Roadburn 2020 Postponed

Posted in Whathaveyou on March 23rd, 2020 by JJ Koczan

ROADBURN 2020 BANNER

I’ve included the day schedules here not to wallow, but to emphasize the tremendous amount of creativity and heart that goes into making Roadburn Festival each year. We all knew by now there was no way that as governments are increasingly warning people to shelter in place and beginning to tighten quarantine restrictions because of the global pandemic of COVID-19 that Roadburn 2020 wasn’t going to go forward as was originally planned, but I know at least I held out hope that there would be something next month. Almost anything. Really if I just flew to the Netherlands and hung around the 013 for a couple days pretending I work there like I do every year as we run the Weirdo Canyon Dispatch daily fanzine out of there and publish for the fest-goers, that would’ve been cool. Just some glimmer of that experience.

Not this year.

Everyone knows the circumstances here are bigger than the fest’s control, and while I’m super-bummed I won’t be able to obtain the glorious poster art below on a likewise glorious green Roadburn 2020 hoodie to go with the pinkish/red one I got last year, even I have to look outside myself for about 30 seconds and understand there are wider issues at play. And it looks like I’ll have plenty of time to come to that understanding while not traveling this Spring.

So it goes. Roadburn of course will be back in some way, shape or form, but today’s not the day even to think about what that might look like. For now, I want to send my sincere love and gratitude to Walter and Becky and everyone behind the scenes at the 013 venue who make Roadburn happen every year. Thank you.

Here’s the fest’s statement:

roadburn 2020 poster

Due to the recent announcements from the Dutch government that all events in the Netherlands are forbidden until June, it will be impossible for us to hold Roadburn in April as planned. We know that many of you had already guessed that this would be the case, and we appreciate your patience as we have navigated the necessary processes that come along with organising an event as complex as Roadburn.

The current situation is having an enormous impact already – on the venues we rely on, the bands that we love and the events that we have planned for. Until we come out the other side of this, it will be impossible to do a full assessment of the damage caused to the live music industry. We ask for just a little bit more patience from you whilst we continue to work to bring you the most clear, concise and useful information relating to the postponement of Roadburn 2020. We know you have a lot of questions and we will do our best to answer in the coming days.

With much love, sadness and disbelief…

-Walter, Becky & the whole Roadburn team.

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Quarterly Review: Total Fucking Destruction, Humulus, The River, Phantom Hound, Chang, The Dhaze, Lost Psychonaut, Liquido di Morte, Black Burned Blimp, Crimson Oak

Posted in Reviews on March 23rd, 2020 by JJ Koczan

quarterly review

I’ve got a fresh cup of coffee and 50 records that need to be reviewed, so it must be time for… constant distractions! Oh, no, wait, sorry. It must be time for the Quarterly Review. Yeah, there it is. I know there’s a global-pandemic-sized elephant in the room as a backdrop for the Spring 2020 Quarterly Review, but it seems to me that’s all the more reason to proceed as much as possible. Not to feign normality like people aren’t suffering physically, emotionally, and/or financially, but to give those for whom music is a comfort an opportunity to find more of that comfort and, frankly, to do the same for myself. I’ve said many times I need this more than you do, and I do.

So, you know the drill. 10 records a day, Monday to Friday through this week, 50 when we’re done. As Christopher Pike says, let’s hit it.

Quarterly Review #1-10:

Total Fucking Destruction, …To Be Alive at the End of the World

Total Fucking Destruction To Be Alive at the End of the World

The long-running experimentalist grind trio Total Fucking Destruction remain a sonic presence unto themselves. Their strikingly apropos fifth LP, …To Be Alive at the End of the World, begins with the five-minute psychedelic wash of its unrepentantly pretty, somewhat mournful title-track and ends with a performance-art take on “The Star Spangled Banner” that shifts into eight or so minutes of drone and minimalist noise before reemerging in manipulated form, vocalist/drummer Richard Hoak (also the odd bit of flute and ocarina), bassist/vocalist Ryan Moll and guitarist Pingdum filling the between space with the blasts and jangles of “A Demonstration of Power,” the maddening twists of “Attack of the Supervirus 1138” and other mini-bursts of unbridled aggression like “Stone Bomb,” “Doctor Butcher” and the outright conceptual genius of “Yelling at Velcro,” which, indeed, is just 20 or so seconds of yelling ahead of the arrival of the closer. In an alternate future, Total Fucking Destruction‘s work will be added to the Library of Congress. In this future, we’re boned.

Total Fucking Destruction on Thee Facebooks

Translation Loss Records store

 

Humulus, The Deep

humulus the deep

For the six-song/51-minute The Deep, Italian three-piece Humulus somewhat depart the beer-rocking ways of 2017’s second LP, Reverently Heading into Nowhere (review here). Sure, the riff of “Gone Again” is pure Kyuss idolatry (not a complaint), and “Devil’s Peak (We Eventually Eluded Death)” brims with drunkard’s swagger, but factor in the wonderfully executed linear build that takes place across the eight-minute “Hajra,” the mellow emotionalism of the penultimate acoustic track “Lunar Queen,” and the two extended psychedelic bookends in opener “Into the Heart of the Volcano Sun” (14:48) and closer “Sanctuary III – The Deep” (14:59), and the narrative becomes decidedly more complex than just “they drink and play riffs.” These elements have been in Humulus‘ sound all along, but it’s plain to hear the band have actively worked to push themselves forward in scope, and the range suits them, the closer particularly filled with a theatricality that would seem to speak to further storytelling to come on subsequent releases. So be it. They called the album The Deep and have dived in accordingly.

