Friday Full-Length: The Black Angels, Passover

Posted in Bootleg Theater on August 29th, 2014 by JJ Koczan

The Black Angels, Passover (2006)

Doing something a little different to close out this week in that The Black Angels is a band about whom I know next to nothing. I’ve seen their name around plenty, especially earlier this year (or was it last year now?) when they supported Roky Erickson on tour, but listening to their 2006 debut LP, Passover, as I type this is the first significant amount of time I’ve ever spent with one of their records. It sounds pretty cool. If this came my way today from a new band, I’d it’s right on heavy psych, so considering it dropped eight years ago, before a lot of this kind of thing really caught on here or in Europe, that’s all the more impressive. Onto the Amazon Wishlist it goes, right next to damn near everything else I’ve ever heard.

Based out of Austin, The Black Angels have four LPs out and a couple EPs as well, so I guess if I want to get caught up, I’ve got my work cut out for me. Stuff is a little chic and has more than a touch of Neil Young — also ahead of the game on that, apparently, though also behind it if one counts the entire decade of the ’90s — but it swings and would do well on the highway late at night, which seems to be where I most listen to music these days, the couch notwithstanding. I’ll dig further and let you know how it goes. One thing that took me so long in checking these guys out was that everything I heard about them had to do with their lightshow, which of course says nothing about the actual music. That’s something of a dogwhistle to me, mostly because The Flaming Lips suck so very hard and all everyone talks about is flashing colors and whatever other bullshit happens when they play live. Anyway, on first impression, Passover is pretty solid. I’m sure you’ve heard it before, but if not, and really either way, I hope you agree.

Boogie woogie.

It was either this or the self-titled Alice in Chains to end the week, and if I’m honest that’s way more where my head has been at the last several days — as evidenced perhaps by the fact that I’ve never heard Passover before — but I closed a week with Sap back in January, and it seemed a little soon to revisit the band. To answer your next question, yes, I really do put that much thought into this crap. If you only knew… you’d probably get very sad.

Which is pretty much what I did all week. I put up a day’s worth of posts yesterday without getting out of bed, and since the Yankees were playing a day game, just stayed in bed until about five o’clock, before I made my way all the way downstairs to watch no fewer than five episodes of the Scott Bakula Star Trek spinoff — the Trek kick continues unabated; ask me about the name of the ship in the novel I’m writing in my head — as well as the fifth movie, also arguably the nadir of the film franchise, at least until the second remake. Anyway, I had some shit turn south on me this week after it seemed to not be and it kind of pulled the wind out of my sails. Not worth going into.

I’ve now been unemployed for five months. How about that?

I’m not dealing with it well, but I didn’t last time either, though last time I made this blog and proceeded to let it consume my existence. This time? More of that, I suppose, but also a lot of feeling like a useless sucker, like I sold myself out cheap a decade ago, pointless regret, the usual, very dire melodrama that eats my consciousness alive when I get like this and forces me to step back and remember how easy and how good I actually have it, little help though that is. Anyway, I have family coming north this weekend and I expect that will be chaotic enough to jolt my brain out of this very unfunky funk.

Speaking of things gnawing at my consciousness, I think I’m finally in deep enough with the YOB record to review it. I’ve been trying to get a time to interview Mike Scheidt the last couple weeks as well and it just hasn’t worked. I thought maybe tonight, but I’m gonna head to Worcester to catch a show, so maybe next week, though I’m also interviewing Soph Day from Alunah about their new record, so we’ll see. Anyway, that review will get done.

On Monday, look out for a Snailking track premiere and later in the week one for Old Testament, which is a new project from Jason Simon from Dead Meadow. I’ll also review the show I’m going to tonight and hopefully the Blackwolfgoat record too.

Thanks to everyone for donating to the Small Stone fundraiser this week. Thanks to everyone who shared the Sleep review (particularly the cats from Earthless). Thanks to everyone for reading or listening to the radio or whatever. Thanks to everyone for everything. If I believed in being blessed, I’d consider myself blessed. I am lucky.

Splendid weekend to all, and if you’re in the States, enjoy your Labor Day. Please don’t forget to check out the forum and radio stream.

