Fungus Hill Post Animated Video for “Ludenben”

Posted in Bootleg Theater on September 26th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

Swedish heavy psych rockers Fungus Hill released their Ludenben single this past Spring as the follow-up to January’s Creatures EP (review here), and I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised if the animated video for the track has been in the works since that time. I’ll admit that were it not for the English subtitles given to the lyrics, I’d have basically no idea what the story being told is about beyond what the band says about it, but it tells the tale of a goat farmer who has four goats named after colors that get stolen by a troll. Because of course that’s what happens. Trolls friggin’ love goats. Everybody knows this.

So anyway, the farmer, whose name is Petter, is all bummed out about his goats being taken — and well he should be; they look like some pretty badass goats in the video, if not exactly the petting-zoo type — and his cat winds up going and scaring the troll so he falls off a cliff and Petter gets his goats back. Does it rule? Oh yes, it mightily rules. The animation is excellent, and Fungus Hill tell the story with soul and a perfectly folkish edge that finds them well earning the furs in which they appear throughout. Dead-on vibe and execution of what as a concept and realization could’ve easily fallen flat in less capable hands.

In fact, and this isn’t a comparison I’m going to make lightly, but if you miss some of the sweet fuzz of the defunct-once-again Örebro natives Asteroid, you especially might want to dig into “Ludenben,” because in amidst the dual vocals and expansively psychedelic rollout, there’s some of that depth and warmth to be found. I’ve posted about Fungus Hill a couple times now over the past few months, but let me say outright in case the point hasn’t gotten across that I think they’re onto something special in their sound and chemistry and I’m looking forward to seeing and hearing how that develops going into their next release and, hopefully, beyond that as well.

Until then, you’ll find the video for “Ludenben” below and I hope agree that if was in fact a while in the making, it’s definitely been worth the wait.

Enjoy:

Fungus Hill, “Ludenben” official video

The music video is officially released!!!

Turn of the lights, plug in your speakers and check out our new animated tale about goats, magic and trolls. Inspired by the book “Petter och hans fyra getter” written by Einar Norelius.

Special thanks to Jörgen Rabben who painted and illustrated the animated pictures… You did an amazing job!! Also thank you to Lars Samuel Olsson who helped out filming.

Produced by JAQ Studios.
Director, animator & editor: Gustav Orvefors
Painter and illustrator: Jörgen Rabben
Camera operator: Samuel Olsson
Mix and master: Nils Mörtzel

Fungus Hill on Thee Facebooks

Fungus Hill on Bandcamp

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The Obelisk Radio Adds: Boris, Sólstafir, Desert Suns & Chiefs, Elara, Fungus Hill

Posted in Radio on July 31st, 2017 by JJ Koczan

the obelisk radio cavum

Some bigger releases going up to the playlist for The Obelisk Radio this time around, and that’s just fine by me. It’s five albums listed here, but there are a few others included as well that you can see listed on the updates page and it’s good stuff all the way around. It was all actually supposed to go up last week, but you know, life is chaos and all that. I hope as always that you manage to find something you enjoy, and if you haven’t heard some of this stuff as yet — I suspect you have, because you know what’s up and I’m perpetually behind on these things; more than just a week, on average — then all the better. Let’s dig in together.

The Obelisk Radio adds for July 31, 2017:

