Sólstafir to Tour Australia with Enslaved; European Festival Dates Approaching

Posted in Whathaveyou on July 5th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

Next weekend in Neskaupstaður, Iceland’s prime purveyors of melancholic heavy, Sólstafir, will take the stage at the Eistnaflug Festival alongside The Vintage Caravan and a host of other native acts as well as the likes of Anathema, Kreator and many more. It’s not by any means their first appearance at the fest, but still notable for their placement near the top of the bill, reinforcing their position among the foremost Icelandic bands going. To that end, they’ll also be joining with Norwegian progressive extremists Enslaved on an Australian run next month. It’s four shows in Perth, Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne, but still a formidable run both for the journey involved in getting there and the pairing, as together, the two bands represent some of the most forward thinking metal Europe has to offer. I wouldn’t mind catching those two together, is all I’m saying.

Sólstafir, of course, go supporting last year’s Berdreyminn (review here), which was released by Season of Mist. The label sent the following down the PR wire:

solstafir (Photo Hafsteinn Viðar)

Sólstafir announce Australian tour with Enslaved

Acclaimed Icelandic rock band SÓLSTAFIR have announced their first-ever Australian tour. The trek commences on August 29 in Perth, and sees the band performing in Sydney, Brisbane, and Melbourne. A full list of confirmed tour dates can be found below.

SÓLSTAFIR are touring in support of their new album, ‘Berdreyminn’. The album, produced by Birgir Birgirsson (SIGUR RÓS, ALCEST) and Jaime Gomez-Arellano (GHOST, PARADISE LOST, ULVER), is available across multiple formats at the Season of Mist E-Shop.

SÓLSTAFIR have released a new video for the track “Hula”. The surreal new video, filmed in the haunting Hill of Crosses of Lithuania, is streaming now.

SÓLSTAFIR live:
July 11 Neskaupstaður, IS @ Eistnaflug
Aug. 4 Wacken, DE @ Wacken Open Air
Aug. 18 Dinkelsbühl, DE @ Summer Breeze Open Air

SÓLSTAFIR Australian tour:
All dates with ENSLAVED
Aug. 29 Perth, AUS @ Rosemount Hotel
Aug. 30 Sydney, AUS @ Factory Theatre
Aug. 31 Brisbane, AUS @ The Zoo
Sept. 1 Melbourne, AUS @ Max Watt’s

https://www.facebook.com/solstafirice
http://twitter.com/solstafir
https://solstafir.bandcamp.com/
https://www.facebook.com/seasonofmistofficial/
http://www.season-of-mist.com/

Sólstafir, Berdreyminn (2017)

Sólstafir, “Hula” official video

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The Vintage Caravan Post New Single “Reflections” from Gateways; Preorders Available

Posted in Whathaveyou on July 5th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

I haven’t heard the new album from The Vintage Caravan yet, which is kind of a bummer, but they’ve got a new track for all to check out. Preorders are up for the third album from the Icelandic heavy rockers, which is called Gateways and due out at the end of next month on Nuclear Blast, and accordingly, the three-piece have released the track “Reflections” to give a sample of what the record is all about. From here, it sounds like it’s about hooks, uptempo classic heavy rock swing, and a timeless approach to riff-led fare that the band has been making their own since the start. I know Nuclear Blast has some pretty heavy hitters in their lineup, what with the Graveyard and the Kadavar and the whatnot, but The Vintage Caravan are by no means to be lost in the shuffle when it comes to quality of output or effort put in supporting their stuff. As you’ll see in the list of tour dates below.

Also, check out the fucking song at the bottom of this post. It’s a good ‘un.

Blah blah blah PR wire:

the vintage caravan gateways

THE VINTAGE CARAVAN – new single + track listing + album pre-order

Icelandic classic rock trio THE VINTAGE CARAVAN are back! Featuring 10 new stirring tracks, their highly-anticipated 4th studio album Gateways, will be released on August 31st, 2018 through Nuclear Blast. Today, the band can finally present a first taster of their upcoming record in the form of the first single, ‘Reflections’.

Guitarist/vocalist Óskar Logi comments, “We are so pleased to finally give you guys the first taste of Gateways. The track is a powerful one, heavy and melodic. The song came quickly together in the songwriting process but we spent a lot of time during the mixing and mastering to get the song (and the entire album) sounding as good as possible. We are super proud and we hope you’ll enjoy ‘Reflections’!”

