Quarterly Review: Alcest, Superchief, Test Meat, Stones of Babylon, Nightstalker, Lewis & the Strange Magics, Room 101, Albatross Overdrive, Cloud Cruiser, The Spiral Electric

Posted in Reviews on January 8th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

quarterly review

Welcome to Day Three of The Obelisk’s Winter 2020 Quarterly Review. It’s gonna be kind of a wild one. There’s a lot going on across this batch of 10 records, and it gets kind of weird — also, it doesn’t — so sit tight. It’ll be fun either way. At least I hope so. I’ll let you know when I’m finished writing. Ha.

Today we pass the halfway point on the road to 50 reviews by Friday. I think I’m feeling alright up to this point. It’s been a crunch behind the scenes, but it usually is and I’ve done this plenty of times now, so it’s not so bad. I always hold my breath before getting started, but once I’m in it, I rarely feel anymore overwhelmed than I might on any other given day. Which is still plenty, but you know, you make it work.

So let’s do that.

Quarterly Review #21-30:

Alcest, Spiritual Instinct

alcest spiritual instinct

Perhaps unsurprisingly given the label’s modus in this regard as it’s picked up bands from the heavy underground over the last eight to 10 years — arguably a movement that began with Graveyard in 2012 — but Parisian post-black metal innovators Alcest make something of an aesthetic shift with their first outing for Nuclear Blast, Spiritual Instinct. Melody, of course, remains central to their purposes, but in the nine-minute side B opener “L’Île des Morts” as in its side A counterpart “Les Jardins de Minuit,” the subsequent “Protection” and “Sapphire” and even in the crescendo — glorious wash as it is — of the closing title-track, one can hear a sharper, decidedly metallic edge to the guitar and impact of the drums. That’s a turn from 2016’s Kodama (review here), which offered more of a conceptual progressivism, and of course the prior 2014 LP, Shelter (review here), which cast of metallic trappings almost entirely. Why the change? Who cares, it works, and they still have room for the cinematic keyboard-led drama of “Le Miroir” and plenty of the wistful emotionalism that’s been their hallmark since their debut in 2007. They’ve long since mastered their approach and Spiritual Instinct serves as another example of their being able to make their sound do whatever they want.

Alcest on Thee Facebooks

Nuclear Blast webstore

 

Superchief, Moontower

superchief moontower

Four records and just about a decade deep into a tenure that began with the 2010 Rock Music EP (review here), Iowa heavy rockers Superchief have found ways to bring an inventiveness to what’s still an ostensibly straightforward approach. Moontower, named for a lookout point where — at least presuming from the album’s artwork — people tailgate and get drunk, finds the dudely five-piece no less embroiled in burl than they’ve ever been, but using samples and other elements in interesting ways as with the revving motor matching step with the drums at the start of “Barking Out at the Blood Moon” or keyboards in “Rock ‘n’ Roll War” filling out the breaks where the riffs take a step back. Handclaps early in “Beer Me Motherfucker” — as much post-“Introduction” mission statement for the LP as a whole as anything — set the party tone, and from the shaker on “The Approach” to the Southern tinged shred and organ on closer “Priority of the Summer,” a car speeding by at the finish, Superchief find ways to make each of their songs stand out from its surroundings. Then they pair that with choice riffery, pro-shop sound and hooks. Sure enough, it’s once again a winning formula and a distinct showing of personality and craft that still comports with classic heavy style.

Superchief website

Superchief on Bandcamp

 

Test Meat, Enjoy

test meat enjoy

Boston duo Test Meat are so utterly bullshit-free as to be almost intimidating. Guitarist/vocalist Darryl Shepard (Kind, Blackwolfgoat, Hackman, Milligram, etc.) and drummer Michael Nashawaty (Planetoid) dig into heavy grunge and noise rock influences across a 10-track/27-minute full-length that resounds with punker roots and an ethic of willful straightforwardness. It’s not that the music is so intense there would be no room for frills, it’s that the structures are so tight and so purposefully barebones that they’d be incongruous. And it’s not that Test Meat are writing half-hearted songs, either. Frankly, neither the quality of their material nor the sharpness of the sound they captured at New Alliance Studio with Alec Rodriguez would remotely lead one to believe so, and nothing with such stylistic clarity happens by mistake. This is a band with a mission, and Enjoy finds them bringing that mission to life with a complete lack of pretense. It’s a reminder of what made grunge so appealing in the first place some 30 years and an entire internet ago. Songs and performance. Yes.

