Sundus Abdulghani & Trunk Self-Titled Debut Due Oct. 13

Posted in Whathaveyou on September 14th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

By now the sort of heavy blues rock in which Sundus Abdulghani and Trunk seem to traffic should be pretty familiar in terms of style. Rooted in classic ’70s-style riffing and soul, the Stockholm-based four-piece bring some funky flourish to the parameters established by the likes of Blues Pills, and one doesn’t have to go far into their self-titled debut to hear that influence play out. Respected purveyor Kozmik Artifactz has the record up for preorder now if you’re so inclined ahead of a set Oct. 13 release date, and as a teaser, the band has had the centerpiece track “The Devil’s Got a Hold on You” streaming for a while.

Seems like the band formed as Trunk maybe and Sundus joined afterwards? I’d be interested to know that story of how they got hooked up. The PR wire doesn’t have those details, but brings the pedigree info, tracklisting, links and pressing whatnot in Kozmik Artifactz fashion. Hell, you know how it goes.

And if you don’t, it goes like this:

Sundus-Abdulghani-Trunk-self-titled

Get ready for Sundus Abdulghani & Trunk coming this October via Kozmik Artifactz!

Introducing “Sundus Abdulghani & Trunk” and their seductively smooth and endlessly cool retro-rock. Hailing from Sweden, and featuring members from Black Bonzo, Gin Lady and The Blue Ruin, Sundus Abdulghani & Trunk are teaming up with infamous European label, Kozmik Artifactz, to release their debut self-titled album this October.

Release Date: 13th October 2017

VINYL FACTZ
– Plated & pressed on high performance vinyl at Pallas/Germany
– limited & coloured vinyl
– 300gsm gatefold cover
– special vinyl mastering

TRACKS
1. Sister Sorrow
2. It Ain’t Love (But Close Enough)
3. She Knows
4. Them Dames
5. The Devil’s Got a Hold On You
6. Like Water
7. Stay
8. Black Magic Man
9. Twisted & Bound

Sundus Abdulghani & Trunk:
Sundus – Vocals & Tambourine
Jocke – Guitar & Vocals
Micke – Dums
Marko – Bass

https://www.facebook.com/trunkband/
https://www.facebook.com/kozmikartifactz
http://shop.bilocationrecords.com/index.php?k=986
http://kozmik-artifactz.com/

Sundus Abdulghani & Trunk, “The Devil’s Got a Hold on You”

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Six Dumb Questions with Hair of the Dog

Posted in Six Dumb Questions on September 6th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

hair of the dog

Across a skillfully constructed six-track course, Edinburgh trio Hair of the Dog smoothly brought together influences modern and classic on their third album, This World Turns. Released through Kozmik Artifactz this past July, it’s an unpretentious 41-minute rocker that comes out swinging with the semi-garage riff of its nine-minute opening, longest and title-track (immediate points), opening to a rolling groove that’s just the first of many by the time the record is done — its emphasis on sonic clarity as much as organic chemistry, songwriting as much as execution.

And if the world is turning — spoiler alert: it is — so too is the craftsmanship of Hair of the Dog, who fluidly transition between the parts and pieces of the follow-up to 2016’s The Siren’s Song and play between classic guitar-led impulses, the near-metallic shuffle of cuts like “Ctrl-Alt-Delete” — where Scorpions and Iron Maiden come together at last — and the key-laced-but-still-post-Thin Lizzy low-end groove of “In Death’s Hands,” unfolding a deceptive breadth of approach that ties together easily via clean production value courtesy of an ongoing collaboration with engineer and obviously benefits from the band’s work since making their self-titled debut in 2014. An ongoing collaboration with producer/engineer Graeme Young of Chamber Studios is only bolstered by the mixing work of James Atkinson of Gentlemans Pistols, and as they make their way toward the classy, smoothly realized crescendo of closer “4AM,” the three-piece of guitarist/vocalist Adam Holt, bassist Iain Thomson and drummer Jon Holt continue to easily draw a line between rocker soul and heavier push, resulting in a style that’s timeless in its refusal to belong to any single era or another.

With a performance slated for next month at the potentially-lethal-sounding-or-at-very-least-liver-taxing Riffs and Rum 5 in Manchester, England, a live album upcoming, and work already started on a fourth long-player to answer the growth on display throughout This World Turns, Adam took some time out to discus Hair of the Dog‘s mission on the record, the progression across their three outings to-date and the writing and recording processes from which This World Turns‘s righteous, heavy-rock-for-heavy-rockers moments in songs like “Keeping Watch over the Night” and “The Colours in Her Skin” resulted.

