Posted in Whathaveyou on January 19th, 2017 by H.P. Taskmaster
Preorders are, of course, up now. Feb. 24 is the release date for White Dwarf Records‘ limited vinyl run of Holy Mount‘s The Drought. This marks the second collaboration (by my count) between the Toronto-based heavy psych swirlmakers and the Berlin imprint, which also issued a deluxe version of their 2014 debut, We Fell from the Sky, in 2015. Likewise, The Drought was first self-released by the band digitally as their third full-length last year, and if there’s any question as to why it might get picked up for an LP issue, between the cover and the full stream that you can hear at the bottom of this post, any and all queries should be thoroughly answered.
Holy Mount have another long-player, 2014’s VOL, and a slew of other short releases on their Bandcamp page, which is linked below, so if you want to dig in, there’s much fodder for that purpose. If the band is new to you, as they are to me, you’ve got nothing to lose.
Have at it:
HOLY MOUNT – The Drought (WHD 008)
Limited edition of 150 copies on yellow and 350 copies on black 180 gram vinyl! Inside-Out-Cover, including download card!
“By the frigid, windy great lakes of Toronto, Canada situated on a broad sloping plateau intersected by an extensive network of rivers and deep ravines, lies HOLY MOUNT. At the summit, four hermits have been gathering for years celebrating Heavy Psych ceremonies, channeling the mystery of the great north. Their last recorded ritual, released early this year by White Dwarf, titled ‘The Drought’, shows the quartet comprised of Danijel, Brandon, Troy and Clayton at his best with heavy doomy drones, ghostly enchantings and superb guitar riffs/solos filled with fuzz reverberating through the Black Mountains above into the Dead Meadows below.” The Temple
1. Ground Water 00:56 2. Division 05:00 3. Basalt 05:19 4. Omni Cide 07:09 5. Blackened Log 05:42 6. Blood Cove 06:52 7. The Drought 07:26
Posted in Reviews on January 19th, 2017 by H.P. Taskmaster
Feels like it’s been a while in the making, but Buddha Sentenza‘s second album justifies the wait in a significant push forward from where 2013’s debut, South Western Lower Valley Rock (review here), found them. Still working through World in Sound, 2016’s Semaphora hits with the pastoral feel that’s been present in the German five-piece’s sound since their 2009 demo, Mode 0909 (review here), and if one is so inclined, one might still pick up shades of My Sleeping Karma in their sound, but there’s a progressive tinge to the winding guitar and keys in opener “Jet,” and the subsequent “Greek Ancestry” goes farther in fitting its arrangement to its title.
Ultimately, the playfully named Heidelberg-based lineup of guitarist/violinist B.B. Blacksheep, guitarist Major Mayhem, bassist Amnesio Bodega, keyboardist Pontifex Maximus and drummer Jesus Malverde end up as much in the sphere of progressive rock as that of heavy psych, and Semaphora has a refreshing cohesion of purpose and focus that distinguishes it from the hordes of instrumental jammers populating Europe’s heavy rock underground. The shift is visible even unto the photorealism of Semaphora‘s cover art, which finds a hand reaching across the shards of a shattered mirror backed by cloud and blue sky — reminiscent of some lost ’70s prog LP — where South Western Lower Valley Rock, while staking a claim on naming Buddha Sentenza‘s sound perhaps in a tongue-in-cheek manner, featured line drawings of fractals and other psychedelic imagery. I might be interested to know if the band, who split the six-track/48-minute Semaphora into two sides, each with an extended closer, still consider the title of their debut to be the style of music they play.
Could be that designation is nebulous enough to continue to fit, and if “south western lower valley rock” is whatever Buddha Sentenza make it, then all the better that Semaphora finds them so willfully exploring that freedom. As progressive as it gets, and as much as that colors the impression of everything that follows, the first thing one hears on “Jet” is a fuzzed-out guitar. It’s not long though before the organ, drums and bass have joined in and the arrangement thereof spun off into what feels like multiple directions, like beams of light splitting apart and coming back together in cycles. The second half, following some midsection chugging, drops to ambient spaciousness for a time, highlighting the keys and the overall textural feel, but the push resumes in the last minute and cuts off to let the strumming at the start of “Greek Ancestry” speak immediately to the name of the track.
