Posted in Whathaveyou on February 6th, 2017 by JJ Koczan
So now the pieces come together. Been waiting on European tour dates for Los Angeles-based space rockers Farflung for a while now, it feels like, and the announcement of dates and venues fits about what was expected. The band head abroad again under the banner of Heavy Psych Sounds to herald the release of their forthcoming Unwound Celluloid Frown EP, following up on last year’s full-length, 5 (review here), which offered trippy joys for all willing to lose themselves in its cosmic expanse. Unwound Celluloid Frown is due out in April, and we knew from prior announcements that Farflung would appear at Desertfest Berlin 2017 — also in April — so yeah, confirmation that they’ll be on tour around that isn’t a huge surprise. Welcome news all the same.
Oh, and the EP rules. Stay tuned for more on it.
Dates and details come courtesy of Heavy Psych Sounds:
Farflung – April 2017 European Tour
HEAVY PSYCH SOUNDS Records & Booking is happy to announce the European dates for FARFLUNG
21.04.2017 IT Torino-Blah Blah 22.04.2017 IT Brianza 23.04.2017 DE Friburg-White Rabbit 24.04.2017 DE Frankfurt-Yachtklub 25.04.2017 BE Bruxelles-Magasin 4 26.04.2017 DE Koln-Sonic Ballroom 27.04.2017 DE Cottbus-Zum Faulen August 28.04.2017 DE Bielefeld-Forum 29.04.2017 DE Berlin-DESERT FEST 01.05.2017 DE Dresden-Hippie Village Party 02.05.2017 CH St Gallen-Rumpeltum 03.05.2017 IT Trieste-Teris 04.05.2017 AT Salzburg-Rockhouse 05.05.2017 AU Steyr-Kulturverein Röda 06.05.2017 CH Winterthur-Gaswerk
Cosmic space lords Farflung return with their new Ep ‘Unwound Celluloid Frown’ 33 minutes of lysergic grooves and slamming riffs. Imagine, as if the bastard child of Amon Duul ii and Hawkwind arose from the ashes of America. Stark and glimmering, bathed in the energetic glow of the Stooges, one last cup raised to the lunatics and wishing for wounds. They have set their course for the farthest reaches of the universe.
Are you ready? Are you ready to climb aboard their craft? Fasten your safety belts, engage your breathing apparatus. The lift off is about to begin.
Recorded at Saturn Moon Studio and EMU4 Tritium in 016/017 produced by Grenas/Esther/Nakata. With Special Guests: Abby Travis (Track 3) / Jensen Bell. (Track 3)
Posted in Whathaveyou on February 1st, 2017 by JJ Koczan
A couple weeks ago when Desertfest Berlin 2017 announced Saint Vitus as its final headliner, the festival noted that it was in the process of partnering with other promoters on smaller shows to surround the fest proper and, ultimately, enrich it. I’m assuming that this teaming up with Italian imprint Heavy Psych Sounds to bring Farflung, Giöbia, Duel and Glitter Wizard to the bill is the first realization of that idea. Hard for them to pick a better first pairing, frankly. I’ve gone on at length about the depth of work Heavy Psych Sounds has done over the last however many years, so I’ll spare you that, but suffice it to say they’ve more than earned this showcase, and if anything, they could no doubt add to it easily.
Still, a cool addition for Desertfest Berlin 2017. From the PR wire:
We are thrilled to announce four more bands today, all invited by the Italian label Heavy Psych Sounds Records! Heavy Psych Sounds specializes in Heavy Psych, Stoner, Retro Rock, Vintage Rock, Proto Punk, Sludge, Acid Rock, Doom, Space Rock, 70 Rock, Garage Psych and Fuzz Blues. They released more than 50 albums with great bands such as Nick Oliveri, Karma To Burn, Black Rainbows, Farflung, Fatso Jetson, Mos Generator, The Freeks, Glitter Wizard, Wedge, Sgt Sunshine and many more!
FARFLUNG (USA) Internationally recognized as torchbearers in the contemporary space rock scene, Los Angeles-based cult band Farflung is ready to bring the universe sound at DesertFest Berlin! Imagine, as if the bastard child of Amon Duul ii and Hawkwind arose from the ashes of America… stark and glimmering… bathed in the energetic glow of the Stooges… one last cup raised to the lunatics and wishing for wounds… They have set their course for the farthest reaches of the universe…
GIÖBIA (IT) Giöbia has been one of the most influential psychedelic bands in Italy over the last years. Seduced by the lysergic side of the ‘60s, by exotic mantras and the evocative power of space-rock, Giöbia is a band with many facets and one only faith, that is to turn every encounter with sound into a psychedelic experience.
