Sunn O))) ‘Life Pedal’ Now Available; Touring West Coast in September

Posted in Whathaveyou on June 19th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

For a band who’ve never made a habit of doing anything other than whatever the hell they want to, Sunn O))) sure have a lot of tour dates lined up, leading one to assume that, well, they want to be touring. In April, they released Life Metal on Southern Lord, bringing a new vision of melody to their long-established abyss of drone, changing the character thereof after two decades of slow-motion slaughter. And that was just the first track. So yeah, only fair they’re wanting to show it all off, as they’ll do both domestically and abroad throughout the Summer and Fall, and as they’ve already done on the East Coast. The latest batch of dates cover the West Coast, and they’ll take place between journeys to Europe, as they’ll pop over to Germany and the Netherlands for fest appearances next month and then be back in October for another run. Go go go.

They have a fancy new pedal available now made in an edition of 1,000 in league with EarthQuaker Devices. Kudos to whichever clever soul decided to call it ‘Life Pedal.’

Life Metal is streaming in full below courtesy of Southern Lord‘s YouTube, and the dates came down the PR wire. You know how this works:

sunn o (photo by A F Cortes)

SUNN O))): EARTHQUAKER RELEASE EXCLUSIVE DISTORTION PEDAL; LIFE PEDAL MARKS COMPANY’S FIRST ARTIST-ORIENTED COLLABORATION

SUNN O))) Announces West Coast US September Tour Dates; Life Metal Out Now On Southern Lord

SUNN O))) and EarthQuaker Devices join forces to create Life Pedal. This is a limited, hand numbered, tube amp crushing octave fuzz and distortion with boost. Life Pedal empowers the operator to immerse themselves in the same full spectrum overdriven sonic palette as used on the Life Metal album. Details below.

In the writing sessions for Life Metal SUNN O))) worked extensively shearing our tones toward a broader energy spectrum over high powered saturation and across planes of sonic character, with the ambition to take full advantage of producer/engineer Steve Albini’s exacting capture skills. The results are astounding: there is breadth and luminosity of colour, vast sonic cosmoses, flashes of abstract colour (synthetic and objective) through resulting themes which emerged from the mastered depths of saturation and circuits between the two players and their mountains of gear.

The Life Pedal is designed to represent the core front-end chain used in those sessions, to drive the tubes of the band’s multiple vintage Sunn O))) Model T amplifiers into overload and ecstasy. This is a 100w tube amp full stack’s holy dream, or its apostate nightmare. An octave fuzz inspired by the Shin-Ei FY2 & FY6 units leads the circuit into a LM308 chipped and brutal rodent big box distortion, recreated with the best components, and including a three-way clipping switch (op Amp, Asymmetric & Symmetric). Second stage is a purely clean boost to further overdrive the preamp tubes of ones vintage system into -scaped harmonics, and feedback overtone bliss. Chasms are cleared, mountains sheared, glaciers calved, novæ birthed. Transcend to complete saturation enlightenment.

Order the Life Pedal, in an edition of 1000 pedals, exclusively from the official SUNN O))) Reverb Shop hosted by Reverb.com HERE and view the Life Pedal trailer HERE.

Southern Lord is also pleased to announce that SUNN O)))’s Life Metal is now available in a second vinyl pressing with exclusive new colours.

SUNN O))) will play select festival shows in Europe this July, before returning to US soil for the second leg of their Let There Be Drone: Multiple Gains Stages tour. SUNN O))) will then head back to Europe and the UK this October.

Life Metal can now be purchased via the SUNN O))), Southern Lord, and Southern Lord Europe stores.

SUNN O))) Tour Dates:
Summer European Shows:
7/30/2019 Festsaal Kreuzberg – Berlin, DE #
7/31/2019 Festsaal Kreuzberg – Berlin, DE #
8/01/2019 Dekmantel Festival – Amsterdam, NL

US West Coast
9/01/2019 Granada – Dallas, TX *
9/02/2019 Emo’s – Austin, TX *
9/04/2019 The Gothic – Denver, CO *
9/08/2019 Mayan – Los Angeles, CA *
9/09/2019 The Fillmore – San Francisco, CA *
9/11/2019 The Showbox – Seattle, WA ^
9/12/2019 Revolution Hall – Portland, OR ^

Europe + UK Tour:
10/07/2019 Backstage – Munich, DE %
10/08/2019 HfG / ZKM – Karlsruhe, DE %
10/09/2019 Kaserne Basel – Basel, CH %
10/10/2019 Felsenkeller – Leipzig, DE %
10/13/2019 Kablys + Kultura – Vilnius, LT %
10/14/2019 Vene Teater – Tallinn, EE %
10/15/2019 Kulttuuritalo – Helsinki, FI %
10/17/2019 Kraken Sthlm – Stockholm, SE
10/18/2018 Kulturkirchen Jakob – Oslo, NO
10/19/2019 BLA – Oslo, NO (exclusive duo performance)
10/21/2019 Koncerthuset – Copenhagen, DK
10/22/2019 Doornroosje – Nijmegen, NL
10/24/2019 SWX – Bristol, UK
10/25/2019 QMU – Glasgow, UK
10/26/2019 The Crossing – Birmingham, UK
10/27/2019 Albert Hall – Manchester, UK
10/28/2019 Roundhouse – London, UK
# w/ Caspar Brötzmann
* w/ Papa M, Big|Brave
^ w/ Papa M
% w/ Caspar Brötzmann Bass Totem

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https://www.facebook.com/SUNNthebandOfficial
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https://sunn-live.bandcamp.com
http://www.southernlord.com
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Sunn O))), ‘Life Pedal’ introduction

Sunn O))), Life Metal (2019)

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Sunn O))) Announce New Album Life Metal Due in April

Posted in Whathaveyou on February 6th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

sunn (Photo by Sunn and Ronald Dick)

As previously hinted, robe-clad drone overlords Sunn O))) will release two full-lengths this year. Both would seem to come from a session with Steve Albini, and the first, titled Life Metal, will be out on Southern Lord in April. The second is slated for later in 2019, and it looks like the months to come will see the megalithic backline and the conceptualists who wield it doing a fair bit of touring. The European run was previously announced, but it looks like they’ll be in Europe again in time for Fall festival season, and doing the US twice in the interim. Busy busy busy.

