Brant Bjork, Tres Dias & Local Angel: Easing In

Posted in Reviews on August 2nd, 2018 by JJ Koczan

brant bjork tres dias

When Heavy Psych Sounds announced it had signed Brant Bjork, it was unquestionably good news. With California desert precedent success on the label from Nick Oliveri, Yawning Man and Fatso Jetson, it made sense that after Bjork wrapped the three-album deal with Napalm Records that resulted in 2014’s Black Power Flower (review here), 2016’s Tao of the Devil (review here) and 2017’s live album, Europe ’16 (review here), he too would sign on with the emergent Italian imprint. Even better was word that his back catalog from 1999 through 2010 would be reissued by his new label, digitally as well as physically on CD and limited vinyl. Bjork was maddeningly productive during those years, releasing under his own name as well as Brant Bjork and the Operators and Brant Bjork and the Bros, and as he was mostly self-releasing under the banners of Duna Records or Low Desert Punk Records, the albums often went overlooked by a wider audience.

Now, with several years of hard touring in Europe and the US behind him, the time only seems right to get these albums back out to a public that might’ve missed them the first time out. And it’s a fascinating choice to start with late-2006’s Tres Dias and 2004’s Local Angel (also discussed here) since they are, without a doubt, the two most intimate albums Bjork produced during that 11-year/nine-album stretch. In addition to this, both represented a marked shift in approach when they arrived. For Local Angel, it came after the initial few solo outings from the former Fu Manchu and Kyuss drummer, and was still often electric in its foundation, but even more mellow than 2003’s Keep Your Cool, its direct predecessor. It remains a quiet and melody-centered collection of 10 tracks that are less about aggression or even heft than about an easy vibe and sheer aural chill.

Likewise, Tres Dias, which actually begins the Heavy Psych Sounds series, is a mostly-acoustic solo record that landed smack in the middle of the Brant Bjork and the Bros era. The band debuted in 2005 with the double-CD Saved by Magic and would follow that up with 2007’s Somera Sól. Tres Dias departed from The Bros and though it features some older material and would share the songs “Love is Revolution,” “Chinarosa” and “The Native Tongue” with the subsequent offering, the sonic left turn in Tres Dias is immediately palpable. One recalls that when it was first released, Bjork noted the spirit he wanted to capture was taking his guitar to a park and playing under a tree to nobody in particular, just singing songs to enjoy them. That remains a striking image, and the album remains a snapshot of the idea made manifest.

With an anchor hook in the classic protest song “Love is Revolution,” the eight-song Tres Dias imagines a desert folk music that’s Bjork makes his own by putting his vocals at the center with his acoustic and adding flourish in electric wah atmosphere as heard on “Chinarosa.” It was a dark time politically when the songs were written — 2006 seemed to be an abyss of war that would never end; and hey! it didn’t — and in addition to “Love is Revolution,” “Video,” which originally appeared on Keep Your Cool as “Gonna Make the Scene” and even the opener, a revisit of “Too Many Chiefs” from Bjork‘s 1999 Man’s Ruin Records solo debut, Jalamanta (discussed herealso here), would seem to find a different social context for the revisit. The most elaborate arrangement would seem to be for “The Native Tongue,” which has subdued electric guitar and percussion, but it’s no less fluid than anything that surrounds and whether it’s the insistent strum of Saved by Magic‘s “The Messengers” or the riffy groove of “Right Time,” which would become the title-track of 2008’s Punk Rock GuiltTres Dias stripped away everything but the songwriting and performance and allowed Bjork‘s work to shine in a way it never had before.

Brant Bjork Local Angel

Would it exist without the precedent of Local Angel? I don’t know. I also don’t know if it’s the label or Bjork himself picking the order in which the reissues arrive in this series, but certainly with these two back-to-back, it’s easy enough to read the narrative of succession in reverse, though it’s just as likely Tres Dias into Local Angel is a way of easing into the more active material in Bjork‘s 1999-2010 discography. I won’t speculate as to the thought behind it. More importantly, the revisit of Local Angel, along with a marked redux of the artwork, once more highlights the man himself as a songwriter. “Beautiful Powers,” “Hippie,” “Chico” and “The Feelin'” make for a striking opening salvo with the even-funkier “Bliss Ave.” rounding out side A. While “plugged” and drummed, the tracks are subtle in their execution, bringing an organic sensibility that stands out to this day from everything else Bjork has done. Specifically in the context of these reissues, it can be read as a midpoint between other works and Tres Dias, but the truth is that Local Angel stands alone.

The original CD had bonus track covers of “Hey Joe” and The Ramones‘ “I Want You Around” that seem to have disappeared, but the smooth vibes continue on side B with “Fly to Haiti,” the Thin Lizzy-vibing “You’re Alright,” which is also arguably the most active cut on the album, the relatively minimal “Spanish Tiles,” “She’s Only Tryin'” which gives “You’re Alright” a run for its money, and closer “The Good Fight,” which more than earns the rhythmic handclaps in its second half. Even in its most uptempo or full-band-sounding material, Local Angel is gloriously understated. I’ve always found it to be one of Bjork‘s easiest listens and, frankly, have never stopped going back to it periodically in the 14 years since its release. I recognize that doesn’t exactly make me impartial when it comes to assessing the reissue, but if the point is to get these albums back out to people who might’ve missed them or not been around when they landed the first time, Local Angel has definitely more than earned at least that additional look.

