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Dot Legacy Premiere “Horizon” Interactive Video

Posted in Bootleg Theater on February 13th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

dot legacy horizon video

“Horizon” is the opening track from Dot Legacy‘s late-2016 second album, To the Others (review here), and it finds the Parisian heavy fuzz enthusiasts embarking on the first of several risks they’ll take across the record’s genre-hopping course. No way around it, there’s a bit of rapping going on here.

Now, as somebody who lived through the ’90s, that’s what we call a big red flag. Hard not to have post-trauma flashbacks of Limp Bizkit covering George Michael in a protest-too-much display of knuckle-dragging tough-guy heteronormativity, but on any level you want to approach it, that’s not what’s happening here, and certainly in the context of To the Others, it’s not where Dot Legacy‘s intentions lie on the Setalight Records release. “Horizon” sets the tone of energy to which the rest of the album soon responds in deeply varied forms, and if anything the rapping in the opener is an immediate communication to listeners that there’s nothing off the table in terms of where they might go.

That’s very much how the record plays out in its wake, and while I’m willing to admit it’s kind of scary to imagine that rap-rocking impulses might one day rear their heads again, I genuinely think we’re safe. It’s gonna be okay.

Dot Legacy — the four-piece of vocalist/bassist Damien Quintard, guitarist/keyboardist/backing vocalist Arnaud Merckling, guitarist/backing vocalist John Defontaine and drummer/backing vocalist Arthur Menard — worked with WIPS (Web Interactive Promotion Site) to put together an interactive video for “Horizon.” If you go to the special site they’ve set up, you can see a version of the clip in which arrows pop up that let you basically choose your own adventure and create the narrative of the video itself.

It’s timed, so you have to pay attention as you make your way through, but it’s actually a pretty cool idea and it’s something special from the band, who’ve already put out clips for “Pioneer” (posted here), “Story of Fame” (posted here) and “211” (posted here) to represent the various sides of To the Others. Something special for a song that has a few surprises of its own up its sleeve.

You can see the regular version of the video premiering below, followed by more info about the interactive project, which also includes a bunch of behind-the-scenes bonus footage and other goodies.

Be brave, and enjoy:

Dot Legacy, “Horizon” official video

Dot Legacy – “Horizon” THE INTERACTIVE VIDEO CLIP

http://www.totheothers.com

Experience DOT LEGACY’s highly acclaimed single “HORIZON” like never before. On this website you will be constantly creating your own version of the video clip, each time changing the story line, and launching you deeper into the musical space Dot Legacy created for you.

The website also contains amazing access to Bonus material!

– LIVE 360° video of Dot Legacy’s show in Brussels, along with Multi Cam footage
– Two fun and crazy interviews of the Band including on 360° candy eating frenzy madness!
– An interactive map to follow with personal videos of Dot Legacy in all the cites they played in on their tour with TRUCKFIGTHERS (rated PG 18)
– A mixing console to do your OWN MIX of HORIZON! Discover all the seperated track that made this song possible and fuzzy as hell!
– The Making of: go behind the curtain and discover how the video clip was shot. Meet the talented team of WIPS!

Dot Legacy interactive “Horizon” video site

Dot Legacy on Thee Facebooks

Dot Legacy on Bandcamp

Setalight Records website

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Dot Legacy Post “Pioneer” Video

Posted in Bootleg Theater on February 1st, 2017 by JJ Koczan

Parisian four-piece Dot Legacy issued their second full-length, To the Others (review here), last fall on Setalight Records, and with it, set themselves on a bold course of genre defiance/melding. Each track seemed to offer a different persona, tied together through energy of performance and a core underlying purpose in execution — Dot Legacy were putting on a show; it was theatrical from start to finish. As they took to the road supporting Truckfighters around the album’s release, they seemed intent on bringing that show to life.

The band themselves related each cut on To the Others to explosions as part of a rocket launch, and fair enough for the force of their delivery on songs like “211” and the penultimate “Story of Fame.” “Story of Fame” is duly relevant here, since Dot Legacy‘s new video, for closer “Pioneer,” follows one for that track (posted here) and seems to be intended as a sequel of sorts for it. Fair enough since one song follows the other on the record, but like the music itself, the two clips wind up working on different themes despite making use of distinctly cool-toned colors — greens and blues, etc. These aren’t the only videos Dot Legacy have done for To the Others — in October, they also had one for “211” (posted here) — but the notion of “Pioneer” being intended to sit directly alongside “Story of Fame” adds intrigue and an avenue for listener/viewer interpretation, and that’s never a bad thing.

