Desertfest Belgium 2017: Graveyard, White Hills, Elephant Tree, OHHMS, Minami Deutsch and Kaleidobolt Join Lineup

Posted in Whathaveyou on June 22nd, 2017 by JJ Koczan

As predicted at the outset, the poster showcasing the lineup for Desertfest Belgium 2017 has become very, very crowded. I don’t think they’re done, either. Where will the next batch of bands squeeze, what with the sizable logo addition of Graveyard here along with OhhmsElephant TreeWhite Hills and so on? I don’t know. It’s a problem for a graphic designer to tackle that’s well beyond my depth, to be sure. But they’ll sort it out. They always do.

The Fall festival season — there are many, you know the names and don’t need me to recount — by now rivals Spring. It might even surpass it in terms of the sheer one-into-the-next-into-the-next-into-the-next style proceedings from country to country, weekend to weekend. It’s astounding how strong and sustaining the European underground has become over the last several years. Desertfest, the growth of the brand in general and in its autumnal incarnations in Antwerp and Athens, has been a big part of that, and accordingly, Desertfest Belgium 2017 stands among the best lineups one is likely to find on the continent this Fall.

To wit:

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GRAVEYARD PLAYS DF ANTWERP 2017 – White Hills, Elephant Tree & more announced

So here it is – Karma strikes, part two!

Last year we were gutted when GRAVEYARD decided to call it quits, moments before their appearance at Desertfest Antwerp. Fortunately, their breakup turned out to be short-lived, and the band announced their return with a new drummer in January 2017. So naturally, we had to put ’em in a headliner spot again to make it up to you guys!

We’re also very glad to announce the appearance of WHITE HILLS, possibly the coolest band in the universe. With OHHMS and ELEPHANT TREE, we present you with two of the hottest bands from the UK heavy scene at the moment. Going worldwide, let’s throw in Oriental Krautrock with MINAMI DEUTSCH from Tokyo, and the psychedelic jazz-prog of KALEIDOBOLT from Helsinki.

From where we’re sitting, Desertfest Antwerp is starting to look pretty good… and we’re still not done!

GRAVEYARD

After the breakup of 2016, Graveyard did what every great classic rock band should do: take some time off to recollect the good spirit, and then come back with a mighty vengeance. And so here they are: the Swedish rock giant is back in the saddle with a new drummer, and ready to kick ass in 2017! We can only imagine what awesomeness they’ll bring to make it up to the DF crowd…

WHITE HILLS

White Hills are proponents of psychedelia as transformation. The music made by Dave W. and Ego Sensation is risky and cutting edge, rooted in dystopian futurism and hyper-conscious of our constant desire for a new and better drug. On their new album ‘Stop Mute Defeat’, White Hills has flipped the script with an industrially-charged record that pulsates unlike anything you’ve heard of them before.

OHHMS

OHHMS (written “((OHHMS))”) are a Canterburian metal band who are quickly becoming the buzz of the UK doom scene. They’ve established a reputation of playing extremely loud, delivering long and complex tracks at a deafening volume. Their first album release ‘The Fool’ is earning accolades across the scene, winning over crowd and critics alike.

ELEPHANT TREE

Another big promise from the UK, Elephant Tree came out with one of the best damn albums from 2016. Combining clear vocal harmonies with insanely heavy riffs, and switching it up with sudden mood shifts and slow-burning grooves, their debut album is truly something special that you should seek out immediately. Word from Desertfest London & Berlin is they easily hold their ground on the stage.

MINAMI DEUTSCH

Minami Deutsch is a Krautrock band from Tokyo. Starting off playing live music on the city streets, they got picked up for a spot at the Tokyo Psych Fest. In September 2015, they released their first record through the English cult label Cardinal Fuzz Records, as well as Japanese psych label Guruguru Brain. Expect motorik kraut grooves with a distinct Oriental flavour!

KALEIDOBOLT

Kaleidobolt is a power trio from Helsinki, blending loud guitars with furious jazz moves. Their music is a dizzying maelstrom of progressive song structures, crushing riffs and loose psychedelic soundscapes, delivered with joy and ferociousness. Working since 2014, they’ve released two albums to much acclaim, and toured with the likes of Radio Moscow and Samsara Blues Experiment.

http://www.desertfest.be/tickets
https://www.facebook.com/desertfestbelgium/
https://www.facebook.com/events/264364590656095/
https://twitter.com/DesertfestBE

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Desertfest Belgium 2017: The Melvins, Gozu, Beastmaker and Big Fat Lukum Join Lineup

Posted in Whathaveyou on June 8th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

Okay, yeah, so the Melvins will be one of the headliners for Desertfest Belgium 2017 this October. Fair enough. That seems appropriate. They’ll have a new record out and will be touring like they do and, yeah, the stop makes sense. You’ll pardon me though if I think the real news here is a return trip to Europe for Gozu this fall. One has to wonder which of the other autumnal fests the Boston four-piece will be added as they go, but they’re certainly keeping good company with this first announcement. When and if I see the rest of the dates, I’ll let you know.

