Quarterly Review: BongCauldron, Black Helium, Earthbong, Sir Collapse, Alms, Haaze, The Sledge, Red Lama, Full Tone Generator, Mountain Dust

Posted in Reviews on December 12th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

quarterly-review

Not to get off topic here, but it’s December, and god damn, I hate the fucking holidays. Christmas, even if you believe in the religious significance of the day, is pure garbage. I like giving presents well enough, don’t particularly enjoy receiving them, but even if you put aside the whole “oh it’s so commercial ‘now'” thing, like there was a time anyone now living ever saw when it wasn’t, it isn’t fun. The meal sucks. It’s dark. It’s cold. The songs are fucking endless and terrible — yes, all of them — and the whole experience is just a bummer the whole way through. If there was actually a war on it, I wish they’d drop the bomb and incinerate the entire thing.

Take Thanksgiving, make it start in November and end in December. A month-long festival for the season. You can even give gifts at the end, if you want. It could be like Ramadan, or, probably more likely and much on the opposite end of the spectrum, Oktoberfest.

There. Problem solved. Have a great day, everyone. Let’s do some reviews.

Quarterly Review #71-80:

BongCauldron, Tyke

BongCauldron Tyke

Biscuit, Corky and Jay of BongCauldron return less than 12 months out from their Binge LP (review here) with Tyke (on APF), three more cuts of weed-eating, dirt-worshiping, weed-worshiping, dirt-eating sludge, fueled as ever by fuckall and booze and banger riffs — and yes, I mean “banger” as in “bangers and mash.” There’s a lead that shows up in closer “Jezus Throat Horns” and some vocal melody that follows behind the throaty barks, but for the bulk of the three-tracker, it’s down to the business of conveying dense-toned disaffection and rolling nod. “Pisshead on the Moon” opens with a sample about alcohol killing you and works from its lumber into a bit of a shuffle for its midsection before hitting a wall in the last minute or so in order to make room for the punker blast of “Back up Bog Roll,” which tears ass and is gone as soon as it’s there, dropping some gang vocals on the way, because really, when you think about it, screw everything. Right? “Jezus Throat Horns” might be offering a bit of creative progression in closing out, but the heart of BongCauldron remains stained of finger and stank of breath — just the way it should be.

BongCauldron on Thee Facebooks

APF Records webstore

 

Black Helium, Primitive Fuck

black helium primitive fuck

Oh yes. Most definitely. From the Sabbath swing behind the chugging “Love the Drugs” and the march of “Wicked Witch” through the what-would-happen-if-Danzig-was-interesting “Summer Spells” and fuzzed-out post-punk shouts of “Videodrone” en route to the nine-minute “Curtains at the Mausoleum,” London four-piece Black Helium make heavy psychedelic songcraft into something as malleable as it should be on their Riot Season debut, Primitive Fuck, holding to underlying structures when it suits them and touching on drone bliss without ever really completely letting go. Opener “Drowsy Shores” is hypnotic. The aforementioned “Curtains at the Mausoleum” is hypnotic. Even the chug-meets-effects-blowout closing title-track is hypnotic, but on the handclap-laced “Do You Wanna Come Out Tonight?” or “Videodrone,” or even “Summer Spells,” there are hooks for the listener to latch onto, life-rafts floating in the swirling tonal abyss. The truth? There isn’t a primitive thing about it. They’re not so much lizard-brained as astral-planed, and if you want a summation of their sound, look no further than their name. It’ll make even more sense when you listen. Which you should do.

Black Helium on Thee Facebooks

Riot Season Records website

 

Earthbong, Demo 2018

earthbong demo 2018

The immediate association in terms of riff is going to be Sleep. “Drop Dead,” the 10-minute first of two songs on Earthbong‘s debut Demo 2018, rolls out with pure Dopesmoker-ism and follows the model of gradual unfolding of its weedian sludge riffery. No complaints. The Kiel, Germany, trio are obviously just getting their start, and since it’s a demo and not the “debut EP” that so many otherwise demos try to position themselves as, I’ll take it. And to boot, “Drop Dead” ultimately departs its Sleepy environs for altogether more abrasive fare, with Bongzilla-style screams and an increasingly aggressive shove, the drums crashing like the cymbals did something wrong, and feedback capping into the start of “Wanderer,” which is shorter at seven minutes and opens its assault earlier, the vocals no less distorted than the guitar or bass. There’s some space in a solo in the second half, but Earthbong again twist into harsh, crusty doom before letting feedback carry them out to the demo’s finish. Growing to do, but already their violence seethes.

Earthbong on Thee Facebooks

Earthbong on Bandcamp

 

Sir Collapse, Walk to the Moon

sir collapse walk to the moon

Grunge, noise rock and Queens of the Stone Age-style melody-making collide on Walk to the Moon, the debut full-length from German four-piece Sir Collapse, sometimes on disparate cuts, like the noisy intro given to the album by “Lower Principles,” and sometimes within the same song, as in the later “Like Me.” A jangly swing in “Mono Mantra” and the Nirvana-esque hook there soon gives way to the desert-hued thrust of “One Man Show” and the early ’90s fuzz of “Happy Planet Celebration,” while “The Great Escape” leads the way into some measure of evening out the approach in “Like Me,” “Too Late,” “Hey Ben” and “The Family,” unless that’s just the band acclimating the listener to their style. Fair enough either way. Sir Collapse round out with a return to the uptempo push shown earlier, giving their first LP an impressive sense of symmetry and whole-work presentation as layers of vocals intertwine with melody alternately lush and raw, sounding very much like a band who know the parameters in which they want to work going forward. So be it.

