Posted in Whathaveyou on January 11th, 2017 by JJ Koczan
Långfinger and Captain Crimson both put out records this past autumn in a one-two punch of high-grade next-gen Swedish heavy rock. Next month, the Small Stone labelmates — from Gothenburg and Örebro, respectively — are pairing up for a round of mostly-German tour dates put together by Total Volume Booking that will find them supporting those new albums and continuing to bring their long-simmering underground reputations to turning more heads on the road. I would not expect this to be either band’s final announcement for 2017 in terms of shows and/or festivals — that’s just speculation, not insider info or anything — because it seems to me that the longer time goes on, it’s just more opportunity for Crossyears (review here) and Remind (review here) to catch on.
Dates come courtesy of Långfinger‘s social medias, other info from Small Stone. One likes to properly source these things:
We’ve teamed up with fellow swedes Captain Crimson for February’s central European tour. The earthquake starts on Feb 15. Prepare yourselves for swedish rock n roll deluxe, multiplied by two!
Feb 15 – Kiel (DE) @ Die Kieler Schaubude Feb 16 – Berlin (DE) @ Jägerklause Berlin Feb 17 – Den Helder (NL) @ Rockcafé de Engel Feb 18 – Siegen (DE) @ Vortex Surfer Musikclub Feb 19 – Antwerp (BE) @ AMC (Antwerp Music City) Feb 21 – Cologne (DE) @ Limes Köln Feb 23 – Mannheim (DE) @ Kurzbar Feb 24 – Luzern (CH) @ The Bruch Brothers
Långfinger, from the fertile rock ‘n’ roll city of Gothenburg, are masters of the art. They’ve been playing together since they were in their early teens, and their third album, called ‘Crossyears’, is both the thrilling culmination of their collective endeavour, and a rumination on it – on how Time has shaped them and brought them to this point. Within its hard-hitting grooves, the interlocking of Långfinger’s three disparate characters – Kalle, the unflappable, precision axeman; Jesper, the athletic sticksman battering out physical revenge on his kit; and Victor, the intense, exploratory spirit, bridging thundering bass and howling exorcism – is a magical proposition.
Formed in 2010 by vocalist Stefan Lillhager, formerly of Blowback, Captain Crimson draws inspiration from the classic sounds of The Groundhogs, Blue Cheer, Emerson, Lake & Palmer, Jethro Tull and Cactus, meeting heavy boogie head-on with a modern swagger that has carried over to their latest and third album, Remind – their first for Small Stone Records. Make no mistake: Captain Crimson’s latest is nothing less than a testament to the timeless power of groove, of memorable choruses that take you back to when you felt such things deep in your soul, and indeed offer a reminder that you still can and that you still do.
It’s been a long time. Long enough that I’m not even going to link back to the last time I did a round of Radio Adds. Life happens, and with the Quarterly Review, I guess my focus went elsewhere. Well, I just did a Quarterly Review, and that actually kind of inspired this, since I found there was yet more records that wanted covering even after that over-full round of 60 that closed out 2016 and opened 2017. So here we are.
There are, in fact, more than 50 albums being added to The Obelisk Radio playlist today. I can’t promise I’ll do Radio Adds weekly like I once did, or monthly, or again in 2017, or ever, but the opportunity presented itself and it seemed only right to take advantage. This stuff all came out last year, so it’s all readily available, and audio samples are included, because, you know, music and such.
