Friday Full-Length: Volcano, 10,000 Screaming Souls

Posted in Bootleg Theater on April 13th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

I bought this track this morning. According to Bandcamp, the time had come to open my heart/wallet, so for a buck, I figured it was easily worth it. This is Volcano‘s late-2017 debut single, and as they move forward with their first album presumably later this year, you never know what could happen. Releases like this one have a habit of disappearing when “real records” show up. So yeah, for a dollar, “10,000 Screaming Souls” was easily worth the asking price.

The occasion is Roadburn Festival, which, holy crap, is next week. I feel like I’m in no way mentally prepared for what’s happening next week in Tilburg, and therefore I must be. Volcano are playing as one of the slew of acts on the bill. I could’ve closed out the week with Godspeed You! Black Emperor, or Earthless or whoever, but I went with Volcano for two reasons.

First, they represent the San Diego Takeover, which is one of the parts of Roadburn 2018 I’m most excited to see, with bands like Arctic, Harsh Toke — when Harsh Toke jams, you show up — Petyr, Pharlee, and others. The band, who again are new enough only to have released one single a couple months band, is comprised of Zach Oakley from Joy on guitar, Gabe Messer from Harsh Toke on keys and vocals, Billy Ellsworth of Loom on bass, Matt Oakley (brother to Zach) handling drums and Ake Arndt from Operation Mindblow holding down percussion. I’ve done a fair amount of writing about what I’ve come to abbreviate in emails as the “SDT,” and Volcano have become one of the bands I’m most looking forward to seeing thanks to “10,000 Screaming Souls.”

Second is the newness of it. Not only is it a fairly recent release, posted by the five-piece on Dec. 22 last year, but it also brings new ideas to the established stylistic tenets of San Diego’s dominant underground sphere — a penchant for classic heavy rock, touches of psychedelia, a heavy focus on tones, jamming, the word “rad,” connections to skate culture, etc. — with Messer taking on the role of a Fela Kuti-style bandleader telling the story of a jungle leading toward the shout-out hook, “Let the lava flow!” Elements of funk, classic psych, Afrobeat and boogie show themselves quickly on the track, melded into a fluid approach of keys, guitar and driving, ass-shaking rhythm.

If the band isn’t yet signed to Tee Pee Records for their debut album, they probably should be, given both sound and personnel. But the newness factor has another level of meaning as well, specifically as regards Roadburn, which never seems to fail to deliver some kind of surprise or progressive moment from its years past. I know Walter loves his Icelandic black metal, and I’m not going to take away from the maddening intensity of those performances, but something like importing a decent amount of an entire scene and basically saying, “Okay, go jam” — as he’s done with the San Diego Takeover — is pretty special and pretty forward-thinking.

On the off-chance you didn’t catch the above “holy crap,” Roadburn kind of snuck up on me this year in terms of “okay, I have to be at the airport when?” and concerns like that. Still, go ahead and count me in for watching Volcano next Saturday in the Green Room. I’ll let you know how it goes, and in the meantime, I hope you enjoy the track. Let the lava flow, and so on.

Just by way of a note, at six minutes, this is probably the shortest ‘Friday Full-Length’ I’ve done. One song. The idea, of course, is to close out each week with a complete album. Well, think of this time as a full release that just happens to be one song. It’s the whole single. That’s how I got over the hump. I sincerely doubt anyone cares that much — if anyone did, it would probably be me, and I don’t — but there you go anyway.

Time’s pretty limited, so I’ll keep this short. As I write, I’m sitting on the floor in the living room with The Pecan, who’s getting pretty close to rolling over back to front, proto-crawling, etc. Mobility. A whole other animal, I suspect. We just dropped his mother, The Patient. Mrs., off at work and will have to pick her up again shortly, then off to CT for the next two days at least. Been a rough couple nights of sleep. Baby stuff. So it goes.

I leave Tuesday evening for Roadburn. Here’s what’s in the notes for the week anyhow, subject to change pending things falling through, volcanoes, whatever:

Mon.: Mordor track premiere; Willow Child video premiere.
Tue.: Svvamp track premiere; Ancient Lights album trailer premiere.
Wed.: Sun Voyager album stream.
Thu.: Roadburn
Fri.: Roadburn
Sat.: Roadburn
Sun.: Roadburn
Mon.: Travel day

Assuming all goes how it should go, that’s how it’s going to go. We’ll see how it goes. Got that?

Excellent. I wish you the best of weekends. If I’m spotty answering emails or Facebook messages more than usual, it’s because I’m traveling. As always, I’ll do my best to keep up.

Have fun, be safe, and don’t forget to check out the forum and radio stream.

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Earthless Announce More US Touring for May/June

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

earthless ed dominick

Earthless — who are currently embroiled in a European run alongside Comet Control that should be called the ‘Fucking A, This Pairing is Awesome and Everyone Should Go See It’ Tour and will land the San Diego trio at Roadburn, where they’ll serve as artists-in-residence — have announced their next batch of US tour dates supporting their new album, Black Heaven (review here). The band recently wrapped a US stint with Kikagaku Moyo and JJUUJJUU, and as they go from May into June, they’ll be bringing along Here Lies Man for the majority of the dates who are — wait for it — also fucking awesome.

If you think your brain can handle the righteousness, the PR wire submits the following:

earthless tour

EARTHLESS ANNOUNCE NEXT LEG OF U.S. TOUR DATES

BLACK HEAVEN AVAILABLE NOW: http://nblast.de/EarthlessBlackHeavenNB

Earthless, who recently released their Nuclear Blast debut, Black Heaven, have added a second leg of U.S. tour dates, kicking off on May 31 at Detroit’s El Club.

“Our new album, Black Heaven, is out now and we’re super excited to get out on the road again to play the Nelsonville Music Festival plus a bunch of U.S. headline shows in spots we haven’t hit yet,” said Mario Rubalcaba. “Stoked to burn through some new tunes for you all! Tell your friends and hope to see you at the shows!” News of the U.S. outing comes as the band kicks off a European tour in support of the album, launching the three-week leg with a show tomorrow night in Belgium.

