Review & Full Album Premiere: Little Jimi, EP.1

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on November 12th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

Little Jimi EP 1

[Click play above to stream Little Jimi’s debut LP, EP.1, in its entirety. Album is out Nov. 16 and available to preorder from Mars Red Sound.]

Doesn’t feel like a rash assumption to imagine who “Big Jimi” might be in this case, but Little Jimi is both the name of the band and the character whose story said band is telling. And while we’re on the subject of names, EP.1 is the somewhat counterintuitive title given to Little Jimi‘s debut LP, stemming from the fact that before they added the songs “Dock 11” and “Midnight Mojo” to close out sides A and B, respectively, it was their first EP, given the much more telling title: First EP. If it helps to think of EP.1 as an abbreviation of “episode one,” then fair enough, but at six songs and 38 minutes, it is an LP, and a smooth-flowing one at that. The heavy psychedelic rocking three-piece of guitarist/vocalists Guillaume Arancibia and Benjamin Monnereau and drummer Antoine Le Gall are based in Bordeaux, France, and given their propensity for trippy space-making, weighted low end, melodic range and rolling groove — not to mention the fact that they’re releasing through the label Mars Red Sound — a comparison to Mars Red Sky feels somewhat inevitable.

But if it’s to be a question of character in the songwriting, Little Jimi have their own both literally and figuratively, and the album finds its own reaches to inhabit apart from that influence, as one would hope it would. From opener “Jimi” through the memorable bounce of “Goodbye Katus” and the patient delivery of the stick-clicking in “Midnight Mojo,” Little Jimi present an engaging depth of mix and a varied craft built on a sense of narrative cohesion that nonetheless proves able to affect a hypnotic jamming vibe when it so chooses, as on that eight-minute finale track, rife with wah-laden guitar soloing, swinging drums and a fervent forward drive in its resolution. There is little about their presentation one could call pretentious from the natural sound of the recording style on down through the construction of the songs themselves, and whether one engages with the story of Jimi himself and his friend Katus — who might be a teddy bear — or not, there’s still a rich listening experience on offer.

Of course I’m not going to tell you to discount the quest of Jimi as he for some reason leaves home and looks for a new existence. The lyrics indeed present the first episode of his tale, from the introduction in the first song through the departure of a train at the end of “Goodbye Katus” with a journey in between. It’s not at all so plainly obvious what’s happening at any given moment — that is, Little Jimi haven’t exactly written a rock opera — but they’ve set themselves in the first-person, and it works well with their aesthetic, tapping inspiration from the progressive textures of Pink Floyd in “Molimoh” at the outset of side B while the opening rollout of “Jimi” hits into minor-key instrumental melodies even before the vocals arrive, giving a somewhat foreboding atmosphere throughout a spacious initial verse while building tension into the instrumental chorus.

little jimi tour poster

Though neither Arancibia nor Monnereau are credited with playing bass live, there is definitely a low end presence on the album itself, whether that’s layered in on the recording amid two guitars or just one of those guitars doing a bass impression. In either case, EP.1 lacks nothing as regards tonal presence, and among the primary elements of the band’s skillset is creating a molten atmosphere early that solidifies into a later thrust. It’s not quite the same as a straight linear build on “Jimi,” because the song works back and forth between its verse and instrumental chorus, but there is a sense of direction all the same. With its whispers and swirling, flute-like effects, there’s a likewise forward push in “Lamp Song,” though that actually is more of a linear build, brought to a head twice over the course of the song’s five and a half minutes, so there’s some structural variation as well. Naturally, that’s only to the band’s advantage as they tell their tale.

Or rather, as they begin it, because as much as there’s an ending — that train departs in “Goodbye Katus” and I’m not entirely sure what’s happening in the semi-spoken parts of “Midnight Mojo,” but we’ve left the station, so to speak — Little Jimi seem intent in the spirit of modern cinematics to set themselves up for a sequel. In that regard, “Dock 11” and “Midnight Mojo” feel extra crucial, since they represent the newest material on the record. And sure enough, they’re the most sonically adventurous, with bold diversions of guitar in “Dock 11” amid a rhythmic insistence and a tight sub-five-minute runtime and the aforementioned jam-out in “Midnight Mojo” during which they seem to capitalize on the fluidity they’ve been able to build up throughout “Molimoh” and “Goodbye Katus” while bringing themselves to even new places. In addition to this, one finds a greater depth of arrangement in these newer tracks, with acoustic guitar layered into “Dock 11” to highlight a sentimental feel. That’s less the case with “Midnight Mojo,” but amid all the Hendrixery it’s nonetheless noteworthy that Little Jimi showcase such a penchant for changing up their methods even in these two tracks, let alone the album of which they’ve been made a part.

