Posted in Whathaveyou on January 25th, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster
Doubly stoked for this news about a new Samsara Blues Experiment live Rockpalast Crossroads CD, and here’s why: First, I continue to dig the fuzz-laden heavy psych the Berlin four-piece emit, and having seen them live last year at Desertfest and at Roadburn before that, I can tell you they bring it live. Second, the disc — which is to be released on SBE guitarist/vocalist Christian Peters‘ own Electric Magic Records — is also set to include an acoustic version of “Singata Mystic Queen,” a blissfully psychedelic jam that I’m curious to hear how they’ve reworked.
So there you go. I believe I’ve stated my case fully and clearly. In summation, these guys rule. Here’s word they sent over about the release and a link to watch the performance in its entirety prior to the April release:
New CD: SBE at Rockpalast
As some of you already witnessed Samsara Blues Experiment teaching folks at WDR Rockpalast a lesson of what the Blues can be beside those shiny icons blurring them muddy waters these days. Electric Magic Records will release the concert on CD garnished with an acoustic version of “Singata Mystic Queen” which has recently been recorded at Big Snuff Studio Berlin. The whole package will be adorned by amazing new livepictures by Thomas Lang. The release of this CD is set for April 2013 and will be limited to 500 pieces.
Posted in Whathaveyou on January 25th, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster
It’s no coincidence that just about every time I post something about UK doomers Alunah, it’s good news. The band, who issued the most chorus-rich White Hoarhound (review here) on CD through PsycheDOOMelic and subsequently signed to Napalm Records heavy imprint Spinning Goblin Productions, have today released the album on vinyl and been added to the lineup for the 2013 Berlin Desertfest. I had the chance to catch Alunah live last year in London and they were right on. Always killer to see cool stuff happen to good bands.
Desertfest sends over word of their addition. Dig it:
Today, January 25, is a great day for the English band ALUNAH ! First Napalm Records officially release their 2nd album in vinyl. And then, they are confirmed for the DESERTFEST BERLIN 2013 !! Birmingham based ALUNAH is a Psyche/Stoner/Doom band which unleashes an incredible paganistic sound characterized by thick guitars, a punishing rhythm section, and earthy and hypnotic vocal melodies. Sometimes groovy, oppressive, or downright grimy depending on what the situation calls for, the songs are dark and slow without being downers !
Billed as the “Future of Doom” by Terrorizer Magazine, ALUNAH’s “White Hoarhound”, their 2nd full-length album was released in September 2012 on PsycheDOOMelic Records, and is now officially available on vinyl on Napalm Record !This album is the follow-up to their debut “Call of Avernus” released in late 2010, and their EP “Fall to Earth” in 2008.
Consisting of Soph Day (vocals and guitar), Dave Day (guitar), Gaz Imber (bass) and Jake Mason (drums), ALUNAH have spent the last 6 years building up a reputation for being one of the most hardworking and consistent live bands by playing national dates and festivals (Desertfest London, Desert Storm Birmingham) with international artists such as Fu Manchu, Orange Goblin, Karma to Burn, Acid King, Witchcraft, Graveyard, The Storm and shortly High on Fire !
Even though their reputation as a great live band is already built, they never played beyond UK… Damn !… so many of us have never seen them !
Fortunately, the DESERTFEST BERLIN is here to fix that lack ! Be there !!
Posted in Whathaveyou on January 18th, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster
More good news out of the Desertfest Berlin camp in that Witch Mountain and Cough will be hitting up the Austra Kulturhaus on their European run as a part of the fest. The two forward-thinking American actswill also play Desertfest London and Roadburn, representing some of the best doom the opposite US coasts have to offer. Desertfest sent over the following announcements:
WITCH MOUNTAIN (USA)
On tour from April with COUGH, we are thrilled to announce that WITCH MOUNTAIN is added to the DESERFEST 2013 line-up !! WITCH MOUNTAIN is classic doom metal band delivering a magic potion of massive and rumbling riffs that bore you skull, and bluesy, ballsy, and sensual vocals that attract everything with their seductive wildness.
