Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats, Vol. 1: What Your Love Tells You to Do

Posted in Reviews on November 27th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

uncle-acid-and-the-deadbeats-vol-1-1

I don’t remember exactly when I made the decision, but at some point, amid an unceasing insistence of YouTube recommendations, I told myself that I wasn’t going to listen to Vol. 1 by Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats until I could do so on a physical format. The likelihood of this happening? Just about nil. My understanding is that maximum 100 copies of the original Killer Candy Records self-released CDR version were pressed, and I’ve seen numbers quoted as low as 20, so barring some lightning-strike/winning-lottery-ticket-type oddsbeating or an unspeakable act of generosity, it didn’t seem like the kind of thing that would ever be found, and likewise, the London-based band didn’t seem all that interested in putting it back into the public sphere — where, to the rest of the universe who probably just streamed it, it was anyway.

Listening now to the Rise Above Records reissue of Vol. 1, pressed to CD and LP in giving-proper-due form, this was unquestionably the incorrect choice on my part. Like most paths we take that lead us to willful ignorance, just the wrong way to go. I denied myself a crucial context in which to place Uncle Acid‘s subsequent three records — 2011’s landmark Blood Lust (discussed here), 2013’s Mind Control (review here) and 2015’s The Night Creeper (review here) — but more than that, I missed out on the seething rawness of “Dead Eyes of London,” the hook of opener “Crystal Spiders,” the psycho-surf of “Vampire Circus” (not to be confused with the Earthride album of the same name) and the organ-laced madhouse shuffle of “I Don’t Know.” Granted I didn’t know what I was missing, but that doesn’t mean I wasn’t missing it.

More the fool I, then, because particularly for those who became Uncle Acid fans around the time of Blood Lust — which Rise Above picked up for release in 2012 following the explosive reception that sent the band almost immediately to the fore of the heavy underground before they even really began playing shows in 2013 — Vol. 1 should be considered essential. One can hear the roots of “I’ll Cut You Down” and “Death’s Door” in “Crystal Spiders” and the later ultra-fuzzed-out swinging highlight “Do What Your Love Tells You,” and more than that, these pieces and others like the eight-minute “Lonely and Strange” stand up on their own as examples of the rare level of craft that has typified Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats‘ work throughout their tenure: memorable songs executed with a deep-running sense of vibe that, as Vol. 1 affirms, has been theirs all along.

uncle acid

Parts of the album are somewhat rudimentary compared to the more careful arrangements that would follow by the time the band — led by Kevin R. Starrs, who’s more “shadowy presence” than “frontman” here — got around to Mind Control, but that’s the idea. They’re supposed to be. The nodding “Witches Garden” buzzes its guitar alongside a running line of organ in a manner that makes character of its rough edges, and seems all the murkier for that in a way that feeds into the mood of the record overall. Of course, this is hearing it with the hindsight of the ensuing seven years and all that Uncle Acihas gone on to accomplish — not to mention a remix and master by Starrs — but while Vol. 1 isn’t shy about its flaws or moments of indulgence, it not only serves as an important documentation of the beginnings of the band’s development, but brims with the creative force that still drives them. Again, it’s as much worth hearing Vol. 1 for what it has to offer on its own as what it brings to the wider Uncle Acid discography.

For example, the aforementioned “Lonely and Strange” offers deceptive nuance at the end of side A in its blend of acoustic and electric guitar, hypnotic repetition in its rhythm, a charmingly clumsy transition at the 4:30 mark, and a long stretch of classically heavy rocking instrumental wistfulness that’s unlike anything the band would again conjure. A plotted-seeming solo is met with fervent crash cymbal before dropping to organ and noise freakout to resume with even more aplomb, and it rounds out its last minute with a dive into Sabbathian acoustics and bass.

To complement this, the band brings “Wind up Toys” to close out side B and end the record with a sense of motion that echoes the ’60s surf horrors of “Vampire Circus” but has even more of a rockabilly-style motoring to its core riff early before shifting into an acoustic bridge around two minutes in and from there departing on an extended guitar lead that carries through the remaining five-ish minutes of the track. That’s something Uncle Acid would just about never do at this point. Their approach has tightened to a degree that, unless they were brazenly breaking their own rules, it seems unlikely they’d indulge such a departure from structure once they’ve established it so clearly.

