Brant Bjork, Groundhogs, Child, Yawning Man and More Playing Black Deer Festival in London

Posted in Whathaveyou on February 19th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

black deer desertscene banner

Desertscene in London — the same good people who put together Desertfest there and have worked to bring it to New York as well — have paired up with the country/Americana/blues Black Deer Festival to present a stage called The Roadhouse that’ll have custom motorcycles hanging around, camping and a lineup that’s pretty kickass front to back. It’s not exactly like they’re sneaking into the bill, but you’ve got Yawning ManAsteroidBrant Bjork and Groundhogs and King Buffalo and Radio Moscow and Duel and Steak and Child and so on bringing their wares to Edridge Park in Kent and it seems to me you could do a hell of a lot worse than kind of having a mini-Desertfest built into another festival. That’s how you reach a broader audience, by playing for people who maybe haven’t already heard you. Seems likely a few heads will be turned across the three-day event.

The PR wire has info:

black deer fest poster

BLACK DEER FESTIVAL REVEAL MORE NAMES FOR 2019

Another round of carefully curated names have been added to the Black Deer Festival lineup today, making for an impressive second year for the award-winning new event. The three-day celebration of Americana and Country, set in the beautiful Eridge Park in Kent, presents a unique experience combining music, food and Americana culture that can’t be found anywhere else in the UK.

Brant Bjork, the member of two of the most influential 90’s stoner rock bands Kyuss and Fu Manchu, whose desert rock and roots style will resonate from The Roadhouse stage in June. Brant Bjork joins the all American heavy blues contingent of previously announced Left Lane Cruiser, Radio Moscow and The Roadhouse ‘house band’ Steak – all curated by Desertscene for Black Deer.

Completing today’s line up is British blues rock band Groundhogs, who are best known for their 70’s single Cherry Red – a name adopted by one of Britain’s longest standing independent record labels – as well as heavy psych-blues trio King Buffalo, Australian blues-rockers Child, 60’s psychedelic songwriter Roxanne De Bastion, California’s experimental rockers Yawning Man, Country preacher Paul Cauthen, larger than life boatman and bluesman Sonic Gypsy and Hertfordshire’s rock band Redwood.

ARTISTS ANNOUNCED TO DATE (A-Z)
Asteroid, Band of Horses, Brant Bjork, Chance McCoy, Child, Daniel Antopolsky, Duel, Fantastic Negrito, Ferris & Sylvester, Gordie MacKeeman and His Rhythm Boys, Groundhogs, Hayseed Dixie, Irish Mythen, Jerron Blind Boy Paxton, John Butler Trio, John Smith, Justin Townes Earle, King Buffalo, Kris Kristofferson & The Strangers, Larkin Poe, Left Lane Cruiser, Lucero, Martin Harley, Morganway, Mountains, Neko Case, Paul Cauthen, Radio Moscow, Redwood, Roxanne De Bastion, Ryan Bingham, Sonic Gypsy, Steak, Stubb, The Black Wizards, The Dead South, The Marcus King Band, The Mavericks, The Sheepdogs, The Staves, The Vintage Caravan, The Wandering Hearts, The Trials of Cato, William Crighton, Worry Dolls, Yawning Man.

TICKET INFORMATION
Tier 1 tickets on sale now and are available from https://blackdeerfestival.com/tickets/
Ticket prices from £105 – subject to booking fees.

Tier 2 tickets will be on sale from 26th February.

https://www.facebook.com/events/342379713221524/
https://facebook.com/blackdeerfest
https://www.instagram.com/blackdeerfest/
https://blackdeerfestival.com/tickets/

King Buffalo, “Longing to be the Mountain” live in Philadelphia, Nov. 3, 2018

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Friday Full-Length: Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats, Blood Lust

Posted in Bootleg Theater on February 15th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats, Blood Lust (2011)

Starting later this year, you’re going to start to see a bunch of best-albums-of-the-decade lists. Any such list of heavy records that doesn’t include Uncle Acid and the DeadbeatsBlood Lust is doing it wrong. Released in 2011 through Killer Candy Records as the UK band’s second full-length (also discussed here), it was soon picked up by Rise Above Records for a wider vinyl and CD pressing, and garage doom was born. I’m not sure another single album has come out between 2010 and 2019 that has had as much of an influence on underground heavy rock — maybe Graveyard‘s Hisingen Blues in 2011, but even that’s debatable. In its raw guitar fuzz, eerie melodies, early mystique and outright perfect presentation, Blood Lust was every bit the proverbial right album at the right time. Any given week, it’s a safe bet that even going on eight years later, I’m going to hear some band come along who’ve copped the riff to “I’ll Cut You Down.”

And reasonably so. With the formative Vol. 1 (reissue review here) behind them in 2010, Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats unleashed a collection of tracks on Blood Lust that were not only aesthetically innovative, but impeccable in their construction. Even as they conveyed a sense of horror and VHS-style tonal grit, they did so over a classic heavy rock strut and swing on cuts like the aforementioned opener as well as “Death’s Door,” the shuffling side B opener “I’m Here to Kill You” and “13 Candles” that seemed to tempt you to snap along. With the short, quiet introduction of droning noise and a channel-flipping television — note the analog static scratch between channels; clearly it’s an old television — Blood Lust set its malevolent atmosphere early and only grew more evil in its purposes, lyrics shifting from stalking and murder to witches, cult ritualism and Satanic fervor. It was a record that most people would find angry, upsetting, and unpalatable, and that’s exactly what it was intended to be. A dogwhistle to an audience who didn’t know it was waiting for it, dressed in purple as an amalgam of style and substance up to that point that was largely unheard.