Beastmaker, who’ll be on the road with Stoned Jesus, and Belgium’s own Big Fat Lukum have also joined the Desertfest bill, as the PR wire confirms:

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THE MELVINS WILL PLAY DF ANTWERP 2017, HELL YES – Gozu, Beastmaker & others

Remember last week, when we were promising “very exciting headliners”?

We tend to keep our promise, and so it has begun.

We’re delirious with excitement to announce that THE MELVINS – yes, that’s THE. FUCKing. MELvins – will headline Desertfest Antwerp this year. We had ’em once, then we lost ’em, and now we’ve got them good. It’s on!

But let’s not forget you want to have a bloody hell of a good time the rest of the time as well, and for this we have added some more class acts to the line-up: we bring you GOZU for some good time stoner rock’n’roll. BEASTMAKER is touring with Stoned Jesus, so they’ll bring them along to the Fest. And finally, BIG FAT LUKUM will provide the obligatory touch of local Belgian stoner.

How do you like that! And remember: we are still not done. Join us soon for another round of awesome news!

THE MELVINS

It seems like nothing we can say about The Melvins will properly convey the profundity of their legend. For over 30 years now, King Buzzo and his cohorts have ruled the planet with a sound that has been all over the place and back, all the while remaining unmistakably and utterly Melvins. They’re releasing a new double album in July, so who knows what unholy sound will pummel your brain come October!

GOZU

Gozu’s sound is tailor-made for blasting out the car speakers via international radio airwaves. Over 3 albums, they’ve condensed their Bostonian no-bullshit stoner rock into something that feels like bigger than the sum of its parts. Live they’re no slouch either – in 2016 they managed to hit seven countries for 20 shows in 20 days. Now that’s the kind of attitude we love to welcome to the DF stage!

BEASTMAKER

Bands Beastmaker likes: Black Sabbath, Danzig. You like them too? Then you’ll love Beastmaker! But make no mistake: their brand new album ‘Inside The Skull’ expands beyond the riff worship to offer a venomous slab of wildly creative but spiritually pure doom devastation. Beastmaker is a band that proudly wears its bloody heart for the tradition on its sleeve, and it shows.

BIG FAT LUKUM

Big Fat Lukum hails from Namur, Belgium. The band has a history of playing extreme and loud from punk to metal in the past, but nowadays they’re on a steady diet of desert and stoner rock.

http://www.desertfest.be/tickets
https://www.facebook.com/desertfestbelgium/
https://www.facebook.com/events/264364590656095/
https://twitter.com/DesertfestBE

Gozu, “Lorenzo Llamas” Live in Seattle, April 2017

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Desertfest Belgium 2017: Conan, Stoned Jesus, Spidergawd and White Manna Added

Posted in Whathaveyou on June 1st, 2017 by JJ Koczan

Another batch of four from Desertfest Belgium 2017 brings the aural devastation of ConanStoned Jesus celebrating the fifth anniversary of Seven Thunders Roar, the West Coast heavy psych of White Manna and the only-ever-out-of-the-studio-to-play-shows relentless heavy rock of Norway’s Spidergawd. Fucking cool round of adds? Yes, yes it is. The Antwerp-based Desertfest, like its Athenian autumnal counterpart, continues to step up and enter the class of the flagship springtime fests in Berlin and London. Seriously. I don’t think they’re halfway done yet and already it looks like they’re having trouble packing logos onto the poster.

It’s only going to get more crowded on there. Here’s the latest from the fest via the PR wire:

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NEW NAMES! CONAN, WHITE MANNA and more at DF Antwerp 2017

Back once again with a hot slew of names to fuel your Desertfest cravings!

We are still sitting on some very exciting headliners, but as you probably know by now: we live by the creed of ‘all killer no filler’. I think you’ll all agree that Conan is indeed a killer, if you don’t they’ll probably lob your head clean off. You see where this is going? Hailing from Arcata, California, White Manna is a cosmic noise outfit who will rock you straight into orbit. We welcome back Stoned Jesus from Kiev, a class doom act in its own right. And finally, your classic rock urges will be soothed by the sounds of supergroup Spidergawd.

That should be plenty to tide you over until the next announcement, which will follow very soon!

CONAN

Conan’s genre description reads “caveman battle doom”, and in their 10 years of existence they’ve never failed to live up to the promise. Every new album (from 2014’s ‘Monnos’ to ‘Blood Eagle’ and last year’s ‘Revengeance’) invariably ends up in worldwide best-of-year lists, and that doesn’t even count the bludgeoning live shows that have cemented their reputation as a scene essential. Much like their barbarian namesake, Conan are here to slay!