Nonetheless, it’s the kind of thing a band does early in their run when they’re figuring out who they want to be as players and as a group, and to have that moment preserved on Vol. 1 only makes this reissue more justified. Add to that the consideration that The Night Creeper seemed to be endeavoring toward a harsher bite than that of Mind Control before it, and one could further argue that Uncle Acid were at least on some level looking to come full circle in bringing the lessons they’ve learned since together with the bare-flesh authenticity of this material.

There are arguments to be made on either side of that, I suppose, but what’s more important is those arguments can be had now that Vol. 1 has seen an actual release, and that those who never had the chance to take it on before — or who did have the chance but were just too much of a dope to do so — can finally do so. In their aesthetic contribution and in their sheer level of songwriting, Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats are among the most important heavy bands of their generation, and Vol. 1 provides an essential look at their origins and a killer listen besides. It is not by any means to be avoided, in whatever form.

Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats, “Crystal Spiders”

Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats website

Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats on Thee Facebooks

Rise Above Records on Thee Facebooks

Rise Above Records website

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Here are 40+ New Releases to Look for in the Next Three Weeks

Posted in Features on September 21st, 2017 by JJ Koczan

Starting tomorrow, the next three weeks are absolutely stupid with new albums. Over-the-top, ridiculous. An immediately-go-broke amount of music. Nothing less than an onslaught. We’re under attack.

Far be it from me to tell you how to spend your money — also far be it from me not to — but there’s some really killer stuff in here. As to why it’s all landing now? Some of it of course has to do with the timing of when it was recorded, bands hitting the studio in Spring before heading out on the road over the summer, but Fall releases also line up nicely for tours in October and November, heading into the holiday season, when the music industry basically shuts down. This is the last chance for releases to come out in 2017 and be considered for best-of-year lists.

I doubt the likes of Chelsea Wolfe or Godspeed You! Black Emperor or even Kadavar would cop to that as a motivating factor, instead pointing to the timing of Fall touring and so on, but these things are rarely coincidental. You know how there aren’t any blockbusters in January but every movie feels like it’s trying to win an Oscar? Same kind of deal.

Nonetheless, 2017 is laying it on particularly thick these next couple weeks, and as you can see in the lists below, if you’ve got cash to spend, you can pretty much choose your rock and roll adventure. I’ll add to this as need be as well, so keep an eye for changes:

Sept. 22:

Alcest, Souveinirs d’un Autre Monde (10th Anniversary Edition)
Brant Bjork, Europe ’16
Chelsea Wolfe, Hiss Spunthe-flying-eyes-burning-of-the-season
Epitaph, Claws
Faces of the Bog, Ego Death
The Flying Eyes, Burning of the Season
Fvzz Popvli, Fvzz Dei
Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Luciferian Towers
Jarboe & Father Murphy, Jarboe & Father Murphy
Monarch, Never Forever
Nibiru, Qaal Babalon
Process of Guilt, Black Earth
Satyricon, Deep Calleth Upon Deep
Spelljammer, Inches from the Sun (Reissue)
Thonian Horde, Inconnu
Trash Titan, Welcome to the Banana Party
Ufomammut, 8
With the Dead, Love from With the Dead
Wolves in the Throne Room, Thrice Woven

Sept. 29:

monolord rust
Cities of Mars, Temporal Rifts
Deadsmoke, Mountain Legacy
A Devil’s Din, One Hallucination Under God
Disastroid, Missiles
Jim Healey, Just a Minute More (Sept. 26)
Idylls, The Barn
Kadavar, Rough Times
Lucifer’s Chalice, The Pact
Monolord, Rust
Outsideinside, Sniff a Hot Rock
Radio Moscow, New Beginnings
Scream of the Butterfly, Ignition
Tronald, Tronald (Sept. 30)
Unsane, Sterilize
Wucan, Reap the Storm

Oct. 6:

fireball-ministry-remember-the-storyElder Druid, Carmina Satanae
Fireball Ministry, Remember the Story
Frank Sabbath, Are You Waiting? (Oct. 2)
Himmellegeme, Myth of Earth
House of Broken Promises, Twisted EP
O.R.B., Naturality
Primitive Man, Caustic
Spirit Adrift, Curse of Conception
Spotlights, Seismic
Sumokem, The Guardian of Yosemite
Torso, Limbs
White Manna, Bleeding Eyes

Also:

Oct. 13: Enslaved, Firebreather, I Klatus, R.I.P., Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats (reissue), Weird Owl, etc.

