King Buffalo Announce Oct./Nov. Touring; Post “Quickening” Video

Posted in Whathaveyou on September 12th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

Well, King Buffalo are currently wrapping up their pre-release tour for the upcoming Longing to be the Mountain, which they’ll release Oct. 12 on their own in the US and through Stickman Records in Europe, so I guess the only thing left to do is announce the dates for the post-release tour. That will start Oct. 27 in Montreal and run through the first couple weeks-plus of November. They haven’t yet announced plans to head to Europe in support of the new record, but I’d expect that to follow not too long behind, maybe early 2019 or so.

And if you want to hear a particular example of the sonic progression between Longing to be the Mountain and its 2016 predecessor, Orion (review here), take a listen to the solo late in “Quickening,” the video for which is posted at the bottom here. The level of melodic engagement from guitarist Sean McVay, not to mention the confidence in his vocals, is an absolute standout on the record. And the record, as well, is an absolute standout among 2018’s releases. I’ll have a review up sometime in the next couple weeks.

Here are the dates from the PR wire:

king buffalo (Photo by Mike Turzanski)

KING BUFFALO: psych-rockers premiere “Quickening” video, announce 2nd leg of North American tour

New King Buffalo track “Quickening” has made its debut today, in the form of an animated video.

The song appears on the Rochester, New York trio’s sophomore album Longing to Be the Mountain, out October 12th (self-released in the US, Stickman Records in Europe.)

Longing to Be the Mountain is a feast of haunting vocals, hypnotic grooves, mounting tension and explosive finalés, earning more than a few comparisons to Pink Floyd. It was produced by All Them Witches guitarist Ben McLeod.

Pre-order the album (vinyl and digital):
http://kingbuffalo.com/

The band is currently on tour in North America and has revealed a second leg of North American tourdates, kicking off October 27th in Montreal:

Sep 12 – Milwaukee, WI @ Cactus Club
Sep 13 – Grand Rapids, MI @ Pyramid Scheme
Sep 15 – Toronto, ON @ Bovine Sex Club

Oct 27 – Montreal, QC @ Montreal Zombie Walk
Nov 1 – Brooklyn, NY @ Saint Vitus
Nov 2 – Philadelphia, PA @ Kung Fu Necktie
Nov 3 – Fawn Grove, PA @ South County Brewing Co.
Nov 4 – Baltimore, MD @ Metro Gallery
Nov 5 – Carrboro, NC @ Cat’s Cradle Back Room
Nov 6 – Atlanta, GA @ The Earl
Nov 7 – New Orleans, LA @ Santos Bar
Nov 8 – Houston, TX @ Rudyard’s
Nov 9 – Austin, TX @ Hotel Vegas
Nov 10 – Fort Worth, TX @ Lola’s Saloon Sixth
Nov 12 – Nashville, TN @ The End
Nov 13 – Indianapolis, IN @ White Rabbit Cabaret
Nov 14 – Louisville, KY @ Jimmy Can’t Dance
Nov 15 – Columbus, OH @ Ace of Cups
Nov 16 – Detroit, MI @ PJ’s Lager House
Nov 17 – Cleveland, OH @ Beachland Tavern

Lineup:
Sean McVay – vocals, guitar, synth
Dan Reynolds – bass, synth
Scott Donaldson – drums

kingbuffalo.com
facebook.com/kingbuffaloband
instagram.com/kingbuffaloband
twitter.com/kingbuffaloband
kingbuffalo.bandcamp.com

King Buffalo, “Quickening” official video

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The Devil and the Almighty Blues Touring Next Month; Playing Desertfest Belgium 2018 & Keep it Low

Posted in Whathaveyou on September 4th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

Norwegian heavy blues rockers The Devil and the Almighty Blues have been out a couple times already this year supporting their 2017 album, II (review here), stopping fests like Stoned from the Underground and Red Smoke in July with Elephant Tree and hitting the road before that in May for a round of successful club dates with South Africa’s Ruff Majik. They were previously announced for Keep it Low in Munich and Desertfest Belgium in Antwerp, and as those fests run on consecutive weekends it seemed only reasonable to expect they’d connect them with shows between. Well, they have.

In fact, they’ll be out even before they land at Desertfest, starting off with a gig Oct. 11 with Texas fuzz magnates Wo Fat and picking up from there with a couple shows in France. It’s a nine-show run altogether, and presented by Sound of Liberation, but there are still two shows to be announced. They’re both right after the fest appearances, so I’d have to think there are other acts touring around they could probably jump on with. Having had the pleasure of watching The Devil and the Almighty Blues at Roadburn 2017 (review here), I’ll say that their recorded output, while excellent, only begins to tell the story of the presence they bring to the stage. Worth seeing if you can see them.

