Cegvera Release Live Bootleg on LSDR Records

Posted in Whathaveyou on January 8th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

I’m a big fan of bands doing you-come-here-we-go-there tour trades. In 2017, Vinnum Sabbathi, whose members also stand at the helm of LSDR Records, hit the UK to tour with Cegvera. In 2018, it was Cegvera touring Mexico with Vinnum Sabbathi. They also released a split (review here) late last year through LSDR and would seem at some point to have begun to share Gerardo Arias between both bands, so clearly it’s an association that goes further than simply swapping shows. But all the better, really. The tighter the bands are, the more likely they are to get out together, and clearly it’s a productive partnership on all fronts.

To wit, LSDR Records has been hosting a series of live releases simply titled Live Bootleg, and Cegvera‘s Live Bootleg: Cegvera (Palíndromo) is the latest of them. Recorded while the band was on tour in Mexico this past June, it’s a solid set that showcases their heavy instrumentalism and penchant for atmospherics, captured at Palindromo in Guadalajara at what sounds like it was a pretty killer show. It’s a name-your-price download, so clearly the band and label are just trying to get the music heard by as many people as possible, and I can think of few missions more noble than that.

Info and audio follow:

cegvera palindromo

Cegvera – Live Bootleg: Cegvera (Palíndromo)

During the tour of Cegvera and Vinnum Sabbathi last June we had the opportunity to record the show that rifaron in Palíndromo, Guadalajara.

Like all the entries in the series, you can download this and other live sets of National Underground bands on our bandcamp: https://lsdr.bandcamp.com

Tracklisting:
1. The Great Blackout 06:19
2. Collapse // Aftermath 06:50
3. Natural Threats II 03:55
4. Depletion // Overshoot 07:38
5. Fractals 04:45
6. Rise 07:44

Cegvera (Bristol, UK) live at Palindromo, Guadalajara, June 8th 2018. Released January 6, 2019.

Recorded and edited by Juan Tamayo.
Cover photo by El Güerito Invita.

Cegvera is:
Gerardo Arias: Guitar
Aaron Scrupps: Bass
Matt Neicho: Drums

https://www.facebook.com/cegueraUK
https://cegvera.bandcamp.com/
https://www.facebook.com/lsdrrecords/
https://lsdr.bandcamp.com/
https://www.storenvy.com/stores/823500-lsdr-records-distro

Cegvera, Live Bootleg (2019)

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The Heads Announce UK Live Shows in Nov. & Dec.

Posted in Whathaveyou on July 27th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

Is it a full tour? Nope. Week of UK dates? Nope. One might in Manchester and one night in London? Yuppers. Still, it’s The Heads, so when they announce a weekender like the one below, Nov. 30 and Dec. 1, two nights only, it’s news as far as I’m concerned. Anytime The Heads do just about anything, it’s good for the universe in general, so while I won’t get to see them, I’m still glad they’re getting out. They’re touring in support of the 2CD/3LP compilation RKT! on their own Rooster Rock imprint and are promising more reissues to come, which is fine by me. I wouldn’t mind a new album either, but sometimes people have real lives and that’s a thing that happens instead of recording sessions. For anyone who hasn’t had the pleasure, The Heads are easily among the best live psychedelic acts I’ve ever seen, and should you happen to be in their path for either of these shows, consider yourself lucky.

Dates follow from the PR wire:

THE HEADS

THE HEADS announce two new UK shows!!

Bristol’s Heads set up a brace of UK shows at the end of the year… following on from well received appearances at this years Roadburn, Bristol Psych Fest and others already this year, its time to do a couple of club shows, a first time at the 100 Club and a welcome return to Manchester.

This year also saw the release of the 3LP/2CD set RKT!, which compiled the band’s late 90’s / early 2000 releases for the then fledgling label Rocket Recordings, many of which now fetch ridiculous amounts on various record trading sites.
The Heads are a mainstay of outsider psychedelic rock, they have been together since the early 90s, and constantly buck trends by ploughing their own path.. Britpop tried to thwart them, Stoner rock tried to adopt them.. they just kept turning up their amps and digging deep into a library of obscure kraut rock and early 70’s heavy rock to inspire their riffs and playing.

