Trippy Wicked and the Cosmic Children of the Knight, Underground EP: New Beginnings

Posted in Reviews on September 3rd, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster

With last year’s Going Home full-length, UK heavy rockers Trippy Wicked and the Cosmic Children of the Knight began to show growth in a heavier direction tonally. Their second album (review here), it kept some of the riffier elements of 2009’s Movin’ On (review here), but was clearly headed someplace else stylistically — a burlier and more metal vibe persisted. The new Underground EP stands as the follow-up to Going Home, and as it was also recorded by drummer Chris West and guitarist/vocalist Pete Holland — also mixed and mastered by West; the three-piece is completed by Dicky King on bass — it’s not so much a surprise that it is likewise loud, meaty and weighted. Where Underground really makes itself separate from the trio’s work up to this point is in its overarching thematic. True to its artwork by Dan Schooler, the five-track collection clocks in at 30 minutes of science fiction-minded lyrics that seem to frame a loose narrative. This happens over the course of the opening title-track and closer “New Beginnings,” while between them, “Echoes Return” gives a personal angle to the story and “Enlightenment” and “Discoveries” provide instrumental continuity. At the same time, Underground is more dynamic stylistically than Going Home, and particularly in “Enlightenment” and “Discoveries,” embellishes a touch of heavy psychedelia that feels like a definite departure from the last album. In terms of approach and storyline, then, Trippy Wicked are trying something new, and whatever sonic similarities the EP has to the LP before it, that’s not the whole tale. In the interest of clarity, I consider myself a fan of Trippy Wicked both as a band and as people, so while my observations on Underground may be and I hope they’re found to be considered, I won’t exactly call them impartial. With that said, Underground strikes as the most complex and accomplished outing Trippy Wicked have crafted yet, and feels more complete as a whole work than its EP tag can properly convey. Released on the band-affiliated Superhot Records, it could just as easily have been dubbed a short album and I’d find no argument.

Holland, whose confidence and range have grown in kind over the band’s five years of releases, is at his most melodically adept here. Whether he’s following his guitar on “Echoes Return” and “Underground” or subtly branching out in the verses of “New Beginnings,” he sounds comfortable in the more relaxed spaces and able to convey a depth of emotionality that wasn’t attempted even on Going Home, which had a narrative thread of its own, mostly about drinking and the resulting raucousness. Maybe it’s the more nuanced thematic bringing out the performance, but it makes more sense to me to think of the evolution as coinciding rather than sparked by one or the other. An all-around growth, in other words. Likewise, the band’s songwriting, while it has long since “clicked” in terms of creating memorable hooks across a variety of moods, seems to have stepped up as well, and Holland, King and West are a tight and fluid trio, each bringing out the best from the compatriot two. Repetition in the choruses of the three tracks with vocals also provides a consistency across the release, giving it even more of a sense of being one whole work, as “Underground” features a series of lines starting with “World slows down/Sun’s burnt out,” and ends with an almost nursery rhyme made of “Down, down, round and round/We’re lost until we’re found,” while “Echoes Return” plays homophones with “I find it hard to believe in you today/I find it hard to be leaving you this way” as a secondary chorus and “New Beginnings” moves into a first-person-plural in starting more of its chorus lines with “We had” or “We can” as it winds down the storyline. All this feeds into the overarching cohesion of Underground, making it a compelling listen that satisfies in more than just its actual audio, but it’s important to remember that although Trippy Wicked are engaging these new methods (or at very least developing past ideas to new levels of refinement), Underground is still very much a heavy rock record. Pretense is nil, and while the production is crisp and full and professional, it’s not so overblown as to take away from the natural feel of the songs themselves.

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Trippy Wicked and the Cosmic Children of the Knight Announce EP Release and Tour Dates

Posted in Whathaveyou on August 2nd, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster

After they spliced the riffier take presented early on with a metallic edge on last year’s Going Home full-length (review here), I was eager to hear where UK trio Trippy Wicked and the Cosmic Children of the Knight might go on their next release. Looks like I won’t have to wait too much longer to find out, since the trio of Peter Holland (guitar/vocals), Dicky King (bass) and Christopher West (drums) will have a new EP in September out through Superhot Records. The title-track, which you’ll find below, seems to emphasize just how little you can actually know what to expect from these guys. I dig it.

Trippy Wicked are headed out with Bright Curse and Wight to support the release, and they kick off with a gig alongside Steak and Kerala to start, so good stuff all around. I also like the tag “alt-stoner,” which I haven’t heard before. The PR wire sends word:

Trippy Wicked announce new EP and UK headlining tour in August

The UK’s alt-stoner trio have been working on a 5 song EP exploring the sludgier side of their split-personality genre hopping style.