Gateways can now be pre-ordered in various formats, here: http://nblast.de/VintageCaravanGateways
Download or stream the new song ‘Reflections’ here: http://nblast.de/TVCReflections
Pre-save the album via Spotify: http://nblast.de/TheVintageCaravanPreSa
Listen to the track in the NB Novelties Playlist: https://open.spotify.com/user/nuclearblastrecords/playlist/6aw9wiedFzzhJiI96DhNhw

Gateways will be available in the following formats:
– DIGI
– 2LP (black, white)
– DIGITAL

Gateways track listing:
01. Set Your Sights
02. The Way
03. Reflections
04. On The Run
05. All This Time
06. Hidden Streams
07. Reset
08. Nebula
09. Farewell
10. Tune Out
Bonus Track (DIGI and 2LP only!)
11. The Chain (FLEETWOOD MAC Cover)

The band commented on their upcoming record, “We are very proud to present our new album, Gateways! Recorded in the legendary Sundlaugin Studios in Iceland (owned by Sigur Rós). Produced by Ian Davenport (BAND OF SKULLS, GAZ COOMBES). Overall we think this album feels more mature than the previous ones. We really pushed ourselves to make this album sound as great as possible. I won’t name any names but some people have been heard saying this is the greatest thing since sliced bread. We can’t wait for you all to hear it/taste it.”

The band will be touring extensively in support of their new album. Recently, Spanish dates have been added to the itinerary. All dates are below.

THE VINTAGE CARAVAN live:
11.07. IS Neskaupstaður – Eistnaflug (Performing »Voyage« in its entirety)
12.07. IS Neskaupstaður – Eistnaflug
28.07. D Neuensee – Rock im Wald
04.08. E Gijón – Tsunami Xixón

»2018 Gateways Tour«
w/ supports
13.10. NL Hengelo – Beerland
15.10. D Hamburg – Molotow
16.10. D Berlin – Lido
17.10. PL Warsaw – Hydrozagadka
18.10. PL Pozna? – Pod Minog?
19.10. A Vienna – Arena
20.10. D Kempten – Rock The Box
22.10. D Leipzig – Moritzbastei
23.10. D Munich – Strom
24.10. D Karlsruhe – Substage
25.10. D Cologne – Luxor
26.10. F Paris – Backstage
27.10. F Rennes – Garmonbozia
30.10. E Bilbao – Santana 27 *NEW*
31.10. E Madrid – Nazca Club *NEW*
01.11. E Barcelona – Sala Bóveda *NEW*
08.11. UK Nottingham – Rescue Rooms
09.11. UK Camp HRH – Hard Rock Hell
10.11. UK London – The Borderline
12.11. UK Glasgow – King Tut’s Wah Wah Hut
13.11. UK Manchester – Rebellion
14.11. UK Bristol – Exchange
16.11. B Brussels – Ancienne Belgique

w/ FLYNOTES
01.12. RUS St. Petersburg – Mod
02.12. RUS Moscow – Zil Arena

Tickets: www.thevintagecaravan.eu/tour

THE VINTAGE CARAVAN is:
Óskar Logi | guitars, vocals
Alexander Örn | bass, backing vocals
Stefán Ari | drums, backing vocals

https://www.facebook.com/vintagecaravan
https://www.instagram.com/thevintagecaravan/
https://twitter.com/_vintagecaravan
http://www.thevintagecaravan.eu/
https://www.facebook.com/nuclearblastusa
https://twitter.com/nuclearblastusa
http://shop.nuclearblast.com/en/shop/index.html

The Vintage Caravan, “Gateways”

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The Vintage Caravan Confirm Aug. 31 Release Date for Gateways

Posted in Whathaveyou on June 5th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

the vintage caravan

Three years in the making, the third full-length from Icelandic classic heavy rockers The Vintage Caravan arrives following a busy time of touring, pushing their sound forward with each new stop, city, country, etc. And like its two predecessors, 2015’s Arrival (review here) and their 2012 debut, Voyage — which unless I’m remembering wrong was comprised of two earlier EPs — its title gives a sense of motion and travel from one place to another. That running theme hardly seems like an accident for a young band who both groove so voraciously and are on the road so steadily, and as you can see below, in addition to a few summer fests, The Vintage Caravan also have dates in Germany, the UK and Russia to support the new album after it’s out. One expects more touring announcements to follow.