The four members, Paul Allen, Wayne Maskell, H O Morgan, Simon Price continue playing as the Heads alongside their day jobs, and other band commitments (Anthroprophh, Loop, Kandodo, Karen, etc ). They have taken back control of all of their catalogue and have been working to remaster it all and reissue it on their own label Rooster. In their 25th year together with this line up, it seems the Heads will keep rolling……

The Deaf Institute, Manchester. Friday, 30 Nov 2018
Doors Open: 7:00 PM
Starts: 7:30 PM
£16.50
Buylink: https://www.seetickets.com/event/the-heads/the-deaf-institute/1250899

100 Club, London. Saturday, 01 Dec 2018
Doors Open: 7:00 PM
Starts: 7:30 PM
£16.50
Buylink: https://www.seetickets.com/event/the-heads/100-club/1251017

https://www.facebook.com/The-Heads-282801075465/
https://theheads1.bandcamp.com/

The Heads, “Longest Gone”

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The Heads RKT! Reissue out This Week

Posted in Whathaveyou on May 23rd, 2018 by JJ Koczan

Some day, in some universe, some kind soul will put together a comprehensive discography for The Heads. It will feature all the UK heavy psychedelic pioneers’ releases — albums, splits, EPs, singles, live records, etc. — in the order of their original release, and note the labels, the different versions, the limited editions, the subsequent reissues, and so on, as well as some comment from the band itself on each offering. I expect this would be a book-length project for whatever kind soul took it on, and no doubt it would require a substantial government grant of some sort to happen. And perhaps a team of interns working in shifts.

Until we get to that magical day in that magical universe, we can enjoy The Heads‘ discography for the wonderfully confusing thing it is and perhaps even draw a parallel between their otherworldly and molten sounds and the impenetrable murk that is their catalog. They have a new reissue out this Friday. And the thing about The Heads? They’re amazing.

No, really. Amazing.

From the PR wire:

the heads rkt

THE HEADS latest reissue release “rkt!” on Rooster Records is out next Friday (25th May).

Latest volume in the long running Rooster reissue series, “rkt!” is a timely reissue of the first 3 releases The Heads put out on the ROCKET label.

OUT NEXT FRIDAY (May 25th) in the UK (June 1st in USA) on Limited 3LP format (2CD delayed..sorry..) The Heads – RKT! …(all the stuff they released on Rocket Recordings in the late 90s, in unedited form / one handy package!) And on the digital “sites” for the first time too… Remastered by Simon Price and Shawn Joseph (Optimum Mastering) for sonic dissonance of the highest order…this is bucketbonged sike at its rawest and most enrapturing…

To celebrate that, they have unleashed a “studio” version of live staple “KRT” in its glorious repeato-tripped out 46 minute plus glory…on all the digi places…check it out on the Spotify below…yes, a “Spotify” single from the Heads…tuck in…

Tracklist:
1. Spliff Riff (Conga’d Out)
2. Neu75!
3. Disappear Into Concrete And Meat
4. Filler
5. Jellystoned Loop
6. Planet Suite
7. Longest Gone
8. krt (all of it)

Latest in the long running Rooster (The Heads own label) reissue series, the latest volume is a timely reissue of the first 3 releases The Heads put out on the ROCKET label, from their first split 7” release (with Lilydamwhite) in 1998 to their much lauded SESSIONS 2 freakout 12” from 2002, all long sold out and highly collectable releases in their own rights.

Compiled here by Simon Price and remastered by Shawn Joseph…this release finds the band in fully relaxed glory; The Heads we quite prolific back in the late 90s / early 00’s, and in between the Everybody Knows We Got Nowhere album and Undersided album they released their jams and raw rehearsals via the burgeoning ROCKET Label.

