Desertfest Belgium 2016: Uncle Acid, Coogans Bluff, Vodun, Wolvennest and Black Swarm Added

Posted in Whathaveyou on June 2nd, 2016 by JJ Koczan

desertfest belgium 2016 header

Our friends at Desertfest Belgium 2016 might be understating it somewhat when they refer to Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats as a ‘crowd-pleaser,’ but the point still stands. The UK outfit are every bit worthy of holding near-top position on the poster for the event, next to Pentagram, and wherever they end up on the final bill, they’re a damn good get. Also joining the lineup today are UK upstarts Vodun, Germany’s Coogans Bluff, and Wolvennest and Black Swarm, assuring that Desertfest Belgium 2016 gets its due course of offbeat vibes and varying swaths of heavy. You can see the full lineup below. It already looks like a killer weekend, and I have the feeling they’re not even close to done compiling it.

From the PR wire:

desertfest belgium 2016 new poster-700

DF Antwerp 2016 ADDS UNCLE ACID, COOGANS BLUFF & more!

We’ve enjoyed an overwhelming load of good vibes following our first band announcements, and we expect no less from this next fresh batch. There’s something here for everyone. You want a crowd pleaser? How’s UNCLE ACID & THE DEADBEATS pleasing ya! You want crazy and original? COOGANS BLUFF will have you covered. You want the potential surprise exploding live hit of this year’s festival? We’re putting our bets on VODUN’s blend of metal and wailing soul vocals. And since we’re Belgian after all (and proud of it, dammit!), we’ve added heavy droners WOLVENNEST and singular metalheads BLACK SWARM to the line-up.

Are you hungry for more? You better be, because the next update’s only a few weeks away!

UNCLE ACID & THE DEADBEATS

Ever since their debut album hit the scene in a cloud of menacing mystery, Uncle Acid & the Deadbeats have been pulling an evergrowing fanbase of metal and rock fans alike into their own self-created world. Their heavy psychedelia has been likened to The Beatles, had they followed their own helter skelter down into the darkest recesses of the 1970s.
Call them the Bong Lennon or the Crack Sabbath – in essence they’re a pop band, singing of death and murder in alluring vocal harmonies.

COOGANS BLUFF

They have been called “Retro”, but can you name any other band that combines krautrock, prog, psychedelic, stoner and bluesrock in such an unusual way? Coogans Bluff is a band that knows how to combine the best of all these genres, while still showing fresh and daring ideas. The band shows a very personal sense of humor in their image. However, their highly original brand of music is played with pure dedication. All hail the tinfoil hats!

VODUN

This one’s going to blow your mind… Vodun hails from London, a power trio that delivers crushing metal riffs as a backbone for some high-energy soulful wailing. MOJO magazine describes them as “Aretha Franklin fronting Royal Blood after imbibing ayahuasca”, but even that won’t prepare you for the onslaught of dark ritual madness these three bring to the stage. Amidst the rushing screams of Mother Earth, the pounding drums of Ouidah, the markets of Lomé and the open heart of Erzulie, there exists VODUN!

WOLVENNEST

Wolvennest (that’s Dutch for “Wolf’s nest”) is a musical joint venture between Kirby Michel (La Muerte), Corvus von Burtle (Cult Of Erinyes) and Marc De Backer (Mongolito), a distinctive blend of guitar loops, repetitive beats, synthesizers keys mixed with darkened hypnotic ambient vocal sounds. The resulting glorious mess is a highly original mix of seventies Krautrock and nineties Norwegian Black Metal.

BLACK SWARM

Black Swarm entered the Belgian underground metal scene in 2011. With only 6 songs they took to the stage, and immediately started to rally a fanbase consisting in- and outside the metalhead community. Watch out for their flamboyant singer Sam De Roeck though… he’s known to give the crowd just “a little more” than they bargained for when he gets in the mood!

https://www.facebook.com/desertfestbelgium/
https://twitter.com/desertfestBE
https://www.facebook.com/events/488174281372335/
http://www.desertfest.be/tickets

Uncle Acid, “Melody Lane” official video

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H42 Records Marks Three Years with Home of the Deer Vol. I Compilation

Posted in Whathaveyou on December 8th, 2015 by JJ Koczan

Hamburg’s H42 Records has kept itself pretty busy since the 2013 release of The Flying Eyes‘ and Golden Animals‘ split single (streamed here), and the imprint will take a moment to celebrate its accomplishments as it pushes past the three-year mark next month with a new compilation called Home of the Deer Vol. I. The name of course implies it’s a series with more to come, but either way, the 16 included tracks showcase some of the killer material past, present and future in which H42 has been involved with releasing.

