Monomyth to Release Orbis Quadrantis Sept. 13; Playing Desertfest Belgium and More

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

monomyth (photo by Michael Mees)

By the time Monomyth‘s new album, Orbis Quadrantis, is released on Sept. 13, it’ll be nearly a year after the track at the bottom of this post was first made public. 11 months, anyhow. That’s a pretty long wait, but fortunately, the depths offered up in “Aquilo” are plentiful enough to sustain, and double-fortunately, the album, which was originally slated to be out in February, will now be timed to the swath of autumnal live dates the Netherlands-based outfit have booked. So maybe the release is old news and maybe the track is old news, but the confirmed release date is new and while I wonder what pushed the thing back seven months — which, whatever it was, must have been frustrating for band and label alike, as well as anyone who heard “Aquilo” and wanted to dig into more — I’m at least glad there’s more to come now.

If you haven’t heard the track yet, and hey, maybe you have, maybe you haven’t, it might be the quickest 12 minutes you spend today.

Have fun:

monomyth orbis quadrantis

Monomyth – Orbis Quadrantis

RELEASE DATE: September 13, 2019

Monomyth: Five Flying Dutchmen who make the most thrilling instrumental soundscapes. Formed in The Hague in 2011, Monomyth are not afraid to push the boundaries of space / stoner rock. After playing festivals like Roadburn and Desertfest, 2019 sees the band starting a new chapter with their fourth album.

On Orbis Quadrantis the band delves into unexplored waters, yet their meticulous open-ended psychedelics remain in-between Ariel Pink and Pink Floyd.

The first vinyl editions in both 180g ‘black‘ and limited 180g ‘clear transparent blue and black mixed‘ vinyl comes in a 6-panel fold-out cover with double-sided artwork, black polybag inner cover and transparent plastic outer cover with Monomyth logo! The first 100 orders will also receive a hand-signed A5 photo card!

Tracklist:
01. Aquilo
02. Eurus
03. Auster
04. Favonius

TOUR
10-08-2019 – Yellowstock, Geel (B)
04-10-2019 – EKKO, Utrecht
18-10-2019 – Desertfest, Antwerpen (B)
19-10-2019 – Burgerweeshuis, Deventer
01-11-2019 – Merleyn, Nijmegen
02-11-2019 – Gebr. de Nobel, Leiden
15-11-2019 – Melkweg, Amsterdam
29-11-2019 – t Beest, Goes
30-11-2019 – De Gelderlandfabriek, Culemborg
06-12-2019 – VERA, Groningen
12-12-2019 – PAARD, Den Haag
13-12-2019 – Hall of Fame, Tilburg

https://www.facebook.com/monomyththeband
https://monomyththeband.bandcamp.com/
http://www.monomyththeband.com/
https://www.facebook.com/suburbanrecords
https://www.instagram.com/suburbanrecords/
https://suburban.nl/

Monomyth, “Aquilo”

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Le Guess Who? Festival Announces Initial Lineup with 87 Artists

Posted in Whathaveyou on May 22nd, 2019 by JJ Koczan

LE GUESS WHO 2019 BANNER

Granted, not everything here really applies, but between the extensive curated programs and the general lineup of 87 frickin’ artists, if you can’t find something to dig, I dare say that’s on you and not Le Guess Who? Festival, the 2019 edition of which will take place Nov. 7-10 in Utrecht, the Netherlands. The lines of genre very clearly mean nothing here, and I respect the hell out of that, but I can’t help it if my eyes are immediately drawn to the lines of Träden, Godflesh, Prana Crafter, Mythic Sunship, Earth and other familiar entities. Still, this is the kind of thing where, if you go, you obviously go ready to be surprised and willing to be wowed by the experience.

And if you’re fortunate enough to go, you should know that this is the initial lineup of 87 artists, which means that, yes, there’s more to come. Sounds overwhelming in the best sense of the word.

Dig in:

le guess who question mark

Le Guess Who? reveals initial line-up for 2019 edition

First 87 acts announced, including very rare performances by Asha Puthli, Ustad Saami, and Ayalew Mesfin & Debo Band, as well as first names for curated programs

Le Guess Who? is a festival that is dedicated to boundary-crossing music from all over the world. In 2019, the festival takes place from 7-10 November in Utrecht, The Netherlands, and celebrates curated programs by Jenny Hval; The Bug; Patrick Higgins; Moon Duo; Fatoumata Diawara; and Iris van Herpen & Salvador Breed. Now, Le Guess Who? presents the first of these curated programs as well as several special performances, and the initial artists for the general line-up of the festival.

Special performances

Pakistan’s Ustad Saami is the last living khayál master, a precursor of the ancient, Islamic devotional music of qawwali. Even under threat of Islamic fundamentalists, the 75-year old master has spent his life as a dedicated practitioner of a vanishing art–one that has been passed on from generation to generation since the 13th century. Saami will give a very rare live performance at Le Guess Who? 2019.

From award-winning avant-garde jazz vocalist to international pop star to space disco icon, Asha Puthli is one of the first recording artists to successfully merge traditional Indian influences with Western pop. Puthli’s sultry voice adorned Ornette Coleman’s avant-jazz masterpiece Science Fiction, her songs have been sampled by a.o. Notorious B.I.G. and Jay-Z, and her early admirers include Andy Warhol, Diana Vreeland and Salvador Dali.

Ayalew Mesfin is a quintessential Ethio-groove performer, but like many of his contemporaries, he struggled against obscurity amidst political turmoil in his home country. Distributing 4000 cassettes for free in the 1970s–later becoming collector’s items– led to several months in jail for Mesfin. Last year, the compilation album Hasabe (My Worries) was released, leading to renewed recognition of the artist. Le Guess Who? celebrates this legendary artist with an exclusive European performance featuring the Debo Band, who formed in 2006 to keep the spirit and craft of Ethiopia’s golden age of pop alive.

Curated programs
Each of the curators of Le Guess Who? 2019 will present their own program, featuring a range of inspirations and like-minded artists, including both established performers and new, up and coming acts.