Looking back, there are moments throughout that run into the politically problematic. “I’ll Cut You Down” is direct in its glorification of violence against women, and in that context, “Death’s Door” and “Ritual Knife” seem to followuncle acid and the deadbeats blood lust suit. Uncle Acid have gotten a pass from a lot of accusations of misogyny because so much of what they do is storytelling and style-based, pulling from the influence of cult horror cinema and all that, but do I really need to say even pretending to kill ladies isn’t really cool? That’s something that their more recent work on last year’s Wasteland (review here) seemed to subtly pull away from, and fair enough for the change of political moment between 2011 and 2018 as issues of discrimination, violence against women and sexual violence became more a part of the international cultural conversation than they were when Blood Lust came out. Their third album, 2013’s Mind Control (review here), was more themed around cults and the inherent violence of thought as well as deed, but even 2015’s The Night Creeper (review here) seemed to return to its knife-wielding foundation even as it stripped away the grandiose production of its predecessor in favor of a rawer, nastier sound.

The overarching quality of Blood Lust, though, remains largely undeniable, and so does its impact. “I’ll Cut You Down,” “Death’s Door,” “13 Candles,” and closer “Withered Hand of Evil” are nothing short of landmarks, and even in “Curse in the Trees,” on which frontman and band mastermind Kevin R. Starrs donned the point of view of a witch being persecuted and burned alive, there was a nuance of their approach that begged the listener’s attention. At the time, roughly nothing was known about the band. There was no fanfare to the release of Blood Lust. It was simply out there one day — not that I’m any arbiter of what’s hip or anything, but for what it’s worth, I totally missed it — and its impact moved fast. It wasn’t really until Rise Above had it out on CD in 2012 as part of its then-allegiance with Metal Blade Records that the groundswell took hold, but even before that, there was significant word-of-mouth momentum behind it. And at that point, Uncle Acid hadn’t even played a show. They’ve hardly looked back since, but they didn’t start playing live until 2013.

Part of that, of course, was maintaining the mystery around the band. As mobile-based social media was allowing fans unfettered and direct access to artists — something taken for granted less than a decade later — Uncle Acid were minimal participants at best. They had a website that was a single page, then they had some shirts on it. They had a Facebook page with roughly no info. Their names weren’t known. Where they were from wasn’t really known, and most importantly, it wasn’t really known how they got that sound. The creepy, eerie vocals on “Withered Hand of Evil” or “I’m Here to Kill You” or the acoustic bonus track “Down to the Fire.” That wavering melodic sensibility on “I’ll Cut You Down.” It was all so new at the time, and Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats had managed to pull off manifesting this previously untapped niche while basically letting no one know who they were or what they were doing. Listeners didn’t even know how many people were singing on any given track, and because the sound was so fresh and so interesting, the demand for it became a whirlwind.

I don’t know if I’ll do a list of the decade’s best albums. I might put up a poll. But there’s no question that Blood Lust, even with its high body count, is destined for consideration as a classic heavy rock album, and of course Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats have gone on to become one of their generation’s most pivotal acts, crossing over to a wider appeal in audience while maintaining the identity of sound that even going back to Vol. 1 was theirs and theirs alone, and which Blood Lust saw them perfect. They’re on tour in North America this March with Graveyard, as it happens. We should probably all go. I’ll drive.

As always, I hope you enjoy.

It’s Friday, right? Made it? That’s good.

Okay.

Tomorrow night I’m going to go see C.O.C., Crowbar, The Obsessed and Mothership in Boston. I’m doing that. It’s happening. Monday I’ll have the review up. It’ll be good. I’m going alone because no friends but still, it’ll be good.

I’ve also got a butt-ton of writing to do this weekend, including two bios, stuff for the Roadburn ‘zine and posts for next week to get ready, so I expect to be completely out of my mind for the next two days more than usual. I started feeling overwhelmed on Wednesday for this coming weekend. Something about that just kind of feels like I’m living wrong. Whatever.

The notes are packed, so here’s what I’ve got so far:

MON 02/18 COC LIVE REVIEW; GIMME RADIO WRAP
TUE 02/19 THE MUNSENS REVIEW/SAVER PREMIERE/REVIEW
WED 02/20 BEES MADE HONEY IN THE VEIN TREE PREMIERE/REVIEW
THU 02/21 THE RIVEN VIDEO PREMIERE
FRI 02/22 CANDLEMASS REVIEW; CURSED TONGUE SIGNING ANNOUNCE

It’s almost 6:30 — I slept until 5AM, miracle of miracles — and the baby is just starting to stir, so I better go grab him out of his hexagonal not-crib and start the day proper. Before I go:

This weekend is a new episode of ‘The Obelisk Show’ on Gimme Radio. I still need to cut the voice breaks for it. I’ll try my best to make them not suck. It airs Sunday at 7PM Eastern at http://gimmeradio.com.

Also, please buy shirts: http://dropoutmerch.com/the-obelisk.

Your support is appreciated.

Please have a great and safe weekend, and while I’m making demands on your time, please check out the forum and radio stream.