Sunn O))) always have their proponents and their detractors, but the fact is that if they weren’t relevant, they wouldn’t be splitting opinion in the first place, and 20 years on from their Grimmrobe Demos, they continue to push the boundaries of heavy in a way no one else has since.

From the PR wire:

sunn life metal

Sunn O))) are pleased to present Life Metal, a new studio album on Southern Lord, supported by a full EU tour

Sunn O))) are pleased to present Life Metal, their first new studio album in four years, due for release on Southern Lord in April 2019. The album will be supported by their first European tour since 2016, including their first ever French tour – dates and details below.

At the very beginning of 2018 Sunn O))) co-founders Stephen O’Malley & Greg Anderson set out on a path toward a new album production. They were both determined to create new music and a new method of working in the studio, without forgetting the long and proud history of production and studio accomplishments forged during their first two decades of existence (and the members’ own musical experiences out of the band’s). One long term goal was completely clear: to record Sunn O))) with Steve Albini in his Electrical Audio studio. Steve took the call, said “Sure, this will be fun. I have no idea what is going to happen.”

Greg and Stephen gathered twice that spring for writing, conceptualising and riff woodshedding in the very building where the band was formed: Downtown Rehearsal in Los Angeles. Sonic cosmoses, flashes of abstract colour (synthetic and objective) and themes emerged from the mastered depths of saturation and circuits between the two players and their mountains of gear. Themes developed in terms of brightness and energy, while visionary cues pointed toward subconscious areas of practice and the pair realised they were exploring other zones of consciousness via sound/time and sound/energy manipulation. In early summer a pre-production session with full backline, as a trio with T.O.S. on Moog, was recorded at Dave Grohl’s 606 studios, Northridge, California.

In July 2018 Sunn O))) spent just over two weeks in Chicago at Electrical Audio (Studio A) with Steve Albini at the helm. The results are astounding: there is breadth and luminosity of colour, it sounds vast. The sessions were impeccably recorded, authentically represented and completely accurate. The spectrum cracked the firmament open in clarity. An all analogue technique was used, they recorded and mixed on tape, providing a creative gateway for Sunn O))) to evolve their production methods into stronger, confident, performance based and a more logical executive process. The album was mastered and lacquers cut from tape in October by Sunn O))) ally Matt Colton at Alchemy in London. The LP version is a AAA album, recorded and mixed on tape via a completely analogue production, from the input of the band’s amplifiers and the air coming off the speakers in front of the microphones to the needle touching the pressed vinyl on your turntable.

Continuing one of the main currents of the Sunn O))) concept, depth of exploration within collaboration, brought forth Hildur Guðnadóttir to the Sunn O))) constellation. Hildur is a sometime live collaborator of Sunn O))) and a renowned film music composer, former member of the bands Múm, Pan Sonic and Angel. She was a long time collaborator with the composer Jóhann Jóhannsson (RIP). Hildur lent her incredible attitude, as well as her voice, breath and electric cello, and the enigmatic haldorophone to the proceedings, culminating in the epic composition/concerto “Novæ”. The cosmos clearly expands.

Tim Midyett, a close friend of Greg and Stephen since the Seattle days of the early 90s (and member of Silkworm, Bottomless Pit and Mint Mile), joined in a foundational role tying earth to sound with wicked performances on aluminium neck bass and baritone guitars: instruments he helped pioneer playing back in the 90s (alongside Steve and Shellac of course). Dark matter is reality.

Prolific new music composer Anthony Pateras arranged and recorded an incredible contribution of pipe organ for a piece titled “Troubled Air” (titled after an essay by author Aliza Shvarts, who also penned the liner notes for Sunn O)))’s Kannon) at Schlosskappelle, Schloss Solitude, Stuttgart. String theory of space.

The resulting album is titled Life Metal. It is fully realised and completely real. The record was produced by the core of Stephen & Greg & arranged by the greater constellation Sunn O))). Paintings by visual artist Samantha Keely Smith graciously adorn the sleeve and provide a perfect suitable mask to the proceedings. They collide ideas of 19th century romanticism & late 20th abstract expressionism (mysticism) with Sunn O)))’s approach to metal (via reference points of Arbo, Turner, Delville, Richter, Turrel, Wou-Ki). Photographer Ronald Dick shot them in baths of light colour representing depth of sound pressure in the work.

Sunn O)))
Life Metal
(Southern Lord)

TRACK LISTING
1. Between Sleipnir’s Breaths
2. Troubled Air
3. Aurora
4. Novae

There is a second more meditative LP titled Pyroclasts, also recorded by Steve Albini in parallel, and which will be revealed in the autumn 2019 (more later) with all music performed by Stephen, Greg, T.O.S., Tim Midyett, and Hildur Guðnadóttir.

Sunn O))) are touring March (EU/France), April (USA), September (USA), October (UK & Europe). They are working toward some special events in London and other cities.

