Sunday, July 26, 2015

Checking out Raleigh's Chaosmic

Lately I've been listening to Chaosmic, a new band featuring some Raleigh metal veterans. Their debut, "Sunborn," is good stuff, especially the song "Communion." Check it out on their Bandcamp here.

Thursday, July 09, 2015

Upcoming: New releases from Windhand and Kadavar

I'm very excited about two upcoming releases: RVA doom masters (and mistress) Windhand will release "Grief's Infernal Flower" on Relapse on Sept. 18, and German retro-rockers Kadavar will release "Berlin" on Nuclear Blast on Aug. 21.

Windhand's 2013 release, "Soma," was on non-stop repeat for me that year. The new album's first single, "Two Urns," hearkens back to Soma's two crushing opening tracks, and features some very fine singing from Dorthia Cottrell, and a pretty blistering solo from Garrett Morris. Check it out below. Pitchfork has tour dates here.

The video for Kadavar's "The Old Man" -- the first single from "Berlin," is awesome enough just for the shots of drummer Tiger playing the maracas (check him out at about 59 seconds). But Lupus Lindemann's "Sails of Charon"-esque riffing makes the song exciting, and has me eagerly awaiting the rest of the album. They'll be touring throughout Europe this fall.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Photos and video: Connoisseur, Celeste and Primitive Man



 Primitive Man

On Thursday (June 25) I checked out Primitive Man with French post-metalers Celeste, Oakland weed avengers Connoisseur at the Maywood. Locals Priapus opened, but were mostly done by the time I arrived. Of the bands I saw, Connoisseur easily made the biggest impression on me. These are some hilarious, weed-loving dudes. Every song was about smoking weed, buying weed, not having weed, and friends who will help you out by giving you weed. My personal favorite was the anti-GMO, anti-corporate weed rant below.

Connoisseur from Mann's World on Vimeo.

As for Celeste, I wasn't sure what to think when they started off with a fog machine. A fog machine in a small club is NOT A GOOD THING as far as I'm concerned. But then they all turned on red headlamps and this happened. My iPhone couldn't quite handle it, so there's only 11 seconds, but you get the picture. Good stuff. I recommend you see them if you can.

Celeste from Mann's World on Vimeo.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Journey to the center of your mind with Sacri Monti and Ecstatic Vision

Recently I've been listening to a couple of upcoming releases that are on the trippier side of things, and I suggest you check them out.

San Diego's Sacri Monti will release its self-titled debut July 24 on Tee Pee, which is my go-to label for '70s-inspired psychedelic bands. Like their label-mates Earthless, Sacri Monti knows how to rip, burying their riffage a thick, smoking haze of fuzz, and employing some serious wah-pedal gynmastics.

Philly's Ecstatic Vision take the fuzz to a whole new dimension on their Relapse debut, "Sonic Praise" (out June 30). The album is a spacey, rhythmic concoction of Hawkwind, Krautrock and Sun Ra, which goes full-on freak out on the standout track, "Astral Plane" (stream here).

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Lifting MAKE’s ‘Golden Veil’

Yesterday I posted on Facebook that MAKE’s new album, “The Golden Veil,” is most likely the best work I’ve ever heard by a local band, and is rivaling Ufomammut’s “Ecate” for my personal favorite album of the year. I realize that’s a pretty strong statement, but repeated listenings just make me more certain. MAKE is a band that I’ve been watching for several years now, and they’ve always had tremendous potential. By taking a year off, and honing their work as a trio, they’ve re-emerged with an ambitious and transcendent work that channels Neurosis, The Atlas Moth and Horseback.

The album begins with the sound of static and rushing wind, which gradually gives way to a gnawing drone and delicate acoustic guitar before sputtering out and into the next song. There’s a push-pull between natural and mechanic, delicate and crushing, and full and sparse throughout the song, and the album in general. The album takes sonic flight over a desert landscape with “Breathe.” Tribal drums introduce the song, followed by a lumbering bass, soaring guitar, and finally bellowed vocals. The aural terrain is more lush with “The Immortal,” which includes clean vocals and lyrics that would be a little too New Agey if the music wasn’t so compelling, then turns exotic on the instrumental “We Are Coiled.”

The next two tracks, “The Absurdist” (which can be heard here on The Obelisk) and “The Architect” mark the album’s peak, the point at which all these varying elements join together and launch into the psychedelic stratosphere. The final song, “In the Final Moments, Uncoiling,” rolls through sludgy, blackened territory before droning, vapor-like, away.

Listening to “The Golden Veil,” I kept thinking about Inter Arma’s “Sky Burial,” not really because of the sound (though the spiritual and emotional dynamics of both albums feel similarly to me), but because both albums marked a point where a really good band suddenly emerged from its chrysalis and announced its strength and beauty to the world. So, yeah. I wasn’t joking around. “The Golden Veil” really is that good.

“The Golden Veil,” will be released by the band on July 23. I don’t think they will be label-less for long.