Full details with release date and pre orders will be announced in the coming weeks but for now check out the title track right here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tw_h-ZM8UUU

To promote the EP Trippy Wicked will be embarking on a tour of the UK with Wight and Bright Curse in support for all but the first date. Wight have recently released their first live album ‘Live auf 603qm’ and Bright Curse have just released their self titled EP on Bilocation Records.

Here’s the full list of dates:

With Steak and Kerela
August 21st Brighton – Sticky Mike’s Frog Bar

With Wight and Bright Curse
August 22nd Bristol – Exchange
August 23rd London – The Black Heart
August 24th Birmingham – Scruffy Murphy’s
August 25th Cardiff – The Moon Club (HUB Festival)
August 26th Sunderland – Pure
August 27th (Private acoustic show)
August 28th Manchester – The Bay Horse
August 29th Edinburgh – Bannermans Bar
August 30th Cambridge – The Man on the Moon
August 31st Sheffield – The Three Cranes

Superhot Records is set to release Underground in September on digipack CD featuring the incredible artwork of Daniel Schooler. The band will have CDs for sale on tour.

www.superhotrecords.com

Trippy Wicked, “Underground” from Underground EP (2013)

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Euroventure Pt. 8: Into Crypts of Rays of the New Red Sun Arising

Posted in Features on April 24th, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster

04.24.13 — 4:05PM GMT — Wednesday — Holiday Inn, Camden Town

Looking up at the Cathedral at St Albans, it was pretty easy to understand why doom was invented here. The building, massive and begun about a millennium ago, is as ornate as it is elaborate as it is definitely-letting-you-know-who’s-in-charge-of-this-here. Mix something like that in with some inherited post-WWII trauma (I have a whole theory about how World War I was the end of the world; ask me about it sometime and then interrupt before I finish), driving blues rock, industrial/working class Birmingham malaise, twisted psychedelia, and you’re good to go. Every now and again something just clicks into place in my brain.

I got into St Albans on Tuesday night after the train to London. Chris West, drummer of Trippy Wicked and the Cosmic Children of the Knight and now guitarist for Groan as well (both bands play Desertfest this weekend), was kind enough to meet me at the Kings Cross St Pancras station, which resulted in a few anxious minutes until we ran into each other — I had been outside, back in, downstairs, upstairs, whathaveyou looking for the statue where we were supposed to wind up, and we went into Camden to catch Elder, Pet the Preacher and Serpent Venom at The Black Heart. Review forthcoming on that, but afterwards, it was back to St Albans, where most of yesterday after sleeping late was dedicated to checking out the area and chatting in a variety of pubs.

The cathedral is a sight to see, old crypts dating back centuries and still basically saying, “Yeah, this guy was alright. We liked him well enough,” but even the pubs have more history to them than the country I call home. One had a sign up that it was rebuilt “After the flood of 1599.” Oh yeah.Thatflood.

A walk through Verulamium Park — which in the States would be a golf course not in the slightest dedicated to public use — had me run into a bird that looked like a hybrid pigeon and chicken that I not surprisingly dubbed the chicken-pigeon, finally giving me a reason for the distinction of saying pigeon pigeon twice, as I often do. So now it’s “‘Pigeon pigeon,’ as opposed to what?” “Well, as opposed to chicken-pigeons.” Those conversations, incidentally, never happen.

We hit a couple pubs and I sampled the local tap water whilst digging on the low ceilings and townie vibes, wood beams, dogs sharing benches with people, the whole thing. Chris happens to be an exceedingly good dude, and though I was kind of run down post-Roadburn, it was a great time to see the town and get a feel for something that wasn’t the big city in London. I ended up watching the whole first series of the tv show Big Train, which I can now safely recommend to anyone who enjoys the Python tradition and may not yet have seen it.

Early this afternoon, following a bangers and mash lunch that was just what I was looking for, I and Big Blue made our way to the St Albans city station and headed to Kings Cross St Pancras and then Camden Town, winding up on the Northern line of the Tube for the last of it after taking what I guess is the normal commuter train. It wasn’t an overly long trip, but I patted myself on the back for being able to do it without asking anyone where I was supposed to be. I walked from the Camden Tube station to the hotel here to basically catch up on writing and crash out for the rest of the day.

I may or may not see if I can head over to Music and Video Exchange, but probably not before a nap, given the fact that I’m currently typing with my eyes closed. I can hear the murmur of conversations and laughs coming up from the cafes below, and for just right now, that’s really all the reminder of the world  outside that I’m looking for. Big things coming up over the next couple days — by the time I get to Heathrow on Monday, I will have seen Dozer, and by that I mean “life complete” — so it’s worth my time to regroup, and that’s just what I intend to do.

A Nobel to whoever invented blackout curtains!