Please enjoy the following Six Dumb Questions:

hair-of-the-dog-this-world-turns

Six Dumb Questions with Hair of the Dog

You’ve said that these songs are more personal for you than The Siren’s Song or the self-titled. What kind of experiences are you expressing on This World Turns, and now that the album has been released and you have a little distance from it, how do you feel about that expression? What is This World Turns ultimately saying about Hair of the Dog as a band and as people?

I wouldn’t say they are more or less personal than our other songs. All of our songs stem from our life experiences, from a real place — but with This World Turns, the subject matter is definitely more mature in nature. This is just a reflection of where we are in our lives as three men. Jon is married and has two young children. Iain is now married and has a cottage out in the countryside. And I am soon to be married this October. These things — especially bringing new life into the world — force you stop and view your life in a new light, as well as the world around you, which I’m sure we can all agree, is a fucked up mess right now!

Before I had the lyrics and title for This World Turns, I had the idea for the cover. The reaper staring out over the sea towards earth. I liked that image, to me there is as sort of comfort in that image which reflected the ideas I had floating about for the lyrics. I’m the reaper looking at the world, you the listener are the reaper looking at the world – is this how you want your life to be? Is this how you want your world to be like? You never know when that scythe will swing, so would you be happy with what you have if it did, right now? And I think that’s ultimately what This World Turns is about. It’s a record about reflection.

This World Turns — tomorrow is a new day, don’t take your life for granted, life can change – but the world will always continue to turn regardless.

Tell me about opening with the title-track. When did you know that was the one you wanted to leadoff the record, and was that before or after you had named the album? How did that song come together?

“This World Turns” was the first song we wrote for this album. I think we started jamming the various riffs for it very soon after The Siren’s Song was sent off to Kozmik. We even premiered it and “Ctrl-Alt-Delete” at Roadburn Festival in April 2016, so that gives you an idea as to how far along we were with the record even by then!

Like most bands, we have our own “pet names” for our songs so we can identify them – “This World Turns” was naturally called, “The Big One” and remained that way right up until the week before we recorded it, when I wrote the lyrics. I am pretty shit when it comes to writing my lyrics, often leaving them to the very last moment – I like to worry the other two, keep them on their toes! But sometimes it just takes longer for me to hear and feel what the lyrics should say.

The music itself was very natural, I think we wrote it over the space of a few jams – each riff just seemed to naturally lead to the next. It is such a fun song to play from a musician’s point of view. It definitely set the bar for how we wanted the rest of the record to sound, which is why I felt it should be the song to kick the whole album off, set the tone sort of thing – it just had that feel to it, and we always go with what feels right to us.

Talk about your experience in the studio making This World Turns. How long were you recording? What was it like working with Graeme Young again to get the songs down and then bringing in James Atkinson from Gentlemans Pistols to handle mixing? Was that the result of something specific you wanted to do differently coming off of The Siren’s Song?

We recorded the music for This World Turns in four days, then I took a two-week break to write the lyrics – an approach I haven’t used before. This was partly because I didn’t have any solid lyrics by the time we started recording, but also because I wanted to really take time to let the songs settle with me and see if that brought something new to my writing – which it did.

I always write my lyrics in my local pub. I sit with my headphones in, with the songs on repeat and basically wait until one or two words, perhaps even a phrase, comes to me. Once I get that starting point, I just go with them and the rest of the song follows. For example, with the song “This World Turns,” I kept hearing this phrase “keeps you safe inside its lies,” I’d sing it over and over all day. It’s hard to describe, there’s a definite click moment with my lyrics, when everything just comes together and flows.

Working with Graeme is awesome. I’ve known G as a friend for many years and worked with him on various bands. We call G the secret fourth member of HOTD because, as well as working with us on all of our records, he is the man that plays any keys or synth on the records. He is an extremely skilled recording engineer and as a musician himself, has a great ear for music. He pushes us really hard and always gets the best performance from us. Not to mention he also puts up with a lot of shit from us — mostly me — during the recordings too. We like to drink in the studio and this can often lead to the recordings taking back seat to our antics.

As for James, that was really just to bring something fresh into the fold, try something new. I had got chatting to James after we both played Roadburn 2016, and I asked him if he’d like to mix the album. I’m a big Gentlemans Pistols fan, and really love his work on their albums, so I knew he’d bring some magic to our record – and he didn’t disappoint.