SUNN O))) LET THERE BE DRONE (MULTIPLE GAINS STAGES)
March 2019 Europe
Thu 28/02/2019 DE Frankfurt Mousonturm
Fri 01/03/2019 AT Graz Elevate festival/Orpheum ° ~
Sat 02/03/2019 CZ Prague Divadlo Archa °
Sun 03/03/2019 DE Hamburg Kampnagel – K6 °
Mon 04/03/2019 NL Amsterdam Paradiso °
Wed 06/03/2019 FR Lyon L’Epicerie Moderne ÷
Thu 07/03/2019 FR Nancy L’Autre Canal ÷
Fri 08/03/2019 FR Dijon La Vapeur ÷
Sat 09/03/2019 FR Rouen QuasaRites Day/Le 106
Mon 11/03/2019 FR Tours Le Temps Machine §
Tue 12/03/2019 FR Nantes Stereolux §
Wed 13/03/2019 FR La Rochelle La Sirene §
Thu 14/03/2019 FR Bordeaux Le Rocher de Palmer §

Supports :
° Puce Mary
÷ Golem Mecanique
§ France
~ Robin Fox presents Single Origin

https://www.instagram.com/sunnofficial
https://www.facebook.com/SUNNthebandOfficial
https://sunn.bandcamp.com
https://sunn-live.bandcamp.com
http://www.southernlord.com
http://southernlord.bandcamp.com
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Sunn O))), Life Metal album trailer

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Sunn O))) to Tour Europe in March; Two New Albums in 2019?

Posted in Whathaveyou on November 22nd, 2018 by JJ Koczan

Sunn O))) putting out anything is a project one could call ambitious. Not like Greg Anderson and Stephen O’Malley don’t have a constant stream of other stuff going on at any given point, but even so, the sheer process the band undertakes has become so complicated, so ever-changing, that it’s hard to imagine there isn’t some girding of loins that has to happen before the robes are donned. Nonetheless, as the PR wire hints, there are two new Sunn O))) full-lengths in the works for 2019, which for fans of the long-running dronelords — next year also marks the 20th anniversary for their first demos — should be more than enough to sate the thirst for volume. As to titles, details, release dates and all the rest of that, your guess is as good as mine, but there’s a European tour starting Feb. 28, and while a record may or may not be out by then, at very least one hopes will have more info by then on what might surface when.

Until then, all is speculation and distortion.

Here are the tour dates:

SunnO-Photo-by-JJ-Koczan

SUNN O))) ANNOUNCE THEIR “LET THERE BE DRONE (MULTIPLE GAINS STAGES)” EUROPEAN TOUR MARCH 2019

Sunn O)))) are pleased to present their first European tour since 2016, and the premier tour of their 2019-2020 season. Including their first ever French tour (not including Paris), returning to old haunt Kampnagel in Hamburg, mythical Paradiso in Amsterdam, as well as headlining Elevate festival in Graz, and Divadlo Archa Prague.

Formed in March 1998 Sunn O))) have been challenging the ways we think about music in the twenty years since. A synthesis of diverse: drone, metal, minimalism/maximalism verging on the edge of pure sonic ecstasy, meditation and trance through the power, beauty and colour of sound pressure emanating from their legendary Sunn O))) backline and their earth shaking tectonic compositions of existence, dedicated to the mysteries of life and the cosmos.

O))) has two core members : Stephen O’Malley and Greg Anderson, supported by a tribe of collaborators. From 1999’s The Grimmrobe Demos to 2018’s Downtown LA Rehearsal/Rifftape; from their now classic albums Black One (2006), Monoliths & Dimensions (2009), Soused (2014) & Kannon (2015) to their forthcoming to-be-revealed-but-recently-completed two 2019 album epics, founders Stephen O’Malley and Greg Anderson have forged paths and connections between the worlds of Metal, contemporary art, drone, new music, jazz and minimalism with startling results while remaining true to the eternal principles of volume, density, elasticity of time, blossoming of saturation viable only to the disciples and fetishists of electric guitar, synthesis, multiple gain stages and some of history’s greatest pure valve amplification.

The current concert line-up extends around power trio of Stephen O’Malley (Guitar), Greg Anderson (Guitar), and their valve guru and long time collaborator Tos Nieuwenhuizen (Moog), aside selected special guests. Together they relentlessly pursue their exploration and elaboration of Sunn O)))’s legendary experiments with the physicality of sound in instrumental based live performances with remarkable events at some of their favourite venues, as well as concerts in singular events and spaces such as Italy’s impressive cultural complex Labrinto Della Masone, Germany’s Ruhrtriennale Festival of Arts, Royal Festival Hall & The Barbican in London, Bergen’s Dømkirke and Manchester International Festival being a few emblematic examples.

Rejoin them in their glorious pursuit of the monumental heaviness.

-Etienne Ni Mhaille, 2018

SUNN O)))
LET THERE BE DRONE (MULTIPLE GAINS STAGES)
March 2019 Europe
Thu 28/02/2019 DE Frankfurt Mousonturm
Fri 01/03/2019 AT Graz Elevate festival/Orpheum ° ~
Sat 02/03/2019 CZ Prague Divadlo Archa °
Sun 03/03/2019 DE Hamburg Kampnagel – K6 °
Mon 04/03/2019 NL Amsterdam Paradiso °
Wed 06/03/2019 FR Lyon L’Epicerie Moderne ÷
Thu 07/03/2019 FR Nancy L’Autre Canal ÷
Fri 08/03/2019 FR Dijon La Vapeur ÷
Sat 09/03/2019 FR Rouen QuasaRites Day/Le 106 •
Mon 11/03/2019 FR Tours Le Temps Machine §
Tue 12/03/2019 FR Nantes Stereolux §
Wed 13/03/2019 FR La Rochelle La Sirene §
Thu 14/03/2019 FR Bordeaux Le Rocher de Palmer §

Supports :
° Puce Mary
÷ Golem Mecanique
§ France
~ Robin Fox presents Single Origin
• Lingua Ignota

https://www.instagram.com/sunnofficial
https://www.facebook.com/SUNNthebandOfficial
https://sunn.bandcamp.com
https://sunn-live.bandcamp.com
http://www.southernlord.com
http://southernlord.bandcamp.com
http://twitter.com/twatterlord
https://www.facebook.com/SLadmin
https://www.instagram.com/southernlordrecords

Sunn O))), Live at Psycho Las Vegas 2018

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Live Review: Psycho Las Vegas Sunday, 08.18.18

Posted in Features, Reviews on August 20th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

psycho las vegas 2018

08.19.18 – Let’s call it midnight – Sunday night – Hotel room

Every time I walk down a long hotel hallway I think of John Goodman in Barton Fink toting his rifle and yelling about the life of the mind. “Look upon me!” and so on. That’s a fun association to have.

