The Electric Highway Announces Inaugural Lineup with Wo Fat, Sasquatch, Nebula & More

Posted in Whathaveyou on November 6th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

A little bit of Cali, a little bit of Texas, a little bit of Portland, Oregon, and a whole lot of locals — the first lineup for The Electric Highway has been unveiled and the Calgary-based festival’s mission would seem to be directed toward kickass heavy and stoner rock. Thus, Sasquatch and Wo Fat headlining with Nebula and Duel also on board. And hey man, if you threw any kind of heavy rock and roll party in the entire nation of Canada — and Canada if frickin’ huge — and you didn’t at least invite La Chinga let alone actually have them play, your ass would just be negligent. That’s a band that’s never gonna do anything but make a strong rock bill stronger.

Calling this the inaugural The Electric Highway is fair enough, since it seems to be working under its own concept — pinball tournament! — but it formerly operated under the banner of the 420 Music and Arts Festival, and had a few years to its credit in that form. Still, a new name is a new name, so alright. Maybe “inaugural” with an asterisk. “Inaugural-ish.”

The PR wire has details. The fest has a hashtag that’s probably good advice anyway:

the electric highway poster

All Roads Lead To The Electric Highway Festival In Calgary, AB, Canada!

#BuckleUp baby, The Electric Highway is excited to announce our inaugural lineup! We wanted to put something special together for our first trip on the Highway and with over 20 bands in two daze, we think we have done exactly that…

Day One, Friday, April 17th Wo Fat from Dallas, Texas will be returning with their brand of Psychedelic Heavy Blues to headline night one, and we are flying in their bro’s in DUEL to share the stage with them that night too! Also laying waste to Friday night are BC’s Buzzard & CHUNKASAURUS, coming all the way from Portland, Oregon we have Hippie Death Cult & LáGoon, joining us from Montreal is PINK COCOON, and representing our amazing local scene will be Father Moon, Locutus, Row of Giants and The WORST.

Then on Day Two, Saturday, April 18th bringing the fuzz from California, we are STOKED AF to welcome back the mighty Sasquatch to headline our whole party and are psyched to have their buds Nebula along for the ride! As for the rest of Saturday, it just wouldn’t be a party without Vancouver’s La Chinga on the bill, along with local faves Gone Cosmic, Bazaraba, and Shadow Weaver from Calgary, Crossfield, Alberta’s Set & Stoned, Hemptress from Kamloops, BC, The Sleeping Legion from Winnipeg and rounding out our first lineup, from Saskatoon, The Basement Paintings.

The Electric Highway is taking place at the Royal Canadian Legion #1 in downtown Calgary, AB, Canada on April 17 & 18, 2020. Tickets go on sale at 10am MDT on Tuesday, November 5, 2019 at https://theelectrichighway.ecwid.com/.

The Electric Highway Official Lineup:
Sasquatch (Los Angeles, CA)
Wo Fat (Dallas, TX)
Nebula (Los Angeles, CA)
Duel (Austin, TX)
La Chinga (Vancouver, BC)
Gone Cosmic (Calgary, AB)
Hippie Death Cult (Portland, OR)
LáGoon (Portland, OR)
Buzzard (Victoria, BC)
Chunkasaurus (Victoria, BC)
Bazaraba (Calgary, AB)
Shadow Weaver (Calgary, AB)
Father Moon (Calgary, AB)
Set & Stoned (Crossfield, AB)
Row of Giants (Calgary, AB)
Hemptress (Kamloops, BC)
Pink Cocoon (Montreal, QC)
The Sleeping Legion (Winnipeg, MB)
The Basement Paintings (Saskatoon, SK)
Locutus (Calgary, AB)
The Worst (Calgary, AB)

The Electric Highway 2020 —> www.facebook.com/events/1346173098884903/
The Electric Highway Kickoff Party—> www.facebook.com/events/809469542830729/
The Electric Highway Pinball Tournament —> www.facebook.com/events/2408742202725992/
The Electric Highway Arts Expo & Market —> www.facebook.com/events/476224713238363/

