Psycho Las Vegas 2021 Lineup Announced

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

psycho las vegas 2021 banner

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But what you probably want to know is whether your ticket if you had one for 2020 is still good for 2021. Yes.

Behold:

psycho las vegas 2021 poster

Psycho Entertainment presents Psycho Las Vegas 2021

Psycho Las Vegas has been rescheduled to August 20th – 22nd, 2021. Psycho Swim has been rescheduled to August 19th, 2021. If you already purchased a pass for either event and want to attend in 2021, there is nothing you need to do – your passes will automatically be valid for the new dates.

80 of the 83 bands originally booked on the lineup are returning in 2021. The bands who are not joining us next year are Ty Segall, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, and Crowbar.

Danzig, Mercyful Fate, Emperor, The Flaming Lips, Blue Oyster Cult, Down, Mayhem, Satyricon, Obituary, Warpaint, Blonde Redhead, HEALTH, Watain, Ulver, Katatonia, At the Gates, Poison The Well, Paul Cauthen, Amigo The Devil, Exhorder, Wolves in the Throne Room, Thursday, Pinback, Zola Jesus, Drab Majesty, Boris, Eyehategood, Repulsion, Immolation, Midnight, MGLA, Windhand, Cursive, Tsol, King Dude, Pig Destroyer, Brutus, Profanatica, Lower Dens, Cult of Fire, Intronaut, boysetsfire, Death by Stereo, Curl Up and Die, Adamantium, This Will Destroy You, Khemmis, Mothership, Guantanamo Baywatch, Dengue Fever, Kaelan Mikla, Black Joe Lewis, Fatso Jetson, Wino, Creeping Death, Mephistofeles, Frankie and The Witch Fingers, Toke, Foie Gras, Flavor Crystals, Silvertomb, Lord Buffalo, Warish, Alms, Bombers, Glacial Tomb, Relaxer, Black Sabbitch, Hippie Death Cult, Vaelmyst, Mother Mercury, Two Minutes to Late Night

America’s rock n’ roll bacchanal returns to Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino August 20th through August 22th, with another resort-wide casino takeover unlike any of its kind. Now approaching its fifth year in the swirling neon decadence of Las Vegas, PSYCHO will feature over seventy artists across four stages including the world-class Events Center, the iconic House Of Blues, Mandalay Bay Beach, and the vintage Vegas-style Rhythm & Riffs Lounge in the center of the casino floor. PSYCHO LAS VEGAS 2021 will continue to redefine America’s conception of what a festival can be.

Psycho Entertainment presents Psycho Swim “The Official Psycho Las Vegas Pre-Party”

Old Man Gloom, Elder, Polyrhythmics, Death Valley Girls, The Skull, Blackwater Holylight, Here Lies Man, DJ Scott Seltzer

America’s rock n’ roll pool party returns to DAYLIGHT Beach Club on August 19th for the second annual PSYCHO SWIM. This official all-day pre-party celebrates the best of previous PSYCHO LAS VEGAS lineups with performances from a host of festival alumni as well as new PSYCHO additions.

DAYLIGHT Beach Club is nestled next to the Mandalay Bay Resort And Casino and features a 4400-square-foot main pool, daybeds, cabanas, and bungalows, with an elevated stage offering unobstructed, up-close-and-personal views of artist performances.

https://www.facebook.com/events/2513255765662644/
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A Message from Psycho Las Vegas

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Psycho Las Vegas Announces Complete 2020 Lineup; Danzig, Mercyful Fate & Emperor Headlining

Posted in Whathaveyou on January 30th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

Psycho Las Vegas 2020 banner style

Danzig doing the Lucifuge record, plus Emperor and Mercyful Fate on US exclusives. In the age of spectacle, Psycho Las Vegas stands apart from its otherwise-might-be peers. There’s a method to all this madness. A plan in action. These people aren’t stupid — this isn’t a stupid lineup, unless you mean “stupid” in an emphatic sense. That’s what Psycho Las Vegas is: emphasis realized. The chaos is the mission. How could there be a more suitable complement to this year, this moment in human history? This is happening at a fucking casino. In Las Vegas. Do you understand what I’m telling you? Do you understand you surreal that is? Repulsion are playing a god damned casino. On a bill with The Flaming Lips and Katatonia. This is your brain on… fire, I guess?

A couple weeks ago — days ago? hours? I have no idea what day it is or why I should be expected to know; I’ve actually set an alarm to post this at the right time in an effort not to screw it up which I probably will anyhow — I happened to have some quick email correspondence with the souls behind the genre-consuming beast of a festival that is Psycho Las Vegas 2020 and I made my BIG PITCH for coverage. Want to know what it was? What it basically boiled down to was, “How about you guys bring me out to the festival and put me up for four days, I take a bunch of mushrooms, maybe go see some bands and write whatever the hell I want?”

Their answer was yes, so that’s my plan. I think Psycho deserves nothing less than me ranting about I don’t know probably cultural decay, self-hate manifest as pretentious judgmentalism, and not eating for four days? Yeah, that sounds good. I’ll go with that.

The schedule isn’t out yet, but it’s clearly a choose-your-adventure festival. For those seeing HOT TIPS from an internet influencer, you’re on the wrong goddamn site. I’m the guy who spent half his morning cleaning up animal piss at his mom’s house. I’ll say though that along with the gargantuan proportion of the headliners — come on, Danzig doing Danzig II is brilliant and you know it — and all the indie, emo and post-hardcore stuff that, yeah okay, I get it, the aughts were a thing for some people (not for me; was too drunk to remember any of it), it’s righteous to see such a huge event in addition to telling Coachella to suck its ass continuing to commit to the heavy underground. My chosen adventure will include but not be limited to placing priority on Lord Buffalo, Blackwater Holylight, Fatso Jetson (of course), Mothership (the context is too good to pass up), Hippie Death Cult and… yes… Katatonia. Because they’re the wintriest band ever and it’ll be 100 degrees. The most Psycho move ever would be to put them on the pool stage. Keeping my fingers crossed that’s how it works out. Shit, put Mayhem out there while we’re at it.

