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Desertfest Berlin 2017: Saint Vitus to Headline; Venue Expansion Announced

Posted in Whathaveyou on January 13th, 2017 by H.P. Taskmaster

As doom legends Saint Vitus join Sleep and John Garcia in headlining, things seem to still just be heating up for Desertfest Berlin 2017. The reason I say so is the fest has just announced plans to expand beyond the Astra Kulturhaus for the first time in its five-year history. It will now incorporate multiple spaces in RAW, including two other clubs near to the Astra at which affiliated shows will be hosted put on by local promoters. Pretty awesome news, quite frankly, and it gives those fortunate enough to be in attendance even more options for how to spend their time as Desertfest gradually takes over the whole area for the weekend.

The fest made the announcement thusly:

desertfest-berlin-2017-first-poster

Desertfest Berlin 2017 We go BIGGER and BETTER: additional Venues / SAINT VITUS to Headline

2017 – DESERTFEST will conquer all of RAW !

That means, for all of you who don’t know, the wonderful RAW-Area where our main venue ASTRA is located. It is a former GDR train maintenance station with lots of now newly populated old factory buildings, lots of space to play and street art to enjoy. It means you get to roam freely in and outside of the Astra and go out and explore, as we will expand the festival to three more additional venues! Of course the traditionalists can enjoy the full program, eat & drink and get wild without leaving the premises – our main stage, our foyer stage, bingo-bongo bar and the beloved beergarden.

We are super stoked to have the venues CASSIOPEIA, URBAN SPREE and BADEHAUS BERLIN with us on board – three amazing clubs in three minute walking distance from Astra that will host special parties and more concerts. The events there will be curated by underground labels and promoters which we will introduce to you with several postings in the weeks to come.

Desertfest Berlin 2017 will feature more than 50 bands in total !!!

Also be prepared to welcome very special known people who are trading their instruments with turntables and deliver you exclusive DJ Sets!

In order to make things more fun we are forced to raise the ticket prices a tiny bit. But have no fear – until February 1st, you can still buy Tickets for 85 € (visit our Website, or use the links below in this release). After that, the weekend pass will be 95 €. We hope you like the news of our expanding ideas and you are looking forward to celebrate the biggest and best DESERTFEST ever ;)

SAINT VITUS TO HEADLINE DESERTFEST BERLIN 2017

On top of that great news, we are thrilled to tell you that SAINT VITUS will be our third headliner for this 2017 edition, alongside SLEEP and JOHN GARCIA ! BONGZILLA, STONED JESUS, MAMMOTH MAMMOTH and ODD COUPLE are also added to this year’s line-up !

SAINT VITUS (USA)
Los Angeles titans Saint Vitus are over 36 years-strong and still bleeding black… Coming from the same school as Trouble or Pentagram, they are praised as one of the original instigators of doom metal. Even through the turmoil of personnel changes and re-formations, Saint Vitus have always held a position of respect in the underground heavy rock scene, and we are proud to have them headlining Desertfest Berlin 2017!!

BONGZILLA (USA)
Before virtually any of these new jacks started claiming “weed metal” or anything of the like, there was Wisconsin’s Bongzilla. Formed in 1995 and devoted to all things green, the band infuses its homegrown, psychedelic sludge sound with a distinctive Southern feel. After several releases and lineup transformations, the band went on hiatus in the late 00s. But since 2015, Bongzilla are back to deliver their stoned out, tuned down, Sabbath inspired stoned music to the world, and have proven that their live shows are not to be missed!

STONED JESUS (UKR)
It’s been half a decade since Ukrainian heavy trio released their second album, “Seven Thunders Roar”, and it would be hard to imagine they had any idea the audience it would find back then. This year at Desertfest Berlin, to mark the fifth anniversary of “Seven Thunders Roar”, Stoned Jesus will perform a set featuring their most famous album in its entirety!! They are at work on new material as well, so keep an eye out for more updates!

MAMMOTH MAMMOTH (AUS)
Melbourne’s Mammoth Mammoth just emerged from the studio with a new album locked, loaded and ready to fire! Again, the recording was not without the usual disturbances that plague this foursome. Yes the police came (and not to jam a few tunes). Yes, there was a chemical fire. And yes, a little voodoo was practiced. And okay, the bass player did barely survive a motorcycle crash just before the final tracking. But nothing short of Armageddon was gonna stop MM from getting the job done and to launch this new album at Desertfest Berlin!!

ODD COUPLE (GER)
Odd Couple are a Berlin duo with guitars, drums and hands. Together they play a fast paced, sweaty rock ‘n’ roll, wwhere it dwho is playing which instrument, it’s all about setting a room on fire – with limited resources. Another new edition of the Black Keys formula? Not at all!

Previously confirmed for this year’s DESERTFEST BERLIN: SLEEP, JOHN GARCIA & BAND (playing songs from Kyuss to Slo Burn), SAMSARA BLUES EXPERIMENT, MARS RED SKY, LOWRIDER, 1000MODS, TOUNDRA, ECSTATIC VISION, SUMA, THE COSMIC DEAD, PONTIAK, TUBER, SATAN’S SATYRS, WUCAN, VENOMOUS MAXIMUS, THE WELL, GOLD, RIFF FIST, TSCHAIKA 21/16.

http://www.desertfest.de/tickets
https://www.facebook.com/DesertfestBerlin
http://woolheads.com/shop-2/festivalmerchandise/desertfest-berlin-2016-early-bird-ticket-action-1/
https://shop3.ticketscript.com/channel/html/get-products/rid/4MGC3S6H/eid/327518/validity/any_day/language/en

Lowrider, “Shivaree” live at Desertfest Berlin 2013

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Surya Kris Peters, Holy Holy Holy: House of Worship

