Friday Full-Length: Orange Sunshine, Love = Acid Space = Hell

Posted in Bootleg Theater on February 5th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster

Orange Sunshine, Love = Acid Space = Hell (2003)

Talk about a few records dying for reissue. Not that Netherlands-based acid rockers Orange Sunshine haven’t kept up pressings for their three studio full-lengths, 2001’s Homo Erectus, 2003’s Love = Acid Space = Hell and 2006’s Bullseye of Being, through their own Motorwolf imprint, but I’m talking about wide-distro, color-LP, all that do-it-up nonsense that sells out on preorders before anyone’s heard a note. Can’t say the band wouldn’t deserve such fare. As it happens, 2016 marks 15 years since their debut came out, and they’ve been steadily kicking ass all the while, proffering dangerous groove and garage-derived heavy in the spirit of the free-swinging classics. My prevailing memory of them may always be seeing them at Roadburn 2010 (review here) and bearing witness to a set that featured not one, not two, but three Blue Cheer covers. That’s the kind of band Orange Sunshine are. They’re the kind of band who might cover Blue Cheer three times if they feel like doing so.

As an ethos, it’s hard to argue, and whether it’s the harmonica-topped shuffle of “I’m a Man” or the megafuzzed interlude “Population III” — presumably a sequel to the 1969 album from Blue Cheer guitarist Randy Holden, Population II (discussed here) — and subsequent 15-minute closer “Hey Mama,” they live it all over Love = Acid Space = Hell. That finale is a jam worthy of Cactus, which is not praise I deliver lightly, and it comes only after Orange Sunshine have scorched their way through “Ain’t No Way” (which nods at Thin Lizzy‘s “Boys are back in Town”), the freaked-out “H-Theme” and the proto-punk “Wham Bam Thank You Ma’am,” making the vast, vast majority of the retro-stylized heavy rock that’s come out of Europe in the last decade sound positively safe by comparison in terms of songwriting and production. Kids wanna sound like the first Witchcraft record. They should wanna sound like Orange Sunshine.

The last few years have been quiet in terms of studio outings, but in 2013, Who Can You Trust? Records issued a tape called Burnout at Roadburn, and Lay Bare Recordings followed that up in 2014 with Live at Freak Valley (review here), so Orange Sunshine — the power trio of drummer/vocalist Guy Tavares, guitarist Arthur van Berkel and bassist Mehdi Rouchiche — haven’t been completely absent, though any major-scale touring or studio work seems to be on hold as van Berkel has battled Crohn’s Disease. Still, their records, the two live outings and a couple other odds and ends singles are all available for downloading/streaming on Bandcamp, so there’s plenty to dig into either way, whether or not more shows up eventually.

A snow day today has been much needed and much appreciated. In addition to being able to sneak in a couple extra posts about new Causa Sui and Heavy Psych Sounds stuff, it’s just been good not to have to drive to work and to be able to sit on the couch with The Patient Mrs. with our laptops and the dog, hang out and still be reasonably productive. We’re not supposed to get a foot even, so shoveling shouldn’t be too terrible when the time comes.

I didn’t get that Borderland Fuzz Fiesta mixtape up this week. Should be able to make that happen next Wednesday, so keep an eye out for it. I’ll start putting it together this weekend. Also next week, reviews of Spidergawd and hopefully Rotor, a track premiere from Talmud Beach on Tuesday and videos from The Vintage Caravan and Merlin, along with whatever else should happen into my purview between now and then. Heard a cool demo this week by Brooklyn newcomers River Cult that I’d like to write about. Might be time to resurrect On the Radar since I can’t seem to find time to do a proper post of radio adds. We’ll see.

I hope you have a great and safe weekend, whether you’re snowed in or not. If you need me, I’ll be in my pajamas as much as humanly possible, rounding out the third season of Star Trek (yup again; my greatest fear is that the new series due in 2017 will be a gritty reboot of The Next Generation) and trying not to spend money. See you back here Monday if I can actually go that long without posting something.

