Keep it Low 2017: Saint Vitus, Brant Bjork, Radio Moscow, Ufomammut, Naxatras, Mos Generator and More to Play

Posted in Whathaveyou on May 23rd, 2017 by JJ Koczan

keep-it-low-2017-generic-banner

Well, the bill for Keep it Low 2017 is packed. It would be packed if it was just Brant Bjork and Saint Vitus and Ufomammut in the lineup, but of course it goes well beyond that, with the likes of Radio Moscow, Naxatras, House of Broken Promises, Conan, Monolord, Mos Generator, Elephant Tree, Mars Red Sky and everyone else you can see below. If you can take a look at this roster of bands and not immediately start daydreaming about making the trip to the fifth installment of the Munich, Germany-based festival, you’re a better person than I am. Or you’re dead. One or the other, I guess.

One suspects that, as with last year, the Fall European fest season will have some overlap. You’ll note Beastmaker here as well as on Up in Smoke. Ditto that VitusBrant BjorkUfomammutRadio MoscowUsnea and Kaleidobolt. Aside from the hand of Sound of Liberation in putting these events together, weekend fests make great anchors for touring groups. Club shows all week, fests every weekend? I can’t imagine a touring act wouldn’t sign up for that, so yeah, probably some more familiar names will be making their way out between these, the Desertfests in Antwerp and Athens, and whatever else might come along. Keep an eye out.

From Keep it Low‘s social medias:

keep-it-low-2017-poster

KEEP IT LOW FESTIVAL 2017

Line Up:
BRANT BJORK (with Special Guest Sean Wheeler) | SAINT VITUS | RADIO MOSCOW | MARS RED SKY | UFOMAMMUT | STONED JESUS | CONAN | MONOLORD | NAXATRAS | HOUSE OF BROKEN PROMISES | BEASTMAKER | MOS GENERATOR | USNEA | ELEPHANT TREE | KALEIDOBOLT | MOUNT HUSH | GODSGROUND
+ many more TBA

Limited 3-day tickets available!

October 20 | 21 | 22 2017
Feierwerk München

After an amazing and once again sold out edition in 2016 you can expect 3 days, 27-30 bands, amazing people and good vibes at Keep It Low 2017! For the very first time we will have the “Doom-Frühschoppen” with some HEAVY bands on the last day of the Festival.

HEAVY!

3-day tickets are selling fast so don’t wait too long and get it here:
http://bit.ly/2lr4hzH

https://www.facebook.com/events/201489380309269/
https://www.facebook.com/keepitlowfestival/

Ufomammut, “Warsheep” official video

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Up in Smoke 2017 Adds Saint Vitus, Brant Bjork, Stoned Jesus, Beastmaker, Toner Low, Kaleidobolt and Usnea

Posted in Whathaveyou on May 18th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

up-in-smoke-2017-banner

I was fortunate enough to see Toner Low once in my life, and though it sounds greedy to even think I’d like to do so again, yeah, that would be pretty frickin’ awesome. At least that’s how it went last time around. Theirs is just one of the considerable names added to the Swiss-based Up in Smoke 2017 festival in this update, and one finds the Netherlands trio in the company of desert legend Brant Bjork, doom legends Saint Vitus, and YouTube legends Stoned Jesus, as well as Beastmaker — one assumes they’re soon to announce a full European tour for this fall — Usnea and Finland’s Kaleidobolt. All told it’s seven new bands for Up in Smoke 2017, which wasn’t exactly hurting before, with the likes of Orange Goblin and Graveyard, Ufommamut, Windhand and so on.

Bottom line? Awesome bill. Here’s the latest:

up-in-smoke-2017-poster

Up In Smoke 2017 – 7 New Bands : Brant Bjork (with Special Guest Sean Wheeler), Saint Vitus, Stoned Jesus & more added to the bill!

We are thrilled to announce 7 new bands confirmed for Up In Smoke 2017! BRANT BJORK (coming with Special Guest Sean Wheeler), SAINT VITUS, STONED JESUS, TONER LOW, BEASTMAKER, USNEA & KALEIDOBOLT! Our 5th edition will feature at least 20 bands on two stages with no overlapping set times, to guarantee you two days of Volume Worshipping!

