Tons and Deadsmoke Announce European Touring

Posted in Whathaveyou on January 15th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

tons deadsmoke tour banner

I feel like the conjoined logos of the tour poster tell a lot of the story here. Tons and Deadsmoke might be considered outliers of the packed Heavy Psych Sounds label roster, but they definitely have some commonality between them. Namely, they crush. Deadsmoke might be the nastiest band on the imprint, and Tons aren’t far behind in that regard, so yeah, pairing them up for a tour makes sense in that they’ll be able to share gear if they want and just absolutely break everything that belongs to everybody that way. Both bands will feature at all three nights of the road-show Heavy Psych Sounds fest in the UK, Belgium and the Netherlands alongside Black Rainbows and others, and they’ll stomp their way as well through their native Italy, Germany, Switzerland and Austria.

Looks like a heavy time. Details from the PR wire:

tons deadsmoke

DEADSMOKE AND TONS TEAM UP FOR EUROPEAN TOUR THIS MARCH!

Down-tuned monolithic guitar riffs scraping the soil down to the core of the earth; slow, hypnotic and dissonant cadences recall the eternal need for isolation and the atavistic fear of nothingness. Your soul will be burned, and smoke is what remains after a memorable show on this exciting tour: HEAVY PSYCH SOUNDS RECORDS & BOOKING is proud to get heavy weights DEADSMOKE on the road this March! Kicking off on March 20th in Italy with dates in Switzerland, Germany, Austria and the Netherlands, the Italian power Doom and Sludge foursome has teamed up with no one less than label mates, Turin-based Doom masters TONS.

„Tons and Deadsmoke can’t wait to hit the road again, this time together as a monolithic combo touring the most noisy smoky buried venues of Europe and taking their deafening spaghetti Doom to the big audience. A blaspheme haze of corrosion is flowing up north, spreading curses, illness and tons of smoke.“ the bands are excited to hit the road together soon.

The atmosphere around both groups is not only so devilish, mesmerizing and noisey, but will take the entire crowd on a ride through the heaviest soundwalls in psychedelic doom landscapes. Make sure to catch this heavy touring package live at the following dates this March:

22.02.19 UK London | HEAVY PSYCH SOUNDS FEST **
23.02.19 BE Brussel | HEAVY PSYCH SOUNDS FEST **
24.02.19 NL Deventer | HEAVY PSYCH SOUNDS FEST **
20.03.19 IT Bologna | Freakout Club **
21.03.19 IT Torino | Blah Blah **
22.03.19 CH Kreuzlingen | Horst Klub
23.03.19 DE Mannheim | 7er Club
24.03.19 NL Utrecht | Db’s
26.03.19 DE Berlin | Toast Hawaii
27.03.19 DE Leipzig | Zoro
28.03.19 DE Dresden | Chemiefabrik
29.03.19 AT Salzburg | Rockhouse
30.03.19 CH Basel | Hirscheneck
** Deadsmoke only

Tickets are now on sale at your local ticket dealer and at the following locations:
www.heavypsychsounds.com
www.poisonforsouls.com

www.facebook.com/deadsmokedoom
www.facebook.com/TONSBAND
https://www.facebook.com/HEAVYPSYCHSOUNDS
http://www.heavypsychsounds.com
https://heavypsychsoundsrecords.bandcamp.com

Tons, Filthy Flowers of Doom (2018)

Deadsmoke, Mountain Legacy (2017)

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Crypt Trip Announce European Tour for March/April

Posted in Whathaveyou on January 11th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

crypt trip

As regards Texan heavy rock, Crypt Trip are way more Beto O’Rourke than Ted Cruz, and by that I meant they don’t suck. Set to play Roadburn on April 11 after releasing their second album for Heavy Psych Sounds, Haze County, on March 8, they’ll begin a European tour on March 21 that will mark their first continental incursion. The trio continue to reap well-deserved praise for their 2018 label-debut, Rootstock — another one of those records I lost track of reviewing in that robbery last year, to my retroactive chagrin — but they’re already moving forward, and the track “Wordshot” can be streamed now in advance of the record’s arrival.

It doesn’t take long to get where they’re coming from in terms of vibe, with the pedal steel and swirling wah acting in concert to produce a classic Southern heavy that’s as much about drive as twang. There’s much to dig, and little doubt that Europe will dig it plenty when it comes to the shows. Don’t be surprised if at the end of 2019 way more people have heard of Crypt Trip than at the beginning of the year.

From the PR wire:

crypt trip

Hard rock trio CRYPT TRIP to tour Europe this spring ; new album out March 8 on Heavy Psych Sounds

Texas-based heavy rock trio CRYPT TRIP return to Europe this spring with a 24-show leg, in support of their new album “Haze County” released March 8th on Heavy Psych Sounds Records.

CRYPT TRIP EUROPEAN TOUR 2019
21.03.2019 IT Pescara-Scumm
22.03.2019 IT Parma-Splinter
23.03.2019 IT Alessandria-Cascina Bellaria
24.03.2019 IT Verona-The Stoner Mafia
25.03.2019 IT Zerobranco-Altroquando
26.03.2019 AT Salzburg-Rockhouse
27.03.2019 SL Ljubljana-Channel Zero
28.03.2019 IT Udine-Backyardie
29.03.2019 AT Bludenz-Villa K
30.03.2019 CH Olten-Coq D’or
31.03.2019 DE Mannheim-7er
01.04.2019 DE Marburg-Cafè Trauma
02.04.2019 DE Leipzig-Black Label
03.04.2019 DE Oldenburg-MTS Record Shop
04.04.2019 DE Berlin-Zukunft
05.04.2019 DE Erfurt-Tiko
06.04.2019 DE Dresden-Eichenkranz
07.04.2019 AT Wien-Venster 99
08.04.2019 DE Tubingen Goldene Zeiten
09.04.2019 DE Augsburg-City Club
10.04.2019 DE Bielefeld-Potemkin
11.04.2019 NL Tilburg-Roadburn
12.04.2019 CH Muotathal-Earls Music Club
13.04.2019 IT Pisa-Albatross

CRYPT TRIP is a hard rock trio originally formed in Dallas in 2013. The first incarnation of the band had a heavy psychedelic sound that was reminiscent of a dark 70s underground. It wasn’t long before guitarist/singer Ryan Lee and bassist Sam Bryant relocated to Central Texas, where they met drummer Cameron Martin and began to solidify their sound. Taking their cue from aged rock records, jazz methodology and their cultural roots in the American South, their music presents you with a genuinely personal experience.

Following their debut album “Rootstock”, CRYPT TRIP once again deliver their typical country-tinged southern rock for your ears, mind, and soul. New album “Haze County” explores the intricacy of space and time through nine songs that can easily be defined as the band’s most focused and organic work to date. Blending elements of hard rock, psychedelia and folk music, each track has something different to say. Loud Fender amps and a pounding rhythm section deliver enticing grooves on some tracks, while dreamy guitars take you away on others. Staying true to their Texas tradition, the album features special guest Geoff Queen on pedal steel, adding an entirely different color to the tonal palette.

“Haze County” was recorded and mixed by James Campbell at Cibolo Studios in San Antonio, Texas. It was mastered by Jerry Tubb at Terra Nova Digital Audio in Austin, Texas. High quality analog equipment was used at every stage of production for the best possible “vintage” sound.

CRYPT TRIP is
Ryan Lee – Vocals, Guitar
Sam Bryant – Bass
Cameron Martin – Drums

https://www.facebook.com/CryptTrip/
https://crypttrip.bandcamp.com/
https://www.instagram.com/heavypsychsounds_records/
https://heavypsychsoundsrecords.bandcamp.com
www.heavypsychsounds.com

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The Obelisk Presents: THE TOP 30 ALBUMS OF 2018

Posted in Features on December 20th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

the-top-30-of-2018

Please note: This post is not culled in any way from the Year-End Poll, which is ongoing. If you haven’t yet contributed your favorites of 2018 to that, please do.

