Posted in Whathaveyou on February 26th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster
Looks like a pretty far out lineup for this year’s Eindhoven Psych Lab, which though it’s going head to head with Freak Valley in Germany, seems to be hitting into more of an indie vibe than heavy rock. Does it still count as a conflict if the fests are happening in different countries? Not being fortunate enough to head to either, I’ll leave the philosophy out of it. In any case, if you were wondering what Earth were up to that weekend, they’re headlining at the Effenaar in gorgeous Eindhoven on a bill that also includes the formidable likes of The Cult of Dom Keller, Kikagaku Moyoand Portuguese jammers Black Bombaim.
Info follows, hoisted from the PR wire:
Eindhoven Psych Lab (5 + 6 June) announces Moon Duo, Earth as headliners, full line up Trouble in Mind stage and many more
EINDHOVEN PSYCH LAB 5 + 6 JUNE 2015 – EFFENAAR / EINDHOVEN / THE NETHERLANDS 2 DAYS / 30+ BANDS / 2 INDOOR STAGES AND A GARDEN PRESENTED BY LIVERPOOL INTERNATIONAL FESTIVAL OF PSYCHEDELIA & EFFENAAR
Eindhoven’s Effenaar music venue and Liverpool International Festival Of Psychedelia are thrilled to announce Moon Duo and Earth as headliners for this year’s festival, alongside the already announced The Soft Moon. The Trouble in Mind stage is now complete with the additions of The Limiñanas , The Soft Walls, Ultimate Painting and Klaus Johann Grobe. But that’s not all; The Telescopes, Kikagaku Moyo, Hey Colossus, K-X-P, The Lucid Dream, zZz and Dead Rabbits are also added to the bill.
Full line up so far: Moon Duo + Earth + The Soft Moon Trouble in Mind Stage: Morgan Delt + Jacco Gardner + The Limiñanas + Doug Tuttle + Soft Walls + Ultimate Painting + Klaus Johann Grobe The Telescopes + The Cult of Dom Keller + Kikagaku Moyo K-X-P + Black Bombaim + Pow! + Hey Colossus + Pauw + The Lucid Dream + zZz + Teeth of the Sea + Dead Rabbits
Visual Happenings Three amazing visual happenings in the form of an expo by Glenn Peeters (Radar Men From The Moon) and Pernilla Ellens, Ed van der Elsken’s 80’s photographs of the Natlab in Eindhoven and the ‘Waterballet’ universe of Kamiel Rongen, situated in the Research Module will run during the festival as well.
More to be announced.
Tickets: Weekend tickets: € 67.50 Day tickets: € 37,50 Weekend including hotel for two people € 275,-
Posted in Whathaveyou on May 20th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
Call me a glutton for self-punishment for constantly dangling kickass European festivals in front of my own face that I’ll never in a million years be able to attend if you want, I doubt it’ll stop me from doing it. Whilst I torture myself with visions of being able to catch the jammy likes of The Cosmic Dead or Wooden Shjips at the Effenaar in beautiful Eindhoven, you can get the rest of the info from theEindhoven Psych Labfest, which will kick off its first installment on June 6.
Two days, much swirl:
EINDHOVEN PSYCH LAB
6 + 7 JUNE 2014 – EFFENAAR / EINDHOVEN / THE NETHERLANDS
2 DAYS / 30+ BANDS / 2 INDOOR STAGES AND A GARDEN
PRESENTED BY LIVERPOOL INTERNATIONAL FESTIVAL OF PSYCHEDELIA & EFFENAAR
Eindhoven’s Effenaar music venue and Liverpool International Festival Of Psychedelia and are thrilled to announce EINDHOVEN PSYCH LAB on 6 + 7 June 2014. Eindhoven Psych Lab is a new European festival, located in the Netherlands and established to explore and showcase the futuristic sights and sounds of the modern psychedelic condition.
