Brown Acid: The Seventh Trip Set for Halloween Release

Posted in Whathaveyou on August 7th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

It’s kind of hard to keep up with RidingEasy Records and Permanent Records‘ ongoing Brown Acid series, and it’s damn near impossible to write about it without having the kind of scholarship behind you to actually, you know, put it together — you’ll note below they have a catalog of dates and figures; to review it would require rewriting half the press release — but the truth is I find the project deeply admirable. Digging up old albums for reissue is one thing, and that’s great so long as you’ve got the rights to do it, but these guys are not only putting out the most obscure of the obscure heavy ’70s singles, but they’ve actually gone as far to chase down the people who actually made the music way back when and get their okay for it. Imagine you’re like a 65-year-old dude and someone drops you an email or gives you a call to talk about some track you cut almost 50 years earlier? That’s gotta just about be the best feeling in the universe.

Anyway, Brown Acid: The Seventh Trip is out on Halloween, and you can stream a track from it at the bottom of this post. Copious PR wire background follows:

va brown acid the seventh trip

Brown Acid: The Seventh Trip compilation out on Halloween

Rare 60s-70s pre-metal, hard rock singles series curated by L.A.’s Permanent Records & RidingEasy Records

The forthcoming seventh edition of the popular compilation series featuring long-lost vintage 60s-70s proto-metal and stoner rock singles, Brown Acid: The Seventh Trip is set for release on Halloween 2018. Hear and share the first single, “Peace of Mind” by Blizzard from 1973 via Loudwire HERE. (Direct YouTube.)

The Brown Acid series is curated by L.A. label RidingEasy Records and retailer/label Permanent Records.

About Brown Acid: The Seventh Trip:

Everybody’s favorite source for the hard stuff is back in business, with ten more lethal doses of rare hard rock, heavy psych and proto-metal! These obscure tracks have all been licensed, the bands have been paid, and the sources are all analog. The quality of tracks seems to increase along with the number of Trips and this cohesive collection comes outta the gate with both guns blazing!

Pegasus recorded one single in Baltimore in 1972 and they made it count. “The Sorcerer” is a throbbing ripper that prior to this was basically unknown. However, it doesn’t seem too far fetched to speculate that Black Flag lifted the riff for “No Values” from this track eight years later. Unlikely, but possible, especially considering how big a Black Sabbath fan Greg Ginn is. Pegasus was lauded back in the day for “how much they delivered that Black Sabbath feel.”

You may not already be familiar with Schizo, but you should know at least one of the French freaks behind this short-lived group. Richard Pinhas was the co-writer and uncredited, wah-wah abusing guitarist in Schizo after his stint in Blues Convention. Schizo recorded just two singles, the first being the heavier of the two, before Pinhas went on to record with Heldon and then going solo. The band had a unique vibe that didn’t sound unlike Lemmy fronting a gang of stoned Martians.

Youngstown, Ohio is the most commonly referred to city of the entire Brown Acid series. This town of just under 150,000 people may’ve had the highest (literally and figuratively) per capita output of heavy 45s. Blue Amber recorded this in 1971 at Gary Rhamy’s analog Mecca, Peppermint Recording Studios. This two-riff boneheaded banger sounds like a caveman protest song with an extraordinary amount of delay on the vocals. No wonder this 45 fetches three-figures on the rare occasion it comes up for sale.

Batting clean-up, we have Negative Space, the only LP sourced track on this album. This crunchy jam comes off the band’s 1970 record entitled Hard, Heavy, Mean, & Evil. At over six and a half minutes, “The Calm After the Storm” is the longest track included on this volume, but it never gets dull. Fun fact: before changing the name to Negative Space, Rob Russen called his band Snow and released the “Sunflower” 45 in 1969 – you might recall that groover from the First Trip.

We generally stick with American artists for this series, but every now and again something foreign grabs us and shakes us to the core. One example is the Schizo record from France, another is this Swedish 45 by Zane. These crazy Swedes did one incredibly damaged (hence the title) record on the MM label in 1976. These proto-punkers relied heavily on synth for this tune and mixed the drums so obnoxiously loud, you might think the kit is in the room with you. This is a weird one that somehow sounds like Zolar X covering Wicked Lady. Brown Acid material all the way!