I had breakfast this morning at the kind-of diner here in the Hard Rock and it was the first meal I’d had in a while not made of a protein bar or granola and cereal. Not much time for that kind of thing, but I wasn’t sleeping and a little extra fortification seemed like the right idea for the final day of Psycho. No regrets.

Another busy day. There’s no letup here. Sets are full, and there are breaks between, but if you’re up for going, you can just keep going the whole day. It’s astounding. I’ve been doing my best to see as much as possible, but even that’s a fraction of the whole.

But, today was also the last day, so a bit of adrenaline to carry through is a fortunate happenstance. Flight’s early tomorrow, but that’s tomorrow’s problem.

Here’s today:

King Buffalo

King Buffalo (Photo by JJ Koczan)

It’s not like I’ve never seen King Buffalo, but I think they might’ve been my most-anticipated band of the weekend. Their upcoming album, Longing to be the Mountain, is a big step forward in their sound, and 2016’s Orion (review here) was already right up there with that year’s best offerings. They opened with the title-track of the new record and then “Repeater” from the 2018 EP of the same name (review here) before digging back to Orion for its own title-track and “Kerosene,” both of which were met with a relative uproar from the knowing Vinyl crowd. At one point early on someone in the audience shouted between songs, “Why are you opening?” and drummer Scott Donaldson answered, “I don’t know!” I don’t really know either, but Donaldson, guitarist/vocalist Sean McVay and bassist Dan Reynolds were a perfect start to the day, with the latter adding a wash of loops and psychedelic noise and transitional drones for between the songs, the build and fluidity of which were immersive in their totality. There was no moment that pulled one out of the atmosphere they set, and when the three of them locked into the heavier end of “Kerosene,” the room became a lake of nodding heads. I will consider myself lucky have seen them here. They made that room their own.

Indian

Indian (Photo by JJ Koczan)

The Chicago four-piece — playing as a five-piece with Primitive Man‘s Ethan Lee McCarthy sitting in on noise and backing vocals — were probably the angriest act I’ve seen all weekend. Or, you know, ever. The assault factor extended not just to the brutality of what they played, the chest-vibrating volume at which they played it or the harsh noise and feedback that infected every single break between riff after punishing riff, but even unto the bright wash of white light under which they played. It was blinding to stare at the stage for any length of time. So it was a challenge on almost every level it could be short of them spraying skunk scent on the crowd or something like that. The rhythms of bassist Ron DeFries and drummer Noah Leger hit through a surge of low end and were punctuated by a kick drum that could almost turn the stomach, and the tortured, disaffected screams from guitarists Dylan O’Toole and Will Lindsay that cut through all that not-just-aggro-but-really-pissed-off morass were just one more level on which Indian‘s bleakness was conveyed. If King Buffalo were easing the crowd into the final day of Psycho Las Vegas 2018, Indian were making sure no one left without a scar. Menacing.

Coven

Coven (Photo by JJ Koczan)

Legends, of course. What’re gonna do, not watch Coven? Of course not. Frontwoman Jinx Dawson arrived on stage in a draped coffin and was let out by robed minions, wearing a silver mask for the first song to obscure her face and underscore the theatrical cult rock vibe. Their 1969 debut, Witchcraft Destroys Minds and Reaps Souls is the stuff of cultish blueprint — the style simply wouldn’t exist in the same way without it — and Dawson and her also-robed backing band honored that legacy well. I’ve wondered as Coven have gotten back to the live performance sphere if they might ever do another record. I don’t know that they would or wouldn’t, or if they did what it would sound like — the band behind Dawson definitely brought a modern edge to those classic sounds — but it seems like a worthy pursuit. As it was, the crowd headbanged and took phone pictures at the same time and were no less into the revelry than Coven itself, which brought the atmosphere of ceremony in a way that reminded of the roots not just of cult rock, but black metal and doom and so much more besides. They’re a feelgood story for a band finally getting their due appreciation, or at least Dawson getting hers, but Coven on stage demonstrate the timeless vitality of what they did nearly 50 years go.

Black Mare

Black Mare (Photo by JJ Koczan)

I had no idea what to expect from Black Mare, and I was still surprised. Was it just going to be Sera Timms singing over drones, or her and a drummer, or anything. I don’t even know. It was a full band. Timms, who’s probably best known at this point as the ethereal frontwoman of Ides of Gemini but who was also in Black Math Horseman and shared vocal duties with John Garcia in Zun — which I’m still hoping wasn’t a one-off — was joined by her Ides bandmate J. Bennett on bass, as well as a guitarist and drummer, and with a swell of volume behind her, she came out an held the entire Vinyl room rapt. There were moments between songs of actual silence. No talking, no nothing. People were just waiting to see what happened next. With a cloak and face mask that were both gradually discarded, Timms brought her otherworldly vocal approach to a kind of dark-psych lounge feel, almost like she was about to book a show at the bar in Twin Peaks. Atmosphere and tones alike were thick as this version of Black Mare called back to the project’s 2013 debut, Field of the Host (review here) to open with “Blind One” before “Low Crimes” from the split with Lycia (review here) and “Death by Desire” from last year’s  Death Magick Mother (review here) seemed to move further and further into an alluring murk of melodies and ambience.