Test Meat on Thee Facebooks

Test Meat on Bandcamp

 

Stones of Babylon, Hanging Gardens

Stones of Babylon Hanging Gardens

Following a 2018 live demo, Portuguese instrumental three-piece Stones of Babylon — guitarist Rui Belchior, bassist João Medeiros, drummer Pedro Branco — embark with a conceptualist intent on their debut full-length, Hanging Gardens, issued through Raging Planet. An opening sample in the leadoff title-track describing the hanging gardens of Babylon sets the stage for what the band goes on to describe with wordless atmospheres over the five-song/47-minute long-player, their vision of heavy psychedelia touched with a suitable Middle Eastern/North African influence in the initial unfolding of the meditative 11-minute “Coffea Arabica” or the winding lead work over the punchy low end of “Black Pig’s Secret Megalith.” But Hanging Gardens is still very much a heavy rock release, and its material showcases that in tone and mood, with volume changes and builds taking hold like that in centerpiece “Ziggurat,” which in its second half sets a march of distorted largesse nodding forth until its final crashout. They save the most drift for “Babylonia (The Deluge),” and if they’re finishing with the story of the flood, one can’t help but wonder what narrative course they might follow in a second record. On the other hand, if one comes out of Hanging Gardens trying to envision Stones of Babylon‘s future, then the debut would seem to have done its job, and so it has. There’s stylistic and tonal promise, and with the edge of storytelling, an opportunity for development of which one hopes they avail themselves.

Stones of Babylon on Thee Facebooks

Raging Planet website

 

Nightstalker, Great Hallucinations

nightstalker great hallucinations

Frontman Argy and Greek heavy rock institution Nightstalker return with their eighth album in a quarter-century run, Great Hallucinations. Also their first LP for Heavy Psych Sounds after issuing 2016’s As Above So Below (review here) on Oak Island Records, it’s an up-to-par eight-track collection of catchy tracks marked out by psychedelic elements but underpinned by traditionalist structures, Argy‘s distinctive frontman presence, and an all-around unforced feeling of a mature, established band doing what they do. Not going through the motions in the sense of fulfilling some perceived obligation to stay on the road, but creating the songs they want to create in nothing less than the manner they want to create them. I won’t take away from the roll of “Seven out of Ten,” but as “Cursed” taps into a legacy of European heavy rock that runs from Dozer‘s turn of the century work — not to mention Nightstalker‘s own — to outfits today, it’s hard not to appreciate an act being so assured in what they do in terms of execution while actually doing it. In that way, Great Hallucinations is as refreshing as it is familiar.

Nighstalker on Thee Facebooks

Heavy Psych Sounds website

 

Lewis and the Strange Magics, Melvin’s Holiday

Lewis and the Strange Magics Melvins Holiday

From their beginnings in garage doom and subsequent dive into exploitation/vamp psych, Barcelona’s Lewis and the Strange Magics put themselves in even weirder territory on their third album, Melvin’s Holiday, centering a story around the titular character whose life is in turmoil and so he goes on vacation. The sound of the band seems to do likewise, veering into ’70s lounge sleaze and island influences, toying with funky rhythms and keyboards amid catchy choruses across what still would have to be called an experimental 34-minute run. It is a concept album, to be sure, and one that comes through in its stylistic choices like the dreamy keyboards of the centerpiece “Carpet Sun” or the fuzzy stomp in “Sad in Paradise” and the percussion amid the Ween-sounding lead guitar buzz of “Lounge Decadence.” This could be Lewis and the Strange Magics working purposefully to cast off any and all expectation that might be placed on them, or it could just be a one-off whim, but there’s no question they pull off an impressive turn and carry the concept through in story and substance. When it comes to what they might do next time, the payoff of closer “Afternoon on the Sand” serves as one more demonstration that the band can do whatever the hell they want with their sound, so I’d expect them to do no less than precisely that.

Lewis and the Strange Magics on Thee Facebooks

Lewis and the Strange Magics on Bandcamp

 

Room 101, The Burden

room 101 the burden

The debut EP from Lansing, Michigan, four-piece Room 101, called simply The Burden, would seem to take a scorched-earth approach to atmospheric sludge, setting their balance to exploring ambient textures and samples in pieces like “You Will Never Know Security” — which, sure enough, samples 1984 to recount the origin of the band’s name — and the brief “A Place to Bury Strangers,” while the churning “As the Crow Flies” and “Missing Rope” present an outright extremity that comes through in post-Godflesh vocal barks and a Through Silver in Blood-style intensity of churn and general approach. Yet I wouldn’t necessarily call Room 101 post-metal — at least not here. The solo on “Missing Rope” seems to draw from more traditional sources, and the manner in which the chugging in “Plague Dogs” caps with a sudden quick series of hits recalls grindcore’s pivoting brutality. One might hope all of these elements get fleshed out more over subsequent releases, but as a first outing, part of The Burden‘s promise is also drawn from the sheer rawness of its impact and the lack of compromise in its wrench of gut.

