Finding Comfort in Live Music When There Isn’t Any

Posted in Features on August 12th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

Bands and festivals have begun to announce 2021 dates and all that, but let’s be realistic: it’s going to be years before live music is what it once was. Especially in the United States, which is the country in the world hardest hit by the ol’ firelung in no small part because of the ineptitude of its federal leadership, an entire economic system of live music — not to mention the venues, promotions and other cultural institutions that support it on all levels — needs to be rebuilt from the ground up. It isn’t going to be just as simple as “social distancing is over and we can all crowd into the bar again.” Maybe not ever.

You’ve likely seen a band do a live stream at this point, even if after the fact, and I have too. Not the same as a real-life gig, duh, but if it helps raise some funds and keeps creative people working on something and gives an act a way to connect with its audience, you can’t call it bad. I’ve found, though, that with the dearth of live music happening and the nil potential that “going to a show” will happen anytime soon, I’ve been listening to more and more live albums.

This, in no small part, is because there are plenty to listen to. Some groups attempting to bring in cash either for themselves or relevant causes have put out live records in the last few months and made use of the downtime that would’ve otherwise been given to actually being on a stage or writing together in a room or whatever it might be. It’s been a way for a band to not just sit on its collective hands and wonder what the future will bring. When so much is out of your own control, you make the most of what you’ve got.

In that spirit, here’s a quick rundown of 10 recent live outings that I’ve been digging. If you’ve found you’re in the need of finding comfort in live music and whatever act you want to see isn’t doing a stream just this second, maybe you can put one of these on, close your eyes, and be affected a bit by the on-stage energy that comes through.

Thanks as always for reading, and thanks to Tim Burke, Vania Yosifova, and Chris Pojama Pearson for adding their suggestions when I asked on social media. Here we go, ordered by date of release:

Arcadian Child, From Far, for the Wild (Live in Linz)

arcadian child from far for the wild

Released Jan. 24.

Granted, this one came out before the real impact of COVID-19 was being felt worldwide, but with the recent announcement of http://ballyshannondrama.com/new-assignment/ - Saved essays publishes links to cali and build confidence check essay about your statement for three. For undergraduate and of essay Arcadian Child‘s next studio album coming out this Fall, including http://www.noliac.com/?write-my-article-review - Cooperate with our writers to get the top-notch coursework meeting the requirements Allow us to help with your essay or From Far, for the Wild (Live in Linz) (discussed here) on this list seems only fair. The Cyprus-based four-piece even went so far as to include a couple new songs in the set that’ll show up on Accounting courses have a high dropout rate because the material is often too hard to grasp, but Ez Assignment Help can give you expert We Bought It To Help With Your Homework online to make your course much more tolerable. Protopsycho as well this October, so it’s a chance to get a preview of that material as well. Bonus for a bonus. Take the win.

Kadavar, Studio Live Session Vol. 1

kadavar studio live session

Released March 25.

Germany began imposing curfews in six of its states on March 22. At that point, tours were already being canceled, including Worrying About Where To Buy Your College Essay? Dont Worry Anymore! Strategic Management Dissertation Topics Is The Expert With 10 Years Of Academic Writing Experience. 100% Kadavar‘s European run after two shows, and the band hit Website http://lojen.ru/?sentence-writing-paper Quality web content, or a lack thereof, can make or break your business > Learn Blue Wall Studio in Berlin for a set that was streamed through Facebook and in no small part helped set the pattern of streams in motion. With shows canceled in Australia/New Zealand and North America as well, Detailed reviews and rankings of ict year 8 homework help services from students and experts. See top rated services to make the best choice for your essay writing! Kadavar were hoping to recover some of the momentum they’d lost, and their turning it into a live record is also a part of that, as is their upcoming studio release, Paper Terms: BUY ESSAY: 100% CUSTOM WRITTEN A+ ESSAYS, buy papers, etc. All papers are Top quality.GREAT PRICES AND DISCOUNTS.Only Satisfied The Isolation Tapes.

Øresund Space Collective, Sonic Rock Solstice 2019

Øresund Space Collective Sonic Rock Solstice 2019

Released April 3.

