Quarterly Review: Alcest, Galley Beggar, Pontiak, White Light Cemetery, Fever Dog, Duel, Seven Nines and Tens, Automatic Sam, The Next Appointed Hour, Blown Out

Posted in Reviews on March 29th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

cropped-Charles-Meryon-Labside-Notre-Dame-1854

Always a special moment in the Quarterly Review when we pass the halfway mark. That’s where today’s batch brings us, and in rocking style as well. You might say I’ve been taking it easy on myself with the selections this time out — albums there’s plenty to say on and generally good stuff — but the basic fact of the matter is even with 50 reviews in a week, this is still just a fraction of what’s out there and still just a fraction of what I’d cover if I had the time. I couldn’t in terms of my own sanity, but one could probably do 10 reviews a day every day of the year and still have room for more. I do the best I can. Picking and choosing is a part of that process. Let’s get to it.

Quarterly Review #21-30:

Alcest, Kodama

alcest kodama

After the bold departure presented in 2014’s Shelter (review here) toward even-airier, more indie-hued fare, French post-black metal innovators Alcest make a no-less-bold return to their core sound – screams included, as they’re quick to show on “Eclosion” – with 2016’s Kodama (on Prophecy Productions). It’s a less progressive move, and for that distinct in Alcest’s discography, but one can’t argue with their execution of a track like “Je Suis d’Ailleurs” and the immediately recognizable melodic wash they craft, as resonant emotionally as it is heavy in its tone. Most of the six cuts seem contented to have (re-)found their place, but “Onyx” finishes out with just under four minutes of layered guitar droning, and so Alcest seem to tease that perhaps they’re not completely ready to settle the issue of their aesthetic just yet. One hopes that’s the case, and in the meantime, the reorientation that Kodama brings with it should no doubt please those longtime fans who bristled at the turn they made their last time out.

Alcest on Thee Facebooks

Prophecy Productions on Bandcamp

 

Galley Beggar, Heathen Hymns

galley-beggar-heathen-hymns

Galley Beggar’s fourth offering and second for Rise Above, Heathen Hymns, brings 42-minutes of the traditional acid folk one has come to expect from them over the last half-decade plus, no less graceful in its melodies, harmonies and weaving into and out of psychedelia, Eastern inflections on the sitar-laced “The Lake” and cleverly rhythmic in the post-rocking electric flourish of “Let No Man Steal Your Thyme.” Knowing what to expect, however, does nothing to diminish the joy of the listening experience. Rather, the return of Galley Beggar’s fluid string and/or more rock-based arrangements, memorable songcraft and gorgeous vocal treatments is welcome, and perhaps most of all on closer “My Return,” which draws their multiple sides together in a cohesive vision of futures past that only benefits from the maturity they’ve grown into. With poise as a defining feature as much as their British folk stylistic lineage, Galley Beggar remain a special outfit doing deeply individualized and satisfying work.

Galley Beggar on Thee Facebooks

Rise Above Records website

 

Pontiak, Dialectic of Ignorance

pontiak-dialectic-of-ignorance

A steady foundation of low-end drone underpins songs like “Ignorance Makes Me High” and “Hidden Prettiness” on Pontiak’s Dialectic of Ignorance (released via Thrill Jockey), and though they move away from it somewhat in the more active freakout “Dirtbags,” the patience shown by the Virginian trio forms a key part of the album’s personality. To wit, they open with “Easy Does It,” essentially telling their listener their intention for what will ensue throughout the eight-track/46-minute offering. Brothers Jennings, Van and Lain Carney bring forth willful drift in that opener and across the percussive-but-still-shoegazing “Tomorrow is Forgetting,” finding an organ-laced folkadelic middle ground later in “Youth and Age” and punctuating the dreamy harmonized gorgeousness of “Herb is My Next Door Neighbor” with fervent tom runs and ping ride before closer “We’ve Fucked this Up” starts out amid blistering chaos only to smooth itself as it goes. Serene and somewhat moody to the same degree their last outing, 2014’s Innocence, was raw, Dialectic of Ignorance carries the feel of a personal journey undertaken, but is ultimately too warm in tone and melody not to welcome its audience to be a part of that as well.

Pontiak on Thee Facebooks

Pontiak at Thrill Jockey Records

 

White Light Cemetery, Careful What You Wish For

white-light-cemetery-careful-what-you-wish-for

Nearing the mark of their first decade together, Louisiana Southern heavy four-piece White Light Cemetery issue their second full-length, Careful What You Wish For, through Ripple Music and keep a steady focus on songcraft throughout. Heavy riffs, a bit of boogie on “Sky River” and the stomping “Better Days,” boozy Southern-isms on the directly countrified “On a Dime” and a cowbell-infused finish with “Bullet to Erase” – it’s only fair to say White Light Cemetery hit all the marks. The beery post-Deliverance execution of “Looking Out (For Number One)” will likely ring familiar to many who take it on, but that’s the idea, as vocalist/guitarist Shea Bearden, guitarist Ryan Robin, bassist Tara Miller and drummer Thomas Colley are clearly less concerned with reinventing rock in their own image than honoring the pantheon of those who’ve come before them in the style. Hard to argue with the ethic preached or the dual-guitar harmonies of “Quit Work, Make Music,” though the record as a whole seems awfully “workingman’s rock” for any such bohemian aspirations.