Continuing in a series of firsts, the San Diego-based outfit offered up their first ever music video recently as well, with the clip for “Volt Rush”. The video features mythical skateboarder T-Spliff (aka Taylor Smith) as he boards across San Diego and neighboring Oceanside, visiting a number of favorite hometown locales. “Volt Rush” was directed by skateboard/visual artist BB Bastidas.

EARTHLESS w/ COMET CONTROL:
Apr 5 – Manchester, UK @ The Deaf Institute
Apr 6 – London, UK @ Islington Assembly Hall
Apr 7 – Paris, FR @ Petit Bain
Apr 8 – Frankfurt, DE @ Zoom
Apr 10 – Munich, DE @ Feierwerk
Apr 11 – Berlin, DE @ Bi Nuu
Apr 12 – Copenhagen, DK @ Pumpehuset
Apr 13 – Oslo, NO @ BLA
Apr 14 – Gothenberg, SE @ Truckstop Alaska
Apr 16 – Hamburg, DE @ Molotow
Apr 19 – Tilburg, NE @ ROADBURN 2018
Apr 20 – Tilburg, NE @ ROADBURN 2018
Apr 21 – Tilburg, NE @ ROADBURN 2018

EARTHLESS 2ND LEG BLACK HEAVEN TOUR:
May 31 Detroit, MI El Club
June 1 Nelsonville, OH Nelsonville Music Festival
June 2 Louisville, KY Zanzabar
June 3 Morgantown, WV 123 Pleasant Street
June 5 Asheville, NC The Mothlight
June 6 Atlanta, GA The Masquerade
June 7 Spartanburg, SC Ground Zero
June 8 Orlando, FL Will’s Pub
June 9 Tallahassee, FL The Wilbury
June 10 Baton Rouge, LA The Spanish Moon
June 12 Houston, TX White Oak Music Hall
June 13 Austin, TX Barracuda
June 14 Ft. Worth, TX Ridglea Room
June 15 Memphis, TN Growler’s

All U.S. non-festival dates with Here Lies Man except Detroit (Timmy’s Organism and The Octopus open)

August 3 Beelen, Germany Krach am Bach
August 10 Moledo, Portugal Sonic Blast

Earthless is Mike Eginton (bass), Isaiah Mitchell (vocals/guitar) and Mario Rubalcaba (drums).

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Earthless, “Volt Rush” official video

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Earthless Post “Volt Rush” Video

Posted in Bootleg Theater on March 20th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

earthless

Just how West Coast is it? Well, it’s West Coast enough to feature a professional skateboarder jumping over garbage cans dressed as a pizza-themed superhero, if that answers your question. Which it should. Sorry, that shit just doesn’t happen in Philadelphia.

San Diego heavy psych ambassadors Earthless issued their new album, Black Heaven (review here), last week via Nuclear Blast, and somehow, the clip below for “Volt Rush” strikes me as something of a victory lap to mark the occasion. Unlike much of the record, the track is instrumental, but it’s also only two and a half minutes long and so still represents some of the overarching change of approach that’s become so much of the narrative of the record — Earthless daring to not bask in their 20-minute, epic-as-all-hell instrumental songcrat and instead offer verses, choruses, and a piece like “Volt Rush,” which is there and gone before you even really have time to notice it’s Mad Alchemy doing the psychedelic lighting for the band’s show in the clip. Which, incidentally, it is.

As for the narrative, it looks like a hell of a day for Volt Pizza Man, played by pro skater Taylor Smith, and whatever cool tricks happen along the way — though I’ll give both the band and director BB Bastidas credit for not just making it look like a sponsor-me skate demo — the story ends (spoiler ahead) with Smith getting tossed on his ass out back of the Casbah, which my understanding is where it’s at when it comes to San Diego venues. That’s what I’m told, anyhow.

“Volt Rush,” though, lives up to its name, and the quick push through it makes it just right for the average YouTube attention span. Earthless are of course on tour now in the US and will head overseas next month to feature at Roadburn 2018 as artists-in-residence and leaders — suitably enough — of what’s been dubbed the “San Diego takeover,’ with JoyHarsh TokeArcticPetyr and others taking part.

Dates follow the clip below, as per the PR wire:

Earthless, “Volt Rush” official video

Earthless, who are in the midst of a North American tour in support of their new album Black Heaven, debut their video for “Volt Rush.”

The video, which is set in Earthless’ hometown of San Diego, as well as neighboring Oceanside, was directed by skateboard/visual artist BB Bastidas and features the famed SoCal skateboarder T-Spliff (aka Taylor Smith).

“Stoked to present to you the very first Earthless video, directed by artist BB Bastidas,” said drummer Mario Rubalcaba. “We were stoked to work with BB on this as he knows our background as a band and our close roots with skateboarding. His art is amazing and he also has a keen natural eye for film. Having Taylor Smith, aka T-Spliff, in it just makes it even sweeter. He is somewhat of a mythical figure of a skater, an amazing talent but chooses to shred at his own discretion. Those who know, know. This was a blast to be a part of and we hope you enjoy this short high energy rocker that cruises around our hometown of San Diego, and local club, The Casbah.”

Black Heaven is the band’s first release to feature a majority of songs with vocals and is also the trio’s first time working with producer Dave Catching (Eagles of Death Metal). Rubalcaba explains the impact the Joshua Tree studio had on the outfit’s new music: “This album represents yet another branch on the ever growing and now adolescent Earthless tree. I spent a good amount of time just gazing at the stars at night while we were out recording in the desert of Joshua Tree. I think this somehow lent itself to the title and feel of the album on some songs. This LP has a touch more of our classic rock roots showing, just stuff we grew up on and it’s great to finally utilize Isaiah’s lyrical talent and soulful voice. As cliché as it sounds – Black Heaven should be played LOUD.”

