I’m not sure I’d tag London’s Ex People as stoner or sludge, as the PR wire does below in announcing the four-piece have signed to New Heavy Sounds for the release of their debut album, Bird, on May 19, but they certainly are heavy. If the new streaming single “Over,” which you can hear at the bottom of this post, is anything to go by, I might even add “progressive” to that. In whatever genre, subgenre or other kind of categorization one might want to situate them, Ex People arrive with an immediately professional sounding presentation and crisp songwriting process, so if you’re seeing the words “stoner” and “London” and thinking you’re getting another batch of drunk dudes trying to sound like Orange Goblin‘s The Big Black — not that there’s anything wrong with that, because there definitely isn’t — think again.
Better quit while I’m ahead (behind?). News and track follow, courtesy of the aforementioned PR wire:
New Heavy Sounds sign sludge four piece Ex People
The band tackle dystopian themes on their debut album ‘Bird’, for release in May
New Heavy Sounds is pleased to announce our latest signings, stoner sludge four-piece Ex People.
Emerging from the London DIY scene, vocalist Laura and drummer Vicki first met playing in series of riot grrrl and noise bands, before forming Ex People in 2015 with guitarist Calum and bassist Ed. Since then, the quartet have gone on to share stages with the likes of Palehorse, Lower Slaughter, Torpor, and Church of the Cosmic Skull. The band self-released a digital single “Without/Surekill” in late 2016. Ex People also also wrote and released a video for Without, directed by DIY filmmaker Jojo Khor, about a teenage runaway joining an all-female cult led by the band’s singer, Laura.
Now for NHS, the band have delivered a bruisingly assured debut album.
‘Bird’ was recorded with Wayne Adams (Vodun, USA Nails, Death Pedals, Casual Nun) at Bear Bites Horse Studios, and he’s managed to perfectly capture the visceral weight of their sound, a startling amalgam of super filthy fuzz thick riffs, grunge, noise rock and stoner, combined with a punk attitude. Taking their cue from bands as diverse as Electric Wizard, Bardo Pond, Harvey Milk and Kylesa, along with 90s sludge such as the Melvins (yet still managing to sound cohesive) the ten tracks that make up ‘Bird’, combine stoner hooks and soaring vocals with a crushing heaviness. Add to that some thumping motorik beats (almost like a heavy ‘Neu’ at times), shot through with an ever-present melodic sensibility, and you have a band that once again shows that when it comes to heavy music, all gates are open.
Lyrically Laura draws on apocalyptic and dystopian themes, with “Over” telling the story of a planet colliding with the earth, sung over a driving, crunching circular riff. Other tracks tackle real-world horror, with “The Host” about a woman and child escaping domestic violence, and opening track “Not a Drill” calling for resistance against oppressive regimes. And album closer ‘Crested’ is as dark as it gets, 8 minutes of full on doom meets discord, combining the atmospherics of Windhand with the slowed down hardcore of My War-era Black Flag. ‘Bird’ is gloriously heavy, fuzzed up yet melodic, at times bleak and thrilling as it is infectious.
It’s a bold statement of intent, and we are stoked to add Ex People to the NHS roster.
‘Bird” will be released on May 26th on limited edition red and black vinyl, cd and digital.
Ex People is: Laura Kirsop: Vocals Calum Gunn: Guitar Edward White: Bass Vicki Dawson: Drums
In May, Chilean psychedelic adventurers Föllakzoid will head to Europe for an extensive month-long tour that includes stops at Eindhoven Psych Lab and Freak Valley 2017, among other fests. Before they go, the trio will issue London Sessions, a collaborative work with J. Spaceman of Spiritualized and Spacemen 3 that reimagines two tracks from their 2015 outing, III.
That album was in itself a collaboration, the band working with German synth specialist Atom TM to foster a minimal but spaced-out sound on tracks like “Electric” and “Earth,” the opening duo that reappear on London Sessions. As to how these versions might be different than the ones released on III, you’ll have to pardon me if I pass on guessing. They were recorded live, so it seems fair to expect some measure of difference, but yeah, just not gonna even speculate.
The PR wire teases possibilities:
Föllakzoid and J. Spaceman (Spacemen 3, Spiritualized) Join Forces on London Sessions
It should come as no surprise to fans of the Chilean trio Föllakzoid that upon meeting the legendary Jason Pierce a.k.a. J. Spaceman (Spacemen 3, Spiritualized), they discovered they were kindred spirits. Föllakzoid and Spaceman’s projects share a restless drive to explore the outer limits of music, as well as an uncanny ability to lock into a groove until it infiltrates the deepest recesses of the listener’s psyche. When Föllakzoid met Spaceman backstage at a Wooden Shjips gig at London’s Electric Ballroom several years ago, they instantly became friends.
