Ripple Music, DHU Records, Kozmik Artifactz & Twin Earth Records Team up for 2LP Compilation Skull Mountain

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

skull mountain cover

As an old friend used to say — SCENE UNITY! As someone who lives in fear of corralling even one label’s worth of bands onto a sampler, the notion of the logistics involved with Skull Mountain feels like the stuff of anxiety dreams on the part of those making it happen. And yet, the bold souls at Ripple Music, Kozmik Artifactz, Twin Earth Records and DHU Records have come together across continents to make it happen, and a 500-copies-pressed 2LP four-way label sampler split featuring all previously unreleased tracks and versions is the result. I shouldn’t have to tell you this is something special, something that doesn’t happen every day, and something that might not happen again.

And yet, it’s so emblematic of the moment in which the heavy rock underground finds itself today. Time was when labels like Ripple and Kozmik Artifactz would be too busy competing and trying to poach each other’s bands to team up on a joint multi-artist venture, and to have DHU and Twin Earth on board as well only affirms the passion and the taste at heart in what these people are doing. It’s not about who can be the biggest, or who can make the most money. It’s about love of the music and about wanting to support those who make it and, in this case, teaming up to reach as broad an audience as possible so that everyone benefits.

16 bands, four sides of two platters and one deeply, deeply admirable project, Skull Mountain releases on June 16 with preorders beginning today at the times listed in the flyer below.

Beneath that, you can see the official announcement of the release and the complete tracklisting. Kudos to everyone involved on every level in making this one happen.

From the PR wire:

skull mountain poster

Over a year in the making! Perhaps the world’s first Four-Label collaborative effort to bring together some of the best heavy psych, stoner, doom from both sides of the Atlantic. Two US-based labels, Ripple Music and Twin Earth Records, join forces with two European-based labels, DHU Records and Kozmik Artifactz to bring forth a double album of epic proportions, something so massive it could only have its own monolith, Skull Mountain.

Each Label showcases one full album side of its signature sound, each song previously unreleased or unreleased mix. The entire album mastered to perfection by Tony Reed at HeavyHead.

Inside the gatefold, Tarot cards display the four element theme of Skull Mountain with each Label represented by its own signature element, Ripple-Water; Twin Earth-Earth, DHU- Fire, and Kozmik- Air. Accordingly, each label has a limited amount of vinyl available in its own signature elemental color, Ripple-Blue, Twin Earth – Green, DHU-Red, and Kozmik- Clear

That’s right! Only 500 of these stunning 2xLP albums were pressed, with each label only having 125 in its signature color. Once they’re gone, they’re gone.

An epic introduction into the worlds of North American and European heavy music. A monumental journey to Skull Mountain

Track Listing:

Side Ripple
The Watchers – Starfire (Cosmic Nebula mix)
Kingnomad – Dewer’s Hollow
Blackwulf – The Tempest (Black Tide mix)
Vokonis – Celestial Embrace

Side Twin Earth
Alastor – Blood on Satan’s Claw
Kabbalah – Abomination
Starts that Move – Give It All Away
Haunted – Crossmoth

Side D.H.U.
Disenchanter – More Evil Than Thou
Dawn – Day of the Lord
Witch Ritual – Drawing Down the Moon
Youngblood Supercult – Sticky Fingers

Side Kozmik
The Heavy Eyes – Home
Devil Electric – Devil’s Bells
Red Spektor – Devil’s Keeper
Hair of the Dog – My Only Home

Each label has 125 copies in its own color available on its own site.

www.ripplemusic.bigcartel.com/products
darkhedonisticunionrecords.bigcartel.com
http://twinearthrecords.storenvy.com
http://shop.bilocationrecords.com/

The Watchers, “Starfire” (original version) official video

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Electric Funeral Fest 2017 Announces Schedule; Kicks off this Friday

Posted in Whathaveyou on June 12th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

This Friday in Denver marks the beginning of Electric Funeral Fest 2017. Kicking things off at 4:15PM will be West Coast boogie groovers Lords of Beacon House, followed immediately by High on the Mountain right across the street. I know these things because the festival has newly announced its full schedule for its two-day run, which features the likes of Slow Season, The Well, Sourvein, Goya, Oryx, headliners Acid King and Corky Laing’s Mountain, and many others. I’ve got kind of a whirlwind couple weeks coming up as it is, but if you were offering me a ticket and a flight, I’d have a hard time turning this one down. Looks like it’s going to be an incredible time for those fortunate enough to be there.