That’s all provided I’m not too out of my mind to leave the hotel room.

Here’s a poster and words in blue. See you there, sort of:

PSYCHO LAS VEGAS 2020 – COMPLETE LINEUP

DANZIG (Celebrating 30 years of “Lucifuge”)
MERCYFUL FATE (2020 USA Exclusive)
EMPEROR (2020 USA Exclusive)
THE FLAMING LIPS
BLUE OYSTER CULT
DOWN (Celebrating 25 years of “Nola”)
BLACK REBEL MOTORCYCLE CLUB
TY SEGALL
WARPAINT
MAYHEM
SATYRICON
WATAIN
BLONDE REDHEAD
HEALTH
OBITUARY
ULVER (2020 USA Exclusive)
KATATONIA
AT THE GATES
POISON THE WELL
TSOL
CROWBAR
EXHORDER
WOLVES IN THE THRONE ROOM
THURSDAY
PINBACK
ZOLA JESUS
DRAB MAJESTY
BORIS
KING DUDE
PAUL CAUTHEN
AMIGO THE DEVIL
EYEHATEGOD
PIG DESTROYER
REPULSION
IMMOLATION
MIDNIGHT
MGLA
WINDHAND
CURSIVE
BRUTUS
PROFANATICA
LOWER DENS
BLACK JOE LEWIS
INTRONAUT
BOYSETSFIRE
DEATH BY STEREO
CURL UP AND DIE
ADAMANTIUM
THIS WILL DESTROY YOU
KHEMMIS
MOTHERSHIP
GUANTANAMO BAYWATCH
DENGUE FEVER
KAELAN MIKLA
BLACKWATER HOLYLIGHT
FATSO JETSON
WINO (ACOUSTIC)
CREEPING DEATH
MEPHISTOFELES
FRANKIE AND THE WITCH FINGERS
TOKE
FOIE GRAS
FLAVOR CRYSTALS
SILVERTOMB
LORD BUFFALO
WARISH
ALMS
BOMBERS
GLACIAL TOMB
RELAXER
HIPPIE DEATH CULT
VAELMYST
MOTHER MERCURY
DJ SCOTT SELTZER

Psycho Entertainment & MGM Entertainment present PSYCHO SWIM

Lineup:
OLD MAN GLOOM
ELDER
THE SKULL
DEATH VALLEY GIRLS
BLACKWATER HOLYLIGHT
HERE LIES MAN
POLYRHYTHMICS
DJ SCOTT SELTZER

Tickets for PSYCHO LAS VEGAS as well as the PSYCHO SWIM pre-party, which requires a separate ticket from the main festival pass, are on sale now!

Tickets for all PSYCHO LAS VEGAS events can be purchased at VivaPsycho.com or AXS.com.

https://www.facebook.com/events/3255628101138593/
http://www.vivapsycho.com
http://www.facebook.com/psychoLasVegas
http://www.instagram.com/psycholasvegas

Danzig, Danzig II: Lucifuge (1990)

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Psycho Las Vegas 2020 Announces Ulver, Mayhem, Elder, Ty Segall, Windhand, Kaelan Mikla, Mephistofeles and Blonde Redhead to Play

Posted in Whathaveyou on November 13th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

psycho las vegas 2020 logo

Psycho Las Vegas 2020 has begun the process of unveiling its lineup, and already it’s all-over-the-place in that precariously well-named kind of way. That is, Psycho, and, well, yeah. Familiar faces Elder and Windhand return, and Ulver, Blonde Redhead, Mayhem, Kaelan MiklaMephistofeles and Ty Segall and the Freedom Band will join on as well for a varied and already kinda overwhelming aesthetic reach that should be perfectly suited to the festival’s gonna-blow-minds mission and generally hallucinatory vibes. Like a mirage all the more so for the blurred vision of those in attendance. There’s a difference between drinking in the heat and drinking in heat. At Psycho, they do both.

Also they get stoned.

I got asked the other day if I was planning to write another book anytime soon. I said I wasn’t, but that’s not entirely true. I’d like to fly out to Psycho Las Vegas 2020, maybe a day early, eat a bunch of mushrooms in some stupidly-deluxe hotel room and gonzo my way through 20,000-odd words over the course of the four-day fest experience and then publish that in paperback. It would not be a common photos-and-words review. It might not be a review at all. But it would be something, and I think it would be fun to do, and an experience befitting the atmosphere for the fest itself. I haven’t made that pitch yet to Psycho. I’m not sure if they’d go for it.

Anyway, here’s the lineup announcement. Private bathrooms for the win:

PSYCHO LAS VEGAS 2020: First Round Of Artists Announced Including Ty Segall & The Freedom Band, Mayhem, Ulver, Windhand, Blonde Redhead, And More; Tickets On Sale Now!

America’s rock n’ roll bacchanal, PSYCHO LAS VEGAS, will return to Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino for a second consecutive year August 14th through August 16th 2020. Set to commence with a pre-party at Daylight Beach Club on August 13th, PSYCHO LAS VEGAS remains the premier rock festival destination offering fans one of the most unique and immersive festival formats in the world.

Now approaching its fifth year in the swirling neon decadence of Las Vegas, the resort-wide takeover will utilize four stages including the world-class Mandalay Bay Events Center, the iconic House Of Blues, Mandalay Bay Beach, and Rhythm & Riffs Lounge located at the center of the casino floor. With its signature mix of grit, grime, and grandeur, PSYCHO LAS VEGAS 2020 will continue to redefine America’s conception of what a music festival can be.

The curators of the event are pleased to unveil the first round of artists to grace the PSYCHO stages with California garage rock icons Ty Segall & The Freedom Band, New York alternative noise rock veterans Blonde Redhead, Virginia doom metal unit Windhand, and Massachusetts psyche metallers Elder (scheduled to play the pre-party), as well as Norwegian black metal legends Mayhem, long-running Norwegian dark ambient collective Ulver, Icelandic synth punk trio Kaelan Mikla, and Argentinian dark electric “mausoleum music” makers Mephistofeles.