The Obelisk Forum

The Obelisk Radio

The Obelisk shirts & hoodies

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Desertfest London 2019 Adds 29 Bands to Complete Lineup; Madness Ensues

Posted in Whathaveyou on February 5th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

What am I even supposed to say here other than ‘yes please?’ As Desertfest London 2019 rounds out its lineup and once again demonstrates its willful growth year after year, I’ll tell you this: there are a lot of bands listed below, and a lot of good bands. And if you’re reading this and you’re in London or you’re fortunate enough that you’re going to be in London for this festival, I know you’re hip to where it’s at. I get that. But seriously, if you don’t know, there re a few really must-see bands here, and it’s not all Amenra headlining. That’s great, and I’m sure it’ll be super-intense and very cool and all that.

But I’m telling you: don’t sleep on seeing High Priestess, BlackWater HolyLight, Worshipper, Salem’s Bend, Skraeckoedlan and Great Electric Quest. Some of those names are kind of buried near the bottom of this announcement, but really, you’d only be doing yourself a favor if you caught them. Let’s put Zed in that category too, and when they’re done, tell them I said hi. You probably already know all this, but I just wanted to highlight the point, since there’s a lot here and it’s easy to get overwhelmed. I get that too.

Kudos to the Desertscene team for focusing on what matters — the music — even amid pulling double-duty in putting together the first-ever Desertfest NYC, the lineup for which is still in progress. This fest looks amazing and I wish I could say I was going. Quite simply, it’s been too long.

Here’s the announcement:

desertfest london 2019 final announcement

Amenra to headline Saturday at DESERTFEST LONDON 2019 + day tickets and 28 more bands announced!

Showcasing the best of what the underground has to offer is at the core of DESERTFEST LONDON and this year’s line-up is the most eclectic, yet satisfying to date by ticking those “wish-list old school desert rock” boxes with Fu Manchu and Witch at The Roundhouse, whilst pushing the boundaries of heavy with the likes of HHY & The Macumbas and Grave Miasma. Year after year it’s about offering up a diverse bill that allows for discovery, whilst celebrating the musical foundations of the festival, and the final Saturday headliner and remaining 28 acts do just that.

DESERTFEST LONDON /// 3-5th May, 2019 in London
Weekend and day tickets on sale at this location

Desertfest are honoured to reveal that the incomparable AMENRA will celebrate their 20-year anniversary across the London weekend this May, bringing their uniquely atmospheric sound as headliners of Saturday’s mainstage and, for the first time in the UK, an even more intimate side of the band takes place at The Underworld on Sunday with solo performances from CHVE & SYNDROME. We would be proud to have Amenra headline Desertfest on any year, but to have them on the year they celebrate their 20th anniversary makes it all the more special for us and also the band themselves.

Desertfest are also pleased to announce a stage takeover from the mighty Riding Easy Records, the righteous west coast label will not only bring the sun (we hope) but a hefty dose of fuzzed out riffs from their roster. Headlined by rock’n’rollers ELECTRIC CITIZEN who refuse to be pigeonholed with a 70s proto-metal sound that chimes into psychedelic realms. Street-doom killers R.I.P will hit the UK for the first time and vocalist Fuzz is ready to bring it hard and loud. Completing the stage showcase are 80s punk heavy metal hybrids ZIG ZAGS, hazy Swedish doom newcomers ALASTOR and the low and slow psych goth-rock sounds of BLACKWATER HOLYLIGHT.

If that wasn’t enough Desertfest also adds thunderous space-rock psychedelic masters MONKEY3 to upcoming proceedings, the unforgiving primitive metal sounds of THE SECRET and LA party starters THE SHRINE, who haven’t graced DF with their amped up stoner-skate vibes for well over 5 years.

We also welcome back our long-time partners Human Disease Promo/When Planets Collide for another takeover of The Underworld on Saturday. Topping the bill, the riff muscle of Savannah, Georgia is brought back to The Underworld by the mighty bruisers BLACK TUSK. Dropping in straight underneath we’re living the doom dream of olde with Chicago legends in THE SKULL. Glasgow gives us two offerings this year in the form of explosive riff n roll filth-party heads ACID CANNIBALS, and to lower the tone whilst severely twisting some melons we also welcome their fellow city dwellers HEADLESS KROSS. As ever we chose to open up with a cataclysmic attack, hence why we’ve invited Brighton’s bleak hardcore oblivionists KALLOUSED to set the day into fittingly venomous motion. Bring your ear plugs, it’s gonna be a floor shaker!

And finally, Desertfest round off with the brilliant SKRAECKOEDLAN, BLANKET, SALEMS BEND, SURYA, HIGH PRIESTESS, ZED, KUROKUMA, GREAT ELECTRIC QUEST, PSYCHLONA, VIDEO NASTIES, ONE FOR SORROW, WORSHIPPER, MOUNTAIN CALLER & 1968 all added to the monumental 2019 line-up.

DESERTFEST LONDON /// 3-5th May, 2019 in London
All tickets on sale at this location

http://www.desertfest.co.uk/
https://www.facebook.com/DesertfestLondon
https://www.instagram.com/desertfest_london/
https://twitter.com/DesertFest

BlackWater HolyLight, BlackWater HolyLight (2018)

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Review & Track Premiere: Green Lung, Woodland Rites

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on January 28th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

green lung woodland rites

[Click play above to stream ‘Let the Devil In’ from Green Lung’s Woodland Rites. Album is out March 20 on Kozmik Artifactz.]

