Big Scenic Nowhere: Gary Arce & Bob Balch Unite in New Project

Posted in Whathaveyou on February 13th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

It’s a science-fact that any relationship based on a mutual enjoyment of tacos is bound to last, and so it is that Yawning Man‘s Gary Arce and Fu Manchu‘s Bob Balch enter into partnership as a double-guitar version of Big Scenic Nowhere, a one-time Arce offshoot from Yawning Man that featured that band’s bassist Mario Lalli as well as Lalli‘s Fatso Jetson bandmate, drummer Tony Tornay. There was a demo (discussed here) that floated around the interwebs and pieces of which can still be heard on YouTube and elsewhere, but that version of Big Scenic Nowhere eventually morphed into WaterWays and that would seem to have been that for the band.

No word on whether Lalli and Tornay are involved in the new incarnation of Big Scenic Nowhere with Balch and Arce, but the project will debut as part of the PostWax subscription vinyl series — for which I write the liner notes; full disclosure — and then follow-up with a standalone LP, so it looks like we’ll find out soon enough.

The PR wire has info:

big scenic nowhere

Bob Balch (Fu Manchu) and Gary Arce (Yawning Man) to debut heavy riff-psych project BIG SCENIC NOWHERE as part of the anticipated POSTWAX subscription series.

Duo gears up for two Big Scenic Nowhere releases, starting with an exclusive PostWax release in June, then a full album later in 2019.

Blues Funeral Recordings has confirmed that BIG SCENIC NOWHERE is the last band to land a spot on the inaugural year of PostWax, its ambitious series of exclusive stoner/doom/heavy psych records that launched with a massively successful Kickstarter last November.

The brainchild of Fu Manchu guitarist Bob Balch and Yawning Man guitarist Gary Arce, BIG SCENIC NOWHERE is a project built around massive riff-power and singular guitar atmospherics, like a soundtrack to vast canyons and endless highways that explodes with stratospheric fuzz and ambient delay.

Together, the two guitar gods are creating a heavy transmutation that’s certain to deliver for fans of both of their primary bands, and certainly to those who signed up for PostWax early on without knowing what was to come until now.

Talking about how Big Scenic Nowhere came together, Balch says:

“Gary posted a pic of Del Taco on his Facebook page, saying “it’s good to be back home” after a two month Yawning Man tour. I commented with my usual order, regular red with sour cream. I think that triggered something, because be called me minutes later saying he wanted to start a heavy rock band and wanted me involved. We jammed a few days later and it was gnarly. So many ideas. We started taking about other musicians and the list grew. I don’t want to jinx it, but this record will blow people’s minds. The riffs are super creative and the musicians involved are at the top of the genre.”

Adding to that enthusiasm, Arce says:

“Bob and I just had a mutual respect for each other’s playing. We spoke a few times about jamming together and it finally happened, two completely different approaches to the guitar but a common ground was found… a musical sweet spot of heaviness and ambient, experimental power riffs!”

The pair promise several more incredible additions to the project that it’s too early to mention, but whatever they turn out to be, PostWax subscribers will be the first to hear it when Big Scenic Nowhere is unveiled as part of the series this summer.

PostWax year one will include exclusive new releases from psych-metal boundary-breakers ELDER, Brooklyn metalgaze trio SPOTLIGHTS, apocalyptic doomsters DOMKRAFT with a guest appearance from MARK LANEGAN, and desert rock progenitors LOWRIDER, among others, with 7 records total set to land during 2019.

More info on PostWax can be found via the label at bluesfuneral.com, with additional details on the project and Big Scenic Nowhere coming soon.

https://www.instagram.com/bigscenicnowhere/
https://www.facebook.com/bluesfuneral/
https://www.bluesfuneral.com

Big Scenic Nowhere, “Demo 1”

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High on Fire Won a Grammy for “Electric Messiah”

Posted in Whathaveyou on February 11th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

high on fire dressed to kill

I don’t imagine this is breaking news at this point. My social media feed crapped its digital pants last night when High on Fire picked up a Grammy award for “Electric Messiah” and the rest of the heavy blogosphere already has its thinkpieces out there. I’m not really interested in adding to that. Pretending the Grammys care about metal or any other heavy music is like pretending metal or any other heavy music cares about the Grammys. It’s just two different worlds. But — and I said as much on the already-noted social medias this morning — if High on Fire make more money playing shows now and that can help Matt Pike with what are no doubt significant medical bills, then sure. Whatever gets High on Fire to keep doing what they do is a win for everybody. The rest is as irrelevant as the better part of the music industry it represents.