Psychedelic/kraut mystics Moon Duo invite a.o. Nivhek, the new project of Grouper’s Liz Harris; Swedish prog/psych/counterculture trailblazers Träd, Gräs och Stenar (Träden); the dreamlike, cinematic nocturnes of sound artist Michele Mercure; and cosmic jazz travelers Idris Ackamoor & The Pyramids.

Shape-shifting electronic producer The Bug brings us King Midas Sound’s gloom-ridden dub, spoken word and ambient; juggernaut industrial/metal outfit Godflesh; the world premiere of a collaboration between Kevin Richard Martin and Japanese artist Hatis Noit; Jah Shaka, an essential figure within the British dancehall and dub scenes of the 70s; and the transformative experience of ZONAL featuring Moor Mother.

Norwegian multi-disciplinary artist Jenny Hval hosts Lolina, the project of Alina Astrova (Inga Copeland, Hype Williams); Sarah Davachi performing live with church organ and electronics; French sound sculptor Félicia Atkinson; and Oslo-based collective DNA? AND?, where children with special needs play improvised music with professional musicians, creating some of the most original, carefree and unfiltered music ever produced. Jenny Hval herself will present the new performance ‘The Practice of Love’ together with a multi-national ensemble including experimental musicians, vocalists, dancers and video artists.

New York avant-garde composer Patrick Higgins curates composer and electronic innovator Tyondai Braxton (formerly of Battles); pianist Conrad Tao, hailed by New York Magazine as “the kind of musician who is shaping the future of classical music”; Miranda Cuckson, with her dexterous mastery of the violin and the viola; and piano virtuoso Vicky Chow, who has reinvigorated pieces by Steve Reich, John Cage, and Bryce Dessner.

The curated programs of Fatoumata Diawara and Iris van Herpen & Salvador Breed will be announced at a later date.

General line-up

Le Guess Who? also announces the first performing artists within the general line-up of the festival: Atlanta art-punks Deerhunter; Makaya McCraven, regarded as one of Chicago’s most versatile and in-demand drummers, moving between genres like jazz, hip-hop and funk at lightning speed; The Raincoats, one of the most inventive bands spawned by the late 70’s punk explosion; nurse-turned-musician Doug Hream Blunt whose lo-fi brand of soul, funk and R&B was rediscovered by David Byrne’s Luaka Bop label; Dur-Dur Band with vibrant Somali funk music; fabled Japanese collective Acid Mothers Temple and their deep devotion to improvised music; from the outskirts of the small Mexican town of Texcoco, the fantastical and healing music of La Bruja de Texcoco; the playful lyricism and inventive pop melodies of Welsh avant-pop songwriter Cate Le Bon; the 10-piece big band Minyo Crusaders, who infectiously rework traditional Japanese folk with Latin, African and Caribbean rhythms; and the oracle that is Angel Bat Dawid, with her futuristic and spiritual jazz vision.

The full outline of confirmed artists can be found below.

Tickets

Day tickets for Le Guess Who? are on sale now. Tickets for the Thursday program are €43; tickets for Friday, Saturday and Sunday are €48. 4-Day Festival Passes are available for €148. All prices include service costs.

Le Guess Who? cooperates with The Dutch Council for Refugees for the ‘Grant an Entry’ initiative, which gives visitors the option to buy an additional day ticket for a refugee residing in The Netherlands who would like to visit Le Guess Who? but does not have the financial means to do so.

More info via www.leguesswho.com.

________________________________________________________________________________________

Initial line-up for Le Guess Who? 2019:

curated by Moon Duo
Bbymutha
Bridget Hayden
Idris Ackamoor & The Pyramids
Mary Lattimore
Michele Mercure
Moon Duo
Nivhek
Prana Crafter
Sonic Boom
TENGGER
Träd, Gräs och Stenar (Träden)

curated by The Bug
Caspar Brötzmann Massaker
Drew McDowall’s Time Machines
Earth
Godflesh
Jah Shaka Sound System
JK Flesh & Goth-Trad
Kevin Richard Martin & Hatis Noit
King Midas Sound
LOTTO
Mala
Mark Ernestus’ Ndagga Rhythm Force
Rabih Beaini
Robert Aiki Aubrey Lowe
Slikback
ZONAL feat. Moor Mother

curated by Jenny Hval
DNA? AND?
Felicia Atkinson
Haco
Jenny Hval’s The Practice Of Love
Lasse Marhaug
Lolina
Lone Taxidermist presents BodyVice
Moon Relay
Oorutaichi
Richard Youngs
Sarah Davachi
Sofia Jernberg
Vilde Tuv
Vivian Wang
Zia Anger’s My First Film

curated by Patrick Higgins
Conrad Tao
Leila Bordreuil
LEYA
Mariel Roberts
Miranda Cuckson
Stine Janvin
Tyondai Braxton
Vicky Chow

General line-up
Acid Mothers Temple
Angel Bat Dawid
Arp Frique presents IMPROVISED SUITES FOR ANALOG MACHINES
Asha Puthli
Ayalew Mesfin & Debo Band
Cate Le Bon
Deerhunter
DJINN
Doug Hream Blunt
Dur-Dur Band
Eiko Ishibashi
Faten Kanaan
Föllakzoid
Gruff Rhys
Gyedu-Blay Ambolley & His Sekondi Band
Joseph Shabason
Khana Bierbood
La Bruja de Texcoco
Lakha Khan
Lalalar
Los Pirañas
Makaya McCraven
Melissa Laveaux
Minyo Crusaders
Mohamed Lamouri
Mythic Sunship
Negativland
Nídia
Oiseaux-Tempête & Friends
Petbrick
Prison Religion
Surfbort
The Raincoats
Ustad Saami
Visible Cloaks, Yoshio Ojima & Satsuki Shibano
Y?N Y?N
Yves Jarvis

More artists to be announced.

https://www.facebook.com/events/2338322109573864/
https://www.leguesswho.nl/
https://www.facebook.com/leguesswho/
https://www.instagram.com/le_guess_who/

A Taste of Le Guess Who? 2018

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The Machine to Tour this October with Samavayo

Posted in Whathaveyou on May 15th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

THE MACHINE

Just this past weekend, Rotterdam, the Netherlands-based trio The Machine headlined the Esbjerg Fuzztival in Denmark. The three-piece are out supporting their self-released 2018 album, Faceshift (review here), which brought their blend of jam-based heavy and noise rock influences to its to-date peak of execution. They are by now veterans of the European heavy underground, and seem to be moving more and more toward a headliner position as a result of that. Previously announced for Keep it Low 2019 in Munich and Up in Smoke 2019 in Pratteln, Switzerland, they’ll also play the Setalight Festival in Berlin on Oct. 12 as the final date of an efficient 10-day run with Samavayo, who were also recently on the road with Stoned Jesus.

