Friday Full-Length: The Book of Knots, Traineater

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

The Book of Knots, Traineater (2007)

Traineater is something of the lost The Book of Knots record, which is counterintuitive because I’m pretty sure it was the one with widest initial distribution. But their 2004 debut, Book of Knots, is still available to stream via Arclight Records, and their 2011 third LP, Garden of Fainting Stars (review here), is diligently hosted for digital listening via Ipecac Recordings‘ Bandcamp page. Traineater, the middle outing from the kinda-New-York-based troupe, is only listenable as a YouTube playlist, and while physical copies are still available in some places, it never had nearly the profile it deserved. Though to be fair, I’m not sure it possibly could.

I’ll be blunt and say flat out I love this record. I’ve lived with it for 11 years and it still manages to both deliver something new each time and to make an impact in the listening experience. The Book of Knots was comprised of the four-piece of vocalist/violinist Carla Kihlstedt (Sleepytime Gorilla Museum), guitarist Joel Hamilton (Battle of Mice, noted producer at Studio G in Brooklyn), bassist Tony Maimone (Pere Ubu) and the book of knots traineaterdrummer/vocalist Matthias Bossi (Sleepytime Gorilla Museum), and each of their three albums carried a loose concept behind it. Sea, land and air. The self-titled told stories of the ocean, Traineater was in homage to post-industrial Rust Belt decline, and Garden of Fainting Stars explored Cold War-era piloting and the space race. Particularly on the latter two outings, the core four-piece was joined by a slew of guests, and as Traineater opens with “View from the Watertower,” also its longest track at 5:51 (immediate points), their impact can be felt immediately as Carla Bozulich (Evangelista) takes the lead vocal to top the album’s explosive launch.

The track devolves into eerie noise and manic poetry as Bozulich builds a maddening tension that, at 3:50, bursts out again on a slow instrumental march that’s every bit what post-metal could’ve become at its best. The album that follows is wildly experimental — each of its 14 tracks offers something different, as well as mostly different personnel; if there’s any crime to it, it’s that Kihlstedt doesn’t get more lead vocal opportunities, as she’s a fucking genius — and after Bossi takes on ol’-time radio compression to narrate the quick bounce of “Hands of Production,” Traineater gives its first demonstration of her utter brilliance with its title-track. Broken down mills, factory decline, worn down people, and a kind of wounded heart populate Traineater, and though there’s some element of condescension as Tom Waits gives a gravelly voice to the nonetheless catchy-as-hell “Pray,” which follows in succession, the raw soul on display in “Traineater” itself might only be matched by Kihlstedt‘s vocal/violin — yes, she does both at the same time; I’ve seen it live — on the later “Salina,” which is the first of a two-stage apex of the album in its second half.

Spoken word is introduced as an element in “View from the Watertower” to some degree, but as The Book of Knots welcome more and more guests — Jon Langford of The Mekons, Waits, Aaron Lazar of The Giraffes, Trey Spruance of Secret Chiefs 3 and Mr. Bungle (etc.), Norman Westberg (who’d go on to play in Swans), Mike Watt and a slew of others credited on the back cover: Alice Lee, Rick Moody, Wu Fei, Zeena Parkins, Brian Wolf, Allen Willner, Matt Welsh, Kathleen Brennan, John Davis, Doug Henderson, and Megan Reilly — on vocals and various instruments, some homemade, human speaking voice becomes an all the more essential element in the album’s varied personality on cuts like “Pedro to Cleveland,” the seething and malevolent “Red Apple Boy,” parts of “Midnight,” “Boomtown” and “Hewitt-Smithson,” which appears just ahead of the two minutes of noise in “Walker Percy Evans High School” that close out.

It is an album as dense as its list of personnel, but not inaccessible, and the showcase of voice is a big part of that. Kihlstedt‘s presence in “Traineater,” “Where’d Mom Go?” and “Salina” isn’t to be understated as a factor tying the material together, but whether it’s the selection of obscure verses to the traditional “The Ballad of John Henry” that start Traineater‘s second half, ending poignantly with the title character telling his son he must be a steel-driving man, which in the context of the record is only thereby perpetuating the decline of human-labor industrialization, or the somewhat departures from the concept in “Red Apple Boy” — more a treatise on the underlying threat of suburbia — and “Boomtown,” which carries through the theme, but from a British Isles perspective, each cut brings characters and stories to life such that it’s not artists sitting back in a New York studio talking about the Midwest, but more of an effort to engage a collective spirit. Issues of social class remain, but that too is a crucial part of the American story.