WHITE MANNA

Equal parts Stooges punk, Hawkwind space rock and Kosmische beat, White Manna unleashes a tidal wave of noise that is dense, intimidating and unforgiving. Across four albums, these Northern Californians have channelled mysticism, drug-altered consciousness and the elemental power of nature via swirling white noise blizzards and fuzz-caked riffage. Fans of Carlton Melton and Comets On Fire take note!

STONED JESUS

Ukraine may not be the first place in mind as a breeding ground for bonafide Sabbathian riffs. But maybe that’s why Stoned Jesus have been able to develop their unique own take on the doom-sludge legacy from which they’ve sprung forth. In any case, after their blistering show in 2015, we’re glad to welcome them back to the stage at DF 2017!

SPIDERGAWD

Starting out as a sideproject for a couple of Motorpsycho members, Spidergawd has since proven itself as a hard working band that is completely its own thing. A new album is released every year, and a relentless touring schedule has endeared them to a growing crowd of fans that can’t get enough of their distinctive flavour of desert rock (with just a touch of sax)!

http://www.desertfest.be/tickets
https://www.facebook.com/desertfestbelgium/
https://www.facebook.com/events/264364590656095/
https://twitter.com/DesertfestBE

Conan, “Throne of Fire” live at Maryland Deathfest 2017

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Desertfest Belgium 2017: Kadavar, Church of Misery, Monolord and Church of the Cosmic Skull Join Lineup

Posted in Whathaveyou on May 18th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

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The plot thickens as regards Desertfest Belgium 2017, set for this October in Antwerp. A quick turnaround from the last announcement brings the news that Kadavar, Church of Misery, Monolord and Church of the Cosmic Skull will take part in this year’s fest, and while this latest round of additions keeps with the four-at-a-time theme that the festival has worked with thus far in unveiling its acts, it departs from the prior two updates in not including an actual Belgian band.

You’ll recall that Hidden Trails and Hemelbestormer had previously been added. One doubts those are the last Belgian outfits who’ll take the stage at Desertfest Belgium 2017 in any case, but it’s just something different this time around. I don’t think anyone could look a the roster of talent thus far assembled and say the organizational effort has been misspent.

To wit, this from the PR wire:

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Desertfest Belgium 2017 – NEW NAMES! Kadavar, Church of Misery and more!

Hot on the trails of our last announcement, we’re back already with a quadruple punch of heavy rocking goodness that will get the blood rushing for October to come, for sure!

We realize that for some of you internet-savvy Festers, the addition of the mighty Kadavar to the DF Antwerp line-up is a known fact already. So how about we turn it up even more, and drop Church of Misery as a headliner as well? And if that’s still not enough, would the announcement of Monolord do the trick?
Yep, that’s what we thought! So as a cherry on the cake, let’s round it off with the Nottingham supergroup Church of the Cosmic Skull, who dropped one of the more memorable rock albums from last year.

More details below, and more great bands to come in the near future!

KADAVAR

Whether in front of 3,000 sweating Mexican souls, in a remote pub in the Macedonian mountains or facing huge European festival crowds – every single night, KADAVAR performs as furiously as a tremendous tempest hailing down on earth! Now returning to the city where they recorded their eponymous live album in 2013, Kadavar will make sure to meet high expectations, and exceed them if possible!

CHURCH OF MISERY

The Church rises again! Now back on the stage with an entirely new line-up formed around founding bassist Tatsu Mikami, we can’t wait to hear what this most legendary of doom bands has in store for us. Whether it’s bonafide classics from the vaults, tracks from last year’s ‘And Then There Were None’, or entirely new material – be sure to find us in the front row!

MONOLORD

No flash and no frills, since their formation in 2013 Monolord has been a trusted staple for the stoner rock community for one reason: they’re a damn hard working band delivering the goods night after night. Finding themselves before ever growing crowds, their straightup workingman’s doom’n’sludge is certainly at its most effective when mainlined in a live setting.