More subdued than the opener on the whole, it demonstrates a patience that suits its bounce well but is hardly inactive, with lead guitar driving more weighted sections and switches back and forth around that initial strummed line, joined the second time around by violin, guitar and keys for a more lush take. By the time it’s done, “Greek Ancestry” has staked its claim in gorgeousness, but the 10-minute “Kréèn (Patagonian Lights),” which follows and closes out Semaphora‘s first half, is the highlight, with a meandering countrified fuzz starting off topped by sampled chanting that unfurls to summarize the patience and the spirit of the first two tracks while expanding the sonic foundation on the whole in a satisfying and immersive way. It never loses its sentimental feel in the guitar or organ line, and bookends with more sampled chanting at the end, making “Kréèn (Patagonian Lights)” almost an album unto itself.
Further sampling starts side B’s opener, “Laika,” but it’s direct speech, almost sounding like an advertisement or newscast, but the song itself begins soon and thrusts quickly into wah and a more active feel, particularly in the keys and perhaps in conversation with “Jet.” The symmetry of Semaphora‘s two sides is evidence of the consciousness at work on Buddha Sentenza‘s part, and that may or may not bleed into the tracks themselves, but it’s worth noting that nowhere on the album do they actually seem to repeat moves. “Laika,” for example, shifts into a chugging march with theremin behind it, farther-back lead guitar and synth swirl, and though it’s the shortest cut at 5:22, it still has time to cap with a quiet movement of piano before it transitions into the foreboding standalone chord that launches “Blood Rust,” the eight-minute penultimate piece that follows and seems to work most directly in stages.
The first builds from that initial guitar line, then it moves into synth-led atmospherics for its middle third, and from there, it emerges once again on a less threatening push toward an apex that, but for closer “The End is Coming, We’ll Take it from Here” behind it, could just as easily have been the payoff for the record as a whole. That closer, however, immediately marks itself out as the grand finale. Sampled lines from 1984 move into faster guitar that in turn shifts toward piano and guitar interplay and a rolling forward groove of riff, keys, synth and theremin — all hands on deck — before a sudden stop and chug announces the arrival of the next movement shortly before the four-minute mark. A wash of keyboard tops the roll, but there’s more intense drum and guitar chugging to be found as well as “The End is Coming, We’ll Take it from Here” plays out, and the feel is suitably chaotic as Buddha Sentenza pass the halfway point, break and return to launch Semaphora‘s final build from the ground up.
As noted, “Blood Rust” could have been the payoff for the album’s entirety, but there’s no question that the finish they give with “The End is Coming, We’ll Take it from Here” could hardly be placed anywhere else and still work as well, and though the song borders on overwhelming in its turns from one part to the next, that only underscores the progressive mentality of the band, since they never seem to be out of control or to lose track of the direction they’re headed. That may be the underlying message of Semaphora, all told, and if Buddha Sentenza have worked the last several years coming together to craft it, then their time was not misspent. As far as Semaphora ranges, it never fails to bring their audience along for the ride, and the breadth it unveils makes it all the more difficult to predict how they might progress from here, only adding to the satisfaction of the listening experience.
Posted in Whathaveyou on January 19th, 2017 by H.P. Taskmaster
We’ve known for a while now that Californian heavy psych/punk rockers The Freeks would be heading abroad to support their 2016 album, Shattered (review here), and with the release out through Italian label Heavy Psych Sounds, it’s even more reasonable to have that label’s booking wing presenting the shows. All makes a lot of sense, I guess is the point, including the significant stretch of the tour that takes place in Italy before hitting Switzerland, France, Austria and Germany, starting Feb. 28 in Rome and going from there. Looks like an awesome run, and no doubt The Freeks will kill it along the way.
They go in the company of Netherlands-based Komatsu, who released their debut full-length, Recipe for Murder One (review here), on Argonauta, and between some of the expanse The Freeks offer and the at times intense tonal weight brought forth by Komatsu, they should make for a fitting and complementary lineup. I won’t get to see the shows, of course, but I’ll look forward at least to the customary tour-end picture of both bands in front of a van or empty stage celebrating the end of a successful time together.
