Posted in Whathaveyou on October 21st, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
The ink barely dry on earlier-this-year’s Into the Absolute EP, German death-doom outfit Owl have announced a follow-up short release, The Last Walk, to be issued next month on Zeitgeister Music. The Bonn-based project of Christian Kolf, Owl switches off between blurring and demolishing genre lines, as Into the Absolute showed, songs like “Unearthly Arcana” pushing into progressive death and black metals while the opening title-track recalled slow-motion Meshuggah chugging and post-metal atmospheric churn and the brief, ambient “Apparition” added ghostly malevolence to the surrounding tonal crush. What Kolf, who may or may not still be joined by drummer Patrick Schroeder in the band, might come up with over the course of a single 25-minute stretch is something to look forward to finding out.
Ever reliable in this regard, the PR wire brings details of the new release. I’ve also included the Bandcamp stream of Into the Absolute should you feel compelled to dig in:
OWL: German Death/Doom Obscurists Return With 25 Minute Opus “The Last Walk”
Epic Track to be Released as Digital Download via Zeitgeister on November 19th
Less than 6 months after the crushing release of their Into The Absolute EP, OWL are preparing to return with a 25-minute opus entitled The Last Walk.
On this release OWL continue their ever-evolving and unpredictable path by combining their ambient style with sorrowful doom metal, influenced by bands such as My Dying Bride, early Anathema, Nadja, Dead Can Dance, alongside ambient music as well as band leader Christian Kolf’s experimental project Gruenewald.
The Last Walk was written, recorded, and produced by Kolf in his own DH Studios from March – September 2014. Mastering was done by Simon Hawemann at Sludge Studios.
The song will be available as a digital download via Zeitgesiter on November 19th.
Posted in Whathaveyou on October 15th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
A sort of double-dose of news from German heavy rockers Stonehenge, whose debut, Bunch of Bisons (review here), was released last year. They’ll be reissuing that album on vinyl through Fuzzmatazz Records in December, and they’re also at work on their second full-length. The organ-laced riffers have posted some footage from the studio — not much music in the clip, but a lot of giggling — and while there’s no word on a solid release date for the sophomore outing, they’ll hit the road also in December alongside Operators for a few shows and presumably have some new material in tow for their set as they support the Bunch of Bisons vinyl.
Fuzzmatazz passed along the following:
Lets make it official! @FUZZMATAZZ records will re-release Stonhenge’s great first Album Bunch of Bisons in a strictly limited edition very soon. We are working really hard to make this LP to come in December. It will be a very special and ultra nice looking piece of vinyl with a shitload of extras inside – e.g. new mastering, poster, handprinted cover…
So make sure to get yours very fast! We will start a preorder as soon as we know the Date of the production! So stay tuned…
That is what stonhenge has to say about this…
Hello people, after long silence we’re back with a boom!
Last week we were in the studio to record our second album. Here’s a video. More news tomorrow and the day after.
2nd news-update: We’re touring with the OPERATORS in december. Also we’re playing 2 shows with Pyrior in Halle (18.10.) and Berlin (23.12.)
3rd news-update: our first album “Bunch Of Bisons” will be re-released on VINYL!!!
In the couple of next months we give you an ultra-limited special-edition in cooperation with the supercool label “Fuzzmatazz records”, the same label our friends “OPERATORS” put their record on. Stay tuned.
Posted in Whathaveyou on October 13th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
Currently banging out a quick round of dates in Canada and a couple US shows surrounding ahead of hitting the road with Opeth and In Flames in December, raucous Portland heavy rock forerunners Red Fang have been announced as headliners for the London and Berlin 2015 editions of Desertfest. Both fests will take place at the end of next April. They join Sleep as one of the headliners for London and Orange Goblin‘s 20th anniversary special for Berlin, of course among many others and more to come.
Announcements from both Desertfests follow, yoinked from the PR wire:
RED FANG confirmed for Desertfest London 2015!
They need no introduction, each one of their gigs turns into the best metal party you’ll ever have: ladies and gents, we have the immense pleasure to confirm RED FANG as second headliner of DESERTFEST LONDON 2015, which will take place on April 24-26th in Camden.
