Electric Funeral Fest 2017 Announces Schedule; Kicks off this Friday

Posted in Whathaveyou on June 12th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

This Friday in Denver marks the beginning of Electric Funeral Fest 2017. Kicking things off at 4:15PM will be West Coast boogie groovers Lords of Beacon House, followed immediately by High on the Mountain right across the street. I know these things because the festival has newly announced its full schedule for its two-day run, which features the likes of Slow Season, The Well, Sourvein, Goya, Oryx, headliners Acid King and Corky Laing’s Mountain, and many others. I’ve got kind of a whirlwind couple weeks coming up as it is, but if you were offering me a ticket and a flight, I’d have a hard time turning this one down. Looks like it’s going to be an incredible time for those fortunate enough to be there.

If that’s you, I hope you have a blast. Here’s the info:

electric-funeral-fest-2017-schedule

DUST Presents: Electric Funeral Fest 2017

Tickets: www.electricfuneralfest.eventbrite.com
** 21+, All tickets are non-refundable **

DENVER, CO
HI DIVE // 3 KINGS TAVERN

FRIDAY JUNE 16th
The Joint by Cannabis Stage at 3 Kings Tavern
4:15 – 4:50 Lords of Beacon House
5:15 – 5:50 Oryx
6:15 – 6:50 Muscle Beach
7:15 – 7:50 Communion
8:15 – 8:50 Monarch
9:15 – 9:55 The Well
10:15 – 11:00 Slow Season
11:40 – 12:40 Corky Laing’s MOUNTAIN

Hi-Dive Denver
4:45 – 5:20 High on the Mountain
5:45 – 6:20 Smokey Mirror
6:45 – 7:20 Greenbeard
7:45 – 8:20 The Munsens
8:45 – 9:20 R.I.P.
9:40 – 10:20 Goya
10:40 – 11:25 Sourvein
-After Party-
12:50 – 1:30 Glitter Wizard

SATURDAY JUNE 17th
The Joint by Cannabis Stage at 3 Kings Tavern
4:15 – 4:50 Dizz Brew
5:15 – 5:50 Red Wizard
6:15 – 6:50 Feather Stone
7:15 – 7:50 Great Electric Quest
8:15 – 8:50 Barrows
9:15 – 9:55 The Heavy Eyes
10:15 – 11:00 Electric Citizen
11:40 – 12:40 ACID KING

Hi-Dive Denver
4:45 – 5:20 Urn
5:45 – 6:20 Jagged Mouth
6:45 – 7:20 Malahierba
7:45 – 8:20 Love Gang
8:45 – 9:20 Banquet
9:40 – 10:20 Cloud Catcher
10:40 – 11:25 Destroyer of Light
-After Party-
12:50 – 1:30 Crypt Trip

Electric Funeral will once again be happening in the South Broadway district of Denver. Anyone that is familiar with Denver knows that S. Broadway is one of the greatest neighborhoods this city has to offer. In our second year of this event, we have added a second stage at Hi Dive. Hi Dive is across the street from 3 Kings Tavern and easily one of the greatest places to party in Denver.

There is also no shortage of other great bars and restaurants in the area for attendees to visit if they need a break from head-banging. Although both stages are indoors, this will feel like just as much of an outdoor event as people go back and forth between the two venues that will run simultaneously through both evenings. Hey hey, my my, rock n’ roll sure ain’t fuckin’ dying in Denver!

www.electricfuneralfest.eventbrite.com
https://www.facebook.com/dustpresents/
https://www.facebook.com/events/1810211735896531/

Corky Laung’s Mountain, “Theme from an Imaginary Western” Live

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Electric Funeral Fest 2017 Announces Corky Laing’s Mountain to Headline

Posted in Whathaveyou on April 3rd, 2017 by JJ Koczan

Acid King and Mountain as headliners? Look, I was pretty much sold on the notion of Electric Funeral Fest 2017 anyway, but it’s not like adding Corky Laing and a bunch of other dudes playing Mountain classics hurts. The festival is set for this June in the Mile High city of Denver, Colorado, and in addition to those two it features a swath of righteous acts from the West Coast, the Midwest, the South and the East, pulling in various kind of heavy from doom to sludge to classic rock and roll in what’s an obviously well curated environment. If I could go, I’d be there in a heartbeat.