But basically here it is for posterity, the PR wire news about High on Fire‘s Grammy. Well earned, certainly:

high on fire grammy

HIGH ON FIRE WINS GRAMMY FOR BEST METAL PERFORMANCE

High On Fire took home the GRAMMY for “Best Metal Performance” last night at the 61st annual Grammy awards ceremony in Los Angeles, the music industry’s only peer-recognized accolade and highest achievement.

This was the band’s first nomination and first win. HIGH ON FIRE was nominated for “Electric Messiah,” the title track off their 2018 album of the same name. The band, now as winners, join the ranks of past winners such as Black Sabbath, Motörhead, Metallica and Slayer.

“We never really needed an award for doing what we love,” says frontman Matt Pike. “Twenty-one years later, we finally got this. Thank you to the Academy.” Pike went on to thank producer Kurt Ballou among others. Bassist Jeff Matz sent out a heartfelt shoutout to long-time manager and friend Nick John who passed away last year and who was an instrumental figure in the band’s success.

High On Fire will be performing at 2019 Psycho Las Vegas taking place August 16-18, 2019 in Las Vegas at Mandalay Bay Resort. Tickets are on sale now, click here for more info.

HIGH ON FIRE features Matt Pike (guitar, vocals), Des Kensel (drums) and Jeff Matz (bass).

https://www.facebook.com/highonfire
https://www.instagram.com/highonfireband/
www.highonfire.net
https://twitter.com/eoneheavy
https://www.facebook.com/eOneHeavy

High on Fire, “Electric Messiah” official lyric video

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Old Mexico, Old Mexico: Out Past Walls

Posted in Reviews on February 11th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

old mexico self titled

It’s hard to tell at some points whether Old Mexico‘s Old Mexico is a tale of one album, two albums or three, and not really being able to determine that ultimately winds up part of the fun. A collaboration between Dead Meadow‘s Jason Simon, Arizona-based acid folkslinger Trans Van Santos (aka Mark Matos) and jazz drummer Dave Mihaly released through Union Zero in the US and Cardinal Fuzz in Europe, it’s possible to take its six tracks/37 minutes all as one thing, as is, straight through. That’s one album. Sure. Nifty. Cool. It’s two albums because of the way its near-14-minute opener and longest inclusion (immediate points) “Past the Western Wall” seems so much an entity unto itself even taken in kind with “The Old Ones,” which is Simon‘s other included composition. And it’s three albums because Simon, Matos and Mihaly each lend material. And maybe it’s even four albums because it’s also the kind of album that if you try to take it by the numbers, you’ll just be doing it wrong. So, yeah.

However one chooses to read it, the key to Old Mexico‘s Old Mexico is an open mind. With a liberal dose of saxophone from Michael Bello — who didn’t write any of the six songs, but is sort of the unsung hero of the record nonetheless — and Mihaly‘s smooth drums behind most of the songs, at least when he’s not switching to guitar, as on his own “Stellar Jay,” on which he also sings, and instrumental closer “Madeline Kahn,” there’s an underlying jazzy sensibility to some of the songs. It’s truest of “Past the Western Wall,” which should rightly be a focal point for anyone taking on the LP. It can’t help but be. It’s right there in front. But hearing Matos take lead on the weirdo Westernism of “Neon Tree” and the stoned ramble “Black Matador,” one could just as easily tie Old Mexico to folk, and certainly there’s a familiar forward progression to at least the verses of “Past the Western Wall” and “The Old Ones” that one could argue stem from Simon‘s songwriting method. The best approach might be not to tie it at all.

