Space Rock

All posts tagged Space Rock

By Rick Polo (Editor-in-Chief)

VVVV Cover

Artist: Cvttvnmvvth

Album: VVVV

Release Date: 2/12/16

Rating: 9.5/10

Over the past few years, the Northeast Ohio music scene has seen an explosion of Sludge, Doom and Stoner Rock influenced acts attempting to, and often succeeding to, bring raw, gritty heavy rock back to the forefront. But none have dared further, lower, dirtier, eviler and spacier than Youngstown’s Cvttvnmvvth!

Since the release of their 2013 debut, Tough Snake, Cvttvnmvvth have pummeled ear drums with their unique blend of Doom, Space/Psych, Stoner Metal and Post-Punk, with heavy atmospheres reaching as far in Goth as they do into Black Metal. Now, the power trio of gloom are set to release their next monumental output, a cassette tape titled VVVV.

Over the seven tracks that comprise VVVV, Cvttvnmvvth touch base on all the aforementioned styles, piss all over them, and write their own set of rules. The upbeat “Barf Star” opens the tape, setting the tone with a lo-fi, punk slammer of a track, leading into the heavy licks of “Strangle Game.” Along with a DIY aesthetic, the lo-fi production and heavy reverb, especially on the drums, is almost instantly reminiscent of the hey day of the tape-trading Black Metal scene of early 80s acts like Hellhammer and Bathory.

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“Plug Life” is the first track to really slow things down, right down into the dirt! Featuring some Pentagram-esque riffage, the track emphasizes Cvttvnmvvth’s ability to dig deep, while keeping the song grounded and interesting. “Subwolfer” sounds like a long-lost Black Sabbath demo, complete with drummer Kenny Halbert and bassist Eric Tharp holding down a tight, swinging groove over top some deliciously doom-y riffs and almost bluesy vocals courtesy of singer/guitarist Javier. “World Abattoir” continues this vibe before naturally segueing into the spacey, psychedelic doom the concludes VVVV.

“Sex Feast” nods to Candlemass, perhaps if Candlemass had begun in the early 70s, with a very classic doom riff filled with Space Rock flair. Finally, the album concludes on a definite highlight with “Sky Burial.” The epic eight-plus minute track soars high, really high, serving as a well indicator of how Cvttvnmvvth have developed as songwriters.

VVVV has a very genre-bending overall approach, one which says more in seven tracks than most artists do across three albums. Upon listening to VVVV, there’s no doubt that Cvttvnmvvth are both unafraid to take risks, and enjoy pushing the boundaries of which they have set. VVVV is the perfect answer to Tough Snake, the band have not only grown as songwriters, but have set the bar even higher this time around.

Cvttvnmvvth will hold an official release party for VVVV on Feb. 20 at Cedars West End along with Mississippi Gun Club for support.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4vh93CQ7ylo&feature=youtu.be

David Gilmour performing with Pink Floyd during their Space Rock era circa 1971.

David Gilmour performing with Pink Floyd during their Space Rock era circa 1971.

By Jennifer Elizabeth Rose (Social/Cultural Writer and Music/Arts Historian)

Experimental rock evolved into Psychedelic rock with artists like Syd Barrett in the 1960’s. After his departure from Pink Floyd, new lead guitarist, David Gilmore, helped solidify another subgenre offshoot and the 70’s brought progressive and psychedelic rock outfits such as Pink Floyd and Hawkwind to the foreground as they evolved into Space Rock. Space Rock which was characterized by increased instrumental passages (especially on keyboard/synthesizers) inspired by the science fiction themes and soundtrack music of the day and/or astronomy.

Delia Derbyshire, famous for her composition of the Doctor Who theme song was also a premier influential composer of other music within experimental genres in addition to being a great captivator and sonic painter of the beyond for incidental music in TV and film. Brian Eno, known as both a composer and a rock songwriter, was a major player as well. As for pop/rock songwriters they began to follow suit and added elements, but it is perhaps the lyrical themes that became the most influential, which became evident in other subgenres of rock such as folk rock (Donovan, Cat Stevens) and glam rock (T. Rex and David Bowie, whom worked with Eno.) In fact, the enchantment of space travel and the science fiction that British kids were being raised on became paramount in David Bowie’s most successful records, Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars and Space Oddity. And as Pink Floyd declared themselves Space rock in the70’s, Derbyshire’s Doctor Who theme could be often heard in some variation on the synth parts in performances of  “One of These Days,” from 1971’s Meddle.

More and more pop and mainstream radio rock was also being affected. Even before Gilmour made the decidedly Space rock turn with Pink Floyd after Barrett’s Psychedelic/early Space rock departure, the Beatles, the Stones, and the Steve Miller Band wrote songs with similar themes. Indeed, it became a cultural phenomenon more than a musical one. Perhaps the race for space during this period in history influenced this tendency.

Just like with any political movement in history, cultural and artistic history is often the victim of bandwagon mentalities and the genre suffered a marked decline in popularity until the 90’s with the exception of being cleverly evolved and disguised within Progressive rock (Rush, Yes) and Art rock.

Space rock began as an English phenomenon, and as such it saw its eventual revival in the late 80’s in British alternative rock bands which others could not describe the general sound as spacey or ambient. British bands such as Radiohead, Amplifier, Oceansize, Porcupine Tree, Kasabian, and Mugstar held these elements dearly into the 90’s and American bands went onto as well.  Autolux, Hopesfall, Lumerians,The Secret Machines, The Mars Volta, The Boxing Lesson, Cloudland Canyon, Angels & Airwaves, Tool and Zombi are prime examples, though they all fall into some varying sub-subgenres which begin to split hairs, they are all “spacey” bands.