One could say the same of Tres Dias and of the rest of Bjork‘s work during this period as well, and not to put too fine a point on it, but as other albums continue to resurface, “one” — me, particularly — probably will. The chance to revisit Brant Bjork‘s solo works is an opportunity not only to hear him shape his own sound, but to hear him help shape desert rock as well. I won’t discount his contributions to the style in Kyuss or anything else he’s done along the way, whether it’s Fu ManchuChéVista Chino, etc., but if you want to know how he got to be the godfather of desert rock that he is, it was this period when it happened, and these reissues are a chance for longtime and recent fans to give those moments their long-due appreciation.

Brant Bjork, Tres Dias (2006/2018)

Brant Bjork, Local Angel (2004/2018)

Brant Bjork on Thee Facebooks

Brant Bjork on Instagram

Brant Bjork on Twitter

Brant Bjork website

Heavy Psych Sounds on Thee Facebooks

Heavy Psych Sounds website

Heavy Psych Sounds on Bandcamp

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Brant Bjork Premieres “Chocolatize” from Mankind Woman; Preorders up Today

Posted in audiObelisk on July 3rd, 2018 by JJ Koczan

brant bjork

One of desert rock’s principal architects, Brant Bjork will release his new album, Mankind Woman, on Sept. 14 through Heavy Psych Sounds and I couldn’t possibly be more thrilled to host the premiere of the first audio from the record. Preorders go up in about two hours’ time through the labels website. “Chocolatize” is the opening track of the 11-song outing, which could easily be considered the beginning of a new era for Bjork, who’s spent the last five-plus years signed to Napalm Records, resulting in two studio LPs in 2014’s Black Power Flower (review here) and 2016’s Tao of the Devil (review here) as well as the 2017 live outing Europe ’16 (review here). In addition to the forthcoming Mankind Woman, his new label home has hopped on board for reissues of his entire catalog from his 1999 solo debut Jalamanta (discussed herealso here) to 2010’s  Gods and Goddesses (review here), bringing new artwork and new vinyl to albums that have long gone underrated as Bjork has, along with his Low Desert Punk Band, jammed his way into hearts and minds throughout the US, Europe and elsewhere, earning consideration as one of the Californian desert’s chief practitioners of groove. I’ve called him the Godfather of Desert Rock more times than I can count, but I’ve yet to come up with anything more fitting for the position he holds in the genre.

Because it’s not just about riffs with Brant Bjork, and I think you can hear this in “Chocolatize.” Since the days of Jalamanta — now nearly 20 years ago; wow — he’s been more about the vibe. He’s got elements of punk and psychedelia and classic heavy rock, to be sure, but all of this is in conversation with influences from funk and soul, drawing from an entirely different kind of heavy ’70s. He’s toyed with this side of his sound to varying degrees throughout his career, but even his most subdued outings — 2007’s mostly acoustic Tres Dias, for example, which will begin Heavy Psych Sounds‘ reissue series — carried that foundation in soul. His signature riffing style, his smooth vocals, the sleek and swinging rhythms he brought to drumming in Kyuss and Fu Manchu: all of it comes together to create something that is Brant Bjork‘s own and largely inimitable, however broad his influence may have an in fact has become over the last two decades. One looks forward all the more to Mankind Woman with “Chocolatize” as a quick preview of what might be in store in terms of a natural production and a more intimate mood than some of what the last couple records have had on offer.

I won’t delay further, except to say that I’m looking forward to putting up a full review of the album closer to the release in September. Brant Bjork has European tour dates scheduled to begin in November that include a stop at the Heavy Psych Sounds Fest, which is being held this year in Austria. You can find all of those below, as well as some more particulars about Mankind Woman, which, again, is due Sept. 14.

Please enjoy. Then put it on repeat and enjoy again.

And again:

Focusing on personal sensitivities, elite hypocrisies, racism, sexism and the daily struggle to find peace, love and understanding in today’s American society. Once again, BRANT BJORK created a record that reminds the listener that it is the ingredients of the jazz, blues and funk, that makes rock music taste so good. A must-have for all collectors, genre-fans and beyond!

BRANT BJORK New album “Mankind Woman”
Out September 14th on Heavy Psych Sounds Records
– Vinyl and CD preorder start July 3rd here

TRACK LISTING:
1. Chocolatize
2. Lazy Wizards
3. Charlie Gin
4. Mankind Woman
5. Pisces
6. Swagger & Sway
7. Somebody
8. Pretty Hairy
9. Brand New Old Times
10. 1968
11. Nation Of Indica
Album Art by Robin Gnista

“Mankind Woman” will be available in the following formats:
– 50 Test Pressing Vinyl (Only on Heavy Psych Sounds webshop)
– Limited edition “Colour in Colour” Brown in Orange Vinyl (Only on HPS webshop)
– Limited edition “3 colours A/B side Burst” Yellow / Red / Brown Vinyl (Only on HPS webshop)
– Limited edition “3 Colour Segment” Orange / Purple / Yellow Vinyl (Only on HPS webshop)
– Limited edition “Splatter Version” Transp. Background / Yellow, Purple, Orange, Red, Brown
– Black Vinyl
– CD Digipak and Digital Download