White Light Cemetery on Thee Facebooks

Ripple Music on Bandcamp

 

Fever Dog, Mainframe

fever dog mainframe

It’s been three years since next-gen Californian desert trio Fever Dog released their last album, Second Wind (review here), which was long on potential, big on songwriting and resonant in vibe. I’d been hoping for a third long-player in 2017, but even the arrival of new single Mainframe – which of course doesn’t preclude a subsequent album release – is fine by me, the three-piece of guitarist/vocalist Danny Graham, bassist Nathan Wood and drummer/organist/synthesist/vocalist Joshua Adams digging into progressive vibes on the title-track and the subsequent, talkbox-inclusive “Let Me Out.” I don’t know if they’re planning to press a 7” – somebody call H42 Records! – but the cover art certainly justifies one if the songs themselves don’t (and they do), and the name-your-price download comes with the raw 19-minute classic heavy rock jam “Alpha Waves Medley Live at Club 5,” which emits buzz like it’s a bootleg from 1973. If Mainframe is the process of Fever Dog getting weirder, it bodes well. All the more reason one might keep their fingers crossed for a new full-length.

Fever Dog on Thee Facebooks

Fever Dog on Bandcamp

 

Duel, Witchbanger

duel witchbanger

“If you see him it’s much too late/Close your eyes, girl, accept your fate.” So goes the title-track hook of Duel’s Witchbanger, the Austin-based rockers’ second album for Heavy Psych Sounds. Released on a quick turnaround from last year’s debut, Fears of the Dead (review here), the eight-track/34-minute swaggerfest delves into fantasy themes drawn from classic metal – hard not to look at six-minute closer “Tigers and Rainbows” and not think of Dio, at least thematically – but cuts like “Astro Gypsy” and “Heart of the Sun” in the record’s midsection build on the ‘70s loyalism of the first outing and find guitarist/vocalist Tom Frank, guitarist Jeff Henson, bassist/vocalist Shaun Avants and drummer JD Shadowz clear in their intentions in that regard. Though it takes a sizable grain of salt to get over that title, Duel’s heavy rock traditionalism comes complemented by efficient songwriting and a natural-sounding recording that’s neither completely retro nor totally modern but draws strength and fullness from both sides. A worthy and rousing follow-up.

Duel on Thee Facebooks

Heavy Psych Sounds website

 

Seven Nines and Tens, Set the Controls for the Heart of the Slums

seven-nines-and-tens-set-the-controls-for-the-heart-of-the-slums

If the dates are to be believed, the second full-length from Vancouver’s Seven Nines and Tens, cleverly-titled Set the Controls for the Heart of the Slums, has roots going back to 2014, when basic live tracks were recorded and subsequently built on for about two years. Indeed, the four-song offering – whose tracks “I Come from Downtown,” “Metropolis Noir / Rigs” and closer “Rave Up” have been presented in the meantime as singles and/or on early 2017’s Live at the Smilin’ Buddha Cabaret – has plenty of layers in its heavy post-rock wash, and it’s with depth and heft that guitarist/bassist/vocalist David Cotton and drummer Mario Nieva (the current incarnation of the band has a different lineup), make their prevailing impression, be it in the roll of 13-minute “Metropolis Noir / Rigs” or the loud/quiet trades of “Dope Simple,” which follows. With a focus on atmosphere over structure, Seven Nines and Tens offer a quick 32-minute immersion that feels less pretentious than purposeful and would seem to have been worth the time it took to construct.

Seven Nines and Tens on Thee Facebooks

Seven Nines and Tens website

 

Automatic Sam, Arcs

automatic sam arcs

With their third album, Nijmegen’s Automatic Sam bring together a straightforward and coherent collection of well-intentioned semi-psychedelic heavy rock. Their past works, 2011’s Texino and 2013’s Sonic Whip, have been conceptual or at least thematic pieces, and it may be that the 13-track/38-minute Arcs (on Goomah Music) is as well, but if so, it would seem to find that theme in a vision of post-grunge ‘90s alt rock, cleanly and clearly executed and vibrant in the performance of vocalist/guitarist Pieter Holkenborg, guitarist/vocalist Rense Slings, bassist/vocalist Erik Harbers and drummer/vocalist Lars Spijkervet, who open with the five-minute “Ukiyo” (their longest inclusion; immediate points) and then run through a varied swath of shorter pieces from the attitude-laden “City Lights” through the uptempo post-punk of “This is Not a Holiday” and the fuller push of “Parnassia.” Side B seems more flowing, with that song, “Tarantula,” a complementary reprise, the title-track and drifting acoustic closer “So Long in E Minor,” but Automatic Sam manage to hone a diverse approach across Arcs’ span while skillfully directing themselves around choppier waters.