#BuckleUp

“All Roads Lead to the Electric Highway”

www.facebook.com/ElectricHighwayFestival/
www.instagram.com/TheElectricHighway
www.TheElectricHighway.ca

Sasquatch, Live at Ace of Cups, Columbus, Ohio, Sept. 8, 2019

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Quarterly Review: Total Fucking Destruction, Hippie Death Cult, The Cosmic Dead, Greenthumb, Elepharmers, Nothing is Real, Warish, Mourn the Light & Oxblood Forge, Those Furious Flames, Mantra Machine

Posted in Reviews on October 3rd, 2019 by JJ Koczan

quarterly review

I’d like to find the jerk who decided that the week I fly to Norway was a good time for the Quarterly Review. That, obviously, was a tactical error on my part. Nonetheless, we press on with day four, which I post from Oslo on CET. Whatever time zone you may find yourself in this Thursday, I hope you have managed to find something so far in this onslaught of whatnot to sink your chompers into. That’s ultimately, why we’re here. Also because there are so many folders with albums in them on my desktop that I can’t stand it anymore. Happens about every three months.

But anyhoozle, we press on with Day Four of the Fall 2019 Quarterly Review, dutiful and diligent and a couple other words that start with ‘d.’ Mixed bag stylistically this time — trying to throw myself off a bit — so should be fun. Let’s dive in.

Quarterly Review #31-40:

Total Fucking Destruction, #USA4TFD

Total Fucking Destruction USA4TFD

Who the hell am I to be writing about a band like Total Fucking Destruction? I don’t know. Who the hell am I to be writing about anything. Fuck you. As the Rich Hoak (Brutal Truth)-led Philly natives grind their way through 23 tracks in a 27-minute barrage of deceptively thoughtful sonic extremity, they efficiently chronicle the confusion, tumult and disaffection of our age both in their maddening energy and in the poetry — yeah, I said it — of their lyrics. To it, from “Is Your Love a Rainbow”: “Are you growing? Is everything okay? Are you growing in the garden of I don’t know?” Lines like this are hardly decipherable without a lyric sheet, of course, but still, they’re there for those ready to look beyond the surface assault of the material, though, frankly, that assault alone would be enough to carry the band — Hoak on drums/vocals, Dan O’Hare on guitar/vocals and Ryan Moll on bass/vocals — along their willfully destructive course. For their fourth LP in 20 years — most of that time given to splits and shorter releases, as one might expect — Total Fucking Destruction make their case for an end of the world that, frankly, can’t get here fast enough.

Total Fucking Destruction on Thee Facebooks

Give Praise Records website

 

Hippie Death Cult, 111

Hippie-Death-Cult-111

Issued first by the band digitally and on CD and then by Cursed Tongue Records on vinyl, 111 is the impressively toned debut full-length from Portland, Oregon’s Hippie Death Cult, who cull together heavy rock and post-grunge riffing with flourish of organ and a densely-weighted groove that serves as an overarching and uniting factor throughout. With the bluesy, classic feeling vocals of Ben Jackson cutting through the wall of fuzz from Eddie Brnabic‘s guitar and Laura Phillips‘ bass set to roll by Ryan Moore‘s drumming, there’s never any doubt as to where Hippie Death Cult are coming from throughout the seven-track/42-minute offering, but longer, side-ending pieces “Unborn” (8:24) and “Black Snake” (9:06) touch respectively on psychedelia and heavy blues in a way that emphasizes the subtle turns that have been happening all along, not just in shifts like the acoustic “Mrtyu,” but in the pastoral bridge and ensuing sweep of “Pigs” as well. “Sanctimonious” and “Breeder’s Curse” provide even ground at the outset, and from there, Hippie Death Cult only grow richer in sound along their way.

