Kadavar Post “Die Baby Die” Video; Live Dates Underway

Posted in Bootleg Theater on August 8th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

kadavar-photo-Elizaveta-Porodina

Fresh off appearances this past week at Wacken Open Air and the Los Almiros festivals, German trio Kadavar have unveiled the first single from their forthcoming Rough Times album. Set for release via Nuclear Blast on Sept. 29, Rough Times follows 2015’s Berlin (review here) and once again marks a turn for the highly-stylized outfit, keeping the sonic modernity of its predecessor while embarking on a much more tonally weighted feel overall, especially in the low end. “Die Baby Die,” the single which is also being issued as a 7″ with an accompanying cover of The Beatles‘ “Helter Skelter,” finds Kadavar‘s underlying songcraft as catchy as ever, but in theme and sound, represents the LP’s heavier side well.

Could it be Kadavar are reacting to the somewhat cleaner feel that Berlin had coming off the more vintage-sounding 2013 outing Abra Kadavar (review here) and their 2012 self-titled debut (discussed here)? Listening to the opening title-track to Rough Times, with its buzzsaw fuzz, deep-running bass and riotous crash followed by the even thicker push of “Into the Wormhole,” it certainly sounds like it. As the name would lead one to believe, Rough Times has a darker overarching atmosphere certainly than Berlin, which even at its moodiest kept a celebratory vibe, but is still definitively Kadavar‘s own, and that comes across in “Die Baby Die” in the melody of guitarist Lupus Lindemann‘s vocals, the bounce of drummer Tiger‘s snare and the foundation of warmth from Simon “Dragon” Bouteloup‘s bass.

These are preliminary thoughts, and I’m planning on having a full review up prior to the Sept. 29 release date, so I’ll park my brain there for the time being and let you dig into the video below and the info that follows. Kadavar, as they will, have a substantial amount of touring planned in support of the impending long-player, including a full European run alongside Mantar and Death Alley in October and November. You can see the dates for that in the PR wire info that follows the clip.

Enjoy:

Kadavar, “Die Baby Die” official video

Berlin, Germany-based rock overlords KADAVAR have announced the details for their upcoming fourth studio album, Rough Times. The 7″ vinyl single “Die Baby Die” including the BEATLES cover ‘Helter Skelter’ is available now via nblast.de/KadavarDieBabyDieNB

The official music video for the “Die Baby Die” as well as the pre-orders for Rough Times (in various lavish formats, see below) and brand new merchandise can be viewed here.

Commented singer & guitarist Lupus: “I always wanted to do a trashy VHS styled green screen video. Milan from the band ROTOR got my idea and we shot it on one day at Felsenkeller in Leipzig. As you can see it was great fun. Lots of layers, colors and fast cuts. A lot of chaos. I think it fits the song pretty well.”

Rough Times will be released on September 29 via Nuclear Blast.

After announcing a string of summer shows as well as an extensive European headline run with their label mates MANTAR and DEATH ALLEY, KADAVAR, have also revealed more dates for December 2017. Dates as follows:

KADAVAR live:
30.09. UK London – The Dome
01.10. UK Sheffield – HRH Doom vs. Stoner
20.12. D Bremen – Tower
21.12. D Mannheim – Alte Feuerwache
22.12. D Münster – Sputnikhalle
28.12. D Chemnitz – AJZ Talschock
29.12. D Siegen – Vortex

w/ MANTAR, DEATH ALLEY
12.10. D Essen – Zeche Carl
13.10. D Hamburg – Markthalle*
14.10. D Leipzig – Conne Island
15.10. B Antwerp – Desert Fest
17.10. F Strasbourg – La Laiterie Club
18.10. F Paris – Le Trabendo
19.10. F Rennes – L’Ubu
20.10. F Bordeaux – La Krakatoa
21.10. E Madrid – But
22.10. E Barcelona – Bikini
24.10. F Lyon – Feyzin
25.10. CH Monthey – Pont Rouge
26.10. CH Aarau – Kiff
27.10. D Munich – Backstage
28.10. A Vienna – Flex
29.10. A Graz – PPC
30.10. HR Zagreb – Mocvara
01.11. H Budapest – A38
02.11. PL Warsaw – Progresja
03.11. PL Krakow – Kwadrat
04.11. CZ Prague – Nová Chmelnice
05.11. D Nuremberg – Hirsch
07.11. NL Amsterdam – Paradiso Noord
08.11. D Hanover – Capitol
09.11. DK Copenhagen – Pumpehuset
10.11. S Stockholm – Debaser
11.11. N Oslo – Bla
12.11. S Gothenburg – Pustervik
13.11. NL Deventer – Burgerweeshuis
15.11. D Cologne – Bürgerhaus Stollwerck
16.11. D Wiesbaden – Schlachthof
17.11. D Stuttgart – LKA Longhorn
18.11. D Berlin – Columbiahalle
*no MANTAR

Video Credits:
Kamera, Schnitt & Postproduktion – Milan Pfützenreuter
Licht & Bühne – Alexander Jung & Marco Schulz
3D und Titelanimation – Denny Münster
ein Dankeschön an den Felsenkeller Leipzig und Meyer Bros. Leipzig

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Quarterly Review: Enslaved, Hour of 13, Operators, MaidaVale, Audion, Bone Man, Riff Fist, Helén, Savanah, Puta Volcano

Posted in Reviews on July 12th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

quarterly-review-summer-2017

I don’t know about you, but I could do this all day. Listening to records, writing reviews, getting things done that I’ve been trying to get done in some cases for actual months of my life — suffice it to say I’m way into this process. Wednesday is always a special day for the Quarterly Review because we pass the halfway point, and as much as I wish this edition went to 60 or even 70 releases, because rest assured even with 50 total there’s way more I could be covering if I had space/time, the good news is there’s still much more awesomeness to come. Today gets into some different vibes once again, so let’s get started.