Posted in Reviews on January 5th, 2017 by H.P. Taskmaster

surya-kris-peters-holy-holy-holy

As was the case with Surya Kris Peters‘ first physically-pressed album, 2016’s The Hermit (review here), the key to Holy Holy Holy seems to lie in evocation. This solo-project from Christian Peters of Berlin heavy psych rockers Samsara Blues Experiment began with the 2015 digital outing Status Flux and subsequent Moonstruck, and working with his own Electric Magic Records imprint (distributed through World in Sound), Peters embraces a broad creative freedom across the included six songs, the last of which, “Modular Mono Logic,” consumes the whole of side B at a grand and exploratory 21 minutes of layered modular synth, Moog, guitar, keys, programming, and so on. I’m not sure I’d call the album as a whole more experimental than its predecessor, since if anything, Peters seems more assured of this creative process than he did last time — that is, he has a better sense of how to make this kind of kosmiche progadelia work — but it remains far, far out even in side A’s guitar-driven “Schorfheide Blues,” which is about as close as Holy Holy Holy comes to rock-based composition.

It could well be this openness and creative range that lets the title have such a strong presence in the listening experience of Holy Holy Holy, in that just as The Hermit seemed contemplative and insular, this new collection flows together more as a single, outward-looking statement of worship, but whatever the case, it remains very much a solo affair on Peters‘ part. He handles all instrumentation himself as well as the recording process — his adopted moniker for the project, Surya, being a reference to the Hindu sun deity, further underscoring the idea of worship — as he brings together the two sides, each drawn from a separately-issued 2016 digital EP, into an encompassing 42-minute long-player.

It’s not long into “Leise Versprechen” (“quietly promise”), which begins side A’s series of five tracks — two more were on the original Schorfheide Blues EP, presumably dropped from Holy Holy Holy for vinyl time constraints — before Peters has built up from a low rumble to a near-orchestral wash of synth. He establishes a simple keyboard line early, however, and holds to it throughout the opener’s five minutes, so that even as the song more completely comes to life, its swell of volume carries that intimacy forward. In some ways, that’s the story of the record itself, and of Peters‘ progression as a solo artist, but as “Tanz der Wasserläufer” (“dance of water runners”) beams itself in like some deep space transmission of modular bleeps and bloops — or maybe those are intended to be drops of water? or birds? — the krautrock vibe becomes all the more prevalent, as does the hypnotic intertwining of layers.

Accordingly, the clarion fuzz of “Schorfheide Blues” — which if I’m not mistaken (and I might be, as always) is Peters‘ first guitar-led solo track since Surya Kris Peters emerged from his previous project, Soulitude, which released a lone full-length, So Came Restless Night (review here), in 2013 — is somewhat jarring, but the song’s quick 4:20 run does much to ground Holy Holy Holy before moving into the plucked synth strings and Mellotron-style sounds of “Soirée à Lunéville” (switching from a German title to French), which revives the blend of background wash and a relatively simple forward line, this time with the already noted string sounds in the forward position, almost making it a shame Peters titled another song as a “Tanz.” “Soirée à Lunéville” is also brief.

At 2:29, it’s the shortest piece on the LP, but neither its standalone impression nor its function in serving as a bridge between “Soirée à Lunéville” and “Nachtschattenspleen” (“night shadows”) are to be understated, the side A finale seeming to be an extension of the evening hours the prior track put forth, but broader and more spacious, a low drone beneath reminding that indeed, we’re in the dark. The falling waters of “Tanz der Wasserläufer” seem to make a return as well, and they’re the last sounds to go before the first half of Holy Holy Holy ends and a platter flip brings “Modular Mono Logic,” which was recorded in Spring 2016 and originally presented in three movements on the summer-released EP of the same name: ‘Gong Zong,’ ‘Rumba Elektronika’ and ‘All-Ein-Sein.’ Where one might feed into the next exactly I won’t hazard to say, but there are distinct changes in feel as “Modular Mono Logic” moves from its opening low-end undulations toward the final spread of droning swirl that consumes it, ending on a long fade of residual noise.

On the original EP, it also came with another track — “Talk to the Devil to Find God” — but on its own as part of this LP, “Modular Mono Logic” still qualifies as Peters‘ most ambitious offering under the banner of Surya Kris Peters, and with all the nighttime contemplations, spiritual searching and aural experimentation, “offering” feels very much appropriate as a descriptor for what’s happening on Holy Holy Holy. Whether that’s true because of the title’s power of suggestion or something else ultimately doesn’t matter, since at very least it demonstrates a consciousness and a purpose behind Peters‘ work in this form. One can only hope that will continue to develop as it has thus far and that his penchant for finding quiet spaces within his own soundscapes remains as resonant as it is here.

Surya Kris Peters, “Modular Mono Logic”

Electric Magic Records BigCartel store

Electric Magic Records on Thee Facebooks

Electric Magic Records on Bandcamp

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Samsara Blues Experiment Announce German Weekender Shows

Posted in Whathaveyou on December 29th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster

I’ve been doing my best to keep up with the impending 2017 resurgence of Berlin heavy psychedelic rockers Samsara Blues Experiment, who by next Spring should be back in full swing after a couple years of relative inactivity. First came word in October they would play Desertfest London 2017 (info here). Just days later, the trio confirmed they were preparing a fourth album for release to follow-up on 2013’s excellent Waiting for the Flood (review here). After that, it was Desertfest Berlin 2017 (info here), Barcelona’s Riff Ritual Fest (info here) — also in April — and a South American tour presented by Abraxas to take place in March (info here).

