March 8, 2006 at 1:31 pm #48834
Original Source: http://blogcritics.org/archives/2006/03/08/120509.phpQuote:CD Review: Witch by Witch
March 08, 2006
Modern Pea Pod
It’s all but unavoidable: The press for Witch’s self-titled debut will be dominated by references to J Mascis, the alt-rock living legend who lends both musical talents and an impressive head of hair to the band. And in a way, that isn’t so bad; most listeners of catholic tastes won’t find it too hard to see parallels between Witch’s monolithic hard rawk and the more plodding aspects of Mascis’s "other" gig, Dinosaur Jr. ("Sludgefeast," anyone?). Indeed, the jet-fueled riffage and shrieking solos which lurch out of the speaker during opening track "Seer" wouldn’t sound out of place at one of Dinosaur’s reunion shows… except for the fact that Mascis isn’t playing them. Instead, he’s behind the drums for this project, and that little detail makes it hardly fair to keep calling Witch a "J Mascis Solo Project."
So how do we label it? Some have argued for "doom metal," though I’m not big on genres, and the use of a loaded word like "metal" runs the risk of driving listeners away with conjured images of corny faux-occultism, flights of virtuosic self-indulgence and other such cheap preteen thrills. Not that Witch doesn’t exude all of the above – this is easily the guiltiest pleasure to make it onto Pitchfork’s newswire since the Darkness, an entirely unselfconscious, unironic celebration of everything brutish and juvenile about heavy rock (except maybe the sex). It’s just that this particular mix of plodding, leaden sludgefeasts and dime-store mysticism has a hell of a lot more in common with proto-metalheads like Black Sabbath than, say, Venom.
And man, does it rock. Asa Irons, the real man behind Witch’s fretwork, wields his axe like it really is a deadly weapon, his Ã¼ber-heavy tone about the last thing you’d expect from a guy who also plays with "avant-folk" group Feathers and who contributed to Devendra Banhart’s Cripple Crow last year. His Feathers bandmate, vocalist Kyle Thomas, also gets credit for a voice that can go from Bolanic effeminacy to he-banshee wail at the flick of a switch. Meanwhile, Mascis and bass player Dave Sweetapple hold down the bottom end with rock-solid, pummeling rhythm-section work.
Of course, the end result of all this combined power is largely what you choose to make of it; Witch the album doesn’t boast "highlights" so much as a series of subtle variations on one, supremely executed mood. All of the songs adhere to essentially the same formula: Start slow and steady on the main riffs, speed up to double-time for the solos, then bring the tempo back down for an even heavier grind on the outro. What works and what doesn’t is largely a matter of preference. Want more slow, less fast? Try "Hand of Glory." Prefer the rapid-fire solos? "Rip Van Winkle"’s your man. Wanna hear Thomas let loose with a remarkably Ozzy-esque cackle? That’d be "Black Saint." And it’s just about as simple as that.
But seriously, who needs hooks when we can headbang? Witch clearly sets out to be an entertaining genre project first and foremost – one, ideally, that will rock our asses off in the process – and as such, the band does not disappoint. The rock is hard, the lyrics are ridiculous, and the cover art – depending on what generation of stoner culture you hail from – resembles either a black-light poster or a Commodore 64 role-playing game. What more do you need, a final song which begins with finger-picked acoustic guitar a la "Stairway to Heaven" before building to a thrashing, shuddering, sign of the beast-flashing climax? Well guess what – you’ve got that too. Fact is, if there’s even a shred of heaviosity in your system, then Witch will please you like nothing else. Go ahead, crank it… and if you don’t immediately feel the urge to grow a scraggly mustache and invest in a fur-lined jean jacket, try checking your pulse.
Reviewed by Zach Hoskins
Original Source: http://blogcritics.org/archives/2006/03/08/120509.phpMarch 8, 2006 at 2:58 pm #115113
Just bought the CD, will have headbanged to it by this Friday.March 8, 2006 at 3:39 pm #115114
The cd does kick much as*!
Its always great to hear J on the drums.March 8, 2006 at 6:15 pm #115115
another Witch review @ poptones.co.uk/witch
Poptones.co.uk’s Download of the Week – Witch!03/02/06
J Masic and freak-psych-folk band Feathers join together to recreate some of the finest stoner rock known to man! To read and download their debut single click below.
J Mascis is a weird one really. Having been off the mainstream
mediaâ€™s map since the early 90s, he only seemed to pop up on production
jobs for small indie bands or singing backing vocals for prog-rock
freaks Mew when not playing solo shows for his dedicated fanbase who
are all seemingly intent on reliving their student years with those
baggy Dinosaur Jr t-shirts from the 80s now fitting rather snugly.
Having been a fan of J Mascis myself for years even I had written him
off as an anachronism after his 2003 solo effort which left no
impression on me except a â€˜yeah…its J Mascisâ€™ and having met the man
who responded to my conversation with one word answers and light
head-nodding, my fandom seemed slighted and as bored as J Mascis
himself during that conversation (though to be fair how many times has
he been asked about playing the Jenny Jones talk show .. Iâ€™d be bored).
So, when internet talk started to pick up on having having started
another band called â€˜Witchâ€™, I was expecting Dinosaur Jr Mark 2, The
Monsters of Rock Reunion Tour. So, imagine Poptones.co.uk surprise
when the news that Witch, the new band J Mascis has started actually
doesnâ€™t have him singing but doing what he does the best … play the
drums! Yes. Ironic. But not when you consider that J had started
music by playing drums in his hardcore band â€˜Deep Woundâ€™.
But Witch leaves all that behind. But what J Mascis and friends have
developed Instead, is one of the hardest rockers committed to vinyl
that Poptones.co.uk has heard all year. While, considering that we are
only one month into the year but still its a good start.
With avant-garde wyrd folkster Feathers vocalist Kylie Thomas and
guitarist Asa Irons on board, the band develop into a fog of
Vietnam-inducing pot smoke with some of hte heaviest guitar lines not
heard of since Black Sabbath hit the scene. This is stoner rock for
the stoned. And on their debut album they have opened up the portal of
Stooges punk rock meeting the power-trio-from-hell like Groundhogs and
Blue Cheer, yet, without evoking patroli-induced memories of the past
because they will have killed of the hippies in their punk rock
machine. This is fuckinig powerful and frightening music; from the
opening of Seer with its crunched up and rather fucking nasty acid
friend of the night psychedelia to the descent into a fuzzy hell called
What does Poptones.co.uk think of Witch? Basically fucking come on
bring on 2006 if it is going to be all this goodâ€¦
To stream the first single from Witch please click here.
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