Desert Survival: How to Do Psycho Las Vegas on a Budget

Posted in Whathaveyou on May 18th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

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Hey, if you’re going to go broke, let’s face it: You’re not likely to run into many causes as worthy as the lineup culled together for Psycho Las Vegas. It ain’t cheap — any event that advertises a payment plan obviously knows it’s a considerable ask — but whether you’re going to see Slo Burn for their only US gig or King Diamond doing Abigail or Mulatu Astatke because going to see Mulatu Astatke is a life-event, the arguments in favor are plentiful and convincing. Whatever else you want to say, Psycho Las Vegas is the first annually-held American festival with a focus on heavy and underground rock to really establish itself as world class.

That in itself is a reason to support the cause, whether it’s through a day ticket or a pass for the entire weekend, but it doesn’t necessarily lesson the expense of making the trip or staying in one of the US’ most lucrative tourist traps, let alone things like band merchandise, meals and the occasional adult beverage if you’re inclined to have one. The thought of seeing NeurosisSleep and Carcass share a stage over the course of a weekend or watching Conan, the new trio-incarnation of Pentagram and Yawning Man poolside or from the balcony of a room in the Casino Tower is incredible, and after hearing stories from those who undertook the journey in 2016 or attended the prior Psycho California in 2015, the idea wants nothing for appeal. Fiscal issues can be a bummer. By the time August rolls around, I’ll have been out of paid work for two months. I know how it goes.

And I’m hardly the most responsible person when it comes to money, but the truth of the matter is there are ways to mitigate costs for travel, lodging and other concerns, and if the thing preventing you from picking up a ticket to the show has been the seeming impossibility of affording a stay at the Hard Rock or of finding a cheap-enough flight to get there, maybe it’s worth trying to shift finances around to make it happen. Music is important, and when debt collectors are spamming your phone it’s hard to think about the non-cash value of life experiences, but the fact is the bills you need to pay will still be there. The bill with Corrosion of Conformity in a lineup alongside Kylesa‘s Laura Pleasants, Domkraft, Swans, Elephant Tree and Heavy Temple? Much less so.

Here are a few pointers that hopefully can save you a couple bucks. Some of it’s day-one stuff, but things like hotel picks and transportation nuances are good to know either way.

Check it out:

psycho-las-vegas-2017-poster

Flying In
• Buy tickets on a Tuesday for the cheapest rates.
• Use a discount flight search.
• If you can, fly in on Thursday and leave on Monday for better rates, search different days and times to come in and leave.
• Book early. Rates go up in the summer.

Getting There
• Ride apps cost less than cabs.
• The Hard Rock is less than a mile from the airport. Cheap trip anyway.
• There are free shuttles from most Vegas hotels to the strip and tourist attractions.

Staying There
• This one is huge… don’t stay at the Hard Rock if you can’t afford it! Alexis Park, RUMOR, Red Roof Inn are all across the street and cheap. Scope out a position on a map if you need to; that’s what Street View is there for.
• Partner up to share rooms. You’ve got social media and it’s not like you’re going to do more than sleep and (hopefully) shower there anyway. Might as well join forces and save expense where you can.

Drinks
• BYO. Vegas has open-container laws. If you think hooch is too expensive at the Hard Rock, get loaded on the sidewalk before you go in.
• One way or another, hydrate. You’re staying in the desert in August. Don’t be stupid.