Heavy Psych Sounds announced it like this:
THE FREEKS + Komatsu European Dates Announced!
Heavy Psych Sounds Booking is proud to announce the EU dates for the Californian 70’s fuzzsters The Freeks! The band is just out with their last record “Shattered.” Supporting the entire tour, the heavy rockers from Netherlands, Komatsu!
The Freeks feature Ruben Romano former drummer of Fu Manchu and Nebula as well as Tom Davies, bass player of Nebula.
The Freeks & Komatsu live: 28.02.2017 IT Roma-Traffic 01.03.2017 IT Torino-Café Liber 02.03.2017 IT Erba-Centrale Rock 03.03.2017 IT Bologna-Freak Out 04.03.2017 IT Fidenza-Arci Taun 05.03.2017 IT Castel D’Ario-Hostaria 06.03.2017 IT Zerobranco-Altroquando 07.03.2017 IT Trieste-Tetris 08.03.2017 IT Savignano-Sidro 09.03.2017 CH Basel-Hirschneck 10.03.2017 FR Ensisheim-Woodstock Guitar Shop 11.03.2017 CH Luzern-Bruch Bros 12.03.2017 AT Feldkirch-Graf Hugo 13.03.2017 Looking for a show! 14.03.2017 AT Leipzig-Zoro 15.03.2017 DE Halle-Huhnermanhattan 16.03.2017 DE Berlin 17.03.2017 DE Dresden-Sabotage 18.03.2017 DE Erfurt-Tiko 19.03.2017 DE Munster-Rare Guitar Shop
This Friday, Jan. 20, Los Angeles heavy rockers Aboleth oversee the release of their EP I (discussed here) on CD. Offered last summer digitally and on cassette, the three-track collection introduced a somewhat different direction for the touring rhythm section of psych-jammers The Ultra Electric Mega Galactic, with baguitarist Collyn McCoy and drummer/engineer Dan Joeright joining forces behind powerhouse vocalist Brigitte Roka to elicit classic vibes and a fervent, grooving drive. Clarity of sound and clarity of intent were likewise prevalent, and between the three of them and Matt Lynch of Snail, who mixed and mastered, they left little doubt as to the direction they were headed.
As to that? Less heavy rock and roll in the Californian desert style and more foundational hard rock. That is, rock that doesn’t need to be so aesthetically loyal to one end or the other. Rock that wouldn’t be out of place either in a skate video or in some raucous tv scene. Rock that might, just might, have an appeal beyond the already converted. These probably shouldn’t feel like brave steps for a band to take, even on their first outing, but Aboleth — as much as their name sounds like they should be playing black metal in a forest somewhere — come across as especially bold throughout EP I, which only serves to complement their songwriting and overarching energetic feel.
Roka and McCoy would seem to have parted ways with Joeright, and have been playing shows with the formidable backing of Sasquatch‘s Rick Ferrante. Neither Joeright nor Ferrante appear in the video for “No Good,” directed by Dugan Nasche, so it seems to be up in the air as to who will take that spot permanently, but the clip has plenty of attitude and plenty of hanging out in the desert to work from, and there’s just about nothing more I’d ask of it than that.
And yeah, I know I just went on about how Aboleth don’t necessarily sound like a desert rock band and now I’m posting a video of them actually performing in the desert. You’ll just have to take my word for it when I say they could just as easily have gone any number of places. But I guess when the desert’s nearby, you go to the desert. Fair enough.
Full credits and more info follow the video below. Please enjoy:
Aboleth, “No Good” official video
Aboleth release video for “No Good” from self-titled EP (available on CD Friday, January 20th, 2017)
Los Angeles desert doom band ABOLETH released its first official video for the song “No Good” from their debut EP.
Video was shot on location in Reefer City, CA (yes, it’s a real place, Google it) by infamous cult/occult filmmaker director Dugan Nasche (aka Dugan Na$H). Director of Photography was Mariana Fiel, First AD was Duffey Westlake.
The lo-fi, 70s-exploitation-style video focuses on the antics of vocalist Brigitte Roka and baguitarist Collyn McCoy (Trash Titan, Ultra Electric Mega Galactic, Otep) in a high-desert post apocalyptic landscape.