An album that begs for a truly open listening experience? Bands say that all the time. It’s rarely as true as it is with Old Mexico. A modus of craft is affirmed throughout, but that modus changes of course as the songs themselves change in terms of composer and arrangement. And the best answer that results in the most satisfying listening experience is to go with it. Follow it out. There’s a clue in the name of the project: California. At least the Southern and Central parts of the Golden State. Maybe that’s what’s being summarized here; a bit of desert strangeness met with San Francisco’s hippie refinement, running up and down a dreamed-up mellow Pacific Coastline while the sun sets 10 feet out over the water. I wouldn’t know, but it fits. There’s a lot here that could fit. I think that’s part of the point too, when it’s all done and percussion-laced homage to the immortal Ms. Kahn has been paid.

Old Mexico

Freak jams like that in “Past the Western Wall,” so molten and hypnotic, but still so nuanced and so conscious, don’t happen every day, and if that was the impetus on which the rest of Old Mexico was built, fair enough. It’s an impulse one hopes they follow again, getting even weirder in the process. But it’s not the whole story of the album. There’s an unfolding that happens before that leadoff is even three minutes in, but Old Mexico aren’t just getting lost either. It’s not until after 12 minutes in, but “Past the Western Wall” makes its way back across the grand distance it creates to the verse, and ends not in a jammy culmination, but in subdued melody, giving one the impression that what’s ultimately crucial to the album is the exploration through songwriting and collaboration itself. These people working with these people. To that end, the contributions of Bello on sax can’t be ignored any more than the grounding effect of Mihaly‘s voice on “Stellar Jay,” or the Wurlitzer of Jon Randano or the manner in which Jason Crimele (who recorded three tracks while Stefan Lirakis recorded the other three) shifts from bass to drums to percussion as need be.

But even with them and the backing vocalists and other contributors, it’s Simon, Matos and Mihaly at the forefront of the songs. The turn from “Black Matador” to the soft-swinging “The Old Ones” tells some of the tale, as the two six-plus-minute tracks groove from peyote-bombed desert-jazz-folk to the nighttime vibes and contained spaciousness of a more rock-style arrangement. “Neon Tree” is a highlight for its twang ahead of the ritualized tribute/ode “Madeline Kahn,” on which anything around that jangles or clangs seems to have been put to some measure of use, but no single cut on Old Mexico really leads to an understanding of where the album as a whole is coming from — not even “Past the Western Wall,” glorious though it is.

Instead, it all feeds into the totality of the listening experience, which again, becomes less about parsing it and more about everything coming together. It might be tempting to pick apart Old Mexico‘s work based on who wrote it or who recorded or who played on it — and that might be fun, at least to certain, admittedly demented kind of listener — but the overarching crux of Old Mexico is more about the resulting sonic spread from everyone. It’s an album, not a split. What one hopes coming out of it is that it’s also not a one-off. With the recognition that these are busy people with other projects, and exploration so vast only seems to set up the potential for going further. I wouldn’t guess what a follow-up might entail, but in hearing the way in which this first outing eases its way into a desert skyscape and seems to dissipate there in the atmosphere, I’d sure like to find out.

Old Mexico, Old Mexico (2019)

Old Mexico at Jason Simon’s Bandcamp

Old Mexico at Cardinal Fuzz Bandcamp

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Dealer Premiere “Gemini”; Release New Single of Final Recordings

Posted in audiObelisk, Whathaveyou on February 8th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

dealer

Oakland rockers Dealer have called it quits, but their final recordings surface in the form of the single End Breed / Gemini, issued as a seven-inch platter through Who Can You Trust? Records in an edition of just 100 copies as part of something the label is calling the “From WCYT? With Love” series. I don’t know what else is in the series or what might be coming, but Who Can You Trust? is streaming the Dealer track “End Breed” now and I’ve been given permission to premiere “Gemini” and it’s a three-minute banger with no time to screw around, as though the band was like, “Okay let’s finish these songs so we can stop being a band already,” and though the imprint continues to ask the question in its name, they’ve proven more than trustworthy in the past, particularly when it comes to mining obscure studio sessions for 7″ releases like this one. And they’re not half bad at series either, as the Sweet Times split singles — in which Dealer took part — also showed.