BRANT BJORK EUROPEAN TOUR 2018
02.11.18 NO Drammen |Union Scene
03.11.18 SW Stockholm | Debaser Strand
04.11.18 SW Göteborg | Sticky Fingers
05.11.18 SW Malmö | Kulturbolaget
06.11.18 DE Hamburg | Fabrik
07.11.18 NL Amsterdam | Melkweg
08.11.18 BE Leuven | Het Depot
09.11.18 UK London | Garage
10.11.18 FR Paris | Petit Bain
11.11.18 NL Tilburg | O13
12.11.18 DE Wiesbaden | Schlachthof
13.11.18 CH Zürich | Rote Fabrik
14.11.18 CH Martigny | Caves Du Manoir
15.11.18 IT Turin | Spazio 211
16.11.18 AT Innsbruck | Hafen (Heavy Psych Sounds Festival)
17.11.18 DE Munich | Feierwerk
18.11.18 AT Vienna | Arena
19.11.18 DE Dresden | Beatpol
20.11.18 DE Berlin | Festsaal Kreuzberg

Brant Bjork on Thee Facebooks

Brant Bjork on Instagram

Brant Bjork on Twitter

Brant Bjork website

Heavy Psych Sounds on Thee Facebooks

Heavy Psych Sounds website

Heavy Psych Sounds on Bandcamp

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Brant Bjork Local Angel Reissue Due Sept. 28

Posted in Whathaveyou on July 2nd, 2018 by JJ Koczan

I gotta say, I think it’s frickin’ awesome that Heavy Psych Sounds is starting with the two mellowest Brant Bjork albums as it makes its way through reissuing his catalog from 1999-2010. His fifth album, the mostly acoustic Tres Dias, was announced just over a week ago as being set for release on Sept. 21, and one week after that, the second in the series will be his fourth album, the also-way-subdued Local Angel (discussed here). Originally released in 2004, it’s a record to which I still return on not infrequent occasions, and as it’s going to be available with new artwork by Maarten Donders, it’s even more of a win than it would’ve been anyway. Available in two versions seen below (click them to enlarge), I think you’ll agree it looks pretty badass.

Info from the PR wire:

BRANT BJORK TO RE-RELEASE ‘LOCAL ANGEL’

COMING THIS SEPTEMBER ON HEAVY PSYCH SOUNDS!

Local Angel is the fourth solo album by desert rock musician Brant Bjork. It is considered his most intimate and laid back record, mixing acoustic guitars and simple melodies. Produced by Brant Bjork and Tony Mason. Engineered by Tony Mason.
Recorded and mixed at Rancho de la Luna, February 6-15 2004. Mastered by Mathias Cornelius von Schneeberger at Donnor & Blitzen. All songs and music written, arranged, and performed by Brant Bjork.

Front cover angel by www.mistercartoon.com. Layout Bunker/Bjork for Dunart.

Reissue by Heavy Psych Sounds Records in September 2018. New reissue Art by Maarten Donders.

TRACK LISTING:
1. Too Many Chiefs…
2. Love Is My Revolution
3. Chinarosa
4. The Native Tongue
5. Video
6. Right Time
7. The Messengers
8. The Knight Surrenders Today

New artwork by Marcello “Rise Above” Crescenzi

BRANT BJORK has spent over a quarter-century at the epicenter of Californian desert rock. From cutting his teeth alongside Fatso Jetson’s Mario Lalli in hardcore punkers De-Con to drumming and composing on Kyuss’ landmark early albums, to propelling the seminal fuzz of Fu Manchu from 1994-2001 while producing other bands, putting together offshoot projects like Ché, embarking on his solo career as a singer, guitarist and bandleader, founding his own record label and more, his history is a winding narrative of relentless, unflinching creativity.

Catch the BRANT BJORK live on the following dates in Europe this Fall, with very special guest Sean Wheeler:

EUROPEAN TOUR 2018
02.11.18 NO Drammen |Union Scene
03.11.18 SW Stockholm | Debaser Strand
04.11.18 SW Göteborg | Sticky Fingers
05.11.18 SW Malmö | Kulturbolaget
06.11.18 DE Hamburg | Fabrik
07.11.18 NL Amsterdam | Melkweg
08.11.18 BE Leuven | Het Depot
09.11.18 UK London | Garage
10.11.18 FR Paris | Petit Bain
11.11.18 NL Tilburg | O13
12.11.18 DE Wiesbaden | Schlachthof
13.11.18 CH Zürich | Rote Fabrik
14.11.18 CH Martigny | Caves Du Manoir
15.11.18 IT Turin | Spazio 211
16.11.18 AT Innsbruck | Hafen (Heavy Psych Sounds Festival)
17.11.18 DE Munich | Feierwerk
18.11.18 AT Vienna | Arena
19.11.18 DE Dresden | Beatpol
20.11.18 DE Berlin | Festsaal Kreuzberg

https://www.facebook.com/BrantBjorkOfficial
https://www.instagram.com/brant_bjork
https://twitter.com/brant_bjork
http://www.brantbjork.com
http://www.stonedanddusted.com
https://www.facebook.com/HEAVYPSYCHSOUNDS
http://www.heavypsychsounds.com
https://heavypsychsoundsrecords.bandcamp.com