The two bands are a good fit. Both have a harder edge beneath their tonally weighted exterior, and whether it’s Samavayo‘s turn toward progressive metal or The Machine‘s periodic coffee-fueled binge on noise tendencies, I’d imagine their sets will offer something complementary to those in attendance starting Oct. 3 at the 013 in Tilburg. If nothing else, with three out of the 10 shows being festivals, it should make for a good time for the bands. The Fall season is increasingly busy and as those fest lineups continue to take shape, I wouldn’t be surprised to find more tours like this happening. I’ll keep an eye out.

As presented by Sound of Liberation:

the machine tour

The legendary The Machine are going to hit the European roads in October together with the fabulous Samavayo, who just returned from their one-week tour with Stoned Jesus! Just one word: U.L.T.R.A.H.I.G.H.E.N.E.R.G.Y.

Do not miss this!

MORE INFO:
https://www.soundofliberation.com/machine-the

DATES:
03.10.19 Tilburg | 013 (NL)
04.10.19 Pratteln | Up In Smoke Festival (CH)
05.10.19 Siegen | Vortex (DE)
06.10.19 Deventer | Burgerweeshuis (NL)
07.10.19 Hamburg | Hafenklang (DE)
08.10.19 Copenhagen | Stengade (DK)
09.10.19 Dortmund | Junkyard (DE)
10.10.19 Chemnitz | AJZ (DE)
11.10.19 Munich | Keep It Low Festival (DE)
12.10.19 Berlin | Setalight Festival 2019 (DE)

https://www.facebook.com/themachine.nl/
https://twitter.com/themachine_nl
https://instagram.com/themachine_nl/
http://www.themachineweb.com/
https://www.facebook.com/awerecords/
https://www.instagram.com/awerecords
https://awe-records.com/

The Machine, “Crack You” official video

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Leaving Roadburn 2019

Posted in Whathaveyou on April 15th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

roadburn 2019 donders posters

04.15.19 – 12.21 CET – Monday afternoon – Gate D60, Schiphol Airport

Rumor has it we board in about an hour, but the plane isn’t here yet. There’s no rush apart from the usual going-to-a-place-so-I-gotta-get-to-the-place-I’m-going mania. Flying is always a lot of hurry up and hurry up and wait. That and recycled air.

This weekend was incredible. Over the course of a given year, especially as I’ve been trying to go to more shows, every April is always a reminder of how truly special Roadburn is. Not even just the bands playing — I think I knew fewer bands on this lineup than any of the previous 10 Roadburns I’d been to — but the setting, atmosphere, the intangible vibe of creativity that’s everywhere and so joyful. No matter how dark the music gets, or how grueling the emotions involved, if it’s to be a catharsis, then there is joy in that release.

When Treedeon were on stage, their bassist was on mic between songs talking about how fucked up the world is and so on, and that playing loud is their therapy. She then thanked the crowd for coming to their therapy session. Succinctly put and likely true. I’ve had days where the only thing that seems to keep my head on straight is writing. And I’ve had days as well where even that hasn’t worked. That’s the thing about getting old. You keep accumulating days.

I call that “sports wisdom.” It’s the act of declaring something obvious with an intent toward profundity. I’m sure the Germans have a better word for it. Think how many times you’ve heard professional athletes say things like, “They can’t catch it if you don’t throw the ball,” and be treated among the great thinkers of their generation. Sports wisdom.

Before I get on this plane and go home over the course of the next I don’t even know how many hours — 12-ish? 14? whatever — I want to say thank you to Walter Hoeijmakers, Becky Laverty and the entire team at Roadburn for having me back this year. It was an honor to work on what I think was the best Weirdo Canyon Dispatch we’ve ever done, and it couldn’t have happened without Walter advocating for us, the generosity of the 013 venue’s crew and resources, and the work of Lee Edwards, Paul Verhagen, Niels Vinck, Vince Trommel, and the entire staff of writers who’ve been so fantastic to work with these last six years. Editing that ‘zine has reminded me of what all the best parts were of working professionally in print media, and in that context, without any of the drag factor that came along with them back in the real world — as opposed, of course, to Planet Roadburn — it’s hard not to miss that. The WCD is an outlet I’m humbled and so fortunate to be a part of.

I got out of the van the other day at the 013 coming in from the airport, and though I was dead tired from the flight and ready to crash immediately over at the hotel (I didn’t, but I was ready to), I still took a moment to breathe in and feel like I was, in a very special, very specific way, home. I am so lucky to feel that in this place and with these people.

Thanks to The Patient Mrs., to The Pecan, to my mother, my sister, and to everyone who has followed along on this brief but wonderful bit of adventure. I’ve scaled way, way back on travelogue stuff because I figure people care most about the music and time’s short anyway and I’d rather focus on that, but it means a tremendous amount to me that you would check in, or give a like or a share, or comment on Instagram, or whatever it might be. Thank you for your support. It is the reason any of this can happen, and I will spend the rest of my life being grateful for that.

Okay, plane’s here. Boarding in a little bit, then off to Reykjavik, change in Reykjavik, then off to Boston. Then home.

Thanks for reading. Roadburn 2020 is April 16-19 in Tilburg, the Netherlands. I hope you go, and I’ll hope to get to see you there.

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Live Review: ROADBURN 2019 Day Four, 04.14.19

Posted in Features, Reviews on April 14th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

roadburn 2019 banner day four

04.14.19 – 01.17 CET – Sunday night – Hotel

Just now, before I sat down to write this post, I went to the tap in the bathroom to refill my water bottle. You can drink the tap water here — it’s really something. Anyhow, I stick the bottle under the cold water and look down about two seconds later to see I’ve left the cap on. Water running down the side of bottle. That’s about where one’s head is at on this last day of Roadburn 2019. You ever been nostalgic about something while it’s still going on? Yeah, emotions are running high in Tilburg. Many hugs, many slaps on the back, many see-you-next-years from one denizen of this temporary planet to another. Lucy in Blue (Photo by JJ Koczan)Indeed, even strung out on caffeine and obliterated by volume, it’s difficult to say goodbye to Roadburn, always.

