Kadavar Post “Children of the Night” Video

Posted in Bootleg Theater on September 3rd, 2019 by JJ Koczan

kadavar children of the night

Kadavar played at Psycho Las Vegas a couple weeks ago, and in a couple more weeks, they’ll release their new album, For the Dead Travel Fast, which they’ll support beginning in November with a pretty substantial European tour. That’s how it goes. Put out a record and tour. Kadavar, certainly, have done it before.

The difference this time, I guess, is the album itself. I’ll get a review up at some point — mostly because I like writing about Kadavar, rather than the expectation that anyone gives a crap what I have to say about them or that Nuclear Blast is eagerly awaiting my opinion on the record — but it’s a different vibe as Kadavar embark on their fifth album, and the slick modernity that showed itself through 2017’s Rough Times (review here) and 2015’s Berlin (review here) seems to be at least meeting halfway with their more vintage-minded early work, 2013’s Abra Kadavar (review here) and 2012’s self-titled debut (discussed here). The track for which they’re sharing a new video now, “Children of the Night,” brings that pretty clearly to the forefront.

It’s a proto-metallic fuzz crunch in the guitar and an organic sounding bassline that wouldn’t be out of place on an Uncle Acid record were they perhaps dirtied up a bit, but of course guitarist Christoph “Lupus” Lindemann puts his own vocal stamp on it and for my money there aren’t a lot of heavy rock drummers in Europe’s well-populated underground who play with the vitality of Christoph “Tiger” Bartelt, his roll in the ending section of the track matched fluidly by the low-end air-push of  Simon “Dragon” Bouteloup. Less immediately hooky and more dug-in feeling, “Children of the Night” has the mood of For the Dead Travel Fast well summarized, and it’ll be interested to see how the LP is received especially by those fans of their first two records.

But it’s the internet, so people will probably bitch either way. Whatever. I dig it.

They spliced old movie clips together for the video, obviously going for something simpler than the last one. A respite well earned.

Enjoy:

Kadavar, “Children of the Night” official video

After their insanely ambitious spaghetti western video for the “The Devil’s Master”, Berlin, Germany-based rock overlords KADAVAR have released the official music video for the brand new single, “Children Of The Night”. The song comes off the band’s highly anticipated new album, For The Dead Travel Fast.

Get/stream the song here: https://nblast.de/KadavarChildrenOfNight

Pre-order For The Dead Travel Fast and/or accompanying merchandise here!

Recently the band had announced their European headlining tour in support of the album.

KADAVAR – FOR THE DEAD TRAVEL FAST EUROPEAN TOUR 2019
Special Guests: HÄLLAS & PABST
06.11. SE Copenhagen Pumpehuset
07.11. NO Oslo Bla
08.11. SE Göteborg Brewhouse
09.11. SE Stockholm Debaser
10.11. DE Hannover Capitol
12.11. FR Lyon Le CCO
13.11. FR Nantes Le Stéréolux
14.11. FR Paris L’Alhambra
15.11. FR Bordeaux BT 59
16.11. ES Madrid Mon
17.11. ES Barcelona Razzmatazz 2
19.11. FR Strasbourg La Laiterie
20.11. DE Wiesbaden Schlachthof
21.11. DE Nu?rnberg Hirsch
22.11. DE Mu?nchen Backstage Werk
23.11. AT Wien Arena
24.11. DE Dresden Beatpol
25.11. BE Brussels Orangiere at Botanique
27.11. DE Stuttgart LKA Longhorn
28.11. DE Köln Essigfabrik
29.11. DE Hamburg Große Freiheit
30.11. DE Berlin Columbiahalle

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Friday Full-Length: earthlings?, earthlings?

Posted in Bootleg Theater on August 30th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

The 11 tracks of earthings? 1998 self-titled debut are a stirring reminder that sometimes the best thing one can be is weird. Among the core lineup of Dave Catching (who’s contributed one way or the other to Queens of the Stone Age, Mojave Lords, Eagles of Death Metal, Goon Moon, Masters of Reality, and many others), Fred Drake (Mark Lanegan, Queens of the Stone Age, and a host of others in various roles), and Pete Stahl (GoatsnakeScreamWool, Orquesta del Desierto), is the name of the Rancho de la Luna studio itself where earthlings? was recorded for eventual release through Crippled Dick Hot Wax and Man’s Ruin Records. The studio itself plays a massive role in the ultimate personality of the record, as songs become willfully bizarre explanations of drones or keys like the otherwise straightforward “Reaper (Don’t Fear This Child)” or seem built of Wonka-esque psychotronic experimentation like “Conversing Among Misfits,” which, by the way, is the centerpiece of the album, because of course it is.

In these pieces as well as in opener “Nothing” and the desert-Velvet Underground take of “Saving up for My Spaceship/Illuminate,” and even the QOTSA-adjacent riff-style of “Stungun” — with Scott Reeder on bass, no less — the feel becomes not unlike another hidden edition of Desert Sessions, with Stahl‘s malleable vocals, Drake‘s keys/vocals/sometimes-drums and Catching‘s guitar/keys/bass/whatever emerging as having been born of a similar sonic adventurism. No doubt tales of, “let’s get everyone in the studio for a few days, do drugs and make records,” have been exaggerated, but it’s worth noting that all three members of earthlings? were indeed involved in Desert Sessions at one point or another, and the vibe of the self-titled bears that out in “The Dreaded Lovelies” and the same goes for the subsequent ambience of “The Icy Halls of Sobriety (I Dare Not Tread)” and the chill finish in closer “Triumphant March of the Buffoons,” which rounds out a farewell salvo like the band blew out its songwriting apparatus on “Stungun” and decided to just roll with the anti-consciousness impulse. Sometimes the best thing one can be is weird.