As well as videos, promo audio and so on. Very interested to hear what they come up with this time around. I wouldn’t at all be surprised if, with all the experience of the last three years behind them, they really put together something special. The potential’s been there all along. Keep an eye out and I’ll do the same.

From the PR wire:

the vintage caravan gateways

THE VINTAGE CARAVAN To Release New Studio Album Gateways On August 31, 2018!

Their very first, 2-month European headline tour, a Latin American headline tour, 2 UK headline tours, supporting the legendary EUROPE in the European mainland & Scandinavia, performing at 60+ festivals… The time after the release of THE VINTAGE CARAVAN’s latest studio album Arrival in May 2015 was full of highlights. But during the last year, the Icelandic classic rock trio had retired and focussed on writing and recording their 4th studio album entitled Gateways. Now it’s a wrap and will see the light of day on August 31st, 2018 through Nuclear Blast.

The band comments, “We are very proud to present our new album, Gateways! Recorded in the legendary Sundlaugin Studios in Iceland (owned by Sigur Rós). Produced by Ian Davenport (BAND OF SKULLS, GAZ COOMBES). Overall, we think this album feels more mature than the previous ones. We really pushed ourselves to make this album sound as great as possible. I won’t name any names but some people have been heard saying this is the greatest thing since sliced bread. We can’t wait for you all to hear it/taste it.”

Stay tuned for further information!

THE VINTAGE CARAVAN live:
23.06. B Dessel – Graspop Metal Meeting
11. – 14.07. IS Neskaupstaður – Eistnaflug
28.07. D Neuensee – Rock im Wald
04.08. E Gijón – Tsunami Xixón

Gateways Tour 2018
w/ special guests
15.10. D Hamburg – Molotow
16.10. D Berlin – Lido
20.10. D Kempten – Rock The Box
22.10. D Leipzig – Moritzbastei
23.10. D Munich – Strom
24.10. D Karlsruhe – Substage
25.10. D Cologne – Luxor

08.11. UK Camp HRH – Hard Rock Hell

w/ FLYNOTES
01.12. RUS St. Petersburg – Mod
02.12. RUS Moscow – Zil Arena

Tickets: www.thevintagecaravan.eu/tour

More dates in other countries to be added soon…!

THE VINTAGE CARAVAN is:
Óskar Logi | guitars, vocals
Alexander Örn | bass, backing vocals
Stefán Ari | drums, backing vocals

https://www.facebook.com/vintagecaravan
https://www.instagram.com/thevintagecaravan/
https://twitter.com/_vintagecaravan
http://www.thevintagecaravan.eu/
https://www.facebook.com/nuclearblastusa
https://twitter.com/nuclearblastusa
http://shop.nuclearblast.com/en/shop/index.html

The Vintage Caravan, “Babylon” official video

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Katla to Release Móðurástin Oct. 27; New Song Posted

Posted in Whathaveyou on August 21st, 2017 by JJ Koczan

katla

Not to be confused with the Swedish space rockers who made their debut last year on Svart and share the moniker, Iceland’s Katla is a duo comprised of former Sólstafir drummer Guðmundur Óli Pálmason and multi-instrumentalist/vocalist Einar Thorberg Guðmundsson who will issue their own first outing, titled Móðurástin, Oct. 27 via Prophecy Productions, and who exist in a much different sonic sphere. Rife with melancholy and progressive intent, one can nonetheless hear an air of classic doom in their leadoff single “Hyldýpi,” streaming below, and from their Katatonia-esque logo to the My Dying Bride-vibe of Móðurástin‘s cover art, they seem to embrace that notion on several levels.

Seems like a cool release, one way or the other, and listening to “Hyldýpi” only makes me more curious to discover what Katla have in store for the rest of Móðurástin. If you’d like to have your interest piqued as well, the PR wire offers the following:

katla Móðurástin

Katla (ex-Sólstafir) to Release Debut Album, ‘Móðurástin’, October 27

Influential Icelandic Metal Duo Named In Tribute to Legendary Active Volcano!

