Desertfest Belgium 2017: Lowrider, The Vintage Caravan, Mantar, -(16)-, Grime, Partisan and Spirit Valley Added

Posted in Whathaveyou on September 4th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

Hasn’t been a week since the last update from Desertfest Belgium 2017, and the Antwerp-based fest comes out swinging yet again with another batch of heavy-hitters in what’s purported to be the second-to-last update to its bill. This time? The primo heavy rock of Lowrider and The Vintage Caravan meets the extremity of Mantar and the sludge of -(16)-, the neo-psych of Spirit Valley and the abrasion of Partisan. Once more, the story of Desertfest Belgium 2017 is one of the festival branching out in multiple directions all at once, expanding its reach in style and profile alike. Can’t help but wonder what the final update will bring. I mean, look at this thing. In what way would you call it incomplete?

The latest announcement follows, courtesy of the PR wire:

desertfest-belgium-2017-poster

DF ANTWERP 2017 LINE-UP SECOND LAST UPDATE – NEARLY DONE!

We are nearing the completion of the Desertfest Antwerp 2017 line-up. After this, there’s just one more announcement to go and we’re in the straight line to the Fest! You all better come prepared because it’s gonna be massive. Massive we tell you!

We think we’ll be pleasing many stoner heads with the addition of classic Desert rockers Lowrider to the Friday line-up. Their show at Desertfest Berlin was epic, and we’re convinced they’ll repeat such a feat at the Belgian edition.

Equally iconic is -(16)-, a band whose name is as enigmatic as their pioneering sludge is a straightforward boot to the face. More pummeling riffs are to be expected from Germany’s Mantar and Grime from North Dakota. For more eclectic rock inspired grooves, look no further than The Vintage Caravan and Spirit Valley. And finally, we’re pleased to have Partisan on the bill, a Belgian band on Hypertension Records featuring members of renowned national rock bands like Rise and Fall and Oathbreaker.

That’s it, one more announcement to go which you can expect very soon!

LOWRIDER

Sweden’s answer to the American brand of rocky-funky-gritty Desert rock, Lowrider’s impact on both their native scene and the international underground in Europe and beyond cannot be ignored. Their 2000 album “Ode to Io” is a true scene gem of the purest, hardest and brightest rock. After a long retreat, the band reformed in 2013 for a reunion set at Desertfest Berlin. Since then, the band has been on the road again and killing it live, including another legendary performance at DF Berlin this year!

THE VINTAGE CARAVAN

Despite their young age, The Vintage Caravan only took a few years to garner a mighty reputation on stage, playing hundreds of shows on European stages with ever-growing audiences delivering standing ovations after each show. Their musical influences are very diverse but their main focus is the classic hard rock of the 60’s and 70’s. Though this may suggest a glorified retro-type band, The Vintage Caravan make it their own with a powerful attitude and a modern twist..

MANTAR

The band describe themselves as a “two-piece monster from North Germany”, and indeed it is hard to believe this kind of infernal noise could come from only two musicians. But yet here we are, and if their debut album ‘Death By Burning’ broke down doors, the follow-up ‘Ode To The Flame’ and this year’s ‘The Spell’ EP (both on Nuclear Blast) burned down the house. No gimmicks, just true battle hymns and sinister sounds of darkness!

-(16)-

SoCal sludge stalwarts -(16)- are among the most consistent and most underrated purveyors of the heavy riff. They started out in 1991 and through many line-up changes and other rock’n’roll adventures they finally got the credit they deserve with last year’s ‘Lifespan Of A Moth’, the band’s heaviest, darkest, and most complex material to date! If you dig Eyehategod and Acid Bath, don’t miss out on these pioneers of sludge metal.

GRIME

Taking cues from both grunge (Soundgarden and Alice In Chains) and rock legends like Led Zeppelin and Rush, Grime have formed their own brand of heavy metal thunder. Grime independently released their debut EP, ‘Hitch-Hiking Prohibited’, in September 2015. The four songs are a perfect snapshot of their varied and creative approach to metal.

SPIRIT VALLEY

Dave Spirit and Chris Valley formed the duo outfit Spirit Valley in Australia, but moved to Amsterdam in 2015 to tour Europe. Their own term for the kaleidoscopic mix of styles they present is ‘Doomshine Boogie’, a raw brand of psychedelic rock inspired by bands like The Black Angels, Murder City Devils, Japandroids and Explosions in the Sky.

PARTISAN

Partisan’s collective members are known for renowned Belgian HC and metal-derived bands such as Rise and Fall and Oathbreaker, but they are far from being a mere extension of their predecessors. With their post-punk inspired sound, Partisan channel influences from their collective musical pasts into songs that deliver their power and urgency through texture, dynamics and dark melody.

http://www.desertfest.be/tickets
https://www.facebook.com/desertfestbelgium/
https://www.facebook.com/events/264364590656095/
https://twitter.com/DesertfestBE

Lowrider, Ode to Io: Deluxe Edition (2017)

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Then and Now: Lowrider, Ode to Io & Ode to Io Deluxe Edition (Plus Exclusive Mix Premiere)

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on July 20th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

lowrider ode to io deluxe edition

LOWRIDER ODE TO IO

[Click play above to stream an exclusive A / B mix of Lowrider’s ‘Shivaree’ illustrating the differences between the original version and the remaster. Ode to Io Deluxe Edition‘s limited second pressing is available now to preorder.]

Let’s get all the clichés out of the way. Lowrider‘s Ode to Io is an absolute landmark. It is essential. Quite possibly the best desert-style rock record not to come from the actual Californian desert. There’s a lot of competition out there, granted — it’s a big planet — but almost nobody bought into post-Kyuss riffing with the depth, clarity of purpose, energy and songwriting that the Stockholm four-piece of bassist/vocalist Peder Bergstrand, guitarists Ola Hellqvist (lead and also vocals) and Niclas Stålfors and drummer Andreas Eriksson brought to their 2000 full-length debut. And while it arrived years after the likes of DozerNatas and Abramis Brama released their own first outings, at very least, Ode to Io (also discussed here) stands among the most essential heavy rock albums of the pre-social-media era, its 10 tracks originally issued by MeteorCity and at a time when what has become a worldwide heavy underground fanbase was still just taking its basic shape.

German imprint I Used to Fuck People Like You in Prison Records did an original vinyl pressing of Ode to Io to coincide with the MeteorCity CD, and if one is willing to pay secondary market prices, it’s still available, but in celebration of the band’s 20th anniversary, Lowrider has compiled a 2LP Ode to Io Deluxe Edition with additional tracks culled from their prior 1998 Double EP split with Nebula (discussed here), “Lameneshma” from 1997’s shared 7″ with countrymen rockers Sparzanza (discussed here), and the curio “David Williams Hughes” from MeteorCity‘s soundtrack to the independent film I am Vengeance. There are other demos and alternate versions floating around out there of some of their material, but it’s about as close to a complete-discography offering as Lowrider are going to get, and with the original mix by Eriksson and remaster by Thomas Eberger, they’ve never sounded fuller or more vibrant than they do on this vinyl. Deluxe Edition indeed.