As noted, “Salina” is the first of a two-part apex to the work as a whole. The second piece of that is the chugging “Third Generation Pink Slip.” Fronted — and very much fronted — by Lazar, it begins with the lines, “This town’s so done/The writing’s on the wall/The more the union makes demands/The more the union falls,” and continues through with a scathing, gnashing performance that’s bitter enough to earn its concluding image: “Three generations on a Friday night spend their last paychecks, alright,” which arrives around a reprise of dutiful workaday whistling brought in during an earlier break. In combination with the violin-laced, hair-stand-on-end surge in the second half of “Salina,” it’s The Book of Knots at both their most outwardly heavy and arguably the book of knots traineater back covertheir most visionary, answering back the intensity of “View from the Watertower” with a righteous summation of Traineater‘s style and message alike, and it every bit earns the subsequent epitaph of “Hewitt-Smithson” and “Walker Percy Evans High School” that follows. At that point there’s not much left to say.

They played one show for Traineater, in New York at some theater downtown — was it Gramercy? It was one of them — and I was there. It was their first show, and BozulichLazar, and a ton of others showed up for the occasion. Incredible. There was one gig at The Knitting Factory in Brooklyn for Garden of Fainting Stars the review of which is linked above, and there may have been one more in the years since, but I’m not sure on that. I may have blocked it out of my memory because I was so upset I couldn’t be there, if it did happen. Either way, the quartet of KihlstedtBossiMaimone and Hamilton have moved onto different projects. Last I heard Kihlstedt and Bossi were on Cape Cod, being brilliant under sundry guises. Hamilton was nominated for a Grammy for production work a few years back, and in addition to owning Studio GMaimone plays in the instrumental post-rock outfit No Grave Like the Sea and others. He recorded and mixed their debut album, Estelle, in 2016.

I won’t, but I could go on about Traineater, and frankly, I don’t care if you’ve never heard The Book of Knots or what. Sometimes I close out a week with a record just for myself, and this is one of those occasions. I won’t take away from either of their other releases, but this is an album so underrated that it feels like a crime against humanity. Approach with an open mind.

As always, I hope you enjoy, and thanks for reading.

I stood outside for a minute last night in the parking lot of the stretch of townhouses where we live in Massachusetts last night in my shorts and my sandals and let the lazy snowflakes fall on my head. I don’t know what this winter’s going to be like up here — one feels permanently traumatized by capital-‘w’ Winter 2014 — but I enjoyed that moment and as it’s quarter to five in the morning now, I’m looking forward to when The Pecan wakes up and sees the two inches or so of snow that fell after he went to bed last night. I expect he’ll squeak in response. He’s been doing that a lot this week. He’s amazing.

We came back north from Jersey on Tuesday, I think. Yeah, Tuesday. Stole an extra 24 hours in the Mid-Atlantic owing to the end of World War I. I’ll take it however it comes. Spent most of the week beat to hell, as expected, and down, down, down in that narcissistic mire of fucking depressive horror. Awful. You feel like shit about everything and it just bleeds off you. I’m 37 years old and I fucking hate myself like I did when I was 12. Do you have any idea how sad that shit is a quarter-century later? A big part of me is like, “dude get over it” and then I just sit there and fucking chastise myself for existing and draining the life out of everyone around me — which up here is really only The Patient Mrs. and The Pecan. You think a one-year-old doesn’t deserve better than to hang around with my sad ass? Pathetic.

There’s a lot of shit that’s happened to me in the last two-plus years that I’m just not over. At all. At all. It’s personal, but it’s always there. You go through some things that change who you are on a fundamental level. You get scars, and they look different over time, but they don’t leave you.

Speaking of permanence — and yet radically shifting the subject — I’m thinking of getting a tattoo. Not going to say of what yet, and no, it has nothing to do with the baby, but yeah, I’ve got a design from Sean “Skillit” McEleny that’s headed toward finalization that I’m looking to get on the inside of my forearm. Haven’t quite decided right or left, but either way, it’s something I want visible.

The Pecan is waking up. I can hear him thumping around upstairs even with the new Spidergawd record playing — which rules, by the way — and maybe he’ll go back out and maybe not. Either way, time’s a crunch. Here’s what’s up for next week, subject to change:

Mon.:  New Light Choir full stream/review; Samavayo video premiere-ish; Bell Witch video.
Tue.: Pale Divine full stream/review; Fauna Timbre video premiere.
Wed.: Foghound full stream/review.
Thu.: Huata full stream/review.
Fri.: Maybe an Orango full stream/review? Otherwise Rotor review.

Packed. Next week is Thanksgiving in the US, and if you’re celebrating, all my best. We’ll be back down in New Jersey for it to see and host family. Very much looking forward to that, and you’ll note that the end of next week is pretty Euro-centric as a result. You know I overthink this stuff.

