Six Dumb Questions with Hotel Wrecking City Traders

Posted in Six Dumb Questions on October 19th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

hotel wrecking city traders

Since their inception over a decade ago, Melbourne’s Hotel Wrecking City Traders have consistently — which is not to say relentlessly — pushed themselves to grow as artists. They have also been consistently — which is not to say relentlessly — undervalued for the fruits of this effort. Since the first cacophonies of their 2008 full-length debut, Black Yolk, and through 2010’s Somer/Wantok (review here) single, their 2011 collaborative work with Yawning Man guitarist/desert rock figurehead Gary Arce (review here), 2012 splits with Sons of Alpha Centauri and WaterWays (review here) and Spider Goat Canyon and their more recent long-players, 2014’s Ikiryo (review here), 2016’s Phantamonium (review here) and the newly-issued Passage to Agartha (review here), brothers Ben and Toby Matthews have been on an outward sonic journey that has remained unafraid to take on psychedelic tenets even as it maintains the semi-mathy crunch of its roots.

To listen to Passage to Agartha in particular, it is striking just how far Ben (drums) and Toby (guitar) have come. Their sound on the Cardinal Fuzz/Evil Hoodoo and Bro Fidelity 90-minute offering is more expansive than it’s ever been — so much so, in fact, that they recently recruited Spider Goat Canyon‘s Josh Beagley to play bass, making them a trio for the first time — and whether that’s manifest in the 20-minute, drone-backed bonus exploration “Oroshi” or in the crunch-meets-post-rock of “Quasar” and the massive rolling low end of “Kanged Cortex” at the outset, the instrumentalists continue to revel in their adventure in a way that few bands can make sound so genuine. Passage to Agartha, no less huge in concept than runtime, was recorded in mere days and largely improvised, only further emphasizing the musical language the brothers have built between them over time and how fluid their execution has become across their years.

As advice goes, it seems counterintuitive, but if you’re unfamiliar with Hotel Wrecking City Traders, start with Passage to Agartha and work your way back. I know an hour-and-a-half-long record is a lot to dig into at an inexperienced outset, but I think by the time the siren wails backing the flow of the title-track roll around, Passage to Agartha tells a lot of the story of how Hotel Wrecking City Traders have become the band they are — or the band they were when they tracked this material, anyway; again, they’re a trio now and one looks forward to how their dynamic might shift as a result — and with the surrounding push in “Chasing the Tendrils” and the dream-coated-in-noise wash of “Ohms of the Cavern Current,” the richness that Toby and Ben are able to convey has never come through with such exciting and entrancing resonance.

Ben was kind enough recently to take on discussing his relationship with his brother, the processes by which Passage to Agartha came about, bringing in Beagley and more.

Please enjoy the following Six Dumb Questions:

Hotel-Wrecking-City-Traders-Passage-to-Agartha

Six Dumb Questions with Hotel Wrecking City Traders

Tell me about putting together Passage to Agartha. How did these massive tracks take shape, and was there anything specific you were trying to bring to the material coming off of Phantamonium? How much of your writing is born of improvisation and jamming?

We had no pre-written ideas prior to day one. It was all improvised over the two days we were in the studio, with two days of overdubs for the bass and synth parts. A fairly typical approach for us, really, though this time the added instrumentation took a little longer. We didn’t really have Phantamonium in mind when we did this one we kind of left the way Toby approached the main guitar parts open for additional parts. We always record live together and rarely do overdubs but this time we felt we wanted to try to broaden the scope of sounds and tried to create a more full and layered tapestry of sounds. Playing synth was a first for us on a record and I just did one pass over each track and what you hear is what you get.

What was your time in the studio like? Was it enough? How much were the songs fleshed out in the studio? Was there something particular you wanted out of the sound of the album this time around?

We had a lot of fun this time around. The engineer who also owns the studio, Max [Ducker] and his two dogs were there for the recording. The size of the room we recorded in was smaller than places we have gone in the past but Max really knows his gear and we trusted that he would be able to capture what we were after. He has mixed the band as a live engineer many times and is a good friend of the band so in terms of a working relationship it was super-relaxed and he brought some nice gear for us to use and has a golden working knowledge of his studio and its capabilities so we felt very relaxed the whole time.

The songs were 100 percent improvised over the two days so we just rolled with it and allowed the songs to dictate how we would approach the next one. For example, amp settings, pedals, tempo and those sorts of things but we have always been a very cerebral pair, Tobz and I, and we just got into a certain headspace and let the songs evolve completely naturally and of their own will.

We try to make each record we do different and I think this one kind of has elements of old approaches and also newer ideas as well as a real mixture of melody and sheer volume and velocity. It’s a double album, which was not our intention going in but once we were done and we had the labels in place to release it we knew it had to be a double as the songs were so long that we could really only fit one per side of vinyl.