The Obelisk Forum

The Obelisk Radio

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Biblical Announce Inaugural US Tour Dates

Posted in Whathaveyou on August 29th, 2014 by JJ Koczan


Coming down from the Great White North for the first time, Toronto four-piece Biblical have announced their first extended run of tour dates in the US. They’ll join up with Death from Above 1979, who are apparently a band again, and begin in the Southeast as they hit both coasts and a couple spots in between starting on Nov. 3. Biblical‘s debut LP, Monsoon Season, made something of a splash last year when it was released, and has continued to earn the band a following since.

The PR wire has dates and details:

biblical tour



Psychedelic journeymen, Biblical have been announced as direct support for Death From Above 1979 (also referred to as DFA 1979) on their forthcoming U.S. Tour. This will be the Toronto based quartet’s first extended run in support of their debut full-length, Monsoon Season.

Released earlier this year via New Damage Records (Ken Mode, USA Out Of Vietnam), Monsoon Season is conjured from equal parts fuzz-pedal/ amplifier worship and meditative passages pulled from the cosmos. The album received a deluge of critical praise from U.S. outlets.

Biblical is composed of seasoned Toronto musical vets including Nick Sewell (bass/vocals), Jay Anderson (drums), Matt Mclaren (guitarist) and Andrew Scott (guitar). Formed in the spring of 2010, their fierce and mostly improvisational performances have earned them festival and touring slots with a wide variety of artists. Some of these include hometown comrades Death From Above 1979 as well as Kyuss, The Sword, Red Fang, Danko Jones, Fucked Up and Howlin’ Rain.

Up next is an official video for the song “The Quiet Crooks” which Sewell promises to be a “creep-tastic, occult-themed affair” which was shot entirely on location in Rome, Italy by director Sean Wainsteim.

Biblical confirmed tour dates with DFA 1979
11/3/14 – Atlanta, GA @ Buckhead Theater
11/4/14 – Nashville, TN @ Marathon Music Works
11/6/14 – Houston, TX @ Warehouse Live
11/7/14 – Austin, TX @ Fun Fun Fun
11/8/14 – Dallas, TX @ Granada Theater
11/10/14 – Tempe, AZ @ Marquee Theater
11/12/14 – San Diego, CA @ House Of Blues
11/13/14 – Santa Ana, CA @ Observatory
11/15/14 – Las Vegas, NV @ Brooklyn Bowl
11/17/14 – San Francisco, CA @ The Independent
11/18/14 – Portland, OR @ Crystal Ballroom
11/19/14 – Seattle, WA @ Neumo’s
11/21/14 – Salt Lake City, UT @ In The Venue
11/22/14 – Boulder, CO @ Fox Theater
11/24/14 – Minneapolis, MN @ First Avenue
11/25/14 – Chicago, IL @ Rivera Theater
11/26/14 – Detroit, MI @ Crofoot
11/28/14 – New York, NY @ Terminal 5
11/29/14 – Philadelphia, PA @ Union Transfer
12/1/14 – Washington D.C. @ 9:30 Club
12/2/14 – Boston, MA @ House Of Blues

More Info:

Biblical, “All Justice No Peace” official video

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London DesertFest 2015: Sleep, Orange Goblin and My Sleeping Karma Added to Lineup

Posted in Whathaveyou on August 29th, 2014 by JJ Koczan

Three bands deep and already DesertFest London — which from here on out I’ll be presenting with the capital ‘f’ in accordance with their own stylization and in contrast to years past; I’m tired of feeling like I’ve got it wrong — has an enviable lineup. Sleep was already confirmed shortly after this year’s fest, and they’ll headline Koko, a place about which I know nothing but assume is sizable, as Orange Goblin celebrate their 20th anniversary. Not bad shakes. I’ve seen both of those bands, and they destroy, but I’ve never seen My Sleeping Karma and they’re on my wishlist at this point, their last several records having been so very, very good.

While I consider the finer points of starting an NPR-style pledge drive in order to cover travel expenses (no, not really), check out the announcement from the PR wire:

DESERTFEST LONDON 2015 : Sleep, Orange Goblin and My Sleeping Karma confirmed

European stoner/doom/psych festival DESERTFEST LONDON just unveiled the first batch of bands to be part of its fourth edition, taking place on April 24-26th, 2015 in Camden. Tickets are on sale now, so it’s time to make plans for next spring!