DUEL (USA) Duel is heavy psychedelic stoner doom metal from Austin, Texas, hugely influenced by the darker sounds of early 70’s Proto-metal. The band features two ex Scorpion Child (Nuclear Blast) members. Their sound is menacing and brutally old school. Total purists, their tunes cut right to the bone with heavy, deep groove and blistering tone. Tough and Loud! Hard rock as it should be!
GLITTER WIZARD (USA) This band of California rifflords pillage the best of vintage hard rock while keeping their laser eyes on the future, creating a unique brand of oddball psychedelia. Their onstage performance is a glammed-up force to be reckoned with and they’ve been taking their act on the road from the West Coast all the way to Europe.
Previously confirmed for this year’s DESERTFEST BERLIN: SLEEP, JOHN GARCIA & BAND (playing songs from Kyuss to Slo Burn), SAINT VITUS, BONGZILLA, SAMSARA BLUES EXPERIMENT, MARS RED SKY, LOWRIDER, 1000MODS, STONED JESUS, TOUNDRA, ECSTATIC VISION, SUMA, MAMMOTH MAMMOTH, THE COSMIC DEAD, PONTIAK, TUBER, SATAN’S SATYRS, WUCAN, VENOMOUS MAXIMUS, THE WELL, GOLD, RIFF FIST, ODD COUPLE, TSCHAIKA 21/16.
DESERTFEST BERLIN 2017 will feature more than 50 bands in total! Remember that you have until Wednesday, February 1st to buy your tickets for 85€ (visit our Website, or use the links below in this release). After that, the weekend pass will be 95 €.
Posted in Whathaveyou on January 30th, 2017 by JJ Koczan
Underrated (at least in the US) Los Angeles space rockers Farflung continue their association with Italian imprint Heavy Psych Sounds with the forthcoming EP, Unwound Celluloid Frown, which is out in April, and an impending European tour to coincide. Makes sense to me. If I was Farflung, I’d go back to Europe too. Hell, I’d go back to Europe if I was me, and I am, so uh… space rock, right? That’s what I get for actually listening to Farflung while I write this post: scrambled brains.
Anyhoozle, Unwound Celluloid Frown follows-up the band’s entrancingly cosmic 2016 full-length, 5 (review here), which Heavy Psych Sounds also issued. It’s a pretty quick turnaround for 33 minutes of new music, even for a space rock band, so I don’t know if it’s from the same sessions as the album or what, but whatever. New Farflung is cool by me whatever its point of origin. Take what I can get.
This was beamed in via the PR wire:
Space Rock Lords “FARFLUNG” announce a new ep called “Unwound Celluloid Frown” out April 7th on Heavy Psych Sounds Records
pre sales start February 24th
The new Ep will be released in Black Vinyl, Ltd Coloured Vinyl, Cd, Digital.
Cosmic space lords Farflung return with their new Ep ‘Unwound Celluloid Frown’ 33 minutes of lysergic grooves and slamming riffs…. Imagine, as if the bastard child of Amon Duul ii and Hawkwind arose from the ashes of America….stark and glimmering……bathed in the energetic glow of the Stooges….one last cup raised to the lunatics and wishing for wounds…. They have set their course for the farthest reaches of the universe….
Are you ready? Are you ready to climb aboard their craft? Fasten your safety belts, engage your breathing apparatus…the lift off is about to begin….
Recorded at Saturn Moon Studio and EMU4 Tritium in 016/017. Produced by Grenas/Esther/Nakata. With Special Guests Abby Travis (Track 3), Jensen Bell. (Track 3)
FARFLUNG are also ready to announce the dates for their upcoming european tour in spring!