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Friday Full-Length: Toner Low, Toner Low

Posted in Bootleg Theater on January 29th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster

Toner Low, Toner Low (2005)

This month marks a decade since Netherlands-based ultrastoner trio Toner Low released their self-titled debut on Freebird Records. It followed a number of shorter offerings and demos and had been issued by the band’s own Roadkill Rekordz. It’s since been reissued a few times, its striking orange cover changed in this way or that, but whichever pressing it happens to be at any given moment, the album’s mammoth riffing, sludgy vibe and, yes, tone continues to stagger even a full 10 years after the fact, if not moreso for the context of the shape of heavy since. Toner Low got their start in 1998, roughly concurrent to the beginnings of Ufomammut in Italy, and as YOB were making their way toward their initial demo. By the time Toner Low‘s Toner Low actually materialized, its six-track/46-minute chug and push amp wall might not have been the first time a blend of cosmic psychedelia and crushing fuzz heft were paired with each other, but there’s no denying that Toner Low brought something of their own to the style that no one else did, a more direct inheritance from the riff worship of Sleep than most who would try could claim even now.

Plus, from the machine sounds within the trench-cut depths of “Devilbot” on through the stonedrone supremacy of “Sunn Of,” Toner Low maintains an experimental flair that sets the band apart not only from those who might be their multinational contemporaries, but from underground heavy in general. The “Dopesmoker”-style opening of “Grass” still nods better than most current practitioners, and the multi-stage righteousness of 14-minute closer “Nymrod” is an album unto itself — the hypnosis of “Sunn Of” before it setting up its explosion with hypnotic noisemaking — finishing out Toner Low‘s first long-player with eternal swing and a guitar and bass so dense that you could stand on them. The core is instrumental exploration, sound worship, but when there are vocals, they’re so blown out as to become part of the space rock affect, blurring the line between voice and instrument — something “Devilbot” does particularly well — except for the post-“Interlude” spoken word of “Murphy,” which recounts some obscure limbs-a-flying horror that may or may not have happened in orbit. All the while, Toner Low retain a sense of sonic will, a purpose that’s there even if you can’t be sure what it is, and that makes the record a mystery on some level to this day.

Of course, Toner Low are still going. They released their second album, II (discussed here), in 2008 and their third, III (review here), arrived in 2013 and has a vinyl reissue due next month through the band’s webstore. Their sound has progressed but remained unifyingly stoned out according to the tenets that the self-titled makes plain. They’re not really due for a follow-up yet, but if one was on the way, I wouldn’t fight it.

As always, I hope you enjoy.

I’ve been feeling big riffs this week, so there you go. Hard to go further in terms of largesse-of-riff.

I said a lot in the anniversary post, so I’ll keep this short and sweet, but thanks again for reading if you got to check in at all this week. There was a lot — and next week has a lot too — but I still feel like we got back to some semblance of normalcy after the anticipated-albums list went up on Monday. I had to get that one out. Next year, I think I’ll try to organize it differently though. Seemed like it was too much. Felt that way writing it, but I think even for people navigating through. Eh, you learn from it, change it around next year. Still pretty pleased with the response it got.

Did I mention next week is really busy? Good. Monday, look out for an Albino Rhinö track premiere that’s a 20-minute long jam. Still only half the song, of course, but it should be plenty. Tuesday, a track from Salt Lake City’s Making Fuck, who have ties to SubRosa and Dwellers. Wednesday, a video premiere from Devil to Pay. Thursday, a review and full stream for Mountain Tamer. And Friday, come hell or high water, I’m going to review Hexvessel. It should be well enough for the week.

Should do a new podcast at some point too. Might have to kiss up January and pick back up in February with the next one. Been a crazy, fast month. In the meantime though, I have a Borderland Fuzz Fiesta mixtape coming together next week that will feature tracks from the fest at the end of February which I’ll be covering in Arizona. Looking forward to that one for sure.

That’s going to have to do it for me. I hope you have a great and safe weekend. Please check out the forum and the radio stream, which I’m happy to say is back up and running at its full capacity after being on the backup for most of last week.