Oct. 20: Iron Monkey, Spectral Haze, Bell Witch, The Spacelords, etc.

Something I forgot?

Invariably, right? If you know of something not seen above that should be, then by all means, please leave a comment letting me know. My only ask is that you keep it civil and not call me a fucking idiot or anything like that. I write these posts very early in the day, and if something has been neglected, I assure you it’s not on purpose and I’m happy to correct any and all oversights.

Thanks for reading and happy shopping. Support local record stores.

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Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats to Reissue Vol. 1 Oct. 13

Posted in Whathaveyou on August 8th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

I’ve never heard Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats‘ first album. 2010’s Vol. 1 has been in my YouTube recommendations for years now, but I’ve blatantly refused to take it on — my position being that if I’m going to hear the super-limited, one-time-only release that started off one of the most landmark UK acts of this decade, I was going to do it right. The physical pressing. I didn’t even let it play when I grabbed the embed code to put it at the bottom of this post just now. And, well, as you can see in the PR wire info below, there were CD-Rs 30 made, and when I interviewed founding guitarist/vocalist Kevin R. Starrs back in 2015, I failed to ask him for one, so that was pretty much out. There you go. To this day, I’ve never heard Vol. 1, thinking maybe I’d run into it properly at some point or another.

Rise Above Records is about to make that much easier to do. The label that has stood behind the band since it stepped up in 2012 to issue their 2011 breakthrough, Blood Lust (discussed here), along with the subsequent offerings, 2013’s Mind Control (review here) and 2015’s The Night Creeper (review here), will oversee a first official pressing of Vol. 1 on Friday, Oct. 13, with a new mix and master by Starrs himself. It’s been kind of a quiet year for Uncle Acid so far, at least relative to the amount of touring they did in 2015/2016, and as such a perfect opportunity for the band to recount their beginnings to what’s now a vast and global audience. Myself included.

From the PR wire:

uncle-acid-and-the-deadbeats-vol-1

Rise Above Records To Release Uncle Acid The Deadbeats’ “Vol 1” Friday October 13th

First released on Friday February 13th, (40 years to the day after Black Sabbath’s debut LP), “Vol 1” was the first efforts of unknown songwriter, Kevin Starrs. Pressed in small numbers for a non existing fan base, the album took several months to shift all 30 CD-R copies and provided a small platform to fund its follow up, “Blood Lust” (2011).

Recorded on a tight budget of stashed dole money and with little knowledge or regard for conventional recording techniques, the chaotic results speak for themselves;

Distorted vocals, out of tune harmonies, ragged musicianship and everything pushed to the red. The clatter of mic stands falling over mid performance, the rustling of lyric papers, the missed key changes and flubbed lines. Everything you would want to avoid is here. Self-funded, self-recorded and self released to a fanfare of silence, “Vol 1” was a true D.I.Y. effort from start to finish. No great ambition, no target audience, no press support. Just a collection of songs for anyone who would listen. With it’s mix of budget horror lyrics, Everly Brothers obsessed harmonies, downer rock riffs, overly long guitar solos and bizarre high pitched vocals, “Vol 1” had very limited appeal outside a small group of underground fanatics.

In the years following, the album became something of a cult curiosity. Despite the shoddy work of bootleggers and impatient collectors, Starrs refused to re release the album until he could work on its remix and oversee the mastering. “It was a D.I.Y project from the beginning so I wasn’t going to give it up and let someone else mess with it. I also wasn’t going to cash in on something for the sake of it. I wanted it to sound the best that it possibly could. The record deserves my full attention, so with no new album to distract anyone in 2017, it was the perfect time to work on it and release it on CD and Vinyl. It can stand on its own… flaws included.”