BRANT BJORK (USA)
SAINT VITUS (USA)
STONED JESUS (UKR)
TONER LOW (NL)
BEASTMAKER (USA)
USNEA (USA)
KALEIDOBOLT (FIN)

Located Pratteln, in Switzerland’s best rock venue, Z7 Konzertfabrik, only a few kilometres from the German and French borders, Up In Smoke is an indoor festival for fans of Heavy Rock – Doom – Psych – Stoner… easily reachable by plane via the Euro-Airport (Basel/Muhouse) or by public transportations (train, bus) via Basel Main Station. There are plenty of affordable Hotels and Hostels located in Basel and for “budget savers” we are also offering to sleep over + breakfast (Coffee and bread rolls) in the venue for a small fee!

How does this work? After the last concert of the day, we ask everybody to step out of the venue for a few minutes. During that time, the venue and toilets are cleaned and the floor covered with a plastic sheet. (people have to bring their sleeping bags and air mattresses)

https://www.upinsmoke.de/tickets
http://www.z-7.ch/event.php?eventid=1306
https://www.facebook.com/UpInSmokeIndoorFestivalInZ7
https://www.facebook.com/events/466424317082118/
https://www.upinsmoke.de/

Brant Bjork, Live at Desert Generator 2017

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Desertfest Athens 2017: Saint Vitus and Radio Moscow Join Bill with Graveyard, Colour Haze, Orange Goblin and More

Posted in Whathaveyou on May 11th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

desertfest athens 2017 banner

Hard to argue with what Desertfest Athens 2017 has put together thus far for this October. The second incarnation of the Greece-based brand extension of the Desertfest — see also London, Berlin, Antwerp and no doubt more to come; just by way of naming cities off the top of my head, Barcelona, Rome, Los Angeles/San Diego and Stockholm all seem like ripe, yet-unexplored ground that might be worth trying out — enters itself into what will no doubt become a considerable Fall fray of fests if last year was anything to go by. Successive weekends, one after the other, sometimes two on at the same time. It was sheer madness. Will it be again? Yeah, probably.

I’ll be honest, it was hard to keep up with in 2016 for what was happening when, but the good thing was it put a whole buttload of bands on tour and gave them huge shows to anchor between slews of club and theater gigs, so I can’t think it was anything but a win all around for the groups involved. You can see from the lineup so far below for Desertfest Athens 2017 that it no doubt will be as well for anyone who makes the trek out to actually see the show. Been a while since I caught Colour Haze, Orange Goblin, Saint Vitus or Radio Moscow, and golly, it sure would be awfully nice to tick all those boxes over the course of two days. Ah, to daydream.

Full lineup and latest announcement follows. I’ll be keeping up with this one going forward as best I can, so stay tuned for more:

desertfest athens 2017 poster

2ND DESERTFEST ATHENS

ACRO
06-07.10.2017

Graveyard
Colour Haze
Orange Goblin
Radio Moscow
Saint Vitus
Sadhus: The Smoking Community
Allochiria
Puta Volcano

+ more names tba

The announcements from Desertfest Athens 2017 continue. After the six bands already announced (Graveyard, Color Haze, Orange Goblin, Sadhus, Allochiria, Puta Volcano), two extraordinary names are added to the line-up: the legendary Saint Vitus and Radio Moscow.

The name Saint Vitus is synonymous with doom metal, as they are among the bands that created the idiom with their recordings in the SST record label in the 1980s. Extremely influential, they remain a reference point for metal sound and feature at the major festivals of the genre.

With their famous debut (produced by Dan Auerbach of The Black Keys) released in 2007, psychedelic blues rockers Radio Moscow burned hearts. Ten years later, Parker Griggs’s prominent trio remains one of the hardest working bands in the world, with significant discography and unstoppable touring.

Soon we will be announced many names from the line-up of Desertfest Athens 2017.