Friday: Friday (doors open at 4.30 pm untill 4.00 am): Cosmonauts (USA) / Crows (UK) / Great Ytene (UK) / Hookworms (UK) / Nisennenmondai (JAP) / Peter J Taylor (UK) / Spectrum (UK) / The Oscillation (UK) / Wooden Shjips (USA) / Gnod (UK) / Teeth of The Sea (UK) / Lay Llamas (IT) / Anthroprophh (UK) / Terminal Cheesecake (UK) DJ’s: Liverpool Pzyk Pzoundsystem / Bernie Connor’s Sound of Music / Chris Rocket / Walter Roadburn
Saturday: Saturday (doors open at 2.00 pm until 4.00 am): Dans Dans (B) / Disappears (USA) / Elephant Stone (CAN) / Föllakzoid (Chile) / Mugstar (UK) / Night Beats (USA) / Pink Mountaintops (USA) / Suuns (CAN) / Terakaft (Mali) / The Growlers (USA) / Weird Owl (USA) / Sonic Jesus (IT) / Cosmic Dead (UK) / Wall of Death (FR) / Radar Men From the Moon (NL) / The Underground Youth (UK) / The Wands (DK) / The Woken Trees (DK) DJ’s: Al Lover (USA) / DJ Fitz (IE) / Wiekes (Le Guess Who) / dj .bOb / Pomponette http://www.eindhovenpsychlab.com/line-up
Posted in Whathaveyou on March 5th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
Though as of this post, we’re still waiting on some official word of the cause, it’s been reported today and confirmed by his management that Selim Lemouchi, former guitarist and founder of Dutch cult rockers The Devil’s Blood, has died. Lemouchi, who was 34, disbanded The Devil’s Blood in 2013 just prior to the release of their third and final album, III: Tabula Rasa or Death and the Seven Pillars, and had already issued a full-length from his follow-up project, Selim Lemouchi and His Enemies, who were also slated to play Roadburn this year. As of now, there has been no comment from either Metal Blade, who released the last two The Devil’s Blood records in the US, or Lemouchi‘s European label, Ván Records, which released Earth Air Spirit Water Fire, the 2013 debut from Selim Lemouchi and His Enemies.
That LP showcased a more psychedelic side of the ritual-minded songwriter, but Lemouchi will likely be most remembered for his work in The Devil’s Blood in which, along with his sister, frontwoman Farida Lemouchi, he provided much of of the foundation of the modern cult rock revival. The Devil’s Blood‘s 2008 EP, Come, Reap, and ensuing 2009 full-length debut, The Time of No Time Evermore, were met with massive popular response and have proven influential in the half-decade since, elements of the band’s Satanic devotion and chaos-minded rock showing up in groups from both Europe and the US, as though The Devil’s Blood were the reminder point of the marriage between evil and beauty that once permeated underground rock and folk musics. In delivering that reminder, The Devil’s Blood was a groundbreaking outfit, and their live performances — soaked in blood — quickly became the stuff of legend.
On behalf of this site and myself, I wish to extend condolences to Lemouchi‘s family, friends and acquaintances. I know that when I interviewed him in 2012, I found him to be personable and deeply charismatic, and his loss is significant.
The Devil’s Blood, The Time of No Time Evermore (2009)
Posted in Features on April 17th, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster
04.17.13 — 15.56 — Wednesday — Best Western Arthotel, Eindhoven
It was a foggy, wet kind of morning when the plane landed at Schiphol, and as towns whizzed by on the train, it was a measure to see it had rained here, hadn’t rained there. It’s about an hour and a half by rail from Amsterdam to Eindhoven — and did I sleep on the plane no of course I did not sleep on the plane — so I got out of the airport as quickly as possible. 35007 (Phase V was perfect for the weather and made me realize again how much one less tired than I could argue they set the stage for the explorations of bands like My Sleeping Karma) and the new split between The Machine and Sungrazer were my accompaniment, as well of course as my luggage Big Blue, which according to the scale back in Newark weighs over 60 pounds this year. It doesn’t even have any CDs in it yet! They put a tag on the handle that says, “Heavy.” Fat people can’t go anywhere these days.