Nothing like starting off with some Mos Generator, and from an acoustic track from Kadavar-offshoot The Loranes to previously unreleased cuts from Mangoo, Daily Thompson, Molior Superum and others, there is much to dig into from there. Release announcement and track info follow, as seen on the PR wire:

various artists home of the deer vol. 1

H42 Records CD LABEL SAMPLER ,Home Of The Deer – Vol. I’ sees the light of day before X-Mas!

On 22 January 2016 the Hamburg based Label H42 Records is celebrating its third anniversary. Among other things, this will be celebrated with the Promo Label Sampler ‘Home Of The Deer Vol. 1’. From the 14th December, all songs will be streamed for two days till January 22th 2016 on the Bandcamp page (https://h42records.bandcamp.com/album/the-roaring-deer-vol-one-h42-025) of the label. Among them are well-known songs from H42 Records releases such as ‘Raise Hell’ by The Flying Eyes from H42 Records first output in 2013, but also new previously unreleased tracks as ‘The Awakening’ by Mos Generator or the brand new track ‘Supernova Remnant’ of Molior Superum. Best of all, Everyone who stocks up with vinyl from the H42 Records shop (www.h42records.8merch.com), get one of these limited promo CDs for FREE. Do not forget only available while stock lasts.

Tracklist:
01 Mos Generator – The Awakening (Reference Mix)
Previously unreleased – recorded at HeavyHead Recordings 2015
02 Sons Of Alpha Centauri – 27
originally released 2012 on Bro Fidelity Split 12“-Vinyl
03 Lord Of Giant – Dust Demon
taken from H42-Records release H42-006 ‚Dust Demon/Woman 7“
04 Mangoo – Hooks (Live)
previously unreleased live recording – Live at VR Studios 10.04.2012 Åbo, Finnland
05 Daily Thompson – Lo-Fi
previously unreleased – recorded at MountHoven Studios Dortmund 2015
06 The Loranes – Hey You Said (Acoustic Version)
previously unreleased acoustic version originally from ‚Trust‘ 2015 – recorded November 2015
07 Molior Superum – Supernova Remnant
previously unreleased – recorded 2015
08 The Flying Eyes – Raise Hell
taken from H42-Records release H42-001 Split with Golden Animals 7“
09 Enos – Devil Makes Work (Live)
taken from DVD ‚Live at East Slope‘ – recorded 20.04.2013
10 Dean Allen Foyd –Devil’s Path
taken from H42-Records release H42-007 ‚Sunshine Song‘ 7“
11 Black Salvation – Flickering Days
previously unreleased – recorded on the ‚I am Pretended‘-Session
12 Mother Of God – Dark Sun Above
taken from H42-Records release H42-003 ‚Black Ocean‘ 7“
13 Larman Clamor -Drone Monger (Bonk Then Stomp)
taken from H42-Records Release H42-020 Split with Blackwolfgoat 7“
14 Odd Couple – Nightcrawl
Taken from Odd Couples debut ‚It’s a pressure to meet you‘ 2014
15 Coogans Bluff – She Gave Her Life For A Man
taken fromH42-Records release H42-010 ‚Ein Herz voller Soul‘ 7“
16 Alpha Cat – The Last Day Of Summer
originally released 2009 – first time on vinyl in 2016 on H42 Records

www.facebook.com/H42Records
www.h42records.com
www.twitter.com/H42records
www.h42records.8merch.com

Sons of Alpha Centauri, “27”

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Desertfest Berlin 2016: Rotor, Samavayo, Coogans Bluff, Dÿse and The Loranes Join Lineup

Posted in Whathaveyou on November 30th, 2015 by JJ Koczan

desertfest 2016 banner

If you haven’t seen the name around yet, The Loranes is the new band from former Kadavar bassist Mammut. The newcomers are one of five bands in the latest batch to be announced for Desertfest Berlin 2016, which still has Electric WizardTruckfightersCrowbar and Elder at the top of its bill. If no one else joined, they’d probably be ready to roll out a three-day fest as is and call it square, but I have the feeling we’re still in the thick of it as The Loranes and other local Berlin outfits like RotorCoogans Bluff (they’re from Rostock, two hours north), Samavayo and Dÿse are added.