Enslaved

Enslaved (Photo by JJ Koczan)

Well, Enslaved played “Ruun,” so really anything else that happened, basically ever, takes a back seat to that. It would be impossible for the Norwegian progressive black metal powerhouse to capture the entirety of their 14-album catalog and their 27-year career, and to their credit, they didn’t try. With “Isøders Dronning” and “Yggdrasil” from 1993’s Frost included for longtime fans or those who’ve dug in deep, they were free to explore some more recent material — opening with “Roots of the Mountain” from 2012’s Riitiir (review here) before “Ruun” and including “Sacred Horse” from 2017’s E (review here) in a showing of just how proggy they’ve become. This was my first time seeing Enslaved with keyboardist/vocalist Håkon Vinje — about whose relative youth bassist/vocalist Grutle Kjellson joked twice on stage — and he absolutely nailed new material and old. Wasn’t even a question. With him, Kjellson, guitarist/vocalist Ivar Bjørnson and guitarist Arve “Ice Dale” Isdal, who I don’t think even owns a shirt at all, was new drummer Iver Sandøy. I didn’t know Cato Bekkevold wasn’t with the band anymore after 15 years, but Sandøy made his presence felt on vocals as well and like Vinje, was right at home in the songs. I’ve never seen Enslaved that they didn’t totally deliver, and I’m happy to report that streak is still alive.

The Hellacopters

The Hellacopters (Photo by JJ Koczan)

There are some serious fans of The Hellacopters walking around Psycho Las Vegas this year. Decked-out rockers, heavy-garage types, fucking classic drinkers, trouble through and through. Don’t fuck with those people. They’re the drunkard’s drunkards. Turbojugend jackets have abounded all weekend and it would seem to be The Hellacopters that brought them out. Fair enough. The Swedish rockers made The Joint get down like no one I’ve seen this weekend, and it was superlative. Superlative rock, as a genre. Lot of punk in there, lot of garage as well, but all of it was distilled down to the essence of rock and roll, and as guitarist/vocalist Nicke Andersson came out to soundcheck with the rest of the band, it was clear the room had been waiting for The Hellacopters to arrive. Andersson, keyboardist Anders “Boba” Lindström, guitarist/vocalist Andreas “Dregen” Svensson, bassist Sami Yaffa and drummer Robert Eriksson handed that same room its ass in short order. Good times, absolute forget-about-tomorrow-let’s-kill-it-tonight mentality, all-in, all-go, all-fire. Just right on. I’ve dug Hellacopters records and such as much as the next who’s like, “Yeah, that’s pretty cool, right on,” but seeing it live it’s much, much easier to understand why they have the cult following they do. It’s well earned.

Dreadnought

Dreadnought (Photo by JJ Koczan)

For everyone who could pull themselves away from The Hellacopters or for those to whom the straight-up rock wasn’t maddening enough, Denver’s Dreadnought offered an alternative in Vinyl. I’ve seen some impressive shit this weekend. It’s been a good fest, okay? Then I saw Dreadnought drummer Jordan Clancy one-hand cymbals while using his other hand to press the notes on the saxophone he was also playing at the same time. Dreadnought‘s 2017 album, A Wake in Sacred Waves (review here), was lush in its layers and as creative in its arrangements as it could be scathing in its blackened extremity, but I don’t think I’ve ever watched somebody drum and play sax at the same time. That’s a Psycho Las Vegas 2018 first for me. Guitarist/vocalist Kelly Schilling was playing a flute at the time as well, so he was in good company, and bassist Kevin Handlon and keyboardist/vocalist Lauren Vieira stood ready at a moment’s notice to take off into the next movement, be it Vieira and Schilling on a quick melodic duet, or strobe-accompanied blasting black metal, heads banging and screams utterly vicious. I didn’t stay the whole set, I’ll confess, but I was glad to catch what I did, and it only reinforced my opinion that they’re a band whose scope and execution are likewise admirable.

Sunn O)))

SunnO))) (Photo by JJ Koczan)

As it happened, I had a couple minutes to spare. As it also happened, drone/amp/riff-worship magnates Sunn O))) were going on in The Joint. Playing as just the duo of Stephen O’Malley and Greg Anderson, they were decked out in full grimmrobe regalia and surrounded of course by a henge of speaker cabinets. The floor shook, it was so loud. I hadn’t seen Sunn O))) in a very long time, and even longer with just the two of them — maybe never — so while the timing worked out for me to catch them because Vinyl was running late, it was a fortunate bit of happenstance working in my favor. There’s been so much said about the poetry of what Sunn O))) do that I’m in no way about to add any insight to the canon, but as far out as they’ve gone over the years and their intermittent studio albums, incorporating vocalist Attila Csihar and various other players throughout their time, seeing just Anderson and O’Malley together on stage, bathed in fog as ever (though the ventilation system was almost too good and the fog kept swirling away, needing immediate replenishment), reaffirmed the raw power that’s always been at the root of the band. Their project has outgrown being just the two of them, and I don’t think I’d trade the Sunn O))) discography for a hypothetical, but the force of rumble emanating from the stage said everything that needed saying.