Where does the space theme come from and how does it tie into the material for you? Is there a narrative taking place in the tracks? If so, what’s the story being told?

It’s certainly an expansive record in its length and also the sonic elements from one track to the next so it was the final version of the record that lent itself to a space themed sort of idea. The passage to Agartha being the mythical city in the centre of the Earth’s core. We’re nerds and love sci-fi and horror and it seemed like the right fit. Whilst there is no specific story, the songs definitely go from a faster, more melodic place and end up in a slower and more molten space by the end of the record.

“Oroshi” cuts off suddenly past the 22-minute mark. Was that actually the end of the piece? You’ve done longform jamming before, of course. Does a song like that just happen, or do you go into it with the intention of doing something more extended?

Yeah that was a single live take over a loop that Tobz made and we just went for it. I used mallets to play that track but we did not EQ the drum mics any differently. It has a sort of Steve Shelley/Sonic Youth vibe to the drums and we were limited only by the 22 minutes of guitar loop! Haha! So yeah, we had a timer counting down as we were against the clock. Lots of nods for that one. We deliberately made that one far looser and more soundscape based than the others and I believe it was recorded midway through the recording late on day one.

You’re past a decade now working as Hotel Wrecking City Traders. How do you feel about how the band has grown in that time, and how has your relationship changed as brothers and as bandmates? How much of the communication between you at this point is unspoken on a musical level, and how clear a picture do you have in your head of what each other wants to do with the band?

Tobz and I are super good friends and playing together for this long has cemented that. We’re probably more tolerant of each other from doing tours in Japan, Europe and New Zealand together on a budget.  Continuing to want to create together and do this has always been important to us. Most of our communication is unspoken to be honest. Musically we say very little to each other verbally and communicate via the music as it seems to be more pure that way and less preconceived. It seems to work quite well.

We recently added a bass player to the band and played our first show as a trio last month. His name is Josh [Beagley] and is from the band Spider Goat Canyon. We’ve been friends for a decade and played tons of shows together. We realized we wanted to play these songs off Passage to Agartha and knew we needed that extra component. We’ve been getting together every week and jamming and reworking this set of new songs so our sets can be half those and half improvised and expansive.

We were very happy to have this new album come out as a co-release between Cardinal Fuzz and Evil Hoodoo (who we worked with previously on Phantamonium). We sell way more records in Europe than we do in our own country and it made sense to do it that way. In terms of a clear picture of what we wish to continue doing – more records, more Aussie shows and definitely getting back to Europe next year is high on our list. We are also looking at NZ shows and Japan shows as well as it’s been four years since we were last there and we’d absolutely love to go back and hit up some new cities and towns.

Any other plans or closing words you want to mention?

Just a thanks to your good self for covering this release and all the support you have shown us over the years. We truly appreciate it. Other than that, please check out the record and shoot us a message if you would like to help us organize anything in Europe or anywhere for that matter. We always enjoy being able to travel as a result of the music we create and see new places.

Hotel Wrecking City Traders, Passage to Agartha (2017)

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Review & Full Album Premiere: Hotel Wrecking City Traders, Passage to Agartha

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on September 14th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

Hotel-Wrecking-City-Traders-Passage-to-Agartha

[Click play above to stream Hotel Wrecking City Traders’ Passage to Agartha in its entirety. Album is out Sept. 25 through Cardinal Fuzz, Evil Hoodoo and Bro Fidelity Records.]

It might not always seem like it, but there’s a delicate balance at play at any given moment for Hotel Wrecking City Traders. Yes, the Melbourne duo proffer just under 90 minutes of new material on the six tracks of their fourth album Passage to Agartha — released through Bro Fidelity, Cardinal Fuzz and Evil Hoodoo — but on an aesthetic level, the two-piece of brothers Ben and Toby Matthews (drums and guitar, respectively) tread a line between crunch-tone noise derived from a punk influence and an expansive take on space rock and heavy psychedelia that they’ve developed over the course of their decade together in the band. Each of their releases has been a step forward in a process of refining and individualizing this approach, and Passage to Agartha follows suit in expanding the mindset of early-2016’s Phantamonium (review here) and adding for the first time overdubs of synth and bass to the live-recorded, mostly-improvised root tracks of guitar and drums.