B must be short for Bangers, ‘cuz this side is full of ’em! The flip of this Trip begins with a virtually unknown Oklahoma record from 1973. Blizzard was Rod McClure’s high school band, but you couldn’t possibly guess that teenagers recorded this heavy slab on the Token (should’ve been Toking) label. It’s one of the best we’ve comped and it sounds like a hypothetical MC5/Hendrix collaboration. The “Under the Ice” level drum fills will knock your socks off if the heavy shred doesn’t first.

OOOOk-lahoma, where the wind comes sweepin’ down the plain and apparently where the fuzz goes seepin’ in your brain! Third World is the second Okie inclusion on this Trip and we couldn’t be more stOOOOOked to be sharing this very obscure single with y’all. If the heavily distorted two-note riff doesn’t grab ya, the apocalyptic Grand Funk vibes will. Once they get their mitts on ya, Third World will take you back to 1971 and leave ya there. Can we hitch a ride too?

Ever heard of Virginia, Minnesota? We hadn’t either until we got in touch with Calvin Haluptzok and got the back story on his band Sweet Wine. This bitchin’ one-off 45 must’ve melted the snow off the roofs of the households brave enough to play it when it came out in 1970 and it’s still red hot nearly 50 years later. This vino may be sugary, but it packs an incendiary punch! Sadly, Calvin passed before we could get his music re-released, but it was nice to have reached him before it was too late. The Sweet Wine legacy lives on thanks to the Brown Acid archivists.

C.T. Pilferhogg wins the award for most puzzling band name in our series. What’s not puzzling is how righteous both sides of their self-released 1973 single are! Featured here is the A-side “You Haul” which is one of the best examples of a poor man’s Deep Heep (Deep Purple meets Uriah Heep) we’ve ever heard and the demonic Echoplex-laden laughs mixed into this track are out of control. The band was touted as “Southwest Virginia’s Finest Boogie Band”, but don’t let that fool ya.vThey could bang heads with the best of ’em.

The closer on the Seventh Trip is one we hold very near and dear. Not only is this record the one that’s taken us the longest to secure the rights to, it’s also one of the very best examples of heavy psych you’ll ever hear. The track rings your bell (literally) straight out of the gate and the dank psychedelic vibes kick in immediately. Summit’s “The Darkness” was recorded in a basement studio in Kansas City in 1969 when the lead guitarist was only 16. The band was from a rural Missouri town, played only one impromptu gig in Clinton, and pressed only 125 copies of this, their only single. It should come as no surprise that it sells for hundreds of dollars when it’s offered. That’s a small price to pay for such greatness.

Artist: Various Artists
Album: Brown Acid: The Seventh Trip
Label: RidingEasy Records
Release Date: October 31, 2018

01. Pegasus “The Sorcerer”
02. Nobody’s Children “Good Times”
03. Blue Amber “We Got Love”
04. Negative Space “The Calm After The Storm”
05. Zane “Damage”
06. Blizzard “Peace of Mind”
07. Third World “End of Time”
08. Sweet Wine “Things You Told Me”
09. C.T. Pilferhogg “You Haul”
10. Summit “The Darkness”

http://www.ridingeasyrecs.com/
https://www.facebook.com/ridingeasyrecords/
https://twitter.com/EasyRiderRecord
https://soundcloud.com/easyriderrecords/

Blizzard, “Peace of Mind”

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Friday Full-Length: Various Artists, Emissions from the Monolith

Posted in Bootleg Theater on August 3rd, 2018 by JJ Koczan


I’ll admit, it was thinking of the festival itself rather than this compilation in particular that brought Emissions from the Monolith to mind. The festival, which ran annually the last weekend in May in Youngstown, Ohio, between 2000 and 2006 (there was also one in Chicago in 2001) before its final installment in Austin, Texas, in 2007, was a pioneer of heavy festivals in the US. At that point, outside of showcase events like SXSW and the roughly-concurrent Stoner Hands of Doom fest, which started in 1999 and ran until 2013 in various cities, there wasn’t a ton happening in terms of heavy underground gatherings of its level. Run by Greg Barratt, then also of Tone Deaf Touring, it was a celebration of sludge, noise, doom and everything else heavy whose early lineups read like pages out of riffy history. Imagine seeing Penance and Bongzilla and Spirit Caravan in 2000, or Pale DivineWitch Mountain and Dragon Green in 2001. To-date, the 2006 Emissions fest is the only show Colour Haze have ever played in the US, and while its commitment to the deep underground was unquestionable in supporting bands like Test-SiteWooly Mammoth and Kung Pao, and its aesthetic would continue to expand, its foundation always seemed to be in raw, visceral and heavy noise rock.