Eight Bells

Eight Bells (Photo by JJ Koczan)

What a way to cap the festival. One more show in Vinyl, one more band I probably wouldn’t get to see otherwise. I was dragging to be perfectly honest, and as noted, Vinyl was running late, but screw it, I was already in, and Eight Bells were going to be worth the wait. The Portland-based space-psych-post-whatever four-piece vary in volume, meter, melody and rhythm, but are persistently spacious, and especially digging 2016’s Landless (review here), I was doubly interested to see Eight Bells since guitarist/vocalist Meylinda Jackson had a completely new lineup with her. Comprised now of Jackson, keyboardist/vocalist Melynda Amann, bassist Alyssa Maucere and drummer Brian Burke, the experimentalist side came out before the set even started in earnest, with Jackson taking some kind of voice box and running it through what seemed to be a host of effects to create a foundation of atmosphere. Drift was a factor, but Eight Bells were never actually out of control, and even for being a new group working together, what they played seemed well-honed and there was none of that awkward everybody-in-their-own-sonic-space-on-stage thing you get when a band is recently formed or revamped. I don’t have anything to compare it to in terms of Eight Bells, never having seen them before, but they held together a ranging heavy psychedelia that seems to be individualized no matter who’s playing it at the time.

I fly out of Las Vegas in about eight hours. It’ll be brutal, but I’m pretty sure I’ll make it, and if not, well, there’s always ‘wandering the earth’ to try. I hear good things.

Tomorrow’s pretty much all travel, so unless I have space on the plane to open my laptop — which I sincerely doubt I will — I expect it’ll be Tuesday before I get a proper thanks-everybody post up to wrap up this coverage, so with pictures still to sort through and packing to be done, I’ll just bow out and say thanks for reading and more pics after the jump.

So… thanks for reading and there are more pics after the jump. Ha:

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SunnO))) Release Downtown L.A. Rehearsal/Rifftape March 1998

Posted in Whathaveyou on June 13th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

In case you’re wondering what might’ve driven them-lords-o’-drone SunnO))) to release their Downtown L.A. Rehearsal/Rifftape March 1998 all of a sudden as a limited LP via Southern Lord and Ideologic Organ. here’s the hard math: 1998 was 20 years ago.

That’s right. The Y2K scare. The Clinton economic surplus and beejer scandal. The seeming impossibility that we’d soon enough be locked into an endless war from which there’s seemingly neither interest nor ability to extricate ourselves. And also the formation of SunnO))). They’re 20 years old.

And what a 20 years it’s been. Talk about a band the world had to catch up to. SunnO))) started out playing rooms full of curious Goatsnake and/or Burning Witch fans and wound up influencing a generation of amplifier worship. As one might expect, the Downtown L.A. Rehearsal/Rifftape March 1998 is pretty raw, but also as one might expect, that only works to the band’s advantage. The more caustic and unlistenable it gets, the more their sound is doing its job.

They’ll be at Psycho Las Vegas in August, as the PR wire reminds:

sunn o rifftape

SUNN O))) Releases Downtown LA Rehearsal/Rifftape March 1998 Limited Edition LP

SUNN O))) has unleashed the earliest recording of the band’s monolithic tones, revamped for a limited edition pressing via Southern Lord Recordings, as the label celebrates its twentieth anniversary, as a split label release together with Stephen O’Malley’s Ideologic Organ imprint.

The Downtown LA Rehearsal/Rifftape March 1998 dates back to the earliest rehearsals during the genesis of the SUNN O))) project. The source is a C60 cassette tape recorded on a boombox, and the result is essentially an extremely raw noise/drone record. It was taped in the band’s early practice space at Downtown Rehearsal (RIP), Los Angeles, in a practice room which the band shared with The Melvins and Goatsnake at the time. The LP sees SUNN O))) founders Greg Anderson and Stephen O’Malley on guitars and stacks of amps, the original cassette was mastered by Brad Boatright February 2018.

Longtime/old school diehard listeners of SUNN O)))’s massive sound and those who have watched the collective’s transformation over the past two decades can find the brutal practice tape revamped as Downtown LA Rehearsal/Rifftape March 1998, available only through Southern Lord and directly from the band in a limited run on 180-gram vinyl LP – 900 black, 500 silver, 100 white, with machine numbering on the front cover – and digitally.

Find SUNN O)))’s Downtown LA Rehearsal/Rifftape March 1998 at Bandcamp HERE and find more purchase options at the band’s webshop HERE.

Downtown LA Rehearsal/Rifftape March 1998 Track Listing:
Side A:
1. Room 206 pt.1
2. Room 206 pt.2
3. B-Witch

Side B:
1. Room 206 pt.3
2. The Grimm Robe / Black Wedding
3. Mustaine / Thorns
4. M & D I.L.F.
5. The DJs

The celebration of twenty years of SUNN O))) and Southern Lord this year will continue with reissues of the band’s lauded White1 and White2 albums in the coming weeks.

SUNN O))) will perform live at the Psycho Las Vegas festival on August 19th alongside Godflesh, Goblin, Enslaved, All Pigs Must Die, Wolves In The Throne Room, and scores more.

Watch for further updates on SUNN O))) in the coming days.

SUNN O))) Live:
8/19/2018 Hard Rock Hotel & Casino – Las Vegas, NV @ Psycho Las Vegas

https://www.instagram.com/sunnofficial
https://www.facebook.com/SUNNthebandOfficial
https://sunn.bandcamp.com
https://sunn-live.bandcamp.com
http://www.southernlord.com
http://southernlord.bandcamp.com
http://twitter.com/twatterlord
https://www.facebook.com/SLadmin
https://www.instagram.com/southernlordrecords

SunnO))), Downtown L.A. Rehearsal/Rifftape March 1998 (2018)

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Psycho Las Vegas 2018 Reveals Lineup; Dimmu Borgir, Hellacopters, Godflesh, Witchcraft and More to Play

Posted in Whathaveyou on February 23rd, 2018 by JJ Koczan

Psycho Las Vegas 2018 logo

It’s only taken a few years for Psycho Las Vegas to establish itself as the premier underground festival in the US. All well and good. With 2018’s lineup, though, it’s time to start thinking of Psycho among the best in the world.

