Friday Full-Length: Samsara Blues Experiment, Waiting for the Flood

Posted in Bootleg Theater on August 22nd, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

Samsara Blues Experiment, Waiting for the Flood (2013)

There was a lot I liked about Samsara Blues Experiment‘s third album, Waiting for the Flood (review here), but nothing quite so much as the surprise factor. After their second full-length, Revelation and Mystery (review here), came out in 2011, I felt like I had the Berlin outfit more or less figured out. They had shifted away from the jamminess of the preceding 2009 debut, Long Distance Trip (review here), and I assumed they’d continue along in that direction, toward a straightforward heavy rock vibe, maybe still with some psychedelic elements, but more or less working in traditional structures toward traditional ends.

Well, along comes Waiting for the Flood. Four tracks, not a one of them under 10 minutes long. Just these huge, sprawling, cosmically gorgeous jams, deeply progressive but still swinging and loose, and everything I had expected from the band went right out the window. I loved it last fall when I first heard the record, and revisiting it today, my reaction is much the same. I’ve gone back to the album periodically since it came out — some records I review and they never get put on again; that’s not the case here — so I’m not at all flying blind, but I still feel a sense of spontaneity coming from the extended instrumental sections, the then-foursome letting various movements flesh out and go where they will, and I’m still enthralled with how well Samsara Blues Experiment are able to give the tracks hooks and definite verses and choruses amidst all this space-groove meandering. Trying to predict where these guys might go in their progression isn’t a mistake I’ll make again, particularly now that they’re pared down to a single-guitar trio, but if they wanted to use Waiting for the Flood as a foundation from which to continue to build stylistically, they gave themselves a lot work with.

More than that, though, I really like the album. It’s one I put on when I just want to drift out for a bit and it hasn’t failed me yet in that regard, up to and including the last 10 minutes, which I apparently just spent staring at the screen while opener “Shringara” moved into the title-track. Rock and bliss.

Tonight, I’m driving to Connecticut. Tomorrow, I’m driving to Pennsylvania to see King Dead, King Buffalo and All Them Witches, which is something I’m very much looking forward to. I haven’t been to Stroudsberg in years, and I expect it will be a good time. I’m driving back to Connecticut immediately after the show (I think?) in order to maximize the efficiency of getting back to the Boston area in time on Sunday to go see Sleep at the House of Blues with Earthless/Heavy Blanket opening. I have no doubt this will be one of the best weekends of shows of the year, and I can’t wait to hit the road and make it happen. I’ll have reviews and whatnot next week of both.

Also think I’ll probably review that Earth record, since that’s pretty well ingrained in my consciousness, and maybe Pallbearer, since that seems to have struck such a nerve with the entire planet. We’ll see. I’ve listened to that a couple times through already and it’s good, but I’m not sure I’m on board with the holy-fuck-this-is-the-best-thing-ever crowd. I wasn’t last time either, but so it goes. That band works hard. I don’t begrudge them what mainstream acceptance they’ve garnered along the way.

I was going to do a round of Radio Adds today, but every sentence I wrote in the earlier part of the day felt like pulling teeth — nothing against what I was writing about; it’s me, not you — so I just decided to have some fun and do that Earth guest singer thing instead. It was the right decision. Sometimes I get so bogged down in the little routines I make for myself that I forget that the reason The Obelisk is what gets me out of bed most mornings is because I enjoy it, not because I’m obligated to it. If you know what I’m talking about, you know that’s a huge difference.

Anyway, I gotta go pack so that when The Patient Mrs. gets home from whatever joyful social obligation it is that she’s out meeting we can hit the road south once again. Good times ahead.

Hope you have a wonderful, disaster-free weekend. Thanks to everyone who donated to the Small Stone fundraiser this week. I know a lot of you already gave, but it would be amazing if we could knock our way up to 10 grand in the next week or so, just because the dude needs the money to get his office cleaned up sooner rather than later. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, check that link or just scroll to the top of the frontpage.

And when you’re done donating, please check out the forum and radio stream.

The Obelisk Forum

The Obelisk Radio

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On Wax: Ragged Barracudas, Living the Dream b/w Cheap Allure/Motor Jam 7″

Posted in On Wax on August 19th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

ragged barracudas living the dream

The swing and analog garage fuzz of Ragged Barracudas‘ debut 7″ are immediate. Putting on “Living the Dream,” the A-side, is like unearthing a relic. Something you stumbled on from the stage just before punk became punk, when rock was heavy without realizing it, and the drugs were friendly but the vibe still a touch dangerous. They’re a modern trio from Germany, and you’d be right if you called them retro, but Ragged Barracudas sidestep most of the tropes and Sabbath/Graveyard-isms of the modern European throwback movement in favor of an acid rock sound more obscure, and ultimately, more original. Vocals and drums are blown out and the bass and guitar — layered in the first quick solo part — are warmly toned and more or less daring your stereo system to be older, but drummer/vocalist Christian Dräger, guitarist Janik Ruß and bassist Tom Weiten show off something of a jammy sensibility as well, both in the later stretches ragged barracudas singleof “Living the Dream” and deeper into side B’s “Cheap Allure/Motor Jam.”