First bands confirmed are:

SLEEP (headlining Koko’s on Sunday 26th)

For the fourth year running, Camden’s finest venues will be hosting one of the most exciting stoner/doom/sludge/psyche gatherings in Europe, for a full weekend of fuzzed-out tunes, psychedelia and partying. After they announced their long-awaited return a few weeks ago, American stoner rock pioneers SLEEP will be treating the Desertfest crowd to their twenty minutes long smoked-out sonic odysseys, with an exclusive headlining set at London’s famous venue Koko’s on the Sunday. Camden’s ground is set to tremble once again this year, with UK metal heavyweights ORANGE GOBLIN delivering their fiery metal anthems, for a one-off 20th anniversary special performance. This first announcement couldn’t be complete without a cosmic touch (because it wouldn’t be DESERTFEST if we weren’t sonically high at least once), brought to you by German psych trio MY SLEEPING KARMA.

Keep an ear to the ground as more bands will be announced really soon!

April 24-26th 2015 in Camden Town
Koko – Electric Ballroom – The Underworld – The Black Heart

3-day tickets (£99.50) available at THIS LOCATION

More infos on

Sleep, “Sonic Titan” Live in Boston, Aug. 24, 2014

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On Wax: Dean Allen Foyd, Sunshine Song 7″

Posted in On Wax on August 29th, 2014 by JJ Koczan

dean allen foyd sunshine song

Add up all the various limited editions — 50 on purple vinyl, 50 green, 100 purple/gold marble, 120 black, 30 gold/black marble — and Swedish psych traditionalists Dean Allen Foyd‘s new single on H42 Records is still pretty limited with just 350 copies pressed. Some versions are exclusive to different mailorders, and the Australian edition (the gold/black marble) has tweaked cover art, but at the heart of Sunshine Song b/w Devil’s Path are the two songs themselves, and from whatever color platter they might emanate, they find the Stockholm four-piece proffering a charming blend of garage-pop-rock boogie and heavy psychedelic dean allen foyd sunshine songflourish. Comprised here of guitarist/vocalist Francis Rencoret, bassist Fredrik Cronsten, drummer/vocalist Wille Alin and organist/vocalist Erik “Errka” Petersson, as well as guest spots on guitar and a string quartet, Dean Allen Foyd seem most geared to the beginning moments of the psychedelic era — the heavy that was pre-heavy; more Beefheart than Leaf Hound — and it’s an aesthetic they convey naturally, having honed their craft across two full-lengths to date, 2012’s The Sounds Can be So Cruel and 2013’s Road to Atlas, both on Crusher Records.

“Sunshine Song” is a fittingly classic A-side, both in its construction and its sound. It moves and grooves over a solid rhythmic foundation bolstered by added percussion and tosses out hooks in its verse and chorus given all the more flair via tambourine and the freakout waiting to surface. Dean Allen Foyd never go full-force into the jam, but neither would I call them restrained on “Sunshine Song.” They keep a 1967/1968-style pop sensibility to the first half of the single, if one meatier in its tonality, but still come across less stylistically retro than, say, Germany’s Vibravoid, for whom color-tinted glasses and striped pants seem to be a religion. Nothing against that, and it’s worth noting that Dean Allen Foyd and H42 released Sunshine Song to coincide with thesunshine song dean allen foyd anniversary of Syd Barrett‘s death, but there’s still something inescapably modern about their approach, and all the more on “Devil’s Path,” which even as it seems to be nodding at The Doobie Brothers‘ “Long Train Running” does so with guitar tone thicker than one finds from most “vintage”-minded acts, classic though the handclap timekeeping and direction of the song itself might be, leads swelling and receding in the background of the chorus before taking the fore about halfway through underscored by a bassline worthy of being higher in the mix than it is.