Compiled here with extensive sleeve notes from Rocket founder Simon Healey, this limited 3LP (1000 copies) and 2CD (1000 copies) set captures the band at their most laconic and free…psychedelic sprawling morass of sound and aural distortion grooves akin drawing from their wide influences…also from simply plugging in and letting go…

Spotify KRT stream: https://open.spotify.com/album/0M4gtqM1PcGZ62T11mzgs7

iTunes full album pre-order (and stream for KRT): https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/rkt/1383320753

https://www.facebook.com/The-Heads-282801075465/
https://theheads1.bandcamp.com/

The Heads, Burning up With… (2016)

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Friday Full-Length: The Heads, Relaxing With…

Posted in Bootleg Theater on April 27th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

The Heads, Relaxing With… (1996)

A little post-Roadburn worship for The Heads, and well earned. Some 22 years after making their debut via Relaxing With…, the UK psych lords remain thoroughly untamed — their sound rife with searing freakouts and a sense of what might’ve happened if the UK had put garage rock on the Voyager probe and then had it return to earth warped by the very fabric of the universe. To listen to the wah attack of “Woke Up” or the bit of ’60s-style boogie thrown into “U33,” it’s clear The Heads — guitarist/vocalist Simon Price, bassist Hugo Owen Morgan, guitarist Paul Allen and drummer Wayne Maskell — at least had some sense of what they were doing at the outset. That’s not to intimate the opposite applies to “Chipped” or “Slow Down” or “Widowmaker,” but just that there’s a decent amount of Relaxing With… that seems to have been purposefully left to chance and that exploration of sound has always been a crucial element of who they are as a band. Don’t believe me? “Coogan’s Bluff.”

Perhaps with the exception of the grungey “Taken too Much,” which is placed right before the closer, almost none of Relaxing With… sounds any more dated than it wants to, and rather than simply adopt the stylistic tenets of space rock, or psychedelia, or heavy rock, or garage, etc., The Heads took all these things and made them their own in a potent sonic brew running a brisk 44 minutes of tripped out, freaked out thrust, like the pent-up energy of a collapsing star about to go nova — one great big “pop” in the galaxy emitting gravity waves that continue to ripple. With Price‘s yeah-I’m-stoned-what’s-the-problem vocals adding a persistent laid back factor over Maskell‘s thud and push and Morgan‘s low end fuzz adding weight to the outward thrust of Price and Allen‘s guitars, The Heads were even in their beginning stages a complete band, each member complementing the others’ work in effort to create a more consuming whole.

That effort pays off all across Relaxing With…, from the wash of noisy swirl that starts opener “Quad” to the switched-on bizarro vibes that persist from there. Was this the birth of what people seem so eager now to dub “neo-psych,” as if psychedelia ever went away? Rest assured, I have no idea, but more than two decades on, The Heads‘ initial salvo of “Quad,” “Don’t Know Yet” and the somewhat thicker “Chipped” still hits like a rogue asteroid in the Russian wilderness. “Slow Down,” appropriately enough, eases on the throttle and brings Price‘s vocals forward but holds onto a threat of explosion in its post-midsection thud, even if what materializes is another verse and some backwards guitar before a couple shouts and the winding final measure of guitar solo arrive. Morgan‘s bass begins “U33” and makes a highlight of it, and at just over two minutes, “Television” scorches out garage fuzz with a punkish intensity and basks in its hookish vocal pattern.

The dirt-poetry of the lyrics is punctuated by the drum stomp, and as the song opened with a “Wow!,” so too does it close with one, a quick sample leading to the freakout of “Woke Up,” which is no less all-go than the preceding cut, but stretches a minute further and takes more of a traditional rock feel, and “Widowmaker” holds to it, despite feeling more molten even in its moments of blasting-forward intensity, which come and go but seem alway to be purking thanks to the tension in Maskell‘s cymbal work. “Widowmaker” is a highlight of the record, paying off in assaulting volume before a long-fadeout toy-piano sample leads into the strum and jangle that starts “Taken too Much,” moving quickly into more drastic quiet/loud tradeoffs marked by the post-Nirvana feel in the low end and the particularly druggy lyrical thematic. Maybe it’s with a bit of irony that “Taken too Much” is positioned right ahead of the “You only pass through this life once, jack, you don’t come back for an encore,” sample that begins “Coogan’s Bluff,” but whatever the intent was, it works.