Pressed in an edition of 600 black-vinyl copies and released through an assortment of labels that includes Unholy AnarchyCardinal Fuzz, At War with False Noise, and Who Can You Trust? Records, the 7″ really gets down and dirty on the B-side. Listening to the record — that is, the physical version — I couldn’t even tell where “Cheap Allure” ended and “Motor Jam” started, but it became clear with the stream on Who Can You Trust?‘s Bandcamp. “Cheap Allure” slows down some of the jet-engine stutter in the main riff of “Living the Dream,” but is catchy in a subtler way and, with a stop preceding an instrumental finale, puts its boogie tradeoffs into a different perspective — just because you see the shuffle coming doesn’t mean you don’t still want to get down. Ruß trips out a psychedelic soul-o and Dräger holds back on vocals to dedicate himself more fully to the forward drive, which stomps to a finish before “Motor Jam” announces its arrival proper with dueling layers of ultra-buzzsaw riff fuzz with some sweet low end buried underneath. That part of the B-side is less than two minutes long, but I’d ragged barracudashave been fine if Ragged Barracudas had filled the whole side with it. That’s not to take away from “Cheap Allure,” which most definitely lives up to its title, just to say that “Motor Jam” — named for the Netherlands’ Motorwolf Studios in Den Haag, where the single was recorded — gets locked in during its short runtime and sounds like the band could’ve easily carried that vibe further.

They don’t, however, and ultimately, “Living the Dream and “Cheap Allure/Motor Jam” conk out after 11 minutes or so of raw righteousness. Probably best for Ragged Barracudas to keep it short, since the classic spirit they’re going for — and, I’d argue, attain — did likewise, but I’d be interested to hear how they manage over the course of a longer release, even if it’s just a 10″ EP, and if their analog-worship holds up as their methods expand. For now, and for this single, the simpler they go, the better off they are, and in capturing a raw, heavy, proto-punk sound, DrägerRuß and Weiten show that there’s room for nuance both in primitivism and in traditional structures. Bonus points for the killer Adam Burke cover art.

Ragged Barracudas, “Living the Dream” b/w “Cheap Allure/Motor Jam” (2014)

Ragged Barracudas on Thee Facebooks

Ragged Barracudas at Who Can You Trust?’s Bandcamp

 

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Heat Announce European Tour; New Video Posted

Posted in Whathaveyou on August 13th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

Berlin classic heavy rockers Heat are gearing up to release their second album, Labyrinth, Aug. 29 on This Charming Man Records, and once they do, they’ll set out on a tour that will encompass most of September, playing in their native Germany as well as Denmark, France, Spain, Portugal, and Switzerland. In accord with the final announcement of the confirmed tour dates, which is below, Heat also have a new video for the song “Loving Devotion,” which is the penultimate track on the new record and one of its catchiest songs.

The video uses clips from the German independent road flick Trip, in which the band’s music is also featured. Trip has been screened at a number of rock festivals in Germany this year, including the Berlin edition of Desertfest and Void Fest earlier this month. As you can see, the cars and the music are pretty well suited to each other.

Info off the PR wire:

HEAT Tour Dates | Brand new video for ‘LOVING DEVOTION’

Featuring former members of The Hara-Kee-Rees, Samsara Blues Experiment and Grandloom their self-titled debut on Electric Magic Records was a heavy-blues driven journey into the very heart of the 1970s. Which, regardless of your particular predilection for classic rock saw the Berlin five-piece strike every chord.

On their follow up – much like Swedish hard rock revivalists Graveyard and Horisont – Heat continue to revel in the buzz of audacious twin guitar solos, Hammond organs and telepathic band jams.

Driving tracks like ‘Siamese Smile’, ‘Free World’ and ‘Barbarossa’ pack unabashed guitar spectacles atop big drum fills, rolling bass lines and Patrick Fülling’s strutting vocal front, often over extended compositions that run the gamut of twentieth century rock history. Bursting with shuffling bluesy boogies and dark, introspective moments that owe a sizeable riff or two to Deep Purple, Wishbone Ash, Atomic Rooster and Jerusalem Labyrinth is an unstoppable force for fans of British prog, hard US rock and NWOBHM.

Labyrinth will be officially released on 29th August 2014, along with the reissue of the band’s debut (with exclusive new artwork) via via This Charming Man Records.

TOUR DATES:

23/08/14 – Sala Teatru Brama, Goleniow, Poland
4/09/14 – Record Release at Austerclub, Berlin, Germany
5/09/14 – Sky High Festival, Frankfurt, Germany
11/09/14 – Monster Records, Hannover, Germany
12/09/14 – 1000Fryd (w. Jex Thoth), Aalborg, Denmark
13/09/14 – KB18, Kopenhagen, Denmark
15/09/14 – Hafenklang, Hamburg, Germany
16/09/14 – Waldmeister, Solingen, Germany
17/09/14 – Heretic Club (w. Aqua Nebula Oscillator), Bordeaux, France
18/09/14 – San Sebastian, Spain
19/09/14 – Hard Club, Porto, Portugal
22/09/14 – Rocksound, Barcelona, Spain
23/09/14 – Brin de Zinc, Cambery, France
24/09/14 – Schüxenhaus, Ins, Switzerland
25/09/14 – Coq d’Or, Olten, Switzerland
26/09/14 – Backstage (w. Orcus Chylde), München, Germany
27/09/14 – Sound n Arts (w. Orcus Chylde), Bamberg, Germany
10/10/14 – TCM Fest Gleis 22, Münster, Germany
29/11/14 – Deep Sound City Festival, Halle, Germany

https://www.facebook.com/events/1469399363311082/
heatberlin.bandcamp.com
www.facebook.com/Heatthelights
instagram.com/heatberlin

Heat, “Loving Devotion” official video

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Wino Wednesday: Wino & Conny Ochs Cover Joy Division, Live in Germany, April 2012

Posted in Bootleg Theater on August 13th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

According to the numbers — and you’d best believe I go by the numbers rather than my own memory of such things — this is the 150th Wino Wednesday post. In a few short weeks we’ll celebrate three full years of the feature, and I’m glad to say that I think I’ve only missed one week in that time. It’s become a staple in my consciousness, which band, what song, live or studio, what’s out there to find, what’s new, etc., and I’ve enjoyed trying to chase down something different each time out, even if it’s just another live version of “Born too Late” or something like that, bound to be familiar no matter what the source is.

