Wo Fat’s brand of heavy blues is guaranteed to blow your mind with their progressive style and spacy jam sessions. They set themselves apart from typical bands of the genre with their unique blend of groovy Texas stoner rock. Now, the power trio from Dallas is back with The Singularity, their seventh studio album, released through Ripple Music.
The band’s first full length studio album in five years, The Singularity is a worthy follow-up to 2016’s Midnight Cometh. It features gnarly cover art by Eli Quinn and is composed of seven tracks, clocking in at a beefy 75 minutes. Like the structure of most of their past work, the tracks are more like two songs in one. They usually open with a heavy, blues-based stoner rock song, before proceeding to melt faces with dynamic, progressive jams for the last half, with tons of heavy changeups, melodic sci-fi lyrics, fluid drum work, jazzy infusions, stoner rock turnarounds, and soaring guitar solos.
1. Orphans of the Singe 13:54 2. The Snows of Banquo IV 8:25 3. Overworlder 11:54 4. The Unraveling 7:42 5. The Witching Chamber 9:25 6. The Singularity 7:46 7. The Oracle 16:32
From start to finish, the album is an absolute head banger. Kent Stump provides muscular guitar riffs and, like Tim Sult of Clutch, knows his way around a wah-pedal. His heavy blues and progressive style at times remind me of Droids Attack, or possibly even early Galactic Cowboys. Stump’s vocals are aggressive and melodic, with occasional harmonies. On bass, Zack Busby keeps things solid with a beefy bass tone that is perfectly locked on to the drum work, while creating an incredibly perceptive compliment to the guitar riffs, and like Geezer Butler, isn’t afraid to explore the fretboard. Michael Walter provides a huge, driving drum sound with a fluid complexity that dances between time signatures and explores every aspect of the riff.
You can find all of Wo Fat’s releases, including splits and live albums, on Bandcamp. Their entire discography is available for digital download for under $54. The Singularity is available on CD and digital download for $10. The album is also available on color-splat or black double vinyl, though copies are sold out as of this writing. Check out their merch page for tons of cool t-shirts as well as copies of back albums.
Dhidalah is a space rock power trio from Tokyo, Japan. Well schooled in the concept of sonic space travel, their jam oriented music has been taking us to the outer realms of psychedelic rock since 2013. The band released several independent recordings and EPs before signing with Guruguru Brain. Since then, they’ve released full lengths No Water in 2017 and Threshold in 2019. Their latest release, Sensoria, was released online in April, with vinyl pre-orders shipping this fall.
Sensoria is a four track album, clocking in at a modest 38 minutes. To create new material, the band members explore ideas during weekly jam sessions, which they then contemplate upon and hone throughout the week for the next session. Two tracks from the album, Soma and Black Shrine, were created through these sessions, while the other two tracks, Invader Summer and DEAD, are credited to guitarist Ikuma Kawabe, of Church of Misery fame. The tracks were recorded and mastered by Ryuhi Inari of Void)))Lab and mixed by Hideki Urawa. The album features cover artwork by D.Norsen.
1. Soma 9:07 2. Invader Summer 6:00 3. DEAD 3:03 4. Black Shrine 20:01
The short full length packs a hard psychedelic punch that sounds both raw and organic, but with the seasoned tightness of a touring jam band. You’ll want to wear headphones to absorb the full mind-warping impact of the sonic trip. Listen for phaser and wah-pedal infused layers of guitars throughout, notable on Soma and Invader Summer. The fast pace of many of their tracks reminds me of King Gizzard’s jammiest stuff. A tight and tonal drum sound lays down a solid base groove throughout the album, and listen for some creative hand percussion interplay with the acoustic guitar on the slower and quieter, DEAD. Black Shrine, the incredible 20 minute closer, inspired by the Yokai of Japanese folklore (I fully support following this link and tripping out on these entities while you listen), features a meaty bass tone, possibly reminiscent of OM’s phased out drum sound. Melodic vocals, sparse and drenched in otherworldly reverb and delay, as well as sci-fi noise FX, add to the spacy atmosphere of the album.
You can find the digital album for under $8 on Bandcamp, where you can also preorder the vinyl for under $30. Keep in mind, records will not ship until August outside of the US, and until September for the US. Also, check out the band’s social media where you can find t-shirts, tote bags, and other merch.
Somali Yacht Club is a psychedelic stoner rock trio from Lviv, Ukraine. The group formed in 2010 and have four full lengths under their belt with the release of 2022’s The Space. The group is known for their psychedelic music, infused with elements of shoe gaze and early grunge.