Earthless tour dates:
March 20 Washington, DC Rock’n’Roll Hotel
March 21 Richmond, VA The Broadberry
March 22 Nashville, TN Mercy Lounge
March 23 St. Louis, MO Blueberry Hill
March 24 Chicago, IL Empty Bottle
March 25 Chicago, IL Empty Bottle
*All North American tour dates with Kikagaku Moyo and JJUUJJUU

April 3 Korkrijk, Belgium De Kreun
April 4 Bristol, UK The Fleece
April 5 Manchester, UK The Deaf Institute
April 6 London, UK Islington Assembly Hall
April 7 Paris, France Petit Bain
April 8 Frankfurt, Germany Zoom
April 10 Munich, Germany Feierwerk
April 11 Berlin, Germany Bi Nuu
April 12 Copenhagen, Denmark Pumpehuset
April 13 Oslo, Norway BLA
April 14 Gothenberg, Sweden Truckstop Alaska
April 16 Hamburg, Germany Molotow
April 19-21 Tilburg, Netherlands Roadburn 2018
*All European, non-Roadburn dates with Comet Control

June 1 Nelsonville, OH Nelsonville Music Festival
August 10 Moledo, Portugal Sonic Blast

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Earthless, Black Heaven: Gifts of the Wind

Posted in Reviews on March 15th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

earthless black heaven

There will be those who decry the stylistic changes that San Diego — and really, the West Coast as a whole — heavy psych forerunners Earthless make on their fourth album, Black Heaven, which, with its somewhat quizzical title, also marks the trio’s debut on Nuclear Blast after a longer term alignment with Tee Pee that ran right up to 2016’s Acid Crusher / Mount Swan split (review here) with jammy acolytes Harsh Toke. The use of vocals in a major way for the first time, the paring down of song structures as compared to the massive sprawling righteousness that Earthless‘ reputation has been built on to this point will be departures that no doubt will have some in their fanbase calling them sellouts. This position, in this instance as in at least 85 percent of all instances as regards underground bands, is dumb. When Earthless start doing infomercials for electric scissors, maybe they will have sold out.

Guitarist Isaiah Mitchell wants to sing on four out of the six tracks on a 40-minute record? That’s not selling out. That’s a simple shift in approach. And here’s the thing: I can just about guarantee that for every longtime Earthless follower who refuses to get on board with the hook of “End to End” or opener “Gifted by the Wind,” two new heads will be turned onto what they’re doing for the first time. They’re not selling out. They’re reaching out. And I know they’re not the first group to link up with Nuclear Blast and undergo a stylistic change — see also Witchcraft, Graveyard, Blues Pills and Kadavar modernizing their production methods away from their initial vintage sounds — but even if the label had a hand in making the shift take place, Mitchell, bassist Mike Eginton and drummer Mario Rubalcaba do nothing but thrive in the context of these songs. Want to call it a sellout because it’s not what you’re used to? Not what they did on 2013’s From the Ages (review here)? Fine. But you’re the one who’s losing out, not the band.

Mitchell‘s voice will be familiar enough to anyone who’s experienced either of the two full-lengths he’s put out with his other band, Golden Void, and he largely keeps to the same approach here — classic rock in style, soulful but not overdone, tastefully and willfully imperfect in its execution. He sounds live in the tradition of early heavy rock as he tops the initial push of “Gifted by the Wind” and the ultra-catchy boogie of “End to End,” and in one of Black Heaven‘s greatest points of success, the album has managed to distill the vast spread of prior Earthless output — that feeling of every single second being the most awesome moment of the classic heavy rock jam; crescendo piled on top of crescendo in a hypnotic instrumental torrent — into structured songcraft. “Gifted by the Wind” is only six minutes long, “End to End” only five, and the subsequent side A closer “Electric Flame” is the longest track on the LP at 9:05, but it’s not about song length anymore; it’s about what Earthless do with that time. “End to End” opens atmospherically but soon crashes into a threatening wash of feedback and cymbals before launching after the 1:30 mark into its central riff, which is among the most memorable the band has ever produced and joyously raucous in its circular motion. In short, it sounds like they’re having a blast, and subtle layering in Mitchell‘s vocals only add to the Hendrixian spirit as a whole.

earthless

A couple verses belted out lead to a guitar solo and instrumental finish that one senses could probably keep going for as long as the band wants it to in a live setting, but is certainly enough to get the wah-soaked, ass-shaking point across, Rubalcaba turning in a particularly engaging performance. The aforementioned side A closer “Electric Flame” is immediately more subdued, but still takes off on a rush of its own shortly, the time spent in the intro heading toward a more straightforward groove that is graceful in its turns but still rough-sounding along the edges — a balance of danger and surehandedness that Earthless carry through an early jam before turning back to the verse at the halfway point and taking off shortly after five minutes in on the mostly-instrumental stretch that rounds out in fashion no less immersive than they’ve ever been, of course with Mitchell‘s unmitigated at the fore punctuated by Rubalcaba‘s drums as Eginton‘s bass provides the foundation to which they smoothly return near the finish. Like the best of its ilk, it sounds like it’s about to completely fly apart and never does.

The same applies for the sub-two-minute “Volt Rush,” which is essentially a quick, layered-solo embodiment of its title — fast, full-thrust, all-go. It’s the kind of thing Earthless might’ve done for 13 minutes or so on 2008’s Live at Roadburn (discussed here), but even in playing to their classic methods, they’re changing how that happens, emphasizing quickly the trio dynamic between Mitchell, Eginton and Rubalcaba that has made them the arguable godfathers and key influence of the crowded West Coast scene that has sprouted in their wake. As much as it takes “Volt Rush” 1:56 to remind of that, I doubt many will complain as the following nine-minute title-track puts further emphasis on the point. An instrumental push that starts and offers no letup, its bleed directly through to closer “Sudden End” ties what one might think of as the two sides of the band presented on Black Heaven together.

After the fervency of the title-track, “Sudden End” takes a more laid back, bluesy approach and holds to a mid-paced tempo, and the vocals return to top a cloudy-beach psychedelia that fascinates all the more because of the choice it represents on the part of the band not to cap with a blowout, but with a easier flow carried by Eginton‘s bass and a relatively simplified drum progression from Rubalcaba. I won’t say it’s the biggest surprise of the album, but it does bring to mind the notion that as far outside their comfort zone as Earthless reach here — let’s face it, they could’ve put out an hour-long LP of three extended instrumentals and been hailed as gods for it — there’s still farther they can go, and new modes of expression to yet be explored. Earthless have always been songwriters, but they’ve never brought that into focus like they do on Black Heaven, and while it’s certain to divide some of the band’s followers, their boldness and their level of craft both come through stronger than ever before here. An absolute contender for the best album of 2018.

