Friday Full-Length: Weltraumstaunen, Weltraumwelt

Posted in Bootleg Theater on August 16th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

Weltraumstaunen, Weltraumwelt (2004)

You might be forgiven if you’ve never heard Germany’s Weltraumstaunen. The band formed in 1998 around Growing Seeds members Andi and Silke Heinrich and Dave “Sula Bassana” Schmidt, then of Liquid Visions, Zone Six and probably 10 or 20 others, and released a self-titled album in 1999. It would be five years, the dissolution of Growing Seeds — in which Schmidt had also taken up the drummer role — and the end of the marriage between Andi and Silke before Weltraumstaunen would issue a second record, Weltraumwelt, as the two-piece of Andi Heinrich and Dave Schmidt. The album is part of the mighty earlier-years catalog of Nasoni Records, along with acts like Vibravoid, Zendik Farm Orgaztra, Liquid Visions, and many others (the label began in 1996), and was made by exchanging recordings via tape — not files, tapes; remember this would’ve been nascent times for broadband speeds — between Berlin and Bayreuth, further south.

That distance, and the fact that the distance mattered, becomes crucial to understanding Weltraumwelt‘s aesthetic and just exactly how Weltraumstaunen wound up where they got in terms of sound. The second album was somewhat more adventurous than the first — though nothing against that record either — and found its strongest moments in a forward-looking kraut and space rock; the swirling effects, hard-strummed funky wah and a steady groove on the title-track indicative of the far-outness to which Weltraumstaunen was aligned, but really just the barest indication of some of the more experimental side of the nine-track/48-minute collection, which showed itself perhaps most of all in the 14-minute anything-goes sprawl of “Farfisadelic.” With steady pulsations of synth emerging amid flourish of backwards guitar and other atmospherics, that cut was by far the deepest journey into cosmic vacuum that the two-piece made, and its anti-apex resolution in an almost-standalone line of piano and effects drift proved clearly that Weltraumstaunen weren’t simply about a linear build or about capturing the rush of space rock. Their five-year mission was more varied in its course, with opener “Black Dove Part I” and closer “Black Dove Part II” dug into a vision of heavy psychedelia that by now feels prescient of what a German band like Samsara Blues Experiment would go on to do in their beginning stages, or even Schmidt‘s own Electric Moon, jam-based as that would be.

Not only that, but the moody prog of “Doors” and the acoustic/electric swirl of centerpiece “Wizard vs. Time” brought a classic feel to the proceedings and offered a grounding effect compared not just to “Farfisadelic” still to come, weltraumstaunen weltraumweltbut to the minimalist drone of “Introfernale” which followed or the earlier bass throb in the freaked out noisemaker “Hoffmans Mahl (The Dwarves of Yore)” and the resoundingly ambient “Floating in Space,” the latter of which gave its earthy, folkish strum a chance to really bring the album to earth at its midpoint, which “Wizard vs. Time” ultimately succeeded in doing, in sound if not theme. They didn’t rush back to ground by any means, rolling through “Introfernale,” “Weltraumwelt” and “Farfisadelic” before finding their way into “Black Dove Part II,” and in the interplay between vocalized and instrumental songs, the openness of the structures and the overall diversity of mood between their tracks, Weltraumstaunen were able to accomplish the rare feat of uniting their material through its very differences, setting the expectation early between “Black Dove Part I” and “Doors” that the band could and would follow their whims wherever they might go. They went, of course, to space. And floated there.

But the connections to classic prog, whether in “Black Dove Part I” or “Wizard vs. Time” and “Doors” — the latter also dipping into a kind of ethereal grunge — were key underpinnings to the more try-it-and-see aspects of Weltraumwelt, and where so many bands seem to commit themselves either to a planned songwriting modus or to outright improvisation, Weltraumstaunen refused to choose one over the other. No doubt the distance between Heinrich and Schmidt helped that too — because it’s hard to jam through the mail — but even through trying and subsequently fleshing out initial ideas, their songs were able to take various shapes brought together by a single creative persona, not just a work of genre, but a work that toiled at the edges thereof and seemed more interested in pushing the limits forward than residing comfortably within them.