Some of the below was posted previously, but I want to reiterate to underscore the point. If you’re in this part of the world, you should fucking go to this. Events like this deserve your support and they deserve to continue to flourish and grow. Don’t suck. Go and have a good time. That’s my piece. I’ve said it.

Info follows:

denver-electric-funeral-fest-2017

“Honored to announce the headliner of Day 1 at Electric Funeral Fest is current iteration of iconic rock band, MOUNTAIN. Original drummer Corky Laing has teamed up with a band to play Mountain hits from the early ’70s. It is a true pleasure to host a legend from the era that started it all.

Electric Funeral will once again be happening in the South Broadway district of Denver. Anyone that is familiar with Denver knows that S. Broadway is one of the greatest neighborhoods this city has to offer. In our second year of this event, we have added a second stage at Hi Dive. Hi Dive is across the street from 3 Kings Tavern and easily one of the greatest places to party in Denver.

There is also no shortage of other great bars and restaurants in the area for attendees to visit if they need a break from head-banging. Although both stages are indoors, this will feel like just as much of an outdoor event as people go back and forth between the two venues that will run simultaneously through both evenings. Hey hey, my my, rock n’ roll sure ain’t fuckin’ dying in Denver!

Electric Funeral Fest 2017 – Friday June 16th & Saturday June 17th
Location: Denver, CO @ Hi Dive & 3 Kings Tavern

LINEUP

Friday June 16
Headliner: Corky Laing’s Mountain
Support: Sourvein, Slow Season, Goya, R.I.P., The Well, Glitter Wizard, Monarch, Muscle Beach, The Munsens, Communion, Lords of Beacon House, Greenbeard, Oryx, Smokey Mirror, High on the Mountain

Saturday June 17
Headliner: Acid King
Support: Electric Citizen, The Heavy Eyes, Destroyer of Light, Crypt Trip, Cloud Catcher, Love Gang, Barrows, Great Electric Quest, Red Wizard, Banquet, Ocelot (performing as Feather Stone), Jagged Mouth, Pueblo Escobar, Urn

Flier art by Christina Hunt
Flier layout by Keith Dreissen

www.electricfuneralfest.eventbrite.com
https://www.facebook.com/dustpresents/
https://www.facebook.com/events/1810211735896531/

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Electric Funeral Fest 2017 Announces Lineup; Limited Early Tickets Available

Posted in Whathaveyou on February 23rd, 2017 by JJ Koczan

Today, Denver’s Electric Funeral Fest 2017 reveals Acid King will headline and the likes of Sourvein, Slow Season, Goya, Electric Citizen, Destroyer of Light, The Well, Cloud Catcher, Oryx and many more will appear. Limited early tickets — there seem to be 40 — are on sale as of right this second.

One headliner is still TBA, but even so, it’s a remarkably ambitious return for Electric Funeral Fest, which had its first showing in 2016. Put on by DUST Presents, it finds hometown representation through The Munsens, Love Gang, Oryx, and Cloud Catcher, likely among others, and reaches far and wide in filling out an impressive roster of acts. To be perfectly blunt about it, it looks fucking awesome.

The fest was kind enough to let me host this initial lineup announcement, and below, organizer Shaun Goodwin gives some background on the area where it will take place across two venues and the vibe they’re shooting for with Electric Funeral Fest 2017.

Dig it:

electric-funeral-fest-2017-poster

Electric Funeral Fest 2017 – Friday June 16th & Saturday June 17th

Location: Denver, CO @ Hi Dive & 3 Kings Tavern

Tickets: www.electricfuneralfest.eventbrite.com
– There will be 40 early bird discounted 2-day passes available at $49
– After those are sold, presale 2-day passes are $59
– 1 day passes are $32

Electric Funeral will once again be happening in the South Broadway district of Denver. Anyone that is familiar with Denver knows that S. Broadway is one of the greatest neighborhoods this city has to offer. In our second year of this event, we have added a second stage at Hi Dive. Hi Dive is across the street from 3 Kings Tavern and easily one of the greatest places to party in Denver.

There is also no shortage of other great bars and restaurants in the area for attendees to visit if they need a break from head-banging. Although both stages are indoors, this will feel like just as much of an outdoor event as people go back and forth between the two venues that will run simultaneously through both evenings. Hey hey, my my, rock n’ roll sure ain’t fuckin’ dying in Denver!