Katla is an Icelandic band featuring ex-Sólstafir drummer and visual artist Guðmundur Óli Pálmason and singer/multi-instrumentalist Einar Thorberg Guðmundsson (Fortíð, Potentiam). Named in tribute to one of Iceland’s greatest active volcanos, Katla creates powerful, panoramic music where shimmering guitars, crushing melodies and atmospheric density meet dark, entrancing power. Katla’s debut album, Móðurástin, will be released on October 27 via Prophecy Productions (Alcest, Dool).

Móðurástin, shines a spotlight on Katla’s hook-heavy, horizon-stretching sound. The lyrics tell tales of living in a country of contrasts; a land where fire and ice co-exist and dark winters are offset by the summer’s midnight sun. Iceland: a country where insular existence has spurred a rich and vibrant culture. Móðurástin, Icelandic for (a) Mother’s Love, might seem like a strange title for a metal album, but Katla dares to be different. What on Earth is stronger than a mother’s love? Nothing. Not hate, not lust, not greed.

Katla has shaped a towering sound sharpened by experience and forged for fans of heavy, atmospheric music. It is time for Katla to erupt again!

Track listing:
1.) Aska
2.) Hyldýpi
3.) Nátthagi
4.) Hvila
5.) Hreggur
6.) Kul
7.) Móðurástin
8.) Dulsmál

Móðurástin will be available as digipak CD (with 24-page booklet), gatefold LP (on black and limited dark green vinyl) and as a collector’s 2xCD art book edition (28×28 cm, 72 pages, with art photography of Guðmundur Óli Pálmason and a full-length bonus CD featuring remixes of all album tracks). Pre-order Móðurástin at this location.

https://www.facebook.com/katla.band/
https://katlaiceland.bandcamp.com/
http://katlaband.bigcartel.com/
http://us.prophecy.de/artists/katla/
https://www.facebook.com/prophecyproductions/
https://twitter.com/ProphecyProd
https://www.instagram.com/prophecypro/

Katla, “Hyldýpi”

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Árstíðir Sign to Season of Mist; New Album Coming Soon

Posted in Whathaveyou on August 17th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

Icelandic chamber folk ensemble Árstíðir have signed a deal to release their fourth album through Season of Mist next year. The Reykjavík-based crafters of melody haven’t set an exact date yet so far as I’ve seen, but if that means it’s going to be a winter release, one could hardly think of more appropriate fare for those darker, still and reflective moments of that time of year than the rich folk harmonies they offer.

Even if it winds up being a Spring 2018 outing — leaving you even more barren, eternal hopelessness of February — Season of Mist has done well in the past setting fellow Icelanders Sólstafir up for colder-month releases, and as a kind of companion outfit, Árstíðir are even more of a fit with the label’s ongoing expansion in roster and style. Not that they need me to say so, but this is a cool pickup.

The PR wire has details and heralds good things to come:

arstidir

ÁRSTÍÐIR sign to Season of Mist

Season of Mist are proud to announce the signing of Iceland’s ÁRSTÍÐIR. The contemporary indie/chamber folk band will release their much anticipated new album through Season of Mist later next year. The band’s complete catalog is now available digitally in North America, on all platforms including Spotify, Apple Music, Bandcamp, and more.

Regarding the recent signing, the band comments: “We have admired bands associated with Season of Mist for years. In our minds, this label represents quality and artistic integrity. It has that aura which tells you that it is all about the music, that the bands are the real deal, and not just grist to the grinding mill of commercial music. And that is the kind of label, you want your music on. We feel a kinship with the good people and artists at Season of Mist, and we are proud be a part of this family.”

ÁRSTÍÐIR first emerged from the burgeoning Icelandic music scene in 2008, when the three founding members (Daniel Auðunsson: guitar, vocals; Gunnar Már Jakobsson: baritone guitar, vocals; and Ragnar Ólafsson: piano, vocals) discovered their mutual love for vocal harmonies. Daniel, Gunnar and Ragnar quickly went from playing acoustic covers to their own music, amalgamating influences from classical compositions, folk rock, and minimalist soundscapes into something they could call their own.