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Death Alley Chronicle Recent Triumphs in “Black Magick Blitzkrieg” Video

Posted in Bootleg Theater on January 15th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster

death alley

Last time we heard from Amsterdam heavy rock mischief-specialists Death Alley, they were kosmiche-ing out with a cover of Hawkwind‘s “Motorhead” in homage to Lemmy Kilmister. That was a week ago. Yup, a whole week. In the interim, the brash-as-broken-bottles four-piece made their way over to Germany last weekend for two gigs, and because we live in an age where amazing things happen all the time and as much as we all like to pretend vinyl is the be-all-end-all of human development (yeah yeah, it is, whatever) sometimes digital comes in handy, they have a brand new video culled from footage from those two shows in Berlin and Würzburg, out now and ready for viewing.

And actually, I’m late to the party on it. Came out on Wednesday. So they weren’t yet five days removed from the gigs and already the clip was edited and put together. Try doing that with tape.

If you’re not yet initiated, Death Alley made a particularly righteous debut last year in the form of Black Magick Boogieland (review here) on Tee Pee Records, and in addition to the shows they just played from whence the video below comes, they have more gigs set for the next couple months that include stops at the likes of Roadburn and Desertfest Berlin. Needless to say, the record has been well received. And if you didn’t get your Lemmy tribute 7″ preorder in, to the best of my knowledge they still have those available at the BigCartel link below.

The name of the song in the video isn’t “Black Magick Blitzkrieg.” It’s “Black Magick Boogieland,” but given the nature of what I’ll assume was a marathon editing and synching session for most of the track, the name seems fitting anyway.


Death Alley, “Black Magick Blitzkrieg”

Video made by Kevin Boitelle and Allen Grygierczyk at Opslaan Als.

Filmed in Berlin & Würzburg, 8-10 January 2016.

Death Alley upcoming shows:
15.01 Uden NL De Pul
16.01 Groningen NL Eurosonic Noorderslag
26.02 Paris FR Glazart (w/ Sasquatch)
27.02 Nantes FR Michelet (w/ Sasquatch)
28.02 Clermont FR Raymond (w/ Sasquatch)
15.04 Tilburg NL Roadburn
28.04 Berlin DE Desertfest

Death Alley Motorhead 7″ Preorder

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Death Alley website

Tee Pee Records

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Death Alley Premiere “Motorhead” Lemmy Tribute

Posted in Bootleg Theater on January 8th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster

death alley

Amsterdam heavy rock jackhammers Death Alley pay homage to the recent passing of Ian “Lemmy” Kilmister of Motörhead by covering the original song from whence that band took its name. “Motorhead” — sans umlaut — was the final song Lemmy penned during his time in Hawkwind, which came to a close in 1975. It originally appeared as the B-side to the single “Kings of Speed” from the Warrior on the Edge of Time album, but it’s shown up in so many places, releases by Motörhead and Hawkwind as well as other bands’ versions, that it really belongs to Lemmy more than either band over the other.

Death Alley, who’ll make a return to Roadburn this year in addition to playing Desertfest Berlin, are getting ready to release a 7″ cover of “Motorhead” as a tribute to the Man Himself. They would seem to be perfectly suited to the task. If you heard the four-piece’s 2015 debut, Black Magick Boogieland (review here), then you already know their sound takes heavy influence from both Motörhead and Hawkwind, but it’s specifically on the space rock impulse that they draw for “Motorhead,” drawing a three-minute original into an extended cosmic jam — much truer to live versions — while keeping in mind the hook at the song’s core. If you’re wondering how they could get it together so quickly after Lemmy‘s death, they didn’t. The song was reportedly put to tape a couple weeks ago and it just so happened that because 2015 had to get one more bummer in on its way out, the timing fit.

It should come as a surprise to no one that they nail the track. As you make your way through, make sure you catch the guitar solo and drum gallop just past 5:50. The band — vocalist Douwe Truijens, guitarist Oeds Beydals, bassist Dennis Duijnhouwer and drummer Ming Boyer — spaced out at the end of Black Magick Boogieland to be sure, but if what they bring to “Motorhead” is anything to go by, they’re ready to push even further.

Death Alley‘s “Motorhead,” like the album, was recorded by Pieter Kloos. Find it, some comment from the band, upcoming show dates and the preorder link below:

Death Alley, “Motorhead” (Hawkwind cover)

“Rock and roll can save your soul” now proves its truth: Lemmy has inspired so many rockers worldwide for the past decades, and his soul won’t stop inspiring people for at least that same amount of time. Remember me now, Motorhead!