LINEUP

Friday June 16
Headliner: TBA
Support: Sourvein, Slow Season, Goya, R.I.P., The Well, Glitter Wizard, Monarch, Muscle Beach, The Munsens, Communion, Lords of Beacon House, Greenbeard, Oryx, Smokey Mirror, High on the Mountain

Saturday June 17
Headliner: Acid King
Support: Electric Citizen, The Heavy Eyes, Destroyer of Light, Crypt Trip, Cloud Catcher, Love Gang, Barrows, Great Electric Quest, Red Wizard, Banquet, Ocelot (performing as Feather Stone), Jagged Mouth, Pueblo Escobar, Urn

Flier art by Christina Hunt
Flier layout by Keith Dreissen

www.electricfuneralfest.eventbrite.com
https://www.facebook.com/dustpresents/
https://www.facebook.com/events/1810211735896531/

Goya, “Misanthropy on High” live at Electric Funeral Fest 2016

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The Obelisk Presents: The Top 20 Debut Albums of 2016

Posted in Features on December 15th, 2016 by JJ Koczan

the obelisk top 20 debut albums of 2016

Please note: This post is not culled in any way from the Year-End Poll, which is ongoing. If you haven’t yet contributed your favorites of 2016 to that, please do.

Of all the lists I do to wrap up or start any given year, this is the hardest. As someone obviously more concerned with first impressions than I am and thus probably better-dressed once said, you only get one chance at them. For bands, that can be a vicious bite in the ass on multiple levels.

To wit, you put out a great debut, fine, but there’s a whole segment of your listeners who’re bound to think you’ll never live up to it again. You put out a meh debut, you sell yourself short. Or maybe your debut is awesome but doesn’t really represent where you want to be as a band, so it’s a really good first impression, but a mistaken one. There are so many things that can go wrong or go right with any LP, but with debuts, the stakes are that much higher because it’s the only time you’ll get the chance to engage your audience for the first time. That matters.

And when it comes to putting together a list of the best debuts of the year, how does one begin to judge? True, some of these acts have done EPs and singles and splits and things like that before, and that’s at least something to go on, but can one really be expected to measure an act’s potential based on a single collection of songs? Is that fair to anyone involved? Or on the other side, is it even possible to take a debut entirely on its own merits, without any consideration for where it might lead the band in question going forward? I know that’s not something I’ve ever been able to do, certainly. Or particularly interested in doing. I like context.

Still, one presses on. I guess the point is that, like picking any kind of prospects, some will pan out and some won’t. I’ve done this for enough years now that I’ve seen groups flame or fade out while others have risen to new heights with each subsequent release. It’s always a mix. But at the same time, it’s important to step back and say that, as of today, this is where it’s at.

And so it is:

KING BUFFALO ORION

The Obelisk Presents: The Top 20 Debut Albums of 2016

1. King Buffalo, Orion
2. Elephant Tree, Elephant Tree
3. Heavy Temple, Chassit
4. Holy Grove, Holy Grove
5. Worshipper, Shadow Hymns
6. Vokonis, Olde One Ascending
7. Wretch, Wretch
8. Year of the Cobra, In the Shadows Below
9. BigPig, Grande Puerco
10. Fuzz Evil, Fuzz Evil
11. Bright Curse, Before the Shore
12. Conclave, Sins of the Elders
13. Pale Grey Lore, Pale Grey Lore
14. High Fighter, Scars and Crosses
15. Spirit Adrift, Chained to Oblivion
16. Bellringer, Jettison
17. Church of the Cosmic Skull, Is Satan Real?
18. Merchant, Suzerain
19. Beastmaker, Lusus Naturae
20. King Dead, Woe and Judgment

Honorable Mention

There are many. First, the self-titled from Pooty Owldom, which had so much weirdo charm it made my head want to explode. And Iron Man frontman Dee Calhoun‘s acoustic solo record was technically a debut. And Atala‘s record. And Horehound. And Mother Mooch. And Domkraft. And Spaceslug. And Graves at Sea? Shit. More than a decade after their demo, they finally put out a debut album. And Second Grave‘s full-length would turn out to be their swansong, but that doesn’t take away from the quality of the thing. There were a lot of records to consider in putting this list together. As always, it could’ve been a much longer list.