London’s Green Lung announced themselves with the 2017 single, Green Man Rising (review here), and have worked quickly since to distinguish their sound from the bulk of the UK’s nigh-on-saturated heavy underground. Through last year’s Free the Witch EP (review here) and now their Kozmik Artifactz-issued debut full-length, Woodland Rites, the five-piece unit have worked efficiently to develop a stylistic take drawing from classic rock and metal as well as nature-worshiping Britfolk, garage doom, goth rock, solo-era Ozzy, as well as contemporary countrymen standouts like Alunah, Elephant Tree and even Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats, the latter of whose influence can be heard in the creative vocal arrangements of frontman Tom Templar.

With a steady stream of organ lines from John Wright alongside Scott Masson‘s guitar, Andrew Cave‘s bass and Matt Wiseman‘s drumming, Green Lung offer righteousness of performance and put songwriting first throughout and draw thematically from pagan-style horror films in the lyrical play between sex, nature and evil, but manage to avoid a trap of misogyny that most of those films didn’t, and as the opening salvo of “Woodland Rites” and “Let the Devil In” gets underway in picking up from the intro “Initiation” — the beginning quiet guitar of which proves crucial in setting the atmosphere for what follows — the point of view of the lyrics remains more about ritual than discrimination. The choruses of songs like “The Ritual Tree” and “Call of the Coven” and even closer “Into the Wild” are catchy, and not unfortunately so for what they’re actually saying. Even the willfully sleazy nunsploitation hook of “Let the Devin In” — “Sister, you’ve been told that making love’s a sin/Open up your heart and let the devil in” — manages to capture the spirit of the grainy cinema from which it derives and periodically samples audio while leaving behind a dated objectification. This is but one element working to the advantage of an early contender to stand among 2019’s best debut albums.

And at no point throughout Woodland Rites‘ witch-rocking eight-song/42-minute run is craft sacrificed to theme one way or the other. Masson offers several solos that are marked accomplishments in and of themselves, including that in the apex of the penultimate “May Queen,” which is well plotted and complemented by Cave‘s bass and Wright‘s work on keys, but even beyond those performances or that of Templar across the earlier cuts or closer “Into the Wild,” there’s an overarching thoughtfulness to the LP’s construction that speaks to a specific intent on the part of the band. Its tracks break cleanly into two four-song sides, but more than that, each side has a progression of its own and a function that makes the entire album stronger while clean and clear in its own mission.

green lung (Photo by Sally Patti)

Each works its way toward its longest song in “The Ritual Tree” (6:49) and “Into the Wild” (6:51), respectively, and while this is nothing new, tapping into classic elements of sound and structure is part of the point stylistically. In addition, the movement from “Initiation,” which comes across an awful lot like something that might be played to introduce the band live, directly into the “Oh lord yeah!” that starts the title-track and through “Let the Devil In” to the end of side A with “The Ritual Tree” is not only fluid, but based around a quality of memorability in the material that conveys a sense of mood and ambience without giving up its direct impact. Wiseman‘s crash in “The Ritual Tree” is no less a standout than the melody that accompanies, and as the organ fills out that melody, Templar sounds smooth and comfortable over the rolling progression in a way that for many vocalists would prove awkward.

Going by a classic side A/B dynamic, the first half of Woodland Rites would be the place where the up front is upfront, and the second where they then branch out and expand their overall reach. The whole record is a multifaceted showcase of progression, but indeed, Green Lung follow the pattern and shift in side B from “Templar Dawn” and the Sabbath-swinging “Call of the Coven” to the mellowing out that happens in the first stretch of “May Queen,” which flows easily into its swell of volume before it hits its midsection, only to recede in the second half for another verse and rise again as it rounds out. This is a marked change of structure from what’s come before, and it signals not only the intended growth on the part of the band and their bringing that to bear, but their ability to work in multiple songwriting contexts and still maintain their sense of composition. Further, “May Queen” feeds directly into the initial riff of “Into the Wild,” which is tasked with summarizing the proceedings and lives up to that ably while pushing further and highlighting the promise so present in what Green Lung are doing. Another excellent guitar lead begins to draw the closer down, and “Into the Wild” ends somewhat suddenly but with a considerable impression that the band know that and are doing it on purpose.

The message there, and indeed of the album as a whole, would seem to be that Green Lung aren’t actually finished — which is fortunate. As quickly as they’ve cohered their take on heavy and found a recording partner in Wayne Adams of Bear Bites Horse Studios — who also helmed the EP — to bring their vision forward, I wouldn’t predict where they might go in terms of following-up their debut, but Woodland Rites is a significant opening statement for them to make, and if they have it in them to do the gritty work of honing their approach, could be well en route to a marked individualism that, in complement to their songwriting, is the stuff of something truly special. But as much as it’s an exciting showcase of what could be, and as much fun as it is to think of what Green Lung might go on to accomplish, it’s worth recognizing that wouldn’t be the case were Woodland Rites not as strong and as complete an offering as it is.

Green Lung on Thee Facebooks

Green Lung on Instagram

Green Lung website

Green Lung on Bandcamp

Kozmik Artifactz website

Kozmik Artifactz on Thee Facebooks

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Green Lung Announce March 20 Release for Woodland Rites

Posted in Whathaveyou on January 22nd, 2019 by JJ Koczan

green lung (Photo by Sally Patti)

I love speculating about upcoming albums, and after a couple encouraging short releases from London’s Green Lung — 2018’s Free the Witch EP (review here), and the 2017 single, Green Man Rising (review here) — their debut holds marked promise as one of the most anticipated of the year, at least as far as I’m concerned. The five-piece outfit who blend aspects of doom, goth, heavy rock and a bit of the ol’ forest-worship, will issue Woodland Rites as their first offering through Kozmik Artifactz on March 20, have tour dates forthcoming and are set to play HRH Doom Vs. Stoner as part of a oh-hell-yes lineup this September. Killer to see an up and coming band doing good things. I can’t wait to hear the record.