Because, as noted, the record is so varied, I’ve included the full Bandcamp stream at the bottom of this post. Not something I usually do for video posts, but I think it’s justified in this case, especially since a lot of the impact of “Pioneer” comes in context of To the Others as a whole, the song’s initial brooding reminding of something Nine Inch Nails might’ve brought to The Fragile before it takes on a still-wistful push in the guitar, further distinguished through a dramatic vocal arrangement, as well as guitar and piano interplay. As a wrap for the here-then-there-then-over-here To the Others it’s all the more resonant, but even approached on its own, as a single, three-plus-minute work, it tends to stay with you after it’s finished. Take a look and a listen and see if you don’t agree.

And please, enjoy:

Dot Legacy, “Pioneer” official video

From the new album “To The Others”, Setalight Records – November 2016
Pioneer is the 2nd Part of a Duo-logy with the song “Story Of Fame.”

Directed by MARTY %
Starring Quentin Lasbazeilles
D.O.P. Alexandre Thimonier

Dot Legacy, To the Others (2016)

Dot Legacy on Thee Facebooks

Dot Legacy on Bandcamp

Setalight Records website

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Quarterly Review: Bus, Them Bulls, Stinkeye, Buzzard Canyon, Motherbrain, Elder Druid, The Crazy Left Experience, The Watchers, Of the Horizon, Raj

Posted in Reviews on December 28th, 2016 by JJ Koczan

the obelisk winter quarterly review

Today is the day the Quarterly Review passes the halfway point. This will be 21-30 of the total 60 for the six days, so there’s still a ways to go — you might say 50 percent — but it’s a milestone nonetheless. Once again it’s another roundup of cool stuff, kind of all over the place a little more than the last two days were, but as we go further along with these things, it’s good to mix it up after a while. There’s only so many times you can throw the word “lysergic” around and talk about jamming. That said, you’re getting some of that today as well from Portugal, so when it pops up, don’t be surprised. Much to do, so no need to delay.

Quarterly Review #21-30:

Bus, The Unknown Secretary

bus-the-unknown-secretary

Athenian double-guitar four-piece Bus execute a stylistically cohesive, crisp debut with The Unknown Secretary (on Twin Earth Records), presenting classic heavy rock elements without going full-retro in their sound itself and marking songs like “Masteroid” as immediately distinct through the harmonized vocals of guitarist Bill City, joined in the band by guitarist Johnnie Chez, bassist Chob D’oh and drummer Aris. Together they run through a clean two sides that play back and forth between proto-metallic and doom shading – “Don’t Fear Your Demon” touches on slower Pentagram – while sounding perhaps most comfortable in rockers like “Withered Thorn” or the earlier stomper “New Black Volume,” which puts its two guitars to excellent use ahead of and between unabashedly poppy (not sure a full Ghost comparison is warranted) verse, and craft a highlight in the 7:38 arena-ready thrust of “Rockerbus” prior to the surprisingly nodding finale of “Jimi.” A strikingly efficient and clear-headed first full-length that would seem to hold much promise of things to come from yet another player in Greece’s emergent heavy scene.

Bus on Thee Facebooks

Twin Earth Records on Bandcamp

 

Them Bulls, Them Bulls

them-bulls-them-bulls.jpg

With the start-stop riff of opener “As Fangs in Stone,” a mastering job by Mathias Schneeberger and the breadth of pop melodicism in cuts that one, the swinging “Made of Ghosts,” and the more percussive “Through the Sun,” Italian four-piece Them Bulls make a pretty strong beeline for early-Queens of the Stone Age-style heavy desert rock. Their self-titled Small Stone debut isn’t without individualized flourish, but the 10-track/41-minute offering makes it clear from the start what its intentions are and then sets about living up to them, whether on the careening Songs for the Deaf-ery of “Pot Gun” or the penultimate “We Must Live Up” itself. Vocal interplay from guitarists Daniele Pollio and Franscesco Pasi – joined by the rhythm section of bassist Paolo Baldini and drummer Giampaolo Farnedi – provides an opportunity for future growth, but it’s worth noting that for a band to take on such a specific stylization, their songwriting needs to be in check, and Them Bulls’ is.