Boris, Dear

boris dear

If you were Boris and you were looking to celebrate a quarter-century of innovating heavy rock, noise, drone, J-pop, and genreless forays into bizarre sonic delights, how would you do it? If you said, “I’d release 69 heavy-as-hell minutes of rumbling tectonics and progressive scope making for one of the best albums of the year,” you’d seem to be on the money. The Japanese trio’s umpteenth full-length, Dear (on Sargent House in the US/EU and Daymare in Japan), begins with the appropriately-titled “D.O.W.N. – Domination of Waiting Noise,” setting forth a consuming six-minute onslaught of feedback and lumbering pummel before the SunnO)))-rivaling drone of “Deadsong” takes hold, shifting at its midpoint to a spaciousness all Boris‘ own. Then they chug out galloping riff triplets on “Absolutego” like it ain’t no thing. That’s Boris: the band who named themselves after a Melvins song and then utterly outdid their namesake on every creative level and have continued to do so throughout one of underground music’s most landmark tenures. Dear offers simultaneous melodic breadth and droning depth on its centerpiece duo of “Kagero” and “Biotope” after counteracting minimalist march with explosive crash on “Beyond,” but they’re still just getting started. The seven-minute “The Power” leads off the second of the two LPs and seems to stem upward from the same roots as YOB at their harshest, brutally feedbacking into the dronegaze of the shorter “Memento Mori” before the 12-minute “Dystopia – Vanishing Point” and the nine-minute title-track comprise a side D that’s nothing less than a triumphant lesson in how to meet your audience head-on right before you swallow them whole, setting its stage with keys and tribalist drums quickly before hypnotizing through five minutes of quiet stretch and bursting gloriously to life ahead of one last contrast of empty spaces and crushing tonality on “Dear” that gives way at last to the noise and feedback that’s always been so essential to their process. If Dear is a letter to Boris‘ fans, as they have said, it is also a willful embrace of the wide-open sensibilities that have made the last 25 years of their craft so uniquely their own. They can go anywhere stylistically and remain Boris precisely because they refuse to settle on a single idea that defines them.

Boris on Thee Facebooks

Boris at Sargent House’s website

 

Sólstafir, Berdreyminn

solstafir berdreyminn

Having now passed the 20-year mark since their founding in 1995, Iceland’s Sólstafir continue to reshape melancholy in their own image on their sixth album and third for Season of Mist, Berdreyminn. The Reykjavik-based four-piece keep the significant achievements of 2014’s Ótta (review here) close to the chest throughout the eight-track/57-minute offering, but songs like “Ísafold” have an upbeat push behind their emotional resonance, and even on a brooding piano piece like “Hvít Sæng,” the overarching sense of motion and the dynamic is maintained. The penultimate “Ambátt” — first of two eight-minute cuts in a finale duo — might be Berdreyminn‘s richest progressive achievement, with its lush opening vocal harmonies giving way to a patiently-delivered clinic on texture, build and payoff that borders on the orchestral. Of course, strings and horns to appear on the album, adding to already complex arrangements, but Sólstafir never lose their corresponding human center, and as “Bláfjall” closes with an intensity of thrust hinted at by the cymbal-crash wash of opener “Silfur-Refur” and the post-blackened push of “Nárós” but ultimately on its own level, they underline the realization and poise that is simply all their own. Berdreyminn is the sound of a band doing important work, and with it, Sólstafir only prove themselves more crucial on an aesthetic level, yet it might be their ability to somehow still feel in-progress that most defines what makes them so special. More than two decades on, they still come across like a group exploring their sound and finding new ways to develop their songwriting — which they are and which they do here. That in itself is an accomplishment worthy of every accolade they reap, and Berdreyminn lives up to that standard front to back across its engaging, encompassing span.

Sólstafir on Thee Facebooks

Sólstafir at Season of Mist’s website

 

Desert Suns & Chiefs, The Second Coming of Heavy – Chapter 5

second-coming-of-heavy-chapter-5-desert-suns-chiefs

Ripple Music has made its The Second Coming of Heavy series of split LPs an essential showcase of the variety in underground rock. The Second Coming of Heavy – Chapter 5 brings together San Diego heavy psych/blues rockers Desert Suns, who also reissued their debut long-player through Ripple in 2016 and followed it with the single “The Haunting” (review here) in conjunction with Ripple and HeviSike Records, and Phoenix, Arizona’s Chiefs, whose 2015 debut, Tomorrow’s Over (review here), arrived on vinyl via Battleground Records and whose five tracks included on side B here cast them among the best Ripple Music bands in the Southwest not currently signed to Ripple Music for their next album. More than some prior installments, The Second Coming of Heavy – Chapter 5 finds its two featured purveyors complementing each other’s work excellently, as Desert Suns offer three seven-plus minute tracks running from the harmonica-inclusive “Night Train” and the rolling, long-fading “Solitude” with the push of “Heavy” in between and Chiefs — though their individual runtimes are shorter — holding straightforward heavy/desert rock methods at their core in unpretentious fashion across “The Rhino,” the standout “Baron to Chancellor,” “Low Tide,” “Caroline” and “My Last Stand,” nodding initially at ’90s noise rock à la Helmet in “The Rhino” but in the end keeping to their sandy, well-structured mission. As ever, The Second Coming of Heavy asks nothing more of its audience than a basic exploration of the groups included, and certainly both Desert Suns and Chiefs earn that. Whether one takes it on in the context of the prior chapters or as a standalone split release, it delivers a collection of cuts from two outfits with a shared core of quality songcraft and the underlying message that sometimes the straight-line route is the way to go. Right on, once again.

