Video Trailers Posted for Desertfest 2014 in London and Berlin

Posted in Bootleg Theater on April 3rd, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

I’ll admit to carrying more than a bit of jealousy in my heart for those who’ll be in either London or Berlin at the end of the month when Desertfest gets underway in both towns. Either city is a trek I’d gladly make if I had cash for the flight, and I suppose if being broke has any upside, it’s saving me from having to choose one over the other. Poor consolation for not getting over there, but frankly I’ll take what I can get at this point.

A video trailer back Stubb‘s Jack Dickinson surfaced for the London fest about a week ago, and today Berlin followed suit in posting a trailer for the fest there. Again, either way you go, you can’t really lose. Whether you’re seeing Causa Sui and Stoned Jesus in Berlin or Pombagira and Borracho in London, you’re in for an amazing weekend you won’t soon forget and an experience of a community coming into its own even as it continues to discover what that means. This is a very cool year for Desertfest. So was last year. The one before that wasn’t half bad either.

You get the point though, and the point is me, unemployed and sulking. I’m sure I’ll have more about Desertfest before it actually launches, but I wanted to post these clips together just to give a sample of the vibe of both festivals and what they have to offer the discerning gormandizers who might hit them up. Desertfest Berlin runs April 24-26 at Astra Kulturhaus in Berlin, Germany, and Desertfest London picks up April 25-27 at various venues in Camden Town. Info in the clips and at the links.

Desertfest Berlin 2014 trailer

24th, 25th, 26th April 2014 : DESERTFEST BERLIN

THURSDAY 24th – Spirit Caravan Official – Sleepy Sun – Siena Root – ASG – Sixty Watt Shaman – Pet The Preacher – ANCIIENTS – The Midnight Ghost Train – Cojones
FRIDAY 25th — Kvelertak – Causa Sui – Church of Misery Official – Elder – Huata – HULL – GOZU – BLACK RAINBOWS – Prisma Circus – The Moth – Red Stoner Sun – MANTAR
SATURDAY 26th — Clutch – Radio Moscow – The Machine – The Ultra Electric Mega Galactic – Stoned Jesus – THE GRAVIATORS – Sasquatch – Radar Men from the Moon – SardoniS – Castle – Metal Band – Powder for Pigeons – DoctoR DooM

Desertfest Berlin website

Desertfest London 2014 trailer

Desertfest 2014 is heavier than before & Taking over Camden, London during the 25-27th April.With over 60 bands from the underground stoner / doom and sludge scene peforminng this years fesitval is not to be missed, Headliners are Spirit Caravan / Kvlertak & Boris, plus weedeater, church of misery, ASG, blues Pills and many more…for the full line up please click below.

Desertfest London website

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Rodeo Drive Post “All in Vain” Video

Posted in Bootleg Theater on April 2nd, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

“All in Vain” is a quick 2:45, but it gives a decent sampling of what Berlin trio Rodeo Drive might get up to on their forthcoming Morbid Beauty full-length, which is set to release this Friday. Fronted by bassist Hans Eiselt, who also plays guitar in heavy psych jammers Samsara Blues Experiment, Rodeo Drive are an altogether gruffer, more straightforward band. Eiselt‘s vocals, still melodic, are throaty and well suited to the rush of “All in Vain,” and while there are some psychedelic undertones, the sound is much more traditionally stoner rock, aimed for simpler execution and hitting the mark with what seems to be no trouble at all, guitarist Friedrich Stemmer and drummer Rene Schulze joining Eiselt in the steady push.

The video for the track is likewise down to earth — a few different cameras capture the band rocking out in a dimly lit room. Posters adorn the wall behind them, and at the start of the clip, somebody — presumably Eiselt — says the phrase, “psychedelic relic.” Maybe that was the original name of the song, or maybe it’s a sort of general assessment from the band on their style, but sure enough, “All in Vain” does hint at more ethereal sonic territory, and a cut like the seven-and-a-half-minute “Earth Dark Diseases,” which is up for streaming at Rodeo Drive‘s ReverbNation page, would seem to indicate that “All in Vain” is just the start of what the band might have to offer on Morbid Beauty.

Still, not a bad place to start. Rodeo Drive release Morbid Beauty this Friday at a gig at Berlin’s Jägerklause with Olympus Mons and Liquid Silk, should you happen to be in the area. If not, you can check out “All in Vain” below.


Rodeo Drive, “All in Vain” official video

Rodeo Drive on Thee Facebooks

Rodeo Drive at ReverbNation

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Sleepy Sun Join Lineup for Desertfest Berlin 2014

Posted in Whathaveyou on February 5th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

Next week, airy San Francisco psych rockers Sleepy Sun start a US tour that will cross the nation and turn north into Canada in support of their new album, Maui Tears. It will run from Feb. 13 almost through the end of March before planting the five-piece back on their native soil, and then after that, they head to Europe in April, where they’ll take part in Desertfest Berlin 2014. Busy schedule, but all it means is that by the time they hit the Astra Kulturhaus, they’ll be so locked in they’re likely to have forgotten what life was like before they played a show every night. Which is bad for personal relationships, but good for a rock and roll crowd.