Drake and Stahl share vocal duties on the punkish “Cavalry” while Adam Maples (Legal Weapon, Boneclub, Orquesta del Desierto) steps in on drums, and the pattern of offsetting more straight-ahead moments with bizarre fare continues as the impressionist “Happiest Day of My Life” arrives based around a piano line and interweaving vocals and keyboard, carrying forth a wistfulness that continues into an ending of traffic sounds and the arrival of the bouncing anythingism of “Conversing Among Misfits,” each song a departure from the one before it much as “Nothing” at the outset stands as a departure from reality. What ties them all together, such as they’re intended to be tied together at all, is the sense of freedom behind their making. The tracks on earthlings?‘s self-titled by and large earthlings earthlingsare not smoothed-over, structured pieces intended to land a hook. Their sense of expression is on a different trip.

In hindsight, the post-rocking drift in the guitar of “Nothing” feels somewhat prescient, even with the launch-countdown over top, but what it conveys most of all is that earthlings? were not formed as a band with limits placed on their sound. They were not going to be “this” kind of band or “that” kind of band. They were going to see what happened. True, they inevitably are lumped into the sphere of Californian desert rock in no small part because of their many associations therewith, but that’s not a limit on what they do. With a first album that appeared shortly after Kyuss disbanded, they showed a different side of the desert, less aggressive and more embodying a kind of we-moved-to-the-middle-of-nowhere-for-a-reason aesthetic libertarianism, unwilling to follow dictates other than those of their own creativity. That would turn out to be plenty, of course, as “Saving up for My Spaceship/Illuminate” tops seven minutes of percussion-addled sand psych before giving way to the return of the drum kit on “Reaper (Don’t Fear This Child),” on which Drake‘s sneering vocal approach should recall for anyone who’s heard it that of Zach Huskey of Dali’s Llama, also long underappreciated.

And maybe that middle finger to convention is part of the desert ideal as well, though it’s hard to assess such things from (1:) across the country and (2:) two decades after the fact without indulging the peculiar gonzo romanticism of American counterculture. I’ll save my breath, if that’s cool, and just note that whatever accidents it might produce, the kind of stylistic individuality one hears on earthlings? is never itself anything but willful, and whatever the album might share in common with other outfits to which Stahl or Drake or Catching played in the years since seems much more born of the fact that it’s the same personality being taken along with them on the way. Those personae, in combination with each other and with Rancho de la Luna itself, produced something in this first earthlings? record that inherently could not be reproduced — the capture of a singular moment in time.

Of course, the self-titled isn’t the only thing earthlings? ever put out. They followed it with Human Beans, which featured an even broader range of guests, including Mark Lanegan, Barrett Martin, Josh Homme and Petra Hayden, as well as a drum spot from Dave Grohl, in 2000, members continuing to contribute to Desert Sessions in between. The death of Drake from cancer in 2002 came shortly after the band released their Disco Marching Craft EP, on which he did not appear, and over the years that followed, earthlings? would release sporadic short offerings like 2005’s Individual Sky Cruiser Theory or 2008’s Humalien EPs, bringing Mathias Schneeberger and a swath of other players into the lineup along the way. It wasn’t until 2016’s Mudda Fudda limited vinyl on Last Hurrah Records that earthlings? issued a third full-length, and I wouldn’t profess to know anything about future plans or anything like that. Still, their work remains delightfully strange and rife with the kind of indulgence one wants to indulge because it’s so much fun to follow along, and 21 years after the fact, earthlings? continues to stand resoundingly alone.

As always, I hope you enjoy.

New episode of The Obelisk Show on Gimme Radio today at 1PM Eastern. I’m doing a special on the Kyuss family tree, the research for which I’ll admit also had me digging into this earthlings? record earlier this week. If you get to check that out, it would surely be appreciated.

Listen at: http://gimmeradio.com

And thanks.

It’s very nearly 4AM now. The Patient Mrs. and I had friends over last night. I turned in around 10 and fell asleep immediately, so don’t even know when she came to bed, but I woke up at 1:30 and never got back to sleep. That’s not going to make my day any easier, I think, but “making my day easier” has never been among my specialties.

This week was a fucking mess. The Esogenesi track that went up earlier I actually reviewed back on like Tuesday because I wanted to review the Orange Goblin show Wednesday morning and still be ahead, so wound up doing Esogenesi on Tuesday to go up today so that yesterday I could just do PH and have that go up immediately. Why does it make a difference? I’m not sure. Would it matter if the Orange Goblin review had gone up the next day? To me, maybe. Which I guess is how that dumb crap happens in the first place.

Ah, now it’s 4AM. The alarm on my phone just went off.

If you saw that Orange Goblin review, thanks. I was pretty thrilled with it. I bought a new lens last week as a moving-house present to myself and took it to that show and C.O.C. in Jersey in order to break it in. It’s fun. I’m pleased with it. It’s not a magic bullet to make me a better photographer or anything, but it’s pro-level even if I’m not. There are a few other shows coming up in the next several weeks, so I’m looking forward to getting to know it more.

This weekend? Yeah, I don’t know. The Patient Mrs. is gone at a conference in Washington, D.C., that will mark the longest time she’s been away from The Pecan. I think she’s nervous about that, but fortunately there’s plenty of distraction. The kid yesterday, man. Oof. What a day. Hitting and yelling and whining and pouting and smacking himself in the face and just crying for nothing. Made me want to check him for new teeth. “Bro, what the hell?” and so on. He can have some pretty intense moments, in the true spirit of a toddler. Splatter my brains on the fucking wall. He’ll be two in October. Not there yet.