By the time they’re done with it, I think Samsara Blues Experiment will have already had a pretty busy Spring, but as they bridge the gap from one run to the next, they now present a home-country weekender of German shows that will fall after their return from South America and before the trips to Spain and London/Berlin for Riff Ritual and the two Desertfests (not that Berlin is much of a voyage for them, but you know what I mean). It’s just three dates, but it carries them from March into April and centers around a slot at the Under the Black Moon Festival in Munich on April 1, where they’ll join the likes of MantarHigh FighterDune Pilot1000mods and others.

Still no solid release date for the album so far as I know, and at this point that’s the news I’m waiting for, but it continues to be a thrill to see Samsara Blues Experiment coming to life again in such a big way and I hope it’s a theme for the rest of 2017 as well. Dates follow for the German and South American shows:

samsara blues experiment weekender

Samsara Blues Experiment – Osnabrück / München / Leipzig

Samsara Blues Experiment live!

Exclusive Germany Short Tour to the start of the fourth album announced for spring 2017.

31. March Westwerk Osnabrück
01. April Under The Black Moon Festival München
02. April Werk 2 Leipzig w/1000mods

Coming soon, let´s have a party…

SAMSARA BLUES EXPERIMENT – SOUTH AMERICA TOUR – MARCH 2017
03/02 – Santiago, CL @ La Capilla
03/03 – Buenos Aires, AR @ The Roxy Live
03/04 – Montevideo, UR @ Bluzz Live
03/05 – Córdoba, AR @ Refugio Guernica
03/08 – Porto Alegre, BR @ RIFF.E Bar
03/09 – Florianópolis, BR @ Célula Showcase
03/10 – Belo Horizonte, BR @ Stonehenge Rock Bar
03/11 – São Paulo, BR @ Inferno Club
03/12 – Rio de Janeiro, BR @ Hocus Pocus Fest

https://www.facebook.com/events/385024388507943/
https://www.facebook.com/samsarabluesexperiment/
http://sbe-official.tumblr.com/
http://instagram.com/samsarabluesexperiment
https://samsarabluesexperiment.bandcamp.com/

Samsara Blues Experiment, Waiting for the Flood (2013)

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Quarterly Review: Bus, Them Bulls, Stinkeye, Buzzard Canyon, Motherbrain, Elder Druid, The Crazy Left Experience, The Watchers, Of the Horizon, Raj

Posted in Reviews on December 28th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster

the obelisk winter quarterly review

Today is the day the Quarterly Review passes the halfway point. This will be 21-30 of the total 60 for the six days, so there’s still a ways to go — you might say 50 percent — but it’s a milestone nonetheless. Once again it’s another roundup of cool stuff, kind of all over the place a little more than the last two days were, but as we go further along with these things, it’s good to mix it up after a while. There’s only so many times you can throw the word “lysergic” around and talk about jamming. That said, you’re getting some of that today as well from Portugal, so when it pops up, don’t be surprised. Much to do, so no need to delay.

Quarterly Review #21-30:

Bus, The Unknown Secretary

bus-the-unknown-secretary

Athenian double-guitar four-piece Bus execute a stylistically cohesive, crisp debut with The Unknown Secretary (on Twin Earth Records), presenting classic heavy rock elements without going full-retro in their sound itself and marking songs like “Masteroid” as immediately distinct through the harmonized vocals of guitarist Bill City, joined in the band by guitarist Johnnie Chez, bassist Chob D’oh and drummer Aris. Together they run through a clean two sides that play back and forth between proto-metallic and doom shading – “Don’t Fear Your Demon” touches on slower Pentagram – while sounding perhaps most comfortable in rockers like “Withered Thorn” or the earlier stomper “New Black Volume,” which puts its two guitars to excellent use ahead of and between unabashedly poppy (not sure a full Ghost comparison is warranted) verse, and craft a highlight in the 7:38 arena-ready thrust of “Rockerbus” prior to the surprisingly nodding finale of “Jimi.” A strikingly efficient and clear-headed first full-length that would seem to hold much promise of things to come from yet another player in Greece’s emergent heavy scene.

Bus on Thee Facebooks

Twin Earth Records on Bandcamp

 

Them Bulls, Them Bulls

them-bulls-them-bulls.jpg

With the start-stop riff of opener “As Fangs in Stone,” a mastering job by Mathias Schneeberger and the breadth of pop melodicism in cuts that one, the swinging “Made of Ghosts,” and the more percussive “Through the Sun,” Italian four-piece Them Bulls make a pretty strong beeline for early-Queens of the Stone Age-style heavy desert rock. Their self-titled Small Stone debut isn’t without individualized flourish, but the 10-track/41-minute offering makes it clear from the start what its intentions are and then sets about living up to them, whether on the careening Songs for the Deaf-ery of “Pot Gun” or the penultimate “We Must Live Up” itself. Vocal interplay from guitarists Daniele Pollio and Franscesco Pasi – joined by the rhythm section of bassist Paolo Baldini and drummer Giampaolo Farnedi – provides an opportunity for future growth, but it’s worth noting that for a band to take on such a specific stylization, their songwriting needs to be in check, and Them Bulls’ is.

Them Bulls on Thee Facebooks

Them Bulls at Small Stone Records

 

Stinkeye, Llantera Demos

stinkeye-llantera-demos

What seems to be Stinkeye’s debut recording, Llantera Demos, arrives as a free download of four tracks and 16 minutes rife with thickened boogie and dense mecha-stoner fuzz, reminding of Dead Meadow immediately in the echoing vocals and rhythmic bounce of “Orange Man” but moving into some shuffle on the subsequent “Fink Ployd” and “Llantera,” the latter a well-earned showcase of bass tone. While out on the coast, ‘70s vibes reign supreme, the Phoenix, Arizona, trio are on a different tip, looser in their swing and apparently more prone to drift. For what it’s worth, they call it “hash rock,” and fair enough as “Pink Clam,” which closes Llantera Demos, rides more of a grunge-laden nod to an immersive but still relatively quick five-minute finish, building after three minutes in to a satisfying final instrumental push. Loaded with potential in tone, execution, vibe and dynamic between the three-piece, Llantera Demos immediately marks Stinkeye out as a band to watch and is just begging for the right person to come along and press it to tape.