So here it is, “Vol 1” in all its ragged glory… finally mastered and mixed for this release.

Enjoy.

“Vol 1” Track Listing:
1. Crystal Spiders
2. Witches Garden
3. Dead Eyes of London
4. Lonely and Strange
5. Vampire Circus
6. Do What Your Love Tells You
7. I Don’t Know
8. Wind Up Toys

https://www.uncleacidband.com
https://www.facebook.com/uncleacid/
https://www.facebook.com/riseaboverecords/
http://www.riseaboverecords.com/

Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats, Vol. 1 (2010)

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Giveaway: Enter to Win a 3-Day Pass to Northwest Hesh Fest 2016!

Posted in Features on September 12th, 2016 by JJ Koczan

northwest-hesh-fest-2016-poster

[TO ENTER GIVEAWAY: Leave a comment on this post with your email address in the form. You’ll be contacted at that address if you win.]

Sorry, but the lineup here pretty much sells itself. Over three nights, Sept. 22-24, at Dante’s in Portland, Oregon, Northwest Hesh Fest 2016 will host:

Night 1:
Red Fang
American Sharks
Witch Mountain

Night 2:
Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats
Danava
Banquet

Night 3:
Deafheaven
The Blood Royale
Diesto
Greenbeard

If you enter now by leaving a comment on this post, you can win a three-day pass to see all of the above and get a limited, signed screenprint of the poster shown here, of which only 100 are being made. Obviously, you need to get your ass to Portland — if I could afford to fly you in, I would, believe me — but barring for anyone in that part of the world who’s maybe been on the fence about going or just hasn’t managed to buy tickets yet, yeah, entering seems like it would be kind of a no-brainer. High “duh” factor and whatnot.

For the headliners alone, never mind the chance to see locals like Witch Mountain, Danava and Diesto tear it up alongside imports from Austin, Texas, like American Sharks, The Blood Royale, Banquet and Greenbeard, essentially pairing two of the country’s strongest scenes — Portland and Austin — and topping it not only with the Pacific Northwest’s number one heavy rock export in Red Fang, but bringing up Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats on their tour with The Shrine, as well as Deafheaven, who seem to divide opinion everywhere they go while consistently drawing a crowd from both sides of the argument.

Killer lineups, killer shows, free pass and free poster. Like I said, it sells itself. One winner picked a week from today. Thanks to all who enter and to American Icon for letting me host the giveaway.

[TO ENTER GIVEAWAY: Leave a comment on this post with your email address in the form. You’ll be contacted at that address if you win.]

Northwest Hesh Fest on Thee Facebooks

Northwest Hesh Fest 2016 tickets at Eventbrite

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Northwest Hesh Fest 2016 Announces Lineup with Red Fang, Uncle Acid and Deafheaven Headlining

Posted in The Obelisk Presents, Whathaveyou on June 22nd, 2016 by JJ Koczan

Last year, The Obelisk was proud to be among the presenters for the Northwest Hesh Fest, and it looks like Northwest Hesh Fest 2016 — set for Sept. 22-24 at Dante’s in Portland, Oregon — will be no different. I’ll have a ticket giveaway closer to the event, so keep an eye out for that, and the festival has just unveiled the lineup for each night, and it brings some formidable names.

Headliners are Red FangUncle Acid and the Deadbeats, and Deafheaven, which I think would probably be enough on their own to draw a three-night crowd, but they’re joined by American Sharks, native Portlanders Witch MountainDiesto and Danava, as well as The Blood RoyaleBanquet and Greenbeard.

American SharksGreenbeard and The Blood Royale hail from Austin, Texas, which makes sense as a complement to the Portland acts since American Icon, which puts together the festival, is based there as well. Of the non-headliner acts, that’s as far east as Northwest Hesh Fest 2016 looks, but in bringing aboard UK garage doom forerunners Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats, it extends its reach internationally for the first time. That’s a hell of an opening salvo to the rest of the world.