Dealer‘s lone full-length was released in 2016, and though I haven’t seen a reason for their disbanding, they leave a striking bit of potential behind in doing so. You can stream the premiere of “Gemini” and the A side “End Breed” at the bottom of this post.

From the PR wire:

dealer end breed

Dealer – End Breed / Gemini

“Dealer rips” should be a familiar adage to anyone in the Bay Area who has given a damn about rock and roll through the past few years, and the band’s final recordings—“End Breed” b/w “Gemini”—hammer in that sentiment like a nail in a coffin. There’s very little beauty in this music. The songs are ugly and mean, way too fast and a little out of tune, everything competing and melding together in some vain, chaotic display of ignorant bravado. You might even call it Dealer at their finest.

1. End Breed
2. Gemini

Edition of 100 copies on black vinyl, housed in a hand-stamped recycled cardstock sleeve.

Part of the “FROM WCYT? WITH LOVE..” series.

The exact moment of Dealer’s formation is almost impossible to pin down. Lost in a fug of thick smoke, alcohol and noise; somewhere and someplace out of time and mind.

Tentatively starting out life as Sexless – featuring founding member Kevin Klausen on guitar/vocals and fellow Los Angelean Samantha Mancino on drums – the duo would make a habit of throwing open jam sessions to anyone in earshot. Years prior and by his own admission, Klausen had lost heart after numerous false starts attempting to form his own band and gave up on making music to assume the mantle of tour manager for close friends, The Shrine. Helping the band across Europe and struck by their professionalism, after years on the road he returned in the Spring of 2013 with a handful of songs and a newfound focus.

Relocating to Oakland, Sexless performed a first few shows with whatever bassist could be landed until the night the band met Aaron Cundy of local outfit Easy Living. Followed soon after by the conscription of John Zamora on drums after the departure of Mancino they soon hit upon the sound they were seeking. Sorely shredding their way through discordant moments of pre-punk history – often in a crazed reverie of hard rock solos and cocksure hellfire – they stalked the grooves of Black Flag’s “Slip It In” and the riffs of Voivod’s “Killing Technology.” All the while, sporting the sharpest Canadian tuxedos they could find.

When Zamora eventually chose to leave the band in May 2015, Klausen and Cundy sought total reformation. Drafting in new drummer Darien McKinney for shows, they performed their final gig as Sexless on the 4th of June 2016 before entering Earhammer Studios to record a debut album with producer Greg Wilkinson (Iron Lung, Graves at Sea, Lecherous Gaze) just two days later.

A proposed “cocktail of heavy metal, punk, grunge and rock and roll,” the trio emerged with “Billionaire Boys Club” in hand as Dealer. With the journey at its end, the album is now available worldwide through the band’s own imprint, Wicked World Records.

Dealer:
Kevin Klausen – Guitar/Vocals
Aaron Cundy – Bass
Darien McKinney – Drums

https://www.facebook.com/dealerrips/
http://dealeroakland.bandcamp.com/
http://dealerrips.tumblr.com/
https://whocanyoutrustrec.bigcartel.com/product/dealer-end-breed-gemini-7-vinyl
whocanyoutrustrec.bandcamp.com
whocanyoutrustrec.bigcartel.com

Dealer, “Gemini” premiere

Dealer, “End Breed”

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Black Math Horseman Tease Possible Reunion

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

black math horseman 2009

It’s two images from social media. That’s the tease. Let me not draw this post out like some kind of dickhead clickbait with no information to offer. Two pictures. The one above of Black Math Horseman in silhouette from 2009, presumably sometime around when the Los Angeles heavy post-rock experimentalists issued their lone full-length, Wyllt (discussed here and here), through Tee Pee Records. The one below is of dark clouds parting.