Alright, I should get going. Two quick plugs:

1. Hoodies and longsleeve shirts are up now at Dropout Merch: https://dropoutmerch.com/the-obelisk.

2. This Sunday at 7PM Eastern is a new episode of ‘The Obelisk Show’ on Gimme Radio: https://gimmeradio.com/

If you didn’t see over on Instagram, I bought a new microphone to use for the latter. Sounds pretty good but for the doofus talking into it. Ha.

Please have a great and safe weekend, and if I don’t say so again between now and then, an excellent Thanksgiving, and a productive start to the brutality that is the holiday season. Have fun. Back Monday.

The Obelisk Forum

The Obelisk Radio

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Clutch Head out on Winter Tour Starting Feb. 19

Posted in Whathaveyou on November 16th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

clutch (Photo by JJ Koczan)

Last time I posted about a Clutch tour — and yeah, they pretty much go from one to the next — I told my sob story about how I hadn’t yet thrown down for a copy of their latest album, Book of Bad Decisions (review here). Pitiful. Some sad shit. You see, the thing is: I want the special edition. The CD. It’s nifty looking and it’s not really more expensive than the regular version. My holdup has essentially been one of cashmonies and the lack thereof. Not looking for sympathy or anything, but it’s kind of become an existential crisis.

Enough of one to get me to drive four hours south to Irving Plaza in March to pick one up? Maybe. Clutch at Irving has always been a singular good time, though I wouldn’t complain about hopping up to Portland, Maine, to catch them next month on their holiday run either. Xmas present to myself, maybe. It’s a daydream, but it’d be neat.

I’ll get that record, though. And I’ll keep you posted when it happens. I’m sure there’ll be another tour to announce soon.

From the PR wire:

clutch winter 2019 tour

CLUTCH ANNOUNCE NEW 2019 WINTER TOUR DATES

Maryland rockers Clutch have announced the first batch of their 2019 Winter tour dates for February and March in support of their newest effort Book Of Bad Decisions. Tickets go on sale to the public this Friday, November 16th at 10:00 am.

All ticket links are available at the official Clutch Facebook facebook.com/clutchband and www.pro-rock.com.

Book Of Bad Decisions is Clutch’s twelfth studio album debuting at #1 on several charts around the world including the US Billboard Hard Rock chart.

CLUTCH’s “Book of Bad Decisions Winter Tour 2019”
Tickets available at www.pro-rock.com
Tue/Feb-19 Columbia, SC @ The Senate
Thu/Feb-21 Nashville, TN @ Marathon Music Works
Fri/Feb-22 Fayetteville, AR @ Majestic
Sat/Feb-23 Austin, TX @ Stubbs BBQ
Sun/Feb-24 Baton Rouge, LA @ Varsity
Tue/Feb-26 Springfield, MO @ Gillioz Theater
Wed/Feb-27 Des Moines, IA @ Wooly’s
Fri/Mar-01 Billings, MT @ Pub Station
Sat/Mar-02 Missoula, MT @ Wilma Theater
Fri/Mar-08 Wichita, KS @ The Cotillion
Sat/Mar-09 Oklahoma City, OK @ Diamond Ballroom
Sun/Mar-10 Lincoln, NE @ Bourbon Theater
Wed/Mar-13 Chicago, IL @ Concord Music Hall
Thu/Mar-14 Green Bay, WI @ The Distillery
Sat/Mar-16 Snowshoe, WV @ Ballhooter Spring Break @ Snowshoe Mountain
Mon/Mar-18 Buffalo, NY @ Town Ballroom
Tue/Mar-19 New York, NY @ Irving Plaza

Clutch Holiday Tour Dates:

Thu/Dec-27 Baltimore, MD @ Rams Head Live!
Fri/Dec-28 Sayreville, NJ @ Starland Ballroom
Sat/Dec-29 Portland, ME @ Aura
Sun/Dec-30 Clifton Park, NY @ Upstate Concert Hall
Mon/Dec-31 Cleveland, OH @ Masonic Auditorium at Temple Live

CLUTCH:
Neil Fallon – Vocals/Guitar
Tim Sult – Guitar
Dan Maines – Bass
Jean-Paul Gaster – Drums/Percussion

www.facebook.com/clutchband
www.instagram.com/clutchofficial
www.twitter.com/clutchofficial
www.pro-rock.com
www.youtube.com/user/officialclutch

Clutch, “Hot Bottom Feeder” official video

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Zaum Sign to Listenable Records; New Album in 2019; New Lineup Announced

Posted in Whathaveyou on November 16th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

Formerly a duo, Moncton’s Zaum become a three-piece with the addition of Nawal Doucette to the lineup handling the visual side of their presentation and ambient whathaveyou, which, if you’re familiar with the Canadian outfit, you already know is not a minor consideration when it comes to their sound. Zaum toured through Canada in September alongside Sweden’s Firebreather, and when I just happened to run into the band in August at Psycho Las Vegas, they said the plan was to finish working on their next album after that tour. I guess that’s where we are now, and the announcement that they’ll release the follow-up to 2016’s Eidolon (review here) through Listenable Records is all the better. Not that I Hate Records was doing them wrong in anyway, but the more promotion behind their work and the wider the distribution, the better.