But again, maybe you’ve heard it and maybe you haven’t. I know I’ve name-dropped Weltraumstaunen a couple times over the years in talking about other things Schmidt has done — and he’s done plenty — but I’ve never actually written about the band, and though I’ve periodically looked for it in YouTube, it wasn’t until a couple months ago that Weltraumwelt actually showed up, so the opportunity hasn’t really been there before now. It’s another album that turns 15 this year, which is kind of staggering to think about, but it came into my life in a box of vinyl from Nasoni that I got when I was doing college radio, and it’s one to which I’ve returned every now and again ever since, as it captured a genuinely open creativity that it’s hard not to find inspiring, its exchange of ideas and will toward seeing them realized, whatever shape they might take, indicative of the passion behind the collaboration in the first place. It might take you a listen or two to get it, but it’s worth that, at least.

Of course, Schmidt, working as Sula Bassana, has gone on to become a principal figure in Germany’s psychedelic underground, whether it’s running his own Sulatron Records imprint or expanding the space rock universe with Electric MoonKrautzone, the revitalized Zone Six and so on. Less clear on what became of Heinrich after Weltraumwelt, which was the last of Weltraumstaunen‘s releases. By the time 2004 came around, Growing Seeds had been done already — though their 1997 album, Miraculous Journey, is worth seeking out if you can find it — and given the creativity on display throughout Weltraumwelt, it’s somewhat surprising not to have heard from him more in the years since. Crazier things have happened than a band like this reemerging from such parts unknown, but I’m not holding my breath. In the meantime, a reissue through Sulatron would most certainly be welcome, and hopefully capture and inspire a new generation of listeners as well.

As always, I hope you enjoy. Thanks for reading.

New episode of the Gimme Radio show today at 1PM Eastern. You already saw the playlist. Listen here: http://gimmeradio.com, or on their app.

I like the app, but web works too.

This weekend is Psycho Las Vegas. I’m not there, obviously. We’re still doing stuff with the move to NJ from Massachusetts, so yeah, I just couldn’t really get out this time. Next year I’ll do it up properly. But if you’re there, enjoy it. Sick lineup, insane venue, scorching desert heat: the true Psycho experience. Nothing quite like it.

I’m expecting The Pecan up any minute now, so I’ll do my best to keep this short and sweet-ish. At the end (maybe the middle?) of next week we’re back in MA to pick up the last of our stuff. One more truck. One more truck. One more truck. That’ll be CDs and whatnot from our storage unit, stuff from The Patient Mrs.’ office at work, and maybe a shitty table to which I have sentimental attachment from the condo. Right now we’re slated to close on the sale on the 23rd. Keep your fingers crossed for us until then. At that point, we live in NJ. That’s home.

There’s a lot on already for next week, which is nice since the earlier part of this week was a little dead. I’d do notes, but frankly I don’t feel like cutting and pasting and rearranging it, so yeah. Zed review, Swan Valley Heights premiere, Stew premiere, Grand Royale video premiere, Von Detta track premiere, on and on. And that’s just Monday and Tuesday. The rest, who the hell knows.

This move has been stressful because it’s been so drawn out, over months rather than days or weeks. We’re up to our eyeballs in boxes and there are more to come, but it’ll be good longer-term. I’m happy The Pecan will grow up here. People look different, sound different, from each other. People speak different languages. It’s like civilization or something. Plus bagels and pizza. So yeah, civilization.

Please have a great and safe weekend, and please check out the forum, radio stream and merch at Dropout.

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Streaming: Saint Vitus Interview with Dave Chandler

Posted in audiObelisk, Features on August 16th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

saint vitus

It was a decade ago now that Saint Vitus began their reunion. At that point, it had been 14 years since the release of their final album, Die Healing (discussed here), in 1995. The not-quite-fully-original-but-definitely-the-most-influential lineup was guitarist Dave Chandler, vocalist Scott “Wino” Weinrich, bassist Mark Adams and drummer Armando Acosta, the last of whom would soon be replaced by Henry Vasquez (Blood of the Sun), who had drummed for Chandler‘s short-lived Debris Inc. outfit earlier in the aughts, and would ultimately pass away in 2010Vitus — who are arguably the most influential American doom band, and certainly the most influential the West Coast ever produced — were knee-deep in triumphant reunion tours by then, between Europe and the US, and they’d continue to roll out a packed schedule after signing to Season of Mist and releasing the long-awaited Lillie: F-65 (review here) in 2012.