Would seem to be a pretty straightforward message there, right? Dark clouds? An indefinite hiatus? Blue sky peeking through? The band coming back? That’s not a crazy A-to-B. I’m not making that up. Seems like a legit read, right? Does that mean it’s happening? Of course not, but it doesn’t mean it’s not happening either, and at very least, it means someone is thinking about the band enough to update their social media with some cryptic messaging one way or the other. Maybe a 10th anniversary reissue of Wyllt? That’s not nothing.

I actually delayed writing this post by a day or two after the images were brought to my attention because I wanted to see if Black Math Horseman actually made an announcement one way or the other. Needless to say that didn’t happen or there would be a more definitive headline above. At the time of their disbanding in 2013, Black Math Horseman was comprised of vocalist/bassist Sera Timms, guitarists Ian Barry and Bryan Tulao and drummer Sasha PopovicTimms has gone on to work in Ides of Gemini and Black Mare, and it’s worth noting that Popovic sat in on drums on tour with Ides of Gemini in 2015, so there’s been some collaboration between the former members even after the band called it a day.

One doesn’t want to indulge baseless speculation, but I can’t help but think that Black Math Horseman are making this out-of-the-blue update even as the lineup for Psycho Las Vegas is due to be unveiled any day now. Timms played there last year with Black Mare and owned the Vinyl Stage thoroughly, so if they were to make a proper return, they could hardly ask for a better place to do it. Here’s what we currently have to go on:

BLACK MATH HORSEMAN parting of clouds

https://www.facebook.com/Black-Math-Horseman-77475471220/
https://blackmathhorseman.bandcamp.com/

Black Math Horseman, Wyllt (2009)

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Sunn O))) Announce New Album Life Metal Due in April

Posted in Whathaveyou on February 6th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

sunn (Photo by Sunn and Ronald Dick)

As previously hinted, robe-clad drone overlords Sunn O))) will release two full-lengths this year. Both would seem to come from a session with Steve Albini, and the first, titled Life Metal, will be out on Southern Lord in April. The second is slated for later in 2019, and it looks like the months to come will see the megalithic backline and the conceptualists who wield it doing a fair bit of touring. The European run was previously announced, but it looks like they’ll be in Europe again in time for Fall festival season, and doing the US twice in the interim. Busy busy busy.

Sunn O))) always have their proponents and their detractors, but the fact is that if they weren’t relevant, they wouldn’t be splitting opinion in the first place, and 20 years on from their Grimmrobe Demos, they continue to push the boundaries of heavy in a way no one else has since.

From the PR wire:

sunn life metal

Sunn O))) are pleased to present Life Metal, a new studio album on Southern Lord, supported by a full EU tour

Sunn O))) are pleased to present Life Metal, their first new studio album in four years, due for release on Southern Lord in April 2019. The album will be supported by their first European tour since 2016, including their first ever French tour – dates and details below.

At the very beginning of 2018 Sunn O))) co-founders Stephen O’Malley & Greg Anderson set out on a path toward a new album production. They were both determined to create new music and a new method of working in the studio, without forgetting the long and proud history of production and studio accomplishments forged during their first two decades of existence (and the members’ own musical experiences out of the band’s). One long term goal was completely clear: to record Sunn O))) with Steve Albini in his Electrical Audio studio. Steve took the call, said “Sure, this will be fun. I have no idea what is going to happen.”

Greg and Stephen gathered twice that spring for writing, conceptualising and riff woodshedding in the very building where the band was formed: Downtown Rehearsal in Los Angeles. Sonic cosmoses, flashes of abstract colour (synthetic and objective) and themes emerged from the mastered depths of saturation and circuits between the two players and their mountains of gear. Themes developed in terms of brightness and energy, while visionary cues pointed toward subconscious areas of practice and the pair realised they were exploring other zones of consciousness via sound/time and sound/energy manipulation. In early summer a pre-production session with full backline, as a trio with T.O.S. on Moog, was recorded at Dave Grohl’s 606 studios, Northridge, California.