Stinkeye on Thee Facebooks

Stinkeye on Bandcamp

 

Buzzard Canyon, Hellfire and Whiskey

buzzard-canyon-hellfire-and-whiskey.jpg

Want to grab attention with your debut long-player? Calling a song “Louder than God” might be a good way to go. That track, at seven minutes, is the longest on Connecticut five-piece Buzzard Canyon’s Hellfire and Whiskey (on Salt of the Earth), and following a quiet initial stretch, it launches into Down-style Southern chug, the dual vocals of Amber Leigh and guitarist Aaron Lewis (the latter also of When the Deadbolt Breaks) veering into and out of more metallic impulses to build on the initial momentum established on the earlier “Highway Run” and “SomaBitch.” The two-minute “For the End” basks in some nightmarish vision of rockabilly, while “Red Beards Massacre” and “Wyoming” dig into more straightforward stylistic patterning, but if Buzzard Canyon want to get a little weird either here or going forward, that’s clearly not about to hurt them. Closer “Not My Cross” hints at some darker visions to come in how it moves into and out of a droning interlude, adding yet more intrigue to their deceptively multifaceted foundation.

Buzzard Canyon on Thee Facebooks

Salt of the Earth Records website

 

Motherbrain, Voodoo Nasty

motherbrain voodoo nasty

Though “Atomic Rodeo” dips into some Queens of the Stone Age-style groove, Motherbrain’s third album, Voodoo Nasty (on Setalight Records), comes across as more defined by its nasty than its voodoo as the Berlin four-piece demonstrate a penchant for incorporating harsher sludge tendencies, especially in vocal shouts peppered in amid the otherwise not-unfriendly proceedings. That gives the nine-song/48-minute offering a meaner edge but does little ultimately to take away from the groove on offer in the opening title-track or “Ghoul of Kolkata,” and though it retains its raw spirit, Voodoo Nasty digs into some more complex fare later in longer cuts like “Baptism of Fire” and “Half Past Human,” having found a place in centerpiece “Dismantling God” where blown-out noise aggression and semi-psychedelic swirl can coexist, if not peacefully then at least for a while until Motherbrain decide it’s time to give Kyuss-style desert rock another kick in its ass, as on “Sons of Kong,” which, yes, does proclaim a lineage.

Motherbrain on Thee Facebooks

Setalight Records website

 

Elder Druid, Magicka

elder druid magicka

Sludge-rolling five-piece Elder Druid riff forth with their debut studio offering, the five-song/33-minute Magicka EP, which one might be tempted to tag as a demo were it not for a few prior live-tracked short releases that appear to have served that purpose, the latest of which, The Attic Sessions (discussed here), came out in Jan. 2016. The experience of putting that together as well as their prior singles clearly benefited the Northern Irish outfit on Magicka, and while they retain a shouty spirit on opener “Rogue Mystic,” middle cut “The Warlock” offers nod that reminds of The Kings of Frog Island’s “Welcome to the Void,” and that’s about all I ever need. Ever. Served up with bloated tones and geared toward establishing a blend of gruff vocals and consuming fuzz, Elder Druid’s first studio recording has a solid footing in what it wants to accomplish sound-wise and plainly showcases that, and while they have some growing to do and patience to learn in their songcraft, nothing I hear on Magicka argues against their getting there in time.

Elder Druid on Thee Facebooks

Elder Druid on Bandcamp

 

The Crazy Left Experience, Bill’s 108th Space Odyssey

the-crazy-left-experience-bills-108th-space-odyssey

The Crazy Left Experience – the moniker seeming to refer to the side of the brain at work in their processes – present Bill’s 108th Space Odyssey almost as an album within an album. The framework from the at-least-party-improvised Portuguese cosmic jammers on the seven-track/56-minute outing centers around William Millarc, who in 1955 was documented while taking part in LSD experiments. Samples of Millarc are peppered into opener “Subject Bill,” the later “Funky Meteor Drop” and the closing duo “Bill Sided Flashback” and “God of the Outer Rings,” but between the opener and the latter trio of cuts comes “Unarius,” a three-part excursion listed as “Part V” through “Part VII” that presumably is the representation of when our friend Bill has left his body behind. So be it. One can hardly call that departure incongruous either sonically or in terms of The Crazy Left Experience’s chosen theme – though there are some unrelated samples spliced into “Unarius – Part VII (Space Brothers)” that are somewhat jarring – and the entire flow of the record is so hypnotic that the band can basically go wherever they want, which of course they do.

The Crazy Left Experience on Thee Facebooks

The Crazy Left Experience on Bandcamp

 

The Watchers, Sabbath Highway

the watchers sabbath highway

Were it not for the context of knowing that vocalist Tim Narducci and bassist Cornbread hail from SpiralArms and White Witch Canyon, drummer Carter Kennedy from Orchid and guitarist Jeremy Von Eppic from Black Gates, the Sabbath Highway debut EP (on Ripple Music) from California’s The Watchers would be almost impossibly coherent for a first outing. Classic in form but modern in its presentation, the five-tracker – four plus the church-organ interlude “Requiem” between the opening title-cut (video here) and “Call the Priest” – makes the most of Narducci’s ‘70s-style vocal push, reminding of one-time Ripple troupe Stone Axe in his oldschool feel, but as “Today” (premiered here) makes plain, The Watchers are much more focused on learning from the past than repeating it. The straightforward songwriting and all-we’re-here-to-do-is-kick-ass sentiment behind Sabbath Highway might well prove formative compared to what The Watchers do next – presumably that’s a full-length, but one never knows; they sound ready to get down to business  – but it makes its ambitions plain in its hooks and swiftly delivers on its promises.

