Electric Funeral Fest 2017 Announces Lineup; Limited Early Tickets Available

Posted in Whathaveyou on February 23rd, 2017 by JJ Koczan

Today, Denver’s Electric Funeral Fest 2017 reveals Acid King will headline and the likes of Sourvein, Slow Season, Goya, Electric Citizen, Destroyer of Light, The Well, Cloud Catcher, Oryx and many more will appear. Limited early tickets — there seem to be 40 — are on sale as of right this second.

One headliner is still TBA, but even so, it’s a remarkably ambitious return for Electric Funeral Fest, which had its first showing in 2016. Put on by DUST Presents, it finds hometown representation through The Munsens, Love Gang, Oryx, and Cloud Catcher, likely among others, and reaches far and wide in filling out an impressive roster of acts. To be perfectly blunt about it, it looks fucking awesome.

The fest was kind enough to let me host this initial lineup announcement, and below, organizer Shaun Goodwin gives some background on the area where it will take place across two venues and the vibe they’re shooting for with Electric Funeral Fest 2017.

Dig it:

electric-funeral-fest-2017-poster

Electric Funeral Fest 2017 – Friday June 16th & Saturday June 17th

Location: Denver, CO @ Hi Dive & 3 Kings Tavern

Tickets: www.electricfuneralfest.eventbrite.com
– There will be 40 early bird discounted 2-day passes available at $49
– After those are sold, presale 2-day passes are $59
– 1 day passes are $32

Electric Funeral will once again be happening in the South Broadway district of Denver. Anyone that is familiar with Denver knows that S. Broadway is one of the greatest neighborhoods this city has to offer. In our second year of this event, we have added a second stage at Hi Dive. Hi Dive is across the street from 3 Kings Tavern and easily one of the greatest places to party in Denver.

There is also no shortage of other great bars and restaurants in the area for attendees to visit if they need a break from head-banging. Although both stages are indoors, this will feel like just as much of an outdoor event as people go back and forth between the two venues that will run simultaneously through both evenings. Hey hey, my my, rock n’ roll sure ain’t fuckin’ dying in Denver!

LINEUP

Friday June 16
Headliner: TBA
Support: Sourvein, Slow Season, Goya, R.I.P., The Well, Glitter Wizard, Monarch, Muscle Beach, The Munsens, Communion, Lords of Beacon House, Greenbeard, Oryx, Smokey Mirror, High on the Mountain

Saturday June 17
Headliner: Acid King
Support: Electric Citizen, The Heavy Eyes, Destroyer of Light, Crypt Trip, Cloud Catcher, Love Gang, Barrows, Great Electric Quest, Red Wizard, Banquet, Ocelot (performing as Feather Stone), Jagged Mouth, Pueblo Escobar, Urn

Flier art by Christina Hunt
Flier layout by Keith Dreissen

www.electricfuneralfest.eventbrite.com
https://www.facebook.com/dustpresents/
https://www.facebook.com/events/1810211735896531/

Goya, “Misanthropy on High” live at Electric Funeral Fest 2016

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Tomorrow’s Dream: 200+ of 2017’s Most Anticipated Releases

Posted in Features on January 23rd, 2017 by JJ Koczan

tomorrow's dream 2017

Looks like it’s going to be another busy 12 months ahead. It’s been a busy better-part-of-a-month already, so that stands to reason, but you should know that of the several years now that I’ve done these ‘Tomorrow’s Dream’ posts, this is the biggest one yet, with over 150 upcoming releases that — one hopes — will be out between today and the end of 2017.

Actually, at last count, the list tops 180. Do I really expect you to listen to all of them? Nope. Will I? Well, it would be nice. But what I’ve done is gone through and highlighted 35 picks and then built lists off that in order of likelihood of arrival. You’ll note the categories are ‘Gonna Happen and/or Likely Candidates,’ ‘Definitely Could Happen’ and ‘Would be Awfully Nice.’

Beyond that last one, anything else just seems like speculation — one might as well go “new Sabbath this year!” with zero info backing it up. The idea here is that no matter where a given band is placed, there has been some talk of a new release. In some cases, it’s been years, but I think they’re still worth keeping in mind.

Another caveat: You can expect additions to this list over the next week — probably album titles, band names people (fingers crossed) suggest in the comments, and so on — so it will grow. It always does. The idea is to build as complete a document as possible, not to get it all nailed down immediately, so please, if you have something to contribute and you’re able to do so in a non-prickish, “You didn’t include Band X and therefore don’t deserve to breathe the same air as me,” kind of way, please contribute.

Other than that, I think it’s pretty straightforward what’s going on here and I’ll explain the category parameters as we go, so by all means, let’s jump in.

— Tomorrow’s Dream 2017 —

Presented Alphabetically

1. Abrahma, TBA

Late last year, Paris heavy progressives Abrahma announced a new lineup and third full-length in progress. No reason to think it won’t come to fruition, and a follow-up to 2015’s Reflections in the Bowels of a Bird (review here) is an easy pick to look forward to. Even with the shift in personnel, it seems likely the band will continue their creative development, driven as they are by founding guitarist Seb Bismuth.

2. All Them Witches, Sleeping Through the War

all them witches sleeping through the warIf 2017 ended today, Sleeping Through the War would be my Album of the Year. Of course, there’s a lot of year to go, but for now, Nashville’s All Them Witches have set the standard with their second album for New West Records behind 2015’s Dying Surfer Meets His Maker (review here) and fourth overall outing. They’ve got videos up so far for “3-5-7” (posted here) and “Bruce Lee” (posted here). Both are most definitely worth your time. Out Feb. 24. Full review should be later this week.

3. Alunah, Solennial

Seems like UK forest riffers Alunah are on this list every year. Wishful thinking on my part. Nonetheless, their fourth LP and Svart Records debut, Solennial, is out March 17, and if the tease they gave already with the clip for “Fire of Thornborough Henge” (posted here) is anything to go from, its Chris Fielding-produced expanses might just be Alunah‘s most immersive yet.

4. Arbouretum, TBA

I asked the Baltimore folk fuzzers a while back on Thee Facebooks if they had a new record coming in 2017 and they said yes, so that’s what I’m going on here. The last Arbouretum album was 2013’s Coming out of the Fog (review here), and even with frontman Dave Heumann‘s 2015 solo outing, Here in the Deep (review here), factored in, you’d have to say they’re due. Keep an eye on Thrill Jockey for word and I’ll do the same.

5. Atavismo, Inerte

This is another one that already has a spot reserved for it on my Best-of-2017 year-end list. Spanish heavy psych rockers Atavismo up the progressive bliss level with their second full-length, Inerte, without losing the depth of style that made 2014’s Desintegración (review here) so utterly glorious. It probably won’t have the biggest marketing budget of 2017, but if you let Atavismo fly under your radar, you are 100 percent missing out on something special.

6. Bison Machine, TBA

In addition to the video for new track “Cloak and Bones” that premiered here, when Michigan raucousness-purveyors Bison Machine put out the dates for their fall 2016 tour, they included further hints of new material in progress. As much as I dug their earlier-2016 split with SLO and Wild Savages (review here) and 2015’s Hoarfrost (review here), that’s more than enough for me to include them on this list. Killer next-gen heavy rock.

7. Brothers of the Sonic Cloth, TBA

News of a follow-up to Brothers of the Sonic Cloth‘s 2015 Neurot Recordings self-titled debut (review here) came through in October, and it remains some of the best news I’ve heard about 2017 doings. Took them a while to get the first record out, so we’ll see what happens, but it kind of feels like looking forward to a comet about to smash into the planet and cause a mass extinction, and by that I mean awesome. Can’t get here soon enough.