Quarterly Review #21-30:

Enslaved, Roadburn Live

enslaved-roadburn-live

In their storied and groundbreaking career, Norwegian progressive black metallers Enslaved have never put out a live record, and it kind of makes sense as to why. The nuance of what they’ve come to do in their studio material doesn’t really lend itself to the rawness of a live album. Accordingly, Roadburn Live (on ByNorse and Burning World Records) feels almost as much of an homage to the event itself as to the performance. Captured in 2015 as Enslaved guitarist Ivar Bjørnson co-curated and the band headlined playing a special set of their more prog-focused songs – here more recent material like “In Times,” “Building with Fire,” “Daylight” from 2015’s In Times (review here) and “Death in the Eyes of Dawn” from 2012’s RIITIIR (review here) shines along with “Convoys to Nothingness” from 2001’s Monumension, “As Fire Swept Clean the Earth” from 2003’s Below the Lights and the requisite “Isa” from the 2004 landmark of the same name, and a special highlight comes at the finale when they cover Led Zeppelin’s “Immigrant Song” and bring guitarist Menno Gootjes of Dutch proggers Focus out for a guest spot. Roadburn Live might be a step away from the band’s usual modus, but Enslaved have made their career on pushing themselves beyond their comfort zone, so why stop now?

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Hour of 13, Salt the Dead: The Rare and Unreleased

hour of 13 salt the dead

An overdue compilation from a band making an overdue return, Hour of 13’s Salt the Earth: The Rare and Unreleased reunites the doomers led by multi-instrumentalist Chad Davis with Shadow Kingdom Records and brings together early demos from 2007 – on which the collaboration between Davis and vocalist Phil Swanson was arguably at its most vibrant as they headed into their self-titled debut full-length later that year – with other previously unissued cuts like three songs with Davis on vocals including the Jason McCash tribute piece “Upon Black Wings We Die” (premiered here) and the original rehearsal demos that introduced Beaten Back to Pure singer Ben Hogg as Swanson’s replacement in the band in 2011 (premiered here). If you want a direct feel for the breadth of the band, look no further than the three versions of “Call to Satan” that appear on Salt the Earth. Widely varied between them in sound and overall feel, they underscore the tumult that has existed since the outset at the core of Hour of 13 even as they provide hope that the band previously laid to rest can revitalize enough to put out a fourth studio offering.

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Operators, Revelers

operators revelers

Nearly four years in the making, Revelers is the third full-length from Berlin’s Operators behind 2013’s Contact High (review here) and 2012’s Operators (review here), and it starts off by smashing Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats swing headfirst into Goatsnake riffing on “Leveled Reveler,” the first of its six component tracks. Their arrangements, as ever, are marked by the featured position of organ along with guitar, bass and drums, and whether it’s a more extended jam like that opener, “Messina” or the closing “Rolling Hitch” – which boasts a guest vocal/guitar spot from Wight’s René Hofmann, who also recorded and mixed (Tony Reed of Mos Generator mastered) – or the shorter momentum-building winding course through “Pusher,” “Walkin’ on Air” (I’m not sure what’s happening at the end there, but I’m not about to spoil it) and the winning-at-song-titles “Fuzz Muncher,” Operators function with a maturity of approach that seems to have been earned during the longer stretch between releases. To wit, all the turns and pivots even out in the last movement of “Rolling Hitch” and Revelers caps with a classic heavy rock groove that’s neither in a hurry nor staid – Operators finding crucial balance amidst all their revelry, and much to their credit.

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MaidaVale, Tales of the Wicked West

maidavale tales of the wicked west

Blues Pills. There. I said it. Now that the blues-rocking elephant in the room has been acknowledged, perhaps we can get on with Swedish four-piece MaidaVale’s debut full-length, Tales of the Wicked West (on The Sign Records). Yes, the Fårösund-based band owe a bit of their soulfulness to the aforementioned, but the nine-track/44-minute long-player thrives most of all as Linn Johannesson, Sofia Ström, Matilda Roth and Johanna Hansson purposefully meander into psychedelic flashes, as in opener “(If You Want the Smoke) Be the Fire,” the midsection of “The Greatest Story Ever Told,” the penultimate Zep-vibing/Bukowski-referencing “Find What You Love and Let it Kill You” and the 11-minute post-“Maggot Brain” closer “Heaven and Earth.” It’s in these moments and the manner in which they blend with the driving rock of “Dirty War,” the bluesy swagger of “Restless Wanderer” and the deft turns of “Colour Blind” early on that MaidaVale’s individualism is beginning to take shape, and if that’s the story that Tales of the Wicked West is telling, then it’s one well worth following through subsequent chapters.

