Posted in Whathaveyou on March 1st, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster
More news from Desertfest 2013 to round out the week. Fresh off their run in the US with Graveyard, Cali stoner-skaters The Shrine will be playing as part of Desertfest‘s London lineup, and traveling from Greece, heavy psych rockers 1000mods will make an appearance at the Berlin fest.
Here are the official announcements, culled from their respective websites (London, Berlin):
The Shrine to Shine at Desertfest
Smashing their way straight into Desertfest, L.A. young bloods The Shrine are set to bring their in-your-face and to-the-point brand of hardcore desert rock. Not many bands out their can claim to mix the tripped-out echoes of fuzz with the rough and ready aggressiveness of early punk, but the upcoming three piece of Josh Landau (guitar/vocals), Courtland Murphy (bass) and Jeff Murray (Drums) make it effortless.
Last year’s Tee Pee Records debut, the appropriately titled Primitive Blast, is a lightning paced wall of sound that blows off your ears. Traces of almost everyone, from Truckfighters, to Misfits, to MC5, are there to find within an all too short 35 minutes of raw, chugging stomp.
It’s no surprise to see that they’ve already notched up some impressive support slots with, among others, Kyuss Lives!, Graveyard and Desertfest headliners Pentagram. No doubt at Desertfest The Shrine will be some of the heaviest fuzz you’ll ever hear.
Desertfest Berlin – 1000MODS (GR)
Today, we are thrilled to welcome the first Greek band at DESERTFEST BERLIN : the striking 1000 MODS !!
1000 MODS is a 4-piece psychedelic/stoner rock band from Chiliomodi, Greece, formed in 2006. They play an impressive and highly addictive piece of downtuned, fuzzed up and hard hitting stoner rock, hone in a serious groove.
In the beginning of 2007, they released their first (self-financed) EP “Blank Reality”, and in December 2009 they stroke back with a brand new 7” EP titled “Liquid Sleep”, on the Greek label CTS Prods. In may 2010, they released a split tape with the German psy-doomsters Wight, and few months later, they recorded their full-length debut album “Super Van Vacation”, produced by the almighty Billy Anderson, and released by German label Kozmic Artifactz (vinyl) and CTS Prods (Digipack) in September 2011. Last December, the band released their latest EP “Valley of Sand” on Lab Records.
Since their beginning, they have played over 100 live shows, including openings for Brant Bjork, Colour Haze, Karma to Burn, My Sleepin Karma, Radio Moscow and many others. In October 2011, they toured in Europe playing 25 gigs in 12 countries, with an appearance as special guests at Up In Smoke 3, and in August 2012, they played at Aquamaria Festival.
This year, it’s time for them to play at DESERTFEST BERLIN ! “Super Van Vacation” vinyl re-issue is scheduled in April 2013 by CTS Prods, just in time for the festival, so get in the van, and come to Berlin !!
Posted in Reviews on January 25th, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster
It was the second night of Graveyard and The Shrine‘s US tour and something of a victory lap for the Swedish forerunners of retro heavy, whose 2012 offering, Lights Out (review here), greatly expanded the soulful side of the band’s approach without — if the crowd assembled at Underground Arts in Philadelphia was anything to go by — alienating their fanbase or falling prey to accusations of going soft or betraying expectation. Lights Out is plenty raucous, as the Gothenburg foursome demonstrated once they took the stage, and the band showed why their reception has been so welcome over the last several years of crossover underground success. Because they rock, that’s why.
I arrived at Underground Arts absurdly early, parked outside and waited for the 9PM doors to open. I know people in Philly. I’m not a complete stranger in the town, and I say this not to tout social connections like I’m not some fucking misanthrope who spends his whole life in front of a keyboard, but just to point out that I had options I could’ve probably exercised instead of, say, sitting for 90 minutes and staring at my phone, obsessively lurking on the forum or reading hard-hitting speculation about the Yankees’ prospects this coming season. I could’ve called somebody and gotten out of my car. It could’ve happened. But on the other hand, it was like 10 degrees out. Cold leads to immobility.