Ode to Io original LP:

The original People Like You LP is honored in the fact that both platters on the new version have a similar transparent haze pattern, but the difference between the two is represented on multiple levels by the shift in tone of the artwork from silver (or grey, as it were) to gold. Ode to Io Deluxe Edition is a more-than-deserved revisit that doesn’t simply make the songs louder, but actually pays attention to the nuances in the mix of cuts like “Saguaro” — the pattern of starts and stops there is preserved with a breadth that only adds to the impact of both — and from the very launch of opener “Caravan,” the labor-of-love aspect in its construction is clear. Lowrider, who to-date have never issued a sophomore album to back Ode to Io, very obviously know they created something special 17 years ago, and while I refuse to take away from the appeal of the original LP’s rawness in conveying the youthful vigor of their performance — they were basically kids when the album was made; the youngest of them 17 and the oldest 26 — their efforts in updating the total 16 included tracks feel most of all like a thank-you to the audience that has kept Ode to Io relevant as more than a decade and a half has gone by.

Yes, songs like “Flat Earth” and “Anchor” hit harder, and the lower end of Bergstrand‘s bass and the guitars of Stålfors and Hellqvist is more forward than it was on 2000’s Ode to Io, but the attention to detail from Eriksson goes further. The spaciousness of “Texas Pt. 1 & 2” and the closing title-track is given righteous emphasis, and without making any single element overwhelming in relation to the others, Eriksson has bolstered the overarching impression of cuts like “Convoy V,” the ultra-fuzzed “Riding Shotgun” and “Dust Settlin’,” so that even his own snare hits feel warmer and clearer, giving up none of the attitude or the laid back vibes that punctuate even the heaviest, most active moments of the album. Plain and simple (and cliché): he nailed it. One doesn’t imagine Lowrider would put out Ode to Io Deluxe Edition if the situation were otherwise — they’re marking 20 years as a band but it’s not like they’re under contractual obligation; it’s a self-release — but still, as a fan, it’s especially satisfying to put the original Ode to Io and this new one side-by-side and see and hear on every level a rare instance of a heavy rock classic getting its long-overdue due.

It’s worth noting that while the running order is the same through Ode to Io itself, the split in sides has changed, and where the acoustic interlude “Sun Devil” led into “Anchor” to round out the LP’s first half, leaving “Texas Pt. 1 & 2,” “Riding Shotgun,” “Saguaro” and “Ode to Io” to close, Ode to Io Deluxe Edition shifts “Saguaro” and “Ode to Io” to side C, pairing them with “The Gnome, the Serpent, the Sun” and “David William Hughes.” Aside from the sound of the songs themselves (which is significant, make no mistake), it’s the biggest difference between the 2000 and the 2017 Ode to Ios, though the cowbell-laden fuzz nod and last crashes of “Riding Shotgun” hold their own as a finisher for side B without any trouble. The seeming intention would be to tie the album-proper directly with the bonus material, creating one entirety across the drifting end of “Ode to Io” into the opening riff of “The Gnome, the Serpent, the Sun” despite different recording sounds and an earlier overall take as was featured on the Nebula split.

Ode to Io Deluxe Edition:

Groove is groove, however, and in light of that, “The Gnome, the Serpent, the Sun” flows easily from the preceding cut and into “David William Hughes,” which tops a rhythmic push with spoken vocals before a long fadeout, leaving “Lameneshma,” “Shivaree,” “Ol’ Mule Pepe” and “Upon the Dune” as a particularly resonant side D. True, the material is formative compared to what would arrive a couple years later on Ode to Io, but from the hook proffered by “Lameneshma” to the improvised-sounding desert meandering of “Upon the Dune,” Lowrider efficiently showcase the breadth that was in even the earliest of their works and reinforce the to-be-treasured nature of the release as a whole. Deluxe Edition could have just as easily been called “collectors edition” given its compilation-type feel, but in being comprehensive in bringing Lowrider‘s songs together in one outing, the 2LP underscores the value and as-yet-timeless quality of what the band were able to accomplish in the studio.

Nearly half a decade has passed since they first reunited to play Desertfest London 2013 (review here) and they’ve threatened a new release basically ever since as they’ve continued to make appearances at HellfestDesertfest Berlin, Lake on FireUp in Smoke, Stoned from the Underground, etc., and they’ve stated that the proceeds from this vinyl will go toward future recordings, but whether Lowrider will actually issue a follow-up to Ode to Io remains to be seen. Serving perhaps as a preview of the tonal breadth and clarity of approach they might manifest across a new batch of songs, however, Ode to Io Deluxe Edition provides yet another level of encouragement. If the one is a step along the path to the other, it’s a step an entire new generation of listeners seems ready to take. Recommended.

Lowrider, Ode to Io Deluxe Edition (2017)

Lowrider on Bandcamp

Lowrider on Thee Facebooks

Lowrider webstore

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Up in Smoke 2017: Lowrider, Church of Misery, My Home on Trees, Jack Slamer & The Necromancers Join Lineup

Posted in Whathaveyou on July 13th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

Up in Smoke 2017 continues to make a compelling case for travel plans by adding the likes of LowriderChurch of MiseryMy Home on TreesJack Slamer and The Necromancers to its was-already-formidable bill featuring GraveyardSaint VitusBrant BjorkOrange GoblinToner LowStoned JesusBeastmaker, on and on. Seriously, I don’t even know why I feel like I need to write an intro for this post. Just look at the list of names in the poster. Isn’t that really all you need to know about the entire thing? What more is there to say? If you can get there, get there. Duh.

Honestly, just look at this thing. Can you believe this shit happens like every weekend in Europe this Fall, going from country to country, badass lineup to badass lineup? It’s wild. Fucking Lowrider are showing up.

Check it out and be jealous:

up in smoke 2017 poster

Here we go! We are thrilled to add 5 more bands to this year’s UP in SMOKE indoor festival in Z7 line-up!

Lowrider (Exclusive CH show)
Church of Misery Official (Exclusive CH show)
MY HOME ON TREES
Jack Slamer
The Necromancers

This 5th edition of the festival features now 20 bands!

Get your tickets on https://www.upinsmoke.de/tickets as soon as you can (they are selling fast) or share this post (public) to try to win another 2-day pass (probably the last for this year)!

IMPORTANT: the daily split of bands, the daytickets and the address to reserve your sleep-over/breakfast will be announced on August 1. Stay Tuned!

Located Pratteln, in Switzerland’s best rock venue, Z7 Konzertfabrik, only a few kilometres from the German and French borders, Up In Smoke is an indoor festival for fans of Heavy Rock – Doom – Psych – Stoner… easily reachable by plane via the Euro-Airport (Basel/Muhouse) or by public transportations (train, bus) via Basel Main Station. There are plenty of affordable Hotels and Hostels located in Basel and for “budget savers” we are also offering to sleep over + breakfast (Coffee and bread rolls) in the venue for a small fee!