Humulus on Thee Facebooks

Kozmik Artifactz website

 

The River, Vessels into White Tides

The River Vessels into White Tides

An atmosphere of melancholy is quickly established on The River‘s third LP, Vessels into White Tides (on Nine Records), and for being the London four-piece’s first album 10 years, it takes place in a sense of unrushed melody, the band rolling out a morose feel born of but not directly aping the likes of My Dying Bride and Paradise Lost as the vocals of guitarist Jenny Newton (also strings, percussion) — joined in the band by guitarist Christian Leitch, bassist Stephen Morrissey and drummer Jason Ludwig — make their presence felt soon in opener “Vessels,” which unfolds gracefully with a crash and rumble fading into the beginning of the subsequent “Into White” (15:01) with the four-minute string-laced “Open” and the 9:44 shifting-into-intensity “Passing” preceding closer “Tides,” which is duly rolling in its progression and offers a sweet bit of release, if wistful, from some of the more grueling moments before it, capping not with a distorted blowout, but with layers of strings reinforcing the folkish underpinning that’s been there all along, in even the most tonally or emotionally weighted stretches.

The River on Thee Facebooks

Nine Records store

 

Phantom Hound, Mountain Pass

Phantom Hound Mountain Pass

Mountain Pass, which begins with “The Northern Face,” ends with “The Southern Face” and along the way treks through its on-theme title-track and the speedier “You Don’t Know Death,” catchy “Thunder I Am” and fairly-enough bluesy “Devil Blues,” has its foundations in oldschool metal and punk, but is a decidedly rock-based offering. It’s the debut from Oakland’s Phantom Hound, and its eight component tracks make no attempt to mask their origins or coat their material in unnecessary pretense — they are what they are; the album is what it is. The three-piece dip into acoustics on the instrumental “Grace of an Angel,” which shifts with a cymbal wash into the lead guitar at the outset of the eight-minute title-track — the stomp of which is perhaps more evocative of the mountain than the passing, but still works — but even this isn’t so far removed from the straightforward purposes of “Irons in the Fire,” which stakes its claim to dead-ahead metal and rock, barely stopping along the way to ask what else you could possibly need.

Phantom Hound on Thee Facebooks

Phantom Hound on Bandcamp

 

Chang, Superlocomotodrive

chang superlocomotodrive

Munich-based trio Chang, with clear, modern production behind them, present their debut EP release with the 29-minute Superlocomotodrive, and though it’s short, one is left wondering what else they might need to consider it an album. What’s missing? You’ve got the let’s-jam-outta-here in the six-minute opener and longest track (immediate points) “Mescalin,” and plenty of gruff riffing to back that up in “Old Rusty Car” and the later title-track, with a bit of Oliveri-era Queens of the Stone Age edge in the latter to boot, plus some psychedelic lead work in “Sterne,” some particularly German quirk in “Bottle Beach” and a massive buildup in tension in the finale “Bombs Whisper” that seems to arrive at its moment of payoff only to instead cut to silence and purposefully leave the listener hanging — an especially bold move for a first release. Yeah, it’s under half an hour long, but so what? The heavy rock terrain Chang are working in is familiar enough — right down to the less-than-P.C. lyrics of “Old Rusty Car” — but there’s no sense that Superlocomotodrive wants to be something it isn’t. It’s heavy rock celebrating heavy rock.

Chang on Thee Facebooks

Chang on Bandcamp

 

The Dhaze, Deaf Dumb Blind

the dhaze deaf dumb blind

Though the grunge influence in the vocals of guitarist Simone Pennucci speak to more of a hard-rocking kind of sound, the basis of The Dhaze‘s sprawl across their ambitious 53-minute Sound Effect Records debut album, Deaf Dumb Blind, is more in line with progressive metal and heavy psychedelia. Bassist Vincenzo La Tegola backs Pennucci on vocals and locks in fluid mid-tempo grooves with drummer Lorenzo Manna, and makes a highlight of the low end in “Death Walks with Me” ahead of the titular trilogy, presented in the order of “Deaf,” “Blind” and “Dumb,” which flow together as one piece thanks in no small part to the synth work added by La Tegola and Pennucci together. Obviously comfortable in longer-form stretches like “Death Walks with Me” or the earlier “Neurosis,” both of which top nine minutes, the Napoli trio bring a fervent sense of variety to their work while leaving themselves open to future growth in terms of sound and playing with the balance between elements they establish here.