One of the aspects of Relaxing With… that works so well is that the album happens in quick shots. While modern psych is given to these long, sometimes indulgent excursions, only two of the album’s first nine tracks pass four minutes in length. That makes “Coogan’s Bluff,” which uses every second of its 11:35, all the more a standout. The jam feels all the more massive for the tightness of the songwriting preceding, and as The Heads shove their way through solo after solo, groove on top of groove, they stand tall as new warriors on the edge of time, breathing life into a genre that, again, was thought dead when it never actually was. The dynamic between Allen, Maskell, Morgan and Price is by then long established but perhaps not displayed anywhere else as clearly as it is on “Coogan’s Bluff,” as the band moves ahead into vast reaches yet uncharted and delivers a gradual comedown, hitting the apex in another shit-hot lead that ends in the second half and gives way to consistent toms and noise that lets the listener make their way slowly back to reality, such as it is.

I’m not sure it’s possible for a band to be massively influential, critically lauded, have a consistent loyal fanbase and a number of offshoot projects while still being underrated, but if it is, The Heads are. I’ll say they’re not really a band I got until I saw them on stage and felt the full force of their delivery and volume, how they not only play this music, but execute it on a physical level. I don’t mean they’re thrashing around or anything, just that there are four members of The Heads and the sound they make when they come together is enough of a presence to be counted as a fifth. To think of Relaxing With… as their debut and to imagine hearing it for the first time when it was released before the turn of the century, it’s no wonder they’ve become who they are. Thankfully, that spirit of outward-directed exploration and ongoing creative development has never left them, and they still sound keen to try something new each time, as their hyper-populated and nearly impossible to track discography proves. That only makes them all the more special, and as Relaxing With… was the nexus of that ongoing process, it’s a moment well worth celebrating.

As always, I hope you enjoy.

Interesting week, coming back and coming down from the aforementioned Roadburn fest in the Netherlands — to see all the coverage of Roadburn 2018, click here — and returning to whatever it is that passes for normalcy these days. I’ve had some good baby-time with The Pecan, so that’s been excellent. Six months on, he’s just starting to crawl and getting to the point where he’s more than a glob of human need, so playing has become more than basically showing him things and having him not be able to hold them. I’ve been singing him SubRosa, Anathema and Alice in Chains songs. He can sit up. He’s getting a bit of personality. Seems only a matter of time before he calls me a prick for something or other.

Busy week though. I apparently completely screwed up the scheduling this week on some stuff. That only makes life more difficult for me — also The Patient Mrs., so also me again — but it means I’m doubled up Monday and while I want to take a few days next week and get caught up on reviews I’ve been meaning to write, there’s still a lot going on that needs covering. I’m still getting caught up on news from being away and from before I went away, so I hope you’ll bear with me on that. Here’s what’s in the notes for next week, tentative as ever:

Mon.: Trevor’s Head full stream, Tusmørke track premiere.
Tue.: Sleep review.
Wed.: Grayceon review.
Thu.: Abramis Brama review.
Fri.: Track premiere/announcement from Cursed Tongue Records.

Some stuff still needs to be filled in, but again, I’m way behind on news and I think Amorphis put out another video. I might review that record next Friday and keep with the week’s apparent theme of things I think kick ass, but we’ll see how it goes, how much time there is and whatnot.

Speaking of, I’m pretty limited on time at the moment as the baby has a doctor’s checkup this morning and needs a bath before so he doesn’t show up like a crustpunk, and I still have another news post to put together for today — the one about Yawning Man signing to Heavy Psych Sounds — so I better wrap on the quick, but before I do, I just want to say thanks again if you got to check out any of the Roadburn coverage.

It was a little weird being there this year and missing the baby, and even weirder feeling like I was holding back from talking about that in the posts — what does it mean when I don’t feel comfortable having an open and fully honest conversation in the space that’s supposed to be my sole outlet for such a thing? — but you have to believe me when I say I understand how unbelievably lucky I was to be there in the first place and that it was a gift, as always. I have no doubt that, at the end of 2018, Roadburn will once again have been the center of it.