How does this work? After the last concert of the day, we ask everybody to step out of the venue for a few minutes. During that time, the venue and toilets are cleaned and the floor covered with a plastic sheet. (people have to bring their sleeping bags and air mattresses)

https://www.upinsmoke.de/tickets
http://www.z-7.ch/event.php?eventid=1306
https://www.facebook.com/UpInSmokeIndoorFestivalInZ7
https://www.facebook.com/events/466424317082118/
https://www.upinsmoke.de/

Lowrider, Ode to Io Deluxe Edition (2017)

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Desertfest London 2017: Individual Day Schedules Announced

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 TreeBlack SpidersStubbVodunPigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs PigsTerminal CheesecakeChubby Thunderous Bad Kush MastersMammoth 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 london 2017

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

http://www.desertfest.co.uk/#tickets-section
https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/desertfest-2017-tickets-27305267791
http://www.desertfest.co.uk/
https://www.facebook.com/DesertfestLondon
https://twitter.com/DesertFest
https://www.instagram.com/desertfest_london/

Dead Lettuce, Booze and Blues EP (2015)

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Tomorrow’s Dream: 200+ of 2017’s Most Anticipated Releases

Posted in Features on January 23rd, 2017 by JJ Koczan

tomorrow's dream 2017

Looks like it’s going to be another busy 12 months ahead. It’s been a busy better-part-of-a-month already, so that stands to reason, but you should know that of the several years now that I’ve done these ‘Tomorrow’s Dream’ posts, this is the biggest one yet, with over 150 upcoming releases that — one hopes — will be out between today and the end of 2017.

Actually, at last count, the list tops 180. Do I really expect you to listen to all of them? Nope. Will I? Well, it would be nice. But what I’ve done is gone through and highlighted 35 picks and then built lists off that in order of likelihood of arrival. You’ll note the categories are ‘Gonna Happen and/or Likely Candidates,’ ‘Definitely Could Happen’ and ‘Would be Awfully Nice.’

Beyond that last one, anything else just seems like speculation — one might as well go “new Sabbath this year!” with zero info backing it up. The idea here is that no matter where a given band is placed, there has been some talk of a new release. In some cases, it’s been years, but I think they’re still worth keeping in mind.

Another caveat: You can expect additions to this list over the next week — probably album titles, band names people (fingers crossed) suggest in the comments, and so on — so it will grow. It always does. The idea is to build as complete a document as possible, not to get it all nailed down immediately, so please, if you have something to contribute and you’re able to do so in a non-prickish, “You didn’t include Band X and therefore don’t deserve to breathe the same air as me,” kind of way, please contribute.

Other than that, I think it’s pretty straightforward what’s going on here and I’ll explain the category parameters as we go, so by all means, let’s jump in.

— Tomorrow’s Dream 2017 —

Presented Alphabetically

1. Abrahma, TBA

Late last year, Paris heavy progressives Abrahma announced a new lineup and third full-length in progress. No reason to think it won’t come to fruition, and a follow-up to 2015’s Reflections in the Bowels of a Bird (review here) is an easy pick to look forward to. Even with the shift in personnel, it seems likely the band will continue their creative development, driven as they are by founding guitarist Seb Bismuth.

2. All Them Witches, Sleeping Through the War

all them witches sleeping through the warIf 2017 ended today, Sleeping Through the War would be my Album of the Year. Of course, there’s a lot of year to go, but for now, Nashville’s All Them Witches have set the standard with their second album for New West Records behind 2015’s Dying Surfer Meets His Maker (review here) and fourth overall outing. They’ve got videos up so far for “3-5-7” (posted here) and “Bruce Lee” (posted here). Both are most definitely worth your time. Out Feb. 24. Full review should be later this week.

3. Alunah, Solennial

Seems like UK forest riffers Alunah are on this list every year. Wishful thinking on my part. Nonetheless, their fourth LP and Svart Records debut, Solennial, is out March 17, and if the tease they gave already with the clip for “Fire of Thornborough Henge” (posted here) is anything to go from, its Chris Fielding-produced expanses might just be Alunah‘s most immersive yet.

4. Arbouretum, TBA

I asked the Baltimore folk fuzzers a while back on Thee Facebooks if they had a new record coming in 2017 and they said yes, so that’s what I’m going on here. The last Arbouretum album was 2013’s Coming out of the Fog (review here), and even with frontman Dave Heumann‘s 2015 solo outing, Here in the Deep (review here), factored in, you’d have to say they’re due. Keep an eye on Thrill Jockey for word and I’ll do the same.

5. Atavismo, Inerte

This is another one that already has a spot reserved for it on my Best-of-2017 year-end list. Spanish heavy psych rockers Atavismo up the progressive bliss level with their second full-length, Inerte, without losing the depth of style that made 2014’s Desintegración (review here) so utterly glorious. It probably won’t have the biggest marketing budget of 2017, but if you let Atavismo fly under your radar, you are 100 percent missing out on something special.

6. Bison Machine, TBA

In addition to the video for new track “Cloak and Bones” that premiered here, when Michigan raucousness-purveyors Bison Machine put out the dates for their fall 2016 tour, they included further hints of new material in progress. As much as I dug their earlier-2016 split with SLO and Wild Savages (review here) and 2015’s Hoarfrost (review here), that’s more than enough for me to include them on this list. Killer next-gen heavy rock.

7. Brothers of the Sonic Cloth, TBA

News of a follow-up to Brothers of the Sonic Cloth‘s 2015 Neurot Recordings self-titled debut (review here) came through in October, and it remains some of the best news I’ve heard about 2017 doings. Took them a while to get the first record out, so we’ll see what happens, but it kind of feels like looking forward to a comet about to smash into the planet and cause a mass extinction, and by that I mean awesome. Can’t get here soon enough.

8. Cloud Catcher, Trails of Kosmic Dust

cloud catcher trails of kosmic dustOkay, so maybe I jumped the gun and did a super-early review of Denver trio Cloud Catcher‘s second long-player and Totem Cat Records debut, Trails of Kosmic Dust, but hell, no regrets. Some albums require an early-warning system. Their 2015 debut, Enlightened Beyond Existence (discussed here), was a gem as well, but this is a band in the process of upping their game on every level, and the songwriting and momentum they hone isn’t to be missed.

9. Colour Haze, TBA

I’ve gotten some details on the upcoming full-length from Colour Haze. They do not include a title, artwork, audio, song titles or general direction. Less details, I guess, than word that the CD version of this answer to 2015’s To the Highest Gods We Know (review here) is set to come out next month, as ever, on Elektrohasch. That puts it out in time for Colour Haze‘s upcoming tour with My Sleeping Karma (announced here). Fingers crossed it happens. Colour Haze are perpetual top-albums candidates in my book.