In July 2018 Sunn O))) spent just over two weeks in Chicago at Electrical Audio (Studio A) with Steve Albini at the helm. The results are astounding: there is breadth and luminosity of colour, it sounds vast. The sessions were impeccably recorded, authentically represented and completely accurate. The spectrum cracked the firmament open in clarity. An all analogue technique was used, they recorded and mixed on tape, providing a creative gateway for Sunn O))) to evolve their production methods into stronger, confident, performance based and a more logical executive process. The album was mastered and lacquers cut from tape in October by Sunn O))) ally Matt Colton at Alchemy in London. The LP version is a AAA album, recorded and mixed on tape via a completely analogue production, from the input of the band’s amplifiers and the air coming off the speakers in front of the microphones to the needle touching the pressed vinyl on your turntable.

Continuing one of the main currents of the Sunn O))) concept, depth of exploration within collaboration, brought forth Hildur Guðnadóttir to the Sunn O))) constellation. Hildur is a sometime live collaborator of Sunn O))) and a renowned film music composer, former member of the bands Múm, Pan Sonic and Angel. She was a long time collaborator with the composer Jóhann Jóhannsson (RIP). Hildur lent her incredible attitude, as well as her voice, breath and electric cello, and the enigmatic haldorophone to the proceedings, culminating in the epic composition/concerto “Novæ”. The cosmos clearly expands.

Tim Midyett, a close friend of Greg and Stephen since the Seattle days of the early 90s (and member of Silkworm, Bottomless Pit and Mint Mile), joined in a foundational role tying earth to sound with wicked performances on aluminium neck bass and baritone guitars: instruments he helped pioneer playing back in the 90s (alongside Steve and Shellac of course). Dark matter is reality.

Prolific new music composer Anthony Pateras arranged and recorded an incredible contribution of pipe organ for a piece titled “Troubled Air” (titled after an essay by author Aliza Shvarts, who also penned the liner notes for Sunn O)))’s Kannon) at Schlosskappelle, Schloss Solitude, Stuttgart. String theory of space.

The resulting album is titled Life Metal. It is fully realised and completely real. The record was produced by the core of Stephen & Greg & arranged by the greater constellation Sunn O))). Paintings by visual artist Samantha Keely Smith graciously adorn the sleeve and provide a perfect suitable mask to the proceedings. They collide ideas of 19th century romanticism & late 20th abstract expressionism (mysticism) with Sunn O)))’s approach to metal (via reference points of Arbo, Turner, Delville, Richter, Turrel, Wou-Ki). Photographer Ronald Dick shot them in baths of light colour representing depth of sound pressure in the work.

Sunn O)))
Life Metal
(Southern Lord)

TRACK LISTING
1. Between Sleipnir’s Breaths
2. Troubled Air
3. Aurora
4. Novae

There is a second more meditative LP titled Pyroclasts, also recorded by Steve Albini in parallel, and which will be revealed in the autumn 2019 (more later) with all music performed by Stephen, Greg, T.O.S., Tim Midyett, and Hildur Guðnadóttir.

Sunn O))) are touring March (EU/France), April (USA), September (USA), October (UK & Europe). They are working toward some special events in London and other cities.

SUNN O))) LET THERE BE DRONE (MULTIPLE GAINS STAGES)
March 2019 Europe
Thu 28/02/2019 DE Frankfurt Mousonturm
Fri 01/03/2019 AT Graz Elevate festival/Orpheum ° ~
Sat 02/03/2019 CZ Prague Divadlo Archa °
Sun 03/03/2019 DE Hamburg Kampnagel – K6 °
Mon 04/03/2019 NL Amsterdam Paradiso °
Wed 06/03/2019 FR Lyon L’Epicerie Moderne ÷
Thu 07/03/2019 FR Nancy L’Autre Canal ÷
Fri 08/03/2019 FR Dijon La Vapeur ÷
Sat 09/03/2019 FR Rouen QuasaRites Day/Le 106
Mon 11/03/2019 FR Tours Le Temps Machine §
Tue 12/03/2019 FR Nantes Stereolux §
Wed 13/03/2019 FR La Rochelle La Sirene §
Thu 14/03/2019 FR Bordeaux Le Rocher de Palmer §