Brant Bjork, Local Angel (2004)

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Brant Bjork to Reissue Tres Dias Sept. 21 on Heavy Psych Sounds

Posted in Whathaveyou on June 21st, 2018 by JJ Koczan

brant bjork (Photo Aija Svensson)

Well, it’s been several minutes — upwards of eight! — since the last time I posted an update about the many doings of desert rock legend Brant Bjork, so it seems only fair that news should come down the PR wire heralding word that, one week after the release of his new album, Mankind Woman (info here), he’ll be reissuing 2007’s Tres Dias through Heavy Psych Sounds as the beginning point of a series that will see his entire catalog from 1999 through 2010 — that’s Jalamanta (discussed here) through Gods and Goddesses (review here), by my count — to the general benefit of humanity at large. Interesting that the series would start with Tres Dias, which is the largely-unplugged predecessor to 2007’s Somera Sól (discussed here), since it is arguably Brant ‘s most minimal and intimate record, but I guess it’s more fascinating than either starting at the beginning and working up or starting with the newest one and going back. Mix and match. Should be fun.

And of course, Bjork will head over to Europe for a sizable tour this Fall, the dates for which you can also see below, along with the revamped Tres Dias cover art.

Dig:

brant bjork tres dias

BRANT BJORK to reissue “Tres Dias” album on September 21st through Heavy Psych Sounds Records

Heavy Psych Sounds Records is proud to start the reissuing of BRANT BJORK’s solo back catalogue from 1999 to 2010! First reissue is “Tres Dias”, coming along a brand new artwork and special and limited vinyl editions.

“Tres Dias” is the fifth solo album released by the godfather of desert rock BRANT BJORK. The album was recorded in Joshua Tree, California, before Christmas 2006. This 8-track album is a mix of old and new tracks.

BRANT BJORK has spent over a quarter-century at the epicenter of Californian desert rock. From cutting his teeth alongside Fatso Jetson’s Mario Lalli in hardcore punkers De-Con to drumming and composing on Kyuss’ landmark early albums, to propelling the seminal fuzz of Fu Manchu from 1994-2001 while producing other bands, putting together offshoot projects like Ché, embarking on his solo career as a singer, guitarist and bandleader, founding his own record label and more, his history is a winding narrative of relentless, unflinching creativity.

For someone so outwardly laid back, he’s never really taken a break. And while BRANT BJORK has shown different sides of himself on an album like his 2007’s mostly-acoustic Tres Dias, when you’re listening to Brant Bjork, you know it, because there’s no one else who sounds quite like him. He comments: “Been a long time since i celebrated these recordings. Couldnt think of a better time to re-release. Fresh art to represent “brand new old times”. Enjoy!”

“Tres Dias” was produced, recorded, and mixed by Tony Mason at Back of the Moon Studios, Joshua Tree, CA in 2007. The original artwork has been designed by Bunker/Bjork, the re-issued artwork comes by Marcello “Rise Above” Crescenzi.

The “Tres Dias” reissue on HPS Records will be available as:
– 30 Test Press (only on HPS webstore)
– 250 LTD Vinyl in Green/Yellow Quad (only on HPS webstore)
– 500 LTD Vinyl in Gold
– Black Vinyl
– CD and digital

BRANT BJORK “Tres Dias” reissue
Out September 21st on Heavy Psych Sounds Records
– Vinyl and CD preorder start July 3rd here

TRACK LISTING:
1. Too Many Chiefs…
2. Love Is My Revolution
3. Chinarosa
4. The Native Tongue
5. Video
6. Right Time
7. The Messengers
8. The Knight Surrenders Today

Catch the BRANT BJORK live on the following dates in Europe this Fall, with very special guest Sean Wheeler:

EUROPEAN TOUR 2018
02.11.18 NO Drammen |Union Scene
03.11.18 SW Stockholm | Debaser Strand
04.11.18 SW Göteborg | Sticky Fingers
05.11.18 SW Malmö | Kulturbolaget
06.11.18 DE Hamburg | Fabrik
07.11.18 NL Amsterdam | Melkweg
08.11.18 BE Leuven | Het Depot
09.11.18 UK London | Garage
10.11.18 FR Paris | Petit Bain
11.11.18 NL Tilburg | O13
12.11.18 DE Wiesbaden | Schlachthof
13.11.18 CH Zürich | Rote Fabrik
14.11.18 CH Martigny | Caves Du Manoir
15.11.18 IT Turin | Spazio 211
16.11.18 AT Innsbruck | Hafen (Heavy Psych Sounds Festival)
17.11.18 DE Munich | Feierwerk
18.11.18 AT Vienna | Arena
19.11.18 DE Dresden | Beatpol
20.11.18 DE Berlin | Festsaal Kreuzberg

https://www.facebook.com/BrantBjorkOfficial
https://www.instagram.com/brant_bjork
https://twitter.com/brant_bjork
http://www.brantbjork.com
http://www.stonedanddusted.com
https://www.facebook.com/HEAVYPSYCHSOUNDS
http://www.heavypsychsounds.com
https://heavypsychsoundsrecords.bandcamp.com

Brant Bjork, Tres Dias

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Heavy Psych Sounds 2018: Brant Bjork, Black Rainbows, Belzebong & The Necromancers Set to Play

Posted in Whathaveyou on June 20th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

Four bands announced so far for Heavy Psych Sounds Fest 2018: Brant Bjork, Belzebong, Black Rainbows and The Necromancers. Brant Bjork recently announced the details for his upcoming album, Mankind Woman, which will be out via Heavy Psych Sounds on Sept. 14 (info here) and a stop at the festival was noted as part of his corresponding European tour. Belzebong and The Necromancers will be on the road together, so it makes sense they’d both be stopping through the fest, and, well, it wouldn’t be Heavy Psych Sounds without Italian ambassadors Black Rainbows taking the stage.