Which brings us to the 11-track compilation at hand. The 2003 lineup for Emissions from the Monolith featured the likes of Acid King, The Hidden Hand, Pelican, Dixie Witch, Halfway to Gone, Erik Larson, Solace, Mastodon, The Atomic Bitchwax and Floor, and yet it’s telling that on the Maduro Records assemblage Emissions from the Monolith, it’s groups like Acid Ape, JJ Paradise Players Club, Meatjack — who featured Brian Daniloski, now of Darsombra, and who once upon a time did the best Melvins cover you’ve ever heard — Volume and Fistula. Some bands featured, like Kung Pao or Rebreather, didn’t actually play that year, but were staples enough that it didn’t really matter. Rebreather in particular, whose primo roller “Earthmover” is included as the second track on the CD, were the quintessential Emissions band, and as regards trivia, they were the first act on the stage at the first edition in 2000. Others, like Pennsylvania’s instrumental heavy jazz experimentalists Stinking Lizaveta were on their own wavelength almost entirely, but still kept that overarching sense of rawness to their approach, while Southern sludge riffers like Burnout and Ohio pill-popper sludge eternals Fistula brought attitude and scathe in kind. Kung Pao‘s “D is for Denim” reads like a mantra and also featured on their 2000 full-length, Bogota (see also: that album’s cover art) — their second record was also a gem — and “The Ballad of Sisyphus MacDuff” by The Rubes began a seven-minute loadout with throat singing before a showing of soulful heavy rock the likes of which still makes me want to break out their 2001 Underdogma Records long-player, Hokum.

Over the last couple years, I’ve talked a lot about pre-social media heavy and many bands lost in that shift from one generation to the next, who maybe had one record out, maybe two, maybe three, and then Facebook happened and they missed the party. Looking at the 2003 Emissions lineup, there are plenty who survived — The Atomic Bitchwax, Weedeater, Mastodon, Acid King, etc. — but others like Dixie Witch, Tummler, All Night, RPG and Abdullah, while they may or may not have stayed active, didn’t quite make the same kind of transition. Though they came back later thanks to the enduring affection for their self-titled, I’d put Floor in that category as well. And listening to the echoing forward drive of Volume‘s “Colossus Freak” on the Emissions from the Monolith comp, it’s not at all like these acts didn’t have anything to offer listeners, or like they still don’t some 15 years later. It really was just a matter of timing. Others, like Sons of Otis, who close the comp with the 10-minute drone-into-riff spectacular “Big Muff,” seem to have an audience just waiting for their next offering to arrive, but some of these bands are gone to parts unknown, and especially considering that, the importance of this collection is unassailable.

Emissions was a special event and The Nyabinghi in Youngstown, where it was held, was a special place. A regular stop on the Tone Deaf circuit in no small part because Barratt owned it, for one weekend every year it became a druggy paradise of barbecue, riffs, booze and volume. You can still see the hotel where everyone stayed from Rt. 80 on your way west, and it’s easy to imagine the scars left behind in that building from the years of stoner abuse it took. I’m sorry to say that there’s much of the 2006 edition I don’t even remember, less for the passage of time than the ridiculous amount of beer consumption the weekend brought. I remember seeing Colour Haze (changed my life; ask me about it sometime), and I remember there was some drama with SunnO))). I remember sheepishly handing Barratt a copy of my band’s demo and being “voted off the island” by a group of friends standing outside in back of the place — I actually had to leave and go back inside — and I remember being poorly hydrated. Thinking back on it now, I kind of wish I’d had my head together more. Story of my life.

But the point is that there was only one Emissions from the Monolith, and though US heavy festival culture is currently undergoing a boom, from Stumpfest and Electric Funeral Fest to Descendants of Crom to Maryland Doom Fest to New England Stoner and Doom Festival, the moment that was Emissions won’t come again. Of course, each of these newer fests is making its own contributions, but thinking back on what Emissions was and listening to this compilation particularly, one can hear the undercurrent of barebones fuckall that typified the time, the place and the room. For those who were there and those who weren’t, it remains a happening worthy of document, and as Emissions from the Monolith works to document even some piece of one year of it, it’s all the more worth preserving.

I sincerely hope you enjoy. Thanks for reading.