Room 101 on Thee Facebooks

Room 101 on Bandcamp

 

Abatross Overdrive, Ascendant

albatross overdrive ascendant

Albatross Overdrive‘s 2016 LP, Keep it Running (review here), ran 31 minutes. Their follow-up, Ascendant, reaches to 33, but loses two tracks in the doing. Clearly, one way or the other, this is a conscious ethic on the band’s part, and it tells you something about their approach to heavy rock as well. There’s nothing too fancy about it — even in “Come Get Some,” which is the longest song the band have ever written at 6:40 — and they are not an outfit to waste their time. Structures run from verse to chorus to verse to chorus led through by guitarists Andrew Luddy and Derek Phillips and Art Campos‘ gritty delivery with an expectedly solid underpinning from bassist Mark Abshire (ex-Fu Manchu) and drummer Rodney Peralta and songs like the careening title-track and the blues-licked shover “Undecided” are enough to give the impression that anything else would be superfluous. They’re not lacking style — because ’70s-meets-’90s-straight-ahead-heavy is, indeed, a style — but it’s the level of their craft that stands them out.

Albatross Overdrive on Thee Facebooks

Albatross Overdrive on Bandcamp

 

Cloud Cruiser, I: Capacity

Cloud Cruiser I Capacity

Kyuss-style riffing takes a beating at the hands of Chicago newcomers Cloud Cruiser — who are not to be confused with Denver’s Cloud Catcher — who make their debut on vinyl through Shuga Records with I: Capacity, giving an aggressive push to what’s commonly considered a more laid back sound. In tone and rhythm and general gruffness, they are a deceptively pointed outfit, with turns of broader groove like that at the outset of “575” that speak to more influences than simply those of the Cali desert. They start off catchy and familiar-if-reshaped, though, on “Transmission” and “Glow,” letting their tale of alien abduction unfold across the lyrics while setting up the shifts that “Gone” and “575” and the thick-boogie of “Orbitalclast” will make before the EP’s would-be-clean-but-for-all-that-dirt-it’s-kicked-up 23-minute run is through. The balance they present speaks to a background in metal, though if they’re fresh arrivals in this realm of heavy, you’d never know it from the lumbering finish they present. Sometimes you just gotta get mean to get your point across. It suits

Cloud Cruiser on Thee Facebooks

Shuga Records website

 

The Spiral Electric, The Spiral Electric

the spiral electric the spiral electric

It is a progressive interpretation of fuzz ‘n’ buzz that San Francisco four-piece The Spiral Electric realize on their self-titled, self-released debut long-player, with recording and mixing by Dead Meadow‘s Steve Kille, the band — vocalist/synthesist/noisemaker/guitarist/percussionist/co-producer Clay Andrews, lead guitarist/backing vocalist Nicolas Percey, bassist Michael Summers and drummer Matias Drago — bridge the generally disparate realms of heavy psych and riffer heavy rock, giving a dreamy sensibility to “Marbles” with no less an organic vibe than they brought to the howling, attitudinal push of “No Bridge Left Unburned” earlier. They skillfully mess with the scale across the lengthy 14-track span, and thereby hold their audience for the duration in longer pieces like “The True Nature of Sacrifice” (8:24) as easily as they do in a series of three episodic interludes of noise, field recordings, synth, etc. This is a band ready, willing and able to space. the hell. out., and after listening to the record, you’d be a fool if you wanted to try. Not that they don’t have aspects to shore up or shifts that could be tightened and so on, but from ambition to fruition, it’s the kind of first record bands should aspire to make.

The Spiral Electric on Thee Facebooks

The Spiral Electric on Bandcamp

 

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Video Premiere: Electric Jaguar Baby, “Witch I Love” from Self-Titled LP

Posted in Bootleg Theater on October 9th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

electric jaguar baby

The Oct. 25 release of Electric Jaguar Baby‘s self-titled debut long-player follows behind an impressive string of three EPs issued over two years. Obviously the Parisian duo are on the same page when it comes to songwriting. Their output would seem to manifest that as well, listening to the advance single “Witch I Love.” They had previously streamed the track as a teaser for the album to come — and fair enough so, it’s catchy as hell — but have now backed that up with a video to really make their case. Again, fair enough. With the full-length so impending, the zero-nonsense strut of “Witch I Love” feels all the more urgent in its post-Queens of the Stone Age style of riffing and vocal patterning. Frank D. and Antonio D. comprise the outfit and employ a range of guests across the album’s nine-track span, but their sound is ultimately only further distinguished and bolstered by the inherent rawness of recording as a duo, and that comes through in “Witch I Love” as well.

But the primary impression, of course, is in the whole affect of the song itself, and by that I mean the clarity of intention behind it. Think later Homme, not so much Songs for the Deaf or even Lullabies to Paralyze, but the QOTSA sound thereafter and the sidestep of Them Crooked Vultures, and you’ll get a sense of where the production is coming from, but more than that, listening to “Witch I Love,” the structure is air-tight. There’s a swift build in momentum over a clean 3:44 run in the video, and the hook, as noted, is right on, but listen to the track as you make your way through and ask yourself what you would leave out? What would you cut? Nothing, right? It’s not that it’s spare in any way — I’m sorry, but you just don’t call your band Electric Jaguar Baby if you’re not a style-conscious individual or group — but they absolutely nail the balance between sounding natural and conveying attitude while also having this super-strong underlying foundation of verses and chorus. It’s a classic formula, certainly, but put to good use here for sure.