8. Cloud Catcher, Trails of Kosmic Dust

cloud catcher trails of kosmic dustOkay, so maybe I jumped the gun and did a super-early review of Denver trio Cloud Catcher‘s second long-player and Totem Cat Records debut, Trails of Kosmic Dust, but hell, no regrets. Some albums require an early-warning system. Their 2015 debut, Enlightened Beyond Existence (discussed here), was a gem as well, but this is a band in the process of upping their game on every level, and the songwriting and momentum they hone isn’t to be missed.

9. Colour Haze, TBA

I’ve gotten some details on the upcoming full-length from Colour Haze. They do not include a title, artwork, audio, song titles or general direction. Less details, I guess, than word that the CD version of this answer to 2015’s To the Highest Gods We Know (review here) is set to come out next month, as ever, on Elektrohasch. That puts it out in time for Colour Haze‘s upcoming tour with My Sleeping Karma (announced here). Fingers crossed it happens. Colour Haze are perpetual top-albums candidates in my book.

10. Corrosion of Conformity, TBA

Signed to Nuclear Blast after being rejoined by guitarist/vocalist Pepper Keenan, North Carolina’s C.O.C. have been in the studio since last year. The lineup of Keenan, bassist/vocalist Mike Dean and guitarist Woody Weatherman and Reed Mullin on drums is the stuff of legend and last worked together on 2000’s America’s Volume Dealer, so no question this reunion makes for one of 2017’s most anticipated heavy rock records. They nailed the nostalgia factor on tour. Can they now add to their legacy?

11. Elder, TBA

I was incredibly fortunate about a month ago to visit progressive heavy rockers Elder at Sonelab in Easthampton, MA, during the recording process for their upcoming fourth album. I heard a couple of the tracks, and of course it was all raw form, but the movement forward from 2015’s Lore (review here) was palpable. That LP (on Stickman) brought them to a wider audience, and I expect no less from this one as well, since the farther out Elder go sound-wise, the deeper the level of connection with their listeners they seem to engage.

12. Electric Wizard, TBA

Could happen, could not happen. That’s how it goes. Announced for last Halloween. That date came and went. Word of trouble building their own studio surfaced somewhere along the line. That was the last I heard. Frankly, I wouldn’t be surprised if it showed up tomorrow, if it showed up in 2018, or if the band broke up and never put it out. They’re Electric Wizard. Anything’s possible.

13. John Garcia, The Coyote Who Spoke in Tongues

Out Jan. 28 on NapalmThe Coyote Who Spoke in Tongues (review here) is the first-ever acoustic album from former Kyuss frontman John Garcia, also of Unida, the reunited Slo BurnHermanoVista ChinoZun, etc. — basically the voice of desert rock. He does a couple Kyuss classics for good measure, but shines as well on the new/original tracks, and while it’s a piece for fans more than newcomers — that is, it helps if you know the original version of “Green Machine” — his presence remains as powerful as ever despite this new context.

14. Goya, Harvester of Bongloads

Riffs, dude. Goya seem to have them to spare. The Arizona-based wizard doomers have set a pretty prolific clip for themselves at this point, with at least two short releases out in 2016, one a 7″ of Nirvana covers (review here), and the The Enemy EP (review here). Set for a March 3 release through their own Opoponax Records imprint, Harvester of Bongloads continues the march into the abyss that 2015’s Obelisk (review here) and 2013’s 777 set in motion, finding the band coming more into their own as well. Creative growth — and bongloads! The best of both worlds.

15. Ides of Gemini, TBA

Ides of Gemini are set to record their yet-untitled third album with Sanford Parker early this year, and it will also mark their debut on Rise Above Records upon its release. They’ve also got a new lineup around vocalist Sera Timms and guitarist J. Bennett, so as they look to move forward from 2014’s Old World New Wave (review here), one can’t help but wonder what to expect, but to be honest, not knowing is part of the appeal, especially from a band who so readily specialize in the ethereal.

16. Kind, TBA

Three-fourths of Kind feature elsewhere on this list. Bassist Tom Corino plays in Rozamov. Drummer Matt Couto is in Elder. Vocalist Craig Riggs is in Roadsaw. And for what it’s worth, guitarist Darryl Shepherd has a new band coming together called Test Meat. How likely does that make Kind to release a second LP in 2017? I don’t know, but their 2015 Ripple Music debut, Rocket Science (review here), deserves a follow-up, and I know they’ve demoed some new songs. If it happens, great. If it’s 2018, at least these dudes will be plenty busy besides.

17. Lo-Pan, In Tensions

lo-pan in tensionsYes, Lo-Pan‘s In Tensions (review here) has already been released — CD/LP with an artbook on Aqualamb. It’s out. Limited numbers. You can get it now. Why include it on a list of most anticipated releases? Because that’s how strongly I feel about your need to hear it. The fruit of a shortlived lineup with guitarist Adrian Zambrano, it distinguishes itself from everything they’ve done before in style while still keeping to the core righteousness that one hopes the Ohio outfit will continue to carry forward. It’s more than a stopgap between albums. Listen to it.

18. The Midnight Ghost Train, TBA

It seems to have been a rough ride for hard-boogie specialists The Midnight Ghost Train since their 2015 Napalm debut and third album overall, Cold was the Ground (review here). They’ve never taken it easy on the road or in terms of physicality on stage, and between injuries and who knows what else, their intensity at this point veers toward the directly confrontational. Nonetheless, they’ve been writing for album number four, may or may not have started the recording process, and I expect that confrontationalism to suit them well in their new material.

19. Monster Magnet, TBA

I have it on decent authority that NJ heavy psych innovators Monster Magnet were in the studio this past autumn. I’ve seen no concrete word of a new album in progress from Dave Wyndorf and company, and I wouldn’t necessarily expect to until it was time to start hyping the release, but after their two redux releases, 2015’s Cobras and Fire (review here) and 2014’s Milking the Stars (review here), their range feels broader than ever and I can’t wait to hear what they come up with next.

20. Mothership, High Strangeness

A pivotal moment for Mothership arrives with High Strangeness, and the heavy-touring, heavy-riffing Texas power trio seem to know it. Their third record on Ripple Music pushes into new avenues of expression and keeps the energy of 2014’s Mothership II (review here) and 2012’s Mothership (review here), but thus far into their career, it’s been about their potential and what they might accomplish going forward. 2017 might be the year for Mothership to declare a definitive place in the sphere of American heavy rock.

21. The Obsessed, Sacred

On Halloween 2016, founding The Obsessed guitarist/vocalist and doom icon Scott “Wino” Weinrich announced a new lineup for the band, with his former The Hidden Hand bandmate Bruce Falkinburg on bass/vocals, Sara Seraphim on guitar and Brian Costantino continuing on drums. A genuine surprise. Their first album since 1994, Sacred (due on Relapse) was tracked as the trio of WeinrichCostantino and bassist/vocalist Dave Sherman, but clearly they’ve moved into a new era already. Wouldn’t even guess what the future holds, but hopefully Sacred still comes out.

22. Orange Goblin, TBA

When it was announced that London’s Orange Goblin were picked up by Spinefarm as part of that label’s acquisition of Candlelight Records last Spring, the subheadline from the PR wire was “Working on Ninth Studio Album.” I haven’t heard much since then, but even as 2014’s Back from the Abyss (review here) pushed them deeper into metallic territory than ever before, their songs retained the character that’s made the band the institution they are. Always look forward to new Orange Goblin.