Death Alley upcoming shows:
08.01 Berlin DE Zukunft Am Ostkreuz
09.01 Würzburg DE Immerhin
15.01 Uden NL De Pul
16.01 Groningen NL Eurosonic Noorderslag
26.02 Paris FR Glazart (w/ Sasquatch)
27.02 Nantes FR Michelet (w/ Sasquatch)
28.02 Clermont FR Raymond (w/ Sasquatch)
15.04 Tilburg NL Roadburn
28.04 Berline DE Desertfest

Death Alley Motorhead 7″ Preorder

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Death Alley website

Tee Pee Records

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Roadburn 2016: Diamanda Galás Added to Lineup

Posted in Whathaveyou on January 6th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster

I’m going to go out on a limb and say that even if you’ve never listened to Diamanda Galás, the people who make the music you listen to have. The West Coast experimentalist has been crushing preconceptions of what music should do since 1982’s The Litanies of Satan, and across landmark studio and live works, her influence has spanned generations and, I’d expect, will only continue to do so as she plays an early headlining set at Roadburn 2016 as part of Lee Dorrian‘s curated event, Rituals for the Blind Dead.

Day tickets for Roadburn 2016 go on sale tomorrow. Info on that and the initial announcement about Galás follow here:

Roadburn Festival is honoured to announce that Diamanda Galás will headline Lee Dorrian’s Rituals for the Blind Dead Pt. 1 on Friday, April 15 with a performance entitled ‘Death Will Come and Have Your Eyes’. The performance will start at 15.30 due to technical and logistical reasons. Furthermore, on Saturday, April 16 at 13.30, the legendary singer will also be a part of Lee Dorrian’s Rituals For The Blind Dead Pt. 2 at Het Patronaat, which will be turned into a seated venue for the screening of Schrei 27 – a film created by Galás and Italian filmmaker Davide Pepe – followed by an unmissable Q&A session with Diamanda.


Roadburn Festival is very pleased to announce the details of our 2016 day tickets for Thursday, Friday and Saturday of the festival. These will go onsale at 7pm CET on Thursday January 7, 2016 and will be priced at €59 each (plus fees). Day tickets will be limited so don’t delay!

Due to the upgrades to the 013 venue throughout 2015, Stage01 (still affectionately known by many as the Bat Cave) no longer exists, but in its place there is a larger Green Room which will host bands at the 013 venue. In addition to this Roadburn will be making use of the nearby Extase venue which is located behind Het Patronaat – the smallest stage has always been such an important part of Roadburn and that will continue in 2016. Cul de Sac will also be used as an official venue for Roadburn once again.

More information on the day tickets can be found HERE.

Diamanda Galás, “Das Fieberspital”

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Quarterly Review: Jess and the Ancient Ones, Iguana, Seamount, Gentlemans Pistols, Wired Mind, Automaton, Sideburn, Year of the Cobra, Drive by Wire, Akris

Posted in Reviews on January 4th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster

the obelisk quarterly review winter

And so it begins again. It had been my original intention to launch this latest Quarterly Review last week, but as that would’ve had me basically walking out on the holidays with my family, it seemed somehow prickish to be like, “Uh, sorry dudes, riffs call” and split, particularly when there are hours of driving involved. Still, though it’s already running late by the arbitrary calendar in my mind, I’m glad to be able to tackle a batch of releases that both looks back on the last part of 2015 and to the New Year we’ve just entered. As ever, there is a lot, a lot, a lot of ground to cover, so I won’t delay except to remind of what the Quarterly Review actually is:

Between now and this Friday, I will post 10 reviews a day in a single batch grouped like this one. The order is pretty much random, though something higher profile is usually first. It is my intention that each post covers a range of styles, and hopefully within that, you’re able to find something that speaks to you. Many of these releases were sent to me as physical product, and before I start, I want to extend thanks to those groups for undertaking the time and expense of giving me the full representation of their work to hopefully better do mine.

