass
Hart Allan Miller- Drums

Vanishing Kids on Thee Facebooks

Svart Records website

Svart Records on Thee Facebooks

Svart Records on Twitter

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Droids Attack Working on New Songs; Tour Announced

Posted in Whathaveyou on September 21st, 2018 by JJ Koczan

droids attack

Two-pronged good news from Wisconsin heavy rockers Droids Attack. After the unveiling earlier this summer of their Rye Lager, the latest brew collaboration with Ale Asylum, the trio have announced intentions to hit the Eastern Seaboard next month and further intentions toward a new album thereafter. Anyone who may have heard 2016’s Sci-Fi or Die (review here) already knows this is a win.

As raucous as they are underappreciated, the sheer heart Droids Attack put into the presentation of Sci-Fi or Die was evident on every level, from the tightness of the songwriting to the crisp production, the gorgeous cover art and the actually-hidden bonus track that was on a secret mini-CD under the plastic tray holding the disc proper. Every step of the way, Droids Attack put everything they had into that record, and I’ll admit I was a little nervous accordingly it might be a final go. I’m glad to discover I was wrong.

It’s been years since I last saw them, and I won’t on this tour — Frederick, MD, is the closest stop and it’s about seven hours by car, so yeah — but if you can make it to watch them hammer out new material before they hit the studio, tell them I say hi and enjoy.

They sent the dates down the PR wire:

droids attack tour poster

Droids Attack are hitting one more string of road dates before entering the studio to begin work on the follow up to 2016’s Sci-Fi or Die. Those who attend can expect to hear some new material mixed in with some familiar favorites such as Brahma Astra, Claw Hammer Suicide, & Die Glocke. Joining them on this stretch is Druids from Des Moines, Iowa, who’s heavy groove inspired hooks make for a perfect pairing.

10/9: Madison, WI – High Noon Saloon
10/10: Chicago, IL – Reggie’s
10/11: Ypsilanti, MI – West Cross Station
10/12: Cleveland, OH – Now That’s Class
10/13: Frederick, MD – Guido’s Speakeasy
10/14: Pittsburgh, PA – Howler’s
10/15: Dayton, OH – Blind Bob’s
10/16: Indianapolis, IN – Black Circle Brewing
10/17: Lexington, KY – Cosmic Charlie’s
10/18: Nashville, TN – Springwater Supper Club
10/19: St. Louis – Fubar

http://www.facebook.com/droidsattack
http://droidsattack.bandcamp.com/album/sci-fi-or-die
http://droidsattack.com/

Droids Attack, “Die Glocke” official video

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Droids Attack Announce New Rye Lager & Beer Parties

Posted in Whathaveyou on June 14th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

droids-attack

If you might be the type who likes to knock back one or more frosty adult beverages on occasion, I can think of fewer bands I’d trust more to oversee a craft beer release than Wisconsin’s Droids Attack. Not only do they benefit from the Midwest’s way-ahead-of-the-curve-on-the-whole-thing craft beer culture (Dogfish Head and Magic Hat, etc., notwithstanding), but I have no trouble believing these dudes know what they like in beer. When they say something like “soft citrus aroma finish,” I honestly think they taste it. No bullshit.

Their rock and roll operates likewise as regards BS, so it seems all the better they’re bringing the two sides together at a series of beer parties supporting both their new Rye Lager release through Ale Asylum and 2016’s righteous long-player, Sci-Fi or Die (review here). The shows are next month, and I do believe they’ll have beers along for the ride (closed container, of course) in addition to what’s on tap, so if you’re in the neighborhood, might want to stop by and pick up a sixer.

Info from the PR wire:

droids attack beer parties flyer

 

We did that one beer awhile ago, and it ended up selling out so fast they decided to do another. When that one sold out they decided to turn it into a series of Droids Attack beers, so we did some more. After we did four successful beers, we picked up brewer that has out of state distribution, so now we can bring our beers into our neighboring states of Minnesota, and Illinois. Because of this, we have set up beer parties in Milwaukee, Chicago, Madison, & Minneapolis.

Come experience the latest flavor in Droids Attack’s Craft Beer series. This time Droids Attack has partnered with Wisconsin craft brewing juggernauts, ALE ASYLUM, to bring you MASHENOMAK: RYE LAGER. A crisp refreshing lager with a peppery rye kick, brewed with a late hop addition to achieve a soft citrus aroma finish.