For example, here are 20 more: Swan Valley Heights, Arctic, Blues Funeral, Teacher, Psychedelic Witchcraft, Nonsun, Duel, Banquet, Floodlore, Mindkult‘s EP, Mountain Dust, Red LamaRed Wizard, Limestone Whale, Dunbarrow, Comacozer, Sinister Haze, Pants Exploder, Akasava, Katla and No Man’s Valley. That’s not even the end of it. I could go on.

Notes

It was a fight to the finish. There’s always one, and as late as yesterday I could be found kicking back and forth between King Buffalo and Elephant Tree in the top spot. What was it that finally put King Buffalo‘s Orion over Elephant Tree‘s self-titled? I don’t know. Ask me tomorrow and the answer might be completely different.

They had a lot in common. Not necessarily in terms of style — King Buffalo basked in spacious Americana-infused heavy psych jams while Elephant Tree proffered more earthbound riffing and melodies — but each executed memorable songs across its span in a way that would be unfair to ask of a debut. The potential for what both bands can turn into down the line played a part in the picks, but something else they share between them is that the quality of the work they’re doing now warrants the top spots. Orion and Elephant Tree were great albums, not just great first albums.

From there, we see a wide swath of next-generation encouragement for the future of heavy rock, whether it’s coming from Sweden’s Vokonis or Philadelphia’s Heavy Temple, or London’s Bright Curse, or Los Angeles duo BigPig. The latter act’s punkish fuzz definitely benefited from guitarist/vocalist Dino von Lalli‘s experience playing in Fatso Jetson, but one hopes that as the years go on his own multifaceted songwriting style will continue to grow as well.

A few offerings weren’t necessarily unexpected but still lived up to the anticipation. High Fighter‘s EP prefaced their aggro sludgecore well. Ditto that for the grueling death-sludge of Massachusetts natives Conclave. The aforementioned Bright Curse, Merchant, Fuzz Evil, Atala, Bellringer, Holy Grove, Wretch and Worshipper all had offerings of one sort or another prior to their full-length debuts — in the case of Bellringer, it was just a series of videos, while Wretch had the entire The Gates of Slumber catalog to fall back on — but each of those albums offered surprises nonetheless.

It would’ve been hard not to be taken by the songwriting on display from the likes of Holy Grove, Year of the Cobra, Pale Grey Lore and Beastmaker, who between them covered a pretty broad variety of atmosphere but found ways to deliver high-quality crafted material in that. Those albums were a pleasure to hear. Put Boston’s Worshipper in that category as well, though they were just as much a standout from the pack in terms of their performance as what they were performing. Speaking of performance, the lush melodies from Church of the Cosmic Skull and classic progressive flourish were enough to make me a believer. Simply gorgeous. And one-man outfit Spirit Adrift shined, if in that matte-black doom kind of way, on an encouraging collection of modern melancholic heavy that seemed to hint at sprawl to come.

As we get down to the bottom of the list we find Pennsylvania ambient heavy post-rockers King Dead. Their Woe and Judgment was released digitally last year (2015) but the LP came out earlier this year, so I wasn’t quite sure where to place them ultimately. I know they got some mention on the 2015 lists somewhere, but while they’re an act who’ve flown under a lot of people’s radar as yet, I have good feelings about how they might continue to dig into their sound and the balance of bleakness and psychedelic color they bring to their material. They’re slated for a follow-up in 2017, so this won’t be the last list on which they appear in the next few weeks.

Like I said at the outset, putting out a debut album is a special moment for any band. Not everyone gets to that point and not everyone gets beyond it, so while a list like this is inherently bound to have some element of speculation, it’s still a worthy endeavor to celebrate the accomplishments of those who hit that crucial moment in their creative development. Hopefully these acts continue to grow, flourish, and build on what they’ve thus far been able to realize sonically. That’s the ideal.

And before I go, once again, let me reinforce the notion that I recognize this is just a fraction of the whole. I’d like it to be the start of a conversation. If there was a debut album that kicked your ass this year and you don’t see it here, please drop a note in the comments below. I’m sure I’ll be adding more honorable mentions and whatnot over the next couple days, so if you see glaring omissions, let’s have ’em.