This week we dip back to 2012 for some Wino & Conny Ochs. They were on tour in Europe that spring, having played Roadburn in the all-too-appropriate church setting of Het Patronaat (review here), and it was as comfortable on stage as I saw them, though by the time they got around to doing US dates afterward (review here), the collaboration seemed no less fluid. Supporting their Exile on Mainstream debut, Heavy Kingdom (review here), they offered a look at raw folkish troubadour traditionalism, of course tempered with Ochs‘ bleeding emotionalism and Wino‘s inescapable heavy rock edge.

It might be the folk that comes most to the fore on “Isolation.” A cover of Joy Division, “Isolation” comes from that band’s 1980 swansong, Closer, and aside from extending it, Wino and Ochs take the British outfit’s post-punk/pre-New Wave melancholy and replace it with a righteous acoustic strum, so that “Isolation” sounds more like a public domain railroad song than something Ian Curtis penned before taking his own life. The build at the end is true to the original, but there’s room made for a solo that extends into a jam with the two guitars before bridging back to the chorus and finishing out, making “Isolation” — which also appeared on the Wino & Conny Ochs Latitudes release, Labour of Love – all the more distinctive in this interpretation.

The clip was recorded in Würzburg, Germany on April 3, 2012 at Cairo. Hope you enjoy:

Wino & Conny Ochs, “Isolation” Live in Germany, April 2012

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Larman Clamor Reveal Details for Beetle Crown and Steel Wand

Posted in Whathaveyou on July 28th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

It’s always fascinating to see what Alexander von Wieding has come up with next for his one-man project, Larman Clamor, now getting ready to issue the fifth outing under the moniker, Beetle Crown and Steel Wand. The Hamburg-based artist/musician continues to work at a speedy clip, and the latest full-length and third for Small Stone will also be the follow-up to 2013′s Alligator Heart (review here). One never knows quite where von Wieding might be headed at any given moment — the last offering stripped down some of the more elaborate arrangements of 2012′s Frogs (review here), but a pleasingly strange trip into swamp blues is almost assured, and like last year, the year before, and the year before that, a welcome journey whenever undertaken.

No solid release date as yet, but if Beetle Crown and Steel Wand gets out before the end of 2014, that would give von Wieding five releases in the four years, which even for a one-man show is an impressive pace.

Here’s the album info, hoisted from the Larman Clamor Thee Facebooks page:

Friends of the Clamor, it is that time of the year again to announce a new album!

The musical journey continues with “Beetle Crown & Steel Wand”, Larman Clamor’s 5th album.

There is no fixed release date as of yet, but it will most likely be out on the mighty fine Small Stone Records this fall or near the end of 2014. Let the chips fall where they may and let the spirits speed my hands to get the artwork done.

In the meantime, here you all have a peek at the album cover and the tracklisting.

Feel free to spread the good news.

Larman Clamor – Beetle Crown & Steel Wand
1. Beetle Crown & Steel Wand
2. My Lil’ Ghost
3. Eggs In The Sand
4. Wilderness, Wilderness
5. We Shine Alright
6. Caravan Of Ghouls
7. Tangerine Nightfall
8. Alter Yer Ways
9. Bleak Heart’s Night Waltz
10. Drone Monger
11. Aurora Snarling
13. Her Majesty, The Mountain
13. She Was Born A Sorceress

Thanks for your support!

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Larman-Clamor/132397233457898
http://larmanclamor.bandcamp.com/
https://smallstone.bandcamp.com

Larman Clamor, Alligator Heart (2013)

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Friday Full-Length: My Sleeping Karma, Satya

Posted in Bootleg Theater on July 25th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

My Sleeping Karma, Satya (2008)

I was fishing through YouTube as I sometimes do looking for something to close out the week, and once I got to My Sleeping Karma‘s Satya and got about two seconds into opener “Ahimsa,” I knew I had no reason to search any further. The German heavy psych instrumentalists’ second album, released in 2008, was the first record I ever reviewed for this site (review here; though honestly it’s so needlessly packed with internet snark that I’m almost embarrassed to post the link), so obviously it has sentimental value there, but considering how hard My Sleeping Karma has worked on the two albums since, 2010′s Tri (review here) and their 2012 Napalm Records debut, Soma (review here), to push themselves creatively and further their craft, I think there’s plenty of aesthetic value as well. More than I appreciated at the time, and I liked Satya plenty when I first heard it. I guess I was figuring out how to do this and thought the only way to go about it was to be a wiseass about everything. Hindsight makes fools of us all.

Satya, however, only sounds richer with the context of the subsequent years, the Aschaffenburg four-piece blossoming in that time into one of the forerunners of the European heavy psych movement, moving beyond the jammy Colour Haze influence that marked their earliest work and emerging with a character all their own that, by now, has become a point of influence for others in their wake. I’m not sure they had such lofty ambitions six or seven years ago when Satya was coming together, but listening back to it now, their grip on their aesthetic was firm and they knew how to elicit movement within individual songs while also creating an overarching full-length flow. They had some stuff they were still figuring out — experiments with vocals, samples, etc. — but you can hear the heart of what My Sleeping Karma has become in this material, and more than that, right now, it’s really hitting the spot.