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Euroventure Pt. 7: Turns the Grinding Wheel

Posted in Features on April 22nd, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster

04.22.13 – 16.17 Euro Time – Monday – Eurostar Train to London

My only goal for today was to get from Tilburg to London. This meant up at nine to shower, finish packing and roll out of the Mercure – another fond farewell – walk down the street to the train station, catch the 10.24 train bound for Utrecht Centraal, change at Den Bosch, keep on to Amsterdam Centraal, catch a Thaly’s train to Brussels and then get on the Eurostar to London. I’m not there yet, but it seems I’ve been successful in this barring disaster from here on out. For what it’s worth, I’m way less concerned about twisted metal impalement than I am about sky-explody-fireball, which is part of why I’m taking the train in the first place.

The other reason is that my past experience with the Eurostar was nothing but pleasant, and so comparing that to any flight I’ve ever taken in my life – I wouldn’t go as far as to call even the best of them “pleasant” – it was an easy enough choice to make. I’m pretty sure the route I took from Tilburg to the Eurostar wasn’t the most efficient, but familiar names help. I’ve never been much for cartography.

While on that train, I met Joe Hall from British instrumental post-metallers Wiht, totally by random, and had a good chat as he was on his way back to Leeds. Aside from having seen them at Desertfest last year, we also had the same watch (Casio F-91W — accept no substitutes), so there was much to discuss. We walked to the Eurostar terminal at Brussels Midi together, but where his UK passport got immediately stamped and he was sent on his way, I was detained by the officer for a pretty extensive line of questioning. Where are you going, what are you doing there, how long, where are you staying, do you have friends, who are your friends, what do you do for a living, what do your friends do for a living, I don’t believe you, I think you want to come and stay in the UK, I think you’re lying to me, when are you leaving, show me your flight confirmation (which I didn’t have – huge help that was), and so on. Finally I got my, “I’m gonna let you go,” which was marvelous because I hadn’t realized I’d been detained. He told me in which direction to fuck off and I made it to the train a couple minutes before departure. Hall, who was being polite and waited for as long as he could, had split. He’s somewhere on the train, presumably. Nice to meet you, man. Hope you got home safe.

In London, I’ll meet Chris from Trippy Wicked at the Kings Cross St. Pancras station and go to see Elder in Camden tonight at The Black Heart, which is also one of the Desertfest venues for this weekend. That’ll be good. I’m still kind of keyed up after talking to the customs agent – my inner smartass came out at first and I had to work really hard not to be a complete prick, which of course would have gotten me nowhere except stuck in Belgium for an indeterminate amount of time. Hardly a fate worse than death, but not where I’m trying to be at the moment. I put on some Kyuss and then Mars Red Sky’s new EP (it’s France and I couldn’t resist) to get my head right, slow my breathing. I was really glad I had my old passport to show the guy I’d actually been to the UK twice before, though on some level it’s nice to know that despite being old, married, fat and balding, I can still look dangerous to somebody. If I had a fucking nickel for every, “I’m gonna let you go,” I’ve heard when there’s no reason for me to have been stopped in the first place. Yeah homie, search my baggage. Do it. Prepare to be bored.

Rolling through France on the train and it’s beautiful, so no complaints. Everything up to this point has worked out. I have no reason to think it will not continue to work out from here.

 

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Trippy Wicked and the Cosmic Children of the Knight Join London Desertfest Lineup

Posted in Whathaveyou on January 12th, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster

I guess until we can get these dudes over for a run of the US East Coast, I’ll just have to make due with seeing Trippy Wicked and the Cosmic Children of the Knight at Desertfest in London. Not exactly a hardship, as it happens. Trippy Wicked released the surprisingly metallic Going Home in 2012 (review here) and I don’t know what else they might have in the works for 2013, but when I see ‘em, I’ll be sure to ask.

Looking forward to this one for sure. Here’s the official announcement:

Trippy Wicked and the Cosmic Children of the Knight at DesertFest 2013

Yippee-ki-yay motherfuckers! St. Albans’ premier exponents of bluesy sludge are back for a second bite at the DesertFest cherry after packing out the WPC/h_d_p stage earlier in 2012.

Trippy’s exciting blend of grungy wrecking-ball riffage, thunderous drumming, sing-a-long-able choruses and all with a swaggering bluesy twang, has won them a strong following across the South of England and beyond. Sure to be showcasing tracks from latest release Going Home, along with fans’ favourites from their debut proper Movin’ On, get ready to chow down on equal helpings of both mosh-pit and ho-down with these modern-age masters of the groove. Like QOTSA? Like Soundgarden? Like Hank3? Get ready to rock with your new favourite band. Dig it!

words courtesy of Pete Green

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Euroventure Update: Victory Declared Over the Forces of Nature and Mild Inconvenience

Posted in Whathaveyou on April 22nd, 2010 by H.P. Taskmaster

5:37AM: Bus en route from St Albans to Heathrow Terminal 5: It is getting lighter by the minute, but the tips of my fingers are still numb from standing out in the cold waiting for this bus. When I think of the jacket I didn’t buy yesterday, well, I don’t know, because it’s too fucking early to think.

