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Old Time Relijun

Part of the K Records family, Olympia's Old Time Relijun grew throughout the '90s and 2000s from rusty, deranged garage stomp into a more refined but no less explosive sound that drew on international influences. Centered around bandleader Arrington de Dionyso, the prolific band reached a fever pitch with a trilogy of albums released between 2004 and 2007: Lost Light, 2012, and Catharsis in Crisis. After these albums, the group went on an unofficial hiatus until the release of their 2019 album, See Now and Know. Between 1989 and 1995, musician Arrington de Dionyso recorded nine cassettes of homemade music on his four-track recorder, releasing each one on his own label, Pine Cone Alley. De Dionyso played the lion's share of the instruments on all of the cassettes, which he then gave to friends and sold through tape trade reviews. A buzz began to circulate in de Dionyso's hometown of Olympia, Washington, during the early '90s about the releases, and he was encouraged by bassist Aaron Hartman and drummer Bryce Panic to put Old Time Relijun together to perform the music live. The group added percussionist Fezdak Water shortly thereafter, but then he left within a year due to artistic differences. The remaining trio recorded Songbook, Vol. 1 in November 1996 and released it in April 1997 on Pine Cone Alley. K Records began distributing the CD, and the record received extensive critical praise. Following the release, Old Time Relijun were featured on various compilations throughout 1997, including Selector Dub Narcotic and Cha Cha Cabaret on K, KAOS Radio on Cottleston Pie Records, and Overboard on YoYo Records. While the band could be heard on those compilations that year, the group itself was inactive. Panic decided to stop performing music, sold his drums, and left for India to study meditation. De Dionyso decided to revive Old Time Relijun in 1998 without the aide of Panic or Hartman. Drummer Phil Elvrum (who would later record as the Microphones/Mount Eerie) joined the band and also began producing all of the group's material. Performing as a duo, Old Time Relijun proceeded to record the 1998 single Jail/Office Building. Calvin Johnson, owner of K Records, heard of the band's re-formation, as well as their new material, and encouraged them to release their new 7", as well as all subsequent recordings, on his label. Hartman returned as the group's bassist in 1999, and the trio recorded Uterus and Fire, their first full-length record for K. The band followed that release with the 2000 album La Sirena de Pecera. As if they could tailor noise rock just so, 2001's Witchcraft Rebellion did just that. Two years later, compilaton album Varieties of Religious Experience was released, collecting some of de Dionyso's early home recordings and other odditites. The more artsy design of Lost Light arrived in spring 2004, while the futuristically named 2012 came out a year later -- both a part of the "The Lost Light Trilogy" that de Dionyso envisioned. The final installment of the trilogy, Catharsis in Crisis, was released in 2007, with new members Benjamin Hartman (saxophones) and Germaine Baca (drums). The band toured extensively in support of this hot streak of albums and then things slowed significantly. De Dionyso released a series of solo albums, but a 2010 reissue of the group's 1997 album, Songbook, Vol. 1, was the only output from Old Time Relijun for the ten years that followed Catharsis in Crisis. Their silence broke in 2018 when the band announced they had been recording new material and would release a new album and tour again in 2019. Their eighth album, the self-produced See Now and Know, was slated for a spring 2019 release on K Records.
© Stephen Howell /TiVo
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Discography

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