Sound of Liberation announced the tour thusly:

the devil and the almighty blues tour

Guys, we’re glad to tell you that The Devil And The Almighty Blues will be hitting the roads again in October, playing in some countries they couldn’t visit last May (Belgium, England, France). Do not miss them!

11.10.18 (UK) London | Underworld (with Wo Fat)
12.10.18 (FR) Paris | Olympic Café
13.10.18 (FR) Clermont-Ferrand | Raymond Bar
14.10.18 (BE) Antwerp | Desertfest Belgium
16.10.18 TBC
17.10.18 (DE) Hagen | Kultopia
18.10.18 (DE) Nürnberg | MUZ
19.10.18 (DE) Munich | Keep It Low Festival
20.10.18 TBC

The Deivl and the Almight Blues is:
Arnt Andersen
Petter Svee
Kenneth Simonsen
Torgeir Waldemar Engen
Kim Skaug

https://www.facebook.com/thedevilandthealmightyblues/
https://thedevilandthealmightyblues.bandcamp.com/
https://www.facebook.com/BLUES-FOR-THE-RED-SUN-645295312258485/
https://www.stickman-records.com/

The Devil and the Almighty Blues, II (2018)

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Weedpecker Announce Oct. German Tour

Posted in Whathaveyou on September 3rd, 2018 by JJ Koczan

weedpecker

On Oct. 20, Polish progressive heavy psych rockers Weedpecker will make an appearance for the second night Setalight Fest 2018, the lineup for which also boasts Sasquatch, Beehoover, Weedruid, The Great Machine, Sativa Root, My Home on Trees and many more. That’s good company to keep, and for Weedpecker it will serve as the culmination of a string of dates alongside Gaffa Ghandi (also playing the festival) in support of their third album overall and first for Stickman Records, the aptly-titled III (discussed here).

That record has only grown in its appeal since its release in the early hours of 2018, its combination of heavy psychedelia and dreamy progressive rock lush in its arrangements and taking influence from the likes of labelmates Elder while adding personality of its own to the mix. Its extended tracks flow easily and immersively, and the hypnosis is one not conjured by boredom but by the depth of the engagement. Cool album? Cool album. Good band.

The tour’s all-Germany, so if you’re elsewhere you’ll have to wait until next time, but the poster is right on and the fact that Weedpecker are headed out anywhere is welcome news as far as I’m concerned. Glad someone will see them, even if it’s not me.

From the social medias:

weedpecker tour

Friends, People, Earthlings!

It has been coming a long way! Now it’s here: We’ll be joining forces with our german brothers, the mighty Gaffa Ghandi for a run of shows across Germany from 12th to 20th of october!!!

Come over and enjoy this killer package in a town near you while we deliver Dangerous Heavy Metal & Maximum Rock upon your banging heads!

Ultra sick artwork by our luvboi Artourette! Tour was booked and is presented by Unlimited Sonic Use!

Weedpecker live:

12.10 Bandhaus Leipzig
13.10 Zukunft Chemnitz
14.10 Chemiefabrik Dresden
15.10 TBC
16.10 Halle am Rhein Koln
17.10 Club VEB – Kulturfabrik Hildesheim
18.10 Bar227 Hamburg
19.10 Bunker Rostock
20.10 Setalight Fest Zukunft am Ostkreuz Berlin

Weedpecker is:
Wyro – guitar,vocals
Bartek – guitar,vocals
Karol – bass
Kuks – drums

https://www.facebook.com/Weedpecker-349871488424872/
https://weedpecker.bandcamp.com/
http://weedpecker.bigcartel.com/
http://weedpecker.8merch.com/
https://www.facebook.com/Stickman-Records-1522369868033940/
https://twitter.com/stickmanrecords

Weedpecker, III (2018)

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Elder Touring Europe this Fall with Ancestors; Playing Fests and More

Posted in Whathaveyou on August 2nd, 2018 by JJ Koczan

elder

Progressive heavy rock forerunners Elder will be back on the road in Europe for Fall 2018, joined by Ancestors for a run through festivals that includes Doom vs. Stoner, Up in Smoke, Desertfest Belgium 2018, Into the Void and Keep it Low. Because, basically, if you’re throwing a heavy fest in 2018, you want Elder to play. The former-trio-now-four-piece affirmed their ascendance last year with Reflections of a Floating World (review here) and have barely come off tour since. To wit, after the stint with Ancestors? They have another European tour. It’s pretty much how it goes with them these days, and right on.

