Yawning Man Announce July 6 Release for The Revolt Against Tired Noises

Posted in Whathaveyou on May 18th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

Preorders start May 22. I’m not really sure what else you need to know. It’s a new Yawning Man album, so a bigtime covet is a given, and it’s out in July and you can preorder it starting next week. Oh, I suppose you’ll probably be interested to know they’ll be touring for it, that Heavy Psych Sounds is putting it out, that Mathias Schneeberger recorded, and that it’s been given the punk-as-hell title The Revolt Against Tired Noises. The follow-up to 2016’s Historical Graffiti (review here), which was pressed to vinyl by Lay Bare Recordings, it will mark the desert rock legends’ first collaboration with Heavy Psych Sounds, which also counts Yawning Man bassist Mario Lalli‘s other long-running band, Fatso Jetson, on its roster.

The PR wire has the specifics like this, but really, everything you need to know is in the first sentence above:

yawning man the revolt against tired noises

Desert heavy psych godfathers YAWNING MAN to issue new album “The Revolt Against Tired Noises” on July 6th via Heavy Psych Sounds.

Experimental desert rock legends YAWNING MAN announce the release of their new album “The Revolt Against Tired Noises” this July 6th on Heavy Psych Sounds Records.

The aural experience of YAWNING MAN summarizes as an intense yet graceful kaleidoscope of polyphonic musical textures. Dramatic and flowing, dark, intense and emotional. July 2018 finds the band releasing their most musically exciting recording to date with their 6th full length LP, “The Revolt Against Tired Noises” on the ambitious up and coming independent label, HPS Records. The songs on this release are described as “an emotional and visceral expression of pure melodic darkness and beauty”, the album was recorded at Gato Trail Studios in Joshua Tree, CA and produced and engineered by friend and long time collaborator, Mathias Schneeberger (Mark Lanegan, Greg Duli, SUNN O))), Earth, The Obsessed).

The eight songs offered here are the results of a conscious focus to the poetry in melody, finding new sounds and melodic passages that conjure visuals and express emotion and movement. Six of the eight songs are in the instrumental tradition the band is mostly know for however two tracks feature the rare appearance of a vocalist (bassist Mario Lalli) alongside Gary Arce’s dream weaving guitar work. One of these tracks of notable mention is the song “Catamaran”, a Yawning Man song made popular by the legendary influential desert rock band Kyuss on the 1995 Elektra release “And the Circus Leaves Town”. The song was never released by YAWNING MAN, however the Kyuss cover of the song proved to be a favorite among Kyuss fans. Spreading the word about Yawning Man’s unique rock music. Yawning Man will finally release this classic, properly recorded for the first time in 30 years. “The Revolt Against Tired Noises” is just that , a statement of a unique creative chemistry that’s always changing and evolving.

A full European, UK, North American / Canadian and South American tour is in planned to support the release. The album will be available on LTD “Half-Half” Red Clear Blue Viny, Ultra Ltd 200 “Cornetto Version” Transparent & Blue Special Colouring (Only From HPS Website), 30 Test Press (Only From HPS website), Black Vinyl, Digipak and Digital.

YAWNING MAN “The Revolt Against Tired Noises”
Out July 6th on Heavy Psych Sounds Records
Pre-order from May 22nd

TRACK LISTING:
1. The Black Kite
2. The Revolt Against Tired Noises
3. Skyline Pressure
4. Grant’s Heart
5. Violent Lights
6 Catamaran
7. Misfortune Cookies
8. Ghost Beach

YAWNING MAN IS
Gary Arce – Guitar
Mario Lalli – Bass
Bill Stinson – Drums

Yawning Man on tour:
25.07.18 | NL | Utrecht | Db’s
27.07.18 | UK | Manchester | The Rebellion
28.07.18 | UK | Bristol | The Louisiana
29.07.18 | UK | London | The Blackheart
31.07.18 | DE | Wiesbaden | Schlachthof
03.08.18 | IT | Osoppo | Pietra Sonica Festival
04.08.18 | AT | Waldhausen | Lake On Fire Festival
05.08.18 | PL | Chorzow | Red & Black
06.08.18 | PL | Warsaw | Chmury
11.08.18 | AT | Döbriach | Sauzipf Rocks Festival
13.08.18 | IT | Brescia | Festa Radio Onda D’Urto (*)
15.08.18 | IT | Ancona | Go Down Beach Fest (*)
16.08.18 | IT | Pescara | Frantic Fest (*)
17.08.18 | IT | Bari | Go Down Beach Fest (*)
18.08.18 | IT | Galatone | Sagra Del Diavolo (*)
24.08.18 | CH | Luzern | Sedel
25.08.18 | IT | Bolzano | Mountain Session
30.08.18 | GR | Thessaloniki | Street Mode Fest
02.09.18 | BU | Sofia | Mixtape 5
03.09.18 | HR | Zupanja | MKC
04.09.18 | SI | Ljubljana | Dvorana Rog
06.09.18 | FR | Clermont-Ferrand | Raymond Bar
07.09.18 | FR | Montpellier | Le Black Sheep
08.09.18 | SP | Barcelona | Rocksound
09.09.18 | SP | San Sebastian | Dabadaba
10.09.18 | SP | Gijon | Sala Memphis
11.09.18 | PO | Porto | Woodstock 69
12.09.18 | SP | Madrid | Wurlitzer Ballroom
13.09.18 | SP | Bilbao | Maritime Museum Bar

(* with ANANDA MIDA)

https://www.facebook.com/yawningmanofficial/
https://yawningman.bandcamp.com
http://www.yawningman.com/
https://www.soundofliberation.com/yawning-man
https://www.facebook.com/Sound-of-Liberation-UG-183095098426785/
https://www.facebook.com/HEAVYPSYCHSOUNDS
http://www.heavypsychsounds.com
https://heavypsychsoundsrecords.bandcamp.com

Yawning Man, Historical Graffiti (2016)

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Review & Full Album Premiere: Duel, Live at the Electric Church

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on May 15th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

duel live at the electric church

[Click play above to stream Duel’s Live at the Electric Church in full. Album is out May 18 on Heavy Psych Sounds.]

