The lockdown was tough on all of us, but especially for bands whose bread and butter is touring and selling merch. Some, like Nashville’s Howling Giant, have had to get creative in order to endure the quarantine. With regular Twitch streams as a way to connect with fans, including live jam sessions on Saturday nights, the progressive stoner rockers began creating impromptu instrumental jams to names created by audience members. Alteration, the new EP by the band, features four of these jams, crafted and refined in the studio. Look for the release on 4/20 and for now, check out their new single, Luring Alluring Rings.
With a rich psychedelic atmosphere, the track features an epic chord progressions, huge drum sound, and ethereal keyboard tones. The song has a beautifully melodic theme. In the middle of the track, listen for the soaring guitar solos and heavy chugging changeup, right before the triumphant return of the main theme in the last third of the song. Listen to Howling Giant’s new track, Luring Alluring Rings, and make sure to check out the full EP, Alteration, available for $5 on their Bandcamp page, out on 4/20.
King Buffalo has been dealing heavy psych music since 2013 and have big plans for 2021. The Rochester, NY trio, who has toured with stoner rock giants The Sword, Elder, and All Them Witches, has announced that they will be releasing three full length albums this year and have already listed dates for a fall tour. The first album, titled The Burden of Restlessness, is set for a June 4 release and the first single is out now. The second two releases are being kept under wraps, although the band has hinted that each album will be distinct and recorded with different methods.
Hebetation is the new track from The Burden of Restlessness, and expands King Buffalo’s sound into progressive new audioscapes. Although I was a fan of the heavy psych atmosphere of their first two full lengths, Orion and Longing to be the Mountain, it sometimes felt like the band was stuck in repetitive musical territory. However, with their third full-length, Dead Star, the band showed they weren’t afraid to infuse their rock with more aggressive and driving sections, giving them a more diverse and well-rounded sound. The best thing about it was that the band never changed their core style, but simply expanded it. With Hebetation, we see that evolution continuing, with an even more progressive, heavy sound, all while maintaining their own trance-inducing psychedeliscapes.
SEP 10 Larimer Lounge – Denver, CO
SEP 11 Larimer Lounge – Denver, CO
SEP 14 The Moroccan Lounge – Los Angeles, CA
SEP 15 Bottom Of the Hill – San Francisco, CA
SEP 17 Barboza – Seattle, WA
SEP 18 Barboza – Seattle, WA
SEP 19 Lola’s Room – Portland, OR
OCT 1 Higher Ground – South Burlington, VT
OCT 2 Space Ballroom – Hamden, CT
OCT 15 The Middle East Restaurant and Nightclub – Cambridge, MA
NOV 4 DC9 – Washington, DC
NOV 5 Johnny Brenda’s – Philadelphia, PA
NOV 6 Mercury Lounge – New York, NY
NOV 11 Club Cafe – Pittsburgh, PA
NOV 12 The Loving Touch – Ferndale, MI
NOV 13 Hi-Fi – Indianapolis, IN
NOV 14 Off Broadway – St. Louis, MO
NOV 16 The Winnebago – Madison, WI
NOV 17 7th St Entry – Minneapolis, MN
NOV 18 The Back Room @ Colectivo – Milwaukee, WI
NOV 19 Lincoln Hall – Chicago, IL
NOV 20 Beachland Ballroom & Tavern – Cleveland, OH
After a hyper-sleep spanning the eons of 2020 and slightly beyond (I changed jobs and moved and didn’t have as much time to write about my favorite music), the Sonic Sofa has returned with earsplitting, heavy metal vengeance. Stay tuned for more reviews of new stoner rock music, a series highlighting 10 heavy classic albums from bands like Sleep and Electric Wizard, and more occasional stoner rock podcasts with the Purlenaut.
Goatriders is a four piece band from Linköping, Sweden. The band serves up a riffy mix of desert rock with plenty of hypnotic and spacey interludes. The band released their first EP 15/12, in December, 2018 and just followed it up with The Magician’s Keep, on January 27, 2020.
The Magician’s Keep was released by Ozium Records. Mixed and mastered by friend of the band, Petter Kindström, the album clocks in at 36 minutes and is made up of five tracks. With each track between five and 10 minutes, the songs are on the longer side and each is an immersive experience of diverse and spacey sound textures. The album is characterized by walls of fuzz, psychedelic guitar tones, crisp and clear drums, a growly bass tone that isn’t afraid to explore the fret board, and lots and lots of groove. If you enjoy bands like Naxatras, you will love what Goatriders has to serve up.
