Mountain Dust Release Seven Storms this Week; Euro Tour Starts May 24

Posted in Whathaveyou on May 14th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

mountain dust

If you’ve got three minutes and are looking for a good time, click play at the bottom of this post to check out ‘Inside the Rift,’ the newly posted single from Quebecois heavy rockers Mountain Dust. You might recall the four-piece were recently added to Freak Valley 2018 and they’ll also appear at Sweden’s Muskelrock, supporting their new album, Seven Storms, which sees release this Friday, May 18, as the follow-up to 2016’s Nine Years, which was picked up by the venerable Kozmik Artifactz for LP/CD issue. Well, if you do or don’t, it happened.

Laced with organ and a kind of latter-day Graveyardy soul, like I said, it’s three minutes of a good time. Hell, you’ve got three minutes. Don’t pretend you don’t.

Dig it:

mountain dust seven storms

Mountain Dust has just released the second cut from their sophomore album Seven Storms, which is set to come out May 18. A European Tour will follow the release.

The new song “Inside The Rift” has the same captivating storytelling and sonic energy that attracted fans to their debut album Nine Years (2016) – released on Kozmik Artifactz Records. It features a guest vocal appearance from Mikey Heppner (Priestess).

The songs on Seven Storms reference new influence from the soundtracks of science-fiction TV shows and old Western films, and Mountain Dust use a variety of instruments to create interesting new textures and soundscapes. Vocalist Brendan Mainville’s lyrical imagery paints vivid pictures of both pain and triumph.

When the new record drops on May 18th, Mountain Dust head to Europe for a run of 17 shows across 8 countries including stops at 2 festivals – Freak Valley in Germany, and Muskelrock in Sweden.

Their debut record Nine Years (2016) was nominated for Rock Album of the Year at home in Quebec, Canada, and caught the attention of German-based record label Kozmik Artifactz. The resulting partnership has helped Mountain Dust spread their music into areas of Europe they will visit during their spring 2018 tour.

Check out tour dates, and their new song “Inside The Rift” below:

May 24 – Antwerp, Belgium
May 25 – Lyon, France
May 26 – Piacenza, Italy
May 27 – Mantia, Italy
May 29 – Liege, Belgium
May 30 – Netphen, Germany
May 31 – Copenhagen, Denmark
June 01 – Tyrolen, Sweden
June 02 – Berlin, Germany
June 03 – Wroclaw, Poland
June 04 – Brno, Czech
June 05 – Prague, Czech
June 06 – Chemnitz, Germany
June 07 – Wurzburg, Germany
June 08 – Hagen, Germany
June 09 – Paris, France
June 10 – Le Havre, France

Mountain Dust is:
Vocals / Lyrics / Guitar: Brendan Mainville
Organ / Synthesizer / Guitar: Patrick Bennett
Bass: Hal Jaques
Drums / Percussion: Blair Youngblut
Guest Vocals: Mikey Heppner

http://www.facebook.com/mountaindust
http://www.twitter.com/mountaindusty
http://www.instagram.com/mountaindust
https://mountaindust.bandcamp.com/
http://www.mountaindustofficial.com/

Mountain Dust, “Inside the Rift”

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Freak Valley 2018: Candlemass, Steak, Wolf People, Mountain Dust & No Man’s Valley Join Lineup

Posted in Whathaveyou on March 26th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

freak valley 2018 banner

Time marches on and the lineup for Freak Valley 2018 only grows more substantial. I won’t take anything away from Wolf People (whose Ruins album currently sits in my Amazon cart awaiting purchase) or Steak or No Man’s Valley or Mountain Dust here, who’ve all joined the ranks, but the highlight here has to be the addition to doom legends Candlemass to the Freak Valley 2018 melange. If you haven’t seen them in the last few years, the Swedish innovators are absolutely dead-on on stage, and though it’s coming up on six years since they released their last full-length, they still do nothing but kill when it comes to delivering a set.

I wrote the announcement for them and everyone else that you’ll find below, as posted by Freak Valley on the social medias:

freak valley 2018 candlemass

Freaks, assemble!

Gather ‘round – it’s time for the next round of adds to our already-sold-out, already-massive 2018 incarnation of FREAK VALLEY FESTIVAL! It’s got legends with ancient dreams and upstarts with tales of red rains, but before we dive in, we’d like to personally thank each and every one of you for making Freak Valley 2018 a sell-out months in advance. It warms our freaky hearts to know you feel as passionately about this as we do, and we can’t wait to welcome everyone to Freak Valley 2018 on May 30!

Alright, enough mushy stuff. Time to welcome Candlemass, Wolf People, Steak, Mountain Dust, and No Man’s Valley to the lineup!

CANDLEMASS

Since Epicus Doomicus Metallicus, nobody has doomed quite like the Swedish legends in Candlemass. Bassist Leif Edling has spent decades conjuring riffs that have become classics, and from that first album in 1986 through the new EP House of Doom coming in May, they’ve never failed to deliver Sabbath-worthy vibes and a groove all their own. There’s only one Candlemass and we couldn’t be more stoked to have them as part of Freak Valley 2018!

WOLF PEOPLE

In 2016, UK psychedelic four-piece Wolf People released their third album, Ruins, and told a tale of an earth without people. The buzz and the spaciousness through which the band created these unpopulated soundscapes were gorgeous, and still somehow tied to a folkish pulse. They’re not to be missed when they take the Freak Valley stage, and if you think you know the reaches of psychedelia, think again.

STEAK

As meaty as their name, these UK riff aficionados have been dominating Britain and beyond for years now, and their welcome to Freak Valley can only be called overdue. Their second album, No God to Save, came out on Ripple Music last year and absolutely blew us away with in following up 2014’s desert homage Slab City, as Steak came more into their own and their groove became even more lethal.

MOUNTAIN DUST

With cuts like “Evil Deeds” and “Tale of the Red Rain,” Montreal’s Mountain Dust proffered organ-laced blues across their 2016 debut, Nine Years, and blew away listeners and critics alike with the force and soul of their delivery. They’ve got a new record in the works for this year and will hit Freak Valley as part of their first-ever European tour, so don’t miss on these up and comers while you’ve got the chance to catch them now!

NO MAN’S VALLEY

Few first albums hit us as hard as the heavy blues of No Man’s Valley’s Time Travel upon its release in 2016. Like The Flying Eyes and All Them Witches before them, the interplay of keys and guitar and tales of witches gave a classic atmosphere to the Netherlands outfit’s work, and their memorable songwriting only made even more of an impression. We’re keeping our fingers crossed they show off some new material!

Freak Valley Festival 2018 // No Fillers – Just Killers

Line-up 2018:
OM, Russian Circles, Candlemass, Karma To Burn, My Sleeping Karma, MY BABY, Mars Red Sky, SUMAC, LUCIFER, Wolf People, Yuri Gagarin, Dýse, The Freeks, SACRI MONTI, Steak, Black Bombaim, Year of the Cobra, Purple Hill Witch, Ouzo Bazooka, Ruff Majik, Toke, Humulus, KALEIDOBOLT, Rage of Samedi, Nap, No Man’s Valley, Mountain Dust

More tba soon

Have a freaky time – your Rock Freaks

www.freakvalley.de
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https://www.facebook.com/events/738782742996668/
https://twitter.com/FreakValley

Candlemass, Live at Rock Hard Festival 2017

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The Obelisk Presents: The Top 20 Debut Albums of 2016

Posted in Features on December 15th, 2016 by JJ Koczan

the obelisk top 20 debut albums of 2016

Please note: This post is not culled in any way from the Year-End Poll, which is ongoing. If you haven’t yet contributed your favorites of 2016 to that, please do.

Of all the lists I do to wrap up or start any given year, this is the hardest. As someone obviously more concerned with first impressions than I am and thus probably better-dressed once said, you only get one chance at them. For bands, that can be a vicious bite in the ass on multiple levels.

To wit, you put out a great debut, fine, but there’s a whole segment of your listeners who’re bound to think you’ll never live up to it again. You put out a meh debut, you sell yourself short. Or maybe your debut is awesome but doesn’t really represent where you want to be as a band, so it’s a really good first impression, but a mistaken one. There are so many things that can go wrong or go right with any LP, but with debuts, the stakes are that much higher because it’s the only time you’ll get the chance to engage your audience for the first time. That matters.

And when it comes to putting together a list of the best debuts of the year, how does one begin to judge? True, some of these acts have done EPs and singles and splits and things like that before, and that’s at least something to go on, but can one really be expected to measure an act’s potential based on a single collection of songs? Is that fair to anyone involved? Or on the other side, is it even possible to take a debut entirely on its own merits, without any consideration for where it might lead the band in question going forward? I know that’s not something I’ve ever been able to do, certainly. Or particularly interested in doing. I like context.

Still, one presses on. I guess the point is that, like picking any kind of prospects, some will pan out and some won’t. I’ve done this for enough years now that I’ve seen groups flame or fade out while others have risen to new heights with each subsequent release. It’s always a mix. But at the same time, it’s important to step back and say that, as of today, this is where it’s at.

And so it is:

KING BUFFALO ORION

The Obelisk Presents: The Top 20 Debut Albums of 2016

1. King Buffalo, Orion
2. Elephant Tree, Elephant Tree
3. Heavy Temple, Chassit
4. Holy Grove, Holy Grove
5. Worshipper, Shadow Hymns
6. Vokonis, Olde One Ascending
7. Wretch, Wretch
8. Year of the Cobra, In the Shadows Below
9. BigPig, Grande Puerco
10. Fuzz Evil, Fuzz Evil
11. Bright Curse, Before the Shore
12. Conclave, Sins of the Elders
13. Pale Grey Lore, Pale Grey Lore
14. High Fighter, Scars and Crosses
15. Spirit Adrift, Chained to Oblivion
16. Bellringer, Jettison
17. Church of the Cosmic Skull, Is Satan Real?
18. Merchant, Suzerain
19. Beastmaker, Lusus Naturae
20. King Dead, Woe and Judgment

Honorable Mention

There are many. First, the self-titled from Pooty Owldom, which had so much weirdo charm it made my head want to explode. And Iron Man frontman Dee Calhoun‘s acoustic solo record was technically a debut. And Atala‘s record. And Horehound. And Mother Mooch. And Domkraft. And Spaceslug. And Graves at Sea? Shit. More than a decade after their demo, they finally put out a debut album. And Second Grave‘s full-length would turn out to be their swansong, but that doesn’t take away from the quality of the thing. There were a lot of records to consider in putting this list together. As always, it could’ve been a much longer list.

For example, here are 20 more: Swan Valley Heights, Arctic, Blues Funeral, Teacher, Psychedelic Witchcraft, Nonsun, Duel, Banquet, Floodlore, Mindkult‘s EP, Mountain Dust, Red LamaRed Wizard, Limestone Whale, Dunbarrow, Comacozer, Sinister Haze, Pants Exploder, Akasava, Katla and No Man’s Valley. That’s not even the end of it. I could go on.

Notes

It was a fight to the finish. There’s always one, and as late as yesterday I could be found kicking back and forth between King Buffalo and Elephant Tree in the top spot. What was it that finally put King Buffalo‘s Orion over Elephant Tree‘s self-titled? I don’t know. Ask me tomorrow and the answer might be completely different.

They had a lot in common. Not necessarily in terms of style — King Buffalo basked in spacious Americana-infused heavy psych jams while Elephant Tree proffered more earthbound riffing and melodies — but each executed memorable songs across its span in a way that would be unfair to ask of a debut. The potential for what both bands can turn into down the line played a part in the picks, but something else they share between them is that the quality of the work they’re doing now warrants the top spots. Orion and Elephant Tree were great albums, not just great first albums.

From there, we see a wide swath of next-generation encouragement for the future of heavy rock, whether it’s coming from Sweden’s Vokonis or Philadelphia’s Heavy Temple, or London’s Bright Curse, or Los Angeles duo BigPig. The latter act’s punkish fuzz definitely benefited from guitarist/vocalist Dino von Lalli‘s experience playing in Fatso Jetson, but one hopes that as the years go on his own multifaceted songwriting style will continue to grow as well.

A few offerings weren’t necessarily unexpected but still lived up to the anticipation. High Fighter‘s EP prefaced their aggro sludgecore well. Ditto that for the grueling death-sludge of Massachusetts natives Conclave. The aforementioned Bright Curse, Merchant, Fuzz Evil, Atala, Bellringer, Holy Grove, Wretch and Worshipper all had offerings of one sort or another prior to their full-length debuts — in the case of Bellringer, it was just a series of videos, while Wretch had the entire The Gates of Slumber catalog to fall back on — but each of those albums offered surprises nonetheless.

It would’ve been hard not to be taken by the songwriting on display from the likes of Holy Grove, Year of the Cobra, Pale Grey Lore and Beastmaker, who between them covered a pretty broad variety of atmosphere but found ways to deliver high-quality crafted material in that. Those albums were a pleasure to hear. Put Boston’s Worshipper in that category as well, though they were just as much a standout from the pack in terms of their performance as what they were performing. Speaking of performance, the lush melodies from Church of the Cosmic Skull and classic progressive flourish were enough to make me a believer. Simply gorgeous. And one-man outfit Spirit Adrift shined, if in that matte-black doom kind of way, on an encouraging collection of modern melancholic heavy that seemed to hint at sprawl to come.

As we get down to the bottom of the list we find Pennsylvania ambient heavy post-rockers King Dead. Their Woe and Judgment was released digitally last year (2015) but the LP came out earlier this year, so I wasn’t quite sure where to place them ultimately. I know they got some mention on the 2015 lists somewhere, but while they’re an act who’ve flown under a lot of people’s radar as yet, I have good feelings about how they might continue to dig into their sound and the balance of bleakness and psychedelic color they bring to their material. They’re slated for a follow-up in 2017, so this won’t be the last list on which they appear in the next few weeks.

Like I said at the outset, putting out a debut album is a special moment for any band. Not everyone gets to that point and not everyone gets beyond it, so while a list like this is inherently bound to have some element of speculation, it’s still a worthy endeavor to celebrate the accomplishments of those who hit that crucial moment in their creative development. Hopefully these acts continue to grow, flourish, and build on what they’ve thus far been able to realize sonically. That’s the ideal.

And before I go, once again, let me reinforce the notion that I recognize this is just a fraction of the whole. I’d like it to be the start of a conversation. If there was a debut album that kicked your ass this year and you don’t see it here, please drop a note in the comments below. I’m sure I’ll be adding more honorable mentions and whatnot over the next couple days, so if you see glaring omissions, let’s have ’em.

Thanks for reading.

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Mountain Dust Sign to Kozmik Artifactz

Posted in Whathaveyou on September 20th, 2016 by JJ Koczan

The interwebs went ape this summer for Mountain Dust‘s debut full-length, Nine Years, and I’m not inclined to argue. Based out of Montreal, the band successfully bring classic sounds forward a few decades, establishing a full sound on cuts like “Running Fool,” which you can hear below. I don’t love the artwork, but cartoon tits are getting on my nerves these days — can’t that shit just be over? — but the successful execution of the tracks brooks no disagreement, as further evidenced by the fact that respected German purveyor Kozmik Artifactz has picked up Nine Years for an early 2017 vinyl release.

They sent the following announcement down the PR wire:

mountain-dust-700

MOUNTAIN DUST Signs With KOZMIK ARTIFACTZ Records

Canadian stoner/psych-blues rockers Mountain Dust have penned a European deal with German label Kozmik Artifactz.

The Montreal based band released their debut full length record titled “Nine Years” independently over the summer, but only online and with an extremely limited pressing of CDs. Since its release, “Nine Years” has been making the rounds in stoner rock circles online, and the international orders have become overwhelming for the band.

“None of us were expecting this type of response when we set out to make this record,” said Mountain Dust frontman Brendan Mainville. “After we put the record online we started getting messages from people all over the world asking how they can get our music on vinyl. Who knew the internet was such a powerful place?” joked Mainville. “Being an independent band, we aren’t equipped to handle the demand we’ve been experiencing, so teaming up with Kozmik Artifactz is exciting, and also a bit of a relief.”

When asked about the signing, the folks at Kozmik Artifactz had this to say about the newest addition to their roster, “Looking for a band that will catch your attention in the first 10 seconds? Here you go! This is exactly what happened when we were surfing Bandcamp for good music one day. The voice, the mood, the feeling, the overall sound … Mountain Dust simply blew us away.”

Following an official release in early 2017, Mountain Dust is planning plenty of live performances support their new record. “Running Fool”, the first single from “Nine Years”, can be heard below.

Tracklisting:
1. Evil Deeds 04:26
2. Aveline 04:36
3. Running Fool 04:26
4. Tale of The Red Rain 06:07
5. Dead Queen 08:53
6. Lonely War 04:11
7. Nine Years 07:33

http://www.mountaindustofficial.com/
http://www.facebook.com/mountaindust
http://www.twitter.com/mountaindusty
http://www.instagram.com/mountaindust
http://www.mountaindust.bandcamp.com/
http://kozmik-artifactz.com/
https://www.facebook.com/kozmikartifactz/

Mountain Dust, “Running Fool”

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