On Cesar Chavez St. in Austin, Texas, far enough from the 6th St. epicenter of the hype machine known as SXSW, the weirdos seem to have made a haven called The Electric Church. On a given night, one might see an open mic/psych jam played out while video games are projected on the wall outside — they call it “Triptendo,” and rightly so — or local acts like Greenbeard, Amplified Heat or Peyote Coyote. I don’t know when Duel recorded Live at the Electric Church there, and I kind of like that. I’m sure somewhere on the CD or LP package there’s the date (digital promo) or I’m sure if you asked the band when they played that particular set, they wouldn’t keep it a secret, but I kind of like the thought of not knowing. If you’ve never been to Austin, it has traditionally been an enclave in Texas for artists, musicians, hippies and others who don’t fit the norm.

It’s cool to think that one might head up to a kind of off-the-path locale on the other side of the highway and find creativity flourishing in all its constantly misunderstood glory. Maybe Duel are on stage. The four-piece outfit have made themselves ambassadors of classic stoner rock, delivering the goods with ’70s flair, modern fuzz, and abundant hooks as they bounce and careen through deceptively memorable tracks. They’ve got two full-lengths out via Heavy Psych Sounds in 2016’s Fears of the Dead (review here) and 2017’s Witchbanger (review here), and with Live at the Electric Church, they show off the energy and the clear delivery that typifies the approach they’ve developed on tours of the US and Europe.

The set is a little over half an hour long and is comprised of six songs, four of which come from Fears of the Dead, with only “The Snake Queen” and the subsequent “Heart of the Sun” taken from Witchbanger. Likely that has more to do with the timing of when the show was taped than some aesthetic consideration or a preference for the band for their debut over their sophomore outing. That is, Witchbanger probably just hadn’t been out all that long when they played that gig, or the four/two split might just as easily be reversed. As it is, “The Snake Queen” and “Heart of the Sun” make up the middle third of the set, with the brash “This Old Crow” and the righteous hook of “Electricity” before and the Fears of the Dead title-track and longer closer “Locked Outside” after.

duel

Throughout, on new material and old, Duel‘s lineup of guitarist/vocalist Tom Frank, guitarist Jeff Henson, bassist/vocalist Shaun Avants and drummer JD Shadowz leave no question as to why they’d want to release this particular evening’s set as they not only sound dynamic in terms of speeding up or slowing down songs, but also in bringing different vibes through in their material, such as the transition from “Electricity” to the largely more subdued “Snake Queen,” which forsakes the all-go-all-destroy live ethic of some bands — nothing against it, especially for a shorter set — in favor of something richer on the whole. Captured by Crow Studios on a mobile recording unit, Live at the Electric Church is crisp and sharp sounding, but doesn’t lose its live edge in order to preserve its underlying melody or the aforementioned dynamic of approach. As with Duel on the whole, it finds a balance that works.

And if on this particular night they happened to play more cuts from the first album, so be it. I don’t think I’d trade the slow-roll-into-reignition of “Fears of the Dead” for much anyway. That song and the 8:49 “Locked Outside” are the longest two on Live at the Electric Church, and as on Fears of the Dead, much of the second half of the closer is given to a last instrumental push that after the shared vocals of Frank and Avants in the trippy midsection takes hold fluidly and moves with natural ease toward the eventual grand crescendo of the set as a whole. From the quick and straightforward bruiser “This Old Crow” at the start, it’s a pretty wide-ranging journey toward “Locked Outside,” but as Duel shuffle and boogie their way through, they leave a trail of hooks behind for the audience to follow, and from the whoops and shouts between the songs, it sounds like they succeeded in that.

I haven’t had the pleasure of watching Duel live and I’m quite sure that if I had I’d be speaking about Live at the Electric Church in a different way, but part of the purpose of live albums in the first place isn’t just to give ans something else to latch onto between studio releases, but to give those who haven’t seen the band yet a teaser of what they’ve been missing. As someone in the latter category, I can only say Live at the Electric Church succeeds there as well, showcasing both the songwriting prowess and the vitality of the band while holding to the brazen feel that the songs demand. Everything works. Band, songs, performance. If you’ve got experience with Duel‘s prior work or you want a 32-minute sampler of what they can do, Live at the Electric Church serves to inform and thrill in kind.

Duel on Thee Facebooks

Duel on Bandcamp

Heavy Psych Sounds on Thee Facebooks

Heavy Psych Sounds website

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Cloud Catcher & Crypt Trip Announce ‘Wheels of Fire 2018’ Tour

Posted in Whathaveyou on May 3rd, 2018 by JJ Koczan

I’m just going to assume ‘Wheels of Fire’ is like ‘Chariots of Fire’ but with a much, much, much better soundtrack. The tour will unite Denver headspinners Cloud Catcher with Texas heavy rockers Crypt Trip, whose debut on Heavy Psych Sounds, Rootstock, is out next week. Presented by Hi-Wattage Booking, it looks like a healthy run, covering a goodly portion of California from north to south before swinging back to Texas and letting Cloud Catcher — still supporting last year’s righteous Trails of Kozmic Dust (review here) on Totem Cat play a gig in Oklahoma City on their way back to Colorado.

A little surprising they’re not hitting up the Pacific Northwest — Seattle, Portland, etc. — this trip, but Cloud Catcher were there last Fall, so it’s not exactly like the ground hasn’t been covered. Still, this seems like it’ll be a good time and I can’t help but wonder at this point if Cloud Catcher don’t have some new material they might be trying out on the road. If you get to see them, let me know.

