there rose a lady with the blackest wings
is the fabled "stoner-rock" combo featuring J. Mascis
and some dudes from the Banhart-connected Feathers
group, the very same Feathers what opened for Dinosaur at Avalon in Boston back in July or whenever, and who at said show played a solid if slightly somnolent psych-folk set that ended in one fully satisfying and appropriately apocalyptic mind-zap of a slow-burn. When word of Witch started spreading back however long ago, this fool's natural anticipation dissipated slightly upon learning of the Feathers connection, and the fact that J would be playing drums and not guitar. Not that I dislike Feathers, really, but other than that final song in July nothing about them seemed remotely capable of crafting truly underworld-class (and Lethe-thick) classic metal / hard rock / what-have-you. And no doubt J's an amazing drummer, but anybody playing guitar in a group with Mascis in which he does not play guitar is only inviting infinite unfortunate (and unfair) comparisons. So you had involvement from folks I didn't necessarily trust, and one dude I do trust almost implicitly playing slightly out of position. Doubts duly raised.
They've got a record coming out in a month or so. I've listened to it once now, and I don't quite know what to think yet. Much of it is awesome, yes sir, but I'm not quite as blown away as I had hoped. It's definitely more impressive than your average stoner-rock foray, and the guitarists acquit themselves well, but it still remains slightly anonymous-sounding. The best bands of this ilk (Dead Meadow, Om, High on Fire) are possessed of singular identities that transcend the decades of tradition and imitation that have kept the genre locked in the early '70's. Witch, despite its above-average song-writing and musicianship, doesn't mark out enough distinctive territory on its debut. I'm being a bit hasty, of course, so maybe my impression will evolve with further listenings.
Anyway, from the self-titled debut, out March 7th on Tee Pee Records
, here's Witch's "Black Saint"
. It's a highlight, for sure. The second half is pretty damn blazing. Good work, fellow Americans. You can buy a copy through the label
when the time comes, I'd imagine.