Hippie Death Cult on Thee Facebooks

Cursed Tongue Records BigCartel store

 

The Cosmic Dead, Scottish Space Race

The Cosmic Dead Scottish Space Race

Heavyweight Glaswegian space jammers The Cosmic Dead present four massive slabs of lysergic intensity with their eighth long-player, Scottish Space Race (on Riot Season Records), working quickly to pull the listener into their gravity well and holding them there for the 2LP’s 75-minute duration. As hypnotic as it is challenging, the initial churn that emerges in the aptly-named 20-minute opener “Portal” clenches the stomach brutally, and it’s not until after about 12 minutes that the band finally lets it loose. “Ursa Major,” somewhat thankfully, is more serene, but still carries a sense of movement and build in its second half, while the 12-minute title-track is noisier and has the surprising inclusion of vocals from the generally instrumental outfit. They cap with the 24-minute kosmiche throb of “The Grizzard,” and there are vocals there too, but they’re too obscured to be really discernible in any meaningful way, and of course the end of the record itself is a huge wash of fuckall noise. Eight records deep, The Cosmic Dead know what they’re doing in this regard, and they do it among the best of anyone out there.

The Cosmic Dead on Thee Facebooks

Riot Season Records website

 

Greenthumb, There are More Things

greenthumb there are more things

With just three tracks across a 20-minute span, There are More Things (on Acid Cosmonaut) feels like not much more than a sampler of things to come from Italian post-sludgers Greenthumb, who take their name from a Bongzilla track they also covered on their 2018 debut EP, West. The three-songer feels like a decided step forward from that offering, and though they maintain their screamier side well enough, they might be on the verge of needing a new name, as the rawness conveyed by the current moniker hardly does justice to the echoing atmospherics the band in their current incarnation bring. Launching with the two seven-minute cuts “The Field” and “Ogigia’s Tree,” they unfurl a breadth of roll so as to ensnare the listener, and though “The Black Court” is shorter at 5:37 and a bit more straight-ahead in its structure, it still holds to the ambient sensibility of its surroundings well, the band obviously doing likewise in transposing a natural feel into their sound born of landscape real or imagined.

Greenthumb on Thee Facebooks

Acid Cosmonaut Records on Bandcamp

 

Elepharmers, Lords of Galaxia

Elepharmers Lords Of Galaxia Artwork

Riffy Sardinians Elepharmers set themselves to roll with “Ancient Astronauts” and do not stop from there on Lords of Galaxia, their third LP and debut through Electric Valley Records. There are some details of arrangement between the guitars of El Chino (also bass, vocals and harmonica) and Andrea “Fox” Cadeddu and the drums of Maurizio Mura, but as Marduk heralds his age on second cut “Ziqqurat,” the central uniting factor is g-r-o-o-v-e, and Elepharmers have it down through “The Flood” and into side B’s classic stoner rocking “Foundation” and the driving “The Mule,” which shifts into laser-effects ahead of the fade that brings in closer “Stars Like Dust” for the last 10 minutes of the 47-minute offering. And yes, there’s some psychedelia there, but Elepharmers stay pretty clearheaded on the whole in such a way as to highlight the sci-fi theme that seems to draw the songs together as much as the riffage. More focus on narrative can only help bring that out more, but I’m not sure I’d want that at the expense of the basic songwriting, which isn’t at all broken and thus requires no fixing.

Elepharmers on Thee Facebooks

Electric Valley Records website

 

Nothing is Real, Only the Wicked are Pure

nothing is real only the wicked are pure

How do you recognize true misanthropy when you come across it? It doesn’t wear a special kind of facepaint, though it can. It doesn’t announce itself as such. It is a frame. Something genuinely antisocial and perhaps even hateful is a worldview. It’s not raise-a-claw-in-the-woods. It’s he-was-a-quiet-loner. And so, coming across the debut album from Los Angeles experimentalist doom outfit, one gets that lurking, creeping feeling of danger even though the music itself isn’t overly abrasive. But across the 2CD debut album, a sprawl of darkened, viciously un-produced fare that seems to be built around programmed drums at the behest of Craig Osbourne — who may or may not be the only person in the band and isn’t willing to say otherwise — plays out over the course of more than two hours like a manifesto found after the fact. Imagine chapters called “Hope is Weakness,” “Fingered by the Hand of God,” and “Uplift the Worthy (Destroy the Weak).” The last of those appears on both discs — as do several of the songs in different incarnations — as the track marries acoustic and eventual harder-edged guitar around murderous themes, sounding something like Godflesh might have if they’d pursued a darker path. Scary.