You’ll note they mention an impending announcement about new music. I know what it is and it’s awesome. It’s not public yet, but yeah, there’s something cool happening. Stay tuned.

They posted the following on the social medias:

Elder announce European tour

We’re back on the autobahn and beyond again this fall, sharing the first leg of our tour with the fantastic @ancestors (who have a killer new album out) Let us know below what show you’ll be at!

Also, we’ve got another exciting announcement regarding new music coming in the near future…

29.09. UK – Sheffield, O2 Academy, Doom vs. Stoner Festival*
30.09. UK – Glasgow, The Audio*
01.10. UK – Leeds, TBA*
02.10. UK – Manchester, The Rebellion*
03.10. UK – Coventry, The Phoenix*
04.10. UK – Bristol, The Fleece*
05.10. UK – London, Garage*
06.10. CH – Pratteln, Up In Smoke Festival*
07.10. I – Milan, Legend*
08.10. I – Bologna, Freak Out / Locomotive*
09.10. I – Rome, Evol*
10.10. I – Fabriano, Sonic Room*
11.10. CRO – Zagreb, Vintage Industrial Bar*
12.10. HUN – Budapest, Dürer Kert*
14.10. B – Antwerp, Trix, Desertfest*
15.10. GER – Hannover, Chez Heinz*
16.10. GER – Berlin, S036*
17.10. GER – Dortmund, Junkyard*
18.10. F – Paris, Glazart*
19.10. NL – Leeurwarden, Neushoorn, Into the Void*
20.10. GER – Munich, Feierwerk, Keep It Low*
21.10. A – Vienna, Arena*

31.10. RUS – St Petersburg
01.11. RUS – Moscow
03.11. DK – Aalborg, Aalborg Metalfest
04.11. GER – Osnabrück, Bastard
05.11. GER – Karlsruhe, Stadtmitte
06.11. F – Poitiers, Le confort Moderne
07.11. E – Barcelona, Razzmatazz
08.11. E – Callosa De Segura (Alicante), Auditorium
09.11. E – Madrid, Nazca
10.10. I – Fabriano, Sonic Room
10.11. E – Bilbao, Santana 27
* with Ancestors

Artwork by @digitaldexter

http://facebook.com/elderofficial
https://www.instagram.com/elderband/
http://stickman-records.com
http://armageddonshop.com

Elder, Reflections of a Floating World (2017)

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Black Moon Circle, Psychedelic Spacelord: Newfound Purposes

Posted in Reviews on July 11th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

Black Moon Circle Psychedelic Spacelord

I’m not sure what other kind of spacelord it would be — at least in the hands of Trondheim, Norway’s Black Moon Circle, but indeed, it’s a Psychedelic Spacelord. All the trip-out you can handle and then a bunch more from there. Enough so that the line, “Sometimes I feel I’m falling out of time… and space,” has a grounding effect. Issued by Crispin Glover RecordsPsychedelic Spacelord is the sixth Black Moon Circle LP in four years, following behind last year’s The Studio Jams Vol. III: Flowing into the 3rd Dimension (review here), 2016’s 2016’s Sea of Clouds (review here) and 2016’s The Studio Jams Vol. II (review here), 2015’s The Studio Jams Vol. I: Yellow Nebula in the Sky (discussed here), 2014’s Andromeda (review here) and also-2014’s self-titled debut EP (review here) and continuing the band’s lysergic outward journey, finding a place for itself amid a crowded subspace field of star-eyed heavy psychedelic explorers via a sense of openness that extends beyond even sheer sonics to the actual band makeup.

Still comprised of the founding trio of guitarist/backing vocalist Vemund Engan, bassist/vocalist Øyvin Engan, and drummer Per Andreas GulbrandsenPsychedelic Spacelord boasts returns from Scott “Dr. Space” Heller of Øresund Space Collective and his magical customized synth box and recording engineer Magnus Kofoed, who contributes Rhodes, Mellotron and Hammond, and a first appearance from violinist Jonathan Segel. It’s worth noting that these are not listed as guest contributions. Dr. Space has been a member for a while now, and Kofoed recorded The Studio Jams Vol. III and played on that as well, so neither is exactly a stranger to Black Moon Circle‘s jammy modus, but as Segel makes his debut with the band, all three are listed as part of a six-piece incarnation: The Black Moon Circle Psychedelic Spacelord Family Band.