Automatic Sam on Thee Facebooks

Automatic Sam at Goomah Music

 

The Next Appointed Hour, Not the End of the World

the-next-appointed-hour-not-the-end-of-the-world

Ambition may be the defining aspect of Not the End of the World. The 2016 self-released debut from Birmingham, Alabama’s The Next Appointed Hour willfully refuses easy categorization, basking in bright psychedelic space rock harmonies one minute and digging into folkish melancholia the next in a way that one is left with no other option but to call “progressive.” What ultimately makes songs like “Keeper’s Heart” and the ethereal pop of “Back to You back to Me” work is an underlying cure of songcraft, and whatever ground the six-piece cover on the 10-track outing, from the fuzzy rush of “Drone Riot” to the trippy shimmer of the penultimate “Red Flame,” that core is maintained, uniting the material and making Not the End of the World a work of scope rather than haphazard. It requires an open mind, but rewards open-mindedness with moments like the accordion on “Valley,” or the rhythmic drift of “Any Who but Here,” the nuance of which is no less gracefully held together than the overarching flow of the album as a whole.

The Next Appointed Hour on Thee Facebooks

The Next Appointed Hour on Bandcamp

 

Blown Out, Superior Venus

blown out superior venus

Already sold out on preorders, the vinyl edition of Superior Venus from UK cosmic jammers Blown Out features two tracks – one per side – of space-wash heavy righteousness. “Impious Oppressor” and “Superior Venus” both top 15 minutes (and are accompanied by demo versions if you get the download), and proffer the kind of progressive improvisation-based flow that, indeed, might make one inclined to get an order in while the getting’s good. Blown Out, with members of Bong and Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs, have put out a slew of live and studio releases over the last three years, but as planets invariably revolve in cyclical patterns, so too does the regular frequency of their work become part of the expression itself. If you’re going to jam, do it all the time. On Superior Venus, Blown Out once more bring this ethic to life, and the resulting material spreads itself wide over its still relatively brief span. A short trip to orbit, perhaps, but well worth the undertaking.

Blown Out on Thee Facebooks

Riot Season Records on Bandcamp

 

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Six Dumb Questions with Doctor Cylops (Plus Full Album Stream & Tour Announcement)

Posted in Six Dumb Questions on March 27th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

doctor cyclops

[Click play above to stream Local Dogs by Doctor Cyclops in its entirety. Album is out March 31 on Heavy Psych Sounds.]

Italian heavy rockers Doctor Cyclops are gearing up to issue Local Dogs, their third full-length and Heavy Psych Sounds debut, on March 31. Recorded by James Atkinson of Gentlemans Pistols and boasting guest appearances from Bill Steer of Firebird (also of Carcass, but it’s the boogie that’s way more relevant in this context), the 10-track/47-minute outing follows 2014’s Oscuropasso (discussed here) and finds the three-piece skirting the line between classic heavy rock and more metallic impulses — songs dipping into NWOBHM stylizations in a way that, even three years ago, might have been out of character. As it stands, they find a basis for nuance in this meld, and with the clarity of production and the push of songs like “Wall of Misery” and the stomping “Druid Samhain,” it feels all the more intentional on their part that one might relate their work as much to Dio and Iron Maiden as to Sabbath and Atomic Rooster.

Of course, speaking stylistically (and literally too), it’s not the first time the ’70s have given way to the ’80s, but what Doctor Cyclops use to draw these elements and influences together is a healthy coating of tonal warmth, plus-grade songcraft and a clear-headedness of performance that makes songs like opener “Lonely Devil,” the acoustic-infused “Epicurious” and the swinging, organ-laced penultimate track “Witch’s Tale” all the more memorable before the finale “Witchfinder General” draws a direct link to the NWOBHM and brings Local Dogs to a galloping and righteous close. Striking throughout is the confidence and the poise with which the three-piece of guitarist/vocalist Christian Draghi, bassist Francesco Filippini and drummer Alessandro Dallera pull off playing to one side or the other and the assured feeling that what they’re doing with their sound across Local Dogs‘ span is the right way to go, wherever an individual track may actually be headed. In no small part because of that confidence, they turn out to be 100 percent correct.

Doctor Cyclops have live dates lined up through the Spring — they’re working with Heavy Psych Sounds on booking as well, and in May, they will take part in the label’s Sonic Ritual Fest (info here) alongside Yawning ManEcstatic Vision and others, right after they hit the UK with Cybernetic Witch Cult (info here). One can only assume there are more shows to be announced through the end of 2017 and beyond, so keep an eye out., but here’s where they’ll be over the next couple months:

Doctor Cyclops on tour:
14.04 Pavia(IT) Spaziomusica
15.04 Francavilla (IT) Tikitaka Live Village
22.04 Tortona (IT) Dazibao
2.05 St.Gallen (CH) Rumpeltum w/Farflung
3.05 Ins (CH) Schuxenaus
5.05 Ipswich (UK) The Swan
6.05 Banbury (UK) The Wheatsheaf
7.05 London (UK) The Dev
8.05 Bristol (UK) The Gryphon
9.05 Plymouth (UK) The Junction
11.05 Olten (CH) Coq d’Or
12.05 Erba (IT) Centrale Rock w/Crowbar
20.05 Mezzago (IT) Bloom
07.07 Salzburg (AT) RockHouse “Dome of Rock Fest
08.07 Nandlstadt (DE) FreakinOut Festival

In the meantime, Local Dogs can be ordered now from Heavy Psych Sounds, and Draghi was kind enough to take part in a short interview about making the album.