The Watchers on Thee Facebooks

Ripple Music website

 

Of the Horizon, Of the Horizon

of the horizon self-titled

I can’t speak to the present status of California’s Of the Horizon, since last I heard bassist Kayt Vigil was in Italy working with Sonic Wolves, but their self-titled five-track debut full-length arrives via Kozmik Artifactz no less switched on for the half-decade that has passed since it was recorded. Guitarist Mike Hanne howls out throaty incantations to suit the post-Sleep riffing of opener “3 Feet” and drummer Shig pushes the roll of “Caravan” forward into its final crashing slowdown effectively as Vigil ensures the subsequent centerpiece “Unknown” is duly thick beneath its spacious, jammy strum. The two longest slabs hit at the end in “Gladhander” (8:55) and the righteously lumbering “Hall of the Drunken King” (10:31) and feel somewhat like an album unto themselves, but when/if Of the Horizon make a return, they’ve established a working modus on this first full-length that should well satisfy the nod-converted and that demonstrates the timelessness of well-executed tonal onslaught.

Of the Horizon on Thee Facebooks

Of the Horizon at Kozmik Artifactz

 

Raj, Raj

raj self titled

Though it’s fair enough in terms of runtime, it almost seems like Milano sludge-rollers Raj (also written stylized in all-caps: RAJ) do the six tracks of their 20-minute self-titled debut EP a disservice by cramming them onto a single LP side. Not that one gets lost or the band fails to make an impression – far from it – but just that sounds so geared toward largesse and spaciousness beg for more room to flesh out. That, perhaps, is the interesting duality in Raj’s Raj, since even the massive plod of closer “Iron Matrix” lumbers through its course in a relatively short 4:45, never mind the speedier “Magic Wand” (2:47) or drone interlude “Black Mumbai” (1:51) – gone in a flash. The release moves through these, the earlier “Omegagame” and “Eurasia” and the penultimate “Kaluza” with marked fluidity and efficiency, giving Raj a mini-album feel, and with the atmosphere in “Black Mumbai” and in the surrounding material, their rumble sets up a dynamic that seems primed for further exploration.

Raj on Thee Facebooks

Raj on Bandcamp

 

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Desertfest Berlin 2017: John Garcia to Headline; 1000mods, Suma, Pontiak and Riff Fist Added

Posted in Whathaveyou on December 22nd, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster

desertfest berlin 2017 john garcia

Once the reunited Slo Burn had been announced for London, I had been wondering how Desertfest Berlin 2017 might manage to work them into the lineup despite what had been revealed previously as a German-exclusive show at Freak Valley 2017 just weeks later. We have our answer in the latest update that frontman John Garcia and his solo band will do a set spanning material from the Kyuss and Slo Burn catalogs for the Berlin-based festival, thereby avoiding conflict with the Freak Valley slot and giving Desertfesters something special in their own right. I recall seeing Garcia Plays Kyuss at Roadburn in 2010 and they did Slo Burn‘s “Pilot the Dune.” Sat pretty well next to the Kyuss material if I do say so myself.

As Garcia will be performing with Slo Burn the same weekend in London, I’d be very interested to know the lineup for this incarnation of his solo band, whether it’s the same players working under a different name or if anyone is swapping out from one show to the next. Everything’s politics, folks. Make no mistake.

In addition to this bit of intrigue, 1000mods, Suma, Pontiak and Riff Fist have been added to Desertfest Berlin 2017, who sent over this pre-holiday update:

desertfest-berlin-2017-first-poster

JOHN GARCIA & BAND (playing from SLO BURN to KYUSS) to HEADLINE Desertfest Berlin 2017

DESERTFEST BERLIN 2017 – APRIL 28-29-30

Christmas is approaching, and before you all go away for the Holidays, we wanted to give you 5 more names confirmed for Desertfest Berlin 2017, including our second headliner. So we are proud to have for this sixth edition of the festival:

JOHN GARCIA (USA)
The original and legendary voice of the desert pays us a visit with a suitcase packed with everything from Kyuss to Slo Burn.

SUMA (SWE)
Doomy, sludgy and so heavy that the Berlin buildings will tremble for weeks after Malmös finest has destroyed all Desertfesters ears.

1000mods (GR)
The Greek tornado will hit us with their energetic and fuzz loaded rock, it’s gonna be a show that will be remembered.

PONTIAK (USA)
We’ve been able to lure them away from Virginia to perform their trippy and psychedelic tunes, then they’ll take us on a trip for a lifetime.

RIFF FIST (AUS)
It’s always a pleasure to welcome back who defends the riff and Riff Fist are the true defenders.

Also confirmed for our 2017 edition of DESERTFEST BERLIN: SLEEP, SAMSARA BLUES EXPERIMENT, MARS RED SKY, LOWRIDER, TOUNDRA, ECSTATIC VISION, THE COSMIC DEAD, TUBER, SATAN’S SATYRS, WUCAN, VENOMOUS MAXIMUS, THE WELL, GOLD, TSCHAIKA 21/16.