Here’s the poster and dates:

cloud catcher crypt trip tour

CLOUD CATCHER & CRYPT TRIP
WHEELS OF FIRE 2018 TOUR

May 19 Denver, CO Hi-Dive
May 21 Salt Lake City, UT Urban Lounge
May 23 Las Vegas, NV Bunkhouse
May 24 Reno, NV Jub Jubs
May 25 Nevada City, CA Coopers Ale House
May 26 San Francisco, CA Thee Parkside
May 27 Sacramento, CA Blue Lamp
May 28 Los Angeles, CA The Griffin
May 29 Long Beach, CA Que Sera
May 30 San Diego, CA Brick By Brick
June 1 San Antonio, TX The Mix
June 2 Austin, TX Hotel Vegas
June 3 Ft. Worth, TX Tin Panther
June 4 Oklahoma City, OK Blue Note (CC ONLY)

Presented by Hi-Wattage Booking

Poster by Christina Hunt http://www.heavymetaltalisman.com

CLOUD CATCHER is:
Rory Rummings – Guitar and Vocals
Kam Wentworth – Bass and Vocals
Jared Soloman Handman – Drums

CRYPT TRIP is
Ryan Lee: Guitar, Vocals, Elec. Piano
Cameron Martin: Drums, Vocals, Perc.
Sam Bryant: Bass

https://cloud-catcher.bandcamp.com/
https://www.facebook.com/cloudcatcherco

https://www.facebook.com/CryptTrip/
https://crypttrip.bandcamp.com/

Cloud Catcher, Trails of Kozmic Dust (2017)

Crypt Trip, Rootsock (2018)

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Yawning Man Sign to Heavy Psych Sounds; New Album this Summer

Posted in Whathaveyou on April 27th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

Yeah, this one makes sense to me. Don’t get me wrong, it’s awesome news that a new Yawning Man is happening and I honestly think that Heavy Psych Sounds is the perfect label to give them the respect they’ve long since deserved. It’s just that with Fatso Jetson already on the roster, and having recently signed Brant Bjork and released that trilogy of Nebula reissues, Heavy Psych Sounds has made itself something of a haven for desert rock of that classic Californian ilk, so yeah, signing Yawning Man makes a whole lot of sense.

So does the fact that the band’s new album, the official title of which has yet to be unveiled but which I’ve speculated might be called The Revolt Against Tired Noises based on art posted by the band — don’t quote me on it, the record that for years I called Gravity is Good for You never materialized as that; though to be fair it wasn’t keen detective work that told me that title, it was the band itself — is coming out this summer. For the vast majority of bands, you don’t go ahead and book a seven-week tour of Europe without a new release to promote. I’d expect it sometime around July or August, then — the tour is also called ‘The Revolt Against Tired Noises’ — though if it wanted to show up sooner, say like, today, in my inbox, I certainly wouldn’t complain.

Either way, killer and sensible news all around. It’s nice when the universe makes the math work.

From the PR wire:

yawning man

Experimental desert rock godfathers YAWNING MAN sign to Heavy Psych Sounds Records!

Heavy Psych Sounds Records is proud to announce the signing of US desert rock godfathers YAWNING MAN on their roster. The band is currently working on their their sixth album, which details will be unveiled soon.

Formed in the late 1980’s, the lineup of Gary Arce, Mario Lalli, and Bill Stinson rounds out their year-long active recording and touring schedule. Arce and Lalli’s background together date back to the start of YAWNING MAN with Stinson’s background steeped in the SST Records world through performing and recording with Gregg Ginn and Chuck Dukowski of Black Flag for several years. YAWNING MAN is acknowledged and recognized throughout the underground heavy music community as a key piece in the developments of the desert/stoner rock subgenres. While their contemporaries gravitated toward the heavy riffs of grunge, and post punk, YAWNING MAN leaned in another direction with their unique and organic, cinematic compositions and psychedelic improvisations… the perfect soundtrack to encompass the spacious moonscape atmosphere of the well documented “generator parties” of their area in the late 1980’s.

It was at these gatherings where they developed this distinctive style and sound by enchanting spectators with their seemingly endless free form instrumental sessions, which echoed through the beautiful deserts, mesas, and landscapes of the Coachella Valley. As time passed, their legend grew with notable names of the Palm Desert music scene paying homage to the group through mention and praise, notably with legendary desert band Kyuss (Joshua Homme, Brant Bjork, John Garcia, Scott Reeder) doing their own rendition of the YAWNING MAN track “Catamaran” on the 1995 Elektra release …And The Circus Leaves Town. Festival appearances include Hellfest (FR), Azkena Fest (ES), Reverence Fest (ES) Desertfest London, Desertfest Berlin, Up in Smoke (CH), Psycho Las Vegas (US), Stoned & Dusted I & II (US), and various others. The recent documentaries on the Deserts unique music scene Lo Sound Desert and Desert Age give light on YAWNING MAN’s influential impact on underground rock music.