I was downstairs — because here’s a shocker: Underground Arts is actually technically a basement venue despite being able to hold 1,000 people — before the doors opened and waited around with the other early-types, who were right to wonder why no one was being let in to drink even as the DJ had already begun to spin ’70s obscurities from heavy lore. As usual, the issue was dropped once they started letting everyone through and soon, soon enough, Venice Beach retro punkers The Shrine appeared to run smiling through a set of their heavied-up no-frills jams. They pretty clearly dig what they do, and I like to watch that, even if their sound is more suited to an empty pool in SoCal summertime than Philly in January.
The bulk of what they played I recognized from their 2012 Tee Pee debut, Primitive Blast (review here), and I’d seen the trio before opening for Honkyand Fu Manchu in NYC, so I had some vague idea of what to expect, but it’s always different seeing a band after you’ve heard the album, and where so much of my impression of The Shrine had been toward the skate-punk end — perhaps because that aesthetic factors so highly in their presentation; both guitarist/vocalist Josh Landau and drummer Jeff Murray wore shirts bearing the logo of Thrasher magazine — I guess I’d forgotten how thick their sound actually was. Landau shredded through his Marshall, true enough, but it was , bassist Courtland Murphy‘s Sunn providing the foundation on which the songs rested.
And as quick as I was to relate Primitive Blast to Black Flag – not inappropriately, in the case of some of the material — their sound live was actually much fuller and less raw than their grainy video for “Whistlings of Death” would lead one to assume. Album opener “Zipper Tripper” and closer “Deep River (Livin’ to Die)” were memorable highlights, though The Shrine moved quickly enough that they probably could’ve played everything off the record had they so desired (and if they didn’t). As I said above, it was the second night of the tour, so front to back there were aspects of the show’s operation that will probably be tighter in a couple more nights, but The Shrine‘s set delivered more than I could ask for and more than anything else gave me the impression that their real potential isn’t to capture the essence of early ’80s hardcore punk — all but impossible — but to grow into something new and individual based off that, similar to how Graveyard and a (very select) few others have been able to do with ’70s heavy rock. I look forward to seeing how it works out.
I’d chosen to hit Philly for the show instead of Manhattan of Brooklyn for two reasons: The crowd at Bowery Ballroom when Graveyard came through just over a year ago with Radio Moscow (review here) and fond memories of Underground Arts from seeing The Company Band there over the summer (review here). I won’t have been at either New York show to know for sure whether or not I made the right choice, but my inclination as Graveyard hit the stage at 11PM and blasted through 90 minutes of blues rocking supremacy was that the extra road time was justified.
Actually, maybe “blasted” isn’t the right word, because where after 2011′s Hisingen Blues(review here), they’d amassed a short catalog of mostly blistering classic rockers, the songs almost terminally upbeat and jagged in their Zeppelin crotchal thrust, Lights Out is simply a more diverse album atmospherically, with subdued, building numbers like “Slow Motion Countdown” and “Hard Times Lovin’” — both of which were played in Philly — to complement the rush of a song like “Seven Seven” or “Goliath.” Their 2008 self-titled had some of that moodier edge, and Hisingen Bluesdid as well on “Uncomfortably Numb,” which they also played, but its most resonant moments were the testimony of “Ain’t Fit to Live Here” or the title-track, drummer Axel Sjöberg challenging the rest of the band to keep up with him and guitarist/vocalist Joakim Nilsson — and his throaty falsetto — rising to the occasion.
With the siren that launches the album as their intro, they opened with “An Industry of Murder” from Lights Out, and if nothing else, it was clear that everybody had heard the record. That would prove to be the case throughout the 15-song setlist (it was numbered), which covered all three of their albums. Wider distribution for the last two through Nuclear Blast, the momentum of touring and growing repute are doubtless the cause of that. I’ll freely admit to not getting on board with what they were doing until the second record, despite having heard the first, but either way, they made the most of it on stage. Guitarist Jonathan Ramm had several instances of blowing out his Orange head — Landau‘s Marshall was brought in as a replacement and sounded fine, but they tried again with the Orange and met with similar results further into the set — and that derailed the initial push of “An Industry of Murder” into “Hisingen Blues,” which, since it was followed by Lights Out‘s fastest track, “Seven Seven,” clearly wasn’t where they wanted the break to take place.