For London Sessions, the Chileans and Spaceman joined forces for new, live-to-tape renditions of “Electric” and “Earth,” two highlights from Föllakzoid’s III. The recordings were made in a private studio in London while Föllakzoid was on tour in Europe in June 2016, and Spaceman’s contributions breathe new life into the songs.
“Jason added a very different harmonic atmosphere to the songs,” guitarist Domingo Garcia-Huidobro explained. “It somehow re-articulated the space and metric that already existed in a way the band never could. These new versions have a different edge.”
Föllakzoid Live Dates: May 18: Manchester, UK @ Soup Kitchen May 19: London, UK @ London Fields Brewhouse May 22: Haifa, Israel @ wunderbar May 23: Tel Aviv, Israel @ Levontin 7 May 24: Ghent, Belgium @ Charlatan May 25: Brussels, Belgium @ AB May 26: Eindhoven, The Netherlands @ Eindhoven Psych Lab May 27: Amsterdam, The Netherlands @ London Calling May 28: Groningen, The Netherlands @ Vera May 29: Yverdon-les-Bains, Switzerland @ L’Amalgame May 30: Winterhur, Switzerland @ Albani May 31: Leipzig, Germany @ Ilses Erika June 2: Malmo, Sweden @ Plan B June 3: Gothenburg, Sweden @ Pustervik June 4: Copenhagen, Denmark @ Loppen June 5: Berlin, Germany @ Lido June 6: Warsaw, Poland @ Hydrozagadka Club June 7: Poznan, Poland @ LAS June 8: Prague, Czech Republic @ Theremin June 9: Zagreb, Croatia @ KSET June 10: Milano, Italy @ Santeria June 11: Guastalla, Italy @ HandMade Festival June 13: Marina di Ravenna, Italy @ Hana-Bi June 14: Rome, Italy @ Monk June 15: Torino, Italy @ Magazzino sul Po´ June 17: Siegen, Germany @ FreakValley Festival June 18: Bern, Swiss @ Reitschule
Just off the PR wire comes word that London, UK, heavy rockers Steak have inked a deal with Ripple Music and will release their second album, No God to Save, this June through the label. The four-piece have, over the course of the last several years, become one of the most formidable presences in London’s crowded heavy rock sphere, establishing a firm hometown presence while embarking on wider European touring and appearing at fests like Keep it Low, Desertfest Athens, Reverence Valada, and so on.
They’re already booked at Desertfest London 2017 next month and Stoned from the Underground in Germany this July, and as they get set to follow-up 2014’s Napalm Records-delivered debut, Slab City (review here), I’d only expect more announcements to follow. I’ll do my best to keep pace.
In the meantime, here’s the official word:
Steak – No God to Save – Ripple Music
Ripple Music is thrilled to welcome U.K. Stoner Rock Legends, Steak,to its roster of the best of the modern heavy bands.
Emerging from the depths of the murky London bars, this 4 piece have a love for underground rock n roll. Helping to shape a movement in underground music in the UK and Europe STEAK have forged themselves a new path. A riff laden, neck breaking force to be reckoned with on a mission to make rooms shake and heads roll.
Now, after releasing a series of EP’s and a debut Full length on Napalm Records, Steak joins forces with Ripple Music, one of the world’s leading purveyors of heavy psych, stoner and doom, to release “No God to Save” to a world-wide audience of heavy rockers. Expect “No God to Save” to be available around the world on limited vinyl, CD and digital come June 2017.
“Steak are back and we are honoured to be joining the Ripple family for what is our most badass record to date. This is heavy shit and we couldn’t imagine a better label to work with on it. See you on the road soon….”
Steak is: Reece Tee Chris Haley James Cameron Sammy Forway
Listening to the searing precision in Ritchie Blackmore‘s guitar, Ronnie James Dio‘s soaring voice, the powerful rhythmic thrust of Jimmy Bain on bass and Cozy Powell on drums and the grandiose flourish of Tony Carey‘s keys, Rainbow Rising sure sounds like the moment when heavy rock became heavy metal. Narratives are never so cut and dry, but this was an important transitional moment. Gone was psychedelia unless you were Hawkwind, and even heavy rock was fading out in favor of the nascent punk movement. Rainbow made their debut in 1975 with Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow (discussed here), and even between that album and this follow-up that arrived a year later on Polydor Records with the revamped lineup around Blackmore and Dio, one can hear that transition taking place. To boil it down to a track? Think of “Starstruck” on Rising and “Man on the Silver Mountain” from the preceding record. The two share a lot in common — big hook, big groove, etc. — but “Starstruck” is leaner, tighter, and true to the hard-clenched fist on the iconic Ken Kelly cover art, more aggressive. Both LPs were produced at least in part by Martin Birch, who would also work on 1978’s Long Live Rock and Roll, and it really does seem to have been a shift in vision (or at least a move closer to an initial vision) on the part of Blackmore driving the evolution of the band in this direction.