23. Pallbearer, Heartless

pallbearer heartlessDoomers, this is your whole year right here. I haven’t heard Pallbearer‘s third album, Heartless (out March 24 on Profound Lore), but I have to think even those who haven’t yet been won over by the Arkansas four-piece’s emotive, deep-running style have to be curious about what they’ve come up with this time around. I know I am. These guys have been making a mark on the genre since their 2012 debut, Sorrow and Extinction (review here), and there’s little doubt Heartless will continue that thread upon its arrival.

24. Radio Moscow, TBA

Fact: Radio Moscow stand among the best classic heavy rock live acts in the US. They’re the kind of band you can watch upwards of 15 gigs in a row — I’ve done it — and find them putting on a better show night after night, in defiance of science, logic and sobriety. Word of their signing to Century Media came just this past week and brought with it confirmation of a follow-up to 2014’s stellar Magical Dirt (review here), and for me to say hell yes, I’m absolutely on board, seems like the no-brainer to end all no-brainers. Can’t wait.

25. Roadsaw, TBA

Nearly six full years later, it’s only fair to call Boston scene godfathers Roadsaw due for a follow-up to their 2011 self-titled (review here). Granted, members have been busy in KindWhite Dynomite, and other projects, but still. Their upcoming outing finds them on Ripple Music after years under the banner of Small Stone Records, and though I haven’t seen a solid release date yet, my understanding is they hit Mad Oak Studio in Allston, MA, this past fall to track it, so seems likely for sooner or later. Sooner, preferably.

26. Rozamov, This Mortal Road

Speaking of albums by Boston bands a while in the making, This Mortal Road (out March 3 on Battleground Records and Dullest Records) is the debut full-length from Boston atmospheric extremists Rozamov. Haven’t heard it yet, but I got a taste of some of the material when I visited the band at New Alliance Audio in Aug. 2015, and the bleak expanses of what I heard seem primed to turn heads. I’m a fan of these guys, but in addition, they’ve found a niche for themselves sound-wise and I’m curious to hear how they bring it to fruition.

27. Samsara Blues Experiment, TBA

It’s been a pleasure over the last couple months to watch a resurgence of Berlin heavy psych trio Samsara Blues Experiment take shape, first with the announcement of a fourth album in October, then with subsequent confirmations for DesertfestRiff Ritual in Barcelona, and a South American tour. Reportedly due in Spring, which fits with the timing on shows, etc., the record will follow 2013’s righteous Waiting for the Flood (review here) and as much as I’m looking forward to hearing it, I’m kind of just glad to have these guys back.

28. Seedy Jeezus, TBA

Work finished earlier this month on Melbourne trio Seedy Jeezus‘ second full-length. As with their 2015 self-titled debut, the band brought Tony Reed of Mos Generator to Australia to produce, and after their blissed-out 2016 collaboration with Earthless guitarist Isaiah MitchellTranquonauts (review here), it’s hard not to wonder what experimentalist tendencies might show in the trio’s style this time out, and likewise difficult not to anticipate what guitarist Lex “Mr. Frumpy” Wattereus comes up with for the cover art.

29. Shroud Eater, Strike the Sun

Not to spoil the surprise, but Feb. 1 I’ll host a track premiere from Florida’s Shroud Eater that finds them working in a different context from everything we’ve heard from them to this point in their rightly-celebrated tenure. They also recently had a split out with Dead Hand, and their second long-player, Strike the Sun, will be their debut through STB Records. It’s been since 2011’s ThunderNoise (review here) that we last got a Shroud Eater album, so you bet your ass I’m dying to know what the last six years have wrought.

30. Sleep, TBA

If Sleep were any other band, they’d probably be in the “Would be Awfully Nice” category. But they’re Sleep, so even the thought of a new record is enough to put them here. The lords of all things coated in THC are reissuing their 2014 single, The Clarity (review here), on Southern Lord next month, but rumors have been swirling about a proper album, which of course would be their first since the now-legendary Dopesmoker. If it happens, it’ll automatically be a heavy underground landmark for 2017, but it’s one I’m going to have in my ears before I really believe it.

31. Stoned Jesus, TBA

Even as they tour playing their second album, 2012’s Seven Thunders Roar (review here), to mark its fifth anniversary and continued impact, Ukrainian trio Stoned Jesus are forging ahead with a fourth record behind 2015’s The Harvest (review here). The capital-‘q’ Question is whether or not looking back at Seven Thunders Roar and engaging that big-riffing side of their sound will have an impact on the new material, and if so, how it will meld with the push of The Harvest. Won’t speculate, but look forward to finding out.

32. Stubb, TBA

Since reveling in the soul of 2015’s Cry of the Ocean (review here) on Ripple, London trio Stubb have swapped out bassists, and they were in Skyhammer Studio this month recording a single that may be an extended psychedelic jam. I’ll take that happily, but I’m even more intrigued at the prospect of a third LP and what guitarist/vocalist Jack Dickinson, bassist/vocalist Tom Hobson and drummer Tom Fyfe might have in store as the band moves forward on multiple levels. Might be 2017, might not.

33. Sun Blood Stories, It Runs Around the Room with Us

sun blood stories it runs around the room with usIt Runs around the Room with Us seems to find peace in its resonant experimentalist drones, loops, open, subdued spaces, but there’s always some underlying sense of foreboding to its drift, as if Boise’s Sun Blood Stories could anticipate the moment before it happened. Toward the end of the follow-up to 2015’s Twilight Midnight Morning (review here), they execute the 90-second assault “Burn” and turn serenity to ash. Look for it in April and look for it again on my best of 2017 list in December.

34. Ufomammut, TBA

Any new offering from the Italian cosmic doom magnates is worth looking forward to, and while Ufomammut have left the 15-year mark behind, they’ve never stopped progressing in style and form. To wit, 2015’s Ecate (review here) was a stunner after 2012’s two-part LP, Oro (review here and review here), tightening the approach but assuring the vibe was no less expansive than ever. They started recording last summer, finished mixing in November, so I’m hoping for word of a release date soon.

35. Vokonis, The Sunken Djinn

Born out of Creedsmen Arise, whose 2015 demo, Temple (review here), offered formative thrills, Swedish trio Vokonis debuted with last year’s Olde One Ascending (review here) and proved there’s still life in post-Sleep riffing when it’s wielded properly. They signed to Ripple in November and confirmed the title of their sophomore effort as The Sunken Djinn, as well as a reissue for the first album, which will probably arrive first. I don’t know how that will affect the timing on this one, but keep an eye out anyway.

Gonna Happen and/or Likely Candidates

Obviously some of these are more likely than others. Some have solidified, announced release dates — Dopelord‘s out this month, Demon Head‘s out in April, etc. — and others come from social media posts of bands in studios and hints at upcoming releases and so on. A big tell is whether or not a band has an album title with their listing, but even some of those without have their new albums done, like Atala and Royal Thunder, so it’s not necessarily absolute.