Them Bulls on Thee Facebooks

Them Bulls at Small Stone Records

 

Stinkeye, Llantera Demos

stinkeye-llantera-demos

What seems to be Stinkeye’s debut recording, Llantera Demos, arrives as a free download of four tracks and 16 minutes rife with thickened boogie and dense mecha-stoner fuzz, reminding of Dead Meadow immediately in the echoing vocals and rhythmic bounce of “Orange Man” but moving into some shuffle on the subsequent “Fink Ployd” and “Llantera,” the latter a well-earned showcase of bass tone. While out on the coast, ‘70s vibes reign supreme, the Phoenix, Arizona, trio are on a different tip, looser in their swing and apparently more prone to drift. For what it’s worth, they call it “hash rock,” and fair enough as “Pink Clam,” which closes Llantera Demos, rides more of a grunge-laden nod to an immersive but still relatively quick five-minute finish, building after three minutes in to a satisfying final instrumental push. Loaded with potential in tone, execution, vibe and dynamic between the three-piece, Llantera Demos immediately marks Stinkeye out as a band to watch and is just begging for the right person to come along and press it to tape.

Stinkeye on Thee Facebooks

Stinkeye on Bandcamp

 

Buzzard Canyon, Hellfire and Whiskey

buzzard-canyon-hellfire-and-whiskey.jpg

Want to grab attention with your debut long-player? Calling a song “Louder than God” might be a good way to go. That track, at seven minutes, is the longest on Connecticut five-piece Buzzard Canyon’s Hellfire and Whiskey (on Salt of the Earth), and following a quiet initial stretch, it launches into Down-style Southern chug, the dual vocals of Amber Leigh and guitarist Aaron Lewis (the latter also of When the Deadbolt Breaks) veering into and out of more metallic impulses to build on the initial momentum established on the earlier “Highway Run” and “SomaBitch.” The two-minute “For the End” basks in some nightmarish vision of rockabilly, while “Red Beards Massacre” and “Wyoming” dig into more straightforward stylistic patterning, but if Buzzard Canyon want to get a little weird either here or going forward, that’s clearly not about to hurt them. Closer “Not My Cross” hints at some darker visions to come in how it moves into and out of a droning interlude, adding yet more intrigue to their deceptively multifaceted foundation.

Buzzard Canyon on Thee Facebooks

Salt of the Earth Records website

 

Motherbrain, Voodoo Nasty

motherbrain voodoo nasty

Though “Atomic Rodeo” dips into some Queens of the Stone Age-style groove, Motherbrain’s third album, Voodoo Nasty (on Setalight Records), comes across as more defined by its nasty than its voodoo as the Berlin four-piece demonstrate a penchant for incorporating harsher sludge tendencies, especially in vocal shouts peppered in amid the otherwise not-unfriendly proceedings. That gives the nine-song/48-minute offering a meaner edge but does little ultimately to take away from the groove on offer in the opening title-track or “Ghoul of Kolkata,” and though it retains its raw spirit, Voodoo Nasty digs into some more complex fare later in longer cuts like “Baptism of Fire” and “Half Past Human,” having found a place in centerpiece “Dismantling God” where blown-out noise aggression and semi-psychedelic swirl can coexist, if not peacefully then at least for a while until Motherbrain decide it’s time to give Kyuss-style desert rock another kick in its ass, as on “Sons of Kong,” which, yes, does proclaim a lineage.

Motherbrain on Thee Facebooks

Setalight Records website

 

Elder Druid, Magicka

elder druid magicka

Sludge-rolling five-piece Elder Druid riff forth with their debut studio offering, the five-song/33-minute Magicka EP, which one might be tempted to tag as a demo were it not for a few prior live-tracked short releases that appear to have served that purpose, the latest of which, The Attic Sessions (discussed here), came out in Jan. 2016. The experience of putting that together as well as their prior singles clearly benefited the Northern Irish outfit on Magicka, and while they retain a shouty spirit on opener “Rogue Mystic,” middle cut “The Warlock” offers nod that reminds of The Kings of Frog Island’s “Welcome to the Void,” and that’s about all I ever need. Ever. Served up with bloated tones and geared toward establishing a blend of gruff vocals and consuming fuzz, Elder Druid’s first studio recording has a solid footing in what it wants to accomplish sound-wise and plainly showcases that, and while they have some growing to do and patience to learn in their songcraft, nothing I hear on Magicka argues against their getting there in time.

