Conny Ochs Gets Contemplative With "Dark Tower" (premiere)

Photo: Christian Thiele / Courtesy of Earsplit PR

Through Conny Ochs is beloved in the heavy rock community, "Dark Tower" transcends musical boundaries, with an appeal that recalls Soundgarden at its most tuneful and emotive.

Conny Ochs' new LP Doom Folk arrives on 15 February via Exile on Mainstream on LP, CD, and digital formats. The album may be ordered in the U.S. now, as well as internationally. It proves a fine way for Exile on Mainstream to usher in its 20th anniversary and a fine example of Ochs' prowess as a writer and performer. In addition to writing the material, he performs all instruments on the record, including bass, drums, percussion, guitars, organs and, of course, singing.

Joining him in the video for "Dark Tower", the first video from the LP are Johannes Doepping on drums and Hannes Scheffler on bass. That lineup will perform on the first leg of the Doom Spring 2019 European Tour. (Dates are listed below.) The video was filmed by Lutz Kretschmann of Kretsch Film at UT Connewitz in Leipzig, where Exile on Mainstream will hold one of their 20th-anniversary parties this year, and where Ochs will take part in the festivities.

Speaking about the song, Ochs recalled its origins, saying, "'Dark Tower' was the initial song that kind of sparked the whole feeling of Doom Folk... I wrote it on tour in Prague when I mourned the death of one of my greatest heroes. Prague is a spiritual place; it can be quiet, dark, but it always is powerful. I found myself meditating on loss wandering the obscure alleys of the city and by the shores of the Moldau, trying to find a way to share grief through putting it into words and shaping it into a song. I found since then when I played the first version during the following shows, people related to it. There was an unspoken union in the untold.... Something like that. It was clear to me that I wanted to release the song as a first breadcrumb leading into the album. Here I found how much sharing pain really is a part of healing. It reminded me again the meaning of a song. To share, to live."

Through Ochs is beloved in the heavy rock community, "Dark Tower" transcends musical boundaries, with an appeal that recalls Soundgarden at its most tuneful and emotive. Ochs' voice is front and center as he delivers the tune's moving lyrics over a musical setting that is meditative and deeply impactful.

As for the video, he notes, "We filmed the video in one of my favorite venues ever, at the UT Connewitz in Leipzig. It's a place full of spirit and history, run by good friends who let us hang out there for a late afternoon in winter. Just the right place to conjure a spirit of calm intensity. The sort of which you can feel in a place where you feel home."

In addition to the albums Raw Love Songs (2011), Black Happy (2013), and Future Fables (2016), Ochs has also recorded two LPs with Scott "Wino" Weinrich (Heavy Kingdom in 2012 and Freedom Conspiracy in 2015), both of which were stripped-down affairs. There is a consistency across all of his albums, though Doom Folk carries with it a sense of renewal and finds the veteran musician marching down a path that is of the moment.


2/22/2019 Beer House Project – Pistoia, IT

2/23/2019 Gagarin - Busto Arsizio, IT

2/24/2019 The Concept Record Store – Lecco, IT

2/25/2019 Rock Café – Savona, IT

3/01/2019 La Serra – Recanati, IT

3/03/2019 Indie Record Store & Dump – Treviso, IT

3/22/2019 Foyer Stadthalle – Falkensee, DE w/ Eat A Peach

3/23/2019 Kasseturm – Weimar, DE

3/25/2019 Krone – Darmstadt, DE

3/26/2019 Dorett – Mainz, DE

3/27/2019 Stuck – Frankfurt-Oder, DE

3/28/2019 Odradek – Chemnitz, DE

3/29/2019 Das Grewen – Fredeburg, DE w/ Thomas Kleinhez

3/30/2019 Goldgrube Markuzwalach – Kassel, DE

3/31/2019 Skatehalle – Brilon, DE w/ Chris Snobout

4/01/2019 Peter-Weiss-Haus – Rostock, DE

4/03/2019 Ostpol – Dresden, DE

4/04/2019 Objekt 5 – Halle/Saale, DE

4/05/2019 Wohnzimmerkultur – Potsdam, DE

4/07/2019 UT Connewitz – Leipzig, DE @ 20 Years Exile On Mainstream [info]

4/08/2019 Kulturbar – Greifswald, DE

4/10/2019 Auster Club – Berlin, DE

4/13/2019 Roadburn Festival – Tilburg, NL @ 20 Years Exile On Mainstream [info]

5/19/2019 Splinter Club – Parma, IT





Literary Scholar Andrew H. Miller On Solitude As a Common Bond

Andrew H. Miller's On Not Being Someone Else considers how contemplating other possibilities for one's life is a way of creating meaning in the life one leads.