Either way, while I’m spending your money, you might want to look into:

36. Against the Grain
37. Amenra
38. Atala
39. Attalla, Glacial Rule
40. Ayahuasca Dark Trip, II
41. Beastmaker
42. Beaten Back to Pure
43. Blackout
44. Bretus
45. Buried Feather, Mind of the Swarm
46. The Clamps
47. Cold Stares
48. Coltsblood, Ascending into the Shimmering Darkness
49. Come to Grief, The Worst of Times EP
50. Cortez
51. Cruthu, The Angle of Eternity
52. The Dead-End Alley Band, Storms
53. Dead Witches, Dead Witches
54. Dealer
55. Death Alley, Live at Roadburn
56. Demon Head, Thunder on the Fields
57. The Devil and the Almighty Blues, II
58. Devil Electric
59. Doctor Cyclops, Local Dogs
60. Dool, Here Now There Then
61. Dopelord, Children of the Haze
62. Doublestone, Devil’s Own/Djævlens Egn
63. Dread Sovereign, For Doom the Bell Tolls
64. Drive by Wire
65. Elbrus, Elbrus
66. Electric Age
67. Electric Moon, Stardust Rituals
68. Endless Floods, II
69. Five Horse Johnson
70. Forming the Void, Relic
71. Funeral Horse
72. Greenbeard
73. Green Desert Water
74. Greenleaf
75. Grifter / Suns of Thunder, Split
76. Hair of the Dog, This World Turns
77. Heavy Temple, Chassit
78. Here Lies Man, Here Lies Man
79. Hollow Leg, Murder EP
80. Holy Mount, The Drought
81. Hooded Menace
82. Horisont, About Time
83. Hymn, Perish
84. Lecherous Gaze
85. Magnet, Feel Your Fire
86. Mastodon
87. Merlin, The Wizard
88. Merchant
89. Mindkult, Lucifer’s Dream
90. Mirror Queen
91. Moonbow, War Bear
92. Mos Generator
93. The Moth
94. MotherSloth
95. Mouth, Vortex
96. My Sleeping Karma, Mela Ananda – Live
97. Orango
98. Papir
99. PH, Eternal Hayden
100. Psychedelic Witchcraft, Magick Rites and Spells
101. Royal Thunder
102. Saturn, Beyond Spectra
103. Season of Arrows, Give it to the Mountain
104. Siena Root
105. Six Organs of Admittance, Burning the Threshold
106. Six Sigma, Tuxedo Brown
107. Sólstafir
108. The Sonic Dawn, Into the Long Night
109. Spelljammer
110. Spidergawd, IV
111. Steak
112. Stinking Lizaveta, Journey to the Underworld
113. Sula Bassana, Organ Accumulator
114. Summoner
115. Sun Voyager, Sun Voyager
116. Sweat Lodge, Tokens for Hell EP
117. Thera Roya, Stone and Skin
118. Toke
119. Troubled Horse, Revelation on Repeat
120. VA, Brown Acid The Third Trip
121. Weedpecker
122. Youngblood Supercult, The Great American Death Rattle

Definitely Could Happen

Maybe a recording process is upcoming (Gozu, Cities of Mars, YOB), or a band is looking for a label (The Flying Eyes), or they’ve said new stuff is in the works but the circumstances of an actual release aren’t known (Arc of Ascent, Dead Meadow, High on Fire), or I’ve just seen rumors of their hitting the studio (Freedom Hawk, La Chinga, Ruby the Hatchet). We’ve entered the realm of the entirely possible but not 100 percent.

So, you know, life.

Dig it:

123. The Age of Truth
124. Ape Machine
125. Arc of Ascent
126. At Devil Dirt
127. Bantoriak
128. Bask
129. BCAD
130. BoneHawk
131. La Chinga
132. Chubby Thunderous Bad Kush Masters
133. Cities of Mars
134. Crypt Sermon
135. Dead Meadow
136. Death Alley (Studio LP)
137. Dee Calhoun
138. Destroyer of Light
139. Devil
140. Devil Worshipper
141. Duel
142. Dustrider
143. Egypt
144. Electric Moon
145. Elephant Tree
146. Farflung
147. The Flying Eyes
148. Freedom Hawk
149. Gozu
150. The Great Electric Quest
151. Green Meteor, Consumed by a Dying Sun
152. High on Fire
153. Horrendous
154. Insect Ark
155. In the Company of Serpents
156. Iron Monkey
157. Jeremy Irons and the Ratgang Malibus
158. The Judge
159. Killer Boogie
160. King Dead
161. The Kings of Frog Island
162. Lords of Beacon House, Recreational Sorcery
163. Mangoo
164. Mondo Drag
165. Monolord
166. Mountain God
167. The Munsens
168. Naxatras
169. Never Got Caught
170. Ommadon
171. Orchid
172. Ordos
173. Pilgrim
174. Poseidon
175. Purple Hill Witch
176. Ruby the Hatchet
177. Sasquatch
178. Satan’s Satyrs
179. Serpents of Secrecy
180. Shabda
181. Shooting Guns
182. Sleepy Sun
183. Slow Season
184. Snowy Dunes, Atlantis
185. Spectral Haze
186. The Sweet Heat
187. Switchblade Jesus
188. Superchief
189. Tÿburn
190. YOB
191. Zone Six

Would be Awfully Nice

This last category is basically as close as I’m willing to come to rampant speculation. Endless Boogie have hinted at new material, and Queens of the Stone Age have talked about hitting the studio for the last two years. There were rumors about Om, and though Kings Destroy just put out an EP, they have new songs as well, though I doubt we’ll hear them before the end of 2017. I’ll admit that Across Tundras, Fever Dog, Lord Fowl, Lowrider and Hour of 13 are just wishful thinking on my part. A boy can hope:

192. Across Tundras
193. Eggnogg
194. Elephant Tree
195. Endless Boogie
196. Fever Dog
197. Fu Manchu
198. Halfway to Gone
199. Hour of 13
200. Kadavar
201. Kings Destroy
202. Lord Fowl
203. Lowrider
204. Masters of Reality
205. Om
206. Orodruin
207. Queens of the Stone Age

If you’ve made it this far, thanks for reading. Whatever this year brings, I hope it’s been great so far for you and I hope it continues to be so as we proceed inexorably to 2018 and all the also-futuristic-sounding numbers thereafter. At least we know we’ll have plenty of good music to keep us company on that voyage.

As always, comments section is open if there’s anything I’ve left out. I’m happy to add, adjust, etc., as need be, so really, have at it, and thanks in advance.

All the best.

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Review, Track Premiere & Tour Announcement: Cloud Catcher, Trails of Kosmic Dust

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews, Whathaveyou on December 9th, 2016 by JJ Koczan

cloud catcher trails of kosmic dust

[Click play above to stream ‘Beyond the Electric Sun’ from Cloud Catcher’s Trails of Kosmik Dust. Album is out in March 2017 on Totem Cat Records. Tour dates announced at the bottom of this post.]

If you want to make an album, go on tour. That’s what Denver trio Cloud Catcher did to get ready to record their second offering. Their plan was to take to the road, get themselves in peak form, and then hit the studio to record as live as possible with Slow Season‘s Cody Tarbell at the helm. Listening to the raw scorch of Trails of Kosmic Dust — also their first release through Totem Cat Records — it would be difficult to say the tactic was anything other than a complete success. Their 2015 debut, Enlightened Beyond Existence (discussed here), skillfully blended progressive instrumental performance and classic-style heavy songwriting, but I don’t think there’s a level on which Trails of Kosmic Dust doesn’t bring Cloud Catcher‘s presentation to another level entirely.

Comprised of guitarist/vocalist Rory Rummings, bassist/vocalist Kam Wentworth and drummer Jared Soloman Handman, they benefit from the classic power trio construction in how the bass and drums hold down the boogie of a cut like “Celestial Empress” so that Rummings can embark on dizzying runs up and down the fretboard, but even when Cloud Catcher take a rare moment to slow their Atomic Bitchwaxian grooving onslaught, as on the well-placed “Dimensional Interlude” that would seem to finish side A or first half of the penultimate instrumental on side B, “Super Acid Magick,” Trails of Kosmic Dust isn’t necessarily about the work of one player or another more than the affect of the three-piece as a unit. They grant that some overdubs took place, and given some of the layering of feedback and leads I believe it, but one can hear in the basic underlying tracks how righteously tight they’ve become in such a short time. Across the span of eight tracks/39 minutes, they sound hungry, and mean, and perhaps scariest of all, like they’re still growing.