Supports :
° Puce Mary
÷ Golem Mecanique
§ France
~ Robin Fox presents Single Origin

https://www.instagram.com/sunnofficial
https://www.facebook.com/SUNNthebandOfficial
https://sunn.bandcamp.com
https://sunn-live.bandcamp.com
http://www.southernlord.com
http://southernlord.bandcamp.com
http://twitter.com/twatterlord
https://www.facebook.com/SLadmin
https://www.instagram.com/southernlordrecords

Sunn O))), Life Metal album trailer

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Zed Announce European Tour Dates to Desertfest London 2019

Posted in Whathaveyou on February 5th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

zed

There’s a lot of repetition in what I do, inherently. You cover the same kinds of bands, use a lot of the same phrasing, and when it comes to the news stuff, that part of it, there are a few different kinds of stories you generally run into. Band has new album. Band doesn’t have new album. Band is touring. Band breaks up. Band has a new member. And so on. Of all the categories for stories I see on a week-in-week-out basis, this might be my favorite: Band is going to Europe for the first time.

In this case, it’s San Jose heavy rockers Zed, who’ll bring their straightforward, hard-hitting craft to stages in Belgium, Germany and France alongside Ripple Music labelmates Plainride ahead of an appearance at Desertfest London 2019. And maybe if I was European I’d feel the same way about bands touring the US for the first time, but it’s a special level of achievement for a group to get out and go abroad, to make that happen, and I’m glad to see the cats from Zed making the trip. It’s a feelgood story. So feel good. Then go rock out.

They go on the heels of a reissue for 2013’s Desperation Blues (discussed here) that came out last month on Ripple and are sure to make a boatload of new friends along their way. Awesome.

The social medias has it like this:

zed plainride tour

Zed – European Tour Dates 2019

Europe, we’re finally gonna bring the rock to you! Stoked to get out there with our bros in Plainride and capping it off with Desertfest London!

April 27 Ghent BE Den Drummer
April 28 Hamburg DE Bar 227
April 29 Volmerange-les-Mines FR No Man’s Land
April 30 Dresden DE Chemiefabrik
May 1 Cologne DE Stereo Wonderland
May 2 Brussels BE Jeudhuis de Schackel
May 4 London UK Desertfest London 2019 (Zed only)

Replete with new album artwork and bonus material (previously unheard first time around) Desperation Blues is an honest collection of blood, sweat, Desperation Blues was officially re-released on 18th January 2019 through Ripple Music. Order the album now at www.ripple-music.com.

Zed is:
Pete Sattari- Guitar/Vox
Sean Boyles – Drums
Greg Lopez – Guitar
Mark Aceves – Bass

https://www.facebook.com/zedrocknow/
https://zedisded.bandcamp.com/
http://www.zedisded.com/
http://www.ripple-music.com
https://ripplemusic.bandcamp.com/
https://www.facebook.com/theripplemusic/

Zed, “Halo” official video

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Brant Bjork Premieres “Guerrilla Funk” from Jacoozzi LP; Preorders Available Today

Posted in audiObelisk on January 31st, 2019 by JJ Koczan

brant bjork (Photo Aija Svensson)

Brant Bjork beaming in a nine-year-old seven-minute instrumental jam? Well, around here that’s what we call a good day. The Dude of Dudes will issue Jacoozzi on April 5 through Heavy Psych Sounds, and while his work over the course of this decade — let’s say, across the post-Vista Chino solo-ish records: 2014’s Black Power Flower (review here), 2016’s Tao of the Devil (review here) and 2018’s Mankind Woman (review here) — has seen him increasingly become an ambassador to earth from the California desert and an arbiter of unmatched cool, nine years ago, as he headed toward the release of Gods and Goddesses (review here) coming off the release of the earlier-recorded Punk Rock Guilt in 2008 and 2007’s Somera Sól (discussed here) before that, it seems in hindsight there were a couple different competing impulses happening in his sound. Of course, his signature approach is mellow heavy, smooth, funky, and melodic, at once punk and soul and based around that inimitable desert groove that’s audible as well in the track “Guerrilla Funk” below, but at the time, Bjork was coming off working as bandleader for Brant Bjork and the Bros. and as his style got clearer and fuller in production across the 2007 and eventual 2010 outings, it seems it wasn’t always easy getting there.