Thus, on opener “Quasar” (11:04) and the subsequent “Kanged Cortex” (11:55), Hotel Wrecking City Traders not only immediately cast their listener into this ocean of intensity and flow, but they do so with their core energy intact and with new elements put to use in making them fuller in their arrangements — they recently added Josh Beagley (also of Melbourne’s Spider Goat Canyon) to the lineup to handle bass parts live — even as the beginning stretches of “Chasing the Tendrils” (17:00) course through proggy nuance that offerings like Phantamonium, 2014’s Ikiryo (review here), their 2012 splits with Sons of Alpha Centauri and WaterWays (review here) and Spider Goat Canyon, 2011’s collaboration with Gary Arce of Yawning Man (review here), the 2010 single, Somer/Wantok (review here), and their 2008 debut, Black Yolk, have been building toward in one way or another.

That doesn’t necessarily mean it’s taken Hotel Wrecking City Traders 10 years to “arrive” as they shift into cymbal wash and amp noise passing the midpoint of “Chasing the Tendrils” and come off the harder-thrusting reaches of “Kanged Cortex” with a fluid motion building on some of the more post-rock airiness of the earlier going, just that Passage to Agartha finds them at the to-date pinnacle of their stylistic development. And while it’s easy to be consumed by the length of the thing — I started off talking about balance for a release that’s nearly an hour and a half long; worth noting that the closer “Oroshi” (22:57) is listed as a CD/digital-only bonus track — it’s the progressive will that becomes so palpable throughout these extended cuts that is even more striking. One can still hear the underlying turns of Black Yolk in their sound, in the angularity of some of Toby‘s guitar parts or the shifts in Ben‘s rhythm, the forward push of his playing, but with a number of experimentalist releases behind them at this point, Hotel Wrecking City Traders have never sounded freer than they do in these explorations.

hotel wrecking city traders

The way they move through the crashing, keyboard-laden ending of “Chasing the Tendrils” and into the more serene launch of “Passage to Agartha” (14:43) — arguably the record’s most purely psychedelic cut and a telling moment as the title-track with its siren-esque background synth and hypno-repetitive guitar lines — is their own, and it’s the result of an organic growth captured on Hotel Wrecking City Traders releases long or short. As they make this particular “Passage,” amassing volume and patience of roll as they go en route to midsection churn and an eventual wash that seems to swallow the song entirely before cutting out circa the 12:30 mark to let Toby‘s guitar and synth drift to the finish, it only seems right to think of Passage to Agartha as another landmark in their ongoing creative journey, part of a timeline and a larger process rather than a stopping point in itself.

At least that’s the hope, because while Hotel Wrecking City Traders remain considerably undervalued even in the crowded sphere of the underground in their hometown, their work has proven vital time and again, as it does here. “Ohms of the Cavern Current” (11:40) closes the album proper with a focus on more rumbling low end and a somewhat more plodding march than that of the title-track before it, rounding out by settling into a crash-propelled last push that cuts out to fade on a repeating guitar line. When it comes to it, “Oroshi” is an album unto itself, or an EP perhaps, but either way a definite standalone focal point correctly positioned here as a bonus track. It shares its overarching hypnosis with the preceding material, but centers around a single background drone for its 22-plus minutes and so clearly has its own experimentalist intentions as well, drifting as it does over a fullness of wash that comes to life and shifts toward one last run of intense prog noodling before cymbal washes take hold at about 19 minutes in to signal the end stage of what’s ostensibly a captured-live piece created as it happened.

Toby and Ben, as brothers and as bandmates, have so clearly developed a musical language between them that Passage to Agartha almost seems to communicate in patterns beyond the construction of its riffs and various (and varied) parts, but it doesn’t at all fail to engage its audience either through the subtlety of its reach or the balance of influences it sets in motion across such a formidable span. Even for a group so much on their own wavelength, the sense of achievement Hotel Wrecking City Traders bring to their craft is easy to perceive, and as Passage to Agartha finds them at a new stage of maturity, the patience they demonstrate when they choose to in “Quasar,” or the title-track, or “Oroshi,” is yet another tool to be put to use alongside the fervency that can be so propulsive elsewhere. One never likes to speculate what the future might bring especially for a band so prone to outside collaborations and one-offs, etc., but as they move forward in a three-piece incarnation with Beagley on bass, it seems all the more like Hotel Wrecking City Traders are still just beginning to discover where their passage is taking them. All the better.

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White Manna Set Oct. 6 Release for Bleeding Eyes

Posted in Whathaveyou on August 25th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

white manna

Californian head rockers White Manna, who’ve already been confirmed for Desertfest Belgium 2017, will be releasing their third long-player, Bleeding Eyes, via Agitated Records and Cardinal Fuzz on Oct. 6. Since Desertfest is happening from Oct. 13-16 and the album is out the week before, I kind of assume that means they’ll be sticking around Europe once they finish the UK tour that will find them at Liverpool Psych Fest on Sept. 23 and continue through to Sept. 28. That’s an awful lot of air travel, otherwise, especially with a record coming out in between.