From there, things proceeded in a fashion that can only be considered pure Vitus. A couple years of steady touring followed supporting Lillie: F-65 and celebrating their landmark catalog, until Weinrich got arrested in Norway in late-2014 for amphetamines, and the band seemed to come apart. Enter original vocalist Scott Reagers, last heard from with what was then a return performance on Die Healing, to take up the frontman role. More touring commenced and the band went on to issuesaint vitus saint vitus Live Vol. 2 (review here) in 2016. Already the proposition of a new studio album had been raised, but work was inevitably stunted by the departure of bassist Mark Adams — a quiet presence on stage, but a founding member and someone essential to the sound all along — owing to complications from Parkinson’s disease. A replacement was found in Pat Bruders of Down and Outlaw Order, and with a somehow-brand-new-but-still-half-original lineup, Saint Vitus once again took to the road and took on the task of their next record.

Saint Vitus‘ 1984 debut, Saint Vitus, is a genuine landmark in doom. A Calipunk answer to Black Sabbath at their gutsiest and grimiest, it has stood the test of time for over 30 years and only grown more relevant with each passing decade. That Saint Vitus in 2019 — ChandlerReagersVasquez and Bruders — should title their new album Saint Vitus (review here) is no coincidence. How could it be? And from the quintessential doomly roll of “Remains” and “Last Breath” to the pulsating energy of “Bloodshed” and the delightfully hardcore punk closer “Useless,” it is in every way a reclamation of Saint Vitus‘ identity as a group. Call it full-circle or don’t, but it’s a record that both embraces who they’ve always been and gleefully, mischievously screws with genre-based preconceptions, Reager‘s growls and soaring voice essential to the personality of the outing even as Chandler steps in for a spoken word take on the experimentalist noise of “City Park.”

I won’t take away from what Bruders and Vasquez do together as a rhythm section, and why the hell would I, but no question that having Chandler and Reagers paired up again gives the 2019 Saint Vitus a clash-of-the-titans-style feel, and for more than just Chandler‘s seemingly endless collection of pro-wrestling t-shirts. In every way, the tracks on Saint Vitus — which again united the group with producer Tony Reed (Mos Generator, etc.) — earn the banner of the band’s name under which they arrive, and for the fact that Saint Vitus has endured in one form or another for the last 40 years, their spirit of survival continues to be a middle finger raised high in defiance of everything, including, at times, themselves.

There’s a lot of doom out there, but there’s only one Dave Chandler, and I was fortunate enough to talk to him a while back, before the album came out in May. You’ll find the audio of the interview below. Thanks for checking it out if you do.

Enjoy:

Interview with Dave Chandler

 

Saint Vitus, Saint Vitus (2019)

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Chron Goblin Premiere “Slipping Under”; Here Before Due Sept. 27; Touring in October

Posted in audiObelisk, Whathaveyou on August 16th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

chron goblin

Although Chron Goblin ultimately keep the foundation of classically structured songwriting that has served them well up to this point, there’s no question the mood has shifted somewhat on the Calgary natives’ fourth full-length, Here Before, for which preorders begin Aug. 27. It’ll be out a month later — Sept. 27 — through Grand Hand Records, and while there’s no doubt the four-piece are still having a good time, there’s a little bit of a darker edge to the proceedings that shows up as well in the Here Before cover art, which is way closer to Stranger Things than the stonerly hand-drawing of a nonetheless haunted mountain town that adorned 2015’s Backwater (review here). The 11-tracker digs into some of the most atmospheric work they’ve ever done in songs like “Ghost,” “Giant” and “Slipping Under,” which isn’t to mention the ambience bookending the album in intro “Aurora” and outro “Afterglow,” but even “Giving in to Fun” seems to hold some measure of aggression.

You can hear the premiere of “Slipping Under” at the bottom of this post, and drummer Brett Whittingham offered some comment on the track to coincide with the unveiling of it and the album art and details, as well as tour dates for after the release.

Enjoy:

chron goblin here before

Brett Whittingham on “Slipping Under”:

Slipping Under is one of the more complex arrangements on the album. It starts off with a dark n’ dreamy clean intro, experimenting with some electronic drums and a leslie speaker for the guitar , before it kicks into the heavy bridge and on to the tight n’ groovy verses. The pre-solo section also includes more experimentation with the inclusion of some dirty 808 drops, something we haven’t tried before! This song is a blast to play live with its multitude of changes and dynamics. Mike Fraser mixed this song, along with Ghost, and his take on both tracks added a nice depth and diversity to the album as a whole.