The week started off with punk rock guilt at all the shows I didn’t go to over the last couple weeks that I wanted to see and featured a canceled trip to Portugal for SonicBlast Moledo next weekend — surprise, I was going, now I’m not; that’s a week’s worth of suckage in itself, even with Psycho Las Vegas still to look forward to — so yeah, I kind of rolled with the punches as they came. Was bummed at the lack of response the Sleep live review got — I posted three pics from the show on Thee Facebooks the next day and those got a big reaction, so I guess that’s where it went instead of the actual review. I was really happy with the piece though, so I take comfort in that and if anyone else read it, that’s awesome. Making Clutch’s crab cakes was fun and I was glad I got to post that All Them Witches bio. The week kind of ends on a downer with that Ancestors review — the album is awesome, I’m just sulky because I wasn’t cool enough to premiere a track with it — but it was fun to get on a little nostalgia trip about Emissions from the Monolith above. Ups and downs, I guess.

Also had a lot of time with The Pecan this week, and baby-time is good time. He’s getting closer to walking — we’re thinking first steps in the next couple weeks — and he’s got a couple consonants he breaks out if suitably prompted. “Ba,” “ma,” “da,” “la” and the like. That’s fun. I feel lucky to be able to be home with him, especially seeing other parents I know go to work. Less over the summer — I seem to know a lot of teacher-types — but in general. I don’t know. He’s a pretty great little guy, and we got a baby-gate to keep him away from the Little Dog Dio’s food and water dishes, so all the better.

Other shit persists in follow-the-bouncing-ball fashion. I’ve been trying to be mindful of things like my general state, depression and so on. I was trying to stay off my meds for a couple weeks, working pretty hard to make a go of it, but I just flat-out failed, and yes, I recognize the language puts it on my effort when it’s not necessarily about that. Thank you, inner therapist voice which sounds remarkably like The Patient Mrs. Still, it’s been upwards of eight months now and every time I sit still for more than five minutes I continue to just absolutely fucking disgust myself. Even sitting here at the keyboard, I feel my arms at my sides and want to crawl out of my own skin. Part of that is I didn’t get to shower yesterday — grunge parenting — but I know part of it runs deeper and I still have more work to do. I don’t think I’ll ever be one of those self-actualized I’m-okay-you’re-okay types, but it would be awfully nice to make it through an afternoon without feeling like I’m going to have an aneurysm. Whatever. Who fucking cares. The pills help, I guess?

Ugh.

Ups and downs. Strikes and gutters. Some you win, some you lose.

He’s a good kid.

Let’s do the notes for next week. Subject to change blah blah blah:

Mon.: The Crazy Left Experience review/video premiere; The Skull lyric video.
Tue.: Jody Seabody & The Whirls track premiere.
Wed.: Mr. Plow full album stream.
Thu.: Mountain Tamer track premiere.
Fri.: The Machine review.

There are a bunch of other videos I need to sort through and decide what I’m actually going to put up, so I didn’t list them other than The Skull, but Weed Demon, Ape Vermin, Black Space Riders and Windhand all have new clips out, so there’s plenty to plug into the week in whatever order I wind up feeling like doing so. I’ll sort it out over the weekend. Have another bio to write anyway, so I’ll be on the laptop one way or the other.

It’s almost six-thirty and I hear The Pecan waking up in the next room, so I’d better leave it there. Hope you have a great and safe weekend. Thank you as always for reading and please don’t forget to check out the forum and radio stream.

The Obelisk Forum

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Various Artists, Planet of Doom: First Contact EP: A Way to Break the Ice

Posted in Reviews on July 5th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

planet of doom first contact ep

The Planet of Doom: First Contact EP is something of a curio from the outset. What it effectively does is to retintroduce The Planet of Doom (discussed here), which is an upcoming animated feature helmed by artists Tim Granda and David Paul Seymour bringing together huge names from the graphics and sonics sides of the heavy underground to tell a story in varying chapters, each with its own designer and each with its own music. As projects go, it is breathtakingly ambitious. A generational work, and understandably, it’s been a few years in the making at this point. Last I heard, a 2019 release was expected, but in order to keep momentum going, keep the movie in the mind of potential viewers/fans, and give a taste of the general aesthetic of the work, The Planet of Doom: First Contact presents four songs in a relatively brief 22 minutes that essentially serve as a sampler of what’s to come.