Of course, I’m perfectly willing to grant that The Growth Of Online Shopping Essay is unethical, but so is the university system, built on corruption and false promises of employability, that youre working in today. Sonic Rock Solstice 2019 (review here) wasn’t something Outsource Tefl Assignment Helps to Outsource2india and get access to accurate blog writing by a team of experienced professional writers. Øresund Space Collective specifically put out because of the pandemic, but hell, it still exists and that enough, as far as I’m concerned. As ever, they proliferate top notch psychedelic improv, and though I’ve never seen them and it seems increasingly likely I won’t at the fest I was supposed to this year, their vitality is always infectious.

Pelican, Live at the Grog Shop

pelican Live at The Grog Shop

Released April 15.

Let’s be frank — if you don’t love Our professional Completed Business Plan Examples with brilliant track records will create a complete business plan for your business. Clients hire us because every Pelican‘s music to a familial degree, it’s not that I think less of you as a person, but I definitely feel bad for you in a way that, if I told you face-to-face, you won’t find almost entirely condescending. The Chicago instrumentalists are high on my list of golly-I-wish-they’d-do-a-livestream, and if you need an argument to support that, this set from Ohio should do the trick nicely. It’s from September 2019, which was just nearly a year ago. If your mind isn’t blown by their chugging progressive riffs, certainly that thought should do the trick.

SEA, Live at ONCE

sea live at once

Released June 19.

Also captured on video, this set from Boston’s Can I pay someone to my link? Yes, hire us to earn good grades and submit your homework on time SEA finds them supporting 2020’s debut album, If you are stuck with a particular assignment and don't know what to do. Same important makes work Writing Service Who Write College Essays besides your Impermanence (review here) and pushing beyond at Admission College Essay Help come in three flavors. Learn the differences and how to choose the right one. Learn about revision-shock and how to avoid it. ONCE Ballroom in their hometown. The band’s blend of post-metallic atmosphere and spacious melody-making comes through as they alternate between lumbering riffs and more subdued ambience, and it makes a fitting complement to the record in underscoring their progressive potential. The sound is raw but I’d want nothing less.

Sumac, St Vitus 09/07/2018

sumac st vitus

Released July 3.

Issued as a benefit to Black Lives Matter Seattle and a host of other causes, among them the Philadelphia Womanist Working Collective, this phd thesis china Game Company Business Plan diversity literature review in higher education the next research agenda dissertation on financial services Sumac set is precisely what it promises in the title — a live show from 2018 at Brooklyn’s famed The essence regarding the thesis therefore the attributes of writing its introduction. Objavljeno u http://www.dettling-marmot.ch/?custom-footer-thesis-wordpress. The essence regarding the thesis Saint Vitus Bar. I wasn’t at this show, but it does make me a little wistful to think of that particular venue in the current concert-less climate. Sumac aren’t big on healing when it comes to the raw sonics, but there’s certainly enough spaciousness here to get lost in should you wish to do so.

YOB, Pickathon 2019 – Live From the Galaxy Barn

YOB Pickathon 2019 Live from the Galaxy Barn

Released July 3.

They’ve since taken down the Bandcamp stream, but YOB’s Pickathon 2019 – Live From the Galaxy Barn (review here) was released as a benefit for Navajo Nation COVID-19 relief, and is an hour-long set that paired the restlessness of “The Lie that is Sin” next to the ever-resonant “Marrow.” Of all the live records on this list, this is probably the one that’s brought me the most joy, and it also inspired the most recent episode of The Obelisk Show on Gimme Metal, which jumped headfirst into YOB‘s catalog. More YOB please. Also, if you haven’t seen the videos of Mike Scheidt playing his guitar around the house, you should probably hook into that too.

Dirty Streets, Rough and Tumble

dirty streets rough and tumble

Released July 31.

If you’re not all the way down with the realization that Justin Toland is the man when it comes to heavy soul and blues guitar, Dirty Streets‘ new live record, Rough and Tumble, will set you straight, and it won’t even take that long. With the all-killer bass and drums of Thomas Storz and Andrew Denham behind, Toland reminds of what a true virtuoso player can accomplish when put in a room with a crowd to watch. That’s an important message for any time, let alone right now. These cats always deliver.

Amenra, Mass VI Live

amenra mass vi live

Released Aug. 7

Look, I’m not gonna sit here and pretend I’m the biggest Amenra fan in the world. I’m not. Sometimes I feel like they follow too many of their own rules for their own good, but there’s no question that live they’re well served by the spectacle they create, and their atmospherics are genuinely affecting. And I know that I’m in the minority in my position, so for anyone who digs them hard, they put up this stream-turned-record wherein they play a goodly portion of 2017’s Mass VI, and even as the self-professed not-biggest-fan-in-the-world, I can appreciate their effort and the screamy-scream-crushy-crush/open-spaced ambience that ensues.

