Posted in Whathaveyou on September 23rd, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster
Have to admit I didn’t see this one coming. Swedish classic heavy rockers Graveyard have put out word they’ve called it quits. All upcoming appearances including their recently-announced headlining slot at Desertfest Belgium 2016 have been canceled.
They do leave open the possibility of coming back at some point — note “if and when” below — but however that might pan out, losing Graveyard is a considerable blow to the heavy underground. Since signing to Nuclear Blast ahead of releasing 2011’s Hisingen Blues (review here), and really since their 2007 self-titled came out on Tee Pee, the Örebro natives have been forerunners of the retro rock movement, having a major hand in teaching an entire generation of bands how to boogie across Europe and the US alike.
That position would only solidify with the next year’s Lights Out (review here), which began to bring forward the soul and classic R&B influences that would continue to emerge on last year’s Innocence and Decadence (review here), their fourth album and apparent swansong. By then, Graveyard — the lineup of guitarist/vocalist Joakim Nilsson, guitarist Jonathan Ramm, bassist Truls Mörck and drummer Axel Sjöberg — had cast their influence wide and it will no doubt continue to ring out despite their breakup. A shuffle like that just doesn’t come along every day.
As to what the future might hold for the members of Graveyard? It’s probably way too soon to speculate, and definitely too soon to hope that Nilsson might get back together with Magnus Pelander of Nuclear Blast labelmates Witchcraft for a reunion of their mid-’90s outfit Norrsken (in many ways the seed of what became the retro rock movement over the next decade), but one way or another, all the best to the members of the band in sorting out whatever issues it is require sorting and all the best for the future. Graveyard were clearly a special band and the void they leave behind is significant.
Here’s the announcement from the group:
Dark clouds above the graveyard today.
Due to the all so classic reason “differences within the band” the Graveyard is as of today officially closed. This is the unfortunate final decision we’ve had to make after going through a period of struggling n juggling with personal issues. Things have gone out of hand and now our energy is very low. As a direct result of this we’re sorry to say that all scheduled touring is cancelled.
Graveyard have always been more about the music than the talking and that approach is the way we intend to deal with this situation also. What we can say is that we don’t know if and when the Graveyard will re-open and return in full force.
Stay tuned, stay awesome & No endless night in sight.
[Click play above to stream a track premiere from Katla’s Embryo. Album is out Sept. 30 on Svart Records.]
There are moments, as in the second half of second cut “Endless Journey” or the first of closer “A Black Slimy Smooth Tongueshaped Form,” when Katla ignite a space rock so pure it seems born of a direct Hawkwindian lineage, enough to make it tempting to check whether the listed-as-first-name-only lineup of Nils, Johan, Lisa or Nilz hail from the family Brock. But that’s by no means the extent of the stylistic range they cover.
Their debut album, Embryo, arrives via respected purveyor Svart Records with a loose heavy psych affiliation, classic in its swing, modern in tone, strangely melodic with Lisa‘s breathy delivery and delivered with an embrace of prog-of-old weirdness that comes to be one of its defining aspects as it plays out its vinyl-ready nine tracks/48 minutes, encouraging listeners to “break free,” presumably of their square existence, on “Eat Sleep Die” and starting off with the shuffling oddity of “Horsehead.”
Cosmic theremin makes its first appearance on that opening cut, but it’s not at all the last, Katla putting its sci-fi-sounding properties to work throughout, adding further depth to a sonic meld that showcases not only a sense of breadth, but also one of cohesion in style and execution. That is, Embryo‘s tracks aren’t haphazard in approach and the flow that Katla create between them isn’t to be understated. From the patient opening of “Horsehead” as it moves into the build and launch of “Endless Journey,” it is a record steeped in vibe and born of a musical tradition that, by its very nature, must expand in the way it does here.
The theremin comes back into play on “Endless Journey” and the tone is in some ways set for the course of the album, but by no means are Katla finished with their demonstration. Interestingly, Embryo was recorded in 2014, the Stockholm-based outfit working with Silence Records studio in Värmland before finishing and going on hiatus for a time owing to geographic concerns (i.e. somebody moved).
That probably puts them at some distance from these tracks by now, but Embryo, while of course playing toward an identity based on classic forms, sounds no “older” than it’s intended to, and as the band pushes through the end of “Eat Sleep Die” and into the psychedelically meandering open of the seven-minute title-track — also presumably the closer of side A — the guitars and toms setting a mood from which a fluid build takes hold, the amorphous feel of their identity thus far is anything but staid.