Still, these things can’t be helped sometimes. Nilsson, Sjöberg and bassist filling in for Rikard Edlund jammed out for a bit while Ramm and the stage crew tried to sort out his amp situation, and before long, “Seven Seven” revived the energy of the set and carried into the downshift of “Slow Motion Countdown.” I thought this was an especially bold inclusion, since so much of what makes that song such a high point of Lights Outis the Rhodes, mellotron and piano added to the guitars, bass and drums, but Graveyard made it work, and where Nilsson had seemed rushed in “Hisingen Blues,” the slower tempo allowed him to work his voice more, much to the song’s benefit. It made a solid lead-in for “Ain’t Fit to Live Here,” “Buying Truth (Tack & Förlåt)” and “Uncomfortably Numb,” a trio from Hisingen Blues beginning with the opener that were each more welcomed than the last. They dipped back to the self-titled for “As the Years Pass by, the Hours Bend” and returned to Lights Outfor “The Suits, the Law and the Uniforms,” which was rough — though lent extra presence by the bassline — but still grooving and “Hard Times Lovin’,” which Nilsson introduced as, “the most beautiful love song you’ve ever heard.”
I stood directly in front, just about in the middle, and the press of the crowd behind me was such that I’d have a line of bruise across my thighs from being pushed into the stage. This was enough at several points to make me think maybe I should head into the back and watch the remainder of the set from a more comfortable vantage, but to Graveyard‘s credit, they kept me where I was the whole time. “Hard Times Lovin’” turned out to be a highlight of the night, followed by “Thin Line” and “Goliath” (yes, those leads killed) to close out the regular set. After a couple minutes and some fervent chanting from the crowd, the band reemerged from backstage and hit into Hisingen Blues closer, “The Siren.”
The place went off. I continued to get pushed forward with nowhere to go. So what did I do? Motherfucker, I leaned back, trustfall-style. Among the few benefits of being a gentleman of such ample proportion is the knowledge that, if I want to go backwards, I’m going. That eased the pressure some and all was fine till some beardo decided it was time to stagedive, jumped up from the side and took my head with him on his way to the floor. After being summarily punched by his body, he caught my sweatshirt — and considerably more painfully, my hair — with him and then all of a sudden I was crouched over, caught and moving one way without really any choice in the matter. “The Siren” seemed 20 minutes long. Eventually whatever part of that dude was attached to my already-thinning-and-not-at-all-needing-to-be-ripped-out hair was unattached and he went on his way. It was… not boring.
He wasn’t the last, but thankfully everyone else was either tiny or going the other way or both. “Endless Night” from Lights Out and “Evil Ways” from the self-titled followed as a closing duo, the latter with an excellent jam included, but I wouldn’t be at all surprised if by the end of this tour Graveyard are closing with “The Siren.” That got the biggest response and seemed the most fitting, with the “Tonight a demon came into my head/And tried to choke me in my sleep” chorus igniting even more of a singalong than had the rest of their cuts.
Whatever they do or don’t do with the order though, it was a quality set, 90 solid minutes that wrapped at 12:30AM and sent me back into the cold night for a two-hour ride home that I made shorter the best way I know how — by speeding. I guess Graveyard will have that effect on you.
Posted in Whathaveyou on December 21st, 2012 by H.P. Taskmaster
A bit of news before we all split out for the weekend: I’ve signed on as an online promotional partner once again for the Desertfest Berlin! Basically that means that we’ll have a lot more news about both this one and Desertfest London as we get into the New Year and closer to that weekend itself — set for April 25-27. Wild times, and it seems like some bands are already slated to do one and then the other — looking at you, Unida and Lowrider — but the lineup looks awesome and I couldn’t be more thrilled to be associated again with Desertfest as the multinational brand continues to grow. If anyone wants to set up an East Coast franchise, let me know.
And here’s the latest lineup and ticket links for Desertfest Berlin. California-based retro punkers The Shrine have been added. Word also just came down the PR wire that The Shrine will be joining Graveyard on their upcoming US run, also not to be missed.
Kudos to SoCal stoner/trad skater punks The Shrine for continuing to largely ignore the musical progression of the last 30 years in rock. Their 2012 Tee Pee debut, Primitive Blast(review here), was nothing if not aptly named, and the trio has continued to cut its collective teeth touring with Fu Manchu and apparently everyone else who will have them. Here’s to living the dream, go get ‘em, and so forth.