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Great Electric Quest Sign with Totem Cat Records; Premiere Thin Lizzy Cover; Announce Multiple Tours

Posted in Whathaveyou on February 14th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

great electric quest totem cat records

Great Electric Quest are not a band who do things small. Some bands, they nibble. These dudes are more about chomp. When they hit the road, they hit it. When they take the stage, they bring a flag to wave, and as anyone who heard their 2016 debut album, Chapter I (discussed here), can attest, their sound follows suit. More headbang than nod, horns thrown, asses kicked, the whole nine.

In other words, they’ve earned the endorsement inherent in signing to Totem Cat Records (see also Spectral HazeCloud CatcherDopethroneKarma to Burn, and so on), and with the list of tour dates below headed to and through SXSW in Austin, Texas, and up the Pacific Coast and into Canada, it looks like they’ll continue to earn it as they get ready to make their debut on the label with their awaited sophomore full-length, Chapter II.

Today, in addition to announcing the label alliance and the tour dates — which, really, would be enough for any single morning, afternoon or evening — Great Electric Quest also premiere their cover of Thin Lizzy‘s “Cold Sweat.” The cut comes from the Glory or Death Records compilation Bow to Your Masters Vol. I: Thin Lizzy, which the label has up for preorder now.

Sound like a lot? Chomp chomp.

Here’s the latest from the PR wire:

great electric quest Anubis compels Tour final -700

GREAT ELECTRIC QUEST signs with TOTEM CAT RECORDS, premier “Cold Sweat” contribution for GLORY OR DEATH RECORD’S Thin Lizzy compilation, and Announce ANUBIS COMPELS TOUR double shot SXSW invasion III and Pacific North West Canadian Invasion.

Over the coming months of March and April Great Electric Quest are set to play a ton of premier SXSW festivals, a SXSW official Showcase, and take their high energy performance / Beer Antics into the great North of Canada, while stopping off in some staple Pacific North locations. Hop on the Journey of Rock and Roll and Metal with Great Electric Quest, heavy tunes and good times are a given!

GLORY or DEATH RECORDS
Bow To Your Masters Volume I : THIN LIZZY
Limited DOUBLE LP AVAILABLE FOR PRE- SALE NOW
http://gloryordeathrecords.bigcartel.com/product/bow-to-your-masters-volume-i-thin-lizzy

Track Listing for LP 1 (Downloads available now with Pre-Sale Purchase):
Are you Ready – Mothership
Massacre – Mos Generator
Don’t Believe a Word- White Dog
Suicide – Egypt – Doom
Chinatown – Red Wizard
Thunder and Lightning – KOOK
She Knows – Slow Season
Cold Sweat – Great Electric Quest
Cowboy Song – Goya

Track Listing for LP 2 (Downloads available soon with Pre-Sale Purchase):
It’s Only Money – Wo Fat
Johnny – Worshipper
Jailbreak – DUEL
Emerald – Gygax
Still in Love with You – Isaiah Mitchell (Earthless)
Opium Trail – Jeff Matz (High on Fire), Mark Yalowitz (Zeke), Mike Scheidt (Yob), and more
The Rocker – Bow to Your Masters Supergroup
????? – High On Fire
And more…

GREAT ELECTRIC QUEST Live:
SXSW INVASION III
3.7 – Tucson AZ, House of Bards
3.8 – El Paso TX, Rock House Bar & Grill
3.9 – San Angelo TX, Deadhourse
3.11 – Dallas TX, Gas Monkey
3.13 – Austin TX, SXSW Black Smoke Conjuring, Lost Well
3.14 – Austin TX, SXSW Stoner Jam, Spiderhouse Ballroom
3.15 – Austin TX, SXSW Stoner Daze, Texas Mist
3.15 – Houston TX, Acadia Bar
3.16 – Houseton TX, Groove and Vibe Festival
3.16 – Austin TX, SXSW SHOWCASE @ 720 Club
3.17 – San Antonio TX RIPPLE FEST @ Lime Light
3.18 – Marfa Tx, Lost Horse Saloon
3.21 – Tempe AZ, Yucca Tap Room?

PNWC INVASION
4.12 – Carlsbad CA, Boars Crossin’
4.13 – TBA
4.14 – TBA
4.15 – Everett WA, Tony V’s Garage
4.16 – Seattle WA, Central Saloon
4.18 – Spokane WA, The Pin
4.19 – Calgary AB, CANADA 420 Music and Arts Fest @ Distortion
4.20 – Kalispell MT, Rocky Mountain Riff Fest
4.21 – TBA
4.22 – South Lake Tahoe CA, HARD ROCK CASINO Spring Meltdown Metal Fest
4.23 – Long Beach CA, Black Light District Lounge

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Great Electric Quest, “Cold Sweat”

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Earthless Announce US and European 2018 Touring

Posted in Whathaveyou on December 6th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

earthless ed dominick

Pretty rad to find out that Earthlessrecently announced position as artists-in-residence for Roadburn 2018 will come at the end of a full round of European touring alongside Comet Control — fingers crossed they get added to the bill of the Tilburg, Netherlands-based fest as well — and that indeed that run itself will follow a cross-country US tour in the company of Kikagaku Moyo and JJUUJUU as the San Diego trio begin to support their impending Nuclear Blast label debut, which they recently finished tracking with Dave Catching at the helm and is due out March 16. And yes, I mean all of that is pretty rad. That whole frickin’ run-on sentence. If you’re not into longform righteousness, then this probably isn’t the band for you anyway.

Up there with 2018’s most anticipated among the most anticipated? Yeah. From where I stand, 2018 is Earthless‘ for the taking.