If that’s you, I hope you have a blast. Here’s the info:

electric-funeral-fest-2017-schedule

DUST Presents: Electric Funeral Fest 2017

Tickets: www.electricfuneralfest.eventbrite.com
** 21+, All tickets are non-refundable **

DENVER, CO
HI DIVE // 3 KINGS TAVERN

FRIDAY JUNE 16th
The Joint by Cannabis Stage at 3 Kings Tavern
4:15 – 4:50 Lords of Beacon House
5:15 – 5:50 Oryx
6:15 – 6:50 Muscle Beach
7:15 – 7:50 Communion
8:15 – 8:50 Monarch
9:15 – 9:55 The Well
10:15 – 11:00 Slow Season
11:40 – 12:40 Corky Laing’s MOUNTAIN

Hi-Dive Denver
4:45 – 5:20 High on the Mountain
5:45 – 6:20 Smokey Mirror
6:45 – 7:20 Greenbeard
7:45 – 8:20 The Munsens
8:45 – 9:20 R.I.P.
9:40 – 10:20 Goya
10:40 – 11:25 Sourvein
-After Party-
12:50 – 1:30 Glitter Wizard

SATURDAY JUNE 17th
The Joint by Cannabis Stage at 3 Kings Tavern
4:15 – 4:50 Dizz Brew
5:15 – 5:50 Red Wizard
6:15 – 6:50 Feather Stone
7:15 – 7:50 Great Electric Quest
8:15 – 8:50 Barrows
9:15 – 9:55 The Heavy Eyes
10:15 – 11:00 Electric Citizen
11:40 – 12:40 ACID KING

Hi-Dive Denver
4:45 – 5:20 Urn
5:45 – 6:20 Jagged Mouth
6:45 – 7:20 Malahierba
7:45 – 8:20 Love Gang
8:45 – 9:20 Banquet
9:40 – 10:20 Cloud Catcher
10:40 – 11:25 Destroyer of Light
-After Party-
12:50 – 1:30 Crypt Trip

Electric Funeral will once again be happening in the South Broadway district of Denver. Anyone that is familiar with Denver knows that S. Broadway is one of the greatest neighborhoods this city has to offer. In our second year of this event, we have added a second stage at Hi Dive. Hi Dive is across the street from 3 Kings Tavern and easily one of the greatest places to party in Denver.

There is also no shortage of other great bars and restaurants in the area for attendees to visit if they need a break from head-banging. Although both stages are indoors, this will feel like just as much of an outdoor event as people go back and forth between the two venues that will run simultaneously through both evenings. Hey hey, my my, rock n’ roll sure ain’t fuckin’ dying in Denver!

www.electricfuneralfest.eventbrite.com
https://www.facebook.com/dustpresents/
https://www.facebook.com/events/1810211735896531/

Corky Laung’s Mountain, “Theme from an Imaginary Western” Live

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Electric Funeral Fest 2017 Announces Corky Laing’s Mountain to Headline

Posted in Whathaveyou on April 3rd, 2017 by JJ Koczan

Acid King and Mountain as headliners? Look, I was pretty much sold on the notion of Electric Funeral Fest 2017 anyway, but it’s not like adding Corky Laing and a bunch of other dudes playing Mountain classics hurts. The festival is set for this June in the Mile High city of Denver, Colorado, and in addition to those two it features a swath of righteous acts from the West Coast, the Midwest, the South and the East, pulling in various kind of heavy from doom to sludge to classic rock and roll in what’s an obviously well curated environment. If I could go, I’d be there in a heartbeat.

Some of the below was posted previously, but I want to reiterate to underscore the point. If you’re in this part of the world, you should fucking go to this. Events like this deserve your support and they deserve to continue to flourish and grow. Don’t suck. Go and have a good time. That’s my piece. I’ve said it.

Info follows:

denver-electric-funeral-fest-2017

“Honored to announce the headliner of Day 1 at Electric Funeral Fest is current iteration of iconic rock band, MOUNTAIN. Original drummer Corky Laing has teamed up with a band to play Mountain hits from the early ’70s. It is a true pleasure to host a legend from the era that started it all.