FARFLUNG IS Tommy Grenas Michael Esther Chris Nakata
Posted in Features on January 23rd, 2017 by JJ Koczan
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 —
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
If 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
Okay, 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 Napalm, The 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 Burn, Hermano, Vista Chino, Zun, 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
Yes, 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 Weinrich, Costantino 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
Doomers, 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 Kind, White 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 Desertfest, Riff 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 Mitchell, Tranquonauts (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
It 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
39. Attalla, Glacial Rule
40. Ayahuasca Dark Trip, II
42. Beaten Back to Pure
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
51. Cruthu, The Angle of Eternity
52. The Dead-End Alley Band, Storms
53. Dead Witches, Dead Witches
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
73. Green Desert Water
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
87. Merlin, The Wizard
89. Mindkult, Lucifer’s Dream
90. Mirror Queen
91. Moonbow, War Bear
92. Mos Generator
93. The Moth
95. Mouth, Vortex
96. My Sleeping Karma, Mela Ananda – Live
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
108. The Sonic Dawn, Into the Long Night
110. Spidergawd, IV
112. Stinking Lizaveta, Journey to the Underworld
113. Sula Bassana, Organ Accumulator
115. Sun Voyager, Sun Voyager
116. Sweat Lodge, Tokens for Hell EP
117. Thera Roya, Stone and Skin
119. Troubled Horse, Revelation on Repeat
120. VA, Brown Acid The Third Trip
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.
123. The Age of Truth
124. Ape Machine
125. Arc of Ascent
126. At Devil Dirt
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
140. Devil Worshipper
144. Electric Moon
145. Elephant Tree
147. The Flying Eyes
148. Freedom Hawk
150. The Great Electric Quest
151. Green Meteor, Consumed by a Dying Sun
152. High on Fire
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
164. Mondo Drag
166. Mountain God
167. The Munsens
169. Never Got Caught
175. Purple Hill Witch
176. Ruby the Hatchet
178. Satan’s Satyrs
179. Serpents of Secrecy
181. Shooting Guns
182. Sleepy Sun
183. Slow Season
184. Snowy Dunes, Atlantis
185. Spectral Haze
186. The Sweet Heat
187. Switchblade Jesus
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
194. Elephant Tree
195. Endless Boogie
196. Fever Dog
197. Fu Manchu
198. Halfway to Gone
199. Hour of 13
201. Kings Destroy
202. Lord Fowl
204. Masters of Reality
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.
[Farflung release their new album, 5, via Heavy Psych Sounds this weekend at Freak Valley 2016. Click play above to stream it in full.]
They’ve hardly been inactive in the interim, but 5 marks the first studio LP from Los Angeles space rockers Farflung in eight years. Released by Heavy Psych Sounds, it follows 2008’s A Wound in Eternity (on MeteorCity) as well as splits with White Hills, Black Rainbows and Fatso Jetson (review here), among others, and finds the long-running outfit past the 20-year mark since their debut, 25,000 Feet Per Second, came out in 1995. Through the bulk of that two decades, Farflung have coursed through the cosmos thoroughly underappreciated for their efforts — similar to split-mates White Hills, who started later, they seem to have found more of a foothold in Europe than in the US.
But 5 brings renewed vitality in its nine miniaturized interstellar voyages/43 minutes, all songs but the opening three under five minutes long but with a significant breadth all the same, dripping in effects and spaced far enough out that the scale of “far out” only seems to begin to cover it. Some vibe can only be measured in parsecs, and with the band comprised of Tommy Grenas, Michael Esther, Paul Hischier, Abby Travis and Chris Nakata with guest appearances from Hawkwind‘s Nik Turner, David Catching and Gene Troutmann (both affiliated with Queens of the Stone Age and Eagles of Death Metal), Farflung‘s vibe pushes outward from the moment of its inception until it closes with the almost tribal krautrock thrust of “The Retreat,” as progressive as it is lysergic.
Naturally, they are right at home in this expanding sphere. “Hive” opens 5 — which by the way is upwards of Farflung‘s eighth album — and is the longest cut on it at 6:53 (immediate points), acting as intro for itself and the record as a whole with its emergent swirl in the first minute that soon launches into kosmiche boogie instrumental save for some buried vocalizations. The push is everything. They’re not quite aping Hawkwind at the outset, but the thrust of the first half is clearly-enough working to break through the atmosphere, which “Hive” seems to do and float for a while in its second half before resuming its outward crunch. Effects start “Proterozoic” as well, but a more forward structure takes hold, with lyrics delivered in echoing deadpan over double snare taps for a garage rock feel that takes off its in chorus.