From Portland, Oregon, WITCH MOUNTAIN was formed in 1997. The band self-released a demo “Homegrown Doom” in 1999, and their first full-length album “Come the Mountain” in 2001. But after a 2002 tour with Eternal Elysium, the band slowed activity for several years…
A July 2009 show opening for Pentagram, with guest singer Uta Plotkin, marked a revival of the band. Uta brought the necessary ingredient that Witch Mountain founders Rob Wrong and Nate Carson had been seeking since they initially formed the group.
She was asked to join the band as main vocalist, and Witch Mountain recorded their second full-length album, “South of Salem” six months later. Produced by master “engine-ear” Billy Anderson (Sleep, Neurosis, Melvins), it was unleashed in April 2011 through their own label Mountastic Recrods. In November 2011, WITCH MOUNTAIN was signed with Profound Lore Records and released their third full-length album, “Cauldron of the Wild”, in June 2012.
Just after, an invitation to play the main stage at Scion Rock Fest 2012 along with Sleep, Saint Vitus, and Down gave the band an opportunity to return to US stages, successfully headlining in the US and Canada for most of June. This fall, Scion sponsored the band’s most extensive tour to date — a 5-week headlining trek around the US and Canada with witchy friends Castle in support.
They will be in Europe from April, with COUGH, for their first European shows ever!! The DesertFest couldn’t miss this occasion, and you either!!
On tour from April with WITCH MOUNTAIN, we are thrilled to announce that COUGH is added to the DESERFEST 2013 line-up !!
Formed in Richmond, Virginia, in 2005, COUGH is a sludge/doom metal band delivering thoroughly massive, epic and impenetrable walls of sound and volume, at points suffocating and claustrophobic, at others warped and hallucinogenic.
The band self-released an EP, “The Kingdom”, in 2007, and followed it quickly with their first proper full-length “Sigillum Luciferi” in 2008, recorded with acclaimed producer Sanford Parker (Minsk, Rwake, Pelican, Nachtmystium). Sporadic gigging followed the release before the band holed up in a Richmond warehouse to write the follow up, but the band slowly laboured forward with the writing. By winter 2009/2010, the band had signed to Relapse Records and returned to Chicago, Illinois, enlisting Parker once again to record the long awaited “Ritual Abuse”, released in October 2010.
Upon its release the band embarked on two epic North American and European tours lasting almost four months ! In 2012, COUGH performed another US headline run, and their first ever Australian and New Zealand tours. They will be back in Europe in 2013 for a seven-week tour starting from April, stopping at the DESERTFEST Berlin to deliver their impressive monolith of sound !
Posted in Whathaveyou on December 21st, 2012 by H.P. Taskmaster
A bit of news before we all split out for the weekend: I’ve signed on as an online promotional partner once again for the Desertfest Berlin! Basically that means that we’ll have a lot more news about both this one and Desertfest London as we get into the New Year and closer to that weekend itself — set for April 25-27. Wild times, and it seems like some bands are already slated to do one and then the other — looking at you, Unida and Lowrider — but the lineup looks awesome and I couldn’t be more thrilled to be associated again with Desertfest as the multinational brand continues to grow. If anyone wants to set up an East Coast franchise, let me know.
And here’s the latest lineup and ticket links for Desertfest Berlin. California-based retro punkers The Shrine have been added. Word also just came down the PR wire that The Shrine will be joining Graveyard on their upcoming US run, also not to be missed.
Posted in Whathaveyou on December 12th, 2012 by H.P. Taskmaster
Oh my goodness gracious. Not a month ago, I was bitching on Thee Facebooks about how California gets all the good stuff like hoverboards and Unida shows, and while I’m still not sure they’ve caught up with Back to the Future Part II‘s vision of the twenty-teens, London’s at least got Unida going for them, and frankly, that’s more than enough for me.
Yes, I did just say I’d trade a hoverboard for a chance to see Unida live. And I meant it. I haven’t been this stoked for a festival announcement since… well, since Yawning Man, Fatso Jetson, Lowrider and Dozer were announced a few weeks back. This is going to be an incredible weekend, and I can’t wait to get there and be completely exhausted by it.