The bottom line I guess is 2019 should be an interesting year for the revamped longform-working, multi-textured progressive doom outfit. I don’t know how much touring they’ll do, but when I hear whatever I hear I’ll let you know. Till then, the announcement of the Listenable signing came through the PR wire.

And here it is:

zaum (Photo by Pierre Morin)

ZAUM: Canada-Based Mantra Doom Act Joins Listenable Records

Canada-based mantra doom act ZAUM has signed a multi-album deal with Listenable Records.

ZAUM is a passage toward the dark realizations of the old world; a monolithic, doomy mantra-based meditative experience forged by bass and drums interwoven with sitar, woodwind, string, and synth textures. Based in New Brunswick, observers experience a tranquil resonance whereby the astral and physical planes can coexist and be understood from a natural perspective.

ZAUM’s most recent full-length musical chapter, Eidolon, was released in October of 2016 via I Hate Records. In their few years as an active, touring band ZAUM has performed over two-hundred shows including support stints for Voivod, Cauldron, Mars Red Sky, and Bison as well as showcases at Roadburn, Haywire Festival, and Incubate.

ZAUM is currently composing new material for their next full-length, slated for a spring 2019 release via Listenable.

ZAUM:
Kyle Alexander McDonald – vocals, bass, textures
Christopher Lewis – drums, percussion
Nawal Doucette – visual performance art, ambiance

https://www.facebook.com/zaumn/
https://twitter.com/zaumdoom
https://www.instagram.com/zaumdoom/
https://zaum.bandcamp.com/
http://www.listenable.net
http://www.facebook.com/listenablerecs
https://twitter.com/Listenable

Zaum, Eidolon (2016)

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Captain Caravan: Shun the Sun LP Due Early 2019 on Cursed Tongue Records

Posted in Whathaveyou on November 16th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

captain-caravan

So the original plan, as discussed when they posted the video for the single ‘Crown’ earlier this year, was that Shun the Sun would be a debut EP from Norwegian heavy rockers Captain Caravan. As anyone who’s ever made any can tell you, plans change. Shun the Sun has expanded from an EP to an LP and, with a digital release set for Nov. 23 — keep an eye out — it’ll now be issued on vinyl by the venerable Cursed Tongue Records, whose pickups have become something of a regular feature around these parts. No coincidence there, since the label does good work and is driven by masterful taste in fuzz and heavy whatnots, and that thread certainly continues with Captain Caravan, as the band have newly unveiled a video for the title-track of Shun the Sun ahead of the initial digital offering (IDO) of the record’s entirety.

You can dig into that at the bottom of this post, as well as the prior clip for “Crown,” because one likes to be thorough. To that end, the copious PR wire info comes courtesy of Cursed Tongue.

Have at it:

captain caravan signing poster

CAPTAIN CARAVAN SIGNS TO CURSED TONGUE RECORDS FOR A WORLD WIDE RELEASE OF THEIR DEBUT ALBUM ‘SHUN THE SUN’ DUE FOR SPRING 2019.

Cursed Tongue Records is happy to announce the signing of Norwegian fuzzy stoner rockers Captain Caravan for a vinyl release of their debut full length album ‘Shun The Sun’ spring 2019. On rare occasions a band comes along that needs little to no time to impress on a paramount scale – fast rewind a few months and enter Captain Caravan on the Cursed Tongue Records band spotlight radar.

We quickly sensed that something grand was underway when JJ at The Obelisk posted a short article about a promising band from Norway that seemingly came out of nowhere. Upon listening to Captain Caravan’s first single “Crown” featuring new singer Johhny Olsen, we instantly knew that this was the real deal, and that a future album would kick some serious ass on the stoner rock scene. After having played the band’s debut album ‘Shun The Sun’ an almost illegal number of times, it’s with confidence that we can say that this is indeed going to happen.