More to come as we get closer to September and the fest itself, but American Icon announced the lineup today and tickets are now on sale both for the individual nights — for which you can see the complete lineup breakdown below — and for a combined three-night pass. I won’t tell you what to do with your time, but this looks like an awful lot of fun:

NORTHWEST HESH FEST 2016

Sept 22-24 @ Dantes in Portland Oregon
RED FANG-UNCLE ACID & THE DEADBEATS-DEAFHEAVEN
American Sharks-Witch Mountain-Danava
The Blood Royale-Diesto-Banquet-Greenbeard

9/22/16
Red Fang, American Sharks, Witch Mountain
http://www.ticketweb.com/t3/sale/SaleEventDetail?eventId=6780785&pl=dante&dispatch=loadSelectionData

9/23/16
Uncle Acid & The Deadbeats, Danava
http://www.ticketweb.com/t3/sale/SaleEventDetail?eventId=6776535&pl=dante&dispatch=loadSelectionData

9/24/16
Deafheaven, The Blood Royale, Greenbeard, Diesto, Banquet
http://www.ticketweb.com/t3/sale/SaleEventDetail?eventId=6780605&pl=dante&dispatch=loadSelectionData

Northwest Hesh Fest Three-Day Pass

Northwest Hesh Fest event page

Northwest Hesh Fest on Thee Facebooks

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Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats Announce US Tour with Danava and The Shrine

Posted in Whathaveyou on June 20th, 2016 by JJ Koczan

uncle acid and the deadbeats

UK garage doom forerunners Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats will use Psycho Las Vegas as the launch point for a coast-to-coast US tour joined by Danava and The Shrine. The band, who were also announced as headliners for North West Hesh Fest, which caps the run on Sept. 23 at Dante’s in Portland, Oregon, seem to be hitting some places beyond the major markets this time around — granted they’re still in Brooklyn, Dallas, L.A., Chicago, etc., but they’ll be at The Orange Peel in Asheville, North Carolina, and The Stone Pony in Asbury Park, New Jersey, too, which finds them digging deeper into the US circuit than they have in the past. Of course, they’ll likely draw just about anywhere, so all the better as they continue to support last year’s fourth outing, The Night Creeper (review here), on Rise Above Records.

Just off the PR wire:

uncle acid tour poster-700

UNCLE ACID & THE DEADBEATS Announce Details of North American Tour

The UK’s greatest cult band, UNCLE ACID & THE DEADBEATS, have announced details of a run of North American dates beginning at the end of August and running through September.

The dates are as follows:

UNCLE ACID With Danava and The Shrine:
8/27: Las Vegas, NV @ Psycho Fest*
8/28: Los Angeles, CA @ Fuck Yeah Fest*
8/29: Phoenix, AZ @ Club Crescent
8/31: Dallas, TX @ Trees
9/2: Birmingham, AL @ The Saturn
9/3: Atlanta, GA @ Terminal West
9/4: Tampa, FL @ State Theater
9/6: Asheville, NC @ The Orange Peel
9/7: Richmond, VA @ Broadberry
9/8: Washington, DC @ The Howard Theater
9/9: Asbury Park, NJ @ Stone Pony
9/10: Brooklyn, NY @ Music Hall of Williamsburg
9/12: Detroit, MI @ The Majestic
9/13: Chicago, IL @ Metro
9/15: Denver, CO @ Gothic Theater
9/16: Colorado Springs, CO @ Rawkus
9/17: Salt Lake City, UT @ The Complex
9/19: Boise, ID @ Neurolux
9/20: Missoula, MT @ The Wilmna
9/22: Seattle, WA @ El Corazon
9/23: Portland, OR @ Dante’s*

*Festival Appearance

They released their breakthrough album Blood Lust in 2011, a homage to British Hammer and folk horror films of the 1970s, a candle-lit head-trip of withered hands, ritual knives and gallows ropes. Mind Control (2013), their third album, looked further afield, to the post-Charles Manson US for inspiration: Jim Jones dosing the Kool-Aid. Blue Cheer, Blue Oyster Cult and B-movie biker movies. War, Watergate, serial killers and suicidal TV evangelists.

www.acidcoven.com
www.facebook.com/uncleacid

Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats, Live in Athens, May 20, 2016

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Desertfest Belgium 2016: Uncle Acid, Coogans Bluff, Vodun, Wolvennest and Black Swarm Added