The Dhaze on Thee Facebooks

Sound Effect Records store

 

Lost Psychonaut, Lost Psychonaut

Lost Psychonaut Lost Psychonaut

Hailing — because metal bands hail, to be sure — from the Pittsburgh area, newcomers Lost Psychonaut boast in their ranks two former members of sludgers Vulture in guitarist/vocalist Justin Erb and bassist
Garrett Twardesky, who, together with drummer Tristan Triggs, run through a debut LP made up of five tracks that skirt the line between groove metal and heavy rock, tapping-like-flowing-kegs influences from the likes of ’90s-era C.O.C. and others such burl-laced groovers. Tales of day-to-day struggles make a fitting enough backdrop to the riff-led proceedings, which commence with the prior-issued single “My Time” and roll-groove their way into a duo of longer cuts at the end in “Restitution Day” (8:46) and “On a Down” (7:44). Frankly, any mention of the word “Down” at all in a song that feels so outwardly “buried in smoke” can hardly be coincidental, but that nod is well earned. With a couple years behind them, they know what they’re going for in this initial batch of songs, and the clearheaded nature of their approach only gives their songwriting more of a sense of command. There’s growth to be undertaken, but nothing to say they can’t get there.

Lost Psychonaut on Thee Facebooks

Lost Psychonaut on Bandcamp

 

Liquido di Morte, IIII

liquido di morte iiii

I suppose you could, if so inclined, live up to Liquido di Morte‘s slogan, “We play music to take drugs to,” but you’d be shorting yourself on the experience of a lucid listen to their third long-player IIII. Issued in limited handmade packaging by the band, the Milan instrumentalists offer a stylistic take across the late-2019 five-tracker that stands somewhere between heavy post-rock and post-metal, but in that incorporates no shortage of thoughtful psychedelic meditations and even some kraut and space rock vibes. The primary impact is atmospheric, but there’s diversity in their approach such that the centerpiece “Tramonto Nucleare” begins cosmic, or maybe cataclysmic, and ends with an almost serene roll into the floating guitar at the outset of the subsequent “Rebus (6,5),” which is the longest inclusion at 13:40 and an encompassing, hypnotic srpawl that, whether you take drugs or not, seems destined to commune with expanded or expanding minds. The front-to-back journey ends with “The Fattening,” a cinematic run of synth after which a slaughter feels almost inevitable, even if it arrives as silence.

Liquido di Morte on Thee Facebooks

Liquido di Morte on Bandcamp

 

Black Burned Blimp, Crash Overdrive

Black Burned Blimp Crash Overdrive

Bonus points to Netherlands four-piece Black Burned Blimp for including song titles like “What Doesn’t Kill You, Makes You Weirder” and “The Good, the Bad and the Fucking Horrific” and, at the start of “Desert Wizard,” the sample from Trailer Park Boys wherein Mr. Lahey declares, “I am the liquor” on their debut LP, Crash Overdrive. Native to a heavy rock legacy that includes acts like 13eaver, 35007, Astrosoniq and Celestial Season, among many others, the band hint toward melodic complexity while remaining focused on raw energy in their songwriting, such that even the drumless, harmonized and minute-long “Flock” seems to seethe with unstated tension for “Robo Erectus,” which follows, to pay off. It does, though perhaps with less of a tempo kick than one might expect — certainly less than the careening “The Good, the Bad and the Fucking Horrific” a few tracks later — but somehow, no matter what speed they’re actually playing, Black Burned Blimp seem to make it sound fast. Vitality will do that.

Black Burned Blimp on Thee Facebooks

Black Burned Blimp on Bandcamp

 

Crimson Oak, Crimson Oak

crimson oak crimson oak

Though their arrival comes amid a German heavy rock underground that’s nothing if not well populated, Fulda-based five-piece Crimson Oak present with their self-titled debut long-player a stylistic take that’s both modern and genuine sounding, finding solid ground in well-crafted songs drawing more from ’90s-era heavy and punk in “Danger Time,” which follows the contemplative “Of My Youth,” the bulk of what surrounds expressing a similar level of self-awareness, up to and including the nine-minute side B opener “Brother of Sleep,” which sets psychedelic guitar against some of the album’s biggest riffs (and melodies). There’s middle ground to be had in cuts like “Displace” and “Sunset Embrace” still to come and “Fulda Gap” earlier, but Crimson Oak seem to touch that middle ground mostly en route to whichever end of the spectrum next piques their interest. At seven songs and 42 minutes, it’s not an insubstantial LP, but they hold their own with confidence and a poise that speaks to the fact that some of this material showed up on prior EPs. That experience with it shows but does not hold the band or songs back.

Crimson Oak on Thee Facebooks

Crimson Oak on Bandcamp

 

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Friday Full-Length: Monomyth, Further

Posted in Bootleg Theater on March 20th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

Dutch progressive heavy psychedelic rockers Monomyth‘s second full-length, Further, was released in 2014 through Suburban Records — maybe Suburban/Burning World? — as the follow-up to the Den Haag five-piece’s 2013 self-titled debut (review here). And it was and is true to its title. Comprised of four tracks running about 45 minutes long, the album’s expanse is matched only by its sense of control. While one might be misled by looking songs 10, 12 and 17 minutes long into thinking Monomyth were simply locking in space jams and improvising their way into the trance-inducing cosmic ether, that’s not really the case. “Ark-M,” which opens the proceedings with welcoming and warm tonality and an, underlying pulse that is just tense enough to keep things moving, runs 10:11 and is thoughtful and considered in its flow and progression.