One of the aspects I find most striking about This World Turns is the classic feel of the riffs and the construction of the songs still has a deeply modern sound. Three albums in, do you feel like you know what you want to get out of a recording experience with Hair of the Dog? What were your goals for the sound of This World Turns?

That’ the HOTD sound… We take pride in that, so when people pick up on that it’s rewarding. We love those bands, Zeppelin, Sabbath, Cream, Deep Purple, Hendrix. Our parents and teachers introduced us to these bands — one of the first songs I ever learned on a guitar was “Hey Joe.” But we also grew up on a diet of Pantera, Rage Against the Machine, C.O.C., Down, Metallica. The list goes on.

When we started, over 15 years ago, we just jammed songs by all of these great bands we liked – extending riffs, adding in parts, making songs heavier — and from these jams, we eventually started to write our own songs. We never sat down and decided we’d sound like this or that… we just developed this sound over many years jamming together. We just wish the audience was there for us when we started, because back in 2001 nobody wanted to hear our music!

In terms of recording, we love it, it’s like a holiday for us – time to hang, have some beers, do what we love and annoy Graeme as much as we can. We didn’t have any goals as such for This World Turns, as I have mentioned, we record live for the most part and we always enter the studio with the songs polished – so it’s just about having a good time, enjoying it, letting the creativity flow and make something we are proud of.

We like the spontaneity and experimentation that only manifests in the studio. Sometimes the best parts of our records come from stupid jokes and conversations we have after a few beers: “This song needs an orchestra; The Beatles had an orchestra, why can’t we?” Next thing you know, we’re dialing up some string sounds and adding them in. The studio is a musician’s toy box. Once you have those songs recorded, you start to hear all the melodies and counter-melodies hidden within the song that you couldn’t hear in the practice room – it’s a magical time.

How do you feel about what you’ve accomplished across your three records to-date, and is there anything in particular you’ll look to change next time?

We are incredibly proud of the three records we have put out so far, and we are extremely humbled by the positive response each record has received around the globe. With each album we grow as a band, as does our fan base. We love to play our music and doing so with that support and encouragement from our fans is a dream come true.

Next time? Well here’s an exclusive for you, we already have around three songs for our fourth album. We are going a bit heavier on this one. It will still have that HOTD sound to it, but we are experimenting with darker, heavier riffs.

You’re playing Riffs and Rum 5 in Manchester in Oct. with Pist, 1968 and others. Any other plans or closing words you want to mention?

Yeah we are looking forward to that show, we haven’t played England that much, which is shameful considering it’s right on our doorstep. But we will certainly put on a killer show, that’s for sure – free rum all night and three Scotsmen?! What could go wrong!

Plans, plans, plans… we have quite a lot coming up actually…

Our track “My Only Home” which had to be dropped from the vinyl version of The Siren’s Song is being featured on an up-and-coming double-vinyl project between several prominent independent labels – think that’s all I can say about that at the moment.

We are putting out live album in between This World Turns and our next studio album. I’ve had the pleasure of hearing it and it rocks, definitely one for the HOTD super fans! More on that to come soon.

And finally, the wheels are in motion to get the Dog back over to Europe in 2018. We hope to play a few of the summer festivals and dot a few headline shows around those.

Hair of the Dog, This World Turns (2017)

Hair of the Dog on Bandcamp

Hair of the Dog on Thee Facebooks

Hair of the Dog on Instagram

Kozmik Artifactz website

Kozmik Artifactz on Thee Facebooks

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¡Pendejo! to Reissue Cantos a la Vida Sept. 15; Preorders Available

Posted in Whathaveyou on August 18th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

pendejo photo carlos lopez

Netherlands-based and Latin-inspired heavy rockers ¡Pendejo! are three years removed from their second album, Atacames (review here), and on Sept. 15, the esteemed Kozmik Artifactz will dip back even further to give their 2010 debut, Cantos a la Vida, its first-ever official vinyl release. The trumpet-prone outfit are now past the decade mark since their inception and while I haven’t seen word of new material in the works, with a four-year split between the first and second albums, it doesn’t seem outside the realm of possibility they might have something brewing for 2018. That’s speculation, of course, but a reissue of their debut would make a good lead-in to build momentum going into a third record.

Either way, Kozmik Artifactz has the limited LP up for preorder now and sent info and links and whatnot down the PR wire. Wouldn’t you know it, it’s all right here:

pendejo cantos a la vida

¡PENDEJO! – Get ready for the heavy grooves of “Cantos a la Vida” on vinyl for the first time EVER!