As to the rest of the record, I haven’t heard it and would have to wonder what the purported “fuzz rap” of “Storm (Me Against Me)” with Mark Northey of Watkins and 7 Days Before might sound like — though I’ll admit some trepidation in finding out — but there’s no substitute for a quality single, and Electric Jaguar Baby seem to know they have one.

The video is likewise pretty straightforward: a performance clip run through a filter of analog pops to make it look like a warped tape, but well lit and edited and pro-shop generally, so dig in below. Credits follow as posted by the band.

Please enjoy:

Electric Jaguar Baby, “Witch I Love” official video premiere

NEW SINGLE 2019 ! Parisian fuzzers Debut album out October 25th !
Vinyls out via Slice of Wax Records in 3 limited editions : 3 colors and 3 screeprinted covers !
CD & K7 tapes out via El Diablo Records.

Bandcamp: https://electricjaguarbaby.bandcamp.com/merch

Video by :
Réalisation : Aurelia Authome ( @aureliaa18 )
Cadrage/assistant réal : Renaud Tilman ( @renaudtilman )
Shoot @ Mains D’oeuvres (93400 ST Ouen).

Electric Jaguar Baby on Thee Facebooks

Electric Jaguar Baby on Instagram

Electric Jaguar Baby website

Electric Jaguar Baby on Bandcamp

Slice of Wax Records on Thee Facebooks

Slice of Wax Records on Bandcamp

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Review & Full Album Premiere: Pelegrin, Al-Mahruqa

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on September 9th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

pelegrin al-mahruqa

[Click play above to stream Pelegrin’s Al-Mahruqa in full. Album is out Friday, Sept. 13.]

The fluidity Parisian three-piece Pelegrin conjure throughout their self-released debut album, Al-Mahruqa, finds them easily crossing lines between styles like post-rock, prog and heavy psychedelia, and as their first outing, it blends them with marked poise. Comprised of five tracks running a total of 40 minutes, it is a purposefully immersive listen, drawing its audience in throughout the nine-plus minutes of opener “Majoun” — named for a Moroccan fruit and nut confection often used as a hash jam edible — and moving with grace through “Farewell,” “The Coldest Night,” “Dying Light” and the closing title-track, each one adding to the story arc of the album as a whole while creating a sense of journeying further through its psych-infused desert expanse. The title Al-Mahruqa seems to be taken from the name of a Syrian village, and given some of the sonic influences at play throughout, that seems a fair enough place for guitarist/vocalist François Roze, bassist Jason Recoing and drummer Antoine Ebel to end up, though of course one has to consider the civil war that’s raged in Syria since 2011.

Whether that’s taken into account on Al-Mahruqa — one would wonder how it couldn’t be — the French trio do well in establishing the voyage early in “Majoun,” which opens with a smattering of voices and a percussion-laden departure over winding, ebow-style guitar in Middle Eastern minor key. An immediate touchstone on paper would be Om, and perhaps in some way they’ve been a conceptual influence, but the actual experience of Al-Mahruqa shares little in common with that Al Cisneros outfit, other than perhaps a gaze directed at the region and an overarching interest in the mystique surrounding desert spiritualism. “Majoun” unfolds in heavy rolling fashion with deceptive smoothness, almost catching one off guard by the time it’s made its full impact, a drop-out after five minutes causing reflection on how far one has already come, and indeed how far there still is to go through the energy buildup that follows and pays off in a hard-hitting shove only to give way to a call to prayer that leads directly into the drifting guitar at the outset of “Farewell.”

Already, Pelegrin have made their intention plain. Al-Mahruqa is not at all lacking for character, but neither is it simply letting things happen. I have no doubt some of these parts and stretches were born in the studio or rehearsal space in off-the-cuff fashion — Roze recorded and mixed, while Wo Fat‘s Kent Stump mastered — but whether it’s the louder post-rocking sun-bake-into-desert-triumph that marks the early crescendo in “Farewell” or the more patient and masterful roll that ensues when the cycle comes around again, no single element feels haphazard. Even when the effects seem to create a wash, that wash has a purpose serving the overall song the album of which it’s a part. Given that general level of consideration, it’s perhaps less of a surprise to see it extend to the structure of the record as well, which alternates between longer and shorter tracks in such a way as to maximize the flow between them without the listener getting too caught up in one expectation or the other.