Okay, the name needs some work, I’ll admit, but you get the idea. The point is that over the last several years as Black Moon Circle have developed aesthetically, growing a chemistry between the brothers Øyvin and Vemund and Per on drums, they’ve extended that development to the actual structure of the group. A sonic reach grown in proportion to the amount of personnel involved. How does one even start to comprehend such a thing? I’ll admit, I don’t know, but if you can get your brain around it, the latest version of Black Moon Circle would like to immediately set about melting that same brain with their ultra-molten, gorgeously-patient and soaking-wet psychedelic flow, as represented on Psychedelic Spacelord by the 47-minute title-track that comprises the entire thing. That’s right. Black Moon Circle have both expanded to a six-piece and put out a one-song album. Ever wonder what it might be like when a band is truly on their own wavelength? Well, next time you need an example, you’ve got one.

In truth, putting aside the human-resources aspect of Psychedelic WarlordBlack Moon Circle have been headed toward the extended-single-track format for a while now. For bands of their sort — and if you don’t yet hold them in the same league as the Electric Moons, Papirs and Øresund Space Collectives of the universe, this record might change your mind — it’s almost a rite of passage when it comes to how vital a group’s jams have become. How far can they go? “Psychedelic Warlord” divides roughly in half to account for the limitations of the vinyl format, fading out at about 23 minutes in only to reemerge slowly after a minute or so of quiet, but it’s not like the jam ever actually stops. It’s just been edited.

Black Moon Circle

So to answer the question, they go pretty damn far. The Engan brothers and GulbrandsenKofoedHeller and Segel dig into hypnotic fluidity that once more finds suitably striking representation on the album cover, the image of which is taken from the oil/light show that accompanies the band live, and which only highlights the energetic approach that remains so prevalent in their methodology.

Remember that Psychedelic Spacelord is a named Black Moon Circle release. It’s still certainly based around a jam that’s semi-plotted but seems to have plenty of room for improvisation along its course, but what the band seem to do after getting that basic foundation established beneath them is build upward. Maybe they were recorded at the same time and the whole thing was done live, or maybe they were overdubbed later, but the vocals have always been something of a standout factor for Black Moon Circle, separating them from the instrumentalists when they want to be separate and finding them joining those ranks in the Studio Jams material. One recalls the 26-minute “Waves” from The Studio Jams Vol. III, and on multiple levels, it can be argued “Psychedelic Warlord” is an outgrowth of the same impulses. But the new offering is distinct unto itself not only for the human presence the vocals establish as they call out between the wash of synth, guitar, bass, cymbals and Mellotron in the song’s second half, but also because of Segel‘s first-time contributions on violin.

Treated with echo to match its cavernous surroundings, the violin is a defining presence on Psychedelic Spacelord and makes itself absolutely essential to the proceedings. That is, it’s not flourish. It plays as much a role as the various keyed instruments in setting the atmospheric breadth Black Moon Circle bring to bear, and while I certainly didn’t listen to their last release and think, “Golly these guys sure could use some strings,” by no means does Segel‘s participation make Black Moon Circle any more over-the-top than they clearly want to be. It brings class and further melodic intricacy to complement the keys, vocals, synth and guitar, and weaves through the extended piece with a grace that only highlights the same in the other elements at play. It makes Black Moon Circle a stronger, more complete band. Do they have room for a saxophone? Maybe. There’s an awful lot of space being created. Black Moon Circle Psychedelic Spacelord Orkester: coming soon.

Or, more likely, not. But take it as an indication of just how open Black Moon Circle‘s processes have become over these prolific years. As they approach a half-decade since their first long-player, they’ve not only amassed more of a catalog than some acts get in their entire career, but they’ve successfully managed to capture their will to push themselves forward each time out, as well as the meta-expansiveness that has made them who they are. All of them, acting together. Black Moon Circle may or may not be set in terms of their lineup, and I wouldn’t dare predict what they might do next or where it might go in sonic terms, but Psychedelic Spacelord conjures focus even as it subsumes the consciousness, becoming memorable through osmosis and a joy to undertake for its immersive, extended duration. Six albums in and one still can’t help but think of the potential and the possibilities for what lie ahead of Black Moon Circle. One more indicator of how special a band they are.

Black Moon Circle, Psychedelic Spacelord (2018)

Black Moon Circle on Thee Facebooks

Black Moon Circle on Bandcamp

Crispin Glover Records website

Stickman Records website

 

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Orango Working on New Album

Posted in Whathaveyou on March 27th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

I’ll readily admit that it took me a while to catch up to what Oslo classic heavy rockers Orango were doing on last year’s The Mules of Nana (review here), but I got there eventually, and found the everybody-sings three-piece injecting new life and much-needed old soul into heavy boogie the likes of which Europe has been churning out now for well over a decade. How does Orango put their stamp on such an established aesthetic? Well, having been at it for the better part of 20 years probably helps, and, you know, also being really good.