Let’s dig in:
Lord Mountain, Lord Mountain
Of all the styles under the vast umbrella of “heavy,” traditional doom is among the hardest to execute – especially, I’d think, for new bands. You need a balance of atmosphere and lack of pretense, a classic vibe, riffs, and groove. On the surface, you’re playing to the past, but if you put out something that just sounds like Sabbath and bring nothing of yourself to it, you’re sunk. Santa Rosa, California’s Lord Mountain – vocalist/guitarist Jesse Swanson, guitarist Sean Serrano, bassist Dave Reed and drummer Pat Moore – would seem to have it figured out on their self-titled debut EP. Released by King Volume Records on limited tape, it brings forth four tracks in 21 minutes that are no less comfortable playing to the downer riffing of Candlemass – opener “Fenrir” – than to the epic chanting of Viking-era Bathory – “Under the Mountain” – and that find distinction for themselves in nodding to one side or the other as they make their way across the bass-y Sabbathism of “Dying World” and into the concluding solo-topped gallop of “Tomb of the Eagle” (more Dio-era there, but effectively translated tonally). As an initial offering, its presence is more stately than raw, and part of that is aesthetic, so I still think Lord Mountain will have growth to undertake, but their EP shows marked potential and brings a fresh personality to doom’s rigid traditionalism, and there’s nothing more one could reasonably ask of it. A CD would probably be too much to ask, but it’s hard to believe no one’s snagged it for a 10” release yet.
Behold the winding, self-directed narrative of underrated, underutilized and underappreciated New York heavy rockers The Giraffes, who issued Usury via Silver Sleeve Records in Jan. 2016, on the cusp of their 20th anniversary and with it welcomed back frontman Aaron Lazar (also a one-time contributor to The Book of Knots, speaking of underrated) to the fold alongside guitarist Damien Paris, drummer Andrew Totolos and bassist Josh Taggart. Comprised of just six songs with a 28-minute runtime, it nonetheless holds to a full-album sentiment, with songs like the tense “Washing Machine” working in a vein not dissimilar to their righteous 2008 offering, Prime Motivator (review here), while the preceding “Facebook Rant” and “Product Placement Song” bask in a social commentary that one can only hope the ensuing decades make dated and the subsequent “White Jacket” has a melancholy danceability that one might’ve related around the time of The Giraffes’ 2005 self-titled debut related to System of a Down, but now just sounds like an enrichment of their approach overall. Usury gets off to a slow start (not a complaint, given the groove) with “Blood Will Run,” which seems to shake off its dust initially before commencing its real push and chug circa the halfway point, but by the time they get down to eight-minute finale “How it Happened to Me,” the sudden conclusion of the jam leaves one to wonder where they went and when they’ll be back, which presumably is the whole idea. Behold a band who did it before it was cool, should’ve been huge, and still kept going. The story is more complicated than that, but there are few tales more admirable.
The first Saint Vitus live album – Live – surfaced in 1990 via Hellhound Records and captured the band in Germany in 1989. Its 2005 reissue on Southern Lord played a large role in introducing the pivotal doomers to a new generation of fans. Live Vol. 2 follows some 26 years later via Season of Mist and likewise documents a crucial era in the four-piece’s existence, having been recorded in 2013 in Luxembourg following the release of their 2012 album, Lillie: F-65 (review here), with the lineup of vocalist Scott “Wino” Weinrich, guitarist Dave Chandler, bassist Mark Adams and drummer Henry Vasquez. It’s a 59-minute set, all told – one suspects some of Chandler’s stage rants between songs were shortened or removed – and among the most striking impressions it makes is how seamlessly Lillie: F-65 cuts “Let Them Fall,” “The Bleeding Ground” and “The Waste of Time” fit in alongside classics like the speedy “War is Our Destiny” and “Look Behind You” or the more grueling “Patra (Petra)” and galloping “White Stallions.” Of course, the anthemic “Born too Late” closes out, with Chandler’s wash of feedback and all-low-end tone at the start the ultimate hallmark of what Saint Vitus have always been – a middle finger to square culture unlike any other. This era of the band may be over, with original vocalist Scott Reagers stepping back into the frontman role, but as one continues to hope for another studio album, Live Vol. 2 proves more than a stopgap and takes an active role in adding to the band’s legendary catalog.