Hard to argue either way, and I’m not inclined to try. Here’s the newest update from the festival:

desertfest berlin 2016 poster

Desertfest Berlin 2016 – ROTOR, DYSE, SAMAVAYO, COOGANS BLUFF, THE LORANES added to the line-up!

It’s time for a DESERTFEST special BERLIN announcement! 5 Years DESERTFEST BERLIN – 5 amazing Berlin bands added to the lineup! We are thrilled to welcome aboard instrumental stoner prog pioneers Rotor, incredibly entertaining experimental duo Dÿse, fast forward stoner rockers Samavayo, “Contemporary retro” songcrafters Coogans Bluff and the brand new power trio of ex-Kadavar bassist “Mammut”, The Loranes!

These 5 acts join the first 13 bands previously announced Electric Wizard, Truckfighters, Crowbar, Elder, Wo Fat, Egypt, Monolord, Death Alley, Monomyth, Mothership, Desert Storm, Kaleidobolt and Somali Yacht Club. Our fifth edition might be the trippiest experience of your life, so join us… take the ride and buy your ticket now! (tickets’ links below).

Regular HARD TICKETS or E-TICKETS can be purchased on our WEBSITE! Our ticketprices remain the same, that’s 85 Euros for all you newbies! But remember that we were sold out last time about 7 weeks ahead, and we think we may top that this year!

By ordering a HARD TICKET, you get a free Desertfest patch!

http://www.desertfest.de/
https://www.facebook.com/DesertfestBerlin

Rotor, “Volllast” official video

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Quarterly Review: Royal Thunder, Strauss, Kult of the Wizard, Coogans Bluff, Papir Meets Electric Moon, We are Warwick Davis, Rongeur, Crowlegion, Chris Forsyth and the Solar Motel Band, Eldorado

Posted in Reviews on April 1st, 2015 by JJ Koczan

the obelisk quarterly review

Morale is good as I stare down day three of this Quarterly Review. I’m encouraged by the good response the two-so-far posts have gotten and hope if you’ve had the chance to check out any of this stuff you’ve been able to find something you’re into. Or if not, I hope the next three days can rectify that situation. There are 30 records still to go. Bound to be something in there for everyone, myself included.

Quarterly Review #21-30:

Royal Thunder, Crooked Doors

royal thunder crooked doors

Royal Thunder’s second full-length for Relapse, Crooked Doors, is bound to surprise some listeners. A three-piece when they issued CVI through the label in 2012, the Savannah, Georgia, outfit arrives at Crooked Doors as a foursome with the addition of guitarist Will Fiore of Zoroaster, and embarks on a considerable shift in approach. Slickly, almost commercially produced, the album brisks past some riffy elements in songs like opener “Time Machine,” also the longest cut at 7:20 (immediate points), and “The Line” toward an aesthetic reinterpreting ‘80s pop-metal melodramas through a vaguely heavy rock filter. Between Fiore and might-spit-beer-on-you guitarist Josh Weaver, one might expect more tonal heft than Crooked Doors offers overall, but the album instead leans heavily on bassist/vocalist Mlny Parsonz to carry the emotional crux of the material (though Evan Diprima’s drums still hit with some impact as well). Parsonz’s voice proves up to the task — in pop-singer form, she carries the record —  and is bolstered through layering, but by the time Crooked Doors’ hour runtime ends up at the lounge-blues and piano stylizations of “The Bear I” and “The Bear II,” it feels cumbersome and like the point has already been made.