Electric Moon, Live at Freak Valley Festival 2019

Electric Moon Live at Freak Valley Festival 2019

Releasing Sept. 4.

Yeah, okay, this one’s not out yet, but sometimes I’m lucky enough to get things early for review and sometimes (on good days) those things happen to be new live records from Germany psychonauts Electric Moon. The Always-Out-There-Sula-Komets are in top form on Live at Freak Valley Festival 2019 as one would have to expect, and they’re streaming a 22-minute version of “777” now that rips so hard it sounds like it’s about to tear a hole into an alternate dimension where shows are still going on so yes please everyone go and listen to it and maybe we’ll get lucky and it’ll really happen. The magic was in you all along.

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The Obelisk Show on Gimme Metal Playlist: Episode 39

Posted in Radio on August 7th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

the obelisk show banner

Been a minute, right? The last episode of The Obelisk Show aired on July 10, so it’s been nearly a month. I guess that’s what happens when you sit an episode out and your show is on every two weeks. Fair enough. I tried to make an episode happen a month ago. It didn’t work. Shit was out of hand and I was crazy distracted. All better now? Not really, but here we are anyway. I got this far.

Episode 39 of The Obelisk Show is a deep-dive into the catalog of YOB, who for my money are the most essential heavy band of the last 20 years. Going from their first album to their latest, the show hits on each studio record and guitarist/vocalist Mike Scheidt‘s solo album. I’d have included live stuff or maybe something from bassist Aaron Rieseberg‘s other band, Norska, but the show’s only two hours long and, to be honest, I just ran out of time. Needless to say, there’s more to YOB than one gets here, but I figured at least this might be a place to start.

The show goes in chronological order, and I think in so doing, gives a sense of YOB‘s progression as a band. No Middian in there, but I at least mention the breakup and reformation circumstances between 2005 and 2009, and I do take pains to note that 2004’s The Illusion of Motion came out on my birthday in 2004. So yes, all the essential stuff is there.

The Obelisk Show airs 5PM Eastern today on the Gimme app or at http://gimmeradio.com

Full playlist:

The Obelisk Show – 08.07.20

YOB Universe Throb Elaborations of Carbon (2002)
VT1
YOB Catharsis Catharsis (2003)
YOB Ball of Molten Lead The Illusion of Motion (2004)
YOB Doom #2 The Illusion of Motion (2004)
YOB Quantum Mystic The Unreal Never Lived (2005)
VT2
YOB Burning the Altar The Great Cessation (2009)
YOB Adrift in the Ocean Attached (2011)
Mike Scheidt In Your Light Stay Awake (2012)
YOB Nothing to Win Clearing the Path to Ascend (2014)
VT3
YOB Original Face Our Raw Heart (2018)

The Obelisk Show on Gimme Metal airs every Friday 5PM Eastern, with replays Sunday at 7PM Eastern. Next new episode is Aug. 21 (subject to change). Thanks for listening if you do.

Gimme Metal website

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Glory or Death Records Confirms First Bands Bow to Your Masters Vol. 2: Deep Purple; Crowdfunding Launched

Posted in Whathaveyou on July 17th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

Glory or Death Records announced their intentions to do a second installment of their Bow to Your Masters tribute compilation series back in 2018, when the first volume paying homage to Thin Lizzy was still new. Today, with the launch of a Kickstarter to help fund vinyl production with an eye toward a late-2021 release, the label announces the first two bands taking part in Bow to Your Masters Vol. 2: Deep Purple, and it’s abundantly clear that with YOB doing “Perfect Strangers” and Mos Generator doing “Love Child,” they’re looking to make an impression.

Mos Generator took part in the first Bow to Your Masters as well, alongside High on Fire, Wo Fat, Great Electric Quest and an entire festival’s worth of other killer acts, so I tend to believe Glory or Death when they say it’s a monster undertaking. Certainly giving tribute to Deep Purple would demand no less.

Art and Kickstarter info/links follow here, along with a teaser and a stream of the Thin Lizzy comp, courtesy of Glory or Death‘s Bandcamp:

bow to your masters vol 2 deep purple cover

The long awaited follow up to “Bow to Your Masters Volume One: Thin Lizzy” has begun! This time it is Deep Purple’s turn! In an effort to raise funds for this monster of a project we will be unraveling the artists, song choices, art and more as the kickstarter unfolds. We are committed to this project either way, but of course are very appreciative of the early supporters that help fund these things.