Bassist/baritone guitarist Selwyn Slop, guitarists Tjerk Stoop and Thomas Van Den Reydt, keyboardist/guitarist Peter Van Der Meer and drummer Sander Evers (formerly of 35007, also Gomer Pyle) use keys to underscore rhythmic guitar in extended and melodic lines of organ that give the tension in the strings and drums a foundation on which to rest intermittently, and though the entirety of the album is instrumental, the motion Monomyth undertake, with its periodic bouts of louder distortion and moves into fluidity and quirky adventurism — again, this is just in the first 10 minutes of the record — is every bit emblematic of the goal they clearly laid out for themselves in calling Further what they did.

The intricacy of patterns well matched by the Maarten Donders cover art out front and captured with due grace in the recording by Jordi Langelaan (who also mixed with Van Der Meer, while Wim Bult mastered), Further moves easily into its lower-end-minded second cut “Spheres” with a sureness of purpose that can only be called Floydian. There’s a drama that unfolds between the bass and guitar — a conversation there — happening at about three minutes into the total 12:28, but the band soon return to the sense of drift that got them to where they are and use it as the beginning of a subtle and almost jazzy linear build that moves ahead not with tension headed toward an overblown crescendo — though there’s a payoff, to be sure — but with the message that it’s the journey that’s most important and the act of getting there that matters more than whatever level of wash one might find upon arrival. And that payoff, it’s worth noting, is still reasonably restrained, which is telling of the band’s ethic overall — monomyth furthereven in their moment of “letting go,” they keep control of the groove enough not to let it get away from them.

It’s not just about restraint or control, of course, as Further‘s rampant melody, rhythm and exploration head them out into a space rock of their own making. The penultimate cut “Collision” is a departure in length at just 5:37 and finds the band coming to ground in a reasonably straightforward movement, the lead guitar line winding out over organ where vocals otherwise might be but not simply taking their place so much as doing things a human voice simply couldn’t do in weaving in and out of the accompanying rhythm lines. Percussion and keys and a corresponding proggy shuffle keep “Collision” tied to its surroundings enough that as the song moves into its second half and unfurls a surprising turn into ultra-winding leads and more technical stylizations, it’s still only as inconsistent as it intends to be. The finish is as raucous as Monomyth get on Further, which is fair enough, but it’s still a sustained melody of keys and guitar that ends the track on a long fade, bringing about the first synth rumblings of 17-minute closer “6equj5,” the title of which refers to the ‘Wow! signal’ captured by Ohio State University’s Big Ear radio telescope in 1977. The Big Ear project is to listen for extraterrestrial radio transmissions, and that detected wave remains the best candidate discovered.

So Monomyth, then, are working with a more cosmic palette on the finisher, and the increased scale is a fair enough representation of that, but the patience in the track too befits its space-centric title. A swirl of synth and guitar soloing has taken hold by about five and a half minutes in, though the band seem to have gotten there through only the most hypnotic of means, taken their time rather than rushed through a build. It’s a marked and willful contrast, of course, to “Collision” just before, but as “6equj5” divides into its component movements, it does so only on its own terms, bringing changes and surges of volume where it will as it moves into its second half before getting quieter and stretching out a line of organ across a more rushing current of guitar and steady drums. The grand finale? Sure, and one that consumes the better part of the last six minutes of the song. A ‘Wow! signal’ unto itself, “6equj5” culminates in as fervent a wash as Monomyth have created anywhere on Further and pushes through to an ending of residual noise suddenly cut off rather than faded out, which seems like one last directed choice intended to shock the listener into the realization that the journey has capped. And so it has.

The band have released two more full-lengths since Further in the form of 2016’s Exo and 2019’s Orbis Quadrantis, and they’ve become fixtures at continental European festivals like Desertfest Berlin and Belgium, Roadburn and so on. They’re booked for Freak Valley in June and the Burg Herzberg Festival in August — both in Germany — though of course those plans like everything else have no doubt been rendered “shrug? here’s hoping?” by the COVID-19 pandemic. Whatever happens there, it seemed important to emphasize the sense of purpose and control that Monomyth brought to the writing and construction of Further, from the making of the material itself to the fact that the tracks got longer as they went — “Collision” notwithstanding, but even that was intentional. In chaotic times, sometimes it’s just a relief to know that it’s possible to have a handle on anything, ever, and that’s what I’m taking from Further these six years after its release.

As always, I hope you enjoy. Thanks for reading.

I got The Pecan about 20 minutes after he woke up. He usually takes a few minutes to wake up and I’ve found it’s best if you let him handle that process on his own rather than burst in and bug him right away. By the time I got upstairs, there was poop on the wall. Not that he’d actively spread it there or anything, but it was up his back out of his diaper and he’d rubbed his back on the wall. The outfit he was wearing I just threw out. He went in the tub and I gave him a bath while The Patient Mrs. took care of the bedroom. I got bit twice in the process of washing him off. He got me later too on the back of my arm when I wasn’t looking and again on my shoulder as I was putting him in the car after that, I guess just to remind me I’m a fucking asshole.