Electric Funeral will once again be happening in the South Broadway district of Denver. Anyone that is familiar with Denver knows that S. Broadway is one of the greatest neighborhoods this city has to offer. In our second year of this event, we have added a second stage at Hi Dive. Hi Dive is across the street from 3 Kings Tavern and easily one of the greatest places to party in Denver.

There is also no shortage of other great bars and restaurants in the area for attendees to visit if they need a break from head-banging. Although both stages are indoors, this will feel like just as much of an outdoor event as people go back and forth between the two venues that will run simultaneously through both evenings. Hey hey, my my, rock n’ roll sure ain’t fuckin’ dying in Denver!

Electric Funeral Fest 2017 – Friday June 16th & Saturday June 17th
Location: Denver, CO @ Hi Dive & 3 Kings Tavern

LINEUP

Friday June 16
Headliner: Corky Laing’s Mountain
Support: Sourvein, Slow Season, Goya, R.I.P., The Well, Glitter Wizard, Monarch, Muscle Beach, The Munsens, Communion, Lords of Beacon House, Greenbeard, Oryx, Smokey Mirror, High on the Mountain

Saturday June 17
Headliner: Acid King
Support: Electric Citizen, The Heavy Eyes, Destroyer of Light, Crypt Trip, Cloud Catcher, Love Gang, Barrows, Great Electric Quest, Red Wizard, Banquet, Ocelot (performing as Feather Stone), Jagged Mouth, Pueblo Escobar, Urn

Flier art by Christina Hunt
Flier layout by Keith Dreissen

www.electricfuneralfest.eventbrite.com
https://www.facebook.com/dustpresents/
https://www.facebook.com/events/1810211735896531/

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Electric Funeral Fest 2017 Announces Lineup; Limited Early Tickets Available

Posted in Whathaveyou on February 23rd, 2017 by JJ Koczan

Today, Denver’s Electric Funeral Fest 2017 reveals Acid King will headline and the likes of Sourvein, Slow Season, Goya, Electric Citizen, Destroyer of Light, The Well, Cloud Catcher, Oryx and many more will appear. Limited early tickets — there seem to be 40 — are on sale as of right this second.

One headliner is still TBA, but even so, it’s a remarkably ambitious return for Electric Funeral Fest, which had its first showing in 2016. Put on by DUST Presents, it finds hometown representation through The Munsens, Love Gang, Oryx, and Cloud Catcher, likely among others, and reaches far and wide in filling out an impressive roster of acts. To be perfectly blunt about it, it looks fucking awesome.

The fest was kind enough to let me host this initial lineup announcement, and below, organizer Shaun Goodwin gives some background on the area where it will take place across two venues and the vibe they’re shooting for with Electric Funeral Fest 2017.

Dig it:

electric-funeral-fest-2017-poster

Electric Funeral Fest 2017 – Friday June 16th & Saturday June 17th

Location: Denver, CO @ Hi Dive & 3 Kings Tavern

Tickets: www.electricfuneralfest.eventbrite.com
– There will be 40 early bird discounted 2-day passes available at $49
– After those are sold, presale 2-day passes are $59
– 1 day passes are $32

Electric Funeral will once again be happening in the South Broadway district of Denver. Anyone that is familiar with Denver knows that S. Broadway is one of the greatest neighborhoods this city has to offer. In our second year of this event, we have added a second stage at Hi Dive. Hi Dive is across the street from 3 Kings Tavern and easily one of the greatest places to party in Denver.

There is also no shortage of other great bars and restaurants in the area for attendees to visit if they need a break from head-banging. Although both stages are indoors, this will feel like just as much of an outdoor event as people go back and forth between the two venues that will run simultaneously through both evenings. Hey hey, my my, rock n’ roll sure ain’t fuckin’ dying in Denver!