The PR wire sends confirmation:


We are delighted to announce today in exclusivity that Mammoth Psych Rockers SLEEPY SUN will lead their trippy fresh waves to DESERTFEST BERLIN 2014!!

SLEEPY SUN is an American psychedelic rock band from San Francisco (Ca) first formed as Mania in 2005 by students Bret Constantino, Matthew Holliman, Evan Reiss, Brice Tice and original bass player Hubert Guy.

The band progressed from their original garage rock stylings into psychedelia and in 2007 changed their name to SLEEPY SUN, with the addition of former singer Rachel Fannan. Soon after the band set to work on their debut and self released “Embrace” in 2008 (re-issued by ATP Recordings in 2009), which received favorable reviews. Shortly after the release of the album Guy left the band and was soon replaced by new bass player Jack Allen.

SLEEPY SUN released their follow-up album, “Fever” in 2010, and “Spine Hits” in 2012, the band’s first studio album without Fannan. Now in 2014, they released on January 28th their fourth LP “Maui Tears” via Dine Alone Records: 9 tracks of mind-melting trip exploring festering psych-garage, languid space-rock and stoner-waltz delirium!

During the past five years, SLEEPY SUN also embarked on multiple tours, and the band’s mixture of alchemy and architecture on stage has twisted knowing and discerning heads. With their live show becoming a subject of acclaim, Brit-pop colossus Arctic Monkey’s hauled them out on tour in 2010, and drone-psych leviathans Black Angels did the same a year later. Starting a 35-dates tour in the USA on February 13th, they will reach European lands in April, and will make a stop at DESERTFEST BERLIN 2014, for our pleasure!

Sleepy Sun, “The Lane” official video

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Posters for Desertfest Berlin & London 2014 Revealed

Posted in Visual Evidence on December 18th, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster

Both of these are pretty badass and I didn’t figure anyone would complain, so I thought I’d put up the posters for Desertfest next year. Both London and Berlin have come out in the last couple days — you’d almost think it wasn’t a coincidence! — and though each has its own personality like the fests themselves, I think looking at either you know you’re getting a heavy show. Maybe I’m biased.

Malleus handled the London poster, and Ammo, from Belgium, the Berlin one. For Malleus, these are pretty regular themes — their affection for redheads goes way back and here brings to mind some of the exploits of Fanny Jo Stingray, may she rest in piece — and with Ammo’s the pencil grays and insane level of detail bring to mind a black and white take on Earth‘s The Bees Made Honey in the Lion’s Skull, though obviously the color/lack thereof makes a huge difference.

Check them out and see what you think:

Desertfest London 2014 Poster by Malleus

We are pleased to be able to unveil Desertfest 2014′s awesome limited addition screen print poster, created by the equally awesome Malleus. Malleus is a poster art trio featuring Poia and Urlo of UFOMAMMUT and we just couldn’t help get them involved again. The prints will be available next week to pre order at £20 and of course will be available at the festival.

We are also excited to be announcing the Human Disease/When When Planets Collide stage on Thursday. Expect a heavy underworld line up…

Desertfest Berlin 2014 Poster by Ammo

We are thrilled to unveil our official poster for DESERTFEST BERLIN 2014, made by the Brussels-based guy AMMO!! We really dig it, and we hope you too!

You will discover more about AMMO through an interview that will be published soon, but meanwhile, you can check his past work on!

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Clutch Announced as Second Headliner for Desertfest Berlin 2014

Posted in Whathaveyou on December 3rd, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster

Today, Clutch join the previously-announced Spirit Caravan reunion as headliners for the 2014 Desertfest in Berlin. No word yet on whether they’ll be playing London as well, but if nothing else, the fact that two of the central bands playing in Berlin shows just how far the reach not only both of these acts, but Maryland heavy rock in general, really have. Clutch have been touring hard pretty much since Spirit Caravan disbanded, and before that as well, and they’re among the world’s foremost purveyors of groove, so it’s not really a surprise that they’d be asked to play, but to have two Maryland-based acts at the top of a festival bill like that of Desertfest gives a little East Coast pride in realizing just how much both groups have contributed to the heavy rock underground over the years.

In any case, it’s a big “right on” in terms of the fest lineup and on general principle. Here’s the announcement from Desertfest:



Here we go with our second headliner announcement ! Well, we are proud to present to you the legendary quartet CLUTCH !!!

Formed in 1990 in Germantown, Maryland (USA), CLUTCH have released not less than 10 studio albums, several rarities and live albums, each one marked by a distinct and cohesive sound, migrating from heavy metal and hardcore punk to hard rock, integrating strong funk-blues influences and clever out-of-this-world lyrics, the whole with a taste that only they can provide !

Playing music for the music’s sake for more than 20 years, they have built up a straight-up solid reputation and have accumulated a devoted cult following through constant gigging (performing more than one hundred shows a year), unleashing all over the world their damn good waves of pure rock fury with a devastating excellence…

2013 was the year for these stalwarts of groove to return with a new pure piston-pumping juggernaut uppercuts, nearly four years since their last issue, an impeccably structured 44-and-a-half-minute collection of 11 tracks rightly named “Earth Rocker.”