On that note, I’m out. I have two bios to write this weekend — an update for Kings Destroy and one for Small Stone’s next release that I’m woefully late on — and two reviews to write for Monday as noted above, so yeah, I’ll be around. In the meantime, thanks for reading as always and have a great and safe weekend.

Please check out the forum and radio stream.

The Obelisk Forum

The Obelisk Radio

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Cegvera Release Creations EP; Touring with Vinnum Sabbathi

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

cegvera

It wouldn’t be quite right to call the impact of Cegvera‘s Creations EP immediate. Indeed, it’s three full seconds before opener ‘Centralia’ kicks into the full tonal assault that the Bristol, UK, three-piece will continue to unfold in “Iguala” and touch on throughout the subsequent five tracks, balancing it against a post-rocking meditative feel on “Aral Sea” and foreboding atmospherics on “Mosul” while closer “Latrun” takes a more all-out approach in terms of tempo. The band has aligned with LSDR Records for the release, which you can stream now in its rumbling entirety at the bottom of this post, and will hit the road in the UK this month with fellow instrumentalists Vinnum Sabbathi. I think once you dig into the tracks you’ll agree that’s a solid pairing.

They also get bonus points for shouting out José Saramago. Read Blindness. The EP, as well as Cegvera‘s first one, late 2016’s Fractals, is name-your-price now. Info follows below, courtesy of the PR wire:

cegvera creations

LSDR RECORDS: Cegvera – Creations (2017)

Cegvera is an instrumental band that was born in Bristol, inspired by José Saramago. The band tries to wake up hidden or forgotten feelings. Songs are stories, however it’s up to the audience to create them. Melodic ambience, atmosphere and drone are as important as the riffs. Saying that, if you are into heavy psych, doom, sludge or post-rock you should give this band a try. Cegvera are: Gerardo Arias: Guitar (Vinnum Sabbathi, Ex- Bar de Monjas, 4 ciénegas) / Aaron Scrupps: Bass /Matt Neicho: Drums

Creation Ep is the second work of this band from Bristol U.K. (the first was Fractals), was recorded by Josh Gallop at Stage2 Studios in Bath, U.K. in April of 2017. The Mix and Master were made it by Miguel Fraino at Vesubio 34 Studio in México City. The Artwork was designed by Hellbound Graphics in México City.

Tracklisting:
1. Centralia 03:02
2. Iguala 05:03
3. Aral Sea 05:31
4. Mosul 05:50
5. Latrun 05:10

Cegvera will make a tour with Vinnum Sabbathi this July:
20.07.17 – Coventry (The Arches Venue)
21.07.17 – London (The Dev)
22.07.17 – Bath (St James Vaults)
28.07.17 – Manchester (Retro Bar)
29.07.17 – Scunthorpe (Café Independent)

Cegvera is:
Gerardo Arias: Guitar
Aaron Scrupps: Bass
Matt Neicho: Drums

https://www.facebook.com/cegueraUK
https://cegvera.bandcamp.com/
https://www.facebook.com/lsdrrecords/
https://lsdr.bandcamp.com/
https://www.storenvy.com/stores/823500-lsdr-records-distro

Cegvera, Creations (2017)

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Temples Festival 2015 Adds Converge as First Headliner

Posted in Whathaveyou on August 8th, 2014 by JJ Koczan

Temples Festival made a pretty impressive debut in 2014 with Neurosis, Electric Wizard and Clutch as headliners, and it seems they’ll continue their push into the underground festival marketshare next year as well. There are some impressive names on their lineup so far — Goatsnake, Triptykon, Pig Destroyer, etc. — and a few I’d have a hard time caring less about if you paid me — incidentally, I’m available for hire in this capacity — but the one name you need to see to know these cats mean business is Bongzilla.

