Northumbria – Markland

My wife and I were staying on the eighteenth floor of a downtown Toronto hotel while on vacation, and one night I could hear dark, heavy drone rock coming from…somewhere. It seemed to be coming out of the sky like the hum of UFO engines and up from the darkest parts of the city’s sewer system at the same time.

“Do you hear that?” I asked my wife. “I think someone’s playing some drone rock over at the plaza.”

“Is that what that is?” She asked.

It was Northumbria. To be specific, it was Dorian Williamson and Jim Feld playing a guitar and bass loud enough for us to hear it one block away and eighteen stories above the street. Furthermore, it wasn’t just noise. It was ambient, haunting waves of sound that immediately changed the feel of everything around you. Their new album, Markland, is an impressive journey through shadows and starlight.

Take the opening track, “Torngat,” for instance. They somehow manage to create guitars that sound like baritone saxophones. “Sunstone” is appropriate for druidic rituals and flying through a rainy street while hunting replicants. “The Night Wolves / Black Moon” is sure to freak out your dog (as it did mine) with its creepy sonics.

Thunder hails “Ostara’s Return,” which seems like the right way to start such a heavy and creepy track. “Still Clearing” does bring to mind an early morning on a beautiful glen, but there’s a hint of menace underneath it – as if the glen is haunted by a dark tragedy. I think the sun referred to in the title of “Low Sun I” is the setting sun, because it has a creepy dread to it.

That dread is amplified to near-horror movie soundtrack levels in “The Shoes of the Suffering Wind.” It evokes images of rocky shores, ship graveyards, and glistening fish-men rising from black depths in search of prey. “Low Sun II” is the soundtrack ofa tired army marching across a swamp for dry land before the sun sets on them. The beautiful “Wonderstrands” gets me thinking about string theory, and with “The Stars As My Guide” to end the album, I suppose that thought process shouldn’t surprise me. The final track is full of cosmic guitars that eventually whittle down to a lonely hiss not unlike an open communications link between a dead astronaut and mission control.

Another amazing aspect of this album is that there is no percussion in it. It’s all guitar and bass effects (as far as I know) and it’s never boring. Markland changes your perception of everything around you whether you’re across the room or eighteen stories above the street.

Keep your mind open.

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Clutch to release limited picture discs for vinyl collectors and fans.

CLUTCH TO RELEASE LIMITED EDITION VINYL COLLECTOR PICTURE DISCS
THE FIRST IN THE SERIES “LIVE AT THE GOOGOLPLEX” OUT TODAY  
October 6th, 2017 – Clutch and Weathermaker Music have prepared three very special Clutch limited edition vinyl collector picture discs.  The first in the series, “Live At The Googolplex” will be available tomorrow.
Recorded in 2002 in Chicago, Montreal, Kansas City, and Columbus, OH.  “Live At The Googolplex”, like all three releases in the series will be the first time these releases will be available as a picture disc vinyl.
The next two releases in the series will be “Jam Room” (scheduled for release October 27th, 2017) and “Pitchfork & Lost Needles” (scheduled for release November 24th, 2017).
Weathermaker Music is releasing 3 limited edition picture discs” states frontman Neil Fallon.  “The first will be Live at the Googolplex.  That will be followed up by Jam Room and thenPitchfork and Lost Needles.  All feature art from the original releases.  For what it’s worth, I drew Medusa’s head for the Jam Room release.  With a pen.  And paper.  This is your chance to own a bit of art history”.
All 3 in the series will be available at all major vinyl outlets and is available to pre-order now at https://www.indiemerchstore.com/b/clutch.
Clutch is set to embark on another leg of the Psychic Warfare World Tour 2017starting November 29th, 2017 and running through December 31st, 2017. All tour and ticket info can be found at:https://www.pro-rock.com.
Clutch is currently in the throes of working on new material for a 2018 release.
CLUTCH:
Neil Fallon – Vocals/Guitar
Tim Sult – Guitar
Dan Maines – Bass
Jean-Paul Gaster – Drums/Percussion
For more  information, check out the band’s website:

King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard – Murder of the Universe

In this day and age, I’m fairly certain that few bands could make a good concept album.  Fewer still could make one about a cyborg who wants to be fully human while interacting with a wizard attempting to stop a monster from destroying all of creation.  King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard have done just that, however, with Murder of the Universe.

In case you’re unaware, this is KGATLW’s second album of the year, and they plan to release three more before the end of 2017.  The first was the excellent Flying Microtonal Banana and the third, a collaboration with Mild High Club called Sketches of Brunswick East is already available for pre-order.