Yes, it’s correct. The mighty UNIDA and John Garcia are to headline Desertfest at the Electric Ballroom on Saturday 27th April. Here’s the full announcement, share it around and get your tickets quick.
You certainly didn’t see that coming did you!! Well, it’s true. Not only have DesertFest already reunited both the mighty Dozer and Lowrider for 2013, but we are now proud to announce that desert rock royalty Unida are Camden-bound this coming April to headline Desertfest 2013.
I’m sure you all already know the story, but that isn’t going to stop it being told over again… Upon the dissolution of Kyuss and Slo Burn, the voice of the Californian sands John Garcia (vocals) hooked up with Dave Dinsmore (bass), Arthur Seay (guitar) and Miguel Cancino (drums) to add their biker punk-metal rhythms to his unmistakable, paint-stripping bluesy grooves behind the mic. Despite huge early promise, a glorious debut album in 1999’s ‘Coping with the Urban Coyote’, a storming split with Swedes Dozer and a follow-up record due with American Recordings in 2001, the band stalled and sank back behind the cacti’ shadows. The long-awaited second album, reportedly entitled ‘The Great Divide’, was never released; Dinsmore left the band to be replaced initially by Scott Reeder and then later Eddie Plascencia whilst Garcia concentrated more exclusively on his new band Hermano and some solo work. Unida was certainly left in-need-a’ something… until now!
Back to blow us all away with the likes of ‘Wet Pussycat’, ‘Human Tornado’ and ‘Black Woman’ plus a whole lot more, this is one pick-up truck full of hulking riffs, fuzzed up overdrive and classic vocal majestics that you simply can’t afford to miss. Get ready to cope with the triumphant return of the urban coyotes themselves at DesertFest 2013!
Posted in Features on December 6th, 2012 by H.P. Taskmaster
There was a point over this past summer at which it seemed like every single day brought another exclamation of Kadavar‘s righteousness. A relatively recent trio from Berlin, their self-titled debut full-length epitomized vinyl-revival ethics front to back, brought to public conscious by Tee Pee Records in the US and This Charming Man in Europe. In a straightforward 34 minutes, the six-track outing made almost every moment a highlight — with vehement allegiance to vintage tones (and looks) and well-crafted heavy grooves, Kadavar honed probably the best retro stylization to come since Witchcraft made their opening statement eight years ago.
Engaging, burning-tube guitar tones and semi-blown out vocals that in a different context wouldn’t be so different from what Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats brought to their landmark Blood Lustlast year made a cut like side B opener “Goddess of Dawn” as vital musically as it was accessible for the niche audience to whom it was speaking. Songs throughout Kadavar‘s Kadavarwere catchy and rife with hooks, and the response they got was suitably massive, but from the launch of “All Our Thoughts” (streaming here) to the bizarre psychedelia of eight-minute finale “Purple Sage,” the album earned the hyperbole to which it was treated and made a strong entry for Kadavar into the crowded European retro market.
And for a debut to be so cohesive stylistically and have such a clear sense of purpose only makes it more impressive. Kadavarwould have thrilled as a band’s third album, never mind their first, but for guitarist/vocalist Wolf Lindemann, bassist Mammut and drummer Tiger, the LP and the huge success of their aesthetic and songcraft seemed as natural as the recording itself. Without a doubt, there was huge potential to be heard throughout songs like “Black Sun,” the swaying “Forgotten Past” or the bass-driven penultimate “Creature of the Demon,” but already Kadavar have hit the mark their first time out, and Kadavaris not only 2012′s most essential debut release, but also one of the best albums of the year.