Early-bird tickets are exhausted. Now only two-day tickets are sold for 50 euros.

https://www.viva.gr/tickets/music/acro/desertfest-athens-2017/
https://www.facebook.com/events/141861139680368/
https://www.facebook.com/Desertfest-Athens-189161564797514/

Saint Vitus, “Zombie Hunger” Live in Portland, OR, 10.16.16

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Desertfest Belgium 2017: Saint Vitus, All Them Witches, Satan’s Satyrs and Hidden Trails Added

Posted in Whathaveyou on May 8th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

desertfest belgium 2017 banner

The lineup for Desertfest Belgium 2017 — or Desertfest Antwerp 2017, as it seems to be positioning itself this year; fair considering neither the London nor Berlin nor Athens incarnations take on the whole country in their name — expands in multiple directions with its second round of adds. Similar to how the first announcement brought a heady dose of rock and doom with Windhand and Radio Moscow while keeping the local scene in mind with Hemelbestormer, this time around brings legends Saint Vitus to represent the darker side of the spectrum while All Them Witches and Satan’s Satyrs bring the riffs and Hypnos 69 offshoot Hidden Trails represent the native Belgian sphere.

Pretty awesome and multifaceted bill already, and as we look toward the fall, we’re still just getting started. As they note below, the London and Berlin fests just happened. I haven’t posted yet about it because I haven’t seen a proper announcement come through, but the Athens lineup is coming together as well, so I’ll get something going on that sooner or later. In the meantime, here’s the latest from Antwerpen:

desertfest-belgium-2017-poster-saint-vitus

Desertfest Antwerp 2017 New Names – ALL THEM WITCHES, SAINT VITUS AND MORE!

We hope you all enjoyed DF Berlin and London as much as the DF Antwerp crew did – we had a blast!

And while you’re still vibing on that buzz, let’s add some fuel to those flames with a quick roundup of new confirmations for the DF Antwerp edition…

Coming to you in October on our stage will be the versatile psych sounds of ALL THEM WITCHES, the West Coast doom pioneers SAINT VITUS, the infernal biker rock of SATAN’S SATYRS, and HIDDEN TRAILS, a Belgian band that rose from the ashes of local legend Hypnos 69.

Sounds good? Then keep your ears wide open for our next announcement coming in just a few weeks!

ALL THEM WITCHES

All Them Witches concoct a powerful and potent psychedelic sound that fuses bluesy soul, Southern swagger and thunderous hard rock. With three albums and a jam-filled live show, the band has amassed a devoted following and have become a real sensation in the underground rock scene. For further proof, check this year’s ‘Sleeping Through The War’ or the electrifying ‘Live In Brussels’ album.

SAINT VITUS

We are truly honoured to invite one of the pioneers in doom metal, starting out as early as the late 1970s. Throughout many line-up changes, breakups and reunions, they have maintained their status as one of the true lasting legends on the scene. Hot on the heels of the ‘Live Vol. 2’ album, the band is touring throughout 2017 continuing to spread their vintage brand of doom all over the world.

SATAN’S SATYRS

Satan’s Satyrs stand proud as a malignant manifestation of all that’s debauched and demented in heavy music. Beamed in from a metaphysical zone of over-amped ’70s power trio action and exploitation-movie malice, the band marks a new wild outpost in a freakrock lineage that extends from Edgar Broughton Band and Blue Cheer through Alice Cooper, Mountain and beyond.

HIDDEN TRAILS

Hidden Trails emerged when the rhythm section of Hypnos 69 started recording with guitarist-vocalist Jo. Picking up the loose ends that legendary Belgian stoner band left behind, Hidden Trails have crafted their own brand of psychedelic rock full of jazzy drums, thick and clean bass lines, mellow vocals and dreamy guitar riffs. A local treasure for sure!

http://www.desertfest.be/tickets
https://www.facebook.com/desertfestbelgium/
https://www.facebook.com/events/264364590656095/
https://twitter.com/DesertfestBE

Saint Vitus, Live at Saint Vitus Bar, Oct. 2016

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Tombstones Announce Tour Dates with Saint Vitus

Posted in Whathaveyou on March 28th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

tombstones

As far as gigs in doom go, opening for Saint Vitus is close to as good as it gets. That’s the situation in which Oslo’s Tombstones find themselves as they continue to support their 2015 album, Vargariis (review here), released by Soulseller Records. Between the two, it’s a doomed-as-hell combo that will plod its way around Europe in May, and with Vitus continuing to work with original vocalist Scott Reagers, all the more an event for those fortunate enough to be in their path.