Psycho Las Vegas 2017 Lineup
Abbath, Ace Frehley, Black Anvil, Blood Ceremony, The Brian Jonestown Massacre, Buzzov*en, Carcass, Celeste, Chelsea Wolfe, Cirith Ungol, Cloud Catcher, Code Orange, Conan, Corrosion of Conformity, Cough, Cult Leader, Cult Of Luna With Julie Christmas Diamond Head, Domkraft, Earthless, Elephant Tree, Eternal Tapestry, Fister, Floorian, Gatecreeper, GEQ, Gojira, Gost, Graf Orlock, Heavy Temple, Hollow Leg, Inter Arma, Khemmis, King Diamond, Laura Pleasants & Special Guests, Magma, Manilla Road, Merlin, Minsk, Morne, Mothership, Mouth of the Architect, Mulatu Astatke, Murder City Devils, Mustard Gas & Roses, Myrkur, Neurosis, North, Oathbreaker, Pelican, Pentagram, Psychic TV, The Rods, Ruby the Hatchet, Sasquatch, Saturndust, Sleep, Slo Burn, Slomatics, Snail, Sons of Otis, Sumac, Summoner, Swans, The Skull, Toke, Urchin, Usnea, Vhol, Weedeater, Windhand, Wizard Rifle, Wolves in the Throne Room, Yawning Man, Year of the Cobra, Youngblood Supercult, Zeal & Ardor.

http://www.vivapsycho.com
https://www.facebook.com/psychoLasVegas
https://www.instagram.com/psycholasvegas

Pentagram, “Relentless / Broken Vows” Live in Richmond, VA, 2017

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Psycho Las Vegas 2017 Makes Massive Lineup Announcement; Slo Burn, Vhöl, Pelican, Chelsea Wolfe, Melvins and Many More Added

Posted in Whathaveyou on December 17th, 2016 by JJ Koczan

Take a deep breath before you dive into the new lineup announcement from Psycho Las Vegas 2017. With 35-plus bands added, it officially qualifies as huge, and considering who those bands are — Slo Burn for a US-exclusive, plus bringing over the likes of Elephant Tree to play alongside SummonerHollow LegGatecreeper and others — it can be a lot to take in. If you haven’t had a meal yet today, you might want to eat something. Make sure you’re hydrated. Basically I want to avoid anyone fainting as a result of reading the list of bands. If you’re sensitive to flashing lights… you’re probably okay. But otherwise, check to see you have something soft to land on nearby, should you need it.

I missed Psycho this year owing to a new job and a general lack of funds. I’m not sure I can do the same in 2017. This one might just be a gotta-go kind of scenario. Fuckin’ Slomatics are gonna be there.

There are still more than 40 bands to announce, including headliners, whose names will be out at random points over the next 30 days.

Jeebus.

To the PR wire:

psycho las vegas 2017

Psycho Las Vegas 2017

August 18, 2017 – August 20, 2017
Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Las Vegas

Psycho Las Vegas today announces over 35 new additions to its massive 2017 lineup. The festival has quickly become the premier event in the US for underground heavy rock, psych, doom, alternative and beyond, and as the roster grows for this year’s edition, they’re clearly looking to push their boundaries even further.

Headliners remain TBA, but joining previously-announced generation-defining acts like Neurosis, Swans and French prog lords Magma, come UK grind legends Carcass, whose reunion continues to bring gruesome tales of dissections and unparalleled.

They’ll be in good company with Norwegian black metal legend Abbath, formerly of Immortal, who released a raging self-titled debut album under his own name this year, New York’s Myrkur, whose own debut, M, disrupted black metal genre convention on nearly every level, and USBM innovators Wolves in the Throne Room, who continue to refine a style they helped establish more than a decade ago.

Look for the Melvins to boggle brains with their brand of heavy rock – still unique unto itself after more than three decades – as well as for the new project Crystal Fairy with Buzzo and Dale from the Melvins, Omar Rodriguez-Lopez (Mars Volta) and Teri Gender Bender (Le Butcherettes) to bring to life their debut album, which releases in February on Ipecac Recordings.

This latest announcement also brings sludge-laden chaos from the pair of Weedeater and Buzzov*en, and Chelsea Wolfe to emit a darkness that even Las Vegas in the summer won’t be able to hold at bay.

The reunited Slo Burn (vocalist John Garcia’s first project post-Kyuss) will play an exclusive US show at Psycho, and a special highlight performance from psych-jazz legend Mulatu Astatke is open eyes, ears and minds alike as he celebrates a career spanning more than 50 years.

