Isaak Welcome New Drummer

Posted in Whathaveyou on September 26th, 2016 by JJ Koczan

Italian heavy rockers Isaak took a major step forward late last year with their second album, Sermonize (review here). Released through Heavy Psych Sounds and Small Stone Records — two rousing endorsements to have — it found the band going well beyond the confines of 2012’s The Longer the Beard the Harder the Sound (streamed here) and toward a much more individual approach. After spending a decent portion of the last few years, the band has announced they’ve just swapped out drummers, and while one expects that will change their dynamic some going forward, I’d expect their growth will continue onto whatever it is they do next. Some momentum you just don’t stop.

I got sent a shorter version of the statement below, but wanted to print the thing in full since I think it speaks well of how much this music means to the people who are making it, and I guess that’s really what it’s all about. So here you go:

isaak

Isaak line up Change

Loads of things have happened after that dinner in a Mexican restaurant, choosing the name ISAAK after “some” Margarita.

What is the reason of starting with this sentence? We are going to explain you in a while, but we believe a short introduction is doubtless needed. ISAAK wasn’t just a change of name from Gandhi’s Gunn. Isaak became (and continue being nowadays) a completely different band from that moment. After that dinner we turned the page on the past and we looked forward, we always did it musically and not only. Band has been always more important than the single members and this shared belief has often allowed us to go ahead despite difficulties.

Who has been part of this project is perfectly aware of what we’re talking about. This band survived the distance, the adaptation to changes, the thefts, the necessities of life of the single members. This band has survived to the fact that it was possible to rehearse only during weekends. This situations has lasted for YEARS and only when we managed to be there all together (we also managed to make a record this way!). These are sacrifices that each one of us has done with pleasure and that each one of us would blindly be willing to do it again, from the first to the last.

For those who don’t know , Andre (our drummer) has been living in a city that is nearly 4 hours far away from Genoa. During three years he held it on, giving priority to our band and giving up on many other things. He did it for real. He did his best for the band.

Today Andre leaves the band but he will be always part of this family. He has significantly contributed on this project, he believed in ISAAK and we have been witness of it. He has definitely helped us to make this dream come true.

A simple post on Facebook certainly cannot summarize all this. Andre passes the baton to another great genoese drummer a great friend who will join us on the Isaak path, is name is Davide Foccis! We’ll see you under the stage to give him an eager welcome to the family!

Giacomo H Boeddu – Vocals
Gabriele Carta – Bass
Davide Fox Foccis – Drums/Vocals
Francesco Raimondi – Guitar

https://www.facebook.com/isaakband
https://www.instagram.com/isaakmusic/

Isaak, Sermonize (2015)

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Heavy Psych Sounds Fest Vol. III: Mos Generator, The Atomic Bitchwax, Isaak, Glowsun, Komatsu, Void of Sleep & Black Bone Added

Posted in Whathaveyou on July 21st, 2016 by JJ Koczan

Based for the first time in Parma, Italy — the two prior editions had been held in Rome — Heavy Psych Sounds Fest Vol. III has announced a massive round of bands newly joined the proceedings, set for Oct. 28 and 29. The names have trickled out over the last couple weeks, but it seems a roundup is in order, considerable as the names are. In addition to The Atomic Bitchwax, who’ll be on the road with Pentagram at the time, and Fatso Jetson, whose slot was previously announced as part of their Heavy Psych Sounds-sponsored Italian tour, the likes of Mos GeneratorGlowsunIsaakKomatsuVoid of Sleep and Black Bone have joined on.

I’d expect that means Mos Generator are about to announce a European tour, but I don’t think they’ve done so yet. They’ll head abroad supporting their new album, the excellent Abyssinia (review here), while hopefully Fatso Jetson‘s upcoming LP will be out by then as well. More on that if/when I hear it.