Fair enough.

We went in the car early because we had to leave the house because he was too miserable to eat and there’s nothing else to do. We drove to Newark and looked at cherry blossoms in a park at The Patient Mrs.’ suggestion. They weren’t all out and the ground was wet because apparently it rained overnight, but whatever. It was a thing to do. Two hours, a granola bar, a cheese stick and other assorted snackies later, it was at least a partial reset, and the day very, very, very much needed one.

I haven’t been sleeping all week and I’m fucking miserable. Chicken and egg, right?

We’re still going out to grocery stores and all that. Social distancing, washing hands, all that coronavirus shit is what it is. I don’t think New Jersey will have to shelter in place like San Francisco, and even if we did, I don’t think we’d be arrested for taking a walk through the neighborhood, so we’ll see. It’s hard. It fucking sucks. It could be worse I guess. Everybody is anxious. Everybody is miserable. Everybody is covered in shit. No one is sick at the moment.

Except my nephew, who has the flu. Kid’s always got the flu.

Anyway. Next week is the Quarterly Review. I have no idea how, but that’s the plan.

Today’s a new episode of the Gimme show. 5PM Eastern. Listen at http://gimmeradio.com.

Other that and my anxiety-driven desire to consume garlic en masse, that’s all I’ve got. If you wanted to bludgeon me with a shovel, as long as I didn’t know when it was coming, I don’t think I’d fight you.

Great and safe weekend. Enjoy the memes about washing your hands.

FRM.

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Roadburn 2020 Issues COVID-19 Update

Posted in Whathaveyou on March 19th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

Let’s assume that if Roadburn 2020 is allowed to proceed at all as scheduled, it will do so in drastically different form due to the ongoing global pandemic of COVID-19. That seems pretty safe to say. I am sorry I have no insider info to give you as to whether the fest is happening — I’ve been proceeding with Weirdo Canyon Dispatch as if it is, which is to say, I’ve been feeling anxious and overwhelmed — but I also know that this kind of thing is legitimately unprecedented, for the festival and governments worldwide alike. As bad as the flu gets, it’s been a while since words like “global pandemic” have been bandied about not in hyperbole or speculation.

The update is essentially that Roadburn is hurrying up and waiting. Like all of us, everywhere, for everything, to see how all of this is going to play out. For what it’s worth in terms of reading between the lines, this is the first word I’m seeing of any kind of effort to reschedule the festival, though of course, I’d have no idea what that would look like either, or when it would happen, if it would be the 013 or at least some of the same bands, who who the hell knows what. The point I’m making is I don’t, and I don’t think they do either. If they did, they’d probably say so.

Here’s the update:

ROADBURN 2020 BANNER

Thank you for your patience these last few days, we know that it is not easy to wait for answers and be met with silence. As you will hopefully be aware, it is not in our nature to be closed off from you – we have always taken pride in open and transparent communication. We are relieved to be able to bring you something of an update, although we are aware that it won’t answer all your questions immediately.

The world we are living in today is dramatically different to that of just a few weeks ago – we are all trying to adjust to an altered daily life, and alongside the personal stresses of that, we have been desperately seeking a way to keep Roadburn on its feet. You will know that for us, this is a labour of love and the impact of the current situation is already devastating for us. We are fortunate to have the support of the 013 venue who – as you may be aware – operate as the business side of the festival (they take care of the financial, legal, and logistic elements). The message below is from the interim CEO of the 013 venue, and at present this is the extent of what we are able to share with you.

We are grateful for your support and understanding, and hopeful that we will come out the other side of this even stronger.

– Walter, Becky & the whole Roadburn team

ROADBURN UPDATE: 18 MARCH, 2020

Due to the COVID-19 virus, there are currently restrictions on travel, events and venues which are having an effect on concerts and festivals the world over. We understand that Roadburn attendees have a lot of questions – about health, safety, risks, restrictions, travel arrangements and more. We are in constant contact with officials, advisors and others, and we are working solidly to provide as much information, as quickly as possible.

This is not just the first time in Roadburn’s 22 years that we have faced something like this, it is the first time in our lives. We are required to wait for direction from the Dutch government to determine our next steps. That direction may have consequences for the continuation of Roadburn 2020. As a sustainable future for Roadburn is our primary goal, we’re now looking into the best options. It might be that we have to reschedule.

We kindly ask for your understanding in this exceptional situation. As soon as there are new developments we will inform you.

Peter van der Aalst / Interim CEO, 013 venue.

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Molassess Sign to Season of Mist

Posted in Whathaveyou on March 4th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

Molassess (Photo by JJ Koczan)

After coming together as a commissioned project for Roadburn 2019 (review here) and releasing the debut two-songer Mourning Haze / Drops of Sunlight as a part of that process, Molassess — who at the time only had one ‘s’ at the end of their name — have now signed to Season of Mist and will release a debut full-length this Fall. That’s an automatic win, like, hold-a-spot-on-your-best-of-the-year-list win. Having been fortunate enough to see them at Roadburn, I plan on doing precisely that.