CHURCH OF THE COSMIC SKULL

Church of the Cosmic Skull is a twofold entity: a new religious movement who seek to free mankind from their material possessions and unify all living beings into a singular cosmic whole… and a 7-piece supergroup from Nottingham playing seventies psychrock with six-part Queen-esque vocal harmonies and a touch of Thin Lizzy. Fans of Black Mountain, King Gizzard and Uncle Acid should get psyched for this.

http://www.desertfest.be/tickets
https://www.facebook.com/desertfestbelgium/
https://www.facebook.com/events/264364590656095/
https://twitter.com/DesertfestBE

Kadavar, “Last Living Dinosaur” live in France 2017

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Desertfest Belgium 2017: Saint Vitus, All Them Witches, Satan’s Satyrs and Hidden Trails Added

Posted in Whathaveyou on May 8th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

desertfest belgium 2017 banner

The lineup for Desertfest Belgium 2017 — or Desertfest Antwerp 2017, as it seems to be positioning itself this year; fair considering neither the London nor Berlin nor Athens incarnations take on the whole country in their name — expands in multiple directions with its second round of adds. Similar to how the first announcement brought a heady dose of rock and doom with Windhand and Radio Moscow while keeping the local scene in mind with Hemelbestormer, this time around brings legends Saint Vitus to represent the darker side of the spectrum while All Them Witches and Satan’s Satyrs bring the riffs and Hypnos 69 offshoot Hidden Trails represent the native Belgian sphere.

Pretty awesome and multifaceted bill already, and as we look toward the fall, we’re still just getting started. As they note below, the London and Berlin fests just happened. I haven’t posted yet about it because I haven’t seen a proper announcement come through, but the Athens lineup is coming together as well, so I’ll get something going on that sooner or later. In the meantime, here’s the latest from Antwerpen:

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Desertfest Antwerp 2017 New Names – ALL THEM WITCHES, SAINT VITUS AND MORE!

We hope you all enjoyed DF Berlin and London as much as the DF Antwerp crew did – we had a blast!

And while you’re still vibing on that buzz, let’s add some fuel to those flames with a quick roundup of new confirmations for the DF Antwerp edition…

Coming to you in October on our stage will be the versatile psych sounds of ALL THEM WITCHES, the West Coast doom pioneers SAINT VITUS, the infernal biker rock of SATAN’S SATYRS, and HIDDEN TRAILS, a Belgian band that rose from the ashes of local legend Hypnos 69.

Sounds good? Then keep your ears wide open for our next announcement coming in just a few weeks!

ALL THEM WITCHES

All Them Witches concoct a powerful and potent psychedelic sound that fuses bluesy soul, Southern swagger and thunderous hard rock. With three albums and a jam-filled live show, the band has amassed a devoted following and have become a real sensation in the underground rock scene. For further proof, check this year’s ‘Sleeping Through The War’ or the electrifying ‘Live In Brussels’ album.

SAINT VITUS

We are truly honoured to invite one of the pioneers in doom metal, starting out as early as the late 1970s. Throughout many line-up changes, breakups and reunions, they have maintained their status as one of the true lasting legends on the scene. Hot on the heels of the ‘Live Vol. 2’ album, the band is touring throughout 2017 continuing to spread their vintage brand of doom all over the world.

SATAN’S SATYRS

Satan’s Satyrs stand proud as a malignant manifestation of all that’s debauched and demented in heavy music. Beamed in from a metaphysical zone of over-amped ’70s power trio action and exploitation-movie malice, the band marks a new wild outpost in a freakrock lineage that extends from Edgar Broughton Band and Blue Cheer through Alice Cooper, Mountain and beyond.

HIDDEN TRAILS

Hidden Trails emerged when the rhythm section of Hypnos 69 started recording with guitarist-vocalist Jo. Picking up the loose ends that legendary Belgian stoner band left behind, Hidden Trails have crafted their own brand of psychedelic rock full of jazzy drums, thick and clean bass lines, mellow vocals and dreamy guitar riffs. A local treasure for sure!

http://www.desertfest.be/tickets
https://www.facebook.com/desertfestbelgium/
https://www.facebook.com/events/264364590656095/
https://twitter.com/DesertfestBE

Saint Vitus, Live at Saint Vitus Bar, Oct. 2016

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Desertfest Belgium 2017 Makes First Lineup Announcements: Radio Moscow, Windhand and More to Play

Posted in Whathaveyou on April 26th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

desertfest belgium 2017 banner

Here we are, about to kick off the Spring incarnations of Desertfest, and Desertfest Belgium 2017 has already started representing the Fall season. And formidably, with Windhand and Radio Moscow providing immediate heft and scorch for a bill that’s only bound to continue to grow over the next couple months as we move into and through the summer. Also part of this first lineup announcement are Part Chimp and Hemelbestormer, so it seems there’s a pretty wide spread of styles and geography already to Desertfest Belgium this year. That’ll very likely continue to be a running theme as well.

More to come, most certainly:

desertfest belgium 2017 poster

DesertFest Antwerp 2017 First Names – WINDHAND, RADIO MOSCOW and more!

We know you all have been aching for this, so without further ado let us present the first names for the 2017 edition of Desertfest Antwerp!