Posted in Whathaveyou on June 2nd, 2016 by JJ Koczan

desertfest belgium 2016 header

Our friends at Desertfest Belgium 2016 might be understating it somewhat when they refer to Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats as a ‘crowd-pleaser,’ but the point still stands. The UK outfit are every bit worthy of holding near-top position on the poster for the event, next to Pentagram, and wherever they end up on the final bill, they’re a damn good get. Also joining the lineup today are UK upstarts Vodun, Germany’s Coogans Bluff, and Wolvennest and Black Swarm, assuring that Desertfest Belgium 2016 gets its due course of offbeat vibes and varying swaths of heavy. You can see the full lineup below. It already looks like a killer weekend, and I have the feeling they’re not even close to done compiling it.

From the PR wire:

desertfest belgium 2016 new poster-700

DF Antwerp 2016 ADDS UNCLE ACID, COOGANS BLUFF & more!

We’ve enjoyed an overwhelming load of good vibes following our first band announcements, and we expect no less from this next fresh batch. There’s something here for everyone. You want a crowd pleaser? How’s UNCLE ACID & THE DEADBEATS pleasing ya! You want crazy and original? COOGANS BLUFF will have you covered. You want the potential surprise exploding live hit of this year’s festival? We’re putting our bets on VODUN’s blend of metal and wailing soul vocals. And since we’re Belgian after all (and proud of it, dammit!), we’ve added heavy droners WOLVENNEST and singular metalheads BLACK SWARM to the line-up.

Are you hungry for more? You better be, because the next update’s only a few weeks away!

UNCLE ACID & THE DEADBEATS

Ever since their debut album hit the scene in a cloud of menacing mystery, Uncle Acid & the Deadbeats have been pulling an evergrowing fanbase of metal and rock fans alike into their own self-created world. Their heavy psychedelia has been likened to The Beatles, had they followed their own helter skelter down into the darkest recesses of the 1970s.
Call them the Bong Lennon or the Crack Sabbath – in essence they’re a pop band, singing of death and murder in alluring vocal harmonies.

COOGANS BLUFF

They have been called “Retro”, but can you name any other band that combines krautrock, prog, psychedelic, stoner and bluesrock in such an unusual way? Coogans Bluff is a band that knows how to combine the best of all these genres, while still showing fresh and daring ideas. The band shows a very personal sense of humor in their image. However, their highly original brand of music is played with pure dedication. All hail the tinfoil hats!

VODUN

This one’s going to blow your mind… Vodun hails from London, a power trio that delivers crushing metal riffs as a backbone for some high-energy soulful wailing. MOJO magazine describes them as “Aretha Franklin fronting Royal Blood after imbibing ayahuasca”, but even that won’t prepare you for the onslaught of dark ritual madness these three bring to the stage. Amidst the rushing screams of Mother Earth, the pounding drums of Ouidah, the markets of Lomé and the open heart of Erzulie, there exists VODUN!

WOLVENNEST

Wolvennest (that’s Dutch for “Wolf’s nest”) is a musical joint venture between Kirby Michel (La Muerte), Corvus von Burtle (Cult Of Erinyes) and Marc De Backer (Mongolito), a distinctive blend of guitar loops, repetitive beats, synthesizers keys mixed with darkened hypnotic ambient vocal sounds. The resulting glorious mess is a highly original mix of seventies Krautrock and nineties Norwegian Black Metal.

BLACK SWARM

Black Swarm entered the Belgian underground metal scene in 2011. With only 6 songs they took to the stage, and immediately started to rally a fanbase consisting in- and outside the metalhead community. Watch out for their flamboyant singer Sam De Roeck though… he’s known to give the crowd just “a little more” than they bargained for when he gets in the mood!

https://www.facebook.com/desertfestbelgium/
https://twitter.com/desertfestBE
https://www.facebook.com/events/488174281372335/
http://www.desertfest.be/tickets

Uncle Acid, “Melody Lane” official video

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Vincebus Eruptum No. 20: Voices on the Edge