The legacy of The Devil’s Blood obviously looms large, as four of the six members of Molassess took part in that group at one point or another, most pivotally vocalist Farida Lemouchi, but it would be even more surprising if, given the parties involved, there wasn’t a forward push to establish a style of Molassess‘ own as well. Can’t wait to find out.

The PR wire takes it from here:

molasses (Photo by Esther van Waalwijk)

MOLASSESS Sign to Season of Mist

Season of Mist are proud to announce the signing of Dutch psychedelic rock formation MOLASSESS. A new full length will be released in the fall of 2020.

Featuring four musicians from THE DEVIL’S BLOOD, MOLASSESS was formed upon being commissioned for a performance during the 2019 edition of Roadburn Festival. Yet, MOLASSESS is not a continuation of a buried past, nor a celebration of a cherished collaborator, but a culmination of heartache, requisite resolution, a rediscovery of rage and the relighting of a fire that never really burned out.

The Dutch six piece comment on the signing: “This newborn beast is growing vastly within us. Calling out in ways yet to explore. We are excited to become one with its ever expanding language the coming years. We will be its best host possible, together with our newly formed alliance. A call for adventurous spirit is reaching out its formless hands, moving forward in blatant celebration of the irrational. We are more than ready to surface and start pouring out this cosmic glue over mind and matter. Drunk on Molassess!”

MOLASSESS previously released the EP ‘Mourning Haze / Drops of Sunlight’ in April of 2019.

MOLASSESS are:
Oeds Beydals – guitar
Ron van Herpen – guitar
Job van de Zande- bass guitar
Bob Hogenelst- drums and percussion
Matthijs Stronks- keys
Farida Lemouchi- vocals

https://www.facebook.com/Molassessofficial
https://www.instagram.com/molassessofficial/
https://molasses-vanrecords.bandcamp.com/
https://www.facebook.com/seasonofmistofficial
http://www.season-of-mist.com/

Molasses, Mourning Haze / Drops of Sunlight (2019)

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Review & Lyric Video Premiere: Gomer Pyle, Before I Die I…

Posted in Bootleg Theater, Reviews on February 18th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

Gomer Pyle before I die I

[Click play above to see the premiere of Gomer Pyle’s ‘Laeviculus’ from their new album, Before I Die I…, out Feb. 28 on The Lab and Three Chords Records.]

A new full-length from Dutch-native heavy rockers Gomer Pyle isn’t something that simply happens every year or every other year. Or every five. Or 10. To wit, Before I Die I… is the third Gomer Pyle album, arriving as a 2LP through The Lab Records and Three Chords Records, and it follows behind their 1999 debut, Eurohappy, and its 2008 follow-up, Idiots Savants. While it’s true they’ve had a couple EPs out along the way, the latest of them being 2016’s three-song GP — which boasted “Side Kings,” also featured here as the longest track at 11:51 — three records over the course of 21 years, a one-per-seven-years average is still not a rate one would call prolific. One could spend months waxing poetic about the different world that 2020 presents as opposed to 2008, but the occasion bringing the band — with the listed membership of guitarist/vocalist Mark Brouwer, guitarist Mark van Loon, keyboardist Danny Gras (who also recorded), bassist Danny Huijgens and drummer Kees Haverkamp — together for Before I Die I… is more personal, and the clue is in the name. Like Astrosoniq‘s 2018 offering, Big Ideas Dare Imagination (review here), the title Before I Die I… is an extrapolation from Bidi, the first name of former manager Bidi van Drongelen, who passed away in June 2017. So that covers why.

As to how long some of these songs have been kicking around, the easiest guess considering the prior appearance of “Side Kings” is a mix of newer and older ideas, and Gomer Pyle‘s sound works much the same way, be it the progressive grunge of the penultimate “Your Demon,” which taps Alice in Chains-style harmonies and darkened vibes before resolving in a sudden thrust of harder-hitting noisy jaggedness, or the fluidity across 10-minute opener  “Remember the Days,” which gradually makes its way in over the first two-plus minutes and continues to unfold patiently despite an underlying rhythmic tension and a chorus of the type that one ends up hoping will be stuck in the head when it’s over, with just a current of pop-style wistfulness in the vocals that finds its payoff in the finale “Cyclus,” amid an instrumental build that the band gracefully let go into the ether after just four minutes of repeated lyrical structures and harmonizing. Across the 62 minutes and nine songs of Before I Die I…‘s span — and it is a span — the group make a case for themselves as being among the great lost generation of pre-social media underground heavy rock, but as with their countrymen in Astrosoniq, that “heavy rock” in their sound is really just a launch point for broader exploration.

Whether it’s “The Buzzer” bringing its hook after “Remember the Days” or the winding, swinging and brash “Scum Trade” or the insistent push of “Nicky McGee,” which follows — that one-two punch arriving, by the way, on the other end of the gorgeous unfurling of “Side Kings,” which is enough of a highlight that one hopes the 2LP positions it as its own side, simply because it deserves to stand alone — Gomer Pyle triumph through the varied currents of their songwriting, tying together sonic diversity through performance and distinctive tone and melody.

gomer pyle live at roadburn 2016

That’s not new math by any means, and while one wouldn’t accuse them of being revolutionary — for one thing, the word implies an urgency that despite some of their speedier grooves is undercut by the years between their releases — neither are Gomer Pyle anything resembling derivative in style. Rather, they present enough changes and shifts across Before I Die I… that one never quite knows where the next song is going to go, and that lack of predictability only makes finding out all the more thrilling as “Nicky McGee” rough-and-tumbles its way into the languid eight-minute stretch of “We Are One,” where the sweet and psychedelic guitar melody signals the emotional resonance at its core throughout the keyboard-laced linear build to come, meeting with a due payoff.