Still somewhat reminiscent of when it was the Afterburner, Roadburn‘s Day Four has fewer stages, but I mean, it’s still four. Five if you count the Ladybird Skatepark, which I was at twice today. So yeah, not a laid back affair. And while the shows ended earlier — Imperial Triumphant and Cave both ended at 00.30, in Patronaat and the Green Room, respectively — the day also started early, with Lucy in Blue going on in the Green Room at 14.00 presenting their new album, In Flight, in its entirety. Based in Iceland, their sound is a classically progressive kind of rock with notable use of keys and vocal harmonies to go with the kraut-ish riffing and repetitive progressions.

They were young, but had both a firm grip on their aesthetic intentions and many aspects of their performance. Maybe some kinks to work out in terms of songwriting efficiency and their onstage persona, but the elements were there in a way that you couldn’t call anything other than encouraging. They were a mellow start to the day for those not watching Have a Nice Life on the Main Stage next door, and as far as I’m concerned, that was welcome. I did pop over to check out some of the Connecticut-based unit, Supersonic Blues (Photo by JJ Koczan)but only after Lucy in Blue were well in flight and had left the ground behind. It was a palpable contrast.

Didn’t watch Daughters. I know. But, well, Supersonic Blues were added last-minute to play at the skatepark, and well, they ruled last year, so it seemed like an easy-enough pick to head up and see them again. There were more skaters than yesterday, but they cleared out so the Dutch three-piece could play. Like Lucy in Blue, Supersonic Blues are probably under 30 — unless I’m just old enough now that 30 year olds look like kids; possible — but they command a warmth of tone and a sense of appreciation for classic boogie rock that comes complemented by an easy-rolling sense of craft and a sans-pretense approach to what they’re doing. I’ll take that any, any, any day of the week. I heard they got added yesterday and was only stoked that I’d get to see them again. They’ve had two singles out but sound like they’re about ready for a first LP, or at very least an EP.

A little bit of continuity to the start of the day between Lucy in Blue and Supersonic Blues, and though that coolest of colors wouldn’t factor into the moniker of Stuck in Motion, there was plenty of blues in their sound, and a fervent ’70s stylization as well. They fit with what I was looking for, is the short version of theStuck in Motion (Photo by JJ Koczan) story, and I stood and watched from the Green Room balcony as they classic-heavied their way into the hearts and heads of the assembled, easing out sleek grooves and keyboards/organ that only added to the depth of the melody. Cool band, and I felt justified in not fighting my way to the front to take photos by how chill their sound was. As if to say, “It’s cool man, you go ahead and take this one easy. We will too.” It was a winning decision all the way around, I think.

I had gotten turned onto their 2018 self-titled debut (review here) by Walter on Facebook posting about them, so checking them out in the flesh only seemed fair. They were cool, but I felt like I owed it to myself to watch Thou close out their residency on the Main Stage. Given the set they played last night at the skatepark doing Misfits covers, somehow a straight-ahead performance seemed anticlimactic, but hell’s bells were they heavy. I mean, really. Spread out across the stage, they brought full-on volume to the kind of atmospheres they had in their almost-acoustic set the other night, something disquieting in the mood and challenging of themselves and their audience. They are a band people really like. A lot. I can’t say that I’m a Thou (Photo by JJ Koczan)huge Thou fan like the people I saw chasing down the vinyl over in the merch area, but they’re undeniably powerful on stage, whether screaming or melodic, loud or quiet, or, you know, playing Misfits tunes, as one apparently will. I know they played like 50 sets in the last four days, but how could they not be back at some point in the years to come?

That question gave me something to ponder as I plotzed up to the Ladybird Skatepark for the last time to see Bismuth, who played earlier in the fest but were given another chance to volume-pummel everything in their path. Loud? Shit. There were parts of that building vibrating that were not meant to vibrate. Bassist/vocalist Tanya Byrne won Roadburn 2019 as regards t-shirts with the selection of Khanate, and she and drummer Joe Rawlings doled out grueling nod and brutal tone with unmitigated intensity. Their 2018 album, The Slow Dying of the Great Barrier Reef (discussed here), was some manner of preparation for seeing them live in terms of the basic air-from-lungs push of low-end — also tree-trunk drumsticks — but the volume factor made it all the more of a steamroller running atop the assembled masses Bismuth (Photo by JJ Koczan)in the skatepark, that big, high-ceilinged space seeming to fill up with sound no matter where you stood. Audio as a physical presence. It was righteous.

And then, of course, Sleep played. As far as culminations go, one could hardly ask for more than Sleep returning after so dutifully handing the 013 its ass last night to play their 2018 album, The Sciences (review here), front-to-back. But here’s the thing: Sleep played last night doing Sleep’s Holy Mountain in full. It was incredible. But The Sciences was better. The material sounded fresher, the band sounded more comfortable, and I’m not sure there’s hyperbole dramatic enough for how fucking loud they were. It was incredible. I’ve been lucky enough to see Sleep a few times. My go-to for the best I ever saw them was Roadburn 2012 (review here). After tonight, I might have to change my opinion. There was a technical glitch or two along the way — Matt Pike blew out one of his several guitar heads — but he, Al Cisneros and Jason Roeder Sleep (Photo by JJ Koczan)were utterly incredible. It was the kind of set that could make you believe in the magic of Christmas. A true Santa Claus of a set. They threw in “Holy Mountain” and “Dragonaut” as well, I guess just in case anyone in the room wasn’t there the night before. I heard no complaints for the repeaters, and registered none myself. Those songs too were better the second time around.