That’s my hard-hitting analysis. I hope you enjoyed it. Better news is that Orango are currently at work on their next offering. The update came in the latest newsletter from their label, Stickman Records, and while it’s light on hard facts like titles, methods, sounds, blah blah bah, I’ll just go ahead and take comfort in knowing there’s a new Orango on the way. Mark it a win.

If you didn’t hear it or feel like a why-the-hell-not revisit, you an stream The Mules of Nana in full at the bottom of this post. I’d say go for it.

From the PR wire:

orango gear

Orango studio update

Orango’s last LP The Mules Of Nana (2017) was a masterpiece of golden-era rock n’ roll, keeping on in the band’s tradition of beautiful vocal harmonies, astonishing melodies and heavy, southern-tinged grooves. The art of songwriting is certainly not lost on Orango – nor have they forgotten their title of “Norway’s hardest working rock band”. Since then, they’ve been busy with several tours and still found time to write a new album, which they’re currently finalizing at Ocean Sound Recordings in Ålesund.

Guitarist/singer Helge Kanck says: “The day after the release of The Mules of Nana, we once more locked ourselves in at Ocean Sound Recordings to record the follow up LP. We ended up touring a lot in 2017, so it took us a little longer than expected to finished off the new album. Now we’re done, and the record should be ready for release sometime during the autumn.”

What we’ve heard so far from the album has blown us away and we’re anxiously awaiting the full record!

Orango is:
Helge Bredeli Kanck: guitar and vocals
Hallvard Gaardløs: bass and vocals
Trond Slåke: drums and vocals

https://www.facebook.com/orangotheband/
https://orango.bandcamp.com/
https://www.orangotheband.com/
http://www.stickman-records.com/
http://stickmanrecords.bandcamp.com/
https://www.facebook.com/Stickman-Records-1522369868033940/

Orango, The Mules of Nana (2017)

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Friday Full-Length: 35007, 35007

Posted in Bootleg Theater on March 2nd, 2018 by JJ Koczan

I know it’s pronounced ‘Loose’ but somehow I just always think it’s more fun to call Dutch progressive heavy rockers 35007 by their numerical moniker. I say it, “Three-Five-Double-Oh-Seven” and it’s twice as enjoyable when I happen to be talking about their 1997 self-titled sophomore outing, which while representing very little of where the Eindhoven-based outfit’s progressive path would ultimately wind up being, nonetheless brazenly captured a truly special moment in their progression.

Change happens. Turn, turn, turn and all that. If, however, you were to listen to 35007 1994 debut, Especially for You, and their 2005 swansong, Phase V (discussed here), you’d be well excused for thinking it was the work of two different bands. That’s a cliche, to be sure, but it holds up in the case of 35007‘s 35007 (reissue review here), and doubly so because not only does progression take place with the album — as in, the band growing from one release to the next — but also within it. Starting out with relatively straightforward cuts like “Herd” and “Soul Machine” and “Short Sharp Left,” which of course had their progressive aspects deeply akin to the work of fellow Nederlanders Astrosoniq, 35007‘s self-titled — sometimes also called Into the Void We Travelled, and who could argue? — shifts with the space-chugging seven-minute “Undo” into a next stage of evolution, richly arranged and while not as psychedelic or as patient as they’d become on the subsequent Liquid LP in 2002 or Phase V after that, it was a big forward step in the weirdo quotient that would be telling of their overarching evolution even as they seemed to deconstruct it immediately by moving into the low-end driven “Big Bore,” though that song, while shorter and more intense, still turned to a section of samples before its come-unhinged second half, also marked by a multi-layer solo and an ultra-insistent, on-the-beat stoner groove. In other words, once it shows up, that weirdness shows up, it doesn’t completely go away.

Like many of their peers in the yes-this-shit-existed sphere of pre-social-media heavy, 35007 were considerably ahead of their time. Maybe a decade or so? In any case, the variety they brought to 35007, turning to the Zeppelin-under-the-sea acoustics of “Vein” after “Big Bore,” continues to speak to the adventurous spirit of their songcraft, which of course was a defining element in the arc of their tenure overall. 35007, taken front-to-back over its hour-long runtime, is a heady listen. It pivots from track to track and if one isn’t careful in hearing it, it’s almost too easy to get left behind in “Short Sharp Left” while the group — then comprised of vocalist Eeuwout Baart, guitarists Bertus Fridael and Mark Sponselee (the latter also synth), and drummer Jacco Van Rooy — moved through “Undo,” “Big Bore” and “Vein” toward the funky guitar-winding “66,” further distinguished by the bass beneath and the organ on top, the mix seeming to present itself in tiers via separation of instruments. It’s an effect strange enough that the only fair thing to call it is progressive, and again, had 35007 arrived in 2007 instead of 1997, I’d probably still say it was ahead of its time. Come to think of it, the more I listen, the less planet earth seems to be caught up to it now in general. It’s like slipstream rock.