Both sides of Sunshine Song seem to be working in a building structure, but the apex of “Devil’s Path” comes across clearer than “Sunshine Song” itself, though a fadeout and the constraint of the format invariably cut short what was a continuing progression. I’d be interested to hear the longer dean allen foyd sunshine songversion of the track if there is one, but even as it is here, “Devil’s Path” satisfies both as a complement to “Sunshine Song” and on its own merits. Totaling about nine minutes, Sunshine Song is an unpretentious jaunt into the roots of psychedelic rock that keeps just an edge of modern heaviness to remind listeners to what age it actually belongs. With its foldout artwork sleeve and quick runthrough, if it’s to be your first experience with the band, it should prove an engaging one that speaks to spacious places without getting lost in them.

Dean Allen Foyd, “Sunshine Song”

Dean Allen Foyd on Thee Facebooks

Sunshine Song at H42 Records

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Roadburn 2015: Fields of the Nephilim, Monolord and Electric Citizen Added to Lineup

Posted in Whathaveyou on August 29th, 2014 by JJ Koczan

And so it begins: The great barrage of festival announcements. Things won’t really pick up until the winter — which is fortunate since nothing else will be going on at that time — but already RoadburnDesertfestFreak Valley and others have begun to leak confirmed names from their 2015 lineups, and already I can’t keep up with all of it. I’m not sure which if any of the above I’ll be able to attend next year, but the news is still relevant even if I don’t make it, so I’ll continue to do my best to stay on top of it.

In the case of Roadburn, their now-years-long push into aesthetic diversity seems to be hitting new heights via their partnership with Enslaved and Wardruna for a curated event dubbed “Houses of the Holistic.” The news that Fields of the Nephilim will take part in that event came out yesterday and was received with much appropriately gothic cooing. Also reaffirming their commitment to the riff, RidingEasy Records upstarts Monolord and Electric Citizen have also been added, so as ever, Roadburn‘s got a little bit of everything going already, and only more to come.

Snagged this off the PR wire:

fields of the nephilim roadburn 2015


We are honored to announce that British gothic rock innovators Fields Of The Nephilim will be gracing the stage twice at the 20th edition of the Roadburn Festival atthe 013 venue in Tilburg, The Netherlands. In addition to serving as the Saturday headliner on April 11, 2015, the band will perform a different set as special guests at ‘Houses Of The Holistic’ on Friday, the special Roadburn event curated by Ivar Bjørnson (Enslaved) and Wardruna’s Einar “Kvitrafn” Selvik, which will be held on Friday, April 10.

Currently 30 years into a groundbreaking career, Fields of the Nephilim have had a major impact on an entire generation of musicians and music fans. Led by singer Carl McCoy, the Stevenage, England band fused the darker elements of post-punk with more overtly American sounds such as blues and outlaw country, creating a sound that was gritty, grandiose, and menacing, unlike anything that was made before or since. Such classic albums as Dawnrazor, The Nephilim, and Elizium helped shape the goth subculture, but at the same time played a profound role in influencing a wide array of today’s music, ranging from indie, to occult rock, to metal. Such contemporary bands as Watain, Katatonia, Horseback, and Enslaved cite the Nephilim as a major influence.

“Fields of the Nephilim has accepted our invitation for our “Houses of the Holistic” at Roadburn 2015. Bleep! Anything I say after that sentence is going to seem insignificant in comparison, so no pressure for once,” says Bjørnson, “I’ve been a avid fan of Carl McCoy and Fields of the Nephilim since I was introduced to them during the early years of Enslaved; and they have remained a constant source of inspiration ever since (check out the song ‘Nordlys’ from our Scion-EP ‘The Sleeping Gods’, for instance). Having these absolute masters of sublime Music from the Shadows as very special guests at our curated event is as big as it gets; April 2015 just can’t come fast enough! Aaaaaarrrrggghhh!”

Comments Selvik: “The basic idea of our ‘Houses of the Holistic’ is of course about inviting bands we find interesting and would love to see perform but it is also about creating an event that at the same time says something about what shaped and inspired us on our own creative path – AND – since the authors of the poetic Edda are long since gone I personally have difficulty thinking of a more fitting band than Fields of the Nephilim to give voice to that idea.”