Posted in Reviews on December 5th, 2012 by H.P. Taskmaster
Initially vinyl-only, and initially self-titled, the debut full-length from Berlin-based classic heavy rockers Heat arrives on CD under the name Old Sparky via Electric Magic Records, the new imprint headed by Christian Peters of Samsara Blues Experiment. Mostly retro, born of jams, Heat’s ties to their Berlin compatriots run more than their label ties – they also share bassist Richard Behrens, who recorded, mixed and mastered the six tracks of Old Sparky at Big Snuff Studio. The album, which runs a full but ultimately manageable 45 minutes, is well allied to the current European heavy scene, though despite their proto-metal leanings, the guitars of Ingo Börner and Marco Rischer also have a tendency to meander when they choose to do so, particularly during the opening and closing tracks of the album, which are also the two longest. “Daymare,” which starts the record, and “Ending Aging,” which caps it, veer from the straightforwardness of structure that emerges on in-between cuts “Warhead,” “Hamelin,” “Illusion” and “Old Sparky,” all of which run between five and six minutes long. Far from samey, however, each individual piece shows a personality of its own while also staying true to the laid back heavy vibe of Old Sparky, which remains consistent throughout in a manner both accomplished for a debut and speaking to Heat’s overarching potential for future growth. Börner and Rischer’s guitars are complemented by Behrens’ inventive low end work, the coinciding drumming of Marcus Töpfer and the layered vocals of Patrick Fülling, which prove a defining element throughout the tracks. On “Daymare” and elsewhere, Fülling slips into a post-Ozzy cadence that reminds me a bit of some of Steve Murphy from Kings Destroy’s approach, but obviously the accent is different and Fülling doesn’t rely on the same delivery method the whole time. On the faster thrust of “Warhead,” he draws out the title in memorable fashion while the guitars proffer ‘70s bikerisms behind, gradually tripping their way into a psychedelic wah bridge held down by Behrens’ bass and Töpfer’s quality if somewhat understated fills.
Earliest Judas Priest comes to mind as a comparison point, as Heat seem to be embarking on a project dedicated to finding that exact moment when heavy rock became heavy metal. The production – thick in a modern sense but still live-sounding and natural on the reeling stops and grooving push of “Hamelin” – bears that out. It’s an admirable mission in a historical sense and it’s enough to put Old Sparky not quite in league with the many, many post-Graveyard 1973-worshipers coming out of Europe these days. Those elements are there, perhaps most of all on “Ending Aging,” which shirks off the sub-metal of “Hamelin” and “Warhead” in favor of a more strictly blues-minded drive, but Heat’s ability to shake up the mood while retaining sonic consistency works to their benefit. Tonally warm and seeming most comfortable when locked into a mid-tempo riff, Börner and Rischer nonetheless are able to steer the rest of the band in any direction they choose – there’s nothing about Old Sparky one could reasonably call experimental, but it’s not lacking creativity either – and that makes the album exciting as the instant familiarity of “Hamelin” gives way to the rush of “Illusion,” on which the two guitars have some of their best interplay of the album. A shuffle underlines formidable drum crash and a strong hook from Fülling, and with the post-chorus leads and transitional chug between verse lines, shades of Pentagram emerge as filtered through 30-plus years of smoke-filled distortion. “Illusion” winds up a highlight in no small part for its Sabbath-style blues preceding the closer’s aesthetic coup, even if it walks that line between being derivative and hard to place specifically within the sphere of ‘70s heavy and ‘70s-insired heavy, and “Old Sparky” provides the most Graveyard-esque stretch, though its 5:43 runtime is by no means limited just to that influence. I note how long the song is because it speaks to an interesting facet of the album in that but for the first and last tracks, the four between run in order from shortest to longest, “Warhead” being five minutes flat and “Old Sparky” the aforementioned 5:43. Likewise, “Daymare” is 8:11 and “Ending Aging” 15:42, also shortest to longest (though obviously on a different scale). Whether or not Heat intended them to run that way because of their length, I don’t know, but it’s curious nonetheless, and if they did do it on purpose, it speaks of a commitment to intricacy in their presentation. I’ll be interested to see if they do something similar with their next album.
Berlin heavy rockers Samavayo have a pretty good streak going at this point. They’ve issued an album a year for each of the last three years. One Million Things dropped through Sector B Records in 2010, and last year, Cosmic Knockoutfollowed on Setalight. On Oct. 12, the four-piece issued their latest full-length, Soul Invictus, once again through Setalight, in a limited 500 vinyl run — 100 white copies, 400 black. Their fourth album overall — their debut was 2005′s Deathmarchmelodies! on Nasoni — it’s rife with traditional stonerisms, and in the case of the track “Nightmare,” for which the band recently posted the video that follows here, a strange sense of aggression.