There may or may not be a consistent narrative taking place through the material, but it’s safe to say the lyrics are taking listeners on an adventure one way or the other, and though there are moments of spaced-out flourish even in a cut like “Beyond the Electric Sun” — the longest inclusion at just over seven minutes, with a jammy vibe and some thrilling start-stop moments in its second half before it returns to sprinting circles around the audience — perhaps the most psychedelic aspect of Trails of Kosmic Dust are the words. They come through clearly and mostly raw, playing to the live feel, from Rummings and Wentworth, at times reminiscent of Mos Generator‘s Tony Reed, as on “Righteous Ruler” or the ultra-Sabbathian boogie blues of “Visions” that leads off side B, and introduce characters like the “Astral Warlord” and “Celestial Empress” before embarking “Beyond the Electric Sun” and traveling through the “Dimensional Interlude” to see “Visions” in “Trails of Kosmic Dust” made from “Super Acid Magick” by a “Righteous Ruler.” That they’d tie “Righteous Ruler” at the end back to the opening duo — each of which would also seem to refer to a leader or monarch of one sort or other — is telling when it comes to a deceptive mindfulness in their structuring and processes.

It’s not all just chaos and boogie, in other words. There’s thought put into it, which is part of why one feels comfortable considering Trails of Kosmic Dust a progressive work. But the pummel-pummel-pummel impression the record makes through its opening salvo in “Astral Warlord,” “Celestial Empress” and “Beyond the Electric Sun” isn’t to be understated either. Those three tracks, one after another, would be almost impossibly frenetic were it not for their catchy hooks allowing for something to grab onto. Organic tones and shuffle are the basis for what makes a cut like “Celestial Empress” work — specific mention should be made of Wentworth‘s handling the low end, both in terms of what he’s playing either following the guitar or not and how it sounds — and Cloud Catcher demonstrate plainly the dynamic they’ve built from those elements before giving the peaceful minute of “Dimensional Interlude” as a means to transition into the expansion that side B brings.

And brings quickly. A change in vocals (I think) brings Wentworth to the fore for the shorter and more straightforward track, clean in tone and plainly playing toward earliest Sabbath in the patterning of lyrics and overall feel. Way more Black Sabbath than Master of Reality, “Visions” gives way to the title-track via a cymbal wash and “Trails of Kosmic Dust” calls back to the boogie thrust of side A in its construction early, but fluidly shifts in its midsection to a spacious and more open vibe. It’s still tense with the progression of Handman‘s drums under layers of Rummings‘ guitar, but hinting maybe at a patience in development within their approach that might come more to fruition on subsequent outings. Also welcome is the instrumental return to the bouncing chorus they insert at the end, so that “Trails of Kosmic Dust” doesn’t simply jam itself into oblivion, but highlights a sense of songwriting as well, making it all the more fitting that the album bears its name.

Nascent patience might be a factor early in “Super Acid Magick” as well. There are moments on Trails of Kosmic Dust when it sounds like the psychedelia is asserting itself as a setup for the band to use as a launch point, and “Super Acid Magick” directly recalls Death Alley‘s “Supernatural Predator” on a shorter scale in how it solidifies into a full-throttle thrust and continues to move outward from there. Another well-positioned instrumental, it changes up expectation on the part of the listener going into the finale, expands the palette of the record overall and reinforces the live feel while also providing a direct bleed into the initial nodding riff that introduces “Righteous Ruler,” a bluesy lead line from Rummings met by Wentworth‘s foundation of tone and rolling drums from Handman as it gradually builds speed before kicking into the verse line after a minute or so.

The closer is less a summary of Trails of Kosmic Dust on the whole than one might expect, but it does bring to mind a lot of what works well about it, whether that’s the cyclical feel of its hook, the on-a-dime shifts in tempo and rhythm or the final instrumental push that — this time — leads Cloud Catcher all the way out with no return, getting slower until finally a cymbal wash and noise leads to a last crash and cold finish. Show’s over, folks. They put on a hell of a set, and as noted above, there are ways in which Cloud Catcher, who got together in 2013, still feel like a growing band. Though their urgency often serves them well, I’ll be interested to hear next time out how the balance shifts between that and the more liquefied aspects in some of these tracks shifts, and what influences will emerge as they continue to tour. Ultimately though, one of the most encouraging results on Trails of Kosmic Dust is that Cloud Catcher come across as a band actively, consciously involved in that evolutionary process. It wasn’t happenstance that they went right from doing shows to the studio, and that kind of willful creative drive will only serve them well as they move forward from here.

Cloud Catcher 2017 Midwest Tour:

^Saturday March 11th Denver, CO HI-DIVE^
^Sunday March 12th Colorado Springs, FLUX CAPACITOR^
^Monday March 13th Santa Fe, NM THE UNDERGROUND AT EVANGELO’S^
^Tuesday March 14th Ft. Worth, TX The Grotto^
^Wednesday March 15th Austin, TX SXSW^
Thursday March 16th Austin, TX SXSW
Friday March 17th Austin, TX SXSW
^Saturday March 18th San Antonio, TX FAUST TAVERN^
Sunday March 19th Houston, TX SATELLITE BAR
Monday March 20th Texarkana, TX THE ARROW BAR
Tuesday March 21st Memphis, TN BUCANEER LOUNGE
Wednesday March 22nd Columbus, OH HOUSE SHOW
*Thursday March 23rd Ft. Wayne, IN BRASS RAIL*
*Friday March 24th Detroit, MI SMALL’S*
*Saturday March 25th Chicago, IL LIVEWIRE *
*Sunday March 26th Milwaukee, WI RIVERWEST PUBLIC HOUSE*
Tuesday March 28th Denver, CO SUMMIT MUSIC HALL
^ WITH THE MUNSENS
*WITH BISON MACHINE

Cloud Catcher on Thee Facebooks

Cloud Catcher on Bandcamp

Totem Cat Records on Thee Facebooks

Totem Cat Records BigCartel store

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The Decemburger Lineup Announced: The Shrine, The Well & More to Play

Posted in Whathaveyou on October 4th, 2016 by JJ Koczan

The name just rolls off the tongue. Similar perhaps to the way in which sliders might roll on the tongue in quick enough succession to earn you $500 worth of band merch at The Decemburger at Hi-Dive in Denver, Colorado, on Dec. 3.

That’s the rather considerable prize for the first person to eat 10 sliders — sounds easy, right? — at an eating contest that’s set to take place later in the day at this new fest from Dust Presents, who also put on the Electric Funeral Festival this past June. They’ll bring together a raucous assemblage of acts — from skate rock forerunners The Shrine on down through Austin, Texas, riff ambassadors The Well and Duel to home-grown heavy classic prog upstarts Cloud Catcher, among many others — in order to complement this gluttony with a corresponding potentially-lethal dose of fuzz. It looks like it’s gonna be a party.

If you’re interested in trying your luck with the slider contest — and I mean, come on, it’s not like it’s full-sized burgers — there are only 10 spots available. I’ve never done any competitive eating, and I wouldn’t disrespect anyone who has because I’ve seen those videos and that Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest looks hard as hell, but in addition to a killer show, this seems like an awesome way to get both a bunch of new t-shirts (provided they’ll still be the right size when you’re done) and a great story to tell about how you obtained them.