Sir Collapse on Thee Facebooks

Sir Collapse on Bandcamp

 

Alms, Act One

alms act one

Organ-soaked Baltimorean garage doomers Alms enter the conversation of 2018’s best debut albums with Act One on Shadow Kingdom, a collection rife with choice riffing, dynamic vocals and a nuanced blend of heft and drama. That a song like “The Toll” could be both as traditional sounding as it is and still modern enough to be called forward-thinking is nothing short of a triumph, and in the stomping “The Offering,” Alms cast forth a signature chorus that stands out from the tracks surrounding without departing the atmosphere so prevalent in their work. “Dead Water” at the outset and “For Shame” build a momentum through side A that the five-piece of keyboardist/vocalist Jess Kamen guitarists Bob Sweeney (also vocals) and Derrick Hans, bassist Andrew Harris and drummer Derrick Hans expand in the second half of the record, winding up in the early gruel of “Hollowed” only to resolve the album with speedier swing and as sure a hand as they’ve guided it all along. At six songs and 33 minutes, Act One unmistakably leaves the audience wanting more, and indeed, the plot may just be starting to unfold.

Alms on Thee Facebooks

Shadow Kingdom Records on Bandcamp

 

Haaze, Swamp Mama

Haaze Swamp Mama

It is a sharp, biting 27-minute run, but Swamp Mama isn’t just thrown together haphazardly. Alberta-based sludge metallers Haaze build a song like “35 Indians” to a head over the course of a deceptively efficient 4:44, following opening track “Beast of the Bog” with a developed sense of craft underlying the outward negativity of their sound. I’ll give the band bonus points for finishing side A with a song called “Stereotypically Doomed,” but more for the crash cymbal that seems to devour the mix. There’s a trashy undercurrent to the subsequent title-track, and as it finishes its pummel, it relinquishes ground to the acoustic interlude, “The Mechanic,” which I’m just going to assume is named for the Charles Bronson movie. That of course sets up the most extreme cut included in closer “AL,” which layers fierce growls and screams atop a rhythm clearly designed for maximum assault factor. A little more metal than sludge, it nonetheless remains tonally consistent with what comes before it, giving Swamp Mama a vicious ending and a feel that’s all the more lethal for it.

Haaze on Thee Facebooks

Haaze on Bandcamp

 

The Sledge, On the Verge of Nothing

the sledge on the verge of nothing

Copenhagen four-piece The Sledge boasts the three former members of heavy rockers Hjortene in guitarist/keyboardist/vocalist Palle, drummer/vocalist Kim and bassist Claus, so while they’ve revamped their identity and gone on to add vocalist Magnus Risby — who appears here on “179 Liars” and “Yet Untitled” — perhaps its somewhat disingenuous to consider their first album under the new moniker, On the Verge of Nothing, a debut. Issued through Kozmik Artifactz, the record collects eight tracks produced by Anders Hansen (who also worked with Hjortene) and mixed by Matt Bayles, and in listening to the cuts with Risby in the lead spot, the vibe taps into a thicker take on late-era Dozer with no less righteous melodicism. That, however, is just a fraction of the total story of On the Verge of Nothing, which taps earlier desert idolatry on “Death Drome Doline” and brings in none other than Lorenzo Woodrose himself for guest spots elsewhere. People in and out of the lineup through different tracks should make the LP disjointed, but as ever, it’s the songwriting that holds it together, and one can’t discount the core band’s experience playing together as a part of that either. Debut or not, it’s an impressive offering.

The Sledge on Thee Facebooks

Kozmik Artifactz website

 

Red Lama, Dogma

red lama dogma

One tends to think of serenity and peaceful drift when it comes to Danish heavy psych rockers Red Lama, but as the seven-piece band quickly turn around follow-up to their 2018 sophomore LP, Motions (discussed here), cuts like opener “Time” and “RLP” unfold with a particular sense of urgency, the former seeming to showcase an acknowledgement of sociopolitical circumstances in Europe and beyond in a way that seems to readjust their focus. That’s a tidy narrative, but if it’s a case of priorities being rebalanced, it’s striking nonetheless. To coincide, “RLP” has a heavier roll in its second half, and while second cut “State of the Art” and closer “Tearing up the Snow” both make their way past the five-minute mark with post-rocking pastoralia and dreamy melodies, there remains a feeling of a tighter focus in the tracks that could portend a new stage of the band’s development or could simply be a circumstance of what’s included here. The next album will tell the tale.

Red Lama on Thee Facebooks

Red Lama on Bandcamp

 

Full Tone Generator, Valley of the Universe

full tone generator valley of the universe

Fronted by Andy Fernando of Don Fernando, Full Tone Generator‘s debut long-player, Valley of the Universe, nonetheless bears the unmistakable hallmark of the Californian desert — in no small part because that’s where it was recorded. Fernando and guitarist/bassist/backing vocalist Brad Young traveled to that famed landscape to record with Bubba DuPree and Brant Bjork at Zainaland Studios, only to have the latter end up playing drums and contributing backing vocals as well to the eight-tracker. Not a bad deal, frankly. The key reference sound-wise throughout Valley of the Universe is Kyuss, particularly because of Bjork‘s involvement and Fernando‘s vocal style, but the slow-rolling “I Only Love You When I’m Loaded,” 59-second blaster “No Future” and the ending jam duo of “Preacher Man” and “Never to Return” make the ground their own, the latter with some surprise screams before it bounces its way into oblivion as though nothing ever happened. They’ve got the vibe down pat, but Full Tone Generator do more as well than simply retread desert rock’s founding principles.