In order, the release presents tracks from Port Orchard, Washington’s Mos Generator, who every bit deserve to be the leadoff with “Sword of the Sea,” Italian upstarts Messa, who bring the seven-minute “Serpent Libido,” Sweden’s Vokonis with “Runa” and Northern Ireland’s Slomatics, whose “Jagaer” closes out. They are just four among the likes of Order of the Owl, Phillip Cope (ex-Kylesa), Slow Season, Space Witch, Mother Crone, Granda himself, Ironweed, Destroyer of Light, Ufomammut, Cirith Ungol, Wo Fat, Orchid, Elephant Tree, who will ultimately feature on the finished product, but they’ve obviously been chosen as the first representatives because of the flow between the songs. Often with soundtracks, there’s an issue of sonic incongruity between individual cuts, and reasonably so. Different players, different tones, different recordings, different moods — it should sound different in the end result. With Mos Generator, Messa, Vokonis and Slomatics, though, it’s not an issue.

And not because the bands don’t have their own respective styles, from the pure heavy rock with just a slight darker tinge of Mos Generator through the atmospheric approach of Messa, the brash doomly bombast of Vokonis and Slomatics‘ futuristic engagement, there is enough of a leap between sounds that one would hardly be surprised if The Planet of Doom: First Contact wound up disjointed, but the progression toward Slomatics‘ “Jagaer” is such that from Mos Generator onward, there’s a downward motion brought to bear. We’re not just making First Contact with The Planet of Doom like Jean-Luc Picard showing up with a handshake and a gift basket from the United Federation of Planets — “Try the Alvanian snap peas!” — we’re being brought on a descent below its surface into some lurking subterranean cave, surrounding by an ancient murk and a looming sense of threat as we move deeper through. In that way, “Sword of the Sea” is a perfect lead-in.

the planet of doom first contact vinyl

With guest vocals alongside those of guitarist Tony Reed, the track builds on the moodier spirit of the band’s 2018 album, Shadowlands (review here), with a gradual unfolding that moves by 90 seconds in toward a more rocking tension that lets loose just before two minutes in. A sudden organ-laced break at around 2:20 leads to a section of progressive guitar textures and the aforementioned guest vocal spot, stopping again, this time to complete silence, before crashing out to a big rock finish that brings on Messa. Kind of a curious structure there, and if “Sword of the Sea” was left off Shadowlands — I don’t know that it was recorded during the same session or it wasn’t — that peculiarity might be why. In any case, Messa, who’ve reaped massive acclaim for their 2018 album, Feast for Water (review here), present the longest inclusion on the EP and earn their time well with a blend of ambiance and heft that serves as a distinguishing factor even among other accomplished purveyors of riffly wares. They’ll begin to hit the European festival circuit this Fall, and accordingly fall into the “one to watch” category, but even more than that, they’re one to listen to, since “Serpent Libido” does so well in its moody affect and loud/quiet tradeoffs, moving toward a plodding section that turns suddenly to blastbeats to end and set the stage for the initial roll of Vokonis‘ “Runa.”

The Swedish three-piece’s participation in The Planet of Doom: First Contact could hardly be better timed. They recently signed to The Sign Records and will record their third album in August to follow last year’s resounding The Sunken Djinn (review here). “Runa” was reportedly written specifically for The Planet of Doom, and though what it might have to do with the plot remains a mystery, the riff and crash of the band’s sound is well intact in the sharply delivered five-minute cut. It’s a solid showing of what they do and the individualized edge they’ve taken on developing since getting their start just a few years ago. They’ve become a vital outfit in the Euro underground, and “Runa” shows why in its blend of aggression and nod. They continue to both grow and impress, and while I don’t know if their next record will be out before the end of 2018, they very obviously are actively working to keep moving forward. The sudden collapse at the end of “Runa” gives Slomatics a bed of silence on which to begin the underlying synth of “Jagaer,” which soon enough unveils its tonal lumber and rolling rhythm.

I know there are plenty of heavy bands involved in The Planet of Doom, but Slomatics‘ blend of entrenched narrative, their otherworldly vocal echoes, and their inhuman, post-apocalyptic slow-motion assault from guitarists Chris Couzens and David Marjury and drummer/vocalist Marty Harvey is perfect for the film. “Jagaer” unfolds with patience and weight alike, and continues in the vein of the band’s 2018 split with Mammoth Weed Wizard BastardTotems (review here), to assure that Slomatics are in no way done after wrapping the trilogy story that finished on 2016’s Future Echo Returns (review here). That’s invariably good news to anyone who’d take on The Planet of Doom: First Contact, as their thud-and-swirl methodology wraps by diverting into a momentary wash of feedback and cutting to nothingness. Hints of more to come? One might say that, and as it’s convenient for me to do so, I will. Either way you take it, The Planet of Doom: First Contact augers remarkably well for the rest of the soundtrack when it finally arrives, and speaks to the curated sensibility of the entire proceeding. As samplers go, it is of impeccable quality and only adds to the well justified anticipation for The Planet of Doom itself.