Lyrically and sonically, Murder of the Universe links up well with Flying Microtonal Banana and the outstanding Nonagon Infinity.  It’s like they’re a complete trilogy, and some people have suggested the robot in Nonagon Infinity‘s lead track, “Robot Stomp,” is the cyborg caught up in the Murder of the Universe.  You can also hear the beginning of Nonagon Infinity‘s “People Vultures” on this new record (on “Some Context”).

The album’s intro, “A New World,” has a haunting poem spoken by a young woman describing the aftermath of a nuclear war and how even more horrible things are to come afterwards.  The first is an “Altered Beast (Part 1).”  The band comes out like an angry, roaring bear from of its den.  Parts 2, 3, and 4 of the song alternate with the three-part “Altered Me.”  The war’s survivor realizes he must adapt to the new environment and new beastly overlord to survive (or did the beast alter him for a dark purpose?).  Each song flows seamlessly into the next and KGATLW slays each part.  Guitars assault you from every direction but can still stop on a dime.  The double drumming is insane, and the synths bring a wild, weird 1980’s horror film vibe to the whole thing.

The survivor has become an altered beast by the end of “Altered Beast IV,” feeling nothing but still remembering his humanity and the idea of freedom.  He has lost the concepts of “Life / Death,” but still clings to the idea of revenge.  He finds a possible ally in “The Lord of Lightning” (in which lead singer Stu Mackenzie yells “Nonagon infinity!” a few times).  It’s a wicked song that would leave anyone who’d never heard a KGATLW song before dumbfounded.  It tells the story of an epic mystical battle yet the song blasts by you like something shot from a catapult.

“The Balrog” could be the altered beast, but he is certainly the Lord of Lightning’s enemy.  The song is a sonic fiery claw in your brain with crazy percussion and even wilder guitars.  “The Floating Fire” is all that’s left after the war between the Balrog and the Lord of Lightning.  The Balrog becomes “The Acrid Corpse” by the end of it, but only eternal darkness remains after the Lord of Lightning leaves.

The future is left to the few survivors who have become cyborgs in order to live in the new world.  It’s all “Digital Black” in this new time.  People have willingly given up their humanity (“We’ve turned our bodies into computers…”) in a quest for what they thought was perfection.  The bass riff in this is great, as is the hard-hitting beat throughout it.

One such cyborg is “Han-Tyumi the Confused Cyborg,” the survivor of the original meeting with the altered beast.  All he wants is to vomit and die.  He wants pain, stench, and some sort of end instead of his endless digitized illusion of life and pleasure.  His “Vomit Coffin,” a machine of his own design, might help him do it.  It’s another weird rocker mixed with digitized vocals and synth grooves as Han-Tyumi gives himself over to full digitization in order to free himself (and perhaps the world) from his living death.

The title track has Han-Tyumi expanding far beyond his physical form until he’s traveling at the speed of light and infiltrating every living cell and atom.  The only way for him to find death is to destroy everything, and he does it.

So, yeah, it’s not a happy-go-lucky record.  It’s a crazy concept record about a giant monster attack nearly destroying the world and changing the few survivors left into cyborgs who are left with an even bleaker world after a lightning god battles a giant fire monster, which drives one of the few cyborgs with any shred of humanity left to destroy the entire universe in order to free himself from an eternal life of cold, digital monotony.

Why haven’t you bought it by now?

Keep your mind open.

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“Welcome to an Altered Future,” has the cyborg, Han-Tyumi, describing how the digital age led to the death of the world thanks to artificial intelligence.  “We turned our bodies into computers,” the band’s lead vocalist, Stu, sings on

Comacozer – Kalos Eidos Skopeo

Australian psych / stoner rock powerhouse Comacozer have returned with another instrumental freakout – Kalos Eidos Skopeo.  The name of the album, of course, is a play on the words “kaleidoscope” or “kaleidoscopic,” suggesting that the music can be viewed / interpreted many different ways at once.

Take the opener, “Axis Mundi” (the cosmic / world axis), for example.  It begins with squawking guitars that sound like something from a slasher film soundtrack, but the track becomes almost a meditative piece by the time it reaches the five-minute mark thanks to skillful use of guitar reverb and subtle yet precise drumming.

“Nystagmus” might bring on its namesake (involuntary twitching of the eyes) with its cosmic jam guitars, slightly creepy bass, and doom metal drumming.  I love how “Hylonomus” (the name of the earliest known reptile) starts off sounding like it’s a spaghetti western song and then morphs into a Middle Eastern-flavored dream that might be happening in the mind of an ancient lizard dozing in the stump of a massive, dead tree.  It then morphs a second time into a great groove that belongs in a car chase sequence in a big budget film.  It’s great to hear Comacozer cut loose like this.