Full Tone Generator on Thee Facebooks

Hurricane Music on Bandcamp

 

Mountain Dust, Seven Storms

mountain dust seven storms

Keys give Montreal four-piece Mountain Dust a tie to classic heavy blues and they use that element well to cast their identity in the spirit of a post-retro modern feel, details like the backing vocals of “White Bluffs” and the waltzing rhythm held by the snare on “Witness Marks” doing much to add complexity to the persona of the band. “You Could” goes over the top in its boozy regrets, but the dramas of “Old Chills” are full in sound and satisfyingly wistful, while closer “Stop Screaming” offers a bit of twang and slide guitar to go along with its sense of threat and consuming seven-minute finish. Tight songwriting and clean production do a lot to give Seven Storms a professional presentation, but ultimately it’s the band itself that shines through in terms of performance and as Mountain Dust follow-up their well-received 2016 debut, Nine Years, they sound confident in their approach and ready to flesh out in multiple directions while maintaining a central character to their sound that will be familiar to the converted enough to be a work of genre while setting the stage to become all the more their own as well.

Mountain Dust on Thee Facebooks

Kozmik Artifactz website

 

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Red Lama Post “State of the Art” Video; Dogma EP out Dec. 7

Posted in Whathaveyou on November 8th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

red lama

Quick turnaround from Danish heavy psych rockers Red Lama, who issued their second album, Motions, earlier this year. Their new EP, recorded in an apparent burst of creativity, is titled Dogma, and the drift-prone seven-piece are giving a glimpse at some of the float its four tracks might hone in a new video for “State of the Art” recorded live at the Royal Danish Academy of Music. Nice digs. They seem to have recorded the EP live as well, so whether or not the video is from the same session that resulted in the studio version of the song, I don’t know, but what matters more than that is of course the live feel of the music itself, which comes through as no less a priority than the gorgeous melodicism that always seems to typify Red Lama‘s work, pastoral and serene as they are.

The video is at the bottom of this post and the EP cover and info follow here, courtesy of the PR wire:

red lama dogma

RED LAMA – ’DOGMA’ – NEW EP OUT DECEMBER 7th

Red Lama will release a new EP called ’Dogma’ on December 7th which has been written and recorded during a single month in the fall of 2018. The first track to be released is ’State the Art’. Accompanying the track is a video that shows the band recording the track in a session at the Royal Danish Academy of Music. ’Dogma’ is the band’s second release in 2018 and it follows the acclaimed album ’Motions’.

’Dogma’ is the result of an intensive writing and recording period which stretched over a single month in the fall of 2018. The release is conceptual in the sense that its basic dogma is immediacy. The music and its creation shall remain immediate and thereby avoid being too planned out and overly produced. Vocalist, Johannes Linnet, says about the process:

”I look back at the time we spent making ’Dogma’ as a very free and pleasant journey for the band as a whole. Working with immediacy and being able to let go of natural satisfaction has given the writing process much more depth and concentration than earlier. Small ideas became raw pieces over a weekend in late September and was then polished and recorded as live sessions in the Royal Danish Academy of Music’s Studio 3 in order to preserve the energy that we bring to live shows.”

The EP has been made in cooperation with the British producer Graham Sowerby (AK/DK). Red Lama has worked with Tommy Kamp Vestergaard (60 minutes of Mew) in mixing ’Dogma’, and the award-winning producer, Rune Rask, has mastered it. The four
songs that make up ’Dogma’ unite the beautiful and grandiose with the raw and powerful – and at the same time show that Red Lama once again explores new musical territories.

The first single ’State the Art’ and its video which is shot and produced by Jonas Møller (Playground Productions) will be out prior to the release of ’Dogma’. It shows the band during the recording of the track as a one-take in Studio 3 at the Royal Danish Academy of Music.

Tracklist – ’Dogma’
1. Time
2. State the Art
3. RLP
4. Tearing up the Snow

Red Lama live 2018
17th of November HeadQuarters Aarhus (DK)
24th of November Kulturmaskinen Odense (DK)

Red Lama:
Johannes Linnet: Vocal
Oliver Fick: Guitar
Jonas Rahbek: Guitar
Frederik Randrup: Bass
Morten Kaas: Organ
Niklas Sjøbeck: Percussion
Marius Linnet: Drums

www.facebook.com/redlamadk
www.instagram.com/red_lama_band
www.soundcloud.com/red-lama
www.redlamaband.bandcamp.com

Red Lama, “State of the Art” official video

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audiObelisk Transmission 065

Posted in Podcasts on February 26th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

aOT65

I recognize that saying so is the cliché equivalent to writing a song with the same bassline as ‘N.I.B.,’ but if this was December and not February and the year was about to end in a couple weeks’ time, would you really be able to complain about any lack of fantastic releases? It’s been two months and before the next one is out we will have seen and heard new offerings from Corrosion of Conformity, Monster Magnet, Earthless, Fu Manchu and literally hundreds of others. It’s been as awesome as it’s been impossible to keep up with.

This new podcast follows the same model as the last one, vis-a-vis using Spotify as the medium of conveyance. You can see the playlist in the player below, and you may accordingly wonder why I’ve bothered to type it out underneath as well. It’s because streaming sites disappear even quicker than they rise to dominance, and I’m not saying The Obelisk is going to outlast Spotify or anything, but just in case, I like to keep my own records. I appreciate the indulgence on your part.

Awesome mix this time around. No real theme other than it’s new stuff I’ve been listening to a lot and digging. I very much hope you enjoy it as well. 21 tracks. About two and a half hours long.