Bit of a gap then to fill in as regards tour dates, but in addition to what’s listed here, the band has a few others in Croatia and in the Netherlands listed on their Thee Facebooks page for the time between, so maybe there’s more to be announced or that I just missed because I suck at this. Either way, here’s the info I got, which came down the PR wire:

white manna bleeding eyes

Announcing new WHITE MANNA album ‘Bleeding Eyes’ on Agitated/Cardinal Fuzz Records

Artist: White Manna
Title: Bleeding Eyes
Label: Agitated / Cardinal Fuzz
Format: LP/CD

Release date: 6th October 2017

Following on from an incredible one-two brace of releases on Holy Mountain, a release on Valley King, a limited Live album (Live Frequencies) on Cardinal Fuzz, and then their last sonic attack (PAN) on Cardinal Fuzz in 2016, White Manna release their new studio album as part of a joint venture between Cardinal Fuzz and Agitated Records.

Unleashed at the end of September in Europe to tie in with a UK/EU tour that features another sure to be main stage storming appearance at Liverpool Psych Fest, Bleeding Eyes is the sound of White Manna soaring and searing with riffs and grooves that float their own take on SIKE ROCK! To a higher plane. The 8 tracks herein deliver serious motorik action along the way, with some lo-fi pop glaze over the top of solid rhythmic pummel. Riffs? You got it, great rafts of guitar interplay blitzing your ears in a dronesome scree, ricocheting through space and time to transport you to a sonic enlightenment.

Recorded and mixed at El Studio San Francisco, Ca and The Compound, Manila, Ca by Phil Manley and White Manna. Mastered by John McBain at JPM Mastering San Francisco.

Fans of Hawkwind, The Heads, Loop, Mugstar, White Hills, Spacemen 3 and Amon Duul will thrill to this. Northern California has never sounded so spaced out and visceral, plug in, turn it up and drone out?

Tracklist
1. Bleeding Eyes
2. Vimanas
3. Trampoline
4. Invisible Kings
5. Speed Dagger
6. English Breakfast
7. You Are The Movie
8. Freak

UK Tour Dates 2017
22 Sept UK Newcastle- Cumberland Arms
23 Sept UK Liverpool- Psych Fest
24 Sept UK Leeds- The Library
25 Sept WAL Cardiff- Full Moon
26 Sept UK Brighton- Hope & Ruin
27 Sept UK London- Victoria Dalston
28 Sept UK Bristol- The Crofters Rights

https://www.facebook.com/whitemanna/
https://whitemanna.bandcamp.com/
https://www.facebook.com/AGITATEDRECORDS/
agitatedrecords.com/
https://www.facebook.com/CardinalFuzz/
cardinalfuzz.bigcartel.com/

White Manna, PAN (2015)

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The Obelisk Radio Adds: Big Kizz, Mt. Mountain, Mage, Hypertonus, Lee Van Cleef

Posted in Radio on May 22nd, 2017 by JJ Koczan

the obelisk radio cavum

We’re only slightly overdue for a batch of adds to The Obelisk Radio. I need to start setting a reminder or something. By the time this post goes up, my hope is that we’ll actually be off the backup server and back on the full or at least mostly-full playlist. It’s been a long road, as the terrible opening theme to Star Trek: Enterprise once said, but I think Slevin has it ready to roll, and there’s still some rebuilding to do, but I think it can be an ongoing thing working on the new hard drive. We’ve worn the crap out of that backup playlist. It would be nice to not have to use it for a while. Fingers crossed, anyhow.

Whichever server these files wind up on, they’ll be joining some playlist as soon as humanly possible. Let’s do the rundown in the meantime.

The Obelisk Radio Adds for May 22, 2017:

Big Kizz, Eye on You

big kizz eye on you

Some who take on the debut single from Swedish trio Big Kizz will find the band reminiscent of some of the rawer moments of long-running Danish garage-psych rockers Baby Woodrose, but for many, an additional draw to the three-track/eight-minute offering (delivered via Tee Pee Records) will be the lineup, which features bassist John Hoyles (Spiders, ex-Witchcraft), guitarist/vocalist Pontus Westerman (also of Lady Banana), and perhaps most notably, drummer Axel Sjöberg in his first recorded appearance after splitting with Graveyard. Turns out he’s still a fantastic drummer. His play in leadoff cut “Eye on You” and the push he brings to “Baby Boy” and the closing Roky Erickson cover “White Faces” will surely lead some to relate Big Kizz to Sjöberg‘s former outfit, if only in their earliest going (which was also on Tee Pee, remember), but the truth is the trio show themselves to be on a different trip throughout Eye on You, as they bring the aforementioned garage stylization forward amid classic boogie and, particularly in “Baby Boy,” nod toward mid-’60s psychedelia in a quick but fluid bridge. The Roky Erickson cover could hardly be more fitting, handclaps and all, but it’s the sense of movement in the two originals that shows the most potential here as Big Kizz seem to set their eyes on establishing their dynamic and building from there. Will be interested to hear what they do with the context of a full-length and if some of the psych in “Eye on You” and “Baby Boy” is relegated to flourish or if it comes to the fore as they develop, but they’re off to a rousing start.