The Space, is their debut album on Season of Mist Records. It contains six tracks, with 45 minutes of some of the most dynamic and atmospheric stoner rock available. It has a huge drum sound, melodic vocals, and walls of guitar tones that undulate and build with plenty of heavy changeups. The beautiful cover art was provided by renowned Ukrainian artist, Dasha Pliska, whose art has been featured in Dash and Flaunt.
Silver and Gold, two of the shortest tracks on the album, really bring the shoe gaze element, with their atmospheric psychedelia and melodramatic vocals, even offering a little Deftones flavor at times. Look for a full, heavy sound on Pulsar and Alice in Chains style harmonies on Echo of Direction. Obscurum’s progressive intro and and creative chord progressions recall the best of Weedpecker and perhaps even early King’s X. Album closer Momentum ends the album beautifully, and in a very heavy way.
1. Silver 5:16
2. Pulsar 9:07
3. Obscurum 5:06
4. Echo of Direction 9:45
5. Gold 3:32
6. Momentum 12:30
You can find the The Space on Bandcamp. Their album is currently available on digital release, CD, and vinyl. Also, check out their merch page where you can find past releases and t-shirts. Amidst the ongoing military conflict in Ukraine, the band has pledged to donate all profits made in 2022 to various charities to help their home country.
May 27 Indian Ocean Hotel – Scarborough, Western Australia
Jun 10 Evelyn Hotel – Fitzroy, Victoria, Australia
Humanotone is a one man musical project, produced and performed by multi-instrumentalist, Jorge Cist, who is based in Coquimbo, Chile. His music is a progressive dose of muscular stoner rock and shares the same psychedelic vein as heavy hitters such as Elder and Swan Valley Heights. Jorge just released Humanatone’s second album, A Flourishing Fall in a Grain of Sand, an impressive follow-up to 2017s self-titled debut.
Flourishing Fall consists of six richly layered, flowing compositions, five of which range from eight to over 12 minutes in length. Initially written between 2017 and 2019, the songs were structured and recorded between May and October of 2021. According to Jorge, “All the songs were inspired by the sea and are a way of thanking the healing power it had on me during rough times.”
While listening to this album on repeat on a recent bus trip through the Rocky Mountains, I realized why this album stands out: It seriously flows! Similar to the ocean or the mountain ranges passing before my eyes, the album has a natural quality, indefinable by words alone. While many similar progressive rock albums can tend to get bogged down in their own complexity, Flourishing Fall flows seamlessly from riff to riff like crashing waves or thunder on mountain peaks.
In addition to performing vocals and instrumentation, Jorge also recorded and mixed the album in his own Massive Void Recordings studio and created the artwork using pointillism technique on 140g Canson paper. Make sure to also check out the artwork produced for the album’s first single, Light Antilogies. A Flourishing Fall in a Grain of Sand is available on Bandcamp, where the entire discography can be downloaded for under five dollars. While there, you can also link to videos and social media.
Matt Pike’s first solo album came to us in a time when we needed it the most. In the dead of a winter filled with wars and rumors of wars, pandemic, natural disasters, as well as between releases and tours by primary groups Sleep and High on Fire, the riff-master took matters into his own hands and produced Pike vs The Automaton.
It’s a heavy album that explores retro sounding heavy metal, thrash, punk, and even some twangy blues. Falling somewhere between the riffy thrash of High on Fire and the stoner-doom of Sleep, Pike gave in fully to his musical instincts, riffing his way through an assemblage of songs guaranteed to induce head-banging and disgust with authority.
Recorded in his garage during the pandemic, Pike’s describes his work this way: “I made a psychedelic rock record that Sleep and High on Fire fans would like. And maybe if you’re not a Sleep or High on Fire fan, you might like it too. I definitely think it’s interesting; it has D-Beat punk, two-step. It’s got everything and it still works together, it doesn’t sound odd. It’s just an off-the-wall psychedelic rock record.”
At the core of the ensemble group is Pike on guitars and vocals, backed by friend and drummer Jon Reid. Featured among many guests on the album are some familiar names. Brent Hinds of Mastodon appears in a surprisingly chill cameo on the twangy “Land.” Pike’s wife provides caustic vocals on the hard-core “Acid Test Zone.” Jeff Matz, bassist of High on Fire, plays the Turkish electric saz on the album’s epic 11 minute closer, “Leaving the Wars of Woe.”
The album clocks in at 63 minutes with 10 tracks, and features beautifully rendered, symbolic cover art. It’s available on vinyl and CD, as well as digital release.
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 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.
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