YAWNING MAN New album coming soon on HPS Records…

YAWNING MAN IS
Gary Arce – Guitar
Mario Lalli – Bass
Bill Stinson – Drums

Yawning Man on tour:
25.07.18 | NL | Utrecht | Db’s
27.07.18 | UK | Manchester | The Rebellion
28.07.18 | UK | Bristol | The Louisiana
29.07.18 | UK | London | The Blackheart
31.07.18 | DE | Wiesbaden | Schlachthof
03.08.18 | IT | Osoppo | Pietra Sonica Festival
04.08.18 | AT | Waldhausen | Lake On Fire Festival
05.08.18 | PL | Chorzow | Red & Black
06.08.18 | PL | Warsaw | Chmury
11.08.18 | AT | Döbriach | Sauzipf Rocks Festival
13.08.18 | IT | Brescia | Festa Radio Onda D’Urto (*)
15.08.18 | IT | Ancona | Go Down Beach Fest (*)
16.08.18 | IT | Pescara | Frantic Fest (*)
17.08.18 | IT | Bari | Go Down Beach Fest (*)
18.08.18 | IT | Galatone | Sagra Del Diavolo (*)
24.08.18 | CH | Luzern | Sedel
25.08.18 | IT | Bolzano | Mountain Session
30.08.18 | GR | Thessaloniki | Street Mode Fest
02.09.18 | BU | Sofia | Mixtape 5
03.09.18 | HR | Zupanja | MKC
04.09.18 | SI | Ljubljana | Dvorana Rog
06.09.18 | FR | Clermont-Ferrand | Raymond Bar
07.09.18 | FR | Montpellier | Le Black Sheep
08.09.18 | SP | Barcelona | Rocksound
09.09.18 | SP | San Sebastian | Dabadaba
10.09.18 | SP | Gijon | Sala Memphis
11.09.18 | PO | Porto | Woodstock 69
12.09.18 | SP | Madrid | Wurlitzer Ballroom
13.09.18 | SP | Bilbao | Maritime Museum Bar

(* with ANANDA MIDA)

https://www.facebook.com/yawningmanofficial/
https://yawningman.bandcamp.com
http://www.yawningman.com/
https://www.soundofliberation.com/yawning-man
https://www.facebook.com/Sound-of-Liberation-UG-183095098426785/
https://www.facebook.com/HEAVYPSYCHSOUNDS
http://www.heavypsychsounds.com
https://heavypsychsoundsrecords.bandcamp.com

Yawning Man, Historical Graffiti (2016)

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Review & Full Album Stream: The Freeks, Crazy World

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on April 25th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

the freeks crazy world

[Click play above to stream Crazy World by The Freeks in full. Album is out April 27 on Heavy Psych Sounds.]

In the second cut ‘This is Love’ from The Freeks‘ fourth album, Crazy World, there is PJ Harvey‘s standout lyric, “I can’t believe that the axis turns on suffering when you taste so good.” And say whatever you want to about “Chronic Abduction” toward the record’s end or opener “American Lightning” before, to me, it’s that line in that cover summing up the central driving force of classically-derived heavy rock lust and thrust driving the Los Angeles five-piece’s second release on Heavy Psych Sounds, the eight tracks of which span a vast but still hyper-manageable 30 minutes.

That’s runtime is noteworthy because The Freeks‘ prior offering, 2016’s Shattered (review here), was 48, so the new collection is a significant drop in duration; one that brings it more in line with 2013’s sophomore LP, Full On (review here), though as seems to be the case with everything The Freeks have done going back to their 2008 Cargo Records self-titled debut, Crazy World has a mind of its own. It just so happens that that mind sounds like it’s been blown to bits on some obscure desert lysergic, and with a bit of Take it to the Stage mingled in with its Fun House and Superjudge, it offers listeners a quick but ultra-engaging sense of outward voyage, holding to an element of rawness with the vocals of Jonathan Hall (also guitar and bass) and Ruben Romano (also guitar, bass, drums and percussion). They are not, however, simply aping the tenets of classic punk or classic rock of any kind, and Crazy World sounds thoroughly modern in its presentation. But neither are they shy in showing off where their foundation comes from.

Come to think of it, “shy” isn’t a word I’d use for The Freeks on any aesthetic level. Romano and Hall are joined in the band by newcomer bassist Ray Piller, returning drummer Bob Lee, who debuted on Shattered, and keyboardist/synthesist Esteban Chavez, whose work once again proves crucial to evoking a psychedelic atmosphere across Crazy World‘s manic landscape. Not only in the two interludes “Take 9” and the noise and manipulated sample piece “Thank You, Mr. Downing” — a reference perhaps to early LSD researcher Jack Downing; the name comes up again in the finale — that leads and plays into the closing duo of “Chronic Abduction” and “Mothership to Mother Earth,” but also in the strutting Rolling Stones-style piano line of “Easy Way Out” and the low-mixed organ and swirl of “American Lightning,” which sets Crazy World‘s consuming forward momentum in motion.

the freeks

There is little time wasted throughout the record, the longest song being “Mothership to Mother Earth” capping at 7:53. Nothing else hits the five-minute mark — “Hypnotize My Heart”” comes closest at 4:34 — and along with the straightforward structures in which most of the cuts operate, be it “This is Love” hammering its hook via sheer repetition or “Chronic Abduction” worming its way into the consciousness of the listener via easy nod and ambience surrounding its sleazy stonerist verses, the general tightness of the material’s construction helps maintain the momentum that “American Lightning” flashes forth. It would be a quick listen one way or another at a half-hour, but with the deft turns of style and mood between its opening salvo of “American Lightning,” “This is Love,” and “Easy Way Out,” the two, very different interludes with “Hypnotiize My Heart” sandwiched between them, and the final culminating pair, Crazy World sees The Freeks operating in top form and, at times, top pace, to keep a current of motion running through their material. Thus, it’s the kind of record that, when it’s over, you have little choice but to go back to the beginning and start again.

Perhaps one of the most fortunate aspects of Crazy World is that it lives up to that standard of warranting repeat listens. It’s not the kind of record that will take multiple visits to sink in necessarily, because that would kind of run counter to its punker side, but there’s enough depth in the mix even of the most straightforward songs — witness the midsection break in “American Lightning,” for example — that it manages to deliver something new each time out. The band employed a number of guests throughout, whether it’s Ray Hanson adding guitar scorch to that opener, Sara Loera putting backing vocals on “This is Love,” Rainer Fraenkel on bass for “Take 9” and “Mothership to Mother Earth” or Glenn Slater adding synth and keys to those same two songs as well as “Hypnotize My Heart.” That track, likely the side B opener, introduces some of the darker-toned fuzz that will reemerge following the noise wash of “Thank You, Mr. Downing” and add to the sense of relative lurch in “Chronic Abduction,” but the acoustic and swirl and dynamic jam that emerges in “Mothership to Mother Earth” is the ultimate earmark of the band’s triumph over the forces of squaredom.