Tickets for PSYCHO LAS VEGAS as well as the PSYCHO SWIM pre-party, which requires a separate ticket from the main festival pass, are on sale now!

PSYCHO LAS VEGAS offers several pricing tiers and payment plans starting with a $20 deposit. 3-Day GA Weekender passes start at $199 (excluding tax and fees). Limited VIP 3-Day High Roller passes – which sell out annually – are available for $499 (excluding tax and fees) and include:

— VIP access for all three days of the festival + entry to the Thursday pre-party
— VIP hotel and festival check-in at Mandalay Bay
— Dedicated lines for expedited entry to all stages of the festival
— Private viewing areas, seating, restrooms and bars at three stages of the festival
— Limited edition and exclusive merch item for 2020 High Rollers only

Tickets for all PSYCHO LAS VEGAS events can be purchased at VivaPsycho.com or AXS.com.

Meticulously curated, PSYCHO LAS VEGAS has gained worldwide recognition for consistently delivering lineups that grow increasingly diverse and eclectic with each passing year, the magnitude of which have yet to be seen in North America. From post-rock, to black metal, to world music and even electronica, PSYCHO’s wide-ranging allure has expanded ceaselessly since its inception, bringing together musicians and artists from seemingly immiscible corners of the musical world.

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Elder, Live at Psycho Smokeout 2019

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Ulver Cancel June West Coast Tour Dates

Posted in Whathaveyou on May 10th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

ulver (photo Ingrid Aas)

This sucks, and I have to say, if Ulver are scratching their heads a bit about why they have to cancel their upcoming West Coast run, so am I. Aside from the ongoing critical saliva they inspire, the long-running Norwegian experimentalists are a pretty big deal. They did two New York shows and by all accounts they went off without a hitch. So what’s up, West Coast?

I tend to think of the Pacific Seaboard as where it’s at currently for general appreciation of the various stripes of underground music. Portland, Denver, San Francisco, San Diego, Seattle. Some of these are places Ulver were set to go, and here they are, forked tail between their legs, citing low ticket sales for canceling the tour. That’s a bummer for any band, let alone one who’s been at it so long and had reaped the kind of praise they have.

Too sunny out west, maybe?

ulver west coast shows

ULVER – THE SWALLOWING OF PRIDE

We come bearing difficult news: after many frustrating phone calls and deliberations over this last week, we have decided to pull the plug on our upcoming US West Coast run. Modern media protocol suggests we trump up a reason, other than the depressing reality: pre-sales are too modest up against the rather big risk, given the size of the production and the venues.

We feel we just have to be honest about all this. We can not justify going through with all the things we need (flights, nightliner, backline, TM, tech, lasers, lights, and so on) in light of the poor prospects. It has left our promoters, booking agents, management, and now us, a bit baffled. Especially considering two full houses in NYC in March.

Despite our problems getting laser permits for those gigs, we think the trip turned out to be a success, and we would like to take the opportunity to thank everyone who came to the Big Apple. Hopefully it will not be our last visit in the US.

Did we announce too soon after NYC? Should we have announced sooner? Maybe we waited altogether too many years, before finally making it across the pond? One can speculate, of course, but it doesn’t do much good at this point.

We feel it would be irresponsible to ignore the warnings and go over knowing that promoters (and us) will loose thousand upon thousands of dollars. Money is an absolute drag (except when you have it), but also a stone cold reality when it comes down to organizing these things. We have to take it into account, unfortunately.

We would like to apologize to all those who have already purchased tickets and who were looking forward to Ulver America pt. 2. Needless to say, your tickets will be refunded. Please know that this hurts us all. Visas have been obtained, paid and approved for everyone, some flights and other things have already been booked, pre-prod has been done and countless hours have gone into organization. It hurts even more since it is the second time in the US (third in our career) that we feel we have no other option than to cancel.

Finally, and most importantly, because we know many out there will be sorely disappointed: this decision was not made with a light heart.

We are very, very sorry.

Ulver, Oslo, May 8, 2019

https://www.facebook.com/Ulver-31166220421/
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http://www.jester-records.com/ulver/

Ulver, Sic Transit Gloria Mundi EP (2017)

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ROADBURN 2017 Day Four: God Particle

Posted in Features, Reviews on April 23rd, 2017 by JJ Koczan

roadburn 2017 banner (Photo by JJ Koczan)

04.23.17 — 22.26 — Sunday night — Hotel room

The last day of putting together the Weirdo Canyon Dispatch started with a panic when the office coffee machine was busted. At first I didn’t believe it and plugged the thing in to see if the sign that had been taped onto the front was bullshit, but indeed, it was not. Could’ve cried. Instead, went downstairs to the backstage area where they serve the meals and got coffee there. Survived.

Thus, the final issue of the 2017 Weirdo Canyon Dispatch came into being. Download the PDF version here.

What used to be known as the Afterburner, the traditional easing between a given Roadburn and the transition back to real life, is now basically just another day of the fest proper. They’ve dropped the name, and fairly enough so. Running across four stages this year, it’s hardly a means of becoming less immersed in the Roadburn experience at this point. If anything, it’s Roadscorch. The absolute last blast from the furnace that is this festival. My brain has turned into Roadchar.

I had no fewer bands I wanted to see today than yesterday or the day before, and a few others that I wouldn’t have minded catching had I been able to do so, so yeah, it was definitely Roadburn. It started early and went late and was packed for the duration. I did one more bounce between venues as I had earlier in the weekend — none at Cul de Sac for me today, but two at Het Patronaat — and was back and forth a few times between the Main Stage and the Green Room at the 013 proper, running past the merch area as well for good measure. Can’t be too careful. Wouldn’t want something to get by unnoticed.