As to what the next episode of Little Jimi‘s voyage might hold, or whether the band might drop the thread entirely and pursue other avenues, I wouldn’t want to speculate. Their showcase here, frankly, is enough for the moment in introducing their style to audience and creating a flow that only grows more immersive as the album plays out. There may be more to come in this thread, but as a first installment, EP.1 holds as much promise for the narration itself as for the plotline, and again, whether a given listener is inclined to follow Jimi’s adventure with each footfall or step back and see the whole picture as it’s presented in these tracks, it’s clearly a story worth hearing.

Little Jimi on Thee Facebooks

Little Jimi on Bandcamp

Mars Red Sound webstore

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Little Jimi to Release EP.1 Nov. 16

Posted in Whathaveyou on October 3rd, 2018 by JJ Koczan

Little Jimi

So, at 38 minutes, EP.1 is kind of disingenuous as a title. It’s not really an EP, but it was when Little Jimi self-released it in 2017. Released part of it, anyway. Then titled First EP according to the band’s Bandcamp page, it was a four-tracker that’s no been expanded to six and is set to release Nov. 16 through Mars Red Sound, the imprint helmed by fellow Bordeaux, France, natives Mars Red Sky. The two additional tracks are both newer and longer than anything before them on the EP, so maybe it’s a chance to get a glimpse at where Little Jimi are headed with their equal parts raucous and spacious heavy psych, while also giving a well-deserved second look at their first offering. The wash of the closer in particular, and how well the enact it and pull it back, seems to speak well of things to come. Especially in November.

From the PR wire:

Little Jimi EP 1

Garage psych trio LITTLE JIMI to release debut album “EP.1” on November 16th via MRS Red Sound.

South France garage psych rockers LITTLE JIMI announce the release of their debut album “EP. 1”, to be issued November 16th on vinyl and digital via MRS Red Sound.

When the power of the riff meets the hope-filled haziness of the 70s, when aerial vocals and two fuzzy guitars echo in unison, propelled by a powerful and surgical drumming… You feel the heat of South France’s garage psych rockers LITTLE JIMI carrying you into the wilderness of their debut album “EP.1”. The album tells the frantic story of little kid Jimi and his friend Katus, who are on the path to a new life, caught between wiseness and some darker auspices.

Firmly rooted in a modern heavy sound supported by strong dynamics, the power trio still shares the same love for vintage psychedelia as the likes of Birth Of Joy, The Black Angels or The Psychotic Monks. “EP.1” was initially released as a 4-track CD in the fall of 2017, and will be reissued with two brand new songs on November 16th, 2018 on limited 180gr 12” edition vinyl and digital via MRS Red Sound.

LITTLE JIMI – Debut album “EP. 1”
Out November 16th on MRS Red Sound
– Vinyl pre-order from Oct. 16th –

https://www.facebook.com/LittleJimi.music/
https://littlejimi.bandcamp.com/releases
https://marsredsky.bigcartel.com/products

Little Jimi, First EP (2017)

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Mars Red Sky Jamming in a Castle; Touring South America

Posted in Whathaveyou on September 19th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

Hey, you gotta write a new record anyway — might as well do it in a castle, right? I knew Mars Red Sky were a classy bunch of dudes, but the fact that they’ve been putting together material for their fourth album at Château de Monteton, a castle in Monteton, France, only cements it. The three-piece recently did a round of shows alongside Sweden’s MaidaVale, and in November, they’ll head to Mexico and South America on a tour presented by Abraxas supporting their 2016 full-length, Apex III (Praise for the Burning Soul) (review here).