There was some debate on my part whether to bring them, but in the end, I think lugging the DVDs of Arrested Development along for this trip was the right idea. When I told The Patient Mrs. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to have them with me on account of thinking that when you’re traveling you should sort of put yourself out of your comfort zone — as if I fucking am ever comfortable anywhere, ever, ever — she more or less said to drop the hackneyed bullshit, grow up, and put them between the t-shirts and my socks so they didn’t get bounced around. I’m paraphrasing, but you get the idea. She was right, in any case. As I slammed into bed to crash out for a few hours, it was a much appreciated comfort of home.
And anyway, I brought my fucking pillow and the place I’m staying calls itself an “Arthotel,” so I’m hardly roughing it. I have no idea what “Arthotel” means, but it’s easily the nicest Best Western I’ve ever set foot in. Even at reception, Mike, whose last name according to the tag was Trainee, checked me in from behind a giant transluscent plastic flower. There were three of them set up instead of a registration counter. It being the Netherlands, I went to the orange one. So far what I can surmise about the “Arthotel” aspect of the thing is that the signs with the room numbers in the atrium-type hallway are whacky and don’t match and the walls have different paints and wallpapers on them. Apparently in Eindhoven, the artists also enjoy 10-ft. ceilings. Also the toilet is in a little room separate from the shower and the sink, which means you have to pee in one spot and then go over to the next room to wash your hands. That’s performance art.
Eindhoven is beautiful though, which is more or less why I’m here. I got off the train and stumbled, dragging Big Blue — whose wheels made loud clacky sounds on the brick walkways as I went as if in a gallop announcing to anyone awake that, yes, there was an American in town — and had some trouble finding this place. Thinking it was a Holiday Inn didn’t help, and neither did not knowing what street it’s on. I turned on my cell phone, which I’ll be keeping off as much as possible to avoid incurring roaming data charges, and looked in my email for the note from The Patient Mrs. with the confirmation. Of course she booked the room. She booked this whole thing. I’d be lost without her.
For evidence, I’ll give you the picture of greasy, post-flight, no-sleep me, clomping around early morning Eindhoven trying to find a hotel when I’ve got the name wrong and no address. I went a couple blocks in the direction of the Markt, where I stayed last year, and then looped around after checking the address and eventually found it on my way back to the train station to look at the map. Surprisingly, “Holiday Inn” wasn’t on the map when I looked on the way in. No word on Best Western.
In a couple minutes I’ll jump in the shower (while I’m giving pleasant images), and then find coffee and get on a train to Tilburg to do a bit of record shopping at a place called Sounds that I’ve wanted to visit for a few years now but never had time. In case I need to fire up this post and look later, it’s down Stationstraat (which is by the station) after it merges with Nieulandstraat. I love the Dutch language, the sounds of it, and wish I was not entirely ignorant of it as I am. There’s a lot I feel that way about, but I’m away and lucky enough to be here in this gorgeous place, and if feeling like you’ve just said all the most embarrassing things you ever said in your life all at the same time every time you open your mouth is the price to pay (aside from the actual price), I’ll chalk it up to being an American abroad.
It felt good to sleep, and I’m confident that if I got back in bed, I could do it for much, much longer, but it’s time to get up and get out of this room. So that’s what I’m going to do.
Posted in Features on April 17th, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster
04.16.13 – 7:45PM Eastern – Tuesday – Over Atlantic
The pigeon pigeon (yes, I know I typed it twice) above was walking around under the benches at Gate C72, Newark Liberty Airport. Wildlife, man. Nature is nothing if not persistent.
Airline food smells like chemicals and I consider refusing it a grand act of defiance. The staff always look at you so surprised. “Really? Nothing?” Even the salad is made of pink slime, I’m sure of it. Like the scientists usually in charge of seeing what we can learn by spraying flame retardant chemicals in rabbit eyes suddenly stumbled on the formula for potatoes au gratin. No. Nothing. Thanks.