Thanks for reading.

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Giveaway: Enter to Win a 3-Day Pass to Northwest Hesh Fest 2016!

Posted in Features on September 12th, 2016 by JJ Koczan

northwest-hesh-fest-2016-poster

[TO ENTER GIVEAWAY: Leave a comment on this post with your email address in the form. You’ll be contacted at that address if you win.]

Sorry, but the lineup here pretty much sells itself. Over three nights, Sept. 22-24, at Dante’s in Portland, Oregon, Northwest Hesh Fest 2016 will host:

Night 1:
Red Fang
American Sharks
Witch Mountain

Night 2:
Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats
Danava
Banquet

Night 3:
Deafheaven
The Blood Royale
Diesto
Greenbeard

If you enter now by leaving a comment on this post, you can win a three-day pass to see all of the above and get a limited, signed screenprint of the poster shown here, of which only 100 are being made. Obviously, you need to get your ass to Portland — if I could afford to fly you in, I would, believe me — but barring for anyone in that part of the world who’s maybe been on the fence about going or just hasn’t managed to buy tickets yet, yeah, entering seems like it would be kind of a no-brainer. High “duh” factor and whatnot.

For the headliners alone, never mind the chance to see locals like Witch Mountain, Danava and Diesto tear it up alongside imports from Austin, Texas, like American Sharks, The Blood Royale, Banquet and Greenbeard, essentially pairing two of the country’s strongest scenes — Portland and Austin — and topping it not only with the Pacific Northwest’s number one heavy rock export in Red Fang, but bringing up Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats on their tour with The Shrine, as well as Deafheaven, who seem to divide opinion everywhere they go while consistently drawing a crowd from both sides of the argument.

Killer lineups, killer shows, free pass and free poster. Like I said, it sells itself. One winner picked a week from today. Thanks to all who enter and to American Icon for letting me host the giveaway.

[TO ENTER GIVEAWAY: Leave a comment on this post with your email address in the form. You’ll be contacted at that address if you win.]

Northwest Hesh Fest on Thee Facebooks

Northwest Hesh Fest 2016 tickets at Eventbrite

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Northwest Hesh Fest 2016 Announces Lineup with Red Fang, Uncle Acid and Deafheaven Headlining

Posted in The Obelisk Presents, Whathaveyou on June 22nd, 2016 by JJ Koczan

Last year, The Obelisk was proud to be among the presenters for the Northwest Hesh Fest, and it looks like Northwest Hesh Fest 2016 — set for Sept. 22-24 at Dante’s in Portland, Oregon — will be no different. I’ll have a ticket giveaway closer to the event, so keep an eye out for that, and the festival has just unveiled the lineup for each night, and it brings some formidable names.

Headliners are Red FangUncle Acid and the Deadbeats, and Deafheaven, which I think would probably be enough on their own to draw a three-night crowd, but they’re joined by American Sharks, native Portlanders Witch MountainDiesto and Danava, as well as The Blood RoyaleBanquet and Greenbeard.

American SharksGreenbeard and The Blood Royale hail from Austin, Texas, which makes sense as a complement to the Portland acts since American Icon, which puts together the festival, is based there as well. Of the non-headliner acts, that’s as far east as Northwest Hesh Fest 2016 looks, but in bringing aboard UK garage doom forerunners Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats, it extends its reach internationally for the first time. That’s a hell of an opening salvo to the rest of the world.

More to come as we get closer to September and the fest itself, but American Icon announced the lineup today and tickets are now on sale both for the individual nights — for which you can see the complete lineup breakdown below — and for a combined three-night pass. I won’t tell you what to do with your time, but this looks like an awful lot of fun:

NORTHWEST HESH FEST 2016

Sept 22-24 @ Dantes in Portland Oregon
RED FANG-UNCLE ACID & THE DEADBEATS-DEAFHEAVEN
American Sharks-Witch Mountain-Danava
The Blood Royale-Diesto-Banquet-Greenbeard

9/22/16
Red Fang, American Sharks, Witch Mountain
http://www.ticketweb.com/t3/sale/SaleEventDetail?eventId=6780785&pl=dante&dispatch=loadSelectionData