Say whatever you want to about lyrical ambiguity, there’s no mistaking the message when the band starts beating each other in the woods with their guitars. Actually, yeah, there kind of is some mistaking the message. I’m not sure what it’s all about, but a catchy chorus is a catchy chorus, and “Nightmare” certainly has that, as you can both see and hear for yourself:
The B-side to a new limited 12″ EP that Samsara Blues Experiment will release to mark their fall tour, “Midnight Boogie” starts out with a UFO cover (that’d be the “Boogie” part, as in “Boogie for George” from the band’s 1970 debut, UFO 1), and the band promptly use the low-end groove of the track as a bed for an 11-minute jam. And well, it’s awesome. The Berlin outfit begin the aforementioned run of shows tomorrow, Oct. 19, and they’ll mostly be in their native Germany, but plan to hit up Belgium, Switzerland and Austria as well, sharing the stage along the way with Mars Red Sky, Cherry Choke and Kadavar.
Dates are below and more info is at Samsara Blues Experiment‘s website. Here’s the video for “Midnight Boogie,” which the band put together themselves using fest footage and clips from 1935′s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Please enjoy:
Samsara Blues Experiment on tour
19.10.12 – GOETTINGEN, GER – STILBRUCH 20.10.12 – FRANKFURT/MAIN, GER – DAS BETT – Sky High Festival 21.10.12 – ERFURT, GER – MUSEUMSKELLER 22.10.12 – MUNICH, GER – FEIERWERK 23.10.12 – PRATTELN, CH – GALERY 24.10.12 – BONN,GER – HARMONIE – WDR Rockpalast 25.10.12 – BELGIUM – TO BE ARRANGED 26.10.12 – WUERZBURG, GER – IMMERHIN 27.10.12 – VIENNA, A – ARENA 03.11.12 – HALLE, GER – ROCKSTATION
Posted in Whathaveyou on September 27th, 2012 by H.P. Taskmaster
Berlin-based classic heavy rockers Heat will be celebrating the release of their debut album — also called Heat in a seeming effort to confound anyone who might think about searching for the band on the interwebs (I’ve provided links at bottom for navigational ease) — by embarking on a tour through their native Germany beginning tomorrow with a slot on the penultimate date of the Up in Smoke IV tour with Monkey3, Grandloom and Glowsun (info here). Not a bad way to start out.
The album can be streamed on the player below, hoisted from Heat‘s Bandcamp page, and will be available at the shows on this tour pressed to vinyl on the new Electric Magic Records, helmed by Christian Peters of Samsara Blues Experiment. Dude knows his psych.
HEAT over Germany 2012
28.09.2012 // Dresden – Groove Station (Up in Smoke) 30.09.2012 // Halle – Hühnermanhatten 01.10.2012 // tba 02.10.2012 // Kiel – Schaubude 03.10.2012 // Kassel – Das Haus 04.10.2012 // Köln – Tsunami Club 05.10.2012 // Siegen – Vortex (w/ Horisont, My Sleeping Karma) 06.10.2012 // Cottbus – Blue Moon Festival (w/ Horisont, Asteroid, etc.) 16.10.2012 // Berlin – Cassiopeia (w/ Voivod) 16.11.2012 // Dresden – Born Wild Festival 25.11.2012 // Berlin – Comet Club (w/ Siena Root) 07.12.2012 // Leipzig- Black Label Pub 08.12.2012 // Aschaffenburg – Unsagbar 15.12.2012 // Jena – Black Night
To be fair, they’re a pretty obvious pick. If there’s any reason I held off for so long in choosing them, it’s because I kept arguing back and forth about which album to choose. Just about everything they’ve done since 2001 has something working in its favor, whether it’s the two-disc extendedness of 2003′s Los Sounds de Krautsmaking it perfect for languishing on a long afternoon sitting in the backyard, or the peaceful warmth of 2006′s Tempel, or the wide-open jammy flow of 2008′s All. In the end though, I went with Colour Haze‘s 2004 self-titled, because it seems to encapsulate all these things about the others.