It just wouldn’t be a year if it wasn’t completely overwhelming, right?

2018 has certainly met that standard and then some. The swath of output, whether it’s a new generation adopting and adapting established methods or out and out reinventing the stylistic wheel and then pushing it uphill on a seemingly endless barrage of tours, has been staggering, and it’s still happening. There’s a little more than a week to go in the year. You think a band isn’t putting something out today? Of course they are. It’s every day. It’s all the time.

But this year wasn’t just about quantity either. I think one of my biggest struggles in writing about albums in 2018 — and with the last Quarterly Review and various premieres and video posts that were basically album reviews in disguise, let’s estimate we’re somewhere past 300 records reviewed one way or another — was in conveying just how killer so much of the stuff coming through was. How many times can you say the word “awesome?” Well, I’m sure we’ll see it a few more times before this list is over, so there you go.

I say something like this every time I do a list, but please keep in mind these are my picks and I’m one person. But I am a person. I know there’s the whole internet-anonymity thing, but I assure you, I’m a human being (more of a cave troll, really) typing these words. I’m all for everyone sharing their own picks in the comments, and all for passionate advocating, but please, let’s keep it civil and respectful. These things can spiral out of control quickly, but let’s remember that we’re all human beings and worth of basic courtesy, even if some of us are dead wrong about a good many things. You should definitely punch nazis, though.

Thanks in advance for reading. Here we go:

[UPDATE: You’ll notice the inclusion of an ’18a.’ I had Stoned Jesus in my notes as number 18 initially and they got dropped as I was adjusting things along the way. I’ve added them back in, but it didn’t seem fair to bump everyone else down after the post had already been published. That was the best I could come up with for a solution. If you’re pissed about one more killer record being added, please feel free to email me and tell me all about it.]

30. The Skull, The Endless Road Turns Dark

The Skull The Endless Road Turns Dark

Released by Tee Pee Records. Reviewed Sept. 12.

Chicago’s The Skull had no small task before them in following up their 2014 debut, For Those Which are Asleep (review here) — let alone living up to their pedigree — but their second album demonstrated a creative growth that sacrificed nothing of memorability when it came to songs like “Breathing Underwater” and “All that Remains (Is True).” They got down to work and got the job done, which is what a working band does. 2018 was by any measure a fantastic year for doom, and The Skull were a big part of why.

29. Foghound, Awaken to Destroy

foghound awaken to destroy

Released by Ripple Music. Reviewed Nov. 21.

The Dec. 2017 murder of Rev. Jim Forrester was tragic. No other way to say it. Foghound, who were in the midst of making Awaken to Destroy at the time, put together an album that not only features Forrester‘s last recorded performance, but pays respect to his memory while the wound is still raw and manages to kick ass all the while. It’s a record that can’t ever be divorced from its circumstances — just can’t — and so it can be a heavy listen in more than just its tones, but it’s basically Foghound proving they’re unstoppable. And so they are.

28. Orange Goblin, The Wolf Bites Back

orange goblin the wolf bites back

Released by Spinefarm Records. Reviewed June 13.

Who among us here today is not a sucker for Orange Goblin? Come forward an be judged. I mean, really. Nine records deep, the London sceneforgers are nothing less than an institution, beloved by boozehounds, riffhounds, doomhounds, and really, a wide variety of hounds the world over. Also dudes. With its essential title-track hook and highlight cuts in “Ghosts of the Primitives” and “Burn the Ships” — or, you know, any of them — they added to one of heavy’s most unshakable legacies with an album as furious as it is welcoming to its generations-spanning fanbase.

27. Fu Manchu, Clone of the Universe

fu manchu clone of the universe
Released by At the Dojo Records. Reviewed Feb. 15.

There are two kinds of people in this world, and they’re both Fu Manchu fans. Clone of the Universe turned heads with a guest appearance from Rush‘s Alex Lifeson on the 18-minute side-B-consuming “Il Mostro Atomico,” but really to focus on that instead of “Intelligent Worship,” “(I’ve Been) Hexed,” “Don’t Panic,” “Slower than Light,” etc., is only seeing half the point of the album in the first place. The long-running lords of fuzz hit a new stride with 2014’s Gigantoid (review here), and Clone of the Universe was in every way a worthy successor.

26. Witch Mountain, Witch Mountain

Witch-Mountain-Witch-Mountain
Released by Svart Records. Reviewed May 16.

It was an unenviable task before Witch Mountain in replacing vocalist Uta Plotkin, but founding guitarist Rob Wrong and drummer Nathan Carson found the right voice in Kayla Dixon and solidified the lineup with her and bassist Justin Brown enough to make a declarative statement in Witch Mountain‘s self-titled LP. That’s the story of it. They pulled it off. Met with what was unquestionably a bummer circumstance, they pushed through and moved their sound forward through a new beginning — and not their first one. Watch out when their next record hits.

25. Windhand, Eternal Return

windhand eternal return

Released by Relapse Records. Reviewed Oct. 3.

Richmond, Virginia, doomers Windhand‘s second collaboration with producer Jack Endino produced a marked and purposeful expansion of their sound, encompassing classic grunge influences and a heavy psychedelic swirl that added color their previously-greyscale sonic haze. Resonant in tone and emotionalism, Eternal Return readjusted Windhand‘s trajectory in such a manner that, where one might’ve thought they knew where the band were headed in terms of their progression, they’ve made themselves a less predictable outfit on the whole. For that alone, it’s a triumph. Then you have the songs.

24. Sun Voyager, Seismic Vibes

Sun Voyager Seismic Vibes

Released by King Pizza Records. Reviewed April 18.

I don’t even want to admit how long I was waiting for Sun Voyager‘s first long-player to show up, but when it finally did, the New York trio did not disappoint. Catchy, energetic, fuzzed-out tunes with driving rhythms and a heavy psych flourish, they tapped into shoegaze and desert vibes without losing any sense of themselves in the process, and if the extra wait was so they could be so remarkably coherent in their expression on their full-length, then I wouldn’t want it to have shown up any sooner. An easy pick to stand among 2018’s best debut albums. Now to wait for the next one.

23. Forming the Void, Rift

forming the void rift

Released by Kozmik Artifactz. Reviewed July 27.

It should tell you something that after working quickly to produce three albums, Louisiana’s Forming the Void are still defined by their potential. If I had my druthers, I’d put the recent Ripple signees on tour for the bulk of 2019, across the US and in Europe for festivals and support-slot club shows, really give them an opportunity to hammer out who they are as a band and then hit the studio for LP four. I don’t know if that’ll happen, but they’d only be doing the universe a favor by kicking into that gear. As it stands, their progression is palpable in their material and they stand absolutely ready for whatever the next level might be for them.

22. Spaceslug, Eye the Tide

spaceslug eye the tide

Released by BSFD Records and Oak Island Records. Reviewed June 29.

Aside from the speed at which Spaceslug have turned around offerings — with Eye the Tide following 2017’s Mountains and Reminiscence EP (review here) and Time Travel Dilemma (review here) full-length and their 2016 debut, Lemanis (review here) — the Polish outfit have undertaken significant progression in their sound, moving from pure heavy psychedelic warmth to incorporating elements out of extreme metal as they did on Eye the Tide. Adding to the latest record’s accomplishment is the smoothness with which they brought seemingly opposing sides together, only adding depth to an approach already worthy of oceanic comparison.

21. Conan, Existential Void Guardian

Conan Existential Void Guardian
Released by Napalm Records. Reviewed Sept. 14.