It’s okay though. I hear it gets much easier from here and all the concerns go away and you just all of a sudden have a person you love a bunch and can talk to about baseballs and various kinds of gouda cheese and heavy metal and it’s all good and then they take care of you until you die. Pretty sure I read that somewhere.

I signed on to do a bio for WarHorse. It was an honor to be asked. I don’t know when they need it or anything, but I’ll probably post it here when the time comes. In the meantime, I’m interviewing Lori from Acid King next week for a streaming chat — those are getting me back on the phone/Skype with people and I like that; transcription had been keeping me away, and I hate setting up email interviews, which is why Six Dumb Questions only has six questions — and I’m supposed to email questions to the guys from a certain bud-loving British band for liner notes for a reissue they’re doing of a landmark album that I haven’t done yet, and I’m supposed to talk to Peder from Lowrider this weekend about their upcoming PostWax release for liner notes for that. I am, in a word, over-fucking-whelmed. But I do these things to myself. I like being asked to do things. I like being a part of things. I appreciate the fact that someone might give enough of a shit about what I say to print it with their record or to send it out as their statement of who they are as a band. Is the weekend when I’m on my own with the kid the time to be thinking about getting anything at all done? Yeah, no. Am I doing so anyway? Clearly.

What a dope.

I guess I’ll leave on that happy note. A few good premieres next week, and the audio of my interview with Jesse Bartz from L0-Pan that I recorded at their show in Jersey, so keep an eye out for those. It’ll be fun.

Alright. Have a great and safe weekend. Please check out the forum and radio stream and merch at Dropout.

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Mars Red Sky Post “The Proving Grounds” Video

Posted in Bootleg Theater on August 29th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

mars red sky (Photo by Rod Maurice)

Today is Thursday. This past Monday, I posted a streaming interview with Mars Red Sky wherein among the subjects covered was the castle in the south of their native France in which the band wrote and recorded for their new album, The Task Eternal, set to release Sept. 27 through Listenable Records. Their new video for “The Proving Grounds,” the expansive opening track of that record, was filmed in presumably around that same space, as we can see the band in the kind of parlor room from whence prior album updates were made, lit by spotlights intended to evoke almost a fireplace kind of feel, playing up a sense of organic surroundings, rock walls, open fields, and so on. There is a character who makes his way to the roof of the structure and sends up a flare, attracting the attention of an awesome disco-ball of a spaceship, which would seem to beam him aboard as the song reaches its melodic wash of a culmination. To call it apropos of how the track itself leads into the rest of The Task Eternal would be underselling it.

One thing I didn’t realize about “The Proving Grounds” until seeing the lyrics printed on the YouTube page with the video itself was the defiant stance of the hook. To wit, “We’ll prove you wrong/And carry on/We’ll carry on/You’re going down now/We’ll prove you wrong/And carry on/On proving grounds/You’re going down.” Those are hardcore lyrics! Mars Red Sky sound like they’re looking for a fight. It’s a somewhat unexpected perspective of confrontationalism from the Bordeaux trio, but still carried across in their trademark melodic heavy psychedelic and progressive fashion. I guess once you’re dug into that vibe, you can do with it as you will, but the edge is still something new from them. I have to wonder what the song is actually about specifically, if there’s one thing to which it’s responding or more of a general statement of purpose pitched in this manner. Too bad the interview already happened.

Still about a month away from the release of this one, but I’m comfortable just the same calling The Task Eternal one of the year’s best records, so if you do the preorder thing, I can only advise it, though that’s pretty much been my stance on these guys all along. Points for consistency.

Enjoy the clip:

Mars Red Sky, “The Proving Grounds” official video

Tidal waves of wounded egos
Crashed in unison
Spreading coast to coast
Now the season has begun

‘The Proving Grounds’ video was shot in the castle of Monteton (FR) and directed by Seb Antoine. The track is taken off our new album “The Task Eternal”, due out September 27 on Listenable Records.

Directed By Seb Antoine
Starring Grégory Dreyfus
Lights: Geoffrey Torres
Visual Effects : Original Cosmic – Romain Marchetti
Filmed In Monteton Castle – Thanks to the local crew
Special Thanks to Manu Feramus, Mathieu Disson, Jean Godet & Pierre-Gérard David.

Recorded and mixed by Benjamin Mandeau at Cryogene Studio, mastered by Pierre Etchandy.

‘The Proving Grounds’ is where Michael Connelly’s character Mickey Haller makes his case before “The Gods Of Guilt”. In this song we are alternately the jury and the accused. Hence the temptation of reaching out to the skies, board a spacecraft and take off, or travel in time to fix what can be fixed.

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Sun Blood Stories Post “All the Words in Meaning” Video; Haunt Yourself Preorders Available

Posted in Bootleg Theater on August 27th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

sun blood stories

One would be tempted to talk about confronting demons as regards the new Sun Blood Stories were its subject matter not so horribly human. As the Boise, Idaho, three-piece come closer to the Sept. 20 release date of their new album, Haunt Yourself — preorders are up through Bandcamp — they would seem nonetheless to be living up to the title they’ve given the record in “All the Words in Meaning,” the video for which finds vocalist/guitarist/synth-bassist Amber Pollard confronting childhood abuse through hard-hitting visual metaphor and an even-harder-hitting staredown of the camera. The song itself is duly tense and volatile, a tempest churn brought to bear amid spacious echoes that still speak of place in the way of the band’s landscape-minded earlier efforts, but is obviously turning those expanses inward here in terms of emotionalism and the sheer boldness of what’s being expressed. Pollard, joined in the band by Jon Fust (keys/drums) and Ben Kirby (guitar/bass synth/vocals), is very much at the fore here in the song, and that’s something that’s fluid throughout Haunt Yourself in terms of her interplay with Kirby on vocals, but given the intensity underpinning “All the Words in Meaning” and the rawness of soul on display, it’s a showcase of Sun Blood Stories at their most powerful and affecting.