For the fourth year running, Camden will be hosting one of the most exciting stoner/doom/sludge/psyche gatherings in Europe, for a full weekend of fuzzed-out tunes, psychedelia and partying. As the first headliner of this 2015 edition, American stoner rock pioneers SLEEP will be treating the Desertfest crowd to the finest smoked-out odysseys, with an exclusive headlining set at London’s famous venue Koko. Also headlining, Portland’s heavy rock’n’rollers RED FANG are set to turn this fourth edition into a massive metal celebration. The ground is set to tremble once again this year, with UK metal heavyweights ORANGE GOBLIN delivering their fiery metal anthems for a one-off 20th anniversary performance. It’s very rightfully than German psych foursome MY SLEEPING KARMA will be perfectly embodying the cosmic side of this first announcement.
Desertfest Berlin – April 23th, 24th & 25th 2015 – Red Fang added to the Line-up!
The fourth edition of our festival will take place once again in the famous ASTRA KulturHaus, in the beating cultural heart of BERLIN (F-Hain/X-Berg), from APRIL 23TH to 25TH 2015! We already look forward to welcome you again : 196 days left to wait :)
On the programme: 2 stages, around 25 bands playing across the 3 days, a beergarden, a hippie corner market and art exhibits… you know the formula… but also a bunch of new suprises that you will discover soon enough!
We started in September to unveil the first bands of a line-up that will totally blow you away, with a lot of exclusive/special shows: ORANGE GOBLIN “20 Year Anniversary Special Show”, MY SLEEPING KARMA “Album Release Party”… And we are proud to announce today that Portland’s Hard Rock Heroes RED FANG will headline one of the 3 nights!!
EARLY BIRDS TICKETS can already be purchased for 75€ via the link you will find a the end of this release!
Posted in audiObelisk on October 6th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
Coming soon through Dutch imprint Headspin Records is a new split 12″ from German psych purveyors Krautzone and New Zealand’s Lamp of the Universe that features extended works from both bands and an overarching swirl between them that’s irresistibly if expectedly hypnotic. For Krautzone, whose lineup boasts members of Zone Six and Electric Moon – Sula Bassana and Modulfix on synth, Onkel Kaktus on bass, Komet Lulu on drums, Rainer Neeff (also The Pancakes) on guitar — it is the follow-up to their 2013 Sulatron Records debut, Kosmiche Rituale, and it presents in similar form. That album showcased three longer tracks of jammed out heavy space/Krautrock prog, and the new split follows suit, with the aptly-named two-parter “Superkraut” taking up the entirety of their side, accounting for 22 minutes of spaced-out instrumental progression, a steady current of organ and guitar fuzz marking out the improv-sounding jam in its first half while the second part gets even farther out into the cosmos, the drums holding firm as swirling drones begin a build of guitar that starts serene and ends serene but offers a surging wash of noise along the way in a satisfying trance of a journey.
While Krautzone plunge into the dark matter reaches of an unexplored spectrum, Lamp of the Universe provide fitting complement by taking that same search and turning it inward. Those familiar with the solo-project of Hamilton-based multi-instrumentalist and vocalist Craig Williamson know he’s always had a deeply spiritual approach, and his 22-minute track for this split, “Doors of Perception,” behaves accordingly, but where Williamson (ex-Datura) has spent the last couple years in the more straightforward heavy rock-minded Arc of Ascent and even Lamp of the Universe‘s last outing, 2013’s Transcendence (review here), seemed to move in a more traditional songwriting direction, “Doors of Perception” opens with seven-plus minutes of effects swirl before Williamson‘s signature clean-sounding acoustic guitar kicks in, and if you’ve been listening front to back after Krautzone‘s two tracks, the arrival of vocals about a minute later is like the exhale that must come when you reach the temple at the top of a mountain. Williamson unfolds a gorgeous, contemplative progression and then gradually gives way once again to psychedelic experimentation after the 13th minute, sitar, wah guitar and percussion gradually bringing the piece to a noisy apex.
The two acts pair together remarkably well, and both “Superkraut” and “Doors of Perception” offer substantial glimpses of psychedelic flourish that seem bent on drawing the distinction between consciousness and self. I encourage you to dig in on the player below, and be wary of getting lost in the lushness of the tones and vibes:
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Krautzone and Lamp of the Universe‘s split LP is coming soon on Headspin Records in a limited pressing of 500 copies — 200 color vinyl, 300 black — and boasts a silver embossed cover by Lulu Artwork. More info at the links.