10. Corrosion of Conformity, TBA

Signed to Nuclear Blast after being rejoined by guitarist/vocalist Pepper Keenan, North Carolina’s C.O.C. have been in the studio since last year. The lineup of Keenan, bassist/vocalist Mike Dean and guitarist Woody Weatherman and Reed Mullin on drums is the stuff of legend and last worked together on 2000’s America’s Volume Dealer, so no question this reunion makes for one of 2017’s most anticipated heavy rock records. They nailed the nostalgia factor on tour. Can they now add to their legacy?

11. Elder, TBA

I was incredibly fortunate about a month ago to visit progressive heavy rockers Elder at Sonelab in Easthampton, MA, during the recording process for their upcoming fourth album. I heard a couple of the tracks, and of course it was all raw form, but the movement forward from 2015’s Lore (review here) was palpable. That LP (on Stickman) brought them to a wider audience, and I expect no less from this one as well, since the farther out Elder go sound-wise, the deeper the level of connection with their listeners they seem to engage.

12. Electric Wizard, TBA

Could happen, could not happen. That’s how it goes. Announced for last Halloween. That date came and went. Word of trouble building their own studio surfaced somewhere along the line. That was the last I heard. Frankly, I wouldn’t be surprised if it showed up tomorrow, if it showed up in 2018, or if the band broke up and never put it out. They’re Electric Wizard. Anything’s possible.

13. John Garcia, The Coyote Who Spoke in Tongues

Out Jan. 28 on NapalmThe Coyote Who Spoke in Tongues (review here) is the first-ever acoustic album from former Kyuss frontman John Garcia, also of Unida, the reunited Slo BurnHermanoVista ChinoZun, etc. — basically the voice of desert rock. He does a couple Kyuss classics for good measure, but shines as well on the new/original tracks, and while it’s a piece for fans more than newcomers — that is, it helps if you know the original version of “Green Machine” — his presence remains as powerful as ever despite this new context.

14. Goya, Harvester of Bongloads

Riffs, dude. Goya seem to have them to spare. The Arizona-based wizard doomers have set a pretty prolific clip for themselves at this point, with at least two short releases out in 2016, one a 7″ of Nirvana covers (review here), and the The Enemy EP (review here). Set for a March 3 release through their own Opoponax Records imprint, Harvester of Bongloads continues the march into the abyss that 2015’s Obelisk (review here) and 2013’s 777 set in motion, finding the band coming more into their own as well. Creative growth — and bongloads! The best of both worlds.

15. Ides of Gemini, TBA

Ides of Gemini are set to record their yet-untitled third album with Sanford Parker early this year, and it will also mark their debut on Rise Above Records upon its release. They’ve also got a new lineup around vocalist Sera Timms and guitarist J. Bennett, so as they look to move forward from 2014’s Old World New Wave (review here), one can’t help but wonder what to expect, but to be honest, not knowing is part of the appeal, especially from a band who so readily specialize in the ethereal.

16. Kind, TBA

Three-fourths of Kind feature elsewhere on this list. Bassist Tom Corino plays in Rozamov. Drummer Matt Couto is in Elder. Vocalist Craig Riggs is in Roadsaw. And for what it’s worth, guitarist Darryl Shepherd has a new band coming together called Test Meat. How likely does that make Kind to release a second LP in 2017? I don’t know, but their 2015 Ripple Music debut, Rocket Science (review here), deserves a follow-up, and I know they’ve demoed some new songs. If it happens, great. If it’s 2018, at least these dudes will be plenty busy besides.

17. Lo-Pan, In Tensions

lo-pan in tensionsYes, Lo-Pan‘s In Tensions (review here) has already been released — CD/LP with an artbook on Aqualamb. It’s out. Limited numbers. You can get it now. Why include it on a list of most anticipated releases? Because that’s how strongly I feel about your need to hear it. The fruit of a shortlived lineup with guitarist Adrian Zambrano, it distinguishes itself from everything they’ve done before in style while still keeping to the core righteousness that one hopes the Ohio outfit will continue to carry forward. It’s more than a stopgap between albums. Listen to it.

18. The Midnight Ghost Train, TBA

It seems to have been a rough ride for hard-boogie specialists The Midnight Ghost Train since their 2015 Napalm debut and third album overall, Cold was the Ground (review here). They’ve never taken it easy on the road or in terms of physicality on stage, and between injuries and who knows what else, their intensity at this point veers toward the directly confrontational. Nonetheless, they’ve been writing for album number four, may or may not have started the recording process, and I expect that confrontationalism to suit them well in their new material.

19. Monster Magnet, TBA

I have it on decent authority that NJ heavy psych innovators Monster Magnet were in the studio this past autumn. I’ve seen no concrete word of a new album in progress from Dave Wyndorf and company, and I wouldn’t necessarily expect to until it was time to start hyping the release, but after their two redux releases, 2015’s Cobras and Fire (review here) and 2014’s Milking the Stars (review here), their range feels broader than ever and I can’t wait to hear what they come up with next.

20. Mothership, High Strangeness

A pivotal moment for Mothership arrives with High Strangeness, and the heavy-touring, heavy-riffing Texas power trio seem to know it. Their third record on Ripple Music pushes into new avenues of expression and keeps the energy of 2014’s Mothership II (review here) and 2012’s Mothership (review here), but thus far into their career, it’s been about their potential and what they might accomplish going forward. 2017 might be the year for Mothership to declare a definitive place in the sphere of American heavy rock.

21. The Obsessed, Sacred

On Halloween 2016, founding The Obsessed guitarist/vocalist and doom icon Scott “Wino” Weinrich announced a new lineup for the band, with his former The Hidden Hand bandmate Bruce Falkinburg on bass/vocals, Sara Seraphim on guitar and Brian Costantino continuing on drums. A genuine surprise. Their first album since 1994, Sacred (due on Relapse) was tracked as the trio of WeinrichCostantino and bassist/vocalist Dave Sherman, but clearly they’ve moved into a new era already. Wouldn’t even guess what the future holds, but hopefully Sacred still comes out.

22. Orange Goblin, TBA

When it was announced that London’s Orange Goblin were picked up by Spinefarm as part of that label’s acquisition of Candlelight Records last Spring, the subheadline from the PR wire was “Working on Ninth Studio Album.” I haven’t heard much since then, but even as 2014’s Back from the Abyss (review here) pushed them deeper into metallic territory than ever before, their songs retained the character that’s made the band the institution they are. Always look forward to new Orange Goblin.

23. Pallbearer, Heartless

pallbearer heartlessDoomers, this is your whole year right here. I haven’t heard Pallbearer‘s third album, Heartless (out March 24 on Profound Lore), but I have to think even those who haven’t yet been won over by the Arkansas four-piece’s emotive, deep-running style have to be curious about what they’ve come up with this time around. I know I am. These guys have been making a mark on the genre since their 2012 debut, Sorrow and Extinction (review here), and there’s little doubt Heartless will continue that thread upon its arrival.