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Audion, La Historia de Abraham

audion-la-histora-de-abraham

Audion’s debut, La Historia de Abraham, is immediately noteworthy in no small part because it brings the rhythm section of Los Natas back together for the first time since that band’s breakup following 2009’s excellent Nuevo Orden de la Libertad (review here). Drummer Walter Broide and bassist Gonzalo Villagra join forces in the new outfit with guitarist Dizzy Espeche, and all three contribute vocals throughout at least in backup capacity, adding variety to go with the instrumental breadth that runs from the serene end of “Llegaron Sordos” right into the rush of “La Maquina del Tiempo” and well beyond later as the interlude “Para Rosita” introduces an earthy acoustidelic feel and “El Carancho” explores ‘70s anthemic rock before the fuzz- and horn-laden finisher “Queruzalem” closes out with a surprising progressive wash. Cuts like opener “Clarence,” the title-track and “Colmillo Blanco” can call to mind Villagra and Broide’s previous work, but Audion make a fresh impression on La Historia de Abraham in the variety throughout, and as they make their way through “Lesbotrans” and “Diablo vs. Dios” and into the second half of the album, it becomes increasingly clear how distinct this first offering actually is.

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Bone Man, III

bone man iii

To go along with the propulsive rhythm of “False Ambition” and the wash in the payoff of the earlier “These Days are Gone,” there’s a sense of gothic drama to vocalist Marian’s delivery that adds further atmosphere to Bone Man’s III (on Pink Tank Records), and in kind with the cohesive foundation of Arne’s bass, Ötzi’s drumming and his own scorch-prone guitar, that gives cuts like “Cold Echo” and the alternately brooding and explosive centerpiece – layered acoustic and electric guitar filling out the sound further – even more stylistic depth. That moodiness comes perhaps most into focus on the more subdued “Incognito,” but it’s there from the boogie-laced opener “Pollyanna” onward, and in the jagged push of “Years of Sorrow” and the more spacious finale “Amnesia” (still a tightly structured four minutes in length), it lends III a persona stretching beyond what one might think of as the standard genre fare and gives the Kiel, Germany, outfit a presence decidedly their own. It’s their third record, so maybe that’s not a surprise for a band who made their first offering eight years ago, but it serves as a major source of resonance in the material nonetheless.

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Riff Fist, King Tide

riff fist king iii

Going back to 2013, Melbourne, Australia, trio Riff Fist have basically summed up their approach in the eight letters of their name: a tight-knit approach to guitar-led heavy rock, as straightforward as a fist in your face. King Tide is their debut album after three EPs named for the Clint Eastwood Dollars trilogy of westerns – 2015’s The Good, the Loud and the Riff, 2014’s For a Few Riffs More and 2013’s Fistful of Riffs (review here) – and it significantly expands their breadth. Opening with its longest track (immediate points) in the 11-minute title cut (video premiered here), King Tide covers new, more patient and encompassing ground from bassist/vocalist Cozza, guitarist Casey and drummer Joel than anything they’ve touched on before, and while the subsequent “D.T.U.B.,” fuzz-laden “Fist Bier (Noch Eins)” and even the first half of eight-minute centerpiece “Chugg” bring that all-ahead sensibility back into focus, King Tide remains effectively and engagingly informed by its leadoff impression through its total 33-minute run, which is rounded out as “Beer and a Cigarette” melds the more spacious and atmospheric take with a still-swinging post-Clutch groove. There’s more work to do in tying the various sides together, but King Tide is a rousing introduction to the process through which the band can make that happen.

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Helén, Helén

helen helen

Hexvessel multi-instrumentalist and vocalist Kimmo Helén makes a willfully peculiar and experimentalist self-titled debut with the solo-project Helén via Svart Records, setting a course through melodic indie wash in “Uusi Olento” even as “Jumalan Hullu” threatens in its bounce and the later “Lystia” moves into yet-darker expanses. Keys, electric and acoustic guitar, sax, and of course Helén’s own Finnish-language vocals, there’s very little that feels like it might be outside his comfort zone in terms of craft, and Helén, the album, is just as effective in the plus-cello-acoustic-minimalism of the penultimate “Lopussa” as in the earlier atmospheric breadth of “Puolen Metrin Syvyydessä.” Closing out with the alternately melancholy and dreamy “Kaikki Isä,” the record brings out a full-band feel despite Helén having handled the vast majority of the instrumentation on his own and impresses in that as well as in its range of moods and overarching sense of purpose. May it be a first exploration in a series of many.

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Savanah, The Healer

savanah the healer

I won’t take away from a wah-drenched rocker like “The Healer,” which still jams out plenty before digging into doomier lumbering, but where Austrian trio Savanah’s Stone Free Records debut album, The Healer, really gets its point across is in the fluidity of its longer-form material, whether that’s post-“Intro” opener “Mind,” the ebbing and flowing heavy psych instrumental “Pillars of Creation” or the over-10-minutes-apiece closing pair of the doom rocking “Black Widow” and “Panoramic View of Stormy Weather,” which effectively draws together the multiple aesthetic faces the three-piece demonstrate throughout the record preceding, culling rock, psych and doom into a single riff-driven entity and, most importantly, making it theirs. Guitar leads the way with big, natural fuzz, but the rhythm section is crucial here, and as Benny, Felix and Jakob follow-up their 2015 EP, Deep Shades, they seem to establish a path along which they can flourish and hopefully continue to capture the listener’s attention as they do here.

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Puta Volcano, Harmony of Spheres

puta volcano harmony of spheres

The kind of release where by the end of the first song you want to own everything the band has ever put out. Don’t let Athens’ Puta Volcano get lost in the wash of bands coming out of Greece these days, because there are many, but if you miss out on the blend of desert-style tones and graceful melodies of “Bird,” it’s to your general detriment. I’m serious. In craft and performance, Puta Volcano’s third album, Harmony of Spheres, takes on unpretentious progressivism in songwriting and blends it with a post-Slo Burn/Hermano sense of freedom from genre. Witness the funky “Zeroth Law” or the later, more subtle post-grunge linearity of “Moebius,” the odd chanting repetitions in closer “Infinity” or the nigh-on-maddening hook of “Jovian Winds.” Really, do it. With the lineup of vocalist Luna Stoner, guitarist Alex Pi, bassist Bookies and drummer Steven Stefanidis, Puta Volcano are onto something special in aesthetic and delivery, and if Harmony of Spheres might be your first experience with the band as it’s mine, it’s one that will no doubt warrant multiple revisits. Consider it sleeper fodder for your year-end list – I know I will.