Nothing is Real on Thee Facebooks

Nothing is Real on Bandcamp

 

Warish, Down in Flames

warish down in flames

The fact that Warish are blasting hard punk through heavy blowout tones isn’t what everyone wants to talk about when it comes to the band. They want to talk about the fact that it’s Riley Hawk — of royal stock, as regards pro skateboarding — fronting the band. Well, that’s probably good for a built-in social media following — name recognition never hurts, and I don’t see a need to pretend otherwise — but it doesn’t do shit for the album itself. What matters about the album is that bit about the blasting blowout. With Down in Flames (on RidingEasy), the Oceanside three-piece follow-up their earlier-2019 debut EP with 11 tracks that touch on horror punk with “Bones” and imagine grunge-unhinged with “Fight” and “You’ll Abide,” but are essentially a display of tonal fuckall presented not to add to a brand, but to add the soundtrack to somebody’s blackout. It’s a good time and the drunkest, gnarliest, most-possibly-shirtless dude in the room is having it. Also he probably smells. And he just hugged you. Down in Flames gets high with that dude. That matters more than who anyone’s dad is.

Warish on Thee Facebooks

RidingEasy Records website

 

Mourn the Light & Oxblood Forge, Split

It’s a double-dose of New England doom as Connecticut’s Mourn the Light and Boston’s Oxblood Forge pair up for a split release. The former bring more material than the latter, particularly when one counts the digital-only bonus cover of Candlemass‘ “Bewitched,” but with both groups, it’s a case of what-you-see-is-what-you-get. Both groups share a clear affinity for classic metal — and yes, that absolutely extends to the piano-led drama of Mourn the Light‘s mournful “Carry the Flame” — but Oxblood Forge‘s take thereupon is rougher edged, harder in its tone and meaner in the output. Their “Screams From Silence” feels like something from a dubbed-and-mailed tape circa ’92. Mourn the Light’s “Drags Me Down” is cleaner-sounding, but no less weighted. I don’t think either band is out to change the world, or even to change doom, but they’re doing what they’re doing well and without even an ounce of pretense — well, maybe a little bit in that piano track; but it’s very metal pretense — and clearly from the heart. That might be the most classic-metal aspect of all.


Mourn the Light on Thee Facebooks

Oxblood Forge on Thee Facebooks

 

Those Furious Flames, HeartH

those furious flames hearth

Swiss heavy rockers Those Furious Flames push the boundaries of psychedelia, but ultimately remain coherent in their approach. Likewise, they very, very obviously are into some classic heavy rock and roll, but their take on it is nothing if not modern. And more, they thrive in these contradictions and don’t at all sound like their songs are in conflict with themselves. I guess that’s the kind of thing one can pull off after 15 years together on a fifth full-length, which HeartH (on Vincebus Eruptum) is for them. Perhaps it’s the fact that they let the energy of pieces like “VooDoo” and the boogie-laced “HPPD” carry them rather than try to carry it, but either way, it’s clearly about the songs first, and it works. With added flash of organ amid the full-sounding riffs, Those Furious Flames round out with the spacey “Visions” and earn every bit of the drift therein with a still-resonant vocal harmony. You might not get it all the first time, but listening twice won’t be at all painful.