24. Radio Moscow, TBA

Fact: Radio Moscow stand among the best classic heavy rock live acts in the US. They’re the kind of band you can watch upwards of 15 gigs in a row — I’ve done it — and find them putting on a better show night after night, in defiance of science, logic and sobriety. Word of their signing to Century Media came just this past week and brought with it confirmation of a follow-up to 2014’s stellar Magical Dirt (review here), and for me to say hell yes, I’m absolutely on board, seems like the no-brainer to end all no-brainers. Can’t wait.

25. Roadsaw, TBA

Nearly six full years later, it’s only fair to call Boston scene godfathers Roadsaw due for a follow-up to their 2011 self-titled (review here). Granted, members have been busy in KindWhite Dynomite, and other projects, but still. Their upcoming outing finds them on Ripple Music after years under the banner of Small Stone Records, and though I haven’t seen a solid release date yet, my understanding is they hit Mad Oak Studio in Allston, MA, this past fall to track it, so seems likely for sooner or later. Sooner, preferably.

26. Rozamov, This Mortal Road

Speaking of albums by Boston bands a while in the making, This Mortal Road (out March 3 on Battleground Records and Dullest Records) is the debut full-length from Boston atmospheric extremists Rozamov. Haven’t heard it yet, but I got a taste of some of the material when I visited the band at New Alliance Audio in Aug. 2015, and the bleak expanses of what I heard seem primed to turn heads. I’m a fan of these guys, but in addition, they’ve found a niche for themselves sound-wise and I’m curious to hear how they bring it to fruition.

27. Samsara Blues Experiment, TBA

It’s been a pleasure over the last couple months to watch a resurgence of Berlin heavy psych trio Samsara Blues Experiment take shape, first with the announcement of a fourth album in October, then with subsequent confirmations for DesertfestRiff Ritual in Barcelona, and a South American tour. Reportedly due in Spring, which fits with the timing on shows, etc., the record will follow 2013’s righteous Waiting for the Flood (review here) and as much as I’m looking forward to hearing it, I’m kind of just glad to have these guys back.

28. Seedy Jeezus, TBA

Work finished earlier this month on Melbourne trio Seedy Jeezus‘ second full-length. As with their 2015 self-titled debut, the band brought Tony Reed of Mos Generator to Australia to produce, and after their blissed-out 2016 collaboration with Earthless guitarist Isaiah MitchellTranquonauts (review here), it’s hard not to wonder what experimentalist tendencies might show in the trio’s style this time out, and likewise difficult not to anticipate what guitarist Lex “Mr. Frumpy” Wattereus comes up with for the cover art.

29. Shroud Eater, Strike the Sun

Not to spoil the surprise, but Feb. 1 I’ll host a track premiere from Florida’s Shroud Eater that finds them working in a different context from everything we’ve heard from them to this point in their rightly-celebrated tenure. They also recently had a split out with Dead Hand, and their second long-player, Strike the Sun, will be their debut through STB Records. It’s been since 2011’s ThunderNoise (review here) that we last got a Shroud Eater album, so you bet your ass I’m dying to know what the last six years have wrought.

30. Sleep, TBA

If Sleep were any other band, they’d probably be in the “Would be Awfully Nice” category. But they’re Sleep, so even the thought of a new record is enough to put them here. The lords of all things coated in THC are reissuing their 2014 single, The Clarity (review here), on Southern Lord next month, but rumors have been swirling about a proper album, which of course would be their first since the now-legendary Dopesmoker. If it happens, it’ll automatically be a heavy underground landmark for 2017, but it’s one I’m going to have in my ears before I really believe it.

31. Stoned Jesus, TBA

Even as they tour playing their second album, 2012’s Seven Thunders Roar (review here), to mark its fifth anniversary and continued impact, Ukrainian trio Stoned Jesus are forging ahead with a fourth record behind 2015’s The Harvest (review here). The capital-‘q’ Question is whether or not looking back at Seven Thunders Roar and engaging that big-riffing side of their sound will have an impact on the new material, and if so, how it will meld with the push of The Harvest. Won’t speculate, but look forward to finding out.

32. Stubb, TBA

Since reveling in the soul of 2015’s Cry of the Ocean (review here) on Ripple, London trio Stubb have swapped out bassists, and they were in Skyhammer Studio this month recording a single that may be an extended psychedelic jam. I’ll take that happily, but I’m even more intrigued at the prospect of a third LP and what guitarist/vocalist Jack Dickinson, bassist/vocalist Tom Hobson and drummer Tom Fyfe might have in store as the band moves forward on multiple levels. Might be 2017, might not.

33. Sun Blood Stories, It Runs Around the Room with Us

sun blood stories it runs around the room with usIt Runs around the Room with Us seems to find peace in its resonant experimentalist drones, loops, open, subdued spaces, but there’s always some underlying sense of foreboding to its drift, as if Boise’s Sun Blood Stories could anticipate the moment before it happened. Toward the end of the follow-up to 2015’s Twilight Midnight Morning (review here), they execute the 90-second assault “Burn” and turn serenity to ash. Look for it in April and look for it again on my best of 2017 list in December.

34. Ufomammut, TBA

Any new offering from the Italian cosmic doom magnates is worth looking forward to, and while Ufomammut have left the 15-year mark behind, they’ve never stopped progressing in style and form. To wit, 2015’s Ecate (review here) was a stunner after 2012’s two-part LP, Oro (review here and review here), tightening the approach but assuring the vibe was no less expansive than ever. They started recording last summer, finished mixing in November, so I’m hoping for word of a release date soon.

35. Vokonis, The Sunken Djinn

Born out of Creedsmen Arise, whose 2015 demo, Temple (review here), offered formative thrills, Swedish trio Vokonis debuted with last year’s Olde One Ascending (review here) and proved there’s still life in post-Sleep riffing when it’s wielded properly. They signed to Ripple in November and confirmed the title of their sophomore effort as The Sunken Djinn, as well as a reissue for the first album, which will probably arrive first. I don’t know how that will affect the timing on this one, but keep an eye out anyway.

Gonna Happen and/or Likely Candidates

Obviously some of these are more likely than others. Some have solidified, announced release dates — Dopelord‘s out this month, Demon Head‘s out in April, etc. — and others come from social media posts of bands in studios and hints at upcoming releases and so on. A big tell is whether or not a band has an album title with their listing, but even some of those without have their new albums done, like Atala and Royal Thunder, so it’s not necessarily absolute.