Need to knock out a wall in your house to expand your kitchen?  Don’t bother with sledgehammers.  Just play the closer, “Enuma Elish,” and aim your speakers in the right direction.  The song is about the Babylonian creation myth which involves – among other things – the god Marduk defeating the goddess of the oceans and creating the earth and sky out of her body.  Comacozer somehow manages to put all this epic stuff into one song (that last nearly 12 minutes).

You might have noticed that this album only contains four songs.  Don’t let that worry you, because all of them are around thirteen minutes in length.  It’s a full album of instrumental cosmic psychedelia and worth every penny.

Keep your mind open.

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Clutch announces winter tour dates.

CLUTCH ANNOUNCE WINTER PSYCHIC WARFARE TOUR DATES WITH DEVIN TOWNSEND PROJECT & THE OBSESSED
Clutch has just announced Winter tour dates for the continuum of their Psychic Warfare tour. Supporting the tour will be Devin Townsend Project and The Obsessed. Fan club pre-sale tickets will start at 2:00pm ET today, public stale starts 10am ET on Friday.  Exclusive fan club pre-sale tickets and show info available here: mt.cm/clutch.  The on sale date for the 4 Florida shows is TBD due to the hurricane in the region. Check the bands official website www.pro-rock.com for all upcoming ticket and show info.
Clutch will be entering the studio in early 2018 to begin work on their 12th studio album.
Psychic Warfare is the latest and eleventh studio effort from Clutch.  The disc debuted at No. 11 on the Billboard 200, No. 2 on the Billboard Independent,  No. 1 on the Billboard Hard Rock and Billboard Rock charts.     Psychic Warfare was produced by longtime producer Machine (Lamb Of God, Every Time I Die).
Clutch, Devin Townsend Project and The Obsessed Tour Dates:
Wed, 11-29-17               Greensboro, NC at Cone Denim Entertainment Center
Fri, 12-01-17                  Myrtle Beach, SC at House Of Blues                         
Sat, 12-02-17                 St Petersburg, FL at Jannus Live                                          
Sun, 12-03-17                Fort Lauderdale, FL at Revolution                    
Tue, 12-05-17                Saint Augustine, FL at Backyard Stage @ St Augustine Amphitheatre
Wed, 12-06-17               Pensacola, FL at Vinyl Music Hall                          
Fri, 12-08-17                  Baton Rouge, LA at Varsity Theatre                                                     
Sat, 12-09-17                 San Antonio, TX at The Aztec Theatre                       
Sun, 12-10-17                Houston, TX at House Of Blues                         
Tues, 12-12-17               Springfield, MO at Gillioz Theatre                       
Wed, 12-13-17               Lincoln, NE at Bourbon Theatre                       
Fri, 12-15-17                  Peoria, IL at Limelight Eventplex                     
Sat, 12-16-17                 Nashville, TN at Marathon Music Works
Wed, 12-27-17               Clifton Park, NY at Upstate Concert Hall
Thu, 12-28-17                Sayreville, NJ at Starland Ballroom
Fri, 12-29-17                  Richmond, VA at The National                      
Sat, 12-30-17                 Knoxville, TN at The International                 

Sun, 12-31-17               Columbus, OH at Express Live

CLUTCH:
Neil Fallon – Vocals/Guitar
Tim Sult – Guitar
Dan Maines – Bass
Jean-Paul Gaster – Drums/Percussion
For more  information, check out the band’s website:

ORB releases new single, “A Man in the Sand,” ahead of upcoming album due October 6th.

ORB

‘A Man In The Sand’ single released today
New album ‘Naturality‘, released October 6th, 2017
Performing intimate shows this week
Announced on national ‘Gizzfest’ tour Nov-Dec 

Photo by Jamie Wdziekonski
Geelong’s finest proto-metal band ORB have released the latest single and video clip from their upcoming record ‘Naturality’ out October 6th, 2017 on Flightless Records.

‘A Man In The Sand’ is accompanied by an absolutely stunning clip created by Alex McLaren and starring ORB lead singer Zak Olsen with various stop-motion paper cut outs. WATCH NOW.

ORB are playing some very special intimate shows over the next few weeks to road test new material before they perform on the national Gizzfest run in November-December.

Old Bar, Melbourne: Saturday September 9th
With School Damage & Living Eyes

Freda’s, Sydney: Wednesday September 13th
With Natalie de Silver

Freda’s, Sydney: Thursday September 14th
With GodK

Bar Open, Melbourne: Friday September 15
With Planet Slayer & Girlatones

All shows are $10 on the door only.