The subsequent “Laeviculus” is charged with distilling the sort of fluidity brought by “We Are One” and perhaps marrying it to some of the more straightforward impulses presented throughout Before I Die I…, but it does this across a six-minute run that still wants nothing for reach or memorability, thanks to a standout guitar solo in its second half, a particularly strong vocal, and a sense of nuance that extends to the timing of the snare hits around the five-minute mark. As it surges late and makes its sudden departure, it’s up to “Your Demon” to continue the momentum, which it does with a classic heavy rock swaggering groove, albeit one dressed in grunge melody and a quirky intertwining of guitar lines in the verse, perhaps hinting at some of the more open toying with structure that follows, but if there’s resolution to be had, it comes not only in the finality of the last thuds in “Your Demon” itself, but in the opening piano lines of “Cyclus,” which is, again, gorgeous and rife with class and sincerity without pretense, keeping a current of experimentalism in low-end electronic pulses underneath the emergent build, but finding its footing in the dramatic and sing-along ready vocals, though they’re there for a surprisingly short time.

Aren’t we all.

I did not know Bidi van Drongelen, and seeing the impact his loss had on the community of which he was a part has only made that more regrettable, but grief is universal and touches everyone at one point or another to some measure. The manner in which Gomer Pyle channel that into the scope of Before I Die I… is the type of homage not simply everyone could pay, channeling not just the sadness of losing someone who matters to you, but representing and celebrating the beautiful, complex wholeness of a life worth missing. Even separated from this context, its emotional crux is striking and powerful, and the multifaceted nature of the band’s approach stands up to whatever angle or read one might want to put to it in craft, performance and presentation.

Gomer Pyle on Thee Facebooks

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The Lab Records website

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Roadburn 2020 Adds Dylan Carlson Solo Set, The Ballet Bombs, Sylvaine and More; Lineup Complete

Posted in Whathaveyou on February 17th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

ROADBURN 2020 BANNER

Alright, so now that the lineup for Roadburn 2020 is finished, who’s your must? Who’s the one act you have to see above all the others? Well, aside from my needing, needing, needing to get the hoodie bearing the poster design below — preferably in green, possibly also in red if they have it — I think the one set I’ll absolutely have to watch is the David Eugene Edwards solo set. That’s been on my wishlist every year since before Wovenhand even made their first devastating stop at the Tilburg, Netherlands-based fest in 2011. That’s my must. I’m also intrigued by The Ballet Bombs, who are newcomers and seem like a lot of fun. You can see one of their videos below. I hesitate to make too many plans before seeing the actual schedule, because one never knows with conflicts, secret shows, and so on, but there’s always more than enough to choose from as you make your own path through what always seems to turn into the best five-day-weekend of the year.

Here’s how it rounds out:

roadburn 2020 poster

Roadburn Festival 2020 – Final Lineup Announcement

Our final line up announcements for Roadburn Festival 2020 are here! Emma Ruth Rundle is rounding out her curation in style – she has invited Earth to perform a special celebratory set to mark their 30 year anniversary. Dylan Carlson will also be performing a solo set, plus there will be sets from False and Sylvaine.

“It’s an honour to be asked to perform twice at this year’s Roadburn. In addition to celebrating 30 years of Earth, I am excited to be performing Conquistador with Emma Ruth Rundle, as heard on the album. We have wanted to perform together for some time, and now we will finally have the opportunity to do so. Joining us will be dancer Holly Carlson (who played percussion on the album) with a special visual performance for this event. I have long thought of music and dance as inextricably linked, especially with my exposure to the possibilities of dance, courtesy of Holly. It seems they have been separated (especially in the realm of rock/hard rock music) for too long now. This will be a very special set, and I am so glad to be joined on stage by two phenomenal performers” – Dylan Carlson.

Elsewhere we have Body Void, Sólveig Matthildur and Dynfari who have announced a second set performing their new album. Our Roadburn Presents… band this year is The Ballet Bombs and we welcome Burlesque of North America back to Roadburn for Full Bleed IV.

Only 50 Sunday tickets remain: https://roadburn.com/

Roadburn 2020 and Never Mind The Hype Presents: The Ballet Bombs.

You want brash, stomping, swaggering, fuzzed-to-the-max heavy rock and roll? Look no further than a couple train stops from Tilburg as we bring aboard the young Eindhoven trio of Rubin “Zwoelboy” van Nistelrooy, Erik “El Cahole” van de Beek, and Frankie Fuzz. These overdriven fanatics don’t have an album out yet, but they’ve got enough attitude songs like “Hey, Wait!” and the extra-righteous “Leave My Head,” the video for which pretty much tells the story of The Joker, only, you know, without all that incel subtext.