Thanks for listening and reading:

Track details:

Artist, Track, Album, Runtime
Earthless, “Black Heaven” from Black Heaven, 8:45
Sundrifter, “Targeted” from Visitations, 4:45
Psilocibina, “Acid Jam” from LSD / Acid Jam, 7:08
Blackwater Holylight, “Sunrise” from Blackwater Holylight, 4:51
Fu Manchu, “Clone of the Universe” from Clone of the Universe, 2:57
Green Lung, “Free the Witch” from Free the Witch, 5:55
Monster Magnet, “Mindfucker” from Mindfucker, 4:59
All Souls, “Never Know” from All Souls, 5:59
Red Lama, “Perfect Strangers” from Motions, 6:47
Blackwülf, “Sinister Sides” from Sinister Sides, 4:53
Fuzz Lord, “Worlds Collide” from Fuzz Lord, 6:58
Corrosion of Conformity, “Forgive Me” from No Cross No Crown, 4:06
Apostle of Solitude, “Ruination Be Thy Name” from From Gold to Ash, 6:37
Avon, “Space Native” from Dave’s Dungeon, 4:42
Psychic Lemon, “Exit to the Death Lane” from Frequency Rhythm Distortion Delay, 8:32
The Dry Mouths, “Catalonian Cream” from When the Water Smells of Sweat, 4:34
Insect Ark, “Windless” from Marrow Hymns, 8:38
Naxatras, “You Won’t Be Left Alone” from III, 11:17
Mythic Sunship, “Into Oblivion” from Upheaval, 13:56
King Buffalo, “Repeater” from Repeater, 13:40
Hound the Wolves, “Masquerade” from Camera Obscura, 13:10

If you’re interested, you can follow me on Spotify here.

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Red Lama Announce New Album Motions; Premiere “Awakening” Single

Posted in audiObelisk, Whathaveyou on January 10th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

red lama photo Sarah Michelle Riisager

A little guest clarinet goes a long way in terms of setting the mood in the new single from Danish psychedelic rockers Red Lama, along with a wash of brooding guitar and a rhythm that seems to bounce and roll at the same time, heavy, melodic fluidity a continuing theme for the seven-piece following their intriguing 2016 debut, Dreams are Free (review here). “Awakening” is the new track, and it’s Bjonko Chalgija guesting on the aforementioned clarinet, and the single is out on Friday and premiering below for your streaming enjoyment.

You might recall Red Lama previously unveiled the single “Post Optimism” in similar fashion back in September. Well, both tracks come from their second album, which the band today announces is titled Motions and will be out next month through All Good Clean Records. Whether you heard “Post Optimism” or not — it’s not to late! that link really works! — take it under advisement to check out the new track below and get yourself brought up to speed on where Red Lama are headed coming off the debut. Cover art, info, links and audio all follow.

Like so:

RED LAMA premieres new single and announce second album

On their sophomore album ‘Motions’, RED LAMA, throw an investigative gaze on a reality that consists of more than the eye is immediately capable of seeing. With a point of departure in the youth of psychedelic rock music, the band travels on through more recent decades of art rock and sonic experimentation and hereby expands with a modern expression that leads the band onto new paths. As such, ‘Motions’ appears as a fresh sounding and unique rock album with a narrative succeeding in both embracing and illustrating the eternal creative movements of the world.

The rock seven piece RED LAMA was formed by a group of friends in 2011. By 2015, the band found their last member and completed the present lineup, who in April 2016 released their debut LP ‘Dreams Are Free’. The album showcases a young rock band with a rhythmical focus and control of their expressive palette seeking to develop the organic, analogue and psychedelic rock music. RED LAMA manifests themselves strongly in a live setting and here the band made a strong mark in 2016-17 with their intense and personal live shows in primarily Denmark. Those having witnessed a RED LAMA concert can confirm the power with which the band communicates its material live.

On RED LAMA’s second album ‘Motions’, the band maintains the same atmospheric, warm and rhythmically based soundscape, still strongly rooted in classic rock music, as also heard on the first album. ‘Motions’ is a collection of songs that appears even sharper in regards to songwriting, arrangement and production compared to the debut. From their starting point in the rock n’ roll of the 60’s and 70’s, the band has expanded its expression with references to kraut rock, British trip hop and Talk Talk-ish art rock of the 80’s. A more disciplined as well as grandiose aesthetic reveals itself and contributes in a wondrous manner to those psychological-kaleidoscopic horizons already disclosed by the musical roots of the band and RED LAMA thus utilizes the potential in the sonic mind travels of more recent decades. Hereby, a more modern rock sound appears and one that, while floating through the decades, relates itself to its present time and its own reality – where this reality might origin from and what it might become.

Reality – what it comes from and what it can become – is exactly the main theme on ‘Motions’ as is the idea of movements and the interrelation of all things. We are all a product of the humans and actions that precede us in the same manner that posterity always will be influenced by the motions we initiate and the actions we perform. Hereby, RED LAMA seeks to describe an immersion into reality where it reveals itself through motions as well as distorted states of reality, that displays the mystical and alternate in the world. In this way, the band works with a form of magical realism, where the ones submerging into the world are likely to also experience those facets of transcendence and the mystical that can express itself through motions and ‘glitch’. The album artwork is created by the artist Nikolaj Hollænder and depicts a wave washing up on a tourist beach. What might appear as a skyline of tourist hotels is instead a glitch, a stretched and distorted representation of reality that can challenge normal perceptions.

Thus on ‘Motions’, RED LAMA is skillfully balancing thematics of reality and consciousness and a compelling synthesis of several decades of spiritual rock music, which as a whole conjures a captivating narrative for the body and mind in eternal movement. This narrative will gather its full strength at the band’s forthcoming shows, where waves of action, consciousness and energy will be exchanged – movements which inevitably will reach and shape every present being and the space surrounding them…as everything will do at all times. Our lives and the space in which it unfolds are forever in motion and ever changing and are therefore eternal as such.