Its near-eight-minutes are a thrill of minor-key ebbs and flows, classic psych and desert idolatry sharing space in, well, space. Heady vibe? You best believe it, but that’s the idea, and as big a fan as I am of opening records with their longest tracks — always a bold move; always good for bonus points in my book — the inclusion of “Mothership to Mother Earth” anywhere on Crazy World is brazen enough. And one might say the same of the record as a whole: brazen. The Freeks have never exactly been subtle, whether it was the funk-punk of their debut or the psychedelia that’s emerged in their work since, but there’s no question that Crazy World puts their delivery in a new echelon in terms of songwriting and execution. They’ve never lacked confidence, but the poise with which they hurl their rawer side forth here isn’t to be ignored, and though at times the outing may seem unhinged, one should never doubt that the controls are in the hands of masters. This band is so much better than people know. Tell two friends.

The Freeks on Thee Facebooks

The Freeks on Twitter

The Freeks website

Heavy Psych Sounds webstore

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Review & Full Album Premiere: Black Rainbows, Pandaemonium

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on April 3rd, 2018 by JJ Koczan

black rainbows pandaemonium

[Click play above to stream Black Rainbows’ Pandaemonium in its entirety. Album is out April 6 on Heavy Psych Sounds.]

Largely through sheer force of will, Black Rainbows have become Italy’s foremost purveyors of heavy psychedelic rock. Pandaemonium is the sixth full-length from the Roman trio, and they’ve never sounded more driven or lysergic then they do in its nine-track/45-minute run. Led by guitarist/vocalist Gabriele Fiori, the three-piece run a colorful gamut of high-energy, sopping wet groove, and whether they’re in the maximum-fuzz thrust of “Riding Fast ‘Til the End of Time,” dug into the more threatening lumber of “Grindstone” or languidly making their way through the cosmos on album finale “13th Step of the Pyramid,” they burn and melt classic influences into something of their own; whether it’s culled from Sabbath, Fu Manchu, Nebula, Monster Magnet or Hawkwind, it doesn’t matter. It’s Black Rainbows.

This has, admittedly, been the case on their last couple records. Pandaemonium, which is further marked out by the desert-space-grunge opener “Sunrise” and the megahook that follows in “High to Hell,” was preceded by 2016’s Stellar Prophecy (review here) and 2015’s Hawkdope (review here), and with them, it forms something of a trifecta of the band discovering and subsequently building on their distinct sonic persona. That’s not to slight their 2014 split with NaamWhite Hills and The Flying Eyes (review here), 2013’s Holy Moon EP (discussed here), or 2012’s Supermothafuzzalicious!! (review here) — or, for that matter, 2010’s Carmina Diablo or 2007’s Twilight in the Desert; though the latter was derivative and that seemed to be the point — simply to say that as time has gone on, Black Rainbows have come more into their own sound-wise, and Pandaemonium represents the to-date apex of that process.

Tone, as ever, is essential to what they do, and Fiori‘s is dead-on righteous in “The Sacrifice” but as Fiori and bassist Giuseppe Guglielmino welcome new drummer Filippo Ragazzoni, they seem to lock into an especially potent trio form. The longest tracks on Pandaemonium are the highlights and show this best, “Grindstone” moving fluidly from its initial lumbering to a tripped out spacious midsection, minimalist and topped with samples but tense and building its wash toward a crescendo that (presumably) closes side A and offers one of the record’s most satisfying payoffs. With “Sunrise,” “High to Hell” and “The Sacrifice” before it, Black Rainbows shift deftly between catchy heavy rock songcraft and more expansive fare, eventually ceding the ground to the Wyndorfian strum of tracklisting centerpiece “Supernova and Asteroids,” which though it’s only a little over two minutes long, emphasizes just how important atmospherics have become as part of Black Rainbows‘ overarching methodology.

The wash of effects, near-constant swirl, and echo on Fiori‘s voice are, of course, appreciated, but it’s what Black Rainbows accomplish by varying their tempos, structures nnd overall scope that makes Pandaemonium succeed as it does. With vinyl in mind, it’s side A that shows this best with each song developing its own presence while feeding into the overarching groove of the record as a whole, and as it would in homage to the classic form, side B pushes the limits of the band’s aesthetic (not that “Grindstone” doesn’t in its own way). After “Supernova and Asteroids,” the ultra-fuzzed “Riding Fast ‘Til the End of Time” takes hold with full-throttle forward motion, turning on a dime into the bridge and the chorus from itis decamatry verse, an extended solo section marked out by organ in the second half only adding to the sense of build throughout, the feeling that Black Rainbows have become experts at this kind of sonic gamesmanship.

black rainbows

Where earlier cuts might’ve gone back to the hook to finish out, “Riding Fast ‘Til the End of Time” keeps going further out until it just kind of ends, leading to the six-and-a-half-minute “I Just Wanna Fire. Seemingly inspired lyrically by a trip to the desert, it plays up the more open, jammier side of Black Rainbows sound, and by the end of its run, the effects swirl and the depth created are not only evocative of the place, but hypnotic in their own right. There’s something of a return to earth with the stoner rock shuffle of “The Abyss,” but even this is given a due drenching in reverb, fuzz and echo. Still, rhythmically, in its janga-janga boogie, the song recalls post-Kyuss early aughts stonerism, and even finds Ragazzoni half-timing the drums to maximize the open feel in the second half. A steady line of organ — almost a drone, for its consistency — threads through the arrangement, making the shorter cut feel even fuller and hold to the sense of space brought to the proceedings by “I Just Wanna Fire” before.