We at Roadburn have been huge supporters monolord roadburn 2015of Fields Of The Nephilim since the Dawnrazor album in 1987, and with their influence looming large over so many acts that have played at our festival over the years, hosting these two special performances at Roadburn 2015 couldn’t be more appropriate.

In related news: In keeping with our tradition of bringing you the finest rock ‘n’ roll ceremony of occultish, Sabbathian shades and sounds, we’re thrilled to announce that Ohio’s Electric Citizen will play on Saturday, April 11. Sweden’s hotly-tipped psychedelic stoner sludge outfit Monolord (as in lords of monolithic riffing) will bring their massive mesmeric, speaker-rumbling amplifier worship to Roadburn Festival 2015 on Thursday, April 9.

Roadburn Festival 2015 (including The Heads as Artist In Residence, Enslaved and Wardruna among others) will run for four days from Thursday, April 9 to Sunday, April 12 at the 013 venue in Tilburg, The Netherlands.

Monolord, Empress Rising (2014)

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Small Stone Records Updates on Flood Cleanup; Fundraiser Continues

Posted in Whathaveyou on August 28th, 2014 by JJ Koczan

Thee basement.

As you can see in the photo above, the flood that ravaged Small Stone Records‘ offices two weeks ago (if you missed that news, see here) is being dealt with. Progress is being made, but of course there’s still a ton to do. The fundraiser has gotten an awesome response and has been about as visible as anyone could ask, so thanks to everybody for helping to get the word out and of course for donating. Please keep it going.

Label honcho Scott Hamilton took some time out and sent some pics of the damage being repaired and updated on the progress being made:

Says Scott:

We would personally like to thank everyone who has generously kicked in… It has been beyond helpful (lifesaving) and we are very thankful to any and all involved. We are now finally clean and dry… We still have a long way to go in terms of getting this up and running again, but here is a quick pic of the progress thus far.

90% of my time has been taken up with restoring all the above… i think i have been to home depot over 40 times in the last 2+ weeks

bottom line… this fundraiser has been saving my ass… the last time i was at home depot like this was 14 years ago when we first moved in… holy shit is everything way more expensive then it used to be!

So there you have it. A lot of work being done and a lot more still to come. It’s been amazing watching this community come together to support Small Stone and help Scott get back to where he needs to be, and thanks to folks like Ripple Music for hosting a charity auction, The Heavy Co. for donating all the proceeds of their new live album, and Seb from Abrahma for putting together a series of charity auctions as well. All of this is huge and it shows Scott there’s a reason all the work he’s putting in is worth the effort.

Once again, please keep it going.

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My Brother the Wind Post Album Trailer

Posted in Whathaveyou on August 28th, 2014 by JJ Koczan

my brother the wind

Yes. Yes. More of this. Less of not this. Swedish improv psych explorers My Brother the Wind will issue their third album in October via Free Electric Sound. The cumbersomely-titled offering, Once There was a Time When Time and Space were One, has just been given a video trailer, and I put it on to check it out and not one minute had passed before I was immersed. Hypnotized. The gorgeous, lush wash of tones had me in their grips to the point that, by the time its two minutes were played out, I forgot I wasn’t listening to a full album and that was all I was going to get.

Kind of a bummer about that last part, but the trailer really makes me look forward to what the album might hold when it hits in October, which I guess is the whole point. Fair enough. The PR wire brings info and of course the video itself:

MY BROTHER THE WIND: Expansive Album Trailer For New LP By Swedish Cosmic Rock Instrumentalists Released

Sweden’s instrumental cosmic rock quartet, MY BROTHER THE WIND, will release their third full-length album this October, the opus harnessing forty-five minutes of the band’s entirely improvised, instrumental psychedelic rock, entitled Once There Was A Time When Time And Space Were One. Recorded live in the studio with no overdubs during a single day, the band used six and twelve string acoustic and electric guitars, mellotron, flute, bass, drums, congas and more to complete the task. The album was captured in full analog on 2″ tape courtesy of a 16 track Ampex from 1969 at Drop Out Analogue, in the snowy wilderness of Åmål, Sweden, with engineering duties handled by Love Tholin, who used vintage flangers, plate reverbs and tape echoes to achieve the LP’s unrestrained sound and exceptionally organic tones, after which it was mixed by Tholin and the band, and mastered by Hans Fredriksson.