A Bongzilla reunion, whether it takes place only at Temples or at other fests too, puts the Bristol-based gathering in the league of events that doesn’t only assemble bands to play, but that makes something special happen as well. It’s the first I’m hearing of a Bongzilla reunion at all, so I’ll be interested to discover in the coming weeks how far they’re going with it as more dates are (at least potentially) announced. Either way, that’s obviously a welcome name to see on a lineup anywhere.

The announcement went out earlier via Thee Facebooks, and it looked like this:

Patrons of Temples Festival,

Please welcome our first headliner of 2015, performing in Bristol for the first time ever as their only UK show of 2015; the legendary Converge.

Converge will be joined on our Main Stage by an onslaught of prestigious bands (including both Nails & Trap Them) on Friday May 29th – which, at the risk of perpetuating stereotypical promoter hype……is gearing up to be one of the most chaotic line-ups the UK will ever witness.

Furthermore, please welcome another 17 bands to the Temples Festival 2015 line-up (in no set order);

PIG DESTROYER
TRIPTYKON
GOATSNAKE
NAILS
BETWEEN THE BURIED AND ME
BONGZILLA
TORCHE
MAGRUDERGRIND
TODAY IS THE DAY
PORTAL
TRAP THEM
WILL HAVEN
BOLZER
IMPETUOUS RITUAL
GOATWHORE
CELESTE
LENG T’CHE

With an additional 55 artists yet to be announced, including both our Saturday and Sunday headliners – Temples Festival 2015 is firmly on track to match the calibre of artists on offer at our inaugural edition, and follow on with the simple theme of well-programmed & diverse underground heavy music.

Temples Festival 2015 will also include the addition of a third stage, an outdoor ale/cider bar, high-quality catering suited to both vegan and carnivore dietary requirements alike – and all set within the confines of one of the most unique and versatile venues in the UK. This truly is shaping up to be something monumental.

Weekend Tickets are now available from www.templesfestival.co.uk, Day Tickets will not be released until later in the year.

Again, we’re expecting you…….

– Temples HQ

www.templesfestival.co.uk
https://twitter.com/TemplesFestival
https://www.facebook.com/TemplesFestival

Neurosis, “We all Rage in Gold” Live at Temples Festival 2014

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Gonga Announce April European Tour Dates

Posted in Whathaveyou on February 6th, 2014 by JJ Koczan

They don’t really go too much into it in the list of tour dates, but the Doomed Gatherings fest that Gonga are playing on April 20 in Paris is actually pretty badass. Running three days, April 18-20, it’s got Windhand, Inter Arma, Elder, Pombagira, Year of No Light, Hull, Necro Deathmort, The Socks and The Body on the bill, so you know, no small shakes should you happen to find yourself in Paris this spring. Gonga‘s latest outing, Concresence, was streamed here back in October, and this is reportedly only the first leg of their European tour in support of the album.

Dates and details in blue:

GONGA (UK) – EURO TOUR 2o14 ~1st leg

Clawing their way out of the dank blackness of their riff research laboratory and hungry for the flesh of new twisted listeners, Gonga bring forth a new offering – a Concrescence.

In the five years since their last outpouring of un-anchored HeavyRock, Transmigration, Gonga managed to lose/fire/upset every bass player in the region. Brothers Thomas (dramatic battery) and George (riff philosophy) having survived war and mental abuse from the outside world found a new phenomenon walking the golden triangle right in front of their (third) eyes; a specialist in detail – you could say a time-stretch professional. And so, Latch self-sacrificed himself to the group before he even joined; the perfect combination of Geezer Butler and Cliff Burton muttering arcane wisdom.

A trinity of Earth forms was instantly created; bull, goat, ram. The strength of the triangle allowed the 3 to set about HeavyRock construction. Without singer the aim became to create aural landscapes for band and listener to use as a launchpad for remote viewing, for mental and spiritual enlightenment and for emotional therapy. One could refer to it as instrumental HeavyRock for the philosophical connoisseur.

Riff research and late night experimentations led the trio into unexplored territories of voiceless riff/rhythm. Years passed and the brew grew strong, as did the urge to commit the aural paintings to vinyl. Six tracks, two sides – Concrescence, a region of complexity in comparison to its surroundings.

