Blue Heron set to release debut album, Ephemeral

Ephemeral will be released on May 27th

Blue Heron is a four-piece desert rock band from Albuquerque, NM. Their debut album, Ephemeral, will be released in late May. The group deals out a psychedelic mix of grungy heavy metal, with strong desert rock vibes and rhythms.

Ephemeral, featuring beautiful artwork by Mirko Gastow, is set for a May 27th release. The eight track album clocks in at a very listenable 47 minutes. It’s heavy from start to finish, with the exception of a few quiet interlude tracks that give short breathers between headbanging and breakdowns.

1. Futurola 5:22
2. Sayonara 13:20
3. Push the Sky 4:39
4. Infiniton Field 2:20
5. The Buck 6:19
6. Black Blood of the Earth 7:14
7. Where One Went Together 2:02
8. Salvage 5:53

Futurola music video by Dedisuseno

There’s plenty of driving, desert rock guitar, like on opener, Futurola, and even some High on Fire flavored riffage, like on Black Blood of the Earth, which also features a heavy, Sabbath-worship ending. Keep your ear out for plenty of spacy guitar solos, especially on the epic, 13 minute track, Sayonara, and even some reflective acoustic work on interlude track, Infiniton Field. Fans of Kal-El and Dozer will aprove.

The bass is impressive, with a full, in your face sound. It creates a solid, rhythmic counterpart for the drums, often taking the lead when the guitars are spacing out. Fans of Kyuss and Clutch will appreciate the complexity and driving rhythm. Check out Sayonara and The Buck for excellent examples of the growly bass tones and competent leads.

The drums are solid and driving throughout, featuring bluesy patterns and plenty of heavy breakdowns. There’s plenty of tasty tom work and cymbal accents, notable on Push the Sky, and a crisp sound shines through on closer, Salvage. Black Blood of the Earth has a definite stoner metal drumming sound, which fans of High on Fire and The Sword will appreciate, and don’t miss the shuffle pattern for the heavy blues ending.

The vocals are unique and diverse. Most of the album features melodic vocals with a throaty, aggressive delivery. Several of the tracks, including Sayonara and Push the Sky, have some edgy hardcore vocals at the end. Fans of John Garcia, Neil Fallon, and Matt Pike won’t be disappointed. Lyrical content ranges from mortality and the fleeting nature of existence to mythic fables about deposed gods and failed civilizations.

The album will be released by Kosmik Artifactz and Seeing Red Records. You can find the band on social media. Pre-order the digital album on Bandcamp for $6 or vinyl for $25, with supplies shipping on May 30th. Check out the merch page for bundle deals on their album and Black Blood of the Earth/A Sunken Place EP from 2021. Also, check out the music videos for Futurola and Push the Sky. Definitely keep an ear out for more from Blue Heron.

The Singularity: New album by Wo Fat

The Singularity was released on May 6, 2022

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

Personnel (Left to Right): Zack Busby (Bass), Michael Walter (Drums), Kent Stump (Guitar/Vox)

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.

Somali Yacht Club release new album, The Space

The Space was released on April 22, 2022

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.

Tour Dates

May 27 Indian Ocean Hotel – Scarborough, Western Australia

Jun 10 Evelyn Hotel – Fitzroy, Victoria, Australia

Sleep Concert Review and News

Sleep live in Denver, April 18, 2022 – Photo credit: The Purlenaut

Last October, Sleep announced a brief, weeklong 2022 tour for April, totaling three shows in Denver, Colorado Springs, and Albuquerque, culminating on 4/20. This evolved into five total shows, with an extra matinee show added in Colorado Springs and a quickly announced appearance at Meow Wolf’s House of Eternal Return in Santa Fe. Along with the tour, Sleep released a live recording from their concert in New York in 2018, as well as a remastered reissue of Dopesmoker on Third Man Records.

Denver setlist – Photo Credit: Tim Bugbee

I made it to their show at the Mission Ballroom in Denver. After openers Superwolves, Sleep took the stage and gave the tightest, most studio-quality performance that I’ve witnessed them perform. There were noticeably less amps on stage than previous shows, which, paired with the robust in-house system, seemed to result in a cleaner mix and more focused sound. The vocals especially were clearer and more distinct; less overshadowed in the mix than previous shows. The mini tour also featured the debut of Al’s 4420 custom double-neck Rickenbacker. The setlist included two classic tracks from their album, Holy Mountain (Holy Mountain, Dragonaut), both Adult Swim Singles (Leagues Beneath, The Clarity), and three tracks from The Sciences (Marijuanaut’s Theme, Sonic Titan, The Botanist).