Details from the PR wire:

green lung woodland rites

GREEN LUNG announce debut album, Woodland Rites

South London-based heavy rock quintet GREEN LUNG have today announced details of their debut album. Woodland Rites will be released on heavyweight vinyl, CD, cassette and digital editions on March 20, the Spring Equinox. The band captured the attention of the international underground in 2018 with the release of their much acclaimed EP Free the Witch, and spent the year sharing stages with the likes of Conan, Conjurer and Primitive Man before signing to cult Berlin-based label Kozmik Artifactz.

With the addition of new member John Wright on organ, the band have also expanded their horizons musically, voyaging beyond the doomy psych of the EP to explore a spectrum of heavy music. On Let the Devil In they conjure up a blasphemous, arena-baiting hard rock single, while on Templar Dawn they veer into the cavernous (free)masonry of traditional doom metal. The psyched-out, prog-inflected The Ritual Tree attempts to answer the mystery of ‘Who put Bella in the Wych Elm?’, while May Queen is an ergot-tinged ballad of failing harvests and human sacrifice. The overall, irresistible impression is of a young band summoning up the eccentric English spectres of 70s proto-metal, early 80s NWOBHM and 90s stoner rock and dragging those sounds kicking and screaming into the 21st Century.

Singer Tom Templar said, ‘With the response to Free the Witch, the introduction of a new member and the chance to write a full LP we’ve been spurred on to take our sound to the next level – so expect a pro-witch party album of diabolical riffs, harmonized solos, inescapable hooks and lyrics inspired by folk horror films like The Wicker Man and Blood on Satan’s Claw. We hope Woodland Rites will become the soundtrack to many a debauched backwoods sabbath in 2019.’

Woodland Rites was recorded and mixed by Wayne Adams (Vodun, Ghold) who reprised his Free The Witch duties at Bear Bites Horse Studios. Mastering was undertaken by Brad Boatright at Audiosiege. Woodland Rites will be packaged in hallucinatory artwork by renowned woodcut artist, Richard Wells (The Wicker Man, Doctor Who) on vinyl and CD, with the cassette cover featuring photography by Courtney Brooke.

GREEN LUNG will be touring the UK and EU with labelmates Deathbell in May, with confirmed shows in Paris, London, Liege and Cologne; more information will be available in due course. The band will also appear at HRH Doom vs Stoner alongside Monolord, Orange Goblin and Church of the Cosmic Skull on September 29.

Woodland Rites tracklist
1. Initiation
2. Woodland Rites
3. Let The Devil In
4. The Ritual Tree
5. Templar Dawn
6. Call of The Coven
7. May Queen
8. Into The Wild

GREEN LUNG is:
Tom Templar – Vocals
Scott Masson – Guitar
Andrew Cave – Bass
Matt Wiseman – Drums
John Wright – Organ

Woodland Rites by GREEN LUNG will be released on March 20, 2019. Pre-order information will follow.

https://www.facebook.com/greenlungband
https://www.instagram.com/greenlungband/
http://www.greenlung.co.uk/
https://greenlung.bandcamp.com/
http://kozmik-artifactz.com/
https://www.facebook.com/kozmikartifactz

Green Lung, Free the Witch (2018)

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Elder Druid Announce Tour with Chubby Thunderous Bad Kush Masters

Posted in Whathaveyou on January 10th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

elder druid

chubby thunderous bad kush masters (photo by Rishi Rai Photography)

Yes, it’s only four days, but I mean, look at that poster. Just look at it. How on earth was I not going to embrace the radness of that poster? And as Northern Ireland’s Elder Druid and England’s Chubby Thunderous Bad Kush Masters head out on their second tour together given the much-less-cumbersome designation of ‘Elder Kush 2,’ they’ll meet up with Lacertilia on March 29 for what’s been dubbed a “Fuck Brexit Party.” I don’t care if you’re all for dissolving the European Union and descending back into nationalist tribalism, you have to at least appreciate the fact that they made it a party.

The March 30 date is also of particular note, as it will be an appearance for both bands at Riffolution Festival 2019 alongside Elephant Tree, Belzebong and others you can see below. Speaking of parties, I’d say that just about qualifies.

And for good measure, the run ends March 31 at The Black Heart in London, which remains a great place to see a show, even if they don’t let babies in the downstairs bar. Nobody’s perfect, but a night at The Black Heart remains damn near a guaranteed good time in my experience.

So, off you go:

elder druid chubby thunderous tour

ELDER KUSH 2 TOUR

Stoked to announce that we’re heading across the water again to do a second tour with London’s tie-dye fuzz goblins Chubby Thunderous Bad Kush Masters across England & Wales.
28/03: Arches Venue Coventry | Coventry
29/03: The Moon Cardiff | Cardiff w/ Lacertilia
30/03: Rebellion Manchester | Manchester
31/03: The Black Heart | London

Event pages in the comments!

Got some killer company including Lacertilia in Cardiff, GNOB in London and the likes of BelzebonG, Elephant Tree, The Necromancers & Tuskar in Manchester for Riffolution Festival 2019.