We kick things off with Windhand, a scene favorite that has also managed to capture the hearts and minds of rock fans worldwide with their unique brand of female-led Sabbathian worship. Radio Moscow is another winner with a stone solid live reputation that will be sure to set the DF stage on fire.

Next up, something more out of the ordinary: Part Chimp blends sludgey riffage with the acid bite of Amphetamine noiserock, and will delight anyone with a fine ear for heavily distorted blues. Finally, we keep the tradition of presenting Belgian bands to our international crowd. Hemelbestormer (that’s Dutch for ‘Stormer of Heaven’) is a local postmetal band that has been making waves in Europe and the States for the last couple of years.

WINDHAND

WINDHAND convey an irrepressible sense of motion even within the slowest of songs. The unique siren voice of Dorthia Cottrell combines beauty with enormous power, while the twin-guitar attack of Garrett Morris and Asechiah Bogdan can deliver both perfect riffs and fuzzed-out bliss. Add the colossal rhythmic mastery of bassist Parker Chandler and drummer Ryan Wolfe, and it’s easy to see how Windhand has become one of the premier metal bands of our time.

RADIO MOSCOW

How to describe a RADIO MOSCOW live show? Imagine the feeling of being blown back by a whirlwind of energy and power, concocted by three guys locked in a groove. This is heavy blues-infused rock at its finest! The San Diego outfit has recently made the leap to a worldwide deal with Century Media Records, for whom they are currently preparing their next upcoming studio album to be released in late-summer 2017.

PART CHIMP

PART CHIMP emerged from South London in 2003 as a full formed noise rock leviathan. The band’s penchant for shockingly large riffs and monumental volume earned them a fully blown cult status by the time they split up in 2011. Recently reformed, their comeback shows already proved that time has far from diminished their extraordinary power. This year will see them deliver a new album for Rock Action – we can’t wait to hear what they’ll cook up next!

HEMELBESTORMER

“HEMELBESTORMER” is a Dutch word which is literally translated as “stormer of heaven”, but is used to describe the outsiders with revolutionary and idealist minds. Since 2012 the Belgian band has combined post-rock, sludge, ambient, doom and even black metal into an instrumental sound that balances between light and dark. Hemelbestormer aims for quality, not quantity. With the visual spectacle of their custom sigils and entrancing wall projections, each live show feels like being sucked into a black hole.

http://www.desertfest.be/tickets
https://www.facebook.com/desertfestbelgium/
https://twitter.com/DesertfestBE

Radio Moscow, Live in California (2016)

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Quarterly Review: Ulver, Forming the Void, Hidden Trails, Svvamp, Black Mirrors, Endless Floods, Tarpit Boogie, Horseburner, Vermilion Whiskey, Hex Inverter

Posted in Reviews on March 28th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

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Feeling groovy heading into Day Two of the Spring 2017 Quarterly Review, and I hope you are as well. Today we dig into a pretty wide variety of whatnots, so make sure you’ve got your head with you as we go, because there are some twists and turns along the way. I mean it. Of all five days in this round, this one might be the most wild, so keep your wits intact. I’m doing my best to do the same, of course, but make no promises in that regard.

Quarterly Review #11-20:

Ulver, The Assassination of Julius Caesar

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Norwegian post-everything specialists Ulver have reportedly called The Assassination of Julius Caesar (on House of Mythology) “their pop album,” and while the Nik Turner-inclusive freakout in second cut “Rolling Stone” (that may or may not be him on closer “Comign Home” as well) doesn’t quite fit that mold, the beats underscoring the earlier portion of that track, opener “Nemoralia” and the melodrama of “Southern Gothic” certainly qualify. Frontman/conceptual mastermind Kristoffer Rygg’s voice is oddly suited to this form – he carries emotionally weighted hooks like a melancholy George Michael on the electronically pulsating “Transverberation” and, like most works of pop, shows an obsession with the ephemeral in a slew of cultural references in “1969,” which in no way is likely to be mistaken for the Stooges song of the same name. While “So Falls the World” proves ridiculously catchy, “Coming Home” is about as close as Ulver actually come here to modern pop progression, and the Badalamenti-style low-end and key flourish in “1969” is a smooth touch, much of what’s happening in these eight tracks is still probably too complex to qualify as pop, but The Assassination of Julius Caesar is further proof that Ulver’s scope only grows more boundless as the years pass. The only limits they ever seem to know are the ones they leave behind.