A long solo section and slow ringout — that organ fading in the process — leads to the cry-in-the-vastness line of noise that starts “13th Step of the Pyramid.” There’s a sample that may or may not come from an old episode of In Search Of, and as Fiori‘s vocals enter shortly after the first minute, the immediate association is with Monster Magnet‘s Spine of God-era liquefaction. This is not a detriment, and as they have with influences all along — the best example perhaps being “The Abyss” just before — they take these elements and make them their own. A drawling, patient roll plays out and builds to a head just as they pass the halfway point into larger, more forward riffing, the nod infectious and the impression clear that, hey, this is it: no coming back this time. Fair enough. It’s been a trip and in the end of “13th Step of the Pyramid,” the listener finally finds out where it’s all been leading.

The answer, of course, is “huge jam.” Fiori seems to layer rhythm and lead guitars for an even more packed arrangement, but it’s even more about the vibe the whole band creates in the process. Choice groove, an emergent standout riff, a final build, and residual effects swirl on a fade when they’ve cycled through the last measure. It’s a patient but still energetic finale, and it’s one worthy of the record preceding all the more because of the underlying sense of consciousness and purposefulness behind it. I don’t doubt that Black Rainbows experiment in the studio. Frankly there are too many effects used in these songs for “happy accidents” to never occur. And I don’t doubt that they jam — you can hear the chemistry even in this new lineup. But there’s intention for all of it beyond simple indulgence, and as distant the ground is that Pandaemonium covers, the band is never unsure how they want to get there. One more reason that, six albums deep and more than a decade into their career, it’s time to consider Black Rainbows masters of the form. Their heavy psych wants for nothing in spirit or sound, and their songwriting has never sounded more assured of its reach. As well it should be.

Black Rainbows, “High to Hell” lyric video

Black Rainbows website

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Black Rainbows on Twitter

Black Rainbows on Bandcamp

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Quarterly Review: Avon, The Discussion, Alms, Vessel of Light, Enojado, Mother Mars, Southfork, Gypsy Sun Revival, Valhalla Lights, L.O.W.

Posted in Reviews on April 2nd, 2018 by JJ Koczan

Quarterly-Review-Spring-2018

This is the part of each Quarterly Review when I begin to question my life choices. Otherwise known as ‘the beginning.’ I still haven’t decided if this is going to be a five-dayer or a six-dayer, but one way or another, between now and whenever it ends, at least 50 records will be reviewed in batches of 10 per day. It’s completely insane. Completely. Every three months or so I remind myself of this by doing it again, and every time it ends up being worth the insanity. I’ve no doubt that will be the case here as well, but looking across the next five days at placeholders where reviews need to be, well, yeah. It’s pretty insane.

So let’s go.

Quarterly Review #1-10:

Avon, Dave’s Dungeon

avon daves dungeon

Dave’s Dungeon is the second full-length from Californian desert rockers Avon, and with it they make their debut on Heavy Psych Sounds. Peppered with varied songwriting across alternately garage rocking cuts like “Yello,” “On Fire” and “Red Barn” (video premiere here), languid psychedelic excursions in “Space Native” and the subtly proggy “Hero with a Gun,” and the classic desert crunch of “Dungeon Dave,” “Mace Face” and “Terraformations,” the three-piece of vocalist/guitarist James Childs, bassist Charles Pasarell (also Waxy) and drummer Alfredo Hernández (ex-Kyuss, Yawning Man, etc.) have no doubt garnered attention due to the participation of the latter, but all three manage to leave their mark across the 10 tracks, particularly Childs. His English-accented vocals become a defining element in “Hero with a Gun” and “Yello,” and whether fast or slow, the rhythm section offers air-tight accompaniment. Straightforward in their approach but not without some flourish, Avon bring their own touch to the classic desert style and offer memorable songs in the process. Nobody loses.

Avon on Thee Facebooks

Heavy Psych Sounds website

 

The Discussion, European Tour EP

The Discussion European Tour Ep 2017

Issued to coincide with an initial string of Fall 2017 European shows, the aptly-titled Tour EP serves as the debut offering from The Discussion, and its five tracks mark the return of guitarist/vocalist Laura Pleasants, not heard from since the end of her prior outfit, Kylesa. With “A Gesture/Other Side,” Pleasants and company commune with post-rock and atmospheric stretch, where “Like Rain” and “Surf Jesus” channel New Wave and Blondie pop with an underlying heft of low end to add presence. Through it all, Pleasants’ vocals prove a patient and melodic element, and as “Before We’re Gone” brings in a moody krautrock sensibility and finale “Cuts Like a Knife” engages louder and more forward riffing in its final minute payoff, the message that The Discussion has only begun comes through loud and clear. Tour EP sounds like the beginning stages of a larger process of experimentation and creative growth, and one hopes it proves to be precisely that.

The Discussion on Thee Facebooks

The Discussion on Bandcamp

 

Alms, Demo Vol. 1

alms demo vol 1

Modern heavy rock groove meets classic metal guitar on AlmsDemo Vol. 1, which, as it turns out, is more of a sampler than an actual demo, comprised as it is of two rough mixes from the band’s forthcoming debut album. The result of this mesh on “The Offering” and “Dead Water” is somewhere between Uncle Acid swing and Iron Maiden twin lead work, and the five-piece do well immediately to own the combination and make it cohesive sonically. Traditional doom play more of a role in “Dead Water,” and the keys of vocalist Jess Kamen – joined by guitarist/vocalist Bob Sweeney, guitarist Danny McDonald, bassist Andrew Harris and drummer Derrick Hans – and while I don’t know what label it is that’s going to pick them up (I’d believe anyone from Ripple to Shadow Kingdom to Season of Mist, depending on how much they want to tour), but if these two songs are anything to go by, they’ll be lucky to get them.