Artwork: Nikolaj Hollænder

Release Date: February 23rd
Label: All Good Clean Records
Format: LP/Digital (album)

Tracklist; Motions:

1. Perfect Strangers
2. Awakening (feat. Bjonko)
3. Post Optimism
4. Have a Great Today
5. Come What May
6. Fular
7. Wave
8. Elements I
9. Elements II

Red Lama:
Johannes Linnet: Vocal
Oliver Fick: Guitar
Jonas Rahbek: Guitar
Frederik Randrup: Bass
Morten Kaas: Organ
Niklas Sjøbeck: Percussion
Marius Linnet: Drums

www.facebook.com/redlamadk
www.instagram.com/red_lama_band
www.soundcloud.com/red-lama
www.redlamaband.bandcamp.com
http://www.allgoodcleanrecords.com/
https://www.facebook.com/allgoodcleanrecords/

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Red Lama Release New Single “Post Optimism” this Friday; Streaming Now

Posted in Whathaveyou on September 5th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

Later this week, Danish heavy psychedelic rockers Red Lama will issue their first new music since their debut album, Dreams are Free (review here), brought their tonal warmth to wider consciousness last year. The new single is to be released via Norwegian imprint All Good Clean Records and it’s called “Post Optimism.” It’s the first audio I’m hearing from Red Lama‘s apparently forthcoming sophomore full-length, which is reportedly due out before the end of the year.

Also, if you couldn’t tell, it’s the first I’m hearing about the release of a second Red Lama LP. No complaints there, though time’s a crunch if they actually want to get it out before the end of 2017. Not to say it can’t or won’t happen, but that’s a quick turnaround for the Copenhagen-based seven-piece, who clearly work exceedingly well together. Can you imagine trying to get seven people to agree on anything, let alone songwriting? I’d feel like every time you managed to get seven people in the same place to rehearse, it would be a significant win.

Speaking of wins, you can check out a stream of “Post Optimism” at the bottom of this post. Art and info follows here, courtesy of All Good Clean Records via the PR wire:

red lama post optimism

Red Lama announce new single: Post Optimism, out on september 8th.

The seven Danish lamas move towards new horizons and musical expressions with the release of their pulsating single Post Optimism on September 8th.

Since the release of their debut album Dreams Are Free in 2016, Red Lama have been playing a series of shows and festivals, including a midnight concert at Spot Festival that elicited rave reviews. The same vibrant atmosphere conjured at their concerts is channeled through this first single from Red Lama’s upcoming second album. With a powerful rhythm section, sharp guitar riffs and Johannes Linnet’s dream-like vocal, Post Optimism is a great example of Red Lama’s exciting sound.

Red Lama on the single: “Post Optimism is energetic and catchy. We’ve mixed dynamic pumping grooves with sizzling guitars and a more focused vocal. Compared to the numbers on our debut album, this is a shorter and more uplifting song. We’ve been working to condense our usually long numbers into one more concentrated expression”.

Post Optimism is out on September 8th and is the first track to be shared from the upcoming album, set to be released later in the year.

Hear Post Optimism and other new tracks live here:

LIVE:
10th october: Red Lama + Acid Mothers Temple @ Loppen Christiania
11th november : Sorte Firkant Festival @ Koncertkirken

Red Lama:
Johannes Linnet: Vocal
Oliver Fick: Guitar
Jonas Rahbek: Guitar
Frederik Randrup: Bass
Morten Kaas: Organ
Niklas Sjøbeck: Percussion
Marius Linnet: Drums

www.facebook.com/redlamadk
www.instagram.com/red_lama_band
www.soundcloud.com/red-lama
www.redlamaband.bandcamp.com
http://www.allgoodcleanrecords.com/
https://www.facebook.com/allgoodcleanrecords/

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Quarterly Review: Red Fang, Black Moon Circle, Druglord, Drone Hunter, Holy Serpent, Lugweight, Megaritual, Red Lama, Lacy, Valborg

Posted in Reviews on December 27th, 2016 by JJ Koczan

the obelisk winter quarterly review

Feeling good going into day two of the Quarterly Review. The good news about how heavy music has become such a vast universe is that there’s always plenty to cover without having to really dig into stuff I don’t find interesting. Of course, the other side of that is feeling constantly behind the curve and overwhelmed by it all, but let’s not talk about that for the moment. Point is that as we make our way through this week and into the next — because, remember, it’s six days this time, not five — a big part of me still feels like I’m just scratching the surface of everything that’s out there. It still seems just to be a fraction of the whole story being told around the world in the riffiest of languages. We all do what we can, I guess. Let’s get started.

Quarterly Review #11-20:

Red Fang, Only Ghosts

red-fang-only-ghosts

Four albums into one of the decade’s most successful and influential heavy rock careers, doesn’t it seem like Portland, Oregon’s Red Fang are due for a truly great record? Their 2013 outing, Whales and Leeches (discussed here), was rushed by the band’s own admission – their focus, as ever, on touring – and Only Ghosts (on Relapse) unites them with producer Ross Robinson and mixer Joe Barresi, two considerable names to bring heft and presence to the 10-track/42-minute outing. And I’ve no doubt that “Shadows” and the bigger-grooving “The Smell of the Sound” and opener “Flies” kick ass when delivered from the stage, and it’s true they sound more considered with the ambience of “Flames” positioned early, but Only Ghosts still comes across like a collection of songs united mostly by the timeframe in which they were written. Doesn’t mean they don’t build on Whales and Leeches, but now five years on from 2011’s Murder the Mountains (review here), and with their dynamic, charged and momentum-driven sound firmly established, Red Fang still seem to be at the threshold of some crucial forward step rather than stomping all over it as one might hope.