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Big Kizz at Tee Pee Records

 

Mt. Mountain Dust

mt. mountain dust

Devotees and pilgrims of longform psychedelia will no doubt and should rejoice at Dust (on Cardinal Fuzz), the maybe-second long-player from Perth, Australia, five-piece Mt. Mountain, which from its 17-minute titular opener and longest track (immediate points) unfolds a ritual of superior immersion and conscious trance inducement. Over the course of four songs/37 minutes total, Mt. Mountain unfold a sprawl reportedly intended to capture the atmosphere of the Australian Outback — and maybe they get there, I don’t know; I’ve never been — but either way, the balance of repetition and depth in “Floating Eyes” and the shimmer of the nine-minute “Kokoti” speak to a varied ecosystem that, indeed, one might get lost in, never to return. Mellotron, organ, djembe and percussion play a central role in the overarching sense of mind-expansion along with the guitar, bass, vocals, drums, etc., but it’s the combination of elements, the variety between tracks — they’re jam-based, but distinct songs, to be sure — that really stands Dust apart from much of drift-minded modern heavy psych. One advises patience with the drones of the opener and the cautious first steps that the fading in percussion seems to be taking, as the rewards are considerable when it comes to the front-to-back experience Mt. Mountain offer, which is stark, striking, marked by underlying threat and casts a feeling of the infinite that no doubt was the very intent behind its making.

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Mage, Green

mage green

Self-released in a six-panel digipak with decidedly grim artwork courtesy of Dominic SohorGreen is the third full-length from Leicestershire, UK, heavy rockers Mage. Last heard from with 2014’s Last Orders (review here), they retain the blend of heavy rock groove and metallic aggression that’s become their signature sound, and continue the march forward in finding a space between post-Down/Orange Goblin dude-rockery and doomlier fare. Vocalist Tom blends harsh growls and a cleaner approach on opener “Nowhere to Nothing” and the later “Primitive Drive” while mostly avoiding sounding like Phil Anselmo, and as guitarist Woody, bassist Mark and drummer Andy dig into the slower roll of “Eclipse King,” Mage seem to hit the mark they’re shooting for in terms of style and songcraft. The centerpiece title-track has a little more head-bob to its central progression — and then there’s that wah; always fun — but they’re right to mess around with the proportion of stylistic elements throughout to add variety, and the 10-minute closer “Vultures Mass” does well in taking the punch of “Nowhere to Nothing” and “Heroic Elegy” at the album’s start and pushing it outward into a satisfying apex. Straightforward in its intent, given a sense of mass via a recording job at Skyhammer Studios and executed with a clean conscience, Green is the work of a band who know what they want from their sound and know how to make it happen, which, thankfully, they do in these tracks.

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Hypertonus, Tidal Wave

hypertonus tidal wave

Tidal Wave is the self-issued debut full-length from German instrumentalist three-piece Hypertonus, and it lands some six years after the band first got together, preceded by a semi-eponymous 2013 EP, HPRTNS. If the more-than-half-a-decade stretch seems like a while for a group to get to their first long-player, it might be, but one suspects the Bremen-based troupe comprised of guitarist Patrick Büch, bassist Arne Staats and drummer Hannes Christen spent a significant amount of that time in the jam room developing their sound, because what they cast over this nine-track/45-minute outing is a keen progressivism and chemistry that feels not at all happenstance. With shifts into and out of technically-minded parts that seem to be driven by Staats‘ bass, Hypertonus reportedly tracked Tidal Wave live, and I have no reason not to believe it, particularly given the eight-minute closer “Phantasmagoria (Improvisation Jam),” which departs from the quick psych-meditation of “Aeropause” and the almost jazzy rhythms and post-rock guitar of “Expect the Sky Below” to bring the band’s style even more to life for the listener to take on. It’s a heady release, and some of the changes come across as willfully choppy — playing with expectation in a “now we’re over here!” kind of way — but there’s a marked sense of accomplishment throughout that’s nothing if not well earned.