With “The Coldest Night” as the centerpiece, Pelegrin embark on a pivotal stage in their travels with a due sense of increased heft, rightly considering their interaction with those making the trip along with them as they thicken the fuzz in Roze‘s guitar and the thud in Ebel‘s drumming — Recoing‘s bass isn’t lacking weight either, since we’re on the subject. Still, it’s the floating lead over top that takes hold just before the eight-minute mark that lets one know they’ve gotten to where they’re going, and it’s that lead guitar that remains floating on the fade after the rest of the layers have made their way out. And when that goes? Footsteps. How could it possibly be anything else? Pelegrin have made the point thoroughly by the time “The Coldest Night” is through that they’re going from one place to another, taking the listener from one place to another, but those footsteps only reinforce it.

And as the penultimate “Dying Light” touches on a post-metallic march with a still-gentle verse overtop that takes off into a solo, there’s a somewhat more aggressive undertone — it’s in the drumming as well as the 5:21 song nears its midpoint — but the atmosphere stays consistent with “The Coldest Night” and the material preceding both through its measured pace and through its melodic insight. These are no less prevalent as themes through Al-Mahruqa than the concept that bears out across its tracks, but of course less explicitly stated. “Dying Light” caps with lead and rhythm layers of guitar in conversation with a formidable nod of a groove, drifting at their finish into what sounds like a field recording of ritual chanting and percussion, in turn giving way almost immediately to “Al-Mahruqa” itself.

As the only cut to top 10 minutes, the closer earns immediate distinction among the rest of the album — not to mention it’s the title-track — and with additional percussion alongside the drums and a more uptempo initial stretch, it holds to that sense of ritual that closed “Dying Light.” They slow it down soon enough and play back and forth across volume shifts and across an instrumental hypnosis that works well in crafting an otherworldly vibe, but it’s ultimately a heavy, crashing march that rounds out the capstone of Al-Mahruqa, that terrestrial ending followed by the sound of a rainstorm and then a noise that could either be water going down a drain or a door closing scraping on rock. Something concluding, whatever it is. Pelegrin leave a likewise heavy silence when “Al-Mahruqa” is done, giving a due reminder that in fact their journey is only beginning — this is their first album. What it might lead to, I couldn’t say, but the collision of elements and styles at play throughout is only loaded with potential for future expansion of style, arrangements, and general reach, though even if nothing of the sort takes shape, it remains plenty full-sounding as is. Still though, something here makes one think that perhaps Pelegrin are a band with a clear progression in mind. An effect of all that journeying, perhaps.

Pelegrin, Al-Mahruqa (2019)

Pelegrin on Thee Facebooks

Pelegrin on Bandcamp

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Heavy Psych Sounds Fest Announces 2020 Dates in Paris, Antwerp, London & Deventer

Posted in Whathaveyou on September 9th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

mondo generator

At this point, there’s just about no way this is it for Heavy Psych Sounds Fest, the traveling live incarnation of Italian imprint Heavy Psych Sounds that seems to have bands in any town it stops and to pick up headliners wherever it goes as well. Paris, Antwerp, London and Deventer — France, Belgium, the UK and the Netherlands. Well, considering this year saw the first US-based Heavy Psych Sounds Fest run and that there are still dates to play out next month, yeah, it seems likely to me this is just the beginning for Heavy Psych Sounds Fest 2020.

It’s a striking beginning though, with Mondo Generator (seen above) headlining the shows with support from Black Rainbows and Duel each time out and various others coming and going including Dead Witches, Lords of AltamontGorilla, Alunah and Giöbia. No less of a scale than one would expect, and again, it won’t at all be the final announcement of Heavy Psych Sounds Fest 2020. More cities, more tours, more bands, more everything. This is not a label that in recent years has shown even the slightest interest in going anything less than all out, all the time.

The PR wire shows tickets on sale already, because of course. With respect:

heavy psych sounds fest 2020

HEAVY PSYCH SOUNDS FEST announce new London, Paris, Antwerp and Deventer editions in 2020 with Mondo Generator, Black Rainbows, Duel, Lords Of Altamont and more!

Heavy Psych Sounds Records, the unstoppable cult and fuzz rock machine rising from Rome, Italy, has announced to once again conquer London, the Netherlands, Belgium and this time also Paris, with their highly acclaimed mini festival series: HEAVY PSYCH SOUNDS FEST!

Heavy Psych Sounds specializes in presenting the best artists in the global heavy psych, doom, fuzz blues and space rock realms, and their festival-series is no exception, spotlighting the ever-growing label’s dedication to its craft. HPS is not only THE address for all heavy rock record collectors, but it has also become an important live and festival institution; with a brisk participation from heavy music fans all over the world. Each hotspot of the traveling festival tour features diverse line-ups including both genre leaders and fast-rising acts, all ready to prove their place among the world’s best!