One assumes the next album will surface in 2019 — onto the most-anticipated list they go — and it’s particularly interesting that the tour will end with a show in Rio de Janeiro, since that also happens to be where they recorded their second LP, 2014’s Stranded in Arcadia (review here), with producer Gabriel Zander. I don’t know if they’re planning to renew that collaboration or not, but they finish in Rio and then have the bulk of November open as of now on their calendar with a couple shows in France to round out the year in early December. Again, I don’t know anything for sure, but if they get the songs finished in time — being in a castle has to be good for productivity, right? — maybe it could work out.

In the meantime, Mars Red Sky contribute “Comfortably Numb” to Magnetic Eye RecordsThe Wall Redux tribute to Pink Floyd, which is up for preorder now.

The band sent the following down the PR wire:

mars red sky jamming in castle

We’re so happy to come back to South America this fall, with a lovely tour home made by Abraxas.

We are currently composing our new album, the 4th one! We’re really excited about it! We’ve worked from Monteton Castle to be able to gather the three of us without any distraction but the nature (and ghosts maybe).

Lastly, we’ve recorded a Pink Floyd cover “Comfortably Numb” with other great artists from the heavy/psych scene like The Melvins, Mark Lanegan, Yawning Man, Pallbearer or Greenleaf. This is going to be a heavy version of The Wall. You can preorder it on the Magnetic Eye Records online store.

REMAINING EUROPE TOUR
22.09 PACE (FR) Les Lunatiques Festival

SOUTH AMERICA TOUR
26.10 TOLUCA (MX) Landó Foro w/ Earthless
27.10 MEXICO CITY (MX) Sala Puebla w/ Earthless
30.10 BUENOS AIRES (AR) The Roxy Live
31.10. MONTEVIDEO (UR) Bluzz Live
02.11 PALMAS (BR) Wings Brewpub
03.11 SAO PAULO (BR) Fabrique Club w/ Earthless
04.11 RIO DE JANEIRO (BR) Cais da Imperatriz w/ Earthless

DECEMBER TOUR
06.12 SAINT ETIENNE (FR) NNY Fest
07.12 NANTES (FR) Nantes Metal Fest

http://www.marsredsky.net/
http://www.facebook.com/marsredskyband/
http://www.marsredsky.net
http://www.twitter.com/MarsRedSky1
http://www.listenable.net
http://www.facebook.com/listenablerecs

Mars Red Sky, “Under the Hood” official video

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Mars Red Sky Announce Spring Tour Dates

Posted in Whathaveyou on March 6th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

Seems to me it’s about time we started hearing murmurings of a follow-up to Mars Red Sky‘s 2016 full-length, Apex III (Praise for the Burning Soul) (review here). Now, I haven’t heard any, so I’m not trying to surreptitiously say there’s something in the works or anything like that, just that if you look at the arc of the band’s career to-date, it was three years from their 2011 self-titled debut (review here) and their second album, 2014’s Stranded in Arcadia (review here), and two between that record and the aforementioned Apex III, so figure sometime in the not too distant future if they’re keeping on pace it would make sense for them to have something new brewing. Maybe an announcement in summetime? Really, whenever would work as far as I’m concerned.

In the meantime, they’re still on the road for Apex III, playing Freak Valley and Resurrection Fest later this summer, as well I’m sure as more to come.

Dates follow:

mars red sky tour poster

MARS RED SKY go East: European spring shows announced!

French heavy psych trio MARS RED SKY keep spreading the sounds of their latest album “Apex III (Praise For The Burning Soul)” by hitting the roads of Eastern Europe this spring, including first ever appearances in some countries.

France – Club shows (March to May 2018)
02/03 TOULOUSE (31) Les Pavillons Sauvages
21/03 CHAMBERY (73) Le Brin de Zinc
22/03 LYON (69) Jack Jack
23/03 LE HAVRE (76) Centre d’Expression Musicale
29/03 RENNES (35) Le Mondo Bizarro
11/05 LARBBEY (40) Café Boissec
12/05 PARIS (75) Fuzzy Sounds Festival – FGO
30/05 STRASBOURG (67) No Vulture