Should go without saying at this point, but I hope you enjoy it.

Apologies for the lack of posts today. Not looking for sympathy or “sorry for the loss” or anything like that — just letting you know what’s up — but I had an uncle pass away this week and after driving back up to Jersey last Sunday, had to come back down on Tuesday. Wrote the obituary, actually, and sort of ghost-wrote the eulogy with my cousin, which was an experience. Anyway, this afternoon and this evening was the wake, so pretty much the whole day went to that. Not much I could really do about it and sometimes that kind of thing just needs to take priority. I appreciate the understanding, and if you were looking for more posts, stick around next week because there’s a lot coming.

I’ve been asked to do another Red Kunz premiere. The last one went so awesomely well, that there’s another live video I’m in talks with the labels to get going. It might be Monday or might be later on or of course the whole thing could fall through and they could go a completely different direction, but I’ve got my hopes up it comes together, since that EP has a really cool sound and is worth getting the word out on as much as possible. Anyway, fingers crossed.

Also next week, I’ve got other family stuff going Wednesday, so I’m going to try to put together a podcast and get it posted, but that’ll probably be it for that day. I’m backed up on Radio adds, so those will go up, and I’m planning on posting the bio I wrote for the new Lo-Pan album, and a review of the new Karma to Burn. I’m so backed up on reviews it’s sad. I was thinking maybe of taking one week and just putting up 300 words of everything on the pile, doing that and nothing else, each record its own post, just to plow through everything and get back to square one. Not sure I’ll ever be that brave, but if you’ve sent something in, please know I’m doing my best. It’s been a time the last few months.

After the memorial tomorrow, though, I’m driving back up to Massachusetts. I’ll hopefully have time to stop off at home, or at least empty out the car, but then it’s off to the airport to pick up The Patient Mrs., who returns from Greece tomorrow night. It’s been a long month and I can’t wait to see her. This will have been the longest we’ve ever been apart since we first got together almost 18 years ago, and I survived, me and the dog, but with the move and everything, it’ll be so good to have her home and I feel like I’ll be able to get my head on straight a little bit for the first time in at least a couple weeks. Point is I can’t wait. The thought of seeing her has been carrying me through the past couple days.

Before I forget, I also passed the 1,000 followers mark on Twitter this week. That’s more than I ever thought would care enough to click the button, so thank you to everyone for the support there.

I hope you have a great and safe weekend. I’ll be back home on Monday and we’ll pick up then. Right on.

Please check out the forum and the radio stream.

The Obelisk Forum

The Obelisk Radio

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Rodeo Drive, Morbid Beauty: Setting the Balance

Posted in Reviews on July 22nd, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

According to the liner panel of the digipak, Morbid Beauty, the debut full-length from Berlin-based DIY heavy rockers Rodeo Drive, was recorded in “October 2014.” Certainly anything’s possible, and if the album does indeed hail from the near-future, it’s got a modern take on fuzz and flourishes of heavy psychedelia to match what one might expect. Featuring Samsara Blues Experiment‘s Hans Eiselt on bass and vocals and recorded by Richard Behrens, formerly of the same outfit and currently handling low end in Heat, Rodeo Drive hit on classic power trio methods and present them with a newcomer act’s intensity of purpose. Joined in the band by guitarist Friedrich Stemmer and René Schulze on drums/synth, Eiselt takes some cues in patterning vocals from his main outfit — one might recognize throaty, echoing shouts from Samsara Blues Experiment‘s earlier days — but on the whole is more stylistically geared toward straightforward, traditional stonerisms. Stemmer leads the charge throughout most of Morbid Beauty‘s eight tracks/41 minutes, but moments of adventurousness shine through and Rodeo Drive show a bit of boldness in their choices throughout, like opening with “Stoner of Mass Destruction,” a six-minute instrumental that, until closer “Snuff Eater,” also proves to be their jammiest stretch. Even there, however, what Rodeo Drive most specialize in their first time out is establishing a riff, working around it, and then returning to it in bigger, sometimes slower form. “Stoner of Mass Destruction” does this effectively, as do “All in Vain,” “Poultry Bro,” “Vlansch” and “Snuff Eater,” though the moods of these tracks vary around a consistent, jazzy chemistry between Eiselt and Schulze and the varyingly psychedelic and dense tonality in Stemmer‘s guitar.

Particularly with Eiselt‘s vocal delivery, the recording captures a live feel, and that proves all the better for the deft rhythmic changes that begin to show up on “Stoner of Mass Destruction” and continue into the shorter “All in Vein” (tied with “Poultry Bro” for the briefest here at 2:38) and well beyond. The second cut has less space for jamming out, but serves to demonstrate early the diversity in Rodeo Drive‘s approach, which continues to shift as Morbid Beauty progresses, whether it’s to the extended drum solo intro to “The Void,” which unfolds with a Songs for the Deaf-style thrust, or “Poultry Bro,” with its circular vibe and intricate boogie feel, Schulze running back and forth on toms to build a tension that opens to a wide-strummed chorus. If one was to divide Morbid Beauty into sides, “Vlansch” would likely end the first (the back cover of the CD supports this), and it does so playing slow psychedelic blues off bigger-riffed nod, keeping the tempo down, especially in relation to “Poultry Bro,” out of which it emerges, and the mood wistful even as Stemmer‘s winding lead opens to jammier wah-shuffle. It’s not long before they’re back to the turned-on downer vibe, Eiselt‘s voice raw without sounding like a put-on, and the lumbering riff from whence they came, building it to a finish that fades its rumble out before the grunge guitar opening of “Earth Dark Diseases” begins the album’s second half, which isn’t necessarily more stylistically adventurous than the first, but differently arranged, with three tracks instead of five, “Earth Dark Diseases” (7:35) and “Snuff Eater” (7:55) being the longest songs with the instrumental “Aggrestic” (4:37) between.