So yeah, all this makes sense. What I find most curious about this year’s Heavy Psych Sounds Fest, though, is that it’s not happening in Italy. This is the 15th one, and it’s presented by the label and Poison for Souls, which is also based in Italy, so I’m not sure how they wound up in Innsbruck, Austria. But whatever works. I’m sure by the time they’re done announcing bands it’ll be a lineup worth following anywhere, which, now that I look at it, it pretty much already is. Go figure.

Details follow as per the PR wire:

heavy psych sounds fest 2018 poster

HEAVY PSYCH SOUNDS FEST confirms Brant Bjork, Belzebong, Black Rainbows, The Necromancers in Innsbruck ; pre-sale tickets available now!

Heavy Psych Sounds together with Poison For Souls are proud to announce the 15th edition of HEAVY PSYCH SOUNDS FEST, to take place in the Tyrol capital of Innsbruck in the Austrian mountains on November 15-16th.

This is a first for the Italy-based stoner & fuzz festival, which will settle in the colorful old city of Innsbruck in Austria. HPS FEST will take residence at PMK and Hafen venues for two days of the finest stoner, doom, psych rock, occult riffage! First acts announced are:

BRANT BJORK (USA)

BELZEBONG (PL)

BLACK RAINBOWS (IT)

THE NECROMANCERS (FR)

More to be announced soon…

Pre-sale tickets are available now for 36,60€ at this location.

https://www.facebook.com/HEAVYPSYCHSOUNDS
http://www.heavypsychsounds.com
https://heavypsychsoundsrecords.bandcamp.com

Brant Bjork, “Luvin'” official video

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Brant Bjork Sets Sept. 14 Release for Mankind Woman on Heavy Psych Sounds; Euro Tour Announced

Posted in Whathaveyou on June 12th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

brant bjork

Desert rock legend Brant Bjork has announce his new album, Mankind Woman, will be released Sept. 14 through Heavy Psych Sounds, with preorders starting July 3. European tour dates are set to kick off in November. You don’t need me to tell you both of these make for awesome news. Brant Bjork has been on fire the last several years as he launched the Low Desert Punk Band, hit the road and put out three offerings through Napalm Records in the form of last year’s live album, Europe ’16 (review here), and the two studio records, 2014’s Black Power Flower (review here) and 2016’s Tao of the Devil (review here), and even with the label switch it doesn’t seem like he’s missing a beat in terms of getting new material out and going back on tour. As if Brant Bjork could miss a fucking beat.

This one just came in on the PR wire and I posted it all “OMG gotta get this up right away” style. Because it’s Brant Bjork and some things take priority:

brant bjork mankind woman

BRANT BJORK unveil new album details & European tour dates ; “Mankind Woman” due out September 14th on Heavy Psych Sounds

Kyuss and Fu Manchu legend BRANT BJORK is back with a brand new record! Today, the godfather of Desert Rock unveils the hotly anticipated details about his thirteenth solo album titled “Mankind Woman”, set to be released September 14th on Heavy Psych Sounds Records!

Although this is indeed a BRANT BJORK record, it is the first record Brant so closely collaborates with a producer and co-writer: his Low Desert Punk Band guitarist and friend, Bubba Dupree. Brant and Bubba wrote and performed the music along with guest appearances by bass player Armand Secco Sabal, Nick Oliveri and vocalist Sean Wheeler who has been a touring member of the Low Desert Punk Band. The recording took place in March of 2018 at Zainaland, a creative villa owned by Brant’s wife Zaina Alwan, in the California desert town of 29 Palms. The record was recorded and engineered by Yosef Sanborn who also owns and operates Massive FX pedals in Los Angeles. Multiple pedals designed by Yosef were used by Brant and Bubba for this record. Additional tracks were recorded by Bubba Dupree at Brant Bjork’s home studio in Venice Beach, California.

BRANT BJORK and Bubba describe the sound of “Mankind Woman” as modern classic. It is evidently clear that both Bjork and Dupree specialize in the craft of the sound and feel of the music spawned in the 60’s and 70’s. This record is inspired by this great era, however the intention was not to try to recapture or mimic in retro terms these influences but to strive for a contemporary quality. Brant Bjork might have gone deeper in the lyrics than on any record before.

Focusing on personal sensitivities, elite hypocrisies, racism, sexism and the daily struggle to find peace, love and understanding in today’s American society. Once again, BRANT BJORK created a record that reminds the listener that it is the ingredients of the jazz, blues and funk, that makes rock music taste so good. A must-have for all collectors, genre-fans and beyond!