PRESS RELEASE #1
ORB
have respawned from last year’s Birth with a further mutated slab of paranoid heavy metal, Naturality’, out 6 October, 2017 on Flightless Records (AUS) & Castle Face Records (USA). They bring the dread with a kinetic muscularity and a pleasantly evolving synthetic strangeness, as if having eaten the wrong part of the garden, familiar things start to seem less so. The effects of these spores on your modern brain, already clogged with a steady drip of zips and zooms, are freshly heard and confusing. ORB are young and fleet-fingered, and certainly know their way around a riff, but they bring everything into an almost alien clarity both blunted and futuristic. ORB, you see, have ripened quite radically, and Naturality finds them sprouting new appendages and clawing at their enclosures. This is potent stuff, be careful. Listen to the first single, “You Are Right” now. Pre-order Naturality here.

NATURALITY Tracklisting

1. Hazlewart

2. A Man In The Sand

3. You Are Right

4. O.R.B.

5. Immortal Tortoise

6. Mother Brain

7. Flying Sorcerer

8. Rainbow’s End

Rewind Review: Ty Segall – Live in San Francisco (2015)

Ty Segall is so prolific that I’m surprised it took him until 2015 to release a live album. He seems to put out a new record every month, so it feels like he should have three live albums by now.

The psych-fuzz whiz kid opens his live set with, oddly enough, “Wave Goodbye.” It starts out with low bass and then kicks into squealing high gear that has the small crowd cheering in joy. It sounds like something Tom Petty wishes he could release on his new record, but fears it would alienate his long-time fans. “Slaughterhouse” (from the album of the same name) is pure freak-out punk rock with a little Nirvana vocals sprinkled on top for good measure. “Death” mixes stoner rock with punk so fast it might give your ears friction burns. It’s one of the best cuts on the record.

“I Bought My Eyes” is one of Segall’s biggest hits, and he lets it rip on this live album. The guitars seem to come at you from all sides while Segall’s vocals are somehow gentle in the din. “Feel” borders on arena rock territory at first, but the sleeveless denim jacket riffs cut it off at the front door (which is a good thing).

“The Hill” follows the band’s friend, Julie, telling a joke, and next up is “Thank God for the Sinners,” which sounds like something Buzzcocks cooked up at their second jam session. Segall claims “Standing at the Station” “is about the cow trade.” I don’t know if that’s true, but I do know that it’s a swaggering, wild blues-influenced tidal wave coming out of your speakers.

The album ends with another of Segall’s hits – “What’s Inside Your Heart.” I’m sure the fans at this gig told him how their hearts were full of palpitations from being shaken by so much rock. It’s a strong ending to a strong record.

I know this entire review has essentially been me saying this record is non-stop blaring madness, but that’s the best way I describe it. You’ll understand once you hear it. Ty Segall is making crazy records, and we should all be grateful to him for doing it. The world needs more live records, and live performers, like this.

Keep your mind open.

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Buy Ty Segall’s new EP and support the ACLU.

TY SEGALL RELEASES NEW “FRIED SHALLOTS” EP VIA BANDCAMP!

ALL PROCEEDS GO DIRECTLY TO THE ACLU

In order to survive this long, hot season of discontent, you gotta have something new to turn up and tune into! It’s vital to chew down on stuff that’s not just all negativity, you know? If you wanna stay positive, throw Ty Segall’s “Fried Shallots” into your brain pan and flame on for a quick snack.

“Fried Shallots” is a handful of numbers from different times and places over the past few years that all work together in a weird way. That’s something we should all be striving for: all working together in a weird way. For Ty, that requires rock with the gears shifting and stripping, tempos and tropes mashing up; a primal outburst, a quick-and-fuzzy soundtrack of rock, folk, r’n’b and pure power pop, to give us a chance to chill and do the new century twist for just a minute. That’s good, for in twist we trust!

“Fried Shallots” isn’t simply just good fun. The profits from this release will be donated to the American Civil Liberties Union, whose defense of our rights is badly needed now – especially in the face of the government pigs who don’t care about the constitution and are determined to thin our herd so that they and their corporate sugar-daddies can grow ever fatter off the deprivations of the common man-clan! Don’t you let ’em do it! Organizations like the ACLU help secure freedoms that allow individuals to stay individual in the face of the choking tides of oppression. Ty Segall’s “Fried Shallots” is here to help us surf those tides and not be swept under.

“Fried Shallots” is available for digital purchase exclusively on Bandcamp and a physical release will follow on August 25th!