“Embryo” is a standout on the album that bears its name, nodding at psychedelic folk even as it pulls together some significant momentum going into its back end, remaining patient as it cuts to quiet just before the five-minute mark then with keys and voice included casting forth a heavy psych push that becomes a satisfying wash of cymbals and noise. That apex for the first half of Embryo fits well, but cuts out and they actually finish side A on a note of subdued ambience, leading to side B opener and tracklist centerpiece “I’m Your Queen,” the lone opening guitar of which seems to land with that much more impact for the wildness preceding.
For those listening on a linear format — digital or CD — the immersion should be pretty well complete by the time “Embryo” has finished, so “I’m Your Queen,” which feels intentionally geared toward enhancing that with its initial repetitive guitar figure and lyrics that sound like a hypnotic spell, has no trouble diving further into the consciousness. A gradual rumble emerges, but they hold the tempo for the most part, resisting what must have been a considerable urge to take off à la “Endless Journey” and instead shifting into the mellow vibes of “Circles,” with organ adding to a spacious line of guitar over steady, calm drums and warm bass tone.
They do launch for a short orbit in the last minute or so, but hold back on the theremin for the time being, instead working it into the finish of the subsequent “Illusion,” which starts with a flourish of strings the only shame of which is that they don’t actually stick around long enough to pair with the vocals. “Illusion” boasts one of Embryo‘s most memorable hooks and brings back the strings in its second half as it locks into an instrumental movement that, when it’s over, has gone a surprising distance from where the song started.
It’s not Katla‘s first build, and as if they sensed that, the penultimate “Collision” shifts the structural focus so that an atmospheric beginning rises some in the middle and recedes again at its finish, a bookend that underscores the songwriting process at work and how purposeful this material is overall leading into the revitalized swirl of the aforementioned closer “A Black Slimy Smooth Tongueshaped Form,” which brings back the theremin of the opening salvo while taking a victory lap around a solar system of boogie.
A layered solo and theremin wash end the album just past four minutes in, somewhat sudden but fair enough to fit an LP, and Katla return their audience to solid ground with a command that undercuts the notion of Embryo being their debut. One can’t help but wonder what the last two years have brought in terms of growth in their songwriting — these songs will be old to them by now, I’m sure — but as a public introduction, their kosmiche conjuring is engaging across a span that seems like it can only keep growing.
Posted in Whathaveyou on September 12th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster
Swedish riff merchants Cities of Mars are making ready to hit the road this fall. They’ll head out on a tour spanning two weeks mostly in Northern Europe as the three-piece support their second EP, Celestial Mistress (reviewed and streamed here), a three-tracker that followed-up their 2015 debut single, Cyclopean Ritual / The Third Eye (streamed here), and make ready to record their debut full-length, which will reportedly feature six new songs continuing the narrative thread of their work to-date.
They’ll be joined by Basel, Switzerland’s Echolot for the run, which includes dates in not only that country and Sweden, but Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, France and Denmark, as well as a couple dates still TBA that, you know, if you can help out with, you should, because good bands need good shows and so on and so forth.
Here are all the confirmed dates so far as well as other odds and ends and background culled from the internets, as well as a live video from earlier this year of “Beneath a Burning Sun.” Dig:
In 1971, The Soviet Union landed a secret agent on the planet Mars. She discovered an ancient civilisation and a conspiracy from the dawn of time.
A vicious encounter, an undying Lord brought to life. Ancient feuds brooding in the shadows.
Puny humans playing guitar, bass, drums while chanting incoherently.
Time until the November tour will be spent writing songs for the upcoming album. Six new tales of the wicked planet are being crafted as we speak.
CITIES OF MARS Nov. tour w/ Echolot: 04.11 Jonkoping SE Sofiehof with Snailking 05.11 Stockholm SE Copperfields 06.11 TBA 08.11 Potsdam DE Archive 09.11 Amsterdam NL The Cave 10.11 Gorinchem NL PoGo 11.11 Naaldwijk NL Flatertheek 12.11 Antwerp BE Music City 13.11 Freiburg DE White Rabbit 14.11 Basel CH Schwarze Erle 15.11 TBA* 16.11 Le Mans FR Le Lezard with Stone from the Sky* 17.11 TBA* 18.11 Helsingør dk Elvaerket with Emortuo* *no Echolot
Posted in Whathaveyou on September 9th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster
Heads up on a good record. The third from Swedish outfit Captain Crimson, Remind, is also their first for Small Stone and it’ll be out on Oct. 14. You don’t really need to know much more than that at this point, though the PR wire certainly has more to offer in the bio I wrote, and with the lyric video for “Bells from the Underground,” you can get a sense of how these guys have really outgrown the influences in their moniker to come into their own sound this time. The album plays out a lot like that. Memorable songs, quality performance, light on frills but heavy on quality. Will be worth your time, easily.