Said director Dugan Na$H: “I hadn’t done a music video in a few years. I’d been living as a recluse in my desert compound, working with found footage, tape loops. stop-motion animation pornography… anything but music videos, really. So I was skeptical at first. But when I met with Brigitte and Collyn, they had an energy that I wanted to capture. Also, they brought me weed and ammo. I don’t get out much so that was appreciated.”
“The video doesn’t have a concept per se. But the subtext is there. I see them as part of desert witch cult, like a post-apocalyptic Manson family, piecing together what they can of the pop culture flotsam from a bygone era to form something new.”
Aboleth vocalist/resident visual artist Brigitte Roka had this to say: “Working with Dugan was interesting. On the first day of shooting I asked him about one of the shots we filmed and he said he envisioned it that way because it would please his favorite desert demon, the Goat of Lust, as he often referred to it. Never look that guy straight in the eye unless you want to hear a 45-minute long explanation about who the Goat of Lust is. I learned the hard way.”
Aboleth’s debut EP, which was previously available only as a limited-edition cassette, will be available on CD on January 20th, 2017.
Aboleth’s McCoy said of the re-release: “Timing it to coincide with Donald Trump’s inauguration is no accident. The CD edition of the EP contains Satanic back-masking — basically a black magical spell to combat the negative energies generated by Trump presidency. In order for it to work, though, the record has to be cranked loud and often.”
Posted in Whathaveyou on January 18th, 2017 by H.P. Taskmaster
In 2015, ultra-respected Italian print ‘zine Vincebus Eruptum did a story in its 19th issue (review here) highlighting the prodigious and sometimes bizarre Houston noise rock scene. Around the same time, the label wing of the same publication hooked up with the Linus Pauling Quartet to release the early-2016 full-length, Ampalanche (review here), basically putting their money where their mouth is. Or at very least continuing to in a manner beyond the already considerable factor of running a print outlet in the 2010s.
Seems fair to look at Vincebus Eruptum Recordings picking up Houston’s Project Grimm (ex-The Mike Gunn) to issue their first album in well over a decade, The Crass Menagerie, as an extension of the same impulse. The record is set to arrive on Feb. 15, and feature eight tracks split up over two sides of a vinyl limited to just 300 copies, 100 red, 200 black, that, when you buy it direct from the label, come with a copy of Vincebus Eruptum No. 21.
Preorders are up now. Vincebus Eruptum Recordings posted the following info on the subject:
PROJECT GRIMM “The Crass Menagerie”
Issue date: 15th of February 2017
Limited edition vinyl (VELP016): 300 copies (100 copies on red vinyl + 200 copies on black vinyl)
Track-list: A1 – E. Pluribus Merman A2 – Solvent A3 – Cloud No Larger Than A Man’s Hand A4 – New Two B1 – Deliveryman’s Threat B2 – Cartographer B3 – Grifters B4 – A German Beach
The first album by the Houston cult band after 15 years!!! From the ashes of THE MIKE GUNN to that heavy-psych unique sound! The trio is composed by John Cramer (ex Mike Gunn) on guitar and vocals, Drew Calhoun on bass and Ricky Costello on drums.
THAT VINYL WILL BE SHIPPED TOGETHER WITH A FREE COPY OF VINCEBUS ERUPTUM MAGAZINE N.21
The cost contains the fee to subscribe and/or the donation to the Associazione Culturale VINCEBUS ERUPTUM
Posted in Reviews on January 18th, 2017 by H.P. Taskmaster
One doubts if Mexico City’s Vinnum Sabbathi had in mind defending the sciences as a political position when they were putting together their debut full-length, Gravity Works, for release through LSDR Records, Aim Down Sight, and South American Sludge, but there’s a clear sense of celebrating achievement as the five-song collection plays out topped in songs like the 11-minute “Early Works” and the penultimate “Loop Quantum Gravity” by public domain samples concerning all things space: astronauts, cosmonauts, the expanding universe, and so on. Of course, the use of samples in instrumental heavy rock to take the place of lyrics isn’t anything new — it’s been done for at least the last quarter-century — but the four-piece of guitarist Alberto, bassist Samuel, Mico (or Gerardo) and sampler/synther Roman use the clips also to execute a cohesive theme across the album’s 43-minute span, and that’s somewhat rarer in terms of process.