Go East Tour (June 2018)
30/05 STRASBOURG (FR) No Vulture
31/05 NÜRNBERG (D) Muz
01/06 NETPHEN (D) Freak Valley Festival
02/06 DRESDEN (D) Beatpol
03/06 BRATISLAVA (SLO) Fuga
04/06 BUDAPEST (HU) Robot
05/06 TIMISOARA (RU) Reflektor
07/06 SOFIA (BG) Mixtape 5
08/06 THESSALONIKI (GRE) WE Complex
09/06 ATHENS (GRE) Temple
12/06 SARAJEVO (BA) Jazzbina
13/06 ZAGREB (HR) Vintage Industrial Bar
14/06 SCORZE, Venecia (ITA) Novak
15/06 OLTEN (CH) Le Coq D’Or

Summer Festivals :
01/06 NETPHEN (DE) Freaks Valley
06/07 LA SOUTERRAINE (23) Les Rentontres du 23ième type
12/07 VIVEIRO (SP) Resurrection Festival

More Shows to be announced soon…

http://www.marsredsky.net/
http://www.facebook.com/marsredskyband/
http://www.marsredsky.net
http://www.twitter.com/MarsRedSky1
http://www.listenable.net
http://www.facebook.com/listenablerecs

Mars Red Sky, “Under the Hood” official video

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Mars Red Sky Release Myramyd Vinyl-Only EP

Posted in Whathaveyou on June 16th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

mars red sky

This weekend, as France’s Mars Red Sky take the stage at their country’s largest heavy festival, Hellfest, they’ll do so with a new EP release in tow. Myramyd is comprised of one 17-minute mostly instrumental track (there are some choral-type vocals) on one side of a 12″ vinyl with an etching on the other side. There’s no download code, no streaming version (I asked), no digital master, nothing. It’s true vinyl-only and limited in number. They’re doing 500 of them and then that’s it. I expect they’ll be gone quickly.

They’ll have a special edition on-hand at Hellfest of 200 numbered copies, and yeah, they’ll go too. You can see the release details below, and the EP is available to order now at Mars Red Sky‘s webstore. Unless you’re at a show, that’s the only place to get it.

Dig:

mars-red-sky-myramyd

MARS RED SKY – !!! NEW EP VINYL !!! MYRAMYD EP – 2017

MYRAMYD EP (out June 17th 2017 )

– Myramyd EP – 12″ / 180gr – 500 Copies Limited – out June 17th 2017
– Only 1 Song of 17 minutes on Side A / Etched Vinyl on side B
– Performed, recorded & mixed live direct to 2-track analog tape machine at La Nef – Angoulême (Fr) on April 11, 2017.
– All 500 copies will come with an colour insert (see picture) + 1 Poster + goodies
– 200 copies of the 500 will be numbered and will come with a special 2nd insert / silkscreen at the Hellfest / available here and deliver at the hellfest only or on any shows after Hellfest 2017 / be careful when you order / Hellfest version is in the bundle !
– No digital mastering = No download code !
– Artwork and layout by Carlos Olmo

SPECIAL HELLFEST ED. BUNDLE EXTRA GOODIES (200 copies only) :
– These special 200 copies will be numbered and will come with a special extra Silkscreen of 30cm*30cm / 2 colors as a second insert (Artwork by Arrache Toi un Oeil)
– It will comes in a red Tote Bag (Cobra Design) and with a lot of goodies (1 Magnet, 1 Poster and 1 picks !!!)

Available at: http://marsredsky.bigcartel.com

Mars Red Sky live:
Jun 17 Hellfest Clisson, France
Jun 24 Rock In Bourlon Bourlon, France
Jul 21 Raut-Oak Festival Riegsee, Germany
Jul 30 Xtreme Fest Albi, France
Aug 05 Sylak Open Air Saint-Maurice-De-Gourdans, France

http://marsredsky.bigcartel.com
http://www.marsredsky.net/
http://www.facebook.com/marsredskyband/
http://www.marsredsky.net
http://www.twitter.com/MarsRedSky1
http://www.listenable.net
http://www.facebook.com/listenablerecs

Mars Red Sky, “Under the Hood” official video

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Video Premiere: Mars Red Sky, “Under the Hood”