As noted, “Snuff Eater” is where Rodeo Drive are at their jammiest, and though it reaches similar lengths, “Earth Dark Diseases” has a different personality. Eiselt‘s vocals are almost a growl over Stemmer‘s plus-sized riff, and while it opens up in the middle, there’s a moody sensibility maintained even during the instrumental build, coming to a head just before the five-minute mark when the guitar and drums drop out and the bass leads back into the progression that will serve as the foundation for the next two minutes’ groove. The bass also starts “Aggrestic,” though Eiselt‘s soon joined by Stemmer and Schulze, and what seems like another jangly sort of rush is offset temporarily by noodling and subsequent forward motion. It ultimately adds little the album hasn’t already put in Rodeo Drive‘s wheelhouse, but as a precedent and a break between the two longer cuts, an entirely instrumental track isn’t a bad thing to have. And though it reaches nearly eight minutes long, “Snuff Eater” doesn’t lose track of where it’s headed, and the immersive jam pulls back to the verse/chorus structure before the song is over, as if to remind listeners that Rodeo Drive haven’t forgotten. As the first public offering of their songwriting, that’s good to know, and like the bulk of Morbid Beauty, “Snuff Eater” sets the trio on a path from which to progress from here on out. They’ve reportedly been a band for eight years, so I don’t know what kind of pace they’re working with in terms of releases, but Morbid Beauty establishes a chemistry worth a follow-up and provides a strong front-to-back level of quality in the meantime. I’ll take it on its own if that’s how it’s coming, but I’d much rather see Morbid Beauty as a sign of things to come when Rodeo Drive get to the actual near future.

Rodeo Drive, Morbid Beauty (2014)

Rodeo Drive on Thee Facebooks

Rodeo Drive on Bandcamp

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Heat to Release Labyrinth on Aug. 29

Posted in Whathaveyou on July 17th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

Formerly aligned to Electric Magic for the LP/CD release of their first album, Heat/Old Sparky (review here), Berlin heavy rockers Heat have announced they’ll issue their second offering, Labyrinth, via This Charming Man Records on Aug. 29. Preorders are available now for the CD or LP editions from the semi-retro five-piece, which features Samsara Blues Experiment bassist Richard Behrens, who also recorded the first outing. Charlie Paschen seems to have helmed Labyrinth, but the sound remains warm and natural in line with Old Sparky, as you can hear on the new song “Siamese Smile” below.

To support the new record — the cover art for which was handled by Adam Burke – the band will head out on a European tour beginning Sept. 4, and This Charming Man will have a reissue of Old Sparky with new art as well. All confirmed dates listed below with the album info, fresh off the PR wire:

Hard rockers HEAT announce release of new album Labyrinth

Berliners to release second full length via This Charming Man Records, along with reissue of debut on 29th August 2014

Following on from the success of their 2012 self-titled debut, This Charming Man Records is pleased to announce the release Labyrinth, of the second album by the Berlin-based hard rock outfit.

Heat are unmistakably taken with a time when all great records came adorned with monochrome swirls and elaborate sleeves depicting worlds of necromancy, witches and cosmic encounters.

Featuring former members of The Hara-Kee-Rees, Samsara Blues Experiment and Grandloom their self-titled debut on Electric Magic Records was a heavy-blues driven journey into the very heart of the 1970s. Which, regardless of your particular predilection for classic rock saw the Berlin five-piece strike every chord.

On their follow up – much like Swedish hard rock revivalists Graveyard and Horisont – Heat continue to revel in the buzz of audacious twin guitar solos, Hammond organs and telepathic band jams.

Driving tracks like ‘Siamese Smile’, ‘Free World’ and ‘Barbarossa’ pack unabashed guitar spectacles atop big drum fills, rolling bass lines and Patrick Fülling’s strutting vocal front, often over extended compositions that run the gamut of twentieth century rock history. Bursting with shuffling bluesy boogies and dark, introspective moments that owe a sizeable riff or two to Deep Purple, Wishbone Ash, Atomic Rooster and Jerusalem Labyrinth is an unstoppable force for fans of British prog, hard US rock and NWOBHM.

Labyrinth will be officially released on 29th August, along with the reissue of the band’s debut (with exclusive new artwork) via This Charming Man Records

LP pre-order

CD pre-order

iTunes pre-order link – http://snip.ftpromo.net/heat

Heat:
Marcus Töpfer – Drums
Matthias Schult – Guitar
Marco Rischer – Guitar
Patrick Fülling – Vocals
Richard Behrens – Bass