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Kadavar Announce New Album Title Rough Times; Cover Art Posted; New 7″ Coming Soon

Posted in Whathaveyou on June 19th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

kadavar-photo-Elizaveta-Porodina

German traditionalist heavy rock forerunners Kadavar have set Rough Times as the title of their impending fourth album. When we heard from them at the end of last month, the Berlin-based trio had newly finished recording and set a Sept. release date through Nuclear Blast, and in addition to announcing the title of the record and posting the striking cover art which you can see below, Kadavar now put out word that Rough Times will be preceded by a new 7″ featuring the Beatles cover “Helter Skelter” and the album track “Die Baby Die.” That’s available for preorder now.

Rough Times, of course, will be the follow-up to 2015’s Berlin (review here), which was arguably Kadavar‘s high-water mark to-date. Below, the band explains their motivation behind the title and details the single. More as I hear it.

Goes like this:

kadavar rough times

Kadavar – Rough Times

Our album “Rough Times” will soon be released!

Tiger: “The process of making this record was quite intense. I kind of went through my inner hell. Working all day, you’re fine but at night all these things were torturing me. The new songs are crazy and absurd sometimes, but also serious and very personal. It’s the ambiguity that holds »Rough Times« together. Every song evolved from a certain strong feeling.

We chose the title because it has this duality. It’s not just funny, yet it’s not a complete serious title. we’re doing fine, but something’s missing in this world. We don’t really fit in or want to but at the same time we’re stuck in this. the times are rough when you wake up and just wanna die, but times can also be rough for very trivial reasons, the latter I have the feeling is very zeitgeisty.

This collage for the cover is the perfect match for the title. I had this picture in my head throughout the whole process. It’s a little rough, but this picture tells a lot.”

Added singer & guitarist Lupus: For me it’s a very serious title, bar any humor. We maintain the achievements of our elders, such as women rights, peace and a corporate Europe by touring through clubs, sniffing 100 euro bills through our noses and call attention to ourselves by posting insta stories. Meanwhile people rising to power decline economy, free thinking and progress. If we don’t start to really care for this heritage and leave it to people who just want to enrich themselves, we will soon face »Rough Times«.

The album itself is a journey through our states of mind. The first 3 songs is us venting our spleen. About everything and everyone we despise – until towards the end when there’s something kinda like hope.”

Aside of the big album announcement, the band also revealed to be releasing an exclusive 7″ vinyl for the first single off the album, called ‘Die Baby Die’. The single will also contain the BEATLES cover ‘Helter Skelter’ and is available for pre-order now: http://nblast.de/KadavarDieBabyDieNB

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Kadavar, “Lord of the Sky” official video

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Albez Duz Premiere “Our Lord, the Flayed One” Video

Posted in Bootleg Theater on June 9th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

albez duz

With a fist-in-the-air grandstanding chorus and theatrical metallic chug in its tense verse, Albez Duz‘s ‘Our Lord, the Flayed One’ was a highlight of the Berlin outfit’s 2016 third album, Wings of Tzinacan (review here). The record basked in goth atmospherics and found its way fluidly into more extremely metallic fare, as does the track in question with its later, pre-solo section of deathly growls, but maintained a progressive feel darkened in its ambience and given a classic edge through interplay of organ and other sonic flourish. In other words, shit was complex. Had a lot going on.

What held it together, however, was that hook. The song almost stops to make way for vocalist Alfonso Brito Lopez to deliver the title line, and rightly so. Lopez‘s power as a singer is evident all throughout the track — and the album, for that matter — and in company with the fervent push of founding drummer and multi-instrumentalist Eugen Herbst (formerly of Dies Ater) and the cast-in-molten-steel guitar work of Julia NeumanAlbez Duz paint a complete sonic portrait that easily crosses genre lines from a doomed center while remaining grounded in a relatively straightforward, structured delivery that doesn’t feel any more self-indulgent than it should given its inherent drama and atmospheric thrust.

Albez Duz recently completed a short tour of Germany and Austria, including a stop at the Live Evil fest in their hometown where they played alongside a deeply varied bill including Aura NoirBangPossessionSolsticeCauldron and others. Though it’s over, I mention it because it’s a particularly all-over-the-place lineup and yet there doesn’t seem to have been an individual band involved with whom Albez Duz would be out of place sharing a stage. The way their sound plays to multiple sides, and the coherent, encompassing spirit of the material they bring to bear on Wings of Tzinacan is both deeply individualized and able to engage on different levels of familiarity.

Dig into the odd, vaguely S&M-themed video for “Our Lord, the Flayed One” below, and enjoy:

Albez Duz, “Our Lord, the Flayed One” official video

Music video for OUR LORD THE FLAYED ONE by ALBEZ DUZ.