Please enjoy the following Six Dumb Questions:

doctor cyclops local dogs

Six Dumb Questions with Doctor Cyclops

Tell me about recording Local Dogs. How was it working with James Atkinson from Gentlemans Pistols as producer? What made you choose him to record the album?

Was nice and easy, as James is a super cool and easygoing guy. At the same time he is really professional and into the kind of music we are as well, so it was a relief for us to find someone we were in complete harmony to work with. We chose him as we knew he could have been the right person to help us catching on the record those dirty and honest sound you normally get just by recording on tapes in your rehearsal room. We met because of a common friend, Steve Lloyd. He introduced us to James, we had a talk and then we sent him some rough recordings we did. He understood immediately what we were looking for. He was the right guy at the right time.

What were you going for sound-wise coming off of Oscuropasso?

We decided to go for a simpler approach. We just wanted to capture the sound of the rehearsal room, so once in the studio we played all together in one room take after take, trying to put down every song in the faster and more natural way we could. No click tracks, not that many overdubbings, just straight playing, one song after the other… that’s it, good old ’70s rotten rock way.

Songs like “Stardust” have a lot of classic metal to them as well as ‘70s rock. What is the relation between classic and modern sounds for Doctor Cyclops at this point? Are there specific albums or bands that drove your love of older metal?

I guess some of our songs could sound like the lost connection between the early 70’s sound and the proto-heavy metal era… We are into bands like Captain Beyond, Dust, Sir Lord Baltimore, but also into the early Iron Maiden, Witchfinder General, Budgie. I guess in some songs we cheated on the pure ’70s groove by flirting (or petting) with the heavy metal/hard rock lustful chick.

This is your first full-length for Heavy Psych Sounds. How did working with the label come about and how has it been leading up to the release?

We know Gabriele [Fiori], the HPS master, since years as we played together with his band Black Rainbows somewhere around Europe. We are both in the same scene and country, so we kept in touch easily. Once we had this record done we started spreading it around, Gabriele gave his feedback, he was really happy and offered us to release it. We agreed that HPS is a growing label on the market. The names he is signing in and musicians he is working with prove that. He has very good connections in the scene and – things that is really important for a band – he does booking and follows his bands step by step with a careful promotion planning. He is passionate but also a wise business guy. A good mixture for a label boss.

How did having Bill Steer contribute to Local Dogs come about, and what was it like to work with him?

We’ve known Bill since years. We were great Firebird fans, we attempted many of their shows and we played with them as well in 2009. Since then we kept in touch. Of course we love Bill as a guitar player, but the cool thing is that he appreciated us as well as musicians. We simply asked him if he was into recording a couple of solos on the album and he said ‘yes’. He is also a really generous and humble person, a super cool guy. He overdubbed his solos after we finished our recordings as at the time we were in the studio he was busy with Carcass. But I can tell that we were amused about the work he did from the first listening on! We are proud and thankful he did that.

Any other plans or closing words you want to mention?

Now we just have one thing to do…going back on the road and rock as many asses out as we can! Follow us on the web, Facebook or website… touring dates will be announced very soon.

Doctor Cyclops on Thee Facebooks

Doctor Cyclops on Bandcamp

Heavy Psych Sounds on Thee Facebooks

Heavy Psych Sounds website

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Giöbia to Reissue Magnifier May 5

Posted in Whathaveyou on March 27th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

Italian heavy space rockers Giöbia will reissue their latest full-length, 2015’s Magnifier (review here), via Heavy Psych Sounds this Spring. The new version of their fourth long-player — originally released by German imprint Sulatron Records — will include a bonus track in the Open Mind cover “Magic Potion” and new cover art by Laura Giardino that as you can see below plays off the centerpiece eyeball of the original while conveying in an intricate design the idea of a kind of ritualized swirl, which of course the album itself proffered readily, coated in effects and vibe.

Before they get to Magnifier, the Milano outfit are also set to have a new 7″ come out next month that includes a cover of Hawkwind‘s “Silver Machine” via H42 Records. It’s not streaming yet, but has already sold out on preorders, because yeah, it’s like that.

And speaking of “it’s like that,” pay attention to those label endorsements above, because there are three noted and none of them is insignificant in terms of conveying the quality of what Giöbia do.

From the PR wire:

giobia magnifier

HEAVY PSYCH SOUNDS Records is proud to announce Giöbia to repress “MAGNIFIER”

Release Date May 5th

Released in:
Limted Coloured Gray Vinyl
Black Vinyl
Cd

Second repress on Heavy Psych Sounds for this incredible Space Rock-Heavy Psych gem. New mastering, new graphics, and a new song added to the tracklist: the heavy psych/freakbeat masterpiece from the Londoner band The Open Mind called “Magic Potion.”

‘Magnifier’ as an album really does have it all…some ace psychedelic stylings, some heavy spacerock, some lysergic sixties grooves and some more delicate shimmery shoegazing.

It has a heaviness that will appeal to some, and the delicate touch that will appeal to others. Another undisputed success for Giöbia.

New incredible artwork by Laura Giardino

Giöbia has been one of the most influential psychedelic bands in Italy over the last years. Seduced by the lysergic side of the ‘60s, by exotic mantras and the evocative power of space-rock, Giöbia is a band from Milano, Italy with many facets and one only faith, that is to turn every encounter with sound into a psychedelic experience.