Gonga hail from Bristol, UK. This is their third album. They have toured with Mondo Generator and High On Fire and have performed at DunaJam in Sardinia, Glastonbury and Download Festivals as well as recording a Maida Vale session for Zane Lowe (Radio 1). Their favourite colour is black or green or something probably.

DATES:
17-4 B,Brussels – L’os Moelle w/ Cojones
18-4 NL, Leiden – Cab 03 w/ Tank86 & Bone Man
19-4 B, Liege – La Zone w/ Wardhill & Six Months Of Sun
20-4 FR, Paris – Glazart *Doomed Gatherings w/ The Socks
21-4 LU, Luxembourg City – Rocas
22-4 D, Solingen – Waldmeister w/ Cojones
23-4 D, Nürnberg – K4 w/ Tempel
24-4 CZ, Prague – tba
25-4 D, Berlin – Urban Spree *unofficial Desertfest Aftershow
26-4 NL, Schoonhoven – DeBastille w/ The Socks

https://www.facebook.com/events/574854545941704/
https://www.facebook.com/gonga.official
http://gonga.bandcamp.com/

Gonga, Concrescence (2013)

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On Wax: Big Naturals, Big Naturals 12″

Posted in On Wax on October 29th, 2013 by JJ Koczan

They’re not wanting for aggression, but the Bristol duo of Gareth Turner (bass, noise) and Jesse Webb (drums, guitar), who collectively go by Big Naturals, have little to do with metal, and their heaviness of tone — one can see pictures of prominent Matamp logos in the foldout panels of their Greasy Trucker Records self-titled debut LP — seems almost happenstance when put against the rush of their noisy articulations, the focus more on the swirl and the churn than the thickness or pummel. Weird is the primary. Of course, they wind up plenty heavy anyway, but there’s little in the mostly-instrumental offering to guarantee they’ll stay that way. Or to guarantee much of else, for that matter.

Laden with samples on both sides and condensed under psychedelic loops, the vinyl is striking both visually and sonically. The quality stock mushroom cloud cover that comes in a plastic sleeve unfolds as of six panels that work out to be a sort of gatefold-plus, with the recording info on one side with the aforementioned amp pictures and the two panels of the cover, while the other side is a full-size collage of staring eyes. If they’re setting a mood, it’s odd, paranoid and far beyond conventional — though the music mirrors that as well, as Turner and Webb binge on flashes of experimental noise like “Islamaphobia” and “Sea of Lies” that somehow manage to transition smoothly into “Codex” and the creepy laughter of the encompassingly-fuzzed “Krautpunk.”

Longer pieces like side A’s “Hear the Night Roar” and “Neda” make plain their feedback-soaked challenge, but on the first listen, it’s just about indistinguishable where one ends and the other begins, and if continuity was the intent, then it’s all the more impressive that Big Naturals get there with the diversity and open approach they show throughout these “songs.” With sides split between “Brent Skin Suit I” and “Brent Skin Suit II,” that take-it-as-a-whole sentiment is palpable, the ultra-noisy wash of the former building back up on side B after a fade that leads to a continuation of the melee into “A Good Stalker,” which begins to come down from the intensity some but holds its tension all the same, some far back yelling past the halfway point providing a human element beyond that brought to the album by the flurry of samples scattered across it.

Mostly, Big Naturals are instrumental. Mostly. It’s for the better as well, since these tracks don’t leave much room for verses or even lines beyond those in the news clips of “Small Parts” or the slew of angry exclamations that drives the opening build of “Screaming Midnight Cowboys.” Above everything else, Big Naturals‘ debut seems to be working against categorization, or at least any pigeonhole that might go deeper than “experimental” or “noise,” and to their credit, their self-titled legitimately presents a vicious defiance of genre that every now and then locks in a groove but is just as likely to ride it out as to shift quickly away and follow another whim, daring you as the listener to keep up before the side ends. I feel like I’m constantly three minutes behind — which is pretty good, considering.

Big Naturals, Big Naturals (2013)

Big Naturals on Thee Facebooks

Big Naturals on Bandcamp

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