The song itself isn’t long by any means — about four minutes — and you’ll see at the end there’s a scene were the band are sitting outside around a table. Pollard‘s child is there as well, and there’s a shot where, still holding the stuffed animal from the room where the bulk of the video takes place, Pollard turns to deliver the song’s final lines. It’s a remarkable shot. We see a mother in center-frame as protector, yet the stuffed animal reminds of the abuse suffered and the residual trauma still being carried. It seems to express the urgency of that protection as well as the fragility of the violated. With Kirby and Fust out of frame across the table, it’s just the two of them in the shot, in relief from the brightness of the outdoors space behind them, separate from it even as they’re unavoidably part of it and subject to it.

My understanding is there’s one more video to come early next month before Haunt Yourself is officially released, so I’ll keep an eye out for that, and in the meantime, you can check out “All the Words in Meaning” on the player below, followed by the background on the clip and the song from the band’s posting.

Here you go:

Sun Blood Stories, “All the Words in Meaning” official video

Pre-Order Haunt Yourself: https://sunbloodstories.bandcamp.com/album/haunt-yourself

*ABOUT THE SONG*

CW Child Abuse: “Time to get real real. This song is about my childhood. My awful childhood. My parents split when I was still a toddler. Maybe not even 2 years old yet. Around age 3, my mother started dating a man who would abuse me in every form of the word daily for the next 14 years. Escapism was my only reprise from the physical and emotional pain that was inflicted upon me. I often time found myself fantasizing about what my life could have been like if my parents had stayed together. That is what this song is about. Ben, Jon, and I just really hope this song makes you feel something. Anything. If you or someone you know is being hurt please call the National Domestic Abuse Hotline 1-800-799-7233. We love you.“ – Amber

All the Words in Meaning is the second single off of Sun Blood Stories’ long anticipated new album, Haunt Yourself, to be released September 20th, 2019 (more about the album and the band below). The music was recorded in Sun Blood Stories’ basement home studio in Boise, ID, and the vocals were recorded in Dale Hiscock’s (Endless Atlas) studio about two blocks away. All the Words in Meaning was written and recorded by Sun Blood Stories. The song was mixed and mastered by Dale Hiscock.

Directed by Thomas Newby, the Green Zoo Arts Collective, and Amber Pollard

Filmed by Thomas Newby and the Green Zoo Arts Collective

Edited by Amber Pollard

Lighting Assistant/Set Design Assistant/Official Photographer: Bethany Peterson

Original music written, performed, and recorded by Sun Blood Stories.

Shout out to George Pollard for letting us use his room and personal belongings for the setting of this music video.

Sun Blood Stories are:
Vocals, Guitar, Bass Synth / Ben Kirby
Drums, Keyboards / Jon Fust
Vocals, Slide Guitar, Bass Synth / Amber Pollard

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Friday Full-Length: Masters of Reality, Sunrise on the Sufferbus

Posted in Bootleg Theater on August 23rd, 2019 by JJ Koczan

Masters of Reality, Sunrise on the Sufferbus (1993)

Originally based in Syracuse, New York, Masters of Reality count their beginnings as being in 1981, which as it was also the year I was born, I can tell you was a very long time ago. They released their Rick Rubin-produced self-titled debut, aka The Blue Garden, in 1989 and 1990 on Def American and then Delicious Vinyl, and then it would be three years and a new lineup before Sunrise on the Sufferbus came around as the follow-up via Chrysalis Records. Like much of the band’s work, it inspires these years later a passionate but somewhat obscure fandom, despite being arguably their highest-profile outing thanks to the inclusion of drummer Ginger Baker (who had his 80th birthday this week) — also of Blind Faith, Cream, Hawkwind for a hot minute there in the ’80s, Fela Kuti, and many others besides his own solo output — in the lineup alongside founding guitarist, vocalist and principle songwriter Chris Goss and bassist/backing vocalist Googe, who aside from Goss was the only holdover from the first album to the second.

Now, if you’re playing a kind of then-modern heavy rock that’s super-informed by the blues rock and songwriting modus of the later ’60s and early ’70s, having Ginger Baker on drums is like communing with Buddha, and amid Goss‘ ultra-tight, radio-friendly craft on songs like the boogie-laced opener “She Got Me (When She Got Her Dress On)” and “Tilt-a-Whirl,” the somewhat more pastoral “Rolling Green,” the cult-rock prescient “J.B. Witchdance,” the blues bouncer “Ants in the Kitchen,” and even the less grounded smooth meander of “Rabbit One,” Baker nails it. His style of play is a graceful complement to Goss‘ intricate but accessible guitar work, flowing melodic voice and flourish of psychedelic elements here and there, and while I won’t take away from Googe‘s bass, Sunrise on the Sufferbus becomes about this meeting of minds between Goss and Baker, each one stepping up to the other’s considerable presence in the material and not necessarily competing, but challenging each other to be more on point in the task before them. Whether it’s the popping snare and crisp toms in the later “Gimme Water,” which follows the brief and actually-drumless “Madonna” — can you imagine having Ginger Baker on your record and then being like, “Hey man, it’s cool to sit this one out?” — or the languid fuzzy roll of “V.H.V.,” the collaboration brims with personality and still never loses sight of the fact that the songs are most important. The songs are paramount. The songs are everything. Songwriting bloody songwriting. It’s the songwriting, stupid.