Conan‘s reign of terror has been unfolding for more than a decade now, and each of their albums has become a kind of step along a path of incremental growth. Consider the melody creeping into the shouts of founding guitarist Jon Davis, or the emergence of bassist Chris Fielding as a vocal presence alongside, the two sharing a frontman role more than ever before while welcoming drummer Johnny King to the fold of destructive tonality and doomly extremism. Existential Void Guardian may end up just being another stomp-print on their way to the next thing, but it affirmed the fact that as much as Conan grow each time out, their central violence continues to hold sway.

20. Pale Divine, Pale Divine

PALE DIVINE S/T
Released by Shadow Kingdom Records. Reviewed Nov. 21.

Look. A new Pale Divine record doesn’t come along every day, so yeah, their self-titled was probably going to be on my list one way or the other, but it definitely helps that not only was it their first outing in six years since 2012’s Painted Windows Black (review here), but it had the songs to live up to a half-decade-plus of anticipation. It marked the first studio appearance from bassist/backing vocalist Ron “Fezz” McGinnis alongside guitarist Greg Diener and drummer Darin McCloskey — now both of Beelzefuzz as well — and made a strong argument for how much Pale Divine deserve more than 20 years on from their initial demo to be considered classic American doom.

19. Mos Generator, Shadowlands

mos generator shadowlands
Released by Listenable Records. Reviewed May 11.

The return and rise to prominence of Washington pure heavy rockers Mos Generator might be the underground’s feelgood story of the decade, but it hasn’t by any means been easily won. In addition to rebuilding the band however many albums ago, guitarist/vocalist Tony Reed has put in innumerable hours on tour and worked to actually develop the group creatively in addition to in terms of stage presence. This is shown throughout some of the classic prog elements making their way onto Shadowlands, and perhaps some of the collection’s moodier aspects are born of the aforementioned road time as well. Hard for that kind of thing not to be a slog after a while, but at least they have killer tunes to play.

18a. Stoned Jesus, Pilgrims

STONED JESUS PILGRIMS

Released by Napalm Records. Reviewed Sept. 5.

The only safe bet about Stoned Jesus‘ fourth long-player, Pilgrims, was that it was going to sound different than the third. That 2015 outing, The Harvest (review here), preceded the band touring to celebrate the fifth anniversary and after-the-fact success of 2012’s Seven Thunders Roar (review here), but Pilgrims defied narrative in that instead of incorporating elements from the second record in more of a heavy psych or jam sound, Stoned Jesus instead showcased a tighter, more sureheaded sense of craft than they’ve ever displayed before, and arrived on Napalm Records with a collection of songs that demonstrated the growth and sense of creative will that drives them. While one can take a look at their moniker and think immediately they know what’s coming, Stoned Jesus have made themselves one of the least predictable bands in heavy rock.

18. Backwoods Payback, Future Slum

backwoods payback future slum

Self-released. Reviewed Aug. 15.

“Pirate Smile.” “Lines.” “Whatever.” “It Ain’t Right.” “Threes.” “Cinderella.” “Generals.” “Big Enough.” “Alone.” “Lucky. Mike Cummings, Jessica Baker, Erik Larson. Every player, every song, every minute. If you want to know what heart-on-sleeve sounds like, it fucking sounds like Backwoods Payback. In their line from hardcore punk to grunge to heavy rock, they encompass experiences and emotionalism that are both shown in raw form throughout Future Slum, and build all the while on the chemistry they set out in developing with 2016’s Fire Not Reason (review here), when they welcomed Larson to the lineup on drums and revitalized their mission. Also worth noting, they were the best live band I saw this year. Anywhere.

17. Corrosion of Conformity, No Cross No Crown

corrosion of conformity no cross no crown

Released by Nuclear Blast Records. Reviewed Jan. 3

No question the excitement of C.O.C. putting out their first record with frontman Pepper Keenan involved since 2005’s In the Arms of God was one of this year’s top stories in heavy. And No Cross No Crown tapped directly into the spirit of 1994’s Deliverance (discussed here) and 1996’s Wiseblood (discussed here) in terms of direction, while updating the band’s style with a four-part 2LP in mind. In some ways, it’ll be their next album that really gives listeners a sense of where they’re at and where they might be headed, but as welcome returns go, having Keenan alongside Mike DeanWoody Weatherman and Reed Mullin is in no way to be understated, and neither is the quality of their output together, then and now.

16. Naxatras, III

naxatras iii

Self-released. Reviewed Feb. 14.

It is no simple feat to hypnotize an audience and convey serenity while at the same time holding attention with songcraft, so that the listener isn’t actually so much unconscious as malleable of mood and spirit in such a direction as the band suggests. Greek trio Naxatras have worked quickly to become experts at this, and their third full-length fosters tonal warmth and jammy progressions with an overarching naturalism that finds them so committed to analog recording that one can buy direct transfers of the tape master of III. Some acts take classic-style practices as an aesthetic choice. With Naxatras, it seems to be the stuff of life, yet their sound is only vibrant and human in a way that, at least one hopes, is even more representative of the future than the past.

15. Clutch, Book of Bad Decisions

clutch book of bad decisions

Released by Weathermaker Music. Reviewed Aug. 27.

It was time for Clutch to make a change in producers, and the Maryland overlords of groove seemed to know it. Known as a live band, they went with Vance Powell, who’s known a live band producer. The results on Book of Bad Decisions might not have been so earth-shatteringly different from 2015’s Psychic Warfare (review here), which was the too-soon follow-up to 2013’s Earth Rocker (review here) — both helmed by Machine — but the inimitable four-piece indeed succeeded in capturing the electricity of their stage performance and, as ever, treated fans to a collection of songs bearing Clutch‘s unmistakable hallmarks of quirky lyrics, funky rhythms and heavy roll. They may always be a live band, but Clutch‘s studio work is in no way to be discounted, ever, as this record reaffirmed. Plus, crab cakes.

14. Ancestors, Suspended in Reflections

Ancestors Suspended in Reflections

Released by Pelagic Records. Reviewed Aug. 3.

After 2012’s In Dreams and Time (review here), I wasn’t sure Ancestors were going to put out another record. They kicked around word of one for a while, but it wasn’t until the end of last year that it really seemed to congeal into a possibility. And by then, who the hell knew what they might get up to on a full-length? With Suspended in Reflections, in some says, they picked up where they left off in terms of finding a niche for themselves in progressive and melodic heavy, but I think the time showed in the poise of their execution and the control of the material. Suspended in Reflections can’t help but be six years more mature than its predecessor, and that suits its contemplative feel. In tracks like “Gone,” and “The Warm Glow,” they tempered their expansive sound with an efficiency that can only be had with time.

13. High on Fire, Electric Messiah

high on fire electric messiah

Released by eOne Heavy. Reviewed Sept. 28.

The narrative here was hard to beat. Matt Pike spending an album cycle talking about Lemmy Kilmister and paying homage to his dirt-rock forebear and the gods of old? It doesn’t get much more perfect than that. Electric Messiah was the third collaboration between High on Fire and producer Kurt Ballou behind 2015’s Luminiferous (review here) and 2012’s De Vermiis Mysteriis (review here), and while it seemed after the last record that the formula might be getting stale, the band only sounded more and more lethal throughout the latest offering. Even putting aside their contributions to underground heavy, they’ve become one of the most essential metal bands of their generation. Metal, period. Doesn’t matter what subgenre you’re talking about it. If you’re listening to High on Fire, you know it. Usually because you’ve just been decapitated.

12. Yawning Man, The Revolt Against Tired Noises

yawning man the revolt against tired noises

Released by Heavy Psych Sounds. Reviewed July 2.