On ‘Shun The Sun’ you will find an unpretentious uppercut to the established horde of stoner/desert/fuzz rock bands as Captain Caravan kicks in the door and claims the crown as the new overlords of riff-heavy, metal-capped stonerized desert rock with melodies so infectious they will keep you humming long after album closer “Book Of Oblivion” takes home the last trump card. But don’t take our words for it, go take a listen to for instance the title track or “Shadow King” to realize the maturity, musicality and “surplus” the four captains of the caravan play with. Fans of such heavy hitters as Sasquatch, Mountain Dust, Greenleaf, Dozer and Wo Fat will find plenty to love on the Kent Stump (of aforementioned Wo Fat fame) mixed and mastered ‘Shun The Sun’.

Captain Caravan from Egersund, Norway were formed in 2015 when BK, Morten, Christian (previous singer) and Geir got together following individual projects, and started to rediscover their collective craft. Based on common musically influences from southern rock, stoner rock and classic rock, the band quickly started writing songs. Slowly, defining their musical profile and sharpening the pen the band began to evolve on their winning formula.

2018 started with a lot of changes. The band parted with Christian and were now looking for a new vocalist. Different singers were tried and tested but Johnny Olsen turned out to be the perfect match for Captain Caravan and after a bit of jamming Johnny got aboard. He was undoubtedly the last piece needed for the band to travel down the somewhat bumpy road with a lot of new inspiration, developing a lot of good ideas, writing new material.

Johnny is a great vocalist and writer, and with loads of experience on stage, and his approach in general, he is clearly the natural born front man. Earlier Johnny has been busy with bands like Moth Circus and Alien Ken, plus several other bands and guest appearances in different projects.

Former Pawnshop guitarist BK Sæstad, well-known for their classic releases and worldwide touring in the early 2000s, is the main songwriter and musician in Captain Caravan, putting his signature on the sound of the band and the main context of the songs, then flavored by Geir and Morten in the rhythm section. Captain Caravan is definitely not the same as Pawnshop, but still one can recognize BKs playing style and sound – It’s all in there somewhere.

Longer, heavier and more experimental songs became the focus, with the powerful, growling, yet melodic voice of Johnny, the band now clearly got their own new sound in place sounding nothing quite like they had done before. Suddenly everything was beginning to gel and the material fell quite easy in place for them.

Captain Caravan started the recording of what was initially supposed to be a six track EP and the single ‘Crown’ was laid down by guitarist BK at his own studio, then mixed and Mastered by Kent Stump from Crystal Clear Sound Recording Studio in Dallas Texas. After the release of ‘Crown’ the band witnessed great feedback and big ups from both fans and reviewers. Among them Niels from the Danish label Cursed Tongue Records. Shortly thereafter Captain Caravan signed with Cursed Tongue Records, plans were then rescheduled and the band was now aiming for a full length album to be released digitally November 23rd, 2018 with vinyl LP slated for release early spring 2019 – things do change fast when on a roll.

The rest of the album was brought to life same way as the band did for ‘Crown’; recordings were done at the bands rehearsal location and at BKs Studio, and Kent at Crystal Clear Sound then took over the material for mixing and mastering both for digital release and vinyl.

Although the band could not be happier than they are with what they have achieved in this process, they still want to get out there with the fans, playing gigs, sharing their new music with as many as possible. Captain Caravan now plan several gigs and touring across boarders in times that come – who knows, they might show up at your doorstep in the near future.

Quotes from the band:

“With this album under our belt, we’re ready to get back to what it’s all about : rocking the house!”

“What it comes down to for us, is that we really dig what we’re doing, and we’ve brought a lot of people something they really dig too. We want people out there to discover our music and share their experience with others, then we have achieved our main goal the band besides having a blast ourselves”.

Band and label clicked from the get go, an instant connection was immediately established and both are dead set on bringing their absolute best. We feel that Captain Caravan sits well in with the rest of the Cursed Tongue Records roster as the label expand on hosting the best from the heavy underground. Cursed Tongue Records will as per usual roll out the red carpet treatment featuring high-quality heavy-weight vinyl in different editions. Also getting the talented Diogo from Soares Artwork to do the album artwork together with Cursed Tongue Records will ensure an equal visual pleasing experience – in other words, we have seen the gatefold artwork and it rocks!

So brace yourself for impact soon as the album will release digitally on Captain Caravan’s Bandcamp page next Friday (November 23rd) and get ready to groove along to an absolute monster of an album!