The narrative — blessings and peace upon it — has it that Bjork got tired one day of ramming his head into the studio wall, rolled tape and brant bjork jacoozzijust jammed his way to what became Jacoozzi. Actual history is always a little more complex than that, but what a great image that is. Classic. Guy’s making a record, not feeling it, and just let’s loose and produces something raw and honest, and as you can hear in “Guerrilla Funk,” it could hardly be more his own if he was actually singing on it. I don’t know how well “Guerrilla Funk” ultimately represents Jacoozzi, since it’s all I’ve heard from the long-rumored, long-awaited offering, but it represents the context of its making beautifully, and seriously, if all 10 tracks included are seven-minute instrumental jams and it turns out to be well over an hour of Brant Bjork just grooving out, it’ll probably be my most-listened-to album this year. Again, I don’t know that that’s what it is, I’m just exploring the possibility.

Either way, you can hear in “Guerrilla Funk” the roots of how Jacoozzi was put together. It’s got a strong backbeat as the foundation and then is built up from there as Bjork jams out guitar, bass and percussion on top of that. Simple enough idea, but Bjork‘s ability to play as a one-man band is highlighted by the completeness of sound here. In the second half of the song, as he moves to a wash on the ride cymbal and the percussion gets more complex, he follows the change on guitar and bass and everything seems to surge forward for a bit before it recedes back into the core bounce of the track. It’s hypnotic to some degree, but most of all it’s funked out, and it gives a better sense of Bjork‘s root songwriting process than just about anything since 2006’s mostly-acoustic Tres Dias (reissue review here), showcasing a genuine exploration of ideas as they happen and the satisfying, engaging results that can yield. It’s worth noting again that, after putting Jacoozzi to tape and resting it on the shelf to be mentioned casually in interviews for years afterward, Brant Bjork went on over the course of this decade to make himself desert rock’s most indispensable purveyor. So, you know, clearly getting it out of his system before moving on was the right call.

Maybe it’s fan-piece, but whatever, I’m a fan, so I’ll take it. I’ll hope to have more once the rest of Jacoozzi shows up hopefully sometime before April, but in the meantime, get your finest boogie footwear on and have at it with “Guerrilla Funk” on the player below, followed by more info off the PR wire.

Enjoy:

Joshua Tree, California, 2010: Brant Bjork has just started to record another solo record. About 4 days into the sessions, the desert rock king decided to abandon the 8 songs he was working on, and told his long time friend and engineer, Tony Mason, to start rolling tape and Brant proceeded to play drums in his natural improv style. After multiple drum track performances were recorded, Brant started layering guitars, bass and percussion in the same improvisational spirit. The former Fu-Manchu and Kyuss-legend essentially decided to “jam” by himself and for the rest of his scheduled sessions.

When the recording session had come to an end, Brant put the 8 unfinished tracks on the shelf as well as his “solo jam session” tracks. “I was much more content with the “jam” tracks as it was a creative release that was needed at that time.“ he says. “I decided to call the collective tracks, Jacoozzi. At the time, it reminded me of the feeling of my first solo recording sessions for my first solo release, Jalamanta….only more “free”.“

BRANT BJORK New album “Jacoozzi”
Out April 5th on Heavy Psych Sounds Records
– Vinyl and CD preorder available: https://www.heavypsychsounds.com/shop.htm#HPS097

Brant Bjork – Keep Your Cool reissue preorder: https://www.heavypsychsounds.com/shop.htm#HPS098

The ‘Jacoozzi’ tracklist reads as follows:
1. Can’t Out Run The Sun
2. Guerrilla Funk
3. Mexico City Blues
4. Five Hundred Thousand Dollars
5. Black & White Wonderland
6. Oui
7. Mixed Nuts
8. Lost In Race
9. Polarized
10. Do You Love Your World?

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