Elder Druid on Thee Facebooks

Elder Druid on Bandcamp

 

The Crazy Left Experience, Bill’s 108th Space Odyssey

the-crazy-left-experience-bills-108th-space-odyssey

The Crazy Left Experience – the moniker seeming to refer to the side of the brain at work in their processes – present Bill’s 108th Space Odyssey almost as an album within an album. The framework from the at-least-party-improvised Portuguese cosmic jammers on the seven-track/56-minute outing centers around William Millarc, who in 1955 was documented while taking part in LSD experiments. Samples of Millarc are peppered into opener “Subject Bill,” the later “Funky Meteor Drop” and the closing duo “Bill Sided Flashback” and “God of the Outer Rings,” but between the opener and the latter trio of cuts comes “Unarius,” a three-part excursion listed as “Part V” through “Part VII” that presumably is the representation of when our friend Bill has left his body behind. So be it. One can hardly call that departure incongruous either sonically or in terms of The Crazy Left Experience’s chosen theme – though there are some unrelated samples spliced into “Unarius – Part VII (Space Brothers)” that are somewhat jarring – and the entire flow of the record is so hypnotic that the band can basically go wherever they want, which of course they do.

The Crazy Left Experience on Thee Facebooks

The Crazy Left Experience on Bandcamp

 

The Watchers, Sabbath Highway

the watchers sabbath highway

Were it not for the context of knowing that vocalist Tim Narducci and bassist Cornbread hail from SpiralArms and White Witch Canyon, drummer Carter Kennedy from Orchid and guitarist Jeremy Von Eppic from Black Gates, the Sabbath Highway debut EP (on Ripple Music) from California’s The Watchers would be almost impossibly coherent for a first outing. Classic in form but modern in its presentation, the five-tracker – four plus the church-organ interlude “Requiem” between the opening title-cut (video here) and “Call the Priest” – makes the most of Narducci’s ‘70s-style vocal push, reminding of one-time Ripple troupe Stone Axe in his oldschool feel, but as “Today” (premiered here) makes plain, The Watchers are much more focused on learning from the past than repeating it. The straightforward songwriting and all-we’re-here-to-do-is-kick-ass sentiment behind Sabbath Highway might well prove formative compared to what The Watchers do next – presumably that’s a full-length, but one never knows; they sound ready to get down to business  – but it makes its ambitions plain in its hooks and swiftly delivers on its promises.

The Watchers on Thee Facebooks

Ripple Music website

 

Of the Horizon, Of the Horizon

of the horizon self-titled

I can’t speak to the present status of California’s Of the Horizon, since last I heard bassist Kayt Vigil was in Italy working with Sonic Wolves, but their self-titled five-track debut full-length arrives via Kozmik Artifactz no less switched on for the half-decade that has passed since it was recorded. Guitarist Mike Hanne howls out throaty incantations to suit the post-Sleep riffing of opener “3 Feet” and drummer Shig pushes the roll of “Caravan” forward into its final crashing slowdown effectively as Vigil ensures the subsequent centerpiece “Unknown” is duly thick beneath its spacious, jammy strum. The two longest slabs hit at the end in “Gladhander” (8:55) and the righteously lumbering “Hall of the Drunken King” (10:31) and feel somewhat like an album unto themselves, but when/if Of the Horizon make a return, they’ve established a working modus on this first full-length that should well satisfy the nod-converted and that demonstrates the timelessness of well-executed tonal onslaught.

Of the Horizon on Thee Facebooks

Of the Horizon at Kozmik Artifactz

 

Raj, Raj

raj self titled

Though it’s fair enough in terms of runtime, it almost seems like Milano sludge-rollers Raj (also written stylized in all-caps: RAJ) do the six tracks of their 20-minute self-titled debut EP a disservice by cramming them onto a single LP side. Not that one gets lost or the band fails to make an impression – far from it – but just that sounds so geared toward largesse and spaciousness beg for more room to flesh out. That, perhaps, is the interesting duality in Raj’s Raj, since even the massive plod of closer “Iron Matrix” lumbers through its course in a relatively short 4:45, never mind the speedier “Magic Wand” (2:47) or drone interlude “Black Mumbai” (1:51) – gone in a flash. The release moves through these, the earlier “Omegagame” and “Eurasia” and the penultimate “Kaluza” with marked fluidity and efficiency, giving Raj a mini-album feel, and with the atmosphere in “Black Mumbai” and in the surrounding material, their rumble sets up a dynamic that seems primed for further exploration.