CTR-018: CAPTAIN CARAVAN – ‘SHUN THE SUN’, vinyl official release date: actual date TBA – March/April 2019

Captain Caravan is:
Johnny Olsen – Vocals
BK Sæstad – Guitar
Morten Skogen – Drums
Geir Solli – Bass

All songs written and arranged by Captain Caravan

Produced by Captain Caravan
Recorded at BK Studio by BK Saestad
Drums on Dirty Red Velvet recorded by Arvid Tjelta
Mixed and Mastered at Crystal Clear Sound by Kent Stump
Front cover artwork by Soares Artwork
Photo by Joakim Kyrø
Layout & design by Michael Andresakis

Track listing:

Side A
1. Crown
2. Illusion of Meaning
3. Shun the Sun
4. Godkiller

Side B
5. Zombie Machine
6. Shadow King
7. Dirty Red Velvet
8. Book of Oblivion

www.captaincaravan.com
https://www.facebook.com/CaptCaravan
http://instagram.com/captaincaravan
http://cursedtonguerecords.bigcartel.com/
https://www.facebook.com/CursedTongueRecords
https://www.instagram.com/cursedtonguerecords

Captain Caravan, “Shun the Sun” official video

Captain Caravan, “Crown” official video

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Review & Track Premiere: Arcadian Child, Superfonica

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

arcadian child superfonica

[Click play above to stream the official premiere of ‘Bain Marie’ from Arcadian Child’s Superfonica. Album is out Nov. 23 on Rogue Wave/Ripple Music.]

The sense of drift is so graceful and the flow of the material is so natural that, in listening to Arcadian Child‘s Superfonica, I actually went and looked up the climate of Cyprus. Eight months of temperate summer on an island in the Eastern Mediterranean could hardly be a more fitting backdrop for the eight-track/38-minute offering — the band’s first new release for Rogue Wave Records/Ripple Music following a reissue of their 2017 debut, Afterglow (review here), earlier this year — which hones a peaceful spirit in songs like “Brothers” and the opening fuzz of “Bain Marie” while still retaining tonal presence and a sense of energy in the delivery. Leaving behind some of the Queens of the Stone Agery of their initial outing, the first-name-basis four-piece of Panagiotis, Andreas, Stathis and Christos find themselves nestled comfortably into a balance between spacey grunge rock and psychedelic impulses.

“She Flows” comes alive with a warm-toned push in its back half, but that’s not to say there’s stillness earlier in the song, or necessarily anywhere else on Superfonica that it’s not intended to be, as the Limassol-based outfit inject life even into their most minimalist spaces, as in the wide-open keyboard reaches of the penultimate “Before We Die” or the subdued, patient unfolding of closer “The March,” that follows, or even the midsection of the otherwise bouncing “Constellations” — arguably the most active piece on the record — which finds soft vocals half-whispering over like-minded guitar for a stretch that soon picks up again with a cue from the snare drum. The band cites The Black Angels as an influence and I’m not inclined to argue, as they seem to skirt the line between Dead Meadow-style shoegaze and ’90s alternative shove. Yet there’s a heavy rock root in their approach as well, and in a hidden treasure like “She Flows” on side B, which follows the 6:44 “Painting” (premiered here), they’re able to enact a heavier roll as they hold consistent with the mood of the album overall.

This is thanks in no small part to the vocals, which bring a steady humanity to what might otherwise be perceived as an otherworldly listen, but if one is mining Superfonica for highlights, it’s a relatively quick operation. The first three seconds of “Bain Marie” — and I suspect that’s how it got to open the record — tell the tale of one of the record’s greatest assets, and that’s the fuzz tone of the guitars. Arcadian Child prove adept at complementing the warm, inviting fuzz with airier, post-rock-style effects, and the vocals suit that well too, but while they don’t use riffs as an okay-we-have-a-riff-so-that’s-a-track-done kind of crutch in their songwriting, when they lock in around one, as on “Bain Marie” or the subsequent, relatively uptempo and hooky “Twist Your Spirit,” the bulk of “Constellations” or “She Flows,” the results are nothing but enticing. Again, though, that’s just one aspect of Arcadian Child‘s style, and the post-midpoint guitar meander of “Brothers” would have Gary Arce himself blushing, while the crash cymbal in “The March” is as much a highlight in its creation of a wash as anything done elsewhere by guitar, bass or keys.

arcadian child

It’s a rare level of attention to sonic detail that makes Superfonica so ultimately effective. Their craft itself — the raw songwriting — is there as a foundation. And it’s absolutely necessary, since without it the more rocking side A salvo of “Bain Marie,” “Twist Your Spirit” and “Brothers” would fall flat en route to the expansion that takes place in “Constellations” as a preface to the more patient psychedelia that “Painting” unfurls at the outset of side B with “She Flows” as a quick touch to ground ahead of the stratospheric departure that is the capper duo “Before We Die” and “The March.” But the production, the arrangement of the tracklisting, and the vibe within the individual cuts themselves all work to feed into the central presentation of Superfonica as a cohesive entirety. It’s not just about this or that track, this or that chorus, this or that jam — but instead what these things can do in conversation with each other.