After two successful full-lengths in 2010’s Skygrounds and 2012’s Slow Rivers, next-gen Swedish heavy rockers Långfinger join forces with Small Stone Records for their 10-song/46-minute third album, the crisply-executed Crossyears. Like their countrymen labelmates in Jeremy Irons and the Ratgang Malibus, the Gothenburg three-piece bring modern edge and production to what a few years ago might’ve been purely retro ‘70s boogie rock, as tracks like “Fox Confessor,” “Say Jupiter,” the more languid “Atlas” and “Caesar’s Blues” bask in a showcase of tight, natural performance with a clean production style that still highlights same, bassist/keyboardist/vocalist Victor Crusner, guitarist/backing vocalist Kalle Lilja and drummer/backing vocalist Jesper Pihl proving the maturity of their songwriting while still delivering the push of “Silver Blaze” and closer “Window in the Sky” with a sense of energy behind them. Their approach so solidified, Långfinger don’t seem to leave much to chance in their sound, but Crossyears engages heavy rock tradition effectively while bridging a gap of decades across its run, and that, frankly, seems like enough for any one record to take on.
Soggy’s self-titled LP, released in this edition by Outer Battery Records (see also Arctic, Earthless Meets Heavy Blanket), is a reissue of a 2008 collection of tracks from a span of years that find the blown-out French punkers paying direct homage to The Stooges with a cover of the seminal “I Wanna be Your Dog,” immediately drawing a line to what seems to have been the band’s most prominent influence. Some 35-plus years after they were initially put to tape, Soggy’s tracks continue to feel dangerous and raw in their frenetic proto-punkery, and that would seem to be exactly what the Soggy LP is looking to convey, digging into the vast trove of lost artifacts in heavy and punk rock and finding a treasure ripe for hindsight appreciation. As much as it just makes me want to put on the self-titled Stooges record or Fun House, I can’t argue with the success of Soggy’s Soggy or not admire its mission, even if some of its blows land harder than others.
Swedish power trio Långfinger released their third album, Crossyears, on Sept. 30. Their first for Small Stone Records, the record — which was first announced here — comes jammed with premium boogie and classic songcraft delivered with a new generation’s energy. One need look no further than the track “Fox Confessor” for clear demonstration of all of the above. The side A cut finds itself a comfortable pace and builds tension in its verse only to let loose in a righteous hooked backed up by spacious lead guitar. Then they turn around and do it all again. Another round for everybody.
That, incidentally, could also be said to be the theme of the video, though Långfinger push deeper into narrative than just playing a show and selling their amps (and dog) for alcohol after being stiffed by the club owner, actually going so far as to take revenge on the club owner themselves. Street justice! They wind up living the high life on a rooftop, praising high art and chipping golf balls into the urban setting below. You know, as one does. It’s about a four-minute clip to tell this story, and about a three-minute song underneath, so efficiency is a major factor here to be sure, but Långfinger don’t need any more time than they take in order to make an impression. Crossyears benefits across its span from their clarity of purpose as much as it does from their choice riffing and rhythmic fluidity.
Plus it’s a bass tone you just gotta hear.
The band was kind enough to offer some comment on the making of the video and the song, which you’ll find below. Crossyears is also streaming in full at Small Stone‘s Bandcamp, linked at the bottom of this post.
Långfinger, “Fox Confessor” official video
Långfinger on “Fox Confessor”:
“Fox Confessor” is the first collaboration between Långfinger and cinematographer Anders Bryngel. We were exploring the idea of working together for some years and with the new album looming, it was more appropriate than ever.
One day we devised a syndicate. We then determined that the effort should be focused on a narrative and as the storyline progressed we let it evolve naturally with the group’s dynamic. A spontaneous process driven by our collective efforts.
As for the actual song, which like many of our songs, established itself as an instrumental; was inspired by our favorite Krautrock bands from the late sixties. That was up until I spent some time in rural Argentina. The lyrics began as rough scribbles, and in the attempt to characterize the broad landscape, which seemed to encompass most of my days spent there, a sort of comic relief broke out into lyric.