Desert Suns on Thee Facebooks

Chiefs on Thee Facebooks

Ripple Music website

Ripple Music on Bandcamp

 

Elara, Deli Bal

elara deli bal

Both sides of Elara‘s PsyKa Records-released debut full-length, Deli Bal, are comprised of one shorter track on either side of eight minutes and one longer one, 12 and 17 minutes, respectively. Between that and the cover art, it should come as no surprise that heavy psychedelic drift is central to what the Stuttgart, Germany, trio of bassist/vocalist Daniel Wieland, guitarist/noisemaker Felix Schmidt and drummer Martin Wieland — who also stylize their name as the bracketed [Elara Sunstreak Band] — get up to in their first offering, but there’s an underlying progressive melodic sensibility as well, and Schmidt‘s guitar seems to have picked up a few lessons from My Sleeping Karma‘s minor-key solo mysticism, so one can hear a sound beginning to take shape early as the leadoff title-track gives way to “Amida,” which swaps back and forth between organ-laden krautrock meandering and fuller-fuzz thrust, and as “Quarantania” reinforces that classic vibe with a warm bass tone from Daniel. Whether you’re listening to the platter itself and switching sides or digitally or on CD, Deli Bal is clearly intended to be consumed as a whole work, and one can hear the vocal melody of “Harmonia” tying back to that in the opener as another example of the underlying structure with which it plays out, despite the broad feel of the songs themselves and the expanses they both intend and actually do cover. The LP has just the four tracks, but the digital version comes with the 9:42 bonus cut “Trimenon,” which builds around a core post-rocking guitar line to come to a fervent apex before receding again to let the listener go gently from Deli Bal‘s total 56-minute runtime; no minor undertaking, but effectively executed and a pleasure in its wandering mind and spirit.

Elara on Thee Facebooks

PsyKA Records on Bandcamp

 

Fungus Hill, Creatures

fungus hill creatures

This early-2017 psychedelic curio from Umeå, Sweden’s Fungus Hill begins by asking “Are You Dead?” The just-under-nine-minute opener and longest track (immediate points) of the groovy outfit’s four-song, self-released, 28-minute debut Creatures EP doesn’t sound overly concerned with whether the answer is yes or no so much as enacting a serene flow by posing the question over a laid back bluesy vibe. Arrangement? Fluid. With dual vocals from guitarist Gustav Orvefors and percussionist Jenny Isaksson — the five-piece is completed by guitarist Erik Sköld, drummer Nils Mörtzell and bassist Tom Westerlund — Fungus Hill are able to bring variety as they turn to post-Ghost straightforward ’70s chorus-leaning in the first half of “Beware of Evil in the Sky,” prior to a midsection trip outward on subdued shimmy and deceptively complex melodicism. The flute (or keyboard flute sounds) of the jazzy “Evolution” brings Isaksson to the floor with a smoky, even-bluesier feel, and the guitar answers back with fuzzy lead flourish that only enhances the soul on display, while a seven-and-a-half-minute closing title-track delves deepest of all into thicker riffing, a “Na na na na” hook taking hold quickly just in case you weren’t sure it was going to be a highlight. It is. More tonally dense than most retro boogie — and less retro, for that matter — Fungus Hill‘s Creatures nonetheless has its traditionalist elements, but across its individual pieces each one points to a different side of the band’s personality, and from the Alan Watts sample at the beginning of “Are You Dead?” to when we meet the troll later in “Creatures,” each side of that personality utterly shines.