Quarterly Review #1-10:

Jess and the Ancient Ones, Second Psychedelic Coming: The Aquarius Tapes

jess and the ancient ones the second psychedelic coming

Finnish six-piece Jess and the Ancient Ones pay homage to psych cultistry on their sophomore full-length, Second Psychedelic Coming: The Aquarius Tapes (on Svart), and while one might argue with the band marking this out as the “second coming” of psych – I’d say the third, generationally-speaking – the paean to late-‘60s sonic spaciousness in “In Levitating Secret Dreams” is unmistakable, the songwriting of guitarist Thomas Corpse conjuring fervent swirl behind the soulful Grace Slick-isms of vocalist Jess. At 65 minutes, it’s a classic double-LP, but Second Psychedelic Coming seems most engaged in its longer pieces, the eight-minute “Crossroad Lightning,” which pulls back from the urgency of earlier cuts “”The Flying Man” or the opening “Samhain,” and the 22-minute closer “Goodbye to Virgin Grounds Forever,” which has an arrangement to match its scope that unfolds no less gracefully. Some of the more frenetic parts seem to be arguing with themselves, but the overarching vibe remains satisfyingly tripped out and that closer is their to-date masterpiece.

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Jess and the Ancient Ones at Svart Records

Iguana, Cult of Helios

iguana cult of helios

No big surprise that a record called Cult of Helios would seem to so unabashedly bask in sunshine. The four-track/32-minute sophomore full-length from German heavy psych four-piece Iguana has its driving moments, some in opener “Josiah” but more in the subsequent melodic thriller “Albedo,” but the prevailing sensibility is toward tonal warmth and steady groove. The band – vocalist/guitarist Alexander Lörinczy, guitarist Thomas May, bassist Alexander May and drummer Robert Meier – debuted in 2012 with Get the City Love You (review here), but Cult of Helios is a more cohesive, individualized release, whether it’s the hook of “Albedo,” the Beatles-gone-fuzz of “A Deadlock Situation” or the lush, flowing 15-minute jam of the closing title-track. Iguana’s propensity for blending underlying structure with a wide-open, welcoming atmosphere is writ large over Cult of Helios, and the album shines in a manner befitting its inspiration. A sleeper that begs waking.

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Iguana website

Seamount, V: Nitro Jesus

seamount v nitro jesus

Most long-distance projects fizzle out after a record or two. With a lineup split between Bavaria and Connecticut, doom rockers Seamount have managed to sustain a remote collaboration, the German band of bassist Markus Ströhlein, guitarist Tim Schmidt and drummer Jens Hofmann working with New England-based vocalist Phil Swanson (ex-Earthlord, ex-Hour of 13, Vestal Claret, etc.). The excellently-titled Nitro Jesus (on The Church Within) is their fifth full-length since 2007, and boasts a refined blend of doom, NWOBHM and dark thematics common to Swanson’s lyrics. Tonally crisp but immersive, slow crawlers like “Can’t Escape the Pain” are offset by the ‘80s metal swing of “Beautiful Sadness,” and each side caps with a longer track, whether that’s the seven-minute “Scars of the Emotional Stuntman,” the most singularly sweeping movement here, or the closer “No One Knows,” which has a moodier feel, the guitar recalling Don Henley accompanied by piano as the finale hits its apex. For those who like their metal of tried and true spirit and individual presentation, Nitro Jesus delivers in more than just its name.

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The Church Within Records

Gentlemans Pistols, Hustler’s Row

gentlemans pistols hustler's row

Every now and then you hear a record that reminds you what you love about rock and roll in the first place. It doesn’t need to be the most complicated thing in the world, or the most expressive, or the heaviest or the most whatever of anything else, but like Gentlemans Pistols’ third LP, Hustler’s Row (on Nuclear Blast), if it locks in a special chemistry between its players, that’s more than enough to carry it through. That the UK four-piece are ace songwriters and bolstered by the lead guitar chops of Bill Steer (Firebird, Carcass) for the Thin Lizzy dual-solos – vocalist/guitarist James Atkinson on the other end – helps plenty as well, but with the tight, classic-style grooves brought to across Hustler’s Row by bassist Robert Threapleton and drummer Stuart Dobbins, Gentlemans Pistols give essential heavy rock a non-retro modern interpretation that might leave one wondering why so many people try to ape a ‘70s production to start with.