Alms on Thee Facebooks

Alms on Bandcamp

 

Vessel of Light, Vessel of Light

vessel of light vessel of light

Collaborating between Ohio and New Jersey, Vessel of Light brings together vocalist Nathan Opposition of Ancient VVisdom and guitarist Dan Lorenzo of Hades. Their self-titled five-tracker EP (on Argonauta) melds bluesy metallic riffing with tales of murder and drugs on cuts like “Dead Flesh and Bones” (video premiere here) and its eponymous closer, which emphasizes a hook based around the lines, “LSD has got a hold on me/I wanna show you all the things that I’ve seen.” It goes like that. For Lorenzo, parts recall the groove he brought to short-lived heavy rock outfit The Cursed, but with Opposition’s lyrics and the periodic delving into harsher vocals, there’s a moodier and more aggressive edge to the songs that helps define the personality of the duo as a band. How often they’ll work together remains to be seen, they make a murderous introduction with this EP and there’s plenty of fodder here for further exploration should they get there.

Vessel of Light on Thee Facebooks

Argonauta Records website

 

Enojado, Mist and Thunder

enojado mist and thunder

German trio Enojado was founded by guitarist/vocalist Stephan Kieserling circa 2002, and though he’s been through numerous lineups since, with bassist/vocalist Thomas Schnaube and drummer Till Junker, he’s put together the band’s first release since their 2014 The Chain is Loose LP was issued by Setalight. At under half an hour and six tracks plus an intro, late 2017’s Mist and Thunder offers solid heavy rock songwriting with a straightforward approach bordering on the metallic in its tone but never quite departing a heavy rock context in rhythm, even in the starts and stops of “Notorious.” The obvious standout in heft is the seven-minute “Coma,” which seems to add weight to everything around it, from “The Truth About Gold” earlier to “I Saw the Sun,” which follows, and the finale in “Queen of Heaven,” which brings a quick payoff to the release and leaves a residual echo and drone/guitar minimalism for its last two minutes. Less derivative than it at first seems, Mist and Thunder might take multiple rounds to sink in, but proves worth the effort of a dedicated listen.

Enojado on Thee Facebooks

Enojado on Bandcamp

 

Mother Mars, On Lunar Highlands

mother mars on lunar highlands

It’s kind of rare for a band to sound like they’re making fun of their own music as they play it, and yet, “Lost Planet Airmen” from Mother Mars’ fourth full-length, On Lunar Highlands, does precisely that. The Aussie trio led by multi-instrumentalists Frank (drums, synth, Clavinet) and Paul (guitar, bass, synth, banjo-mandolin, keys) Attard – who also produced together – and featuring the bluesy stylings of vocalist Dave Schembri, did not make the 11-tracker a minor undertaking. Rather, at 69 minutes, it pushes through stoner boogie on “Thought it Best to Cut You Loose” and still has room for heady jams on extended pieces like “The Stalwarts of Stalwart Castle” (9:31), “Woodhollow Green” (12:55) and the penultimate title-track (8:35), which leads to the far-out banjo shenanigans of closer “The Heavy Hand of the Destroyer.” Needless to say, madness ensues. Interludes like “Bean Stalkin’” and “Bean Stalkin’ Again” and the experimental “The Working Mind of the Creator” add anything-can-happen flair, and the weirder On Lunar Highlands gets, the more it satisfies. It gets very, very weird.

Mother Mars on Thee Facebooks

Mother Mars on Bandcamp

 

Southfork, Through a Dark Lens

southfork through a dark lens
Two decades after their founding in 1997, Stockholm’s Southfork returned late last year with their first album since 2001’s Straight Ahead, the seven-track Through a Dark Lens, which itself is nearly five years in the making. Opening with its longest cut (immediate points) in the 7:59 “Already Gone,” the bass-heavy approach the band takes is indeed emblematic of an era now easily thought of as classic, but one could hardly call it dated for that. Rather, tracks like “Into the Deep” and “Tomb of the Mirror Men” flow easily from one to the next and the record reveals in the strut of “Seventosix” and the answer-back closer “Nowhere Gone” just why someone might put almost half a decade of effort into realizing it. Whether you remember Southfork’s original run or not, Through a Dark Lens offers immersive tone and songwriting and as Southfork have already followed it up with what seems to be a compilation release, it may signal a return to fuller activity on their part.

Southfork on Thee Facebooks

Southfork on Bandcamp

 

Gypsy Sun Revival, Journey Outside of Time

Gypsy Sun Revival Journey Outside Of Time

Production by Kent Stump (Wo Fat). Mastering by John McBain (ex-Monster Magnet). Released through Nasoni Records. Sure enough, the second album from Texas heavy psych rockers Gypsy Sun Revival, Journey Outside of Time, wants nothing for the quality of its associations and with the Hendrixian guitar work of Will Weise and the bluesy classic frontman approach of vocalist Mario Rodriguez, they earn that pedigree through and through. Tyler Gene Davis’ contributions on organ only further the ‘70s vibes on “To the Sky” before Weise takes a wah-soaked solo backed by Lee Ryan on bass and drummer Ben H., and the later two-part “Pisces” combines with closer “Departure” to create a thrilling jammed-out side B that takes the more structured craft of “Indigo” and catchy opener “Cadillac to Mexico” earlier and pulls them through an interdimensional haze that only does more to evoke the album’s title. Between Journey Outside of Time and Gypsy Sun Revival’s 2016 self-titled debut (review here), one is left wondering how long we’ll be able to think of them as a well-kept secret of Texas’ fertile heavy underground.