Raj on Thee Facebooks

Raj on Bandcamp

 

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Dot Legacy Unveil Video for “211” from New Album To the Others

Posted in Bootleg Theater on October 11th, 2016 by JJ Koczan

dot-legacy

It’s been, what, weeks, since Dot Legacy last unveiled a video for their upcoming second album, To the Others? Fair enough for the quick turnaround on a follow-up to “Story of Fame,” and “211” takes more of a GoPro, capture-the-live-set approach than did that previous video outing, so I can get the Parisian four-piece wanting to give a different look ahead of the album’s Nov. 25 release on Setalight Records. Likewise, I’ll take a different approach to writing about it.

By no means an exhaustive list, but here are three things to like about Dot Legacy‘s new video for the track “211”:

  • 1. Riotousness.
    It makes complete sense to me that Dot Legacy would be hitting the road with Truckfighters following the album’s release. If you’re gonna go out, go out with the masters of the form. In tone and in the apparent fervency of their live execution, Dot Legacy show themselves to have learned distinctly from the Swedish trio’s methods — yet not simply aped them either — so it seems only fair that the two acts should give each other workout on stages across Europe this fall. Would be an interesting run to see.
  • 2. Brashness.
    As you listen to “211,” note the ease with which Dot Legacy twist from the high-octane initial burst of the song to its calmer midsection and then to the audience sing-along portion nearer the end? You know how a band does that? By doing it. There’s one way to pull off hard left turns like that in songwriting, and that’s with clearheaded confidence, which is something Dot Legacy display all across To the Others.
  • 3. The Hook.
    Both “Story of Fame” and their 2014 self-titled debut (review here) had plenty to offer in terms of songwriting as well, but I think especially if you pair the two new tracks together you can get a sense of the progression Dot Legacy have willfully undertaken over the last two years. That growth comes from time on the road, to be sure, but there are a lot of bands who tour and not all of them are able to translate that into the kind of productive forward step in the studio that they are here.

Just some stuff to think about as you make your way through. Dot Legacy are in the process of wrapping a tour with Valley of the Sun and as noted they’ll head out again next month alongside Truckfighters and the new configuration of Deville. Find the remaining dates for the current tour and for the next one under the clip below.

And please enjoy:

Dot Legacy, “211” official video

Dot Legacy live:
Remaining dates with Valley of the Sun:

11/10 – Cluj-Napoca, Romania – The Shelter
12/10 – Bucharest, Romania – Fabrica Club
13/10 – Sofia, Bulgaria – Mixtape
14/10 – Larissa, Greece – Stage Club
15/10 – Athens, Greece – Death Disco

With Truckfighters & Deville – Plus more dates to be announced soon…
25/11 – Koln, Germany – Underground
26/11 – Nancy, France – Le Hublot
27/11 – Paris, France – Venue TBA
28/11 – Nantes, France – Venue TBA
4/12 – Birmingham, UK – Rainbow
5/12 – Glasgow, UK – King Tuts
6/12 – Nottingham, UK – Rescue Rooms
7/12 – Bristol, UK – Thekla
8/12 – Manchester, UK – The Ruby Lounge
9/12 – London, UK – Islington Academy
10/12 – Brighton, UK – Green Door Store

Dot Legacy on Thee Facebooks

Dot Legacy website

Setalight Records website

Setalight Records on Thee Facebooks

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Dot Legacy to Release To the Others Nov. 25; Video Posted; Tour Dates Start this Week

Posted in Whathaveyou on September 21st, 2016 by JJ Koczan

dot-legacy

Lots of news from Parisian heavy rockers Dot Legacy. Most pressing is the fact that they start their tour with Valley of the Sun tomorrow in the UK, but they’ve also unveiled a new video for “Story of Fame” — because, yes, you know you want to hear the riff from “Raining Blood” reworked as lounge fuzz; yes you do, don’t even lie and say you don’t — and announced the album from whence it comes, titled To the Others and due out Nov. 25 on Setalight Records. The new outing is the follow-up to their 2014 self-titled debut (review here), and when they’re done with the Valley of the Sun tour, they’ll be out with Truckfighters and Deville in Nov. and Dec., finishing up where they started in the UK just before the holiday season kicks in.