The willfully kosmiche “Powertruth” and the patient foreshadow of “Locker 21″‘s 15-minute multi-stage unfolding would seem to be the answer to the question of into which particular void 35007 were travelling. A fun exercise in this age of digital listening? Stop “Locker 21” somewhere between 12 and 14 minutes in, go back and put on “Soul Machine.” It’s unreal how far the band brings their audience across the self-titled’s span, and while there are shared aspects of sonic progressivism between them, the album’s closer finds the band moving into a dimension of their own making, in which they’d continue to dwell during the rest of their time together. The raucous finish given in the “21” section of the track, for which the vocals rejoin the fray, caps with a wash of noise that might just be the blastoff, fading into the distance like a rocket moving beyond the range of human eyes as it heads out of the atmosphere. Rest assured, things only got stranger from there for 35007.

But again, what makes their self-titled so rare is how apparent — admittedly, in hindsight — the change in the band is throughout the album. They’d lose Baart on vocals and press forward as an instrumental unit, but even beyond that, the turns of sound they make in these nine cuts are nothing short of incredible when one considers that the album as a whole still ties together as much as they want it to. It would be five years before they’d move onto their next triumph with Liquid, but even Phase V can only really be considered the realization of what began on 35007 because it was the last record they made. Had they kept going, who knows what distances and vast reaches of sound the band might have covered in their next phase and beyond.

As always, I hope you enjoy. Cheers to Remco Zwakenberg on Thee Facebooks for the pick.

Woke up with the alarm at 3:30AM. I’d been up four times before that. Once as a result of the baby crying, the rest just up. I haven’t been sleeping for a few weeks now. I crash out by 8:30 and am up again every 90 minutes or so. It’s been pretty brutal. This morning though, I could’ve gotten up at 2AM but decided to get back in bed and give myself the extra time even though I knew it would be limited. Yesterday I made the opposite decision. I can’t vouch for which way tomorrow will go.

I’m sore all over. My body is so bloated from retaining water that even my face is swollen. This eating disorder treatment. I don’t know. I don’t feel healthy. I don’t feel “better.” It hurts to walk or sit or lie down, I’ve gotten so huge in such a short amount of time that I’m embarrassed to look at myself in the mirror — seriously, I didn’t shower this morning so I wouldn’t have to see my own body [note: I eventually showered] — and I’m just fucking miserable. I got a couple very nice notes and comments last week, and thanks for those if you were someone who sent one. Hugely appreciated. I have a really hard time believing any of this is going to get better, though and that I’m not just damaging myself in some other, substantially less satisfying manner.

Don’t get me wrong — I’ve enjoyed making my own granola and grinding my own nut butters and roasting cauliflower and I’ve had a few dinners in the past month and a half that would absolutely knock your socks off — but has it been worth it? Hell no. My nutritionist keeps talking about all this extra energy I must have now. Yeah, fucking super. Extra energy so I can not sleep. Extra energy to feel like shit with. And you want to make the case that eating is healthier than not eating? Well, no shit. But let me ask you this: if I have three well balanced meals a day and well-timed snacks in between designed in food-as-fuel manner to keep me going throughout my day rather than deny myself that and subsist on protein shakes and coffee, do I get to live forever? Can I be 102 like my grandmother was and have no idea who any of my relatives are and accuse my child of robbing me and my home health-aid worker of beating me and try to escape my own house every chance I get because I’ve got dementia and I’m confused and I think I’m being kept prisoner? Can I fling open the windows and yell “help! help!” until someone calls the cops? Is that the long satisfying life that refeeding is going to get me? Can I grow through middle age and ruin my son’s perspective on the world around him with my cynical, depressive bullshit? Can I make it so my wife feels like she has to walk on eggshells around me because she doesn’t know what’s going to set me off on a spiral of self-loathing? Can I continue to burden my family financially and emotionally? Can I continue to disappoint myself in terms of my own work writing, both in quantity and quality? Can I continue to have hundreds of creative ideas and no means, time, money or strength of will or character to bring them to fruition? Can I live just long enough to get some fucking cancer that should’ve been cured 50 fucking years ago and have that kill me? Are these the kinds of things I’m buying myself with this process? More of this? Because I’ll be honest with you: you can fucking keep all of it. I’d rather do the universe around me the favor of dying skinny than keep going through this, my failure on every level wafting from me like an aura — the very core of my being.