The Planet of Doom website

The Planet of Doom on Thee Facebooks

The Planet of Doom on Instagram

The Planet of Doom on Kickstarter

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Ripple Music website

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Friday Full-Length: Various Artists, Burn One Up: Music for Stoners

Posted in Bootleg Theater on June 8th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

Various Artists, Burn One Up: Music for Stoners (1997)

21 years ago, Roadrunner Records gathered together 15 bands on one compact disc, slapped a picture of an 18-wheeler truck in the desert on the front of it, and called it Burn One Up: Music for Stoners. It’s not easy to find a copy of it these days — I looked for a while before finally getting it in London in 2010 — but with bands like Queen of the Stone Age, Karma to Burn, Sleep, The Heads, Cathedral and Fu Manchu on board, it’s worth the search. Dig the full tracklisting:

1. Queens of the Stone Age, 18 A.D.
2. Karma to Burn, Ma Petit Mort
3. Fu Manchu, Asphalt Risin’
4. The Heads, GNU
5. Spiritual Beggars, Monster Astronauts
6. Floodgate, Feel You Burn
7. Slaprocket, Holy Mother Sunshine
8. Leadfoot, Soul Full of Lies
9. Celestial Season, Wallaroo
10. Cathedral, You Know
11. Acrimony, Bud Song
12. Blind Dog, Lose
13. Sleep, Aquarian
14. Hideous Sun Demons, Icarus Dream
15. Beaver, Green

It’s easy to argue that, as far as “stoner rock” goes, these are some of the bands who would most shape it. Yeah, Slaprocket never got an album out, but the New Jersey-based outfit divided into Solace and The Atomic Bitchwax, and both of them continue to make their mark to this day. Europe is represented through Dutch outfits Celestial Season, Hideous Sun Demons and Beaver, Sweden’s Spiritual Beggars and Blind Dog, and the UK shows off some of its best in The Heads, Cathedral and Acrimony. The aforementioned Slaprocket speak for the Northeast, while Floodgate hail from Louisiana, Karma to Burn from West Virginia and Leadfoot from North Carolina, so the Southeast is accounted for as well.

And of course we wouldn’t even be talking about the genre if it weren’t for California, which brings Fu Manchu, Sleep and an early incarnation of Josh Homme‘s then-new, on-the-rebound-from-Kyuss outfit, Queens of the Stone Age, which featured a frontman known only as “The Kid”. That’s a particular point of fascination unto itself, but with a first-album-era vocalized Karma to Burn as well and an off-album track from Cathedral, there’s plenty of fodder to make Burn One Up worth seeking for anyone who’d do so, but while the comp wouldn’t serve as a debut for Cathedral, or Celestial Season — who followed a similar path from doom to stoner rock and didn’t stick around long enough to make the turn back before reuniting in 2011 — or Acrimony or Sleep, etc., it’s still amazing to look at it and think of the legacy many of these bands cast. Shit, Sleep just put out their first record in 15 years and took over the world. Would instrumental heavy rock be where it is today without Karma to Burn? And Slaprocket through their already noted ties and Floodgate‘s vocalist, Kyle Thomas (also Exhorder) is currently fronting a little band called Troublem so you know, not exactly minor shakes there.

Blind Dog put out two records through MeteorCity before splitting up, closers Beaver would soon have a split out with openers Queens of the Stone Age via Man’s Ruin Records, and this would be the final appearance for Hideous Sun Demons, who released their only album, Twisted, in 1995. Spiritual Beggars gave an early look at their third album 1998’s Mantra III, with “Monster Astronauts,” while The Heads showcased how far out aural weedism could go with “GNU,” inarguably the trippiest cut on the release.

And The Heads are just one of the several bands who continue to make an impact. Fu Manchu. QOTSA. Karma to Burn. Sleep. Spiritual Beggars. One could argue the only dude missing here is Wino, and he would’ve been coming off The Obsessed and just getting going with Shine — later Spirit Caravan — so that could just as easily be a question of timing as anything else. Okay, maybe a bit of Orange Goblin and Electric Wizard would’ve been cool. You can’t have everything.