Posted in Whathaveyou on October 3rd, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
German/Russian heavy psych rockers Iguana kick off a round of European dates tonight that will cover the next couple months, playing with Naam in Weil der Stadt. Later this month, they’ll hit the Keep it Low festival and then on from there for a series of weekenders that goes into December. Their debut album, Get the City Love You (review here), came out in 2012. Rumor has it — and by “rumor” I mean what they said on Thee Facebooks — they’ve got new songs written, so perhaps they’ll use these dates as a means for working out the kinks en route to recording their sophomore outing sometime this winter or next year.
Either way, if you happen to be somewhere these dudes are playing and up for a jammy good time, you know what’s up.
The IGUANA-Tour starts with some highlights. On 3rd of October IGUANA shares the stage with brooklyn based psychrockers NAAM. On the 18.10. they will play Keep It Low Festival, with acts like KADAVAR, BLUES PILLS, MARS RED SKY and THE SHRINE. The bands’ personal highlite will take place on the 25th of October, when IGUANA will be playing with SPIDERGAWD (including two members of the fabulous MOTORPSYCHO). So there is a lot of parties to come. Please join us!
IGUANA are touring Europe for some years now in the good old manner of DIY. IGUANA played more than 120 shows with bands such as Colour Haze, Kadavar, Saint Vitus, Brant Bjork. And they played Stoned From The Underground twice, also Void Fest and Blue Moon Fest.
Tourdates 2014 – IGUANA – Fall Winter Tour 2014: 03.10.2014 – Weil der Stadt (DE), JH Kloster, w. Naam 18.10.2014 – München (DE), Feierwerk – Keep It Low Festival, w. Kadavar, The Shrine, Mars Red Sky 24.10.2014 – Lüneburg (DE), Jekyll & Hyde, w. Eta Lux 25.10.2014 – Hamburg (DE), Bambi Galore, w. Spidergawd 31.10.2014 – St. Gallen (CH), Rümpeltum, w. Wight, Bushfire 01.11.2014 – Kranichfeld (DE), Crossing All Over Fest 14.11.2014 – Nijmegen (NL), De Onderbroek 15.11.2014 – Den Haag (NL), Club tba 20.11.2014 – Dresden (DE), Ostpol, w. Kalamahara 22.11.2014 – Würzburg (DE), Immerhin, w. Stone Troopers 13.12.2014 – Berlin (DE), Cortina Bob, w. Deaf Flow
Posted in audiObelisk on September 24th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
Next Monday, Sept. 29, marks the release of the fifth Larman Clamor album, Beetle Crown and Steel Wand. The one-man outfit of Hamburg-based artist Alexander von Wieding has been something of a fixture around these parts the last few years, and over that time, the project’s progression has only become more evident, von Wieding taking Larman Clamor from swampy surrealism to an intricate potion of blues, psychedelia, heavy rock and gritty Southern-style twang. It’s been a satisfying and primarily weird journey, and I doubt very much if von Wieding would have it any other way.
The last couple Larman Clamor outings have come out courtesy of Small Stone Records — von Wieding has also provided art to numerous Small Stone artists from Wo Fat to Lo-Pan and so on — but Beetle Crown and Steel Wand sidesteps the collaboration for a limited self-release, 500 CDs available direct. One doubts it’s the last the two entities will join forces, as von Wieding is reportedly already at work on the sixth Larman Clamor album, but his one-year-one-record clip has been rolling for the last three or four years at this point, and there’s no slowing down now.
What that rate has given those who’ve followed him for that stretch is basically a blow-by-blow account of the creative evolution at play, and Beetle Crown and Steel Wand is the latest step in that clearly ongoing process, branching further out from the project’s bluesed-out roots and into an earthy psychedelia that belongs solely to von Wieding. He’s still got an edge of Delta blues to the sound — as the banjo-plucking and slide guitar on “Bleak Heart’s Night Waltz” will attest — but his depth of arrangement, rhythmic stomp and melodic scope continue to flourish.
Check out “Bleak Heart’s Night Waltz” on the player below, followed by the bio I wrote for the album, and enjoy:
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Tales of brown-leafed mystery. Unseen threats lurking in high weeds. Something not quite human, not quite there, out of some other place. Feet stomping on wood porches. This is all familiar terrain for Larman Clamor’s blues, but with Beetle Crown and Steel Wand, it’s just another piece in an increasingly complicated puzzle of psychedelic experimentation.