Fungus Hill on Thee Facebooks

Fungus Hill on Bandcamp

 

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Fungus Hill Premiere Live Video for “Creatures”

Posted in Bootleg Theater on July 10th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

fungus hill

It’s a pretty rare band who would let themselves shine in the context of an official live video rather than something more polished featuring — even if it’s live footage — the studio version of a track, and yet, in the case of Sweden’s Fungus Hill, yeah, I get it. To see the Umeå-based five-piece performing the title-track of their early-2017 debut EP, Creatures, on stage in their hometown — the lights, the party vibe, the raucous jam that takes hold as a seven-minute song becomes a nine-minute one, rolling out its sing-along-ready na-na-na hook — it’s almost hard to imagine a more appropriate context for “Creatures” than the one Fungus Hill set for it here.

And yeah, the live version of the song is rawer than what one hears closing out the EP after “Are You Dead,” “Beware of Evil in the Sky” and “Evolution” have unfolded their flowing and jammy chill. If you need a clue that it’s tripped out, the EP starts with an Alan Watts sample before locking quickly into the first of its many languid grooves, touching on a melodic wash but keeping earthy tones beneath for a terrestrial anchor. “Beware of Evil in the Sky” is shorter and more boogie-prone, but its midsection lets loose as well, and while “Evolution” touches on ’70s prog and brings Jenny Isaksson‘s vocals to the fore, “Creatures” is an all-in fuzz happening, nod and color intertwining righteously in an echoing expanse that, live or in the studio, brims with creative energy and an infectious positivity of mood. If you were to say “right fucking on” in response to hearing it, I don’t think you’d be wrong.

You can check out the live clip of “Creatures” below and, like me, wish you’d been at the band’s hometown show at Pipes of Scotland this past March where/when it was filmed. More info follows the clip, and as always, I hope you enjoy:

Fungus Hill, “Creatures” live in Umeå

The psychedelic, stonerrock band Fungus Hill from northern Sweden performing the title track from their debut EP “Creatures”.

Starting this week Fungus Hill will be recording a new album which will add cosmic ambience to their already fuzzy sound, listen out for it this winter!

Fungus Hill is:
Erik Sköld – Guitar
Nils Mörtzell – Drums
Gustav Orvefors – Guitar/vocals
Tom Westerlund – Bass
Jenny Isaksson – Vocals/percussion

Fungus Hill, Creatures (2017)

Fungus Hill on Thee Facebooks

Fungus Hill on Instagram

Fungus Hill on Bandcamp

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Old Man’s Will, Hard Times – Troubled Man: The Boogie Blues (Plus Album Stream!)

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on October 2nd, 2015 by JJ Koczan

old man's will hard times troubled man

[Please note: Press play above to stream Old Man’s Will’s Hard Times – Troubled Man in full. Album is out today on RidingEasy. Thanks to the label, PR and band.]

What works so well about Hard Times – Troubled Man is the vigor with which Old Man’s Will carry across its foundation of classic boogie rock. Listening to the unpretentious Swedish four-piece, who capture warm tones in the dark cold of Umeå — a northern town known for being the birthplace of Meshuggah and Refused — they make little attempt to hide their ’70s affinities, their Graveyard influence or their penchant for swinging their way into a memorable hook, but there is a vitality at the core the material that only emphasizes how much the sound of then has become the sound of now. Comprised of eight tracks totaling a manageable 34 minutes, Hard Times – Troubled Man perhaps oversells a sense of melancholy between its cover art and title, but there’s plenty of blues to go around.

Also Purples, since the record finds vocalist Benny Åberg a commanding, Ian Gillan-type presence at the fore of opener “Fools” as guitarist Klas Holmgren, bassist Tommy Nilsson and drummer Gustav Kejving strut and stamp behind. “Troubled Man” follows with immediately locked-in groove as Åberg recounts numerous woes of losing a job, getting kicked out, etc., but the chorus and the verse alike are catchy, so even as Old Man’s Will proffer downtrodden vibes, they do so in an upbeat, good-time spirit. The contrast ends up being one of the album’s great strengths, building on what Old Man’s Will were able to do with their 2013 self-titled debut on Transubstans prior to hooking up with RidingEasy Records for this, their second album, but keeping a live feel in the proceedings that plays well alongside their roots in the heavy of yore.