It’s probably not the trio’s best album — that’s a designation that seems to change with whatever I’ve got on at the time — but Colour Haze‘s Colour Hazehas classic prog interplay in “Did êl It,” plenty of subtle Hendrixian build in “Love” and a tonal warmth that no matter how many bands in the European scene try to match, no one seems quite able to do it. You could teach a semester on Stefan Koglek‘s guitar tone, but Colour Haze is just as much about drummer Manfred Merwald and bassist Philipp Rasthofer, and the self-titled was the moment when the three of them really nailed down the chemistry that they’ve been working so diligently to perfect ever since.
And as to the atmosphere of the album itself, even if it’s winter when you put on the beginning of “Peace, Brothers & Sisters!” it’ll be summer by the time you’re through the track’s 22 minutes. The real magic comes from the fact that you could say the same thing about the track before it, the 3:45 acoustic cut “Solitude.” Right on.
We’ll have just one more Album of the Summer of the Week to get it in before Labor Day, but in the meantime, here’s the aforementioned “Peace, Brothers & Sisters!” to get you dancing and get your yayas out before Colour Haze‘s three-hour gig next month in London, should you be fortunate enough to go. Please enjoy:
Posted in Whathaveyou on August 20th, 2012 by H.P. Taskmaster
German heavy psych jammers Samsara Blues Experiment have a slew of activities in the works before the end of 2012. Below, the band updates on the latest goings on in support of last year’s Revelation and Mystery(review here), including tour dates, a Rockpalast appearance and a new 12″ to be released through World in Sound. Check it:
We will be touring through Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Belgium in October 2012. All dates can now be seen in ourcalendar.
There will be an appearance at Rockpalast Crossroads Festival and as some of you might already know this will be shown on German TV. Yes we´re nationwide…
We´ll also have a new release with us which will feature “Center Of The Sun” and a mixture of the UFO song “Boogie” combined with a new jam (summing up to 12 minutes), that will surely please your ears and minds.
This 12 inch maxi single will be limited to only 1000 copies on black and colored vinyl. Released through World In Sound Records with the beginning of the tour.
Posted in Whathaveyou on August 14th, 2012 by H.P. Taskmaster
Why, it feels like only yesterday I was regretting not being able to get to Berlin and catch the Desertfest there in April. Oh wait, that was just yesterday. By all accounts (including Ben Ward’s and Justin Maranga‘s) it was an absolute blast, and though I think it would have perhaps been the final snapping of The Patient Mrs.‘ much-tested patience, there was plenty I would’ve liked to see.
In my usual bid to get absolutely no work done on any given day — today, for example — I stumbled on the following PR wire-type info from Sound of Liberation‘s website, and saw fit to repost. Check it:
DESERTFEST 2013 plans are shaping up!
Dear festival addicts, our rendez-vous in Berlin is set for 2013 and we start working on the festival plans…
First of all, as mentioned at the end of 2012 edition, dates for 2013 are set and now confirmed: it will be 25th, 26th and 27th of April 2013.
A small change is included in our plans: all 3 days will happen in ASTRA KulturHaus, which is the bigger venue where friday and saturday shows happened in 2012: this means wider and more comfortable space for all of us and 2 stages running over the 3 days of the festival! We hope you will enjoy!
Also, from this week on we start working on the visual arts ( art exhibit and movies) aspects of our rendez-vous. All interested artists who would like to exhibit their silkcreens, sculpture, painting, short movie ( court métrage) or movies related to the Heavy, Stoner, Psychedelic or Doom scene can contact us here: visual_arts[@]desertfest.de
Booking of the line-up will also start anytime soon! all submission should be sent to the following address: firstname.lastname@example.org
> all bands/artists application should include: name, logo, press picture, promo text in english and link to songs to listen to as well as video links. > Please be patient: we will not answer right away but we will contact the bands we are interested in by the end of september 2012.
Also we want to thank all of you who reacted on facebook, and who posted ideas for the line-up..please go on! we check this regulary and will take advice for our choices of 2013 line-up!