As to where Rising ultimately fits in the pantheon of heavy rock/metal, I don’t think there’s any question it’s one of the greatest albums ever released. From the opening charge of “Tarot Woman” with Carey‘s clarion keyboard intro to the swaggering crotch-thrust of “Run with the Wolf” down to the two side B epics, “Stargazer” — a blueprint that Dio would follow for the rest of his career as heavy metal’s greatest frontman in Black Sabbath and especially his own Dio band — and closer “Light in the Black,” it is a close-to-perfect execution of early metal. Yes, Sabbath, Zeppelin and Blue Cheer, Cream and Hendrix before them laid out the foundation — not to mention Blackmore‘s own work in Mk. II Deep Purple — but even in the three-minute bass-led stomp of “Do You Close Your Eyes” one can hear Rainbow splintering away from the bluesy vibe on which heavy rock was founded and toward a graceful execution that over the next couple years would continue to take shape as the New Wave of British Heavy Metal.
Again, narratives are never so cut and dry, and lest we forget that Judas Priest also issued Sad Wings of Destiny in 1976, that Sabbath were still roaming the countryside and that soon enough the willfully-ungraceful Motörhead would kick dirt in everybody‘s face with the raw power of their execution and volume, but Rising is nonetheless a pivotal document without which the NWOBHM and the formative work of bands like Iron Maiden, Angel Witch and Saxon simply wouldn’t have existed in the shape it did. Of course, by the time those acts came around, Rainbow would be onto exercising different influences toward a more commercialized sound — they never put out two records with the same lineup — but that doesn’t change how essential a moment Rising continues to represent. Hell, listen to the guitar, bass and drum gallop at the start of “Light in the Black.” It’s the roots of thrash spreading out. Rainbow may have been deeply (and purply!) informed by the heavy rock of the earlier portion of the ’70s, but Rising was when they took that and remade it in their image, and 41 years after the fact, its ongoing relevance is inarguable.
Powell and Carey would stick around for Long Live Rock and Roll, but Bain was out — a mistake on Blackmore‘s part not keeping this band together — and replaced by Bob Daisley, and that 1978 final installment in their initial trilogy would also mark the final collaboration between Blackmore and Dio, whose styles were complementary in a manner few guitarists and vocalists have ever been. Dio, who had come from boogie rockers Elf at just the right moment to catch hold of Blackmore‘s attention when he was disaffected by where Deep Purple were headed, went on to proffer further metal majesties in Black Sabbath and, from 1983 until his passing in May 2010, he’d work with the Dio band to inscribe a singular legacy — his periodic returns to Sabbath and later Heaven and Hell didn’t hurt either. Rainbow continued on with Down to Earth in 1979, Blackmore bringing in frontman Graham Bonnet and following a tumultuous course of change through the middle of the ’80s before being put to rest for the next decade. Blackmore, having reunited and split again with Deep Purple, did another run with Rainbow before founding the Renaissance-themed Blackmore’s Night, and in 2015 resurrected the band again for limited shows, swearing off the possibility of new material as he had once sworn off playing rock and roll entirely. They have live dates booked for June in the UK.
Whatever may or may not come of that, Rainbow‘s Rising stands among the most classic of classics. One could and probably should and probably somewhere in the world — looking at you, Britain — does teach a two-semester college course on everything this incarnation of the group had to offer, and it’s my sincere hope you’ve enjoyed the chance to revisit their work.
Thanks for reading.
Working late today. Speaking of mistakes. I had to miss some time earlier this week picking up The Patient Mrs. at the airport as she was returning from a conference in Texas, so decided it was best if I stick around the office for a few extra hours to make up the time. It was, of course, the wrong decision, but it’s quiet here after everyone leaves and if you actually have work to do, easy enough to get it done. The question is “if,” but I always manage to find a way to keep myself busy.
Hope you had a good week. As I think I noted last Friday or maybe the Friday before, I’ve been dealing with some uptick in my general level of anxiety lately. Part of it is the precariousness of my work situation — I’m on a year-long contract that expires in June that may or may not be picked up for permanent hire. Part of it is probably related to my food intake — I don’t eat much these days that isn’t either salad or protein powder/bar-based. And part of it is “other,” but “other” of some substance. I’m healthy, at least physically.
