Posted in Whathaveyou on January 9th, 2017 by JJ Koczan
Last month, Italian heavy psych rockers Giöbia were announced as signing to Heavy Psych Sounds for booking. Now comes word that Spring 2017 will bring a new single, What Have You Done, as a 7″ platter via the specializing-in-such-things German imprint H42 Records, holding forth a B-side with no less than a cover of Hawkwind‘s “Silver Machine.” Not a minor track to take on by any means, but Giöbia‘s mind expansion hit a particularly resonant wave on 2015’s Magnifier (review here), which came out on Sulatron, so one has little doubt they’re up to the task.
More when I (hopefully) hear it. H42 sent the following down the PR wire:
GIÖBIA will release two new songs on a limited 7“ in May 2017 on H42 Records
Limited up to ONLY 270 copies 50 on white vinyl (H42 Records Edition) 100 on red vinyl 100 on black vinyl 20 testpress edition with different artwork
Side A: What Have You Done Side B: Silver Machine (Hawkwind Cover)
Already on her last album ‘Magnifier’ the sound became harder and darker. With the upcoming 7 “, this path has been consistently pursued: ‘What have you done’ is a straight forward heavy psychedelic rocker. Without a break it follows on the B side ‘Silver Machine’. The Giöbia version of this Hawkwind classic will blow you away!
Giöbia has been one of the most influential psychedelic bands in Italy over the last years. Seduced by the lysergic side of the ‘60s, by exotic mantras and the evocative power of space-rock, Giöbia is a band from Milano, Italy with many facets and one only faith, that is to turn every encounter with sound into a psychedelic experience. The band counts four members: leader Bazu (vocals and string instruments), Saffo (organ, violin, vocals), Detrji (bass) and Betta (drums) and their name – Giöbia – comes from an ancient pre-christian festivity celebrated in Northern Italy when a big straw puppet resembling a witch is burnt as a propitiatory ritual towards the forces of nature.
Posted in Reviews on December 28th, 2016 by JJ Koczan
Today is the day the Quarterly Review passes the halfway point. This will be 21-30 of the total 60 for the six days, so there’s still a ways to go — you might say 50 percent — but it’s a milestone nonetheless. Once again it’s another roundup of cool stuff, kind of all over the place a little more than the last two days were, but as we go further along with these things, it’s good to mix it up after a while. There’s only so many times you can throw the word “lysergic” around and talk about jamming. That said, you’re getting some of that today as well from Portugal, so when it pops up, don’t be surprised. Much to do, so no need to delay.
Quarterly Review #21-30:
Bus, The Unknown Secretary
Athenian double-guitar four-piece Bus execute a stylistically cohesive, crisp debut with The Unknown Secretary (on Twin Earth Records), presenting classic heavy rock elements without going full-retro in their sound itself and marking songs like “Masteroid” as immediately distinct through the harmonized vocals of guitarist Bill City, joined in the band by guitarist Johnnie Chez, bassist Chob D’oh and drummer Aris. Together they run through a clean two sides that play back and forth between proto-metallic and doom shading – “Don’t Fear Your Demon” touches on slower Pentagram – while sounding perhaps most comfortable in rockers like “Withered Thorn” or the earlier stomper “New Black Volume,” which puts its two guitars to excellent use ahead of and between unabashedly poppy (not sure a full Ghost comparison is warranted) verse, and craft a highlight in the 7:38 arena-ready thrust of “Rockerbus” prior to the surprisingly nodding finale of “Jimi.” A strikingly efficient and clear-headed first full-length that would seem to hold much promise of things to come from yet another player in Greece’s emergent heavy scene.
With the start-stop riff of opener “As Fangs in Stone,” a mastering job by Mathias Schneeberger and the breadth of pop melodicism in cuts that one, the swinging “Made of Ghosts,” and the more percussive “Through the Sun,” Italian four-piece Them Bulls make a pretty strong beeline for early-Queens of the Stone Age-style heavy desert rock. Their self-titled Small Stone debut isn’t without individualized flourish, but the 10-track/41-minute offering makes it clear from the start what its intentions are and then sets about living up to them, whether on the careening Songs for the Deaf-ery of “Pot Gun” or the penultimate “We Must Live Up” itself. Vocal interplay from guitarists Daniele Pollio and Franscesco Pasi – joined by the rhythm section of bassist Paolo Baldini and drummer Giampaolo Farnedi – provides an opportunity for future growth, but it’s worth noting that for a band to take on such a specific stylization, their songwriting needs to be in check, and Them Bulls’ is.
What seems to be Stinkeye’s debut recording, Llantera Demos, arrives as a free download of four tracks and 16 minutes rife with thickened boogie and dense mecha-stoner fuzz, reminding of Dead Meadow immediately in the echoing vocals and rhythmic bounce of “Orange Man” but moving into some shuffle on the subsequent “Fink Ployd” and “Llantera,” the latter a well-earned showcase of bass tone. While out on the coast, ‘70s vibes reign supreme, the Phoenix, Arizona, trio are on a different tip, looser in their swing and apparently more prone to drift. For what it’s worth, they call it “hash rock,” and fair enough as “Pink Clam,” which closes Llantera Demos, rides more of a grunge-laden nod to an immersive but still relatively quick five-minute finish, building after three minutes in to a satisfying final instrumental push. Loaded with potential in tone, execution, vibe and dynamic between the three-piece, Llantera Demos immediately marks Stinkeye out as a band to watch and is just begging for the right person to come along and press it to tape.
Want to grab attention with your debut long-player? Calling a song “Louder than God” might be a good way to go. That track, at seven minutes, is the longest on Connecticut five-piece Buzzard Canyon’s Hellfire and Whiskey (on Salt of the Earth), and following a quiet initial stretch, it launches into Down-style Southern chug, the dual vocals of Amber Leigh and guitarist Aaron Lewis (the latter also of When the Deadbolt Breaks) veering into and out of more metallic impulses to build on the initial momentum established on the earlier “Highway Run” and “SomaBitch.” The two-minute “For the End” basks in some nightmarish vision of rockabilly, while “Red Beards Massacre” and “Wyoming” dig into more straightforward stylistic patterning, but if Buzzard Canyon want to get a little weird either here or going forward, that’s clearly not about to hurt them. Closer “Not My Cross” hints at some darker visions to come in how it moves into and out of a droning interlude, adding yet more intrigue to their deceptively multifaceted foundation.
Though “Atomic Rodeo” dips into some Queens of the Stone Age-style groove, Motherbrain’s third album, Voodoo Nasty (on Setalight Records), comes across as more defined by its nasty than its voodoo as the Berlin four-piece demonstrate a penchant for incorporating harsher sludge tendencies, especially in vocal shouts peppered in amid the otherwise not-unfriendly proceedings. That gives the nine-song/48-minute offering a meaner edge but does little ultimately to take away from the groove on offer in the opening title-track or “Ghoul of Kolkata,” and though it retains its raw spirit, Voodoo Nasty digs into some more complex fare later in longer cuts like “Baptism of Fire” and “Half Past Human,” having found a place in centerpiece “Dismantling God” where blown-out noise aggression and semi-psychedelic swirl can coexist, if not peacefully then at least for a while until Motherbrain decide it’s time to give Kyuss-style desert rock another kick in its ass, as on “Sons of Kong,” which, yes, does proclaim a lineage.
Sludge-rolling five-piece Elder Druid riff forth with their debut studio offering, the five-song/33-minute Magicka EP, which one might be tempted to tag as a demo were it not for a few prior live-tracked short releases that appear to have served that purpose, the latest of which, The Attic Sessions (discussed here), came out in Jan. 2016. The experience of putting that together as well as their prior singles clearly benefited the Northern Irish outfit on Magicka, and while they retain a shouty spirit on opener “Rogue Mystic,” middle cut “The Warlock” offers nod that reminds of The Kings of Frog Island’s “Welcome to the Void,” and that’s about all I ever need. Ever. Served up with bloated tones and geared toward establishing a blend of gruff vocals and consuming fuzz, Elder Druid’s first studio recording has a solid footing in what it wants to accomplish sound-wise and plainly showcases that, and while they have some growing to do and patience to learn in their songcraft, nothing I hear on Magicka argues against their getting there in time.
The Crazy Left Experience, Bill’s 108th Space Odyssey
The Crazy Left Experience – the moniker seeming to refer to the side of the brain at work in their processes – present Bill’s 108th Space Odyssey almost as an album within an album. The framework from the at-least-party-improvised Portuguese cosmic jammers on the seven-track/56-minute outing centers around William Millarc, who in 1955 was documented while taking part in LSD experiments. Samples of Millarc are peppered into opener “Subject Bill,” the later “Funky Meteor Drop” and the closing duo “Bill Sided Flashback” and “God of the Outer Rings,” but between the opener and the latter trio of cuts comes “Unarius,” a three-part excursion listed as “Part V” through “Part VII” that presumably is the representation of when our friend Bill has left his body behind. So be it. One can hardly call that departure incongruous either sonically or in terms of The Crazy Left Experience’s chosen theme – though there are some unrelated samples spliced into “Unarius – Part VII (Space Brothers)” that are somewhat jarring – and the entire flow of the record is so hypnotic that the band can basically go wherever they want, which of course they do.
Were it not for the context of knowing that vocalist Tim Narducci and bassist Cornbread hail from SpiralArms and White Witch Canyon, drummer Carter Kennedy from Orchid and guitarist Jeremy Von Eppic from Black Gates, the Sabbath Highway debut EP (on Ripple Music) from California’s The Watchers would be almost impossibly coherent for a first outing. Classic in form but modern in its presentation, the five-tracker – four plus the church-organ interlude “Requiem” between the opening title-cut (video here) and “Call the Priest” – makes the most of Narducci’s ‘70s-style vocal push, reminding of one-time Ripple troupe Stone Axe in his oldschool feel, but as “Today” (premiered here) makes plain, The Watchers are much more focused on learning from the past than repeating it. The straightforward songwriting and all-we’re-here-to-do-is-kick-ass sentiment behind Sabbath Highway might well prove formative compared to what The Watchers do next – presumably that’s a full-length, but one never knows; they sound ready to get down to business – but it makes its ambitions plain in its hooks and swiftly delivers on its promises.
I can’t speak to the present status of California’s Of the Horizon, since last I heard bassist Kayt Vigil was in Italy working with Sonic Wolves, but their self-titled five-track debut full-length arrives via Kozmik Artifactz no less switched on for the half-decade that has passed since it was recorded. Guitarist Mike Hanne howls out throaty incantations to suit the post-Sleep riffing of opener “3 Feet” and drummer Shig pushes the roll of “Caravan” forward into its final crashing slowdown effectively as Vigil ensures the subsequent centerpiece “Unknown” is duly thick beneath its spacious, jammy strum. The two longest slabs hit at the end in “Gladhander” (8:55) and the righteously lumbering “Hall of the Drunken King” (10:31) and feel somewhat like an album unto themselves, but when/if Of the Horizon make a return, they’ve established a working modus on this first full-length that should well satisfy the nod-converted and that demonstrates the timelessness of well-executed tonal onslaught.
Though it’s fair enough in terms of runtime, it almost seems like Milano sludge-rollers Raj (also written stylized in all-caps: RAJ) do the six tracks of their 20-minute self-titled debut EP a disservice by cramming them onto a single LP side. Not that one gets lost or the band fails to make an impression – far from it – but just that sounds so geared toward largesse and spaciousness beg for more room to flesh out. That, perhaps, is the interesting duality in Raj’s Raj, since even the massive plod of closer “Iron Matrix” lumbers through its course in a relatively short 4:45, never mind the speedier “Magic Wand” (2:47) or drone interlude “Black Mumbai” (1:51) – gone in a flash. The release moves through these, the earlier “Omegagame” and “Eurasia” and the penultimate “Kaluza” with marked fluidity and efficiency, giving Raj a mini-album feel, and with the atmosphere in “Black Mumbai” and in the surrounding material, their rumble sets up a dynamic that seems primed for further exploration.
Posted in Whathaveyou on December 6th, 2016 by JJ Koczan
This one makes sense. Italian imprint and booking agency Heavy Psych Sounds — founded and run by Gabriele Fiori of Roman trios Black Rainbows and Killer Boogie — is among the foremost ambassadors of his country’s heavy underground. In the meantime, Milan’s Giöbia have emerged as a powerhouse of spaced-out groove, their fourth and most recent long-player, Magnifier (review here), having come out via Sulatron Records last year to the thrill of lysergic braincell-miners worldwide. Pairing the two up to put the band on the road? Yeah, again, that makes sense.
I’d expect an announcement of a Giöbia European — or at very least Italian — tour to follow shortly behind this one that brings the band onto the Heavy Psych Sounds booking roster. So far as I know, they’ll still be releasing through Sulatron — which is run by Dave “Sula Bassana” Schmidt of Electric Moon, Zone Six, etc. — but there’s never been anything wrong with keeping more than one kind of the right company, so cheers to the band. Maybe a new release in 2017 as well? We’ll see.
Here’s what Heavy Psych Sounds had to say about all of it:
HEAVY PSYCH SOUNDS Records & Booking is really thrilled to announce that Giöbia started to be part of the booking roster!
So from today for any gig inquire please write to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Giöbia has been one of the most influential psychedelic bands in Italy over the last years. Seduced by the lysergic side of the ‘60s, by exotic mantras and the evocative power of space-rock, Giöbia is a band from Milano, Italy with many facets and one only faith, that is to turn every encounter with sound into a psychedelic experience.
The band counts four members: leader Bazu (vocals and string instruments), Saffo (organ, violin, vocals), Detrji (bass) and Betta (drums) and their name – Giöbia – comes from an ancient pre-christian festivity celebrated in Northern Italy when a big straw puppet resembling a witch is burnt as a propitiatory ritual towards the forces of nature.
Posted in Reviews on March 30th, 2016 by JJ Koczan
The Wednesday of a Quarterly Review is always special to me. In the six, maybe seven, times I’ve done this now, Wednesday has always been the marker of turning to the second half of the week. Hump Day in a bizarre context. That said, I feel good about how it’s gone so far and I feel very good about the stuff that’s being written about in more than just that getting-it-out-of-the-way spirit. Still, we start today with something that should’ve been reviewed months ago, and I’ll admit to being glad to have such a formidable weight off my chest.
Quarterly Review #21-30:
Sunn O))), Kannon
Sunn O))) are without question among the most integral bands of their generation. I don’t feel like it’s going even remotely out on a limb to say that. With the three-song full-length, Kannon (on Southern Lord), they go back to exploring the waveforms and ritualistic atmospheres that helped their influence spread in the first place, after several years of collaborating with others like Scott Walker and Ulver. Kannon is the first Sunn O)))-proper LP since 2009’s orchestral Monoliths and Dimensions (review here), and while I understand any and everything I might have to say about it is barely a drop in the bucket compared to the from-all-sides laudits founding guitarists Stephen O’Malley and Greg Anderson have received, its three parts nonetheless demonstrate the fact that with Sunn O))), there is never any backward looking, and that even as they strip away elements that made Monoliths and Dimensions as expansive as it was in favor of the claustrophobic rumble and chants of “Kannon 3,” they move relentlessly forward. They remain necessary.
Hey, I like Swallow the Sun. I’ve dug the Finnish outfit since their debut, The Morning Never Came, but I gotta say, maybe a triple album, which Songs from the North I, II and III is, is a bit much? The concept is awesome – one record of light/dark, one record of light, one record of dark – but in practice it’s about a 160 minutes long and a considerable investment to ask of their audience. When it comes to repeat listens, I can’t help but continually go to Songs from the North III, the most extreme installment, which still has plenty of spacious guitar melodies to go with its death-doom emotional and tonal crush, and while I’m not sure that Swallow the Sun would’ve been doing themselves any favors if they spaced out three separate releases rather than bundling them together as they have, it’ll be years before a release of this scope can be properly digested, if it can at all, and for a band whose work is as complex and often lush as Swallow the Sun’s, one wants to absorb it in a way that such a massive offering doesn’t allow.
Italy’s heavy rock boom continues with the debut album from Roman riffers Beesus. The four-piece nod at desert grunge with “6 Ft. Under Box” and roll out thick, loosely-psychedelic vibes on the opening title-track, but The Rise of Beesus primarily tells its story in its plays of density and spaciousness – see “Waltzer” and the later “Sonic Doom/Stoner Youth” – and one is reminded a bit of Snail circa Blood in that, but a sense of variety brings moments like the quiet opening stretch of “Kusa” and the bass-led thrust of “Mata la Verguenza,” making The Rise of Beesus not as easy to predict as it might first appear. When it does indulge its heft, as on “Beesus in Dope,” it satisfies, but while consistent, it is by no means unipolar. It seems to set Beesus up for future expansion on any number of lines, but as their first outing, it also has a noteworthy sense of itself, carving out an identity from diversity of songcraft and an abidingly chaotic vibe.
Fall 2015’s Magnifier (on Sulatron Records) is the fourth LP from Italian psych/space rockers Giöbia, who launch with the ominous cosmic thrust of “This World was Being Watched Closely” and make their grandest statement on side B with the 15-minute lysergic noise excursion of “Sun Spectre.” There and elsewhere in “The Pond,” “The Stain” and the closing “The Magnifier,” Giöbia pursue shroomy sonic enlightenment through soaking reverb and wah, Moog, synth, bouzouki and so on – a somewhat kitchen sink approach resulting in a joyous front-to-back wash of spirited energy and engaging depth. The follow-up to 2013’s Introducing Night Sound (review here), Magnifier finds synth-laden prog swing in “Lentamenta la Luce Svanirà” and pushes air with the low end of its finale title-cut, a right-on dripper that’s round enough to make the world seem square by comparison. The place Giöbia inhabit between psychedelia and space rock is fast becoming a planet all their own, and for ambassadorship of their sound, Magnifier thrills.
Recorded by the band in 2014 and issued in 2015 as their debut EP, Decasia’s Decasia flows more like a long-player, with five cuts that unfold from the tanpura and didgeridoo immersion of opener “Halo,” but I won’t argue. While rawer than what one might commonly expect out of European heavy psychedelia, the French trio nonetheless cull aspects of that sound into their own, so that centerpiece “Blue Love” is right at home with its Hendrixian guitar swing, and closer “Dive” feels within rights to demonstrate a touch of Colour Haze in its initial rhythm, though on the whole Decasia are less laid back and more grunge-informed, resulting in an intriguing blend that, from the burst at the open of “Sherpa” through the crashing finish of “Dive,” shows them as a group able to play to either side at will. They’ve already followed up with the jam “Moodoo Majja,” but I wouldn’t speculate which side will win out as they continue to develop, if indeed any single one does.
The second long-player from London sludgers Sonic Mass, You People Never Learn… would seem immediately to be positioning itself as punishment. Fair enough – there’s certainly some abrasive aspect to its overriding rawness and liberal feedback – but the huge groove that pays off the build in the second half of “Butcher of Brogdael” is more righteous inclusion than it is masochistic, and even faster, shorter cuts like the blown-out punk of “Biker Satania” or “Toga”’s unhinged dual-guitar thrust feels more about a raucous vibe than putting someone off. In the title-track, they move from a wash of distortion into some caustic feedback by the end, but by then the context of You People Never Learn… is such that the nodding push of eight-minute closer “Quadranoid” is more a celebration than a beating, even if it does round out with two minutes of amp crackle, effects and feedback. If it was coming from a stage, you’d raise a pint to it.
Longform material is nothing new for Boise, Idaho-based duo Wolvserpent. Both of their two full-lengths to-date, 2010’s Blood Seed and 2013’s Perigaea Antahkarana, have found the ritual drone-doomers working in extended contexts. However, the newly-issued Aporia:Kala:Ananta EP (on Relapse) pushes that line even further. It is a single-song work running 40 minutes of spacious, sometimes grueling, thrillingly challenging heft, marked by a cinematic sense of drama in its use of violin, blackened extremity and striking depth. Drummer/violinist Brittany McConnell and guitarist/vocalist Blake Green aren’t so much taking any huge stylistic leaps from what they’ve done before, but the scope of “Aporia:Kala:Ananta,” as well as the overarching flow of the piece, its patient execution, and the masterful hand with which they guide it, cannot be called anything but progression. The only question I have is why they’re not calling it an album. Considering both its runtime and its breadth, to consider it anything less feels like selling it short.
Swapping back and forth between Spanish and English lyrics adds variety to Family, the 13-song/45-minute debut long-player from Uruguayan foursome Delouners, but they weren’t short on it anyway. Spacious, echoing guitars and a languid psychedelia-gone-heavy-blues carry across laid back blowout rolls like “Low” and the more uptempo “Secreto,” and all the more in the side A-ending “Mistery Caravan,” the lazy, hazy, take-it-way-down groove feels derived from an All Them Witches influence. There are more garage rock moments, as on the title-track, the earlier “Los Dormidos,” “Alain Delon” and closer “Mirtha Legrand,” and the shoegazing tropicality of “Sea/Side” furthers an individualized sensibility overall, but that naturalist spirit never departs completely. So be it. Delouners drench this central inspiration in their own sonic persona, and so come off influenced rather than derivative, setting themselves up to branch out their progression as they see fit on whatever they might do next.
There are five songs on the self-titled debut EP from Cleveland, Ohio’s Dead East Garden and three of them could be said to have something to do with cars – “Starting Line,” “El Camino Rock” and “Straight Burning Road.” That’s not a judgment, just a statement of fact. From the post-Pepper Keenan chug of opener “The Lurker,” one kind of knows what’s coming from the workingman’s heavy rockers, but “Mother’s Disease” fleshes out a less dudely aggro spirit with a more patient initial roll and satisfying lead work from guitarist Ryan Scheel. The beer-soaked vibes resume as “Straight Burning Road” comes on to close, vocalist Pat Homolish layering spoken and belted-out hooks as bassist John Roach (since out of the band) and drummer R.J. Drenski hold down one more straightforward groove, and Dead East Garden reinforce the plainspoken intent on display across the short release, as light on pretense as it is heavy on testosterone.
As with their 2013 sophomore outing, This Mountain Waits (review here), the third album from UK heavy blues/classic rockers Pearl Handled Revolver, titled If the Devil Cast His Net, uses synth, Mellotron, electric piano and organ to explore a wide variety of moods, from the soft-guitar blues of “Someone Like You” to the rambling “Absinthe in Adelaide.” All throughout, the band reaffirm their mastery of these styles as they go, be it the boogie shuffle of “Loverman” or the side A closing title-track, which sets forth one of the record’s most engaging bass grooves under gravelly verse before moving into an extended instrumental jam, no less poised than anything preceding or following. That plotted feel is at the core of Pearl Handled Revolver’s approach – nothing is here by accident – and it makes their songcraft all the more inarguable, taking in a post-The Doors bounce on closer “Into the Blue” as they mirror the end of the album’s first half for another striking finish.
Posted in Whathaveyou on February 9th, 2016 by JJ Koczan
Okay. With the acknowledgement that the info below has been run through a translation matrix and ultimately all things are subjective, the fluid nature of language, blah blah blah, I’m relatively comfortable saying that Italian heavy psych rockers Liquido di Morte are issuing their second album, II, on March 4 via Sstars. That’s the same imprint that released their self-titled debut (review here) in 2014, and whether the new album picks up in methodology from the long-form explorations of that record remains to be seen, but either way, it’s out next month, it’s got GiacomoBoeddu from Isaak singing a guest spot on “The Saddest of Songs I’ll Sing for You” and the cover art rules. I don’t honestly need much more to get me intrigued.
Except for the fact that the opening song is called “The Corpse of Dr. Funkenstein.” It seems pretty bold for anyone to mess with the good doctor in a modern context, let alone kill him off, but hey, maybe Liquido di Morte have gotten super-funky this time around. They could do worse.
Translated info follows:
Our second disc is called II
Contains 4 tracks that are called like that: The Corpse Of Dr. Funkenstein The Saddest Of Songs I’ll Sing For You Rodents On The Uphill Schwartz pit
In the second the voice you hear is by Giacomo of Isaak.
It’ll be out the next 4 March on SStars di Giacomo Spazio.
It will be available in digital format (free download) and in 2 One-Sided LP.
They recorded that Nicola Manzan Bologna Violenta Captain Mantell Cloaks and Thomas. Thank you Bode Music Gear for the help
The Artwork is SoloMacello and do you see it below.
We’ll celebrate / cry your way out of the 12 March to Lo Fi Milano playing together with the Arabrot.
They might lead off with the creepy and cold impression of “Winter,” but by the end of their How I Reached Home debut LP, Milano four-piece My Home on Trees owe much more to warmth than freeze. In particular, to warmth of tone. The Italian outfit effectively blur the line between heavy rock, psychedelia and doom, leaning toward faster, post-Kyuss desert push on side B’s “Arrow” before sliding fluidly into the slower, trippier “Resume.” As their first release for Italian imprint Heavy Psych Sounds, itfinds My Home on Trees — the lineup of vocalist Laura Mancini, guitarist Marco Bertucci, bassist Giovanni Mastrapasqua and drummer Marcello Modica — carving an identity for themselves of largely familiar genre elements, but hardly wearing out their welcome across the record’s seven tracks/36 vinyl-primed minutes.
It’s worth noting that the first half of the album rounds out with two minutes from Orson Welles‘ War of the Worlds, seemingly as a complement to the sample at the beginning of “Winter” from the film adaptation of Cormac McCarthy‘s The Road wherein a boy asks his father how many people he thinks are still alive and the answer comes back, “In the world? Not very many.” How or if this is actually intended to tie the songs together — the “Winter” in question could just as easily be nuclear, I guess — I couldn’t say, but they start at a rush after that sample and seem aware enough of the expectation of their audience to throw an immediate curve in by slowing “Winter” circa its midpoint and adding a growling, semi-spoken guest appearance from The Midnight Ghost Train‘s Steve Moss, who adds a lurker atmosphere to the track that immediately widens the context for the rest of the material that follows.
The effect is that How I Reached Home throws you for a loop before it’s hardly begun, and it’s a crucial effect when it comes to listening to the rest of the album, because as “I Forgot Everything” stomps its way through its intro to make way for the first verse topped by Mancini‘s bluesy vocals, one doesn’t necessarily know what’s coming next. As to the answer — it’s a barrage of big, hairy riffery and choice groove, the songs maintaining catchy vibes and rough-edged psychedelic flourish of effects and subtle melodic intricacy delivered at varying speed. Starting out with a sparse bassline and ethereal, far-back vocal, “Don’t Panic” teases otherworldliness but winds up steeped in Vista Chino-esque fuzz, playing out at a comfortable middling pace for the first half before shifting into a slowdown that only enhances the nod later on, Bertucci and Mastrapasqua constructing a wall of fuzz that they proceed to tear down once the shuffling chorus returns, setting up the last fadeout into “War of the Worlds.”
And once again, that seems to be drawn right from the 1938 Orson Welles broadcast. I’m not sure if that’s in the public domain or what (if it is, it’s a treasure), but its inclusion on How I Reached Home is somewhat curious both in the context of the The Road sample earlier and the album in general, leaving one to wonder what exactly the apocalypse at hand might be and if “Don’t Panic” is the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy-style advice on how to deal with it. If the record has a front-to-back narrative — it certainly has a front-to-back flow, but that’s different — I don’t know about it, but there’s a thematic leaning in the first half that, in light of the opener, seems to delight in the confusion it’s creating. I, for one, enjoy that.
With “War of the Worlds” rounding out side A, it’s up to the three cuts on side B — “Arrow,” “Resume” and “My Home on Trees” — to further expand the album’s scope. As noted, “Arrow” is the most purely Kyussian of the inclusions here, a heads-down “Green Machine”-winking riff that makes the most of Mastrapasqua‘s bass tone and finds Mancini doing a decent John Garcia from deep in that swell of fuzz, Modica‘s snare cutting through to punctuate the rush. It’s also the shortest song on How I Reached Home (“War of the Worlds” aside), but not by much at 4:52, and one might account for the difference in pacing alone. The more active feel suits the band well and feeds smoothly into the laid-back opening of “Resume,” which picks up with harmonica, bigger riffing and a sustained shout before the wave recedes into more open, patient roll. If that’s My Home on Trees weirding out, then I’m all in favor.
Being their debut — following a self-titled demo in 2013 — it’s encouraging to find them so ready to break the rules they’ve established, and the eponymous “My Home on Trees” continues the thread, effectively summarizing across a near-eight-minute span what’s come before it in trading thrust for nod and tossing in some airy spaciousness in Bertucci‘s post-midsection lead while also toying with a more linear instrumental structure behind Mancini‘s verses. They end big and groove, which feels about right, and the last remaining element to fadeout is the fuzzed guitar — only too fitting since that’s been what has led the way through so much of the material. That’s not to take anything away from the prowess of the rhythm section or the potential vocal powerhouse up front. Rather, these aspects combine with that underlying drive toward the bizarre to make How I Reached Home a satisfying first album that establishes firm ground under the band’s feet and shows them as quick to depart from there to more individual territory.
Milan-based heavy rockers My Home on Trees will release their Heavy Psych Sounds label debut, How I Reached Home, on Sept. 25. and to herald the album’s arrival, the four-piece have newly posted a video fro the track “Winter.” Cinematic and eerie, they must have filmed it a while back, unless they have access to a soundstage with a pretty realistic snow and river set, but all the better for their thinking ahead, since the strange puppetmaster and masked woods-dwelling oddities suit the track well, the song also featuring a guest appearance from The Midnight Ghost Train‘s Steve Moss on vocals from about the midpoint on.
The song itself runs about five and a half minutes, but even so, the amount of ground My Home on Trees manage to cover in that time is impressive. Of course, part of that is the tradeoff on vocals between Laura Marta Mancini and Moss, but the atmosphere shifts accordingly from swinging upbeat blues rock to more dirge-style rumbling. Fans of The Midnight Ghost Train will find Moss‘ performance interesting — I don’t think I’ve ever heard him sing over anything but his own furious riffing — but “Winter” stands on its own in making an impression, and how indicative its scope is of How I Reached Home overall will be something worth finding out when the album arrives.
Shortly after that happens, My Home on Trees will embark on a round of European shows with Doctor Cyclops, and you can find those tour dates under the video below. Please enjoy:
My Home on Trees, “Winter” official video
Doctor Cyclops and My Home on Trees will tour Central Europe from october 30th till november 7th, crossing 6 lands in 9 days. Doctor Cyclops just recorded new album in Uk with Mr. James Atkinson from Gentleman Pistols, My Home on Trees are going to release (september 25th) debut album on Heavy Psych Sounds Records (Release Party in Milano with Karma To Burn on 26th), here is the new video for “Winter”, featuring Steve Moss, The Midnight Ghost Train.
Doctor Cyclops and My Home on Trees on tour: 30.10.15 bahnhof, montagnana (i) 31.10.15 cmk, koper (slo) 2.11.15 rockhouse, salzburg (a) 3.11.15 rockmusik, himlar (d) 4.11.15 gaswerk, winterthur (ch) 5.11.15 mudd club, strasbourg (f) 6.11.15 coq d’or, olten (ch) 7.11.15 baranoff, thun (ch)
Apparently-umlauted Italian heavy psych rockers Giöbia have announced a Sept. 9 release for their new album. Titled Magnifier, it will be their second through Sulatron Records after 2013’s Introducing Night Sound (review here) and their fourth overall. It’s been a bit since we heard from the Milano foursome, but they’ve been busy playing shows, including the Copenhagen Psych Fest this year alongside Causa Sui and Vibravoid.
They’ll also take part in the Psych-Out Festival on Oct. 3 as part of a bill centered around ’60s retroism and a couple different kinds of weirdness. The LP will be out by then, and one imagines preorders will be made available at some point before too for those who like to forget they bought things and then have them show up in the mail. It has a certain appeal, I won’t lie.
The band recently unveiled the cover art, tracklisting and other album details for Magnifier, and you’ll find the whole bunch and a new teaser clip below:
Giöbia’s new album “Magnifier” out on September
Giöbia’s new album “Magnifier” is ready to suck you into a lysergic vortex of exotic mantras and Sabbathian rituals on September 9th
The sound of the new album will be heavier and darker than the past records, but always unique, and at some moments will reveal the intimate bond that we’ve always had with the 70’s Italian progressive.
The artist Laura Giardino, by scratching the twilight zone out your grandma’s wallpaper, made the album cover, and giving magic mushrooms to Alice Liddell and Roderick Usher then listening to their bed trip paranoia, wrote down some lyrics.
The track listing is: 1 This world was being watched closely 2 The Pond 3 The Stain 4 Lentamente la luce svanirà 5 Devil’s Howl 6 Sun Spectre 7 The Magnifier