Tour Dates:
23/08/14 – Sala Teatru Brama, Goleniow, Poland
4/09/14 – Record Release at SO36, Berlin, Germany
5/09/14 – Sky High Festival, Offenbach, Germany
6/09/14 – Schweinskopf Festival, Cuxhaven, Germany
12/09/14 – 1000Fryd (w. Jex Thoth), Aalborg, Denmark
13/09/14 – KB18, Kopenhagen, Denmark
14/09/14 – TBA
15/09/14 – Hafenklang, Hamburg, Germany
16/09/14 – Waldmeister, Solingen, Germany
17/09/14 – Heretic Club (w. Aqua Nebula Oscillator), Bordeaux, France
18/09/14 – TBA
19/09/14 – Hard Club, Porto, Portugal
20/09/14 – Retrovisor, León, Spain
21/09/14 – TBA
22/09/14 – Rocksound, Barcelona, Spain
23/09/14 – Brin de Zinc, Cambery, France
24/09/14 – Schüxenhaus, Ins, Switzerland
25/09/14 – Coq d’Or, Olten, Switzerland
26/09/14 – Backstage (w. Orcus Chylde), München, Germany
27/09/14 – Sound n Arts (w. Orcus Chylde), Bamberg, Germany
10/10/14 – TCM Fest Gleis 22, Münster, Germany
29/11/14 – Deep Sound City Festival, Halle, Germany

heatberlin.bandcamp.com
www.facebook.com/Heatthelights
instagram.com/heatberlin

Heat, “Siamese Smile”

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Dunst, Archimedes Waffen: Daily Mantras

Posted in Reviews on July 14th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

Originally recorded in 2011 and digitally released in 2013, the second and final full-length, Archimedes Waffen, from German progressive heavy psych instrumentalists Dunst sees a revived presence in the physical realm thanks to a new vinyl issue on Electric Magic Records, the imprint helmed by Samsara Blues Experiment guitarist/vocalist Christian PetersDunst‘s relationship with that band goes even deeper than the label association as well, since Archimedes Waffen was recorded by SBE bassist Richard Behrens at Big Snuff Studio in Berlin, about 90 minutes south of Dunst‘s former hometown of Templin. There are some shared sonic elements too, but it rings more like a commonality of mindset than direct influence. Dunst – which prior to disbanding was comprised of guitarist Daniel Rexhausen, bassist Johannes Schulz, drummer Philip Marschall and effects noisemaker/vocalist Sebastian Adolph (there are way more effects noises on the album than there are vocals) — released their self-titled debut in 2011, and here on the follow-up, they come across well established within a heavy psychedelic approach to jamming. Over the course of six extended tracks, they explore the spaces between such heavyweights as Colour HazeMy Sleeping KarmaCausa Sui, and indeed Samsara Blues Experiment, while working in the pursuit of their own musical identity. Already pushing the bounds of vinyl at 53 minutes, the Electric Magic version of Archimedes Waffen cuts down the original album length from over an hour, pulling out an intro, outro and the 10-minute “Vincent Raven,” which can still be heard on the digital edition, and jumbles the original tracklisting to take better advantage of an LP’s two-sided structure. Nonetheless, Archimedes Waffen remains an immersive slice of heavy jamming, familiar in some aspects but portraying a building character in progress.

Adolph‘s synth swirl and other effects go a long way in adding to that personality early on, giving the mix more depth than it might otherwise have. In comparison to Dunst‘s first outing — putting aside a somewhat rawer production as well – Archimedes Waffen presents a much broader range, the relaxed stretches of opener “Kincha King” immediately engaging the listener with a patient, hypnotic roll, where parts of Dunst‘s Dunst feel a little more jagged with just RexhausenSchulz, and Marschall present. It’s a smoother sound on the second album, in other words, and as the 10-minute launch point gives way to the title-track — which, with “We Can Try to Play Like or We Can Try…” and “Hammerhigh,” is one of three cuts that hovers just on the other side of seven and a half minutes long; as brief as Dunst get – that fluidity is maintained, and Adolph adds to the roll and chemistry found well intact from the other three players. Rexhausen takes a lead prior to the midsection of “Archimedes Waffen” that’s almost as impressive for how Schulz and Marschall meet it head-on for the guitarist’s own playing, and they continue to move endearingly through peaks and valleys, taking a ground-up linear build in the second half of the track to its natural, voluminous conclusion. The subsequent “We Can Try to Play Like or We Can Try…” is similarly structured with two distinct payoffs, but presents a different take with a more prominent bass from Schulz (not a complaint) and airier noodling in the guitars contrasted by active jazz drumming. There’s less of Adolph as side A rounds out with a peaceful fade, but by then Dunst have established an open feel that would seem to allow the effects wash to come and go as it pleases without interrupting the overarching flow.

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Freak Valley Festival 2014 Photo Gallery by Falk-Hagen Bernshausen

Posted in Visual Evidence on June 18th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

Because I very, very rarely do this kind of thing involving someone else’s work, let me specifically point out I DID NOT TAKE THESE PICTURES. I was not fortunate enough to be at this fest, and even if I had been at Freak Valley in Netphen, Germany, May 29-31, I’m not this good. All the photos in this gallery were by Falk-Hagen Bernshausen, who serves as the festival’s in-house photographer. I don’t even know how many images he sent me, but I’ve gone through and picked out a few from what you can see above was a packed schedule, starting with the headliners and then working by day from there.

If you’re the type who usually does the clicky-makey-biggy thing with the pictures around here, you might notice it doesn’t work on this post. Truth be told, it took me a very long time to get all the photos here to load, and with so many pics, it crashed the site more than once in the making. Resizing the images was the only way I could get it all to fit. I apologize for any inconvenience making it work may have caused.

Still, it’s only through the generosity of Mr. Bernshausen that I’m able to do this, and I thank him profusely for sharing his work. Please note there were more bands he shot than appear, and please also visit his website here, and check out the Freak Valley page as well.