Album Title: Here Before
Release Date: September 27, 2019
Preorders: August 27, 2019
Label: Grand Hand Records

Recorded in July 2018 at Juno Award Winning OCL Studios, ‘Here Before’ is the fourth full-length album from Chron Goblin and will be released and distributed by Grand Hand Records. Produced, recorded and mixed by Josh Rob Gwilliam (Michael Bernard Fitzgerald, Ghosts of Modern Man), Here Before demonstrates a new maturity in songwriting and production for the band. From the propulsive singles of ‘Slipping Under’ and ‘Ghost’; mixed by Mike Fraser (AC/DC, Metallica, Corrosion of Conformity), to the hypnotic riffs of ‘Oblivion’ – Chron Goblin has created an intoxicating collection of rock n’ roll.

Track Listing:
1. Aurora (0:22)
2. Oblivion (4:16)
3. Giving In To Fun (3:37)
4. Out Of My Mind (3:49)
5. Ghost (6:04)
6. War (3:51)
7. Giant (4:40)
8. Slipping Under (4:43)
9. Little Too Late (4:46)
10. Waiting (3:53)
11. Afterglow (1:52)
Album Length: 41:57

Chron Goblin live:
October 10 – Lethbridge – Owl Acoustic Lounge
October 11 – Calgary – The Palomino Smokehouse
October 12 – Regina – The German Club
October 13 – Winnipeg – The Handsome Daughter
October 15 – Sudbury – The Asylum
October 16 – Ottawa – House of Targ
October 17 – Montreal – Turbo Haus
October 18 – Toronto – Hard Luck
October 19 – Windsor – Dominion House
October 25 – Edmonton – Temple

Album Band and Live Line Up: Josh Sandulak (vocals), Brett Whittingham (drums), Richard Hepp (bass), Devin ‘Darty’ Purdy (guitar)

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The Obelisk Show on Gimme Radio Playlist: Episode 21

Posted in Radio on August 16th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

the obelisk show banner

Last time around, I actually managed to post the playlist for The Obelisk Show before Gimme Radio aired it, and I thought that worked pretty well, letting people know what was going to be on and all that. As it stands, I haven’t even had the chance to record the voice breaks yet for this one, but it’ll get done before airtime. Again, lots of new stuff this episode and a lot of it drawn from recent coverage around here, as well as some stuff that will be upcoming, whether it’s V‘s new single or the 20-minute Comacozer track that ends out.

That song and the We Lost the Sea track before it make up the final 35 minutes of the show. I wanted a couple longer tracks this time out, so between those, VMonolordOblivion Reptilian and Hound the Wolves, I feel like we got there. There’s a couple rockers up front with Bison MachineBlackwater Holylight and Lightning Born, but from then on pretty much all bets are off. I never know how that kind of thing will be received by the Gimme listenership, but screw it, I haven’t been fired yet, so I’ll take that for what it tells me. Not much, I suppose.

Dug these songs though. The Lightning BornSleeping Giant and The Black Wizards cuts were standouts from their respective albums, and the new Goatess single was just premiered elsewhere, but I’ll be covering the album too, so wanted to give that a chance to shine here. And a little bit of Crowbar seemed appropriate as I’ve already seen them once this month and plan to do so again before the month is out. Some bands you just can’t get enough.

Thanks for checking it out if you get the chance.

Here’s the full playlist:

The Obelisk Show – 08.16.19

Bison Machine The Tower Seas of Titan*
Blackwater Holylight Motorcycle Veils of Winter*
Lightning Born Salvation Lightning Born*
BREAK
The Black Wizards Kaleidoscope Eyes Reflections*
Sleeping Giant Serpent Sleeping Giant*
Oblivion Reptilian Alien Shit Fried on Rock*
Hound the Wolves Godhead Split with Glasghote*
BREAK
Crowbar All I Had I Gave Crowbar (1993)
Monolord The Bastard Son No Comfort*
V Phantasmagoria Led into Exile*
Goatess Dunerider Blood and Wine*
BREAK
We Lost the Sea Towers Triumph & Disaster*
Comacozer Kykeneon Journey Mydriasis*

The Obelisk Show on Gimme Radio airs every other Friday at 1PM Eastern, with replays every Sunday at 7PM Eastern. Next show is Aug. 30. Thanks for listening if you do.