The first record was right on and I’ll look forward to hopefully getting to hear the second, but you can check out the “Story of Fame” video below to get a sampling and dig into the info that follows here, courtesy of the PR wire:

dot-legacy-to-the-others

DOT LEGACY announce new album and tours with Truckfighters and Valley Of The Sun

When Dot Legacy formed in 2009 in a Parisian basement, little did the fuzzed-out French quartet know that their seemingly unattainable dream to one day release albums, tour the world and share stages with some of rock’s finest was in fact anything but impossible.

Over seven years on and with countless gigs clocked up over several European and South American tours with the likes of Blues Pills, Mars Red Sky and Truckfighters, the band returns this November with To The Others, the follow up to their hugely impressive 2014 self-titled debut.

Inspired by the space race and mankind’s desire to discover, To The Others pursues two avenues of exploration; complete freedom of composition and collective creativity. Written by the band while on the road and recorded and produced by bass player/vocalist and Emmy Award-winner Damien Quintard the album not only captures the gain-addled fury of the band’s esoteric brand of “Energy Rock”, it also displays two distinct sides to Dot Legacy. The one side that uniquely seeks to experiment and weave multifaceted arrangements out of great ideas and impressive musicianship, and the other that simply aims to rock out and make you dance.

To support the release of the album, the band will be taking part in two massive tours with Valley Of The Sun and Truckfighters, hitting more than thirty-five European cites between September and December (For the list of confirmed dates so far see below.)

To The Others will receive a worldwide release on 25th November 2016 via Germany’s Setalight Records.

Tour Dates:
With Valley Of The Sun…
22/9 – Manchester, UK – Rebellion (Presented by Snuff Lane)
23/9 – Bristol, UK – The Mother’s Ruin (Presented by Snuff Lane)
24/9 – London, UK – The Unicorn (Presented by Snuff Lane)
25/09 – Amsterdam, NL – The Cave
27/9 – Malle, Belgium – Jeugdhuis Babylon
28/9 – Ghent, Belgium – Kinky Star
29/9 – Caen, France – La Demeuree
30/9 – Nantes, France – La Scene Michelet
1/10 – Paris, France – Espace B
3/10 – Poitiers, France – Le Cluricaume Cafe
4/10 – Olten, Switzerland – Le Coq d’Or
5/10 – Munich, Germany – 8 Below
6/10 – Berlin, Germany – Urban Spree
7/10 – Halle, Germany – Rockpool eV
8/10 – Chemnitz, Germany – Zukunft
11/10 – Cluj-Napoca, Romania – The Shelter
12/10 – Bucharest, Romania – Fabrica Club
13/10 – Sofia, Bulgaria – Mixtape
14/10 – Larissa, Greece – Stage Club
15/10 – Athens, Greece – Death Disco

With Truckfighters & Deville – Plus more dates to be announced soon…
25/11 – Koln, Germany – Underground
26/11 – Nancy, France – Le Hublot
27/11 – Paris, France – Venue TBA
28/11 – Nantes, France – Venue TBA
4/12 – Birmingham, UK – Rainbow
5/12 – Glasgow, UK – King Tuts
6/12 – Nottingham, UK – Rescue Rooms
7/12 – Bristol, UK – Thekla
8/12 – Manchester, UK – The Ruby Lounge
9/12 – London, UK – Islington Academy
10/12 – Brighton, UK – Green Door Store

http://www.dotlegacyband.com/
https://www.facebook.com/dotlegacy/
https://twitter.com/DOTLEGACY
https://www.instagram.com/dotlegacy/
http://dotlegacy.bandcamp.com/
http://www.setalight.com/
https://www.facebook.com/setalightrecords
https://twitter.com/SetalightRec

Dot Legacy, “Story of Fame” official video

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Setalight Festival 2016 Announces Lineup for Oct. 21-22 in Berlin

Posted in Whathaveyou on July 18th, 2016 by JJ Koczan

setalight festival 2016 header

The fall festival season kicks off in Europe before fall even starts. It’s like car companies rolling out next year’s models before we’re halfway through this year (though we are that now as well; you get my point). It seems like between August and November there isn’t a week when one if not multiple nations is playing host to a swath of quality bands, and Setalight Festival 2016 throws itself into the heart of the fray on Oct. 21 and 22, hosting an already-packed two-day lineup at the these-are-German-words Zukunft am Ostkreuz venue in Berlin.