LINEUP

Friday June 16
Headliner: TBA
Support: Sourvein, Slow Season, Goya, R.I.P., The Well, Glitter Wizard, Monarch, Muscle Beach, The Munsens, Communion, Lords of Beacon House, Greenbeard, Oryx, Smokey Mirror, High on the Mountain

Saturday June 17
Headliner: Acid King
Support: Electric Citizen, The Heavy Eyes, Destroyer of Light, Crypt Trip, Cloud Catcher, Love Gang, Barrows, Great Electric Quest, Red Wizard, Banquet, Ocelot (performing as Feather Stone), Jagged Mouth, Pueblo Escobar, Urn

Flier art by Christina Hunt
Flier layout by Keith Dreissen

www.electricfuneralfest.eventbrite.com
https://www.facebook.com/dustpresents/
https://www.facebook.com/events/1810211735896531/

Goya, “Misanthropy on High” live at Electric Funeral Fest 2016

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The Heavy Eyes Announce West Coast Dates

Posted in Whathaveyou on June 7th, 2016 by JJ Koczan

the heavy eyes-700

Memphis three-piece The Heavy Eyes have announced a week-long run of shows on the West Coast for next month. The band released their third LP, He Dreams of Lions (review here), last fall via Kozmik Artifactz, and all I have to do is read the name of the album to have the titular hook stuck in my head. In addition to this current round of shows, the band threatens further incursions outside their Southeastern home base, including a potential stint in Europe, perhaps to materialize later this year. One to keep an eye out for, but in the meantime, they cover a considerable amount of ground in just these five shows — one imagines a drive up the coast in July is lovely as well — and you’ll find the dates and poster below.

Also included is the full stream of He Dreams of Lions, in case you’d also like it stuck in your head for the rest of the day:

the heavy eyes tour

Fuzz and groove based Heavy Eyes announce tour dates for the western half of the US. Heavy Eyes, who released their third album, He Dreams of Lions, in November, will be hitting the road from 7/10 starting in Tempe, AZ and ending in Missoula, MT on 7/16. While the tour is quick, Heavy Eyes have promised to add more dates in future months and hopefully to include Europe in the near future. See July dates below.

7/10 Tempe, AZ @ Yucca Tap Room
7/11 Los Angeles, CA @ Viper Room
7/13 Portland, OR @ Ash Street Saloon
7/14 Seattle, OR @ High Dive
7/16 Missoula, MT @ Stage 112

Following on from their 2011 self-titled debut, and 2012’s successful Maera album, Memphis trio The Heavy Eyes return to the fold November 2015 with their most accomplished record to date. Over eleven tracks, amidst the unbridled rawness of ‘Saint’, the sheer weight of ‘Z-Bo’ and R’n’B shake appeal of ‘Smoke Signal, hypnotic hard rock riffs are delivered thick and fast through distorted fuzz boxes, gnarled bass lines and levee breaking drum beats. This is an album that draws heavily from the heaviest (Led Zeppelin, Humble Pie, Mountain) and in doing so turns out new ideas with a punishing authenticity and honesty in line with their Memphis blues heritage.

https://www.facebook.com/TheHeavyEyes/
http://theheavyeyesmemphis.bandcamp.com/
https://instagram.com/theheavyeyes/
https://www.facebook.com/kozmikartifactz
http://kozmik-artifactz.com/

The Heavy Eyes, He Dreams of Lions (2015)

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The Heavy Eyes Premiere “Saint” from He Dreams of Lions

Posted in audiObelisk on October 28th, 2015 by JJ Koczan

the heavy eyes

Memphis fuzz rock trio The Heavy Eyes will release their third album, He Dreams of Lions, Nov. 13 on Kozmik Artifactz. The band, who are to be confused neither with Baltimore’s The Flying Eyes nor Indiana’s The Heavy Company, dig deep into modern-styled fuzz boogie throughout the crisp, straightforward 11 tracks/47 minutes, with bluesy flourish adding further heft to the righteous fuzz of Tripp Shumake‘s guitars and Wally Anderson‘s bass while Eric Garcia propels the roll of a track like “Old Saltillo Road” while going more all-out on a faster piece like “Smoke Signals,” a Fu Manchu-style wall of fuzz built up around laid back vocals.