No clue how many times I’ve made this observation, but I think Jason Roeder might be the best drummer I’ve ever watched play. Yeah, Matt Pike just won a Grammy with High on Fire, and Al Cisneros deserves a Nobel for his work in Om, but between those two titans, Roeder — who, just to mention it so you don’t think I’m undercutting his own pedigree, was well established in fucking Neurosis before he joined Sleep in place of original drummer Chris Hakius — is crucial to the band Sleep have become. It was all the more emphasized in the The Sciences material, songs like “Sonic Titan” and “Giza Butler,” which unto itself was a highlight of the entire festival. If last night was a celebration of Sleep‘s earlier glories, then tonight was confirmation of the reason they’re the most influential riffers since Black Sabbath themselves. They were a joy to behold, and the perfect ending to my own personal Roadburn 2019.

There was a line outside Het Patronaat as I was leaving after aSleep (Photo by JJ Koczan) few quick goodbyes. Imperial Triumphant would be on shortly as the last Roadburn band ever to play the venue — there’s a bit of festival trivia for you — and I heard they were doing a whole thing with masks, but honestly, how could I ever hope to improve on the night I’d just had or what I’d just seen? Sad as it was to realize, it was time to go.

So I went. Roadburn 2019 ended on a higher note than I could’ve wished for, and I walked out of the 013 and down Weirdo Canyon to get back to the hotel sweaty, smelling like smoke, tired, hungry, thirsty and sore, but still feeling 100 percent refreshed. The only tragedy is it’s another year till the next one.

Thanks for reading. I’ll close out the Roadburn coverage tomorrow assuming I have time, but first and foremost thank you for reading. You’re pretty great.

More pics after the jump.

Read more »

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Live Review: ROADBURN 2019 Day Three, 04.13.19

Posted in Features, Reviews on April 13th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

Roadburn 2019 banner (Photo by JJ Koczan)

04.14.19 – 02.15 CET – Saturday night – Hotel

It snowed today. That was a first. Hail too. I wasn’t outside for it, but unless European snow bounces, it was hail, followed by snow. 11 Roadburns later, Tilburg still holds a few surprises. And no, I don’t just mean the secret Thou set where they did the Misfits covers and Emma Ruth Rundle got in on the action, though that too.

ROADBURN 2019 WEATHERThe weather wasn’t a hardship or anything — the joke was that Sumac were so heavy they made it hail, and fair enough — since apart from a short walk here or there I spent very nearly the entire day inside. I was bumming hard after finding out about a brutal fuckup on my part with today’s issue of the daily ‘zine, the Weirdo Canyon Dispatch. Basically I left out an important piece and we’ll run it tomorrow anyway, but I still felt very, very much like shit about it. Like, “I don’t deserve to be here” beating myself up. I went and found the writer in question and damn near broke out into tears apologizing.

I know it’s a festival fanzine and all, but that shit is important to me, and it was squarely my mistake that dropped the article. It won’t be as timely tomorrow when it goes in the issue. I know it’s not the end of the world, ultimately, but this fest puts its faith in me not to screw up doing this one thing, and I screwed it up. I’d already seen Temple Fang and Wolvennest and a couple seconds of Confusion Master by then, and I thought long and hard about just coming back to the hotel and going to bed, but eventually got it together. It sucks being bad at, like, everything you do.

Like I said, I saw Temple Fang again. They opened up the pre-show on Wednesday (review here), and they opened up today in a kind of super-early showcase slot at 1:30PM in an especially foggy Hall of Fame, up by the Koepelhal and the Ladybird Skatepark, which is very quickly becoming another Roadburn venue. Launching with “Gemini,” Temple Fang were this time around a little less Temple Fang (Photo by JJ Koczan)tense — maybe just waking up — and a little more locked into an overarching groove that still highlighted their progressive take on space rock and psychedelia, but seemed to give the songs a little more space to breathe. I’m not sure I can speak to exactly what the difference was. It might’ve been just as simple as playing a little more relaxed. But both sets showed the serious potential on the part of the band and my only problem with seeing them play a second time was that it meant they did not immediately on Thursday morning enter the studio to record their debut album, which had been my hope after their first show. Oh well. Always tomorrow, guys.

Wolvennest opened the Main Stage, with theremin, incense and a few skulls here and there amid their darkened cult rock atmospherics. The Brussels-based outfit are celebrating the release this month of their new EP, Vortex, which came out last week through the ever-tasteful Ván Records, and I have no doubt they persuaded a few heads with their murky vibe and swirling, obscure but still progressive heaviness. Fronted by Sharon Shazzula, who’s done work over the years with Aqua Nebula Oscillator, Kadavar, Farflung and a host of others — in addition to having founded Swamp Booking — and she and the full band alongside her brought a consuming wash of noise to the big room at the 013, and once I got back from my Wolvennest (Photo by JJ Koczan)Beto-esque apology tour (except I meant it), I found I was even more into it near the finish. It was somewhere between black metal, psychedelia and lurch, and wherever that was, that seemed definitely like the place to be. I’m sure someone cleverer than me has already invented a genre tag for it. To me it just sounded awesome.

Today was Maalstroom — a massive celebration of Dutch black metal held at Het Patronaat and given the added poignancy of also serving as an ad hoc tribute to former Dodecahedron frontman Michiel Eikenaar, who passed away yesterday after a long illness. Malstroom itself is the third of Roadburn 2019’s commissioned projects, and like last year’s Vánagandr formed of Icelandic black metallers, Maalstroom drew/draws from various projects working together on a new piece as a new entity. The whole day at the church was dedicated to it, and though my own adventure would take me on a different path, it would be hard not to admire the vision in putting that kind of thing together with Witte Wieven, Turia, Laster, Terzij de Horde, the aforementioned Dodecahedron and then Maalstroom itself to close out. One way or the other, it was going to be a special day.

Sumac (Photo by JJ Koczan)There were also more acts today from Tomas Lindberg‘s curation, including UranThe Exorcist GBG, and Orchestra of Constant Distress, and it was the Exile on Mainstream Records 20th anniversary celebration. Oh, and Sleep played Sleep’s Holy Mountain (2009 reissue review here) in its entirety. You know, because why not. I wound up flitting back and forth between 013 and the Koepelhal complex for the day, as I think a lot of people did who didn’t otherwise camp out at the Patronaat. Sumac absolutely floored me playing the Main Stage. What’s been my hesitation with those guys? I have no idea. I’ve dug both their records — last year’s Love in Shadow (review here) and 2016’s What One Becomes (review here) — but I still never really considered myself a fan. It’s Aaron Turner (ex-Isis, etc.), Bryan Cook (Russian Circles) and Nick Yacyshyn (Baptists), and their tone was probably the heaviest I’d heard this weekend up to that point. I don’t know what my hangup was with that band, but yeah, I’ll go ahead and credit the universe with being right on that one. More records to buy: just what I need.