THURSDAY, MAY 29

Radio Moscow

Papir

Bloody Hammers

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Black Space Riders Post New Video for “Space Angel (Memitim)”

Posted in Bootleg Theater on May 27th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

Somewhere between Killing Joke and Pink Floyd, maybe? I don’t know where the sonic terrain in which Germany’s Black Space Riders reside, but I know they don’t share it with many other bands. The Muenster five-piece released their third album, D:REI, at the end of January and have a new video for the track “Space Angel (Memitim)” from it. The song captures the group’s jammier, exploratory side, and while the video is an edit of the track, since it only cuts down the original 10 minutes to a little under nine, there’s still plenty of time to get a feel for the cosmic vibes Black Space Riders are honing.

Accordingly, the video crosses through a range of tripped-out visual effects. The band itself doesn’t actually appear, but there’s plenty to look at besides with the various swirls and constant forward-moving feel carrying you through. As the band states, they edited the track to catch the “shortened attention spans” of YouTube viewers. I guess we’ll see if cutting a minute off does the trick, but it’s a cool groove anyway, and however long they want to make it last, there’s little that’d make you want to turn it off once you put it on. I can’t account for the fickle realities of media in the age of instant gratification, but “Space Angel (Memitim)” is worth taking the time to get lost in.

As you can see by clicking play below. Enjoy:

Black Space Riders, “Space Angel (Memitim)” official video

An epic Space-Rock-Track taken from BLACK SPACE RIDERS third studio-Album “D:REI”.

This is an edited version, the intro was cut shorter matching to the shortended attention span of most YouTube-listeners (with – of course – the exeption of YOU!!!!)

The visuals and video-animations were created by our friend Blood Meridian (lost in space!).

Make sure to get your physical copy of that Album: http://www.blackspaceriders.com/shop

let´s stay in contact: https://www.facebook.com/BlackSpaceRiders

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Desertfest Berlin 2015 Poster Revealed; Earlybird Tickets on Sale Now

Posted in Visual Evidence on May 15th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

Wherever it might be taking place, Desertfest does not waste time. Mere weeks after the 2014 fests in London and Berlin, Desertfest Belgium was announced, Sleep were revealed as the headliners for London next year, and now comes word that tickets for Berlin are already on sale. 11 months out from April 23, 2015, you can get your Desertfest Berlin ticket — and further, if you do, they’ve got a t-shirt to go with it. Not too shabby.

The Berlin Desertfest, which is presented by Sound of Liberation, has tapped French poster art/screenprinting duo Elvisdead to create the official event poster, and you can see the results in the worm-eaten-looking skull below. Elvisdead also did the 2013 poster, which was similarly themed if not necessarily as directly dark (Ammo did this year’s). Nobody’s been revealed for the lineup as yet, but as past years have shown, the poster isn’t necessarily indicative of the brutality level of the fest itself. Probably a good thing or they’d have to rename it altogether, but still, it’s a cool-looking design and it’s probably best to get used to looking at it now, since there are another 343 days until the fest kicks off.

Click the poster for a higher-res look and find the order link for Desertfest Berlin 2015 tickets below, courtesy of Sound of Liberation:

*** DESERTFEST 2015 POSTER – ELVISDEAD ARE BACK ***

Hey Guys,

So far you got a preview on this page, but it’s time now to unveil the whole OFFICIAL POSTER for DESERTFEST BERLIN 2015! As you can see, our great Elvisdead are back!

We hope you’ll like it as much as we do!

—–

Remember that our EARLY BIRD HARD TICKETS are already on sale on http://woolheads.com/cms/produkt-kategorie/festivalmerchandise/desertfestberlin/tickets-desertfestberlin!

Order yours before the end of MAY and get a free shirt, button and sticker of your choice! Rock on…

Elvisdead on Thee Facebooks

Desertfest Berlin’s website

Sound of Liberation on Thee Facebooks

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Church of Misery, Kadavar, The Atomic Bitchwax and More to Play Void Fest 2014 in Germany

Posted in Whathaveyou on May 14th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

Having a cool festival lineup is one thing — it’s a huge thing — but driving toward an aesthetic is something completely different and pivotal in creating a vibe for any event, whatever it might be. Germany’s Void Fest, which is set for Aug. 1 and 2 in Kötzting in Bavaria with tickets limited to 1,000, seems to be well on its way to that end. The bill runs from the progressive black metal of Sun Worship to the riotous stoner rock of Church of Misery, and with film screenings and a focus on local culture, it seems like an experience that begins with the music and will encompass much more than just that. It looks like a great way to spend a couple days.

They put it thusly:

The Void society was established in spring 2012. Up from its creation Void was planned as an altruistic friendly society with unpaid workforce and do it yourself intention. The idea behind Void is to join forces of people who are interested in music. The goal was to score with new innovative bands and through that strenghten our local cultural landscape.

Since the founding Void organized several well visited shows in the bavarian forest and its surrounding cities, such as Bad Kötzting and Regenburg. While allways keeping it familiar and friendly the shows soon drew big attention. Meanwhile a few bands had some of their last gigs at Void Fest before getting signed a major label contract.

D.I.Y. has always been a big point for the societies work. Next to fairtrade screenprinted merchandise shirts, patches and bags, each band playing at Void Fest gets its own hand drawn posters. The whole festival structure is set up by society members during their spare time.

Allways trying to create unique music events for every people, Void is still trying to do things different than others. Merely the best ideas fit the demands the young society has given itself.