I’ve been fat my whole life. Fat. Not big. Not large. Fat. My whole life. Dangerously fat. The Russian endocrinologist I went to couple years back entered it into his computer as “morbidely obese” and got mad when I corrected his spelling. But that’s what I’ve been. Dangerously fat. Risk of heart attack, all kinds of cancers, diabetes — all that shit fat people get. Why can’t I live on the other end of it? Why? Why can’t I be dangerously skinny instead? I’m dehydrated? My kidney function is all screwed up? I’m at risk of “sudden death?” Well so is everybody all the time. And you know what? I’d rather be fucking dead than going the way I’m going now. I was tired and cold? So fucking what? I put on a hoodie and some warm socks and went to bed early. I slept better before. I felt better before. At least I had some fucking control. Now I eat a half-cup of almonds and I feel like I’m going to lose it. This is what I’m keeping myself alive for? More of this? More of my legs being so swollen I’ve got cankles? More doctors? More meds? More driving all over the fucking place to be told that what I’ve done to my body was wrong like I didn’t fucking deserve every second of deterioration I got? Crock of shit. Keep it. What a waste of my fucking time.

I’m in New Jersey next week from Sunday through Thursday. Going home for a few days. I’m anxious about it. I don’t want to be seen. Not by friends, family, anybody really. I feel like I could send The Patient Mrs. and the baby and everyone would get what they wanted out of the trip anyway and I could just stay home and curl up on the couch by myself and not talk to people. Not have to explain anything. Not ruin anyone’s day by just being there.

Fuck it.

Here’s the schedule for posts:

Mon.: Freedom Hawk track premiere; Eldhamn video premiere; shit ton of news.
Tue.: The Golden Grass track premiere; Argus video; another shit ton of news.
Wed.: Rongeur track premiere; MaidaVale video.
Thu.: Black Royal track premiere; Dollar Llama video.
Fri.: Hashteroid track premiere; Six Dumb Questions with Akula.

There. Let me just say I’m not fishing for comments or support or anything like that with the above. I’m not. This is my outlet. It’s all I’ve got. If I’m going to say this anywhere, this is where I need to say it and it’s the only space I have in my life where I can do that. If you think it’s bullshit, I sincerely apologize. Trust me, I thought long and hard about this before I clicked “publish.” But this is where I’m at right now and frankly it’s more important to me to express myself honestly and be true to my own headspace than it is for me to be like, “Haha riffs bro!” and pretend everything’s cool on all fronts while my skull feels like it’s going to collapse on itself. I’m doing the fucking best I can to hold it together. This is part of that. If you can’t get on board, or you don’t give a fuck, or you think it’s whiny bullshit, then congratulations on your well-adjusted disposition. I hope it continues to serve you throughout your long, deeply satisfying life. And yes, I mean that sincerely.

Alright. I gotta go empty the dishwasher. Please have a great and safe weekend. And please check out the forum and the radio stream. They both need love.

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Lonely Kamel Premiere “Fascist Bastard” from New Album Death’s-Head Hawkmoth

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on February 9th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

lonely kamel

We live in an age of hyperspecialization. If a band isn’t playing vintage-style proto-progresssive boogie, they’re delving into semi-psychedelic heavy space doom with traditionalist metal elements. Microgenres emerge and disappear as quickly as hashtags and Bandcamp trends will allow, and while in many ways this signals a greater creative flux and that’s not something I’m about to disparage, every now and then it’s nice to be reminded that there was already a single sound that could be all of these things and more besides. It’s called rock and roll, and that’s kind of been the point of the thing all along.

Oslo’s Lonely Kamel play rock and roll, and in the decade since they released their self-titled debut, they’ve played plenty of it. With their fifth long-player, Death’s-Head Hawkmoth, the Oslo fivesome make their debut on Stickman Records after two records on Napalm, and from the opening gong and thickened fuzz sing-along hook of “Fascist Bastard” to the stomping forward thrust of “Inside,” the bouncing verses and later drift in “Psychedelic Warfare” and the start-stop blues of “The Day I’m Gone” that hits after the album’s mega-hook in “Inebriated,” they recall the best of turn of the century European heavy rock and roll: one foot in the heavy ’70s in terms of their influences,Lonely Kamel Deaths Head Hawkmoth and the other firmly engaged in the business of kicking their audience’s collective ass.