Ulver on Twitter

House of Mythology website

 

Forming the Void, Relic

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Last year, Louisiana four-piece Forming the Void had the element of surprise working to their advantage when it came to the surprising progressive edge of their debut album, Skyward (review here). Now signed to Argonauta, the eight-song/55-minute follow-up, Relic, doesn’t need it. It finds Forming the Void once again working proggy nuance into big-riffed, spaciously vocalized fare on early cuts “After Earth” and “Endless Road,” but as the massive hook of “Biolazar” demonstrates, the process by which guitarist/vocalist James Marshall, guitarist Shadi Omar Al-Khansa, bassist Luke Baker and drummer Jordan Boyd meld their influences has become more cohesive and more their own. Accordingly, I’m not sure they need the 11-minute closing take on Led Zeppelin’s “Kashmir,” since by then the point is made in the lumber/plunder of “Plumes” and in the more tripped-out “Unto the Smoke” just before, but as indulgences go, it’s a relatively easy one to make. They’re still growing, but doing so quickly, and already they’ve begun to find a niche for themselves between styles that one hopes they’ll continue to explore.

Forming the Void on Thee Facebooks

Argonauta Records website

 

Hidden Trails, Instant Momentary Bliss

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Though it keeps a wash of melodic keys in the background and its approach is resolutely laid back on the whole, “Beautiful Void” is nonetheless a major factor in the overall impression of Hidden Trails’ self-titled debut (on Elektrohasch), as its indie vibe and departure from the psychedelic prog of the first two cuts, “Lancelot” and “Mutations,” marks a major distinguishing factor between this outfit and Hypnos 69, in which the rhythm section of the Belgian trio played previously. “Ricky” goes on to meld acoustic singer-songwriterism and drones together, and “Hands Unfold” has a kind of jazzy bounce, the bassline of Dave Houtmeyers and drumming of Tom Vanlaer providing upbeat groove under Jo Neyskens’ bright guitar lead, but the anticipation of heavy psych/prog never quite leaves after the opening, and that doesn’t seem to be what the band wants to deliver. The sweetly harmonized acid folk of “Leaving Like That” is on a different wavelength, and likewise the alt-rock vibes of “Space Shuffle” and “Come and Play” and the grunge-chilled-out closer “Denser Diamond.” If there’s an issue with Hidden Trails, it’s one of the expectations I’m bringing to it as a listener and a fan of Houtmeyers’ and Vanlaer’s past work, but clearly it’s going to take me a little longer to get over the loss of their prior outfit. Maybe I’m just not ready to move on.

Hidden Trails on Thee Facebooks

Elektrohasch Schallplatten website

 

Svvamp, Svvamp

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Naturalist vibes pervade immediately from this late-2016 self-titled Svvamp debut (on RidingEasy Records) in the bassline to “Serpent in the Sky,” and in some of the post-Blue Cheer heavy blues sensibility, the Swedish trio bring to mind some of what made early Dirty Streets so glorious. Part of the appeal of Svvamp’s Svvamp, however, is that among the lessons it’s learned from heavy ‘70s rock and from Kadavar‘s own self-titled is to keep it simple. “Fresh Cream” is a resonant blues jam… that lasts two and a half minutes. The bouncing, turning “Oh Girl?” Three. Even the longest of its cuts, the slide-infused “Time,” the subdued roller “Big Rest” and the Marshall Tucker-esque finale “Down by the River,” are under five. This allows the three-piece of Adam Johansson, Henrik Bjorklund and Erik Stahlgren to build significant momentum over the course of their 35-minute run, casting aside pretense in favor of aesthetic cohesion and an organic sensibility all the more impressive for it being their first record. Sweden has not lacked for boogie rock, but even the most relatively raucous moments here, as in the winding “Blue in the Face,” don’t seem overly concerned with what anyone else is up to, and that bodes remarkably well for Svvamp’s future output.

Svvamp on Thee Facebooks

RidingEasy Records website

 

Black Mirrors, Funky Queen

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There are few songs ever written that require whoever’s playing them to “bring it” more than MC5’s “Kick out the Jams.” True, it’s been covered many, many times over, but few have done it well. Belgium’s Black Mirrors signal riotous intent by including it as one of the four tracks of their Napalm Records debut EP, Funky Queen, along with the originals “Funky Queen,” “The Mess” and “Canard Vengeur Masqué,” and amid the post-Blues Pills stomp of “The Mess,” the mega-hook of the opening title-track and the more spacious five-plus-minute closer, which works elements of heavy psych into its bluesy push late to welcome effect, “Kick out the Jams” indeed brings a moment of relative cacophony, even if there’s no actual threat of the band losing control behind the powerful vocals of Marcella di Troia. As a first showing, Funky Queen would seem to be a harbinger, but it’s also a purposeful and somewhat calculated sampling of Black Mirrors’ wares, and I wouldn’t expect it to be long before an album follows behind expanding on the ideas presented in these tracks.