In cooperation with Desertscene, Rock in Bourlon, Metadrone and SOZ Concerts, Heavy Psych Sounds has announced the dates and bands to kick off 2020 in style in London, Antwerp, Paris and Deventer. Featuring high class acts such as Nick Oliveri’s MONDO GENERATOR, BLACK RAINBOWS, DUEL, DEAD WITCHES and many more, the HPS FEST series 2020 will be taking place in March. The line-up, dates and locations will look as follows:

HPS Fest Paris (FR) – March 5th @ Glazart
Facebook event
The Lords Of Altamont
Mondo Generator
Black Rainbows
Duel
Giöbia

HPS Fest Antwerp (BE) – March 6th @ Trix
Facebook event
Mondo Generator
Black Rainbows
Duel
The Lords Of Altamont
Dead Witches
Giöbia

HPS Fest London (UK) – March 7th @ The Underworld
Facebook event
Mondo Generator
Black Rainbows
Duel
Dead Witches
Giöbia
Gorilla
Alunah

HPS Fest Deventer (NL) – March 8th @ Burgerwheesuis
Facebook event
Mondo Generator
Black Rainbows
Duel
The Lords Of Altamont
Dead Witches

Better be quick and get your tickets HERE: https://www.heavypsychsounds.com/fests.htm#hps-fests-2020

“Heavy Psych Sounds is happy to announce the second edition of the London, Belgian and Netherlands HPS fest!“, label owner Gabriele Fiori comments. “Last year was such a success, so we also added Paris. We want to thank all the audiences, who make the label and booking so great. Bands, fans and promoters, we want to thank you all for your support and making it happen!“

Earlier this year, Heavy Psych Sounds also announced a bunch of festival dates in Berlin, Dresden (De), Rome (It) and Innsbruck (AT) to take place in the fall of 2019 with headlining acts such as CONAN, MONOLORD, among further heavy as hell bands alike BLACK RAINBOWS, THE SONIC DAWN, ALUNAH, ECSTATIC VISION and many more. Find out all details, tickets and info at this location.

https://www.facebook.com/HEAVYPSYCHSOUNDS/
https://heavypsychsoundsrecords.bandcamp.com/
www.heavypsychsounds.com/
https://www.heavypsychsounds.com/fests.htm

Black Rainbows, Pandaemonium (2018)

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Electric Jaguar Baby Self-Titled Debut out Oct. 25; New Song Streaming

Posted in Whathaveyou on September 4th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

electric jaguar baby

For those who might not be familiar with the Parisian duo’s work — and hey, that’s cool; this is the first I’m hearing them too — it won’t take long into the first single from their impending self-titled debut, “Witch I Love,” for the Josh Homme influence to make itself felt. Whether it’s the style of riffing or the vocals that accompany, the two-piece leave little to wonder where they’re coming from in terms of a central inspiration, taking the desert vibe and transposing it on the metropolis that is the City of Light. Oct. 25 is the listed release date for Electric Jaguar Baby‘s Electric Jaguar Baby, and it will be issued through Slice of Wax Records in addition to the band’s own El Diablo Records.

Familiar though the vibe is, it’s well suited to the inherent rawness of a two-piece incarnation, so consider yourself invited to check out the swaggering “Witch I Love” on the player at the bottom of this post.

Enjoy:

electric jaguar baby witch i love

French acid-fuzz/psych/stoner-rock Duo Electric Jaguar Baby premiered new single “Witch I Love”. New album coming out on October 25th.

After released three EPs in three years ( ‘EP 1’, ‘Moonshiner’ and ‘Old Songs From Beyond’ ) and then an EP compilation last year, French acid-fuzz/psych/rock/stoner duet Electric Jaguar Baby is about to release its debut full-length album planned for a physical/digital release on October 25th through El Diablo Records and Slice of Wax Records (Medicine Boy, etc.) .

In the meantime, the band just premiered a first audio glance from this upcoming record with the single “Witch I Love.”

ELECTRIC JAGUAR BABY was born in Paris in 2015, from the ashes of No Cure and 7 Days Before. A drummer and a guitarist, both of them singers, stride across Josh Homme’s desert, flirt with the Black Keys’ choruses and explore Jack White’s saturated riffs.

The duet generates a catchy sound with psychedelic atmospheres, hovering between rock’n’roll and fuzz. After releasing a first EP in november 2016 and ‘Moonshiner’ EP in march 2017 which were warmly welcomed by French and foreign critics, the band left their garage and trampled stages with their boots across France and Europe with bands like Yeti Lane, Charle’s Howl, Astrodome or Death Valley Girls, & L.A Witch. They grabed their old microphones and a 8-tracks-recorder in their cellar in Paris to capture their live energywith a 70’s vibe to put out 5 songs.