I’ve noted more than a handful of times how crowded the European festival circuit is for this fall, but Heavy Psych Sounds continues to put Italy on the map for heavy rock, its reach extended both domestically and internationally more than ever before, as you can see:

heavy psych sounds fest vol iii new poster

HEAVY PSYCH SOUNDS FEST VOL 3 with Atomic Bitchwax, Fatso Jetson, Mos Generator, Giobia, Glowsun, Isaak….

Here to announce the HEAVY PSYCH SOUNDS FEST VOL 3.

The Festival will take place in Parma, Italy at Mu Club, 90 minutes down Milan or 45 minutes up Bologna, both are the good spot to arrive with airplane. The shows will be divided between 2 stages.

***Friday 28 October ticket 15 euro
**Saturday 29 October ticket 15 euro

*2 days ticket 25 euro only available at http://www.heavypsychsounds.com/fest/

Line Up:
THE ATOMIC BITCHWAX
FATSO JETSON
MOS GENERATOR
GLOWSUN
GIöBIA
ISAAK
FUZZ ORCHESTRA
DUEL
DEVILLE
KOMATSU
VOID OF SLEEP
BLACK BONE
……….More bands Tba…..

Artwork by Solo Macello.

WWW.HEAVYPSYCHSOUNDS.COM

MU CLUB:
www.muparma.club

www.heavypsychsounds.com/fest
https://www.facebook.com/HEAVYPSYCHSOUNDS/
https://twitter.com/heavypsychsound
heavypsychsoundsrecords.bandcamp.com

Mos Generator, “Outlander” from Songs for the Firmament

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Heavy Psych Sounds Fest Vol. III Adds Fatso Jetson, Mos Generator, Glowsun and Isaak

Posted in Whathaveyou on July 1st, 2016 by JJ Koczan

With the addition of a second batch of four acts to follow-up the first announcement a couple weeks ago, Heavy Psych Sounds Fest Vol. III brings its total bill to eight bands over the course of two nights, Oct. 28 and 29, in Parma, Italy. The festival is of course put together by Heavy Psych Sounds, the Rome-based record label owned by Gabriele Fiori, also guitarist/vocalist for Black Rainbows and Killer Boogie, either of which would make an excellent candidate for a slot as well.

As well as the label, Heavy Psych Sounds‘ tour-booking wing (in accord with Sound of Liberation) is responsible for bringing Fatso Jetson to Europe this fall on an Italian run set to begin Oct. 23. The fest will be near the end of the tour (I’ll post the dates asap) and is one of a series of events taking place over consecutive weekends throughout Europe between September and October, a list that includes Up in SmokeDesertfest Athens, Desertfest Belgium, and keep it Keep it Low, the latter of which happens just the weekend before, in Switzerland.

Of course, Heavy Psych Sounds Fest Vol. III, like the imprint/booking company from whence it takes its name, has a regional focus as well. While two of the new acts joining on are American and another is French, Isaak are Italian natives, and they join countrymen in the previously announced Giobia and Fuzz Orchestra. That ain’t everybody by any means, but three out of eight (so far) can only be said to be giving the native scene its due.

Here’s the announcement:

heavy-psych-sounds-fest-iii

Heavy Psych Sounds Records & Booking is proud to announce the:

HEAVY PSYCH SOUNDS FEST VOL. III
October 28 & 29
Italy, Parma, Circolo Arci MU

NEW bands announced:

******FATSO JETSON******
*****MOS GENERATOR*****
*********GLOWSUN********
***********ISAAK**********

bands already announced:

*****FUZZ ORCHESTRA*****
***********DUEL***********
**********GIOBIA***********
*********DEVILLE**********

MORE BANDS TBA

1 day ticket or 2 days pass available NOW at www.heavypsychsounds.com/fest

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

Fatso Jetson, “New Age Android”/”I’ve Got the Shame” live

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Isaak Announce European Tour

Posted in Whathaveyou on February 4th, 2016 by JJ Koczan

isaak

Italian heavy rockers Isaak will launch a European tour on Feb. 13 in support of their new full-length, Sermonize (review here). That record came out on vinyl through Heavy Psych Sounds back in November and has a CD due shortly (like this week) on Small Stone, and finds the four-piece nailing down thick heavy rock roll and a vibrant energy that has come to be their defining element. This will be, as I recall, their first Euro tour for the album, and they go having recently brought aboard Gabriele Carta as their new bassist.