Red Fang on Thee Facebooks

Relapse Records website

 

Black Moon Circle, Sea of Clouds

black-moon-circle-sea-of-clouds

After releasing a self-titled debut (review here) and the follow-up Andromeda (review here) in 2014, 2016’s Sea of Clouds (on Crispin Glover/Stickman) is the third proper studio full-length from Norway’s Black Moon Circle – though at that point, define “proper.” In 2015, the trio/four-piece – Trondheim-based guitarist Vemund Engan, bassist Øyvin Engan and drummer Per Andreas Gulbrandsen, plus Scott “Dr. Space” Heller of Øresund Space Collective on synth – also released The Studio Jams Vol. I (discussed here) and in addition to the four tracks of Sea of Clouds, they’ve also had a Vol. II (review here) out this year. The definitions become fluid, is what I’m saying, and that couldn’t be more appropriate for the sound of “Lunar Rocket,” the outward-gazing space rock of “The Magnificent Dude,” “Moondog” and “Warp Speed,” which indeed offer enough kosmiche expanse to make one wonder where the song ends and the jam begins. Or, you know, reality. One has to wonder if Black Moon Circle might bridge the gap at some point between studio improv and more plotted songwriting, but as it stands, neither side of their dual personality fails to engage with its flow and drift.

Black Moon Circle on Thee Facebooks

Black Moon Circle at Stickman Records

Black Moon Circle at Crispin Glover Records

 

Druglord, Deepest Regrets

druglord-deepest-regrets

A one-sided 12” EP issued by STB Records in late 2015 as the follow-up to Richmond dirge-fuzzer trio Druglord’s debut album, Enter Venus (review here), the three-track Deepest Regrets represents the band’s final studio material with bassist Greta Brinkman (ex-L7) in the lineup, who’s since been replaced by Julian Cook. That distinction matters in no small part because so much of Druglord’s purposes on Deepest Regrets’ three component songs – “Regret to Dismember,” “Speedballs to Hell” and “Heaven Tonight” – is about reveling in low end. Rawer than was the album preceding, they find guitarist/vocalist/organist Tommy Hamilton, Brinkman and drummer Bobby Hufnell emitting an oozing lurch, blasting out thickened motor-riffing, and fortifying a darkly psychedelic drear – in that order. True to EP form, each song gives a sampling of some of what Druglord has to offer coming off the album, and with a recording job by Garrett Morris, who also helmed the LP, it remains a fair look at where they might head next, despite the shift in lineup.

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STB Records webstore

 

Holy Serpent, Temples

holy serpent temples

Melbourne’s Holy Serpent return with Temples (on RidingEasy), their second full-length after 2015’s self-titled debut (review here), and continue to offer an engaging blend of well-blazed psychedelia and heavier-rolling groove. Especially considering they’ve still only been a band for two years, the four-piece of guitarists Nick Donoughue and Scott Penberthy (the latter also vocals), bassist Dave Barlett and Lance Leembrugen remain striking in their cohesion of purpose, and Temples opener “Purification by Fire” and ensuing cuts like the fuzz-wall centerpiece “Toward the Sands” and echo-laden “The Black Stone” only continue to stretch their intentions toward ever more acid-ic flow. They called it “shroom doom” last time out, and seem to have moved away from that self-branding, but however one wants to label Temples, its five tracks/43 minutes push ahead from where Holy Serpent were just a year ago and, rounding out with the slower churn of “Sativan Harvest,” still reminds that mind expansion and deeply weighted tonecraft are by no means mutually exclusive.

Holy Serpent on Thee Facebooks

Holy Serpent at RidingEasy Records

 

Drone Hunter, Welcome to the Hole

drone hunter welcome to the hole

Self-releasing Croatian instrumental trio Drone Hunter devise vigilantly straightforward riffing on their second album, Welcome to the Hole, finding room for some charm in titles like “Wine Dick,” “Crazy Ants with Shotguns” and the closing “A Burning Sensation,” the latter of which seems to draw particularly from the playbook of Karma to Burn. That comparison is almost inevitable for any riff-led/sans-vocal three-piece working in this form, but the crunch in “Fog Horn” and “Waltz of the Iron Countess” isn’t without its own personality either, and as with a host of acts from the Croatian underground, they seem to have a current of metal to their approach that, in the case of Welcome to the Hole, only makes the entire affair seem tighter and more precise while maintaining tonal presence. Fitz (guitar), Klen (bass) and Rus (drums) might not be much for words or last names, but their sophomore full-length comprises solid riffs and grooves and doesn’t seem to ask anything more than a nod from its audience. A price easily paid.

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Drone Hunter on Bandcamp

 

Lugweight, Yesterday

lugweight yesterday

Lugweight is comprised solely of Brooklyn-via-Richmond-Virginia transplant Eric Benson, and the project makes its full-length debut with the evocatively-titled drone wash of Yesterday following one EP and preceding another. Fair to call it an experimental release, since that’s kind of the nature of the aesthetic, but Benson demonstrates a pretty clear notion of the sort of noise he’s interested in making, and there’s plenty of it on Yesterday in “Sleeping on Cocaine,” on which one can hear the undulating wavelengths emanating from speaker cones, or the penultimate “Love Song for the Insane,” which features chanting vocals in echoes cutting through a tonal morass but still somehow obscure. A 33-minute five-tracker, Yesterday doesn’t overstay its welcome, but alternates between sonic horrors and warmer immersion in the shorter centerpiece “Bleed My Sorrow” and closer “Show Me Where the Shovel Is,” coming dangerously close in the latter to doom riffing that one might almost dare to put drums to. Solo drone guitar, even when this thick, is never for everyone, but one doubts Benson was shooting for accessibility anyhow.