Either way, while I’m spending your money, you might want to look into:

36. Against the Grain
37. Amenra
38. Atala
39. Attalla, Glacial Rule
40. Ayahuasca Dark Trip, II
41. Beastmaker
42. Beaten Back to Pure
43. Blackout
44. Bretus
45. Buried Feather, Mind of the Swarm
46. The Clamps
47. Cold Stares
48. Coltsblood, Ascending into the Shimmering Darkness
49. Come to Grief, The Worst of Times EP
50. Cortez
51. Cruthu, The Angle of Eternity
52. The Dead-End Alley Band, Storms
53. Dead Witches, Dead Witches
54. Dealer
55. Death Alley, Live at Roadburn
56. Demon Head, Thunder on the Fields
57. The Devil and the Almighty Blues, II
58. Devil Electric
59. Doctor Cyclops, Local Dogs
60. Dool, Here Now There Then
61. Dopelord, Children of the Haze
62. Doublestone, Devil’s Own/Djævlens Egn
63. Dread Sovereign, For Doom the Bell Tolls
64. Drive by Wire
65. Elbrus, Elbrus
66. Electric Age
67. Electric Moon, Stardust Rituals
68. Endless Floods, II
69. Five Horse Johnson
70. Forming the Void, Relic
71. Funeral Horse
72. Greenbeard
73. Green Desert Water
74. Greenleaf
75. Grifter / Suns of Thunder, Split
76. Hair of the Dog, This World Turns
77. Heavy Temple, Chassit
78. Here Lies Man, Here Lies Man
79. Hollow Leg, Murder EP
80. Holy Mount, The Drought
81. Hooded Menace
82. Horisont, About Time
83. Hymn, Perish
84. Lecherous Gaze
85. Magnet, Feel Your Fire
86. Mastodon
87. Merlin, The Wizard
88. Merchant
89. Mindkult, Lucifer’s Dream
90. Mirror Queen
91. Moonbow, War Bear
92. Mos Generator
93. The Moth
94. MotherSloth
95. Mouth, Vortex
96. My Sleeping Karma, Mela Ananda – Live
97. Orango
98. Papir
99. PH, Eternal Hayden
100. Psychedelic Witchcraft, Magick Rites and Spells
101. Royal Thunder
102. Saturn, Beyond Spectra
103. Season of Arrows, Give it to the Mountain
104. Siena Root
105. Six Organs of Admittance, Burning the Threshold
106. Six Sigma, Tuxedo Brown
107. Sólstafir
108. The Sonic Dawn, Into the Long Night
109. Spelljammer
110. Spidergawd, IV
111. Steak
112. Stinking Lizaveta, Journey to the Underworld
113. Sula Bassana, Organ Accumulator
114. Summoner
115. Sun Voyager, Sun Voyager
116. Sweat Lodge, Tokens for Hell EP
117. Thera Roya, Stone and Skin
118. Toke
119. Troubled Horse, Revelation on Repeat
120. VA, Brown Acid The Third Trip
121. Weedpecker
122. Youngblood Supercult, The Great American Death Rattle

Definitely Could Happen

Maybe a recording process is upcoming (Gozu, Cities of Mars, YOB), or a band is looking for a label (The Flying Eyes), or they’ve said new stuff is in the works but the circumstances of an actual release aren’t known (Arc of Ascent, Dead Meadow, High on Fire), or I’ve just seen rumors of their hitting the studio (Freedom Hawk, La Chinga, Ruby the Hatchet). We’ve entered the realm of the entirely possible but not 100 percent.

So, you know, life.

Dig it:

123. The Age of Truth
124. Ape Machine
125. Arc of Ascent
126. At Devil Dirt
127. Bantoriak
128. Bask
129. BCAD
130. BoneHawk
131. La Chinga
132. Chubby Thunderous Bad Kush Masters
133. Cities of Mars
134. Crypt Sermon
135. Dead Meadow
136. Death Alley (Studio LP)
137. Dee Calhoun
138. Destroyer of Light
139. Devil
140. Devil Worshipper
141. Duel
142. Dustrider
143. Egypt
144. Electric Moon
145. Elephant Tree
146. Farflung
147. The Flying Eyes
148. Freedom Hawk
149. Gozu
150. The Great Electric Quest
151. Green Meteor, Consumed by a Dying Sun
152. High on Fire
153. Horrendous
154. Insect Ark
155. In the Company of Serpents
156. Iron Monkey
157. Jeremy Irons and the Ratgang Malibus
158. The Judge
159. Killer Boogie
160. King Dead
161. The Kings of Frog Island
162. Lords of Beacon House, Recreational Sorcery
163. Mangoo
164. Mondo Drag
165. Monolord
166. Mountain God
167. The Munsens
168. Naxatras
169. Never Got Caught
170. Ommadon
171. Orchid
172. Ordos
173. Pilgrim
174. Poseidon
175. Purple Hill Witch
176. Ruby the Hatchet
177. Sasquatch
178. Satan’s Satyrs
179. Serpents of Secrecy
180. Shabda
181. Shooting Guns
182. Sleepy Sun
183. Slow Season
184. Snowy Dunes, Atlantis
185. Spectral Haze
186. The Sweet Heat
187. Switchblade Jesus
188. Superchief
189. Tÿburn
190. YOB
191. Zone Six

Would be Awfully Nice

This last category is basically as close as I’m willing to come to rampant speculation. Endless Boogie have hinted at new material, and Queens of the Stone Age have talked about hitting the studio for the last two years. There were rumors about Om, and though Kings Destroy just put out an EP, they have new songs as well, though I doubt we’ll hear them before the end of 2017. I’ll admit that Across Tundras, Fever Dog, Lord Fowl, Lowrider and Hour of 13 are just wishful thinking on my part. A boy can hope:

192. Across Tundras
193. Eggnogg
194. Elephant Tree
195. Endless Boogie
196. Fever Dog
197. Fu Manchu
198. Halfway to Gone
199. Hour of 13
200. Kadavar
201. Kings Destroy
202. Lord Fowl
203. Lowrider
204. Masters of Reality
205. Om
206. Orodruin
207. Queens of the Stone Age

If you’ve made it this far, thanks for reading. Whatever this year brings, I hope it’s been great so far for you and I hope it continues to be so as we proceed inexorably to 2018 and all the also-futuristic-sounding numbers thereafter. At least we know we’ll have plenty of good music to keep us company on that voyage.

As always, comments section is open if there’s anything I’ve left out. I’m happy to add, adjust, etc., as need be, so really, have at it, and thanks in advance.

All the best.

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Friday Full-Length: Nebula & Lowrider, Split

Posted in Bootleg Theater on December 16th, 2016 by JJ Koczan

Nebula & Lowrider, Split (1999)

A full 17 years after the fact, it’s hard not to romanticize a release like the 1999 split between California’s Nebula and Sweden’s Lowrider. Hard not to look at the Arik Roper cover art — so goddamn righteous as it is — or to hear the (mostly) Jack Endino production on Nebula‘s tracks or the blatant post-Kyussism of Lowrider‘s “Lameneshma” and not say to yourself, “This is when stoner rock was stoner rock.” That designation is ultimately meaningless. Aesthetic was no less malleable back then than it is now, and the “stoner rock” of the mid-to-late ’90s was nothing if not part of a changing face of underground heavy that was already around for a quarter-century at that point and persists now, nearly 20 years later — still changing, still remaking itself, still moving forward. That, however, does not preclude a release like this one from representing a special moment within that process.