You know, if you take the time to separate Yawning Man from their 30-plus-year history and their legacy as one of the foundational acts of what later became desert rock, and you listen to The Revolt Against Tired Noises, you’re still left with basically a dream of an album. Mostly instrumental, as is their wont, they nonetheless had bassist Mario Lalli (also Fatso Jetson) sing this time around on a version of the previously-unreleased “Catamaran,” which Kyuss covered once upon a whenever although Yawning Man had never officially put it to tape. But really, that and all other novelty aside, guitarist Gary Arce, Lalli and drummer Bill Stinson are a chemistry unto themselves. I don’t know if they’ll ever be as huge as they should be, but every bit of acclaim they get, they’ve earned, and if The Revolt Against Tired Noises helps them get it, all the more so.

11. Greenleaf, Hear the Rivers

greenleaf hear the rivers

Released by Napalm Records. Reviewed Nov. 26.

Swedish heavy rock mavens Greenleaf have become an entirely different band than they once were. No longer a Dozer side-project from guitarist Tommi Holappa with a rotating cast of players, they’re a solidified, road-tested, powerhouse unit, and Hear the Rivers bleeds soul as a result. Holappa, frontman Arvid Hällagård, bassist Hans Fröhlich and drummer Sebastian Olsson sound like they’re absolutely on fire in the album’s tracks, and far from being staid or formulaic as one might expect a sixth long-player to be, Hear the Rivers built on what the band accomplished with 2016’s Rise Above the Meadow (review here) and came across as all the more vital and nearly frenetic in their energy. I won’t say Greenleaf has seen their last lineup change, because one never knows, but the band as they are today is the realization of potential I don’t think even Greenleaf knew was there.

10. Gozu, Equilibrium

gozu equilibrium

Released by Blacklight Media / Metal Blade Records. Reviewed April 4.

Five records deep into a career into its second decade, Gozu haven’t had a miss yet. Admittedly, some of their early work can seem formative considering where they are now, but still. And after the 2016 rager, Revival (review here), to have the band return to the same studio — Wild Arctic in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, where strides producer Dean Baltulonis — for the follow-up allows for the four-piece to directly show how their sound has grown more encompassing in the last couple years. And it has. Equilibrium is a rich and varied listen that holds true to Gozu‘s well-established penchant for soulful vibes and crunching, hard-hitting riffs and groove, but while it shares the directness of approach with Revival, it makes moves that a band could only make moving from one record to the next. I expect nothing less their next time out as well, because a decade later, that’s Gozu‘s proven track record.

9. Monster Magnet, Mindfucker

monster magnet mindfucker
Released by Napalm Records. Reviewed Feb. 23.

The battle for the best album title of 2018 ended early when New Jersey everything-rockers Monster Magnet announced the release of Mindfucker. And what else to call a Monster Magnet LP at this point? They’ve stopped writing to genre. They’re driven by the creative mania of frontman/founder Dave Wyndorf, and they’ve seen psychedelic expanses and commercial success the likes of which would serve the tenure of four lesser bands. What’s left to do but whatever the hell you want? So that’s what Monster Magnet are doing. It just so happens that while they’re doing it, they’re still basically outclassing the entirety of the former planet earth as songwriters. As Monster Magnet fan in 2018, there was nothing more I could’ve asked than what Mindfucker delivered. And if you’re still trying to get your brain around it however many months later, you’re not alone. I think that’s the idea.

8. Apostle of Solitude, From Gold to Ash

Apostle of Solitude From Gold to Ash

Released by Cruz del Sur Music. Reviewed Feb. 20.

Best doom album of 2018. The combination of craft and passion behind the delivery. The way the dark tones fed into the emotions so clearly on display and sheer presence of it in listening to songs like “Keeping the Lighthouse,” “Ruination by Thy Name” and “My Heart is Leaving Here.” Apostle of Solitude never seem to be the highest profile band out there, but their work seems never to be anything less than outstanding, and I refuse to accept them as anything less than among the most pivotal American acts out there making traditional doom. And not just making it, but making it their own, with a sense of new pursuits and individualism that extends to playing style as well as atmosphere. I know doom isn’t exactly in short supply these days — figuratively or literally — but if you miss out on what Apostle of Solitude are doing with it, you’ll only regret it later. I’ll say it one more time: Best doom album of 2018.

7. Holy Grove, Holy Grove II

holy grove ii
Released by Ripple Music. Reviewed Oct. 31.

Every now and again, anticipating the crap of an album really pays off, and such was the case with Holy Grove II, the Ripple Music debut from the Portland outfit whose 2016 self-titled (review here) seemed like such a herald of excellence to come while also, you know, being killer. Holy Grove II brought the four-piece of vocalist Andrea Vidal, guitarist Trent Jacobs, bassist Gregg Emley and drummer Eben Travis to entirely new levels of composition and execution. In songs like “Blade Born,” the shorter, sharper “Aurora,” the patiently rolling “Valley of the Mystics,” “Solaris” and closer “Cosmos,” which boasted a not-really-necessary-but-definitely-welcome guest vocal appearance from YOB‘s Mike Scheidt, — and oh wait, that’s all of the tracks — Holy Grove entered a different echelon. Anticipation will likewise be high for Holy Grove III, but it’ll be hard to complain with this record to keep company in the meantime.

6. All Them Witches, ATW

all them witches atw
Released by New West Records. Reviewed Sept. 18.

Over five All Them Witches albums, the Nashville four-piece have gone from a nascent heavy Americana jam band to one of the most distinct acts in the US underground. Their development in sound is chemistry-driven, so it was a risk when the founding trio of bassist/vocalist Charles Michael Parks, Jr., guitarist Ben McLeod (who also produced) and drummer Robby Staebler welcomed new keyboardist Jonathan Draper into the lineup to take the place of Allan van Cleave. Amid a more naturalist production than that of 2017’s Sleeping Through the War (review here), the revamped four-piece flourished in terms of songwriting and conveying their stage-born sonic personae. From the gleeful fuckery of opener “Fishbelly 86 Onions” to the memorable moodiness of “Diamond” and the back-end jam “Harvest Feast” en route to the stretched-out end of “Rob’s Dream,” All Them Witches essentially confirmed they could do whatever they wanted and make it work.

5. YOB, Our Raw Heart

yob our raw heart
Released by Relapse Records. Reviewed June 7.

Actually, if you want a sample of YOB‘s raw heart, the place to go is probably 2014’s Clearing the Path to Ascend (review here), but whatever the Eugene, Oregon, shapers of cosmic doom might’ve lacked in titular accuracy on their eighth long-player, they made up for in a new, statesman-like posture. Their approach was mature, hammered out to a professionalism working completely on its own terms, and they never sounded so sure of who they are as a band or as confident of their direction. In extended cuts “Beauty in Falling Leaves” and “Our Raw Heart,” they explored new and progressive textures and melodies, and managed to reaffirm their core aspects while finding room for conveying emotion that came across as nothing but ultimately sincere. They have been and still are one of a kind, and as they continue to move forward, they remain a band that makes one feel lucky to be alive to witness their work. Our Raw Heart was perhaps more refined than it let on, but the heart was there for sure, as always.

4. Brant Bjork, Mankind Woman

brant bjork mankind woman

Released by Heavy Psych Sounds. Reviewed Sept. 13.

I’m not going to say I wasn’t a fan of the (relatively) harder-hitting approach Brant Bjork and his Low Desert Punk Band took on 2014’s Black Power Flower (review here) and 2016’s Tao of the Devil (review here), but Mankind Woman brought in some more of his soul influences, and whether it was the subtly subversive funk of “Chocolatize” and “Brand New Old Times” or the callout “1968” and laid back vibes of the title-track and “Swagger and Sway,” Bjork — working with guitarist Bubba DuPree on songwriting and production — offered a definitive look at what has made his 20-year solo career so special and demonstrates not only his longevity and his legacy, but his will to continue to progress as an artist honing his craft. His discography is well populated by now to be sure, but Mankind Woman represents a turn from the last couple records, and if it’s in any way portentous of things to come, it bodes well. Bjork is right at home nestled into classic-style grooves, and his legacy as one of the principal architects of desert rock is continually reaffirmed.