Sounds like too much? Consider Godflesh and Dimmu Borgir sharing a stage, both for exclusive West Coast appearances. Think of Sweden’s Witchcraft playing one of the two shows they’ll do in the US at Psycho, and ditto that for Japanese riff-madmen Church of Misery. Think of US exclusives from Lee Dorrian’s With the Dead, or Lucifer, whose Johanna Sadonis will also DJ the Center Bar. The commitment to up and coming underground acts local, domestic and foreign like Temple of Void, King Buffalo, Dreadnought, The Munsens and DVNE. Picture yourself watching Wolves in the Throne Room headline a pre-fest pool party with Elder, Young and in the Way, Dengue Fever, Fireball Ministry and Toke.

2018 is the year Psycho Las Vegas outclasses even itself and pushes further than it ever has in terms of stylistic reach (Integrity walks by and waves… at Boris) and the sheer power of its construction. If you’re looking for the future, you’ll find it in scumbag paradise.

Here’s the lineup:

Psycho Las Vegas 2018 poster

Psycho Las Vegas 2018

Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Las Vegas
4455 Paradise Rd, Las Vegas, Nevada 89169

Tickets: https://www.vivapsycho.com/pages/tickets

PSYCHO LAS VEGAS 2018 lineup:
DIMMU BORGIR (west of chicago exclusive)
HELLACOPTERS (one of two shows to be played in the USA in 2018)
SUNN 0)))
GODFLESH (west of chicago exclusive)
WITCHCRAFT (one of two shows to be played in the USA in 2018)
ENSLAVED
AMERICAN NIGHTMARE
HIGH ON FIRE
ROCKET FROM THE CRYPT
RED FANG
ZAKK SABBATH
CHURCH OF MISERY (usa exclusive 2018 with exception to one other show in San Diego)
TINARIWEN
GOBLIN
CKY
VENOM INC
EYEHATEGOD
VOIVOD
BORIS
COVEN
INTEGRITY
PALLBEARER
WITH THE DEAD (USA exclusive 2018)
MONOLORD
LUCIFER (USA exclusive 2018)
ACID WITCH
SURVIVE
DOPETHRONE
BIG BUSINESS
UNEARTHLY TRANCE
MUTOID MAN
TODAY IS THE DAY
HELMS ALEE
SPIRIT ADRIFT
BATUSHKA
PRIMITIVE MAN
DVNE
ALL PIGS MUST DIE
EIGHT BELLS
WORMWITCH
INDIAN
NECROT
HOMEWRECKER
BRAIN TENTACLES
CLOAK
BLACK MARE
MAGIC SWORD
UADA
TEMPLE OF VOID
DREADNOUGHT
WOLVHAMMER
ASEETHE
DISASTROID
FORMING THE VOID
VENOMOUS MAXIMUS
GHASTLY SOUND
HOWLING GIANT
KING BUFFALO
NIGHT HORSE
THE MUNSENS
GLAARE

Paradise Pool Pre Party
August 16th

WOLVES IN THE THRONE ROOM
ELDER
YOUNG AND IN THE WAY
DENGUE FEVER
FIREBALL MINISTRY
TOKE

Center Bar DJ’s
Andrew W.K.
Nicke Andersson (Entombed/Hellacopters)
Johanna Sadonis (Lucifer)

https://www.facebook.com/psychoLasVegas/
https://www.facebook.com/events/125340824913552/
http://vivapsycho.com

High on Fire, Live at Psycho Las Vegas 2016

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SunnO))) Release New Single; Announce Tour Dates

Posted in Whathaveyou on December 26th, 2016 by JJ Koczan

Set to consume any and all light around them, as ever, SunnO))) have issued a new single as a name-your-price download and announced tour dates in the Northeastern US and Southeastern Canada for March 2017. In addition, the magnates of the form have also enacted a Bandcamp sale through the remainder of 2016 offering 35 percent off presumably as a favor to those of us whose finances are depleted as will happen circa the holidays. Some rare kindnesses on the part of SunnO))), who are much more known for the inherent cruelties and coldness of their approach, but take it either way while you can, since there are fewer darknesses out there more suited to January’s dismal stretch than that of the rumble and gurgle SunnO))) emit.

The PR wire has details, links and all that good stuff:

sunno

SUNN O))) To Tour Northeastern USA, Southeast Canada In March; Digital Bandcamp Sale And Free Track Available Through The Year’s End

The first set of SUNN O))) tour dates for 2017 sees the collective bringing their dense and arrhythmic blend of metal, drone, and minimalist music back to the Northeast USA and Southeastern realms of Canada for a week of performances. SUNN O))) will converge in Washington DC on March 12th, following with shows in Pittsburgh, Toronto, Montreal, Boston, New York City, and Philadelphia confirmed through March 18th. Support on all shows will be provided by Southern Lord labelmates, Montreal-based Big | Brave, whom have also joined SUNN O))) on their recent tours of the Southwest, Southeast and Midwest states and Europe.

This follows the recent announcement of SUNN O)))’s appearance at London’s massive performing arts venue, Barbican Centre, as part of this year’s Convergence Festival on March 21st. Support for the performance will come from Icelandic singer and cellist, Hildur Guðnadóttir, who has played and recorded with bands such as Pan Sonic, Throbbing Gristle, and Múm. Guðnadóttir also wrote the arrangements for the Wildbirds & Peacedrums session as part of the Barbican’s Nils Frahm curated Possibly Colliding marathon weekend in July.

Tickets for the East Coast shows go on sale this Friday, December 23rd at 10am local time. Tickets for the Barbican performance are available HERE.

As Winter Solstice approaches, SUNN O))) extends thanks to their fans for their support throughout 2016, and as a token of their appreciation, offer a free track as well as a digital sale through the rest of the year. Fans can now find the exclusive track «???? // ??» (aka “Aokigahara // Jukai” from the flexi 7″ which was released together with some vinyl copies of Kannon) for free download through the end of December at THIS LOCATION. To take advantage of the 35% Bandcamp discount, go to sunn.bandcamp.com or sunn-live.bandcamp.com and enter discount code SOLSTICE2016.