Can’t help but wonder too if Tombstones might have some new material on offer as we get a little further out from the Vargariis release. I asked bassist/vocalist Ole Helstad for some comment on doing the tour and he was tight-lipped on the possibility, but not mentioning it isn’t necessarily a no.

Dates and whatnot follow for the converted and soon to be converted:

tombstones tour with saint vitus

Tombstones – Tour Supporting Saint Vitus

We’re hitting the European roads alongside Saint Vitus in May. Come bang your head!

TOMBSTONES live with SAINT VITUS:
08.04 Copperfields Stockholm SWE
02.05 Helvete Oberhausen DE
03.05 Schlachthof Wiesbaden DE
04.05 Backstage Munich DE
05.05 Kammgarn Schaffhausen CH
06.05 Little Devil Tilburg NL
07.05 Patronaat Haarlem NL
08.05 Day off
09.05 Bastard Club Osnabruck DE
10.05 Hafenklang Hamburg DE
11.05 Voxhall Aarhus DK
12.05 Nojesfabriken Karlstad SWE
13.05 Pokalen Oslo NO
14.05 Pumpehuset Copenhagen DK

Says Ole Helstad:

“We are extremely thrilled to finally go on tour with Vargariis. It’s been a while since last time, and we miss meeting our friends and fans around Europe. It’s such a huge honor to be able to share stages with such legends as Saint Vitus. It’s a dream come true for us.”

Tombstones has taken up on their Norse heritage, evolving from their previous stoner-influenced sound, now descending into the dark side of the gloom.

“Vargariis” finds the band leaning towards the bleak and desperate, assaulting the listener with their blackened, thunderous wall of fuzz and despair.

https://www.facebook.com/norwegiandoom/
https://tombstonesoslo.bandcamp.com/
http://www.soulsellerrecords.com/

Tombstones, Vargariis (2015)

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Desertfest London 2017: Individual Day Schedules Announced

Posted in Whathaveyou on January 30th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

I have no problem admitting to feeling overwhelmed looking at the full lineup and individual day splits for Desertfest London 2017. I mean, seriously. Look at that poster. What a way to spend a weekend.

Likewise, I have few grand reflections to offer in light of that overwhelming feeling, except perhaps to take a step back and be massively impressed at how much this event has grown in just six incarnations. Along with Desertfest Berlin, the London edition has become an anchor not only for the UK heavy rock underground — which is well represented here as ever in Elephant TreeBlack SpidersStubbVodunPigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs PigsTerminal CheesecakeChubby Thunderous Bad Kush MastersMammoth Weed Wizard Bastard, and so on — but for bands from abroad as well. You’ll note the three headliners: two American, one Norwegian, and the next line down on the poster is two Swedish, one American. Desertfest London 2017’s reach feels wider than ever. Staring at the final lineup, it’s clear just how much of a big fucking deal this festival has become.

Wish I could be there to see it.

Here’s the announcement of the individual day lineups from their website:

desertfest london 2017

DESERTFEST 2017 DAY SPLITS AND DAY TICKETS ARE HERE!

Finally, the Desertfest 2017 day and stage splits are here, along with individual day tickets. It’s the point of the year where you can start planning the weekend, you can imagine the sets in your head and you can curse those god damned clashes.

Last things first, let’s get straight to that insane Sunday main-stage. To celebrate The Roundhouse joining the Desertfest family, we made their debut appearance something special. Not only will stoner doom icons Sleep be topping the bill, but the Roundhouse hosts a full bill of huge acts. Candlemass, with over three decades of underground acclaim to their name, bring the epic doom metal. USA’s Wolves in the Throne Room bring the atmospheric black metal. Traditional doom metal stalwarts Saint Vitus bring the classic riffs. And how about this for a ‘curtain jerker’? Bongzilla bring the raw weed metal for their second show of the weekend; more on the first later.