9/23/16
Uncle Acid & The Deadbeats, Danava
http://www.ticketweb.com/t3/sale/SaleEventDetail?eventId=6776535&pl=dante&dispatch=loadSelectionData

9/24/16
Deafheaven, The Blood Royale, Greenbeard, Diesto, Banquet
http://www.ticketweb.com/t3/sale/SaleEventDetail?eventId=6780605&pl=dante&dispatch=loadSelectionData

Northwest Hesh Fest Three-Day Pass

Northwest Hesh Fest event page

Northwest Hesh Fest on Thee Facebooks

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Banquet, Ragged Barracudas, Queen Crescent and Plant Tribe Team up for Sweet Times Vol. 5

Posted in Whathaveyou on May 30th, 2016 by JJ Koczan

Sweet Times Vol. 5 continues Who Can You Trust? Records‘ admirable penchant for packing as much rock as possible onto a relatively tiny platter. This edition features Ragged Barracudas, Queen Crescent, Plant Tribe and Banquet and furthers the thread of upstart boogie rock that prior editions have established, each act offering a quick sampling of their wares, getting in and getting out in quick succession. The longest of them is Queen Crescent‘s “Zodiacal Woman,” at 3:21, if that gives you some idea.

The garaged-out tone of Ragged Barracudas sets a proto-punk course, and that Queen Crescent track follows with a fuller, classically-styled fuzz, while on side B, Plant Tribe‘s churning, building boogie leads smoothly into the similarly-minded but still distinct vibe Banquet bring to the table. Like all the Sweet Times offerings to-date, there’s little to argue with here in concept or execution, and each band basically has enough time to introduce themselves and rush on their way, but as ever, that proves to be long enough to leave an overarching impression.

Info from the PR wire:

sweet times vol 5

VA “SWEET TIMES – Volume 5” 7-Inch OUT NOW !!!

SWEET TIMES for the 5th time… what could I say?

If you’ve made it here, you’re either just walking by, or… you ran through all the previous volumes and know what you’re in for! The formula hasn’t changed as Who Can You trust? is still the same old label you used to love (or not)! …you decide!

On the fifth volume you have to expect a new jam by the Ragged Barracudas from Germany, as well as exclusive recordings by San Francisco’s Banquet, Queen Crescent and Long Beach’s Plant Tribe!”

TRACKLIST:
A1 – RAGGED BARRACUDAS “Blissful Lack Of Mind”
A2 – QUEEN CRESCENT “Zodiacal Woman”
B1 – PLANT TRIBE “The Sea Bitch”
B2 – BANQUET “Moments”

Artwork by Clint Baechle.
Edition of 500 copies on black vinyl.

http://whocanyoutrustrec.bigcartel.com/product/va-sweet-times-volume-5-7-vinyl
https://whocanyoutrustrec.bandcamp.com/album/sweet-times-volume-5
whocanyoutrustrec.wordpress.com

Various Artists, Sweet Times Vol. 5 (2016)

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Review & Full Album Stream: The Golden Grass, Killer Boogie, Wild Eyes SF & Banquet, 4 Bands Split Vol. 2

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on April 29th, 2016 by JJ Koczan

4 way split vol 2 The Golden Grass-Killer Boogie-Wild Eyes-Banquet

[Click play above to stream Heavy Psych Sounds’ four-way split between The Golden Grass, Killer Boogie, Wild Eyes SF and Banquet in full. It’s out today.]

There are far more ambitions toward compilation series than there actually are actual, realized compilation series. Very often, a record label or other party putting together a multi-band release finds that the coordination involved isn’t worth the effort or the expense, and so a lot of “Vol. 1”-type offerings go without a sequel. Given the impressive roster and body of work that Italian imprint Heavy Psych Sounds is currently engaged in fostering, and the sheer amount of drive that the label puts into that process, it shouldn’t really be a surprise that the 2014 4-Way Split Vol. 1 (review here) has gotten a follow-up of like-minded scope. That first release brought together the venerable likes of NaamBlack RainbowsWhite Hills and The Flying Eyes, and worked with a heavy psychedelic and space rock influence as its central unifying theme, tying disparate material and recordings together with an overarching sense of purpose that resulted in a successful front to back flow despite the series of swaps of one band for another.