Tickets available now. Full lineup and show info follows, courtesy of the Thee Facebooks event page linked below:

the-decemburger-poster

DUST Presents: The Decemburger 2016

“Grass-Fed Rock n Roll”

Saturday, December 3 at 3 PM
Hi-Dive Denver
7 S Broadway, Denver, Colorado 80209

The Shrine
The Well
In the Company of Serpents
Zig Zags
DUEL
Malahierba
Cloud Catcher
The Munsens
LOVE GANG

SLIDER EATING CONTEST
**Want to share the stage with your favorite bands? There are 10 tickets available for the slider-eating contest (fest entry included), which will be held on stage before one of the last sets. First contestant to eat ten sliders will win a merch package worth $500!

Eating-Contest Tickets: http://www.ticketfly.com/event/1336003
General admission tickets: http://www.ticketfly.com/event/1335949

https://www.facebook.com/events/270296666694996/
https://www.facebook.com/dustpresents/
https://www.instagram.com/dustpresents/

The Shrine, “Coming Down Quick” official video

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Cloud Catcher Sign to Totem Cat Records; Trails of Kozmic Dust Coming Soon

Posted in Whathaveyou on June 3rd, 2016 by JJ Koczan

It was abundantly clear that Denver trio Cloud Catcher were onto something with their 2015 debut, Enlightened Beyond Existence (discussed here and here), and they confirmed same when I was fortunate enough to see them play at Borderland Fuzz Fiesta (review here) in February. Their upstart blend of Sabbath boogie and progressive composition is delivered with righteous vigor both live and in the studio, and today they announce that they’ve signed to French imprint Totem Cat Records and that they’ll release their second full-length, Trails of Kozmic Dust, later this year.

The album was recorded by Cody Tarbell of Slow Season following Cloud Catcher‘s Spring tour. They’ll celebrate the signing this weekend at the Denver Electric Funeral Fest by playing the first of the event’s two nights, directly under Mothership and Radio Moscow as a kind of local headliner, and have an extensive tour in the works for early in 2017 to support Trails of Kozmic Dust.

Their announcement follows:

cloud catcher totem cat

It is with great pride that Cloud Catcher announces its partnership with French label, Totem Cat Records for the release of our second album entitled “Trails Of Kozmic Dust”.

This album is the culmination of friendship, perseverance, and the unyielding spirit of rock ‘n roll. “Trails Of Kozmic Dust” was recorded in a span of 3 days at our good friend Cody Tarbell of Slow Season fame’s house (The Cornfield) at the end of our last Spring tour. This album is raw, organic, and aggressive as there are little to no overdubs, just pure live performance at a time that we felt was right. In other words this is a pure representation of Cloud Catcher.

We are absolutely honored to have Totem Cat Records release “Trails Of Kozmic Dust” and are hoping for a later in the year release date. With that being said Cloud Catcher would like to thank the following: Cody Tarbell for believing in our music enough to let us live and record with him, Ewenn Padovan for giving us a chance to put out a record we believe in, and to you the fans for coming out to our shows, buying merch, letting us crash at your houses and surrounding us with general positivity! This is for you!

Stay HEAVY and keep on keepin’ the faith!

Cloud Catcher
Rory Rummings – Guitar/Vocals
Jared Soloman Handman – Drums
Kameron Wentworth – Bass Guitar

Cloud Catcher live:
06/04 Denver CO 3 Kings Tavern – Denver Electric Funeral Fest
06/24 Denver CO Hi Dive w/ Danava

https://cloud-catcher.bandcamp.com/
https://www.facebook.com/GhostRadioJam/

Cloud Catcher, “Celestial Empress (2015 Demo)”

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Denver Electric Funeral Fest Completes Lineup

Posted in Whathaveyou on March 29th, 2016 by JJ Koczan

To the best of my limited capacity for finding this kind of thing out, June will mark the first edition of the Denver Electric Funeral festival. Maybe it’s just because I’ve got Psycho on the brain, but I can’t help but wonder if by putting the name of the city that will act as host — Denver, Colorado — promoter Dust Presents is keeping an eye toward franchising or keeping mobile for future editions. That’s speculation of course. It could just as easily be like Southwest Terror Fest or, more specifically, Maryland Deathfest and L.A. Murderfest, and simply showing regional pride and letting people know where they should go if they want to see it. In this case, you go to Denver.

Wherever the next one will take place — how do I even get on a tangent like that; oh yeah, extreme exhaustion — the lineup for what I still think is the first Denver Electric Funeral is pretty sick, and matches a healthy portion of locals in bands like Cloud CatcherSugar Skulls and Marigolds and Malahierba is met with a range of others from farther out, whether that’s West Coast outfits like Radio MoscowMondo Drag and Sacri Monti, East Coast sludgers Sourvein and Toke, or Texas troublemakers Mothership. Looks like it’s gonna be a good time.

June 4 and 5 are the dates, 3 Kings Tavern in Denver is the place, ticket link is below, and here’s the lineup:

denver electric funeral fest 2016

DUST Presents: Denver Electric Funeral Fest
June 4th-5th, 2016

Denver Electric Funeral Fest will be a two-day offering of all things heavy, featuring 20 of the best rock n’ roll / metal bands in the country. Instagram: @dustpresents.

Tickets and more info @ www.3kingstavern.com/event/243343

Lineup:
Radio Moscow
Sourvein
Mothership
Mondo Drag
Goya
Sweat Lodge
Sacri Monti
Cloud Catcher
Toke
Crypt Trip
Greenbeard
The Munsens
Space in Time
Poison Rites
Malahierba
Tricoma
Ghosts of Glaciers
Warhawk
Love Gang
Sugar Skulls & Marigolds

http://www.3kingstavern.com/event/243343
https://www.facebook.com/events/1550753005249293/
https://www.facebook.com/DUST-Presents-1003880426336204/

Cloud Catcher, Live at Borderland Fuzz Fiesta 2016

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Total Coverage: Borderland Fuzz Fiesta Night Two, Tucson, Arizona, 02.27.16

Posted in Features, Reviews on February 28th, 2016 by JJ Koczan

borderland-fuzz-fiesta-final-poster

Another night on the Southwestern front. What portion of the day I hadn’t spent writing, I spent huddled up in a tired mass, the hotel curtain drawn to keep out a punishingly hot desert sun. My excuse was I was saving energy for the show, but I think really I might’ve just been afraid of melting in unfamiliar terrain. Before I rolled back into 191 Toole for the second night of Borderland Fuzz Fiesta 2016, I walked through a little bit of downtown Tucson — or what seemed to be downtown Tucson, anyhow — and grabbed a cup of coffee and an iced tea.

People outside, in shorts, enjoying the weather and each other’s company. Sitting outside of restaurants and markets, speaking English, Spanish, some mixture of the two. Awesome. Families with babies, couples, singles, loners, and me and my coffee lumbering back toward 6th St. Doors were 6:30, first band 7PM. I found fest organizers Joey and Wayne Rudell of Fuzz Evil near the back of the venue in a conversational round with much the same group as yesterday as bands were making their way in. Immediately it was more crowded than night one had been, and only became more so as bands swapped back and forth between the floor and the main stage.

