The Kings of Frog Island Release IV on iTunes

Posted in Whathaveyou on January 24th, 2013 by JJ Koczan

Their last album found them veering more toward a jangly garage rock sound, and with IV, UK fuzz experts The Kings of Frog Island seem to marry those influences with the fuzz that made 2008’s II so entrancing, resulting in a heavy psychedelic brew arriving as two whole vinyl sides, sans compromise and fully tripped out.

This is The Kings of Frog Islands‘ first offering since the departure of guitarist/vocalist Mat Bethancourt, and the band is reportedly looking to release the album on vinyl pending a response to the digital version, about which you can find more info below:

The Kings of Frog Island IV Receives January 2013 iTunes Release

We proudly present a digital only release of the latest episode from the Leicester UK based fuzz rock collective. The album is available as a download consisting of 2 x 20 minute long tracks, and the track listing is:

Side A
The Tenth Stone
The King Is Dead
Witches Warning
In The Watchers Blood

Side B
The Night Juno Died
Weaving Shadows
Eleven Eleven Eleven
Long Live the King

It is our intention to release the album in a limited vinyl format should demand warrant, but no date has been set. A CD version is not anticipated.
In keeping with previous installments, information from the band is at a premium as they resist leaving their natural studio habitat. Drawing inspiration from film sound tracks and ambient fuzz from years gone by, this is a journey into innerspace from the Midlands.

The Kings of Frog Island IV are:
Mark Buteux
Tony Heslop
Gavin Searle
Dodge Watson
Gavin Wright
Ally Buteux
Ian Piggin
Jim Robinson

Recorded at Amphibia Sound Studios II, Leicester, between the summers of 2010 and 2012.
Copyright and Produced by The Kings of Frog Island 2013.

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The Machine and Sungrazer to Team up for Split Release

Posted in Whathaveyou on September 5th, 2012 by JJ Koczan

Re-reading that headline, my only two questions are, “When?” and “Why isn’t then now?”

The Machine‘s David Eering will produce, and the bands will document the whole process, but what the news below doesn’t say is if there’s any chance the two Dutch fuzz rock upstarts will get together for one huge collaborative jam. I could think of way worse ways to spend 35 minutes than listening to the single-track onslaught of tonal warmth that would arise from such a meeting.

While I dote on those grooving possibilities, here’s the latest:

The Machine & Sungrazer: Split Album

During the next two months, both The Machine & Sungrazer will be spending some time in the studio. The recordings will start this Friday and take place in the private studio of The Machine, Studio De Zolder. Since both bands share the same record label, it’s probably not quite the surprise that Elektrohasch Records will be releasing the split album. You can expect an early 2013 release.

This project is the result of a mutual friendship that, like the idea for a split album, already started years ago. Since our latest releases, Calmer Than You Are (2012) and Mirador (2011), new songs and jams already developed themselves. Each band will use (a couple of) these tunes for their part of the split. As with The Machine’s previous four albums, David Eering will be producing both Sungrazer and his own band.

Stay tuned on both bands’ Facebook pages and websites for more updates! If we don’t forget, we might post some video footage and/or pictures from the recording process. The entire process will be documented.

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Mars Red Sky Announce New Album Recording and Tour Dates

Posted in Whathaveyou on August 23rd, 2012 by JJ Koczan

Going by the info below, one can surmise that it’ll be December before French fuzz mavens Mars Red Sky begin recording the follow-up to their excellent 2011 self-titled debut full-length (review here). In the meantime, the trio released a split/collaboration with countrymen post-black metallers Year of No Light this July that’s available through Headspin Records in a limited vinyl run, and if you live in Europe, you can catch them at any of the dates below, including at shows with Samsara Blues Experiment and Kadavar.

Consider yourselves lucky. The Patient Mrs. saw them back in March and was much impressed. Rightly so.