¡PENDEJO! is a four-piece heavy rock band from the Netherlands, founded by two cousins with a history in Latin America. Digging into their Latino roots, El Pastuso and Jaap ‘Monchito’ Melman started blending heavy riffage, pounding drums, right-in-your-face lyrics in urban Spanish about the weirdest stories in life, and to top it all off, a screaming trumpet.

‘Cantos a la Vida’ (2010), the band’s first full length album, was initially released in Spain and warmly received an array of stunning reviews. A bit later, the band released the album in the Benelux too. Now finally, for the first time ever, this milestone of heavy rock, that ‘Cantos a la Vida’ truly is, receives its long deserved vinyl release!

Having played mostly in the underground scene throughout Europe and Latin America – and sharing stages with influential heavyweights like Fu Manchu and Karma to Burn – the band puts on a show for anyone who is not afraid to be grabbed by the cojones and be thrown into a spicy puddle of chile con carne.

Release Date: 15th September 2017

VINYL FACTZ
– Plated & pressed on high performance vinyl at Pallas/Germany
– limited & coloured vinyl
– 300gsm gatefold cover
– special vinyl mastering

TRACKS
1. Flotadores
2. LLoron
3. Arrecho Vengo
4. Tan Tan Tan
5. La Vagancia
6. Juanita
7. El Taxista Limeño
8. La Ruta
9. Comunicado
10. Nadadores
11. Eclypse 2000

¡PENDEJO! are:
Vox/Trumpet – El Pastuso
Guitar – Loco Ed
Bass – Stef ‘El Rojo’ Gubbels
Drums – Sjoerd van der Knoop

https://www.facebook.com/pendejoband/
http://twitter.com/pendejoband
https://pendejoband.bandcamp.com/
http://www.pendejoband.com/
http://kozmik-artifactz.com/
https://www.facebook.com/kozmikartifactz
http://shop.bilocationrecords.com/navi.php?suchausdruck=pendejo&JTLSHOP=feea12544391b9c1425dad91cf034bf7

¡Pendejo!, Cantos a la Vida (2010)

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Gin Lady Announce Sept. 15 Release for Electric Earth

Posted in Whathaveyou on August 17th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

gin lady

Right from its very start, Gin Lady‘s upcoming fourth album, Electric Earth is striking in its classic-style impression. Though it doesn’t necessarily fall into a vintage-style production mode, the record — set for release Sept. 15 through Kozmik Artifactz — begins with two five-minute cuts in “Flower People” and “I’m Your Friend,” and the primary impression between the two of them, respectively, is The Rolling Stones and The Beatles. Read that as easy grooves, choice melodic work, a little arrangement flourish in the vocals a deceptive depth of accessible songwriting. They play these impulses off each other throughout and get a touch more raucous in the process later on with the likes of “Water and Sunshine,” but that sing-along feel never leaves them, and the further one digs into Electric Earth, the warmer the outing seems to become.

There’s no audio public from the LP yet, but preorders are up now from Kozmik Artifactz, who sent the following down the PR wire:

gin-lady-electric-earth

Gin Lady return with glorious rock masterpiece “Electric Earth” this September!

Gin Lady from Sweden formed in early 2011 and released in 2012 their same titled debut, which received positive feedback from all over the globe. The group is influenced by artists such as The Faces, Alice Cooper, Master’s Apprentices, Cream and Blue Oyster Cult. The sound is straightforward and heading for the roots of rock.

Earlier ventures, Black Bonzo and The All Janet, clearly show the members taste for detail and perfection in their sound, production and songwriting.

On their 3rd album ‘Call The Nation’, which was released by Kozmik Artifactz in 2016, the band showed their talent for creating catchy melodies and songwriting in the best tradition of Ufo, Free, Rolling Stones, Humble Pie and from the heydays of heavy rock from the seventies.

Now with ‘Electric Earth’ the quartet is proud to present us with their new masterpiece!

Release Date: 15th September 2017

VINYL FACTZ
– Plated & pressed on high performance vinyl at Pallas/Germany
– limited & coloured vinyl
– 300gsm gatefold cover
– special vinyl mastering

TRACKS
1. Flower People
2. I’m Your Friend
3. Badger Boogie
4. The Things You Used To Do
5. Mercy
6. Brothers Of The Canyon
7. Rolling Thunder
8. Water And Sunshine
9. Wasted Years
10. Running No More

Gin Lady are:
Vocals – Magnus Kamebro
Guitar/Vocals – Joakim Karlsson
Bass/Vocals – Anthon Johansson
Drums – Fredrik Normark

https://www.facebook.com/Gin-Lady-254447104608141/
https://ginlady.bandcamp.com/
https://www.facebook.com/kozmikartifactz
http://kozmik-artifactz.com/

Gin Lady, Call the Nation (2016)

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Heavy Glow Announce Breakup; New Projects in the Works

Posted in Whathaveyou on July 11th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

Songcraft specialists Heavy Glow have called it quits. Actually, if you want to go by their minimal statement of same, they’re calling it a ‘day,’ but it works out to be the same anyhow. They’re not a band anymore. The announcement came through Thee Facebooks late last week and as you can see below, that’s basically all they had to say about it.