Poster: Subliminal Vision

https://www.facebook.com/elderdruidband
https://elderdruid.bandcamp.com/releases
http://www.instagram.com/elderdruidband

http://facebook.com/chubbythunderousbadkushmasters
https://chubbythunderousbadkushmasters.bandcamp.com/
https://www.instagram.com/ChubbyThunderousBadKushMasters

Elder Druid, Carmina Satanae (2017)

Chubby Thunderous Bad Kush Masters, Come and Chutney (2018)

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Desertfest London 2019 Adds Fu Manchu as May 5 Headliner

Posted in Whathaveyou on December 21st, 2018 by JJ Koczan

fu manchu (Photo by JJ Koczan)

So Desertfest London 2019 has a night at The Roundhouse where the lineup is Colour HazeEarthlessWitchAll Them Witches and Fu Manchu. That’s the bill front to back. The word ‘unfuckwithable’ comes quickly to mind. It’s an astonishing assemblage, as I honestly think if the festival had announced any of them as headliners, you would go, “Yeah, that makes sense.” Colour Haze headlining? Yeah, that makes sense. Earthless headlining? Yeah, that makes sense. Witch? Etc.

But it’s Fu Manchu in the top spot, and indeed, it makes sense. Not only are they the longest tenured of the five acts who’ll take the stage at The Roundhouse, but they have the distinct advantage of being Fu frickin’ Manchu, which puts them ahead of much of the planet when it comes to any number of considerations. Especially fuzz.

The PR wire brought confirmation:

desertfest london 2018 fu manchu

Desertfest London announce Fu Manchu as second headliner!

Over the past seven years of DESERTFEST LONDON, we’ve had a lot of incredible memories of otherworldly performances from many of the notable bands this humble scene has to offer. Today, we finally cross another huge name off our bucket list, as we reveal that kings of the road Fu Manchu will headline Roundhouse on the Sunday at Desertfest 2019. Not only that, but we can also reveal that joining them on May 5th’s mammoth Roundhouse Stage are the previously announced All Them Witches, Witch, Earthless and Colour Haze.

Southern California’s boogie-rocking titans were born out of the hardcore punk scene of ’85 as Virulence, but quickly switched up their super-speed, underground angst for more of a drawlin’, skateboard rampin’, hard-rockin’ vibe and so FU MANCHU was born. Throughout the next thirty years or so they’d come to be known to many as the AC/DC of the now global desert rock scene: always consistent, always on trend, always ready to rock; any time, any venue, anywhere. Recently Fu Manchu have gone through a phase of touring albums in their entirety, and from the rising asphalt of In Search Of…, to the laserblastin’ The Action Is Go and right through the true hell on wheels that is King On The Road and beyond, we’ve all got a favourite Fu Manchu moment. If not, then there’s never been a better time to get familiar with the hardest rockin’, hotdoggin’ back catalogue in history.

Fu frontman Scott Hill is clearly as excited as we are for the boogie van to roll into Camden Town: “We’re so stoked to be a part of Desertfest and to play the legendary Roundhouse in London. It’s hard to believe that we will be playing the same spot as some of our heroes like Hendrix, Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, The Clash, Ramones and Motörhead.” We couldn’t agree more.

Joining them on what we believe is our biggest Roundhouse stage yet on Sunday May 5th, are four must-see masters of the underground who have already been announced for Desertfest 2019. ALL THEM WITCHES bring an approach to the modern wave of bluesy psychedelia that is all their own, hot off the heels of their recently released and truly impeccable ATW. After releasing a few of the noughties’ most bad ass albums, WITCH return from their slumber to provide a doomed out kind of psych to the Sunday. Riffs for days are guaranteed when EARTHLESS show up; with an ultimate jam band approach which both rips and shreds, faces will melt into a gooey pile of mush. Last but not least, European underground heroes COLOUR HAZE will open up the Roundhouse with their scene defining slice of heavy psych.

We couldn’t ask for a better way to round out what we’re sure will be a killer Desertfest 2019 than this lineup at The Roundhouse. Be sure not to miss out, book your tickets today.

DESERTFEST LONDON /// 3-5th May, 2019 in London
All tickets on sale at this location

http://www.desertfest.co.uk/
https://www.facebook.com/DesertfestLondon
https://www.instagram.com/desertfest_london/
https://twitter.com/DesertFest

Fu Manchu, Live in Vancouver, BC, Nov. 11. 2018

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Quarterly Review: BongCauldron, Black Helium, Earthbong, Sir Collapse, Alms, Haaze, The Sledge, Red Lama, Full Tone Generator, Mountain Dust

Posted in Reviews on December 12th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

quarterly-review

Not to get off topic here, but it’s December, and god damn, I hate the fucking holidays. Christmas, even if you believe in the religious significance of the day, is pure garbage. I like giving presents well enough, don’t particularly enjoy receiving them, but even if you put aside the whole “oh it’s so commercial ‘now'” thing, like there was a time anyone now living ever saw when it wasn’t, it isn’t fun. The meal sucks. It’s dark. It’s cold. The songs are fucking endless and terrible — yes, all of them — and the whole experience is just a bummer the whole way through. If there was actually a war on it, I wish they’d drop the bomb and incinerate the entire thing.

Take Thanksgiving, make it start in November and end in December. A month-long festival for the season. You can even give gifts at the end, if you want. It could be like Ramadan, or, probably more likely and much on the opposite end of the spectrum, Oktoberfest.

There. Problem solved. Have a great day, everyone. Let’s do some reviews.

