Thursday, 27 February 2014

Avante-garde as fuck!


In maintaining the relentless spirit of the band we aim to never slow down. Even with an extended festive break, the Astralnaut unit steamroll into this year with great fervor. 

But first, a recap of the last few months. When we left you here last we had been in recovery from a hefty trudge around our fair Isle on our first tour together as a band. 


Since then we played at Armagh's premier metal festival ARMAGEDDON! Of which we as a band had the privilege of assisting to its feet. The whole event went down a treat for all involved, the Co. Armagh metal brigade was out in full form. Here's to the next one, folks!


Needless to say; it was a tight squeeze!

 

The remainder of November '13 was relatively quiet on the gigging front as we returned to rehearsals to prepare fresh material for an upcoming studio endeavor. However, on the 29th and 30th we managed to strip ourselves away for a weekend of debauchery alongside fellow rockers, Crafty Fuzz. It was a great weekends craic spread out between Masons, Derry  and The Greenroom in Letterkenny. 




Of course the coolest hostel in Ireland got a visit. This man was delighted.

I would be tempted to say this was the precursor to us working alongside Alan Hanlon who owns and runs Hi-Tone Studios in Balbriggan. If ye ever need any work done in a timely fashion, he's your man. 


Firebrand After Dark Magazine caught up with Tom before the end of the month also, if you missed out you can check out the interview RIGHT HERE!




At the onset of winter we had planned for lots of rehearsing and testing out some new gear but managed to fit in a few great nights in between.


The 6th of December brought us to Galway with our friends and stoner accomplices Weedpriest and of course the main man, Trevor Seery of FuzzedOutRadio and DesertRockIreland. These guys are keeping things alive on the west coast. 




The following week saw us making two appearances in the Northern hub of Belfast. Both nights were equally enjoyable even though the gigs were worlds apart. The 11th we played in Voodoo alongside PigsAsPeople, Chocolate Love Factory and The Last Generation. Not one of these bands can we fault and they're pretty spot on chaps the lot of em. A few days later we returned to a familiar haunt of ours. Even though we're out of towners, The Limelight, The Distortion Project and its followers have always been kind to us. Its never a hard decision to play. 

December was decidedly to be left for regrouping, recovering and planning the next attack. Thankfully, apart from intense rehearsing, we had only two shows in the month of January, the 4th in Fibber Magees in Dublin with those oul hallions from Crafty Fuzz, Electric Taurus and stoner/metal awesomeness NAUTILUS. At the end of the month on the 31st we returned to Omagh where we played our first gig as a band and hadn't returned since. The Omagh crowd always commits!

January also seen the release of Heavy Planets much anticipated second compilation 'Bong Hits From The Astral Basment Volume 2' << [click to listen/download] A collection of some the best stoner rock, doom/sludge metal from around the world and we were delighted to be once again included in the lineup. Thanks Heavy Planet.


In February we got the pleasing news that we were to be included on yet another compilation. This one is brought to you by none other than Belfast's leading hardcore label SAVOUR YOUR SCENE [<<listen] and it all goes to benefit The Warzone Centre in the heart of Belfast. The Warzone are main proprietors in all things homegrown and play a huge part in supporting the underbelly of the Belfast music scene. You can download or listen to the compilation HERE or visit Savour Your Scene bandcamp via the link above.


Also, a massive thanks to Todd Severin and co. at The Ripple Effect. Todd was very happy to get around to reviewing our last effort in the run up to our next release. You can read the review HERE or go and visit the RIPPLE MUSIC for yourself! 

So, as it stands, the past month we have been knee deep in tracking for the next effort. As drums are complete and all guitars nearing completion in preparation for vocal tracking we're all feeling quite happy with ourselves here.






Plans for our fourth release (in the guise of our 3rd EP) which will be titled 'Thieves, Beggars and Swine', are falling into place nicely and all is set for release in early May of this year. All being well, we'll have more than just our music to offer.

For now though we can offer something in the way of fresh merchandise. Today we released a pre-order of a new t-shirt design (aptly titled 'AstralVirgin') done for us by a very kind fellow, Kieran from Belfast's Purebred Apparel, purveyors of extreme and alternative custom clothing design and production.


Follow the link on the top left corner on this page, all pre-orders come with a free download of our latest EP, 'In The Gaze Of The Gods'.

Lastly we're elated to be able to announce we'll be playing with Karma To Burn and Desert Storm when they come through on their UK Tour. It's not until September 1st in Voodoo Belfast so you have plenty of time to snap up a ticket.


The following months will hopefully see out completion of the next release, heavy promotion and a bit of work on a few music video ideas we've been knocking about. You may or may not hear from us until then so i'd like to leave you with this...

"Dripping water hollows out stone, not through force but through persistence."




Pearse









Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Hoorin' and Irish Tourin'! The Round-Up


Recuperation is (mostly) complete and since our return we've been working hard on new songs that shall wake the dead. Anyone who saw us on tour will have had a taste of whats on offer but what of the debaucherous shenanigans along the way! well...


Gettin' the wagon ready before take-off!

First up was Portrush an with everything packed (aside for a quick return visit to collect a forgotten bass amp that prompted a quiet roadside jam) ...


...we headed up the country. After a top up of LIDL's finest stumpies and Crusti Croc, JJ takes his chance to rip it up! 












Joking aside, it was a really enjoyable gig and a great start to the adventure. We had the pleasure of playing alongside the sound lads from BELLOS. They have an awesome grungy sound with post-punk hooks hangin' out of 'er! Here's a few live shots of the night, courtesy of Ciara McMullen and Stephen Lockhart! 


BELLOS 






Cheers to Oonagh for putting us up in Portstweart and after our fry the next morning we set off to Sligo!
Not only can we riff but we can cook!