One has to imagine that when they inevitably do the biopic about RidingEasy RecordsOld Man’s Will‘s “Easy Rider” will be in there someplace, but for now the track stands among the strongest hooks of Hard Times – Troubled Man, and “Ratking,” which follows, fleshes out along bluesier lines — complete with a sax solo — on what could easily become a signature piece for the band, as clever lyrically as it is in its subtle instrumental build. Coupled with “Easy Rider,” it shows the songwriting prowess at the core of what Old Man’s Will do, and while the ultimate result is bound to be familiar to those schooled in the development of the band’s genre, there’s little denying the edge that they bring to it or the skill with which they execute those tenets. Even on a cut as in-the-gutter as “Ratking,” Old Man’s Will emerge clean.

old man's will

Åberg delivers a soulful performance that’s as fluid in its range as HolmgrenNilsson and Kejving are in sleeking up around it. And in a smart bit of sequencing, the more low-end-minded fuzzer “Got It” follows, tipping back into faster swing and earning its late handclaps as “Troubled Man” earned its cowbell, Holmgren turning in a particularly engaging solo while Nilsson, from deep in the mix, holds the groove tight. I’m not sure if “Got It” is the lead-off for side B or the finale of side A — I’d guess the latter, based on runtime — but “Hazel Eyes,” which follows, brings back the cowbell to underscore another landmark hook of layered vocals, fuzz bass and drums that seem to have taken the ethic of “Easy Rider” to heart. Holmgren meters out another bluesy lead, and just when the track has lulled the listener to a pure state of hypnosis, a kind of instrumental drawl taking hold near the end, the rush of “How Could You Know” snaps one back to a reality of earthy, boogie-laden fuzz.

The dynamic that works through on side B is hopefully prescient of where Old Man’s Will are headed overall, and while they’re not the first to transpose ’70s ballad melancholy onto revivalist heavy rock, seven-minute closer “Another Seven Days” does it especially well, Mellotron adding spaciousness while the lyrics play out scenarios of too much not being enough and push coming to shove and so on, Kejving keeping it classy with light cymbal washes and tom hits as the guitars and bass play out dreamy wistfulness. One might expect the song to explode into a final bout of raucousness, but the vibe holds steady, and they cap instead with a nah-na-na sing-along that does indeed build to a head but stays well within the parameters of what the emotionality of the track has warranted. It is an inviting and engaging finale, and makes for one more instance by which Old Man’s Will showcase how they’ve made this sound their own and what they’ve been able to bring to it.

It’s a long fadeout, but one could hardly accuse them of overstaying their welcome. Instead, Hard Times – Troubled Man plays out with steady efficiency of purpose and execution, and while it may be that the band is their own method of catharsis for all that beat-down bluesery, it seems like sooner or later these guys are going to have to confront just how much fun they’re having.

Old Man’s Will on Thee Facebooks

Old Man’s Will on Bandcamp

RidingEasy Records

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Mexicoma’s Obsidian Monolith Available to Preorder

Posted in Whathaveyou on April 18th, 2014 by JJ Koczan

Swedish heavy rockers Mexicoma, who of course take their name from one of the highlight cuts of the first Queens of the Stone Age record, will release their second full-length album on vinyl through Bilocation Records on May 15. The pressing will be 300 copies total with a mix of colors in 180g wax, and while the Umeå outfit had made the release available late last year, to the best of my knowledge this will be the first physical version. As the info off the PR wire shows, they’re clearly doing it in style.

There are two tracks from Obsidian Monolith available for streaming from the Mexicoma Bandcamp, and they’re available with the preorder link and all the other info below:

MEXICOMA – Obsidian Monolith

available: 15.05.2014

Mexicoma is back with full throttle! On their second full length vinyl output they offer five fresh remastered tracks which appeared on the Supervoid EP from 2012 and 4 brandnew tracks who show the potential this band has.