It’s been four years since Lonely Kamel released their last album, Shit City, and as one might guess from the title, all was not well with the band. They’ve swapped out lead guitarists for Death’s-Head Hawkmoth, and if there are any residual doubts about Vegard Strand Holthe‘s contributions to the record, one need only listen to the extended instrumental build and solo-topped payoff off of “The Day I’m Gone” to get it. It ain’t hard to see where they’re coming from. Nor should it be. The prevailing lack of pretense is one of Death’s-Head Hawkmoth‘s great strengths, and it goes hand in hand with the classic-style frontman presence of vocalist/guitarist Thomas Brenna, the guiding riffs of guitarist Jøran Normann and the rhythm section of bassist Stian Helle and drummer Espen Nesset, which proves unshakable unless we’re talking about dancing.

And if we are talking about dancing, well, there’s the jangle early in the rolling verse of “Fascist Bastard,” or the almost-a-freakout space rock push of “Inside” that follows the positive-self-talk interlude of “Move On,” or the post-Queens of the Stone Age stutter-shuffle in the second half of “More Weed Less Hate,” Death’s-Head Hawkmoth isn’t exactly short on opportunities for it. Whatever statements Lonely Kamel may or may not be making about aesthetic specificity in the digital age — something in “Inebriated” tells me they have better things to think about — their bluesy core becomes just one of the means by which they pull the listener along with them on a journey varied and distinct enough to earn at least a couple of its own hashtags but which would seem to have little use for them in comparison to a solid, primary and overarching groove. The very sound of doing it right.

Lonely Kamel release Death’s-Head Hawkmoth March 23 via Stickman Records. Below, you can hear the premiere of “Fascist Bastard” and check out some background courtesy of Helle on how the album came together.

Please enjoy:

Stian Helle on Death’s-Head Hawkmoth:

Death’s-Head Hawkmoth was written over a relatively long period, due to various reasons. I remember Thomas brought a six-song demo tape back in April-May 2015, and four of these ideas were initially recorded during the Hawkmoth sessions, while only three of them ended up on the record. We were in a different place back then, so maybe that’s why it took a long time to finish them. Our previous record, Shit City, kind of summed it all up at the time.

One of these demo tunes was actually from way back in the days. The opening riff and chorus on “Psychedelic Warfare” was used as a middle part of a song we called “All Star Veteran.” We have a few rehearsal takes from 2007 with this riff in a totally different setting. The song was never released though.

Most of the new songs were potentially good ideas but we struggled to nail them… Our new single, “Fascist Bastard,” was the first one to come alive. We toured Europe for 10 days in June 2016, and played this live on that tour. When our former lead guitarist quit we started playing with a friend of ours, Vegard Strand Holthe. This was just three or four weeks before we would go on tour again in October 2016. We didn’t play much of these new songs on that tour but continued to do “Fascist Bastard” live, and were ‘shaping’ it each night. So it’s a fresh version of the song that finally ended up on the new album.

Vegard continued to play with us after the tour and we started working more focused on the other new songs as well. And he was a big influence on a lot of the songs and how they ended up on the record. All songs were and written and arranged by Lonely Kamel and Vegard, who eventually became a part of the band. Another addition to the Kamel family is Jøran Normann who recorded parts of the album. He played some guitar on the record and toured with us in 2017, stepping in, doing the lead guitar live while Vegard was occupied with other projects. From January 2018, Lonely Kamel is officially a five-piece.

We recorded totally nine songs for Death’s-Head Hawkmoth, or 10, depending on how you see it. Songs three and four on the new record, “Move On” and “Inside” — are actually one song, we just divided it into two during the mix. “Inebriated,” “More Weed Less Hate” and “The Day I’m Gone” are new songs, written the last couple of months before recording. Even though it’s written over a period of time the album feels like an entity. Thomas did the all lyrics so I leave that it to him.

Death’s-Head Hawkmoth was recorded at Schumann Lydbureau in oSlo, February 2017, by Jo Schumann and Jørann Normann. Mixed by Ruben Willem in June & mastered by Brian Gardner in November same year.

Thomas Brenna – vocals & guitar
Espen Nesset – drums & backing vox
Stian Helle – bass & backing vox
Vegard Strand Holthe – guitar & backing vox
Jøran Normann – guitar & backing vox

Lonely Kamel on Thee Facebooks

Lonely Kamel on Instagram

Lonely Kamel on Bandcamp

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Stickman Records website

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