Preorders are up now through Small Stone‘s Bandcamp. Dig it:
CAPTAIN CRIMSON: Swedish Blues Rockers To Release Third Full-Length, Remind, Via Small Stone; “Bells From The Underground” Lyric Video Posted
The Swedish hotbed of Örebro has already produced the likes of Truckfighters, Graveyard, Witchcraft, and Blues Pills. Prepare to add CAPTAIN CRIMSON to this exceptional tradition.
Forged in 2010 by vocalist Stefan Lillhager, formerly of Blowback, CAPTAIN CRIMSON draws inspiration from the classic sounds of The Groundhogs, Blue Cheer, Jethro Tull, Cactus, and Emerson, Lake & Palmer, meeting heavy boogie head-on with a modern swagger that has carried over to their latest and third album, Remind – their first for Small Stone Records. Remind follows their 2012 debut, Dancing Madly Backwards, which led them onto their first tour that Fall. Emerging with the lineup of Lillhager, bassist/backing vocalist Chris David (ReinXeed), guitarist Andreas Eriksson, and drummer/organist Mikael Läth, CAPTAIN CRIMSON earned rave reviews for their blues riffing and killer hooks, and they did what any band worth their salt would: They kept touring.
Their second offering, 2014’s Ageless Time, aligned them to Moving Air Music and Nasoni Records and once again put them on the road. On the LP, they showcased a multifaceted songwriting process, benefiting from the contributions of each player working together to bolster the strengths of the whole, and with a stopgap jam session in Stockholm captured on a 2015 digital EP (fittingly titled A Chaotic Jam Session In Stockholm), they make their way into Remind having fully realized their vision of modern classic rock.
Make no mistake: CAPTAIN CRIMSON’s latest is nothing less than a testament to the timeless power of groove, of memorable choruses that take you back to when you felt such things deep in your soul, and indeed offer a reminder that you still can and that you still do. It is the kind of rock and roll that speaks to the essence of the form, and we think that when all is said and done, it’s one of the best records ever to arrive with a Small Stone logo on it.
Remind will be released on October 14th, 2016 on CD, digitally and limited edition vinyl. Preorder your copy today at THIS LOCATION where you can also sample opening track “Ghost Town.”
Remind Full-Length 1. Ghost Town 2. Bells From The Underground 3. Love Street 4. Black Rose 5. Money 6. Drifting 7. Remind 8. Let Her Go 9. Alone 10. Senseless Mind
Digital preorders for Asteroid‘s third full-length, III, will go live on Sept. 12. The proper release date in Europe is Nov. 11, while the US gets it on Dec. 9, but wherever you are, however you order it, the arrival of a new Asteroid record is indisputably good news. The fuzzhappy trio from Swedish heavy hotbed Örebro first made their reunion official here last November, so by the time Fuzzorama Records delivers the 36-minute long-player, it will have been a productive year for Asteroid, playing shows, writing, recording. You know, all that “we’re in a band” stuff.
Well, they weren’t for a while. It’s been six years since their last offering, II (review here), and while they never melted down or anything, it seemed for a long time like that record might be their swansong. III follows in the second album’s footsteps in several crucial ways — its organic tones, its balancing between heavy blues and psychedelia, the vocal tradeoffs between guitarist Robin Hirse and bassist Johannes Nilsson — now joined in the trio by Jimmi Kolscheen — the tendency to follow the spirit of a given track, and moments like the bassline of centerpiece “Wolf and Snake” are about as quintessentially Asteroid‘s own as anything they could’ve put to tape. There are atmospheric stretches, as on “Silver and Gold” — also the most accomplished vocal performance of the band’s career — and cuts like “Last Days” (which you can hear above) tip hat to classic rock while “Them Calling” delivers an album-defining mega-hook while looking toward a more heavy metallized progression on the whole. It’s the fuzz rock you can pump your fist to.