Royal Thunder on Thee Facebooks

Relapse Records

Strauss, Luia

strauss luia

A sophomore EP from this London five-piece following their impressive 2013 self-titled (review here), Luia doesn’t top half an hour, but its five included tracks show marked progression in pushing Strauss away from the Kyuss-isms that in large part defined their prior work. Opener “Mud at You” is immediately more aggressive, and though “Humanphobic (to Mary Shelley)” (note: anthropophobia), slows the pace and opens wide in its middle third, vocalist Stef shouts to remind of the core intensity in the songwriting. That takes a back seat as centerpiece “For all the Wrong Reasons” moves toward an apex of a cleaner-sung chorus, but the riffs of guitarists Charles and Bano, and the groove from bassist Bill and drummer Doc, remain heavy enough that the point isn’t lost. The eight-minute “Eclipse” has it all – doomed chug, screams, singing, crash, tempo changes, nod and so on – but the funky jam that starts closer “2015” shows Strauss are willing to have some fun with their heaviness as well. All the better. Time for a full-length.

Strauss on Thee Facebooks

Strauss on Bandcamp

Kult of the Wizard, The White Wizard

kult of the wizard the white wizard

Comparisons to Witch Mountain are inevitable for Minneapolis four-piece Kult of the Wizard, whose vocalist, Mahle Roth, carries a bluesy inflection not dissimilar from Uta Plotkin on the five-song EP, The White Wizard. Self-released, it’s the band’s first work with Roth as frontwoman, guitarist Aaron Hodgson, bassist Ryan Janssen and drummer Travis Nordahl having released two prior outings – The Red Wizard (2013) and The Blue Wizard (2014) – instrumentally, and the difference is palpable. Roth adds a commanding presence to the rolling leadoff track “Tusk of the Mammoth,” showcases a noteworthy range on “Black Moon” and steps back only for an eerie wash of noise and samples on centerpiece “Plasma Pool,” but the finest performance on all fronts is closer “Devil Delight,” which meters out stomp and echo at its peak to concoct an otherworldly churn of psychedelic cult doom, Roth once again steering the progression with a sure hand. One does not expect The White Wizard to be the last we hear from Kult of the Wizard. Hell, they haven’t even done all the primary colors yet.

Kult of the Wizard on Thee Facebooks

Kult of the Wizard on Bandcamp

Coogans Bluff, Ein Herz Voller Soul

coogans bluff ein herz voller soul

With 350 copies pressed by H42 Records in no fewer than five different color variations and at least that many versions of the cover art, Ein Herz Voller Soul, the latest 7” single from horn-laden German rockers Coogans Bluff hits with a fair amount of circumstance. It is, nonetheless, two songs and a quick listen. Its A-side is “Ein Herz Voller Soul,” a German-language retelling of “Heart Full of Soul” from the band’s 2014 full-length, Gettin’ Dizzy, and the B-side is “She Gave Her Life for a Man,” a classic rocker given middle-era Beatlesian flair by Stefan Meinking’s trombone, which feels fitting after the garage style of “Ein Herz Voller Soul,” though both cuts retain an element of the progressive in their approach, the band – Meinking, guitarist Willi Paschen, bassist/vocalist Clemens Marasus, drummer Charlie Paschen and saxophonist Max Thum – not afraid to branch wherever the song might take them, to a call and response hook or harder drum stomp. A stopgap, maybe, but Coogans Bluff have a tendency to engage and here they do so in hardly any time at all.

Coogans Bluff on Thee Facebooks

H42 Records’ webstore

Papir Meets Electric Moon, The Papermoon Sessions Live at Roadburn 2014

papir meets electric moon the papermoon sessions live at roadburn 2014

Members of German psych-jam godsends Electric Moon and Copenhagen progressive explorers Papir took the stage at Roadburn 2014 in the Netherlands as a follow-up to their 2013 outing, The Papermoon Sessions (review here). I don’t think they’d played live together before and I’m pretty sure they haven’t since (though don’t quote me on that), but in any case, the billing Papir Meets Electric Moon isn’t something that happens every day, and the two north-of-20-minutes pieces conjured up for inclusion on The Papermoon Sessions Live at Roadburn 2014 only emphasize how special the collaboration actually is, washes of synth and effects layered over gloriously krautrocking rhythms, swiftly turning one minute and peaceful the next, but never disjointed, never losing the sense of flow. Each track — the second one is shorter at 22:15 — has its own movement, but the thing to do is put on The Papermoon Sessions Live at Roadburn 2014 and just let it go and go along with it. For a group that came together in the wake of a tragedy — the untimely passing of Danish promoter Ralph Rjeily — Papermoon proves yet again that beauty can spring even in dark times. I hope they do another record.