With early lyrical references pointing towards the spectacular nature and scenery of the Icelandic volcanic landscape, and the wildly different seasons there, the band took the name ÁRSTÍÐIR, which translates to “Seasons” in their native tongue.

Only four months after their formation, ÁRSTÍÐIR scored a number one hit on Icelandic national radio with the track “Sunday Morning”. The band then released their eponymous debut ‘Árstíðir’ in 2009, and began touring internationally.

ÁRSTÍÐIR’s second album, ‘Svefns Og Vöku Skil’ followed in 2011, and only a year later, the band won Geramny’s prestigious Eiserner Eversteiner European Folk Music Award. Shortly thereafter, an impromptu acapella performance of an old Icelandic hymn in a train station, went viral on YouTube, attracting millions of views.

ÁRSTÍÐIR launched a highly successful crowdfunding campaign in 2014 to finance the recording of their third full-length ‘Hvel’, which translates to “Spheres”. The campaign exceeded all expectations, raising almost four times their original goal, and uncovering a legion of North American fans that the band was unaware they had.

A 2016 collaboration with Anneke Van Giersbergen (formerly of THE GATHERING) followed. The album, ‘Verloren Verleden’ contains a collection of re-imagined traditional and classical songs.

https://www.facebook.com/arstidir/
https://twitter.com/Arstidir
http://instagram.com/arstidir
http://www.arstidir.com/
https://www.facebook.com/seasonofmistofficial/
https://twitter.com/SeasonofMist
https://www.instagram.com/seasonofmistofficial/
http://www.season-of-mist.com/

, “Scarborough Fair” live Dec. 23, 2016

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The Obelisk Radio Adds: Boris, Sólstafir, Desert Suns & Chiefs, Elara, Fungus Hill

Posted in Radio on July 31st, 2017 by JJ Koczan

the obelisk radio cavum

Some bigger releases going up to the playlist for The Obelisk Radio this time around, and that’s just fine by me. It’s five albums listed here, but there are a few others included as well that you can see listed on the updates page and it’s good stuff all the way around. It was all actually supposed to go up last week, but you know, life is chaos and all that. I hope as always that you manage to find something you enjoy, and if you haven’t heard some of this stuff as yet — I suspect you have, because you know what’s up and I’m perpetually behind on these things; more than just a week, on average — then all the better. Let’s dig in together.

The Obelisk Radio adds for July 31, 2017:

Boris, Dear

boris dear

If you were Boris and you were looking to celebrate a quarter-century of innovating heavy rock, noise, drone, J-pop, and genreless forays into bizarre sonic delights, how would you do it? If you said, “I’d release 69 heavy-as-hell minutes of rumbling tectonics and progressive scope making for one of the best albums of the year,” you’d seem to be on the money. The Japanese trio’s umpteenth full-length, Dear (on Sargent House in the US/EU and Daymare in Japan), begins with the appropriately-titled “D.O.W.N. – Domination of Waiting Noise,” setting forth a consuming six-minute onslaught of feedback and lumbering pummel before the SunnO)))-rivaling drone of “Deadsong” takes hold, shifting at its midpoint to a spaciousness all Boris‘ own. Then they chug out galloping riff triplets on “Absolutego” like it ain’t no thing. That’s Boris: the band who named themselves after a Melvins song and then utterly outdid their namesake on every creative level and have continued to do so throughout one of underground music’s most landmark tenures. Dear offers simultaneous melodic breadth and droning depth on its centerpiece duo of “Kagero” and “Biotope” after counteracting minimalist march with explosive crash on “Beyond,” but they’re still just getting started. The seven-minute “The Power” leads off the second of the two LPs and seems to stem upward from the same roots as YOB at their harshest, brutally feedbacking into the dronegaze of the shorter “Memento Mori” before the 12-minute “Dystopia – Vanishing Point” and the nine-minute title-track comprise a side D that’s nothing less than a triumphant lesson in how to meet your audience head-on right before you swallow them whole, setting its stage with keys and tribalist drums quickly before hypnotizing through five minutes of quiet stretch and bursting gloriously to life ahead of one last contrast of empty spaces and crushing tonality on “Dear” that gives way at last to the noise and feedback that’s always been so essential to their process. If Dear is a letter to Boris‘ fans, as they have said, it is also a willful embrace of the wide-open sensibilities that have made the last 25 years of their craft so uniquely their own. They can go anywhere stylistically and remain Boris precisely because they refuse to settle on a single idea that defines them.