Mythic Sunship had added another set at the Skatepark — they wound up playing three times, so I’m extra glad I caught them at least once — so I made my way up there and stopped in Koepelhal first to see Boston’s Morne, who were casting death across that packed and massive space. Couldn’t help but notice guitarist/vocalist Milosz Gassan wearingMorne (Photo by JJ Koczan) a t-shirt for Armageddon Shop (or Armageddon Boston, to be more specific) on the stage. Today was apparently Record Store Day, so fair enough. Roadburn never seems to lack for commerce, as the merch area just outside the Koepelhal proper shows, but I’m sure plenty of people also made it over to Sounds, which is the local shop down the road a little ways. I went once. It was cool. This year, however, my feet were glued in place for Morne, who issued their To the Night Unknown LP through that same Armageddon Shop label last year. No regrets. Their sound has the classic emotional crux of death-doom but toys with that balance effectively and still holds a pervasive sense of atmosphere.

It was almost time for that Mythic Sunship show, and I was looking forward to it, but Treedeon in the Hall of Fame for the Exile on Mainstream 20th anniversary was too good to pass up. The German trio’s bizarre noise rock is so emblematic of that label, and while I don’t think my tastes and those of Andreas Kohl, who runs imprint, always line up — though we’re both big Wino fans — it’s a fair bet that something on Exile on Mainstream is going to at very least be interesting. In the case of Treedeon, it was interestingTreedeon (Photo by JJ Koczan) like a fucking boot to the throat. Even their recorded work — the latest LP was 2018’s Under the Manchineel (review here) — doesn’t quite capture the density of their approach to noise rock, and golly it was loud in the Hall of Fame. It’s a low ceiling, so the sound just feels like it’s collapsing on you, and that suited Treedeon well in portraying another vision of extremity after Morne.

Among other things, it was about the polar opposite of seeing Mythic Sunship in a skate park, so that was fun. Indeed, dudes were skating on the ramps and rails and whatnot and looking annoyed as people started filing in for the show. Sorry. The Copenhagen four-piece have been on tour since April 4 supporting their excellent 2018 offering, Another Shape of Psychedelic Music (review here), and though they didn’t have the sax with them today as they apparently did yesterday, they still tore it up ferociously, by which I mean they played a smoothly progressive jam-based kraut-psych-rock and their chemistry was out in full force. Their drummer ate a banana right before they went on, which I’m sure helped keep his energy up, and the Ladybird filled up well for them. They’re the kind of band I’d probably never get to see if I wasn’t here, let alone see in such a context, so I was stoked on the opportunity and the outcome of it. I don’t think they will, but if they played another set tomorrow, I doubt anyone would complain, Mythic Sunship (Photo by JJ Koczan)except maybe those skateboarders.

Dinner was chicken in peanut sauce. I had a few quick bites and then went back to the Main Stage to watch the end of Cave In‘s set. I gotta say, I haven’t listened to Cave In actively in a long time, and I still knew just about every word to everything they were playing. That band can write a song. They had Nate Newton (Converge) on bass in the place of Caleb Scofield, who passed away and was memorialized with an acoustic set last year by his bandmates Steve Brodsky and Adam McGrath that’s since been released by Roadburn Records, and while I didn’t see the full set, what I caught was dead on. They’ve always occupied a space between punk, metal and rock, but they’ve also always made that space their own, and to see them do that in front of a crowd so into it as that at Roadburn was affirming even if I only caught a couple songs.

It was time for Sleep. There was the requisite changeover after Cave In, and fair enough for the mighty stacks of amps and cabinets brought out, as well as Jason Roeder‘s drum riser. I mean, Sleep playing Sleep’s Holy Mountain. In full. Sleep (Photo by JJ Koczan)Front-to-back. As the first of two nights of sets. What the hell more could you want? If your answer was, “maybe a shortened version of ‘Dopesmoker’ and ‘The Clarity,'” they did those too, but obviously the highlight was seeing Al CisnerosMatt Pike and Roeder run through those Holy Mountain tracks. Pike even switched to an acoustic guitar for an extended take on “Some Grass” ahead of “Aquarian.” The Main Stage hall was packed to the point that the upstairs balcony looked like it was about to spill over, and the whole room just became a sea of nodding heads to each riff. Everyone kept up with the changes. Everyone knew where they were going. It was yet another of those Roadburn things that make you feel so stupid lucky to be here to see. Funny how those keep popping up all weekend. Every year. All weekend. They’re back tomorrow doing The Sciences in full. Again, Roadburn.

There was still plenty of Roadburn day three to go, but I was (un)fairly beat. Still, there was one more thing I had to, had to, had to see, and it was Bellrope. They were closing out the Exile on Mainstream celebration at Hall of Fame, and though the hike up there felt daunting to my riffed-out legs, I did it anyway and got up there before the two-bass-one-guitar-all-smash German foursome got started. Their debut album, You Must Relax (review here), is on my list of 2019’s best despite (because of?) its initial feedback assault to weed out the Bellrope (Photo by JJ Koczan)weak-hearted among its listenership. They did similar on stage, by the way, but shorter, and with a mammoth and punishing low end push to fill out that feedback, it was brutal in the best way possible. They brought up two members of Treedeon for a guest vocal spot and the sort of sludge ensued that you should need a prescription to get, which should explain the line that went out the door.

Despite the day’s rough start with my stupid, stupid, stupid, unprofessional bullshit error in the ‘zine, it was still a day that was as fantastic as it was busy. Tomorrow is the end of Roadburn 2019, and it’s always bittersweet, so while I’m plenty exhausted, like At the Gates before me, I’m going to try to drink from the night itself and let adrenaline carry me through as, hopefully, it will.