Lugweight on Bandcamp

Forcefield Records website

 

Megaritual, Eclipse

megaritual eclipse

To hear Australia’s Megaritual tell it, the 25-minute single-song Eclipse EP was recorded on Mt. Jerusalem in New South Wales this past summer, the one-man outfit of vocalist/guitarist/sitarist/drummer Dale Paul Walker working with bassist/Monotronist Govinda Das to follow-up his prior two Mantra Music EPs, recently compiled onto an LP (review here) by White Dwarf Records. Whether or not that’s the case, “Eclipse” itself is suitably mountainous, building along a linear course from sea level to a grand peak with droning patience and gradual volume swells, lush and immersive psychedelia in slow-motion trails, a sparse verse, percussion, sitar, guitar, bass, and so on coming to a glorious vista around the 17:30 mark only to recede again circa six minutes later in a more precipitous dropoff. The digital edition (and that’s the only edition thus far) comes with a cover of Pink Floyd’s “Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun,” which makes good company for the hypnotic titular exploration and the quick progression it represents after the other two short releases.

Megaritual on Bandcamp

White Dwarf Records website

 

Red Lama, Dreams are Free

red lama dreams are free

Heavy psychedelic pastoralists Red Lama enter the conversation of 2016’s best debut albums with Dreams are Free, initially released on All Good Clean Records and subsequently picked up by Stickman. Leaning more toward the liquid end of psych-blues, the Danish seven-piece immediately transcend with opener “Inca” (video here) and quickly showcase a subtlety for build that only gets more potent as they move through “Sonic Revolution” and “The World is Yours,” unfolding due heft in the latter without losing the laid back sensibility that the vocals bring sweetly, melodically, to the material. The later “Mekong River” seems almost like it’s going to shoegaze itself into post-rock oblivion, but Red Lama hold their sound together even into the 10-minute closer “Dalai Delay” – aptly-titled twice over – and deliver with striking patience a languid flow with hints of underlying prog experimentation. How that will come to fruition will have to remain to be seen/heard, but Dreams are Free also dips into funkier groove on “Dar Enteha,” so while they probably could be if they were feeling lazy, Red Lama don’t at all seem to be finished growing. All the better.

Red Lama on Thee Facebooks

Red Lama at Stickman Records

 

Lacy, Andromeda

lacy andromeda

Lacy is an experimental solo-project from former Lord guitarist Stephen Sullivan, based in Fredericksburg, Virginia, and part of a deep sludge underground that goes back well over a decade. Andromeda is his third album with the outfit and the second to be released in 2016, though unlike the preceding Volume 2. Blue, its 12 tracks were recorded in a matter of months, not years. All instruments, arrangements, vocals and the raw recording were handled by Sullivan himself (he also took the photo on the cover) but cuts like “Gyre Hell” and the acoustic “Push Me Away” veer around self-indulgence or hyper-navelgazing – I’d call “Offal and the Goat Brains” experimental, but not narcissistic – and he seems more interested in writing songs than making a show of being outside this or that imaginary box. Still, Andromeda offers diversity of instrumentation and arrangement, unplugging once more for “Healer” before closer “Always” finishes the album as a rumbling and grunge-laden love song.

Lacy on YouTube

Lacy on Bandcamp

 

Valborg, Werwolf

valborg werwolf

After catching on late to German metallers Valborg’s 2015 fifth album, Romantik, I told myself I wasn’t going to miss whatever they did next. The single Werwolf (on Temple of Torturous and Zeitgeister) might be a quick check-in of just two songs – “Ich Bin Total” and “Werwolf” itself – but the classic European-style death-doom chug of the latter and the vicious crash of the former I still consider a reward for keeping an eye out. “Ich Bin Total” is less than three and a half minutes long, and “Werwolf” just over five, but both feature choice chug riffing, darkened atmospherics and art-metal growls that only add to the clenched-teeth intensity of the instruments surrounding. They spare neither impact nor ambience nor lives as Werwolf plays out, the title cut riding its massive progression forward to a sensory-overload of nod before finally offering some release to the tension in a second-half guitar lead, only to revive the brutality once more, repetitions of “werwolf” chanted in growls over it. Awesome.

Valborg on Thee Facebooks

Temple of Torturous website

 

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Red Lama Announce Dreams are Free Release Date; Post New Single “Inca”

Posted in Whathaveyou on March 9th, 2016 by JJ Koczan

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Danish heavy psych seven-piece (yup, seven of ’em) Red Lama said hello last fall with a video for their track “The World is Yours” (posted here), heralding the arrival of their debut album, Dreams are Free. The physical incarnation of record is available now to preorder through a crowdfunding campaign, while the digital version is due out April 15, and as a precursor to that, they’ve unveiled the opening track “Inca” as a digital single and video, which you can see below.

“Inca” is no less molten than was “The World is Yours,” the band specializing in immersive, fluid, percussive psychedelia. Among other elements at play, “Inca” tosses out the title line of the album and features a driving, almost space rock-style push, but never loses sight of the atmospheric impression it’s trying to make. It’s chill even when it’s heavy, in other words. You can hear it for yourself.

To the PR wire:

red lama dreams are free

Red Lama post new single and reveal details of their forthcoming debut album “Dreams Are Free”

With the release of their second single Inca, Red Lama offers another glimpse into what can be expected from their forthcoming debut album Dreams are Free. Once again the dutch artist Iris Deppe has produced to video which expresses the same peculiar collage style that was seen on the band’s first video for the single The World is Yours.
Until now, Red Lama is best known from live appearances in venues in Copenhagen, Danish festivals, including a couple of appearances at Copenhagen Psych Fest. Indeed, the foundation for Dreams Are Free is the vivid sensation of being a band that plays together and make music together. The album is made collectively through numerous jams in the band’s rehearsal room, and during summer trips to more scenic parts of Denmark.

“To release a record with seven songs , that we are proud of, is surely a milestone for each one of us. We are very honored to finally have all things in place and cant wait to show the finished work. The process has been fantastic and for us the end of a long and beautiful chapter in the Red Lama life. We love making music , so the album has only created even more appetite for new unexplored dream worlds . ” Says Johannes Linnet leadsinger of Red Lama.