Boris on Thee Facebooks

Boris at Sargent House’s website

 

Sólstafir, Berdreyminn

solstafir berdreyminn

Having now passed the 20-year mark since their founding in 1995, Iceland’s Sólstafir continue to reshape melancholy in their own image on their sixth album and third for Season of Mist, Berdreyminn. The Reykjavik-based four-piece keep the significant achievements of 2014’s Ótta (review here) close to the chest throughout the eight-track/57-minute offering, but songs like “Ísafold” have an upbeat push behind their emotional resonance, and even on a brooding piano piece like “Hvít Sæng,” the overarching sense of motion and the dynamic is maintained. The penultimate “Ambátt” — first of two eight-minute cuts in a finale duo — might be Berdreyminn‘s richest progressive achievement, with its lush opening vocal harmonies giving way to a patiently-delivered clinic on texture, build and payoff that borders on the orchestral. Of course, strings and horns to appear on the album, adding to already complex arrangements, but Sólstafir never lose their corresponding human center, and as “Bláfjall” closes with an intensity of thrust hinted at by the cymbal-crash wash of opener “Silfur-Refur” and the post-blackened push of “Nárós” but ultimately on its own level, they underline the realization and poise that is simply all their own. Berdreyminn is the sound of a band doing important work, and with it, Sólstafir only prove themselves more crucial on an aesthetic level, yet it might be their ability to somehow still feel in-progress that most defines what makes them so special. More than two decades on, they still come across like a group exploring their sound and finding new ways to develop their songwriting — which they are and which they do here. That in itself is an accomplishment worthy of every accolade they reap, and Berdreyminn lives up to that standard front to back across its engaging, encompassing span.

Sólstafir on Thee Facebooks

Sólstafir at Season of Mist’s website

 

Desert Suns & Chiefs, The Second Coming of Heavy – Chapter 5

second-coming-of-heavy-chapter-5-desert-suns-chiefs

Ripple Music has made its The Second Coming of Heavy series of split LPs an essential showcase of the variety in underground rock. The Second Coming of Heavy – Chapter 5 brings together San Diego heavy psych/blues rockers Desert Suns, who also reissued their debut long-player through Ripple in 2016 and followed it with the single “The Haunting” (review here) in conjunction with Ripple and HeviSike Records, and Phoenix, Arizona’s Chiefs, whose 2015 debut, Tomorrow’s Over (review here), arrived on vinyl via Battleground Records and whose five tracks included on side B here cast them among the best Ripple Music bands in the Southwest not currently signed to Ripple Music for their next album. More than some prior installments, The Second Coming of Heavy – Chapter 5 finds its two featured purveyors complementing each other’s work excellently, as Desert Suns offer three seven-plus minute tracks running from the harmonica-inclusive “Night Train” and the rolling, long-fading “Solitude” with the push of “Heavy” in between and Chiefs — though their individual runtimes are shorter — holding straightforward heavy/desert rock methods at their core in unpretentious fashion across “The Rhino,” the standout “Baron to Chancellor,” “Low Tide,” “Caroline” and “My Last Stand,” nodding initially at ’90s noise rock à la Helmet in “The Rhino” but in the end keeping to their sandy, well-structured mission. As ever, The Second Coming of Heavy asks nothing more of its audience than a basic exploration of the groups included, and certainly both Desert Suns and Chiefs earn that. Whether one takes it on in the context of the prior chapters or as a standalone split release, it delivers a collection of cuts from two outfits with a shared core of quality songcraft and the underlying message that sometimes the straight-line route is the way to go. Right on, once again.