The tracks are shorter and more accessible than on their epic same titled debut and show a wider variety of styles – which fits perfect to the heavyrockers from Umea in Northern Sweden. The three guitars are building huge walls of sound over the massive fundaments that charlie & oscar lay down. Over this impressive instrumentation sings and cries Magnus better than ever! A tour in 2014 with festival appearances is in the planning – let them conquer the stages!

VINYL FACTZ

– 100x transparent blue w/ white vinyl (exclusive Mailorder edition with extra 12″x12″ handnumbered insert)
– 200x transparent green vinyl
– all high-quality heavy 180g vinyl pressed in Germany
– matte laquered 300gsm gatefold cover
– handnumbered

TRACKS

A1. Keep Me Alive 4:03
A2. Mortified 4:08
A3. Supersonic Speed 5:15
A4. Alien Radio 4:08
A5. Room 101 4:18
B1. Island Of Ghost 5:13
B2. West Of Memphis 5:57
B3. Abyssus Abyssum Invocat 4:59
B4. Bored Beyond Belief 4:11

Available at: http://shop.bilocationrecords.com/

https://www.facebook.com/mexicomatheband/
http://mexicoma.bandcamp.com/album/obsidian-monolith

Mexicoma, Obsidian Monolith (2014)

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Mexicoma Self-Titled LP Now Available on Bilocation Records

Posted in Whathaveyou on May 8th, 2013 by JJ Koczan

Apparently they’ve been at it since 2006, but the new self-titled LP on Bilocation is the first studio full-length from Swedish triple-guitar six-piece Mexicoma. The band shares a hometown — Umeå, in the north of the country — with Meshuggah, Refused, Cult of Luna and Nocturnal Rites, but from what I can tell, there’s not much in common with any of them or much to point sonically to the low temperatures from which Mexicoma hail. Maybe rock is how they stay warm.

I’ve been a sucker for a “John the Revelator” cover since I first heard The Midnight Ghost Train do the song years ago. It’s included as a bonus to Mexicoma‘s self-titled vinyl, and you can hear it below, vocalist Magnus Olsson giving it a gruff, Mark Lanegan-style treatment. First, to the PR wire:

BILOCATION #10

You’re about to witness one of the heaviest bands of the gerne. These 6 dudes (incl. 3 guitars and 1 heavenly hellish voice) from Sweden bring you an earth shattering melange of stoner rock, doom and metal. So heavy, so melodic, so unique … no need to categorize any further, just listen for yourself …

BANDINFO

Since the beginning in 2006, Mexicoma has grown from being a clean-cut stonerband to expressing a much more ambient and heavier sound. Just as a good whiskey, Mexicoma has needed the time to age and evolve to get the right taste. The earlier flirt with the 70s and more peeled off sound, has developed into a heavier and saturnine presence, without discarding their riff-based foundations. The sound today is easiest described as heavy-hearted and transformative, but at the same time still captivating and progressive.

Mexicoma’s self-titled EP is far from the first recordings, still the release is stated as the first official issue. Although the band has been a part of Swedish scene in the north for several years, the time is now to reap what once was sown. Mexicoma is ready to conquer both the international scene as well as, once again, the Swedish one.

VINYL FACTZ

– 300 copies total: 200x transparent yellow / (100x transparent red-SOLD OUT)
– transparent red vinyl exclusively available from Kozmik Artifactz incl. tarot card signed by the band
– all high-quality heavy 180g vinyl pressed in Germany
– matte laquered 300gsm gatefold cover
– handnumbered

TRACKS

Side A:
1. 5.27 (7:04)
2. Pray (6:14)
3. Relentless (5:02)
Side B:
4. Truth Been Told (4:20)
5. Bright Black Day (3:50)
6. Omega Doom (7:27)
Bonustrack:
7. John The Revelator (Cover) (6:43)
Total 40:40

www.kozmik-artifactz.com
www.bilocationrecords.bandcamp.com
www.facebook.com/bilocationrecords

Mexicoma, “John the Revelator” (Blind Willie Johnson cover)

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