Mashenomak is the first song in a two part epic on Droids Attack’s 2016 release, SCI-FI OR DIE. Based on a Native American folk tale, Mashenomak is a fish monster that terrorizes the local tribes, and swallows the souls of all living creatures. Manabush is a brave warrior who allows Mashenomak to swallow him in order to slice open his belly and rescue all of the animal spirits. This tale is beautifully captured in the beer label illustration by artist, ELI QUINN.

To celebrate, Droids Attack and Ale Asylum are bringing the party on the road. Special guests will perform with Droids Attack, and Mashenomak: Rye Lager will be available for a limited time on tap at these venues in the following cities:

7/5 – Company Brewing (Milwaukee) w/ Shogun
7/6 – Reggie’s Rock Club (Chicago) w/ Huntsmen, Archarus, & Attalla
7/7 – Bos Meadery (Madison) w/ Shogun
7/14 – Mortimer’s (Minneapolis) w/ High Graves, & Witchden

http://www.facebook.com/droidsattack
http://droidsattack.bandcamp.com/album/sci-fi-or-die
http://droidsattack.com/

Droids Attack, Sci-Fi or Die (2016)

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Calliope Post “Sea of Red” Video; Chapel Perilousout March 31

Posted in Bootleg Theater on March 16th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

calliope

I suppose it would be a real, real stretch to think of Milwaukee as just being very high desert, so we’ll skip that, but let’s say instead that when it comes to atmosphere, Calliope‘s Chapel Perilous — their third album behind a 2013 self-titled and 2014’s Orbis — there’s more than a bit of sand to contend with in terms of the sound of songs like the happy-to-drift “Creep No More” and, unsurprisingly, “The Dunes.” The new single, “Sea of Red,” takes a somewhat different approach, with a descending chorus that reminds of Snail‘s grunge-gone-heavy methodology while retaining its own flavor in terms of tone and pace.

One could probably spend all day pointing out neo-psych influences to songs like the building swirl of “Evil as You” or the percussive “Brujo,” but frankly I have neither the time nor the inclination. Instead, the Dead Meadow nuances of “Sands of July” and the oh-fuck-yes-more-of-this-please atmospheric wash of post-heavy instrumental closer “Little Smoke” do plenty to signify where Calliope are coming from and the winding, possibly-melting road they’re taking to get where they’re headed.

Over the course of their 10-track/40-minute runtime, the direction of that road changes a bit, but Calliope always seem to have a lysergic underpinning to their intentions, as the oddball droning breadth of the title-track shows, or the languid, semi-Western flow in the verses of the earlier “Carry Me Home.” With emphasis on the intertwining of organ and guitar — the one often laying the bed for the other, as on opener “Astral Hand” — Calliope are able to bring a sense of drama to their songwriting without having to veer too far from traditional verse/chorus structures. Except, of course, when they want to, as on the already noted “Little Smoke.”

If the vocals of Al Kraemer sound familiar by the time you get down to “Brujo,” it might be because he also fronts Moon Rats, whose 2017 debut, Highway Lord (review here), was such a garden of riffly delights. If not, now you know. So there.

Romanus Records has Chapel Perilous out on March 31. Check out the clip for “Sea of Red” below — spoiler alert: somebody gets stabbed — and please enjoy:

Calliope, “Sea of Red” official video

“Drown me in your sea of red”

The new LP, Chapel Perilous, out 3/31 on Romanus Records.

Calliope is a heavy psych rock band from Milwaukee, WI. Drawing influences from classic and modern alike, Calliope pushes fuzzed-out guitar licks and organ-driven grooves reminiscent of bands like The Black Angels, Dead Meadow, Deep Purple and Pink Floyd. Inspired by the cinematic themes of Sci-Fi, Westerns and Anime, Calliope creates a sound that’s wholly their own.

It all started when Al brought his vintage Farfisa combo organ over to Vic’s house back in 2010 for some casual, hazy attic noodling. Now two studio albums and countless gigs later, Calliope is about to embark on their third studio release; Chapel Perilous. Recorded in a remote cabin in the northwoods of Wisconsin, Chapel Perilous captures the sonic amalgamation of electric fuzz, droning organs, thundering drums, crushing bass and soulful vocals. Chapel Perilous will be available 3/31/18 via Romanus Records.

Members:
Al Kraemer: Vocals / Organ
Victor Buell IV: Guitar
Anthony Smith: Bass
Eric Gomoll: Drums

Calliope on Thee Facebooks

Calliope on Bandcamp

Romanus Records webstore

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