Here’s the latest, courtesy of the band:

Before recording of their new album, Mars Red Sky is going to do another tour in Europe this fall:

09.01. (SP) LEON Territorio Lunar Festival
09.07. (F) NANTES (44) Le Stakhanov
09.08. (F) CROZON (29) Ty Skol
09.14. (NL) TILBURG Incubate Festival
09.15. (F) ORLEANS (45) Infrared + Tang

10.21 TO 31 (Booking in progress)
10.22. (D) MUNICH Felerwerk + Samsara Blues Experiment
10.23. (CH) PRATTELN Galery + Samsara Blues Experiment
10.25. (A) LINZ (A) Kapu + Kadavar
10.26. (SI) MURSKA SOBOTA Mikk
10.27. (A) VIENNA Arena + Samsara blues Experiment
10.30. (F) TROYES (10) Festival Off Off Off

11.01. (F) LYON (69) Kraspek Myzik
11.23. (F) LILLE (59) Festival Tour de chauffe
11.30. (F) BIARRITZ (64) L’Atabal

more infos on

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Album of the Summer of the Week: Colour Haze, Colour Haze

Posted in Features on August 21st, 2012 by JJ Koczan

I said a few weeks back that Berlin heavy psych masters Colour Haze would get their turn as the Album of the Summer of the Week… so uh… I guess I was right. So there. I’ll take that cookie whenever you’ve got it ready to go.

To be fair, they’re a pretty obvious pick. If there’s any reason I held off for so long in choosing them, it’s because I kept arguing back and forth about which album to choose. Just about everything they’ve done since 2001 has something working in its  favor, whether it’s the two-disc extendedness of 2003’s Los Sounds de Krauts making it perfect for languishing on a long afternoon sitting in the backyard, or the peaceful warmth of 2006’s Tempel, or the wide-open jammy flow of 2008’s All. In the end though, I went with Colour Haze‘s 2004 self-titled, because it seems to encapsulate all these things about the others.

It’s probably not the trio’s best album — that’s a designation that seems to change with whatever I’ve got on at the time — but Colour Haze‘s Colour Haze has classic prog interplay in “Did êl It,” plenty of subtle Hendrixian build in “Love” and a tonal warmth that no matter how many bands in the European scene try to match, no one seems quite able to do it. You could teach a semester on Stefan Koglek‘s guitar tone, but Colour Haze is just as much about drummer Manfred Merwald and bassist Philipp Rasthofer, and the self-titled was the moment when the three of them really nailed down the chemistry that they’ve been working so diligently to perfect ever since.

And as to the atmosphere of the album itself, even if it’s winter when you put on the beginning of “Peace, Brothers & Sisters!” it’ll be summer by the time you’re through the track’s 22 minutes. The real magic comes from the fact that you could say the same thing about the track before it, the 3:45 acoustic cut “Solitude.” Right on.

We’ll have just one more Album of the Summer of the Week to get it in before Labor Day, but in the meantime, here’s the aforementioned “Peace, Brothers & Sisters!” to get you dancing and get your yayas out before Colour Haze‘s three-hour gig next month in London, should you be fortunate enough to go. Please enjoy:

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Album of the Summer of the Week: Sungrazer, Mirador

Posted in Features on July 16th, 2012 by JJ Koczan

Mirador is an easy candidate for a summer album. Sungrazer‘s fuzz is so warm, and the vibe of their second album (released on Elektrohasch last year; review here) is so mellow even in its heaviest parts, that the overall affect is languid almost to the point of sunshiny sleepiness. A song like the 13-minute “Behind” is as fitting for a July day as an ice water. Like I say, this one’s an easy candidate, and I guess you could say the same for a lot of post-Colour Haze (their time will come in this feature) European heavy psych — thinking of groups like The Machine or maybe even My Sleeping Karma — but Mirador‘s balance between nodding riffs and exploratory jams is my pick for the best yet to come out of that scene.

And in terms of placing the album, I’ve found that it not only works so well in the summer, sitting outside in the yard, enjoying the good company of The Patient Mrs. and a few delectable fermented beverages, etc., but in addition to that, Mirador is an especially good listen in the morning. I’ve constructed a long theory as to why this is so, including placement of the sun and the alignment of Earth along its axis — sometime I’ll show you the Powerpoint presentation I made; it’s got 36 cards! — but basically what it comes down to is Rutger Smeets‘ guitar tone and the ping in the ride cymbal of Hans Mulders sounds like the start of the day, and Sander Haagmans‘ Rickenbacker (previously lauded here) is the afternoon to come.

Sungrazer reportedly have a new album in the works, and they’ve been playing new material live for the last couple months at least, so it’ll be interesting to hear how they follow up and expand on Mirador‘s encompassing psychedelia when the time comes for the next release. One to look forward to. That said, though it’s only been out for a year, I’ve no doubt the trio’s sophomore outing will be a staple of many summers to come. It’s an album worth waking up for.

Here’s “Behind” to get your day started, whatever time it might be where you are:

Bless their industrious hearts, Sungrazer are currently on tour in Europe. Keep up with them and their many doings at their official website.

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