Those Furious Flames on Thee Facebooks

Vincebus Eruptum Recordings BigCartel store

 

Mantra Machine, Heliosphere

mantra machine heliosphere

This is what it’s all about. Four longer-form instrumentalist heavy psych jams that are warm in tone and want nothing so much as to go out wandering and see what they can find. Through “Hydrogen,” “Atmos,” “Delta-V” and “Heliosphere,” Amsterdam-based three-piece Mantra Machine want nothing for gig-style vitality, but their purpose isn’t so much to electrify as to find that perfect moment of chill and let it go, see where it ends up, and they get there to be sure. Warm guitar and bass tones call to mind something that might’ve come out of the Netherlands at the start of this decade, when bands like Sungrazer and The Machine were unfolding such fluidity as seemed to herald a new generation of heavy psychedelia across Europe. That generation took a different shape — several different shapes, in the end — but Mantra Machine‘s Heliosphere makes it easy to remember what was so exciting about that in the first place. Total immersion. Total sense of welcoming. Totally human presence without speaking a word. So much vibe. So much right on.

Mantra Machine on Thee Facebooks

Mantra Machine on Bandcamp

 

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The Obelisk Show on Gimme Radio Playlist: Episode 20

Posted in Radio on August 2nd, 2019 by JJ Koczan

the obelisk show banner

Doing something different this time. In the past, I’ve posted playlists after the show airs, as recaps. This time, it’s before, in case, you know, you actually want to listen to the thing.

Do so at 1PM Eastern here: http://gimmeradio.com.

It’s a good show, and kind of back to normal as regards general methodology. A lot of new music, which makes me happy, and some Acrimony for a classic track, which I feel like I may have done before but seemed relevant to me anyway for reasons that will become clear over the next however long — ooh, intrigue! — and the title-tracks from new High on Fire and Mars Red Sky EPs. Had to get that High on Fire in there in light of Des leaving the band. Still really curious to see what they’re like without him.

A lot of this stuff has been covered around here lately — Horseburner, Pale Grey Lore, Monarch, Wolf Blood, The Ivory Elephant, Dead Feathers — but there’s more that I haven’t yet had the chance to properly write about in bands like Glacier, Sibyl, the new Book of Wyrms and Merlin releases, etc., so I think it’s a cool balance of stuff overall, and the tracks rule. And if you listen to the show, I kind of nerd out a bit about the new Mars Red Sky record, which is always enjoyable. For me, mostly, I suspect. But still.

Fun show. Glad I made it, and it’s the 20th one, which is a genuine surprise. If I was Gimme, I would’ve shitcanned me long ago.

Anyway, check it out if you can, and thanks.

Here’s the full playlist:

The Obelisk Show – 08.02.19

Pale Grey Lore Before the Fall Eschatology*
Horseburner Drowning Bird The Thief*
High on Fire Bat Salad Bat Salad*
BREAK
Mars Red Sky Collector Collector*
The Ivory Elephant Stoneface Stoneface*
Dead Feathers Horse and Sands All is Lost*
Merlin Chaos Blade The Mortal*
Hippie Death Cult Breeder’s Curse 111*
BREAK
Acrimony Hymns to the Stone Tumuli Shroomaroom (1997)
Sibyl Pendulums The Magic Isn’t Real*
Wolf Blood Slaughterhouse II*
Monarch Counterpart Beyond the Blue Sky*
Book of Wyrms Spirit Drifter Remythologizer*
BREAK
Glacier O! World! I Remain No Longer Here No Light Ever*
Frozen Planet….1969 Rollback Meltdown on the Horizon*

The Obelisk Show on Gimme Radio airs every other Friday at 1PM Eastern, with replays every Sunday at 7PM Eastern. Next show is Aug. 16. Thanks for listening if you do.

Gimme Radio website

The Obelisk on Thee Facebooks

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Hippie Death Cult Sign to Cursed Tongue Records for 111 Release; Stream “Sanctimonious”

Posted in audiObelisk, Whathaveyou on April 29th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

hippie death cult

Like every day, before today’s done, you’ll probably be subject to an absolute assault of new music, but seriously, stop. Take a breath. Just chill for a second. Awesome.