It was a 15.00 start in the big room with Temple of BBV. I knew from seeing Gnod the other night (review here) that the culmination of their residency in a collaboration with Radar Men from the Moon was one I didn’t want to miss, so while it was early, I figured a head-first dive into willful prog oddity was well in order. I won’t like to you — it was a lot for three in the afternoon. Or three in the morning, for that matter. It was a lot, period. 10 people on Temple of BBV (Photo by JJ Koczan)stage, including two drummers, a near-constant throb and pulsations pushing outward into psycho-psychedelic reaches of the bizarre.

They were aggressively strange. On a strangeness crusade. They wore their strangeness like a badge of strangeness honor and as the room filled up slowly, people seeing to be hungover perhaps from the sensory assault Mysticum had provided the night before as much as from actual inebriation of whatever sort, the crowd had no choice but to be subsumed by what Temple of BBV were doing on that stage. Hair of the cosmic dog that gave you demonic space-rabies. Was it weird? Why, yes. Yes, it was.

I couldn’t help but try to remember when last I actually saw Pallbearer as their set got underway, also on the Main Stage. Turns out it was 2013 (review here). I’d also caught them at Roadburn that year (review here), as part of what was then the Afterburner in the Green Room. While I didn’t think it’d been that long at the time, the reason I thought of it was because of how much the Arkansas doomers seem to have stepped up their game in the intervening years. Their third album, Heartless (review here), is newly issued and fresh in mind, but live that material became heavier than it is on record and their presence in delivery was unmistakable. Since the last time I saw them, Pallbearer have become a headlining band.

No question they belonged on the Main Stage at Roadburn 2017. They not only held down that Pallbearer (Photo by JJ Koczan)spot well, but were in full command of their material and their sound, and with shared vocals across the front of the stage, they offered a richness to their doom that only underscored just how much they’ve made the genre work to their interests rather than working to the interests of genre. Heartless cuts like “I Saw the End,” “Thorns” and “Dancing in Madness” were high points in emphasizing their progression, but the churning heft of the whole set was dead on, whether it was those or “Fear and Fury,” “Worlds Apart,” or “The Ghost I Used to Be.” Remarking from the stage that playing Roadburn felt like coming home since it was where they’d done their first European show, they were welcomed as returning heroes and clearly rose to the occasion.

I know they’re like the hottest shit in the world and everyone knows it and Heartless is going to be everyone’s album of the year and blah blah blah so I’m giving away state secrets or anything, but Pallbearer fucking killed at Roadburn. I’ve seen them before and I was still genuinely surprised at how good they were.

Just for fun, I poked my head into the Green Room to catch a minute of Author and Punisher. A boy and his robots. The space was packed out so I didn’t linger, and instead sauntered back over to the big room again to watch Pallbearer finish and await the arrival of Les Discrets, who are also supporting a new album, Prédateurs, released just this week on Prophecy Productions. The moody vibes that the Parisian outfit proffered would make a lot of sense leading into Ulver, songs like “Virée Nocturne” having an element of the dark and urbane to them, progressive even beyond what one might’ve come to expect from their past work in post-black metal and Alcest-style melodicism. Guitarist/vocalist Fursy Teyssier, who also had a showcase of his visual art upstairs in the 013, had a quieter presence than when he led Les Discrets (Photo by JJ Koczan)the band when they played Roadburn 2013 at Het Patronaat (review here), but it worked for what they were doing.

In hindsight, it probably would’ve made narrative sense to stay put in the big room and await the arrival of the aforementioned Ulver. I didn’t do that. First, I went and grabbed dinner — chicken salad over lettuce and arugula with bacon and a bit of chicken/peppers in curry sauce; some bean sprouts in there, no corn, no onions, no celery; two plates, second void of curry and bacon — and was fortunate enough to sit in the company of Norwegian artist and Weirdo Canyon Dispatch contributor Kim Holm, and then I made my way back up to the Green Room to catch at least some of Valborg. I knew that I wanted to watch somebody from the Green Room balcony, and the underrated German martial metallers seemed like the perfect occasion.

And so they pretty much were. I watched as the space below filled up and when the German trio — whose new record, Endstrand, is also out on Prophecy this month (it came out April 7) — took stage, it was pretty clear the crowd knew them well. “Werwulf” from the 2016 single of the same name (review here) was like a riff-led wrecking ball that highlighted how perfectly paced Valborg‘s material is and the genre lines their songwriting so fluidly crosses between death metal, progressive synth textures Valborg (Photo by JJ Koczan)and goth atmospherics. They demonstrated clearly they can roll a groove with the best of them but seem to have little interest in heavy rock or anything quite so not-extreme, but wherever it was ultimately coming from, their sound was on its own wavelength and its complete lack of compromise notched a mark in the skull of everyone who was there to hear it, myself included.

I didn’t get to stay for Valborg‘s whole set because I knew Ulver were soon to go on the Main Stage. I worked my way off the balcony much to the delight of the person who’d been standing behind me while I leaned over the rail to take a couple pictures of the band and down around the back way to the Main Stage room — still kind of strange to me how the 013 works since it was remodeled last year; there’s a hallway with bathrooms there now that I think used to lead to the Bat Cave/Stage01, but jeez, don’t quote me on that. I’d have to look at the blueprints to be sure, and that would probably take hours because I’d have to find a YouTube video on how to read blueprints first. Sucks being useless sometimes. Most of the time, actually.

Anyway, I did manage to get myself one room over in time for the start of Ulver, and when the Norwegian more-post-everything-than-everything outfit got underway, I was really, really glad I’d already heard the new album which was the focus of their set: The Assassination of Julius Caesar (review here). Otherwise all that dark post-New Wave moodiness and nighttime ambienceUlver (Photo by JJ Koczan) might’ve thrown me for a loop. It’s usually safe to assume two things about Roadburn attendees. One, they’re open-minded. Two, they’re pretty well informed. Still, of all the men and women assembled at the 013 to watch Ulver play, I have to imagine there was at least one person who had no idea what they were in for, and so when the band broke out the laser light show and the electronica beats and the Depeche Mode gone prog sexytime vibes they were completely taken aback by all of it. Now that I think about it, it might’ve been fun to be surprised like that.