Also added have been long-running mischief-makers Murder City Devils, alt-rock legends Echo and the Bunnymen, progressive thrashers Vhöl (members of YOB and Agalloch), Pelican, Cult of Luna, Psychic TV, and as it did with the landmark 2016 edition, the fest digs deep into the heavy rock underground once again to unearth the best of up-and-coming bands from the States and beyond. Along with the already confirmed riff-crushers Windhand, Blood Ceremony, Slomatics and Domkraft, Elephant Tree (UK) have signed on alongside fellow fest-newcomers Khemmis, Sumac, Gatecreeper, Snail, North, Cult Leader, Hollow Leg, Summoner, Floorian, Wizard Rifle, Merlin and Morne.

Further lineup announcements will follow in the New Year — including headliners — so stay tuned for more from the best and biggest heavy festival the US has ever seen.

Psycho Las Vegas 2017 Confirmed lineup:
MURDER CITY DEVILS
NEUROSIS
MULATU ASTATKE
SWANS
CARCASS
WOLVES IN THE THRONEROOM
CRYSTAL FAIRY
MAGMA
CHELSEA WOLFE
SLO BURN
CULT OF LUNA
ABBATH
SUMAC
MYRKUR
PELICAN
WEEDEATER
ZEAL & ARDOR
SLOMATICS
OATHBREAKER
VHOL
COUGH
BLOOD CEREMONY
INTER ARMA
THE SKULL
WINDHAND
BUZZOVEN
MINSK
CODE ORANGE
KHEMMIS
GATECREEPER
NORTH
CULT LEADER
SNAIL
WIZARD RIFLE
MERLIN
FLOORIAN
DOMKRAFT
ELEPHANT TREE
MORNE
HOLLOW LEG
SUMMONER

http://www.vivapsycho.com/
https://www.eventbrite.com/e/psycho-las-vegas-2017-tickets-27758793298
https://www.facebook.com/psychoLasVegas/
https://www.facebook.com/events/1636267026703732/
https://www.instagram.com/psycholasvegas/
https://twitter.com/psycholasvegas

Elephant Tree, Elephant Tree (2016)

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Extolling Ignorance: The Top 10 Albums I Didn’t Hear in 2013

Posted in Features on January 6th, 2014 by JJ Koczan

Some of these, I just don’t have an excuse. Others, I have an excuse but it’s pretty lame. The basic fact of the matter is that the recently-departed 2013 brought an onslaught of gotta-hear-it-gotta-get-it records and I don’t care if it’s your full-time job and you actually get paid to do it, there’s no way you heard it all. I know I certainly didn’t.

I’m only one dude. I sit in front of this keyboard more or less all day, Monday to Friday each week, and I think the volume of output from this site and the fact that it’s just me (Hi, my name is JJ) putting it out speak for themselves. Maybe they don’t and that’s why I feel compelled to say it. Whatever.

Point is I do the best I can, but whether it’s my general and increasingly visceral disdain for digital promos or not being cool enough to be on somebody’s radar — or hell, even just the time factor, as in “there’s only so much of it” — some probably-killer stuff just slipped through the cracks. This list is me apologizing for not being everywhere at once and for having a limited record-buying budget. Again, I do the best I can.

List is alphabetical because it’s not like I can really rank them. Here goes:

1. Carcass, Surgical Steel

Man, Carcass kick ass. I know their early stuff is grind gospel, but even their last two records, 1993’s Heartwork and 1996’s Swansong, are fantastic. Why the hell wouldn’t I want to get on board with a new Carcass album? I don’t know. I guess I didn’t want to download it, like it a lot, put time into reviewing it and then go out and have to buy it like a punk. Easier not to listen, so that’s what I did. Carcass on Thee Facebooks.

2. Carlton Melton, Always Even


When Carlton Melton got added to Roadburn 2014, I took a sampling of their wares and it sounded like really interesting stuff. Synth-driven kraut-psych with a touch of West Coast spaceout gets a hearty “right on” in my book. Mostly a budget concern as to why I didn’t dig further. I could’ve YouTube’d it, but that’s no way to get to know an album if you’re actually interested in listening to music. Carlton Melton’s website.