The band counts four members: leader Bazu (vocals and string instruments), Saffo (organ, violin, vocals), Detrji (bass) and Betta (drums) and their name – Giöbia – comes from an ancient pre-christian festivity celebrated in Northern Italy when a big straw puppet resembling a witch is burnt as a propitiatory ritual towards the forces of nature.

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

Giöbia, Magnifier (2015)

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Ape Machine Tour Dates Start March 31

Posted in Whathaveyou on March 21st, 2017 by JJ Koczan

As they’re prone to do, Portland, Oregon’s Ape Machine are gearing up to head out on a run of Spring tour dates, and as previously announced, they’ll be hooking up with Boston heavy rockers Gozu along the way. Well, before that happens, the four-piece will head out from the Pacific Northwest into Montana starting on March 31 to sneak in a quick six dates ahead of time. Part of the motivation for doing so might be to get as much stage experience with drummer Steve Hanford (also Poison Idea) before they and he together record the new and awaited Ape Machine long-player, which has been given the foreboding title Skull Under Boot, following the longer West Coast stretch.

Kind of curious to hear how that album plays out, given the title and Hanford‘s pedigree, though now that I look at the PR wire info below, I’m not 100 percent he’ll be playing on the record or if he’s in permanently as their drummer in addition to producing the record. One assumes we’ll hear more as they hit the studio next month, but take a look for yourself and see what you think:

The northwest riffmeisters, Ape Machine, will put the rubber to the asphalt in a can of sweat (aka the tour van) this April, embarking on a western US tour that includes dates with Boston’s Metal Blade affiliated rockers, Gozu. Changing up the lineup on this tour, Ape Machine will include Steve Hanford – AKA Thee Slayer Hippy (Poison Idea) – on drums. Steve will also be producing the band’s upcoming LP, Skull Under Boot, scheduled for recording immediately following the tour.

The name APE MACHINE is a nod to the days of reel-to-reel magnetic tape audio recording; a fitting moniker for the Portland heavy-hitting quartet as the band plays through vintage tube amplifiers and lays down its songs using exclusively throwback quality studio equipment. A true four-piece, the group has been called “a rock and roll band with a finger on the pulse of the 70’s and their asses firmly in the present” and “real heavy-psych for the iPhone generation” that delivers “true guts and glory rock and roll”.

Be sure to catch the exciting new lineups, sweat and vibrations of Ape Machine and Gozu as the bands shred the western territories.

Ape Machine:
Friday March 31st – Kalispell, MT – Old School Records
Saturday April 1st – Billings, MT – Railyard
Sunday April 2nd – Denver, CO – Hi-Dive
Monday April 3rd – Oklahoma City, OK – Blue Note Lounge
Wednesday April 5th – Austin, TX – Lost Well
Thursday April 6th – Dallas, TX – Three Links
Friday April 7th – Houston, TX – Rudyard’s
Saturday April 8th – San Antonio, TX – Faust Tavern
Sunday April 9th – Corpus Christi, TX – Black Monk Tavern
Monday April 10th – El Paso, TX – Lowbrow Palace
Tuesday April 11th – Las Vegas, NV – Backstage Bar and Billiards

Ape Machine & Gozu:
Wednesday April 12th – Los Angeles, CA – Viper Room
Thursday April 13th – San Diego, CA – Soda Bar
Friday April 14th – Santa Cruz, CA – Blue Lagoon
Saturday April 15th – Sacramento, CA – Starlite Lounge
Sunday April 16th – San Francisco, CA – Elbo Room
Monday April 17th – Fresno, CA – TBA
Tuesday April 18th – Bend, OR – Volcanic Theater
Wednesday April 19th – Eugene, OR – Old Nick’s Pub
Thursday April 20th – Portland, OR – Kenton Club
Friday April 21st – Seattle, WA – Funhouse
Saturday April 22nd – Bremerton, WA – Manette Saloon

http://apemachine.com/
https://www.facebook.com/apemachinemusic
https://twitter.com/apemachine
http://www.heavypsychsounds.com/shop.htm
www.ripple-music.com

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Heavy Psych Sounds Announces Volume II Label Sampler; New Music from Black Rainbows and Killer Boogie

Posted in Whathaveyou on March 16th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

The label compilation is kind of a lost art in this age of digital whathaveyou. Used to be imprints put together comps on the regular. Some had rough mixes, some had exclusive tracks or things that wound up getting dropped off albums, and they kind of became a place where you might find something special once and then not run into it again. Italy’s Heavy Psych Sounds, with an ever-expanding roster and an already-full slate of releases as a result, seems intent on reviving the tradition. In addition to the label, booking agency, four-way split series and now two organized festivals under its belt, last year saw the release of Heavy Psych Sounds Volume I, and it seems that, indeed, it was the beginning of a series.

Heavy Psych Sounds Volume II will feature exclusive tracks from Black Rainbows and Killer Boogie and will be released on March 24. The same day, Black Rainbows will release their “The Red Sky Above” as a digital single following-up on last year’s Stellar Prophecy (review here) and leading to speculation of a sixth long-player in the works from them.