Well, fair enough, right? Cool band breaks up? We’ve all heard that story before and really, that bottom line is what it is. Fine. But I decided to get some more info on the subject — investigative reporting! — and so I emailed frontman Jared Mullins over the weekend and asked what happened and what he’d be up to next. You might recall the trio had new material in progress as a follow-up to 2014’s Pearls and Swine and Everything Fine (review here), which was also released last year by Kozmik Artifactz (info here).

Turns out that next album has been recorded and Mullins may still do something with it. He offered a frank update on the end of Heavy Glow and the plan going forward that you can find below in its entirety:

heavy glow

Heavy Glow – Breakup Announcement

We’ve decided to call it a “day.” Two more shows and then its on to better things. Thank you all.

Jared Mullins on what’s next:

We’re changing the band name. When I first started HG in 2008 I didn’t know any other bands that had “Heavy” in their name. I just thought it was a cool hippy thing kinda like Iron Butterfly where you put two extremes next to each other. I don’t think I was the first to use “Heavy” in a band name but I didn’t know anyone else that did at the time. It stood out to me. Now almost 10 years later, every city has at least one band with “heavy” in their names. For years we’ve fought off comments about Red Hot Chili Peppers, Heavy Flows, Heavy Blows, Heavy Snows etc. So we’ve got two more shows as Heavy Glow and then we’ll go silent and come back under a different band name.

The new name will I think do us better by not poisoning the first impression of music-listeners. I’ve never been a stoner rock listener. For years I’ve been told my inspiration for writing has been all these stoner rock bands I’ve never listened to. Honestly I had no idea what stoner rock was when I was started the band. Now the name is synonymous with a genre I’m not truly a part of, and as the only contributing member of Heavy Glow since the start I need to be apart of something I believe in. I mean what really does “Got My Eye On You” have in common with bands like Mothership? Apples and oranges. Plus I have the added advantage of not being all that successful with the band so I’m not reluctantly forced to keep going with it.

So we’ll go blank for a few months and come back in a few with a new band name, new band members, new website, new photos etc. We recorded an album of 50 minutes of music in Oxfordshire England with Ian Davenport (Radiohead, Band of Skulls) back in January. Hardly anyone has paid attention to that I guess (proof it’s time after almost 10 years of Heavy Glow to do something else.) The album is the best thing I’ve ever written and closer to what I’ve been wanting to do with Heavy Glow. You don’t get invited to record in England if the material is no-good. So that’s the plan.

https://www.facebook.com/heavyglowband/
http://instagram.com/heavyglowmusic
https://twitter.com/heavyglowmusic
https://heavyglowband.bandcamp.com/
http://www.heavyglowmusic.com/

Heavy Glow, Pearls and Swine and Everything Fine (2014)

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Child Launch European Tour July 15

Posted in Whathaveyou on June 29th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

child

Come on, Europe. Get on this one. Aussie blues rockers Child return to your shores in a few short weeks and they still have a handful of dates TBA for the tour. Time to step up. The trio offered up some of the most kickass heavy blues roll this side of a slower Firebird on their late-2016 second album, Blueside (review here) — released by Kozmik Artifactz — and I’m not trying to tell anyone their business or say anybody owes anyone anything, but it’s only right that as they hit the capital-‘c’ Continent to support that hands-up righteous outing, they be met with due hospitality. You could book a show. Shit, have them play in your living room. I bet they’d do it and I bet that show would rule. Get video. I’ll post it — promise.

They’ve got a bunch of fest appearances anchoring the run, including Stoned from the Underground, which kicks things off on July 15, and other dates that find them paired with the formidable likes of Acid King, Elder and King Buffalo, so it seems to me that once the TBA gigs are locked up, they’ll be sitting pretty. Make it happen.

Here’s the info for the tour as it stands now:

child euro tour

CHILD European Tour July/August 2017

Following the successful release of our second LP ‘Blueside’ we are overjoyed to be crossing the pond once again!