Their 3rd EP in 2 years : ‘Old songs From Beyond’ has been released on March 28th 2018 (4 original songs and a Jimi hendrix cover), again on handmade limited CDs and cassette tapes through their own label : El Diablo Records ! All of this 100% DIY. From Paris with fuzz.

https://www.facebook.com/ElectricJaguarBaby/
https://www.instagram.com/electricjaguarbaby/
http://electricjaguarbaby.band/
https://electricjaguarbaby.bandcamp.com/
https://www.facebook.com/sliceofwax/
https://sliceofwaxrecords.bandcamp.com/

Electric Jaguar Baby, “Witch I Love”

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Alcest to Release Spiritual Instinct on Oct. 25; New Video Posted

Posted in Whathaveyou on August 27th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

alcest

Alcest are one of those bands who, every time they put out a new release, I see the news about it, listen to some new music if I’m lucky, then get all stoked, write about, and get absolutely zero response. I don’t know if there’s just no audience crossover or what, but this is a popular band, and yet each and every time I put up a post about them: crickets. I mean, I know I’m hardly the only one in the universe covering them, and at least in the case of this news, I’m a couple days late with it, but yeah. They’re just one of those bands. There are a few of them, of varying styles.

Still, I like Alcest, so yes, I am posting about how their new album, Spiritual Instinct, is out Oct. 25 as their debut release on Nuclear Blast, and that the lead single “Protection” is surprisingly intense considering where the band’s last two outings, 2016’s Kodama (review here) and 2014’s maligned-but-gorgeous Shelter (review here), took them. Alcest would hardly be the first band to enter into alliance with Nuclear Blast and mark a turning point with their sound on their next LP — think Blues PillsKadavarGraveyard and a bunch of others — but it’s a noteworthy shift, in no small part because the new song sounds so damn good.

It came via the PR wire:

ALCEST TO RELEASE 6TH ALBUM, SPIRITUAL INSTINCT, ON OCT 25TH

WATCH THE VIDEO FOR FIRST SINGLE, “PROTECTION” AND PRE-ORDER THE RECORD NOW

On October 25th, ALCEST will once again open the gateways to the otherworldly and release their sixth studio album titled Spiritual Instinct. Recorded at the French Drudenhaus Studios and written in bursts both during and after a prolonged period of touring in support of 2016’s hugely successful Kodama, the new album – the first to be released via Nuclear Blast – will lead the blackgaze pioneers into dark soundscapes full of spiritual catharsis.

Today, the wait is over as singer/multi-instrumentalist Neige and drummer Winterhalter have revealed the first single “Protection” from the band’s upcoming album.

Frontman Neige comments:
“‘Protection’ is the first track I wrote for »Spiritual Instinct«. It’s probably one of our most heavy, spontaneous songs. It is about inner conflict, the tension between the spiritual and darker sides of a person, facing your own anguishes in order to embrace them and then fight them. Like the other tracks on the album, writing it was a very cathartic, healing process for me.”

The music video for “Protection” was filmed by director Craig Murray (Mogwai, Blood Red Shoes).
Stream or download the new single, here: https://nblast.de/Alcest-Protection

The album is now available for pre-order in the following formats:

– digipak in O-card
– 36 pages earbook including 2 CD + 180g LP (stone effect) (limited to 2000 copies)
– 180g LP in sleeve available in the colors:
black (retail)
ocean green (NB mailorder + wholesale, limited to 500 copies)
burgundy (NB mailorder exclusive, limited to 300 copies)
polar white (Rough Trade exclusive, limited to 300 copies)
royal blue (band shop exclusive, limited to 300 copies)
– Boxset collector’s edition including 2 CDs + 180g LP (stone effect), earbook, bonus mini LP (violet sparkle, etched) in sleeve, art prints and patch (limited to 500 copies)
– Digital

USA exclusive vinyl colors:
mint green (retail, limited to 1.700 copies)
clear+blue/bone splatter (indie exclusive, limited to 300 copies)
blood red (NB mailorder exclusive, limited to 500 copies)

Get your copy of Spiritual Instinct, released on October 25th, here: https://nblast.de/AlcestSpiritInstinct
Pre-save the album on Spotify via this link: http://nblast.de/ALCESTpreSave

ALCEST are:
Neige – vocals, guitars, bass, synths
Winterhalter – drums

https://www.facebook.com/alcest.official
https://www.instagram.com/alcestofficial/
https://www.alcest-music.com/
https://www.facebook.com/nuclearblastusa
https://www.instagram.com/nuclearblastusa/
https://shop.nuclearblast.com/en/shop/index.html

Alcest, “Protection” official video

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Pelegrin to Release Al-Mahruqa Sept. 13; Streaming “Majoun”

Posted in Whathaveyou on August 1st, 2019 by JJ Koczan

With a meld of heavy post-rock and Eastern-inflected psychedelia, Parisian trio Pelegrin will self-release their debut album, Al-Mahruqa, on Sept. 13. I happen to know that the song they’re streaming from it, “Majoun,” is the opening track both because I can see the tracklisting below and I’ve got the record on while I’m writing this — first listen — and thank you very much its warm melodies, patient psych songcraft and immersive stylistic blend is hitting the spot nicely. It’s a first record, fair enough, but clearly one made with aesthetic intent and a ready sense of spaciousness, as the three-piece go exploring through not just “Majoun,” but the expansive rollout of “Farewell” and the progressive drift of “Home Again,” balancing longer and shorter pieces off each other as they make their way through “Dying Light” toward the closing title-track. Immersion is the idea and Pelegrin provide plenty of depth for it. I’m looking forward to getting to know Al-Mahruqa better.