From the PR wire:

EARTHLESS announce North American and European tour dates

Seminal psychedelic rock trio, EARTHLESS, have announced world-wide tour dates in support of their upcoming Nuclear Blast Entertainment debut.

Commented drummer Mario Rubalcaba:

“We are beyond chuffed to finally have a new album to go out and support and we can’t wait to play the new tunes for everyone- they are blastin’! We are also excited to have some killer support bands going out with us when we tour the US and Canada and when we head out to Europe/UK in April. On our North American run, KIKAGAKU MOYO from Japan and JJUUJUU will swirl minds, add diversity and still keep things “heady” for all. In April, we’ll be hitting Europe and the UK with our buds in COMET CONTROL. They will keep you all warm and fuzzy on the inside while shakin yr brains from the outside. That tour also ends up at the mighty Roadburn Festival, where we are honored to be the official Artist In Residence over all 3 nights- each different and special. We look forward to seeing you all out there. Cheers!”

EARTHLESS–Isaiah Mitchell (vocals/guitar), Mike Eginton (bass) and Mario Rubalcaba (drums)–recently finished recording their new album with Dave Catching (EAGLES OF DEATH METAL) at Rancho de la Luna in Joshua Tree, CA, The band will release the 4th full-length record on March 16th. More details to be announced shortly. Confirmed tour dates are as follows:

EARTHLESS, KIKAGAKU MOYO, JJUUJUU
Feb 28 – San Rafael @ Terrapin Crossroads
Mar 1 – San Francisco @ Great American Music Hall
Mar 2 – San Diego @ Casbah
Mar 3 – San Diego @ Casbah
Mar 4 – Los Angeles @ Teragram Ballroom
Mar 5 – Santa Cruz @ The Atrium
Mar 7 – Las Vegas @ Beauty Bar
Mar 8 – Pioneertown CA @ Pappy & Harriet’s
Mar 13 – Cleveland @ Grog Shop
Mar 14 – Toronto @ Lee’s Palace
Mar 15 – Montreal @ L’Astral
Mar 16 – Brooklyn @ Market Hotel
Mar 17 – Boston @ The Sinclair
Mar 18 – Philadelphia @ Underground Arts
Mar 20 – Washington DC @ Rock N Roll Hotel
Mar 21 – Richmond @ The Broadberry
Mar 22 – Nashville @ Mercy Lounge
Mar 23 – St. Louis @ Blueberry Hill
Mar 24 – Chicago @ Empty Bottle
Mar 25 – Chicago @ Empty Bottle

EARTHLESS, COMET CONTROL
Apr 3 – Kortrijk, BE @ De Kreun
Apr 4 – Bristol, UK @ The Fleece
Apr 5 – Manchester, UK @ The Deaf Institute
Apr 6 – London, UK @ Islington Assembly Hall
Apr 7 – Paris, FR @ Petit Bain
Apr 8 – Frankfurt, DE @ Zoom
Apr 10 – Munich, DE @ Feierwerk
Apr 11 – Berlin, DE @ Bi Nuu
Apr 12 – Copenhagen, DK @ Pumpehuset
Apr 13 – Oslo, NO @ BLA
Apr 14 – Gothenberg, SE @ Truckstop Alaska
Apr 16 – Hamburg, DE @ Molotow
Apr 19 – Tilburg, NE @ ROADBURN 2018
Apr 20 – Tilburg, NE @ ROADBURN 2018
Apr 21 – Tilburg, NE @ ROADBURN 2018

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Earthless, From the Ages (2013)

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Six Dumb Questions with Great Electric Quest

Posted in Six Dumb Questions on November 15th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

great electric quest

With their 2016 debut full-length, Chapter I, San Diego-based four-piece Great Electric Quest set out to immediately distinguish themselves from their surroundings. While much of San Diego’s heavy underground shares an affinity for classic heavy rock, instead of boogie and swirl, songs like “1901” and “Beers in Hell” found a driving combination of classic metal, frontman Tyler “T-Sweat” Dingvell leading a charge with a throaty interpretation of what James Hetfield might’ve sounded like had Metallica released their first record circa ’73. Buddy Donner‘s guitar, Jared Bliss‘ bass and Daniel “Mucho” Velasco‘s drumming honed a sonic niche that could be either brash, as on the initial shred of “Madam Elbib” or “Egypt,” or patient and tinged with doomly atmospherics, like the rolling blues of eight-minute centerpiece “Cry of the Wolf,” or the dramatic side B highlight “7 Years.”

Especially for a first salvo, Chapter I‘s self-assured songcraft came across as genuine, and Great Electric Quest hit the road fervently to support. Already veterans of Psycho Las Vegas in 2016, this past Spring, they took off on their first coast-to-coast US tour, and in June, they made a stop in Denver to play the Electric Funeral fest alongside Acid King, Corky Laing’s Mountain and a slew of others. They’re currently wrapping another run, dubbed the ‘Beer Vikings Tour’ that has seen them partying their way across the West Coast in the company of Lords of Beacon House, with whom they’ve also newly issued a split single (review here) via Glory or Death Records.

All of this, of course, is prelude to the next album, and indeed, Chapter II is on its way, drum solo in “Of Earth I” and all. On that song and short, tight pieces like “Wicked Hands,” the scorching “Anubis” and the righteously post-Thin Lizzy groove-minded “The Madness,” Great Electric Quest work to draw together the different sides they displayed throughout Chapter I into a cohesive, singular approach of their own, as likely to shred out on “Of Earth II” as to underscore that same shred with acousti-Sabbath flourish and Dingvell‘s throaty echoes. As the range between opener “Seekers of the Flame” and closer “Heart of the Son” makes plain, Great Electric Quest are becoming an even more dynamic outfit than they were when they started, and they leave little doubt across Chapter II‘s span about their capacity to turn heads before they make them bang, roll, or nod. They are, simply, a band who demand attention.

Moving out from the first record into the next, I wanted to get a sense of Great Electric Quest‘s processes, their time on the road and their time in the studio. You’ll find the last two Beer Vikings tour dates below, and then under that, the cover art for Chapter II by Adam Burke and a conversation with the whole band about their origins and more.