There are still many more acts to be unveiled, including our last headliner, so stay tuned! And do not miss your chance to be part of the amazing DESERTFEST BERLIN experience… Check out our Website to get your tickets, or the links below in this release! We were sold out last year in February, so better be quick! Let’s turn all together the DESERTFEST BERLIN 2017 into another milestone when it comes to Berlin and festivals!

http://www.desertfest.de/tickets
https://www.facebook.com/DesertfestBerlin
http://woolheads.com/shop-2/festivalmerchandise/desertfest-berlin-2016-early-bird-ticket-action-1/
https://shop3.ticketscript.com/channel/html/get-products/rid/4MGC3S6H/eid/327518/validity/any_day/language/en

John Garcia, “Pilot the Dune” live in 2014

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Samsara Blues Experiment Announce South American Tour

Posted in Whathaveyou on December 9th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster

We’ve been getting info in drips and drabs about a resurgence from Berlin heavy psych explorers Samsara Blues Experiment. In October came word of the writing being completed for a fourth album, to be recorded in 2017. Then followed confirmations for Desertfest London and Berlin at the end of April, as well as the Riff Ritual Fest in Barcelona the week before. I’d been kind of assuming the album, whenever it’s made and whatever it’s called, would be out by then. I’m hearing word of a tour mostly through Central Europe to take place as well, perhaps in Spring or Summer, but what we know for sure is that before they hit the road for the aforementioned fests, they’ll travel to Brazil, Chile, Argentina and Uruguay for their first ever run in South America this coming March.

Will they have a new album in tow for the merch table? Can you even get vinyl pressed that fast? I guess we’ll find out, but I’m intrigued as to the timing on this one. For what it’s worth, my general opinion on the prospect of new Samsara Blues Experiment is “the sooner the better,” but that’s basically been the case since Waiting for the Flood (review here) came out in 2013.

The South American shows, as if it’s even a question at this point, are presented by Abraxas Events. Below you’ll find the poster (gorgeous), dates and some comment from Samsara Blues Experiment guitarist/vocalist Christian Peters on how the tour came together:

Christian Peters on touring South America:

“We are looking much forward to this tour, not only because it will be our first time in South America but because we planned this for very long. I have met Felipe Toscano before he even had a clearer idea he would run Abraxas Booking, and we were supposed to be the first band he wanted to bring to Brasil — back then, basically a fan of our music. Things didn’t work out earlier for us, while in the meantime, in the last years he had Radio Moscow, The Flying Eyes and many others over there and built a real solid booking network… Well, as I said, we are much excited that this is finally happening.”

Good morning South America!

It’s a-happening-thing. We’re coming to Chile, Uruguay, Argentina and Brasil in March 2017!

SAMSARA BLUES EXPERIMENT – SOUTH AMERICA TOUR – MARCH 2017

03/02 – Santiago, CL @ La Capilla
Tickets: Mucky Rock (Eurocentro, Santiago) // Respect (Portal Lyon, Providencia)

03/03 – Buenos Aires, AR @ The Roxy Live
Tickets: https://www.allaccess.com.ar/event/samsara-blues-experiment

03/04 – Montevideo, UR @ Bluzz Live

03/05 – Córdoba, AR @ Refugio Guernica

03/08 – Porto Alegre, BR @ RIFF.E Bar
Tickets: https://www.sympla.com.br/samsara-blues-experiment-em-poa—8-de-marco-a-partir-das-20h__106464

03/09 – Florianópolis, BR @ Célula Showcase
Tickets: https://www.sympla.com.br/samsara-blues-experiment–florianopolis-sc–090317__102955

03/10 – Belo Horizonte, BR @ Stonehenge Rock Bar
Tickets: https://www.sympla.com.br/samsara-blues-experiment-alemanha–duna-brisa-e-chama-e-pesta__102815

03/11 – São Paulo, BR @ Inferno Club*
Tickets: https://www.sympla.com.br/samsara-blues-experiment-em-sao-paulo—11-de-marco-a-partir-das-18h__106463
* the hellfire club recently released that was closing their doors, but rest assured that the site will continue to be a house of gigs and there will only be name change.

03/12 – Rio de Janeiro, BR @ Hocus Pocus Fest

https://www.facebook.com/samsarabluesexperiment/
http://sbe-official.tumblr.com/
http://instagram.com/samsarabluesexperiment
https://samsarabluesexperiment.bandcamp.com/
https://www.facebook.com/abraxasevents/
http://abraxas.fm/

Samsara Blues Experiment, “Midnight Boogie”

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Desertfest London & Berlin 2017: Sleep Added as Headliners

Posted in Whathaveyou on December 7th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster

sleep

Sleep will headline at both Desertfest London and Berlin 2017. Ain’t their first time at the rodeo, but let’s face it: anytime Sleep do anything it’s news, and all the more so because usually what they’re doing is stuff like headlining Desertfests. It was only a week ago that the London incarnation of the multi-city festival brand announced it was bringing reformed desert rockers Slo Burn over for a headline slot, and before them, Turbonegro had been unveiled with the first lineup announcement in October, so that’s three headliners unveiled for a three-night festival before the New Year has even hit. I wouldn’t fret. No doubt Desertfest London 2017 still has plenty of tricks up its sleeve.

Meanwhile, in Berlin, I believe Sleep count for the first headliner announcement. The prior two lineup updates from Desertfest Berlin 2017 (posted here and here) included the likes of Mars Red SkySamsara Blues ExperimentLowriderEcstatic VisionThe Cosmic DeadTuberThe Well and Satan’s Satyrs. As the two festivals have worked hard to each establish their own personality over the last several years, I’ll be interested to see who shows up in the top spots for Berlin from here on out. Maybe they go local?