Probably healthier than I’ve ever been, if one wants to go by the totally fucked way in which those things are generally measured. But yes, very anxious. I’ve made a mantra of “It’s okay it’s okay it’s okay” that I repeat to myself on the regular, to varying effectiveness. I’d like to go to a doctor and get some of those chill-the-fuck-out pills I keep hearing such good things about, to help carry me over for a little bit as other medication has in the past for depressive issues. Never a permanent solution, but something to get you over a hump when you need it. I feel like I might need it, and I think The Patient Mrs. would agree, going by her nigh-on-frantic search to find me a new primary care physician, which I haven’t really had since we moved north from New Jersey three years ago. Every doctor I’ve been to up north, on one level or another, has pretty much been an asshole. The guy who took care of my foot at least got the job as “done” as it was going to get, but he did so while hitting on my wife, so yeah, still counts as asshole.
At least baseball’s back on.
Next week is frickin’ packed. Embarrassingly so. Still some stuff to shake out, but here’s what’s in the notes as of now:
Mon.: Review of the new Solace tape, video from Black Mirrors, news on Freak Valley, My Dying Bride and more.
Tue.: Maybe a Mothership review/track premiere, otherwise a Death Alley review, plus new Shadow Witch video, news, etc.
Wed.: Review/track premiere for the new Wounded Giant, video from Six Organs of Admittance.
Thu.: Review/track premiere from Green Meteor, video from Dandy Brown, announcement from No Man’s Valley.
Fri.: Review/premiere for the new The Devil and the Almighty Blues, plus whatever else comes down the wire between now and then.
As I said, packed.
I’ve also slated the Quarterly Review for the end of this month. It’ll run the week of March 27 through March 31. I might add a sixth day again, depending on what comes together, but I’ve already had it in the planning stage since the start of February, so yeah, it’s well in motion. Lot of good stuff in there, and I’ll have another batch of Radio Adds before then as well.
Speaking of the Radio: it’s been on the backup drive all week, as you may or (more likely) may not have noticed. The Raspberry Pi that hosts the main server shit the bed and with work I just haven’t had time to reinstall the operating system as I need to do. It’s on my weekend agenda, but so is traveling to Connecticut for The Patient Mrs.‘ mom’s birthday dinner on Saturday, so it’ll very likely be Sunday before I get there. And then at least three more days to deal with how terribly I will have invariably fucked it up. Ah, the gently correcting tones of Slevin. I can hear them now as he directs to insert the SD card facing the right way, no doubt for a second, then a third time.
Thanks for reading. I hope you have a great and safe weekend. From the lonely, empty office in Pawtucket, Rhode Island, I’m signing off. See you back here Monday for more good times, and in the interim, please check out the forum and (backup) radio stream.
Posted in Reviews on February 24th, 2017 by JJ Koczan
It’s an exceedingly clever idea, but that wouldn’t matter in the slightest were the execution not so utterly brilliant. As the phonetics of the title indicate, Lost Chants/Last Chance works strongly off ideas of duality. The late-2016 Rooster Rock offering from Kandodo McBain, pairs Kandodo3 — an offshoot of UK psych legends The Heads featuring guitarist Simon Price (who also operates solo under the moniker Kandodo), bassist Hugo Morgan and drummer Wayne Maskell from that band with guitarist John McBain, formerly of Monster Magnet and Wellwater Conspiracy. These two parties, each a psychedelic powerhouse on their own, come together across two sets of tracks recorded in two separate places — Bristol and San Francisco — and offer two distinct vibes on the 2CD/2LP Lost Chants/Last Chance by changing nothing more than the playing speed of the songs themselves.
To explain, if you get the Lost Chants/Last Chance CD, it comes with two discs — one with five songs at 45RPM speed, and a second with the same songs at 33RPM speed. The digital version on the Kandodo Bandcamp changes the names so that “Megladon’t” becomes “Megladon’t Ever” and “Chant of the Ever Circling Last Vulture” becomes “Chant of the Ever so Slowly Circling Last Vulture,” etc., but in runtime as well as mood, Lost Chants/Last Chance emphasizes the role that tempo plays in a given song’s feel while offering — at both speeds — wonderfully immersive, hypnotic psychedelic drift as only true masters of the form can provide. Front to back across the 10-track entirety, it tops an unmanageable two hours and 10 minutes, but whether listening in a single go, breaking it in half by material-version, or however else one might want to take it on — part of the joy of the thing is its utter amorphousness — Lost Chants/Last Chance lives up to being about more than just its conceptual objective in terms of showcasing the instrumental dynamic between these players, and thereby becomes all the more special.