But when it comes to Ulver, part of the appeal is the band’s willingness to dismantle their own formula, or more precisely, to not have a formula in the first place, so it’s safe to assume that whether this hypothetical Roadburner knew or not what they were getting with the songs featured from The Assassination of Julius Caesar, they were still able to get on board. Still, one day someone’s going to trick Ulver into playing 2007’s Shadows of the Sun front to back — or at least doing live variations based thereupon — and that’s going to be incredible. One for Roadburn 2022, maybe?

I didn’t stay for all of Ulver either. Not for lack of patience or anything, but I could feel my Roadburn 2017 crunch winding down and knew I had to try to pack as much in as I could. That meant getting my ass to Het Patronaat to see The Doomsday Kingdom. Every year I’m lucky enough to be at Roadburn I let myself buy one piece of vinyl. This year it was the special edition 12″ The Doomsday Kingdom were selling at the merch stand. Why? Because Leif Edling, god damn it. The founding Candlemass The Doomsday Kingdom (Photo by JJ Koczan)bassist and crucial architect of what we know to be true and traditional doom metal — yes, I mean that — was making a live debut with this new four-piece at the church, and I knew I didn’t want to regret later not getting that record when I had the chance. It’ll probably get damaged in my luggage on the trip home. Still worth it.

Their set was likewise. Songs like “Never Machine” and “The Silence” offered classic doom very much of the style one might expect from Edling‘s long-established craft and methodology, but hell, I’ve got no problem with that whatsoever. It hasn’t been that long since Candlemass put out their 2016 EP, Death Thy Lover (review here), and they’re still doing shows as well, but before he took over lead vocals from mesh-shirt-clad frontman Niklas Stålvind — who’d been righteously belting out the material up to that point — for the set finale “God Particle,” Edling called The Doomsday Machine his “therapy band.” I wasn’t sure what he meant, but I sure was glad I stayed to watch their full set, because they were awesome. A couple first-show-type hiccups, but nothing major by any stretch, and after “God Particle,” they even came back out in made an encore of the metallic-galloping “Hand of Hell,” with Stålvind back on vocals, guitarist Marcus Jidell tearing into solo after solo and drummer Andreas Johansson fueling the big rock finish before coming out from behind the kit to take a bow with the band. If that was therapy, sign me up.

From Sweden to Boston. Come to Grief were on next at the church, and if I’d tried, I don’t think I’d have been able to come up with a more appropriate ending to my Roadburn 2017 than to watch the native Beantowner offshoot of Grief play a set of ultra-misanthropic extreme sludge. Tones of home. You Come to Grief (Photo by JJ Koczan)have no idea how hard it was not to shout out “Go Sox!” in a Boston accent before they played. You cannot possibly know. Fortunately, before I could muster the gumption to do same, guitarist Terry Savastano began to unleash maddening floor-shaking undulations of feedback. He, fellow guitarist/vocalist Jonathan Hébert, bassist Justin Christian and drummer Chuck Conlon would soon loose a set that spanned all the way back to the title-track from Grief‘s 1992 debut EP, Depression — which Savastano noted was the first song that band ever wrote — all the way forward to Come to Grief‘s new four-tracker compact disc, The Worst of Times.

“No Savior” and “JunkLove” from the latter (and later) release were featured, but at their core, wherever they were drawing material from, Come to Grief were a mainline shot of visceral abrasiveness. Intense, pummeling and straight from the gut, they crashed each riff with maximum intensity and left no mystery about the sincerity of their intent to kill. It was impressive the way one thinks of primitive humanoids bashing in each other’s heads as a sign of evolution at work. Like I said, the perfect finale to my Roadburn 2017 — one last raw scrub to get the unwanted pieces of myself gone before I get on that plane and go home tomorrow morning.

Did I just say tomorrow morning? Yuppers. It’s 01.40. Shuttle comes to take me to the airport in about five hours, as it happens. When I left Het Patronaat, in addition to looping through the merch area to pick up the aforementioned Come to Grief CD, I made one last run through the 013 hoping to find Walter and say goodnight and thanks, but no such luck. Tired, beaten, missing my wife and with my earplugs still in, I trod past the assembled throngs in Weirdo Canyon and back to the hotel, where packing still awaits and pictures want sorting.

So yeah, I’m going to go get on that.

I’ll have another post up at some point tomorrow, but in the meantime, thank you so much for reading and please find the rest of those pics after the jump here:

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Quarterly Review: Ulver, Forming the Void, Hidden Trails, Svvamp, Black Mirrors, Endless Floods, Tarpit Boogie, Horseburner, Vermilion Whiskey, Hex Inverter

Posted in Reviews on March 28th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

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Feeling groovy heading into Day Two of the Spring 2017 Quarterly Review, and I hope you are as well. Today we dig into a pretty wide variety of whatnots, so make sure you’ve got your head with you as we go, because there are some twists and turns along the way. I mean it. Of all five days in this round, this one might be the most wild, so keep your wits intact. I’m doing my best to do the same, of course, but make no promises in that regard.

Quarterly Review #11-20:

Ulver, The Assassination of Julius Caesar

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Norwegian post-everything specialists Ulver have reportedly called The Assassination of Julius Caesar (on House of Mythology) “their pop album,” and while the Nik Turner-inclusive freakout in second cut “Rolling Stone” (that may or may not be him on closer “Comign Home” as well) doesn’t quite fit that mold, the beats underscoring the earlier portion of that track, opener “Nemoralia” and the melodrama of “Southern Gothic” certainly qualify. Frontman/conceptual mastermind Kristoffer Rygg’s voice is oddly suited to this form – he carries emotionally weighted hooks like a melancholy George Michael on the electronically pulsating “Transverberation” and, like most works of pop, shows an obsession with the ephemeral in a slew of cultural references in “1969,” which in no way is likely to be mistaken for the Stooges song of the same name. While “So Falls the World” proves ridiculously catchy, “Coming Home” is about as close as Ulver actually come here to modern pop progression, and the Badalamenti-style low-end and key flourish in “1969” is a smooth touch, much of what’s happening in these eight tracks is still probably too complex to qualify as pop, but The Assassination of Julius Caesar is further proof that Ulver’s scope only grows more boundless as the years pass. The only limits they ever seem to know are the ones they leave behind.