Masters of Reality have a few genuinely unheralded classics in their catalog — “Why the Fly?,” “Deep in the Hole,” “The Ballad of Jody Frosty” — but if Chris Goss had never written another song after “100 Years (Of Tears on the Wind),” you’d still have to say he beat the universe. Masters of Reality Sunrise on the SufferbusAnd in just four minutes! The song begins with a fade in of guitar and drums and sets up a waltz of resonant strumming and jazzy ride cymbal and maybe mellotron (?) before Goss unveils the subtle raciness of the hook — “I’ve found my place in bed/Three feet beneath your head/I wanted to stay home/I couldn’t think of nothing new” — and croons into the next verse with the same final line repeating at the end, then comes back around and cycles through one more time, and that’s it. Done. But it’s beautiful and theatrical and lush and affecting, and genuinely shifts the mood of the listener even as the band follows it up with “T.U.S.A.,” which finds Baker taking lead vocals on kind of a goofy semi-spoken rant about how no one in America can make tea properly, which is to say, how the British do it. “Now this is serious,” Baker says in the opening line, signaling that of the many things the song might be, serious is not one of them.

But even that goofball transition is pulled off with aplomb and just like the 48-second wisp of melody “Bicycle” that led into “100 Years (Of Tears on the Wind),” “T.U.S.A.” leaves it behind immediately — on to the next thing. That’s very much how Sunrise on the Sufferbus operates, but in the three or four minutes of each track, the band builds entire worlds. “She Got Me (When She Got Her Dress On)” puts you at some mythical Americana county fair in god knows what year, while “Jody Sings” up-strums classic folk driven simply by the sweetness in Goss‘ voice, and while there’s often a playful aspect to it, as on closer “The Moon in Your Pocket,” that does nothing to pull back from the achievement of craft that the album ultimately is, in fact adding to it because fun is just one more thing Masters of Reality are willing to be.

The band recorded the LP The Ballad of Jody Frosty in 1994, and some of that material would show up on 2004’s Give Us Barabbas — including “The Desert Song” with Baker on drums — but Masters of Reality‘s next released studio album wouldn’t be until 1999’s Welcome to the Western Lodge (would someone please put this on YouTube so I can close out a week with it?). By then, the band was just Goss and drummer John Leamy, and Goss had cut his teeth as a producer in the fledgling Californian desert rock scene, working with Kyuss and Fatso Jetson, among others. That style would inform 2001’s Deep in the Hole (discussed here) and the subsequent European touring with Josh Homme and Nick Oliveri, then both of Queens of the Stone Age, that resulted in the 2003 live album, Flak ‘n’ Flight (discussed here). After Give Us Barabbas in ’04, it would be five years until the arrival of 2009’s Pine/Cross Dover (review here), which stands as their most recent offering. Goss posted a couple tracks on Soundcloud a while back, and I got offered an interview with him a few months that as yet I’ve been unable to make happen that I’d still love to do, but there’s nothing like a release date for a new Masters of Reality album or anything like that. Would be nice, and could certainly happen eventually, but that’s about the extent of what I know on the subject.

I admit, I picked this one just for me because I wanted to listen to it, but as always, I hope you enjoy. Thanks for reading.

Well, the Massachusetts era would seem to be over. We closed the sale on the place in East Bridgewater, MA, on Wednesday. Drove up for it, sat in the office giggling with our lawyer, who is an old college friend of The Patient Mrs., signed and dated all the whatnot. We ended up getting our asking price for it, which astounded me. Hard not to think the entire market is going to collapse, but whatever. Tidy profit on the sale — all the money’s spent, but I’m still gonna sneak a chunk out to buy a lens, hopefully today and celebrate the new New Jersey homecoming tomorrow night at Starland Ballroom — where else? — for C.O.C., Crowbar and Lo-Pan. That’ll be a good time even though I’m going alone.

We also yesterday came down to NJ with the last moving truck, stuff going essentially from one storage unit to another. I got to say a brief hello to the bulk of my CD collection — hello goodbye — which I’d pretty much have to win the lottery in order to have enough space to properly display. That kind of sucks. Here’s this library you’ve been enjoying building for the last quarter-century-plus, stuck in anonymous moving boxes. Would be out of sight out of mind but for the rental cost of the storage unit. But even in this house, there isn’t really a place where it could work, and the climate control here like so much else is a work in progress. We’ve got new windows coming on Monday. That should help, but even if I didn’t have a toddler hell-bent on destruction, I’d still basically need every available inch of wall in the house for a shelf, and that’s neither feasible nor fair. So, you know. Boxes.

And every couple years, more boxes. I don’t sell CDs.

I do, however, keep buying them.

My phone is busted, so I need to get that taken care of today, and between that, that lens purchase (assuming the wire transfer from the house sale comes through), donating some dishes and maybe another trip to Costco, that’s pretty much the day. Should be plenty. Next week look out for the C.O.C. live review and an Orange Goblin live review, as I’ll be hitting their show with The Skull in NYC on Tuesday, and a track premieres Italy’s Bretus and Esogenesi. Didn’t mean to do an Italian doom theme, but kind of did anyhow. I might go see Bask and Begotten as well the night after Orange Goblin, but we’ll see. That’s a lot and I’m just a poor boy. Might be nice to get a couple shows in before The Patient Mrs. goes to a conference next weekend and then starts her new job and life explodes all over again.