Resonance abounds from the initial drifting guitar figure that begins “Blowed Out” — which later becomes “Really Blown Out,” naturally — and continues on from there. I tend to use words like “molten,” “fluid,” liquefied,” and so on to describe the sonic flow of heavy psychedelia. Tracks like “Blowed Out,” which earns immediate points for being the longest on Lost Chants/Last Chance at 15:43 in its 45RPM version as well as the opener, are the reason why. Even in its faster incarnation, it holds a languid spirit well past the 10-minute mark, keys adding melodic flourish to an anchoring guitar line that maintains its presence throughout and sets up a key factor in Kandodo McBain‘s execution: blending memorable instrumental hooks with ultra-expansive jamming. Its back third changes up the drums to a more tense use of toms, but the ending finds peace in guitars intertwining gorgeously. This sets up the pair of seven-minute slabs “Holy Syke” and “Megladon’t,” the former of which continues the mellotron-ic flow initially only to find spacier forward thrust at about 90 seconds in, setting up a build that becomes noisier — or is it “blowed out?” — as it moves through crafting another somehow-catchy impression, and the latter which relies on Maskell‘s thudding toms as the foundation for accompanying bass bounce and resonant guitar noodling.
What will seem to be the song most affected by the change in playing speed, “Megladon’t” brings about push without insistence and showcases an extended guitar lead as it heads through its midsection, turning shortly after five minutes in toward a fuzzier riff around which the four-piece will congregate until the fadeout brings on “Chant of the Ever Circling Last Vulture,” a 13-minute unfurling with an immediately space-rocking vibe — like Hawkwind on a preflight countdown — that holds percussive tension beneath swirling effects and key work.
Even after the drums fade down in the mix — McBain mixed and mastered — Morgan‘s bassline holds steady, and when Maskell returns shortly before the 10-minute mark, it gives solid ground beneath all that float from Price and McBain, a righteous turn that, if it came from a stage, would almost certainly prompt applause. On record, an agreeing nod will likely do. Siren loops from some kind of tonal submarine arrive late and set in motion the hum and fade-in of “Pelagic Blue Haze,” the 11:57 closer of the 45RPM segment, the patient unfolding of which offers something of a transition for those about to embark on the slower incarnations of these same tracks. It’s fair play that Kandodo McBain would save their most willfully hypnotic cut for last, but around 7:45, when the drums cut out, they shift into guitar drones and sort of residual melodies with just a hint of noise, as if to remind there’s more to come.
And so there is. Of course, with the slower playing speed, Lost Chants/Last Chance becomes about a third longer at 33RPM, going from 55:41 to 1:15:13. The shift also puts “Really Blown Out” over the 20-minute mark. Time, however, stops mattering by about 30 seconds in, and as so much of the groove presented earlier will, “Really Blown Out”‘s flow seems all the more graceful in its more downtempo showing. I don’t know if the 33RPM versions are mixed differently, but the mellotron reads as more of a forward presence in the opener, and the resulting immersion is a delightful dreamstate that continues as “Holiest Syke” enacts a familiar but modified push just before it hits two minutes. Both it and “Megladon’t Ever,” which on the 45RPM disc were relatively quick compared to their surroundings, benefit from the tempo change, but again, “Megladon’t Ever” might be the single piece most changed by the swap to 33RPM. Maskell‘s drums, particularly the steady hits of ride cymbal, emerge with a ritualized sensibility one only hears in hindsight on “Megladon’t” proper. That makes the song’s shift into noise all the more of a march to oblivion and nothing short of glorious for that, and between “Chant of the Ever so Slowly Circling Last Vulture” at 17:53 and “Deep Blue Pelagic Haze” at 16:09, the final two cuts on Lost Chants/Last Chance comprise an album unto themselves.
Along with the somewhat more grueling stomp of toms, the underlying drone in “Chant of the Ever so Slowly Circling Last Vulture” is a defining factor, but really, if you’re not lost in what Kandodo McBain are doing at this point, heavy psych might not be your thing. The penultimate slab oozes into and through a wash of noise and those same sirens — only slower — lead into the more foreboding-sounding drone that starts “Deep Blue Pelagic Haze.” It’s interesting to note that in changing the titles between the 45RPM and the 33RPM versions, Kandodo McBain emphasize an idea of “more.” Granted the tracks are longer inherently, as noted, but it goes further than that as well in there being an increased expressiveness that comes through. One can hear it in the sweet guitar figures of “Deep Blue Pelagic Haze,” which bring the entire project full circle in the otherworldly but memorable vibe they create, as well as in Maskell‘s hi-hat — even that becomes part of the overarching wash. A long trail into the titular haze and a likewise long fadeout follow, capping Lost Chants/Last Chance with the sense of having journeyed to another plane, arrived there, and departed again for someplace yet to be discovered. It is a trance that lasts even after the actual audio stops, and so seems fair to call genuinely affecting.