Accordingly, you’d have to figure I must have gotten an early flight out for this morning, right? There’s only two things that would have me choose to wake up at the ungodly hour I did, and if there’d been a fire, I wouldn’t have time to stop and write about it. So yes, I’m going home.

After so successfully buying records in Camden, I cabbed it back to St Pancras rail station and took the train up to St Albans to meet Chris from Trippy Wicked, who as you’ll recall graciously offered to put me up for the rest of my stay here. I felt like a goon taking him up on it, but he and Pete from the band with whom he lives, turned out to be really cool, chill guys. This was a relief, and I honestly think a few days’ time hanging out there, going to a few pubs, seeing the sights, etc., would have been really nice, but when I called British Airways as I’d been instructed to upon booking my Monday flight, the guy told me he could get me on a plane this morning and I had to take it. What if there was another eruption in the meantime? Given the money it’s been costing me to be here, spent on records and otherwise, I had no choice.

If that sounds like I’m justifying a bit, maybe I am. After seeing the town center of St Albans, it looked like a decent place to spend a few days, and since upon my arrival Chris Wicked and I basically just shot the shit about music for two hours, I knew that getting along wasn’t going to be an issue. Their place was nice and the couch was comfortable (I did wind up sleeping on it for just a few hours), but I had to go.

They played an acoustic show in Reading hosted by Laz from Obiat last night that was a great time that I’ll write about when I’ve got my wits closer to somewhere about my person, and when we got back to St Albans, Chris and I walked down to London St. so he could show me where to the bus. It’s a good thing he did, because I’d have never figured it out on my own and I’d still be standing back there in the cold like an ass. Cold ass.

So there you have it. I almost can’t believe it, but I’m on my way home to my valley, my Patient Mrs. and – perhaps most immediately prevalent because of the circumstances under which I’m writing – my bed. I’m astounded by how lucky, all things considered, I’ve been on this trip, from the open space on the ferry to Hoek van Holland to get me to Roadburn to the CDs I found to the hospitality of Chris and Pete and making it onto this flight, it’s been a turbulent, but also really gratifying trip. I’m looking forward to looking back on it.

5:37AM: Bus en route from St Albans to Heathrow Terminal 5: It is getting lighter by the minute, but the tips of my fingers are still numb from standing out in the cold waiting for this bus. When I think of the jacket I didn’t buy yesterday, well, I don’t know, because it’s too fucking early to think.

Accordingly, you’d have to figure I must have gotten an early flight out for this morning, right? There’s only two things that would have me choose to wake up at the ungodly hour I did, and if there’d been a fire, I wouldn’t have time to stop and write about it. So yes, I’m going home.

After so successfully buying records in Camden, I cabbed it back to St Pancras rail station and took the train up to St Albans to meet Chris from Trippy Wicked, who as you’ll recall graciously offered to put me up for the rest of my stay here. I felt like a goon taking him up on it, but he and Pete from the band with whom he lives, turned out to be really cool, chill guys. This was a relief, and I honestly think a few days’ time hanging out there, going to a few pubs, seeing the sights, etc., would have been really nice, but when I called British Airways as I’d been instructed to upon booking my Monday flight, the guy told me he could get me on a plane this morning and I had to take it. What if there was another eruption in the meantime? Given the money it’s been costing me to be here, spent on records and otherwise, I had no choice.

If that sounds like I’m justifying a bit, maybe I am. After seeing the town center of St Albans, it looked like a decent place to spend a few days, and since upon my arrival Chris Wicked and I basically just shot the shit about music for two hours, I knew that getting along wasn’t going to be an issue. Their place was nice and the couch was comfortable (I did wind up sleeping on it for just a few hours), but I had to go.

They played an acoustic show in Reading hosted by Laz from Obiat last night that was a great time that I’ll write about when I’ve got my wits closer to somewhere about my person, and when we got back to St Albans, Chris and I walked down to London St. so he could show me where to the bus. It’s a good thing he did, because I’d have never figured it out on my own and I’d still be standing back there in the cold like an ass. Cold ass.

So there you have it. I almost can’t believe it, but I’m on my way home to my valley, my Patient Mrs. and – perhaps most immediately prevalent because of the circumstances under which I’m writing – my bed. I’m astounded by how lucky, all things considered, I’ve been on this trip, from the open space on the ferry to Hoek van Holland to get me to Roadburn to the CDs I found to the hospitality of Chris and Pete and making it onto this flight, it’s been a turbulent, but also really gratifying trip. I’m looking forward to looking back on it.

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