Beer Vikings Tour Remaining Dates:
11/16/17 ABQ, NM Burt’s Tiki Lounge W/ Undying Evil & Prey for Kali
11/17/17 Tempe, AZ Yucca Tap Room W Red Wizard, Greenbeard, Stone Witch, Old Fashioned Assassin, Dead Canyon, HVY

Please enjoy the following Six Dumb Questions:

Great Electric Quest Chapter II

Six Dumb Questions with Great Electric Quest

What’s the status of Chapter II? When can we expect it to show up? Was there anything you guys were looking to do differently or to specifically build off of coming from the first album?

Buddy Donner: Your asses is grasses, and Quest is the lawnmower!

Tyler Dingvell: Haha, the “status” is like an ice cold 12er that’s been on chill for about 20 min… It’s ready to be guzzled and enjoyed, we just gotta pop the top, or in this case finalize the label and release date…

BD: Yeah, we’ve got the final tracks! It took a ton of work and time from not only the band, but a whole Krew of our “Quest Family.” We are very lucky to have the friends we do with their talents in their respectful areas. The tracks are finally 100 percent the way we want them to sound, we couldn’t be happier. At this point we wanted to take some time to “shop for labels” and mastermind the release, but the tracks are done and ready to send to production once we’ve made our decisions on the business side of things. I wouldn’t expect the album to be released any later than Spring 2018. We’re fortunate to have such a dedicated Road Krew; we’ve been able to get a ton of work done since the release of Chapter I and we are only ramping up to push for bigger things to follow Chapter II.

TD: For me, Chapter II really feels like a first album. “It feels like the first time, like it’s never felt before” [singing]. Maybe it’s just nostalgic, but the way we have crafted these tunes and jammed them live before the release really feels like a first album… Chapter I was years and years of material finally recorded and this one was written all together in Glory or Death Studios with the same doods, around the same time, over many beers, bowls, and pulled pork sangwitches… haha. You can expect much more cohesion, production value, and of course, our legendary friend, Guns ‘n’ Roses alumni Teddy “Zig Zag” throwing down some keyboard tracks on choice tunes like “Of Earth” and “Heart of the Son.”

We’ve reached out to labels with whose artists we have become close friends, like Ripple, Heavy Psych Sounds, RidingEasy, Tee Pee, Rise Above, HeviSike, and Metal Blade, just to name a few. We just gotta figure out who is going to align with us the best for our vision going forward. We want to become a featured artist of the label and not just another blade of grass in a field of releases. We have a great thing going with our own label, Glory or Death Records, but we want to team up and take some things to the next level in 2018 and through this support system that has developed we should be seeing the shores of Europe with our next release. We are going to put a hell of a lot of effort towards performing, writing, touring, representing ourselves and label and we want to receive the same.

Tell me about your time in the studio for Chapter II. What was the vibe like while you were recording? How long were you there? What was the process like and how did it compare to working on Chapter I or the split with Lords of Beacon House?

TD: Well, simply put, recording Chapter I was like pulling teeth from the shark in Jaws and recording Chapter II was like the Cool Runnings record breaking bobsled run at the Olympics; minus the horrific crash, haha. The candle was burning at both ends for Chapter I and we would drive up to L.A., record until 4AM and then drive back to San Diego just to get caught in the horrific traffic caused by road repair through Camp Pendleton; it was a CF, as Ted, our 72-year-old Lyft driver in Austin two days ago would refer to it. He didn’t want to say “fuck,” haha. This album was great to write and record. It was fluid, we took our time, all the moving pieces worked together from tracking with Dan Frick, production and mixing with Jeff Henson and mastering with Tony Reed. It was fucking awesome to see the progress in overall sound as the tunes went through each process. Dan is one of my favorite people on the planet to work with and Jeff brought so much warmth and color to the tracks and Tony just set everything into place perfectly. Honestly, I’m fucking psyched on it and I am happy to say that it came out as something we feel proud of… Through my experience, that’s all you can really ask for as an artist. Being satisfied with the finished product.

BD: We recorded Chapter II with Dan Frick in Vista, CA, only minutes from home, which was a real pleasure compared to the two-hour commute for each session on Chapter I, which was tracked in Tujunga, CA. Working with Dan Frick is a fucking piece of cake. There isn’t a more laid-back dude out there and he is incredibly knowledgeable about all the instruments and the way things need to be done, how they are supposed to sound and what we need to change to correct things that didn’t quite sound right.

Following Dan, we sent the finalized tracks to Jeff Henson of Duel to do the mixing, which instantly brought the tracks to life. After making sure everything was played the way it needed to be, Jeff put his mojo on it and right away we were shocked with the vibe the tracks had on the first mixdown. We actually tracked the Lords of Beacon House [split] songs right after the Chapter II tracks with Dan as well. Why mess with a good thing?

Daniel Velasco: This is the first full-length album that I will be on, so I was very excited when I first set up my kit at the studio. I’ve played a ton of live shows with different bands over 10 plus years, but to finally have my drums recorded as part of this album really pumped me up. Especially after I knew they had already put out one full-length and I knew the level of commitment these guys had. The engineer Dan, was great and really set a calm vibe during the drum recordings. I recorded the drum tracks in about a day and a half with only Buddy playing scratch guitar and a metronome on most of the songs. Couldn’t say how it compared to Chapter I since I was not with the Quest on that album.

TD: I’m glad we could spare you the gauntlet, Mucho! Haha.

You’ve spent some pretty significant time on the road since Chapter I came out. What do you feel like you’ve learned about yourselves as a band through touring, and do you think all that road time has affected the sound on the new album at all?

BD: Playing on the road is fucking incredible. You finally dive into your life’s passion 100 percent. Every, single, thing, is about what you want to do with your life and every single night you’re meeting new people and making new friends and fans and ever-pressing towards your ultimate goal. We also drink a ton of beer, which of course is fun as hell.

Jerry Bliss: I love being on the road. It’s a lot work but we have the time of our lives doing it. The great thing about being on the road is us growing together as musicians but most importantly our friendships. The music is affected by our relationships with each other and friends and influences we meet out on the road. We show each other new music along every bus ride to the next destination.