Amitte Diem 7:43
Hound of the Gods 5:24
Pitch Black Blues 6:47
Songs from Mars 10:41
Check out the band on Bandcamp where you can support the band by buying the digital album. The album will be available on vinyl and CD later this year. You can also check out the band on Instagram. Thank you for reading The Sonic Sofa. You can find The Sonic Sofa on Stitcher, Soundcloud, thesonicsofa.blog, and Twitter. Please consider donating to The Sonic Sofa on PayPal or Patreon. Go in peace and rock on, Sofanauts.
Isak is a stoner rock trio from Glasgow, Scotland. The group is made up of Joe McGarrity on vocals and guitar, Mark Tait on bass, and Robert “Twigs” McLean drums. The band has been producing riffy space rock since 2012 and just announced their first full length album, The Great Expanse, via their Facebook page.
The Great Expanse will be a followup up to Isak EP, released in July, 2013, and EP2, which was released in January, 2018. The Great Expanse is a sonically compelling stoner rock album that will take you to the edge of space and beyond. The album tells the story of traveler journeying across the galaxy. As he embarks across the endless cosmos, he begins to wonder if he is alone or if he is being guided. More than half instrumental, but employing the sparse, melodic vocals in a focused and effective way, the album is the soundtrack to the traveler’s story. It unfolds dynamically over the course of 45 minutes and seven tracks. The record was recorded at 16 Ohm Studio in Glasgow, with Tommy Duffin of Cosmic Dead and John McBain of Monster Magnet completing the mastering.
The Great Expanse 6:46
Beyond the Karman Line 6:24
Falling Satellite 11:39
Out of Reach 5:50
Call of the Void 4:00
The album opens with The Great Expanse, a riffy track with a driving bass and rhythm section. With thoughtful, melodic lyrics such as “set sail on infinite seas” and “explore the great beyond,” space exploration quickly becomes the theme of the album. The lyrics disappear after the first half (they return on the fifth track), and the band members let the instruments continue the story. A spacey jam finishes things out and it fades seamlessly into the second song.
The Karman Line is the altitude where Earth ends and space begins, 62 miles above the surface. The second track, Beyond the Karman Line, begins low key with a catchy clean guitar line, but then the song builds and accelerates the heaviness, as if it were the second stage of a rocket flinging us into the vastness of space. The track has a creative drum pattern and bass rhythm, topped off by a fuzzy, psychedelic guitar tone.
Falling Satellite is the longest song on the album, close to 12 minutes. It starts with thick bass tones and cymbal swells. The guitar materializes from spacey, atmospheric sounds into a cohesive pattern, and the other instruments develop with it, creating a cosmic jam that plays out over the first half of the song. The second half transforms into a heavier, driving riff with a progressive poly-rhythm that has echoes of Tool. The track continues to form and explore for the last half, featuring a singing guitar lead and progressively building and building before fading out, with the cymbals swells and thick bass tones from the beginning making a return.
Opening with ethereal organ tones and cosmic guitar notes, Interstellar builds into a short but nice bass-heavy progression. The hypnotic pattern continues for a few minutes before fading into the next track, Ablaze, which takes us into more of a crunchier, riffier territory. This track is where the lyrics return, making their presence at the beginning and end of the track. Meanwhile, the band provides plenty of cool stoner rock change-ups, complex rhythm patterns, and plenty of cool, wandering guitar leads that weave in and out of the musical fabric.
Out of Reach starts right in with a swingy, heavy riff. The drums produce a decent shuffle pattern and some huge sounding cymbal crashes alongside a growly bass. While the opening track’s lyrics felt broad and hopeful, optimistically talking of exploring the “infinite seas” of space, the lyrics in Out of Reach come across as more desperate, searching, and claustrophobic, as if the traveler is searching for meaning, or anything, in the empty reaches of space.
At the beginning of the last track, Call of the Void, the band changes it up with harmonic, angelic vocals over a clean guitar line. It’s unsure if the harmonic lyrics represents the voice of a heavenly guide leading our traveler to some kind of salvation, or perhaps the last hallucination of a dying astronaut drifting endless into cold space, but somehow both scenarios seem hopeful, and a fitting end to an awesome stoner rock odyssey.