But anyway, we’re in Jersey now. There’s work to do but there always is, and sooner or later we’ll start calling this place home without even thinking about it.

I hope you have a great and safe weekend. If you’re at C.O.C. in Jersey tomorrow or Orange Goblin in NYC on Tuesday, please say hi. Otherwise, cheers.

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Grande Royale Premiere “Hands Up” Video; Take it Easy out Sept. 13

Posted in Bootleg Theater on August 20th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

grande royale

Fair enough if you remember Grande Royale from their 2017 Nicke Andersson-produced label debut on The Sign Records, Breaking News (review here), as having kind of a different sound. They were kind of a different band. On Sept. 13, the Swedish troupe will release their fourth album and second for The Sign, the 11-track/39-minute Take it Easy, and with it they undeniably enter a new era. Consistencies include a classically-influenced sound, prevalent boogie vibe and tight songcraft — all welcome — and among the striking changes are the fact that the band parted ways with their frontman and that guitarists Gustav Wremer (who took on the vocalist role) and Andreas Jenå have swapped out their rhythm section, bringing in Samuel Georgsson and drummer Johan Häll to complete the now-four-piece incarnation of the band.

As to the title, which one almost can’t help but hear in the pleading voice of Jeff Bridges as The Dude, it seems to be the entire message of encouragement from the album itself, and it arrives in “Decelerate,” a sub-three-minute tracklist-centerpiece rife with organ and recorded naturalism — Ola Ersfjord (Lucifer, Hypnos, The Riven, The Hellacopters, etc.) produced this time around — after the band has already unfurled five cuts of semi-Southern, ’70s-via-’10s argument in favor of doing just that. With Tove Abrahamsson stepping in on vocals for two tracks — among them “Hands Up,” for which the video is premiering below — Grande Royale hardly seem to have missed a beat despite all the tumult of the last two years. They even had a live record out grande royale take it easybetween the two studio offerings. Kind of scary productivity, considering.

But the news is good and the prevailing spirit of Take it Easy is one of positive, upbeat times. There’s an element of escapism at play in the shove of second cut “Out of Gas” or the slide-infused “Sweet Livin’,” but little reminder of what one might actually be escaping from, which is refreshing. As they were on Breaking NewsGrande Royale are an unremittingly straightforward band, and while one might hear the vocal performance on “Baby You’re a Fool” and wonder why Wremer wasn’t just fronting the band the whole time, the fact is that while they might make having been through so much change sound easy, it couldn’t possibly have been. Or at least not as easy as it sounds here. “Going Strong,” “Standing in My Way” and “On and On” round out in striking and engaging fashion, hooks prevalent and delivered smoothly with a confidence that makes one think that not much has actually changed in their approach to writing.

Meet the new era, same as the old era? Maybe, in some ways. Grande Royale do sound different than they did two years ago — how could they not? — but Take it Easy just sends its core message with such believable fluidity throughout its LP-ready run that one can’t help but think maybe they’ve been taking their own advice all along. It clearly works for them.

The video for “Hands Up” follows here, with a single-camera shot of someone dancing to the song and kind of letting loose a little bit, which is obviously the intention behind the thing. You’ll find it below, followed by more info from the PR wire.

Enjoy:

Grande Royale, “Hands Up” official video premiere

Hands Up is taken from Grande Royals fourth studio album Take It Easy released by The Sign Records 2019. Video by Filip Pilthammar. Thanks to Tove Abrahamsson for Lead vocals.

Take It Easy is the new album from Grande Royale. The album holds eleven tracks of Scandinavian rock with a strong southern influences: music that speaks the universal language of rock. The album mixes things up by adding brass, soul choirs to the guitar-filled music. Take It Easy is the fourth studio album by Grande Royale, succeeding the live album Captured Live from 2018 and the studio album Breaking News from 2017, all released by The Sign Records. Grande Royale is releasing Take It Easy on the 13th of September.

The album is produced by Ola Ersfjord, who has previously worked with Imperial State Electric, Honeymoon Disease, Primordial, Tribulation and Dead Lord. Since the release of their previous studio album Breaking News, guitarist Gustav Wremer has taken over vocal duties in the band. Vocalist Tove Abrahamsson appears on two tracks. The album artwork is made by Revolver Design.

Live Dates:
26/9 – Burgerweeshuis, Deventer, Netherlands *
27/9 – Muziekcentrum De Bosuil, Netherlands *
28/9 – Sonic Ballroom, Köln, Germany *
29/9 – Lola, Groningen, Netherlands *
* With The Dirty Denims

More live dates are set to be announced in Spain, Italy, Germany, Finland and Sweden among others….

Grande Royale is:
Andreas Jenå – Guitar
Gustav Wremer – Guitar / Vocals
Johan Häll – Drums
Samuel Georgsson – Bass

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Grande Royale at The Sign Records Bandcamp

The Sign Records website

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Swan Valley Heights Premiere “My First Knife Fight” Video; Touring in Oct. with Truckfighters

Posted in Bootleg Theater on August 19th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

SWAN VALLEY HEIGHTS (Photo by Agathe Riener)

We’re coming up quick on the Sept. 6 release date for Swan Valley Heights‘ new album, The Heavy Seed (review here), on Fuzzorama Records, which the Munich-based trio will celebrate in October with a tour alongside Truckfighters — also Fuzzorama honchos — that includes stops at Night of Fuzz, Festsaal KreuzbergKeep it Low and Desertfest Belgium, as well as a swath of club shows. The Heavy Seed is Swan Valley Heights‘ second LP behind a 2016 self-titled (review here), and their first for the new label, and with it, the band capture a warm-toned fuzz and jammy, heavy psychedelic drift that reminds of the potential that once seemed so prevalent in an act like Sungrazer from the Netherlands, perhaps taking a more active role in their own progressivism. Opening with the 13-minute title-track and closing with the 10-minute “Teeth & Waves,” the five-song/41-minute collection is bookended by sprawl that only adds flourish to the nuance of performance in “Vaporizer Woman,” the alternately spaced and heavy rolling centerpiece “Take a Swim in God’s Washing Machine” — bit of funk there in the second half — and the three-minute “My First Knife Fight,” the shortest track on the release by more than half and something of an aberration in terms of general approach.