And I won’t take away either from what “Bain Marie” or “Brothers” or even “She Flows” does in terms of establishing a subtle underlying momentum to carry the audience through the material as a whole, but “Painting” and “The March” make a distinct impression as accomplishments of another degree. The former is the longest inclusion and an immediate high point in terms of its serene, oceanic motion to its apex, and it’s hypnotic enough to warrant multiple visits, but still finds itself on solid footing by its end, while “The March” is indeed something of a percussive showcase and in that it creates a tension that’s something of a standout from the rest of Superfonica, showing a restlessness that comes to a fervent head before it’s done and seems to speak to further exploration to follow on the part of the band as a whole. More power to it in that — forward potential is always welcome — but neither is the impact of “The March” on the record that precedes it to be overlooked. Like “Bain Marie” at the launch, it feels purposefully positioned as the finale, and it works no less efficiently to resonate the band’s intention for it.

Outwardly gorgeous, strident in its construction and with enough cast of adventure in sound that it not only takes a significant step from their debut but leads one to believe further such steps are to come on this path, Superfonica is the kind of record that speaks to the soul. It’s not a get-up-and-party, booze-your-face whatever record. It’s a good time, to be sure, but its motion is more wistful and quieter than it is brash, however active some parts might be, and the prevailing engagement is owed to Arcadian Child‘s ability to affect the mindset of their audience and so righteously convey the calmness that in no small part defines this material. Its details are there for those who want to hear them or are willing to go deeper, but even if you just put it on and find yourself following its easy, eight-month-summer fluidity, I don’t think you miss out. Not hearing it would be missing out.

Arcadian Child on Thee Facebooks

Arcadian Child on Bandcamp

Arcadian Child on Spotify

Rogue Wave Records on Thee Facebooks

Rogue Wave Records BigCartel store

Ripple Music website

Ripple Music on Thee Facebooks

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Høstsabbat 2019: Ufomammut Added as Headliners

Posted in Whathaveyou on November 16th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

ufomammut

I’m just going to guess that whatever city office in Oslo is in charge of allowing bands into historical landmarks has never heard of Ufomammut, otherwise they’d almost certainly never risk having the Italian cosmic doom magnates play at Høstsabbat 2019 for the very reasonable fear of their rumbling the Kulturkirken Jakob to the ground. I can just picture it: the three of them on that altar stage, and their unmatched heft of wash reverberating from that high ceiling in the church and the back wall, feeding back onto itself until, everyone in attendance’s head goes all Scanners on them. Yes, it will be very, very heavy, but given the setting, it’ll be something really special as well. In all seriousness, it’s a great pick from the Høstsabbat crew.

And suitably enough, they’ll be headlining the Altar stage. That’s one of two headliners unveiled for Høstsabbat 2019. Any guesses on the other? I’ve got a wishlist, but after seeing Toner Low this year, I don’t think I dare actually speculate.

Here’s the festival’s announcement:

hostsabbat 2019 ufomammut

HØSTSABBAT 2019 – UFOMAMMUT

For twenty years, these three phsychsters have been making waves, seismic waves, in our underground community. It is with great pride we are able to welcome UFOMAMMUT to Høstsabbat, treating us with a special set celebrating their 20th anniversary, showcasing the depth and width of their seemingly neverending career in heavy music.

Gaining momentum after every single release, these fine Italians are masters of their craft. Pushing boundaries album after album, touching new ground as they simultaneously reap their gains, Ufomammut are pioneers of the underground, giving their audience crushingly heavy, psyched out pieces of art, almost more than music.

To have them headline the Chapel stage in the church feels surreal, and we can only imagine what it will do to you. Buckle up, Sabbathians. You’re in for a ride!

MUSIC
Spotify: http://bit.ly/SFufomammut
Bandcamp: https://ufomammut.bandcamp.com/

HØSTSABBAT 2019 SPOTIFY PLAYLIST
http://bit.ly/HS2019playlist

https://www.facebook.com/events/274561413173994/
https://www.facebook.com/hostsabbat/
http://hostsabbat.no/

Ufomammut, 8 (2017)

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Monolord Sign to Relapse Records; New Album Announced

Posted in Whathaveyou on November 15th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

Swedish riff-expansionists Monolord have inked a deal to release their next album through Relapse Records late in 2019. The signing comes after years of widespread acclaim for the hard-touring, thick-toned Gothenburg-based trio, whose 2017 album, Rust (review here), was their third on RidingEasy Records. Over the last five-plus years, they’ve risen to prominence as one of the most impact-producing and forward-thinking purveyors of next-generation amplifier worship, and their live shows have only grown more incendiary over that same period. Touring like bastards has certainly helped in that regard.