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Gentlemans Pistols at Nuclear Blast

Wired Mind, Mindstate: Dreamscape

wired mind mindstate dreamscape

Each side of Wired Mind’s Mindstate: Dreamscape LP (on HeviSike Records) gracefully unfolds a lushly-toned, warm, engaging heavy psychedelic sprawl. The chief influence for the Hannover two-piece of guitarist/vocalist Mikey and drummer Chris is their countrymen godfathers Colour Haze, but the duo make their presence felt early on “Road,” the opener and longest-track at 11:01, which balances serene and spaced exploration with post-Kyuss “Thumb” shuffle, all the more enticing for having been recorded live, conjuring Echoplex spaciousness around the repeated line, “All we gotta do is love.” Both sides work on the same structure of a longer track feeding into a shorter one, “Road”’s considerable amassed thickness giving way to the winding groove of “Jennifer’s Dream of a Switchblade” while the Duna Jam-ready vibes permeating from “Wired Dream” finding a moving complement in closer “Woman,” which effectively captures desert rock rhythmic propulsion. As their debut, Mindstate: Dreamscape feels conceptually and stylistically cohesive, and sets Wired Mind up with a sonic breadth on which to continue to build.

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Wired Mind at HeviSike Records

Automaton, Echoes of Mount Ida

automaton echoes of mount ida

Greek heavy rollers Automaton revisit their 2013 debut full-length, Echoes of Mount Ida, for a limited vinyl release. The four-track offering initially surfaced coated in burl and massive riffing, but a remix adds psychedelic edge to the lumbering fervor of “Fear,” on which the Athenian five-piece are joined by Scott “Dr. Space” Heller of Øresund Space Collective for added synth and swirl. He delivers, and the opener also adds guest vocals from Nancy Simeonidou, but the remix keeps things consistent as Automaton transition into the chugging “Beast of War,” a complex near-djent rhythm (which will find complement in the end of “Echoes of Mount Ida” itself) smoothly met by drummer Lykourgos to finish side A of the LP while the locked-in nod of “Breathe in Stone” bleeds into the closing title-track as Automaton offer riffy largesse set in a spacious backdrop like mountains in the distance. Interesting to see if the semi-reboot of their debut is indicative of some overall shift in direction, but at least on the vinyl offering, it makes their sound that much broader.

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Sound Effect Records

Sideburn, Evil or Divine

sideburn evil or divine

Between Martin Karlsson’s keys (also bass) and vocalist Dimitri Keiski’s propensity to soar, the mood turns epic pretty quick on Sideburn’s fifth album, Evil or Divine (on Metalville Records). The Swedish foursome’s latest shares more than just its titular reference in common with Dio — who, in addition to the lyric from “The Last in Line” had a live record with the same title – but keep a foot in doom territory throughout, drummer Fredrik Haake playing with metallic precision and an edge of swing as Morgan Zocek pulls out leads over “Sea of Sins.” The later “The Day the Sun Died” is particularly post-Ozzy Iommic, but Evil or Divine benefits from the kick in the ass that the penultimate “Evil Ways” seems only too happy to provide before “Presence” finishes on a hopeful note. Definitely more fist-pump than nod, Evil or Divine cries out to legions of the brave who want a thicker groove than modern metal is willing to provide without giving up the occasional cause to headbang.

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Metalville Records

Year of the Cobra, The Black Sun

year of the cobra the black sun

Seattle-based bass/drum duo Year of the Cobra had two labels pick up their debut EP, The Black Sun, between Devil’s Child Records and DHU Records, and they’ve signed to STB Records for the follow-up, so it seems safe to say their three-track outing has gotten a solid response. The songs make a compelling argument for why. With vocals that recall Soph Day from Alunah on opener “White Wizard” before delving into faster, more punkish fare on “The Black Sun” itself, Year of the Cobra serve immediate notice of a breadth in their sound, and the seven-minute wah-bass finale “Wasteland” enacts a low-end swirl that pushes even further out while keeping hold of itself via steady, tense drumming. That finisher is a particular high point, with bassist/vocalist Amy Tung Barrysmith self-harmonizing in layers over the steady build and drummer Johanes Barrysmith making sure the considerable tone keeps moving forward. Easy to hear why they’ve found such support in such a short time.