Gravity Works is consistent in this, and from their 2015 split with Bar de Monjas, Fuzzonaut (review here), back across a slew of EPs, digital singles and other short releases to their 2012 demo, they’ve been nearly entirely focused on the cosmic in one way or another. It’s almost odd, then, that they don’t actually play space rock. One might expect the thrust of Hawkwind or the grand, effects-soaked meanderings of any number of instrumental jammers given all the space-space-space that Vinnum Sabbathi highlight, but the band actually has much more in common with the likes of Bongripper of Monolord (obviously sans vocals in the case of the latter); proffering crushing wave after crushing wave of big-tone riffs to build a massive, engaging nod.
Even when it locks into the chugging groove of centerpiece “Gravity Waves,” Gravity Works does so with an abiding thickness in the guitar and bass, and the drums seem more than happy to roll this gargantuan onslaught forward. The songs themselves are plotted but still exploratory in the sense of likely having been built out of jams — it’s easy to imagine Vinnum Sabbathi in a rehearsal space, hopefully wearing earplugs, digging into the churn that emerges from the almost calm wade into dense waters at the start of opener “Weightlessness” — and the samples provide more than flourish throughout, becoming an essential part of the record from that opener onward.
Synth is used more sparingly, unless it’s there and the guitar and bass have just eaten it entirely — possible — but the recording/mixing job by Miguel Fraino at Vesubio34 Studio and mastering by James Plotkin (Khanate, so many others) leave little to want in terms of the production quality, capturing the push of air coming from Alberto and Samuel‘s cabinet speakers, the rumble of the latter on especially prevalent on “Loop Quantum Gravity” but always a key element, without pulling away from presenting the dynamic the band has managed to build over their five-plus years together.
That is to say, Gravity Works sounds completely fucking elephantine. Listen to basically everything after “Weightlessness” (also the shortest cut at 5:22) introduces the sprawl, whether it’s “Early Works,” “Gravity Waves,” “Loop Quantum Gravity” or closer “The Probe B,” and you’ll experience chest-compressing tonal heft of a suitably high order. But Vinnum Sabbathi‘s first long-player has its atmospheric aspects as well, and whether that’s the stretch of subdued-but-tense guitar that opens “Early Works” or the midsection sample break in “Loop Quantum Gravity,” that side is just as integral in the overall execution as the lurching thud of “Gravity Waves.”
And though with its runtime and general aesthetic cohesion, Gravity Works seems like a prime vinyl candidate, the course it follows is linear, fleshing out from its beginning as it moves toward “The Probe B,” which summarizes the impact of the material, adds nuance of wah in the guitar to subtly reinforce the notion of Vinnum Sabbathi as a band still growing, still finding themselves and who will look to build on what they’ve accomplished in these songs, and caps with a fervent kick in tempo that acts as an apex for the whole outing. One supposes there isn’t much else they could’ve done to end the record, but at 4:25, after a stop that gives a sample talking about a black hole free reign, the guitars start faster, the drums come back on a roll and a gallop that imagines High on Fire meeting YOB takes hold, shoving the track and the listener onward toward, what? Destruction? Some greater interstellar consumption? A subspace corridor of color, fuzz riffs and undulating sound waves?
I don’t really know, but by the time they lock in the final couple measures of nod and rumble to a finish, I’m ready for whatever the destination might be. In terms of Gravity Works itself, that concluding hum would seem to be it, but there’s a bigger story being introduced here, and for Vinnum Sabbathi, it will be their creative progression that enables them to tell it. What they do moving forward and how they continue to come together as a band, expand the chemistry they showcase in these tracks and work to make the tenets of cosmic doom their own. An overarching direction isn’t something one is inclined to guess at, though speculation is always fun, but Vinnum Sabbathi‘s debut impresses thoroughly because of what it might be starting as well as what it achieves in its own right, and it’s only fitting that it should dwell in those multiple dimensions, since that seems to be where the band has been headed the whole time.