The PR wire brings album details and the aforementioned stream:

pelegrin al-mahruqa

Psych rock adventurers PELEGRIN share details about imposing debut album “Al-Mahruqa”, out September 13th on digital.

The bazaar crowd hails, haggles, ruffles. Life at its most, screeching and hustling. Gradually, the ruckus fades away. In the vacuum that’s created, a bass roars, answers its own call. A guitar string vibrates endlessly. The note hangs on ominously, then slips up. Percussions soar and the engine starts running… The listener’s fate is sealed. No turning back; he is bound for a 42 minutes-long sonic tale. He will follow the footsteps of an ailing war veteran, from the bazaar of Tangier to a millenary temple, carved into the rock at the very end of a desert valley: Al-Mahruqa.

On the way, the listener will encounter mesmerizing ambiances. Melodies soaked with eastern influences. Rock-solid riffs. Unsettling songs, always on the move. References, wink, nods? Of course. But no obvious comparison will jump to mind. If the power trio PELEGRIN (“pilgrim” in ancient French) roams the lands of stoner, prog and heavy psych, it is with the intention of making a few steps into the unknown. What drove François (guitar/vocals/production), Jason (bass) and Antoine (drums) is the will to play the music that they would have liked to hear. To fill a tiny space that seemed vacant in the ever-expanding galaxy of distorted music.

The road to “Al-Mahruqa” was long and winding, covering almost five years. The creation of its followup should be a smoother affair… And PELEGRIN is already hard at work on it. Where the three friends are the most comfortable: in their own bubble, away from stages. Where ideas fly, sweet smoke rises, and stories are written.

“Al-Mahruqa” was recorded and mixed by François Roze. It was mastered by Kent Stump (Wo Fat) at Crystal Clear Sound. The artwork was designed by Hadrien Virima.

Tracklisting:
1. Majoun
2. Farewell
3. The Coldest Night
4. Dying Light
5. Al-Mahruqa

PELEGRIN is
François Roze – guitar, vocals
Jason Recoing – bass
Antoine Ebel – drums, percussions

https://www.facebook.com/PelegrinMusic/
https://pelegrinmusic.bandcamp.com

Pelegrin, “Majoun”

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Starmonger Release Revelation IV EP

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

starmonger

Look, we’ve been worried. Your mother and I have been talking — oh, you didn’t know your mother and I spoke? well, we do, regularly — and we just thought that your life had already gone on far too long without a song called “Rise of the Fishlords” in it. I’m not saying you have to live a certain way, but wouldn’t you rather have “Rise of the Fishlords” in your life? I think you would. I think it might make you a better person. I think it might make us all better people. We’ll grow — together. That’s what it’s all about. Your mom told me to say that.

Okay so maybe your mom and I don’t chat on the regular. I don’t even have her number, and if I did, I certainly wouldn’t be bothering her about stuff like fishlords, but Parisian trio Starmonger have a another in their series of two-songer Revelation EPs out — Revelation IV, which reportedly will be the last one — and I thought maybe it was worth your time, not the least for the winning title of its opener. Just having a little fun.

I hear tell there’s a Starmonger compilation/LP in the works of all these Revelations, so that’ll be worth keeping an eye out for, but in the meantime, Revelation IV is name-your-price on Bandcamp, so have at it:

starmonger revelation iv

Starmonger – Revelation IV

In 2015, Steve (bass) and Arthur (guitar) began incorporating modern stoner rock influences and orientations to their jams. They quickly recorded their first homemade demo, “Revelation”, and after offering several drummers in ritual sacrifices, they were joined by Seb in 2017 on heavy-drumming duty.

With their next EPs, “Revelation II” and “III”, Starmonger continued its search for expanding and thickening its own sound. As they refuse to stay stuck with the same old recipe, Steve, Arthur and Seb keep experimenting with old school 70s rock and mesmerizing, fuzz-soaked stoner rock beats, while adding a progressive dimension to the raw power and efficiency of a power-trio format. Throughout their songs, the band evoke strange and phantasmagoric B-movies and pulp stories, from post-apocalyptic deserts to unfathomable beasts from the abyss.

2019 is packed with promises, along with multiple gigs around Paris in April and May, and a new self-produced EP “Revelation IV”.

“Revelation IV” was written, recorded and home produced in Paris, France. No human was actually drowned or murdered by sea monsters during production. All tracks written and performed by Starmonger.

1. Rise Of The Fishlords 07:57
2. Lethe 06:11

Starmonger is:
Steve : Bass & Vocals
Arthur : Guitars
Seb : Drums

https://www.facebook.com/starmonger.official/
https://starmonger.bandcamp.com/

Starmonger, Revelation IV (2019)

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