That process was smoother than it had been on the first night of the fest, somewhat expectedly, but I think a big part of that was that everyone showed up. No food poisoning. So it was easier to get a sense of what Wayne and Joey — both sociable, friendly, gracious guys, but with different enough personalities that one imagines they could’ve had some real knock-down-drag-outs as kids — were going for in structuring the lineup, moving from the desert to crunchier fare and finally out among spaces so vast that they might as well be space itself. We’ll get there.

Once again, the show featured the fantastic talents of Lance Gordon and Mad Alchemy. Things seen and heard:

Sounds Like Murder

sounds like murder 1 (Photo by JJ Koczan)

Each night of Borderland Fuzz Fiesta 2016 featured two bands from Arizona. Phoenix trio Sounds Like Murder lead off the second night of the fest with gritty metallic push. Sounds more like riffs than murder, but they got their point across. Vocalist/bassist Dirty had the low-garble vocal thing going, and he wouldn’t be the last of the night, and could barely be understood talking between songs — in my head I heard David Huddleston call it “authentic frontier gibberish” — but while much of their output came from the post-Down school of dudely chug, they had some funk in their opener that showed there was more going on under the surface. That may have come via Clutch, it was hard to tell from the stage, but either way, the place was more crowded early and the Southern style Sounds Like Murder proffered effectively foreshadowed Switchblade Jesus‘ set later on and Dirty, guitarist Irish Mike and drummer Opie had a strong idea of what they were going for, even going so far as to add some throat singing at the end of “1340,” which was a genuine surprise.

Dandy Brown

dandy brown 1 (Photo by JJ Koczan)

A quick swap in vibe brought up Dandy Brown, guitarist for Hermano, playing with a solo band. A double-guitar four-piece who would share bassist Damien Lautiero with Waxy later on, they ran through a set of fluid desert rock, brought a crowd with them, and emphasized quality songcraft from the very start in swaps between restraint and letting go. Brown himself seemed right at home in classic structures, familiar but not necessarily derivative, and his and the other guitar meshed fluidly throughout the songs, also adding backup vocals on “The Sleeper.” While they were still playing, I wondered if they had records for sale — even better, turned out they had CDs for free; I grabbed two — and though they didn’t have time to get to their planned cover of Floyd‘s “Astronomy Domine,” that spirit came through nonetheless. In front of the stage, kids played while wearing earmuffs, giving the set even more of a wholesome feel as Brown worked in his John Garcia-style croon and the righteously laid back feel of “Santa Fe Trail” before new song “This World” finished out. Hermano reportedly have new stuff in the works, following up on 2007’s underrated Into the Exam Room, but whenever/whether it comes to fruition, that spirit was served and represented well at Borderland Fuzz Fiesta 2016.

Cloud Catcher

cloud catcher 1 (Photo by JJ Koczan)

Denver trio Cloud Catcher damn near ran away with this entire festival. I mean it. I dug the hell out of their debut album, Enlightened Beyond Existence (discussed here and here), and was thrilled to find that the live delivery was no less vigorous. Guitarist/vocalist Rory Rummings, bassist Kam Wenworth and drummer Jared Handman were only on the second night of an 11-show tour, but they were air tight through upbeat twists and tempo changes, dead on grooves culled from ’70s giants transposed onto thick tones and shredding leads, propulsive crash and rumble. When they’re done with this tour, they’ll record a new album — exactly the right time to do it — which they should send everywhere, because frankly I can’t imagine some label wouldn’t want to pick them up based on what I heard. They posted a demo for “Celestial Empress” last month, and that song was aired along with “Visions” and others from the forthcoming release. Watching the crowd have its ass handed to it, I couldn’t help but hope they expand their geographic reach for the sophomore LP, because while Cloud Catcher had the West Coast heavy thing down, set-finale “Righteous Ruin” shifted from its twists and turns into a big, bluesy slowdown that showed they’re bringing even more of themselves to the table. Hands were up for high fives before they even finished playing the song, and rightly so.

Waxy

waxy 1 (Photo by JJ Koczan)

By the time Waxy — the Palm Desert-dwelling trio of guitarist/vocalist Robbie Owen. Damien Lautiero and drummer Jeff Bowman (Unsound) — took the stage, the momentum of the night was set. Borderland Fuzz Fiesta 2016 was moving quickly, but smoothly, and Waxy would follow-up on the desert stylizations of Dandy Brown with more solidly constructed desert rock, delving into an earlier Queens of the Stone Age vibe, which of course is nothing to complain about. Their latest album, Without Any Explanation Why (get it? W-A-X-Y?), was released in 2014, and “Motorcade” from it (also from their 2007 debut, Chainsaw Holiday) was a highlight, richly toned and catchy in a Kyuss-style mid-paced push. Laid back until they weren’t, they effectively switched up moods while keeping a steady flow throughout, Lautiero backing Owen effectively despite being a little low in the mix at first. That got worked out as they went on toward “Disaster” from their 2011 self-titled second record, which of course was anything but, as they provided a last look at the desert before the evening dipped into harder-edged fare. I don’t know if they’re planning a new release, but they were an easy sell for the crowd, myself included.

Blackwülf

blackwulf 1 (Photo by JJ Koczan)

Back on the floor stage, Oakland aggro punk-metallers Blackwülf boasted both the weekend’s only umlaut and the weekend’s only standalone frontman (apart from Sean Wheeler guesting in Fatso Jetson) in Alex Cunningham, and even he had a tambourine and some maracas on-hand. They made their Ripple Music debut late last year with Oblivion Cycle (review here), their second offering overall, from which the hook of “Never Forget” stood out thanks in no small part to its fist-pumping riff. Guitarist Pete Holmes, bassist Scott Peterson and drummer Dave Pankenier fostered a tense vibe under Cunningham‘s shouts, sneers and singing, but wanted nothing for tonal heft either in “Faith Healer” or “Acid Reign,” the creeping guitar progression of which felt less “South of Heaven” live than on record. Their set seemed to end abruptly. Not sure if they got cut off for time or were just done quick — seemed like some acts played it looser than others when it came to how much time they spent on stage, as will happen — but it felt short, which I took as an encouraging sign either way. Everything they played came from Oblivion Cycle, and in addition to the accent in their name and the lack of a guitar or bass in Cunningham‘s hands, they were also distinguished by being clearly the angriest band of the fest. They won the title outright, and then, presumably, stomped on it because they were so pissed off.

Switchblade Jesus

switchblade jesus 1 (Photo by JJ Koczan)

Blackwülf may have been the angriest band of the two nights, but Switchblade Jesus I think were the loudest. I didn’t have a dB meter to confirm that or anything, but god damn, the Corpus Christi, Texas-based four-piece were loud. Most notably in Jason Beers‘ bass. The punch of his Gibson Thunderbird came through the 191 Toole room mix in full assault, and the effect was that the dual guitars of Billy Guerra (who played on the dark side of the stage) and Eric Calvert (also vocals) sounded viscous as they conjured dudely chug, nasty and grooving. Burl. All the burl. Songs about whiskey. Drummer Jon Elizondo, encased in shadow behind Calvert, served as the foundation on which all of it was laid, and to go along with “The Wolves” and “Sick Mouth” from their 2013 self-titled debut (review here), which was subsequently reissued via both Kozmik Artifactz and Ripple Music in 2014 and 2015, they had a host of new material in “Snakes,” “Bastard,” the plus-sized nod of “Wet Lungs” and closer “Mountain” to show where they’re at now. Their cap was preceded by Calvert asking the crowd “You want it heavy or what?” The answer was clear as they brought it for “Mountain,” its rolling chorus sure to catch attention when their next record shows up.