I’m not sure if this is the complete lineup or not. It could be, easily. As of now, jam-prone Dutch trio The Machine, and Germany’s own Mother Engine — veterans of Freak Valley and Desertfest Berlin, no doubt among others — will also take part, as well as East-meets-West groovers Samavayo (based in Berlin), French mostly-instrumentalists Glowsun, uptempo rockers Phiasco and a host of others, some familiar — looking at you, Motorowl — and some less so. A couple names to investigate below, since if Setalight Records — which of course is putting on the festival — knows anything it’s how to pick bands.

The particulars came down the PR wire:

setalight festival 2016 poster

The Berlin based music label SETALIGHT presents the 4th time bands out of Stonerrock, Heavy & Hard Rock, Doom, Noise and Psychedelic Rock. Beside known bands of the scene, we will also present new or unknown bands.

For the lineup, we picked some great bands out of the dust, such as:

THE MACHINE
MOTHER ENGINE
SAMAVAYO
NEUME
OUZO BAZOOKA
PHIASCO
GLOWSUN
THIEVES BY THE CODE
BALG
MOTHERBRAIN
SWEDENBORG RAUM
KALAMAHARA
MOTOROWL
and many more.

When / where:

The SETALIGHT FESTIVAL will take place from 21st to 22nd of October 2016 in Berlin, (Club: Zukunft am Ostkreuz). The pre-sale just started. Get more information at the links:

www.setalight-festival.com
https://www.facebook.com/events/1671298366486172/

The Machine, “Coda Sun” official video

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The Grand Astoria Touring Next Month

Posted in Whathaveyou on June 14th, 2016 by JJ Koczan

the grand astoria

Always adventurous and never far off from their next outing, Russian psychedelic progressives The Grand Astoria have just issued a collection of tracks from members’ other outfits. This follows up on 2015’s Soft Focus quieter outing and the grandiose, classically-influenced The Mighty Few, and brings together cuts from The Legendary Flower Punk and other side-projects related to The Grand Astoria proper. To coincide with the latest in a prolific string of outings, The Grand Astoria will hit the road next month through Western Europe, hitting France and the Iberian Peninsula over the course of two weeks before August brings a few select festival dates, among them Yellowstock in Belgium.

This follows up on a run the band did between February and March of this year, as they continue to be somewhat underappreciated in the wider European sphere despite years of steady, quality work. They’re a lot to keep up with at this point — admittedly I feel like I fail to do so more often than not — but their material has always proven to be well worth the effort.

Dates, of which there are reportedly more to come, and other info follow:

the grand astoria poster

First bunch of dates of The Grand Astoria summer tour. We are building around these ones. If you are interested in booking us – please mail to: thegrandastoria@gmail.com

14.7 – Balagny-sur-Thérain (FRANCE) “Le Cheval Blanc”
16.7 – Tarbes (FRANCE) “Celtic Pub”
18.7 – Bilbao (SPAIN) “La Nube Cafe Teatro”
19.7 – Madrid (SPAIN) “Wurlitzer Ballroom”
21.7 – Cangas (SPAIN) “Salason”
22.7 – Ourense (SPAIN) “Urban Place”
23.7 – Figueira de Foz (PORTUGAL) “Woodrock Festival”
25.7 – Cascais (PORTUGAL) “Stairway Club”
27.7 – Loule (PORTUGAL) “Bafo de Baco”
06.8 – Beelen (GERMANY) “Krach am Bach Festival”
13.8 – Cernoy (FRANCE) “Celebration Days Festival”
14.8 – Geel (BELGIUM) “Yellowstock Festival”

From the forthcoming The Grand Astoria family compilation! Lovely piano piece from our keyboards wizard ????? ????????. Enjoy and share with your friends and parents (your mom will dig it)!

https://www.facebook.com/TheGrandAstoria
https://thegrandastoria.bandcamp.com/

The Grand Astoria, “Viipuri Lumi”

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Samavayo, Dakota: Crossing Lines (Plus Track Premiere)

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on April 25th, 2016 by JJ Koczan

samavayo dakota

[Click play above to stream Samavayo’s “Cross the Line” from Dakota. Album out May 6 via Setalight Records.]

Dakota is the fifth full-length from Berlin-based trio Samavayo, and it offers a distillation of hard and heavy rock, heavy psychedelia and Middle Eastern influences that results in a vibe not quite like anything else going. With seven songs and 45 minutes split up across two sides in an LP tradition, it offers a progressive complexity and clearheaded tonal push that even as it feels rooted in classic structures pushes beyond them with semi-metallic defiance. To look at the runtimes of the tracks, between five and seven minutes, roughly, there certainly would be space enough for variety in the material, but Samavayo bring together a diversity of influence beyond expectation and Dakota is that much richer as a a result.