It’s not just about the Sunday though. Friday’s stage at the Electric Ballroom is headlined by returning heroes Slo Burn whose short run in the mid 90s furthered the then fledgling stoner rock scene. One band they surely had an impact on is Lowrider, who play Europe’s finest stoner rock alongside them. Ukraine’s Stoned Jesus celebrate their resonant album Seven Thunders Roar, and 1000Mods and Pontiak round up the main stage on the Friday.

The Electric Ballroom on Saturday will be swarming with Turbojugends as death-punk grandmasters Turbonegro turn Camden into party central. John Garcia sticks around for a solo show, sure to feature classics from his years of nonstop mastery in the stoner rock scene. Sheffield’s rock and roll five piece Black Spiders visit London for one last time on their farewell tour, with Satan’s Satyrs and Avon rounding up the main stage.

As ever though, it doesn’t stop at the main stages. Our regular partners have delivered three stages with diverse lineups. Human_Disease_Promo and When Planets Collide take over The Underworld on Saturday in a bill headlined by Bongzilla with a special set celebrating the band’s early work. The Quietus stage is led by synth wavers Zombi, and Nightshift Promotions bring an eclectic mix led by Hungary’s Apey & the Pea. To be honest, just stick a pin in the lineup poster and you’re guaranteed a good time.

For those who can’t make the full weekend, we have a limited number of individual day tickets. Priced at £40 for Friday tickets, £40 for Saturday tickets and £45 for Sunday tickets, links are below.

So there we have it. Our final lineup for Desertfest 2017. We hope you’re as excited as we are to get back to Camden this April and riff London to the ground.

DESERTFEST LONDON 2017 Final Lineup:
SLEEP
SLO BURN
TURBONEGRO
CANDLEMASS
WOLVES IN THE THRONE ROOM
SAINT VITUS
JOHN GARCIA BAND
BONGZILLA
LOWRIDER
SCISSORFIGHT
BLACK SPIDERS
SAMSARA BLUES EXPERIMENT
THE PICTUREBOOKS
STONED JESUS
SATAN’S SATYRS
INTER ARMA
WEAR YOUR WOUNDS
1000MODS
STEAK
AVON
DEATH ALLEY
DEAD LORD
BOSS KELOID
PONTIAK
YURI GAGARIN
HARK
VODUN
CHRON GOBLIN
PIGS PIGS PIGS PIGS PIGS PIGS PIGS
THE WELL
MAMMOTH STORM
CELESTE
STUBB
MONOLITHIAN
WUCAN
VENOMOUS MAXIMUS
BRUME
APEY & THE PEA
ELEPHANT TREE
GRAVE LINES
IRON WITCH
EARTH SHIP
BACKWOODS PAYBACK
WIZARD FIGHT
BRULE
CLOSET DISCO QUEEN
GRAND MAMMOTH
CHUBBY THUNDEROUS BAD KUSH MASTERS
MAMMOTH WEED WIZARD BASTARD
SAMAVAYO
WELCOME BACK DELTA
DEAD LETTUCE
MONSTERTONE
LEDFOOT
ZOMBI
TERMINAL CHEESECAKE
KHÜNNT
BASK
BRUXA MARIA

http://www.desertfest.co.uk/#tickets-section
https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/desertfest-2017-tickets-27305267791
http://www.desertfest.co.uk/
https://www.facebook.com/DesertfestLondon
https://twitter.com/DesertFest
https://www.instagram.com/desertfest_london/

Dead Lettuce, Booze and Blues EP (2015)

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Desertfest Berlin 2017: Saint Vitus to Headline; Venue Expansion Announced

Posted in Whathaveyou on January 13th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

As doom legends Saint Vitus join Sleep and John Garcia in headlining, things seem to still just be heating up for Desertfest Berlin 2017. The reason I say so is the fest has just announced plans to expand beyond the Astra Kulturhaus for the first time in its five-year history. It will now incorporate multiple spaces in RAW, including two other clubs near to the Astra at which affiliated shows will be hosted put on by local promoters. Pretty awesome news, quite frankly, and it gives those fortunate enough to be in attendance even more options for how to spend their time as Desertfest gradually takes over the whole area for the weekend.