Gone is the patient unfolding of “The Heavy Seed” or even the back and forth loud/quiet swaps of “Take a Swim in God’s Washing Machine.” Each song on the album seems to establish its own take around the central unifying tonal and melodic factors in the band’s sound, but no question “My First Knife Fight” is a standout. It doesn’t quite manifest the sense of aggression or violent threat in the title — though even that feels tongue-in-cheek — but it’s a rocker for sure, with searing lead guitar over top and a forward thrust of low end and drums that establishes its own edge distinct from its surroundings. Then there’s the ending: a sudden dropoff as though the riff blinks out of existence and — poof! — it’s done. That’s not the only cold finish on The Heavy Seed, but it is perhaps the starkest, especially as it seems to come what would otherwise be about halfway through any of the other tracks. Further, as Swan Valley Heights weave between instrumental and vocalized material, the overarching flow they conjure isn’t to be understated, and neither is the willful-seeming cut thereof in “My First Knife Fight.” At no point are they lacking groove, but what the penultimate track shows clearest is that with their sophomore full-length, Swan Valley Heights are ready to manipulate that to suit a variety of purposes in their creation.

So much the better when it comes to the album overall. If you’re sensitive to flashing lights, watch out when taking on the colors-do-interpretive-dance clip below for “My First Knife Fight,” but again, the song itself is pretty short, so whether you just put it on and check out the track or stare at the screen and get hypnotized by the washes of I’m-not-quite-sure-what that appear there, I think you’ll be fine. You know what you’re up for.

Either way, please enjoy:

Swan Valley Heights, “My First Knife Fight” official video premiere

Taken from the album ‘the Heavy Seed’ out Sept 6th 2019.
Order your physical copy from www.fuzzoramastore.com

The band is touring as support to Truckfighters in Europe October 2019. Get your ticket: www.truckfighters.com/dates-2

OCT 4 NIGHT OF FUZZ, Linz, Austria
OCT 5 NIGHT OF FUZZ, Wien, Austria
OCT 6 Beatpol, Dresden, Germany
OCT 8 Hydrozagadka, Warszawa, Poland
OCT 9 Festsaal Kreuzberg, Berlin, Germany
OCT 10 Knust, Hamburg, Germany
OCT 11 Universum, Stuttgart, Germany
OCT 12 Keep it Low festival, München, Germany
OCT 13 Helios 37, Köln, Germany
OCT 14 The Garage, London, United Kingdom
OCT 16 Petit Bain, Paris, France
OCT 17 Le Ferrailleur, Nantes, France
Oct 18 Desertfest Belgium, Antwerpen, Belgium

Video credits:
8mm and Acid Operator: Tiago Margaça
tiagomargaca.com
Editor: Alexander Häring
Dark Fox Production
dark-fox-production.com

Swan Valley Heights, The Heavy Seed (2019)

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Friday Full-Length: Weltraumstaunen, Weltraumwelt

Posted in Bootleg Theater on August 16th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

Weltraumstaunen, Weltraumwelt (2004)

You might be forgiven if you’ve never heard Germany’s Weltraumstaunen. The band formed in 1998 around Growing Seeds members Andi and Silke Heinrich and Dave “Sula Bassana” Schmidt, then of Liquid Visions, Zone Six and probably 10 or 20 others, and released a self-titled album in 1999. It would be five years, the dissolution of Growing Seeds — in which Schmidt had also taken up the drummer role — and the end of the marriage between Andi and Silke before Weltraumstaunen would issue a second record, Weltraumwelt, as the two-piece of Andi Heinrich and Dave Schmidt. The album is part of the mighty earlier-years catalog of Nasoni Records, along with acts like Vibravoid, Zendik Farm Orgaztra, Liquid Visions, and many others (the label began in 1996), and was made by exchanging recordings via tape — not files, tapes; remember this would’ve been nascent times for broadband speeds — between Berlin and Bayreuth, further south.

That distance, and the fact that the distance mattered, becomes crucial to understanding Weltraumwelt‘s aesthetic and just exactly how Weltraumstaunen wound up where they got in terms of sound. The second album was somewhat more adventurous than the first — though nothing against that record either — and found its strongest moments in a forward-looking kraut and space rock; the swirling effects, hard-strummed funky wah and a steady groove on the title-track indicative of the far-outness to which Weltraumstaunen was aligned, but really just the barest indication of some of the more experimental side of the nine-track/48-minute collection, which showed itself perhaps most of all in the 14-minute anything-goes sprawl of “Farfisadelic.” With steady pulsations of synth emerging amid flourish of backwards guitar and other atmospherics, that cut was by far the deepest journey into cosmic vacuum that the two-piece made, and its anti-apex resolution in an almost-standalone line of piano and effects drift proved clearly that Weltraumstaunen weren’t simply about a linear build or about capturing the rush of space rock. Their five-year mission was more varied in its course, with opener “Black Dove Part I” and closer “Black Dove Part II” dug into a vision of heavy psychedelia that by now feels prescient of what a German band like Samsara Blues Experiment would go on to do in their beginning stages, or even Schmidt‘s own Electric Moon, jam-based as that would be.