I’m also still holding out hope for a new Sleep album sometime in, you know, ever. Guitarist Matt Pike said this year the plan was to record early 2017. At this point it will have been three years since they released their single The Clarity (review here), and eight since they started playing reunion shows, so they’re nothing if not due, but my inclination is to keep my fingers crossed Pike, bassist/vocalist Al Cisneros and drummer Jason Roeder can make it happen while also believing it when I see it. Cautious optimism. I wouldn’t mind a new Om record from Cisneros either, while we’re at it. Roeder, who this fall put out the fantastic Fires Within Fires (review here) with main outfit Neurosis, is off the hook for the time being.

Sorry, got sidetracked. Awesome news for Desertfesters in London and Berlin, in whose number I continue to daydream of counting myself.

The PR wire has it:

SLEEP TO REIGN AT THE ROUNDHOUSE AS THEY HEADLINE DESERTFEST LONDON 2017!

After conquering Koko, Sleep are back; this time to reign at the Roundhouse. That’s right, not only did we bag seminal doom legends Sleep to headline the sixth Desertfest, we’ll also be descending on the iconic Roundhouse for the whole of the Sunday.

Forming in 1990 on the bones of previous band Asbestosdeth, Sleep carved out an almost mythological name for themselves in their original stint of less than a decade. The first three-piece lineup of Al Cisneros, Matt Pike and Chris Hakius recorded two of doom’s most revered albums in Holy Mountain and Dopesmoker (or Jerusalem for the purists), with the latter not even seeing release until the years in which Sleep slept.

As Cisneros and Pike found other outlets for their heaviness through Om and High on Fire, a resurging stoner and doom scene declared Sleep as a monolithic pillar of the scene, due mostly to their downtuned, distorted riffs but also their uncompromising love for a certain plant. The time was perfect for a Sleep reunion. In 2009, after over a decade in slumber, Sleep awoke for Cisneros, Pike and Hakius to play two final sets together. Whilst Hakius decided to retire from music after the shows, the rest of the band decided Sleep weren’t quite ready to be put to bed. Recruiting Jason Roeder of Neurosis, Sleep continued to sporadically play shows, before teasing us with The Clarity; a fantastic single ten-minute track which proved that Sleep still had it and we wanted more of it.

We Desertfesters got some of it in 2015, when Sleep closed out Desertfest with an unforgettable set at the Koko. The moment the curtain raised with the first few strains of Dopesmoker hitting is a moment etched into the memory of an entire building full of Weedians. A blisteringly loud green cloud of sound, a pure mad wall of riffs and a room full of grinning, sweaty, hairy doom pilgrims. It’s one of the unquestionable highlights of our first five years of Desertfest; so we’ve invited them back.

But if it’s worth doing again, it’s worth doing bigger and better. That’s why this year, Sleep will be headlining the much larger Roundhouse. The famous London venue, just a short walk from Desertfest’s other stages, boasts an increased capacity, meaning nobody should miss their chance to space out to ‘Dragonaut’. Like the Koko in previous years, the Roundhouse will host bands throughout the Sunday; and to welcome the venue into the Desertfest family, we have huge plans, so keep your eyes peeled.

So drop out of life and ride the dragon to Desertfest 2017 when Sleep blow the roof off the Roundhouse.

SLEEP to headline DESERTFEST BERLIN

It is a very exciting day for us! We are finally ready to unveil our first headliner for next year’s DESERTFEST BERLIN, and what a name this is…! You guys have been asking for them for many years, it is the most common request we receive via mail or Facebook… and we finally managed to bring them to Berlin next year…: Californian stoner doom legends SLEEP!!!

Formed in 1990, the extravaganza outfit SLEEP is one of the most widely-respected and influential acts in the stoner/doom metal universe, best known for “Dopesmoker”, the unfuckwithable 63-minute album/song that acts as one of the greatest tribute to weed that metal has produced. They haven’t really done much since then as original band’s members split off into prolific acts such as Om and High On Fire. And so in 2009 when they were reborn with Al Cisneros, Matt Pike and the estimable Jason Roeder (Neurosis), SLEEP’s popularity grew tremendously.

After “sporadically writing riffs for a while” SLEEP returned with a new song (their first official release in over a decade) for the Adult Swim singles series. “The Clarity” is nearly 10 minutes of mystical, slow-riffing awesomeness. Back then, asked about the possibility of a new studio album, the band refused to offer specific details. But recently, upon Southern Lord’s announcement of the impending re-release of “The Clarity” on vinyl (scheduled for February 2017), Matt Pike said publicly that SLEEP will record a new album next year as well!

SLEEP did what it had done and what it had left to do. Largely and without pause, make music in tune with The Ages. Best to be enjoyed? Live and living. See, hear, feel, do it. Well, beyond just music and well into the experiential joy of pure being. SLEEP.

Also confirmed for our 2017 edition of DESERTFEST BERLIN: SAMSARA BLUES EXPERIMENT, MARS RED SKY, LOWRIDER, TOUNDRA, ECSTATIC VISION, THE COSMIC DEAD, TUBER, SATAN’S SATYRS, WUCAN, VENOMOUS MAXIMUS, THE WELL, GOLD, TSCHAIKA 21/16.

There are still 20 more acts to be unveiled, including 2 other headliners, so stay tuned! And do not miss your chance to be part of the amazing DESERTFEST BERLIN experience… Check out our Website to get your tickets, or the links below in this release! We were sold out last year in February, so better be quick!

Let’s turn all together the DESERTFEST BERLIN 2017 into another milestone when it comes to Berlin and festivals!