Papir on Thee Facebooks

Electric Moon on Thee Facebooks

Sulatron Records

We are Warwick Davis, Storming the Castle

we are warwick davis storming the castle

Seems unlikely a band is going to dive into songs like “Hippies are Dead,” “Whore Island (Jim Loves His Wife” or “King Mullet Destroyer” and not have a sense of humor, let alone call themselves We are Warwick Davis – please note: the actor is nowhere to be seen – so yeah, the Illinois double-guitar five-piece get up to some chicanery on their Storming the Castle full-length. Lots of chicanery, as it happens. Vocalist Joe Duffy is blown out over the punkish progressions of “Audio Visual” but reminds more of Jello Biafra on “Mind Enemy Mine,” which launches the album following a voicemail intro about blowing people off the stage. Former Monster Magnet guitarist John McBain mastered the album, and it was apparently a couple years in the self-recording process. It’s accordingly raw, and at 57 minutes, I doubt the band could be accused of understating their argument. Out of balance here and there to the point of abrasion, but ultimately harmless.

We are Warwick Davis on Thee Facebooks

We are Warwick Davis on Reverbnation

Rongeur, The Catastrophist and As the Blind Strive Demos

Rongeur-The-Catastrophist-As-The-Blind-Strive-Demos

With members of folk metallers Trollfest, off-kilter hardcore punkers Ampmandens Døtre and atmospheric post-metallers Sju in tow, it may or may not be fair to call Rongeur a side-project, but they sure as hell are varied in their influences. The Oslo trio of drummer/vocalist Jostein, guitarist/vocalist Ken-Robert and bassist/vocalist Dag Ole (who belong respectively to the bands above) arrange their two-to-date demos with the newer tracks first on The Catastrophist and As the Blind Strive Demos, on Disiplin Media, so that the listener encountering them for the first time hears where the trio are as of 2014, then goes back to their first explorations, from 2013. Raw noise ensues, a post-hardcore vibe delivered with shouts and sludgy heft, but the older tracks offer a fuller distortion that they seem to have stripped down before getting around to songs like “Traitors” or the barebones-aggro “Jon Hogg.” One wonders where they might go from here, which is probably the whole point of the release.

Rongeur on Thee Facebooks

Disiplin Media

Crowlegion, The First Offering

crowlegion the first offering

Heavy rock and death metal rarely tread the same ground without being immediately cast to one side or another. Gothenburg’s Crowlegion seem determined to stake a claim to both sides, and the 24-minute The First Offering EP, issued on CD by Grave Goods Productions, makes good on that attempt. The seven tracks are short – only two top four minutes – but stylistically ambitious, guitarist/vocalist Linus Pilebrand seeming to be the driving force behind the project’s blend of rolling riffs and guttural growls. He’s since replaced the rhythm section, having played bass on this recording in addition to guitar, with Jonas Jörgensen also on guitar and Sarah Tefke drumming, and four of the seven cuts also feature guest vocals, most of them working in extreme styles as well. I’m not sure if The First Offering is the release that finally crosses that long bridge between aesthetics, but Crowlegion position themselves well with these tracks to continue to make the journey. Nod or headbang. Your choice.

Crowlegion on Thee Facebooks

Crowlegion on Bandcamp

Chris Forsyth and the Solar Motel Band, Intensity Ghost

chris forsyth and the solar motel band intensity ghost

Less about the sonic heft of any given moment than the overarching freedom of exploration throughout its five instrumental tracks, Intensity Ghost is the first studio offering from Chris Forsyth and the Solar Motel Band (released on No Quarter), and it’s fucking brilliant. The Philly-based five-piece got together in 2013 but play like they’ve been sharing stages for a decade, whether it’s the smoothness with which they ride the bassline and current of synth in “Yellow Square” or closer “Paris Song”’s subtle move from minimalism into contemplative psychedelia. Dreamy centerpiece “I Ain’t Waiting” is the shortest of the bunch at 5:16, and opener “The Ballad of Freer Hollow” the longest and jammiest at 11:25 (immediate points), but wherever these guys – Forsyth on guitar, plus guitarist Paul Sukeena, bassist Peter Kerlin, drummer Steven Urgo and synth/organist Shawn Edward Hansen – seem to go, they get there with an engrossing fluidity that’s nothing short of masterful. A joy, front to back.