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Shadow Witch Post Stooges Cover “I Wanna Be Your Dog”

Posted in Whathaveyou on August 16th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

Of course there’s The Riff, but the real test of any cover of The Stooges‘ ‘I Wanna Be Your Dog’ that’s trying to be reasonably loyal to the original is the word ‘here.’ The cloying, seething, sex-starved desperation in Iggy Pop‘s vocal just on that one word was like a siren of hormonal charge going off 50 years ago that can still be heard echoing today. Much to the credit of Shadow Witch frontman Earl Walker Lundy, he nails the “here” and thus the song as a whole, capturing the spirit of the original while bringing it into the band’s own sonic context of dark heavy rock.

Released as a free download, the single is intended as a precursor to Shadow Witch‘s new LP, which is expected in November through Argonauta Records. Gotta keep that momentum up.

Lundy offered some comment on the selection via the PR wire:

shadow witch wanna be your dog

All set to go for the new album “Under the Shadow of the Witch” by U.S. Heavy Psych Doomers Shadow Witch, all details to be revealed in the next days!

To shorten the wait the band just releases today an exciting cover song of THE STOOGES classic “I Wanna Be Your Dog” you can listen to here: https://shadowwitch.bandcamp.com/track/i-wanna-be-your-dog

About this song, Earl Walker Lundy, the bands vocalist, says:

“It actually started as a joke ! I was in the middle of this really intense affair, and all the songs we were writing started to be about that, about that girl, that obsessive all-powerful romance. Our drummer thought it would be funny to play a cover that related to the situation. We all love The Stooges, so even though people might not think Stooges when they hear Shadow Witch, it really is an influence. Anyway, when we were recording the album we thought “hey, why not ?!? “ We’d been playing it, and it felt kind of ironic and a bitter-sweet reference to what the album is all about ~ love/obsession/addiction. Also we just want to tease y’all a little; not give away too much just yet.”

The album was recorded with 40 year industry veteran Paul Orofino, who has recorded everyone from “classic rock” stalwarts Mountain, Foghat, Golden Earring, and Blue Oyster Cult to the extremes of Immolation.

Earl says “We really wanted this record to be a big step up sonically from our last, and working with Paul was an incredible opportunity to make that happen. He’s truly a master of his craft, and brought ideas to the table that became integral to the production of the album. I think it’s our strongest work yet.”

www.facebook.com/shadowwitch.band
www.shadowwitch.bandcamp.com
www.argonautarecords.com

Shadow Witch, “I Wanna Be Your Dog”

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Yawning Man to Tour Australia and New Zealand in 2020

Posted in Whathaveyou on August 16th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

yawning man heavy psych sounds

You think you’re ready for a Yawning Man + koala bear photo op? Because you’re probably not. None of us are. The good news is we’ve got some time to steel ourselves for such adorableness before the Cali desert rock progenitors land in Auckland, New Zealand, in January, to begin what’s one of the most comprehensive Aus/NZ tours I’ve ever seen. Some bands pop over there for like four shows. Yawning Man are making it count. Fair enough. That’s a substantial trip, even from California. If you’re going to do a thing, do it right.

Already in 2019, Yawning Man have toured the US and Europe, and I wouldn’t be surprised in the slightest if they had more of that in store for 2020 as well, but starting the year off Down Under puts them in new territory where they’ve never been. Well over three decades after the band’s inception, that’s gotta be a trip for guitarist Gary Arce and bassist Mario Lalli, as well as drummer Bill Stinson. They go in support of 2019’s Macedonian Lines (review here) on Heavy Psych Sounds, and I don’t think there can be any question this is a major event in the existence of the band. I know they’ve done recording on tour before, but I have to wonder if they might have a couple days reserved for hitting the studio as well as the requisite sightseeing/koala selfies, etc.

If this one doesn’t make you feel good, check your pulse. I’ll go. Can I go?

yawning man aus nz

Desert Rock pioneers Yawning Man will finally make a soaring flight to our shores for a long-awaited tour of Australia and New Zealand in January 2020.

Over the past 33 years (!!!), Yawning Man have released 7 studio albums and 5 split LPs/EPs and Brant Bjork once said that “Yawning Man is the sickest band of all time.”

Joining these Masters is Psych/Prog Numidia, who will support YAWNING MAN for the East Coast of Australia.