The fest made the announcement thusly:

desertfest-berlin-2017-first-poster

Desertfest Berlin 2017 We go BIGGER and BETTER: additional Venues / SAINT VITUS to Headline

2017 – DESERTFEST will conquer all of RAW !

That means, for all of you who don’t know, the wonderful RAW-Area where our main venue ASTRA is located. It is a former GDR train maintenance station with lots of now newly populated old factory buildings, lots of space to play and street art to enjoy. It means you get to roam freely in and outside of the Astra and go out and explore, as we will expand the festival to three more additional venues! Of course the traditionalists can enjoy the full program, eat & drink and get wild without leaving the premises – our main stage, our foyer stage, bingo-bongo bar and the beloved beergarden.

We are super stoked to have the venues CASSIOPEIA, URBAN SPREE and BADEHAUS BERLIN with us on board – three amazing clubs in three minute walking distance from Astra that will host special parties and more concerts. The events there will be curated by underground labels and promoters which we will introduce to you with several postings in the weeks to come.

Desertfest Berlin 2017 will feature more than 50 bands in total !!!

Also be prepared to welcome very special known people who are trading their instruments with turntables and deliver you exclusive DJ Sets!

In order to make things more fun we are forced to raise the ticket prices a tiny bit. But have no fear – until February 1st, you can still buy Tickets for 85 € (visit our Website, or use the links below in this release). After that, the weekend pass will be 95 €. We hope you like the news of our expanding ideas and you are looking forward to celebrate the biggest and best DESERTFEST ever ;)

SAINT VITUS TO HEADLINE DESERTFEST BERLIN 2017

On top of that great news, we are thrilled to tell you that SAINT VITUS will be our third headliner for this 2017 edition, alongside SLEEP and JOHN GARCIA ! BONGZILLA, STONED JESUS, MAMMOTH MAMMOTH and ODD COUPLE are also added to this year’s line-up !

SAINT VITUS (USA)
Los Angeles titans Saint Vitus are over 36 years-strong and still bleeding black… Coming from the same school as Trouble or Pentagram, they are praised as one of the original instigators of doom metal. Even through the turmoil of personnel changes and re-formations, Saint Vitus have always held a position of respect in the underground heavy rock scene, and we are proud to have them headlining Desertfest Berlin 2017!!

BONGZILLA (USA)
Before virtually any of these new jacks started claiming “weed metal” or anything of the like, there was Wisconsin’s Bongzilla. Formed in 1995 and devoted to all things green, the band infuses its homegrown, psychedelic sludge sound with a distinctive Southern feel. After several releases and lineup transformations, the band went on hiatus in the late 00s. But since 2015, Bongzilla are back to deliver their stoned out, tuned down, Sabbath inspired stoned music to the world, and have proven that their live shows are not to be missed!

STONED JESUS (UKR)
It’s been half a decade since Ukrainian heavy trio released their second album, “Seven Thunders Roar”, and it would be hard to imagine they had any idea the audience it would find back then. This year at Desertfest Berlin, to mark the fifth anniversary of “Seven Thunders Roar”, Stoned Jesus will perform a set featuring their most famous album in its entirety!! They are at work on new material as well, so keep an eye out for more updates!

MAMMOTH MAMMOTH (AUS)
Melbourne’s Mammoth Mammoth just emerged from the studio with a new album locked, loaded and ready to fire! Again, the recording was not without the usual disturbances that plague this foursome. Yes the police came (and not to jam a few tunes). Yes, there was a chemical fire. And yes, a little voodoo was practiced. And okay, the bass player did barely survive a motorcycle crash just before the final tracking. But nothing short of Armageddon was gonna stop MM from getting the job done and to launch this new album at Desertfest Berlin!!

ODD COUPLE (GER)
Odd Couple are a Berlin duo with guitars, drums and hands. Together they play a fast paced, sweaty rock ‘n’ roll, wwhere it dwho is playing which instrument, it’s all about setting a room on fire – with limited resources. Another new edition of the Black Keys formula? Not at all!