Ulver on Twitter

House of Mythology website

 

Forming the Void, Relic

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Last year, Louisiana four-piece Forming the Void had the element of surprise working to their advantage when it came to the surprising progressive edge of their debut album, Skyward (review here). Now signed to Argonauta, the eight-song/55-minute follow-up, Relic, doesn’t need it. It finds Forming the Void once again working proggy nuance into big-riffed, spaciously vocalized fare on early cuts “After Earth” and “Endless Road,” but as the massive hook of “Biolazar” demonstrates, the process by which guitarist/vocalist James Marshall, guitarist Shadi Omar Al-Khansa, bassist Luke Baker and drummer Jordan Boyd meld their influences has become more cohesive and more their own. Accordingly, I’m not sure they need the 11-minute closing take on Led Zeppelin’s “Kashmir,” since by then the point is made in the lumber/plunder of “Plumes” and in the more tripped-out “Unto the Smoke” just before, but as indulgences go, it’s a relatively easy one to make. They’re still growing, but doing so quickly, and already they’ve begun to find a niche for themselves between styles that one hopes they’ll continue to explore.

Forming the Void on Thee Facebooks

Argonauta Records website

 

Hidden Trails, Instant Momentary Bliss

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Though it keeps a wash of melodic keys in the background and its approach is resolutely laid back on the whole, “Beautiful Void” is nonetheless a major factor in the overall impression of Hidden Trails’ self-titled debut (on Elektrohasch), as its indie vibe and departure from the psychedelic prog of the first two cuts, “Lancelot” and “Mutations,” marks a major distinguishing factor between this outfit and Hypnos 69, in which the rhythm section of the Belgian trio played previously. “Ricky” goes on to meld acoustic singer-songwriterism and drones together, and “Hands Unfold” has a kind of jazzy bounce, the bassline of Dave Houtmeyers and drumming of Tom Vanlaer providing upbeat groove under Jo Neyskens’ bright guitar lead, but the anticipation of heavy psych/prog never quite leaves after the opening, and that doesn’t seem to be what the band wants to deliver. The sweetly harmonized acid folk of “Leaving Like That” is on a different wavelength, and likewise the alt-rock vibes of “Space Shuffle” and “Come and Play” and the grunge-chilled-out closer “Denser Diamond.” If there’s an issue with Hidden Trails, it’s one of the expectations I’m bringing to it as a listener and a fan of Houtmeyers’ and Vanlaer’s past work, but clearly it’s going to take me a little longer to get over the loss of their prior outfit. Maybe I’m just not ready to move on.

Hidden Trails on Thee Facebooks

Elektrohasch Schallplatten website

 

Svvamp, Svvamp

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Naturalist vibes pervade immediately from this late-2016 self-titled Svvamp debut (on RidingEasy Records) in the bassline to “Serpent in the Sky,” and in some of the post-Blue Cheer heavy blues sensibility, the Swedish trio bring to mind some of what made early Dirty Streets so glorious. Part of the appeal of Svvamp’s Svvamp, however, is that among the lessons it’s learned from heavy ‘70s rock and from Kadavar‘s own self-titled is to keep it simple. “Fresh Cream” is a resonant blues jam… that lasts two and a half minutes. The bouncing, turning “Oh Girl?” Three. Even the longest of its cuts, the slide-infused “Time,” the subdued roller “Big Rest” and the Marshall Tucker-esque finale “Down by the River,” are under five. This allows the three-piece of Adam Johansson, Henrik Bjorklund and Erik Stahlgren to build significant momentum over the course of their 35-minute run, casting aside pretense in favor of aesthetic cohesion and an organic sensibility all the more impressive for it being their first record. Sweden has not lacked for boogie rock, but even the most relatively raucous moments here, as in the winding “Blue in the Face,” don’t seem overly concerned with what anyone else is up to, and that bodes remarkably well for Svvamp’s future output.

Svvamp on Thee Facebooks

RidingEasy Records website

 

Black Mirrors, Funky Queen

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There are few songs ever written that require whoever’s playing them to “bring it” more than MC5’s “Kick out the Jams.” True, it’s been covered many, many times over, but few have done it well. Belgium’s Black Mirrors signal riotous intent by including it as one of the four tracks of their Napalm Records debut EP, Funky Queen, along with the originals “Funky Queen,” “The Mess” and “Canard Vengeur Masqué,” and amid the post-Blues Pills stomp of “The Mess,” the mega-hook of the opening title-track and the more spacious five-plus-minute closer, which works elements of heavy psych into its bluesy push late to welcome effect, “Kick out the Jams” indeed brings a moment of relative cacophony, even if there’s no actual threat of the band losing control behind the powerful vocals of Marcella di Troia. As a first showing, Funky Queen would seem to be a harbinger, but it’s also a purposeful and somewhat calculated sampling of Black Mirrors’ wares, and I wouldn’t expect it to be long before an album follows behind expanding on the ideas presented in these tracks.

Black Mirrors on Thee Facebooks

Black Mirrors at Napalm Records

 

Endless Floods, II

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No doubt that for some who’d take it on, any words beyond “members of Monarch!” will be superfluous, but Bordeaux three-piece Endless Floods, who do indeed feature bassist/vocalist Stéphane Miollan and drummer Benjamin Sablon from that band, as well as guitarist Simon Bedy, have more to offer than pedigree on their three-song sophomore full-length, II (on Dry Cough vinyl and Breathe Plastic cassette). To wit, 24-minute opener and longest track (immediate points) “Impasse” rumbles out raw but spacious sludge that, though without keys or a glut of effects, and marked by the buried-deep screaming of Miollan, holds a potent sense of atmosphere so that the two-minute interlude “Passage” doesn’t seem out of place leading into the 19-minute lumber of “Procession,” which breaks shortly before its halfway point to bass-led minimalism in setting up the final build of the record. Slow churning intensity and longform sludge working coherently alongside ambient sensibilities and some genuinely disturbing noise? Yeah, that’ll do nicely. Thanks.