Confirmed lineup so far:
The Atomic Bitchwax
Church of Misery
Kadavar
Rose Windows
Suns of Thyme
H A R K
Atlantis
Brahm
The Wulffs
Doomina
Oddjob Men
Mother’s Cake
Sun Worship

https://voidfest.bigcartel.com/
https://www.facebook.com/VoidFest/
http://instagram.com/voidfest#
http://voidfest.de/

Void Fest 2013 Documentary

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Electric Moon, Mind Explosion: Into the Outer

Posted in Reviews on April 7th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

German improvisors Electric Moon are rarely at rest, and for anyone who’s been following the jam-minded three-piece’s progress these last several years across their slew of studio and live albums, the latest of them, dubbed Mind Explosion, marks yet another interesting turn. When it comes to the band, comprised of guitarist/keyboardist/recording engineer Dave “Sula Bassana” Schmidt, bassist/visual artist/sometimes-vocalist Komet Lulu and drummer Marcus Schnitzler, the surest bet you can make about any given release is that it’s going to be the most psychedelic thing you’re going to hear that day. That said, I’ve always taken their sound to have more to it than just that, and likewise the band’s mission, which seems geared toward driving at the very heart of sonic collaboration between committed players. Schmidt, Lulu and Schnitzler avoid missteps along the way and get to the center of the galaxy of jamming. Their concoctions — Mind Explosion presents four of them, for a total of about 80 minutes — are hypnotic, swinging, exciting and saturated in shroomic properties. What stands Mind Explosion out from the catalog is that it’s a live album that basically serves the same function as a studio full-length would. Electric Moon are no strangers to live releases; plenty have shown up on LP, CD and limited CD-R from Schmidt‘s Sulatron Records. But where outings like the two-volume Live 2012 CDs (review here) were essentially live bootlegs, the presentation on Mind Explosion is like that of a complete studio outing. It’s bridging that gap.

And in so doing, it’s continuing Electric Moon‘s journey into the sort of creative Big Bang that drives heavy psychedelia to start with. Why can’t an album that would be recorded live just be live on stage? Why can’t an album be a live album? Why does there need to be a distinction from one to the other? The four tracks of Mind Explosion – “Trip to the Moon” (21:45), “Kaleidoscopeephole” (22:14), “The Picture” (17:04) and “Mind Explosion” (18:50) — offer plenty of time to explore these questions, and but for the periodic interjections of crowd noise, shouts in the middle of especially engaging turns, etc., there’s very little to separate the album from anything Electric Moon have jammed out in the studio. In terms of the sound quality, it’s probably Schnitzler‘s drums that most give it away, but his cymbals sound full and have no problem creating a wash to back the spaced-out effects work from Lulu and Schmidt, who also come through clearly. Together, they ride the jams out as far as they want to go, riffs and leads topping sure-footed rhythms — the bass-tone that begins “The Picture” is as much a foundation for the song’s unfolding as one could ask — in a dynamic that has only grown over time. They’re never overly technical or looking to put on a clinic as much as a show, and part of what makes Mind Explosion successful as a release even into its later reaches is the band’s sense of bringing the audience with them on these sonic voyages. As far out as it is — and it is — Electric Moon‘s sound never lets go of also being inviting.

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Video Trailers Posted for Desertfest 2014 in London and Berlin

Posted in Bootleg Theater on April 3rd, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

I’ll admit to carrying more than a bit of jealousy in my heart for those who’ll be in either London or Berlin at the end of the month when Desertfest gets underway in both towns. Either city is a trek I’d gladly make if I had cash for the flight, and I suppose if being broke has any upside, it’s saving me from having to choose one over the other. Poor consolation for not getting over there, but frankly I’ll take what I can get at this point.

A video trailer back Stubb‘s Jack Dickinson surfaced for the London fest about a week ago, and today Berlin followed suit in posting a trailer for the fest there. Again, either way you go, you can’t really lose. Whether you’re seeing Causa Sui and Stoned Jesus in Berlin or Pombagira and Borracho in London, you’re in for an amazing weekend you won’t soon forget and an experience of a community coming into its own even as it continues to discover what that means. This is a very cool year for Desertfest. So was last year. The one before that wasn’t half bad either.

You get the point though, and the point is me, unemployed and sulking. I’m sure I’ll have more about Desertfest before it actually launches, but I wanted to post these clips together just to give a sample of the vibe of both festivals and what they have to offer the discerning gormandizers who might hit them up. Desertfest Berlin runs April 24-26 at Astra Kulturhaus in Berlin, Germany, and Desertfest London picks up April 25-27 at various venues in Camden Town. Info in the clips and at the links.

Desertfest Berlin 2014 trailer

24th, 25th, 26th April 2014 : DESERTFEST BERLIN

THURSDAY 24th – Spirit Caravan Official – Sleepy Sun – Siena Root – ASG – Sixty Watt Shaman – Pet The Preacher – ANCIIENTS – The Midnight Ghost Train – Cojones
—–
FRIDAY 25th — Kvelertak – Causa Sui – Church of Misery Official – Elder – Huata – HULL – GOZU – BLACK RAINBOWS – Prisma Circus – The Moth – Red Stoner Sun – MANTAR
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SATURDAY 26th — Clutch – Radio Moscow – The Machine – The Ultra Electric Mega Galactic – Stoned Jesus – THE GRAVIATORS – Sasquatch – Radar Men from the Moon – SardoniS – Castle – Metal Band – Powder for Pigeons – DoctoR DooM

Desertfest Berlin website

Desertfest London 2014 trailer

Desertfest 2014 is heavier than before & Taking over Camden, London during the 25-27th April.With over 60 bands from the underground stoner / doom and sludge scene peforminng this years fesitval is not to be missed, Headliners are Spirit Caravan / Kvlertak & Boris, plus weedeater, church of misery, ASG, blues Pills and many more…for the full line up please click below.

Desertfest London website

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