The CHILD European tour 2017 covers some of our favourite festivals (including a little jaunt to the Arctic Circle) and includes a string of dates with US bands ELDER, ACID KING and KING BUFFALO.

Dates:
2017-07-15 GER – Erfurt, Stoned From The Underground
2017-07-16 POL – Pleszew, Red Smoke Festival
2017-07-17 DNK – Copenhagen, Pumpehuset *
2017-07-18 TBA
2017-07-19 TBA
2017-07-21 NOR – Oslo, Blå *
2017-07-22 NOR – Tromsö, Bukta Festival
2017-07-24 GER – Hamburg, Hafenklang *
2017-07-25 GER – Wiesbaden, Schlachthof *
2017-07-26 TBA
2017-07-27 GER – Berlin, Badehaus
2017-07-28 GER – Siegen, Vortex *
2017-07-29 BEL – Liege, Le Hangar * ~
2017-07-30 FRA – Paris, Glazart * ~
2017-07-31 GER – Munich, Backstage (Free & Easy) * ~
2017-08-01 ITA – Milano, Magnolia * ~
2017-08-02 TBA
2017-08-03 TBA
2017-08-04 GER – Beelen, Krach Am Bach Festival
2017-08-05 BEL – Waarschoot, Roadkill Festival
* with Elder/King Buffalo
~ with Acid King

Child is:
Mathias Northway – Guitars, Vocals
Michael Lowe – Drums, Percussion
Danny Smith – Bass Guitar

http://www.childtheband.com
https://www.facebook.com/childtheband
https://www.instagram.com/childtheband/
http://kozmik-artifactz.com/artist/child/
https://childtheband.bandcamp.com

Child, Blueside (2017)

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The Obelisk Presents: The Top 20 of 2017 So Far

Posted in Features on June 12th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

the obelisk top-20-2017-so-far

The time has come to take a look at some of the best albums of 2017 so far. I hardly know where to start. In some ways, this list is harder to put together than the end-of-year one that comes out in December, because by then not only do you have the full year to draw on, but it’s easier to sort of put a narrative to the course of events of 12 months, whereas in this case, obviously, the story is half told. So I guess if the list feels incomplete, that might be part of why.

Even with just six months to work from, the list has become fairly immense. I’ve been keeping track of 2017 releases since about September of last year, and the amount of stuff that’s come through has been staggering. Every year brings good music, and the basic fact of the matter is that if you don’t think so it’s because you’re either unwilling to find it or unwilling to let yourself hear it, but 2017 has been a multi-tiered assault of sounds from all over the world, and it seems like whatever you might be into, the universe stands ready to accommodate.

There’s a lot to say about that — is the market flooded? — but it’s a topic for a different post. I’ll keep it short here and just say that as always, it’s an honor to be covering the stuff that I cover and that I deeply appreciate you taking the time to read. I hope if there’s a release you feel deeply passionate about that you don’t see on my list below that you’ll please let me know about it in the comments.

Also, please note that in order to qualify for this list, a record had to come out on or before June 9. That’s the cutoff.

Okay, here goes:

The Top 20 of 2017 So Far

elder reflections of a floating world

1. Elder, Reflections of a Floating World
2. All Them Witches, Sleeping Through the War
3. Samsara Blues Experiment, One with the Universe
4. Colour Haze, In Her Garden
5. Atavismo, Inerte
6. Sun Blood Stories, It Runs Around the Room with Us
7. Cloud Catcher, Trails of Kozmic Dust
8. Vokonis, The Sunken Djinn
9. The Obsessed, Sacred
10. Mothership, High Strangeness
11. Spaceslug, Time Travel Dilemma
12. Electric Moon, Stardust Rituals
13. Alunah, Solennial
14. Arc of Ascent, Realms of the Metaphysical
13. Rozamov, This Mortal Road
14. Siena Root, A Dream of Lasting Peace
15. PH, Eternal Hayden
16. Geezer, Psychoriffadelia
17. T.G. Olson, Foothills Before the Mountain
18. Telekinetic Yeti, Abominable
19. The Devil and the Almighty Blues, II
20. Lord, Blacklisted

Notes

If you keep up with this site at all, there probably aren’t a lot of surprises in there. These are all records that have been discussed at great length over the last six months, reviewed, streamed, analyzed, whathaveyou’d all the way. If you don’t believe me, search any of the names. Still, as far as my personal picks go and who I think has crafted something special over the last six months, this feels pretty representative to me. I managed to live for a full week with the list as you see it above, without making changes. That’s usually my standard.