The Heavy Eyes are efficient and conscious of what kind of noise they want to make at any given turn, but hardly unipolar, setting a back-country mood with nighttime insect noise at the start of opener “Shadow Shaker” before unloading the first of many rock solid and solidly rocking riffs, Shumake‘s penchant for highlight hooks taken a step further from the band’s impressive 2012 sophomore outing, Maera, on the subsequent “Saint” and “Z-Bo,” two shorter groovers that seem to pull in the listener before they even realize it, He Dreams of Lions building considerable momentum right from the start and holding onto it until they get to the Queens of the Stone Age-esque riffing of eight-minute closer “Modern Shells.”

the heavy eyes he dreams of lionsPeak-era Queens isn’t a bad comparison point for the album as a whole, but The Heavy Eyes are more inclined to nestle into a groove, as they do on “Old Saltillo Road” and move into the title-track, which trades echoing, spacious verse lines for a more intensely-distorted chorus, an edge of grunge working its way into their sound on the sly before “Hail to the King, Baby” brings back the megafuzz and seems to layer in some organ deep in the left channel mix, ending up in an open, beery groove that rolls right into an extended finish of organ and amp noise, “Smoke Signals” picking up with Garcia‘s toms to keep the pace high as they make ready to move into the end section of the record with the particularly Fu-ey “The Fool.”

Their ability to switch up vibes is pretty well encapsulated between “Smoke Signals,” “The Fool” and “Somniloquy,” but they stay within a fuzz rock context throughout while effectively toying with one side or another of genre convention, not reinventing the wheel so much as reminding how smoothly it can roll when pushed just right. Groove is the unifying factor, and remains so as “Somniloquy” and “Littlefinger” prepare the ground for the finale, the latter rounding out with some coming-apart chug as the beginning of the closer serves as an underscoring to the point of how much Anderson‘s tone has been a highlight factor all along, even though it’s the guitar out front for another hairy lead.

It’s a party front to back, but again, not necessarily beholden entirely to one mood or another to get there — that is, not everything on He Dreams of Lions is exhaustingly uptempo — and that proves much to the album’s benefit. Still, one of its great strengths lies in the early momentum it mounts, and as a part of that (and as a means for demonstrating what I mean about Anderson‘s bass above), I’m thrilled to be able to host the premiere of “Saint.” You’ll find it on the player below, followed by more from the PR wire on The Heavy Eyes.

Enjoy:

Tripp Shumake on “Saint”:

“Saint is a frenzied blues groove layered under the frantic screaming of a mad man. As pounding drums and slinky bass surge through the speakers, the chaos builds and swells until it breaks. Leaving the listener with more questions than answers but nodding along just the same.”

Following on from their 2011 self-titled debut, and 2012’s successful Maera album, Memphis trio The Heavy Eyes return to the fold this November with their most accomplished record to date. Over eleven tracks, amidst the unbridled rawness of ‘Saint’, the sheer weight of ‘Z-Bo’ and R’n’B shake appeal of ‘Smoke Signal, hypnotic hard rock riffs are delivered thick and fast through distorted fuzz boxes, gnarled bass lines and levee breaking drum beats. This is an album that draws heavily from the heaviest (Led Zeppelin, Humble Pie, Mountain) and in doing so turns out new ideas with a punishing authenticity and honesty in line with their Memphis blues heritage.

This is The Heavy Eyes, one of rock and roll’s best and brightest, and He Dreams Of Lions will be released via Kozmik Artifactz on 13th November 2015.

The Heavy Eyes:
Tripp Shumake – Vocals, Guitars
Wally Anderson – Bass
Eric Garcia – Drums

The Heavy Eyes on Thee Facebooks

The Heavy Eyes on Bandcamp

The Heavy Eyes on Instagram

Kozmik Artifactz on Thee Facebooks

Kozmik Artifactz website

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The Heavy Eyes to Release He Dreams of Lions Nov. 13

Posted in Whathaveyou on September 17th, 2015 by JJ Koczan

the heavy eyes

The first taste of The Heavy Eyes‘ third album came earlier this summer when the track “Somniloquy” was included as part of the Kozmik Artifactz sampler, Home of the Good Sounds Vol. 2 (streamed here). Based out of Memphis, Tennessee, the trio will issue He Dreams of Lions on Nov. 13 via the aforementioned German imprint, and to complement the album artwork and details, they’ve unveiled the title-track, which to the surprise of just about nobody, rocks.

These guys have been a pretty well kept secret to this point in their career. Should be interesting to see how the album does upon its release and how much they’re able to get out and support it. Could a European tour be in the works?

PR wire info on the record follows, with the stream of “He Dreams of Lions” at the bottom:

the heavy eyes he dreams of lions

THE HEAVY EYES announce release of new album He Dreams Of Lions | Stream and share new track ’Somniloquy’

He Dreams Of Lions will be released via Kozmik Artifactz on 13th November 2015

Kozmik Artifactz – Europe’s leading purveyor of heavy psych, blues and stoner rock – is pleased to announce the release of He Dreams Of Lions, the brand new album from heavy psych rockers The Heavy Eyes.