Posted in Reviews on May 6th, 2016 by JJ Koczan

vincebus eruptum 20

It’s always a good day when a new issue of Italian ‘zine Vincebus Eruptum shows up. My fandom of the long-running print mag should be well known to anyone who’s been stopping by this site for a while, and Editor Davide “Davidew” Pansolin and the staff under him continue to deliver top quality work with Vincebus Eruptum no. 20, the latest issue. Pressed up with cover art by Kabuto that brings to mind Jawas, the speeder bike that Rey had in The Force Awakens and the cover of the Southern Lord version of Sleep‘s Dopesmoker — all of which is certainly cool by me — the actual physical size of the thing never tells the story of the scope within, as Vincebus Eruptum continues to cover highlights from the international underground in psychedelia, heavy rock, doom, fuzz, garage and more.

Last time aroundVincebus Eruptum took a kind of educational turn and in the midst of a feature about The Linus Pauling Quartet — whose latest album, Ampalanche (review here), was released on Vincebus Eruptum Recordings, the ‘zine’s label arm — gave background on a swath of players and acts from the Texas noise/weirdo rock scene of the 1990s. Cool idea, and Pansolin has clearly decided to run with it. While Vincebus Eruptum no. 20 has fewer interviews than did the prior issue, it makes up for that with two vincebus-eruptum-20-full-artspecially-themed features — one on Maryland doom and another on Ireland’s heavy scene. The scope of Maryland doom, of course, is massive. It spans decades and there are so many players involved that to list them all would leave no room in the issue for anything else, but Klaus Kleinowski does well in finding the balance between narrative and detail, and though he speaks from the perspective of someone out of the region, his knowledge comes through clearly and is information worth seeking for anyone who thinks they know that scene or who’d like to know it.

I like to consider myself pretty familiar with Maryland doom, so after digging that piece, I shifted right over to “Emerald Haze: A Brief History of Irish Fuzz” by Sid Daly and Matt Casciani, which gives a similar, if shorter, treatment to the Irish underground, dedicating space to letting Iona Death Cult bassist Ste O’Connor and Mount Soma bassist Conrad Coyle — both Dublin natives — run down lists and descriptions of their favorite countryman heavy albums. Yes, Slomatics make the cut, amid names like Electric TaurusWild RocketWeed PriestAstralnautVenus Sleeps and Triggerman. Reading Vincebus Eruptum is always a bit like getting a homework assignment of stuff to check out — in a good way; I was never much for doing homework — and to have them go to experts directly to pick out bands for their readers is a shift in approach that I hope they continue. I’d love to see a piece on the boom in the Ukraine rock scene, for example, or to get their perspective on the West Coast of the US’ surge in heavy psych of the last several years. There’s an entire planet to cover, since ‘heavy’ exists just about everywhere.

From there, time to dig into the interviews. Leading off are Kevin Starrs of Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats and Gianmarco Iantaffi of Void Generator — Vincebus Eruptum, as ever, bringing Italian bands to the fore — and both have plenty to talk about. New Void Generator is reportedly in progress, and Starrs talks about some of his favorite Italian film noir directors, vincebus-eruptum-20-issuethe Giallo set, which inspired the band’s 2015 fourth album, The Night Creeper (review here). There are also chats with Abbot and Domovoyd, two Finnish bands with very different takes between them — Abbot leaning toward classic prog/heavy and Domovoyd blending psychedelia and black metal — but who nonetheless share an adventurousness of spirit and songwriting that serve them well. Top it off with a feature looking at Fruits de Mer Records‘ catalog, the usual batch of worldwide reviews — Goatsnake and Snail alongside Nightslug and Bretus, among many more — and it’s another jam-packed installment from Vincebus Eruptum, which if I haven’t gotten the point across by now should be essential reading for novices and lifer experts alike when it comes to all manner of things weighted in tone.

Vincebus Eruptum Recordings has an upcoming release by Sendelica called I’ll Walk with the Stars for You, and as Pansolin notes in his editorial, he’s also opened a physical venue (300 capacity) where bands can play. Congratulations to him on that — way to live the dream — and here’s looking forward to the next Vincebus Eruptum, to which in the same breath he once again doubles-down on his commitment. I can’t wait to see what the associazione culturale does next.

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