3. Earthless, Black Heaven

earthless black heaven

Released by Nuclear Blast Records. Reviewed March 15.

They’ve been great, not just good, for a long time now, and as forerunners of the San Diego heavy scene, they’re godfathers to an up and coming generation of bands taking their influence — let alone acts from the rest of the world — but Black Heaven is a special moment for them because of its departure. No, it wasn’t not the first time guitarist Isaiah Mitchell sang on an Earthless recording, but it did represent a tip of the balance in that direction for the band on a studio full-length, and that resulted in a special moment. Album opener “Gifted by the Wind” was one of the best songs I heard this year, and while “End to End” and the all-thrust “Volt Rush” affirmed that more traditional songwriting was well within the grasp of Mitchell, bassist Mike Eginton and drummer Mario Rubalcaba, they still found space for a sprawling jam or two, keeping their claim on the instrumentalism that’s (largely) fueled their tenure to date. Earthless don’t want for acclaim, but every bit of it is earned, and while their primary impact has always been live, Black Heaven saw them construct a traditional-style LP that still bore the hallmarks of their collective personality. It was the best of all worlds.

2. King Buffalo, Longing to Be the Mountain

king buffalo longing to be the mountain
Self-released/released by Stickman Records. Reviewed Sept. 27.

In the dark early hours of 2018, the Rochester, New York, trio of guitarist/vocalist Sean McVay, bassist Dan Reynolds and drummer Scott Donaldson issued the Repeater EP (review here) as a follow-up to their 2016 debut, Orion (review here), so Longing to Be the Mountain didn’t exactly come out of nowhere, but even with Repeater preceding its arrival, I don’t think anyone necessary expected King Buffalo‘s second album to have such a scope or to be so engrossing with it. In its melody, patience, atmosphere and heft, it was an absolute joy to behold. Its songs were memorable at the same time they were far-reaching, and while Orion was already my pick for the best debut of 2016, Longing to Be the Mountain realized even more potential than that record had hinted toward. It could be intimate or majestic at its whim, and its dynamic set an individual characterization of heavy psychedelia and blues-style sprawl that the band wholly owned. With production by Ben McLeod of All Them Witches behind them, they worked to serve notice of a progression undertaken the results of which are already staggering and still seem to be looking ahead to the next stage, literally and figuratively. One of the principal standards I use in constructing this list every year is what I listen to most. That’s this record.

1. Sleep, The Sciences

sleep the sciences

Released by Third Man Records. Reviewed May 1.

Obviously, right? To some extent, when Sleep surprise-announced on April 19 they’d release their first album in 15 years the next day, and then did, they took ownership of 2018. Even with records still to come at that point from YOB and Sleep guitarist Matt Pike‘s own High on Fire, there was no way that when the end of the year came around, it wasn’t going to be defined by the advent of a new Sleep record. And even if it sucked, it would probably still be Album of the Year, but fortunately, as Pike, bassist/vocalist Al Cisneros (also Om) and drummer Jason Roeder (also Neurosis) took their long-running stage reunion to the studio, they brought material that highlighted the best elements from all players. Pike‘s wild soloing, Cisneros‘ meditative vocals and Roeder‘s intricate but smooth style of roll all came together in older pieces like “Antarcticans Thawed” and “Sonic Titan” and newer highlights “Giza Butler” and “Marijuanaut’s Theme,” and aside from the excitement at their existence, they showed the mastery of form that Sleep had been demonstrating live since 2009 and which they hinted toward in the 2014 single, The Clarity (review here). A new Sleep full-length was something long-discussed, long-rumored and long-considered, but when it finally happened, I think the results vaporized expectation in a way no one could’ve anticipated. There’s a reason Sleep are Sleep. Having The Sciences as a reminder of that brought about the defining moment of 2018.

The Next 20

Indeed, it wouldn’t be much of a Top 30 at all if it didn’t go to 50. Don’t try to make sense of it, just look at the records.

31. Atavismo, Valdeinfierno
32. Grayceon, IV
33. Clamfight, III
34. Seedy Jeezus, Polaris Oblique
35. Megaton Leviathan, Mage
36. Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats, Wasteland
37. Arcadian Child, Superfonica
38. Freedom Hawk, Beast Remains
39. The Machine, Faceshift
40. Messa, Feast for Water
41. Black Rainbows, Pandaemonium
42. Church of the Cosmic Skull, Science Fiction
43. Domkraft, Flood
44. Träden, Träden
45. Mythic Sunship, Another Shape of Psychedelic Music
46. Samavayo, Vatan
47. Foehammer, Second Sight
48. Bongripper, Terminal
49. Mansion, First Death of the Lutheran
50. Sunnata, Outlands
51. Chubby Thunderous Bad Kush Masters, Come and Chutney

Believe me when I tell you, I sweated over this section more than I did the actual top 30. Mansion should be higher. So should Chubby Thunderous, though something in me thought they might like being #50 on a list of 30. Church of the Cosmic Skull, Clamfight, Black Rainbows, Foehammer, Seedy Jeezus, Messa, Domkraft. All of these were fucking awesome. And there are more (we’ll get there). Eventually numbers add up. I won’t say a bad word about any of these. That’s it.

Honorable Mention

This section always winds up expanded as other people point out things I missed and so on, but here’s what I’ve got in the immediate, alphabetically:

  • Alms, Act One
  • Ape Machine, Darker Seas
  • Belzebong, Light the Dankness
  • Black Moon Circle, Psychedelic Spacelord
  • Blackwater Holylight, Blackwater Holylight
  • Bong, Thought and Existence
  • Carpet, About Rooms and Elephants
  • Churchburn, None Shall Live… The Hymns of Misery
  • Deadbird, III: The Forest Within the Tree
  • Dead Meadow, The Nothing They Need
  • Death Alley, Superbia
  • Drug Cult, Drug Cult
  • Dunbarrow, II
  • Electric Citizen, Helltown
  • Eagle Twin, The Thundering Heard: Songs of Hoof and Horn
  • Evoken, Hypnagogia
  • Funeral Horse, Psalms for the Mourning
  • Fuzz Evil, High on You
  • Graven, Heirs of Discord
  • Graveyard, Peace
  • Green Dragon, Green Dragon
  • Green Druid, Ashen Blood
  • Here Lies Man, You Will Know Nothing
  • High Priestess, High Priestess
  • Horehound, Holocene
  • IAH, II
  • JIRM, Surge ex Monumentis
  • Killer Boogie, Acid Cream
  • Lonely Kamel, Death’s Head Hawkmoth
  • MaidaVale, Madness is Too Pure
  • Moab, Trough
  • Mountain Dust, Seven Storms
  • Mouth, Floating
  • Mr. Plow, Maintain Radio Silence
  • T.G. Olson, Earthen Pyramid
  • Onségen Ensemble, Duel
  • Orango, Evergreen
  • Owl, Nights in Distortion
  • Pushy, Hard Wish
  • Rifflord, 7 Cremation Ground/Meditation
  • River Cult, Halcyon Daze
  • Rotor, Sechs
  • Somali Yacht Club, The Sea
  • Sumac, Love in Shadow
  • Sundrifter, Visitations
  • Svvamp, Svvamp II
  • Thou, Magus
  • Thunder Horse, Thunder Horse
  • Weedpecker, III

Special Note

Somehow it didn’t seem appropriate to include these in the list proper because they’re not really underground releases, but there were two more records I especially wanted to highlight for their quality:

  • Alice in Chains, Rainier Fog
  • Judas Priest, Firepower

Best Short Release of the Year

Normally I’d do this as a separate post, but as a result of being robbed earlier this year, I feel like my list is woefully incomplete. If you have any demos, EPs, splits, singles, etc., to add to it, please feel free to do so in the comments below. Still, the top pick was clear:

  • Mammoth Weed Wizard Bastard & Slomatics, Totems Split

Rarely do two bands work in such coherent tandem to their mutual benefit. Here are a few other essential short releases for 2018, alphabetically:

  • All Them Witches, Lost and Found
  • Alunah, Amber & Gold
  • Canyon, Mk II
  • Demon Head, The Resistence
  • Destroyer of Light, Hopeless
  • Ecstatic Vision, Under the Influence
  • Godmaker & Somnuri, Split
  • Holy Mushroom, Blood and Soul
  • King Buffalo, Repeater
  • Minsk & Zatokrev, Split
  • Sleep, Leagues Beneath
  • Stonus, Lunar Eclipse
  • Sundecay, Gale

Looking Forward

A good many albums have already been announced or hinted at for 2019. I in no way claim this to be a complete roundup of what’s coming, but here’s what I have in my notes so far, in absolutely no order:

Kings Destroy, Lo-Pan, Cities of Mars, Heavy Temple, Mr. Peter Hayden, Curse the Son, High Fighter, Destroyer of Light, Year of the Cobra, Buffalo Fuzz, Zaum, The Sonic Dawn, Alunah, Candlemass, Elepharmers, Grandier, Dorre, Abrahma, Mars Red Sky, Eternal Black, Elephant Tree, Atala, No Man’s Valley, Sun Blood Stories, Crypt Sermon, The Riven, Hibrido, Snail, Red Beard Wall, 11Paranoias, Dead Witches, Monte Luna, Captain Caravan (LP), Swallow the Sun, Oreyeon, Motorpsycho, Vokonis, Hexvessel, Saint Vitus, Mammoth Weed Wizard Bastard, Kind, Mastiff, Shadow Witch, Om.

Okay, That’s It

Yeah, no, I’m serious. List is done. Everybody go back to your lives. Your families miss you.

Really though, while this is by no means my last post of 2018, I can’t let it pass without saying thank you so much to everyone for checking out the site this year, or for just digging into this, or for sending me music, or hitting me up on social media, sharing a link, anything. Thank you. Thank you. I could never have imagined when it started out where it would be now. Or that I’d still be doing it. Your support means more to me than I can say, and I thank you so much for being a part of this with me.

So thanks.

If you have something to add to the list, please do so by leaving a comment below, but keep in mind as well the above note requesting civility. Please don’t make me feel stupid because I forgot your favorite record. I forgot a lot of people’s favorite records. I’m one dude. I’m doing my best.

And please keep in mind if you’ve got a list together that the Year-End Poll is open and results will be out Jan. 1.

Everybody have a great and safe 2019.

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Yawning Man Announce North American Touring with Mondo Generator & Freedom Hawk

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

yawning man

Desert soundtrackers Yawning Man will hit the road right after New Year’s in order, presumably, to bring a bit of warmth to some of the harshest hours 2019 will present. The genre-shaping Californian outfit released The Revolt Against Tired Noises (review here) earlier this year, and it’s a record that has endured even as others have come and gone since, and typical of the band’s work, one expects it will continue to unfold sides of itself over a longer term than a mere matter of months. Recall this is a band who were practically legends before they had an album out. Still, in their 30-plus-year history, they haven’t ever been especially huge on touring, so even as they become a more cohesive studio outfit, they’re complementing that with a live incarnation. They were in Europe this past summer, and have already gotten a first East Coast stint under their collective belt. As far as I’m concerned, the more the merrier.

They’ll have Nick Oliveri and his Mondo Generator outfit along for the first stretch of dates, then pick up shortly thereafter with Virginian fuzzers Freedom Hawk, which is badass on multiple levels that you probably already know. If I’m not mistaken, it’s the longest stint Freedom Hawk will have done in the States as well.

Dates follow, as dutifully transcribed from the tour poster by me, for reasons of compulsion:

yawning man tour poster

Yawning Man US / Canada Tour Dates !!

Yawning Man on tour:
01.02 Phoenix AZ Rebel Lounge*
01.03 Albuquerque NM Sister Bar*
01.04 Dallas TX Gas Monkey
01.06 Austin TX Come and Take it Live*
01.07 Lafayette LA Freetown Boom Boom Room*
01.08 New Orleans LA Santos*
01.09 Nashville TN Little Harpeth Brewing*
01.10 Atlanta GA 529
01.12 Asheville NC 27 Club**
01.13 Charlottesville VA The Southern**
01.14 Richmond VA Richmond Music Hall**
01.15 Philadephia PA Kung Fu Necktie**
01.16 Cambridge MA Middle East Upstairs**
01.17 Brooklyn NY Saint Vitus**
01.18 Montreal QC Bar LeRitz**
01.19 Ottawa ON Mavericks**
01.20 Toronto ON Bovine Sex Club**
01.21 Detroit MI The Sanctuary**
01.23 Chicago IL Empty Bottle**
01.24 Kansas City MO Record Bar
01.25 Denver CO Hi Dive
01.26 Salt Lake City UT Loading Dock
01.27 Boise ID The Olympic
01.29 Vancouver BA Astoria
01.30 Seattle WA El Corazon
01.31 Portland OR High Water Mark
* w/ Mondo Generator
** w/ Freedom Hawk

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

https://www.facebook.com/yawningmanofficial/
https://yawningman.bandcamp.com
http://www.yawningman.com/
https://www.facebook.com/HEAVYPSYCHSOUNDS
http://www.heavypsychsounds.com
https://heavypsychsoundsrecords.bandcamp.com

Yawning Man, “Ghost Beach”

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Heavy Psych Sounds Fest to Take Place in UK, Belgium & the Netherlands; Lineups Announced

Posted in Whathaveyou on December 6th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

This is a pretty big deal. Heavy Psych Sounds Fest, of course the festival arm of the label/booking company of the same name, was already branching out in holding its 2018 edition last month in Austria, whereas to my knowledge all past fests were held in Italy. Now, not only is Heavy Psych Sounds Fest 2019 moving again, but it’s expanding to three cities, and it’s happening in just a couple months in February. It’s kind of astounding, and the ambition isn’t the only thing. Black RainbowsGiöbia and Deadsmoke will feature all three nights — Feb. 22-24, in London, Brussels and Deventer, respectively — and they’ll be joined in London by Dead Witches, who’ll use the appearance to mark the release of their new album, on Heavy Psych Sounds, and in Belgium by The Sonic Dawn, and in the Netherlands by The Sonic Dawn again as well as Drive by WireKamchatka and Komatsu. I’ll say it again: this is a pretty big deal.

It signals Heavy Psych Sounds Fest not just as a label showcase, but maybe even ultimately a traveling package tour. Who the hell knows what might come next? The door’s open wide.

From the PR wire:

heavy psych sounds fest 2019 posters

HEAVY PSYCH SOUNDS FEST to conquer the UK, Belgium and the Netherlands in early 2019!

London, Brussels and Deventer are set to be drenched in fuzz in February 2019, with the next proceedings for HEAVY PSYCH SOUNDS FEST!

Heavy Psych Sounds Records are proud to announce further events for their HEAVY PSYCH SOUNDS FEST series, which celebrated its last edition in November 2018 in Innsbruck, Austria. The Italian cult & fuzz rock label invited high class acts such as Brant Bjork, Giöbia, Mother’s Cake and Belzebong & many more, to turn the capitol of Tyrol into a psychedelic rock wonderland! Due to the massive success and participation of the heavy rock scene with fans from all over Europe who made the fest so special, Heavy Psych Sounds just announced to expand and will be running the highly acclaimed events in London (Underworld, in cooperation with DesertScene), Brussels (Magasin4) as well as in Deventer (Burgerweeshuis, in cooperation with SOZ concerts) between February 22nd – 24th 2019!