Following on from their 2011 self-titled debut, and 2012’s successful Maera album, the Memphis trio return to the fold this November with their most accomplished record to date. Over eleven tracks, amidst the unbridled rawness of ‘Saint’, the sheer weight of ‘Z-Bo’ and R’n’B shake appeal of ‘Smoke Signal, hypnotic hard rock riffs are delivered thick and fast through distorted fuzz boxes, gnarled bass lines and levee breaking drum beats. This is an album that draws heavily from the heaviest (Led Zeppelin, Humble Pie, Mountain) and in doing so turns out new ideas with a punishing authenticity and honesty in line with their Memphis blues heritage.

This is The Heavy Eyes, one of rock and roll’s best and brightest, and He Dreams Of Lions will be released via Kozmik Artifactz on 13th November 2015.

The Heavy Eyes:
Tripp Shumake – Vocals, Guitars
Wally Anderson – Bass
Eric Garcia – Drums

Track Listing:
Shadow Shaker
Saint
Z-Bo
Old Saltillo Road
He Dreams Of Lions
Hail To The King, Baby
Smoke Signals
The Fool
Somniloquy
Littlefinger
Modern Shells

https://www.facebook.com/TheHeavyEyes/
http://theheavyeyesmemphis.bandcamp.com/
https://instagram.com/theheavyeyes/
https://www.facebook.com/kozmikartifactz
http://kozmik-artifactz.com/

The Heavy Eyes, “He Dreams of Lions”

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Various Artists, Electric Ladyland [Redux] & The Best of James Marshall Hendrix: Scope Worthy of the Source

Posted in Reviews on August 24th, 2015 by JJ Koczan

12inchJacket_offset

Even before you press play on Electric Ladyland [Redux] or its companion piece, The Best of James Marshall Hendrix, it’s hard not to admire the coordinating prowess of Magnetic Eye Records in making it all happen. Most people couldn’t corral three bands to put together a single show bill, and the label’s Mike Vitali has wrangled 20 acts from the US and European heavy rock underground to pay homage to Jimi Hendrix in time for what would’ve been the supra-legendary guitarist’s 75th birthday, topped it of with artwork by David Paul Seymour, whose piece for Electric Ladyland [Redux] easily stands among the best covers of 2015, and Caitlin Hackett, whose three-eyed-bird portraiture perfectly suits Hendrix‘s groundbreaking psychedelic blues. Packaged separately on 2CD and 2LP but clearly intended as complements, both tribute collections showcase staggering ambition on the part of the label putting them together, and the fact that Electric Ladyland [Redux] and The Best of James Marshall Hendrix materialized at all is an automatic, unqualified triumph. Here are the full tracklistings:

VA, Electric Ladyland [Redux]
1. Elephant Tree, “…And the Gods Made Love” 01:44
2. Open Hand, “Have You Ever Been (To Electric Ladyland)” 03:01
3. Superchief, “Crosstown Traffic” 03:32
4. All Them Witches, “Voodoo Chile” 14:59
5. Origami Horses, “Little Miss Strange” 03:52
6. The Heavy Eyes, “Long Hot Summer Night” 04:17
7. Earthless, “Come On (Let the Good Times Roll)” 05:03
8. Wo Fat, “Gypsy Eyes” 04:34
9. Mos Generator, “Burning of the Midnight Lamp” 03:34
10. Gozu, “Rainy Day, Dream Away” 08:07
11. Summoner, “1983… (A Merman I Should Turn to Be)” 12:56
12. Claymation, “Moon, Turn the Tides… Gently Gently Away” 01:24
13. Mothership, “Still Raining, Still Dreaming” 06:20
14. King Buffalo, “House Burning Down” 04:44
15. Tunga Moln, “All Along the Watchtower” 03:28
16. Elder, “Voodoo Child (Slight Return)” 07:08

VA, The Best of James Marshall Hendrix
1. Child, “In from the Storm” 04:57
2. Elephant Tree, “Manic Depression” 04:10
3. Wo Fat, “Machine Gun” 12:49
4. Stubb, “Little Wing” 04:18
5. Rosy Finch, “Foxy Lady” 05:17
6. Geezer, “Little Miss Lover” 04:50
7. Wo Fat, “Gypsy Eyes (Extended)” 07:13