They will join the DESERTFEST BERLIN in April 2014 for an EXCLUSIVE SPRING SHOW in MAINLAND EUROPE !!! We are so excited about that, and we hope you are too !!

24th, 25th, 26th April 2014 : DESERTFEST BERLIN
SPIRIT CARAVAN* Asg* Black Rainbows* Causa Sui* Cojones* Elder* Gozu* Huata* Master Musicians Of Bukkake* Prisma Circus* Radar Men From The Moon* Sardonis* and many more tba !

DESERTFEST BERLIN’s LIMITED HARD TICKET (3-day pass) can be ordered for 85€ (+ taxes) on or by sending a mail at TICKETS@DESERTFEST.DE. As X-mas special offer, by ordering 3 or more tickets, we offer you a free CD (our choice) ! This offer is valid until DECEMBER 20th 2013.

DESERTFEST BERLIN 2013 was sold out, so better be quick to be part of 2014′s unique 3 Days & Nights Heavy-Rock-Psycho-Doom Mayhem !!

Stay Tuned…

Clutch, Earth Rocker (2013)

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Samsara Blues Experiment, Waiting for the Flood: All the Brahmins Sing

Posted in Reviews on October 22nd, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster

The sonic adventure of Samsara Blues Experiment continues on their third full-length, Waiting for the Flood. Released by the German heavy psych foursome through guitarist/vocalist Christian Peters‘ own Electric Magic Records in cooperation with World in Sound, the new album makes yet another surprising turn for a band that seems increasingly unwilling to be pinned down by expectation. Their last outing was 2011′s righteously moving Revelation and Mystery (review here), which broke from the path that their 2008 demo (review here) and subsequent 2009 debut, Long Distance Trip (review here), appeared to have set, moving away from some — not all — of the exploratory, jam-it-out feel and toward a more traditional, classically heavy rocking approach, toying with motoring riffs and straightforward grooves more than they had to that point while holding onto the basic psychedelic roots that on Waiting for the Flood seem to have returned to the fore. Certainly middle cuts “Waiting for the Flood” and “Don’t Belong” particularly have their driving moments, but the feel of the LP overall and even the manner of its presentation feed into a psych ideal. Waiting for the Flood is comprised of four extended tracks:

1. “Shringara” (13:32)
2. “Waiting for the Flood” (10:38)
3. “Don’t Belong” (11:58)
4. “Brahmin’s Lament” (12:25)

And each track showcases some measure of personality separate from the others while also keeping an exceedingly well-honed full-length flow for the total 49-minute duration. Because one can put Waiting for the Flood into a narrative of re-emerging psychedelic vibe,  it would be easy to look at it as a return to the band’s beginnings, but as they showed on earlier-2013′s Rockpalast live album (review here), those elements were never completely out of their sound. Things in the real world are never as cut and dry as “they were doing one thing now they’re doing another,” and though Waiting for the Flood, which was recorded by Samsara Blues Experiment bassist Richard Behrens at Big Snuff Studio in Berlin, doesn’t lack for otherworldly sensibilities, it’s more of a shift in how varying elements are blended than a radical turn in overall approach.

Those who’ve encountered Samsara Blues Experiment before will likely rejoice at the Eastern-style sonics that Waiting for the Flood is quick to bask in and the immediate meditative feel of “Shringara,” which gracefully unfolds its beginnings as though waking up and having a stretch. Not tentative, but not rushing. Behind Peters‘ vocals, a light wash of sitar drone, layers of his and Hans Eiselt‘s guitar interweave with a steady bassline from Behrens and the consistently fluid drumming of Thomas Vedder, who’s proven adaptable to whatever changes Peters and company might call forth, both moment to moment and over the course of their overarching creative progression. “Shringara,” which is the longest song on the record (immediate points), is sweetly toned and lyrically rich, the opening line, “Hey come my lady won’t you move a little closer to me,” does little to give a full notion of the sonic breadth or even that of the lyrical concepts at work, the song’s title being derived from the Hindu demonstration of romantic love in the arts. A fitting title for what arises in the varied and increasingly intense verses, and the music mirrors as well, an early jam rising to a thickened peak by the halfway point only to gradually step down and hit into a kind of stoner semi-shuffle as prelude to the last verse and capstone solo. The opener is less based around verse/chorus tradeoffs than “Don’t Belong” or the finale of “Brahmin’s Lament,” but it sets the tone well so that the jazzy, key-laden intro to the title-track comes in smooth and serene amid the warm rhythm and engages the listener rather than repels as self-indulgent or noodling for its own sake. Almost three minutes have passed in that jam before Peters enters for the first verse of “Waiting for the Flood,” but the groove is its own excuse for being, and one would hardly ask anything else of Samsara Blues Experiment, whose strengths are just as likely to come forward in the chemistry of those explorations as in the crispness of a memorable hook.