That hook turns out to be one of the strongest on 5 and is followed by a long stretch of hypnotic, resonantly psychedelic drone and effects near the finish, which sets up the more earthbound riff opening “044MPZ,” with a kind of New Wave synth line underscoring its verse and a sense of space in the chorus behind interweaving echoes. Synth and Echoplex add fluidity to a languid solo, and though it seems like Farflung have hit the point of no return from whence the only thing to do is continue to jam, they turn back to the chorus before shifting into less-plugged acid fervor. “044MPZ” is the crucial third in the aforementioned longer-tracks opening trio, and what follows from there on “27th Sun” and side B read like reports checking in from the various worlds Farflung have visited along their way to wherever it is they might end up by the album’s end.
“Lupine,” the centerpiece, calls back to “044MPZ” in its tone, but with a change in vocals (is that Turner?) that marks it out immediately ahead of the shorter “Being Boiled,” which has a more brooding take. Waves of guitar and repetitive robotic chants position “We Are” as something of a landmark, but at that point it’s really more about the wash in its entirety than any single element — all these layers drawing together to create something immersive and entrancing. Slower and more centered around low end, “Dismal Jimmy” is nonetheless among the trippier offerings on 5, and almost enough to make one wish Farflung hit the brakes more often, but while the penultimate inclusion, it also stands as reinforcement of the fact that as far as the band has to that point journeyed, they’ve still got the warp drive geared toward who the hell knows.
And if you’re looking for that answer in “The Retreat,” good luck. Resolution comes in cinematic percussive drama backed by the ever-present swirl, and is less about making the album preceding more accessible than showing that Farflung could probably keep it as well as all of the ideas presented before it going into perpetuity. In that way, 5 feels somewhat pared down, like these tracks were carved from longer jams during the songwriting and shaped into what they are with effects and layers of keys and synth and so on, but that shouldn’t be taken as an indication that there’s anything happening here other than exploration, since that very much remains at the heart of what Farflung have accomplished on this welcome return.
Hot on the heels of the announcement of a May 27 release through Heavy Psych Sounds of their new album, 5, Los Angeles space rockers Farflung unveil plans for an extensive European tour. The run begins in Milan on release day and will include a special set at Freak Valley 2016 in Germany — as previously speculated — to celebrate the LP’s arrival. As it’s been some eight years since the last Farflung full-length, it seems like a cause worthy of celebration, though they’ve been to Europe a couple times in between the two records, touring alongside Black Rainbows in 2012 and taking part in that year’s Roadburn festival in the Netherlands.
Word of the tour came down the PR wire thusly:
L.A. space rock legends FARFLUNG to takeover Europe this spring in support of new album “5” on Heavy Psych Sounds
California’s space rock torchbearers FARFLUNG are set to come back to the Old Continent this spring, as the band will be touring extensively to support the release of their new album “5”, due out May 27 on Heavy Psych Sounds.
The ever-experimenting space rock five-piece from Los Angeles is making a great comeback this spring, with their first full-length in eight years and a full European tour to kick off at the end of May. FARFLUNG will release their new album “5” on May 27th via Heavy Psych Sounds.
This European tour includes a special release set at Freak Valley Fest. Find all infos and dates below:
FARFLUNG EUROPEAN TOUR 2016 27.05.16 – MILAN (IT) Cox18 28.05.16 – NETPHEN (DE) Freak Valley Fest (release show) 29.05.16 – ERFURT (DE) Tiko 30.05.16 – LEIPZIG (DE) Zoro 31.05.16 – DRESDEN (DE) Chemiefabrik 01.06.16 – MALMÖ (SWE) Plan B 02.06.16 – COPENHAGEN (NL) Loppen 03.06.16 – BERLIN (DE) Cassiopea 04.06.16 – OLTEN (CH) Coq D’or 05.06.16 – LUZERN (CH) Sedel 06.06.16 – MANNHEIM (DE) TBA 07.06.16 – BASEL (CH) Kashemme 08.06.16 – TILBURG (NL) Little Devil 09.06.16 – LEUVEN (BE) Soho 10.06.16 – KARLSRHUE (DE) Bar Bistro KA 11.06.16 – BLUDENZ (AT) Villa K 12.06.16 – INNSBRUCK (AT) PMK 13.06.16 – SLAZBURG (AT) RockHouse 14.06.16 – TUBINGEN (DE) Hausbar neben der Stiftskirche 15.06.16 – TORINO (IT) TBA 16.06.16 – ZEROBRANCO (IT) Altroquando 17.06.16 – ROMA (IT) Sinister Noise 18.06.16 – VITERBO (IT) Secret Show
FARFLUNG’s last full-length A Wound In Eternity came out in 2008, after what the five-piece put out a series of quality split records with White Hills (2012), Black Rainbows (2013) and California’s brothers-in-sound Fatso Jetson (2015). This year will see the return of one of the most substantial songwriting teams in today’s rock world, with the release of upcoming new album 5 on European rock powerhouse Heavy Psych Sounds.