And as always, it’s a combination of what I’ve listened to most and what I feel has had the greatest impact thus far into the year. Between the two, there was little doubt Elder would take the top spot. I’ve probably listened to the All Them Witches record more than anything else this year, including Elder’s Reflections of a Floating World, but the truth is the Massachusetts trio are working at a level of their own making in terms of their sonic progression, and that they’ve emerged as one of if not the most pivotal American underground heavy rock bands going. The situation was much the same when they put out Lore in 2015 and claimed that year’s top-album spot, but even since then their sound has expanded and they continue to demand ultimate respect.

As for the All Them Witches album — absolute stunner. The increased depth of their arrangements on Sleeping Through the War came at no expense of songwriting, resulting in ultra-memorable material that could either wash over you with melody or shove you out of your seat with the force of its rhythm, and that band continues to be a treasure. No other way to put it.

From there, we move into what I think are the four best heavy psych offerings of 2017 so far, with Samsara Blues Experiment, Colour Haze, Atavismo and Sun Blood Stories, in that order. Samsara Blues Experiment’s return has been a joy to witness and their first album in four years lived up to the occasion. Colour Haze expanded the palette from their last album with In Her Garden and proved as immersive as always. I’m still getting to know that record. Atavismo’s second full-length upped the progressive influences without losing fluidity or cohesion in songwriting, and Sun Blood Stories’ hypnotic shoegaze offered expansive thrills and a sense of varied, beautifully crafted exploration.

A pair of exciting young bands thereafter in Colorado’s Cloud Catcher, whose boogie is right-on-right-on and whose development continues to hold much potential, and Vokonis, whose crushing riffs on The Sunken Djinn were met with an increased focus on structure and tightening of approach that maximized overall impact. The Obsessed’s unexpected return could only be called a triumphant one, and Mothership’s third long-player found them working in a richer sense of mood than previous outings, adding yet more character to what was still a blast of good-time rock and roll. They round out the top 10 in full command of who they are as players.

Granted, the next 10 releases are kind of all over the place, but I think that just shows the overarching quality of work being done across the board. From Spaceslug’s melodic stoner-psych to Electric Moon’s studio return — so, so, so good — to Alunah’s continued growth in nature-worshiping heavy and Arc of Ascent’s comebacker of rolling heavy riffs and metaphysical themes, there’s been so much to take in. I especially like the pairing of Rozamov and Siena Root as a sense of scope for 2017 so far; the former being so dark and crushing and the latter who lived up to calling their record A Dream of Lasting Peace. You want to know both ends of the spectrum? There they are.

PH’s Eternal Hayden gets a nod for its effective reset of the context of that band following the completion of their trilogy of albums, and Geezer’s Psychoriffadelia might have been something of a tossoff in the making, but the level at which the New York trio jams nonetheless assures it a spot here. Plus, a Nazareth cover. So duh.

I couldn’t help but include T.G. Olson’s Foothills Before the Mountain on the list as the Across Tundras frontman creeps closer to a full-band sound for his solo work, adding to his acoustic singer-songwriter foundations, and the crush of Telekinetic Yeti’s post-Sleep riffing evoked so many nods I thought they deserved one here as well. Placing The Devil and the Almighty Blues was difficult, but especially after seeing them live, I felt like I had a better idea of where they were coming from on II, so knew they belonged somewhere, even if it was tucked in at the end. And of course, Lord. Always killer, always experimenting, always chaotic. Never have grind and sludge sounded more cohesive together. They’re the band I wish Soilent Green had become, and yes, I mean that.

Honorable Mention

Let’s do another 10 releases, shall we?

21. Beastmaker, Inside the Skull
22. Arduini/Balich, Dawn of Ages
23. Brume, Rooster
24. John Garcia, The Coyote Who Spoke in Tongues
25. Six Sigma, Tuxedo Brown
26. Demon Head, Thunder on the Fields
27. Summoner, Beyond the Realm of Light
28. Steak, No God to Save
29. Six Organs of Admittance, Burning the Threshold
30. Dool, Here Now There Then

And just to make the point, here are even more worthy of note in this space:

Elbrus, Elbrus
Cortez, The Depths Below
Ecstatic Vision, Raw Rock Fury
Child, Blueside (a December 2016 release, maybe, but I think the vinyl was this year, so whatever)
Pallbearer, Heartless
Spidergawd, IV
Green Meteor, Consumed by a Dying Sun
Loss, Horizonless

There are of course other names as well that come to mind. Like I said at the outset, it’s a crowded field: Hymn, Arbouretum, Green Meteor, REZN, Demon Head, Galley Beggar, Devil’s Witches, Orango, Heavy Traffic, Coltsblood, Mt. Mountain, Vokonis, Solstafir, High Plains, on and on.