Today The Shrine premiered their video for “Whistlings of Death” from the album, and sure enough, skateboards, beer and youthful arrogance ensue. Ah, to be young and of a semi-normal shoe-size.
Clip and PR wire info follow. Make sure you watch it in HD for extra grain:
Venice, CA “Destroyers of Rock ‘n’ Roll” THE SHRINE released their new album Primitive Blast This summer and just returned from their first European tour (alongside stoner rock veterans Fu Manchu). Today, VICE’s Noisey premieres THE SHRINE’s new music video “Whistlings of Death”, a true-to-life mashup of everything the band lives for: skating pools, having fun and hammering home heavy, psychedelic, riff based rock. “Whistlings of Death” was shot and edited by Amanda Siegel (on super 8 and 16mm film) with extra footage contributed by Coan Buddy Nichols.
Posted in Reviews on July 4th, 2012 by H.P. Taskmaster
Venice, California, trio The Shrine aren’t Tee Pee Records’ only excursion into more punkish ground over the last several years (Annihilation Time comes to mind as another, and the label is well rooted in the genre), but they might be the sturdiest bridge the long-running imprint has found yet between the varying sides of its aesthetic. The young, brash and retro-minded skater punk of The Shrine’s label debut, Primitive Blast, has been labeled “psychedelic violence” by the band itself, and while I struggle with that designation because, frankly, I don’t hear anything on the record all that psychedelic, there are definitely influences at work from riffier rock. Primitive Blast makes a show of its sneering arrogance in an early punk/modern hipster fashion (would be foolish to argue the other isn’t built largely on the one), but the difference of the roughly 30 years that separates guitarist/vocalist Josh Landau, bassist Courtland Murphy and drummer Jeff Murray from the bulk of their influences means they’re making a conscious decision to don the aesthetic like so many high-top sneakers – “Let’s do that,” instead of, “This is what I do.” Nonetheless, the nine tracks of Primitive Blast are a faithful, analog-recorded recreation of that specifically SoCal coolness, all flat skateboards and puffy hair from under ball caps and big sunglasses and calling people “bro” before you meant it ironically. I’ll say too that while they may be approaching what was essentially a natural outcrop of the post-psychedelic era in their region as one might approach a museum piece, the commitment The Shrine have to the style they’ve embarked on goes a long way toward building a sense of sincerity in the material on Primitive Blast. Heavily indebted to Black Flag – obviously – cuts like “Freak Fighter” also toy with the primordial form of glam rock that grew out of The Stooges and the MC5, and as the album is short at just over half an hour, there’s no sacrifice of immediacy or intensity to revel in those or any other tropes. They obviously knew what they were doing when they named the album.
And while that kind of self-awareness on the part of a band can often lead to critical cynicism about how contrived a work might be, Landau, Murphy and Murray have the songs on their side, and that goes a long way. They’re probably too young to remember when Damaged or My War came out, but there’s nothing to say they couldn’t have grown up with those records, seen the insufferable genre mutate from out of their inspiration, and decided to go back to the source. You don’t automatically know what someone’s experience is by listening to their music, is what I’m saying, and it doesn’t seem fair to hold someone’s age against them as a means for judging their appreciation of crossover punk. If the hip kids like punk, well, at least it’s good punk, and they’re putting it to good use on Primitive Blast, barking up guitar tonality that black metal bands dream of without realizing it with opener “Zipper Tripper,” the first of several beer-chugging dudely grooves. Black Sabbath comparisons have been tossed around, and they slow down the tempo some – the opening riff cycle is slower as well – so maybe that’s the source, but I hear it more in Landau’s scathing guitar leads than anywhere else. There’s definitely a metal side to the sound, though, and that comes across in “Zipper Tripper” and in “Whistlings of Death,” which follows and is the shortest song on the album at 2:17. Built around a chugging riff and lyrics about revolution topped by some cheeky falsetto, the song’s bridge is nonetheless metallic in its construction and the riff under the second solo – Murphy is given a brief moment to shine on bass – comes from someplace heavier. A sense of looseness and spontaneity comes through clear in Murray’s drums, which are nonetheless tight, and “Freak Fighter” continues the momentum with one of Primitive Blast’s catchiest choruses and an effective call and response in the vocals.