SUNN O))) Tour Dates:
3/12/2017 930 Club – Washington, DC w/ Big | Brave
3/13/2017 The Rex – Pittsburgh, PA w/ Big | Brave
3/14/2017 Queen Elizabeth Theatre – Toronto, ON w/ Big | Brave
3/15/2017 La Sat – Montreal, QC w/ Big | Brave
3/16/2017 The Coolidge – Boston, MA w/ Big | Brave
3/17/2017 Knockdown Center – Brooklyn, NY w/ Big | Brave
3/18/2017 Union Transfer – Philadelphia, PA w/ Big | Brave
3/21/2017 Barbican – London, UK @ Convergence Festival w/ Hildur Guðnadóttir

http://www.sunn-live.bandcamp.com
http://sunn.southernlord.com
http://sunn.bandcamp.com
http://www.southernlord.com

SunnO))), “Aokigahara // Jukai”

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Sunn O))) Announce Triple-Live Album from Moscow; Touring Now

Posted in Whathaveyou on May 3rd, 2016 by JJ Koczan

Originally slated to appear at the canceled Levitation Festival this past weekend in Austin, Texas, drone deconstructionists Sunn O))) are touring the West Coast now, supporting their late-2015 offering, Kannon (review here), released of course on Southern Lord. As they’re wont to do, the group have announced the release of a new live outing, this time a triple-LP captured last year in Moscow, Russia, for their first performance there. Release date is May 29, by which time Sunn O))) will have wrapped this run and be preparing to head out again, this time for a handful of Midwestern dates preceding two festival stops in Canada, which in turn precede a trip back to Europe to play Hellfest, etc., etc., point is Sunn O))) are fucking busy. You get the idea.

The PR wire has details and preorder whatnots:

sunn moscow

SUNN O))) To Release Triple Live Album From First Moscow Performance

SUNN O))) has announced the impending release of a brand new triple-LP live album, captured on the band’s first ever performance in Moscow last year, titled ??????: ?????? ? ?????? 11 ??????? 2015 (translated, NOLIFE: Alive In Moscow 11 August 2015).

In the summer of 2015, SUNN O))) was invited to perform in Moscow, Russian Federation. The experience and the concert went beyond everyone’s’ expectations…. extremely raw, punishingly loud, and ultimately transcendental. Capturing this intensity of this special show, the band’s set was recorded direct from the soundboard as well as the audience. These two recordings were conjoined and mixed by Joel Grind and mastered by Brad Boatright, both at Audiosiege. The members of SUNN O))) are grateful to the amazing audience in Moscow, all who attended, and their hosts for their gracious hospitality surrounding this performance.

Southern Lord will issue ??????: ?????? ? ?????? 11 ??????? 2015 on May 29th in a limited pressing on three slabs of 12″ vinyl housed in a Stoughton gatefold jacket with a digital download code included. Preorders are available HERE.

SUNN O)))’s late 2015-released full-length album, Kannon, the brand new reissue of the Dømkirke live album, and other titles and merch is available through Southern Lord HERE and Southern Lord European store HERE.

Following their massive performance at Big Ears Festival trailed by several other Southeastern US dates, SUNN O))) will travel to Austin, Texas to take part in Levitation 2016 with the likes of Brian Wilson, Animal Collective, The Brian Jonestown Massacre, Sleep, and many more this weekend, followed by shows in Denver, Albuquerque, Tucson, Los Angeles, and Oakland.

SUNN O))) Tour Dates:
5/02/2016 Gothic Theater – Denver, CO
5/03/2016 Sister Bar – Albuquerque, NM
5/04/2016 Rialto Theatre – Tucson, AZ
5/06/2016 Regent Theater – Los Angeles, CA
5/07/2016 Oakland Metro Operahouse – Oakland, CA
5/21/2016 Moogfest – Durham, NC
6/06/2016 The Ready Room – St. Louis, MO
6/07/2016 Thalia Hall – Chicago, IL
6/08/2016 Grog Shop – Cleveland, OH
6/09/2016 El Club – Detroit, MI
6/10/2016 Hearn Generating Station – Toronto, ON @ Unsound Toronto at Luminato Festival
6/11/2016 Theatre Fairmount – Montreal, QC @ Suoni Per Il Popolo Festival
6/14/2016 Paradiso – Amsterdam, NL
6/15/2016 Vooruit – Ghent, BE
6/17/2016 Hellfest – Clisson, FR

SUNN O)))’s current tour will be followed later this month with the band’s participation in Moogfest in Durham, North Carolina on May 21st. In June, they will tour through St. Louis, Chicago, Cleveland, and Detroit on their way to tow major Canadian festivals; Unsound Toronto at Luminato Festival on June 10th, and Suoni Per Il Popolo Festival in Montreal on June 11th. The band then crosses the Atlantic for shows in Amsterdam and Ghent preceding their return to Hellfest in France on June 17th.

A September 2016 European tour is to be announced soon, including a performance at the Ruhrtriennale under the artistic direction of the Dutch director Johan Simons where SUNN O))) will perform in the Turbinenhalle at an old power plant called Jahrhunderthalle Bochum; The theme of Mr. Simons’ programme is “Seid umschlungen” (be embraced) – a gesture of social, political and geographical embracement. The tour will also include a special concert at “Labirinto della Masone” (Masone Labyrinth) opened in Fontanellato, near Parma in the northern region of Emilia-Romagna.

http://www.sunn-live.bandcamp.com
http://sunn.southernlord.com
http://sunn.bandcamp.com
http://www.southernlord.com

Sunn O))), 2016.04.05 Georgia Theatre, Athens, GA

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