Friday 17th January
Whammy Bar, AUCKLAND
Saturday 18th January
The Club Tavern Christchurch
Sunday 19th January
Valhalla, WELLINGTON
Tuesday 21st January
Heritage Hotel Bulli
Wednesday 22nd January
Transit Bar, CANBERRA
Thursday 23rd January
The Vanguard, NEWTOWN
Friday 24th January
Crowbar Brisbane, FORTITUDE VALLEY
Saturday 25th January
Bendigo Hotel, COLLINGWOOD
Sunday 26th January
Bendigo Hotel, COLLINGWOOD
Monday 27th January
Enigma Bar, ADELAIDE
Thursday 30th January
Amplifier Capitol, Perth
Friday 31st January
Indian Ocean Hotel, Scarborough
Saturday 1st February
The Den, Inglewood

TIX ON SALE NOW

New Zealand www.utr.co.nz
Melbourne, Wollongong www.ymb.eventbrite.com
Sydney, Adelaide, Canberra, Perth www.moshtix.com.au
Brisbane www.oztix.com.au

YAWNING MAN IS:
Gary Arce – Guitar
Mario Lalli – Bass
Bill Stinson – Drums

https://www.facebook.com/yawningmanofficial/
https://yawningman.bandcamp.com
http://www.yawningman.com/
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Pinewalker Premiere “Sentinel”; Migration out Sept. 6

Posted in audiObelisk on August 15th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

PINEWALKER Photo by Carly Page

Thrice-guitarred Salt Lake City riff metal five-piece Pinewalker will issue their debut full-length, Migration, on Sept. 6. It is an album that makes its mission plain from the moment opener “Sentinel” reworks the signature riff of Sleep‘s “Dragonaut” and later taps into Goatsnake during its apex, and the brazen manner in which it goes about bringing together metallic aggression with stoner and doom influences — even a bit of post-metal ambience at the start of sprawling nine-minute album centerpiece “Maelstrom” — only underlines that as their ultimate stylistic aim. Formed in 2014 under the moniker Yeti and with a 2016 EP, Wasteland, to their credit under that name, Pinewalker burl their way through seven tracks and 43 minutes on Migration, alternating between a song like “Bone Collector,” which draws a line between extreme metal thrust — something “Burning Earth” soon brings even more forward — and Sabbathian shuffle in a kind of Entombed-via-Rocky-Mountains revamp, and longer form pieces like “Maelstrom,” the subsequent instrumental roller “Space Witch” and closer “The Thaw,” the latter two of which top eight minutes as the record moves through its second half.

The purposeful-seeming impression there is that the further you go, the more there is to find. Pinewalker — guitarist/vocalists Tarran MeadJason Kennington and Sam Roe, bassist Ethan Jentzch and drummer Nate Perkins — insert “Self vs. Self” PINEWALKER migrationbetween the last two longer cuts as the penultimate track to return to some of the more grounded metal fare of “Bone Collector,” finding room for some Maiden-style guitar histrionics along the way, but the prevailing spirit of Migration is in the overarching blend that unites the broader and more directly-punishing material. Melody is engaged most of all in “The Thaw,” the central riff of which seems to reinvent Neurosis‘ “Given to the Rising” before offsetting it with post-rocking airiness in the verse, but the death-doom stomp that emerges, soaring leads that take hold, and willfully over-the-top crescendo that follow are hardly the work of a band simply looking to ape their influences. Rather, the relief that “The Thaw” seems to find in relation to the rest of the record is all the more palpable for the individualized stamp they put on it.

And that that is the final impression Migration gives — aided in no small part by the production of Andy Patterson (SubRosaDØNE, many more) — speaks to the successful realization of the aesthetic meld that’s at the core of the record. They play heavy, they play metal, and sure enough, it works. And whether they’re bludgeoning their way through “Burning Earth” or hinting at a more progressive future in the tense buildup in the early going of “Maelstrom,” the simple fact that they’re able to execute their ideas with such clearheaded certainty is emblematic of the achievement they’re making as they emerge from their mountainous bailiwick. They run the risk over the longer term of falling into a place between — too aggro for the rockers, but more rock than the headbangers can fully embrace — but they have several advantages on their side in things like the potential their songwriting shows here and their relative youth, and as positioned as they seem to be for future growth, Pinewalker leave one with a resounding sense of hope for what might come as well as a black eye from what has already manifested in these tracks. Go on tour, gentlemen. Go on tour and don’t look back.