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/desertfest-2017-tickets-27305267791
http://www.desertfest.co.uk/
https://www.facebook.com/DesertfestLondon
https://twitter.com/DesertFest
https://www.instagram.com/desertfest_london/
http://www.desertfest.de/tickets
https://www.facebook.com/DesertfestBerlin
http://woolheads.com/shop-2/festivalmerchandise/desertfest-berlin-2016-early-bird-ticket-action-1/
https://shop3.ticketscript.com/channel/html/get-products/rid/4MGC3S6H/eid/327518/validity/any_day/language/en

Sleep, Live at Psycho Las Vegas 2016

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Desertfest Berlin 2017: Mars Red Sky, Samsara Blues Experiment, The Well, Tuber and Wucan Join Lineup

Posted in Whathaveyou on November 28th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster

desertfest-berlin-2017-banner

Let’s get one thing straight: I really want to go to Desertfest Berlin 2017. For one thing, I’ve never been, and quite frankly I’m more than a little ashamed of it at this point. I spent about two days in Berlin over a decade ago, and aside from the raging jetlag — one did not know at the time to simply stay in one’s own timezone; also I was drunk like the entire trip — found the city to be beautiful, a little sad in the way cool cities are, and welcoming.

But even putting the palce itself aside, Desertfest Berlin has been going on for years now and it’s always been just out of my reach, right there on the horizon. I’ve been to the London incarnation of the festival and wouldn’t mind getting back there either, but to cross this one off my list would be big, especially since as this lineup continues to come together it’s looking more and more admirable. The chance to see Samsara Blues Experiment on their home turf? Come on.

Five bands added in the second lineup announcement, as the PR wire informs:

desertfest-berlin-2017-first-poster

Desertfest Berlin 2017 – 5 new Names on the Bill (Mars Red Sky, Samsara Blues Experiment, Tuber, Wucan, The Well)

DESERTFEST BERLIN 2017 – APRIL 28-29-30

Hey everybody! We are glad to get back to you today with a new batch of bands to announce for our 2017 edition of DESERTFEST BERLIN! Alongside previously confirmed LOWRIDER, TOUNDRA, ECSTATIC VISION, THE COSMIC DEAD and SATAN’S SATYRS, we are thrilled to welcome aboard five new stunning acts:

MARS RED SKY (FR)
We are stoked to have Mars Red Sky back for next year DESERTFEST! The Bordeaux three-piece played the very first edition of our festival in 2012 when they were just promoting their self-titled debut album. They always showed “a penchant for 60s space rock filled with doomy tones and tempos, accentuated with pop sensibilities” (The Sludgelord), and 4 years later, after touring relentlessly, they pushed boundaries further into a colossal heavy sound by releasing their third full-length, “Apex III (Praise for the Burning Soul),” an album that represents the most significant sonic progression the band has made so far, forging grandiose and hypnotizing thickly produced songs. Their show is going to be a crazy psychedelic trip and Mars Red Sky will be your tour guide!

SAMSARA BLUES EXPERIMENT (D)
It is always a pleasure to have Samsara Blues Experiment at DESERTFEST BERLIN. Founded in 2007 by guitarist/singer Christian Peters and completed by bassplayer Hans Eiselt and drummer Thomas Vedder, they are one of Berlin underground scene’s pride, and a household name in the “stoner scene” in general. Playing a mixture of stoner rock, psychedelic blues, Indian raga, thrash metal and traditional folk, the trio is currently working one a new album, their long-awaited fourth one, which should be released around next spring… “Good tunes come to those who wait” guys!

TUBER (GR)
Tuber is an instrumental band from Greece blending post, stoner, desert and space rock with a sublime psych edge. They recorded their first self-titled EP in 2011 and their stunning debut album “Desert Overcrowded” in December 2013. Two and a half years removed from the release of this full-length, but having built a steady following all the while (and after traveling in 2015 to play Freak Valley), Tuber hit the European roads for the very first time this past spring and clearly made an impression! So if you guys want to enjoy some rock aesthetic flirting with psychedelic atmosphere and a touch of romantic mood, do not miss them!

WUCAN (D)
The Saxonian band Wucan entered the German Rock Scene with a splash by releasing their first EP “Vikarma” in the fall of 2014 and their full-length debut “Sow the Wind” in August 2015, to excellent critical acclaim. Deeply rooted in the 70s, the band’s fresh sounding kaleidoscopic Rock Fusion of groovy Funk, Psychedelic, Hard Rock and Kraut Rock, and enigmatic live performances have proven that the band is capable to hypnotize a receptive audience and take it onto a journey into a rockworld of it’s own creation. The band is currently writing their follow-up second album (tentatively titled “Reap the Storm”) scheduled for a spring release…

THE WELL (US)
Austin-based power trio The Well redefine heavy rock by merging massive riffs with sophisticated melodies. Their progressive sound stems from a nostalgic desire to blend different musical styles as diversified as Joy Division to Blue Cheer. As fans of cult horror films, they embrace the sinister, revel in dark themes and find inspiration in haunting echoes. Thet have created a sound that reflects doom, punk and horror all rolled together in a ghostly rock soundtrack. After releasing their debut album “Samsara” in 2014 and toured on it relentlessly, they dropped a furiously strong sophomore effort “Pagan Science” last month, and can’t wait to share it with the European crowd!

There are still 20 more acts to be unveiled, including all our headliners, so stay tuned! Next announcement will be on Friday 2nd of December. Meanwhile do not miss your chance to be part of the amazing DESERTFEST BERLIN experience… Check out our Website to get your tickets, or the links below in this release! We were sold out last year in February, so better be quick!

Let’s turn all the DESERTFEST BERLIN 2017 into another milestone when it comes to Berlin and festivals!

http://www.desertfest.de/tickets
https://www.facebook.com/DesertfestBerlin
http://woolheads.com/shop-2/festivalmerchandise/desertfest-berlin-2016-early-bird-ticket-action-1/
https://shop3.ticketscript.com/channel/html/get-products/rid/4MGC3S6H/eid/327518/validity/any_day/language/en

Samsara Blues Experiment, Waiting for the Flood (2013)

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