BRANT BJORK New album “Mankind Woman”
Out September 14th on Heavy Psych Sounds Records
– Vinyl and CD preorder start July 3rd here

TRACK LISTING:
1. Chocolatize
2. Lazy Wizards
3. Charlie Gin
4. Mankind Woman
5. Pisces
6. Swagger & Sway
7. Somebody
8. Pretty Hairy
9. Brand New Old Times
10. 1968
11. Nation Of Indica
Album Art by Robin Gnista

“Mankind Woman” will be available in the following formats:
– 50 Test Pressing Vinyl (Only on Heavy Psych Sounds webshop)
– Limited edition “Colour in Colour” Brown in Orange Vinyl (Only on HPS webshop)
– Limited edition “3 colours A/B side Burst” Yellow / Red / Brown Vinyl (Only on HPS webshop)
– Limited edition “3 Colour Segment” Orange / Purple / Yellow Vinyl (Only on HPS webshop)
– Limited edition “Splatter Version” Transp. Background / Yellow, Purple, Orange, Red, Brown
– Black Vinyl
– CD Digipak and Digital Download

In support of his new album, BRANT BJORK will be heavily hitting the road again this year, with very special guest Sean Wheeler. The desert rock legend comments: “Looking forward to returning to Europe in November and bringing all the European fans some of our fresh jams along with the classics. Mankind Woman is our new record and we can’t wait to turn Europe on! See you all soon!”

EUROPEAN TOUR 2018
02.11.18 NO Drammen |Union Scene
03.11.18 SW Stockholm | Debaser Strand
04.11.18 SW Göteborg | Sticky Fingers
05.11.18 SW Malmö | Kulturbolaget
06.11.18 DE Hamburg | Fabrik
07.11.18 NL Amsterdam | Melkweg
08.11.18 BE Leuven | Het Depot
09.11.18 UK London | Garage
10.11.18 FR Paris | Petit Bain
11.11.18 NL Tilburg | O13
12.11.18 DE Wiesbaden | Schlachthof
13.11.18 CH Zürich | Rote Fabrik
14.11.18 CH Martigny | Caves Du Manoir
15.11.18 IT Turin | Spazio 211
16.11.18 AT Innsbruck | Hafen (Heavy Psych Sounds Festival)
17.11.18 DE Munich | Feierwerk
18.11.18 AT Vienna | Arena
19.11.18 DE Dresden | Beatpol
20.11.18 DE Berlin | Festsaal Kreuzberg

https://www.facebook.com/BrantBjorkOfficial
https://www.instagram.com/brant_bjork
https://twitter.com/brant_bjork
http://www.brantbjork.com
http://www.stonedanddusted.com
https://www.facebook.com/HEAVYPSYCHSOUNDS
http://www.heavypsychsounds.com
https://heavypsychsoundsrecords.bandcamp.com

Brant Bjork, Live at Desert Generator 2017

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Brant Bjork Signs to Heavy Psych Sounds for Reissues & New Music; Headlining Stoned & Dusted in May

Posted in Whathaveyou on March 21st, 2018 by JJ Koczan

BB and HPS Agreement Announcement Image-700

One really, really hates to use corporate newspeak buzzwords like ‘gamechanger,’ but this is a pretty big deal. After three releases on Napalm Records —  2014’s Black Power Flower (review here), 2016’s Tao of the Devil (review here) and 2017’s Europe ’16 (review here) live LP — desert rock pioneer Brant Bjork has inked a deal with Italian imprint Heavy Psych Sounds.

While it’s not necessarily surprising Bjork would go with another European imprint following the end of his term with Napalm, which is based in Austria, he steps into position as the most recognizable figure on Heavy Psych Sounds and arguably the label’s biggest act. His back catalog from 1999’s Jalamanta (discussed here) through 2010’s Gods and Goddesses (review here) will be reissued as part of the deal, and Bjork will move forward with new releases as well, including the long awaited Jakoozzi album that’s been talked about for years.

I had the pleasure of writing the announcement below, so please check it out and get yourself informed. No timetable yet so far as I know on the reissues, but I’d be surprised if they didn’t start to surface by the end of the year. I wonder if they’ll go in order.

From my keyboard to the PR wire and back again:

brant bjork signing

Brant Bjork Signs to Heavy Psych Sounds

New Album Coming Soon; Back Catalogue to be Reissued; Jakoozzi to Finally See Release

In a union born of a meeting in the desert night, Heavy Psych Sounds could not be prouder to announce the signing of desert rock legend Brant Bjork to its ever-growing roster. Starting immediately, the entire Brant Bjork discography from 1999-2010 is available through the label’s digital platforms: iTunes, Amazon, Spotify, Bandcamp, Deezer, and more.

As a founding member of and a main songwriter in Kyuss, Brant Bjork is a pivotal figure in desert rock. His time on drums in Fu Manchu only solidified his position, and when he released his first solo album, Jalamanta, in 1999, he brought new elements of soul to the style and crafted a sound all his own that he continues to develop to this day.

In 2014, Bjork formed the Low Desert Punk Band and released two albums, Black Power Flower (2014) and Tao of the Devil (2016), as well as a live album on Napalm Records. In signing to Heavy Psych Sounds, his much-anticipated collection of funk-influenced material, Jakoozzi, will at long last be released, and the man himself will set to work on his next studio LP.