4-Way Split Vol. 2 takes a similar approach, but has swapped out the underlying theme of space for boogie, each of the four included acts — Brooklyn’s The Golden Grass, Rome’s Killer Boogie, San Francisco’s Wild Eyes and Banquet — digging deep into a classic shuffle presented with its own take across three songs apiece operating in various degrees of retro-fied style. Once again, the foundational commonality between the bands brings the material cohesion, and ultimately, 4-Way Split Vol. 2 highlights the cutting edge in where heavy rock is going and how its modern era is directly influenced by classic methods.

Those vibes start just about immediately as The Golden Grass kick off the release with the motor-riffing of “Livin’ ain’t Easy,” followed soon by the handclap swing of “Flashing out of Sight” and the flute-inclusive jam in “Hot Smoke and Sasafrass,” the trio nodding there toward some of the progressive influence they showcase on their also-newly-issued second album, Coming Back Again (review here), where both “Livin’ ain’t Easy” and “Flashing out of Sight” both have a more straightforward approach, more active on the whole than the laid back style of their 2014 self-titled debut (review here), but very clearly grown out of a similar mindset. Who-style acoustic/electric blend on “Flashing out of Sight,” vocal harmonies on “Livin’ ain’t Easy” and the aforementioned flute assure that The Golden Grass stand out from the crowd on 4-Way Split Vol. 2, but that will become as much of a theme for each act included as much as the concurrent thread of boogie.

Speaking of, Killer Boogie seem to have formed with their moniker as a mission statement, leaving nothing to question as to their intent on their three cuts, “You Will be Mine,” “Make Another Ride” and “The Thunder.” Their first album, Detroit (review here), arrived in 2015, and they weren’t a band for long before that, but with Gabriele Fiori — also of Black Rainbows and head of Heavy Psych Sounds — out front on scorching guitar and vocals (note the Hendrix turn in “You Will be Mine”) and The Wisdoom‘s Luigi Costanzo on drums alongside bassist Matteo MariniKiller Boogie party-vibe their way through infectious ’70s-style heavy, brash in the tradition of Blue Cheer but still owing just an edge of their sound to psychedelic swirl. These tracks prove Detroit was no fluke, and further Killer Boogie‘s position as one of the most exciting new groups of the last couple years.

Heavy Psych Sounds has rolled deep on the West Coast heavy rock boom, and one can’t help but feel like pairing Wild Eyes SF and Banquet next to each other on 4-Way Split Vol. 2 is intended to emphasize that point. Wild Eyes, who share bassist Carson Binks with Saviours and signed to the label in summer 2014 in time to play a European tour that fall put together by HPS‘ booking wing, begin their section with the blown-out, raw-after-a-night-out soul of Janiece Gonzalez, who proceeds to tear into that song, the blues-catchy “Gator Shaker” and shuffling “Hot Sand” with a commanding performance bolstered by the natural tonality behind it. After the initial wake-up call, Wild Eyes continue the momentum that The Golden Grass and Killer Boogie got rolling, while also distinguishing themselves with their boozy sway and still-friendly-until-they-punch-you fuckall.

Their last album, Above Becomes Below, was released in 2014 as the follow-up to their 2013 debut, Get into It! (review here), and they fit well alongside Banquet, who do the honors of rounding out 4-Way Split Vol. 2, only months after putting out their debut LP, Jupiter Rose (review here). Whether their three inclusions, “Seven Sisters,” the expansive and propulsive “Starmaker” and a righteous cover of Baby Huey‘s “Runnin’,” were recorded at the same time as Jupiter Rose or not, could go either way, but they certainly fit right in here, and the closing take on Baby Huey speaks to the underlying soul/funk influence that’s often the unexplored aspect of modern heavy. Mirroring the straight-ahead grooves of Killer BoogieBanquet bring the split to a raucous finish worthy of the good times preceding, and serve as a reminder of the vibe that draws all these acts together. What Heavy Psych Sounds might have in store for 4-Way Split Vol. 3, I’ve no idea, but it seems entirely likely that with two successful thematic compilations/splits under its belt, the label might just keep going with it. This installment does nothing but push momentum forward for all involved parties.

The Golden Grass on Thee Facebooks

Killer Boogie on Thee Facebooks

Wild Eyes SF on Thee Facebooks

Banquet on Thee Facebooks

Heavy Psych Sounds

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