Issued in April 1999 by MeteorCity, the split followed roughly a month after Nebula‘s Sun Creature EP on Man’s Ruin Records — the tracks from which would be compiled with those from this release and a couple new songs on 2002’s Dos EPs, which I’ll feature around here one of these days, no doubt — and only about four months before their debut album, To the Center (discussed here), came out on Tee Pee. Meanwhile, for Lowrider, it served as an introductory moment for what must’ve at the time seemed like a next step in the kind of desert rock worship that Dozer were offering on their earliest records. And listening to the sweet fuzz proliferated on the instrumental “Upon the Dune,” which closes out the release, maybe it was, but in context of the time of its arrival, they had yet to follow it with the watershed moment of 2000’s Ode to Io (discussed here) and were just a new band paired with a Californian act that had some dudes who used to be in Fu Manchu in it.

Yeah, it’s weird to think of Nebula that way as well, both because as they went on through To the Center and subsequent albums like 2001’s Charged, 2003’s Atomic Ritual, 2006’s Apollo and 2009’s Heavy Psych (review here) they’d craft their own legacy so distinct from that of the band from whom they brought on board bassist Mark Abshire and drummer Ruben Romano (now guitarist/vocalist in The Freeks), and because over those same years the lineup would change so much around guitarist/vocalist Eddie Glass. Since their sort-of-breakup in 2010 (see here and here, in that order), Nebula‘s name has been the one that seems to be more glaringly missing from the constant roster of reunions. Think about the bands from that same era who’ve come back. Some like Fu Manchu never left, but to have DozerSpirit Caravan and indeed Lowrider at least get back to playing shows and Nebula continue to be MIA, the attitude-laden swing of “Anything from You” and “Back to the Dawn” feels all the more like a vacant space since no one else has been able to capture it in quite the same way since their fadeout. I’ve heard rumors of various sorts about the state of the band and some of them just kind of make me sad, but in these tracks they hit with maximum vitality and their absence makes appreciating them seem all the more worthwhile.

With social media in its relative infancy at the time, at least compared to how it’s swallowed our collective current horror-show reality, the number of people who picked up on what Lowrider were doing with their included four cuts was probably nowhere near where it should’ve been. You could easily say the same of Ode to Io a year later, but here they revel in an even warmer production than on the subsequent debut. One can hear the difference from the start of “Lameneshma” and in the fuzz-laden nod of “The Gnome, the Serpent, the Sun.” They were, like DozerColour Haze and a select few others, years ahead of their time, and though much of the impact and enduring influence they’d have would come from Ode to Io, in hindsight, these songs became a kind of complement to that. Sure, they were released first, but no question that “Shivaree” and “Upon the Dune,” when taken as the other crucial (and just about only) component in the Lowrider catalog, add something to the mix that makes the LP an even richer experience. How no one has done a complete discography release with these tracks, the album tracks, the version of “Lameneshma” from Lowrider‘s 1997 split 7″ with Sparzanza (review here) and any other odds and ends is well beyond me.

I’m also still hopeful that one of these days will bring word of a new Lowrider studio release. It’s coming up on four years now since they started doing sporadic festival gigs — they played Desertfest in 2013 (review here), will do so again in 2017 (info here) — but that remains wishful thinking on my part until something is confirmed. Nonetheless, like with Nebula‘s songs, Lowrider‘s inclusions on this split seem all the more precious for the relative dearth of public material they’ve issued compared to how vast their influence has been. It would’ve been hard to recognize this as a milestone at the time — 1999 was like The Year of Magical Riffing — but it was, and as worldwide heavy continues its constant outward expansion, it’s all the more reason to dig in and get a fuller picture of from whence that comes.

As always, I hope you enjoy. Thanks for reading.

Speaking of magical, I took this past Monday off work, and it was absolutely incredible. A real day off. No travel, no running around in a panic doing weekend errands that I know I won’t be able to do during the week, no dragging my ass off the couch to clean in the limited daylight hours. Just sitting on ass, listening to music, writing, and hanging out with The Patient Mrs. To say it was everything I want my life to be — with the recognition that I’d have chores to do eventually — would be underselling it. I felt genuinely refreshed as a human being in a way I rarely, rarely do.

So nothing else to do but dive into stuff like the Top 20 Debuts list that went up yesterday, last-minute album streams and fest writeups and putting together back end of the impending Top 30 — which, spoiler alert: actually goes to 50 this year — that’ll be posted on next Tuesday and become completely overwhelmed all over again, right? Right? Right.

Oh and then the week after Xmas is the Quarterly Review. Who decides this shit?

If I didn’t so much enjoy the process of grinding myself into the ground, I’d almost think maybe it wasn’t good for my general sense of well-being.

I posted on Thee Facebooks about a sponsorship deal for the site. It’s happening. Starts in January. More info to come.

In the meantime, here’s what’s in the notes for next week, all tentative of course:

Mon.: Review/full stream of the new Necro, new video from Bright Curse.
Tue.: The Top 30 of 2016.
Wed.: Sgt. Sunshine review.
Thu.: Surya Kris Peters review.
Fri.: Either a track premiere or album stream from Larman Clamor, still TBD.

There’s a lot of news already to catch up on as well, which is good because I expect it’ll be a light week with the impending holiday and all. All the better as it’s more time to set up for the Quarterly Review and get that rolling. Did I mention I’m thinking of adding a sixth day this time? Well I am. We’ll see.

I hope you have a great and safe weekend, and I hope you’ll please take the time to check out the forum and the radio stream — and if you haven’t yet, to enter your best-of list into the 2016 Year-End Poll. Thanks again for reading.

The Obelisk 2016 Year-End Poll

The Obelisk Forum

The Obelisk Radio

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Desertfest London 2017: Candlemass, Lowrider, Venomous Maximus, Stubb and More Added

Posted in Whathaveyou on November 22nd, 2016 by JJ Koczan

You were either there or you’re an imaginative sort, so I don’t need to tell you what a joy it was to see Lowrider when they played Desertfest London in 2013 (review here). They were also recently announced for Desertfest Berlin (info here), so to have them return to Camden Town for Desertfest London 2017 isn’t necessarily a huge surprise in the grand scheme, but I’m quite sure they’ll find fervent welcome when they get there, and rightly so. It’s been a long time speculating about whether or not they’ll do another record, and they may yet get there, but either way, the fact that they’re still actively playing out on choice gigs like this one is encouraging.

Also announced today? Oh, only Swedish doom legends Candlemass, Texans Venomous Maximus heading abroad for a trip that — and I’m not exaggerating — will likely triple their fanbase because that’s how good they are live, fellow Texans The Well, with whom I wouldn’t be surprised if Venomous Maximus were traveling, London heavy highlights Stubb, jammers Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs, Greek forerunners 1000mods, plus WucanBlack Spiders and Grave Lines. Kind of hard to believe Desertfest London 2017 is only two rounds into lineup announcements, but like I said, you’re imaginative, so I’m sure you can picture some of the awesomeness still to come as we get closer to April.

Here’s word from the fest:

desertfest-london-2017-new-poster-candlemass

CANDLEMASS, LOWRIDER AND MORE JOIN DESERTFEST 2017

DESERTFEST LONDON is pleased to announce the second batch of bands who will be joining the likes of Turbonegro, Samsara Blues Experiment, Yuri Gagarin and Vodun on April 28-29-30th, 2017 in Camden. Ever-growing diversity alongside a solid selection of grass-root acts, has helped cement Desertfest as the go-to festival for doom, stoner rock, psych and all its subsidiaries, with a sixth edition set to be the most eclectic and heavy to date.

First up, we are honoured to welcome a band that needs no introduction: legendary doom metallers CANDLEMASS. Encompassing the ethos of what Desertfest has meant since its inception, Candlemass are one of the most influential and celebrated doom bands in not only Sweden’s musical history, but in heavy music history as a whole. Pure, unapologetic, true doom metal that’ll never disappoint.

A second offering from the Swedes comes in the form of stoner rock stalwarts LOWRIDER. Back in 2013, their momentous reunion after a 10-year hiatus took place exclusively at Desertfest London. It’s a privilege to once again host the return of the riff-ready heroes, who have been bringing their desert-sound to revellers since the late 90s. Also on the bill are UK party boys BLACK SPIDERS, whose fast-paced, high voltage lunacy will rattle out the cobwebs. Despite having recently announced a hiatus, these rock’n’roll maniacs will come back at Desertfest for one last blowout.

1000MODS will too be bringing their psychedelic vibrations to 2017’s line-up. Their unique commitment to a vintage sound, held up by playing with classic instruments, undoubtedly makes them a must-see act on any bill. Underground heroes PIGS, PIGS, PIGS, PIGS, PIGS, PIGS, PIGS also make a welcome addition, with their loud and exciting blend of psych, noise and post-rock. Austin based trio THE WELL are jumping over the pond to thrash out their progressive take on heavy rock, taking that classic nostalgia and twisting it with a hearty laden of adrenaline.

London’s very own STUBB will lay out their fuzzy blues at Desertfest – greatly influenced by the 60 & 70s trio’s of the same genre, they’ve gained respect as a sold live act. Germany’s WUCAN describe themselves as “Topsy-Turvy Higgledy-Piggledy Folk-Blues-Psych-Stoner-ProtoMetal-Soul, with a pinch of confusion” – which may sound like all-over chaos, but they have truly honed their style thanks to an expert fusion of 70’s drenched goodness.

Final acts to join Desertfest London 2017 are metal killers Austin’s VENOMOUS MAXIMUS, newcomers GRAVE LINES – one of the most exciting bands to come out of London – trust us, you’ll want to be there, as they are soon to become one of those acts everyone claims they heard first.

We are proud and excited for what next year has in store. But this is only the tip of the iceberg as there is much, much more to come. Stay tuned!

– DESERTFEST LONDON 2017 –
28th to 30th April in Camden, London
Weekend passes are available HERE

First bands announced:
TURBONEGRO, SAMSARA BLUES EXPERIMENT, THE PICTUREBOOKS, SATAN’S SATYRS, VODUN, YURI GAGARIN, MAMMOTH STORM, ELEPHANT TREE

Second bands announced:
Candlemass, Lowrider, Black Spiders, Venomous Maximus, Wucan, Stubb, Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs, 1000mods, The Well, Gravelines

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/desertfest-2017-tickets-27305267791
http://www.desertfest.co.uk/
https://www.facebook.com/DesertfestLondon
https://twitter.com/DesertFest
https://www.instagram.com/desertfest_london/

Lowrider, Live at Desertfest London 2013

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Desertfest Berlin 2017 First Announcements: Lowrider, The Cosmic Dead, Toundra, Satan’s Satyrs and Ecstatic Vision Join Lineup

Posted in Whathaveyou on October 31st, 2016 by JJ Koczan

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This was bound to happen. Desertfest Berlin 2017 has made its first lineup announcements. Already we’ve started to see Europe’s Spring festival season start to take shape, and as the German incarnation of Desertfest‘s London-based counterpart has already unveiled its first round of bands, it seems only fitting it should be Berlin’s turn. A return of Lowrider is notable, and frankly so are ToundraThe Cosmic DeadSatan’s Satyrs and Ecstatic Vision, but as someone who keeps holding out hope the vaguely-reformed Swedish heavy rockers will show up one day with a new album, the more shows they do the merrier. One often finds them paired with Dozer at fests — that was the case last time they did Desertfest, in 2013 — so maybe they’ll show up as well in some future announcement. Wouldn’t complain at seeing either again one of these days.

Desertfest Berlin 2017 is April 28-30 at the Astra Kulturhaus. Look for much more to come, including some headliner info next month teased below:

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Desertfest Berlin 2017 – First Bands Announcements (Lowrider, Toundra, The Cosmic Dead, Satan’s Satyrs, Ecstatic Vision)

DESERTFEST BERLIN 2017 – APRIL 28-29-30

Last year’s Desertfest Berlin was a great success with people taking part from almost 40 countries all over the globe. You came, you saw, you conquered! Now it’s about time for all you riff-rockers, doom and psych-heads to pump up the volume in your earchannel, because here is the first band announcement!!

LOWRIDER (SWE)
We are stoked to have Lowrider back for our 6th edition of the Desertfest. The band hasn’t play any shows since 2014 and so it´s greater to welcome them back at our festival in Berlin. Even if it’s not about cars, this combo is as powerful as a Chevy 356 engine and will surely tear down the walls of Astra.

TOUNDRA (SP)
Clear your mind for a musical journey with the beautiful soundscapes form the Spanish capital. This exclusive show will end up as one of those you’ll remember for years to come.

SATAN’S SATYRS (US)
Hot rocking Virginia quartet Satan’s Satyrs is releasing a new album in spring and they asked themselves; “Is there any better way to celebrate this than doing it at Desertfest Berlin?” Of course not, so here they come.

THE COSMIC DEAD (UK)
Trippy sounds from Glasgow will emerge when these four guys hit the stage. With a menu raging from psych to powerful cosmic rock, so let’s just pretend we are the space cadets.

ECSTATIC VISION (US)
Bring back the 70’s would be a tempting phrase to use on Ecstatic Vision if you remember bands like Amon Düül II and Hawkwind. Forget all chemical substances, this music is a trip itself.

Stay tuned, by mid-November we’ll be back with a new announcement where some headliners will be unfolded. Last year’s 3-day festival tickets were sold out already early February, so don’t wait too long if you want to come along and experience some of the best acts in the genres of doom, sludge, psych, desert and stoner rock.

http://www.desertfest.de/tickets
https://www.facebook.com/DesertfestBerlin
http://woolheads.com/shop-2/festivalmerchandise/desertfest-berlin-2016-early-bird-ticket-action-1/
https://shop3.ticketscript.com/channel/html/get-products/rid/4MGC3S6H/eid/327518/validity/any_day/language/en

Lowrider, “Shivaree” live at Desertfest Berlin 2013

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