One of the aspects that most stands out about Lost Chants/Last Chance when viewed from some measure of distance, is that if Kandodo McBain had chosen to release either of the 45RPM or 33RPM versions of these tracks on their own, one would hardly be able to sort out which were the originals. That is, if one heard the “Megladon’t Ever” without having heard “Megladon’t” before it, the likelihood of their going, “This sounds like the slowed-down version of another track” is just about nil. Both listening experiences are believable, and each creates its own soundscape and sets its own course using the same music, and while it’s an experiment that just about everybody with a turntable has tried at one point or another in their lives, to put out a full-length album of jams that specifically promotes the change in rotation speed is admirably bold, and Kandodo McBain pull it off entirely through the scope and strength of the material itself, rather than just the novelty of the initial exercise. Cool concept, yes, but it’s the songs that make all the difference.
Posted in Whathaveyou on January 30th, 2017 by JJ Koczan
I have no problem admitting to feeling overwhelmed looking at the full lineup and individual day splits for Desertfest London 2017. I mean, seriously. Look at that poster. What a way to spend a weekend.
Likewise, I have few grand reflections to offer in light of that overwhelming feeling, except perhaps to take a step back and be massively impressed at how much this event has grown in just six incarnations. Along with Desertfest Berlin, the London edition has become an anchor not only for the UK heavy rock underground — which is well represented here as ever in Elephant Tree, Black Spiders, Stubb, Vodun, Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs, Terminal Cheesecake, Chubby Thunderous Bad Kush Masters, Mammoth Weed Wizard Bastard, and so on — but for bands from abroad as well. You’ll note the three headliners: two American, one Norwegian, and the next line down on the poster is two Swedish, one American. Desertfest London 2017’s reach feels wider than ever. Staring at the final lineup, it’s clear just how much of a big fucking deal this festival has become.
Wish I could be there to see it.
Here’s the announcement of the individual day lineups from their website:
DESERTFEST 2017 DAY SPLITS AND DAY TICKETS ARE HERE!
Finally, the Desertfest 2017 day and stage splits are here, along with individual day tickets. It’s the point of the year where you can start planning the weekend, you can imagine the sets in your head and you can curse those god damned clashes.
Last things first, let’s get straight to that insane Sunday main-stage. To celebrate The Roundhouse joining the Desertfest family, we made their debut appearance something special. Not only will stoner doom icons Sleep be topping the bill, but the Roundhouse hosts a full bill of huge acts. Candlemass, with over three decades of underground acclaim to their name, bring the epic doom metal. USA’s Wolves in the Throne Room bring the atmospheric black metal. Traditional doom metal stalwarts Saint Vitus bring the classic riffs. And how about this for a ‘curtain jerker’? Bongzilla bring the raw weed metal for their second show of the weekend; more on the first later.
It’s not just about the Sunday though. Friday’s stage at the Electric Ballroom is headlined by returning heroes Slo Burn whose short run in the mid 90s furthered the then fledgling stoner rock scene. One band they surely had an impact on is Lowrider, who play Europe’s finest stoner rock alongside them. Ukraine’s Stoned Jesus celebrate their resonant album Seven Thunders Roar, and 1000Mods and Pontiak round up the main stage on the Friday.
The Electric Ballroom on Saturday will be swarming with Turbojugends as death-punk grandmasters Turbonegro turn Camden into party central. John Garcia sticks around for a solo show, sure to feature classics from his years of nonstop mastery in the stoner rock scene. Sheffield’s rock and roll five piece Black Spiders visit London for one last time on their farewell tour, with Satan’s Satyrs and Avon rounding up the main stage.
As ever though, it doesn’t stop at the main stages. Our regular partners have delivered three stages with diverse lineups. Human_Disease_Promo and When Planets Collide take over The Underworld on Saturday in a bill headlined by Bongzilla with a special set celebrating the band’s early work. The Quietus stage is led by synth wavers Zombi, and Nightshift Promotions bring an eclectic mix led by Hungary’s Apey & the Pea. To be honest, just stick a pin in the lineup poster and you’re guaranteed a good time.