In the 90’s the term resurfaced to describe the many bands that were labeled as

alternative rock bands but that (specifically) British and American audiences craved a bit more specifics in explanations to others. Shoegazing, stoner rock/metal (sludge) and dream/noise pop acts often saw greater success when sometimes using the words “space” and/or “spacey” to describe their sounds so fans could know what other bands they might enjoy. Kyuss, Slowdive, The Verve, My Bloody Valentine, Flying Saucer Attack, Loop, Ride, Shiner (band),The Flaming Lips, Failure,Year of the Rabbit, Cave In, Sun Dial, Hum, Orange Goblin, Spacemen 3, Spiritualized, and Mercury Rev employed the hallmark layers of sonic walls, textures and of course experimentation and many classified themselves as space rock or offshoot, dream pop before the term shoegaze and its sub-subgenres were even a thought.

Nowadays, although it is a more reputable descriptive term for many acts, the term only seems to be used by bands that decidedly use it. Other common descriptions indeed make it obvious that there is a blur in the experimental subgenres. The Flowers of Hell, Comets on Fire,and Flotation Toy Warningall of which who employ the old elements of 60’s/70’s Space rock in their own original ways. Seattle band, Lazer Kitty has a wonderful sound and a performance video of theirs can be seen below as well as a few other tracks that chronicle pivotal points in space rock.

Pink Floyd – One of These Days

Pink Floyd – Careful with that Ax, Eugene

Gong – Flying Teapot

Gong – I Never Glid Before

Spiritualized – Ladies and Gentlemen We Are Floating in Space

The Verve – Slide Away

Porcupine Tree – Fear of a Blank Planet

Lazer Kitty – Hyperion

In addition to this list other Picks of the Week that were played on air for this subgenre can be found on the Raw Alternative’s Facebook Page.

Amnesty for Astronauts. Left to right, guitarist/vocalist Josh Green, vocalist Alyson Byerly, guitarist Chris Byerly, drummer Joe Carbon and bassist Sam Silsbe. Photo courtesy of facebook.com.

Amnesty for Astronauts. Left to right, guitarist/vocalist Josh Green, vocalist Alyson Byerly, guitarist Chris Byerly, drummer Joe Carbon and bassist Sam Silsbe. Photo courtesy of facebook.com.

By Rick Polo (Editor-in-Chief)

The northeast Ohio music scene is a bona fide breeding ground for innovative and unique local talent. Each year, another crop of new artists and projects emerges, continually turning the scene on its side. With a sound consisting of soaring melodic guitars, spacey atmospheric noise and a dual vocal attack, it’s no doubt that Youngstown, Ohio’s Amnesty for Astronauts is poised to be the next standout act of the area.

Like a handful of the area’s current acts, Amnesty for Astronauts consists of veteran musicians coming together from former big name acts. From the infectious grooves of drummer Joe Carbon (ex-Slander, Moral Dilemma) and bassist Sam Silsbe (ex-Erin’s Vineyard), to the gigantic riffs of guitarists Chris Byerly (ex-Relic, Moral Dilemma) and Josh Green, to the dual vocals of Green and Alyson Byerly, the band is solid through and through.

The band said that like most projects, it began naturally through friendships, mutual admiration and the love of music.

“It started out as a few friends getting together jamming in a basement. They called me up and asked, ‘Hey, you want to join the project?'” said Silsbe.

“Joe and I have played together for 18 years now. I was in his first band with Aly, so that’s where our roots are. Joe and I continued to jam ever since,” added Chris Byerly.

Formed over a year and a half ago, the band began to incessantly evolve. With the final addition of Alyson last summer, the sound had officially became solidified.

“With the addition of Aly a couple of months ago, we decided to bring in another singer and really turn it up a notch,” said Carbon.

With a wide pallet of influences, the band effectively blend their eclectic tastes into a unique and fresh sound that is unlike any on the area’s scene. Fusing the dynamic of The Pixies and early Radiohead with thumping grooves and a Hum-meets-Helmet slam of guitars, Amnesty for Astronauts successfully spans the broad spectrum of alternative rock. Evident on tracks such as the soaring “Miss Perfection” and the dream-like “Counting Sheep,” their sound provides no limitations.

“We get in arguments about what we sound like. We don’t really want to stick to a certain genre. And it’s helping us write songs. Every week we’re writing a song. It might sound something completely different than the last one we wrote, but it’s still something we like,” said Green.

“It makes you more versatile. The more you listen to, the more opportunities you have to be inspired,” added Alyson Byerly.

While consistently finding inspiration, the band have not only been pushing themselves forward artistically, but stressing the importance of building their name in unique and entertaining ways. For their first live performance, the band have been hitting the streets for promotion with a flyer resembling a moon-landing reported on the front page of The New York Times.

“You need to show your passion for what you’re doing to people. You can convince people to like what you’re doing if they see how much you like it. Facebook is very impersonal. I think getting out there and meeting the people, that’s what music is all about,” said Carbon.

Amnesty for Astronauts officially takes flight on Saturday, Nov. 23 with their first mission taking place at Chipper’s in Austintown, Ohio for a FREE show alongside Skull’Rz Bane and New Diaries. Exclusive live tracks can be streamed via their Reverb Nation page by clicking here.