Not only that, but the moody prog of “Doors” and the acoustic/electric swirl of centerpiece “Wizard vs. Time” brought a classic feel to the proceedings and offered a grounding effect compared not just to “Farfisadelic” still to come, weltraumstaunen weltraumweltbut to the minimalist drone of “Introfernale” which followed or the earlier bass throb in the freaked out noisemaker “Hoffmans Mahl (The Dwarves of Yore)” and the resoundingly ambient “Floating in Space,” the latter of which gave its earthy, folkish strum a chance to really bring the album to earth at its midpoint, which “Wizard vs. Time” ultimately succeeded in doing, in sound if not theme. They didn’t rush back to ground by any means, rolling through “Introfernale,” “Weltraumwelt” and “Farfisadelic” before finding their way into “Black Dove Part II,” and in the interplay between vocalized and instrumental songs, the openness of the structures and the overall diversity of mood between their tracks, Weltraumstaunen were able to accomplish the rare feat of uniting their material through its very differences, setting the expectation early between “Black Dove Part I” and “Doors” that the band could and would follow their whims wherever they might go. They went, of course, to space. And floated there.

But the connections to classic prog, whether in “Black Dove Part I” or “Wizard vs. Time” and “Doors” — the latter also dipping into a kind of ethereal grunge — were key underpinnings to the more try-it-and-see aspects of Weltraumwelt, and where so many bands seem to commit themselves either to a planned songwriting modus or to outright improvisation, Weltraumstaunen refused to choose one over the other. No doubt the distance between Heinrich and Schmidt helped that too — because it’s hard to jam through the mail — but even through trying and subsequently fleshing out initial ideas, their songs were able to take various shapes brought together by a single creative persona, not just a work of genre, but a work that toiled at the edges thereof and seemed more interested in pushing the limits forward than residing comfortably within them.

But again, maybe you’ve heard it and maybe you haven’t. I know I’ve name-dropped Weltraumstaunen a couple times over the years in talking about other things Schmidt has done — and he’s done plenty — but I’ve never actually written about the band, and though I’ve periodically looked for it in YouTube, it wasn’t until a couple months ago that Weltraumwelt actually showed up, so the opportunity hasn’t really been there before now. It’s another album that turns 15 this year, which is kind of staggering to think about, but it came into my life in a box of vinyl from Nasoni that I got when I was doing college radio, and it’s one to which I’ve returned every now and again ever since, as it captured a genuinely open creativity that it’s hard not to find inspiring, its exchange of ideas and will toward seeing them realized, whatever shape they might take, indicative of the passion behind the collaboration in the first place. It might take you a listen or two to get it, but it’s worth that, at least.

Of course, Schmidt, working as Sula Bassana, has gone on to become a principal figure in Germany’s psychedelic underground, whether it’s running his own Sulatron Records imprint or expanding the space rock universe with Electric MoonKrautzone, the revitalized Zone Six and so on. Less clear on what became of Heinrich after Weltraumwelt, which was the last of Weltraumstaunen‘s releases. By the time 2004 came around, Growing Seeds had been done already — though their 1997 album, Miraculous Journey, is worth seeking out if you can find it — and given the creativity on display throughout Weltraumwelt, it’s somewhat surprising not to have heard from him more in the years since. Crazier things have happened than a band like this reemerging from such parts unknown, but I’m not holding my breath. In the meantime, a reissue through Sulatron would most certainly be welcome, and hopefully capture and inspire a new generation of listeners as well.

As always, I hope you enjoy. Thanks for reading.

New episode of the Gimme Radio show today at 1PM Eastern. You already saw the playlist. Listen here: http://gimmeradio.com, or on their app.

I like the app, but web works too.

This weekend is Psycho Las Vegas. I’m not there, obviously. We’re still doing stuff with the move to NJ from Massachusetts, so yeah, I just couldn’t really get out this time. Next year I’ll do it up properly. But if you’re there, enjoy it. Sick lineup, insane venue, scorching desert heat: the true Psycho experience. Nothing quite like it.

I’m expecting The Pecan up any minute now, so I’ll do my best to keep this short and sweet-ish. At the end (maybe the middle?) of next week we’re back in MA to pick up the last of our stuff. One more truck. One more truck. One more truck. That’ll be CDs and whatnot from our storage unit, stuff from The Patient Mrs.’ office at work, and maybe a shitty table to which I have sentimental attachment from the condo. Right now we’re slated to close on the sale on the 23rd. Keep your fingers crossed for us until then. At that point, we live in NJ. That’s home.

There’s a lot on already for next week, which is nice since the earlier part of this week was a little dead. I’d do notes, but frankly I don’t feel like cutting and pasting and rearranging it, so yeah. Zed review, Swan Valley Heights premiere, Stew premiere, Grand Royale video premiere, Von Detta track premiere, on and on. And that’s just Monday and Tuesday. The rest, who the hell knows.

This move has been stressful because it’s been so drawn out, over months rather than days or weeks. We’re up to our eyeballs in boxes and there are more to come, but it’ll be good longer-term. I’m happy The Pecan will grow up here. People look different, sound different, from each other. People speak different languages. It’s like civilization or something. Plus bagels and pizza. So yeah, civilization.

Please have a great and safe weekend, and please check out the forum, radio stream and merch at Dropout.

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