Black Mirrors on Thee Facebooks

Black Mirrors at Napalm Records

 

Endless Floods, II

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No doubt that for some who’d take it on, any words beyond “members of Monarch!” will be superfluous, but Bordeaux three-piece Endless Floods, who do indeed feature bassist/vocalist Stéphane Miollan and drummer Benjamin Sablon from that band, as well as guitarist Simon Bedy, have more to offer than pedigree on their three-song sophomore full-length, II (on Dry Cough vinyl and Breathe Plastic cassette). To wit, 24-minute opener and longest track (immediate points) “Impasse” rumbles out raw but spacious sludge that, though without keys or a glut of effects, and marked by the buried-deep screaming of Miollan, holds a potent sense of atmosphere so that the two-minute interlude “Passage” doesn’t seem out of place leading into the 19-minute lumber of “Procession,” which breaks shortly before its halfway point to bass-led minimalism in setting up the final build of the record. Slow churning intensity and longform sludge working coherently alongside ambient sensibilities and some genuinely disturbing noise? Yeah, that’ll do nicely. Thanks.

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Breathe Plastic Records on Bandcamp

 

Tarpit Boogie, Couldn’t Handle… The Heavy Jam

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Boasting four eight-plus-minute instrumentals, Couldn’t Handle… The Heavy Jam finds New Jersey trio Tarpit Boogie rife with classic style heavy rock chemistry, bassist John Eager running fills around the dense-toned riffing from guitarist George Pierro as drummer Chris Hawkins propels a surprising thrust on opener “FFF Heavy Jam.” I’ve been a fan of Pierro and Eager’s since we were bandmates a decade ago, so to hear them unfold “Chewbacca Jacket” from its tense opening to its righteously crashing finale is definitely welcome, but the 37-minute offering finds its true reasoning in the swing and shuffle of the eponymous “Tarpit Boogie,” which digs into the very challenge posed by the title – whether or not anyone taking on the album can handle its balance of sonic impact and exploratory feel – inclusive, in this case, of a drum solo that sets a foundation for a moment of Cactus-style rush ahead of a return to the song’s central progression to conclude. They round out with “1992 (Thank You Very Little),” Chevy Chase sample and all, bringing more crashing nod to a massive slowdown that makes it feel like the entire back half of the cut is one big rock finish. And so it is. A well-kept secret of Garden State heavy.

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Horseburner, Dead Seeds, Barren Soil

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The self-released Dead Seeds, Barren Soil is Horseburner’s second full-length, and it arrived in 2016 from the four-piece some seven years after their 2009 debut, Dirt City. They’ve had a few shorter outings in between, demos and 2013’s Strange Giant EP, but the West Virginia four-piece of Adam Nohe, Chad Ridgway, Jack Thomas and Zach Kaufman seem to be shooting for a definitive statement of intent in the blend of heavy rock and modern, Baroness-style prog that emerges on opener “David” and finds its way into the galloping “Into Black Resolution,” the multi-tiered vocals of “A Newfound Purity” and even the more straight-ahead thrust of “The Soil’s Prayer.” Marked out by the quality of its guitar work and its clearly-plotted course, Dead Seeds, Barren Soil caps with “Eleleth,” which at just under eight minutes draws the heft and the complexity together for a gargantuan finish that does justice to the ground Horseburner just flattened as they left it behind.

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Vermilion Whiskey, Spirit of Tradition

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Lafayette, Louisiana, five-piece Vermilion Whiskey telegraph participation in the New Wave of Dude Rock to the point of addressing their audience as “boy” in second cut “The Past is Dead,” and from the cartoon cleavage on the cover to the lack of irony between naming the record Spirit of Tradition and putting a song called “The Past is Dead” on it, they sell that well. The Kent Stump-mixed/Tony Reed-mastered six-tracker is the band’s second behind 2013’s 10 South, and basks in dudely, dudely dudeliness; Southern metal born more out of the Nola style than what, say, Wasted Theory are getting up to these days, but that would still fit on a bill with that Delaware outfit. If you think you’re dude enough for a song like “One Night,” hell, maybe you are. Saddle up. Listening to that and the chunky-style riff of closer “Loaded Up,” I feel like I might need hormone therapy to hit that level of may-yun, but yeah. Coherent, well written, tightly performed and heavy. Vermilion Whiskey might as well be hand-issuing dudes invitations to come drink with them, but they make a solid case for doing so.

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Hex Inverter, Revision

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If the cover art and a song title like “I Swear I’m Not My Thoughts” weren’t enough of a tip-off, there’s a strong undercurrent of the unsettled to Hex Inverter’s second long-player, Revision. The Pennsylvania-based experimentalists utilize a heaping dose of drones to fill out arrangements of keys, guitar and noise that would otherwise be pretty minimal, and vocals come and go in pro- and depressive fashion. Texture proves the key as they embark on the linear centerpiece “Something Else,” with a first verse arriving over a sweetened bassline after four minutes into the total 9:58, and the wash of noise in “Daphne” obscures an avant neo-jazz groove late, so while opener “Cannibal Eyes” basks in foreboding ambience prior to an emotionally-driven and explosive crunch-beat payoff, one never quite knows what to expect next on Revision. That, of course, is essential to the appeal. They find an edge of rock in the aforementioned “I Swear I’m Not My Thoughts,” but as the loops and synth angularity of closer “Fled (Deadverse Mix)” make plain, their intentions speak to something wider than even an umbrella genre.