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Dark Hedonistic Union Records

Devil’s Child Records

STB Records

Drive by Wire, The Whole Shebang

drive by wire the whole shebang

The third long-player from Dutch four-maybe-five-piece Drive by Wire, The Whole Shebang gets more complex as it goes. Its first couple tracks, “Kerosine Dreams” [sic], “Woodlands,” “The Whole Shebang” and “Five Ft. High” are deeply indebted to desert rock circa Songs for the Deaf, tonally and even in some of Simone Holsbeek’s sing/talk call and responses on “Woodlands.” From there, “Rituals,” “In This Moment” and the moody “River Run” and “Promised the Night” push into more individual ground, and even though they tie it back together in the album’s third and final movement with “Rotor Motor,” “All Around” and “Voodoo You Do,” the context has changed, and by the time guitarist Alwin Wubben swells lead lines behind the verse of the closer, the fuzz of “Kerosine Dreams” is a distant memory. Completed by bassist Marcel Zerb and drummer Jerome Miedendorp de Bie, Drive by Wire wind up on a considerable journey, and while the title at first seems off-the-cuff, it works out to be a whole shebang indeed.

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Drive by Wire webstore

Akris, Fall EP

akris fall ep

Relaunched as a trio in the first half of 2015, Virginia trio Akris made a studio return with the four-song/32-minute Fall EP, which probably should’ve been called a full-length and probably should’ve been pressed to vinyl (paging Tony Reed to master and STB Records to release…), but the digital-only offering finds Akris and particularly founding bassist/vocalist Helena Goldberg anything but apprehensive as she, guitarist/vocalist Paul Cogle (Nagato, Black Blizzard) and drummer Tim Otis (Admiral Browning) follow-up the band’s raucous sans-guitar 2013 self-titled full-length debut (review here), balancing plodding grooves, melody and abrasion deftly atop rumble and riffs in “Forgiven” as Goldberg swaps between screams and grunge-styled croons. The subsequent “People in the Sky” is less patient, and caps its nine-minute run with a barrage of noise rock synth that continues at the start of closer “Alley Doorway” but ultimately recedes (momentarily) to let that song establish its own course of loud/quiet tradeoffs and resonant exploration. Unless Akris are planning a series of seasonal short releases, I see no reason why Fall EP shouldn’t be characterized as a second long-player and heralded for the bold expansion of the band’s approach it represents.

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Akris on Bandcamp

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Roadburn 2016: Mondo Drag, Blind Idiot God, Bliksem and Peter Pan Speedrock Join Lineup

Posted in Whathaveyou on December 18th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster

I’m extremely pleased to announce that I’ll be returning to Tilburg next April for Roadburn 2016. News came earlier this week that we’ll be doing another run of the Weirdo Canyon Dispatch daily fanzine at the fest, and I’ll once more be partnered with Lee Edwards of The Sleeping Shaman and publicist extraordinaire Becky Laverty in bringing the thing to life. This will be my eighth time at Roadburn, but my first time at Roadburn 2016, and from where I sit, that makes all the difference.

I know damn well I’ll have more about the fest between now and next April, but I can’t even hope to begin to express how grateful I am to Roadburn, to the 013 venue in Tilburg, to Walter and Jurgen and all involved with making it happen. I’m continually humbled by how welcomed and included I’ve come to feel over the last few years, and I can’t wait to get back to the 013 office and see everybody again. It’s been a hell of a year. I have no doubt there will be much to discuss.

Today, Roadburn 2016 announces Mondo Drag, Blind Idiot God, Peter Pan Speedrock (who’ll play as part of their retirement tour) and Bliksem for its lineup. The batch of news below also contains ticket info for the individual days, though really, if you’re going, go for the whole thing. Pack as much in as you can, because it’s going to have to sustain you a whole year until Roadburn time comes around again.

Oh, and make sure you click through and read the full Blind Idiot God announcement! I wrote that one.