Långfinger: Kalle Lilja – Guitars & backing vocals Victor Crusner – Bass, keys & lead vocals Jesper Pihl – Drums & backing vocals
In my defense, I’ll say it’s been a really hectic couple months. Truth be told, even I think it’s been a really long time since the last podcast, so if you do too, at very least we agree on it. If the tradeoff for that is getting to use a bunch of new tracks, some of which have been featured around here for streaming — like Foghound, Monkey3, Slomatics, Comet Control, Mindkult, New Planet Trampoline, etc. — and some of which haven’t shown up around this site yet — Besvärjelsen, Monolord, King Buffalo, Fungal Abyss, Landing, etc. — then I think it’s a decent tradeoff to make. Listening back to it now that it’s finished, as is my tradition, I dig it.
And of course I hope you dig it as well. We start at full run with Foghound and add some boogie to the mix with Långfinger before crashing into the wall of riffs that is Monolord and digging into the garage swing of Mindkult, so right off the bat there’s a decent amount of ground covered, and it only gets weirder as it moves forward, but hopefully even more immersive as well. The second hour, and really from New Planet Trampoline on, keep an open mind and try to just go where the sounds go. It should be a satisfying trip either way.
Track details follow:
0:00:00 Foghound, “Message in the Sky” from The World Unseen
0:03:58 Långfinger, “Feather Beader” from Crossyears
0:08:20 Monolord, “Lord of Suffering” from Lord of Suffering/Die in a Haze
0:14:44 Mindkult, “Witch’s Oath” from Witch’s Oath
0:20:34 Besvärjelsen, “Havets Sista Vals” from Exil
0:27:48 King Buffalo, “Kerosene” from Orion
0:33:46 Slomatics, “Super Nothing” from Future Echo Returns
0:37:36 Monkey3, “Dead Planet’s Eyes” from Astra Symmetry
0:42:06 New Planet Trampoline, “Acts of Mania” from Dark Rides and Grim Visions
0:51:03 Comet Control, “Artificial Light” from Center of the Maze
1:00:52 Landing, “Morning Sun” from Third Light
1:15:10 Fungal Abyss, “Perfumed Garden” from Karma Suture
1:37:20 Atomikylä, “Katkos” from Keräily
If you’re feeling like you might be ready to boogie, then Långfinger are ready for you. Today, the Gothenburg trio announce that their third LP, Crossyears, will be released by none less than Small Stone Records on Sept. 30. From the swing and stomp of its title-track to the organ-laced grandeur of “Atlas,” the record brims with classic spirit, but casts off the stylistic restrictiveness of vintage production in favor of a full, vibrant sound, resulting in a mix that brings out the strengths of both without sacrificing the obvious chemistry the band has built over their time together. Also it rocks. Confidently.
The PR wire brings background and a first streaming track. Check it out:
Långfinger – Crossyears
A kick-ass power trio is quite probably the perfect rock formation. If there aren’t that many trios around, that’s because it’s a hard thing to pull off: with just three people having to nail the rhythmic fusion of bass and drums, the wild colours of guitar and the soul-grabbing focus of the human voice, there can be no passengers aboard. Extraordinary chemistry is essential. Everyone has to be right on it, and locked in. Which is why lots of trios fail, or cop out and recruit extras.
Långfinger, from the fertile rock ‘n’ roll city of Gothenburg, are masters of the art. They’ve been playing together since they were in their early teens, and their imminent third album, called ‘Crossyears’, is both the thrilling culmination of their collective endeavour, and a rumination on it – on how Time has shaped them and brought them to this point.
Within its hard-hitting grooves, the interlocking of Långfinger’s three disparate characters – Kalle, the unflappable, precision axeman; Jesper, the athletic sticksman battering out physical revenge on his kit; and Victor, the intense, exploratory spirit, bridging thundering bass and howling exorcism – is a magical proposition.
Tracklisting: 1) Feather Beader 2) Say Jupiter 3) Fox Confessor 4) Crossyears 5) Atlas 6) Silver Blaze 7) Buffalo 8) Caesar’s Blues 9) Last Morning Light 10) Window in the Sky
Långfinger: Kalle Lilja – Guitars & backing vocals Victor Crusner – Bass, keys & lead vocals Jesper Pihl – Drums & backing vocals