The album is set for release in late February, and will be available on Bandcamp, alongside their two previous EPs. Make sure to also check out the band on Facebook and Twitter. Check out The Sonic Sofa on Stitcher, Soundcloud, thesonicsofa.blog, and Twitter. Please support the bands by buying their music and merch. If you have music, a band, or an original music review or press release that you think should be featured on the blog or podcast, contact The Purlenaut at email@example.com. If you enjoy the content provided on this blog and want to see more, please consider donating to The Sonic Sofa on PayPal or Patreon. Go in peace and rock on, Sofanauts.
The 2019/2020 Australian bushfire season began in November and has continued to rage on into 2020. As of today, 29 people have been killed. An estimated 2,683 homes have been destroyed in the blazes. Around 18,626,000 hectares (46,000,000 acres) have been incinerated. Nearly one billion animals have died in the fires with some unique Australian species being driven to the brink of extinction.
If you’re looking for a way to support causes that will benefit Australia during this difficult time, consider King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard. The Melbourne multi-genre group has always been conscious and vocal about climate change and environmental causes and now they have released three live albums with 100% of the proceeds going to support Wildlife Victoria. The mission of the organization is to protect animals through rescue, education, and advocacy.
The three live albums by the band are each listed for $10 AUS ($6.90 US). Each album is accompanied with the beautiful, unique art by band artist Jason Galea, and packed with over an hour of live music. Since January 10, the band has released Live in Paris ’19, Live in Adelaide ’19, as well as Live in Brussels ’19. Again, consider supporting Wildlife Victoria by buying one or more of these high quality live albums from King Gizzard. The albums can be bought on Bandcamp by following the links on this page.
Become one with The Sonic Sofa Podcast. The January podcast features heavy new music by Ryte, All Them Witches, and Scarecrow. We also check out a live track from the latest Om release, as well as heavy new music by Moonstone.
Check out the Sonic Sofa on Stitcher, Soundcloud, thesonicsofa.blog, and Twitter. Please support the bands by buying their music and merch. If you have music, a band, or an original music review or press release that you think should be featured on the blog or podcast, contact The Purlenaut at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please consider donating to The Sonic Sofa on PayPal or Patreon. Go in peace and rock on, Sofanauts.
Moonstone is stoner doom band hailing from Kraków, Poland. Formed in 2017, the group is made up of guitarist and vocalist Jan Maniewski, bassist Wiktor Kozak, and drummer Kacper Kubień. The trio pumps out rounds upon rounds of fuzzy, downtuned riffs and sparse, chantlike vocals on top of a hypnotic rhythm sections that chugs along like a freight train, plowing away everything in its groovy path.
Their debut self-titled album was released on December 28. The five song, 35 minute album is heavy from start to finish summoning the hypnotic riffing force of bands like Sleep and Belzebong, and infusing it with some bluesy Sabbathian groove. Moonstone keeps their arrangements fairly simple and straighforward, but the crushing weight of their riffs and rhythm, as well as several key change-ups, keeps things fresh even on the longer tracks.
1. The Oncoming 1:33 2. Mushroom King 5:21 3. Pale Void 10:20 4. Ash and Stone 9:05 5. SulphurEye 8:34
The album opens up with The Oncoming, a brief but atmospheric intro that uses some amazing bass tones and some seriously heavy power chords to tease the onslaught of riffage to come. Flowing seemlessly into Mushroom King with a fitting audio sample about viral mushroom spores, the track opens with a swingy riff over a shuffling drum pattern. The band takes the riff to absolute overdrive and adds some brief, eerie vocals at the end, before changing things up with an “Into the Void” like transition that will finish off your ear drums with sufficient power.
Pale Void opens with a slow and heavy riff and some complex drum work. The bass and drums create what is almost like a super-slowed down, reggae-like dub beat. When the vocals kick in, they are chant-like and occasionally employ some simple and tasty harmonies. The song features several heavy buildups, as well as a nice bass lead that transitions the song to a heavy ending.
Ash and Stone opens with another sludgy doom riff. Featuring some awesomely low power chords, the track is a total headbanger. The vocals are eerie and haunting, ringing out clear melodies over the heavy, fuzzy riffs. A cool switchup at the end kicks the song into high gear. On the album closer, Sulphereye, it starts with a muscular guitar tone and one of the darkest sounding riffs on the album. Aided by an equally dark film audio clip and some scary vocals, the track makes for a heavy, sludgy end to a heavy, sludgy album.