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

mars red sky

It took me a while — I’m talking a couple of months of steady listening — but I was eventually able to make it through the ending of this track without tearing up. “Under the Hood” comes from Mars Red Sky‘s 2016 full-length, Apex III (Praise for the Burning Soul) (review here). The progression of the Bordeaux trio’s third outing nestles it between the crushing roll of “Mindreader” and the free-swinging “Friendly Fire,” but it’s an unmistakable highlight and emotional apex for the record — a wounded love song executed in a heavy psychedelic context. Amid one of the most gorgeous melodies the three-piece of guitarist/vocalist Julien Pras, bassist/backing vocalist Jimmy Kinast and drummer Mathieu “Matgaz” Gazeau have to-date conjured, the impression “Under the Hood” makes is nothing short of stunning and, at least for me, it’s moving enough to get choked up by listening.

I’ve covered these guys a lot in the six years since they released their self-titled debut (review here), and it’s been a thrill to watch them take shape as the progressive, far-reaching outfit they’ve become in that time, but you’ll have to take my word for it when I say I’m singly honored to premiere this video. I genuinely love this song.

Mars Red Sky aren’t wasting any time moving forward from Apex III (Praise for the Burning Soul). Though they’ve toured steadily since it came out — including a stop last year in Brooklyn to headline The Obelisk All-Dayer (video here) — and have more dates lined up this Spring and Summer highlighted by Desertfest Berlin and Hellfest, etc., they also announced last month that work has begun on a new experimental single-song EP that will hopefully be ready for issue as we move into the warmer months. The plan as I understand it is a limited, physical-only release, and though it remains to be seen whether or not it will tie into their next long-player the way 2016’s Providence (review here) set the stage for Apex III (Praise for the Burning Soul), as a fan of the band, I can’t wait to hear what immersive weirdness they come up with this time around.

More on that when I hear it, and in the meantime, here’s the clip for “Under the Hood,” which adopts footage from 1983’s Chronopolis, followed by Mars Red Sky‘s upcoming live dates and more info off the PR wire.

I hope you enjoy:

Mars Red Sky, “Under the Hood” official video

“Under The Hood” is taken off MARS RED SKY’s third album “APEX III (Praise For The Burning Soul)”, released in February 2016 on Listenable Records. The video was put together and edited by Geoffrey Torres, Jimmy Kinast and Colin Manierka, and features mages from 1983 sci-fi movie “Chronopolis” by Piotr Kamler.

The band also announced the release of a brand new track, coming out in June as a very limited 12’’EP only available through the band’s store. This 19-minute exclusive song was recorded live on analog tape at La Nef in Angoulême.

MARS RED SKY will take the road this spring for an extensive tour across Europe, taking them on the stages of major festivals such as Hellfest and Download Festival France.

MARS RED SKY ON TOUR
08/04 LIEGE (BE) Insert Name Festival
29/04 BERLIN (D) DesertFest Berlin
05/05 CREIL (FR) La Grange à Musique
10/05 DONOSTIA (SP) Dabadaba
11/05 PORTO (PT) Cave 45
12/05 LISBOA (PT) Sabotage Club
13/05 MALAGA (ES) Sala Eventual Music
14/05 MADRID (SP) Wurlitzer Ballroom
03/06 SIZUN (FR) La Bergerie Rock (w/ James Leg)
09/06 PARIS (FR) Download Festival France
15/06 NEUDEGG ALM (AT) Funkenflug Society
17/06 CLISSON (FR) Hellfest Open Air
24/06 BOURLON (FR) Rock In Bourlon
21/07 RIEGSEE (D) Raut Oak Fest
30/07 ALBI (FR) Xtreme Fest
05/08 SAINT-MAURICE-DE-GOURDANS (01) Sylak Open Air

Mars Red Sky on Thee Facebooks

Mars Red Sky on Twitter

Mars Red Sky website

Listenable Records website

Listenable Records on Thee Facebooks

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

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

cropped-Charles-Meryon-Labside-Notre-Dame-1854

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

Quarterly Review #11-20:

Ulver, The Assassination of Julius Caesar

ulver-the-assassination-of-julius-caesar

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

Ulver on Twitter

House of Mythology website

 

Forming the Void, Relic

forming-the-void-relic

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

Forming the Void on Thee Facebooks

Argonauta Records website

 