We’ve been in the air for a little more than an hour. Our cruising altitude is 35,007 feet and we have a little more than 3,000 miles to go before we reach Schiphol. If we were on the ground, we’d be doing 577 miles per hour. I can see it’s gotten dark through the peephole on the cabin door, but last I looked out the window next to me, the engine and the wing were still there. It’s important to know these things.
They have on-demand movies now. They sell drinks now – credit or debit cards only; before we took off, the flight attendant referred to it as a “cash-free plane,” and I immediately wanted to make a Leno joke about the cost of airfare, but I don’t think the four-year-old in the seat next to me would’ve gotten it, and I hate making toddlers feel like they should laugh just to be polite – and duty free catalogs are around here somewhere. The marketing is astounding. The budgets. If they actually gave a fuck and invested, those rabbit-blasting scientists surely could’ve come up with a better, less flying-death-trap-y mode of transportation by now. Hoversomethingorother. Teleportando. Anything but Economy Class on United.
I have headphones on, because Mama Koczan didn’t raise no fool. First was Olde Growth in the airport, then Anciients, now Colour Haze. A double-album is all the better for long-distance travel, and I expect I’ll revisit She Said several times before this trip is over.
Unless of course we plummet into the ocean at a thousand miles an hour, in which case I won’t have the opportunity.
I suppose that’s what you’re really paying for: the distraction. The in-flight entertainment, the on-demand movies, the toxic food, the beverage carts – it’s like they’ve all been focus tested to draw your mind away from the fact that with each minor tumble could come immediate, irrevocable, explosive death in the sky, from which you will then drop out, to die a fearful death alone as you lose a one-sided fight to gravity, never to be found again among the expanse of flaming, floatable debris.
If it happens and I go, I want to be eaten by an octopus. It seems only fair.
My wife asked me today if I was excited for the trip. She wasn’t the only one. I guess it wasn’t showing, the thrill of it all. That starts after this.
It’s -74 degrees outside. I can see it on the monitor. Fasten seatbelt light on. Shake shake.
Posted in Reviews on October 16th, 2012 by H.P. Taskmaster
I am constantly working at a deficit. Financially, yes, because like many of my countrymen I’m am tens of thousands of dollars in debt — but also in terms of reviews. I’malwaysbehind on reviews. Hell, it was into July of this year before I finally put the kybosh on writing up anything from 2011, and I’m pretty sure if I hadn’t put my foot down on it, I’d still have year-old albums going up or older. My to-do list grows like a witchcult.
It’s not something to complain about and I’m not complaining. I’m stoked people give enough of a shit to send their CDs in to be reviewed — especially those who actually send CDs — and it’s for that reason that I do this second reviewsplosion (first one here).
Yeah, as ever, I’m behind on reviews, but I’m also working on being more concise — I swear I am; check out the At a Glance reviews if you don’t believe me — and one of the things I liked so much about the last reviewsplosion was it forced me to get to the fucking point. As direct a line as possible to a review. Boiling the idea down to its essential core.
With that in mind, here’s my attempt to both balance my review budget and be as clear as humanly possible. Hope you dig:
Altar of Oblivion, Grand Gesture of Defiance
The subject of some spirited debate on the forum, the second record from Danish five-piece Altar of Oblivion revels in traditional doom methods. There’s an air of pomp in some of the songs — “Graveyard of Broken Dreams” lays it on a little thick — but by and large, Grand Gesture of Defiance(Shadow Kingdom) is a more than solid showing of genre. Classic underground metal flourishes abound, and while it’s not a record to change your life, at six tracks/34 minutes, neither does it hang around long enough to be overly repetitive. You could do way worse. Altar of Oblivion on Thee Facebooks.