If you haven’t heard it, the album was streamed in full here when it was reviewed, so I’ve got that player below if you’d like to dig in. Other info and tour dates follow from the PR wire and the social medias:

isaak european tour

***ISAAK*** Tropical Disease European Tour

Born from the ashes of Italian heavy rock four-piece Gandhi’s Gunn, it didn’t take long before ISAAK signed a worldwide deal on US label Small Stone Records, who reissued their ass-kicking debut “The Longer The Beard The Harder The Sound” in June 2013. Inspired by the big ass riffages and raw energy of leading heavy rock outfits such as Clutch, Orange Goblin or Torche, ISAAK have the knack for assembling the heaviest-sounding licks with a rip-roaring attitude that can only make you raise a fist up in the air while rocking out in the pit.

With a freshly signed deal on Heavy Psych Sounds Records, ISAAK released their sophomore album “Sermonize” on vinyl this past November, which will be followed by a CD release on February 6th via Small Stone Records.

Ready to bring their Heavy Rockness all around Europe.

Isaak on Tour:
13.02.2016 IT Milan-LoFi
25.02.2016 CH Basel-Hirschneck
26.02.2016 DE Augsburg-Ballonfabrik
27.02.2016 DE Munster-Rare Guitar Shop
28.02.2016 DE Dresden-Chemiefabrik
29.02.2016 DE Mannheim-Mohawk
01.03.2016 DE Halle-Hafenstraße 7
02.03.2016 AU Innsbruck-PMK w/ Saviours
03.03.2016 AU Salzburg-Mark
04.03.2016 IT Bozen-Papperlap
05.03.2016 IT Trieste-Tetris
12.03.2016 IT Genova
27.05.2016 IT Sondrio-Fest

Artwork by: DARTWORKS – drawstroy

https://www.facebook.com/events/1489795247991273/
https://www.facebook.com/isaakband
https://www.instagram.com/isaakmusic/
www.heavypsychsounds.com
https://www.facebook.com/HEAVYPSYCHSOUNDS/

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Isaak, Sermonize: Going Beyond the Beard (Plus Full Album Stream)

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on December 7th, 2015 by JJ Koczan

isaak sermonize

[Note: Click play above to stream Isaak’s Sermonize in full. Album is out on vinyl Friday through Heavy Psych Sounds (pre-order here) and on CD Feb. 6, 2016, through Small Stone (pre-order here).]

With their second full-length under their current moniker, Genova-based heavy rockers Isaak hit their stride. Their earlier-2015 Heavy Psych Sounds split with Mos Generator gave advance notice of some significant growth in their sound since the 2012 release of their Small Stone debut, The Longer the Beard the Harder the Sound (streamed here), but with Sermonize, they affirm more open stylizations and increased penchant for atmosphere, making the 12 included tracks a richer, more engaging listening experience. Remarkably, the band — vocalist Giacomo H. Boeddu, guitarist Francesco Raimondi, drummer/vocalist Andrea Tabbi de Bernardi and bassist Massimo Perasso (who since the recording has been replaced by Gabriele Carta) — accomplish this without giving up the driving sense of heft or momentum that served their last outing so well, and the collection of songs they bring forth is varied, indulging Torche-style major-keyism on “Soar” while doling aggro stomp on “Lucifer’s Road,” a cover of Italian outfit White Ash the central riff of which is worthy of focus.