This new album 5 will feature guest appearances by the likes of Nik Turner (Hawkwind), David Catching (QOTSA, EODM) and Gene Trautmann (QOTSA, EODM). It was recorded at Saturn Moon Studio, Tarantula Ranch and Rancho de la Luna, conferring upon the record a recognizable desert sound.
FARFLUNG – New album “5” Out on May 27th via Heavy Psych Sounds Presales available from April 1st, 2016
FARFLUNG IS Tommy Grenas Michael Esther Paul Hischier Abby Travis Chris Nakata
The May 27 release of Farflung‘s new album, 5, on Heavy Psych Sounds coincides with the long-underappreciated Californian space rockers’ previously-announced appearance at Freak Valley 2016. I don’t know if that appearance is coming as a part of a tour or not, but the new album reportedly finds the band veering into the desert, stylistically and literally, which seems fair enough coming after Farflung‘s kosmiche split with Fatso Jetson (review here), released in 2015 also via Heavy Psych Sounds, and should only make them all the more welcome at the German festival that will apparently play host to its release. No audio yet, but May’s still a ways off. Plenty of time for such things.
Cover art is suitably spacious. That and the info for the album follow here, hoisted off the PR wire:
L.A. space rock legends FARFLUNG unveil artwork and details of their new album “5”, out this May on Heavy Psych Sounds.
Los Angeles-based cult space rock outfit FARFLUNG is proud to announce the release of their long-awaited new album “5” on Heavy Psych Sounds this spring.
It’s been eight years since long-running Californian space rockers FARFLUNG released their last full-length A Wound In Eternity. After a handful of split releases in the early 2010’s, the band is back with their long-awaited follow up on Heavy Psych Sounds Records.
This new album entitled 5 features guest appearances by the likes of Nik Turner (Hawkwind), David Catching (QOTSA, EODM) and Gene Trautmann (QOTSA, EODM). It was recorded at Saturn Moon Studio, Tarantula Ranch and Rancho de la Luna, conferring upon the record a recognizable desert sound.
FARFLUNG – New album “5” Out on May 27th via Heavy Psych Sounds Presales available from April 1st, 2016
TRACK LISTING: 1. Hive 2. Proterozoic 3. 044MZP 4. The 27th Sun 5. Lupine 6. Being Boiled 7. We Are ‘e’ Dismal 8. Jimmy 9. The Retreat
FARFLUNG IS Tommy Grenas Michael Esther Paul Hischier Abby Travis Chris Nakata
Posted in Features on December 29th, 2015 by JJ Koczan
Please note: This list is not culled in any way from the Readers Poll, which is ongoing. If you haven’t yet contributed your favorites of 2015 to that, please do.
What’s a short release? Anything that’s not a full-length. I’ve done this list in the past and given a small list — The Top 20 EPs, Splits, Demos and Singles, or whatever — but “Short Releases” seemed more concise, and believe it or not, that’s something I shoot for.
Essentially, what we’re taking a look at here is everything else a band might put out in a given year. No question that albums are where the greatest impact is made over the longer term, but from landmark 7″s to EPs that provide crucial experiments or serve notice of bands solidifying their sound or marking pivotal first impressions, the shorter offerings have tremendous value, and it’s worth considering them on their own merit, rather than in comparison to LPs directly.
I know for a fact that there are releases I’ve missed here. Particularly among the Bandcamp-only demos, there’s just so much out there that for any one person to keep up with all of it is even more impossible than it’s ever been before. Before you berate me immediately with, “Hey you forgot X Band!” and start throwing tomatoes at your computer or mobile device screen, please keep in mind The Obelisk is run by a single individual and there are only so many hours in the day. As always, I do the best I can.