Posted in Whathaveyou on January 18th, 2017 by H.P. Taskmaster
Let’s just assume that Berlin three-piece Cosmic Fall shook hands upon first getting together in June 2016 and immediately hit record to begin work on their debut full-length, First Fall, which surfaced in August. I’m not sure how else such a feat could’ve been accomplished and a drift as encompassing and molten as that of “Son of a Gun” executed by such a new band except as a result of off-the-bat productivity. To put anything together at that pace is impressive — and granted they’re jamming out; it ain’t exactly rock opera in terms of arrangements — let alone have it not fall completely flat upon its release. One might take being picked up by Clostridium Records as a definite sign that the plan, if there was one, worked out. Pretty much anything that makes you labelmates with Lamp of the Universe earmarks a win by my estimation.
The album is streaming in full now on Bandcamp and Clostridium has limited vinyl up for preorder now with patches and signed whatnots. Art, details and audio follow:
The band COSMIC FALL presents here their debut album “First Fall,” a mixture of classic Desert sound and original Psychedelic Stoner. Exciting and common are jam-like parts, which are attached to bands like COLOUR HAZE or EARTHLESS, with numerous guitar tunes, underpinned by their own charm. The trio, founded only in June 2016 in Berlin, already released their first work just two months later.
After the self-financed CD, the vinyl edition will now appear on Clostridium Records.
Cosmic Fall First Fall tracklist: 01 Sun of a Gun 02 Road to Ufa 03 I Must Obey 04 Jam I
COSMIC FALL “First Fall” Limited to 500 copies black poly-lined innersleeve hand-numbered 200 x black – 180gr 200 x coloured 180 gr 100 x splatter/ DIE HARD edition ( + patch & signed/autographed card ) ALL copies will have a A-2 „ poster pressed in Germany
Bio: Whatever fell from the cosmic sky, it landed in our home town Berlin. And is ready to take your mind on a beautiful journey. Bringing Earthless-level Heavy Psych into the local scene! Taking you into the endless universe, the lonely desert and the depth of the ocean as relaxing sounds and moody melodies will go along with you on this journey. Do you smell it? It’s time for another take off!
Posted in Whathaveyou on January 18th, 2017 by H.P. Taskmaster
In the span of two tracks, Janne Westerlund goes from ultra-minimal guy-and-guitar Finnish folk blues to sprawling choral harmonies (in English, but really, the linguistic swap is the smallest of the changes) — and that’s supposed to be the lead-in for Westerlund‘s forthcoming solo LP, There’s a Passage. Wildest part is it probably makes sense when you hear the record. Westerlund, of course, is best known for his work in on-their-own-wavelength-forever progressive post-everything outfit Circle, among others, and There’s a Passage is his second solo offering, set to be released on Feb. 17 via Ektro Records. He’s got two Circle tracks on there among other originals, and the two I mentioned at the start of this paragraph? Yeah, they’re both streaming. You can check them out below.
Art and info off the PR wire:
JANNE WESTERLUND sets release date for new EKTRO album, reveals first tracks
Ektro Records sets February 17th as the international release date for Janne Westerlund’s highly anticipated There’s a Passage. After Marshland, the darkest blues album ever released in Finland, Westerlund is trying to find some light with this new solo effort. By deploying means ranging from the choral exploration of “So Messed Up” to the obsessedly monotonic boogie of “Run No More,” completed with two songs from Circle’s repertoire, he manages to come up with a captivating, sorcerous journey for an album.
Westerlund’s roots may be deep in folk music, but over the years, playing with such bands as Circle, Pharaoh Overlord and Plain Ride, he has developed a highly personalized take on it by questioning the conventions of any given genre. Despite his uncompromising and austere vision on music, there remains an undertone of uncertainty and vulnerability in his voice – perhaps it is precisely this ambivalence that makes his work so accessible and strikingly effective. Hear the first examples of such with the tracks “Kuoleman lautturin tyta?r” HERE and “So Messed Up” HERE. Cover and tracklisting are as follows:
Tracklisting for Janne Westerlund’s There’s a Passage 1. So Messed Up 2. Sick Child 3. Run No More 4. Days of Love 5. Oh Wind 6. Kuoleman lautturin tytar 7. Ydinaukio 8. Back to Etcetera 9. You Come From Far 10. There’s a Passage