Blooming Látigo, Esfínteres y Faquires
Primarily? Weird. The Spanish outfiit Blooming Látigo make their debut on Féretro Records (CD) and Trips und Träume (LP) with the all-the-fuck-over-the-place Esfínteres y Faquires, alternately grinding out post-hardcore and reciting Birthday Party-style poetry. They reach pretty hard to get to “experimental,” maybe harder than they need to, but the on-a-dime stops and high-pitched screams on tracks like “Onania” and “Prisciliano” are well beyond fascinating, and the blown-out ending of “La Destrucción del Aura” is fittingly apocalyptic. Who gave the art-school kids tube amps? Blooming Látigo on Bandcamp.
Five years since their second offering, Green Magic, left such a strong impression, Italian stoner rock trio El-Thule return with Zenit (Go Down Records), which makes up for lost time with 50 minutes of heavy riffs, fuzzy desert grooves and sharp, progressive rhythms. The band — El Comandante (bass), Mr. Action (guitar/vocals) and Gweedo Weedo (drums/vocals) — may have taken their time in getting it together, but there’s little about Zenit that lags, be it the faster, thrashier “Nemesis” or thicker, Torche-esque melodic push of the highlight “Quaoar.” It’s raw, production-wise, but I hope it’s not another half-decade before El-Thule follow it up. El-Thule on Thee Facebooks.
Botanist, III: Doom in Bloom
It’s a nature-worshiping post-black metal exploration of what the History Channel has given the catchy title “life after people.” If you’ve ever wondered what blastbeats might sound like on a dulcimer, Botanist‘s third album, III: Doom in Bloom has the answers you seek, caking its purported hatred of human kind in such creative instrumentation and lyrics reverent of the natural world rather than explicitly misanthropic. The CD (on Total Rust) comes packaged with a second disc called Allies, featuring the likes of Lotus Thief and Matrushka and giving the whole release a manifesto-type feel, which suits it well. Vehemently creative, it inadvertently taps into some of the best aspects of our species. Botanist’s website.
Say what you will about whiteboys and the blues, the bass tone that starts “Nobody Get Me Down” is unfuckwithable. And Seattle trio GravelRoad come by it pretty honestly, having served for years as the backing back for bluesman T-Model Ford. The album Psychedelta (on Knick Knack Records) jams out on its start-stop fuzz in a way that reminds not so much of Clutch but of the soul and funk records that inspired Clutch in the first place, and though it never gets quite as frenetic in its energy as Radio Moscow, there’s some of that same vibe persisting through “Keep on Movin'” or their Junior Kimbrough cover “Leave Her Alone.” Throaty vocals sound like a put-on, but if they can nail down that balance, GravelRoad‘s psychedelic blues has some real potential in its open spaces. GravelRoad on Thee Facebooks.
The Linus Pauling Quartet, Bag of Hammers
Texas toast. The Linus Pauling Quartet offer crisp sunbursts of psychedelic heavy rock, and after nearly 20 years and eight full-lengths, that shouldn’t exactly be as much of a surprise as it is. Nonetheless, Bag of Hammers(Homeskool Records) proffers a 41-minute collection of heady ’90s-loving-the-’70s tones while venturing into classic space rock on “Victory Gin” and ballsy riffing on “Saving Throw.” Being my first experience with the band, the album is a refreshing listen and unpretentious to its very core. Eight-minute culminating jam “Stonebringer” is as engaging a display of American stoner rock as I’ve heard this year, and I have to wonder why it took eight records before I finally heard this five-man quartet? Hits like its title. LP4’s website.
Odyssey, Abysmal Despair
It’s the damnedest thing, but listening to Abysmal Despair, the Transubstans Records debut from Swedish prog sludge/noise rockers Odyssey, I can’t help but think of Long Island’s own John Wilkes Booth. It’s the vocals, and I know that’s a really specific association most people aren’t going to have, but I do, and I can’t quite get past it. The album is varied, progressive, and working in a variety of modern underground heavy contexts nowhere near as foreboding as the album’s title might imply, like Truckfighters meets Entombed, but I just keep hearing JWB‘sKerry Merkle through his megaphone. Note: that’s not a bad thing, just oddly indicative of the greater sphere of worldwide sonic coincidence in which we all exist. If anything, that just makes me like Abysmal Despair more. Odyssey on Soundcloud.