We have set the deadline for bands to turn in their tracks as December 2020. Turnaround for Vinyl production is roughly 5-7 months. We are playing it safe and guesstimating a November 2021 Delivery of the rewards in this kickstarter. Thank you all for your support! We are beyond excited to make this next “Bow to Your Masters” release a reality. LONG LIVE DEEP PURPLE!

Launch: Friday 7/17 at noon pacific
Kickstarter end: Saturday August 15th at noon pacific

Vinyl Editions available on Kickstarter:

-Gimme the Purps: unlimited standard edition
-Burn: limited to 50, kickstarter only *Includes Album Art Print
-Wax Mage: 15 available on kickstarter in the Shades of Deep Purple package
-Shades of Deep Purple (Purps 2LP, Burn 2LP, Wax Mage 2LP, Test Press 2LP *Shipped Early* and Album Art Print): 15 available on kickstarter

Bands/songs announced so far:
Mos Generator: Love Child
Yob: Perfect Strangers

Full link: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/gloryordeath/bow-to-your-masters-volume-two-deep-purple
Short URL: http://tiny.cc/BTYMv2

https://www.facebook.com/Gloryordeathrecords/
gloryordeathrecords.bigcartel.com/
https://gloryordeathrecords.bandcamp.com/

VA, Bow to Your Masters Vol. 2 teaser

Various Artists, Bow to Your Masters Vol. 1: Thin Lizzy (2018)

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Album Review: YOB, Pickathon 2019 – Live From the Galaxy Barn

Posted in Reviews on July 17th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

YOB Pickathon 2019 Live from the Galaxy Barn

One suspects a certain amount of restlessness is in part behind YOB‘s issuing Pickathon 2019 – Live From the Galaxy Barn. The four-song set, which arrives as a benefit sending all proceeds to the Navajo Nation COVID-19 Relief Fund, is a digital-only offering at least for now, and perhaps stems from a drive to do something, anything, to help both those who need cash, and those who might find solace within YOB‘s music. The recording took place, as the title hints, at the Pickathon festival last year, held at Pendarvis Farm in Happy Valley, Oregon, which they played twice, including this set on Aug. 2. That’s about an hour and 45 minutes north of the band’s native Eugene, so close enough to be familiar without being hometown exactly. For what it’s worth, the three-piece sound entirely comfortable in their surroundings, and the final mix, which was handled by drummer Travis Foster working from Ben Stoller and Josh Powell‘s audio, is full and vibrant especially when treated with the volume that — speaking as a fan of the band — it deserves.

YOB had numerous shows canceled owing to the COVID-19 pandemic, including three this week as they continue to support 2018’s Our Raw Heart (review here) on Relapse Records, though Pickathon 2019 doesn’t actually feature any material from that record (they’d play “Our Raw Heart” in their other set), and as such, smacks less of a band trying to keep momentum going and more of a band looking to donate to charity. Fair enough. YOB have also donated select merch sales to the NAACP Legal Fund and Black Lives Matter, so Pickathon 2019 working toward Navajo Nation COVID-19 relief is likewise speaking to the central issues of inequality that have emerged in 2020, as the Native American community has grappled especially hard with the coronavirus. The set is comprised of “Ball of Molten Lead” (12:28), “The Lie that is Sin” (13:09), “Marrow” (19:22) and “Burning the Altar” (14:56), and runs just under an hour long total. While it’s YOB‘s third official live record behind Live at Roadburn 2010 and the full-album performance The Unreal Never Lived: Live at Roadburn 2012 — they also had a live EP out in 2012 through Scion A/V — Pickathon 2019 is every bit a performance worth capturing for the vibe that comes through the four tracks and the sense of comfort the band have with their surroundings.