It is the fourth Larman Clamor full-length in three years, the prolific heart of multi-instrumentalist/vocalist/artist Alexander Von Wieding proving relentless in its creativity, and while Beetle Crown and Steel Wand fits in line with 2013’s Alligator Heart, 2012’s Frogs, 2011’s Altars to Turn Blood and the preceding 2011 self-titled debut EP, no question it’s also the next step in an ongoing evolution of Von Wieding’s songwriting. Each Larman Clamor outing has developed from the last, and Beetle Crown and Steel Wand is no exception. It is Von Wieding’s most rhythmic, most expansive statement to date.
One can hear it in the familiar dirt boogie of “My Lil’ Ghost,” sure – how comfortable Von Wieding sounds in this form compared to just two years ago (he’s had plenty of practice) – but where Beetle Crown and Steel Wand really distinguishes itself is in the arrangements. In short movements like “Eggs in the Sand” and “Tangerine Nightfall” and the album’s apex, “Her Majesty, the Mountain,” Von Wieding pushes Larman Clamor into psychedelic spaces more than he ever has, and particularly in the case of the latter, into heavier tonal weight than he’s ever conjured before. Larman Clamor doesn’t just sound like a solo-project here, but a full band.
At the same time, the opening title-track offers layers of percussive sway, “We Shine Alright” ticks away on pots and pans jangling chains, and “Bleak Heart’s Night Waltz” taps into forgotten woodsman tribalisms. Von Wieding takes us far away from past minimalism on “Caravan of Ghouls,” with a full, ritualized sound, and could it be that he’s presenting us with a companion for Larman in “Aurora Snarling?” It seems too early to speculate, but if Aurora is another character in Larman’s dizzying tale, she’s bound to show up again.
What’s certain is that Beetle Crown and Steel Wand is Larman Clamor’s farthest-ranging album yet. Von Wieding is still loyal to the muddy waters from which the project first emerged, but in no way is he restrained by them, and if the last couple years have proved anything, it’s that this development is only going to keep moving forward. Now that Larman Clamor is out of the swamps, it seems more and more like it can go just about anywhere.
Posted in audiObelisk on September 22nd, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
To Take up the Cross is a debut, of sorts. For German one-man outfit Latitude Egress, it marks a significant change. Formerly known as Licht Erlischt, the band released two albums of depressive black metal, moving away from the conventions of the subgenre over the course of 2009’s The Narrow Path and 2012’s …And Below, the Retrograde Disciples until, with To Take up the Cross, the shift required a name change. So, To Take up the Cross arrives as the first Latitude Egress offering, released on Oct. 27 via Art of Propaganda, comprising seven stylistically varied songs named in thematic keeping with the album’s title that hold firm to a rich, emotionally resonant drama while consistently defying expectation.
The roots are in black metal. Some of the underlying bed of guitar distortion from multi-instrumentalist/vocalist Niklas “Nerrath” Thiele (Horn, ex-Chemosh) gives that away, but Latitude Egress is stubborn in its refusal to be easily pigeonholed. In its pacing and melancholia, it’s no less indebted to classic European doom, and shades of death/doom appear alongside Thiele‘s synth theatricality and clean, commanding, at times Nick Cave-esque singing style. Earlier cuts like “To Take up the Cross When through it You Can Win a Kingdom” and “To Cast a Spot upon the Death of Your Death” might bring to mind some of Primordial‘s post-blackened impulses, but the personality and mission behind Latitude Egress is different, and songs move fluidly between raging and contemplative quieter passages, never quite departing a full-band feel but giving a sense of personal expression from Thiele all the same.
Slotted as the penultimate inclusion, sixth of the seven, “To Restore the Pride to Petravore” builds over its first couple minutes subtly behind Thiele‘s vocals and guitar until at last boiling over to a push of shouts and distortion that, topped with a mournful lead guitar, serve as a fitting emblem of To Take up the Cross‘ doomed side, a memorable airiness of tone seeming sentimental for former glories until the piece seems to collapses, resigned, into itself and ends, giving way to closer “To March along the Desolate Peripheries of Mind,” which enacts the final stretch of bleakness in Latitude Egress‘ heavy-hearted salvo.
As much a work of emotional as sonic weight, you’ll final “To Restore the Pride to Petravore” on the player below. Please enjoy:
Latitude Egress‘ To Take up the Cross is due out Oct. 27 on Art of Propaganda. More info at the links.