Among the tables of merch was the limited release of 420 hand etched records from their concert in New York, 2018. It features some sick Escape From New York cover art complete with their signature Sabbath worship. The two green and white discs have a great live concert sound, as well as an amazing mix that really captures the full dynamic range of the band. The low end is especially bright and pronounced.

New York 2018 – Photo Credit: The Purlenaut

In other news, Sleep recently announced a reissue of their legendary Dopesmoker LP with Nashville’s Third Man Records. The album is remastered from the source tapes and features a rare studio recording of the previously unreleased track, Hot Lava Man, as well as studio notes and vintage photo prints of the band members. The album retains original artwork by longtime collaborator and album cover artist, Arik Roper. The album is available through Third Man’s Vault Subscription. The sign up deadline to receive the album is April 30th at midnight.

Tour Dates

Aug 27 This Ain’t No Picnic Festival – Pasadena, CA, US

Ancient Nug: New single by Telekinetic Yeti

Primordial is set for release on July 8, 2022

Telekinetic Yeti is a two-piece stoner rock band from Dubuque, Iowa. Formed in 2015, the band was started by singer and guitarist, Alex Baumann. Abominable, the band’s first album, was released in March 2017. The heavy album is brilliantly arranged and packs a major punch that rewards repeat listens. After that release, the band began touring heavily, sharing stages with giants such as Weedeater, Truckfighters, 1000 Mods, Red Fang, and Clutch.

After a change of drummers and with five years since their first release, the duo will finally release their second album, Primordial, an album they’ve been sitting on since 2020. It’s their first album signed with Tee Pee Records. The new single, Ancient Nug, picks up where Abominable left off. It has chunky guitar riffs, complex drumbeats, melodic, guttural vocals, plenty of changeups, and don’t miss that heavy down-tempo outro.

It was released as a music video, featuring the duo rocking out onstage in an old church. Guitarist Baumann explained, “This song is about searching for meaning and purpose amidst the ubiquitous suffering we endure. It’s also about something long lost being rediscovered, and the resonating ripples of butterfly effects from the ancient past that affect all life today. We really liked filming in this location because it had such a meditative and surreal quality to it. We felt that it fit the themes of the song well.”

The album can be pre-ordered on black or purple vinyl for $25 or on CD for $13. Check out the music video and get hyped for the new album! Also, look for Telekinetic Yeti at a handful of shows in May, including Desertfest NYC.

MAY 12 Westside Bowl – Youngstown, OH

MAY 14 Middle East – Boston, MA

MAY 15 Desertfest NYC – New York, NY

A Frog in the Bog: The heavy split album by Froglord and Bog Wizard

A Frog in the Bog was released on April 1, 2022

A Frog in the Bog is the concept record collaboratively produced by the UK’s Froglord and Michigan’s Bog Wizard. The two stoner doom bands, known for their D&D style narratives, came together from across the Atlantic expanse to document the meeting of the reclusive Bog Wizard and the god-like Frog Lord, resulting in magical and smoky adventures in the depths of the bog.

Bog Wizard starts the album with two tracks, Reptilian Death Squad and Frog Lord, whose doomy riffs and tortured, operatic vocals document the Frog Lord and and his followers’ invasion of the marsh, and of a magical interaction with the Wizard of the Bog, mostly from the Wizard’s perspective.

BOW DOWN TO THE POWER OF THE FROG LORD

Froglord provides the next two tracks, The Bog, and The Wizard. They tell the tale from the perspective of the Frog Lord, attempting to convert Bog Wizard to his cult, and then preparing to do battle. Don’t miss the gnarly blast beats on The Wizard, and keep an ear out for movie sound-bytes, including one from Labyrinth, during the two tracks.

The final track, The Bog Wizard, featuring both bands, tells the epic and surprising tale of the final encounter. Who will win the equally matched battle or will the slimy bog take them both? Listen to the album and experience the full smoky climax to find out what happens.

There’s a lot to like from these two bands and this album. First, the contributions by both bands as well as their song collaborations gives the album a fun mixtape kind of feel, yet with the benefit of having a cohesive narrative, and the retro, 16-bit album art by Benjamin Blåholtz is a great throwback. The digital album can be found on Bandcamp where it is also available on vinyl, CD, and cassette while supplies last. Also check out the merch page for all kinds of cool gear, including album art prints, stickers and patches.

A Flourishing Fall in a Grain of Sand, the heavy new album by Humanotone

A Flourishing Fall in a Grain of Sand was released on March 11

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.

Howling Giant set for 4/20 release; heavy new single out now

Alteration, the instrumental EP by Howling Giant

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.

New music from King Buffalo

The Burden of Restlessness releases on June 4, 2021

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.

Tour Dates

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

JAN 22 Velvet Underground – Toronto, ON, Canada

Return of the Sonic Sofa

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.