“Super psyched to sign with Heavy Psych Sounds Records,” enthuses Bjork. “I’m looking forward to making brand new rock, re-releasing my catalog and the long-awaited Jakoozzi album. Most definitely, Heavy Psych Sounds Records are the people to help me do this. I met Gabriele when Black Rainbows supported us in 2016, and then we had him come to the desert to play Desert Generator. Good guy doing good things for rock and roll. Right on.”

“We are absolutely thrilled to partner with Brant Bjork,” affirms label head Gabriele Fiori. “Bringing in Brant Bjork is a desert rock dream come true and we can’t wait to help expose a whole new generation to his previous releases and work together for a long time to come on new music as well! Brant will be our top artist and we are looking to work hard with him to bring his music around the globe!”

Brant Bjork — along with his partners Mario Lalli and manager Ryan Jones — are throwing a generator party called Stoned and Dusted which will take place at a secret desert location in Joshua Tree, CA, on May 26 and 27. Brant will headline the event alongside The Obsessed, Nebula, Yawning Man, and many more. Stay tuned for more news from Brant Bjork and Heavy Psych Sounds in the coming weeks and months.

https://www.facebook.com/BrantBjorkOfficial
https://www.instagram.com/brant_bjork
https://twitter.com/brant_bjork
http://www.brantbjork.com
http://www.stonedanddusted.com
https://www.facebook.com/HEAVYPSYCHSOUNDS
http://www.heavypsychsounds.com
https://heavypsychsoundsrecords.bandcamp.com

Brant Bjork, Live at Desert Generator 2017

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Friday Full-Length: Brant Bjork and the Bros., Somera Sól

Posted in Bootleg Theater on March 16th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

Never mind what he’s brought to the genre in Kyuss, Fu Manchu, the early Desert Sessions or his brief time in Fatso Jetson, Brant Bjork‘s greatest contributions have been in his solo catalog. From his now-classic 1999 debut Jalamanta (discussed here) through 2016’s Tao of the Devil (review here), he’s developed an inimitable yet highly influential style that’s become synonymous with desert rock itself. I’ve called him the “godfather of desert groove” so many times at this point my brain hurts from it, but that’s what he is, and of all the former members of Kyuss, I don’t think any of them have done so much to set the course for the aesthetic as Bjork, whatever level of commercial success they may have attained.

There are a couple different ways to look at 2007’s Somera Sól. Bjork has both composed and performed albums entirely on his own and worked with a variety of other players over the course of the last 19 years. Somera Sól was his second and final outing with Brant Bjork and the Bros., and it reunited him with drummer Alfredo Hernandez — the two had previously worked together in the short-lived trio Ché — boasted guest appearances from Olive LalliSean Wheeler on “Freaks of Nature” and Mario Lalli and Vince Meghrouni of Fatso Jetson on funk-fortified closer “Blood in the Gallery” and the penultimate “Lion Wings,” respectively, featured bassist Dylan Roche and guitarist Cortez, production from Mathias Schneeberger, and took a more forward tack than much of what Bjork had overseen in the years prior. To wit, the previous outing with The Bros. behind him, 2005’s Saved by Magic, was a 2CD that, like nearly all 2CD releases, probably would’ve been better served being split up into an actual pair of albums, and while Somera Sól would be his final offering in that incarnation, his interest in playing in a band — the 2002 LP from Brant Bjork and the Operators hadn’t actually featured a full group of players, but after his run with the semi-Kyuss reunion Vista Chino in 2013, he’d form Brant Bjork and the Low Desert Punk Band — has always come and gone.

But one might look at Somera Sól as the capstone of this particular era of Bjork‘s “solo” career. The end of The Bros., and it’s a hell of a way to go out, with hooks like “Love is Revolution,” “Freaks of Nature,” “Shrine Communications” and so on. But at the same time, Somera Sól was also a distinct shift in sound for Bjork in general. Or at very least in presentation. I always have a hard time thinking of it outside the context of the immediately preceding 2007 release Tres Dias, which was essentially comprised of solo acoustic recordings of songs new and older — it opened with “Too Many Chiefs” from Jalamanta — and gave an intimate, folkish, sometimes protest-song manifestation to material that would wind up later the same year on Somera Sól like “Love is Revolution,” “Chinarosa” and “The Native Tongue,” making the two records complementary in a way despite a vastly different context of volume and arrangement. But not only was Somera Sól full-on in terms of the complete band (and then some) at work, it was also a marked shift in production method, and cleaner-sounding than anything Bjork had produced up to that point.

This gets to to the heart of where Somera Sól lies and what Somera Sól signifies in the Brant Bjork catalog. More than a complement for Tres Dias and more than the end of the Bros. era, it’s the record that brought the full maturity of Bjork‘s approach to light for the first time. It was clear-sounding, clean-sounding. Its tones still had that laid back spirit and some telltale fuzz — “The Native Tongue” walks by and waves — but the way those came through as part of the listening experience was more professionalized, reaching out to a broader audience than records like 2003’s Keep Your Cool or 2004’s Local Angel (discussed here) could have with their rougher sound. After 2008’s somewhat reactionary Punk Rock Guilt, which was comprised of earlier recordings, it’s a method Bjork would keep to on 2010’s Gods and Goddesses (review here), and when he returned to solo work following the stint with Kyuss Lives!/Vista Chino — whose 2013 album, Peace (review here), I’ll still argue is worthy of a follow-up, especially with C.O.C.‘s Mike Dean on bass — he formed the already-noted Brant Bjork and the Low Desert Punk Band and released 2014’s Black Power Flower (review here) as a predecessor to Tao of the Devil and last year’s Europe ’16 (review here) live offering. Looking back over the last 11 years of his output, Somera Sól seems to be the epicenter from which much of it emanates.