Posted in audiObelisk on September 12th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
Today marks the release date of Albez Duz‘s second album, The Coming of Mictlan, on Iron Bonehead Productions vinyl and Archaic Sound CD. The sophomore outing from the Berlin-based two-piece follows a 2009 self-titled debut and is a subgenre spanning work of depressive and extreme doom metal, seven tracks spread across two vinyl sides running a gamut from morose goth theatricality to deathly growls grueling rhythmic lurch, all with a sense of the grandiose and a dose of classic melodic melancholia to accompany. Propelled by the collaboration of multi-instrumentalist Eugen H. (also drums in black metallers Dies Ater) and vocalist Alfonso Brito Lopez, it is encompassing and masterfully conceived.
Beginning with the mystic drones and spoken word intro “Heaven’s Blind,” The Coming of Mictlan isn’t without its ritualized side, a cultish tendency and neofolk influence emerging on the album’s second half with the subdued “Drowned,” some classic prog coming late into that song with emergent keys (they also covered Black Widow on the first record), but Albez Duz utterly refuse to be pinned to one style or another. An early rocker like “Fire Wings,” which still boasts plenty of twists and turns, sets the stage for further branching out on the subsequent “Mictlan” and “Feathered Snake,” unifying Aztec themes emerging across the record’s flowing course until the closing Tanita Tikaram cover “Twist in My Sobriety” redoes the moody New Wave pop-folk of the original as dark rock downerism.
To coincide with the album’s release, today I have the pleasure of hosting “Mictlan” for streaming. It’s not a complete summary of everything Albez Duz accomplish on The Coming of Mictlan, but it does demonstrate over its eight minutes how coherently the band ties its varied elements together, creating something individual from them and balancing an experimental sensibility with progressive songwriting. Do yourself a favor: When the song is done, and the keyboard-topped doom march has reached its conclusion, hit play again and go back to the start to remind yourself of just how far you’ve come and in how relatively short a time.
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Albez Duz‘s The Coming of Mictlan is available now on Iron Bonehead Productions LP and Archaic Sound CD. More info at the links.
The good news is that German trio Wight are getting ready to embark on their third record. The not-necessarily-a-downside-but-one-feels-compelled-to-make-it-a-contrast-anyway news is that means leaving their second outing, 2012’s continually-appealing Through the Woods into Deep Water(review here), behind as they move forward. Much to their credit, I think Wight are doing so in grand style. While it seems they’ll continue to play at least some of the material live, guitarist/vocalist René Hoffmann, bassist/saxophonist Peter-Philipp Schierhorn and drummer Thomas Kurek have nonetheless decided to give Through the Woods into Deep Watera sort of Viking funeral, taking the album’s title-track out into the forest for a ritual farewell.
In keeping with the full-length’s organic nature and psychedelic sprawl, Wight play “Through the Woods into Deep Water” live in their new video, with sound captured by Hoffmann (he’s done live audio for Monster Magnet, among others) and direction by Johanna Amberg. The woods in which they’re jamming are located in Eutersee, Hesseneck–Schöllenbach, and they seem to have found the perfect clearing among all the old growth to jam out. The purging is complete when, as the song winds its way toward its languid conclusion, Wight jump in a lake and wash themselves clean, a literal portrayal of going through the woods and into deep water of a mind with the slow movement of the track itself.
Through the Woods into Deep Waterwas a huge leap forward from Wight‘s 2011 debut, Wight Weedy Wight(review here), and the two were really only separated by one year. Since the three-piece’s next one isn’t likely to show up before 2015, that’ll be nearly three years between their second and third albums, so it should be fascinating to hear the direction they take their sound. One more to look forward to hearing in the New Year, and in the meantime, a stellar goodbye to this era of the band.
Wight, “Through the Woods into Deep Water” live in the forest
Posted in Whathaveyou on September 3rd, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
The track “’61 SG” from German classic heavy rock power trio Wedge starts out with pretty standard guitar-as-girl lyrics, and it’s not until it gets to the two-line chorus that the band really shows just how tongue-in-cheek the spirit of the song is. I won’t spoil the punchline, but it’s a good one and the ’70s-worship boogie that accompanies is no less enjoyable. Wedge will release their self-titled debut in November through Italian imprint Heavy Psych Sounds, joining an expanding roster helmed and curated by Gabriele Fiori of Roman fuzz rockers Black Rainbows.