Album / Wings of Tzinacan.
Label / LISTENABLE RECORDS

Shot and Directed by Achilleas Gatsopoulos. Editing by Eugen Herbst and Andreas Hofmann. Colour Correction & Grading by HYPNAGOGIA. Performance footage filmed on location at DU BEAST, Berlin. Makeup by Bella Grigoryants. Camera assistant & Stills Photography by Tenia Dimakopoulou. Tezcatlipoca footage filmed at HOLY MOUNTAIN STUDIOS, Berlin. Tezcatlipoca ….. Valenting Tszin. Makeup by Sonya Sounyaeva. Styling by Achilleas Gatsopoulos. Camera assistant & Stills Photography by Henni-Maria.

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Heat Post “Day in Day Out” Video; New Album Coming Soon

Posted in Bootleg Theater on June 7th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

heat

So when Heat put out their latest video, it was tagged to the news from their label, This Charming Man Records, that their third full-length and the follow-up to 2014’s Labyrinth (discussed here) would be out this summer. Well, it’s not quite summer yet, but it’s not far off, and more concrete word of a correspondingly more concrete release date has yet to surface so far as I know. That kind of thing happens. Delays in mixing, mastering, pressing, shipping, etc. Even once you actually get past songwriting and recording, there are a million things that can make a summer record turn into an autumn record. Or winter, or next year, or 15 years later. You know how it goes.

I bring it up because the Heat video in question, for their late-2016 single, “Day in Day Out,” came out in February. Why wasn’t it posted here before? Because sometimes shit gets by me until the band emails or sends a note on Thee Facebooks and says something like, “Hey dope, post our video” —heat note: Heat were actually way more polite about it than that, as are most. I never claimed perfection and I’m a firm believer in better-late-than-never, so yeah, I’ll post a Heat video a little ways after the fact, particularly as it seems like it could be any day now there will be some news about that next long-player, and double-particularly for the laid back ’70s boogie that “Day in Day Out” proffers in its quick, under-three-minute run.

On the 7″, the track comes complemented by the longer “Time to Believe,” and both bask in a natural and vintage feel. Recorded by now-former bassist Richard Behrens (also ex-Samsara Blues Experiment), the two-songer is a quick glimpse at the traditionalism the Berlin-based fivesome had on offer through Labyrinth and their preceding 2012 debut, Old Sparky (review here), and as they comment below, the simple idea behind the video for “Day in Day Out” is to show the band having a good time. They both look and sound like they are, so I guess the mission stands accomplished. They even ride bikes. What’s more fun than that?

When/if I hear something about their next album, I’ll let you know, and I’ll do my best to not make it months after the fact. In the meantime, you can enjoy Heat‘s “Day in Day Out” clip below, followed by more info about the single.

Dig it:

Heat, “Day in Day Out” official video

Heat on “Day in Day Out”:

“Our take on classic 70’s hard rock, we stayed true to our favourite decade with a completely analogue double A-side 7″, recorded and mixed straight to tape. This was executed by Richard Behrens at Big Snuff Studio in a 100% authentic and honest way. No computers involved! And that’s what we tried to capture in the video: no frills, no special effects, just us having a good time. Hope you dig it!”

The first song after “Labyrinth” – some cool tunes from Berlin’s finest HEAT, who are right now in the studio working on the last tiny things for the upcoming third full length! Prepare for a rockmonster in summer 2017!

“Day In Day Out” is taken from the brand new same titled 7″ single available on wax or digital here:

TCM (ltd. col. wax) http://bit.ly/2ewFdiQ
Bandcamp: heatbandofficial.bandcamp.com

“Day In Day Out” written and composed by Heat © 2016

Heat are:
Matthias Schult (Guitar)
Gräm Rowland (Bass)
Patrick Fülling (Vocals)
Marco Rischer (Guitar)
Marcus Töpfer (Drums)

Recorded and Mixed by Richard Behrens at Big Snuff Studio, Berlin in June 2016
Mastered by Nene Barratto at Big Snuff Studio

Video by Paul Schlesier/Pallid Eyes Film (http://www.pallideyes.de/)

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Kadavar Finish Recording New Album for Sept. Release

Posted in Whathaveyou on May 30th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

German classic heavy rock forerunners Kadavar have finished recording their fourth album and have their eye on a late-Sept. release. Presumably the record will be delivered via Nuclear Blast, which also issued 2015’s Berlin (review here), the trio’s third offering that marked a distinct turn in sound away from the vintage-ism of their earlier two outings, 2012’s self-titled debut (discussed here) and its 2013 follow-up, Abra Kadavar (review here), but that has yet to be confirmed, and four months out from the new long-player’s arrival, there would seem to be plenty of time for details to be unveiled. They likely will, one at a time — artwork, tracks, tour dates, song premieres, etc. — over a stretch of considerable hype leading into the release.

And at this point, that hype is well earned. The three-piece of guitarist/vocalist Lupus Lindemann, drummer Tiger and bassist Simon “Dragon” Bouteloup have been around the world touring and even through the aesthetic shift toward a smoother production style on Berlin, their songwriting remained second to none. It was an album rich enough in its components that the band set out to make a video for each track on it. They didn’t quite get there by my last count — though I could be wrong on that; there were certainly plenty of videos — but the intent says something anyway.

For their latest, Kadavar built their own studio and took on the task of self-recording. It should be interesting to hear where this process takes them as they follow Berlin, whether they stick to the sleekness or opt for something rawer in its overall impression. For a band as keyed into presentation as Kadavar have been for the last half-decade, that’s a huge step to take at a pivotal moment in their tenure, but they’ve never wanted for boldness in either style or substance.