Here’s the latest:


We will have the legendary PETER PAN SPEEDROCK bringing their high energy rock to Friday proceedings as part of their farewell tour. Read more about them HERE.

The news has already gotten out but we’re incredibly excited to welcome BLIND IDIOT GOD to the Roadburn family for the first time.  They perfectly embody the Roadburn manifesto. Read more about them HERE.

MONDO DRAG will be bringing some Californian sunshine and psychedelic, Krautrock inspired prog all the way to Tilburg in April. Read more about them HERE.

BLIKSEM have been celebrating the release of their latest album, Gruesome Masterpiece, and we’ll be helping them continue those celebrations into 2016 with their performance at Roadburn Festival.  Read more about them HERE.


When SKEPTICISM take to the stage on Saturday April 16, they will be playing a set that has been entirely picked by their fans. The poll is now open for fans to select their favourite tracks from their back catalogue – which the band will bring to life on stage at Roadburn. The poll runs until the end of the year; votes can be cast HERE.


Due to some logistic issues, we have to switch JOHN HAUGHM’s solo performance from Friday, April 15th to Saturday, April 16th. Inspired by the bleak desert landscape, he  will bring one of the most sinister Western soundscapes – a collage of material from his latest release The Last Place I Remember – to Roadburn 2016.
Read more HERE.


Roadburn Festival is very pleased to announce the details of our 2016 day tickets for Thursday, Friday and Saturday of the festival. These will go onsale at 7pm CET on Thursday January 7, 2016 and will be priced at €59 each (plus fees). Day tickets will be limited so don’t delay!

Due to the upgrades to the 013 venue throughout 2015, Stage01 (still affectionately known by many as the Bat Cave) no longer exists, but in its place there is a larger Green Room which will host bands at the 013 venue. In addition to this Roadburn will be making use of the nearby Extase venue which is located behind Het Patronaat – the smallest stage has always been such an important part of Roadburn and that will continue in 2016. Cul de Sac will also be used as an official venue for Roadburn once again.

More information on the day tickets can be found HERE.

Mondo Drag, Live at Saint Vitus Bar, Brooklyn, 2015

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ZooN Releasing Debut LP DeeP on Dec. 19

Posted in Whathaveyou on December 8th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster

Sometimes you have a leisure suit, and sometimes you put it to good use. Netherlands-based newcomers ZooN will issue their debut full-length, DeeP, on Dec. 19 through Lighttown Fidelity. The band’s guitarist, Ron van Herpen, has a pedigree that traces back to The Devil’s Blood and Astrosoniq — the Wizards of Oss themselves — so there’s some immediate interest there, but if that’s not enough to grab attention, the laid-on-mustache-thick Nick Caveisms of vocalist Fred van Bergen in the video below for “Darkness Falls” might do the job.

They’ve got a release show planned in Oss for the release date, and moody vibe to spare. Here’s the background, album info, links and video:


DeeP will be released by Lighttown Fidelity, an independent record label from Eindhoven with whom the band share their eagerness to go off the beaten path and find their own way of doing things.

ZooN is melancholic, cathartic, fiery, dark and intense with a twist of 60’s psychedelica.

The exact date of ZooN’s birth is unknown; however it is stated that the parturition took place somewhere in the year 2013 in Oss, the Netherlands. Founding father is Ron [ ex-Astrosoniq and ex-The Devil’s Blood ] who added a couple of friends to the ranks who already earned some spurs in the music scene.

Featuring members of such acclaimed bands as The Devil’s Blood, Astrosoniq, and The Gathering – ZooN conjure up certain expectations, but the album is willing you to put preconceptions to one side to one side and dive right in.

ZooN is also:
Ron van Herpen: guitar
Tim Ruterink: Rhodes and guitar
Tom Delforterie: drums
Niels Duffhues: bass
Fred van Bergen: vocals

Marcel van de Vondervoort [ production, percussion ]
Teun van de Velden [ photography ]
Jérôme Siegelaer [ videographer ]

official release of upcoming album deep on december 2015

1. darkness falls
2. deep
3. down
4. wood
5. hide
6. breathing space
7. strike (ft. Farida Lemouchi)

ZooN, “Darkness Falls” official video

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