Wedge – comprised of vocalist/guitarist Kiryk, drummer The Holg and bassist/key specialist David — formed earlier this year, so I guess you could say they’re off to a solid start. They’ve already done a few festivals, and in the days and months to come, they’re set to share the stage with Seven that Spells, Heat, Belzebong, Aqua Nebula Oscillatorand fellow Berlin natives Kadavar, who seem to be a key influence under which Wedge are working.
Always up for a good time, Heavy Psych Sounds announced the news earlier, heralding the arrival of vintage grooves in limited vinyl editions, which, you know, is kind of how it goes these days. Dig the video too, if you’ve got a minute to watch:
HEAVY PSYCH SOUNDS Records is Proud to announce the signing of
for their upcoming selftitled LP out in November in Vinyl and Digipak.
The vinyl will be released in ltd ed in 150 copies in clear blue, and white.
The band was formed in early 2014 by Kiryk (vocals & guitar), The Holg (drums) & David (bass, organ & electric piano), three dedicated musicians and party pals from Berlin, Germany.
They play a Vintage-Retro Rock n’ Roll inspired by bands as The Who, Cream, Groundhogs, Cactus, MC5 and recent Kadavar and Wolfmother.
For more than five years now, Berlin-based guitarist/vocalist Christian Peters has been working ceaselessly to bring his band Samsara Blues Experiment to the forefront of heavy psychedelic consciousness. From touring the West Coast of the US before they even had an album released to graphic design work to founding his own label, Electric Magic Records in order to bolster other acts — having an outlet for a collection of solo recordings released under the name Soulitude didn’t hurt either — to playing fests like Roadburn, the Desertfests, Freak Valley and many more, as well as touring, SBE has taken the harder road of getting their name out. At the same time, Peters has been at the fore of Samsara Blues Experiment‘s creative development since the start, their three albums — 2013’s Waiting for the Flood(review here), 2011’s Revelation and Mystery(review here) and 2009’s Long Distance Trip(review here) — showcasing a fluid psychedelia both creatively open and propelled by rich tonality. On both levels, the work of Peters and his bandmates has begun to pay off.
When I sent him the Questionnaire to fill out, Peters was on a well-earned vacation — no computer — but back to the grind, he wasted no time in sending back his answers, which I think you’ll enjoy reading:
The Obelisk Questionnaire: Christian Peters
How did you come to do what you do?
I started playing guitar at the age of 10. My father, more or less, forced me to learn an instrument at that time, so you can imagine how “happy” I was back then with playing Folk and Classical guitar. Every day at least one half-hour was my torment as a kid, really. I didn’t touch my guitar for one year when I was around 15 or 16, but then got finally addicted to music and so started to teach myself E-Guitar and all (or most of) the other instruments I play today.
Describe your first musical memory.
Singing tradional German Folk songs in the car with my Mom and Dad, all together. I may have been around 4 or 5 years old.
Describe your best musical memory to date.
First rehearsal with my first band, back in 1999. First professional recording, later then. Releasing a first LP record with Terraplane in 2007. Playing in San Francisco with SBE in 2009. Well, there seem to be plenty of good memories, but these are the best up to date.
When was a time when a firmly held belief was tested?
All the time, somehow.
Where do you feel artistic progression leads?
Happiness perhaps? For instance I am seldomly really happy with recordings. But then sometimes I am not even sure if there´s much progression left for me, haha. Then I sometimes feel like being trapped in that certain picture, even if the frame seems pretty wide.
How do you define success?
Being happy with what I do.
What is something you have seen that you wish you hadn’t?
All the things I´ve seen make me who I am, not all was pretty. I have seen sickness, poverty, lethargy, loneliness and death and more. It´s what most of us see in their fair share — some more, some less, some earlier and some later. Life isn´t always pretty, so let´s deal with it and write some songs about it to ease the pain. That´s how I try to get along.
Describe something you haven’t created yet that you’d like to create.
Much better albums. So let´s progress!
Something non-musical that you’re looking forward to?
NFL season 2014 and of course my next meal ;-).
Samsara Blues Experiment, “Shringara” Live in Athens, May 2014
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 Floodas 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.
Posted in On Wax on August 19th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
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 of “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 Anarchy, Cardinal 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 have 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, Dräger, Ruß 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)
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.
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
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