Endless Floods on Thee Facebooks

Dry Cough Records on Bandcamp

Breathe Plastic Records on Bandcamp

 

Tarpit Boogie, Couldn’t Handle… The Heavy Jam

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Boasting four eight-plus-minute instrumentals, Couldn’t Handle… The Heavy Jam finds New Jersey trio Tarpit Boogie rife with classic style heavy rock chemistry, bassist John Eager running fills around the dense-toned riffing from guitarist George Pierro as drummer Chris Hawkins propels a surprising thrust on opener “FFF Heavy Jam.” I’ve been a fan of Pierro and Eager’s since we were bandmates a decade ago, so to hear them unfold “Chewbacca Jacket” from its tense opening to its righteously crashing finale is definitely welcome, but the 37-minute offering finds its true reasoning in the swing and shuffle of the eponymous “Tarpit Boogie,” which digs into the very challenge posed by the title – whether or not anyone taking on the album can handle its balance of sonic impact and exploratory feel – inclusive, in this case, of a drum solo that sets a foundation for a moment of Cactus-style rush ahead of a return to the song’s central progression to conclude. They round out with “1992 (Thank You Very Little),” Chevy Chase sample and all, bringing more crashing nod to a massive slowdown that makes it feel like the entire back half of the cut is one big rock finish. And so it is. A well-kept secret of Garden State heavy.

Tarpit Boogie on Thee Facebooks

Tarpit Boogie on Bandcamp

 

Horseburner, Dead Seeds, Barren Soil

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The self-released Dead Seeds, Barren Soil is Horseburner’s second full-length, and it arrived in 2016 from the four-piece some seven years after their 2009 debut, Dirt City. They’ve had a few shorter outings in between, demos and 2013’s Strange Giant EP, but the West Virginia four-piece of Adam Nohe, Chad Ridgway, Jack Thomas and Zach Kaufman seem to be shooting for a definitive statement of intent in the blend of heavy rock and modern, Baroness-style prog that emerges on opener “David” and finds its way into the galloping “Into Black Resolution,” the multi-tiered vocals of “A Newfound Purity” and even the more straight-ahead thrust of “The Soil’s Prayer.” Marked out by the quality of its guitar work and its clearly-plotted course, Dead Seeds, Barren Soil caps with “Eleleth,” which at just under eight minutes draws the heft and the complexity together for a gargantuan finish that does justice to the ground Horseburner just flattened as they left it behind.

Horseburner on Thee Facebooks

Horseburner on Bandcamp

 

Vermilion Whiskey, Spirit of Tradition

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Lafayette, Louisiana, five-piece Vermilion Whiskey telegraph participation in the New Wave of Dude Rock to the point of addressing their audience as “boy” in second cut “The Past is Dead,” and from the cartoon cleavage on the cover to the lack of irony between naming the record Spirit of Tradition and putting a song called “The Past is Dead” on it, they sell that well. The Kent Stump-mixed/Tony Reed-mastered six-tracker is the band’s second behind 2013’s 10 South, and basks in dudely, dudely dudeliness; Southern metal born more out of the Nola style than what, say, Wasted Theory are getting up to these days, but that would still fit on a bill with that Delaware outfit. If you think you’re dude enough for a song like “One Night,” hell, maybe you are. Saddle up. Listening to that and the chunky-style riff of closer “Loaded Up,” I feel like I might need hormone therapy to hit that level of may-yun, but yeah. Coherent, well written, tightly performed and heavy. Vermilion Whiskey might as well be hand-issuing dudes invitations to come drink with them, but they make a solid case for doing so.

Vermilion Whiskey on Thee Facebooks

Vermilion Whiskey on Bandcamp

 

Hex Inverter, Revision

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If the cover art and a song title like “I Swear I’m Not My Thoughts” weren’t enough of a tip-off, there’s a strong undercurrent of the unsettled to Hex Inverter’s second long-player, Revision. The Pennsylvania-based experimentalists utilize a heaping dose of drones to fill out arrangements of keys, guitar and noise that would otherwise be pretty minimal, and vocals come and go in pro- and depressive fashion. Texture proves the key as they embark on the linear centerpiece “Something Else,” with a first verse arriving over a sweetened bassline after four minutes into the total 9:58, and the wash of noise in “Daphne” obscures an avant neo-jazz groove late, so while opener “Cannibal Eyes” basks in foreboding ambience prior to an emotionally-driven and explosive crunch-beat payoff, one never quite knows what to expect next on Revision. That, of course, is essential to the appeal. They find an edge of rock in the aforementioned “I Swear I’m Not My Thoughts,” but as the loops and synth angularity of closer “Fled (Deadverse Mix)” make plain, their intentions speak to something wider than even an umbrella genre.

Hex Inverter on Thee Facebooks

Hex Inverter on Bandcamp

 

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Ulver Confirm April 7 Release for The Assassination of Julius Caesar

Posted in Whathaveyou on February 27th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

ulver-photo-Ingrid-Aas

Perennial residents of their own wavelength Ulver have shored up an April 7 release for their new album, The Assassination of Julius Caesar. The long-running Norwegian progressive post-black metal experimentalist outfit have spent the several years engaged in any number of different kinds of projects, from the 2012 reinterpretations/covers album Childhood’s End through 2016’s sprawlingly improvised ATGCLVLSSCAP and Riverhead film soundtrack, but The Assassination of Julius Caesar will be their first proper studio outing since 2011, and as they engender a cult following few can match, that alone makes it significant, never mind the sonic achievements that are almost certain to show up on the thing itself.