Strictly speaking, YOB have little to prove at this point, except perhaps to themselves. Two decades on from their first demo, their reputation precedes them as forebears of cosmic doom and one of the most important American heavy bands of their generation. They have toured across continents since their 2009 return from a 2006 disbanding and have had an influence on artists across styles operating in their wake, all the while maintaining a persona of sincerity that has extended to frontman Mike Scheidt spending time during the COVID-19 lockdown performing acoustically in his kitchen. As somebody who’s been fortunate enough to see YOB on multiple occasions, the simple opportunity to dig into a new live recording is appreciated — I felt like they were doing me a favor as I paid my $7.00 for the download on Bandcamp — and from the electricity of their playing, which one can hear not only in the swells of volume and tone and crash, but also in the crowd’s hooting during quiet parts, desperate to express some of the tension surrounding them in the room. The lyrics of “Marrow” that speak of restless souls needing to feel one true moment would seem to be manifest here.

yob (Photo by Bobby Cochran)

Having a live version of that song, which is shorter in its 19 minutes than it was on  2014’s Clearing the Path to Ascend (review here), is a boon. It is the most emotionally resonant piece YOB — ScheidtFoster and bassist Aaron Rieseberg (also of Norska) — have ever written, and I wouldn’t think it anything but welcome in any setlist. The chance, however, to hear “Ball of Molten Lead” from 2004’s The Illusion of Motion by 2019’s YOB is evidence of the continually progressive path they’ve taken as a group. Scheidt‘s vocals are stronger and more confident, and his lead guitar takes swirling flight when it goes. Rieseberg and Foster add strength to the final charge late in the track, and the crowd immediately erupts when it’s done, following soon enough with the aforementioned hooting during the sparse stretch early in “The Lie that is Sin,” which originally appeared on 2009’s The Great Cessation (review here). It’s a credit to Foster‘s mix and the recording itself that the midsection of that track doesn’t sound like an absolute mess, as the full-volume push is huge but still discernible, and feels true to the original that came out 10 years before while again benefiting from the band YOB have become since, Scheidt‘s growls echoing out over broad expanse as the song moves into its 11th minute, the spine-twisting riff cutting itself short with precision heavy enough to crush a roach.

Twice in between songs Scheidt asks for changes to the mix in the stage monitors, but if there was an issue, it doesn’t seem to have had an impact on the recording or the show itself. “Marrow” is, as one would expect, gorgeous. I don’t imagine Pickathon 2019 will be many listeners’ first experience with YOB — it’s basically a fan-piece, and there’s nothing wrong with that — and as “Marrow” builds to its multi-tiered apex with a distinctively lush melody and still-patient roll, the band’s strengths are laid bare for the listener to consume, right unto the quiet stretch of guitar that finishes the track, in conversation with a host of prior YOB epics, none of them quite so inward-looking. “Burning the Altar” would feel like an epilogue in following to close out were it not so pummeling and consuming. In thanking the crowd before the song starts, Scheidt says something about “traversing highs and lows,” and “Burning the Altar” is one final brutal immersion. For all that, it’s also fun, with an immediate hook of a headbang-ready riff, its triplet-gallop and its final unfurling. A fitting closer, in other words, and one last opportunity for YOB to level the assembled before they’re done, which I’ll just assume is exactly how it played out.

I’ll be honest with you. I consider reviewing Pickathon 2019 an act of self-care. A favor I’m doing myself just by making the excuse to listen, let alone make the donation to Navajo COVID relief. Established fans of YOB won’t need prodding; the email notification of the release from Bandcamp came through like a call to prayer. YOB are a one-of-a-kind band, and if Pickathon 2019 is another chance to hear them in the absence of actual live shows, I’ll take it.

YOB, Pickathon 2019 – Live From the Galaxy Barn (2020)

YOB website

YOB on Thee Facebooks

YOB on Instagram

Relapse Records website

Relapse Records on Thee Facebooks

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The Obelisk Show on Gimme Radio Playlist: Episode 31

Posted in Radio on April 3rd, 2020 by JJ Koczan

the obelisk show banner

The theme for this episode of The Obelisk Show on Gimme Radio is pretty straightforward if you listen. It’s comfort songs. You would not necessarily believe that of a playlist that opens with Total Fucking Destruction doing the title-track of an album called To Be Alive at the End of the World, but again, once you listen, it’s actually kind of soothing. There’s a fair amount of instrumental material included, led off by Yawning Man, and I think the part with Vinnum Sabbathi and Forming the Void is probably as heavy as it gets, though that new Elephant Tree track certainly has some roll to it. God damn that’s a good song, not that that’s a huge surprise from those guys.

I haven’t cut the voice breaks for it yet but will do so sometime before this is posted, but I intend to talk a bit about the Om song and my association with their early work and seeing them at SXSW for what I think might’ve been the first time. It was a while ago and it’s hard to remember for a few reasons, but anyway, if I can remember it between typing this and speaking that, I hope to speak to it a bit, because I know that’s not their most soothing stuff by a long shot, but the memory I have of it puts it in that framework for me. Closing with YOB’s “Marrow” was, of course, a given.