Palkoski, 2012 Demo
Conceptual Virginian free-formers Palkoski released the three-track/67-minute 2012 demo earlier this year through Heavy Hound. Most of it sounds improvised, but for verses here and there that emerge from the various stretches, and the band’s alternately grinding and sparse soundscapery results in an unsettling mash of psychotic extremity. It is, at times, painful to listen, but like some lost tribal recording, it’s also utterly free. Limited to 100 CDs with a second track called “The Shittiest EP Ever” and a third that’s a sampling of Palkoski‘s ultra-abrasive noise experimentation live, this one is easily not for the faint of heart. Still, there’s something alluring in the challenge it poses. Palkoski at Heavy Hound.
Radar Men from the Moon, Echo Forever
Following their charming 2011 EP, Intergalactic Dada and Space Trombones, the Eindhoven instrumental trio Radar Men from the Moon (On the Radar’ed here) return on the relative quick with a 51-minute full-length, Echo Forever. More progressive in its jams, the album’s psychedelic sprawl shows the band developing — I hesitate to compare them to 35007 just because they happen to be Dutch, but the running bassline that underscores “Atomic Mother” is a tempter — but there’s still an immediacy behind their changes that keeps them from really belonging to the laid-back sphere of European jam-minded heavy psychedelia. They’re getting warmer though, stylistically and tonally, and I like that. Interesting to hear a song like “Heading for the Void” and think Sungrazer might be burgeoning as an influence. Cool jams for the converted. Radar Men from the Moon on Bandcamp.
Sound of Ground, Sky Colored Green
There are elements of of Yawning Man, or Unida or other acts in the Californian desert milieu, but basically, Moscow’s Sound of Ground sound like Kyuss. They know it. Their R.A.I.G. debut full-length, Sky Colored Green, makes no attempt to hide it, whether it’s the “Green Machine” riffing of “Lips of the Ocean” or the speedier Slo-Burnery of “El Caco,” though the metallic screaming on “R.H.S.” is a dead giveaway for the band’s youth, coming off more like early Down than anything Josh Homme ever plugged in to play. While not necessarily original, the trio are firm in their convictions, and Sound of Ground tear through these 11 tracks with engaging abandon. The Russian scene continues to intrigue. Sound of Ground on Thee Facebooks.
Starting off your EP with a three-minute clip of Muhammad Ali‘s braggadocio sampled over your riff metal is a pretty bold move. Ali‘s talk of wrestling alligators and being so mean he made medicine sick was arrogant when he let it loose in 1974, and it remains so 38 years later as it starts the six-track self-titled debut from Eindhoven four-piece Komatsu. That’s not to say every band isn’t convinced of their ultimate supremacy — or even that they shouldn’t be; I’ll gladly argue it essential for any artistic success whatsoever to at least have the balance of arrogance and self-consciousness tipped more toward the former — but still. Maybe Ali is less of a god in the Netherlands than American culture has built him up to be. I’d certainly believe that.
That opener is “The Mountain…” and it leads Komatsu into the High on Fire-style stoner metallurgy of their eponymous track. The real twists begin with the more melodic “Believe,” which offsets ’90s noise riffing à la Helmet with a smooth vocal — at least until the screams start and the band goes full-on into heavyweight groove. Guitarist/vocalist Erik van Schenk Brill and fellow six-stringer Mo Truijens work mostly in tandem, but there’s room for some interplay on “Komatsu” and “Believe” both, and they even work a little (just a little) harmony into the quick “Gator,” which is not only about the 1973 Burt Reynolds film White Lightning, but actually features a sample that I assume is taken from the trailer as its only vocals. It seems to be all bassist Martijn Mansvelders and drummer Miriam Bekkers can do to keep the charm from simply devouring the song whole, but the uptempo metal chug of the rhythm manages to do just that.