As with most compilations, the sound is somewhat disjointed, as the material was recorded by different players in different studios often enough in different countries, but Burn One Up gives an amazing summary of where the genre was in the wake of Kyuss‘ breakup and as it looked forward to developing in the 21st century into the multi-headed beast it is now. You can hear the crunching influence of grunge in Beaver, Floodgate and Slaprocket, but clearly these bands and the rest were on their own wavelength already, and whether new or old, whether they went on to lead the aesthetic or folded soon after — that reminds me, I need to break out those old Leadfoot discs — Burn One Up: Music for Stoners shows an admirable prescience in its picks and is a true piece of treasure for anyone who’d seek it out in its summary of what heavy rock and roll was at the time and what it would go on to be.

As always, I hope you enjoy.

Went to bed last night around 8PM. I’d been up since one in the morning, so somehow it made sense, plus The Patient Mrs. was having trouble getting The Pecan to go to sleep and she had half a cocktail to finish, so it seemed only fair to tag in. I’d woken up early on account of said Pecan as well, his sort of nighttime mumblings varying between actual fuss, crying and a kind of sleepy coo, and decided to spend the extra hours organizing stuff on my new laptop, which I’ve dubbed The Silver Fox. Because it’s silver, you see. Yes, we’re all very clever over here.

Anyhoozle, kind of another rough night with the baby last night had me up at three. He was in the bed — something I swore up and down I wouldn’t let happen and then of course did — and had rolled toward me in such a way that I was against the wall pretty much pinned. By a kid who, at seven months, weighs about 18.5 pounds. Life does funny things to you. I woke up, enjoyed the snuggle-time for a bit, and then got up to work on the above post. Circa 5:30, The Patient Mrs. came out of the bedroom carrying the again-complaining baby — whose diaper I’d already changed at some point — and kind of at a loss for what to do. I went back to bed with both of them and sort of rocked him while standing up, a gentle bounce with his head on my shoulder and swayed back and forth until he was falling asleep, then got into bed while holding him basically the same way and he went out. We all caught a solid two hours of rest in that position and it’s early yet to call it (a little after 8 as I type this), but I think that might be the difference-maker on the day.

We’ll get in the car soon enough and head south from Connecticut, where we drove to yesterday for two magical hours of screaming-baby-in-the-car fun, to New Jersey, where once again we’re basically setting up shop for the summer. We’ll be back and forth between there and CT to hit the beach probably on weekends and/or various other times, and there’s still stuff that will need tending to in Massachusetts — The Patient Mrs.’ work commitments and the like — but it’ll be a lot of good family time over the summer with my people and her people and I’m looking forward to being in the New York area for probably the greatest amount of time in the half-decade since we moved away.

Around here, things will likely proceed as normal, if there is such a thing. Notes for next week look like this currently, but these things can and do change as you well know by now:

Mon: Demande a la Poussiere review/track premiere; Dust Lovers video premiere maybe.
Tue. Oresund Space collective review; Kal-El live video.
Wed. Orange Goblin review.
Thu.: Currently open. Maybe Astrosoniq review.
Fri.: King Heavy review/album stream.

Plus plenty of news and whatever else happens my way.

Ups and downs this week as ever, but I’m getting through. That’s the story from here.

I hope you have a great and safe weekend. Thanks for reading and stick around as there’s more good stuff to come. All the best. Forum and Radio.

The Obelisk Forum

The Obelisk Radio

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Ripple Music, DHU Records, Kozmik Artifactz & Twin Earth Records Team up for 2LP Compilation Skull Mountain

Posted in Whathaveyou on May 27th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

skull mountain cover

As an old friend used to say — SCENE UNITY! As someone who lives in fear of corralling even one label’s worth of bands onto a sampler, the notion of the logistics involved with Skull Mountain feels like the stuff of anxiety dreams on the part of those making it happen. And yet, the bold souls at Ripple Music, Kozmik Artifactz, Twin Earth Records and DHU Records have come together across continents to make it happen, and a 500-copies-pressed 2LP four-way label sampler split featuring all previously unreleased tracks and versions is the result. I shouldn’t have to tell you this is something special, something that doesn’t happen every day, and something that might not happen again.