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Hypertonus on Bandcamp

 

Lee Van Cleef, Holy Smoke

lee van cleef holy smoke

Pressed to gorgeous-sounding vinyl by White Dwarf Records last November, the five-track instrumental Holy Smoke is the debut LP from Naples, Italy, jammers Lee Van Cleef, and aside from its righteously striking cover art, one finds primary impressions in the gotta-hear-it bass tone of Pietro Trinità La Tegola, the molten lysergism in Marco Adamo‘s guitar and the grounding-but-not-too-grounding effectiveness of drummer Guido Minervini in anchoring a jam like the 13-minute “Banshee,” which takes the best lessons of groups like Germany’s Electric Moon and Portugal’s Black Bombaim and brings them to methodical, engagingly rumbling fruition. Nod persists through the more uptempo, Tee Pee Records-style centerpiece “Hell Malo,” but the three-piece seem even more comfortable dug into the post-Sleep riffing of the subsequent “Mah?na,” finishing that track with a standout wash of a guitar lead ahead of the brighter-feeling closer “Towelie,” which underscores an otherworldly vibe that turns out to have been in Holy Smoke all along. Lee Van Cleef have already followed Holy Smoke up with a single titled “Everyone Should Kill an Old Hippy” (discussed here) — it’s worth noting that this album starts with “Heckle Yuppies,” so they’re not fans of them either — and one can’t imagine it will be long before they answer back with another full-length offering. The question is how they’ll ultimately distinguish themselves from the crowded European jam-based heavy psych underground, but there’s nothing in these tracks to give the impression they can’t or won’t do so as they continue to grow.

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White Dwarf Records on Thee Facebooks

 

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Mt. Mountain to Release Dust April 24

Posted in Whathaveyou on March 31st, 2017 by JJ Koczan

mt mountain

As it turns out, the 17-minute opening title-track (which you can stream at the bottom of this post) is also the longest cut on Mt. Mountain‘s Dust. Immediate points for that. In true psycheprolifidelic form, the four-song outing is the latest in a bundle the Perth, Australia-based five-piece have issued over the last half-decade — they had the full-length Cosmos Terros out last year, preceded by three shorter offerings going back to 2013, if their Bandcamp discography is anything to go by — but as it’s my first exposure to the band, I’m finding it easy to get stoked for the coming April 24 release date. “Dust,” as well as “Floating Eyes,” “Kokoti” and “Outro,” which follow, cover a formidable swath of ground and prove fluid and immersive in kind, jam-based, but with a sense of underlying purpose as well. It’s just about where my brain is at these days, if you want to know. So yeah, definitely a welcome arrival.

Preorders are up for swirl and black LPs, and in the UK/EU, it’ll be out via respected purveyor Cardinal Fuzz, as the PR wire informs:

mt mountain dust

Mt Mountain – Dust

‘Dust’ Out April 24 Via: Cardinal Fuzz (UK)

Pre-sales for the limited edition black/copper swirl (pictured here) & standard black 12″ LP’s both available here: https://mtmountain.bandcamp.com/

**UK/EU pre-orders available here: http://cardinalfuzz.bigcartel.com/product/mt-mountain-dust-gold-black-swirl-vinyl-cardinal-fuzz-pre-order

Cardinal Fuzz are proud to announce the release of the epic “Dust” via Perth quintet Mt. Mountain. Since forming in 2012 Mt. Mountain are already lauded and revered in Australia where they have built a reputation as one of the most compelling live bands, a distinction that has seen them share stages with myriad Australian and international heavyweights including Sleep, King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard, Thee Oh Sees, Endless Boogie, Tortoise, Bardo Pond and Boris. On “Dust” Mt Mountain have laid down 4 tracks that capture the atmosphere of the red/orange landscapes that consume the Australian Outback.

Opening with the mini slow burn epic “Dust” which builds with an incessant drone and flute to form a ghostly menacing and meditative rhythmic and repetitive throb that builds and builds before the release comes and the bands shatters into a heady and thunderous elliptical crunch. Over the entire LP Mt Mountain capture, a dreamlike mood of shimmering dust filled landscapes where slow strummed guitars and single note organ lines ebb and flow and bring to mind Dylan Carson’s ‘Earth’ as played by mushroom ingesting elf’s. ‘Dust’ is psych rock meditation music and It is utterly entrancing.

Mt. Mountain is:
Stephen Bailey: Organ, Whistle, Guitar, Vocals
Derrick Treatch: Guitar, Mellotron, Vocals
Brendan Shanley: Bass
Glenn Palmer: Guitar
Thomas Cahill: Drums, Djembe, Percussion

https://www.facebook.com/mtmountainperth/
https://mtmountain.bandcamp.com/
http://cardinalfuzz.bigcartel.com/
https://www.facebook.com/CardinalFuzz
https://twitter.com/cardinalfuzz

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Dead Sea Apes to Release Sixth Side of the Pentagon April 3

Posted in Whathaveyou on March 8th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

dead-sea-apes-Photo-by-Tom-Humphreys

I’m going to make the narrow-minded assumption there’s some relation between Dead Sea Apes‘ upcoming fourth album, Sixth Side of the Pentagon, and their prior 2015 outing, Spectral Domain (review here), the 11-minute closer of which bore the same title. Does that necessarily mean it has anything in common with what seems to be a four-parter semi-title-track here? Nope, because this is psychedelia and sometimes shit gets really weird, but it’s worth pointing out as a starting point either way.