As I said, staggering. Even more so in the case of Electric Ladyland [Redux], since not only do the usual comp and tribute album concerns apply of getting everything together and turning it into a cohesive listening experience, but also because in paying homage to a full-length album specifically, it’s also pivotal that Electric Ladyland [Redux] flows front to back while being comprised of 16 separate recordings taking place in 16 separate studios with 16 separate performances and treading on some of rock and roll’s most sacred, pivotal ground. Covering Hendrix? Unless you’re Stevie Ray Vaughan — and hell, even if you are — it’s a tricky proposition for one song, let alone a full record. It’s like someone asked Magnetic Eye if they wanted to go mountain biking and the label built a rocket, went to Mars, terraformed the planet and then decided to tackle Olympus Mons, on a Huffy.

va the best of james marshall hendrix

Okay, an exaggeration, but you take my meaning. And Electric Ladyand [Redux] mostly succeeds in its decidedly Herculean mission. There are one or two changes that come across choppy — an early one in the jump from the groovy vibes of Elephant Tree and Open Hand into the burlier Superchief, who give an able showing of what they do but ultimately feel out of place — but on the whole, it’s hard to argue with the results as they’re presented throughout, whether it’s King Buffalo‘s dreamy “House Burning Down” or groups making the material their own, like Wo Fat‘s “Gypsy Eyes,” Summoner‘s re-envisioned “1983… (A Merman I Should Turn to Be)” and Gozu‘s adventurous “Rainy Day, Dream Away,” which leads off the second CD of the collection after Mos Generator‘s “Burning of the Midnight Lamp” finds the Washington-based act showing the roots of their own approach to landmark hooks, as do Mothership with their “Still Raining, Still Dreaming.”

Hearing Earthless with vocals is something of a surprise, and their take on “Come on (Let the Good Times Roll)” (an Earl King cover) not only is true to their Hendrix influence, but is a decided showcase of just how influential they’ve been on the West Coast underground — there are a good number of bands out there striving to sound like Earthless covering Jimi Hendrix — and having Swedish rockers Tunga Moln perform “All Along the Watchtower” in their native language puts an unexpected spin on arguably Electric Ladyland‘s most recognizable piece. All Them Witches are right in their element jamming on “Voodoo Chile,” and Elder do justice to the album’s closer in their “Voodoo Child (Slight Return),” capping the tribute with one last highlight to round out the many before it.

There are several acts who reappear on The Best of James Marshall Hendrix, including Wo Fat and Elephant Tree, but as the latter only had the intro “…And the Gods Made Love” to lead off Electric Ladyland [Redux], it seems fair enough. In the case of Texas fuzz forerunners Wo Fat, I’m not at all going to fight with their extended jam on “Gypsy Eyes” as it closes out The Best of James Marshall Hendrix, and their 12:49 run through “Machine Gun” suits just as well. Leading off the companion tribute are Australian blues rockers Child, who give “In from the Storm” due soul and sway, and after Elephant Tree‘s “Manic Depression” and Wo Fat‘s “Machine Gun,” hearing Stubb take on the sweet melodies of “Little Wing” couldn’t be more perfect, especially leading into Rosy Finch‘s stomping “Foxy Lady,” which in turn gives way to Geezer‘s “Little Miss Lover,” coated in wah and right in the New York band’s wheelhouse, even as it gives way to a deconstructing long-form fadeout.

Wo Fat‘s extended “Gypsy Eyes” picks up from that silence with a bonus track-style vibe, but really, both releases feel like a bonus the whole time through. There are some variances in sound and style and some bands are more suited to the source material than others, but the effort that has been put into Electric Ladyland [Redux] and The Best of James Marshall Hendrix and the passion that bleeds from every second of each of these tracks are simply inarguable. It may be preaching to the choir to have heavy rock and psych bands covering Hendrix tracks, but the vibe throughout both of these tribute comps is much more of a genre paying homage to one of its founders who, sadly, didn’t live long enough to see the generation-spanning impact of his work realized. Equally admirable in mission and execution.

VA, Electric Ladyland [Redux] (2015)

VA, The Best of James Marshall Hendrix (2015)

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