From the PR wire:

heavy-psych-sounds-volume-ii

Heavy Psych Sounds Records presents: HPS CD SAMPLER VOL II (2017)

HEAVY PSYCH SOUNDS Records & Booking is stoked to announce: The HPS Records Sampler Vol 2

Europe’s ever-growing riff powerhouse HEAVY PSYCH SOUNDS is set to release the second chapter of its “Heavy Psych Sounds Sampler”, featuring 15 bands of the roster among which two exclusive new songs!

This new compilation features 15 tracks taken off the label’s most recent releases (Fatso Jetson, Nick Oliveri, The Freeks…) as well as a nice preview of some upcoming gems from The Sonic Dawn, Farflung, Duel or Cachemira. As an icing on this rifftastic cake, “Heavy Psych Sounds Sampler Vol. 2” offers two exclusive new singles from the mighty Black Rainbows and Killer Boogie.

HEAVY PSYCH SOUNDS VOLUME II TRACK LISTING:
Black Rainbows “The Red Sky Above” (exclusive track!)
Cachemira “Overpopulation”
Doctor Cyclops “Lonely Devil”
Duel “Witchbanger”
Farflung “You Will Kill For Me”
Fatso Jetson “Wire Wheels And Robots”
Giöbia “This World Was Being Watched Closely”
Glitter Wizard-Mycelia
Killer Boogie “Eight Ball” (exclusive track!)
Mothership “Crown Of Lies”
Nick Oliveri “Anything And Everything”
The Clamps “Must Destroy”
The Golden Grass “Flashing Out Of Sight”
The Freeks “Uncle Jack’s Truck”
The Sonic Dawn “Summer Voyage”

Heavy Psych Sounds Sampler Vol. 2
Out March 24th on Heavy Psych Sounds

Black Rainbows, “The Red Sky Above”

Unreleased dope track for the Italian fuzzsters, 6 minutes of Doomy, Stoner, Sabbathty groove stuff, recorded specifically for the new HPS Sampler. Recorded during their last tour in a cool studio surrounded by white snow mountains in the north of Italy last January 2017. You can taste the change of direction for the band with a monolithic style, more dark, more heavy, more straight in your face!

HEAVY PSYCH SOUNDS is an ever-growing European record label and booking agency specialized in stoner, hard, psychedelic, fuzzy, doomy rock and more largely, all kinds of blazing retro riffage. Since its creation in Roma in 2007, HPS has released projects for Black Rainbows, Nick Oliveri, Karma To Burn, Naam, White Hills, Farflung, Fatso Jetson, Deville, Hot Lunch, Killer Boogie, Mos Generator, Isaak, The Sonic Dawn, Mothership and many more.

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

Black Rainbows, “The Red Sky Above”

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Duel Announce European Tour Dates; New Album out May 28

Posted in Whathaveyou on March 10th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

It would seem the release date for Duel‘s forthcoming second album, Witchbanger, has been pushed back a month since it was first announced with the cover art and tracklisting about two weeks ago. Fair enough. Heavy Psych Sounds — the imprint putting it out and the booking agency responsible for booking Duel‘s European tour, the dates for which are posted below — will be running preorders starting next week, and I guess it just means that the tour will be heralding the record’s arrival rather than supporting its recent release. In any case, probably won’t be the last time Duel head to Europe this touring cycle. There’s always Fall for a return trip, with plenty of festivals to pepper in around other shows.

For now though, this run starts April 26 in Rome, and you can see the rest of the routing in and under the poster below. It’s about a month on the road, all told, which is awesome. Heavy Psych Sounds had it posted on the social medias:

duel-euro-tour-2017

Duel – European Tour 2017

NEW ALBUM “WITCHBANGER” OUT MAY 28TH
PRE SALE MARCH 17TH

HEAVY PSYCH SOUNDS Records & Booking is proud to announce Eu tour dates for DUEL

Sex, drugs, the occult and buckets of blood. Austin, Texas tripped out heavies DUEL release their second album “Witchbanger”. Eight hard hitting new tracks of deep grooves and blistering riffs paying tribute to the darker breed of early 70’s proto-metal and classic old school early 80’s heavy metal pioneers. Growling desperate vocals and angry fuzzed out guitars telling tales of horror and hallucination. Hard Rock as it should be totally pure and unpretentious.

Produced and engineered by lead guitarist Jeff Henson at his new studio Red Nova Ranch in the wastelands of Texas not far from the historic Texas Chainsaw Massacre house. Prepare for Hell or Valhalla, from start to finish this carefully crafted album WILL KILL YOU!