Thanks for reading. More pics after the jump.

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Live Review: ROADBURN 2019 – Ignition, 04.10.19

Posted in Features, Reviews on April 10th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

roadburn 2019 banner (Photo by JJ Koczan)

04.11.19 – 00.23 CET – Wednesday night – Hotel

Just like that, Planet Roadburn aligned to the hew-mon visible spectrum with the newly-relocated and rebranded pre-show, Ignition. Once upon a Roadburn or three ago, the Sunday was called the Afterburner. Now it’s just another day of the fest. Next year, maybe Ignition will be two stages. Then four. Then six. Then Roadburn will just be a week long. Then a month. Until, at last, three centuries from now, it will always be Roadburn and Roadburn will never not happen, and if our shitheel species is lucky enough to witness it, it’s as close to utopia as we’d ever be likely to get.

Spilled beer on the camera bag. The wafting smell of dudefart. Volume the likes of which vibrates the shirt you’re wearing. Pro-shop everything. It’s fucking Roadburn, children. Get on your goddamned feet. Yes. This.

Three bands held sway at the 013 — there’s construction at Cul de Sac; a revamp, but it will reportedly return — and it was Temple Fang, Great Grief and Hellripper to cast a spectrum of light, dark and blood across the Green Room for the faithful in attendance to bear witness. Was that you? It probably should’ve been.

Boogie oogie oogie:

Temple Fang

Temple Fang (Photo by JJ Koczan)

I was as impatient to see Temple Fang live as I am now for them to put out an album. The Amsterdam four-piece of bassist/vocalist Dennis Duijnhouwer and guitarist/sometimes-vocalist Jevin de Groot, guitarist Ivy van der Veer and drummer Jasper van den Broeke collided kraut and space rock visions with an even-heavier underpinning thanks to Duijnhouwer‘s formidable Rickenbacker tone. He and de Groot shared a tenure in hyper-underappreciated cosmic doomers Mühr, and Duijnhouwer featured in Death Alley as well, so there’s pedigree there as far as I’m concerned, but if Temple Fang had eyes for anything, it was only the silveriest of futures. I don’t know the name of a single song they played, but woof, they held it down in glorious fashion for the assembled masses. By the time they were done, I wanted to shout at the stage for them to immediately get in the studio and get something together. I’ll hope that while they do that, they also mix and master this live set so I can relive the magic in smug ground-floor fashion. They were the first band who played, and there’s no doubt in my mind that by the end of this weekend, I’ll still consider them a highlight. And sadly, they won’t have an album out by Monday either, so I’ll probably still be complaining about that too.

Great Grief

Great Grief (Photo by JJ Koczan)

Good grief, Great Grief. Roadburn‘s years-since-established fetish for the Icelandic underground in its many forms — yet seemingly not all that many people in the actual bands — continued with the heart-on-sleeve hardcore four-piece, who brought issues of diversity and coping with mental health struggles to the fore in their set, even as frontman Finnbogi Örn batted some dude’s beer out of his hand, and subsequently broke a beer bottle on stage (which was swept up afterward) and cut up his forehead with the shards. I’ve never been huge on hardcore, but I’m not about to take away from the fact that Örn, guitarist Gunnar Ágúst, bassist Fannar Már and drummer Leifur Örn were unreal in how tight they were despite also putting on a show energetic enough to be called visceral. They even had a little mosh going in the Green Room, which thankfully involved no kicking that I saw or felt. It wasn’t even until after their set that some dude dumped his beer on me trying to get a drumstick from Leifur, who was packing away his gear at the time. Up to that point, they very simply put everything they had into their material and the delivery thereof, and while I wouldn’t call myself a convert to the style, I readily acknowledge the convincing argument Great Grief made.

Hellripper

Hellripper (Photo by JJ Koczan)

For as long as Roadburn has had a pre-show, there’s been thrash. Hellripper, from Scotland, might’ve been the youngest dudes in the room, but the kind of no-nonsense, balls-out thrash. fucking. metal. they played is best meted out as a beating from a young person. They stripped the genre to its two-guitar essentials and charred it with an edge of rudimentary black metal and were nothing less than a total blast. Through such family-friendly hits as “Vomit on the Cross” and “All Hail the Goat,” which opens their newly-issued EP, Black Arts and Alchemy, the Aberdeen extremists lost none of their ferocity for also being a really good time, and they were a reminder that although Roadburn-proper over the next four days will unfold in a manner bound to no creative limits and celebrate artistry in multiple media sonic and otherwise, sometimes it really does just need to be about losing your mind and headbanging to a killer speed metal attack. Hellripper were only right to make the point, and their message was well received. By the time they were halfway through the set, Ignition was achieved, and it was Roadburn all the way. Let the vibe begin.

Usually, I’d get to the hotel, put my stuff down and sleep for a bit before the pre-show. Not this year. I’m jetlagged like a bastard and the alarm is set for a sadly few hours from now to get up tomorrow and put the finishing touches on the first issue of the Weirdo Canyon Dispatch, so with photos after the jump, I’m going to punch out and get every second of sleep I possibly can. Tomorrow is Roadburn. Let me take a second and breathe that in.

Thanks for reading.

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Friday Full-Length: The Machine, Solar Corona

Posted in Bootleg Theater on April 5th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

Some bands you go into seeing knowing nothing about them and wind up buying all their albums. That was the case with Netherlands trio The Machine and I. It was the Afterburner for Roadburn 2010 (review here), the chill comedown/get-back-to-reality ease-out that the festival used to have before its lineup also got too crowded and they gave up the ghost and just made it another day of the festival proper, Roadburnout be damned. The Machine had released Solar Corona — their second album — in 2009 through Nasoni Records, and I hobbled my long-since-defeated ass upstairs at the 013 venue to what used to be known as the Bat Cave before the place was redone. Lo and behold, there were guitarist/vocalist David Eering, bassist Hans van Heemst and drummer Davy Boogaard jamming away in unassuming fashion to a not-quite-packed room, absolutely killing it for those not watching Eyehategod next door.