A trailer for Once There Was A Time When Time And Space Were One has been released, featuring an array of photos documenting the album’s creation as well as the band performing both on stage as well as outdoors, an in-depth look at the LP’s awesome artwork, and the first audio sample to be leaked from the album.

MY BROTHER THE WIND is a fully improvisational cosmic rock collective consisting of members of widely known Swedish progressive rock acts Makajodama, Magnolia, Animal Daydream and Anekdoten, their output an inviting sound for fans of Popol Vuh, Amon Duul, Sun Ra, Ash Ra Temple, Gong and Pink Floyd, Free Electric Sound — the instrumental music division of The Laser’s Edge — will release Once There Was A Time When Time And Space Were One worldwide on October 14th. Stand by for further transmissions including preorders for the CD and deluxe LP versions as well as additional audio from the album in the coming days.

My Brother the Wind, Once There was a Time When Time and Space were One album trailer

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The Obelisk Questionnaire: Christian Peters of Samsara Blues Experiment

Posted in Questionnaire on August 28th, 2014 by JJ Koczan

christian peters

For more than five years now, Berlin-based guitarist/vocalist Christian Peters has been working ceaselessly to bring his band Samsara Blues Experiment to the forefront of heavy psychedelic consciousness. From touring the West Coast of the US before they even had an album released to graphic design work to founding his own label, Electric Magic Records in order to bolster other acts — having an outlet for a collection of solo recordings released under the name Soulitude didn’t hurt either — to playing fests like Roadburn, the Desertfests, Freak Valley and many more, as well as touring, SBE has taken the harder road of getting their name out. At the same time, Peters has been at the fore of Samsara Blues Experiment‘s creative development since the start, their three albums — 2013’s Waiting for the Flood (review here), 2011’s Revelation and Mystery (review here) and 2009’s Long Distance Trip (review here) — showcasing a fluid psychedelia both creatively open and propelled by rich tonality. On both levels, the work of Peters and his bandmates has begun to pay off.

When I sent him the Questionnaire to fill out, Peters was on a well-earned vacation — no computer — but back to the grind, he wasted no time in sending back his answers, which I think you’ll enjoy reading:

The Obelisk Questionnaire: Christian Peters

How did you come to do what you do?

I started playing guitar at the age of 10. My father, more or less, forced me to learn an instrument at that time, so you can imagine how “happy” I was back then with playing Folk and Classical guitar. Every day at least one half-hour was my torment as a kid, really. I didn’t touch my guitar for one year when I was around 15 or 16, but then got finally addicted to music and so started to teach myself E-Guitar and all (or most of) the other instruments I play today.

Describe your first musical memory.

Singing tradional German Folk songs in the car with my Mom and Dad, all together. I may have been around 4 or 5 years old.

Describe your best musical memory to date.

First rehearsal with my first band, back in 1999. First professional recording, later then. Releasing a first LP record with Terraplane in 2007. Playing in San Francisco with SBE in 2009. Well, there seem to be plenty of good memories, but these are the best up to date.

When was a time when a firmly held belief was tested?

All the time, somehow.

Where do you feel artistic progression leads?

Happiness perhaps? For instance I am seldomly really happy with recordings. But then sometimes I am not even sure if there´s much progression left for me, haha. Then I sometimes feel like being trapped in that certain picture, even if the frame seems pretty wide.

How do you define success?

Being happy with what I do.

What is something you have seen that you wish you hadn’t?

All the things I´ve seen make me who I am, not all was pretty. I have seen sickness, poverty, lethargy, loneliness and death and more. It´s what most of us see in their fair share — some more, some less, some earlier and some later. Life isn´t always pretty, so let´s deal with it and write some songs about it to ease the pain. That´s how I try to get along.

Describe something you haven’t created yet that you’d like to create.

Much better albums. So let´s progress!

Something non-musical that you’re looking forward to?

NFL season 2014 and of course my next meal ;-).

Samsara Blues Experiment, “Shringara” Live in Athens, May 2014

Samsara Blues Experiment on Thee Facebooks

Electric Magic Records

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