But if III is united by any single principle, it’s the chemistry at heart in Asteroid‘s approach; the way the band interacts sonically and what the results of that interaction do for their songwriting. I’ll be reviewing it as we get closer to the release date (one or the other of them), but as a preview, I wanted to talk to the band about making III and how things came together since they got back, played their first shows and undertook the work of really being a band again after their years apart, including bringing in Kolscheen on drums and hammering out a new dynamic there. Lots to discuss and I feel like the surface has barely been scratched on III, so look for much more to come as we move into the fall, which also finds Asteroid on tour with Limestone Whale. The dates:
Asteroid with Limestone Whale This tour is booked in cooperation with MAGNIFICENT MUSIC! 10-09 (ESP) Madrid – Madrid Stoner Festival 17-09 (UK) BRISTOL Snuff’est All-Dayer* 22-09 (D) HAMBURG AstraStube 23-09 (D) BERLIN BassyClub 24-09 (D) SIEGEN Vortex * (w/ Yawning Man) 25-09 tba 26-09 (D) FREIBURG i.B WhiteRabbit 27-09 (CH) Winterthur – Helvti 29-09 (AT) WIEN ViperRoom 30-09 (AT) LINZ Stadtwerkstatt 01-10 (D) Munich – tba 03-10 (PL) WARSAW Chmury 04-10 (PL) GDYNIA Ucho 05-10 (PL) POZNAN u Bazyla 06-10 (D) HALLE Hühnermanhatten 07-10 (D) WÜRZBURG Immerhin 08-10 (D) JENA Kulturbahnhof *ASTEROID only
Full Q&A with Hirse and Nilsson follows the jump. Please enjoy:
Posted in Whathaveyou on August 31st, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster
Yeah, I can dig it. Weirdo heavy prog-psych with a classic spin and modern tones? I’m down. There are few labels out there whose updates I look forward to as much as Svart Records, and in Swedish newcomers Katla‘s debut album, Embryo, they would seem to have another gospel for the converted. All told, the record’s nine tracks top an immersive 48 minutes, and as a sampling, the label has posted Katla‘s “Illusion” to let listeners know what’s up. I’m just getting into the album as I write this, but just let me say that I hope to have more to come as we get closer to the Sept. 30 release.
That day, if you’ve been paying attention, is the most crowded release date probably of the year, certainly of the second half of it. Nonetheless, something tells me these guys aren’t going to have trouble standing out.
Art, info, links, audio. You know the drill:
KATLA set release date for SVART debut, reveal first track
Svart Records sets September 30th as the international release date for Katla’s debut album, Embryo. Katla is an enticing mixture of everything that was unforgettable and magical in the musical landscape of the ’70s: a hint of krautrock here, a dash of Hawkwind-y psychedelia there, and a touch of Swedish folk rock on top.
In February 2014, Katla entered the legendary studio of Silence Records in the dark forests of Värmland to tape their long-play debut. During a weekend of recording and walks through the woods, the album took shape. The songs consisted of old and new ones, ranging from the krauty psych-rock of “A Black, Slimy, Smooth and Tongueshaped Form”, over the heavy stoner of “Horsehead” to the calm of “Embryo.”
Embryo was mixed at Cobra Studios by Christian Gabel (bob hund) and the band with help from David Svedmyr. After finishing the recording session, Katla went on hiatus due to members moving abroad, but now they’re back, and they’re ready to present the psychedelic nugget that is Embryo. Hear the first nugget at Svart’s Soundcloud HERE with the track “Illusion.”
Tracklisting for Katla’s Embryo: 1. Horsehead 2. Endless Journey 3. Eat Sleep Die 4. Embryo 5. I’m Your Queen 6. Circles 7. Illusion 8. Collision 9. A Black Slimy Smooth Tongueshaped Form
Posted in Whathaveyou on August 29th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster
More details have started to trickle out about Witchcraft frontman Magnus Pelander‘s debut solo album. The title, for example, will be Time, and it will feature six tracks plus a bonus cut and run about an LP-ready 44 minutes. No artwork or audio or even a solid release date yet, but Nuclear Blast seems to be doling out details one or two at a time — the last press release was “Hey, an album exists and we’re putting it out” and this one is “Hey, it has a name and songs” — so you know, there’s still plenty to learn in the months ahead. It doesn’t seem unreasonable to expect a release date sometime in October/November, but don’t go quoting that or anything. Pure speculation on my part.
And not to give away state secrets or anything, but if you’ve been missing Witchcraft‘s pioneering retro-doom aesthetic, there are definitely some parts of this record to which you’re going to want to pay particular attention. There. I can be vague with the best of ’em.