Slots are already booked at SonicBlast Moledo in August and Desertfest Belgium in October, and one assumes there’s more to come. Till then, they announced the album’s completion thusly:

kadavar-photo-Elizaveta-Porodina

As of today, our fourth longplayer is officially done! in january, we started building our own recording studio in an old factory. by the end of march we started writing new material while finishing the control room and within the last two weeks, we recorded and mixed all tracks. it has been a crazy year for us, but we love our new home and the new songs. they will be released in late september, more info soon!!!

Photo by the one and only Elizaveta Porodina Photography & styling by our Judith Suer

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Kadavar, “Lord of the Sky” official video

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Cosmic Fall Premiere “Haumea” in New Video

Posted in Bootleg Theater on May 15th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

cosmic-fall-photo-sergej-kamenski

Berlin jammers Cosmic Fall — guitarist/vocalist Mathias, bassist Klaus and drummer Daniel — formed last year but already have two full-lengths to their catalog in First Fall (discussed here) and Kick out the Jams (review here), and they’re showing no signs of slowing down as they move forward from the second of them. And aside from its ultra-mellow flow, 12-minute psychedelic sprawl and hypnotic outward vibe, what’s particularly cool about the new cut “Haumea” is how it’s being unveiled.

Essentially, what you’re getting in the video below is a personal invite from the German trio to spy on their creative process. It seems likely that some of the parts of “Haumea” were thought out beforehand, like its kind of bouncing, almost Southern rock-style beginning, but what that unfolds to at least has its basis in improvisation if it’s not being off-the-cuff, improvised at that moment, and as they play it, what you’re hearing is the studio version of the song being laid down live. Cameras document and capture the proceedings and it’s about as straight a line to being there as one could possibly ask for.

This, as I’ve been saying for years, is one of the deepest appeals of jam-based heavy psychedelia and/or space rock. It dispenses with what’s more commonly thought of as a “finished product” in favor of shifting the point of conversation between artist and listener to the moment of creation itself. That’s not an absolute truth, of course, but to look at outfits like Electric MoonØresund Space Collective, indeed Cosmic Fall and others of their ilk, that very much seems to be what’s happening. Cosmic Fall take it one step further with “Haumea,” letting us see as well as hear as the piece takes shape.

Of course, in-studio documentaries are nothing new at this point, but this is something less filtered, less compiled, and true to the nature of the jam itself, it gives the most direct glimpse at Cosmic Fall‘s methodology at work in their new rehearsal space.

Think about that while you make your way through. Some updates on releases follow, courtesy of the band.

Enjoy:

Cosmic Fall, “Haumea”

It’s recorded in our new rehearsal room (we have it since January, but this is the first time you can hear/see something from it).

We recorded the audio as always (same as the 2 albums) and it was during a normal rehearsal.

Our next release will be kick out the jams on vinyl, which will be in summer (via clostridiumrecords and white dwarf) and then later this year we will release a split lp with the band Aphodyl via psyka records.

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Interview: Christian Peters of Samsara Blues Experiment

Posted in Features on May 11th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

christian peters samsara blues experiment

This one’s been a while in the making. Like, years. And as Samsara Blues Experiment guitarist/vocalist Christian Peters says below in his answer, the question I’ve been waiting to ask him as well is the one about his band’s experience touring the US for their 2013 album, Waiting for the Flood (review here). I had been thinking of this as a tipping point for the group to enter into something of a semi-hiatus as they did after that record, touring some in Europe but ultimately stepping back for a few years as Peters pursued solo work, his Electric Magic Records label, and other creative outlets.

My narrative, as ever, was off. It was a long European run that set Samsara Blues Experiment to the task of reevaluating who they were and what kind of band they wanted to be, and as the Berlin-based trio make their return in 2017 via their fourth full-length, One with the Universe (review here), Peters seems nothing if not clearheaded in his feelings on the issue. Joined in the now-three-piece by drummer Thomas Vedder and bassist Hans Eiselt after parting ways with former bassist Richard Behrens (who nonetheless recorded the new album), Peters seems to be embracing the opportunity to refresh his band’s sense of purpose and direction, and as they’ve never sounded so much like themselves on tracks like “Vipassana,” “Sad Guru Returns” and the album’s title-track, so too do Samsara Blues Experiment come across as assured of the methods by which their creativity is brought to life.

As it turns out, that sense of being assured was hard-won, both on his part and that of the band as a whole, and that tour in the US did seem to be a factor in how they’ve wound up where they are, for better and worse alike. In talking to Peters about that trip and about the album in general, I wanted to get a sense of where they were and where they might be going, and though he was reluctant to speculate on the latter, the honesty and at times philosophical approach to everything his group has been through underscores his knowing how vitally important the band is to him. It’s not something he could just leave behind — it’s an ongoing work driven by passion and a shifting creative spirit.

And after a full decade together, one shouldn’t be surprised to find One with the Universe also is Samsara Blues Experiment‘s most mature offering to-date, but what seems even more resonant to me in reading Peters‘ answers about its making is just how much more a work of spirit it is than simply another batch of parts thrown together. Not every artist is brave enough to admit that about their own output; some like to pretend these things just happen by mistake. Granted a song can come about spontaneously, and often those results are among the most satisfying, but that doesn’t mean they don’t matter. To pretend otherwise is silly. This is important to Peters. Crucially so. Especially in light of the quality of the work they’re doing, it’s hard not to respect the hell out of that.

Complete Q&A follows here. Please enjoy.

samsara blues experiment

It’s been four years since the last Samsara Blues Experiment album. Tell me about what’s changed in the band over that time and where you feel you are today as a group as opposed to where you were when you did Waiting for the Flood?