Thanks for listening if you do. I hope you enjoy, and if you see this and don’t listen, then thanks for reading. If you’re not reading, well, you’ll never know you were being thanked.

The Obelisk Show airs 5PM Eastern today on the Gimme app or at http://gimmeradio.com

Full playlist:

The Obelisk Show – 04.03.20

Total Fucking Destruction To be Alive at the End of the World To be Alive at the End of the World*
Yawning Man I Make Weird Choices Macedonian Lines
Acid King Center of Everywhere Middle of Nowhere, Center of Everywhere
Colour Haze Peace, Brothers and Sisters! Colour Haze
BREAK
Pretty Lightning Boogie at the Shrine Jangle Bowls*
Elephant Tree Bird Habits*
Charivari Lotus Eater Descent*
Tia Carrera Layback Tried and True*
Vinnum Sabbathi Quantum Determinism Of Dimensions & Theories*
Forming the Void Manifest Reverie*
BREAK
Om Annapurna Variations on a Theme
YOB Marrow Clearing the Path to Ascend

The Obelisk Show on Gimme Radio airs every Friday 5PM Eastern, with replays Sunday at 7PM Eastern. Next new episode is April 17 (subject to change). Thanks for listening if you do.

Gimme Radio website

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YOB Announce West Coast US and European Tours

Posted in Whathaveyou on January 27th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

yob (Photo by JJ Koczan)

Eugene, Oregon’s YOB doing pretty much anything is good news as far as I’m concerned. “YOB are a band on this planet” continues to be something to have in your existential back pocket on hard days. Thus it is that even though they’re not hitting the East Coast on the newly announced stints they’ve lined up for March and May — they’ll be on the West Coast and in Europe, respectively, ahead of an appearance at Fire in the Mountains in Wyoming this July — I’m not going to complain. I saw YOB in Brooklyn last Spring (review here) and it was glorious. Maybe they’ll be back this way in the Fall, or maybe some other time. Once again, YOB are a band on this planet. Realizing this is only ever a positive feeling.

2018’s Our Raw Heart (review here) is streaming at the bottom of this post. Take a few minutes out of your day and rejoice. It’s a long week ahead.

From the PR wire:

yob tour dates

YOB: Announce 2020 US & European Tour Dates

Critically acclaimed cosmic trio YOB have announced 2020 US & EU tour dates launching this Spring. US dates kick off on March 19 in Sacramento, CA and ends March 28 in Boise, ID. Beginning May 20, YOB returns to Europe in Dresden, DE and ends May 30 in Karlsruhe, DE at Dudefest.

Additionally, YOB will perform at Fire in the Mountains as part of the ‘On Wings Over Utgard’ showcase, curated by Ivar Bjørnson of Enslaved. Tickets are available at https://www.yobislove.com/tour.

YOB Tour Dates:

Mar 19 Sacramento, CA @ Harlow’s
Mar 20 Santa Cruz, CA @ Catalyst
Mar 21 Oakland, CA @ Metro
Mar 22 Los Angeles, CA @ Echoplex
Mar 23 San Diego, CA @ Brick By Brick
Mar 24 Tucson, CA @ Club Congress
Mar 25 Albuquerque, NM @ Sister
Mar 26 Denver, CO @ Marquis Theater
Mar 27 Salt Lake City, UT @ Soundwell
Mar 28 Boise, ID @ Treefort Music Fest

May 20 Dresden, DE @ Chemiefabrik
May 21 Hannover, DE @ Cafe Glocksee
May 23 Rouen, FR @ Le 106
May 24 Esch-sur-Alzette, LU @ Kulturfabrik
May 25 Munich, DE @ Strom
May 27 Groningen, NL @ Vera
May 28 Eindhoven, NL @ Effenaar
May 29 Dortmund, DE @ Junkyard
May 30 Karlsruhe, DE @ Dudefest

Jul 10-12 Moran, WY @ Fire In The Mountains

YOB’s Our Raw Heart is out now on CD/LP/Digital via Relapse Records. Physical packages are available via Relapse.com HERE and Digital Downloads / Streaming Services HERE.