This is the part where there’s a photo and then the text changes color to signify its origins on the PR wire:
PELANDER – WITCHCRAFT main man’s solo project announces title & track list
WITCHCRAFT main man, Magnus Pelander’s solo project PELANDER has announced the title as well as the track list for his upcoming debut album.
Time will contain 7 tracks with an approximate running time of 44 minutes.
Time track list: 1. Umbrella 2. Family Song 3. The Irony Of Man 4. True Colour 5. Precious Swan 6. Time 7. Rebecka (BONUS TRACK)
After his latest journey with WITCHCRAFT, Nucleus, multi instrumentalist and lyricist extraordinaire, Magnus Pelander, returns to his solo career which without a doubt can be recognized as being tied to the cult doom/rock band, still exploring other paths and going full on acoustic.
Magnus Pelander comments: “At last my first solo album is done and soon to be released. I cannot believe this is true.”
Commented Nuclear Blast A&R representative Markus Jakob: “We’re thrilled to not only work with a gifted artist as Magnus on his main band but now also on his solo career. Both WITCHCRAFT and PELANDER have always stood for variety, artistic freedom and development which we’re more than happy to support. Prepare yourself for another deep and intense look into the mind and musical vision of a genius!”
Swedish fuzz forerunners Truckfighters will release their fifth album, V, on Sept. 30 through their own Fuzzorama Records in conjunction with Century Media. The trio of vocalist/bassist Oskar “Ozo” Cedermalm, guitarist Niklas “Dango” Källgren and drummer Daniel “El Danno” Israelsson begin the record with “Calm Before the Storm,” and it’s a track that emphasizes the kind of duality that has come to take root in the band’s approach.
On the one hand, you have their stage show. Truckfighters live are like the human embodiment of an exclamation point. They are rightly known for holding nothing back: zero irony, all-in, 100 percent go. I’ve seen them play and been exhausted afterwards just from watching.
On the other hand, you have their albums. Really since 2009’s staggering Mania (review here), but certainly even more on 2014’s Universe (review here), the songcraft of Cedermalm and Källgren has taken on an increasing scope in texture and emotion. It’s true on V as well that while they still have their raucous moments, they’re just as likely to bring out a melancholy progressive feel, and no less at home in doing so.
“Calm Before the Storm” — its video with an oddly and offputtingly violent narrative — starts V and is the longest track on it (immediate points), and I think it emphasizes what I’m talking about pretty well in terms of the band Truckfighters have become and the multifaceted aspects of their approach. They will, of course, tour heavily to support the new long-player, and you can find the dates for that run under the video below.
Truckfighters, “Calm Before the Storm” official video
YEAHHH the new video for “Calm before the Storm” is out!
The new album “V” will be released worldwide through Fuzzorama in cooperation with Century Media Records on September 30th, 2016.
Naturally we will hit the road again to play an extensive European tour following the new album release. Support bands for first half will be We Hunt Buffalo and Witchrider, and the second half it will be Deville and Dot Legacy. Here are the tour dates confirmed so far:
20.10.2016 Berlin (Germany) – SO36 21.10.2016 Chemnitz (Germany) – AJZ 22.10.2016 Vienna (Austria) – Fuzzfest 23.10.2016 Munich (Germany) – Backstage Halle 25.10.2016 Milan (Italy) – Lo-Fi 27.10.2016 Bologna (Italy) – Freakout 28.10.2016 Puget (France) – Le Rats 29.10.2016 Bron (France) – Le Jack Jack 02.11.2016 Bilbao (Spain) – Stage Live 03.11.2016 Barcelona (Spain) – Razz 3 04.11.2016 Madrid (Spain) – Chango 05.11.2016 Lisbon (Portugal) – Stairway Club 06.11.2016 Porto (Portugal) – Cave 45 09.11.2016 Amsterdam (The Netherlands) – Melkweg Oude Zaal 10.11.2016 Groningen (The Netherlands) – Vera 11.11.2016 Tilburg (The Netherlands) – O13 12.11.2016 Hengelo (The Netherlands) – Metropool 25.11.2016 Cologne (Germany) – Underground 04.12.2016 Birmingham (UK) – Rainbow 05.12.2016 Glasgow (UK) – King Tuts 06.12.2016 Nottingham (UK) – Rescue Rooms 07.12.2016 Bristol (UK) – Thekla 08.12.2016 Manchester (UK) – Ruby Lounge 09.12.2016 London (UK) – Islington Academy 10.12.2016 Brighton (UK) – Green Door Store 27.12.2016 Hamburg (Germany) – Sankt Hell Festival