“Comin'” sounds like partial homage to Queens of the Stone Age, but van Schenk Brill‘s vocals are coming from somewhere else entirely, especially during the verse, the start-stop choppiness of which is near industrial compared to the more straightforward rock groove of the chorus. Komatsu — whose name you’ve seen advertised around construction zones for years now — do well with the change, and seem never completely to align themselves with one genre or another, other perhaps than the overarching tag of “heavy,” which, you know, no complaints. To underscore their pop-culture charm, they finish the EP that bears their moniker with “Hail to the King,” which boasts their strongest chorus and most engaging blend of influences, like Dozer met with Prong or something like-mindedly hypermasculine.
The EP was released late last year — I’ll admit, they got in touch a good long time ago — so a follow-up may or may not already be in the works, but in any case, I figured they were worth a look if you haven’t encountered them yet and were looking for something a little tougher this evening than the usual bit of fuzz and roll. You can hit up Komatsu on their website or check out the EP stream from Bandcamp before you drop a line on Thee Facebooks and tell them I said hi and that I apologize for it taking so long for me to write on their tunes. Here’s that Bandcamp stream if you’re up for digging in:
Posted in Features on April 11th, 2012 by H.P. Taskmaster
04/11/12 — 22.41 — Wednesday — Hotel in Eindhoven
As a means of giving my wanderings some direction, I tried and failed twice this early afternoon to find the correct route to Memory Music here in Eindhoven. That whole no cellphone thing biting me in the ass really for the first time this whole trip. Embarrassed for myself to myself, I stopped in at a sushi joint in the marketplace area and got a few rolls to drown my sorrows in. Crab and corn, tuna salad. Stuff you can’t get at home. Some gyoza, which were exceptionally good.
My lunch suitably devoured, I fired up the laptop to one more time give a shot at finding this record store, when, in a moment of distracted email checking, I saw a comment from a lovely couple named Chris and Maggie, whom I’d met at Desertfest and seen again at the show last night — it was Chris who told me Gentlemans Pistols were the best band in Britain — asking me if I’d made my way yet to Bullit Records Well, I hadn’t, but upon looking it up and finding out that it was closer than Memory Music and that I knew exactly where it was because of my wanderings looking for the other shop, I was back on my way in no time.
Right on my way to finding the store with no trouble whatsoever after about a five minute walk listening to Queens of the Stone Age (having gotten an itch to do so at The Rambler), I ran into said couple, who were just on their way out and full of praise for the goodies Bullit contained. They made it easy to get my hopes up, and sure enough, I did manage to find a few decent records. Actually, strike that. I found a ton of really good records, and if I was buying vinyl, I’d have been up a creek, but a lot of it was stuff I already owned or could otherwise get back in the US for far less than 18 Euro.
Still, I grabbed the Skraeckoedlan album that was reviewed a while back, a Space Probe Taurus self-titled on Buzzville, a 1996 UK reissue of Hawkwind‘s self-titled, an album called Soulful Man by young German four-piece Cliffsight (there was a sticker on it that cited Colour Haze, so I figured I’d take a chance and it’s not too bad as of the 10-minute opener) and the original issue of 35007‘s Especially for You, which I mark as the find of the day, definitely. Killer to get that CD in this place, 35007 having been so pivotal to the Dutch scene. 1994 that disc is from. Almost 20 years old.