HPS FEST LONDON (UK) – February 22nd at The Black Heart
with Dead Witches (official album release), Black Rainbows, Giöbia, Deadsmoke
Official event // TICKETS

HPS FEST BRUSSELS (BE) – February 23rd at Magasin 4
with Black Rainbows Giöbia, The Sonic Dawn, Deadsmoke
Official event // TICKETS

HPS FEST DEVENTER (NL) – February 24th at Burgerweeshuis
with Black Rainbows, Giöbia, Deadsmoke, The Sonic Dawn, Komatsu, Kamchatka, Drive By Wire
Official event // TICKETS

The London date will also see the release show of DEAD WITCHES (feat. Electric Wizard’s co-founding member Mark Greening) to celebrate their sophomore album ‘The Final Exorcism! Expect heavy as hell shows from all bands, the finest and almighty riffs, and of course lots of cool merch at the Heavy Psych Sounds booth.

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

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Nebula Premiere “Whalefinger” from Demos & Outtakes 98-02; Preorders up Now

Posted in audiObelisk on November 29th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

nebula

Nebula will issue Demos and Outtakes 98-02 two months from today, and to mark the occasion of preorders going live through Heavy Psych Sounds, the band are premiering the previously-unreleased track “Whalefinger.” Recorded in 2002, it’s one of the later inclusions on the compilation, with “You Got It” and a faithful live cover of Black Flag‘s “Nervous Breakdown” stemming from the same era. That same year, the Californian heavy psych rockers would release their collection Dos EPs (discussed here) as their final outing with the original lineup of guitarist/vocalist Eddie Glass, bassist Mark Abshire and drummer Ruben Romano, as by the time 2003’s Atomic Ritual was released, Abshire had moved on. In familiar cuts like “Sun Creature,” “Humbucker,” “To the Center,” “Smokin’ Woman” and “Synthetic Dream,” Demos and Outtakes 98-02 isn’t necessarily as raw sounding as the name would imply, and while it’s inherently true that these most of tracks aren’t the “finished” versions, they also find the band working with producers like Jack Endino on “Humbucker” or John Agnello (Screaming Trees, many others) on the opening Leaf Hound cover “Stagnant Pool,” and with new mixes on “Smokin’ Woman” and “Sun Creature” by Matt Lynch of Snail, the band sounds vital even at their most barebones, which might be “You Got It,” though the Glass-only fuzz-blowout take on The Creation‘s “How Does it Feel to Feel” comes close.

The impact of this era of Nebula‘s work speaks for itself in the influence they continue to have on psychedelia, desert rock, and acts from any number of other intertwining heavy subgenres. Heavy Psych Sounds this year already issued Dos EPs along with Nebula Demos Outtakes 98-021998’s Let it Burn EP (discussed here) and 1999’s To the Center (discussed here) — both landmarks — and though it’s just over two minutes long, “Whalefinger” stands testament to the punk undercurrent running through the band’s sound. Stripped-down lyrics, sharp transitions and a momentum driven by Romano‘s drumming position the track structurally not so far off from “Nervous Breakdown,” though admittedly the latter is faster. And of course that matters to the overall intensity factor, but the point is that Nebula were taking various sonic perspectives from punk, garage rock, psych, stoner, whatever, and bringing them into their own approach. By 2002, they were an established touring act. They’d been across the US and abroad to Europe, and they weren’t exactly rookies when they started either, with Glass and Romano having broken off from Fu Manchu in ’97 and reunited with Abshire, who was that band’s original bassist, shortly thereafter. Still, I’m not sure I’d call Nebula “mature” by the time 2002 rolled around. Certainly they were experienced and seasoned — and toasted — but as Demos and Outtakes 98-02 shows in “Whalefinger” and “You Got It,” there was still a lot of exploring being done in terms of songcraft and aesthetic, and a kind of restlessness propelled them forward.

That works until you hit a wall, which Glass eventually did in 2010, but a revamped version of the band is pressing forward again with Glass, longtime bassist Tom Davies and drummer Mike Amster and working toward the prospect of the band’s first album since Heavy Psych (review here) in 2009. As to what Nebula might conjure after a decade out of the studio, I don’t know, but Demos and Outtakes 98-02 offers listeners a chance to revisit their original lineup in a way that stands apart from the lineage of their discography. It’s not the first “early works” compilation by any means, but given the fact that the Glass/Abshire/Romano incarnation of the band only had two LPs and a couple EPs and singles out — not nothing, but not exactly a glut of material — and given the nigh-legendary status of the trio as they were, it’s a question of taking all you can get. And from the covers to the unreleased tracks to the working versions of some of their most classic material, fans of the band should be ready to do precisely that.

More PR wire info follows “Whalefinger,” which you’ll find on the player below.

Please enjoy:

Mark Abshire on “Whalefinger”:

“Whalefinger” – not only is this song rad, but it’s the first song Eddie ever wrote. The original version was recorded and released by Olivelawn as a 7” B-side (Eddie played drums in Olivelawn).”

Set for a release on January 25th 2019, the ‘Demos & Outtakes 98-02’ will include 5 tracks that have never seen the light of day before, alongside rare demos as well as cover songs such as a special live version of Black Flag’s ‘Nervous Breakdown’! Beside these never published demos to date, the known tracks on this album are different to what NEBULA originally released on their previous records like on their pathbreaking ‘Charged’ or ‘To The Center’. Some tracks were written and recorded in these sessions, some never made it on any of them or were used for B-sides and singles. And then we get songs such as ‘Whalefinger’ which was the first song Eddie Glass ever wrote and which originally made it on a 7” B-side by Olivelawn, where Eddie played drums.

The tracklist of NEBULA’s ‘Demos & Outtakes 98-02’ will read as follows:

1. Stagnant Pool ( ’00/01 demo, Leaf Hound cover )
2. Whalefinger ( ’02 demo )
3. Humbucker ( ’99 demo )
4. Smokin’ Woman ( ’98 demo )
5. Sun Creature ( ’98 demo )
6. You Got It ( ’02 demo )
7. To The Center ( ’99 demo )
8. Synthetic Dream ( ’99 demo )
9. How Does It Feel To Feel? ( ’99 demo, The Creation cover )
10. Nervous Breakdown ( Live ’02, Black Flag cover )

Preorder: https://www.heavypsychsounds.com/shop.htm#HPS088

Nebula lineup on “Whalefinger”:
Eddie Glass: Guitar/Vocals
Ruben Romano: Drums
Mark Abshire: Bass

Nebula on Thee Facebooks

Heavy Psych Sounds webstore

Heavy Psych Sounds on Thee Facebooks

Heavy Psych Sounds on Instagram

Heavy Psych Sounds on Twitter

Heavy Psych Sounds on Bandcamp

Heavy Psych Sounds website

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Nebula Announce Charged Reissue & Demos & Outtakes 98-02 Compilation Release

Posted in Whathaveyou on November 26th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

nebula

Rumor has it that the reformed lineup of Nebula made a demo for six new songs in Slovenia and are setting to work on what will be the band’s first new album in a decade for release in 2019. And by ‘rumor,’ I mean that’s what the band said. In the meantime, Heavy Psych Sounds is continuing its exploration of the Californian heavy psych forebears’ past with a reissue of their 2001 second album, Charged, that’s been newly mastered by Matt Lynch of Snail, and the collection Demos & Outtakes 98-02 with previously unheard material that goes up for preorder this week.