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Samsara Blues Experiment Announce November Release for Waiting for the Flood

Posted in Whathaveyou on September 11th, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster

In addition to adding a date to their previously-announced fifth anniversary tour, continually expansive German heavy psych four-piece Samsara Blues Experiment have unveiled a November release for their third album, Waiting for the Flood. The new outing will mark the first studio LP the band will issue through their own Electric Magic Records, though the Live at Rockpalast live album (review here) came out via the imprint earlier in 2013.

Samsara Blues Experiment‘s last offering, 2011′s Revelation and Mystery (review here), saw them solidifying from their prior jammy wanderings into driving heavy rock territory, still with an air of the ethereal, but offsetting that with more crunch than they’d yet shown. Between guitarist/vocalist Christian Peters‘ solo-project, Soulitude, released its So Came Restless Night (review here) debut earlier this year (hopefully not as a one-off), and the sitar flourish in the swirling sample of “Brahmin’s Lament” below, I don’t dare guess what Waiting for the Flood might have in store.

Here’s the artwork, info and tour routing, courtesy of Sound of Liberation:


SAMSARA BLUES EXPERIMENT’s new album “Waiting for the Flood” is now recorded and should be released in NOVEMBER 2013 on their own label Electric Magic / World In Sound, according to three weeks of touring Europe including countries like England, Portugal, France, Sweden, Norway, Germany and some more.

It was recorded at Big Snuff Studio Berlin and mastered at Calyx Mastering. Coverartwork by Zdzislaw Beksinski.

08.11 (SWE) Vaexjo – Kafe Deluxe
09.11 (NOR) Oslo – Betong
10.11 (SWE) Stockholm – Pussy A Go Go
11.11 (DK) Copenhagen – Stengade 30
12.11 (GER) Hamburg – Hafenklang
13.11 (GER) Dortmund – Kaktus Farm
14.11 (BEL) Brussels – Magasin 4
15.11 (UK) London – Borderline
17.11 (FR) Paris – Glazart
18.11 (FR) Bordeaux – Bootleg
20.11 (POR) Oporto – Hard Club
21.11 (SP) Léon – El Gran Café
22.11 (SP) Madrid – Barracudas
23.11 (SP) Barcelona – Plataforma
24.11 (FR) Chambery – Brin de Zinc
25.11 (GER) Freiburg – White Rabbit
26.11 (CH) Zurich – Mascotte
27.11 (GER) Munich – Feierwerk
28.11 (AT) Vienna – Arena
29.11 (AT) Steyr – Kulturhaus Roeda
30.11 (GER) Berlin – Cassiopeia

Samsara Blues Experiment, “Brahmin’s Lament” teaser

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Samsara Blues Experiment Mark Fifth Anniversary with Tour Dates

Posted in Whathaveyou on July 17th, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster

Time waits for no drone. German heavy psych medicine men Samsara Blues Experiment are passing their five-year mark this fall. They’ve had a great run so far, and as they look forward to the release of their third album — the forthcoming Waiting for the Flood — they show no signs of slowing down. Kudos to the four-piece on half a decade of fuzzy righteousness and top-shelf grooving.

Here’s the latest from Camp Samsara:


This year, SAMSARA BLUES EXPERIMENT are celebrating their fifth anniversary. According to that, they already released several records this spring, but they planned more !

This fall, they will release their 3rd studio album “Waiting for the Flood” on their own label Electric Magic Records, and will tour all over Europe during 3 weeks !!

All tour dates below. Don’t miss them !!

09.11.13 (NOR) OSLO, Betong
10.11.13 (SWE) STOCKHOLM, Pussy A Go Go
11.11.13 (DK) COPENHAGEN, Stengade 30
12.11.13 (GER) HAMBURG,Hafenklang
13.11.13 (GER) DORTMUND, Kaktus-Farm
14.11.13 (BEL) BRUSSELS, Magasin 4
15.11.13 (UK) LONDON, Borderline
17.11.13 (FR) PARIS, Glazart
18.11.13 (FR) BORDEAUX, The Bootleg
20.11.13 (POR) OPORTO, Hard Club
21.11.13 (SP) MADRID, TBA
22.11.13 (SP) BARCELONA, TBA
24.11.13 (FR) CHAMBERY, Le Brin De Zinc
25.11.13 (GER) FREIBURG, White Rabbit
26.11.13 (CH) ZURICH, Mascotte
27.11.13 (GER) MUNICH, Feierwerk
28.11.13 (AT) VIENNA, Arena
29.11.13 (AT) STEYR, Kulturhaus Roeda
30.11.13 (GER) BERLIN, Cassiopeia

Samsara Blues Experiment, “Midnight Boogie” Live on Valentine’s Day, 2013

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Soulitude, So Came Restless Night: The Storm above the Marksman’s Range

Posted in Reviews on July 2nd, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster

In the liner notes for So Came Restless Night, Berlin-based multi-instrumentalist/vocalist Christian Peters mentions that he’d never intended to release anything under the moniker of this Soulitude project, but that it was the encouragement of the few for whom he played this material that finally brought him around to the idea of doing so. Peters, who serves also in the guitarist/vocalist role for Samsara Blues Experiment and doubles as the head of Electric Magic Records, which is releasing So Came Restless Night, conveys that kind of inward sensibility throughout the album’s nine songs. Instrumental but for the closer “All that’s Left Behind,” the 39-minute span of what has wound up as the debut release from Soulitude (for which Peters also handled the artwork/layout as part of his Sun Art visual side) keeps to a layered, exploratory feel that results in an intimate take on psychedelic/acid folk, Peters‘ penchant for sitar flourish, keys and mandolin adding depth to the arrangements while keeping a balance with the solo-project vibe. There are a variety of moods throughout, but most of them joyful, and for anyone who might know Peters‘ work from Samsara Blues Experiment or his time previously in Terraplane, the softer sound of Soulitude could come as a surprise, but I doubt it will. Much of the atmospherics he brings to So Came Restless Night, Peters has worked into the sensibilities of his other projects, so it’s less that Soulitude is coming out of nowhere than it is focusing on a different side of similar elements to what Peters has done all along. The lush acoustic and electric guitar interplay on the penultimate “Voices of the Forest” will be recognizable, and certainly his affinity for Eastern textures is carried over as well. Soulitude doesn’t come without context, but even for someone who perhaps isn’t familiar with Peters‘ work, there’s plenty here to latch onto for fans of acid folk and the solo psychedelia proffered by the likes of Lamp of the Universe.

Peters originally self-released So Came Restless Night on CD-R in 2009, so technically the Electric Magic version is a reissue, but I’ve been thinking of it more as an official release for the solo-project, which was also remastered by PetersSamsara Blues Experiment bandmate, Richard Behrens. Either way, the greater likelihood is that these songs will be new to those who hear them, and given the inherently classic nature of the material, it’s not like it comes across any more dated four years later than it’s meant to be. I don’t know what span of time these recordings were made — there’s a palpable jump in volume as the more synth-driven “Ballad of the Black Swan” gives way to “Last Farewell to Elisabeth” — but nothing really interrupts the molten flow that emerges song to song, and with Peters as the uniting and driving force behind the album’s 39 minutes, there’s little to account for in terms of hiccups. Interestingly, centerpiece “The Albatross” is credited to French poet Charles Baudelaire, but I’m not sure if it’s an interpretation of his poem of the same name or if there’s speech buried somewhere in the mix, because although the recordings throughout So Came Restless Night are relatively bare-bones — it’s not underproduced, but it’s self-made — there’s still a sense of dimension and of depth to each track, beginning with the airy guitars of “Intro,” which set up a subtle post-desert rock influence soon to emerge and find resolution on “Morninghope,” the winding notes of which spiral out in full color and provide an early highlight following the melodic effects wash of opener “Natural Mystic,” where effects mania (think: guitar as theremin) is buried under sweet electric guitar leads. Much of Peters‘ output is based on variations — he’ll work with electric guitar principally on “Morninghope,” acoustics and sitar on the subsequent “Awakening” — but if the album is assembled of these experiments, it’s not without some clear effort put into the construction. It moves easily and brings you with it.

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Electric Magic Records Releases Free Download Sampler

Posted in Whathaveyou on May 24th, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster

Up and coming German imprint Electric Magic Records has unveiled a new digital sampler touting its wares. The 10-track comp features output from recent releases by House of Aquarius and Heat and Samsara Blues Experiment — whose guitarist/vocalist, Christian Peters, also heads the label — among forthcoming acts like Suns of Thyme, whose desert sweetness immediately piqued my interest, and familiar names like Pater Nembrot, who aren’t signed to Electric Magic, but were nonetheless compelled to donate some boogie to the cause. Right on.

Free music is the name of the game. Those so inclined can get out Electric Magic Volume Eight via the link below. Here’s art and info:

FREE SAMPLER: Electric Magic – Volume Eight

This includes highlights of our label´s very recent outputs by House Of Aquarius, Heat and This Is Ghost Country as well as the soon to be released lysergic gems of Soulitude and the Suns Of Thyme. Further we included some very rare demo-versions and amazing contributions by friends of the label like Pater Nembrot, Dunst and others. Not to forget the free version of SBE´s “Midnight Boogie”. All together these 10 bands will (hopefully) deliver you a 66 minute instant high. Oh and this time we also included a full CD-artwork, beautifully drawn by Lori at ParadiseParasite Artworks.

1. Suns of Thyme, “Soma (God for Gods)”
2. Heat, “Warhead”
3. The Harvest, “Celebrating Wild Horses” (Excerpt)
4. Samsara Blues Experiment, “Midnight Boogie”
5. House of Aquarius, “Unholy”
6. Soulitude, “Awakening”
7. Pater Nembrot, “Exile”
8. Dunst, “Dhaimahi Prachodayat”
9. This is Ghost Country, “Black Trekker”
10. Juicy Mother, “Mole in the Fry”

So please enjoy:

Suns of Thyme, “Soma (God for Gods)”

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Samsara Blues Experiment, Rockpalast: The Path to Double Freedom

Posted in Reviews on May 13th, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster

I consider myself fortunate to have seen Berlin heavy psych purveyors Samsara Blues Experiment live the two times that I have, as both of their full-lengths to date – 2010’s Long Distance Trip (review here) and 2011’s Revelation and Mystery (review here) have shown the band becoming increasingly distinct within the European sphere. The second album in particular demonstrated a maturity in the four-piece’s approach that found them able to blend open jams and straightforward songcraft, tracks like “Hangin’ on the Wire” and “Into the Black” proving memorable as much for their hooks as for the wandering instrumental arrangements and feeling at any moment, the band might fly completely off the rails. Both of those songs, as it happens, find inclusion on the new, limited Rockpalast live recording – released on guitarist/vocalist/sitarist Christian Peters’ own Electric Magic Records – which was caught on tape while filming in October 2012 for the long-running German rock program of the same name. Alongside such jam-heavy pieces as “For the Lost Souls” and “Center of the Sun” from Long Distance Trip, a balance is struck throughout Rockpalast that finds Samsara Blues Experiment able to unite the varying sides of their approach, Peters and fellow guitarist Hans Eiselt, bassist Richard Behrens and drummer Thomas Vedder shifting with suitable ease from one side of the sound to the other without missing a step along the way, holding onto a wandering mentality even as they hit on some of their most structured parts and never quite letting go of the idea of the song as they play naturally off the chemistry they’ve built on stage over the last several years. In that way, Rockpalast captures Samsara Blues Experiment at their best, and though because it’s pulling from both albums and because it totals just under 80 minutes long, it’s probably going to be a richer listening experience for those familiar with the band than the previously uninitiated, it’s never been quite so easy to get lost in Samsara Blues Experiment’s hypnotic exploration as it is on the 17:51 version of “Double Freedom” included here.

That song – the amorphous nature of which is revealed in the fact that it was 13 minutes on their 2009 demo (review here) and 22 on Long Distance Trip – wasn’t included in the original broadcast of the show, but it closes the live set here as the eighth song and precedes and acoustic bonus track, a sitar-laden studio reworking of “Singata Mystic Queen,” which is shorter than the one that opens the set at 5:45, but still no less immersive than Samsara Blues Experiment has ever been, i.e., plenty. Peters’ voice comes very much to the fore on the live recording, and where one might expect that to provide an undue grounding effect on the material, there’s enough echo on him and his position is varied enough around the two guitars, bass and drums, that it’s not a distraction to the overall flow from one song, or indeed one part, into the next. Doubtless Samsara Blues Experiment’s consistent focus on the instrumental aspects of their sound deserves partial credit for that – for those who’ve heard them, they can make a driving verse riff like that of “Singata Mystic Queen” just as memorable as the more potent chorus of a song like “Hangin’ on the Wire,” which follows – but I think it’s also due to the fact that Rockpalast essentially mirrors and melds the flows of Long Distance Trip and Revelation and Mystery in how the set is put together. They open, as noted, with “Singata Mystic Queen,” which also opened the first album, and answer it immediately with “Hangin’ on the Wire,” the second track from the second album. “Army of Ignorance” and “For the Lost Souls,” the second and third cuts from the first album, follow in succession, and “Into the Black” follows them, the third cut from the second album. Already we see that the foursome are progressing down both tracklists of their studio outings, and they continue the pattern with “Center of the Sun” (album one, track four), “Outside Insight Blues” (album two, track five) and “Double Freedom” (album one, track six), closing with their most extensive piece to date before shifting into the acoustic bonus.

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Kadavar Post New Video for “Come Back Life”

Posted in Bootleg Theater on May 3rd, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster

Some pictures had surfaced a bit ago from Kadavar‘s video shoot for “Come Back Life” — I don’t think the German trio goes anywhere without a camera following, and neither should they — so the desert theme and the old car had been given some short preview, but that was ultimately little hint of the good use Kadavar would put both to in the clip itself. Kadavar‘s second album and Nuclear Blast debut, Abra Kadavar (review here), is out May 14. They seem to describe some hard times for their first US venture playing SXSW in March, but hopefully that’s not the last time Lupus Lindemann, Tiger and Mammut decide to make the trip over.

Here’s “Come Back Life,” followed by some info from the PR wire:

Kadavar, “Come Back Life” official video

Berlin-based classic rockers KADAVAR proudly present the official video clip for “Come Back Life”! The song comes from their upcoming Nuclear Blast debut Abra Kadavar, which will be released on May 14th in North America. The clip was shot, directed and edited by Nathini van der Meer and Annikki Heinemann of Oddisee Films ( during the band’s journey through the USA in March 2013.

“It was the trip of our lives, swaying between heaven and hell,” commented KADAVAR about the experience. “Our baggage got lost and neither did we have a place to sleep for the time of the South by Southwest Festival in Austin, nor a backline or money. As if this wasn’t enough, the ’64 Ford Galaxy that we had bought after a long search blew up in our faces after ten minutes on the highway. Still we met many kind people whose help made it possible for us to reach San Francisco in the end. Our friends Nathini and Annikki have accompanied us during the entire three weeks and have captured footage that’ll stick in our memories forever. After this trip, one of the song’s lines fits even better: Come back life, all is forgiven now…”

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Desertfest Berlin Final Announcements: My Sleeping Karma Movie, Aurelio Deville Live Painting and More

Posted in Whathaveyou on April 15th, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster

Friday tickets for the Berlin-held Desertfest have apparently sold out, but there’s still room for Thursday and Saturday. At the end of last week, the fest announced three movies they’ll be showing in addition to the performances, and a live painting to be done by French graphic artist Aurelio Deville.