For those who can’t make the full weekend, we have a limited number of individual day tickets. Priced at £40 for Friday tickets, £40 for Saturday tickets and £45 for Sunday tickets, links are below.
So there we have it. Our final lineup for Desertfest 2017. We hope you’re as excited as we are to get back to Camden this April and riff London to the ground.
DESERTFEST LONDON 2017 Final Lineup: SLEEP SLO BURN TURBONEGRO CANDLEMASS WOLVES IN THE THRONE ROOM SAINT VITUS JOHN GARCIA BAND BONGZILLA LOWRIDER SCISSORFIGHT BLACK SPIDERS SAMSARA BLUES EXPERIMENT THE PICTUREBOOKS STONED JESUS SATAN’S SATYRS INTER ARMA WEAR YOUR WOUNDS 1000MODS STEAK AVON DEATH ALLEY DEAD LORD BOSS KELOID PONTIAK YURI GAGARIN HARK VODUN CHRON GOBLIN PIGS PIGS PIGS PIGS PIGS PIGS PIGS THE WELL MAMMOTH STORM CELESTE STUBB MONOLITHIAN WUCAN VENOMOUS MAXIMUS BRUME APEY & THE PEA ELEPHANT TREE GRAVE LINES IRON WITCH EARTH SHIP BACKWOODS PAYBACK WIZARD FIGHT BRULE CLOSET DISCO QUEEN GRAND MAMMOTH CHUBBY THUNDEROUS BAD KUSH MASTERS MAMMOTH WEED WIZARD BASTARD SAMAVAYO WELCOME BACK DELTA DEAD LETTUCE MONSTERTONE LEDFOOT ZOMBI TERMINAL CHEESECAKE KHÜNNT BASK BRUXA MARIA
Later this year, UK heavy overlords Orange Goblin will celebrate 20 years since the release of their first album, Frequencies from Planet Ten. The nine-track outing surfaced via Rise Above Records in fall ’97, following their split 7″ the year before on the same label issued under their original moniker, Our Haunted Kingdom. It was the beginning of what’s become one of heavy rock’s most storied journeys, and while there have seemed to be times when the London outfit have been doing nothing except waiting for the world to catch up to them — say, the five years between 2007’s Healing Through Fire and 2012’s A Eulogy for the Damned (review here) — they’ve never compromised either their assault or their creative will, and both got their beginning in these nine tracks. It was also a different time. Probably fair to call Frequencies from Planet Ten “stoner rock” for the Sabbathian loyalism it shows in the shuffle of “Saruman’s Wish” or the trippy Monster Magnetism that crops up in opener “The Astral Project,” but already in those cuts, in “Aquatic Fanatic,” “Land of Secret Dreams” and the eponymous “Orange Goblin,” one can hear the roots of the gruff, harder-driving path Orange Goblin would stomp as their sound took shape across their subsequent two full-lengths, 1998’s Time Travelling Blues (discussed here) and 2000’s The Big Black (discussed here), the then-five-piece making an unholy trinity of their first three albums the influence of which continues to reverberate today, especially in London’s fertile heavy rock underground.
Safe to say no one knew that was going to happen 20 years ago, but in addition to being relatively early adopters of a classically heavy sound in the late ’90s and a blueprint others would follow, Orange Goblin showed immediate distinction in their songwriting on Frequencies from Planet Ten. It’s not a perfect album and I don’t think it was meant to be — remember, this was the era of wider-adopted use of ProTools and other digital recording methods, so they were perhaps reacting to that in going for a live sound — but its rawness is only an asset in the forward thrust of “Magic Carpet” or “Aquatic Fanatic,” and vocalist Ben Ward, guitarists Joe Hoare and Pete O’Malley, bassist Martyn Millard and drummer Chris Turner (as well as Duncan Gibbs on keys) cleverly played psychedelics off their more straightforward material, both within in and between songs, so that as “The Astral Project” opened and set a spacious tone, “Magic Carpet” would soon answer by hitting the ground running with a wah-bass and drum boogie that turned into a post-Kyuss push that few making the rounds at the time could match in its tone or execution. Likewise, “Orange Goblin” and closer “Star Shaped Cloud” seemed to reinforce the structure, working at a middle-paced nod and a trippy build, respectively, to round out Frequencies from Planet Ten with an emphasis that while the two weren’t by any means mutually exclusive within their sound, a given track didn’t necessarily need to be aggressive in the metallic sense to be vigorously, righteously heavy.