As we headed down to Sligo we made a couple of pit stops, paying our respects to some great Irish artists!






Sligo was a new experience for us, we'd like to extend our thanks to the bar staff who where most accommodating, however we got the distinct feeling that we were in virgin territory, so to speak. We'd like to reassure all the patrons of the Shenanigans Bar that we'll learn 'Sex on Fire' for any potential return visit.

We'd also like to reassure fan's of our music that we will not be learning 'Sex on Fire'!

It was an eventful night none the less and thanks to the Harbour House Hostel for putting us up as we had come to the conclusion that we'd be sleeping in a car park!!

We would also like to extent our gratitude and thanks to a kind stranger. Charlie! This man ushered us around town to find the closest music shop as Steve had conveniently left the stands for one of his drums in Portrush the night before. After a long hunt we came across a hardware shop and got creative with a few cheap fire pokers. 

Charlie, the legend!                                                                           Gaz and JJ, on the hunt!                     

  
Day 3 brings us to Athlone where we met the coolest engineer in Ireland. Jinxie and his dog 'Tuco', hosted us in Siege Studios. A gig in a studio live room with about a dozen people, it can get wilder than you'd imagine. 

But before we made it that far, a stop off at Carrowkeel (the local neolithic hot spot) was much appreciated. Not all of us made it to the summit but this man felt on top of the world when he got there! 


Something only Irish people would understand; climbing a mountain to look at a pile of stones! 


The craic in the studio was mighty. We played a very drunken set in a very warm room, JonJoe made a new friend and air guitar madness ensued! 





We also found these really cool headpieces and yes, we did try to convince the owner that they looked better on us. What do you think!? Sexy, huh!? 


Thanks to Jinxie we will be releasing a free live EP, (hopefully sometime soon) which includes some previously unrecorded tracks and some soon to be released tracks. Watch this space! 


Onward ho! To Cork we go, not only to rock Mr. Bradleys to its foundation on what is, quite possibly, the smallest stage we've ever played on. But also to do what all the greats do; PLAY CHESS! 
As always, Tom obliterated me in the proceedings! 




This is the view from the balcony of our riverside apartment for the night! Digs were appreciated and supplied by prog fiend Sean Doyle. Thanks man!

Onto Galway. As we rode into town we knew a stop at the local Christian cafe and a catch up on reading of a biblical proportion was much needed! The curried soup was beautiful, worth a good crucifixion! 


After the load-in and dumping our gear onstage we were ready to get affiliated with our digs for the night. Unfortunately this stage was not ours and we had to shift everything upstairs, with no lift. Great craic! 


 However, we got sorted and a debaucherous evening ensued. The most notable act of the night for us was the tight, homegrown threesome that is KaTet. If you get a chance to see these guys, do it! 


 And by popular demand, we must reveal the genius behind 'Slim Boy Fat', right about HNAWH!






Belfast the following night was indeed the business for us! We got to play and headline the bill at Radar, a weekly event in our provinces capital that brings all walks of studious life in Belfast together for one thing. MUSIC! 

 

Lovely set up and a lot of room to move about, its a treat getting to play a stage this big! 

On the bill this night we're the ever ingratiating BELLOS and local rockers Dutch Schultz. An amazing performance from all the bands on this night prompted an equally impressive crowd reaction. 

Here's some shots courtesy of Liam Kielt Photography


The Belt!









And as is tradition, there are no photos of the drummer! 

Southbound yet again and we headed onto the fair city of Dublin for the penultimate date of our excursion! Thankfully there were some familiar faces playing alongside us this night in the iridescently brutal form of Nomadic Rituals. These lads have been favorites of ours on the local scene since they began and they're also a trio of swell guys to boot! 


Nomadic Rituals

Here's to you... and your smoke machine..... and your awesome lights! 

We even got the chance to do some tagging for our new buddies! 

Live shots of ourselves provided by Dan Flynn from Carnage Metal Club.






The tradition has been broken! It was good while it lasted.

Lastly but not leastly we round up our journey with an early yet intimate show in The Dry Dock in sunny Magherafelt. It was quite possibly the tightest show of the tour in regards to the room size but when it filled, by fuck was it fun to play. Thanks to Stevie and Jake Lennox from Deadwing Promotions for sorting the gig and putting us up for the night! 


At the end of a long, tiring and sweaty eight days trudging around our beautiful island we were happy to know we'd be in our own beds the next night. So, in good style, we had a jam and drank the night away. 


Thanks to everyone and anyone that had a hand in organising the tour,  put up with us hallions for a night in their homes, to anyone that took pictures for us and all you other fine folks that helped us out on the road. You know who you are.

And in case you dont, here's the list! 

Ryan McCormick @ Mt. Avalanche
Andy Hasson @ Antidote Soundsystem
Ciara McMullen
Stephen Lockhart
Oonagh Mallon
The Atlantic House Hostel
Jinxie and Tuco @ Siege Studios
Mr. Bradley's, Cork and Sean Doyle
The Roisin Dubh 
Kyle and the lads from KaTet
Radar Belfast
Liam Kielt 
Brian Coney + The Thin Air
David Roy @ The Irish News
Dan Flynn @ Carnage Metal Club
Stevie and Jake @ Deadwing Promotions
Matthew Burke, Gina Mackey, Gemma McConville and Bronagh Broderick

Another post is on its way covering what we have done since the tour and what we plan to do for the rest of the year and early 2014, keep in touch for any and all updates on our facebook (www.facebook.com/astralnautmusic)  or twitter (@astralnautband). 

Until then, here's a picture of Gaz's ass crack! 


Thanks
Thomas and Pearse.