YOB is:
Mike Scheidt – Guitar, Vocals
Aaron Rieseberg – Bass
Travis Foster – Drums

www.yobislove.com
www.facebook.com/quantumyob
www.instagram/com/quantumyob
www.relapse.com
www.facebook.com/RelapseRecords

YOB, Our Raw Heart (2018)

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Song of the Decade: YOB, “Marrow”

Posted in Features on December 26th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

yob (Photo by James Rexroad)

To be perfectly honest, I don’t feel the need to plead much of a case here. The 18-minute closer from Oregon trio YOB‘s 2014 opus, Clearing the Path to Ascend (review here), is its own best argument for being the best song that came out in the 2010s. And though it was obviously a while back, I also named it the song of the year when it came out. So who wants to be redundant? Here’s some of what I said about it at the time:

“Marrow” is led into by “Unmask the Spectre,” a 15-minute exploration that hits its apex late. There is, however, about 40-seconds of ambient guitar and spacious effects swirling after the chaos has subsided, and the fadeout of that gives flowing movement into the silence from which the opening guitar line of “Marrow” emerges. It’s less than a minute before bassist Aaron Rieseberg and drummer Travis Foster join in, which leaves guitarist/vocalist Mike Scheidt to set the initial atmosphere for what will become YOB‘s boldest and most melodic construction to date. Already by then, Clearing the Path to Ascend has taken listeners up, down and through an emotional torrent, songs like the raging “Nothing to Win” and the perpetually-searching “In Our Blood” establishing the dynamic course beyond YOB‘s beginnings — which, make no mistake, are essential to the makeup of what we think of today as cosmic doom — and further into something wholly their own; a sound as distinct and identifiable as Sleep‘s is to Sleep, as Neurosis‘ is to Neurosis. — read more here.

It’s been five years, and YOB have put out 2018’s Our Raw Heart (review here) in the meantime, moving from Neurot Recordings to Relapse Records in the process. So does the above still apply? Yes, and maybe even more than it did then.

The subsequent half-decade since it came out has done nothing to dull the impact of “Marrow,” from its wistful opening and closing guitar figure to the grand sweep of its melodic chorus, to the sheer grace of its crescendo, which arrives not as some overstated wash of noise or volume for volume’s sake, but a moment driven by emotion even more than tone. And the lyrics there, purposeful in their simplicity, say it gorgeous and plain like the truest of American art forms:

“Restless souls
Flickering light
Painted in gold
Tearing at the seams
Needing to feel
One true moment
Needing to feel
Something true”

That’s you, at a show. You’re one of the restless souls in the gold flickering light needing to feel one true moment. When Mike Scheidt sings those lines and the ones before them, he’s talking about the communication between artist and audience, the experience of performance that is unique to stage arts — theatre and music. Painters (usually) don’t paint on stage. Writers (usually) don’t write on stage. But that “one true moment.” That “something true” is the genuine expression that performance represents to Scheidt, and presumably YOB as a whole.

But the key word there is “needing,” and what the lyrics to “Marrow” leave largely unsaid is the need on the part of the band itself. It is represented as a kind of searching felt beneath the surface, and after a stream of consciousness first verse, the song unfolds into the self-aware pre-chorus thusly:

“All these words
Are dust within my mind
In these times
That burn within our sight
Yearning to know
Deep into the marrow”

Of course, YOB are not the first band to write about the experience of creative life, but if one takes the song at its own level, the difference is the level on which they’re engaging it. It’s not skin, muscle or bone. It’s marrow. It is the deepest level. The essential charge in the electron in the nucleus of an atom. YOB earned the title of the following LP by showing their raw heart first on “Marrow,” and in its performance, from Scheidt, Aaron Rieseberg and Travis Foster, it is something unmatched in their catalog, which spans nearly 20 years of output. But while “Marrow” remains superlative, it didn’t happen in a vacuum.

Consider the context of the grand YOB closers that have been a running theme throughout their career. I recounted the list at the time as well, but to reiterate, I’m thinking of the title-tracks of 2003’s Catharsis and 2004’s The Illusion of Motion (discussed here), “The Mental Tyrant” from 2005’s The Unreal Never Lived (discussed here), the title-track from 2009’s The Great Cessation (review here), and “Adrift in the Ocean” from 2011’s Atma (review here).