Quarterly Review #71-80:

BongCauldron, Tyke

BongCauldron Tyke

Biscuit, Corky and Jay of BongCauldron return less than 12 months out from their Binge LP (review here) with Tyke (on APF), three more cuts of weed-eating, dirt-worshiping, weed-worshiping, dirt-eating sludge, fueled as ever by fuckall and booze and banger riffs — and yes, I mean “banger” as in “bangers and mash.” There’s a lead that shows up in closer “Jezus Throat Horns” and some vocal melody that follows behind the throaty barks, but for the bulk of the three-tracker, it’s down to the business of conveying dense-toned disaffection and rolling nod. “Pisshead on the Moon” opens with a sample about alcohol killing you and works from its lumber into a bit of a shuffle for its midsection before hitting a wall in the last minute or so in order to make room for the punker blast of “Back up Bog Roll,” which tears ass and is gone as soon as it’s there, dropping some gang vocals on the way, because really, when you think about it, screw everything. Right? “Jezus Throat Horns” might be offering a bit of creative progression in closing out, but the heart of BongCauldron remains stained of finger and stank of breath — just the way it should be.

BongCauldron on Thee Facebooks

APF Records webstore

 

Black Helium, Primitive Fuck

black helium primitive fuck

Oh yes. Most definitely. From the Sabbath swing behind the chugging “Love the Drugs” and the march of “Wicked Witch” through the what-would-happen-if-Danzig-was-interesting “Summer Spells” and fuzzed-out post-punk shouts of “Videodrone” en route to the nine-minute “Curtains at the Mausoleum,” London four-piece Black Helium make heavy psychedelic songcraft into something as malleable as it should be on their Riot Season debut, Primitive Fuck, holding to underlying structures when it suits them and touching on drone bliss without ever really completely letting go. Opener “Drowsy Shores” is hypnotic. The aforementioned “Curtains at the Mausoleum” is hypnotic. Even the chug-meets-effects-blowout closing title-track is hypnotic, but on the handclap-laced “Do You Wanna Come Out Tonight?” or “Videodrone,” or even “Summer Spells,” there are hooks for the listener to latch onto, life-rafts floating in the swirling tonal abyss. The truth? There isn’t a primitive thing about it. They’re not so much lizard-brained as astral-planed, and if you want a summation of their sound, look no further than their name. It’ll make even more sense when you listen. Which you should do.

Black Helium on Thee Facebooks

Riot Season Records website

 

Earthbong, Demo 2018

earthbong demo 2018

The immediate association in terms of riff is going to be Sleep. “Drop Dead,” the 10-minute first of two songs on Earthbong‘s debut Demo 2018, rolls out with pure Dopesmoker-ism and follows the model of gradual unfolding of its weedian sludge riffery. No complaints. The Kiel, Germany, trio are obviously just getting their start, and since it’s a demo and not the “debut EP” that so many otherwise demos try to position themselves as, I’ll take it. And to boot, “Drop Dead” ultimately departs its Sleepy environs for altogether more abrasive fare, with Bongzilla-style screams and an increasingly aggressive shove, the drums crashing like the cymbals did something wrong, and feedback capping into the start of “Wanderer,” which is shorter at seven minutes and opens its assault earlier, the vocals no less distorted than the guitar or bass. There’s some space in a solo in the second half, but Earthbong again twist into harsh, crusty doom before letting feedback carry them out to the demo’s finish. Growing to do, but already their violence seethes.

Earthbong on Thee Facebooks

Earthbong on Bandcamp

 

Sir Collapse, Walk to the Moon

sir collapse walk to the moon

Grunge, noise rock and Queens of the Stone Age-style melody-making collide on Walk to the Moon, the debut full-length from German four-piece Sir Collapse, sometimes on disparate cuts, like the noisy intro given to the album by “Lower Principles,” and sometimes within the same song, as in the later “Like Me.” A jangly swing in “Mono Mantra” and the Nirvana-esque hook there soon gives way to the desert-hued thrust of “One Man Show” and the early ’90s fuzz of “Happy Planet Celebration,” while “The Great Escape” leads the way into some measure of evening out the approach in “Like Me,” “Too Late,” “Hey Ben” and “The Family,” unless that’s just the band acclimating the listener to their style. Fair enough either way. Sir Collapse round out with a return to the uptempo push shown earlier, giving their first LP an impressive sense of symmetry and whole-work presentation as layers of vocals intertwine with melody alternately lush and raw, sounding very much like a band who know the parameters in which they want to work going forward. So be it.

Sir Collapse on Thee Facebooks

Sir Collapse on Bandcamp

 

Alms, Act One

alms act one

Organ-soaked Baltimorean garage doomers Alms enter the conversation of 2018’s best debut albums with Act One on Shadow Kingdom, a collection rife with choice riffing, dynamic vocals and a nuanced blend of heft and drama. That a song like “The Toll” could be both as traditional sounding as it is and still modern enough to be called forward-thinking is nothing short of a triumph, and in the stomping “The Offering,” Alms cast forth a signature chorus that stands out from the tracks surrounding without departing the atmosphere so prevalent in their work. “Dead Water” at the outset and “For Shame” build a momentum through side A that the five-piece of keyboardist/vocalist Jess Kamen guitarists Bob Sweeney (also vocals) and Derrick Hans, bassist Andrew Harris and drummer Derrick Hans expand in the second half of the record, winding up in the early gruel of “Hollowed” only to resolve the album with speedier swing and as sure a hand as they’ve guided it all along. At six songs and 33 minutes, Act One unmistakably leaves the audience wanting more, and indeed, the plot may just be starting to unfold.