Also worth highlighting several really, really quality live records that have surfaced so far this year. I didn’t really know where to place them among the other studio offerings, but they deserve note for sure:

Causa Sui, Live in Copenhagen
Death Alley, Live at Roadburn
My Sleeping Karma, Mela Ananda – Live
Enslaved, Roadburn Live

More to Come

Of course, we’re still just barely halfway through the year, so keep on the lookout for more to follow. If you didn’t see my massive 200+ albums to watch for list in January, it has many that have come out and many more still to surface, but here are a few highlight names as well that you’re going to want to keep an eye on in the months ahead:

Queens of the Stone Age
Radio Moscow
The Atomic Bitchwax
Kadavar
Ufomammut
The Midnight Ghost Train
Moon Rats
Clamfight
Egypt
the Melvins
Bison Machine
Seedy Jeezus
High on Fire
Monster Magnet

Thanks for Reading

Before I check out, I’d like to give special mention to Lo-Pan’s In Tensions EP as the best short release of the year thus far. Along with EPs from Godhunter, Kings Destroy, Solace and Shroud Eater, it has assured those seeking a quick fix are handed their ass in return for asking.

Well, that’s about where I’m at with it. As per usual, I’m sure there are things I forgot and/or left off here, because I’m human and whatnot, so please if you have something to add, feel free to do so in the comments so long as you can keep it cordial. No name calling. I’m sensitive and you’ll ruin my whole day. I mean that.

Thanks again for being a part of this and here’s to an excellent rest of 2017.

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Devil Electric Set Aug. 11 Release for Self-Titled Debut; New Video Posted

Posted in Whathaveyou on May 19th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

devil electric

Melbourne, Australia, four-piece Devil Electric situate themselves somewhere between doom and more modern heavy blues in the first audio to come from their self-titled Kozmik Artifactz debut full-length, which is set to release this August as the follow-up to their 2016 EP, The Gods Below. With a creeper riff and some darker tonality, “Hypnotic” finishes the record in question, and though one wonders if it’s an outlier stylistically or a summary of the preceding proceedings — a closer could go either way, right? — there’s no denying the hook at play, and so the answer to that question might just be “both.” I haven’t heard the album yet, but that’d suit me just fine.

The PR wire brings album info and the new video, courtesy of the label:

devil electric self-titled

Devil Electric release new single “Hypnotica” & details of debut album!

Devil Electric are proud to announce a worldwide deal with German heavyweight label Kozmik Artifactz for the release of their debut self-titled album.

The 37 minute, 9-track debut will be available digitally and in three colourways on 180gm vinyl, with a release date of August 11.

The first single to be released and final track from the album is “Hypnotica” – watch the video clip below.

Available as CD & limited vinyl

Release Date: 11th August 2017

VINYL FACTZ
– Plated & pressed on high
performance vinyl at
Pallas/Germany
– limited & coloured 180g vinyl
– 300gsm gatefold cover
– special vinyl mastering

TRACKS
1. Monologue (Where You Once Walked)
2. Shadowman
3. Lady Velvet
4. Acidic Fire
5. Monolith
6. The Dove & The Serpent
7. The Sacred Machine
8. Lilith
9. Hypnotica

Fronted by the gracious & haunting female presence of Pierina O’Brien, Devil Electric are a riff-heavy 4-piece rock n’ roll band. Lead single Hypnotica is the final track from their debut record, a six and a half minute heavy-blues infused fuzzed-out jam thattransports the mind into the swelling, darker depths of rock n’ roll.

Since forming mid-2015 Devil Electric have supported Truckfighters (Sweden), The Sword (USA), Endless Boogie (USA), Kadavar (Ger) toured the east coast with The SIGIT (Indonesia) & played Cherry Rock Festival in AC/DC Lane. They signed with Kozmik Artifactz (Ger) following the success of their debut EP, The Gods Below, which saw an independent release over two 7” vinyl editions.

Devil Electric are:
Vocals – Pierina O’Brien
Guitar – Christos Athanasias
Bass/Vocals – Tom Hulse
Drums – Mark Van De Beek

https://www.facebook.com/devilelectric/
http://shop.bilocationrecords.com/index.php?k=986
https://www.facebook.com/kozmikartifactz

Devil Electric, “Hypnotica” official video

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