Previously confirmed for this year’s DESERTFEST BERLIN: SLEEP, JOHN GARCIA & BAND (playing songs from Kyuss to Slo Burn), SAMSARA BLUES EXPERIMENT, MARS RED SKY, LOWRIDER, 1000MODS, TOUNDRA, ECSTATIC VISION, SUMA, THE COSMIC DEAD, PONTIAK, TUBER, SATAN’S SATYRS, WUCAN, VENOMOUS MAXIMUS, THE WELL, GOLD, RIFF FIST, TSCHAIKA 21/16.

http://www.desertfest.de/tickets
https://www.facebook.com/DesertfestBerlin
http://woolheads.com/shop-2/festivalmerchandise/desertfest-berlin-2016-early-bird-ticket-action-1/
https://shop3.ticketscript.com/channel/html/get-products/rid/4MGC3S6H/eid/327518/validity/any_day/language/en

Lowrider, “Shivaree” live at Desertfest Berlin 2013

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The Obelisk Radio Adds: Lord Mountain, The Giraffes, Saint Vitus, Långfinger, Soggy

Posted in Radio on January 9th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

the obelisk radio cavum

It’s been a long time. Long enough that I’m not even going to link back to the last time I did a round of Radio Adds. Life happens, and with the Quarterly Review, I guess my focus went elsewhere. Well, I just did a Quarterly Review, and that actually kind of inspired this, since I found there was yet more records that wanted covering even after that over-full round of 60 that closed out 2016 and opened 2017. So here we are.

There are, in fact, more than 50 albums being added to The Obelisk Radio playlist today. I can’t promise I’ll do Radio Adds weekly like I once did, or monthly, or again in 2017, or ever, but the opportunity presented itself and it seemed only right to take advantage. This stuff all came out last year, so it’s all readily available, and audio samples are included, because, you know, music and such.

Let’s dig in:

Lord Mountain, Lord Mountain

lord-mountain-lord-mountain

Of all the styles under the vast umbrella of “heavy,” traditional doom is among the hardest to execute – especially, I’d think, for new bands. You need a balance of atmosphere and lack of pretense, a classic vibe, riffs, and groove. On the surface, you’re playing to the past, but if you put out something that just sounds like Sabbath and bring nothing of yourself to it, you’re sunk. Santa Rosa, California’s Lord Mountain – vocalist/guitarist Jesse Swanson, guitarist Sean Serrano, bassist Dave Reed and drummer Pat Moore – would seem to have it figured out on their self-titled debut EP. Released by King Volume Records on limited tape, it brings forth four tracks in 21 minutes that are no less comfortable playing to the downer riffing of Candlemass – opener “Fenrir” – than to the epic chanting of Viking-era Bathory – “Under the Mountain” – and that find distinction for themselves in nodding to one side or the other as they make their way across the bass-y Sabbathism of “Dying World” and into the concluding solo-topped gallop of “Tomb of the Eagle” (more Dio-era there, but effectively translated tonally). As an initial offering, its presence is more stately than raw, and part of that is aesthetic, so I still think Lord Mountain will have growth to undertake, but their EP shows marked potential and brings a fresh personality to doom’s rigid traditionalism, and there’s nothing more one could reasonably ask of it. A CD would probably be too much to ask, but it’s hard to believe no one’s snagged it for a 10” release yet.

Lord Mountain on Thee Facebooks

Lord Mountain on Bandcamp

King Volume Records on Bandcamp

 

The Giraffes, Usury

the giraffes usury

Behold the winding, self-directed narrative of underrated, underutilized and underappreciated New York heavy rockers The Giraffes, who issued Usury via Silver Sleeve Records in Jan. 2016, on the cusp of their 20th anniversary and with it welcomed back frontman Aaron Lazar (also a one-time contributor to The Book of Knots, speaking of underrated) to the fold alongside guitarist Damien Paris, drummer Andrew Totolos and bassist Josh Taggart. Comprised of just six songs with a 28-minute runtime, it nonetheless holds to a full-album sentiment, with songs like the tense “Washing Machine” working in a vein not dissimilar to their righteous 2008 offering, Prime Motivator (review here), while the preceding “Facebook Rant” and “Product Placement Song” bask in a social commentary that one can only hope the ensuing decades make dated and the subsequent “White Jacket” has a melancholy danceability that one might’ve related around the time of The Giraffes’ 2005 self-titled debut related to System of a Down, but now just sounds like an enrichment of their approach overall. Usury gets off to a slow start (not a complaint, given the groove) with “Blood Will Run,” which seems to shake off its dust initially before commencing its real push and chug circa the halfway point, but by the time they get down to eight-minute finale “How it Happened to Me,” the sudden conclusion of the jam leaves one to wonder where they went and when they’ll be back, which presumably is the whole idea. Behold a band who did it before it was cool, should’ve been huge, and still kept going. The story is more complicated than that, but there are few tales more admirable.