So yes, it was imperative to pick up the records. Solar Corona followed the three-piece’s 2007 debut, Shadow of the Machine, and was the point at which they really began to move into their own place in terms of sound, finding a take on heavy rock that was warm in tone and jammy in a way that, a decade later, feels like an early-adoption of the mindset Colour Haze brought to their own work of that era, warm of tone and brimming with an exploratory spirit. The album ran 66 minutes long, and so was a considerable undertaking, but its most extended pieces “Caterpillar’s Mushroom” (14:41), “Jam No. Phi” (11:11) and the closing “Moons of Neptune” (17:03) — and even the opening title-track (9:55) — served up some of its most satisfying and immersive material. Eering‘s vocals came and went, but were mellow enough consistently to be part of the overarching flow the band brought together, and the uptempo desert rock kick of “X.” (2:47), the percussion-laced aside “Interstellar Medium” (4:20) and the subdued heavy blues of the penultimate “Infinite” (6:22) did much to balance out those larger pieces surrounding, cleverly interspersed between them as they were. This gave Solar Corona a more linear impression to its CD release, and whatever arguments one might want to make about analog warmth and this or that, the fact that you could put on Solar Corona and just drift for an hour certainly had an appeal. Still does, I’d happily argue. Kind of why we’re here.

The Machine were happening at what turned out to be a crucial point for European heavy psychedelia. The the machine solar coronagenerational turn had begun a few years earlier, but as it was advanced through social media, The Machine arose as part of a new crop of bands ready to take on the mantle of the style as the first of a new cohort to take influence from heavy rock and spacey jams. Their sound could be stripped down to essential hook-based rock structures or as expansive as the wind crying Mary on “Jam No. Phi,” and its tone therein was classic enough to nod to greats past and then-present even as the group brought their own personality and chemistry to the mix. It was a question of vibe, and Solar Corona had an hour-plus of vibe waiting for anyone who might come looking for it. Eering‘s solos led the way and van Heemst and Boogaard made for a classic rhythm section in holding down a central progression and letting the guitar meander as it did, while at the same time giving cuts like “Infinite” and the driving “X.” their sense of movement and the force of their impact. It was a special moment, and The Machine were a big part of why.

When I saw them, they were mere months away from signing to Elektrohasch Schallplatten in Oct. 2010 for the 2011 release of their third album, Drie (review here). They would be contemporary to fellow Netherlander trio Sungrazer on the label and end up putting out a split (review here) and touring together in 2013. By then, The Machine had proven themselves a highly productive band, releasing their fourth LP, Calmer Than You Are (review here), in 2012. It was easy to see the two at the forefront of a wave of heavy psych just beginning to make its mark on the greater European underground, and indeed maybe they were. Still, it was Solar Corona that stood as the foundation of making that happen, in combination with The Machine‘s ultra-engaging live performance and the burgeoning persona in their songs. Listening now to “Caterpillar’s Mushroom,” it doesn’t sound dated for the 10 years that have passed since its arrival, and if anything, I’d only be glad to have its meandering explorations come in for a review if it did today. I kind of feel like I’m doing myself a favor in writing about it, to be honest.

First time I heard this record was on the train to the airport back from Roadburn. I loaded it into my portable CD player, put on my headphones, and let fly from Tilburg to Amsterdam, and by the time I got to the wall of fuzz finish in “Solar Corona,” it was safe to say The Machine were onto something. They would ultimately move beyond the sound that defined Solar Corona and Drie, bringing in more elements from noise rock on Calmer Than You Are, 2015’s Offblast! (review here) and 2018’s Faceshift (review here), the latter of which was the first outing to be released through their own imprint, Awe Records, but still hold onto some of the jammier stylizations that were so prevalent in the sophomore LP, and though van Heemst would eventually leave the band and be replaced by Chris Both, they’ve retained a characteristic style even as they’ve expanded the parameters of what that style can encompass. They remain a band whose “new stuff” I always look forward to hearing, as well as one who consistently defy predictability. They might jam out their whole next album. I wouldn’t bet either way.

I haven’t seen word on a new one in the works — it’s early yet — but The Machine do have festival dates booked, from headlining at Esbjerg Fuzztival in Denmark next month to a slot at Keep it Low in Munich this October. No doubt more will be added as well, so keep an eye out, but I guess if there’s an underlying point here it’s that Solar Corona was just near the beginning of The Machine‘s creative growth, and not at all the end of it.

As always, I hope you enjoy.

It got really chaotic all of a sudden today. Orange Goblin announced US shows and then Psycho Las Vegas put out the details for their pool party and I basically put the two posts up at the same time. And it’s Friday afternoon. I got in from the YOB show last night in Brooklyn at about 1AM, was asleep soon enough thereafter and up at 5. Did some laptop-futzing and put up the Colour Haze at Høstsabbat announcement and started to sort pics for the YOB review, and then the baby got up, and from there the day has just kind of been a whirlwind.

The above I wrote yesterday, basically swapping out that for doing the YOB review this morning, which I feel like only captured a fraction of how good that show actually was. Package tours, man. I guess they’re a logistical nightmare, but you could have a show with one badass band or you could have a show with three, it seems like an obvious answer to me. More heavy package tours. Make it happen, ye lords of booking. I wanna see Fu Manchu headlining with Elder and Wo Fat supporting by this Fall, or… well… or nothing, but that would be pretty rad.

No notes today. Next week is Roadburn. The note I’d post would only read “out to lunch.” I’ll be reviewing the fest as always and if you’re going, I’m the guy with the cosmic backpack. Might wear some hippie pants too. We’ll see how much laundry time there is this weekend. Still in NJ until Sunday morning and then back north to Massachusetts again. Fly out on Tuesday evening. Get in Wednesday morning. Crash, pre-show, review, sleep, wake up, Weirdo Canyon Dispatch, go, go, go until Sunday night when the universe collapses on itself and I go back to real life. By then I’ll be exhausted enough that it will feel like time.

But of course, I can’t wait to go.

So that’s where we’re at. I of course still have a ton of crap I need to get done before I get on the plane, but, you know, that’s pretty standard. Monday I’m reviewing Bible of the Devil. That’ll be fun. Check back in for it if you have time.

And even if not, thanks for reading. Have a great and safe weekend, and please don’t forget about the forum, radio stream and Obelisk shirts and hoodies.

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