Recorded at Big Snuff Studio by Richard Berhens (Heat, ex-Samsara Blues Experiment), it follows Samavayo‘s 2015 split with The Grand Astoria (review here), a 2014 split with One Possible Option, and their 2012 full-length, Soul Invictus, in presenting their forward-thinking crunch even as it marks the start of a new era for Samavayo, who work here as a trio for the first time on a long-player. That’s a significant change in dynamic, but in the end, Samavayo emerge from it with their identity intact, guitarist/vocalist Behrang Alavi leading the way on Persian-language opener “Arezooye Bahar,” a song with lyrics purportedly about freedom and arriving, of course, in the midst of Europe dealing with a migrant crisis.

That the decidedly Middle Eastern “Arezooye Bahar” should start off an album with the title Dakota — very American; taking its name from the native tribe, the word meaning “friend” or “ally” — from a band operating in the heart of Europe should give some sense of the melting pot scope of influence under which Alavi, bassist/vocalist/Moog-ist Andreas Voland and drummer/percussionist/vocalist Stephan Voland are operating. The tracks likewise are a cross-continental span of mood and resonance, “Arezooye Bahar” setting up the live-recorded feel that will ultimately tie seemingly disparate spirits together as the second-half apex of the opener gives way to the subsequent “Intergalactic,” the shortest track at 5:13 and among the most straightforward in its riff-led heaviness, all the more apparently so because it’s instrumental for its entirety, playing out like a more expansive Karma to Burn while serving to push the listener deeper into Dakota‘s broader context, full of thrust as much as emotional or social comment.

samavayo

“Kodokushi,” which follows, is the only other cut under the six-minute mark, and touches on some of the psychedelia that will show itself later, but keeps itself on a plotted course, taking in some of the Persian influence musically — think a less manic version of some of what Blaak Heat are getting up to these days, with more crunch — despite its English lyrics and offering one of Dakota‘s finest stretches of thrust as it moves toward its ending, Stephan getting the last word on toms as a transition into side A finale “Overrun” (premiered here), which also serves as the centerpiece of the album as a whole, rightly so for its added depth of melody, locked-in groove and the sense of command which Samavayo as a whole bring to it, shifting into a memorable and melodic chorus fluidly in the midsection before Alavi‘s wah-soaked lead and another run through the hook finish out.

There is not one song on side B that isn’t longer than everything on side A, but the three tracks on the back end of Dakota — “Dakota,” “Cross the Line” and “Iktsuarpok” — aren’t necessarily branching out beyond the point of recognition from what the likes of “Kodokushi” had to offer, even if they deepen the stylistic impact overall, the title-track adding percussion to the mix as it makes its way toward a sprinting riff-rock hook before opening to a chorus slowdown that makes an effective landmark and, as it’s repeated again at the end of the track, a suitable apex ahead of the drums-into-chug that starts “Cross the Line.” More of a swinging rhythm, but a lot of the underlying theme is the same, and when the full-toned hook kicks in, “Cross the Line” resonates with one of Dakota‘s most memorable impressions, shifting back through the verse and chorus again before spacing out a bit in the bridge and skillfully returning to the chorus to finish out, perhaps the best example here of Samavayo repurposing a classic structure to suit their own progressive purposes.

That sets up an admirable balance of intricacy and accessibility as the band makes their way into the airier opening of closer “Iktsuarpok” — from the Inuit; meaning a feeling of anticipation someone has that keeps them looking outside to see if someone is coming — which tips the balance again toward semi-psychedelia despite the earthy underpinnings of the bass and drums. I don’t know if it’s an added layer of guitar or what, but “Iktsuarpok” offers an even fuller sound than much of Dakota, and even as it chugs its way into a quiet (and momentary) break, it skillfully holds the tension that the prog metal grand finale will pay off, the last words, “You don’t know,” ringing out over a last crash of guitar, bass and drums. It’s as fitting a close as one could think of to an album so clearly intent on conveying a particular experience — of the melding of cultures, of emigrating, of seeking refuge — but perhaps most noteworthy of all, it is a fitting summary of all the things that make Samavayo who they are sonically, and it’s the clear expression of that which allows Dakota to work so engagingly as it does.

Samavayo on Thee Facebooks

Samavayo on Bandcamp

Samavayo at Setalight Records

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