These mark the last announcements for the 2013 Desertfest Berlin, so I’ll say quickly thanks and it’s been fun keeping up with the updates (or trying, anyway), and that if you’re lucky enough to wind up at the Astra Kulturhaus from April 25-27, it’s sure to be a killer time. Here’s how they have it on the Desertfest Berlin website:


Today we are proud to present to you a multidisciplinary French artist who will come to DESERTFEST to paint a fresco in live, on the Theatre Bizarre’s walls : AURELIO DEVILLE. As you may have noticed, the Theatre Bizarre will receive several kinds of events during the festival. Sheyk Raleph will bring his orientasian improvisations. We will show 3 movies whose the first one has already been presented few days ago. Now it’s time for you to get to know AURELIO DEVILLE, that you will be able to see painting a fresco in live on Friday and Saturday (15h40 – 21h).


We are extremely proud to welcome at Desertfest Berlin the WORLD PREMIERE of Sandro Müntener’s “BEYOND THE INFINITE” !!

On Friday 26th and Saturday 27th, you will be able to enjoy a selection of three movies in the Theatre Bizarre. We already introduced to you the first one : LAST HIPPIE STANDING (17h – 45min). Here is the second one : BEYOND THE INFINITE – A Journey Into European Underground Rock Music (21h40 – 53min).

“If you make Rock music and smoke weed, then you get Stoner Rock, that’s basically it.”
Nothing more to add ? Well, Sandro Müntener’s BEYOND THE INFINITE does. Not by pigeonholing a musical style or trying to explain everything out there. But by drawing a portrait of a vivid underground community going its own way. It’s not only a film about music, but about dedicated people all over Europe wanting to create something all together.

We are very proud to welcome this world premiere at DESERTFEST BERLIN, and really happy to get you a chance to see this documentary as it’s really a great piece !


Here we are. This is the last announcement for the DESERTFEST BERLIN, but not the least ! We are proud to present you Tim Bohnenstingl’s “MY SLEEPING KARMA – A TOUR VIDEO” !!

On Friday 26th and Saturday 27th, you will be able to enjoy three movies, and you already know two of them : LAST HIPPIE STANDING (17h – 45min) and BEYOND THE INIFNITE (21h40 – 53min). Here is the last one : MY SLEEPING KARMA – A TOUR VIDEO (19h40 – 20min) !

This 20 minute tour documentary was filmed over six days on tour, following My Sleeping Karma non stop. Hamburg, Paris, London, Manchester, Stuttgart. It focuses on the live shows, but also allows the audience to experience one day of a normal band on the road : Driving long distances, soundchecks, press interviews, photoshootings, load outs, jamming and just being yourself. All this is combined with interviews by the band commenting on the tour life and the “Flow” which My Sleeping Karma are kind of famous for in the underground scene.
Seppi, Steffen, Matte and Normen finally playing the Desertfest, months after their tour with Monster Magnet, makes this the perfect opportunity to present the video to all of you guys out there.

“It’s was not only a pleasure and honour to be on tour with Monster Magnet, the band which brought me to the so called Stoner Rock, but much more so: My Sleeping Karma, one of the bands which still keeps me so interested in this flourishing genre. I had a lot of fun with the nicest people, I hope you will too while watching the movie. I feel very lucky that the movie will be screened and I am looking forward to meet you and talk about: My Sleeping Karma – A Tour Video”. Tim,

My Sleeping Karma, A Tour Video (Trailer)

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Kadavar, Abra Kadavar: Foundation and Progress

Posted in Reviews on April 9th, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster

Berlin trio Kadavar have worked quickly to become one of the most prominent acts in the European heavy underground. Their 2012 self-titled debut sounded so organic that even the mp3s had an analog hiss, and while they carried their songs across with an ultra-natural feel, it was the confidence in the material and the spontaneous feel of the performances that made Kadavar’s Kadavar such a watershed release. It was my pick for the year’s best debut; a lean but frighteningly cohesive 34-minute full-length that showed potential as much as it made an impact on its own. Touring and a split with Aqua Nebula Oscillator followed later in 2012, and Kadavar – vocalist/guitarist Wolf Lindemann, Rivoli bassist Mammut and drummer Tiger — were picked up by Nuclear Blast to join the ranks of Graveyard, Orchid and Witchcraft in the label’s growing stable of tube-amped heavy rockers. Thus it is that their second album, Abra Kadavar, arrives with no small measure of anticipation. Some immediate differences: the sophomore outing is three tracks and about eight minutes longer than the first one, clocking in at a still-vinyl-ready 41:16. The distinctive drum sound of Tiger’s kit – the sort of fuzz that came off his snare with each tap – has abated, though the snare hits hardly sound punched in and an overall natural, live feel has been maintained between both the drums and Mammut’s bass, which was a standout element of the first record and remains so on Abra Kadavar. As regards Lindemann’s vocals, they are forward in classic rock tradition, but more assured and mature for the band’s road time, and he skillfully follows his own lead lines in the second half of opener “Come Back Life,” the trio having already enacted a formidable shuffle en route to the closing solo. Throughout, there is clear, resonant stylistic growth and as much as Abra Kadavar proves the first album wasn’t a fluke, it also shows the three-piece aren’t necessarily limited to the driving ‘70s heavy rock that they nonetheless so effectively convey on the single, “Doomsday Machine.” The self-titled ended psychedelic and extended with the eight-minute “Purple Sage,” but though they’re shorter, the closing trio of “Liquid Dream,” “Rhythm for Endless Minds” and “Abra Kadabra” show a nascent sonic diversity in Kadavar’s approach that incorporates rocking organ, psych swirl, and a heavy jamming sensibility that underlies much of the band’s work to-date, but has yet to be so blatantly expressed.

Evolution is clear too from the start of “Come Back Life,” which gives Abra Kadavar a no less effective initial groove than “An Industry of Murder” brought to Graveyard’s 2012 third album, Lights Out, despite having little in common in terms of sound. Immediately, Mammut’s bass offers rich, warm low end playing off Lindemann’s guitar, though it winds up being the energy in Tiger’s Bonzo-type fills that propels the track. They arrive quickly at a hook with a build and the lines, “Hello darkness my old friend/I won’t talk to you again,” (or somewhere thereabouts) and repeat the progression twice, but then suddenly it disappears in favor of a return to the verse, Lindemann’s lead lines acting as a riff while Mammut and Tiger hold the rhythm together, and subsequent build into a stop-start stomp progression in which the title line is delivered. It’s a rich, near-irresistible groove, fit to open the album, but I keep wondering when that Simon & Garfunkel referential part will return – perhaps as transition out of the last verse into the final solo – and it never does, leaving the structure more open than it might’ve been on the last album as “Come Back Life” crashes to its finish and fades to give way to the start of “Doomsday Machine.” Certainly the single has all the chorus potency one could possibly ask from Kadavar, but even its placement as the second track instead of the first – the debut having opened with its strongest chorus in “All Our Thoughts” – shows the band are trying something new with their second outing. Mood varies throughout on an almost per-track basis, though songs are consistent in general sound and production, but “Doomsday Machine” is a straightforward highlight, its task and structure simple in execution of a tension-building verse and a payoff chorus of driving riffs and classic heavy grooves. “Doomsday Machine” is almost immediately familiar, true to its intent, and offers few frills to a decades-tested formula, an extra layer of Lindemann’s guitar toward the last verse seeming like a grand addition. Following a final chorus, Kadavar end the single instrumentally, the guitar and bass intertwining leads leaving room for a transitional drum fill that’s a standout, two-second solo hinting of something much more lasting perhaps when delivered on stage.

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Satellite Beaver to Open Desertfest Berlin 2013

Posted in Whathaveyou on April 1st, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster

Polish heavy rockers Satellite Beaver are no strangers around these parts, going back to 2010 and hearing some tracks from their MySpace page (a simpler time!), and on through an exploration of their 2009 Trip Outside Your Mind demo (review here) and subsequent 2012 EP, The Last Bow (review here). Now the Warsaw foursome have been tapped to kickoff this year’s Desertfest in Berlin on April 25.

They’re the second to last addition — one more to come later this week — to the fest, the website for which posted this announcement of the rock to come once Satellite Beaver take the stage:

Desertfest Berlin – SATELLITE BEAVER (POL)

We are thrilled to announce that Polish Stoner/Sludge Metal quartet SATELLITE BEAVER will open the festival on Thursday 25 !!

Formed in Warsaw, Poland, in 2008, SATELLITE BEAVER are a hard rocking Sludge/Stoner Metal Band composed of Szymon (Guitars/Vocals), Tomek (Guitar), Michal (Bass) and Robert (Drums).

Inspired by traditional grunge and stoner rock genres, SATELLITE BEAVER came a long way through different influences what in practice means searching for thickest guitar strings and biggest crash cymbals ever created. The fuzz and distortion are at maximum levels, producing some truly earth shattering sounds, an eclectic hybrid of sludge, psychedelic and grunge. It hits hard, dripping with atmosphere, as otherworldly sounds clamber over the lumbering riffs to brilliant head-banging effect.

Their latest EP, “The Last Bow” contains tracks recorded through 2010 and 2011, summing up the bands creative journey and giving you an inclination of where they might be headed. Currently, SATELLITE BEAVER are preparing brand new material for their debut album release, which is about to be recorded and released in the second half of 2013 and promoted through an European tour in September. It will contain massive, down-tuned trips to the land of fuzz, which you will be able to hear live at DESERTFEST BERLIN !

Satellite Beaver on Thee Facebooks

Desertfest Berlin website

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