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The Giraffes website

 

Saint Vitus, Live Vol. 2

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The first Saint Vitus live album – Live – surfaced in 1990 via Hellhound Records and captured the band in Germany in 1989. Its 2005 reissue on Southern Lord played a large role in introducing the pivotal doomers to a new generation of fans. Live Vol. 2 follows some 26 years later via Season of Mist and likewise documents a crucial era in the four-piece’s existence, having been recorded in 2013 in Luxembourg following the release of their 2012 album, Lillie: F-65 (review here), with the lineup of vocalist Scott “Wino” Weinrich, guitarist Dave Chandler, bassist Mark Adams and drummer Henry Vasquez. It’s a 59-minute set, all told – one suspects some of Chandler’s stage rants between songs were shortened or removed – and among the most striking impressions it makes is how seamlessly Lillie: F-65 cuts “Let Them Fall,” “The Bleeding Ground” and “The Waste of Time” fit in alongside classics like the speedy “War is Our Destiny” and “Look Behind You” or the more grueling “Patra (Petra)” and galloping “White Stallions.” Of course, the anthemic “Born too Late” closes out, with Chandler’s wash of feedback and all-low-end tone at the start the ultimate hallmark of what Saint Vitus have always been – a middle finger to square culture unlike any other. This era of the band may be over, with original vocalist Scott Reagers stepping back into the frontman role, but as one continues to hope for another studio album, Live Vol. 2 proves more than a stopgap and takes an active role in adding to the band’s legendary catalog.

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Season of Mist website

 

Långfinger, Crossyears

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After two successful full-lengths in 2010’s Skygrounds and 2012’s Slow Rivers, next-gen Swedish heavy rockers Långfinger join forces with Small Stone Records for their 10-song/46-minute third album, the crisply-executed Crossyears. Like their countrymen labelmates in Jeremy Irons and the Ratgang Malibus, the Gothenburg three-piece bring modern edge and production to what a few years ago might’ve been purely retro ‘70s boogie rock, as tracks like “Fox Confessor,” “Say Jupiter,” the more languid “Atlas” and “Caesar’s Blues” bask in a showcase of tight, natural performance with a clean production style that still highlights same, bassist/keyboardist/vocalist Victor Crusner, guitarist/backing vocalist Kalle Lilja and drummer/backing vocalist Jesper Pihl proving the maturity of their songwriting while still delivering the push of “Silver Blaze” and closer “Window in the Sky” with a sense of energy behind them. Their approach so solidified, Långfinger don’t seem to leave much to chance in their sound, but Crossyears engages heavy rock tradition effectively while bridging a gap of decades across its run, and that, frankly, seems like enough for any one record to take on.

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Small Stone Records on Bandcamp

 

Soggy, Soggy

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Soggy’s self-titled LP, released in this edition by Outer Battery Records (see also Arctic, Earthless Meets Heavy Blanket), is a reissue of a 2008 collection of tracks from a span of years that find the blown-out French punkers paying direct homage to The Stooges with a cover of the seminal “I Wanna be Your Dog,” immediately drawing a line to what seems to have been the band’s most prominent influence. Some 35-plus years after they were initially put to tape, Soggy’s tracks continue to feel dangerous and raw in their frenetic proto-punkery, and that would seem to be exactly what the Soggy LP is looking to convey, digging into the vast trove of lost artifacts in heavy and punk rock and finding a treasure ripe for hindsight appreciation. As much as it just makes me want to put on the self-titled Stooges record or Fun House, I can’t argue with the success of Soggy’s Soggy or not admire its mission, even if some of its blows land harder than others.

Soggy on Bandcamp

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