Desert Suns on Thee Facebooks

Chiefs on Thee Facebooks

Ripple Music website

Ripple Music on Bandcamp

 

Elara, Deli Bal

elara deli bal

Both sides of Elara‘s PsyKa Records-released debut full-length, Deli Bal, are comprised of one shorter track on either side of eight minutes and one longer one, 12 and 17 minutes, respectively. Between that and the cover art, it should come as no surprise that heavy psychedelic drift is central to what the Stuttgart, Germany, trio of bassist/vocalist Daniel Wieland, guitarist/noisemaker Felix Schmidt and drummer Martin Wieland — who also stylize their name as the bracketed [Elara Sunstreak Band] — get up to in their first offering, but there’s an underlying progressive melodic sensibility as well, and Schmidt‘s guitar seems to have picked up a few lessons from My Sleeping Karma‘s minor-key solo mysticism, so one can hear a sound beginning to take shape early as the leadoff title-track gives way to “Amida,” which swaps back and forth between organ-laden krautrock meandering and fuller-fuzz thrust, and as “Quarantania” reinforces that classic vibe with a warm bass tone from Daniel. Whether you’re listening to the platter itself and switching sides or digitally or on CD, Deli Bal is clearly intended to be consumed as a whole work, and one can hear the vocal melody of “Harmonia” tying back to that in the opener as another example of the underlying structure with which it plays out, despite the broad feel of the songs themselves and the expanses they both intend and actually do cover. The LP has just the four tracks, but the digital version comes with the 9:42 bonus cut “Trimenon,” which builds around a core post-rocking guitar line to come to a fervent apex before receding again to let the listener go gently from Deli Bal‘s total 56-minute runtime; no minor undertaking, but effectively executed and a pleasure in its wandering mind and spirit.

Elara on Thee Facebooks

PsyKA Records on Bandcamp

 

Fungus Hill, Creatures

fungus hill creatures

This early-2017 psychedelic curio from Umeå, Sweden’s Fungus Hill begins by asking “Are You Dead?” The just-under-nine-minute opener and longest track (immediate points) of the groovy outfit’s four-song, self-released, 28-minute debut Creatures EP doesn’t sound overly concerned with whether the answer is yes or no so much as enacting a serene flow by posing the question over a laid back bluesy vibe. Arrangement? Fluid. With dual vocals from guitarist Gustav Orvefors and percussionist Jenny Isaksson — the five-piece is completed by guitarist Erik Sköld, drummer Nils Mörtzell and bassist Tom Westerlund — Fungus Hill are able to bring variety as they turn to post-Ghost straightforward ’70s chorus-leaning in the first half of “Beware of Evil in the Sky,” prior to a midsection trip outward on subdued shimmy and deceptively complex melodicism. The flute (or keyboard flute sounds) of the jazzy “Evolution” brings Isaksson to the floor with a smoky, even-bluesier feel, and the guitar answers back with fuzzy lead flourish that only enhances the soul on display, while a seven-and-a-half-minute closing title-track delves deepest of all into thicker riffing, a “Na na na na” hook taking hold quickly just in case you weren’t sure it was going to be a highlight. It is. More tonally dense than most retro boogie — and less retro, for that matter — Fungus Hill‘s Creatures nonetheless has its traditionalist elements, but across its individual pieces each one points to a different side of the band’s personality, and from the Alan Watts sample at the beginning of “Are You Dead?” to when we meet the troll later in “Creatures,” each side of that personality utterly shines.

Fungus Hill on Thee Facebooks

Fungus Hill on Bandcamp

 

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Sólstafir to Release Berdreyminn May 26

Posted in Whathaveyou on February 27th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

solstafir

I only have one hesitation — and let me stress, only one — when it comes to the notion of a new album from Icelandic progressive melancholia specialists Sólstafir. Simply put, it’s that I’m not sure I’m done with 2014’s Ótta (review here). That fifth outing was my first exposure to the four-piece’s emotionally resonant moodiness — universal enough to overcome a rather significant language barrier — and the prospect of a sixth full-length makes me a little nervous. Still, time marches forward, and Berdreyminn is due out May 26. Hopefully that’s enough time for me to begin to wrap my head around the concept of its existence.

Among my most vivid memories of live performances over the last couple years as well was being able to catch Sólstafir at Roadburn in 2015 (review here). They performed as part of the day curated by Enslaved guitarist Ivar Bjørnson and Wardruna multi-instrumentalist/vocalist Einar “Kvitrafn” Selvik, and stunned in both presence and execution. They’d go on to tour the US and Europe multiple times over, and I expect Berdreyminn will bring them back again. That set played significantly in growing my affection for Ótta, so hopefully at some point we’ll cross paths as they support the new one.

Really, I’m nervous about it.