They’ll play the release show for Migration on Sept. 13 at Urban Lounge in Salt Lake City, and I’m happy today to host the track premiere of “Sentinel” below for your streaming pleasure. Album preorders are up on Bandcamp.

Please enjoy:

Pinewalker on “Sentinel”:

Sentinel was a tricky beast for us at first. We had a lot of ideas that we wanted to play around with and it took a lot of our attention during the writing process, but we are super happy with how it turned out. Thematically, this is the starting point of the record. This is where we are introduced to the character that we follow through the rest of the music. To us, the song tries to capture the fear of the unknown with a power that emanates anger. We like old monster movies a lot, and thought about their cinematography and design while coming up with this song as kind of our main theme for our monster.

Salt Lake City, Utah-based quintet PINEWALKER is preparing to release their sprawling debut album, Migration. Completed for release in early September, the album boasts a cathartic concept, an homage to loved ones lost to cancer, delivered through a crushing display of thundering, groove-heavy doom/sludge metal.

The five members of PINEWALKER all met and began playing together in high school and have grown tighter as a group ever since. Now in their fifth year since inception, the band has solidified and honed their own approach to performing the music they love.

With forty-four minutes of music spanning seven expansive tracks, Migration was recorded, mixed and mastered by Andy Patterson at his The Boars Nest in Salt Lake City (Subrosa, Gaza, Theories), and completed with artwork by Charles Bogus and design by Ashley Fairbourne.

PINEWALKER will self-release Migration on digital formats on September 6th with a CD version to follow.

PINEWALKER Live:
9/13/2019 Urban Lounge – Salt Lake City, UT *Migration release show

PINEWALKER:
Nate Perkins – drums
Tarran Mead – guitar/vocals
Jason Kennington – guitar/vocals
Sam Roe – lead guitar/vocals
Ethan Jentzsch – bass

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Mondo Drag Working on Fourth Album; Playing This Weekend

Posted in Whathaveyou on August 15th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

It’s an older picture below — I don’t think they’ve had time to fire up the lightshow for a new promo shot as yet, and fair enough — but the prospect of a new Mondo Drag record is a welcome one regardless. The SF-based prog weirdos — or is that weird proggos? — are currently writing material for what will be their fourth long-player and the follow-up to 2016’s very-much-right-on The Occultation of Light (review here), and they’ve announced the addition of Astra‘s Conor Riley on bass. They’ll play new songs this Saturday at Eli’s Mile High Club in Oakland, where they’ll share the stage with Blow and Glitter Wizard for what’s sure to be a righteous time.

They’ve done sporadic shows and stuff since 2017, but I have to wonder what was behind their “hiatus” in the first place. They seemed to have some pretty good momentum coming off touring for The Occultation of Light. Was it burnout from too much road time? Disillusion with the underground tour experience? Not enough weed candy? What’s the deal? Maybe when the time comes I’ll bother founding vocalist/keyboardist John Gamino and find out.

Until then, I’m glad to know there’s progress being made. Here’s what they had to say about it on thee social medias:

mondo drag

After a nearly two year hiatus, we have crawled out of our sonic cocoon and re-emerged onto this plane of existence for the next phase of our life cycle.

We are excited to announce that talented multi-instrumentalist and composer Conor Riley (Astra, Birth) has joined the ensemble as bassist. We’ve been holed up in our West Oakland studio for months working on material for our fourth album and we’ll be debuting some of it at our show this Saturday night at Eli’s Mile High Club.

Stay tuned for news on some upcoming US festival appearances!

Saturday, August 17

Glitter Wizard
Mondo Drag
Blow

Tickets: https://wizardmondoblow.eventbrite.com

Mondo Drag are:
John Gamino – Keyboards & Vocals
Nolan Girard – Guitar & Synthesizer
Jake Sheley – Guitar
Ventura Garcia – Drums
Conor Riley – Bass

https://www.facebook.com/mondodrag/
http://www.instagram.com/mondodrag
https://mondodrag.bandcamp.com/
https://www.mondodrag.com/
https://www.facebook.com/ridingeasyrecords/
https://www.instagram.com/easyriderrecord/

Mondo Drag, The Occultation of Light (2016)

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