“Fried Shallots” EP Tracklist:
1. Big Man
2. Dust
3. When The Gulls Turn To Ravens
4. Is It Real
5. Another Hustle
6. Talkin’Purchase “Fried Shallots” Digitally — 
https://tysegall.bandcamp.com/album/fried-shallots

Pre-Order “Fried Shallots” 12” EP — 
http://www.dragcity.com/products/fried-shallots

Ty Segall & The Freedom Band Tour Dates:
8/2/17 at The Capitol Theater in Olympia , WA, USA
8/3/17 at The Vogue Theatre in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
8/5/17- 8/6/17 at Pickathon in Happy Valley, OR, USA
8/17/17 at Pukkelpop Festival in Hasselt, Belgium
8/18/17 at Lowlands Festival in Biddinghuizen, Netherlands
8/19/17 at Festival Paredes de Coura in Paredes de Coura, Portugal
8/20/17 at La Route du Rock Festival in Saint Malo, France
8/23/17 at Den Graa Hal in Copenhagan, Denmark
8/24/17 at Astra Kulturhaus in Berlin, Germany
8/25/17 at Le Cabaret Vert in Charleville Mezieres, France
8/26/17 at Nox Orae Festival in La Tour de Peliz, Switzerland
8/27/17 at Rock En Seine in Paris, France
8/29/17 at Atabal in Biarritz, France
8/30/17 at Le Bikini (Bikini Fest) in Toulouse, France
8/31/17 at Ebrovision Festival in Miranda De Ebro , Spain
9/1/17 at The Coronet in London, United Kingdom
9/2/17 at End Of The Road Festival in Larmer Tree Gardens, Dorset, United Kingdom
10/5/17 at 191 Toole in Tuscon, AZ, USA
10/6/17 at Meow Wolf in Santa Fe, NM, USA
10/7/17 at Summit Music Hall in Denver, CO, USA
10/8/17 at The Fox Theatre in Boulder, CO, USA
10/10/17 at The Bunkhouse Saloon in Las Vegas, NV, USA

Rewind Review: Blue Cheer – Vincebus Eruptum (1968)

I’d heard and read that Blue Cheer (Dick Peterson – bass and vocals, Leigh Stephens – guitar, Paul Whaley – drums) were among the loudest bands of all time. Eric Clapton mentioned this in an interview I read once when he was talking about the psychedelic / stoner rock scene in late 1960’s. Other musicians seemed to whisper about Blue Cheer like speaking too loudly of them might unleash a sonic boom at any moment. So, I figured I should buy their debut album Vincebus Eruptum (which is Latin for “blue cheer,” by the way).

The album opens with what is widely considered to be the first heavy metal song ever released – their cover of “Summertime Blues.” It immediately pours on the distortion and drumming that sounds an army of Orcs is playing it. My favorite part of the cover is how they don’t bother singing the parts when the boss or the congressman in the song speak. They just play a quick bass, drum, or guitar solo instead. “Rock Me Baby” is a blues standard, showing that Blue Cheer could groove as well as blow out your eardrums.

“Doctor Please” is the first track on the album written by Peterson, and it’s almost eight minutes of howling vocals backed by wailing guitar, heavy drums, and angry dog-growl bass. “Out of Focus” almost starts that way with its funky, weird bass groove, but soon Whaley’s drum licks bring everything into a (somewhat fuzzy) focus.

“Parchment Farm” has guitar work that you can hear influenced bands like Earthless, Sleep, Kadavar, and Wolfmother. Stephens melted the first faces in 1968, and some people still haven’t recovered. Listening to “Second Time Around” is like hearing the first cries of Baby Stoner Rock. It’s a wild, bluesy, psychedelic trip with a crazy drum solo from Whaley. The band is allegedly named for a type of LSD, after all.

As wild as it is to hear Vincebus Eruptum now, it must’ve been mind-blowing in 1968. No one had done anything like this before, and many are still trying to do it now. From now on when people ask me, “What should I listen to if I want to get into stoner rock?” I’ll tell them to start with this.

Keep your mind open.

[You won’t have the blues if you subscribe.]

Desert Daze 2017 announces a great lineup.

The 2017 Desert Daze music festival in Joshua Tree, California is boasting one of the best festival lineups of 2017.  This four-day festival of psychedelic and stoner rock is well worth the trip if you don’t live close to the west coast.

Just some of the stand-outs in my book are Eagles of Death Metal, King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard, the Thurston Moore Group, Liars, Boris, Allah-Las, La Femme, the Budos Band, Deap Vally, Holy Wave, Froth, L.A. Witch, Death Valley Girls, Jjuujjuu, and Dahga Bloom.

Get your tickets now.  I’d be there if I could, but I’ll probably have used up most of my vacation time by the time October 12th arrives.

Keep your mind open.

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