Of course, over the subsequent two decades, Orange Goblin would become known for plenty of ferocity on their own level. From 2002’s Coup de Grace through 2004’s Thieving from the House of God, the aforementioned Healing Through Fire and A Eulogy for the Damned, as well as their latest outing, 2014’s Back from the Abyss (review here), they’d continue to refine, sharpen and tighten their approach to a point of impact that, by three years ago at least, was positively Motörhead-esque. And while that may have been a long, long way from where Frequencies from Planet Ten saw them start out, they were no less Orange Goblin than they’d ever been (unless you count the actual numbers of their mid-aughts change from a five- to a four-piece with the departure of O’Malley). While they’ve offered many, the most resonant lesson of Orange Goblin‘s tenure — which is hardly over; I’ve heard word of a new album this year on Spinefarm and they continue to tour — has proven to be that when you believe in what you’re doing and if you’re willing to stay true to that in the face of external trend, market, whatever, and if you’re right, you can make yourself a leader. They’ve certainly done that, and looking back on it nearly 20 years later, Frequencies from Planet Ten still kicks ass with what’s become Orange Goblin‘s signature footprint.
As always, I hope you enjoy.
I needed something of a pick-me-up this week, as it’s been a tough one at work. Add to that the fact that Tuesday night I woke up around 1:30AM and never got back to sleep, so went into Wednesday with about four hours of extra-unfortunate consciousness, and yeah, it was even harder. Stressful. Corporate living.
But the whole of today was awesome, so it seemed only fair to close out the week in that fashion as well. I hope yours was good. I’ve got family coming north this weekend — my mother and nephew — and am looking forward to that as well as to a couple hours of relaxed coffee sipping and writing in the mornings. It’ll be a good time. I’m exhausted, but not nearly so miserable as I was, say, Wednesday afternoon circa 2PM. Easy low point of the year so far, if you’re keeping track.
Next week is pretty full already, which I’ll take. I’ve slated reviews for the next however long, and some of it might get interrupted as premieres come in (that happened today, actually, with the John Garcia), but here’s how it looks at the moment:
MON: Eternal Elysium review & Basalt video premiere.
TUE: Electric Funeral Cafe Vol. 3 comp review & Hornss video premiere.
WED: Vinnum Sabbathi review.
THU: Aathma album stream/review.
FRI: Either a Buddha Sentenza review or a new podcast.
I’ve set Monday, Jan. 23 as the date for launch of my 2017 most anticipated albums list, but that might change as the list has over 100 bands at this point — I will not be writing them all out like last year; nobody read it, nobody cared and the post almost collapsed under its own weight — and has become a beast to organize. Some selection of 35-40 picks will be written out, the rest broken up either by how likely they are to show up or some other standard. I’ll sort it all this coming week, hopefully. Definitely by the end of the month.
Anyway. Thanks for reading this week and I wish you the kind of great, safe and recuperative weekend that I’m hoping to have. Please check out the forum and the radio stream.
Posted in Whathaveyou on January 11th, 2017 by JJ Koczan
Hardly a better time to hear about an impending sophomore full-length from UK trio Coltsblood than these cold winter hours. The bleak doom extremists will issue their second long-player, Ascending into the Shimmering Darkness, sometime in the next couple months via Candlelight/Spinefarm as the follow-up to their similarly-titled 2014 debut, Into the Unfathomable Abyss (review here), and early next month, they head out with London’s Bast on an eight-day UK tour to herald its arrival. Bast offered up their Spectres album through Burning World/Black Bow Records in 2013 and also seem likely to have new material en route sooner than later.
Info from the PR wire:
Hailing from the North of England, COLTSBLOOD prepare to release their second full length ‘Ascending Into Shimmering Darkness’ this winter via Candlelight Records/Spinefarm Records. Following 2014’s highly acclaimed album ‘Into The Unfathomable Abyss’, COLTSBLOOD toured throughout the UK, Ireland and Europe, appearing at Roadburn Festival, North Of The Wall Festival and Doom Over London, gaining a reputation as crushing, devastating, other-worldly, bleak and horrific. COLTSBLOOD now return to many parts of the UK for the first time in over a year to celebrate the release of their new album and immerse the UK in darkness once again!
Formed in South London, 2008, BAST is a trio specialising in an unhealthy blend of Black Metal and Doom, with a flair for experimentation and emphasis on storytelling. Following the release of their debut full-length ‘Spectres’ in 2014 (Burning World/Black Bow Records), and numerous tours across the continent with the likes of Pallbearer and Conan, the band is currently crafting the second part of their journey, exploring the depths of humanity in the far reaches of a cosmic nightmare.