Here we go:
The Obelisk Presents: The Top 20 Short Releases of 2015
1. Foehammer, Foehammer EP
2. Mos Generator & Stubb, The Theory of Light and Matter Split
3. Sun Voyager, Lazy Daze EP
4. All Them Witches, A Sweet Release
5. Geezer & Borracho, The Second Coming of Heavy: Chapter 1 Split
6. Fatso Jetson & Farflung, Split
7. Eggnogg & Borracho, Sludgy Erna Bastard Split 7″
8. Shroud Eater, Face the Master EP
9. Bedroom Rehab Corporation, Fortunate Some EP
10. Stars that Move, Demo Songs
11. Wight, Helicopter Mama 7″
12. Thera Roya, Unraveling EP
13. Shatner, EP
14. Cities of Mars, Cyclopean Ritual EP
15. Pyramidal & Domo, Jams from the Sun Split
16. Sandrider & Kinski, Split
17. Mount Hush, Low and Behold! EP
18. Godhunter & Amigo the Devil, The Outer Dark Split
19. Groan, Highrospliffics EP
20. Rozamov & Deathkings, Split
The Sunburst EP by Valley continues to resonate, as do splits from Goya & Wounded Giant and King Buffalo & Lé Betre. plus Derelics‘ Introducing, Time Rift‘s demo, the Carpet 7″, Watchtower‘s EP, Eternal Black‘s debut demo, Dorre‘s half-hour single One Collapsed at the Altar, and Mount Desert‘s two-songer all deserve serious consideration, as well I’m sure as many others.
It’s something of a break in routine for me to put any kind of debut in a top spot (other, of course, than on the list of debuts), but Foehammer simply would not be denied. The Virginia trio’s three-song EP release on Grimoire Records (LP on Australopithecus Records), it was a self-titled that seemed to be telling you the name of the band twice as if in a warning against forgetting it. And that warning was one to heed. Foehammer‘s first outing brought the Doom Capitol region to new heights of extremity, and while at over half-an-hour long it could’ve just as easily have been called a full-length, part of the overarching threat is what the band will bring to bear when they actually get around to their first LP.
A good number of splits included here, with Mos Generator and Stubb‘s The Theory of Light and Matter (HeviSike Records), Geezer and Borracho‘s The Second Coming of Heavy: Chapter 1 (launching a series for Ripple Music), Fatso Jetson and Farflung‘s joint release (on Heavy Psych Sounds) and Eggnogg and Borracho‘s Sludgy Erna Bastard (on Palaver Records) all cracking the top 10. No coincidence that Washington D.C. heavy riffers Borracho show up twice in that mix. As Pyramidal and Domo‘s blissful Jams from the Sun, Sandrider and Kinski‘s one-two, Godhunter and Amigo the Devil‘s Battleground Records collaboration and Rozamov and Deathkings‘ joint single feature between #11-20, a total of eight out of the full included 20 releases here are splits. Last year it was only five.
Whether that means the form is growing in an attempt to capture fickle social-media-age attention spans while cutting individual vinyl pressing costs, I couldn’t say — likely a combination of the two and more besides — but it’s noteworthy that a split is more than just a toss-off, between-albums castaway at this point, something for songs to later be included on rare-tracks comps. One could easily say the same of EPs as a whole. To that end, Sun Voyager‘s Lazy Daze was a brutal tease for the NY psychgaze outfit’s first album, hopefully out in 2016. And while All Them Witches‘ A Sweet Release was over 50 minutes long — longer, actually, than their Dying Surfer Meets His Maker LP, which was also issued this year — they considered it an EP/live collection, and that indeed proved how it worked best, immersive though its stretch remained.
Shroud Eater and Bedroom Rehab Corporation both turned in impressive outings that showed marked progression from their last time out, while Shatner‘s first batch of tracks tipped off a songwriting process well-honed and Stars that Move, Cities of Mars, Thera Roya and Mount Hush — I’d put Mount Desert in this category as well — had compelling outings that, like Foehammer at the top, showed much potential at work in formative sounds. Not to be forgotten, Wight‘s Helicopter Mama 7″ gave listeners a heads up on the funkified stylistic turn their upcoming full-length, Love is Not Only What You Know, will take even further, and UK stoner miscreants Groan proved once and for all that, along with logic and reason, a constantly changing lineup can’t hold back their good times.
Like I said — like I always say — if I left something out, let me know about it in the comments. Really let me have it. Call me a jerk. It’s cool. I can take it.
Please note: I can, in no way, take it.
Still, if I left something/someone out, I hope you’ll let me know. And please don’t forget that if you haven’t yet, you can still contribute your list of 2015 favorites to the year-end poll until Dec. 31. EPs, LPs, whatever, however many, it doesn’t matter. All entries are welcome there.