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Black Mirrors Post “Funky Queen” Video; Debut EP out Now

Posted in Bootleg Theater on March 6th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

The lesson of Black Mirrors new video for the title cut from their debut EP, Funky Queen, is much the same as was the lesson of the lyric video they posted last month for the same song: it’s catchy as hell. Not much more to say about it than that, really. The EP is out now via Napalm Records in its four-song entirety and while I haven’t heard it in full yet — it’s slated for the Quarterly Review at the end of the month, so I’ll get there soon — the push behind it seems geared toward bringing the band to wider acclaim. The two videos are a part of that, of course, but even more pivotal would seem to be the tour that Black Mirrors head out on later in March supporting Sweden’s Horisont.

Though they’re veterans of Desertfest Belgium, it’s not exactly like Black Mirrors have been slogging it out for years on the road at this point — remember, Funky Queen isn’t just their debut on Napalm; it’s their first release, period — so touring alongside a more experienced outfit like Horisont will be a way for them to test the waters both in terms of their own experience, how they work as a road band, and give them a crash course in how to engage an audience night after night. It’s an oldschool way to go about it, which is fitting enough to the band’s classic heavy rock sound, but if it’s something you really want to get done, I’m not sure there’s any other way to go. You’ll note that the list of tour dates below ends with a couple headlining gigs. I doubt very much that if all goes according to plan they’ll be Black Mirrors‘ last.

But that’s getting ahead of events unfolding. In the meantime, the “Funky Queen” video plays off simple visuals and silhouetted performance footage to highlight the song itself, which stands up to such scrutiny. I’m looking forward to getting to know the other three tracks on the EP better, and to seeing how the response to Black Mirrors continues to take shape as more people hear Funky Queen and the band moves on after this tour toward the next one very likely already being planned.

PR wire info follows the clip below.

Please enjoy:

Black Mirrors, “Funky Queen” official video

BLACK MIRRORS RELEASE NEW VIDEO

Debut EP ‘Funky Queen’ March 3rd 2017 on Napalm Records!

If Janis Joplin, Jack White, Anouk, Nirvana and Queens Of The Stone Age ever had the chance to breed, BLACK MIRRORS would have been their favorite creation. This jewel is Belgium’s answer to pretty much every rock band out there: BLACK MIRRORS, fronted by the charismatic vocalist Marcella Di Troia, manage to gather an endless amount of influences which have been ruling the rock n’ roll universe for decades, and combine them into BLACK MIRRORS’ very own and special sound. It’s been only a matter of time for their first debut EP, ‘Funky Queen’, to finally see the light of day on March 3rd 2017 via Napalm Records!

Now the band unveiled a brand new video for the EP-title track ‘Funky Queen’, and this one is a keeper! Filmed and edited by Van’s Ography, get some taste of BLACK MIRRORS’ upcoming EP and watch the ‘Funky Queen’ right HERE.

Says the band:
“We hare happy to share with your our very first official video clip for «Funky Queen»! We had a blast making this video as it was crazy funny to play with our own shadows haha! We hope you’ll like it as much as we do!”

Funky Queen – the debut EP by BLACK MIRRORS coming March 3rd 2017.

BLACK MIRRORS live:
w/ Horisont
16.03.17 DE – Hamburg / Logo
17.03.17 DE – Siegen / Vortex
18.03.17 DE – Dusseldorf / Pitcher
19.03.17 NL – Helmond / Cacaofabriek
20.03.17 NL – Nijmegen / Merleyn
21.03.17 BE – Liège / La Zone
23.03.17 DE – Munich / Backstage
24.03.17 IT – Fontaneto D’Agogna / Phenomenon
25.03.17 CH – Pratteln / Z7
26.03.17 AT – Vienna / Das Bach
27.03.17 AT – Salzburg / Rockhouse
28.03.17 DE – Mörlenbach-Weiher / Live Music Hall
29.03.17 DE – Lichtenfels / Paunchy Cats
30.03.17 DE – Berlin / Privatclub
31.03.17 DK – Randers / Von Hatten
01.04.17 DK – Copenhagen / Huset

BLACK MIRRORS Headline Shows:
02.03.2017 BE – Brussels / Botanique
06.04.2017 BE – Antwerp / Trix

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Black Mirrors at Napalm Records

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