Gypsy Sun Revival on Thee Facebooks

Nasoni Records website

 

Valhalla Lights, My Gracious Highway

valhalla lights my gracious highway

There’s a commercial sense of clarity to Valhalla LightsMy Gracious Highway, which seems to have been originally issued by the band in 2016 but is being given a renewed international push. It’s a crisp 13-track/45-minute long-player, marked by solid songcraft and the forward performance of vocalist Ange Saul, who takes the place of departed original singer Phoebe Black, who passed away in 2015 just prior to guitarist George Christie, bassist Brent “Badger” Crysell and drummer Deon Driver – all formerly of heavy rockers FORT – entered the studio to record their debut release. Songs veer toward Queens of the Stone Age-style groove on “Hammer the Witch” and closer “Punk,” and there’s enough variety of mood between the brooding “Beautiful,” showcase centerpiece “The One” and “Darker Side of Love” and the all-go rockers “Rise Above,” “Crucify” and “Someday” to carry the listener through smoothly with an abiding sense of professionalism. Will be too clean for some listeners, but is largely inarguable in its execution.

Valhalla Lights on Thee Facebooks

Valhalla Lights website

 

L.O.W., Bones EP

low bones ep

Located in the northwest of Poland, the acronymic four-piece L.o.W. debut with the Bones EP, which hurls forth three extended works of extreme sludge led into by an atmospheric intro. The band – the lineup of vocalist Adam, guitarist Marek, drummer Witold and bassist Micha? belong to the post-Primitive Man sphere of viciousness, but “Tear Me Open” offers some respite in its closing moments, pulling back on the massive plunder and switching from guttural growls to spoken vocals. With just a touch of Electric Wizard swirl, “Almost Like God’s,” renews the onslaught, offering a break in its middle from the Eyehategod-style sway while saving its most brutal growl for last, and at just under 10 minutes long, the title-track rounds out Bones with bass and drums unfolding a progression soon topped by guitar noise that lets the listener know they’ve just entered another level of punishment. There are moments of impulse toward stonerism that show themselves in Marek’s guitar work, but the primary mission on Bones seems to be assault, and the band has no problem living up to that intent.

L.o.W. on Bandcamp

L.o.W. on Thee Facebooks

 

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High Reeper Announce European Tour Dates

Posted in Whathaveyou on March 29th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

When Philly heavy rockers High Reeper were announced for a slot at Desertfest Berlin last week, I speculated that European tour dates were forthcoming because they’d previously been confirmed for Tube Cult Fest in Italy. Sure enough, a couple hours later, the dates showed up from the PR wire in a newsletter from the band’s label, Heavy Psych Sounds. Does this make me psychic? Nope. Does it even make me a reasonably thoughtful individual, putting two and two together on the notion that the band probably wouldn’t fly internationally for two shows on concurrent weekends?

Nah. Mostly it makes me forgetful, because when High Reeper posted their video for “Die Slow,” they said Euro dates were in the works. So there’s my big brain. Good thing I saw that in the older post though; I almost had a second there of self-congratulation. Obviously we can’t have that. Ever. Also, my pants don’t fit.

Oh look, I made myself sad. Better cut my losses and head to the PR wire. Let’s do this thing:

high reeper tour

Formed in 2016, High Reeper is made up of Zach Thomas, Napz Mosley, Andrew Price, Pat Daly and Shane Trimble. Originally started as just a studio band, it rapidly became apparent that these songs were meant to be heard live and loud. The band made their debut in the Philly/DE stoner rock scene in early 2017 with success which was followed up by the recording of their self-titled debut in May. With a sound deeply rooted in modern stoner rock while still giving a nod to the earliest Sabbath records, High Reeper’s first offering is driven by pounding rhythms, thick guitars and soaring, screeching vocals.

The band has signed with Heavy Psych Sounds Records and released the self-titled debut album in march 2018. The sound of the record is running from uptempo straight ahead rock, to slowed down, heavy, early doom. With a rhythm section throwing down grooves that are deeper than the darkest abyss and guitars big enough to put a hole in your chest.
High Reeper is meant to be played loud and to be played often!!!

***HIGH REEPER EUROPEAN TOUR 2018***
26.04.2018 IT Roma-Let It Beer
27.04.2018 IT Pescara-Tube Cult Fest
28.04.2018 IT Castelfidardo-On Stage
29.04.2018 IT Castelnuovo del Garda-Secret Show
30.04.2018 IT Zerobranco-Altroquando
01.05.2018 IT Livorno-Secret Show
02.05.2018 IT Torino-Blah Blah
03.05.2018 CH Olten-Coq D’Or
04.05.2018 CH Kreuzlingen-Horst
05.05.2018 DE Berlin-Desertfest
07.05.2018 DE Leipzig-Black Label
08.05.2018 DE Dresden-Chemo w/ Alunha
09.05.2018 DE Erfurt-Tiko
10.05.2018 DE Chemnitz-Zukunft
11.05.2018 DE Mannheim-7er
12.05.2018 DE Frankfurt-Dkk
13.05.2018 looking for show****
14.05.2018 AT Graz
15.05.2018 AT Salzburg-Rockhouse
16.05.2018 CH Basel-Hirschneck
17.05.2018 looking for show****
18.05.2018 IT Parma-Titty Twister
19.05.2018 IT Toscana TBA

HIGH REEPER are:
Shane Trimble-bass
Zach Thomas-vocals
Pat Daly-guitar
Andrew Price-guitar
Napz Mosley-drums

https://www.facebook.com/HIGHREEPER/
https://highreeper.bandcamp.com/
https://www.facebook.com/HEAVYPSYCHSOUNDS/
http://www.heavypsychsounds.com/
https://heavypsychsoundsrecords.bandcamp.com/

High Reeper, “Chrome Hammer” official video

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