While we’re on the subject, Monolord are currently on tour in Europe with Kadavar, and completed a headlining US run to support Rust earlier this year. While they’re aiming to have a new LP together for the end of 2019, one can only expect more touring to come as they enter this new phase of their career and seem poised to take their place among the foremost acts of their day. This makes Monolord and YOB labelmates. Imagine that tour for a minute.

Fresh off the PR wire:

monolord

MONOLORD: Sign To Relapse Records; New Album Coming Late 2019

Relapse is proud to announce the signing of Swedish trio MONOLORD. Formed in Gothenburg in 2013, MONOLORD quickly burst onto the scene releasing three critically-acclaimed full-lengths in a four-year span (Empress Rising, Vænir and Rust) on RidingEasy Records all while touring relentlessly around the globe. MONOLORD is a rare breed: A band both encompassing and transcending genre; a vortex of heavy rock density that consumes all others. The band’s enveloping, syrupy sludge is a state of mind, with guitarist/vocalist Thomas Jäger, drummer Esben Willems and bassist Mika Häkki create a massive, dynamic sound with ultra-low frequencies serving as its fourth member. MONOLORD’s yet-to-be-titled fourth studio album is expected to be released in late 2019. Stay tuned for more information.

MONOLORD comment on the signing:

“Stoked about this! Working with people who are driven by the passion for music above anything else has always been key for us. The fine music lovers at Relapse are just the kind of passionate people we want to spread the decibel gospel with and we feel confident that this is gonna be a very sweet ride together.”

MONOLORD are currently on tour throughout Europe with Kadavar. A full list of remaining tour dates is available below.

MONOLORD Tour Dates:

— All Dates Nov 15-Dec 01 w/ Kadaver —

Nov 15 Lausanne, CH @ Le Romandie
Nov 16 Zurich, CH @ Mascotte Zurich
Nov 17 Eindhoven, NL @ Helldorado
Nov 18 Groningen, NL @ VERA Groningen
Nov 20 Bielefeld, DE @ Forum Bielefeld
Nov 21 Kortrijk, BE @ Concertzaal
Nov 22 Karlsruhe, DE @ Substage
Nov 23 Leipzig, DE @ Sonne Island
Nov 24 Schweinfurt, DE @ Stattbahnhof Schweinfurt
Nov 25 Neukirchen, DE @ Sagewerk
Nov 27 Cham, DE @ L.A. Live Style Cafe
Nov 28 Munich, DE @ Backstage Munchen
Nov 29 Bochum, DE @ Zeche Bochum
Nov 30 Saarbrucken, DE @ Garage
Dec 01 Freiburg, DE @ Jazzhaus Freiburg

MONOLORD Is:

Esben Willems – Drums
Thomas Jäger – Guitar Vocals
Mika Häkki – Bass

monolord.bandcamp.com
facebook.com/MonolordSweden
monolord.com
http://relapse.com
https://www.facebook.com/RelapseRecords/

Monolord, Rust (2017)

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Desertfest NYC Announced for April 2019

Posted in Whathaveyou on November 15th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

Well, here we are. Rumors have been kicking around for years about a Desertfest brand extension happening in the US, and the question of where has finally been answered. Seems to me it could’ve just as easily been the West Coast, but as the Desertfest crew are partnering with Tee Pee Records to make it happen, it could really only be Brooklyn. I can’t wait to find out what venues will be involved. The fest is set for April 2019 with the lineup still to be announced.

With the advent of Desertfest NYC 2019, New York joins the ranks of London, Berlin, Antwerp and Athens in playing host to a Desertfest. It’s no minor honor, and it says a lot about not only how this festival has grown into one of the premier event brands in underground heavy, but also how the American underground itself has come up over the course of this decade. No way a Desertfest NYC happens in 2013. Now? It only seems to make perfect sense.

So who will play? What will the interaction be like between Desertfest NYC and the flagship fests a couple weeks later in London and Berlin? Can I go? Can I get a photo pass? How does this economic boon compare to Amazon going to Long Island City for one of its new headquarters? All of these questions will be answered in time, and of course more are waiting to be asked.

For now, it exists. That’s enough to give me a rare moment of patriotic pride.

Here’s the announcement:

Desertfest nyc

DESERTFEST NEW YORK IS HERE

Europe’s leading stoner rock, doom, sludge and psych festival adds another city to its books with the very first U.S. weekender, taking place April 26th-28th 2019 in Brooklyn, New York.
Line-up, venues and tickets revealed next Friday 23rd Nov 10am EST/3pm GMT

Tee Pee Records | Desertfest London | DesertFest Berlin | Desertfest Belgium

https://facebook.com/Desertfestnyc/
http://www.desertfest.nyc/

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