Hidden Trails, Instant Momentary Bliss

hidden-trails-instant-momentary-bliss

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

Hidden Trails on Thee Facebooks

Elektrohasch Schallplatten website

 

Svvamp, Svvamp

svvamp-svvamp

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

Svvamp on Thee Facebooks

RidingEasy Records website

 

Black Mirrors, Funky Queen

black-mirrors-funky-queen

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

Black Mirrors on Thee Facebooks

Black Mirrors at Napalm Records

 

Endless Floods, II

endless-floods-ii

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

Endless Floods on Thee Facebooks

Dry Cough Records on Bandcamp

Breathe Plastic Records on Bandcamp

 

Tarpit Boogie, Couldn’t Handle… The Heavy Jam

tarpit-boogie-couldnt-handle-the-heavy-jam

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

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Tarpit Boogie on Bandcamp

 

Horseburner, Dead Seeds, Barren Soil

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

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Horseburner on Bandcamp

 

Vermilion Whiskey, Spirit of Tradition

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

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Vermilion Whiskey on Bandcamp

 

Hex Inverter, Revision

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

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Hex Inverter on Bandcamp

 

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Mars Red Sky Announce New EP and Iberian Tour Dates

Posted in Whathaveyou on March 17th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

mars red sky pedals

A new Mars Red Sky EP can only be good news. In the past, short releases like the 2016 Providence EP (review here), 2013’s Be My Guide EP (review here) and their 2012 collaboration with Year of No LightGreen Rune White Totem (discussed here) have provided the Bordeaux, France, trio with the opportunity to conduct sonic experiments that have helped fuel the progression seen across their three (to-date) full-lengths. Most of all, the interaction between Providence and last year’s Apex III (Praise for the Burning Soul) (review here) was direct and loaded with purpose. Does that mean the same thing will happen this time around? Not necessarily, but if they’re putting together the release as a 15- or 20-minute single-song outing, that means they’re still feeling out new territory, and that’s an excellent sign.

As that comes together, Mars Red Sky continue to support last year’s long-player as well. They’ve got copious festival dates coming up this Spring and Summer, including Desertfest Berlin 2017, Hellfest and Download, and they’ve newly announced shows in Portugal and Spain for May that you can see below.

If that’s not enough, I also hear there’s a video in the works for “Under the Hood” from Apex III (Praise for the Burning Soul), so keep an eye out. I’ll be posting that sooner or later once it’s out.

Here’s their update:

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Mars Red Sky – New EP is coming with summer – Spain & Portugal Tour

The band is happy to announce they’ve been working well on putting bits and pieces together for what looks to be an epic, spacy 15/20-minute instrumental featuring alien textures, the usual pounding of heavy drums over psych/doomy riffs and most likely complete with the cameo appearance from their loyal Ghost Choir. All that will be committed to tape and pressed on 12” picture disc vinyl, due next summer.

We’ll have a couple of concerts in Spain & Portugal in May !
Take a look at this poster, we will soon have t-shirts with this artwork.

Mar 17 La Ferronnerie Jurançon, France
Mar 18 Cosmic Fest Vitoria, Spain
Mar 21 Le Bikini Ramonville-St-Agne, France
Apr 07 Cluricaume Café Poitiers, France
Apr 08 Insert Name Festival Liège, Belgium
Apr 29 Desertfest Berlin Berlin, Germany
May 05 La Grange à Musique Creil, France
Jun 03 Bergerie Rock Sizun, France
Jun 09 Download Festival Brétigny-Sur-Orge, France
Jun 15 House Of The Holy Lichtenau, Austria
Jun 17 Hellfest Clisson, France
Jun 24 Rock In Bourlon Bourlon, France
Jul 21 Raut-Oak Festival Riegsee, Germany
Jul 30 Xtreme Fest Albi, France
Aug 05 Sylak Open Air Saint-Maurice-De-Gourdans, France

http://www.marsredsky.net/
http://www.facebook.com/marsredskyband/
http://www.marsredsky.net
http://www.twitter.com/MarsRedSky1
http://www.listenable.net
http://www.facebook.com/listenablerecs

Mars Red Sky, “Alien Grounds: Apex III/Sapphire Vessel”

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