If you’d like something a little more concrete to go on — and fair enough if you would — the band are streaming the track “Tentacles (The Machine Rolls On)” as we speak, and you can check that out at the bottom of this very post, under the info below from the PR wire.

Dig it:

dead-sea-apes-sixth-side-of-the-pentagon

Dead Sea Apes – Sixth Side Of The Pentagon

Dead Sea Apes release their fourth studio album Sixth Side Of The Pentagon through Cardinal Fuzz and Sky Lantern Records.

Since their inception in 2009, Manchester trio Dead Sea Apes have ploughed a decidedly psychedelic furrow regarding their penchant for consciousness-altering guitar/bass/drums workouts. Yet they have always been decidedly nonconformist and experimental too, never easily fitting into a “psychedelic scene” like so many of their contemporaries. New album Sixth Side Of The Pentagon sees this bent towards experimentation further examined and explored.

Taking concepts from the track of the same name on their previous album, Sixth Side Of The Pentagon grows these ideas into fully formed dub cultures. Possibly reflecting recent political and economic events, the mood has darkened further like a carbon-stained post-industrial skyline: basslines bubble over with a dub-frenzy of fluid proficiency, alienated shards of guitar sear into your cortex and disorientating notes of insectoid electronics float in and out of the mix amid haunting echoes. Think Metal Box-era PIL and hints of early Cabaret Voltaire fused with the rolling liquid sound that Dead Sea Apes have made their own, while spoken word contributions by the artist and writer Adam Stone add a new dimension of theoretical engagement.

Sixth Side Of The Pentagon is released by Cardinal Fuzz in the UK and Sky Lantern Records in the US on vinyl, CD, cassette and download.

Tracklisting:
1. The Map Is Not The Territory
2. The Sixth Side version I
3. Low Resolution
4. The Sixth Side version II
5. Pale Anxieties
6. Nerve Centre
7. The Sixth Side version III
8. Lo Res
9. Tentacles (The Machine Rolls On)
10. The Sixth Side version IV
11. Rectifier

releases April 3, 2017

Music by Savage/Harris/Hardman
Words by Adam Stone (tks 5 & 9)
Vocals by Hannah Grasskamp (tk 6)
Produced by Dead Sea Apes
Recorded, mixed and mastered by Chris Hardman

https://www.facebook.com/deadseaapes/
https://twitter.com/deadseaapes
https://deadseaapes.bandcamp.com/album/sixth-side-of-the-pentagon
http://cardinalfuzz.bigcartel.com/
https://www.facebook.com/CardinalFuzz
https://twitter.com/cardinalfuzz

Dead Sea Apes, “Tentacles (The Machine Rolls On)”

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SonicBlast Moledo 2017 Makes First Announcements: Elder, Monolord & Kikagaku Moyo Added

Posted in Whathaveyou on December 13th, 2016 by JJ Koczan

Seems early yet for an event taking place next August, but even as Europe’s well-populated Spring festival scene is shoring up its various lineups for April and May, Portugal-based SonicBlast Moledo 2017 is getting the jump on the Summer set by announcing a trio of heavy hitters who will take part in the form of ElderKikagaku Moyo and Monolord.

No doubt the fest was looking to start out with a pretty sonically diverse range of bands, and I’d say they got there between these three. With Elder‘s progressive sprawl, the expansive psychedelia of Kikagaku Moyo and Monolord‘s riff-crush-skull lumbering doom largesse, SonicBlast Moledo 2017 gives itself a number of different avenues along which to continue to develop as it moves forward with the rest of its lineup and finding out where that balance ultimately will work out to be is part of the fun of this whole thing.

Here’s the announcement from the festival:

SonicBlast Moledo 2017 – First bands announcement!

With the dates already settled for August 11th and 12th, the seventh edition of SonicBlast Moledo starts to take shape with its first confirmations. To begin with the revelations, we will be welcoming the Bay Staters Elder, the Tokyoites Kikagaku Moyo and the Gothenburgers Monolord!

Coming directly from the East Coast of United States of America, we proudly announce the long-awaited first visit of Elder to Portugal’s lands, bringing with them the ultimate blend of Progressive Heavy Rock, Psychedelic Rock and Stoner Doom Metal, who are always pushing themselves further in the fields of musical creation. This unique sound signature, took them to major stages, like Keep it Low Festival, Roadburn Festival (which resulted in the album Live at Roadburn 2013), DesertFest Belgium or Freak Valley Festival. Their most recent album, the extraordinary “Lore”, was considered by many ,as a truly transcendental work of art, a masterpiece which we can’t wait to experience live.