With the inimitable energy of young punks, they tap into the spirit of raw rock like Blue Cheer and the glorious of the most riotous garages. We can’t wait to find out what they’ll do over the course of a full set on Saturday, April 18 at the Hall of Fame.

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http://www.roadburn.com

The Ballet Bombs, “Leave My Head!” official video

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DOOL Announce Summerland out April 10; New Song Posted

Posted in Whathaveyou on January 28th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

dool

It was a little sad to discover that the second track on DOOL‘s sophomore full-length, Summerland — out April 10 on Prophecy Productions in both standard and well-earned deluxe editions; gotta get me a 2CD artbook, thank you very much — which is titled “Wolf Moon” isn’t a Type O Negative cover. That would’ve been awesome, but while we’re on the subject of things that are awesome, holy crap this record is good. Dark, ultra-cohesive heavy rock with a strong sense of presence from vocalyst (yup, with a ‘y’) Ryanne van Dorst, it brings in no less than Farida Lemouchi (Molasses, ex-The Devil’s Blood) for a backing vocal spot and Per Wiberg (Spiritual Beggars, so many others) for Hammond organ, and presents a 54-minute sprawl that earns every second of its run with progressive attention to craft and detail, ending each of its 2LPs with an eight-minute sweep in the title-track and album finale “Dust and Shadow,” neither to be missed.

Hoping to have more to come, but the record’s already on my quickly-growing best-of-2020 list, so one way or another, you’ll be hearing about it again from me.

Preorders are up from Prophecy, as the PR wire tells it:

Dool Summerland

DOOL release anticipated second album “Summerland” on April 10th!

pre-sale link: prophecy.lnk.to/dool-summerland

Founded in 2015 in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, with a name derived from the Dutch word for “wandering,” dark rockers Dool embarked on an ongoing spiritual and musical journey that took them far within a short amount of time on the strength of just one album. However, hearing the sophomore Summerland, you can’t help but think its successful predecessor was just a warm-up.

“Our debut Here Now, There Then was a big experiment because we could not foresee at all how the band would sound,” reveals singer, guitarist and overall powerhouse Ryanne van Dorst. “I took the skeletons of songs I had written to the other members, and we just started to jam, seeing what would happen. That was what we recorded, but we only found our own style while playing gigs during the last few years. The material kept growing on stage, so on the Love Like Blood EP, you could already hear that we had become more confident.”

Summerland encapsulates the meaning behind the quintet’s monicker. Expansive and more varied on all fronts, it represents the constant evolution that goes along with the soul’s quest for ascension, resulting in a bedazzling mix of classic and post rock, Middle Eastern flourishes, psychedelia and metal. Each track displays its own identity within a loose thematic frame as summarized in the climactic title track: the struggle to find a place in this world, reaching some ultimate state mind, ecstatic pleasure and reincarnation, also inspired by Richard Matheson’s novel What Dreams May Come as a modern take on Dante’s cycles of hell.

“The term ‘summerland’ comes from paganism and refers to heaven, nirvana or whatever else you’d like to call it,” the lyricist explains. “Since I usually write from experience and about what keeps me awake at night, I was asking myself what makes me happy on this existential plane and how the ideal afterlife would look like. This became a recurring motif throughout the lyrics in the shapes of sex, magic, psychedelics and many other means to invoke this ‘summerland’ in the here and now.”

The group recorded Summerland at DAFT Studios in Malmédy, Belgium, and Studio Cobra in Stockholm, Sweden, with Martin Ehrencrona (Tribulation, In Solitude). Mix and mastering were handled by Cult Of Luna’s drummer Magnus Lindberg in Redmount Studio Stockholm. As guests, Dool invited Per Wiberg (Opeth, Spiritual Beggars, Candlemass) on Hammond organ, backing vocalist Farida Lemouchi (The Devil’s Blood) and Okoi Jones (Bölzer), who contributed spoken words to ‘The Well’s Run Dry’.

After taking Europe by storm, Dool keep following their path to world domination with seven-mile boots, doing what they do best – devastating venues with their energetic performance, which, as Ryanne promises, “will look a bit bigger in every respect …”

“Summerland” is available as Digipak CD, 2CD artbook (hardcover with golden hotfoil embossment, 30x30cm, with expanded artwork and two bonus tracks; 1.000 copies available), gatefold 2LP (180g, black and ltd. transparent-black marble vinyl) and complete box set (incl. 2CD artbook, gatefold 2LP on exclusive violet-black marble vinyl, bonus 12″, music box and two posters; 1.000 copies available).

1. Sulphur & Starlight
2. Wolf Moon
3. God Particle
4. Summerland
5. A Glass Forest
6. The Well’s Run Dry
7. Ode To The Future
8. Be Your Sins
9. Dust & Shadow
10. Khione
11. The Ascent To Summerland

https://www.facebook.com/allthosewhowanderaredool/
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https://dool-nl.bandcamp.com/
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http://www.allthosewhowanderaredool.bigcartel.com/
http://en.prophecy.de/artists/dool/

DOOL, Summerland (2020)

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