The PR wire brings album preliminaries and gorgeous cover art from Adam Burke:

solstafir berdreyminn

Sólstafir announce new album, reveal cover art and track list

Acclaimed Icelandic rock band SÓLSTAFIR have revealed new details their highly anticipated forthcoming sixth album. The new album is titled ‘Berdreyminn’, (which translates to a “dreamer of forthcoming events”) and will be released worldwide on May 26th. The new full-length was produced by Birgir Birgirsson (SIGUR RÓS, ALCEST) and Jaime Gomez-Arellano (GHOST, PARADISE LOST, ULVER).

The album cover, painted by Adam Burke (UNCLE ACID AND THE DEADBEATS, DANAVA) and track list for ‘Berdreyminn’ can be found below.

Track list:
1. Silfur-Refur
2. Ísafold
3. Hula
4. Nárós
5. Hvít Sæng
6. Dýrafjörður
7. Ambátt
8. Bláfjall

https://www.facebook.com/solstafirice
http://twitter.com/solstafir
https://www.facebook.com/seasonofmistofficial/
http://www.season-of-mist.com/

Sólstafir, “Dagmál” official video

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Sólstafir Recording New Album; “Dagmál” Video Posted

Posted in Whathaveyou on December 1st, 2016 by JJ Koczan

With their new video, Reykjavic’s Sólstafir end what’s been a pivotal chapter of the band. The Icelandic melancholy specialists gleaned a substantial following behind 2014’s Ótta (review here), and rightly so, touring in North America for the first time as well as of course Europe, Japan, and so on behind material as emotionally vibrant as it was sonically and atmospherically heavy. They’re currently in the process of making the follow-up to Ótta — as of Nov. 29, guitars are done — but their new clip for “Dagmál” is as fitting a goodbye to the prior album as I can think of, capturing the band on stage throughout the year and a half they basically spent on the road.

Like Ótta, Sólstafir‘s next album will be released by Season of Mist, as the PR wire confirms:

solstafir-700

SÓLSTAFIR release new video, re-sign with Season of Mist, and record new album

Acclaimed Icelandic rock band SÓLSTAFIR have released a new video for the track “Dagmál”. The video, shot during the band’s extensive touring across Europe is streaming now, here. “Dagmál” appears on the band’s most recent full-length album, ‘Ótta’.

Regarding the video, the band comments: “‘Ótta’ is coming to a close with a third and final video for the song, ‘Dagmál’. The footage for this clip was shot over the course of 18 months of heavy touring. It also features our newest band member Hallgrímur ‘Grimsi’ Hallgrímsson, who started filling in for us behind the drum kit in April 2015.”

The quartet have also signed a new deal with Season of Mist, and begun work on their forthcoming new album.

Regarding the signing, the band comments: “With our previous contract coming to an end, we have had plenty of great offers on the table for which we are grateful. Yet, why should we end a good thing? The entire team works brilliantly together and everyone involved decided that continuing is the logical step moving forward.”

SÓLSTAFIR are now three weeks into the recording their new album. The new full-length will be produced by Birgir Birgirsson (SIGUR RÓS, ALCEST). Jaime Gomez-Arellano (GHOST, PARADISE LOST, ULVER) is also assisting on the new record.

Vocalist and guitarist Adalbjörn “Addi” Tryggvason comments: “We are back here at Sundlaugin for the third time to record our seventh album. We feel right at home and after being locked up in songwriting mode for two months, it is a one of a kind feeling hearing the demos gaining life. We have fourteen songs recorded but at the moment it is too early to tell what will end up on the album. The new album will definitely sound like SÓLSTAFIR and as always, there will be surprises too.”

Gomez-Arellano also comments: “I feel humbled to have the opportunity of working with SÓLSTAFIR. As a fan of the band for many years, I have been trying to work with them before and now it is finally happening. So far it has been a great, creative and positive experience. Working alongside Birgir in his beautiful Studio Sundlaugin has been very productive and fun. I am very excited about the new material.”

The new album is yet to be titled and will be mixed at Arellano’s Orgone Studios in the UK.

https://www.facebook.com/solstafirice
http://twitter.com/solstafir
https://www.facebook.com/seasonofmistofficial/
http://www.season-of-mist.com/

Sólstafir, “Dagmál” official video

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