The album was first announced back in October when Ulver was an early add to Roadburn 2017 (info here) in April, but with preorders up and more fest dates carrying them into the summer, it looks like they’ll be plenty busy even aside from that. Sorry, but every time Ulver do anything, it just feels like a landmark. Will hope I get the chance to hear the record.

From the PR wire:

ulver-the-assassination-of-julius-caesar

Ulver announce new album, The Assassination Of Julius Caesar, incoming on House Of Mythology 7 April, live shows on the horizon

Following last year’s release of ATGCLVLSSCAP, a massively acclaimed album of mainly improvisational, rock and electronic soundscapes, comes news of a brand new studio album from Ulver – their first since 2011’s Wars of the Roses.

The Assassination of Julius Caesar arrives on 7th April via House Of Mythology. The album has been recorded and produced by Ulver themselves and mixed by legendary producer Martin ‘Youth’ Glover with Michael Rendall.

Ever evolving, Ulver have never been afraid to make bold musical statements nor to broaden their already expansive sonic palette, and this new album is no exception. We predict that jaws shall drop!

Ulver have some select live performances on the horizon to launch their new album material. Dates as follows:

LIVE SHOWS:-
Friday 21-Apr – Safe As Milk Festival @ Pontins, Prestatyn, Wales
Sunday 23-Apr-2017 – Roadburn Festival @ 013, Tilburg, The Netherlands
Saturday 29-Apr-2017 – Impetus Festival @ Les Docks, Lausanne, Switzerland
Sunday 30-Apr-2017 – Donaufestival 2017 @ Krems, Austria
Thursday 15-Jun-2017 – Dark Mofo Festival @ Hobart, Tasmania
Friday 30-Jun-2017 – Prog Be My Friend! @ Poble Espanyol, Barcelona
…and more to be announced

PRE ORDER:-
https://store.houseofmythology.com

https://www.facebook.com/Ulver-31166220421/
https://twitter.com/ulverofficial
https://ulver.bandcamp.com/
www.houseofmythology.com
http://www.jester-records.com/ulver/

Ulver, Riverhead OST (2016)

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Ulver to Release Riverhead Soundtrack Dec. 9

Posted in Whathaveyou on December 1st, 2016 by JJ Koczan

It’s been a while at this point, but director Justin Oakey‘s work has been covered here a few times over the years. He’s done videos for the likes of Hexvessel, Canadian experimentalists Godstopper and indeed Norwegian post-everything specialists Ulver — the “Magic Hollow” video (posted here) from the band’s 2012 obscure covers outing, Childhood’s End — who’ve composed the soundtrack to Oakey‘s new film, Riverhead.

In all that I’ve seen of it, Oakey‘s work has always kept a focus on nature and the always-underlying threats thereof, and the quiet, spacious tension Ulver can evoke when they so choose would seem to be a solid fit for that. Frankly, if you need to be sold on the idea of Ulver doing soundtrack work — or, you know, anything — you’re probably not that familiar with what they do. And that’s cool too. Just make sure you approach with an open mind. All the way open.

The PR wire has release details. Ulver‘s Riverhead LP is out Dec. 9 on House of Mythology. There’s a trailer at the bottom of this post as well:

ulver-riverhead-lp

Ulver announce the release of the original motion picture soundtrack Riverhead, out 9th Dec via the House Of Mythology label

Ulver have announced the next chapter in their phenomenal thread of recorded output. On December 9th, the House of Mythology label (that began this year with the launch of their ATGCLVLSSCAP LP, and has since put out records by Hypnopaz?zu, The Stargazer’s Assistant, KKKMO and more) will be releasing Ulver’s original score Riverhead. The feature length crime drama set in the rich historic area of Newfoundland, Atlantic coast Canada follows family blood feuds between communities. Director Justin Oakey has been a fan of the band for some time, and Ulver’s original score for the film was a close collaborative process between the director and the band.

ABOUT THE FILM…

“The North Shore is a particular coastline on the island of Newfoundland that has been in various stages of settlement since the 1500s – it is said to be one of the oldest North American settlements. As Irish and English settlers formed communities, centuries of secular feuding in Europe were inevitably rediscovered in this new land and lead to many years of fighting, rioting, and murder. As a Newfoundlander with deep roots on the island, my family has experienced this conflict first-hand and often tell stories of their rival outports, even warning me to stay away from certain communities as a child. This is the backdrop for Riverhead – an area with a fragile coexistence between communities, where inherited feuds can resurface at any moment.”

ABOUT THE SOUNDTRACK…

“Late last fall I sent Kristoffer Rygg my latest short film, Flankers, and we began chatting about the soundtrack, eventually going back and forth about a potential collaboration. At this point, I went out on a limb and asked if Ulver would be interested in composing the music for my upcoming feature, Riverhead. They kindly accepted and here is the result. As a long-time fan, this was an incredible collaboration for me – and further, it allowed us to find aesthetic and cultural similarities between our lands. With this in mind, the soundtrack certainly touches on Nordic and Celtic folk music from within an ambient/atmospheric frame.

“There was a mutual understanding that the soundtrack should be hushed, airy and ominous, almost elemental in its minimalism, with only a few key moments that rupture into larger, more augmented pieces. As far as the method, Ulver started by recording and sending over some sketches and atmospheres before we shot a single scene of the film. This allowed me to go into the filming with an understanding of the soundtrack, and how the scenes could (and would) be paced – truly an invaluable asset, especially with a fragmented film like this. Afterwards, they continued to record and we fine-tuned said sketches as well as some new pieces together. Ultimately, I am as proud of this collaboration as a standalone project as I am with the film itself.” – Justin Oakey, L’Anse aux Meadows, September 2016

Pre-orders now available via the House Of Mythology store.

houseofmythology.com
www.facebook.com/HOMlabel
twitter.com/HOMlabel
www.instagram.com/homlabel

Ulver, Riverhead trailer

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