Great find, great recommendation, and as I spoke to the dude behind the counter at Bullit — who was very kind as everyone I’ve encountered here as been and even gave me a tote bag that I will take home for The Patient Mrs., who enjoys a good tote — about Roadburn, Desertfest and whatnot (I guess he pegged me from my picks) it occurred to me just how much more present heavy rock is here than back home. Bullit was not a big store, and it was mostly metal and rock, but even so, you’d be hard pressed to find a shop like that open in the US that’s even heard of a band like Backwoods Payback, let alone one that has not one, but two of their CDs just sitting on the rack. I guess it’s getting better than it was a few years ago — thinking of places like Armageddon Shop in Providence/Boston, Rock ‘n’ Roll Graveyard in Maryland, to a certain extent Amoeba in California (though any of those three stores is much bigger) — but still, it seems more integrated here as something that’s just a given. At home, if I can go somewhere and find Goatsnake in a CD store, that’s an event. I suppose it depends on where you shop, too.
There ain’t shit for rock and roll in Jersey, is the problem. And New York’s a hipster-filled pain in the balls.
Keeping in line with my emergent tendency to heed comments on this website on issues like train connections, record stores, etc., when I found out noodly, crescendo-happy Norwegian prog rockers Motorpsycho were playing in town and that the venue was, you guessed it, a five-minute hike from the hotel here, I immediately considered going as an option for how to spend my evening. Yeah, I know I was going to relax tonight ahead of Roadburn starting up tomorrow, but seriously, what the hell. What was I going to do, sit here and watch tv on my computer for eight hours until I finally fell asleep later than I wanted to because I was all pissed at myself for not leaving the room and fidgety because I hadn’t moved in all that time? Better to just take the walk. I knew I wasn’t drinking, and I didn’t feel like getting dinner, so fuck it. I’ll go stand in a place for a while. Couldn’t hurt.
It was a little after 20.00 when I walked in. I left both my camera and the iContraption at the hotel because I knew I didn’t want to task myself with reviewing the show and I knew that, if I had either, I wouldn’t be able to resist. Sure enough, I walked in, they came on stage at exactly the same time I got there, and I immediately regretted not bringing some picture-taking apparatus with me. For the best, though. The room at the Effenaar was packed out and people were nodding along. I wouldn’t have wanted to push my way through. The light show made me dizzy, which is something that’s never happened before. The program I was given at the door — because, yes, I was given a program at the door — billed it as “Motorpsychoand Ståle Storløkkken perform The Death Defying Unicorn.”
Turns out The Death Defying Unicorn is their new double-CD, their 14th album, and they were set to play it front to back. “Ambitious” would be one way of putting it. “Noodly” would be another. But the crowd ate it up. I guess you don’t normally attend that kind of thing unless you’re a fan, and if you’re into prog like that, you’ve already got a pretty high tolerance level for self-indulgence — seriously, the program has little bios for each band member like they’re doing a play — for me, I liked the part that was slow and heavy and some of the droney stuff, but the “let’s play scales while the drummer tries his hardest not to keep time” thing, yeah, you can keep that. They did it well and the audience loved it, but it just wasn’t my thing. After about 20 minutes in, I got antsy and wanted to go see something else, which I’m taking as a sign I’m ready for Roadburn to kick off. I remembered seeing Motorpsycho there briefly in 2009 and their not really doing it for me. At least I’m consistent.
However, I’ll say it was probably still a better option than sitting here in the hotel and stewing on not having gone, restlessly waiting for the baseball game to come on so I can stream it online and trying repeatedly and to no avail to call The Patient Mrs. on Skype (not that I can’t use Skype, she just doesn’t pick up her phone). Star Trek and Game of Thrones will still be there when I get back home. Eindhoven will not. I didn’t really dig what Motorpsycho and Ståle Storløkkken were doing, but hell, at least I went and found that out for myself. For a five-minute walk and a few Euros, I could’ve done a lot worse than I did.
Checkout of this hotel is at noon tomorrow, but I might try to get out a little earlier and catch the train to Tilburg, check in at the Mercure and give myself a little time to get settled before doors open at the 013 and Het Patronaat. We’ll see how that goes, but I’m looking forward to it either way. By now, I know what to expect, and the next four days are going to be absolutely insane, but this will be my fourth Roadburn and I’m absolutely stoked to be heading into it. If you’re going, hope to see you there.