Chris Forsyth on Thee Facebooks

No Quarter Records

Eldorado, Babylonia Haze

eldorado babylonia haze

Eldorado’s Babylonia Haze, at 10 tracks and 55 minutes, is not an insignificant undertaking. The Spanish four-piece brazenly take on classic rock hooks topped with organ-and-guitar fluidity and the soar-ready singing of Jesus Trujillo, joined in the band by guitarist Andres Duende, bassist Cesar Sanchez and drummer Christian Giardino (since replaced by Javier Planelles). A progressive clarity marks out acoustic-led cuts like “Breathe the Night” and the later “Resurrection Song,” the arrangements natural and purposeful in kind, and longer inclusions like “Flowers of Envy” (8:02) and “Karma Generator” (11:35) have breadth enough to sustain their runtimes while keeping a structured feel, the latter providing plotted movements toward the apex of the album before “Moon Girl” offers a lesser build of its own as afterthought, reimagining prog-fueled heavy rock as the fodder of a pop wistfulness. Accomplished and precise, it’ll be too clean for some ears, while others will no doubt wonder how its brilliance can be ignored.

Eldorado on Thee Facebooks

Eldorado on Bandcamp

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Mundee Coogan’s Bluff

Posted in Bootleg Theater on June 11th, 2012 by JJ Koczan

When last they checked in, German upstarts Coogan’s Bluff were enjoying a leisurely lunch while also rocking out in the video for “The Information” from their second album, Magic Bubbles. Apparently fans of going from one extreme to the other, their new clip (above) finds them dying in the desert while paying homage to the good Captain with the song “Beefheart” and its extended horn-led breakdown. Now veterans of the Berlin Desertfest, Coogan’s Bluff released their third album, Poncho Express on May 25 and sent me the following email to notify me of same:

hey koczan,

our new video,
enjoy it:

www.noisolution.de
www.coogansbluff.de

best wisches
willi

Nothing quite like keeping it simple. Coogan’s Bluff don’t really do the same on the song, which pushes heavy arrangements into a kind of Talking Heads-ish bounce before weirding its way into the aforementioned horniness. In the meantime, Western-style chicanery and desert tripping ensues and, as I said, there’s enough Captain Beefheart going on to warrant the song’s title. Good fun.

It had been my intent to post this video late Friday, but by the time I left the Witch Mountain show Saint Vitus bar in Brooklyn to head north to Connecticut, not to mention by the time I got there, I was too beat to open the laptop. Saturday was a no-computer/yes-wine type of day, and yesterday I spent working so as to alleviate some of the weight that might otherwise prevent me from escaping out from underneath to go to the Days of the Doomed II festival out in Wisconsin later this week. The good news is I think I got enough done to make it work. The bad news was pretty much yesterday afternoon and the three workdays that will be today, tomorrow and Wednesday before I leave Thursday morning.

Still, worth it. The last four weeks I’ve worked late for roughly nothing at all (especially if we’re measuring fiscal compensation), so at least this week I have something I’m trying to move toward other than the alleged respite a weekend might and more often these days doesn’t bring. Whatever. Point is if you’re going to Days of the Doomed, I’ll see you there. Brown camera bag, long hair, big ol’ belly, beard, black t-shirt, sandals.

And before I leave I’ll have a review of that Witch Mountain gig the other night in Brooklyn, and a writeup of the new The Disease Concept EP that I’ve been trying to review for the past week. Probably no interview before I go, unless an emailer comes back in, but if I can make something happen in that regard, I’ll do my best to do so. You know I don’t like to let these things slide.

In any case, hope you have a great week and that you stay tuned for the Days of the Doomed coverage to come and check in either here or on the forum to say hey.

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It’s Lunchtime at Coogan’s Bluff’s House

Posted in Bootleg Theater on March 29th, 2011 by JJ Koczan

German retro rockers Coogan’s Bluff released their second full-length, Magic Bubbles, through World in Sound in January. The single from the album is the track “The Information,” and they made a friendly, down-home kind of video for it that basically involves the band playing in a house while also making lunch.

Standout moments include vocalist Thilo Streubel stealing a bike and bassist Clemens Marasus showing off his package. You’ve been warned:

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