Even if it wasn’t such a choice display of songwriting or characteristic performance on the part of Bjork himself — has the dude ever sounded more like the dude than he does on “Ultimate Kickback” or “Love is Revolution?” — Somera Sól was/is a special moment in Brant Bjork‘s discography, and whether you picked up on his stuff before or after or if this is the first time you’ve ever heard anything he’s done as a solo artist, there’s no question it’s a standout moment and a defining statement of intent that continues to resonate in his work more than a decade later.

As always, I hope you enjoy.

So I went to another doctor last Friday. My two favorite lines from the entire experience? 1: “Well I don’t think you’re going to throw a clot.” Please. My life should be so interesting. 2: “You can put your undies back on.” I had no idea “undies” was a medical term. The EKG was normal, there’s no fluid around my lungs, she gave me a new pill for all the swelling that seems to be taking some of it down — I guess you’d mark it a win. Plus, she’s even further away than my regular primary care physician, so, bonus! I just love travel. Especially in Boston traffic. Best drivers.

I nonetheless spent a goodly portion of this week in a miserable daze. Seriously. Only reason I even knew today was Friday was because I had it in my notes that I needed to do this post. If I look at the calendar again and see it’s Wednesday or something I’m going to feel like a real ass.

You want to hear a nice story that’s not about me hating myself? Yesterday I took The Pecan to a record store. We were headed to the farm in Rhode Island to pick up some chicken — because you’re fucking right I drive an hour to buy chicken, and yes, I buy in bulk — and I wanted to pick up the new Judas Priest and Monster Magnet records, so I looked up where the nearest Newbury Comics — a New England institution no less than Samuel Adams, “local fahkin’ spoahts, khed” and yelling epithets at people out your car window as you pass by — was and hit the mall. I carried the baby in and perused the rock and metal sections for a while, grabbed the Priest, which was on sale. Turned out the Magnet doesn’t arrive until next week — you’d think I’d know that, right? — but I got that new Jimi Hendrix collection because, well, new Jimi Hendrix collection, and it was a good time. The baby was down for being carried around, as he has been of late to the point of screaming like fucking mad every time you put him in one of his 15 chairs, and I haven’t listened to the Hendrix yet — it’s on the agenda for today if I can ever stop putting the new Grayceon on repeat — but the first half of the Priest record rules and that’s good enough for me. It was a nice trip. Then The Pecan and I walked past Victoria’s Secret and I explained to him the importance of respecting your partner’s choices when it comes to “undies” and whatever else. The two middle-aged ladies walking for exercise in the mall were confused as hell as they went the other way by us as we walked, but they smiled anyway, because he’s a baby and that’s what people are biologically programmed to do.

So yeah, yesterday turned out alright. Also did some grocery shopping, which is pretty much standard at this point, though both buying and consuming food kind of disgusts me and there’s like this whole self-punishment aspect I’ve developed to this “refeeding” thing. I spent a lot of time this week wishing I had died when I was (apparently) starving myself. A lot. Oh well. Better luck next time. “I don’t think you’re going to throw a clot.”

As I’ve told everyone — doctors, therapist, nutritionist, my wife, even my father yesterday on the phone — if I was going to kill myself, I’d have done it by now.

The Patient Mrs. and The Pecan are off to town (to Boston, that is) today to be human beings for a while. I’m staying home, essentially to not. I have writing to do which in all likelihood I’ll blow off either to sleep or to read or to watch baseball — or all of them — while trying not to think about food or how swollen my legs still are or whatever. While I keep on keeping on, essentially, and keep listening to the new Grayceon, which fucking rules.

I’m also going to make nut butter in just a little bit. It’s about quarter to six in the morning as I write this. Hi. I’m out of my fucking mind. This time’s blend: Salted and unsalted peanuts, salted and unsalted cashews, salted macadamia nuts. Maybe some almonds if there’s room in the food processor. We’ll see. The race is on though because I expect any minute now to get the call to go upstairs and change the baby’s diaper.

Here’s what’s up for next week, subject to change blah blah blah:

Mon.: Maybe an Aeonian Sorrow review/premiere? Not sure.
Tue.: Mouth review/stream.
Wed.: Ruff Majik premiere.
Thu.: Rattlesnake premiere.
Fri.: Robespierre premiere.

There’s videos and news and such as well, I’m just not there yet on organization. I’ll figure it out. I have some other writing to do this weekend anyway — a new bio for Kings Destroy and a big announcement for Heavy Psych Sounds — so I’ll be on the laptop one way or another.

And if you’re wondering, the next Quarterly Review begins Monday, April 2.

Please have a great and safe weekend. Like I said, I’ll be around writing and likely on the social medias as well, so feel free to say hi. And please don’t forget to check out the forum and radio stream.

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