Fransancisco's "This Woman's Work" Cover Is Inspired By Heartache (premiere)

Indie-folk brothers Fransancisco dedicate their take on Kate Bush's "This Woman's Work" to all mothers who have lost a child.


Rodd Rathjen Discusses 'Buoyancy', His Film About Modern Slavery

Rodd Rathjen's directorial feature debut, Buoyancy, seeks to give a voice to the voiceless men and boys who are victims of slavery in Southeast Asia.


Hear the New, Classic Pop of the Parson Red Heads' "Turn Around" (premiere)

The Parson Red Heads' "Turn Around" is a pop tune, but pop as heard through ears more attuned to AM radio's glory days rather than streaming playlists and studio trickery.


Blitzen Trapper on the Afterlife, Schizophrenia, Civil Unrest and Our Place in the Cosmos

Influenced by the Tibetan Book of the Dead, Blitzen Trapper's new album Holy Smokes, Future Jokes plumbs the comedic horror of the human condition.

Love in the Time of Coronavirus

Fire in the Time of Coronavirus

If we venture out our front door we might inhale both a deadly virus and pinpoint flakes of ash. If we turn back in fear we may no longer have a door behind us.


Sufjan Stevens' 'The Ascension' Is Mostly Captivating

Even though Sufjan Stevens' The Ascension is sometimes too formulaic or trivial to linger, it's still a very good, enjoyable effort.

Jordan Blum

Chris Smither's "What I Do" Is an Honest Response to Old Questions (premiere + interview)

How does Chris Smither play guitar that way? What impact does New Orleans have on his music? He might not be able to answer those questions directly but he can sure write a song about it.


Sally Anne Morgan Invites Us Into a Metaphorical Safe Space on 'Thread'

With Thread, Sally Anne Morgan shows that traditional folk music is not to be smothered in revivalist praise. It's simply there as a seed with which to plant new gardens.


Godcaster Make the Psych/Funk/Hard Rock Debut of the Year

Godcaster's Long Haired Locusts is a swirling, sloppy mess of guitars, drums, flutes, synths, and apparently whatever else the band had on hand in their Philly basement. It's a highly entertaining and listenable album.


What 'O Brother, Where Art Thou?' Gets Right (and Wrong) About America

Telling the tale of the cyclops through the lens of high and low culture, in O'Brother, Where Art Thou? the Coens hammer home a fatalistic criticism about the ways that commerce, violence, and cosmetic Christianity prevail in American society .


The Dance of Male Forms in Denis' 'Beau travail'

Claire Denis' masterwork of cinematic poetry, Beau travail, is a cinematic ballet that tracks through tone and style the sublimation of violent masculine complexes into the silent convulsions of male angst.


The Cradle's 'Laughing in My Sleep' Is an Off-kilter Reflection of Musical Curiosity

The Cradle's Paco Cathcart has curated a thoughtfully multifarious album. Laughing in My Sleep is an impressive collection of 21 tracks, each unapologetic in their rejection of expectations.


Tobin Sprout Goes Americana on 'Empty Horses'

During the heyday of Guided By Voices, Tobin Sprout wasn't afraid to be absurd amongst all that fuzz. Sprout's new album, Empty Horses, is not the Tobin Sprout we know.


'All In: The Fight for Democracy' Spotlights America's Current Voting Restrictions as Jim Crow 2.0

Featuring an ebullient and combative Stacey Abrams, All In: The Fight for Democracy shows just how determined anti-democratic forces are to ensure that certain groups don't get access to the voting booth.


'Transgender Street Legend Vol. 2' Finds Left at London "At My Peak and Still Rising"

"[Pandemic lockdown] has been a detriment to many people's mental health," notes Nat Puff (aka Left at London) around her incendiary, politically-charged new album, "but goddamn it if I haven't been making some bops here and there!"


Daniel Romano's 'How Ill Thy World Is Ordered' Is His Ninth LP of 2020 and It's Glorious

No, this is isn't a typo. Daniel Romano's How Ill Thy World Is Ordered is his ninth full-length release of 2020, and it's a genre-busting thrill ride.


The Masonic Travelers Offer Stirring Rendition of "Rock My Soul" (premiere)

The Last Shall Be First: the JCR Records Story, Volume 1 captures the sacred soul of Memphis in the 1970s and features a wide range of largely forgotten artists waiting to be rediscovered. Hear the Masonic Travelers "Rock My Soul".

Collapse Expand Reviews

Collapse Expand Features

PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.