Duel Euro Tour 2017:
26.04.2017 IT Roma-Traffic
27.04.2017 IT Parma-Titty Twister
28.04.2017 CH Oberentfelden-Borom Pom Pom
29.04.2017 DE Berlin-Desert Fest
30.04.2017 DK Tba
01.05.2017 DK Copenhagen
02.05.2017 DK Secret Show
03.05.2017 SE Malmoe-Plan B
04.05.2017 DE Erfurt-AZJ
05.05.2017 DE Dresden-Chemiefabrik
06.05.2017 CH Winterthur-Gaswerk
07.05.2017 IT Varedo-Crazy Driver
08.05.2017 IT Zerobranco-Altroquando
09.05.2017 SL Izola-Hangar Bar
10.05.2017 IT Torino-Blah Blah
11.05.2017 CH St Gallen-Rumpeltum
12.05.2017 CH Basel-Art & Wheels Fest
13.05.2017 AT Bludenz-Villa K
14.05.2017 AT Salzburg-Rockhouse
16.05.2017 DE Karlsruhe-Akk
17.05.2017 DE Stuttgart-Keller Klub
18.05.2017 DE Freiburg-White Rabbit
19.05.2017 GR Athens-An Club “Sonic Ritual Fest”
20.05.2017 IT Mezzago-Bloom “Sonic Ritual Fest”
21.05.2017 IT Castel D’Ario-Hostaria

https://www.facebook.com/DUELTEXAS/
https://duel3.bandcamp.com/
https://www.facebook.com/HEAVYPSYCHSOUNDS/
http://www.heavypsychsounds.com/

Duel, Fears of the Dead (2016)

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Yawning Man North American & European Touring Kicks off this Month

Posted in Whathaveyou on March 7th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

yawning-man-Photo-by-River-Arce

Busy few months coming up for desert instrumentalists Yawning Man. On March 15, they begin a round of North American dates supporting Sweden’s Truckfighters in the role that Greenleaf had to pull out of last month. That’ll take them through the rest of March. In April, they feature at the Stoned and Dusted pre-show for Brant Bjork‘s second Desert Generator fest. Then in May, it’s off to Europe to appear at Heavy Psych SoundsSonic Ritual fest for two nights in a row as part of a tour presented by the Italian label in conjunction with Sound of Liberation.

That runs through the better part of June, and then, after heading back to the West Coast, they play the pool party pre-show in August at Psycho Las Vegas alongside Conan, Pentagram, Sasquatch and an impressive slew of others. I’m kind of exhausted just looking at the schedule, to be honest with you. Hope they have some way of getting laundry done on the road.

They head out supporting last year’s Historical Graffiti (review here) on Lay Bare Recordings, which captured a short-lived lineup of the band live one night in Buenos Aires and can be heard in full at the bottom of the post. It’s a cause well worth getting out for, but as someone in a geographic region where they’re not hitting this time around, my only hope is they put some of their new t-shirts for sale somewhere online. Fingers crossed.

Here are the dates:

Yawning Man – Tour Dates

Yawning Man is beyond excited to be touring the United States and Canada, for the very first time! If you don’t already live on the West Coast or up North/Canada, then this will be a ‘destination’ tour for you all, our friends. So you’ll want to get some of your buddies together, pack yourselves in a van (or whatever roadworthy ride you have) and make a road trip for these shows. We will be touring with Truckfighters. We can’t wait to see you!!!
We love you all.

SOL & HEAVY PSYCH SOUNDS are proud to announce the first bunch of European tourdates in 2017 for the legendary Yawning Man (Official)! Get your tickets early & enjoy the imaginary trip to the boundless vastness of the Californian desert!

DATES:

MARCH (w/ Truckfighters)
15 San Diego CA Brick by Brick
16 Los Angeles CA Complex
17 San Francisco CA Bottom of the Hill
18 Sacramento CA Starlight Lounge
19 Portland OR Ash St. Saloon
20 Seattle WA El Corazon
21 Vancouver BC Rickshaw Theatre
23 Calgary AB Distortion
24 Edmonton AB Starlite Room
25 Saskatoon SK Amigos
28 Denver CO Moon Room
29 Albuquerque NM Low Spirits
30 Tucson AZ The Flycatcher
31 Mesa AZ Club Red

APRIL
7 Pioneertown CA Stoned & Dusted at Desert Generator

MAY
17 Torino | Blah Blah
19 Athens | An Club “Sonic Ritual Fest”
20 Mezzago | Bloom “Sonic Ritual Fest”
21 Viareggio | Gob
22 Zerobranco | Altroquando
23 Bologna | Freak Out
24 Pescara | Scumm
25 Roma | Whishlist
26 Savignano | Sidro
27 Cagliari | La Cueva Rock
30 Paris | Gibus Live
31 Brussels | Magasin 4

JUNE
01 London | Black Heart
03 Deventer | Burger Weeshuis
04 Amsterdam | Winston Kingdom
06 Nantes | Le Ferrailleur
07 Bordeaux | Void
10 Olten | Coq D’or
11 Wuerzburg | Immerhin
12 Prag | Klub Famu
13 Budapest | Aurora
14 Zagreb | Vintage Industrial Bar
15 Ljubljana | Klub Gromka
16 Wien | Das Bach
17 Cottbus | Zum faulen August
18 Berlin | Badehaus (with Mothership)
19 Hamburg | Hafenklang (with Mothership)
20 Malmö | Plan B
22 Kopenhagen | KB18

AUGUST
17 Las Vegas NV Psycho Las Vegas

Yawning Man photo by River Arce.

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

Yawning Man, Historical Graffiti (2016)

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Review & Track Premiere: Mothership, High Strangeness

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on March 7th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

mothership-high-strangeness

[Click play above to stream ‘Helter Skelter’ by Mothership. High Strangeness is out March 17 on Ripple Music and Heavy Psych Sounds.]