ADDRESS: THURSDAY 25th April 2013-SATURDAY 27st April 2013 FESTIVAL ASTRA KULTURHAUS Revaler Straße 99 10245 Berlin
Posted in Reviews on July 2nd, 2012 by H.P. Taskmaster
It’s not every band that can open an album with a song called “Rock ‘n’ Rollercoaster” without making fools of themselves, but halfway through the upbeat, two-and-a-half-minute lead cut on the self-titled, self-produced and self-released debut from young Berlin outfit Operators, I’m mostly convinced they’ve done it. Their relative youth is a major factor working in their favor. A rare six-piece (ah, to have friends), Operators energetically and insistently push their way through most of Operators’ nine tracks, eliciting images of rock and roll shenanigans no less mischievous than their naked-lady-and-eggs cover art might bring to mind. Two guitarists in Dirk Beck (who also mixed) and Orge, an umlauted rhythm section in bassist Dän and drummer Säsh, a standalone vocalist in Eggat, Operators is rounded out by the prominently displayed organ of Konni, whose melodic contribution to a track like “Creamlead” or “Pig & Pepper” is more than just flourish to highlight and/or punctuate the guitar. Sometimes Konni follows Orge and Dirk, and sometimes they follow him, but most of the time, they work separately to each bring their own feel to the songs. The material perhaps leans too hard on Konni at times – see the aforementioned “Pig & Pepper” – but those keys and the strength of Konni’s performance are a major distinguishing factor when it comes to separating Operators from their many peers in Europe’s booming heavy rock climate. They bolster and add complexity to the more rocking earlier songs and make sure nothing sounds empty on the album’s moodier closing movement.
There’s a telling moment on centerpiece “Danish” at 2:03 when Eggat belts out a scream that’s right out of post-hardcore. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if a few years back found at least some of the members of Operators working more with those influences, but if they’re relatively inexperienced with heavy or riff rock, their take on it is going to inherently sound fresh, even if it is familiar. That they’d start with “Rock ‘n’ Rollercoaster” is particularly interesting, because that basically lays out the rest of the course for their album. It is a rollercoaster, complete with ups and downs, climbs and descents that ultimately combine for a well put together if recognizable sound. “January Blues” keeps the momentum going with punkish floor tom hits in the intro from Säsh and more uptempo classic rock. Their palate is ultimately pretty straightforward, whatever Konni adds to the formula with the organ still comes in service to the song, but one thing Operators do very well is keep the pace varied so as to not have the material come off as redundant. At its end, “January Blues” slows down some and that works to set up the start of “Creamlead,” which earns its title through both the guitar and the organ work. Hard not to get shades of Greenleaf by the end of the song, but I wouldn’t speculate as to whether or not that’s a direct influence or just a commonality of method. In any case, “Creamlead”’s agenda is largely the same as the ensuing “Pig & Pepper,” but Konni takes a longer solo in the latter and the guitars seem more secondary than elsewhere.
The crux of the idea behind Premonition 13 and what separates it from the slew of other Scott “Wino” Weinrich projects — especially on stage, as I myself saw at the Saint Vitus bar in Brooklyn not so long ago — is the interplay between Wino and fellow guitarist/vocalist Jim Karow. On the band’s debut full-length, 13, Karow‘s solos and vocals added much to the personality of the group and the record as a whole, however overshadowed he might have been by Weinrich‘s legacy and profile. More than that, on stage, those two jammed. I mean, they went for it, and thinking back on that show, that’s what I remember most.
This week’s Wino Wednesday clip, however, finds Premonition 13 at the abrupt end of their European tour as a three-piece with just Wino on guitar. Karow reportedly had to split back to the US on the double — and not knowing the situation there, I won’t speculate except to say I hope everything’s alright and that the group can get out again as a full band at some point if not sooner than later — and though a couple shows were canceled, they went through with Berlin, where they shared the stage with Fuzz Manta, Voodooshock and Burn Pilot at Cassiopeia on Dec. 6, 2011.
Some intrepid soul (presumably YouTube user jomawe74, whose account the clip was uploaded by) filmed the songs “Hard to Say” and “Deranged Rock ‘n’ Roller” with just Wino on guitar and vocals, and since the single guitar gives a rawer feel than those who saw Premonition 13 in its full incarnation on this tour might expect, I thought it might be cool to make a Wino Wednesday of it. Special thanks to Billy Brett who brought my attention to the following: