Yawning Man Announce July 6 Release for The Revolt Against Tired Noises

Posted in Whathaveyou on May 18th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

Preorders start May 22. I’m not really sure what else you need to know. It’s a new Yawning Man album, so a bigtime covet is a given, and it’s out in July and you can preorder it starting next week. Oh, I suppose you’ll probably be interested to know they’ll be touring for it, that Heavy Psych Sounds is putting it out, that Mathias Schneeberger recorded, and that it’s been given the punk-as-hell title The Revolt Against Tired Noises. The follow-up to 2016’s Historical Graffiti (review here), which was pressed to vinyl by Lay Bare Recordings, it will mark the desert rock legends’ first collaboration with Heavy Psych Sounds, which also counts Yawning Man bassist Mario Lalli‘s other long-running band, Fatso Jetson, on its roster.

The PR wire has the specifics like this, but really, everything you need to know is in the first sentence above:

yawning man the revolt against tired noises

Desert heavy psych godfathers YAWNING MAN to issue new album “The Revolt Against Tired Noises” on July 6th via Heavy Psych Sounds.

Experimental desert rock legends YAWNING MAN announce the release of their new album “The Revolt Against Tired Noises” this July 6th on Heavy Psych Sounds Records.

The aural experience of YAWNING MAN summarizes as an intense yet graceful kaleidoscope of polyphonic musical textures. Dramatic and flowing, dark, intense and emotional. July 2018 finds the band releasing their most musically exciting recording to date with their 6th full length LP, “The Revolt Against Tired Noises” on the ambitious up and coming independent label, HPS Records. The songs on this release are described as “an emotional and visceral expression of pure melodic darkness and beauty”, the album was recorded at Gato Trail Studios in Joshua Tree, CA and produced and engineered by friend and long time collaborator, Mathias Schneeberger (Mark Lanegan, Greg Duli, SUNN O))), Earth, The Obsessed).

The eight songs offered here are the results of a conscious focus to the poetry in melody, finding new sounds and melodic passages that conjure visuals and express emotion and movement. Six of the eight songs are in the instrumental tradition the band is mostly know for however two tracks feature the rare appearance of a vocalist (bassist Mario Lalli) alongside Gary Arce’s dream weaving guitar work. One of these tracks of notable mention is the song “Catamaran”, a Yawning Man song made popular by the legendary influential desert rock band Kyuss on the 1995 Elektra release “And the Circus Leaves Town”. The song was never released by YAWNING MAN, however the Kyuss cover of the song proved to be a favorite among Kyuss fans. Spreading the word about Yawning Man’s unique rock music. Yawning Man will finally release this classic, properly recorded for the first time in 30 years. “The Revolt Against Tired Noises” is just that , a statement of a unique creative chemistry that’s always changing and evolving.

A full European, UK, North American / Canadian and South American tour is in planned to support the release. The album will be available on LTD “Half-Half” Red Clear Blue Viny, Ultra Ltd 200 “Cornetto Version” Transparent & Blue Special Colouring (Only From HPS Website), 30 Test Press (Only From HPS website), Black Vinyl, Digipak and Digital.

YAWNING MAN “The Revolt Against Tired Noises”
Out July 6th on Heavy Psych Sounds Records
Pre-order from May 22nd

TRACK LISTING:
1. The Black Kite
2. The Revolt Against Tired Noises
3. Skyline Pressure
4. Grant’s Heart
5. Violent Lights
6 Catamaran
7. Misfortune Cookies
8. Ghost Beach

YAWNING MAN IS
Gary Arce – Guitar
Mario Lalli – Bass
Bill Stinson – Drums

Yawning Man on tour:
25.07.18 | NL | Utrecht | Db’s
27.07.18 | UK | Manchester | The Rebellion
28.07.18 | UK | Bristol | The Louisiana
29.07.18 | UK | London | The Blackheart
31.07.18 | DE | Wiesbaden | Schlachthof
03.08.18 | IT | Osoppo | Pietra Sonica Festival
04.08.18 | AT | Waldhausen | Lake On Fire Festival
05.08.18 | PL | Chorzow | Red & Black
06.08.18 | PL | Warsaw | Chmury
11.08.18 | AT | Döbriach | Sauzipf Rocks Festival
13.08.18 | IT | Brescia | Festa Radio Onda D’Urto (*)
15.08.18 | IT | Ancona | Go Down Beach Fest (*)
16.08.18 | IT | Pescara | Frantic Fest (*)
17.08.18 | IT | Bari | Go Down Beach Fest (*)
18.08.18 | IT | Galatone | Sagra Del Diavolo (*)
24.08.18 | CH | Luzern | Sedel
25.08.18 | IT | Bolzano | Mountain Session
30.08.18 | GR | Thessaloniki | Street Mode Fest
02.09.18 | BU | Sofia | Mixtape 5
03.09.18 | HR | Zupanja | MKC
04.09.18 | SI | Ljubljana | Dvorana Rog
06.09.18 | FR | Clermont-Ferrand | Raymond Bar
07.09.18 | FR | Montpellier | Le Black Sheep
08.09.18 | SP | Barcelona | Rocksound
09.09.18 | SP | San Sebastian | Dabadaba
10.09.18 | SP | Gijon | Sala Memphis
11.09.18 | PO | Porto | Woodstock 69
12.09.18 | SP | Madrid | Wurlitzer Ballroom
13.09.18 | SP | Bilbao | Maritime Museum Bar

(* with ANANDA MIDA)

https://www.facebook.com/yawningmanofficial/
https://yawningman.bandcamp.com
http://www.yawningman.com/
https://www.soundofliberation.com/yawning-man
https://www.facebook.com/Sound-of-Liberation-UG-183095098426785/
https://www.facebook.com/HEAVYPSYCHSOUNDS
http://www.heavypsychsounds.com
https://heavypsychsoundsrecords.bandcamp.com

Yawning Man, Historical Graffiti (2016)

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Yawning Man Sign to Heavy Psych Sounds; New Album this Summer

Posted in Whathaveyou on April 27th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

Yeah, this one makes sense to me. Don’t get me wrong, it’s awesome news that a new Yawning Man is happening and I honestly think that Heavy Psych Sounds is the perfect label to give them the respect they’ve long since deserved. It’s just that with Fatso Jetson already on the roster, and having recently signed Brant Bjork and released that trilogy of Nebula reissues, Heavy Psych Sounds has made itself something of a haven for desert rock of that classic Californian ilk, so yeah, signing Yawning Man makes a whole lot of sense.

So does the fact that the band’s new album, the official title of which has yet to be unveiled but which I’ve speculated might be called The Revolt Against Tired Noises based on art posted by the band — don’t quote me on it, the record that for years I called Gravity is Good for You never materialized as that; though to be fair it wasn’t keen detective work that told me that title, it was the band itself — is coming out this summer. For the vast majority of bands, you don’t go ahead and book a seven-week tour of Europe without a new release to promote. I’d expect it sometime around July or August, then — the tour is also called ‘The Revolt Against Tired Noises’ — though if it wanted to show up sooner, say like, today, in my inbox, I certainly wouldn’t complain.

Either way, killer and sensible news all around. It’s nice when the universe makes the math work.

From the PR wire:

yawning man

Experimental desert rock godfathers YAWNING MAN sign to Heavy Psych Sounds Records!

Heavy Psych Sounds Records is proud to announce the signing of US desert rock godfathers YAWNING MAN on their roster. The band is currently working on their their sixth album, which details will be unveiled soon.

Formed in the late 1980’s, the lineup of Gary Arce, Mario Lalli, and Bill Stinson rounds out their year-long active recording and touring schedule. Arce and Lalli’s background together date back to the start of YAWNING MAN with Stinson’s background steeped in the SST Records world through performing and recording with Gregg Ginn and Chuck Dukowski of Black Flag for several years. YAWNING MAN is acknowledged and recognized throughout the underground heavy music community as a key piece in the developments of the desert/stoner rock subgenres. While their contemporaries gravitated toward the heavy riffs of grunge, and post punk, YAWNING MAN leaned in another direction with their unique and organic, cinematic compositions and psychedelic improvisations… the perfect soundtrack to encompass the spacious moonscape atmosphere of the well documented “generator parties” of their area in the late 1980’s.

It was at these gatherings where they developed this distinctive style and sound by enchanting spectators with their seemingly endless free form instrumental sessions, which echoed through the beautiful deserts, mesas, and landscapes of the Coachella Valley. As time passed, their legend grew with notable names of the Palm Desert music scene paying homage to the group through mention and praise, notably with legendary desert band Kyuss (Joshua Homme, Brant Bjork, John Garcia, Scott Reeder) doing their own rendition of the YAWNING MAN track “Catamaran” on the 1995 Elektra release …And The Circus Leaves Town. Festival appearances include Hellfest (FR), Azkena Fest (ES), Reverence Fest (ES) Desertfest London, Desertfest Berlin, Up in Smoke (CH), Psycho Las Vegas (US), Stoned & Dusted I & II (US), and various others. The recent documentaries on the Deserts unique music scene Lo Sound Desert and Desert Age give light on YAWNING MAN’s influential impact on underground rock music.

YAWNING MAN New album coming soon on HPS Records…

YAWNING MAN IS
Gary Arce – Guitar
Mario Lalli – Bass
Bill Stinson – Drums

Yawning Man on tour:
25.07.18 | NL | Utrecht | Db’s
27.07.18 | UK | Manchester | The Rebellion
28.07.18 | UK | Bristol | The Louisiana
29.07.18 | UK | London | The Blackheart
31.07.18 | DE | Wiesbaden | Schlachthof
03.08.18 | IT | Osoppo | Pietra Sonica Festival
04.08.18 | AT | Waldhausen | Lake On Fire Festival
05.08.18 | PL | Chorzow | Red & Black
06.08.18 | PL | Warsaw | Chmury
11.08.18 | AT | Döbriach | Sauzipf Rocks Festival
13.08.18 | IT | Brescia | Festa Radio Onda D’Urto (*)
15.08.18 | IT | Ancona | Go Down Beach Fest (*)
16.08.18 | IT | Pescara | Frantic Fest (*)
17.08.18 | IT | Bari | Go Down Beach Fest (*)
18.08.18 | IT | Galatone | Sagra Del Diavolo (*)
24.08.18 | CH | Luzern | Sedel
25.08.18 | IT | Bolzano | Mountain Session
30.08.18 | GR | Thessaloniki | Street Mode Fest
02.09.18 | BU | Sofia | Mixtape 5
03.09.18 | HR | Zupanja | MKC
04.09.18 | SI | Ljubljana | Dvorana Rog
06.09.18 | FR | Clermont-Ferrand | Raymond Bar
07.09.18 | FR | Montpellier | Le Black Sheep
08.09.18 | SP | Barcelona | Rocksound
09.09.18 | SP | San Sebastian | Dabadaba
10.09.18 | SP | Gijon | Sala Memphis
11.09.18 | PO | Porto | Woodstock 69
12.09.18 | SP | Madrid | Wurlitzer Ballroom
13.09.18 | SP | Bilbao | Maritime Museum Bar

(* with ANANDA MIDA)

https://www.facebook.com/yawningmanofficial/
https://yawningman.bandcamp.com
http://www.yawningman.com/
https://www.soundofliberation.com/yawning-man
https://www.facebook.com/Sound-of-Liberation-UG-183095098426785/
https://www.facebook.com/HEAVYPSYCHSOUNDS
http://www.heavypsychsounds.com
https://heavypsychsoundsrecords.bandcamp.com

Yawning Man, Historical Graffiti (2016)

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Yawning Man Announce Seven-Week European Tour

Posted in Whathaveyou on April 25th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

yawning-man-Photo-by-River-Arce

If you’ve been keeping up with Yawning Man on the social medias at all, you’ve probably noticed they’re in the the studio working on new material. That’s only going to be good news, because new Yawning Man is inherently a positive force in the universe, and further intrigue is added by a shot of bassist Mario Lalli adding vocals to a track, something pretty rare for the band. I’ll hope to have more on that as we get closer to what may or may not be called The Revolt Against Tired Noises based on some artwork the band posted by Kelly Keith and the name shared by their upcoming European tour, which will run for a somewhat astounding seven-week stretch.

I don’t know if that’s the longest stint the band has ever undertaken, but if not, it’s gotta be pretty close to it, and if they have a new record out at some point during the tour or perhaps even before, then all the better. For a year that’s already brought some rather killer releases, the possibility of a new Yawning Man before 2018 only further complicates the prospect of a best of the year list.

Hopefully more to come soon. Here are tour dates:

yawning man tour poster

Tour Announcement – Yawning Man!

Currently working on their next album, Desert-Rock legends Yawning Man will come back to Europe this summer, for a 7-week tour!! Check-out the first batch of dates below. More will follow soon.

25.07.18 | NL | Utrecht | Db’s
27.07.18 | UK | Manchester | The Rebellion
28.07.18 | UK | Bristol | The Louisiana
29.07.18 | UK | London | The Blackheart
31.07.18 | DE | Wiesbaden | Schlachthof
03.08.18 | IT | Osoppo | Pietra Sonica Festival
04.08.18 | AT | Waldhausen | Lake On Fire Festival
05.08.18 | PL | Chorzow | Red & Black
06.08.18 | PL | Warsaw | Chmury
11.08.18 | AT | Döbriach | Sauzipf Rocks Festival
13.08.18 | IT | Brescia | Festa Radio Onda D’Urto (*)
15.08.18 | IT | Ancona | Go Down Beach Fest (*)
16.08.18 | IT | Pescara | Frantic Fest (*)
17.08.18 | IT | Bari | Go Down Beach Fest (*)
18.08.18 | IT | Galatone | Sagra Del Diavolo (*)
24.08.18 | CH | Luzern | Sedel
25.08.18 | IT | Bolzano | Mountain Session
30.08.18 | GR | Thessaloniki | Street Mode Fest
02.09.18 | BU | Sofia | Mixtape 5
03.09.18 | HR | Zupanja | MKC
04.09.18 | SI | Ljubljana | Dvorana Rog
06.09.18 | FR | Clermont-Ferrand | Raymond Bar
07.09.18 | FR | Montpellier | Le Black Sheep
08.09.18 | SP | Barcelona | Rocksound
09.09.18 | SP | San Sebastian | Dabadaba
10.09.18 | SP | Gijon | Sala Memphis
11.09.18 | PO | Porto | Woodstock 69
12.09.18 | SP | Madrid | Wurlitzer Ballroom
13.09.18 | SP | Bilbao | Maritime Museum Bar

(* with ANANDA MIDA)

https://www.facebook.com/yawningmanofficial/
https://yawningman.bandcamp.com
http://www.yawningman.com/
https://www.soundofliberation.com/yawning-man
https://www.facebook.com/Sound-of-Liberation-UG-183095098426785/

Yawning Man, Historical Graffiti (2016)

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Brant Bjork Signs to Heavy Psych Sounds for Reissues & New Music; Headlining Stoned & Dusted in May

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

BB and HPS Agreement Announcement Image-700

One really, really hates to use corporate newspeak buzzwords like ‘gamechanger,’ but this is a pretty big deal. After three releases on Napalm Records —  2014’s Black Power Flower (review here), 2016’s Tao of the Devil (review here) and 2017’s Europe ’16 (review here) live LP — desert rock pioneer Brant Bjork has inked a deal with Italian imprint Heavy Psych Sounds.

While it’s not necessarily surprising Bjork would go with another European imprint following the end of his term with Napalm, which is based in Austria, he steps into position as the most recognizable figure on Heavy Psych Sounds and arguably the label’s biggest act. His back catalog from 1999’s Jalamanta (discussed here) through 2010’s Gods and Goddesses (review here) will be reissued as part of the deal, and Bjork will move forward with new releases as well, including the long awaited Jakoozzi album that’s been talked about for years.

I had the pleasure of writing the announcement below, so please check it out and get yourself informed. No timetable yet so far as I know on the reissues, but I’d be surprised if they didn’t start to surface by the end of the year. I wonder if they’ll go in order.

From my keyboard to the PR wire and back again:

brant bjork signing

Brant Bjork Signs to Heavy Psych Sounds

New Album Coming Soon; Back Catalogue to be Reissued; Jakoozzi to Finally See Release

In a union born of a meeting in the desert night, Heavy Psych Sounds could not be prouder to announce the signing of desert rock legend Brant Bjork to its ever-growing roster. Starting immediately, the entire Brant Bjork discography from 1999-2010 is available through the label’s digital platforms: iTunes, Amazon, Spotify, Bandcamp, Deezer, and more.

As a founding member of and a main songwriter in Kyuss, Brant Bjork is a pivotal figure in desert rock. His time on drums in Fu Manchu only solidified his position, and when he released his first solo album, Jalamanta, in 1999, he brought new elements of soul to the style and crafted a sound all his own that he continues to develop to this day.

In 2014, Bjork formed the Low Desert Punk Band and released two albums, Black Power Flower (2014) and Tao of the Devil (2016), as well as a live album on Napalm Records. In signing to Heavy Psych Sounds, his much-anticipated collection of funk-influenced material, Jakoozzi, will at long last be released, and the man himself will set to work on his next studio LP.

“Super psyched to sign with Heavy Psych Sounds Records,” enthuses Bjork. “I’m looking forward to making brand new rock, re-releasing my catalog and the long-awaited Jakoozzi album. Most definitely, Heavy Psych Sounds Records are the people to help me do this. I met Gabriele when Black Rainbows supported us in 2016, and then we had him come to the desert to play Desert Generator. Good guy doing good things for rock and roll. Right on.”

“We are absolutely thrilled to partner with Brant Bjork,” affirms label head Gabriele Fiori. “Bringing in Brant Bjork is a desert rock dream come true and we can’t wait to help expose a whole new generation to his previous releases and work together for a long time to come on new music as well! Brant will be our top artist and we are looking to work hard with him to bring his music around the globe!”

Brant Bjork — along with his partners Mario Lalli and manager Ryan Jones — are throwing a generator party called Stoned and Dusted which will take place at a secret desert location in Joshua Tree, CA, on May 26 and 27. Brant will headline the event alongside The Obsessed, Nebula, Yawning Man, and many more. Stay tuned for more news from Brant Bjork and Heavy Psych Sounds in the coming weeks and months.

https://www.facebook.com/BrantBjorkOfficial
https://www.instagram.com/brant_bjork
https://twitter.com/brant_bjork
http://www.brantbjork.com
http://www.stonedanddusted.com
https://www.facebook.com/HEAVYPSYCHSOUNDS
http://www.heavypsychsounds.com
https://heavypsychsoundsrecords.bandcamp.com

Brant Bjork, Live at Desert Generator 2017

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Friday Full-Length: The Desert Sessions, Volume I. Volume II

Posted in Bootleg Theater on February 2nd, 2018 by JJ Koczan

The Desert Sessions, Vol. I & II

Imagine you’re an alien sent to Earth on a mission of galactic diplomacy. You’ve done your homework, read the full portfolio, and you feel pretty confident in your ability to get here, know the score, drop off your pamphlets about joining the interstellar union of planets (that’s not to say “Galactic Federation”) and get back out again. Easy peasy.

So you find what seems to be a decent parking spot for your craft at a strip mall or wherever and land outside a record store. You have your clipboard under your arm to give you a sense of authority and you walk into the place — because in your portfolio it says that record stores are where Earthlings conduct their most important diplomatic transactions; totally true, by the way — and blaring through the speakers is the 1998 compilation Desert Sessions Vol. I & II. You hear John McBain‘s weepy lap steel guitar on “Monkey in the Middle.” You hear the bizarre preach that starts off the record and the even more bizarre preach that finishes it. You hear Josh Homme and Dave Catching‘s intertwining guitars on the jazzy and psychedelic “Cowards Way Out.” And what the hell can you possibly think is happening? Wouldn’t you have to immediately get back in your ship and space-truck the hell out of there? Final report: Earth is too weird for first contact.

The first of them issued some 20 years ago this month, the Desert Sessions releases — there would wind up being 10 of them recorded between 1997 and 2003, compiled two per CD, with the first six pressed independently on vinyl — have become something of a legend of desert rock. A glorious tale of shroom-laden spontaneous creative endeavor, spearheaded by a recently-enough post-Kyuss Josh Homme, at that point really just getting going with Queens of the Stone Age — who over the subsequent years would derive songs like “Avon” and “Monster in the Parasol” from Sessions material — working under the moniker The Acquitted Felons at Rancho de la Luna in Joshua Tree, CA, with the even-then-unfuckwithable lineup of McBain (Monster Magnet, Wellwater Conspiracy), Brant Bjork (ex-Kyuss, Fu Manchu), Alfredo Hernández (Yawning Man, Queens of the Stone Age), Ben Shepherd (Soundgarden, Wellwater Conspiracy), Pete Stahl (earthlings?, Goatsnake) and studio owners Fred Drake and Dave Catching, it’s a narrative almost too fitting to the genre: anti-establishment, raw creativity, drugs. It’s so on-its-own-terms it might as well be in its own language.

And in a way, it is. First released in 1997 as Volume I: Instrumental Driving Music for Felons and 1998 as Vol. II: Ships Commander Butchered (well, at least we know what happened to our interplanetary diplomat), the first two Desert Sessions installments were independent vinyl EPs before Man’s Ruin brought them together as a single 10-song/39-minute full-length CD, which frankly works better. Whether it’s the nine-minute bizarro-garage push of “Cake (Who Shit on The?)” or the more straightforward “Johnny the Boy,” on which Homme seems to do his best vocal impression of Fatso Jetson‘s Mario Lalli, whatever else you might say about The Desert Sessions and the stories of their making, they are vibrantly creative outings, especially earlier on. Spontaneity abounds throughout the first two volumes, and pulled together on a single disc, the listener gets a sense of being at Rancho de la Luna with The Acquitted Felons as they draw inspiration from the land around them, from each other, and yeah, probably from a healthy-ish amount of psilocybin. These tracks and the others in the editions that would follow have become something of historical footnotes perhaps to the wider stylistic contributions of Queens of the Stone AgeMasters of Reality, et al to the sphere and scope of this era of desert rock, from which much of the subgenre’s influence continues to derive, but even so the substance of the release itself more than justifies holding Vol. I & II in such regard. Two decades later, it’s a disc that remains gleefully, irrepressibly weird, and in so doing captures an essential part of the spirit of desert rock too often lost in favor of simple fuzz tones and Kyuss-style riffing.

Frankly, I’m surprised it’s not a model that’s been followed more often. When I think about locales with booming heavy undergrounds — from Austin, Texas, to Portland, Oregon, to Berlin, London, Barcelona, Rome, Athens, and so on — it seems like there would or should be someone picking up this form and bringing something new to it. It doesn’t have to be a “desert session,” necessarily, but just the notion of getting a group of musicians together who respect each other, putting them in a studio fora  couple days and seeing what comes out of it. Can you imagine if members of Causa SuiPapir and Baby Woodrose got together? Or Electric Moon and Øresund Space Collective? You could have 10 “sessions” of material in an afternoon! Or how about Gabriele Fiori from Black Rainbows putting together a team with contributions from Ufomammut members and others from around the Roman underground? Or the 1000mods guys leading the charge for Greece? There’s so much potential in the notion, I suppose, that it’s kind of sad it hasn’t happened.

I guess these things can be hard to coordinate, even if they might end up staving off an alien invasion.

As always, I hope you enjoy.

Going to make this quick because it’s five in the morning and as good as this coffee is, I’m writing with one eye open as a result of being so gosh dern tired. I got back last night at about midnight from seeing Corrosion of Conformity and Red Fang rip it up in Worcester, Mass., which is more than an hour away from where I live (what isn’t?) and was magically awake again at 2AM, so yeah a bit of punishment.

I’ll be reviewing that show for Monday. Next week is also packed with streams and premieres. Here’s the notes, obviously subject to change:

Mon.: All Souls album stream/review; C.O.C. live review.
Tue.: River Cult track premiere/review; Zhora video.
Wed.: Green Lung EP stream.
Thu.: Green Druid review/track premiere; Six Dumb Questions with Black Space Riders.
Fri.: Lonely Kamel track premiere.

Like I said, packed.

As regards a personal update for anyone who’s been keeping up the last couple weeks or who reads the photo floatovers — not that there’s ever anything to read in the photo floatovers; please ignore the snark behind the curtain — it’s been a really tough time. I’m being treated for an eating disorder and it’s playing havoc with my body and mental state. I’m doing the work I need to be doing, doing what I’m told and all that shit, eating, but yeah, it’s been a really low time for me on a personal level and that has manifested in some pretty dark thoughts and impulses. I’m doing my best to get through it for my wife and our baby. That’s all I really want to say at this point about it.

On a brighter note, a lot of people said a lot of really nice things about the site this week on the occasion of the ninth anniversary, here and on the social medias, and that was thoroughly appreciated. Thank you for giving a crap. It’s the reason I’m up at five in the morning putting this post together. Well, that and persistent anxiety issues. But the point is it’s definitely both as a factor, and your ongoing support of The Obelisk means more to me than I can say. Thank you.

I hope you have a great and safe weekend. I’m going to eat a hamburger today. I’m a little nervous about it and unsure if I’ll have it with eggs or on a bun, but either way, this thing is happening. That and singing Deep Purple and Dio to my son while changing his diapers will be my adventure for the next couple days.

Please don’t forget to check out the forum and radio stream.

The Obelisk Forum

The Obelisk Radio

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Chris Goss Posts New Tracks “The Workhouse Howl” and “Powder Man”

Posted in audiObelisk, Whathaveyou on January 9th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

chris goss the workhouse howl powder man

I was somewhat hopeful, if bet-hedgingly so, that last year might’ve brought new music from Masters of Reality. Sadly, it didn’t. Though 2016 brought a reissue of the desert-rocking 2001 outing Deep in the Hole (discussed here), it’s been since 2009 that an actual new record from the band has showed up. That last full-length was the pop-experimental Pine/Cross Dover (review here), which seemed to take particular delight in its own strangeness of vibe even as it played from a foundation of ultra-solid hooks very much in the tradition of Chris Goss‘ songwriting — an element that, if you don’t know by now, is about as unfuckwithable as they come.

Early 2018 brings two new pieces from Goss, and they’re immediately distinct for appearing under his own name. Does that mean they won’t turn into Masters of Reality songs at some point? Does that mean he’s going to put out a solo record? Does that mean there’s going to be any kind of follow-up at all and the songs might not get taken down by the time this post goes live? I have no idea. I have no idea on any of it. One cut is an excerpt of a song called “The Workhouse Howl” that’s got kind a haunting ambience of volume swells and some keyboard-sounding string arrangement, and the other is the acoustic-based “Powder Man,” a quiet but memorable and melancholy chorus executed in an efficient three-plus minutes.

Again, I don’t know what if anything these songs are leading toward. Following Goss on Twitter is something of a mixed bag of retweets and conservative political whatnottery, but ultimately pretty light on info as regards new music. Still, these songs exist and for today that’s enough to make me really happy and renew my hopes that at some point the man will produce a new full-length, be it under the Masters of Reality moniker or even his own name. If it’s a solo piece in the vein of “Powder Man” here or something more progressive along the lines of “The Workhouse Howl” or both, or even just the solo single, I’ll take it. Shit man, it’s Chris Goss. Take what you can get and be happy for it.

Here are those tracks:

Chris Goss, “The Workhouse Howl (Excerpt)”

Chris Goss, “Powder Man”

Chris Goss on Twitter

Masters of Reality on Thee Facebooks

Masters of Reality website

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Yawning Man Announce Fall Touring in US & Canada

Posted in Whathaveyou on August 3rd, 2017 by JJ Koczan

yawning man (photo River Arce)

It’s been a busy year for desert rock legends Yawning Man up to this point. This Spring found them out alongside Swedish fuzz forerunners Truckfighters for a rare stint of US touring, and then, after playing the pre-show for Brant Bjork‘s Desert Generator festival in April, in May they headed back to Europe for a stretch of dates that included both nights of Heavy Psych Sounds‘ Sonic Ritual fest, and much more besides, taking them into June. Later this month, they play the Psycho Las Vegas pool party alongside the weighty likes of PentagramConanGoya and Sasquatch (among others), and in September and October, they’re back out once again, this time on what might be the longest stretch of domestic touring they’ve ever done. Not too shabby as regards staying productive.

Shows are presented by Tone Deaf Touring and find Yawning Man continuing to support the 2016 Lay Bare Recordings release, Historical Graffiti (review here). What’s the matter guys, couldn’t find five minutes in between all that touring to write and record a new album? Jeez. Some people.

Dates follow, as dutifully transcribed by yours truly:

yawning-man-tour-poster

Yawning Man announcing U.S. & Canada Tour Dates!!

YAWNING MAN U.S. AND CANADIAN TOUR SEPT/OCT 2017
09.15 San Francisco CA Brick & Mortar
09.16 Sacramento CA Blue Lamp
09.17 Portland OR Ash St. Saloon
09.18 Seattle WA Highline
09.19 Vancouver BC Astoria
09.21 Calgary AB Palamino
09.22 Saskatoon SK Amigos
09.23 Edmonton AB Brixx
09.25 Winnipeg MB Windsor Hotel
09.27 St. Paul MN Turf Club
09.28 Chicago IL Subterranean
09.30 Millvale PA Mr. Smalls Funhouse
10.01 Rochester NY Bug Jar
10.04 Ottawa ON Mavericks
10.05 Montreal QC Turbo Haus
10.06 Newport RI Cafe at Parlor
10.07 Philadelphia PA Kung Fu Necktie
10.08 New York NY American Beauty
10.09 Washington D.C. Black Cat
10.10 Richmond VA Strange Matter
10.12 Asheville NC Odditorium
10.15 New Orleans LA Santos Bar
10.17 Austin TX The Lost Well
10.18 Ft. Worth TX Lolas
10.19 Albuquerque NM Sister
10.20 Scottsdale AZ Pub Rock
10.21 West Hollywood CA Viper Room
10.22 San Diego CA Soda Bar
w/ Alex Perez & the Rising Tide 09.15-10.01
w/ We are the Asteroid 10.04-10.22

https://www.facebook.com/yawningmanofficial/
https://yawningman.bandcamp.com
http://www.yawningman.com/
https://www.facebook.com/tonedeaftouring/
http://tonedeaftouring.com/

Yawning Man, Historical Graffiti (2016)

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Review & Track Premiere: Brant Bjork, Europe ’16

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on July 26th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

brant-bjork-europe-16

[Click play above to hear ‘Controllers Destroyed’ from Brant Bjork’s live album Europe ’16, out Sept. 22 via Napalm Records.]

One severely doubts it’s a coincidence that a Brant Bjork set would start with “Buddha Time (Everything Fine).” That laid back, instrumental, rolling desert groove speaks to an aspect of Europe ’16 that’s apparent before the needle even hits the wax of the Napalm Records release, and that’s the manner in which Bjork — whose career pedigree in as drummer/songwriter in Kyuss and Vista Chino, drummer in Fu Manchu, guitarist/vocalist in Ché and multi-instrumentalist, bandleader and songwriter in the various incarnations of his solo work from Brant Bjork to Brant Bjork and the OperatorsBrant Bjork and the Bros. and Brant Bjork and the Low Desert Punk Band has made him the undisputed godfather of desert rock — directly acknowledges the stoner side of who he is and what he does.

It’s right there on the cover of Europe ’16, which is the first official live album of Bjork‘s nearly-20-year solo career which began with 1999’s Jalamanta (discussed here; also here) on Man’s Ruin, a full-length that continues to resonate and inform his soulful, funk-infused delivery to-date, and while so many others of Bjork‘s ilk, geographical cohort and generation have tried to distance themselves from a “stoner” tag, he’s made it a part of his aesthetic. Some might say an essential part, and it’s become a defining piece of the ultra-laid back, groove-ready persona he showcases throughout Europe ’16, which captures 12 tracks and 85 minutes of Brant Bjork on the road last year with The Low Desert Punk Band supporting his two studio albums for Napalm: 2014’s Black Power Flower (review here) and 2016’s Tao of the Devil (review here) — both of which, it’s worth noting, were of a similar leafy theme in terms of their artwork.

Is it fair, then, to think of Europe ’16 as the third in a trilogy of offerings for NapalmBjork has said openly that Tao of the Devil was the final studio outing on his contract for the Austrian imprint, and if one presumes a three-album deal, then it’s quite possible Europe ’16 is the farewell piece. If so, it marks a righteous summary of what Bjork has accomplished as a songwriter and performer over the last few years, returning to solo output after a successful run with Vista Chino following much tumult around touring as Kyuss Lives! and the also-Napalm-backed issue of 2013’s Peace (review here) offering with that band.

Highlighting cuts from Black Power Flower like “Controllers Destroyed,” the aforementioned mindset-setting opener “Buddha Time (Everything Fine)” and the later “Stokely up Now,” and even more from Tao of the Devil in “Humble Pie,” “Stackt,” “The Gree Heen,” as well as the later and more extended jams “Dave’s War/Dave’s Peace” (based on “Dave’s War” from the record) and “Biker No. 2,” Europe ’16 finds Bjork, guitarist Bubba DuPree (formerly of Void), bassist Dave Dinsmore (Ché) and drummer Ryan Güt at the proverbial top of their game in terms of chemistry, and of all the times Bjork could have issued a live album over the last decade-plus, it’s easy to hear why now would be an obvious choice.

brant bjork photo kip dawkins

Joined by guest vocalist Sean Wheeler in the second half of the set, this incarnation of Brant Bjork and the Low Desert Punk Band saunter through pieces from Bjork‘s substantial catalog like “Low Desert Punk” and “Lazy Bones/Automatic Fantastic” from Jalamanta, “Freaks of Nature” from 2007’s Somera Sól and “Let the Truth be Known” from 2005’s Saved by Magic, and while live albums rarely exist that don’t make the performing act come out on the positive side — that is, nobody wants to put out a shitty-sounding show — neither does Europe ’16 shy away from the rawer side of the band’s presentation, especially as regards Wheeler‘s vocals in “Biker No. 2” and “Freaks of Nature” and the natural movement and flow of the group’s jams, which unfold beginnings and endings organically here, sounding unretouched and all the more engaging for that. Whether or not it’s the last in a series of three, Europe ’16 is a document of an era in Bjork‘s career that has not only seen a rise in his profile, but resulted in some of the most memorable material he’s ever written.

To wit, songs like “Stackt” and “Humble Pie” not only stand up to the landmark riff of “Automatic Fantastic,” but they underscore the progression that’s played out over time and a span of 11 LPs in Bjork‘s approach, and by embracing a jammier vibe later in the set in “Dave’s War/Dave’s Peace,” “Biker No. 2,” “Freaks of Nature,” “Low Desert Punk” and “Let the Truth be Known,” which includes a finale take on the Rolling Stones‘ “Jumpin’ Jack Flash,” Europe ’16 sets an immersive trajectory that feels true to the live experience. Of course, there’s a big difference between watching a band onstage and soaking in an 85-minute live record, and the latter process is no minor undertaking, but even if one thinks of Europe ’16 as a fan piece, it more than earns its place in Bjork‘s catalog, and the poise with which the band handles its turns and the commanding presence of Bjork at the forefront speak to not only the well-earned maturity of his craft but a showmanship that a studio outing simply wouldn’t be able to bring into focus.

Not saying much in terms of stage banter throughout, the man himself gets on mic before the get-your-ass-stoned advising of “Let the Truth be Known” to thank Berlin specifically after several “dankeschön”s earlier on, and that brings to mind the relationship between desert rock and the EU heavy underground. There’s a bit of irony there, since the Palm Desert scene, as it was in the ’80s and early/mid ’90s and as its legacy has grown in the years since, is so much based on the Californian landscape and American suburban culture, but no question Bjork has become the key ambassador for that movement and for the unique creativity and sound those sands helped to foster.

He’ll head back abroad this fall (dates posted here) to mark the release of Europe ’16 and perhaps take a victory lap with The Low Desert Punk Band before moving on to other projects and ideas (or at least another outlet), but that stint, like this live album built from the last one, should only serve to reaffirm what Black Power Flower and Tao of the Devil continued to establish: that when it comes to desert rock, there’s only one Brant Bjork. Nobody else brings the same level of soul to their sound, the classic feel and the steadiness of vibe that he does, and on Europe ’16, some 17 years after first embarking on a solo career, he continues to show that in new and exciting ways.

Brant Bjork on Thee Facebooks

Brant Bjork website

Napalm Records website

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