Texas heavy rock trio hit a crucial moment with their third album. Their first two records, 2012’s self-titled debut (review here) and the aptly-named 2014 follow-up, Mothership II (review here), brought them to the fore of the then-emergent/now-dominant Ripple Music as one of the label’s best acts and the seeming inheritors of a Lone Star heavy rock legacy spanning decades from Bloodrock and ZZ Top to Dixie Witch and Blood of the Sun. Persistent touring at home and abroad has brought them to the forefront of the US underground and they’re hitting a point where their reputation for an on-stage energy blast is preceding them. Accordingly, it’s time for the trio of guitarist/vocalist Kelley Juett, bassist/vocalist Kyle Juett and drummer Judge Smith to step up and claim that place as their own.

Easier said than done, but this is the place where High Strangeness — the third Mothership full-length and second for Ripple, with a release in Europe via Heavy Psych Sounds — sees them. They have moved beyond the brash upstart position where they started, having collectively played a disruptor role as only a badass guitar-led outfit can, and while no doubt each subsequent tour introduces them to new ears and eyes, among a core audience of the converted, they’ve become more of a known, established quantity. They demonstrated last time out that their songwriting could take a multifaceted approach to classic-style heavy rock, working in elements of psychedelia at a whim and more measured execution, and much to its and the band’s benefit, High Strangeness follows suit in not only expanding their palette, but doing so with a more stripped-down, from-the-stage sound.

While the Adam Burke cover art might lead one to think High Strangeness is gearing toward maximum lushness with its depth of color and detail, its eight-track/33-minute run goes the other way almost entirely. True, the intro title-track and the later subdued instrumental interlude “Eternal Trip” dip into patient psych and offer listeners a stretch to chill out, but Mothership are much more about the raw charge in tracks like “Ride the Sun” — the second cut and a nigh-on-flawless nod to ’90s-style stoner rock à la Fu Manchu — the subsequent chugger “Midnight Express” or the six-plus-minute finale “Speed Dealer,” and the sound and vibe of the album bolsters that intention. Hooks remain a consistent factor in their work — “Midnight Express” is infectious, as is side A closer “Crown of Lies,” as is side B opener and not-at-all-a-Beatles-cover “Helter Skelter” and so on — but a noteworthy change in production method, working at Fire Station Studios in San Marcos, Texas, with Crypt Trip‘s Ryan Lee to record and mix (Tony Reed of Mos Generator mastered), as opposed to the first two LPs, which were produced by Kent Stump of Wo Fat, seems to be the conscious choice driving the change in the overarching feel.

mothership-photo-by-Andree-Brown

With distinct separation between the guitar, bass and drums, as well as some well-placed trades between the Juett brothers on vocals — perhaps best represented in the shift between the brief, penultimate “Wise Man” and “Speed Dealer” as High Strangeness rounds out — Mothership come across as professionally crisp but road-hardened, caked perhaps by the grit of the highways they’ve traveled. Kelley‘s solos on the galloping “Crown of Lies,” the motor-riffed “Ride the Sun” (in layers), snuck in toward the end of “Midnight Express,” etc., will likewise leave scorch marks as ever, but these too carry a rawer, more live impression. If Mothership are looking to represent what they do on tour in these tracks — and listening to the groove locked into at the end of “Helter Skelter,” it’s an easy argument to make that they are — then they’re doing it well. It sounds like a show one would want to catch.

And while there’s still an ‘album’ sensibility, as emphasized by “High Strangeness” itself at the outset — a hypnotic three-minute first impression the band righteously counteracts with the punch in the face of “Ride the Sun” — and the guitar-only spaciousness of “Eternal Trip” prior to the closing duo, it’s worth noting that the naturalistic feel of High Strangeness gives the Juetts and Smith an opportunity to highlight the efficiency in their songwriting in a way that their material simply hasn’t done before. Its 33-minute runtime is over 20 minutes shorter than was Mothership II, and so each track here does more work in crafting the spirit of the record, including those instrumental pieces, and while Mothership come across with fewer tonal frills than they have in the past, playing toward the organic roots of their approach suits them. They may not be upstarts anymore, but they’re still plenty brash.

It’s a wholly unpretentious front-to-back flow, asking next to nothing as far as indulgences and delivering on its early promises. As “Speed Dealer” rounds out — one would not say “winds down” for such a song — with its balance between speed and push and shouted vocals on top, rolling into its bigger-riffed second half, Mothership have found a way to continue their forward growth while driving toward this leaner modus. They could have gone either way and, to be perfectly honest, with the strength of their choruses they’d probably still come out successful in the end had they chosen a more grandiose path, but High Strangeness especially on repeat listens shows its maturity in making the exact moves it needs to make at exactly the times it needs to make them, and it would seem that Mothership — whose momentum carries right through each of these tracks and on to their next tour, recording, whatever it might be — have done exactly the same.

Mothership on Bandcamp

Mothership on Thee Facebooks

Mothership on Twitter

Mothership website

Ripple Music website

Ripple Music on Thee Facebooks

Ripple Music on Bandcamp

Heavy Psych Sounds website

Heavy Psych Sounds on Thee Facebooks

Heavy Psych Sounds on Bandcamp

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