Dreams are Free will be released digitally April 15 through the Danish/Norwegian record label, All Good Clean Records. The vinyl release follows a couple of weeks later and can be pre-ordered here: https://www.booomerang.dk/projects/red-lama-dreams-are-free-lp/

Track listing:
1. Inca
2. Sonic Revolution
3. The World is Yours
4. Mont Ventoux
5. Dar Enteha
6. Mekong River
7. Dalai Delay

Johannes Havemann Kissov Linnet: Vocal
Morten Kaas: Organ, harmonica and other effects
Marius Havemann Kissov Linnet: Drums
Frederik Randrup Hansen: Bass
Jonas Harboesgård Rahbek: Guitar
Oliver Asbjørn Fick: Guitar
Niklas Sjøbeck Jørgensen: Percussion

https://www.booomerang.dk/projects/red-lama-dreams-are-free-lp/
https://www.facebook.com/redlamadk

Red Lama, “Inca”

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Red Lama Post Video for “The World is Yours”

Posted in Bootleg Theater on November 18th, 2015 by JJ Koczan

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My understanding is that Red Lama‘s debut full-length is in the mixing stages now and, when it’s done, it’ll be out early in 2016 on All Good Clean Records. The Copenhagen-based outfit are bordering on psych-orchestra status with a full seven-piece lineup — I’ll just assume somebody couldn’t make it the day they took the picture above — and while it’s a miracle they can get that many people to be on the same page regarding anything, let alone actually function together as a heavy band, they’ve managed to put together an initial single in the form of “The World is Yours,” for which they also have a video newly unveiled.

The album doesn’t have a name yet — can you imagine getting seven people to agree on an album title? — but “The World is Yours” effectively demonstrates Red Lama‘s psychedelic side. As to how it might or might not speak for the whole record, I don’t know, but presumably they didn’t make it the first single because it just happened to be the first song finished. Or if it was, then that wasn’t a coincidence either. If it’s indicative of what they’re doing overall, then it finds them setting a deep mix to work in and then filling that space with an array of effected guitar, warm low end, spacey vocals and fluid groove. Some of it feels like post-Colour Haze heavy psych, but the band are right when they namecheck the Danish neo-krautrock stylizations of Papir as well, as there’s a definite progressive undercurrent to “The World is Yours” to coincide with its catchy chorus and dreamy central guitar line.

I’m not sure whether songs like “J.W. Burning” or “Twisted Smile” from the band’s self-titled 2012 EP will make the cut on the new record, but the septet’s Soundcloud page gives a chance to dig into these and other tracks like “Drowning Sun,” which coincides time-wise with “The World is Yours” and so likely came from the same sessions. It has a correspondingly open feel, laid back and jammy and post-rocking at times, but with a definite, grounding presence in standalone vocalist Johannes Havemann Kissov Linnet. In any case, if you’re looking to dig in, “The World is Yours” encourages further investigation, and the impressionism of the video enhances the otherworldliness of the sound.

Video follows, with background on the band and the clip after. Enjoy:

Red Lama, “The World is Yours” official video

Video directed by Iris Deppe
Footage shot by Sarina Bosio

Music composed by Red Lama
Recorded live at TAPF studio
Produced and mixed by Peter Sloth (TAPF Studio)
Mastered by Rune Rask (Tabu Studio)

Copenhagen’s musical underground continues to shoot new rock bands up through the asphalt. Now the next longhaired seed, in form of the seven-piece band Red Lama, is sprouting and is on its way to break through. The band is ready with a music video for their track The World is Yours. The track is at the same time the first single of the upcoming record by Red Lama, which is to be released primo 2016.

Red Lama settles in the slipstream of other current Danish bands with a taste for psychedelic expression and sound, such as De Underjordiske, Spids Nøgenhat, Papir and Fribytterdrømme. Red Lama find themselves between different parts of the rock genre with inspiration drawn from musical traditions from Iran and Mali.

The debut album, which is still untitled, is a bold move, where all the tracks are recorded as live sessions in TAPF studio in order to maintain an authentic and vivid sound. At the same time it makes apparent that Red Lama is a band that plays together, has experience and does not compromise the team effort that a seven-piece band requires live.

“We try to challenge the composition without making it too abstract and emphasize that we do not relate to a specific kind of genre of rock music. The intention is to create a powerful expression. We call it Moodrock where the rationale is that dreams are free, “says the lead singer Johannes Havemann Kissov Linnet.

The video for the first single, The World is Yours is directed by the Dutch artist Iris Deppe that previously has made music videos for the musical relatives in Fribytterdrømme.

“When making a music video I try not to focus too much on the lyrics and more on the atmosphere of the song. In this case the song The World is Yours by Red Lama has a very apocalyptic feel to it, whilst being mysterious at the same time. In a way it feels like a love song written for the earth that ends violently. Because there’s so much happening in the song I decided to go for a moving collage style where different kinds of filmed fragments are being shown, kind of like pattern puzzles, leaving it up to the viewer to piece everything together. Towards the end of the video everything starts to fall apart, melting into multi-coloured shapes. I got that idea while strolling around the Nørrebro lakes one evening and watching the reflections of all the lights casting long, melting shapes into the water., “says Iris Deppe.

Red Lama’s debut album is released on the brand new record label All Good Clean Records, and is just now entering the mixing phase.

Johannes Havemann Kissov Linnet: Vocal
Morten Kaas: Organ, harmonica and other effects
Marius Havemann Kissov Linnet: Drums
Frederik Randrup Hansen: Bass
Jonas Harboesgård Rahbek: Guitar
Oliver Asbjørn Fick: Guitar
Niklas Sjøbeck Jørgensen: Percussion

Red Lama on Spotify

Red Lama on Thee Facebooks

Red Lama on YouTube

Red Lama on Soundcloud

All Good Clean Records

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