DV: During live shows, I can hear all the members try new things during our set. Different bends on chords or the vocal melodies changing, new basslines during the solos etc. Once we all lock into it and we play it show after show, it feels like the songs will never be 100 percent complete, which I think is great! It keeps us on our toes and things fresh, while also providing something new for the crowd. Some of my favorite songs are live performances. Like on “Dazed and Confused” when they play it live, the rhythm section just takes off and it’s just having little differences from the studio albums that can create that unique experience. Once Chapter II is out and you compare it to Chapter I, you will hear the difference of the sound and groove I bring compared to the first album and if you compare that to the live performance you can be sure there is a couple tasty differences while still holding onto its core.

TD: The time on the road with this crew has shown us that we are strong enough and close enough to deal with any adversity. Blown air conditioning fans during the dead of Summer heat and blown out butt holes from too many gas station burritos. You learn to accept one another in a way that can only be family. Jerry’s butthole stinks the most though… it’s that familiar smell in the bus that only could have come from one sphincter.

To be serious for a second, the road has inspired us far more than anything else… The overwhelming support from all around the country really solidifies the idea that we can do this thing!! We can be a traveling rock band that can tour the FUCKING WORLD!!… It’s a really fucking humbling experience to get those people after every show that go out of their way to tell you how rad they thought the performance was and how much they enjoyed it. They buy the wax and t-shirts and are just so down to support us it blows our minds. We get put up in towns all across the country and these great people offer up their homes and lives to help us on our rock and roll journey. I’m sitting in Mike Calhoun’s kitchen right now outside of Dallas, Texas. One of the most real and coolest doods whom we have had the pleasure to meet. Our times here at Mike’s will always be cherished and held close as great memories. We even recently got hooked up with XYZ Clothing which is a dream come true for a little skate rat from Oceanside. The support that we receive in each town is truly unbelievable and it really makes you think that this dream of playing music all across the planet earth is going to come true…

I honestly love the growth though. This is present in Chapter II especially, in the songwriting and overall combination of different styles we all bring to the table. I’m really psyched on the direction and journey Chapter II takes us on and I think our listeners will be too.

Take me through Great Electric Quest’s songwriting process. Are there multiple contributors or does one person handle everything? What have you found works best for you guys, and do you have a song or songs that you feel really represents who you want to be as a band? How do you see yourselves growing as you continue to move forward?

BD: We have an incredible amount of styles between the four of us, which is perfect for what we want out of The Quest. It is a very even collaboration for our writing process. As one killer idea runs into another it pushes us to find ways to match each other’s ideas and raise the bar. We all have that undying urge for everything to be the best for the song at hand. It’s awesome, the motivation that comes when you are the last dude to write a part to a song that already kicks total ass… You’re sitting there thinking, “like, well shit… Whatever I do, it’s gotta fucking rip!”

Grabbing the listeners by the throat and pulling them through a tornado of sounds is what the Quest is all about. We never want to be stuck in a rut of one style, because we all enjoy playing all kinds of stuff. We write the songs different every time. I don’t think there is a single song on Chapter II that doesn’t have influences from all us, but there are definitely some strong sections that are written when we jam from one person and then we’ll grow off of them together from there. Sometimes we will camp out at Glory or Death Studios for days, cook up a crock pot meal or BBQ between jams and we will just all jam out some ideas together. (With lots of weed and beer of course.)

We drive to grab the viewer’s attention instantly and keep them thoroughly entertained throughout the entire set, and if any piece is lacking whatsoever we find a way to make it more interesting. Every tour we prep for, we strive to find ways to take things to the next level of entertainment for the audience (and our own amusement). From backdrops, to lights/fog, to flags and Anubis masks, we’re really delving into our original intent for the Quest that is for it to be a full-on show, not just a band standing there playing the notes the best they can. Climb shit, hang upside-down, shotgun beers, whatever the fuck we have to do to make someone have a good night and tell their buds about it.

JB: As far as songwriting goes, and what I love most about this band, is that everyone has a loud voice in how a song is going to go. Yes, someone can come up with a first riff, and once everyone is diggin’ that riff, we jam it, and almost immediately someone else is saying, “Oh man I have a lick that will go perfect for the chorus or bridge” and so forth. I remember one song in particular, “The Madness,” our drummer Mucho said to me, “Hey let’s try walking that riff back up on the chorus.” We tried it and it became one of my favorite parts of the song. So, you can see everyone is helping each other out and everyone’s ideas are being heard. Sometimes we try something and if it doesn’t work, no one’s feelings get hurt. We just try something else. It’s a great environment to work in and I think everyone’s songwriting has grown tremendously on Chapter II.

DV: We all contribute to each song on the album. We have these “Campouts” at our studio where we sleep, cook, and rehearse for days at a time. If someone comes out with a riff or melody, we can all hear different directions that the song can go to. Some directions are good and some not as much, haha, but as a team we always end up finding the right path that complements our music taste… Rock ‘n’ roll and heavy metal!!

TD: Yeah, basically what these guys said. We have so much songwriting collaboration in this band, it really is ideal. Anyone one of us could have our own band, or already have, where that one person was the main songwriter or leader. At this point, we have four people who have what it takes to have successful bands on their own and the combination of all of us together does kind of feel like a modern-day supergroup.

To someone on the other side of the country from it, what’s happening right now with all the bands coming out of San Diego looks absolutely unreal. How much of a “scene” is there really, in your experience? How tight are bands? What are the shows like and how much of a sense of community is there? What have been some of your best hometown experiences?