The most evident change is the turn back to a three-piece, as it was already in the earlier days of the band. In November 2013 we did this one long EU tour which sort of set the tracks for what had to happen right after this. I for myself was at one point pretty close to a burnout situation then, not sure if everything in the rock ‘n’ roll circus really was made for me, and I had to take a time out from the whole thing then. So right after this tour we had a few weeks of no rehearsals or playing live, and when the four of us met, it was mostly for talking about where everybody wanted to go with the band and with his life.

It pretty soon turned out that Richard, in total contrary to my ideas, wanted to tour even more, play more, turn it all into this sort of a job. Which then was something like a worst-case scenario for me, also because I thought that the four-piece sound really had to be thought about and worked out much more than we did then. I was not always happy with two dueling guitars too. And also, you know, in my belief there has to remain some kind of freedom which probably cannot be maintained if my while life sort of depends only from what I do in the band. I wanted to play better songs, better shows, not necessarily more! But I also wanted something else, of which I wasn´t specific about… I needed to find that out for myself.

So at some point it all seemed to have become a pretty tricky situation because everybody wanted to first of all find a “let’s stay together”-solution, but several other personal things led towards Richard leaving the band and Hans switching to bass. At some point it just happened kind of naturally, also because Hans was a bass player before, and btw one whom I always admired. We had to get used to this new situation and work a lot behind closed doors… So we spent the years 2014 and 2015 with shaping “the new band sound” and the new band as well. And besides from that I also got pretty deep into playing synthesizers and recorded a whole bunch of solo albums and EPs as Surya Kris Peters. I just needed to find other ways to be creative, I guess.

So after these weeks and months of “reshaping,” Thomas, Hans and I agreed that 2016 would be pretty much the year for coming up with new ideas for a new album, and not playing live at all. But since a year without one show can be long, at some point we decided to at least play one Berlin show and aside of that did what we needed to do to record One with the Universe in January 2017, again in Richard’s studio with him on the job, as a friend, now also a “hired studio technician” but sometimes still also a fourth creative input, not more on bass, more like a co-producer.

What’s the story behind “Sad Guru Returns?”

It started as a wordplay, because whenever I went through Berlin last summer I saw these Sadhguru-posters. I just like words, how words sound, how words interact, and I then made up this sad-guru thing and later found these samples of him speaking which could be pretty much be my own thoughts when he says, “we are the most comfortable generation ever, but we are not happy,” etc. — to me it’s like almost everybody seems to be looking for something but rarely anybody starts with him- or herself.

Life’s not about things you know. Not at all. In my humble opinion, it’s mostly about making real connections with people. Then there’s a lot of potential in each and every one of us, to be positive and loving and happy, to be creative, to be an even more important part to the whole thing than we are already. You know, I just don’t dig people dragging themselves and others down, especially if there seems to be no reason for that. All the negativity in people right now it seems to be just too much. At least that’s how I see it. Too much sadness in this world, way too much fear too these days… Everybody can make decisions, to a certain point at least. You can be happy and poor too. We all live, we’ll all die. Think about it. How do you want to spend your time on this planet?!

In the interim between records, you embarked on several solo outings as well. Did this affect your return to songwriting for Samsara Blues Experiment at all?

Well probably, because some of the songs have quite a lot of synths in them, like the whole intro-part of “Eastern Sun and Western Moon” or the title-track. I am just happy that both and Hans and Thomas share some of my enthusiasm for sounds from these “little keyboards,” as someone once described them…

What ultimately made you decide it was time to bring back Samsara Blues Experiment?

Honestly, I went through a really rough time from 2015 on. I lost contact to this once really important person. It was pretty much the first time I thought I had this love-relationship-thing sorted out, but then it turned out I knew nothing at all. I spent a long time in despair, in a dark room with nobody but myself. I was almost crazy and at some point nearly suicidal and I am not saying this to show off or something but it was just one of the darkest periods of my life for sure.

Then I heard of Rutger [Smeets] from Sungrazer committing suicide and it was really like a shock. I barely knew the guy, but we occasionally met and all the guys in Sungrazer were like these happy dudes, always sharing a good story, a BBQ, a bottle of limoncello (I didn´t forget.), whatever… I have no idea why Rutger finally did it, but at this point I pretty much just thought: WHAT THE F**K?! THIS IS JUST WRONG!!

I had a series of other not-too-happy-moments but then really felt like I needed to put myself together and started to finally look at the good things that remained there with me, and as one of the main things, there is this band. Honestly, at that period I also pretty much left Hans and Thomas in the dark, which wasn´t very nice of me to do but I just couldn´t handle it otherwise. Again, I canceled rehearsals and I even went out to play with other guys, just to find out where I belong I guess.

And I still belong with SBE, the band that Thomas and Hans I have formed in these last years and even earlier on, for all the songs we wrote when Richard wasn’t with us, when he was working his sound technician job and we already rehearsed or played live as a three-piece (we played one show in Kiev, Ukraine, as a three-piece when Richard wasn’t allowed into the country because he forgot to bring his passport… one of the many stories).

So to sum it up, I basically had to learn to appreciate thesamsara blues experiment band and to find again my place in the puzzle. I am a musician. Right now this is pretty much what I’d say to some stranger who’d ask me what I do in my life. I live music 24/7 now. Nothing else.

Oh, and at some point some of our fans helped as well to realize what we have here with this band. So, thank you there! We all are part of this picture.

Which came first, the album title or the song “One with the Universe” itself? Tell me about how that song came together, and how does it tie into the album (and, I suppose, the universe) as a whole?