Fuzz Evil

fuzz evil 1 (Photo by JJ Koczan)

Before Fuzz Evil started their set proper, brothers Wayne Rudell and Joey Rudell — also the showrunners for Borderland Fuzz Fiesta — took a couple minutes for a guitar and bass jam. Drummer Marlin Tuttle seemed to have loaned some drum hardware to Switchblade Jesus, so the changeover wasn’t as immediate, and while they may have just been filling time noodling, that jam came to inform everything they played thereafter, resulting in a much more psychedelic set than I expected from either their 2015 single “Born of Iron” (streamed here) or prior 2014 split with Chiefs, both of which were more straightforward. That surprise made it for me. It was a thrill to see Joey, his machine-gun bass held aloft, and Wayne, his guitar coated in tone worthy of the band’s name, work side by side to carry across a set of mostly new material. As to when they might get around to a full-length debut, they weren’t forthcoming, but I’ll hope they capture some of that impromptu spirit, because as it blended with their established penchant for fuzzy hooks and driving, straightforward songs — see the swinging “Glitterbones” — it made their time on stage that much richer to experience. They moved the progression of the evening away from the burl of Switchblade Jesus and provided a transition into Yawning Man still to come, but more than that, they gave the assembled crowd, which included Dead Meadow, who showed up to watch, a set worthy of headliners while at the same time not being afraid to smile onstage and actively have a good time. Mirroring their start, they ended with an effects-drenched jam, Wayne twisting pedal knobs while Joey and Marlin held the flow together, so that in addition to having put on a killer show, Fuzz Evil put on a killer show. Go figure.

Yawning Man

yawning man 1 (Photo by JJ Koczan)

I’ve been fortunate enough to see Yawning Man before (review here), so in a conceptual sense I knew what was coming, but until I stood there and had the bliss of tone provided by the guitars of Gary Arce and special guests Mario Lalli and Dino von Lalli (both Fatso Jetson) oozing forth from the stage, I don’t think I really had any idea. All three were recognizable, clear in the mix — which, taken with the keys of Malene Arce (also LewdFlesh), the bass of Justine Summer Heaven and Bill Stinson‘s cymbal wash, felt like a friggin’ miracle — and each added something different, Dino holding down rhythms, Mario tearing into leads and Gary finger-plucking strings to emit serenity through his years-in-the-making tone, as signature to the desert as sand and dry air. Long a power trio, as a six-piece, Yawning Man bordered on orchestral, and while parts were definitely recognizable, a good portion of their time was spent moving into, through and back out of open jamming, keys adding to the airy feel and Stinson and Heaven and sometimes Dino marking out a rhythmic terrain and holding firm while Arce and Mario traded adventurous leads. It was glorious. Liquid enough that you wanted to swim in it, warm enough that you wanted to get a sunburn, and raw and creatively vital. Glances from Arce and Mario guided the band through peaks and valleys in new song “Wind Cries Linn” (streamed here), its core guitar lines memorable and built outward on stage, and “Dark Meet” from the band’s 2013 split with Fatso Jetson was the foundation for an extended final jam, Dino keeping a start-stop rhythm line that gave a progressive, languid space rock vibe. The crowd had thinned out by then, but those who remained knew they were seeing and hearing something special. Yawning Man carried that jam up, down and around again, deconstructing it only to put it together again, Mario pulling an ebow out of his pocket and Bill leaning his whole body into his cymbals, which seemed to have moved somewhat away from where they started out. As the four-piece of Gary and Malene Arce, Heaven and Stinson, Yawning Man will reportedly have a new EP out this year, and I can’t wait to hear what spaces they explore next. Like Dead Meadow the night before, they closed out Borderland Fuzz Fiesta 2016 on an otherworldly note and offered a prime example of why they’re so often given the “legend” tag.

When they were done, I hung around for a few minutes to say a couple goodnights and thank yous, so I’ll do the same here. First, to Wayne and Joey Rudell, without whose support and efforts this trip simply wouldn’t have happened. Thanks also to The Patient Mrs. for her coordinating prowess, to Todd Severin, Randy Blood, Bucky Brown, Mark Aceves, Rory Rummings, Mario and Dino Lalli, Gary Arce and everyone else I was lucky enough to hang out with over this weekend.

In a few minutes, I’ll get the hell out of this hyper-pretentious, Mickey Mouse reggae coffee shop and head to see some desert before I go to the airport. My flight is 11:30PM tonight and puts me into Boston at 6AM, gaining two hours back in the return to Eastern time. I’m looking forward not necessarily to getting back to real life — from which I think I needed a respite even more than I understood — but to seeing The Patient Mrs. and the Little Dog Dio, and that’s enough to get me home.

Thank you for reading. This has been an unreal experience and wouldn’t have happened without your support.

More pics after the jump.

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The Borderland Fuzz Fiesta 2016 Mixtape

Posted in audiObelisk on February 17th, 2016 by JJ Koczan

borderland-fuzz-fiesta-2016-mixtape

Borderland Fuzz Fiesta 2016 is set for Feb. 26-27 at 191 Toole in Tucson, Arizona, and as you can see above, I made a mixtape for it. I’m thrilled to be able to say I’ll be there for what’s the second edition of the festival, which features Dead MeadowYawning ManElder and Switchblade Jesus as its headliners as well as a liquid light show from the foremost purveyor of such things, Mad Alchemy.

Two nights of eight bands a night means 16 acts in two days, and in acts like WaxyDandy Brown (also guitarist for Hermano), Blaak Heat and 3rd Ear Experience, the fest makes its desert-rocking intent plain. There are some harder-hitters in the bunch — the aforementioned Switchblade Jesus, as well as Sounds Like Murder, the punkier Blackwülf, and the persistently enigmatic Funeral Horse (whose song here is an exclusive mix) — but with ZedDead CanyonFuzz Evil and Big Mean to bridge any sonic gaps, it’s a cohesive roster of heavy that’s sure to please however many boozy heads 191 Toole might hold. I’ll let you know when I get there.

For those making their way through the playlist below, I’ll just put this in caps: IT HAS NEW YAWNING MAN. Yeah, that’s right. New Yawning Man. It’s a rough mix, but screw it, that counts enough for me. Also look out for a new track from Blaak Heat that will reportedly feature on their next album, Shifting Mirrors, which is out in April on Tee Pee and Svart, as well as an exclusive mix from Funeral Horse. There’s more, of course — a lot of it. But all told I think the music does a good job of setting up its own vibe, so please, dig in and enjoy.

Before I leave you to the audio, the lineup and ticket links below, I want to say thanks to Borderland Fuzz Fiesta for having me out and to all the bands involved for sending in their tracks to be included here, as well as to you for reading and listening.

Please enjoy:

Year two is upon us. Feb 26th-Feb 27th in downtown Tucson at 191 Toole. All Ages! Ticket Links and lineups below:

SINGLE DAY FRI 26Th DEAD MEADOW ($20)
http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/2438504

Eminence Main Stage
Dead Meadow
Yawning Man
Blaak Heat
3rd Ear Experience

Greeson Custom Stage
Zed
Funeral Horse
Dead Canyon
Big Mean

SINGLE DAY SAT 27th ELDER ($20)
BFFElder.brownpapertickets.com

Eminence Main Stage
Elder
Switchblade Jesus
Waxy
Dandy Brown

Greeson Custom stage
Fuzz Evil
Blackwülf
Cloudcatcher
Sounds Like Murder

Borderland Fuzz Fiesta 2016 two-day tickets

Borderland Fuzz Fiesta 2016 event page

Borderland Fuzz Fiesta on Thee Facebooks

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