BD: From the start it’s been a big family that only continues to grow, man. There is some seriously unreal talent in San Diego and I have no doubt that many of these bands will go far. The bar is set very high in our area and there is some relentless dedication from many different musicians to keep people searching for their brain matter from endless mind-blowing shows. From the bone crushing power of the five barbarian headbanging longhairs of Red Wizard to the Kings of Heavy Metal CAGE to the groovy-as-fuck riffs of Loom, Roast and Desert Suns to the endless intergalactic caravan party of Space Wax to fucking Nihilist, Monolith, Warchief, Ritual Potion, Nebula Drag, Bedlams Edge, Monarch and at the opposite end of the Spectrum, hilarious acoustic gigs from Fellow Travelers of the Illusion Machine… What were the rest..? I’ve lost my share of brain matter as well…

To choose a single experience is like asking what your favorite Pink Floyd song is… (errr, Zeppelin for Mucho). Any local gig on any given night is always kickass, man. There is just so much support and love out there for music, art and just the pure love of good times (beer) in general.

JB: We have a great music community is San Diego. We have all been a part of it for over a decade playing in numerous bands all over San Diego. We know and have played with almost every rock ‘n’ roll band based out of San Diego. If a band plays rock ‘n’ roll in San Diego, we are most likely good friends with them and we’ve played with ‘em.

TD: The San Diego music scene is fucking great! We have so many incredible musicians and artists. If the radio played rock and roll, we would all own houses… haha. There is a great sense of community among the bands all the way from psych rock like Earthless, Radio Moscow, Loom, and Joy to the heavy music of Red Wizard and Quest. We all party together at shows and celebrate the music and love our community has! It’s a great place to live and as we all travel more and more we all become more familiar with how special of a place it is… and we celebrate it regularly with adult beverages, spliffs, and tunes!

Any other plans or closing words you want to mention?

DV: Fuck yeah, get some!

JB: Tyler has the smallest shmeckle of them all but a really big heart!

TD: Hahahaha. Open invitation for anyone reading this: let’s shotgun some beers and party across the Earth! We need to get some international shotguns going!! Drop us a line if you are interested in helping us book our European tours and Festivals or if you’re in a band and let’s get some shows going. We are heading across the pond in 2018!

BD: Thank you to everyone that has supported us over the years to make all of this possible!!! We are having the time of our lives and the future for the Quest is looking bright… Can’t wait for the next Chapter!!

Lords of Beacon House & Great Electric Quest, Wicked Ladies split (2017)

Great Electric Quest, Chapter I (2016)

Great Electric Quest on Thee Facebooks

Great Electric Quest on Bandcamp

Glory or Death Records on Bandcamp

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Great Electric Quest Stream New Split with Lords of Beacon House; Announce Midwestern Tour Dates

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

great electric quest

On Halloween, San Diego’s Great Electric Quest will release a new split via Glory or Death Records with L.A. compatriots Lords of Beacon House. It’s been in the works for a while — you might recall Lords of Beacon House had their track “Cadillac Daddy” premiered here back in May — but it’s actually coming out, and the very next day, Great Electric Quest will head out on a run they’ve dubbed the ‘Beer Vikings Tour,’ because well, you gotta call it something. As we get closer to the release date, it’s their turn to premiere a track, and you’ll find that below along with a stream of their righteous 2016 Chapter I full-length, which is due for a follow-up presumably sometime in the New Year.

Veterans of this year’s Psycho Las Vegas festival, it’s hard to decide which of Great Electric Quest‘s inclusions on the split is more classic metal in style: their cover of Iron Maiden‘s “Murders in the Rue Morgue” or the original “Ruling this World.” Pick one and run with it — turns out there isn’t a wrong answer — and either way you go, expect to be handed a vicious helping of grit to go with your riffage. As they showed all throughout Chapter I, their take on heavy rock is well informed by attitude and craftsmanship alike, but as right on and ready for tape-trading as cuts from that record like “Egypt” and “Cry of the Wolf” were, the new stuff has it beat. I don’t know if “Ruling this World” might show up on Chapter II when that surfaces, but it certainly bodes well for what’s invariably to come.

Tour dates and more info on the split follow, as well as the track premiere and exclusive download.

Enjoy:

great-electric-quest-tour-poster

Great Electric Quest – Split with Lords of Beacon House & “Beer Vikings Tour 2017”

Rock & Roll, Heavy Metal, Doom & Shredders GREAT ELECTRIC QUEST and Super Trippy, Kings of Cool, Groove Masters, LORDS OF BEACON HOUSE bring you a split to inhale…two WICKED LADIES jamming in the Caddy toking Spliffs and enjoying the tunes… sounds like a good time.

GEQ’s “Madam Elbib” the Gypsy Fortune Teller from their album CH.I and LOBH’s Black Majik Voodoo Woman from their to be released 2nd LP “Recreational Sorcery”, inspire this split brought to you by GLORY OR DEATH RECORDS and the ripping art work of AUSTIN BARRETT.

Pump the V’s, Puff a Spliff, and Cruise out to this 4 song split that’s just long enough to pick up another 12er from the Corner Liquor.

CHEERS! and Thank you to Midnite Collective and XYZ clothing for their support!

Album release date: 31 October 2017

Tracklisting:
1. Lords of Beacon House – Cadillac Daddy
2. Lords of Beacon House – Spliff Ripper
3. Great Electric Quest – Murders in the Rue Morgue (Iron Maiden cover)
4. Great Electric Quest – Ruling this World

GREAT ELECTRIC QUEST Beer Vikings Tour 2017:
11/01 Tucson AZ The Flycatcher
11/02 El Paso TX CJ’s W
11/03 San Angelo TX The Deadhorse
11/04 Austin TX Swan Dive
11/05 Dallas TX Gas Monkey
11/09 Oklahoma City OK Blue Note
11/10 Lawrence KS Replay Lounge
11/11 Savage MN Sword Metal Fest VI
11/13 Omaha NB Lookout Lounge
11/14 Wichita KS The Elbow Room
11/16 Albuquerque NM Launchpad
11/17 Tempe AZ Yucca Tap Room

Great Electric Quest is:
Tyler “T-Sweat” Dingvell – Vocals
Buddy Donner – Guitar
Daniel “MuchoDrums” Velasco – Drums
Jared Bliss – Bass

https://www.facebook.com/electricquest/
https://electricquest.bandcamp.com/
https://gloryordeathrecords.bandcamp.com

Lords of Beacon House & Great Electric Quest, Wicked Ladies split (2017)

Great Electric Quest, Chapter I (2016)

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