Kikagaku Moyo, which is literally translated to “Geometric Patterns”, will be returning to Portugal to deliver a righteous dose of “feeling good music”, clearly the finest sounds of Japanese psychedelic world. Passing through festivals like Eindhoven Psych Lab, Duna Jam or Austin Psych Fest, it is now time to live the sitar folk psych right by Moledo’s beach. Close your eyes, clear your mind and prepare to embrace the cosmic acid folk universe, with the supreme jams of Geometric Patterns.

We gladly welcome back to Portugal the Swedish Doomers Monolord, who after performing at Barroselas Metal Fest 2016, return to spread the colossal heaviness, always worshipping the almighty riff, keeping the sounds fuzzy and haunted, as we like them. It goes without saying that their shows are completely demolishers and mesmerizing, so we all know what to expect.

Selling Points here.
Buy Online here.
Buy Online via Masqueticket (Spain) here.
Tickets price

1st pre-sale | 35€
Until 28/02/17

2nd pre-sale | 42€
From 01/03/17 to 30/06/17

3rd pre-sale | 48€
From 01/07/17 to 31/07/17

4th pre-sale| 55€
From 01/08/17 to the event’s final

https://sonicblastmoledo.bol.pt/
https://www.facebook.com/SonicBlast-Moledo-242619262427066/
https://www.facebook.com/events/1818493011695737/
https://sonicblastmoledo.wordpress.com/

Elder, Live at Saint Vitus Bar, Aug. 23, 2016

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Jason Simon of Dead Meadow Releases New Solo Album Familiar Haunts

Posted in Whathaveyou on October 10th, 2016 by JJ Koczan

Anytime you’re ready to get weird, Jason Simon is already there. To the best of my knowledge, Familiar Haunts is the Dead Meadow frontman’s first solo album since his 2010 eponymous debut came out on Tee Pee, and even as he jumps styles from psych-outlaw to fuzzy drift, it might be even harder to keep up with all the labels involved putting the new one out. I count four between Tekeli-Li, Cardinal Fuzz, Burger Records and Blind Blind Tiger, but there might be one or two more in there — I wouldn’t make a promise either way. Understandable to get a bunch of support behind it, both because of Simon‘s pedigree and the swagger of the 11-minute “Wheels Will Spin,” which seems to sum up the mindset of the whole release while also spacing out in a satisfyingly meandering jam.

Admittedly, I’m a little behind on the release, so you can stream the album in full on the player below and hear “Wheels Will Spin” and the rest of it for yourself before you dive into picking a label and/or format for your purchase. Info from the PR wire:

jason-simon-familiar-haunts

Familiar Haunts by Jason Simon

Jason Simon, best known for his work as the guitarist and singer for the seminal heavy psych band Dead Meadow, releases his new solo record Familiar Haunts on Cardinal Fuzz / Tekeli-Li Records. Cassettes available from Blind Blind Tiger and Burger records. For Familiar Haunts Jason takes his love of the haunting Appalachian banjo playing of Dock Boggs and old time Americano Folk music to create a heady mix where wheezing organs come up against Maestro like drum machines and delivers on the weirdness inherent in old folk/country and blues tunes.

All the various strains of Cosmic Psychedelia that run through the grooves here you can find as you dip into the opening cut “The People Dance, The People Sing” as a twanging droning raga like guitar eventually slides into wild tangles of heavy swirling clouds of psych bliss. Tracks drift from the heady to the etheral to churning and heavy deserty dirges as Jason Simon emerges from the eerie haze.

Tracklisting:
1. The People Dance, The People Sing 04:28
2. Without Reason or Right 03:54 video
3. Now I’m Telling You 03:44
4. Pretty Polly 03:24
5. Seven Sisters of Sleep 04:11
6. Hills of Mexico 06:05
7. Wheels Will Spin 10:59
8. I Found the Thread 03:36

Jason Simon : guitar and vox
Scott Seltzer : Bass
Jon Randono : organ, synth, electric balama
James Acton : percussion

https://www.facebook.com/DeadMeadowOfficial/
https://jasonsimon.bandcamp.com/releases
http://deadmeadowstore.bigcartel.com/product/jason-simon-familiar-haunts-lp
https://www.facebook.com/CardinalFuzz/
http://cardinalfuzz.bigcartel.com/
https://www.facebook.com/TekeliliRecords/
https://www.facebook.com/burgerrecords/
http://burgerrecords.11spot.com/
http://www.blindblindtiger.com/

Jason Simon, Familiar Haunts (2016)

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