Now go ahead and click play at the bottom of this post to check out “Sanctimonious” by Portland, Oregon’s Hippie Death Cult, who are newly signed to Cursed Tongue Records for the release of their debut album, 111. The four-piece roll out of the PNW like a burnout Soundgarden riding a wave of mushrooms and dysfunction fueled by the riffs and deep running tone of guitarist/engineer Eddie Brnabic, then slowly begin to reveal a deeper dynamic in the acoustic “Mrtyu” and the atmospheric-heavy-meets-NWOBHM-triumphalism-so-it-must-be-doom “Pigs” ahead of the organ-laced “Treehugger” and the extra-bluesified capper “Black Snake.” It’s not out until August, which is like an unfathomable amount of time and 100 million records from now, but Cursed Tongue does preorders, and I’m thinking this is one of the best debuts I’ve heard so far in this bastard of a year, so really, take a second and give it the due attention.

It’s a record I’m immediately looking forward to knowing better.

Taste the radness:

Hippie-Death-Cult-111

HIPPIE DEATH CULT SIGNS TO CURSED TONGUE RECORDS FOR A WORLD WIDE VINYL RELEASE OF THEIR DEBUT ALBUM ‘111’ SET FOR AUGUST 23TH, 2019

Cursed Tongue Records is excited to the core announcing the signing of Hippie Death Cult (Portland, Oregon) for a vinyl release of their debut full length album entitled ‘111’ on August 23th, 2019.

Seldom comes along a band that turns our heads so severely it nearly causes cervical fracture and subsequent complete mind melt. Well, guess what Portland based Hippie Death Cult did exactly that when we first heard about this infectious, blues, stoner doom rock ensemble several moons ago. Back then they had just released their third single ‘Black Snake’ and we where taken by storm and immediately knew this band where going places. Doesn’t hurt either that Eddie and the rest of the hippies are among the nicest people around.

So in keeping this intro rather short, we give a warm welcome to Hippie Death Cult to the Cursed Tongue Records roster of amazing bands from the global heavy underground and we feel this is the perfect addition to our branch of hard working, hard rocking heavy bands! More info and details about ‘111’, digital release date, vinyl pre-order and pressing info will be revealed later down the line. For now we urge any fan of bluesy, 70’s hard rock, doom-infused stoner metal to acquaint yourself with the Hippie Death Cult as you surely will want to redeem lifelong membership after hearing their mind blowing musical creations. FFO Geezer, Egypt, Goya, Monolord, Windhand, Electric Wizard, Black Sabbath and The Heavy Eyes.

We welcome any stoner head into the cursed coven of the hippie death cult – let’s riff!

CTR-022 HIPPIE DEATH CULT – ‘111’, vinyl official release date: August 23th, 2019. (Digital release July 26th, 2019)

All songs written by Hippie Death Cult
All lyrics written by Ben Jackson

Recorded at HDC HQ in Portland, Oregon
Produced, Engineered, Mixed by Eddie Brnabic
Mastered by Tony Reed at HeavyHead Rec Co.
Cover painting by Ben Jackson
Design, Layout, photography by Eddie Brnabic
Additional layout and design by Michael Andresakis

Track listing

Side A
1. Sanctimonious
2. Breeder’s Curse
3. Unborn
4. Mrtyu

Side B
5. Pigs
6. Treehugger
7. Black Snake

Hippie Death Cult live:
May 2ND @ The Valley – Tacoma, WA
May 3RD @ Darrell’s Tavern – Seattle, WA
May 4TH @ Chinese Gardens – Longview, WA
May 5TH @ The High Water Mark – Portland, OR

Hippie Death Cult is:
Eddie Brnabic : Guitar
Laura Phillips : Bass
Ryan Moore : Drums
Ben Jackson : Vocals/Keys

https://hippiedeathcult.bandcamp.com/
https://instagram.com/hippiedeathcultband/
https://www.facebook.com/hippiedeathcultband/
https://soundcloud.com/hippie-death-cult
https://www.hippiedeathcultband.com/
http://cursedtonguerecords.bigcartel.com/
https://www.facebook.com/CursedTongueRecords
https://www.instagram.com/cursedtonguerecords

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