The album is available on CD and digital download on Bandcamp. Also check out the group on Facebook. Thank you for reading The Sonic Sofa. Stay tuned for the January podcast and for now, check out one of the past episodes for more great music. Go in peace and rock on, Sofanauts.
It has been seven years since Om’s last album, the critically acclaimed Advaitic Songs, was released, but the members have proven that patience is a virtue when it comes to their work. The core of the avant-garde rock group is vocalist and bassist, Al Cisneros of Sleep, and drummer, Emil Amos of Holy Sons and Grails. They are currently joined by keyboardist, Tyler Trotter of Bonnie Stillwatter. Between the triumphant return of Sleep and Emil Amos’s prolific solo output in Holy Sons, Om was relegated to short tours and occasional festivals such as Desertfest and Monolith on the Mesa, but in October, fans were surprised by the physical release of the band’s latest live album: the carefully recorded and engineered BBC Radio 1, Om’s highest quality live album to date, and the second with the current lineup.
BBC Radio 1 was released on October 9, 2019 on the Drag City record label. It was recorded in Maida Vale Studios in London in May, and the care and attention of both the band and the studio engineers is apparent on the final product. The instruments are impressively clear and the sound of the room is present on the recording. Unfortunately, the album is short, clocking in at just short of 30 minutes. It’s composed of four tracks: Gethsemane and State of Non-Return from Advaitic Songs, followed by Cremation Ghat and Cremation Ghat II from 2009’s God is Good. The classic songs have slightly changed, evolving over the years as the band has continually toured and improved their compositions and arrangements.
1. Gethsemane 11:19 2. State of Non-Return 8:22 3. Cremation Ghat 3:43 4. Cremation Ghat II 5:37
Cisneros’s bass tones on the album, carefully crafted and honed over decades, are rich and diverse, laying down a heavy bottom line for each song song. On Gethsemane, slow, meditative patterns guide us through the song with deep, clear tones. It’s followed by State of Non-Return’s fuzzy, overcharged sound; perhaps one of the heaviest bass tones ever committed to vinyl. The jazzier feel on the Cremation Ghat suite is matched by a groovy, clean tone that in part II, features some amazing Iommic sounding hooks that have been improvised since the studio release.
Emil Amos’s drumming style is like a cross between meditative stoner rock beats and flowing dub rhythms. As the songs progress, he regularly peppers in phenomenally complex fills, dancing within and around the beat, all while holding down the meter like a human metronome. His drums ring out with incredible clarity, capturing the the sound and breadth of the studio in their resonance. Carefully chosen cymbals, notably the outstanding ride bell and large china, add shimmering brilliance to the atmosphere of the album.
Trotter’s keyboard samples accurately represent the original recorded strings and ethnic instruments. All of his work tastefully fills out the album, adding texture and deepening the complexity of each track. Over it all, the esoteric lyrics are sparsely though thoughtfully placed for full impact. Blending characters, places, and concepts from multiple geographic areas and religions, Cisneros weaves a lyrical tapestry which is both meditatively therapeutic and thought-provoking.
Om has a number of tour dates lined up for 2019. If you get out to see the band on tour, you will be treated to an album quality performance. We saw the band last May at the Taos Brewery for the Monolith on the Mesa festival, and the result was electrifying. Some highlights of the show were Cisneros percussively slapping the bass, Amos in a trance-induced drumming state, Trotter employing a mixture of keyboards and physical instruments, and the whole scene of the desert earthship stage being bathed in dynamic, kaleidoscopic oil lights.
Although it looks like Sleep may be taking a break after releasing The Sciences and extensively touring The U.S. and Europe, this may be acceptable news for fans who have been waiting for a new Om studio album, as the break could allow the members of Om to join once again and unite their powers in song. No matter what the band decides to put out, you can be sure it will be worth the wait. For now, listen to the new live album and support the band by buying the high quality digital download from Bandcamp, or the two-record vinyl release with mixed green and black wax.
Thanks for reading The Sonic Sofa. This will be the last article of 2019, but we’ll be back and stronger for 2020. Happy holidays, go in peace, and rock on, Sofanauts.
Feb 21 Austin, TX – Mohawk
Feb 22 Houston, TX – Brash Brewing
Feb 23 Dallas, TX – Gas Monkey Bar N’ Grill
Feb 24 Fayetteville, AR – George’s Majestic Lounge