Most times the music comes first, as it was also with this one. In 2016 we always did this one long jam session, based on two or three basslicks from Hans and a few parts from me, and it seemed almost impossible to bring all these pieces together to just one “proper song,” but after something like a half-year we miraculously did it. It was for sure among the hardest tasks in my almost 20-year-long career as a productive musician. I still refuse to learn too much about music theory, writing down notes or tabs or any of that. I know it’s maybe a bit stupid and limiting, but then I also often don’t have a lot of patience, nor a real interest for learning this to be honest.

The title “One with the Universe” just seemed to fit some of the overall topics that are connected with the album. In the first place maybe also that there is a new unity within the band. But also the idea that we all belong to a more “wholesome concept,” that no one really is nor should be isolated. That there is no “us versus them” as it is so often implied with the very cultivated society models we live in, and as it’s also projected even on artists, musicians and their work and recordings. Hey everybody: This is not a contest, you know?! And also, even while I am not a big philosopher or something, but also this man against woman thing, which seems to be part of “our culture.” To me all of this is just not right at all! Again, it’s also pretty much what Sadhguru says, and he is not my guru as more a person with whose thoughts I can partially identify myself.

How was it working with Richard as a producer/engineer as opposed to also having him in the band playing bass?

By now all or most the problems of the past seem pretty much solved. Richard seems to be very happy with his new role, and we are happy with the “new band.” It’s pretty much of a karmic relationship, but if you let all the ego-stuff aside, there´s a lot of great memories to share and a lot of good memories to be made for us still, if we want. You know, I could be angry for a whole lot of stupid reasons that lie back in the past, and so could be Richard or anybody else, but at some point you realize that you made a deep connection as friends and you either cherish that, or you go on bumping into the next karmic relationship. Simple as that, complicated as that.

You came to the US to support Waiting for the Flood. Tell me about that experience, what you learned from it and how you’ve been able to take that and move forward with this record. Will you be back at any point?

Well, this is the question I have been waiting for and it’s a tricky one to answer indeed. As you know we have been in the States as early as we had our first demo recordings, which back then seemed very naive and maybe a bit stupid, but the more the bravest thing a young band could do. Since my childhood I have been heavily influenced by the American way of life. I played baseball with a wooden stick when kids around me thought I’d gone crazy. I even fantasized of once going to US high school and college and becoming a professional in either baseball or basketball, or maybe the funniest: American football! I introduced all my friends to all these “cool things” from America, as in the GDR or the young reunited Germany we did not really have an idea what the real life in the USA would be like: All of it just seemed to be magical. So it was the first and greatest dream to come to the USA, and I made it not earlier than 2009 with the first long tour SBE ever did. It seemed all to be dreamlike still. We slept on dirty floors, we played for a few bucks for even fewer enthusiasts or music nerds or people who just came to the shows because they had some ancestor from Germany, I don’t know… it was okay back then, when most of us were like big kids in a candy store, basically.

Change of scenery, the band now has played a bunch of festivals and longer tours in Europe. We have grown up to adults in our early-to-mid 30s. Some of us have families and jobs and need to compromise on all the things that life brings along when you realize that not all of it is happening in candy stores anymore. Following the call of our not-so-few fans in the USA — as we had recorded three studio albums in the meantime since our first US tour — we found people to help organizing this return, as we thought, until a few weeks before this tour was supposed to happen all crashed down like a castle made of sand. I still have a lot of reason to be angry and frustrated here and I could name a few names, but there is no reason for that as more to say; we do not have very good and trustworthy contacts in your country. People whom we can rely on and who do this for the sake of the music and not because they need to earn their living from this, which just won’t work at all.

We are not a commercial act. We do not think very much in commercialist patterns. We are just not like most of the bands you know, we really basically play for the sake of expressing feelings though music, but when we travel we also expect to be treated with respect and honesty. We would love to return to the USA, but at this point it does not seem much practical or even possible. I am sorry for our fans there, but we will see what the future will bring, and not give up on trying to make “deeper connections.”

I hope this wasn’t confusing.

In the meantime, Samsara Blues Experiment toured South America already this year for the first time. How were those shows and how was that experience overall for you?

In one word: incredible!! People in South America seem to be starving for a good live show, even while we in particular always had quite many fans there, thanks to the miracles of the internet. I am just so grateful for having met Felipe [Toscano] of Abraxas booking, who started out as a fan of our music and now runs this amazing organization, in his free time from work and private life. What an amazing guy, really. What an overwhelming positive vibe on all shows on that continent. I still may be under the illusion of a first naive impact now, but I have rarely felt as welcome as there. It was just amazing, incredible, lovely.

You’ve now made four albums with Samsara Blues Experiment and it’s almost a decade since the first demo surfaced. How do you feel about what you’ve accomplished in that time? Where do you see the progression continuing to go?

I think we’ll just go with the flow, more or less. I am pretty much happy as it is now. I only would like to see us more widely exposed, like playing on more different occasions than just mostly stoner festivals, which isn’t wrong at all but I think we are much more than just another stoner group that likes Black Sabbath. Don’t get me wrong or so, I know where we belong the most, but then we also belong to the universe, and the universe is big. I would like to get things solved with the USA really, also in terms of distribution, but we are samsara blues experiment one with the universeworking on it and hopefully solving some of these issues.

You’ve just done Desertfest and have other festival dates coming up as well. Any plans yet for the Fall or anything else you want to mention?

Maybe we will be doing new songs then, maybe we will travel, or just be with the ones we love the most. Who knows? I think we’ll really try and go with the flow for a bit.

Samsara Blues Experiment, One with the Universe (2017)

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