Of course, Heavy Psych Sounds also reissued the band’s early work in Let it Burn (discussed here), To the Center (discussed here) and Dos EPs (discussed here), so both of the forthcoming outings are right in line with what started earlier this year. As to whether or not these will be the last Nebula archival outings, I wouldn’t know. If nothing else, there have to be some pretty killer live recordings out there. Just a thought.

When and if a new Nebula record surfaces, well, that’ll be super-duper. Sign me up. In the meantime, though, there’s plenty for longtime fans to chew on in revisiting what made them so special in the first place.

From the PR wire:

HEAVY PSYCH SOUNDS RECORDS to release ‘Demos & Outtakes 98-02’ by legendary NEBULA

+ reissue the ‘Charged’ album in early 2019!

Heavy Psych Sounds Records & Booking is proud to announce the release of NEBULA’s ‘Demos & Outtakes 98-02’, as well as a re-mastered version of the band’s 2001’s album ‘Charged’!

Set for a release on January 25th 2019, the ‘Demos & Outtakes 98-02’ will include 5 tracks that have never seen the light of day before, alongside rare demos as well as cover songs such as a special live version of Black Flag’s ‘Nervous Breakdown’! Beside these never published demos to date, the known tracks on this album are different to what NEBULA originally released on their previous records like on their pathbreaking ‘Charged’ or ‘To The Center’. Some tracks were written and recorded in these sessions, some never made it on any of them or were used for B-sides and singles. And then we get songs such as ‘Whalefinger’ which has been the first song Eddie Glass ever wrote and which originally made it on a 7” B-side by Olivelawn, where Eddie has been playing drums for.

The Pre-Order for this MUST-HAVE gem in every NEBULA and genre-collection will start on November 29th, in the following available album formats:

– 25 TEST PRESS
– 250 LTD TRANSPARENT RED VINYL
– 500 GREY SPLATTER (Red/Black/Blue) VINYL
– BLACK VINYL
– CD DIGIPAK
– DIGITAL DOWNLOAD

The tracklist of NEBULA’s ‘Demos & Outtakes 98-02’ will read as follows:

1. Stagnant Pool ( ’00/01 demo, Leaf Hound cover )
2. Whalefinger ( ’02 demo )
3. Humbucker ( ’99 demo )
4. Smokin’ Woman ( ’98 demo )
5. Sun Creature ( ’98 demo )
6. You Got It ( ’02 demo )
7. To The Center ( ’99 demo )
8. Synthetic Dream ( ’99 demo )
9. How Does It Feel To Feel? ( ’99 demo, The Creation cover )
10. Nervous Breakdown ( Live ’02, Black Flag cover )

Furthermore, Heavy Psych Sounds has just announced to reissue NEBULA’s legendary ‘Charged’ album, originally released back in 2001 on Sub Pop Records! This new album version has been re-mastered by SNAIL’s bassist and NEBULA’s longtime sound engineer Matt Lynch.

‘Charged’ was the second full-length album by the stoner rock legends, it’s also the last album featuring former Fu Manchu bandmate, Mark Abshire, on bass and before the original band lineup re-united in 2018. The third album track ‘Giant’ was featured in Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 4 and will be also found as a demo bonus song on the re-mastered 2019-CD album version. ‘Charged’ is still considered as one of NEBULA’s most important and distinctive records to date. A heavy fuzz rock trip into the desert, a wheel of hot lava, and the sheer power of almighty riffs only an act like NEBULA could have ever created!

The tracklist for ‘Charged’ reads as follows:

1. Do It Now
2. Beyond
3. Giant
4. Travelin’ Man’s Blues
5. Instant Gravitation
6. This One
7. Ignition
8. Shaker
9. Goodbye Yesterday
10. All The Way
11. Giant ( Demo Bonus Track, available on CD only )
12. Cosmic Egg ( Bonus Track, available on CD only )

Coming as CD, Vinyl and Digital Download on February 8th 2019 , the pre-order for NEBULA’s ‘Charged’ will start on November 29th at Heavy Psych Sounds in the following formats:

– 25 TEST PRESS
– 250 LTD SOLID BLUE VINYL
– 500 LTD WHITE SPLATTER BLUE/CLEAR BLUE/BLACK/GREEN VINYL
– BLACK VINYL
– DIGIPAK
– DIGITAL DOWNLOAD

https://www.facebook.com/NebulaBand/
https://twitter.com/HEAVYPSYCHSOUND
https://instagram.com/heavypsychsounds_records/
https://heavypsychsoundsrecords.bandcamp.com/
http://www.heavypsychsounds.com/

Nebula, “Giant” Live at SonicBlast Moledo 2018

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Crypt Trip Announce Haze County out March 8; Stream New Song

Posted in Whathaveyou on November 23rd, 2018 by JJ Koczan

crypt trip (Photo by Madison Somerville)

Heavy Psych Sounds isn’t wasting any time getting preorders out there for those who want to reserve their copy early of Crypt Trip‘s Haze County, and that’s probably a good idea. Seems like the buzz around the album will be considerable, what with the quick turnaround the San Marcos, Texas, three-piece are making from their Rootstock LP, the time they put in on the road earlier this year alongside Cloud Catcher, the traditionalist spirit of their vibe generally, and what’s presumed to be an impending European tour — they’ve already been announced for Roadburn, and I’d think a stretch of touring is set to either follow or lead up to that performance; did I see something to that effect? am I making it up? — all that buzz feels well-enough justified. The first song from the album has been unveiled, and yeah, ain’t gonna argue against it.

March 8 is the release date, and I’d expect more to come, but as noted, the preorders are up now.

Here’s art and info from the PR wire:

crypt trip haze county

Heavy Psych Sounds Records & Booking is really stoked to start the presale of the album *** CRYPT TRIP – Haze County ***

CRYPT TRIP return with their sophomore album “Haze County” this March 8th on Heavy Psych Sounds Records.

CRYPT TRIP returns! Following their debut album “Rootstock”, the Texas trio once again deliver their typical country-tinged southern rock for your ears, mind, and soul. New album “Haze County” explores the intricacy of space and time through nine songs that can easily be defined as the band’s most focused and organic work to date.

CRYPT TRIP tell us more about this new taster: “As a first look into Haze County, we present to you “Wordshot”. There is deep history in Texas prog and psychedelic music that Crypt Trip is trying to carry on and this song is a shining example of that. Featuring Geoff Queen on pedal steel, we hope that you find it easy to drift away in the varying tones and emotions this track has to offer.”

Blending elements of hard rock, psychedelia and folk music, each track has something different to say. Loud Fender amps and a pounding rhythm section deliver enticing grooves on some tracks, while dreamy guitars take you away on others. Staying true to their Texas tradition, the album features special guest Geoff Queen on pedal steel, adding an entirely different color to the tonal palette.

“Haze County” was recorded and mixed by James Campbell at Cibolo Studios in San Antonio, Texas. It was mastered by Jerry Tubb at Terra Nova Digital Audio in Austin, Texas. High quality analog equipment was used at every stage of production for the best possible “vintage” sound.

“Haze County” will be issued on the following formats:
– 25 Test Press
– 250 LTD orange Fluo vinyl
– 500 Yellow Splatter vinyl
– Black vinyl
– CD and digital

CRYPT TRIP “Haze County”
Out March 8th on Heavy Psych Sounds Records
Preorder available now at this location

TRACKLIST
1. Forward
2. Hard Times
3. To Be Whole
4. Death After Life
5. Free Rain
6. Wordshot
7. 16 Ounce Blues
8. Pastures
9. Gotta Get Away

CRYPT TRIP is
Ryan Lee – Vocals, Guitar
Sam Bryant – Bass
Cameron Martin – Drums

https://www.facebook.com/CryptTrip/
https://crypttrip.bandcamp.com/
https://www.instagram.com/heavypsychsounds_records/
https://heavypsychsoundsrecords.bandcamp.com
www.heavypsychsounds.com

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