That cover is one of two on Sermonize, the other being Kyuss‘ “Yeah,” which appears immediately before it on side B, and which, true to the original, is just someone saying the word “yeah.” Clearly Isaak haven’t lost the sense of humor that’s done right by them since they made their debut in 2010 as Gandhi’s Gunn with the album Thirtyeahs (discussed here), something the title of their intro, “Whore Horse” also affirms. Still, they’ve come a long, long way since that first record and since that name change, and most satisfying of all as regards Sermonize is how in command of their efforts Isaak prove themselves to be. There is a sense of purpose to each sonic shift they make throughout, and each shift serves to make the whole of the album stronger. It is the sound of their potential paying off.

Big guitar fades in to launch “Whore Horse,” joined soon by blown-out vocals. Compared to some of Sermonize‘s more straightforward fare, it’s an immediate removal from the comfort zone, and that’s pretty clearly the idea. At 1:41, the intro isn’t much shorter than most of the tracks, which are in the three-to-five minute range — the longest, “Soar,” is 5:30 — but as it moves into “The Peak,” the effect “Whore Horse” has isn’t to be understated in adding context and a feeling of not knowing what to expect to what in many other instances would be a simple desert rock riff. It isn’t here in part because of the production, which plays laid back stoner aspects off of the burl Isaak proffered their last time out, the treatment of Boeddu‘s vocals especially noteworthy for being perfectly balanced with the guitar, bass and drums and for the echo adding spaciousness to his gruff delivery.

isaak

The ensuing “Fountainhead” (lyric video here) offers one of Sermonize‘s strongest hooks and begins to reveal Isaak‘s method in terms of their building momentum across each of the album’s two sides. Both “Fountainhead” and “Almonds and Glasses,” which follows, are about four minutes long and quickly-paced, in league with the shorter “The Peak” in moving the listener through an opening salvo in good speed. At the same time, “Almonds and Glasses” also proves more patient, and is instrumental save for a couple of deep-mixed echoing vocal lines, so it marks a change of tactic as well. Call it a half-turn, with “Soar” as the other half. At 5:30, it’s a good deal longer than much of Torche‘s work, and it uses that extra time to let Isaak bring their own personality to a sludge-pop style, moving from a catchy sway into a fervent instrumental push near the end that they skillfully bring to an apex to close out side A with the highlight of the album so far.

“Showdown” must have been a contender to open Sermonize at some point. In addition to similarly-grooving snare punctuation, it shares a quick pace with “The Peak” and a relatively straightforward verse/chorus structure. Why they might’ve gone with one over the other, I don’t know — “The Peak” does work well coming out of “Whore Horse,” where “Showdown” begins almost in medias res — but it functions more than ably to launch side B, which then delves into its two covers in succession. “Yeah” is less than a second long (one can’t help but wonder if they had to pay royalties to Kyuss for its use), and it gives way to the explosive plod of White Ash‘s “Lucifer’s Road,” a cover that provides Isaak with an opportunity to dive head-first into riffy largesse. Unabashedly heavy and somewhat darker than much of Sermonize, it nonetheless fits with the original material around it, “Lesson No. 1” picking up from its raucous finish with a sort of return-to-earth desert rock vibe, choice verse groove and catchy hook, moving into semi-psychedelic swirl in the second half bridge, but making its way back to the chorus to finish out and move into “The Frown Reloaded,” which touches on some of the same ideas as “Soar,” but in a way that’s even more Isaak‘s own, adding more boogie to the upbeat rhythmic thrust.

It’s somewhat buried near the end of the album, but it shows there’s no dip in quality as the four-piece rush on toward the finish line. Maybe “rush” is the wrong word, since neither “The Phil’s Theorem” nor the closing title-track are in any hurry. “The Phil’s Theorem” is a mid-paced groover with standout guitar layering and a mega-chorus that one hopes will be ground for future development from the band riding its riff into hypnotic fadeout, and “Sermonize” itself is a quiet, well-arranged melodic finish, more sentimental and quietly resonant than the flurry of badass riffery preceding throughout much of Sermonize‘s span. Like the album as a whole, “Sermonize” is an encouraging finish, a last-minute show of dynamics that seems to dogwhistle to the listener that Isaak have even more to offer in terms of breadth than they put into these tracks, and if that’s the case, all the better, but the prospects for continued growth should not undercut the accomplishments Isaak make in these songs, which play to genre with an edge and presence all their own.