Our Raw Heart stepped away from the modus somewhat in that its eponymous finale wasn’t the longest song on the record — that would be “Beauty in Falling Leaves,” two tracks earlier — but both of those seemed to build on what was done on Clearing the Path to Ascend. The point though is that “Marrow” didn’t just arrive out of nowhere. It came as the culmination of years of exploring texture and bringing together emotionality and sonic heft, the idea that something heavy could be a ritual of spirit as much as volume.

It was a new level of achievement for YOB, and it and the album that surrounded cemented their place among the most integral American bands of their generation, but more than that, it validated the connection between their audience and their music. It made it real. Among “Marrow”‘s accomplishments in pushing the band’s sound to places it had hinted at before, it was an open, real, honest look at what it means to be on either side of the subject/object divide, and maybe it even broke down that barrier a little bit, at least when it comes to a fan’s connections to YOB‘s own work.

It was that true moment, preserved.

Honorable Mention

There are, of course, many arguments to be made for many other songs. A few off the top of my head:

  • Stoned Jesus, “I’m the Mountain”
  • Elder, “Lore”
  • Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats, “I’ll Cut You Down”
  • Sleep, “Giza Butler”
  • Om, “Gethsemane”
  • Neurosis, “At the Well”
  • Colour Haze, “Grace”
  • Clutch, “D.C. Sound Attack”
  • Graveyard, “The Siren”

That’s nine, so I guess if you want to package this in some order as a top 10, you could. I’m content to leave it as is, since it’s all relative anyway. But consider the impact of that Stoned Jesus track or Elder‘s “Lore” in igniting and inspiring new bands. Same with Uncle Acid. Like “Marrow” above, these are the songs that continue to resonate and have an effect not just on the listeners, but the artists themselves and other bands in the underground ecosystem. I don’t think that just because the decade is ending that will stop, either. These works, which have already lasted a span of years, will continue to shape the experiences of others, and art will continue to grow outward from other art. There are few things so beautiful in the universe.

If you have a pick you’d like to add to any of the above, please feel free to do so in the comments. The more the merrier, and thanks for reading.

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The Obelisk Show on Gimme Radio Playlist: Episode 23

Posted in Radio on September 13th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

the obelisk show banner

Got into some longer tracks this time around on The Obelisk Show, and that was very much on purpose. Last episode was the Kyuss special, and that was a lot of fun, but when I started this show I guess over a year ago now, I was thinking of it specifically as something a little bit against the grain of what Gimme Radio usually does, so yeah, I definitely consider playing like 15-minute tracks and in this case, a 23-minute track, as counter to the general consideration of where “radio” — even in its interwebular iteration — generally goes. At least I like to imagine it being that way.

So yes. A lot of new music around here, and some longer tracks from the likes of Taras BulbaJesus the Snake (get jazzy, y’all), Ireland’s Coroza and Swedes V and Goatess. Also the new single from Blackwater Holylight because it’s so good that I had to play it, new stuff from Here Lies ManYear of the CobraOgreLamassu and the Alunah track that was premiered here this week, basically just as a brag on my part. And for the classic track? Oh, it’s only “Catharsis” by YOB. If you can think of a better way to spend the aforementioned 23 minutes of your life than listening to that, I’d love to hear it.

I haven’t cut the voice tracks yet as I write this (I’ll do them this afternoon), so I don’t know how much of a dork I sound like, but I’m sure I’ll sound like plenty of a dork when I get there. But thanks for listening if you do in just a couple hours, and thanks for your ongoing support generally, because it’s what lets me do crazy stuff like a radio show on the station that has Dave Mustaine and the dude from Amon Amarth as DJs. These are wacky times.

Listen at: http://www.gimmeradio.com

Here’s the full playlist:

The Obelisk Show – 09.13.19

 

Year of the Cobra Into the Fray Ash & Dust*
Jesus the Snake Karma Black Acid, Pink Rain*
BREAK
Here Lies Man Iron Rattles No Ground to Walk Upon*
Taras Bulba The Yo-Yo Man One*
Blackwater Holylight Death Realms Veils of Winter*
V Led into Exile Led into Exile*
Goatess What Lies Beneath Blood and Wine*
Lamassu I Die Into the Empty*
BREAK
YOB Catharsis Catharsis
Alunah Hunt Violet Hour*
Ogre The Future Thrice as Strong*
BREAK
Coroza The Plutonian Drug Chaliceburner*

The Obelisk Show on Gimme Radio airs every other Friday at 1PM Eastern, with replays every Sunday at 7PM Eastern. Next show is Sept. 27. Thanks for listening if you do.

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