3. Causa Sui, Euporie Tide

I was actually given this as an Xmas present after having it on my Amazon wishlist and it’s fucking fantastic. Really, really, really good. I imagine at some point I’ll probably put together a Buried Treasure post that more or less touts the virtues of Euporie Tide‘s desert tones and progressive explorations, but I didn’t get there before the end of 2013, so here it is anyway. But seriously, wow. El Paraiso Records on Thee Facebooks.

4. Deafheaven, Sunbather

There was so much hype around Deafheaven‘s Sunbather that I was just completely turned off. Not much more to it than that. I probably could’ve chased down a promo download if I’d been so inclined, but what’s the point? The whole world’s already up its ass, I’d rather spend my limited-as-hell time not adding my voice to a chorus of hyperbole. Maybe it’s really cool. Okay. Deafheaven on Bandcamp.

5. Fuzz, Fuzz

In a bizarre twist, turns out I have heard Fuzz‘s Fuzz, the self-titled heavy psych debut from indie darling Ty Segall. It’s the reason I wound up ending last week with the Witch self-titled, because I think the two albums work in a very similar fashion. Cool release either way, something like a dirtier Radio Moscow. I probably won’t review it at this point, but it’s on my shopping list for next time I happen to have two cents to my name. Ty Segall on Thee Facebooks.

6. Ghost, Infestissumam

The single most misspelled title in the Readers Poll. My feeling on Ghost at this point is as follows: “Yeah, so?” You’re a costumed pop-cult act with insanely catchy songs and a massive promotional machine behind you. So what? I wound up ambivalent about the first Ghost album and I guess when it came to this there wasn’t anything Ghost was going to deliver that I couldn’t get in a more substantive package from Uncle Acid. Ghost’s website.

7. Grayceon, Pearl and the End of Days

If there’s anything on this list that I’m actually pissed off at myself for not having heard, it’s probably Grayceon‘s Pearl and the End of Days. Technically it’s an EP and this is a list of albums, but either way, I wound up loving their 2011 full-length, All We Destroy (unabashed fawning here), so I can only consider missing the subsequent release the result of some deep-seated character flaw on my part. It came out in February! I had all year! What a jerk.

8. Mammatus, Heady Mental

Didn’t even know this one existed until Spiritual Pajamas put it out in November. Nobody told me, and I guess it had been a while since I last checked in on the Santa Cruz County space jammers to see about a follow-up to 2007’s The Coast Explodes. Still hope to hear Heady Mental at some point. The sooner the better, since it’s another band whose work I’ve legitimately enjoyed in the past. Mammatus on Thee Faceboooks.

9. Purson, The Circle and the Blue Door

No question Rise Above puts out some of the best underground heavy the world over. Not an issue that’s up for debate at this point, and they’ve found a decent niche to mine through with cult rock that seems to resonate with their audience. All well and good. I guess when it came to Purson, everything was just a little too perfect, just a little too aligned for me to be interested. Maybe I’ll stumble on it at some point and regret having passed it up initially. Purson on Thee Facebooks.

10. True Widow, Circumambulation

Circumambulation is the same story as a lot of these. I had promo mp3s and they just sat there. If I’ve got people in Japan and Australia who are willing to mail me a CD or LP out of their own pocket, I have a hard time arguing with myself as to why I should bother with others who don’t care enough about my opinion to send the work they want to have evaluated. If I’ve missed out on good music in the process, well, I’m still alive,which is more than I can say for the fucking music industry. True Widow on Bandcamp.

There we have it. If there’s a takeaway from all of this downer cynicism, it’s how unbearably lucky we are to live in an age where (one) I could immediately access the music on any one of these albums if I really wanted to or immediately shell out for hard copies if I had the funds. I know I really missed out on some of these, but it’s also worth pointing out just how many incredible albums are out there that I could let some of these pass and still live with myself.

This is the last of the 2013 wrap-ups, so thanks for checking it all out.

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