Isaak on Thee Facebooks

Isaak on Instagram

Preorder at Heavy Psych Sounds

Preorder at Small Stone Records

 

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audiObelisk Transmission 054

Posted in Podcasts on November 25th, 2015 by JJ Koczan

Click Here to Download

 

Here is the Music Player. You need to installl flash player to show this cool thing!

I put up a podcast last year on the day before Thanksgiving as well. At least I’m consistent. In the US, today is the biggest travel day of the year, and I continue to feel like there are few things better in this universe than hitting the road accompanied by good music. Whether you’re driving alone on your way to see family for the holiday, commuting to work (that one doesn’t necessarily have to be by car, I suppose), going to stand on line for some silly discount item or whatever it might be, I hope you find something here you consider worth bringing along for the trip.

The holidays are always a pretty stressful time — when isn’t? — so once it gets past the initial burst of heft from Tombstones, this one stays pretty mellow for the most part. Deville and Kind rock pretty hard, but once it moves into the Dirty Streets and Old Man Lizard and so on, it’s more nod than headbang, which is accurate to where my brain is at. Looking for something chill in the face of miles to cover and meals to consume. If you’re in the US, a very Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours, and if not, I hope you enjoy just the same.

Track details follow:

First Hour:
0:00:00 Isaak, “Fountainhead” from Sermonize
0:03:58 Tombstones, “Pyre of the Cloth” from Vargariis
0:13:30 Hound, “Over the Edge,” from Out of Space
0:17:44 Deville, “Mind on Hold” from Make it Belong to Us
0:21:17 Kind, “German for Lucy” from Rocket Science
0:28:26 Dirty Streets, “Save Me” from White Horse
0:31:55 Old Man Lizard, “Craniopagus Paraciticus” from Old Man Lizard
0:40:43 Across Tundras, “No Roads in any Direction” from Home Free
0:46:52 Niche, “On Down the Line” from Heading East
0:52:11 Wired Mind, “Road” from Mindstate: Dreamscape

Second Hour:
1:03:07 Seedy Jeezus, “Echoes in the Sky” from Echoes in the Sky
1:19:03 Dorre, “One Collapsed at the Altar” from One Collapsed at the Altar

Total running time: 1:49:21

 

Thank you for listening.

Download audiObelisk Transmission 054

 

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Isaak’s Sermonize Due Dec. 11; “Fountainhead” Lyric Video Posted

Posted in Whathaveyou on November 9th, 2015 by JJ Koczan

isaak

Not much has changed since the last time news came through about Isaak‘s new album, Sermonize, at least conceptually. The album is still coming out under the wire in 2015 on vinyl through Heavy Psych Sounds, and it will still be out on CD early next year through Small Stone. What’s changed is the release date for the LP version is now Dec. 11 and the Italian heavy-hitting four-piece have posted a lyric video for the track “Fountainhead” from the outing, which will be their third under the Isaak moniker following 2012’s The Longer the Beard, the Harder the Sound (streamed here).

Still, that’s enough of a difference to make me want to post about the record again. You’d almost think I was interested maybe in giving it an extra plug because, having listened to it, I’ve determined it’s pretty cool. Ramble on, conspiracy theorist. Either way, they get bonus points for covering Kyuss‘ “Yeah.”

The PR wire had this to say about it:

isaak sermonize

ISAAK: Genova’s badass rockers to unleash new LP “Sermonize” on Heavy Psych Sounds

If you like your rawk badass, heavy and hairy, then you’ll probably exult about the great return of Italy’s raddest stoner rockers ISAAK. With their second album to date, the Genova-based four piece is up to no good, so don’t expect to be treated cautiously: “Sermonize” is set to break down the front door this December 11.

“If you cross Genova’s narrow streets looking at people in the eyes, and reach the port and the sea, then you will understand our sound”. Leaning against their van ready for the next show, this is how ISAAK introduce theirselves in a few words. Just like their straight, powerful and uncompromising music.