Alms on Thee Facebooks

Shadow Kingdom Records on Bandcamp

 

Haaze, Swamp Mama

Haaze Swamp Mama

It is a sharp, biting 27-minute run, but Swamp Mama isn’t just thrown together haphazardly. Alberta-based sludge metallers Haaze build a song like “35 Indians” to a head over the course of a deceptively efficient 4:44, following opening track “Beast of the Bog” with a developed sense of craft underlying the outward negativity of their sound. I’ll give the band bonus points for finishing side A with a song called “Stereotypically Doomed,” but more for the crash cymbal that seems to devour the mix. There’s a trashy undercurrent to the subsequent title-track, and as it finishes its pummel, it relinquishes ground to the acoustic interlude, “The Mechanic,” which I’m just going to assume is named for the Charles Bronson movie. That of course sets up the most extreme cut included in closer “AL,” which layers fierce growls and screams atop a rhythm clearly designed for maximum assault factor. A little more metal than sludge, it nonetheless remains tonally consistent with what comes before it, giving Swamp Mama a vicious ending and a feel that’s all the more lethal for it.

Haaze on Thee Facebooks

Haaze on Bandcamp

 

The Sledge, On the Verge of Nothing

the sledge on the verge of nothing

Copenhagen four-piece The Sledge boasts the three former members of heavy rockers Hjortene in guitarist/keyboardist/vocalist Palle, drummer/vocalist Kim and bassist Claus, so while they’ve revamped their identity and gone on to add vocalist Magnus Risby — who appears here on “179 Liars” and “Yet Untitled” — perhaps its somewhat disingenuous to consider their first album under the new moniker, On the Verge of Nothing, a debut. Issued through Kozmik Artifactz, the record collects eight tracks produced by Anders Hansen (who also worked with Hjortene) and mixed by Matt Bayles, and in listening to the cuts with Risby in the lead spot, the vibe taps into a thicker take on late-era Dozer with no less righteous melodicism. That, however, is just a fraction of the total story of On the Verge of Nothing, which taps earlier desert idolatry on “Death Drome Doline” and brings in none other than Lorenzo Woodrose himself for guest spots elsewhere. People in and out of the lineup through different tracks should make the LP disjointed, but as ever, it’s the songwriting that holds it together, and one can’t discount the core band’s experience playing together as a part of that either. Debut or not, it’s an impressive offering.

The Sledge on Thee Facebooks

Kozmik Artifactz website

 

Red Lama, Dogma

red lama dogma

One tends to think of serenity and peaceful drift when it comes to Danish heavy psych rockers Red Lama, but as the seven-piece band quickly turn around follow-up to their 2018 sophomore LP, Motions (discussed here), cuts like opener “Time” and “RLP” unfold with a particular sense of urgency, the former seeming to showcase an acknowledgement of sociopolitical circumstances in Europe and beyond in a way that seems to readjust their focus. That’s a tidy narrative, but if it’s a case of priorities being rebalanced, it’s striking nonetheless. To coincide, “RLP” has a heavier roll in its second half, and while second cut “State of the Art” and closer “Tearing up the Snow” both make their way past the five-minute mark with post-rocking pastoralia and dreamy melodies, there remains a feeling of a tighter focus in the tracks that could portend a new stage of the band’s development or could simply be a circumstance of what’s included here. The next album will tell the tale.

Red Lama on Thee Facebooks

Red Lama on Bandcamp

 

Full Tone Generator, Valley of the Universe

full tone generator valley of the universe

Fronted by Andy Fernando of Don Fernando, Full Tone Generator‘s debut long-player, Valley of the Universe, nonetheless bears the unmistakable hallmark of the Californian desert — in no small part because that’s where it was recorded. Fernando and guitarist/bassist/backing vocalist Brad Young traveled to that famed landscape to record with Bubba DuPree and Brant Bjork at Zainaland Studios, only to have the latter end up playing drums and contributing backing vocals as well to the eight-tracker. Not a bad deal, frankly. The key reference sound-wise throughout Valley of the Universe is Kyuss, particularly because of Bjork‘s involvement and Fernando‘s vocal style, but the slow-rolling “I Only Love You When I’m Loaded,” 59-second blaster “No Future” and the ending jam duo of “Preacher Man” and “Never to Return” make the ground their own, the latter with some surprise screams before it bounces its way into oblivion as though nothing ever happened. They’ve got the vibe down pat, but Full Tone Generator do more as well than simply retread desert rock’s founding principles.

Full Tone Generator on Thee Facebooks

Hurricane Music on Bandcamp

 

Mountain Dust, Seven Storms

mountain dust seven storms

Keys give Montreal four-piece Mountain Dust a tie to classic heavy blues and they use that element well to cast their identity in the spirit of a post-retro modern feel, details like the backing vocals of “White Bluffs” and the waltzing rhythm held by the snare on “Witness Marks” doing much to add complexity to the persona of the band. “You Could” goes over the top in its boozy regrets, but the dramas of “Old Chills” are full in sound and satisfyingly wistful, while closer “Stop Screaming” offers a bit of twang and slide guitar to go along with its sense of threat and consuming seven-minute finish. Tight songwriting and clean production do a lot to give Seven Storms a professional presentation, but ultimately it’s the band itself that shines through in terms of performance and as Mountain Dust follow-up their well-received 2016 debut, Nine Years, they sound confident in their approach and ready to flesh out in multiple directions while maintaining a central character to their sound that will be familiar to the converted enough to be a work of genre while setting the stage to become all the more their own as well.

Mountain Dust on Thee Facebooks

Kozmik Artifactz website

 

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