Born from the ashes of Italian heavy rock four-piece Gandhi’s Gunn, it didn’t take long before ISAAK signed a worldwide deal on US label Small Stone Records, who reissued their ass-kicking debut “The Longer The Beard The Harder The Sound” in June 2013. Inspired by the big ass riffages and raw energy of leading heavy rock outfits such as Clutch, Orange Goblin or Torche, ISAAK have the knack for assembling the heaviest-sounding licks with a rip-roaring attitude that can only make you raise a fist up in the air while rocking out in the pit.

With a freshly signed deal on Heavy Psych Sounds Records, ISAAK are set to release their sophomore album “Sermonize” for a vinyl release, followed by a CD release in the beginning of 2016 on Small Stone Records.

ISAAK – New album “Sermonize” – VINYL RELEASE ONLY
Out this November 27th on Heavy Psych Sounds
Pre-orders from November 13th at this location

TRACK LISTING:
1. Whore Horse
2. The Peak
3. Fountainhead
4. Almonds & Glasses
5. Soar
6. Showdown
7. Yeah (Kyuss)
8. Lucifer’s Roar (White Ash)
9. Lesson N.1
10. The Frown Reloaded
11. The Phil S. Theorem
12. Sermonize

ISAAK IS
Giacomo H Boeddu – Vocals
Andrea Tabbi De Bernardi – Drums & Vocals
Francesco Raimondi – Guitars
Gabriele Carta – Bass

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

Isaak, “Fountainhead” lyric video

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Heavy Psych Sounds Fest Vol. 2 Lineup Announced

Posted in Whathaveyou on October 16th, 2015 by JJ Koczan

If so inclined, one could probably find an update for every day of the week from Italian imprint Heavy Psych Sounds, which between its label and booking ends is helping to establish Italy as a major player in the European heavy rock underground — or at very least bring attention to the country’s contributions to same — but frankly it’s impossible to keep up with it all. Nonetheless, as Gabriele Fiori — also of Black Rainbows and Killer Boogie, as if he didn’t already have enough going on — brings together the lineup for the second edition of the Heavy Psych Sounds Fest, it’s hard not to admire the expanding scope of the project as a whole, one thing feeding into the next as it becomes a sustainable and growing whole.

With Ufomammut and Fiori‘s own Killer Boogie at the top, the Heavy Psych Sounds Fest Vol. 2 has announced its initial round of bands with the promise of more to come. I’m looking forward to seeing just how big this thing gets:

heavy psych sounds fest vol ii

HEAVY PSYCH SOUNDS FEST VOL.2: Ufomammut, Killer Boogie, and more announced!

The first acts have been announced for Italy’s heavy music event HEAVY PSYCH SOUNDS FEST, with Ufomammut, Killer Boogie, Isaak, Throneless, Sgt Sunshine, Oak and Tons. A mouthwatering lineup that will be hosted in Roma’s famous venue Traffic Live this December.

– HEAVY PSYCH SOUNDS FEST VOL.2 –
December 11th & 12th at Traffic Live (Roma, Italy)
Weekend & day tickets available soon

With UFOMAMMUT
KILLER BOOGIE
SGT SUNSHINE
THRONELESS
ISAAK
OAK
TONS
…and more bands to be announced soon.

Hosted by Italian rock’n’heavy music label and booking agency Heavy Psych Sounds (Black Rainbows, Fatso Jetson, Karma To Burn, White Hills, Mos Generator…), the second edition of HPS FEST VOL.2 will once again bring the heaviest riffs to the peninsula for two days of doom, stoner and psych partying, with both established bands and newcomers from the HPS roster.

http://www.heavypsychsounds.com/fest/
https://www.facebook.com/events/1614790898800751/
https://www.facebook.com/HEAVYPSYCHSOUNDS
http://www.heavypsychsounds.com/

Killer Boogie, Detroit (2015)

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