And yet, it’s so emblematic of the moment in which the heavy rock underground finds itself today. Time was when labels like Ripple and Kozmik Artifactz would be too busy competing and trying to poach each other’s bands to team up on a joint multi-artist venture, and to have DHU and Twin Earth on board as well only affirms the passion and the taste at heart in what these people are doing. It’s not about who can be the biggest, or who can make the most money. It’s about love of the music and about wanting to support those who make it and, in this case, teaming up to reach as broad an audience as possible so that everyone benefits.

16 bands, four sides of two platters and one deeply, deeply admirable project, Skull Mountain releases on June 16 with preorders beginning today at the times listed in the flyer below.

Beneath that, you can see the official announcement of the release and the complete tracklisting. Kudos to everyone involved on every level in making this one happen.

From the PR wire:

skull mountain poster

Over a year in the making! Perhaps the world’s first Four-Label collaborative effort to bring together some of the best heavy psych, stoner, doom from both sides of the Atlantic. Two US-based labels, Ripple Music and Twin Earth Records, join forces with two European-based labels, DHU Records and Kozmik Artifactz to bring forth a double album of epic proportions, something so massive it could only have its own monolith, Skull Mountain.

Each Label showcases one full album side of its signature sound, each song previously unreleased or unreleased mix. The entire album mastered to perfection by Tony Reed at HeavyHead.

Inside the gatefold, Tarot cards display the four element theme of Skull Mountain with each Label represented by its own signature element, Ripple-Water; Twin Earth-Earth, DHU- Fire, and Kozmik- Air. Accordingly, each label has a limited amount of vinyl available in its own signature elemental color, Ripple-Blue, Twin Earth – Green, DHU-Red, and Kozmik- Clear

That’s right! Only 500 of these stunning 2xLP albums were pressed, with each label only having 125 in its signature color. Once they’re gone, they’re gone.

An epic introduction into the worlds of North American and European heavy music. A monumental journey to Skull Mountain

Track Listing:

Side Ripple
The Watchers – Starfire (Cosmic Nebula mix)
Kingnomad – Dewer’s Hollow
Blackwulf – The Tempest (Black Tide mix)
Vokonis – Celestial Embrace

Side Twin Earth
Alastor – Blood on Satan’s Claw
Kabbalah – Abomination
Starts that Move – Give It All Away
Haunted – Crossmoth

Side D.H.U.
Disenchanter – More Evil Than Thou
Dawn – Day of the Lord
Witch Ritual – Drawing Down the Moon
Youngblood Supercult – Sticky Fingers

Side Kozmik
The Heavy Eyes – Home
Devil Electric – Devil’s Bells
Red Spektor – Devil’s Keeper
Hair of the Dog – My Only Home

Each label has 125 copies in its own color available on its own site.

www.ripplemusic.bigcartel.com/products
darkhedonisticunionrecords.bigcartel.com
http://twinearthrecords.storenvy.com
http://shop.bilocationrecords.com/

The Watchers, “Starfire” (original version) official video

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Review & Full Album Premiere: Various Artists, Legends of the Desert Desertfest 12″

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on March 16th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

va legends of the desert 4 way split

For the last several years, German imprint H42 Records has partnered with Desertfest to create a special limited split release for in honor of the Spring festivals in London and Berlin. Past editions have included Karma to Burn and Sons of Alpha Centauri, Raging Speedhorn together with Monster Magnet, and Greenleaf locking heads with Steak — the tracks generally with some measure of exclusivity, be they previously unreleased, a remastered oldie (which I seem to recall was the case with Greenleaf), etc. In 2018, a year where the entire universe has unveiled its conspiracy against humanity to be completely overwhelming, H42 has also decided to up its game, though it does so in particularly serene fashion.

This year’s Desertfest split is titled Legends of the Desert, and in addition to jumping from 7″ vinyl to a full 12″, it also doubles the amount of acts included from two to four, bringing together the interrelated projects Fatso Jetson, Yawning Sons, WaterWays and Mario Lalli und Matthias Schneeberger to each present one cut seemingly representing one aspect or another of the Californian desert that the principle figures involved call home. Speaking of, while there are four groups included on Legends of the Desert, the platter is really telling the story of two key figures of California’s initial low desert rock scene in Mario Lalli and Gary Arce. Arce‘s trademark shimmering surf-derived guitar tone features on two of the four inclusions — Yawning Sons’ “Down in the Street,” and WaterWays‘ “Three Rivers” — while Lalli is aboard for three as a member of Fatso Jetson, WaterWays and of course his solo-project with Schneeberger, whose production work not only for Fatso Jetson but also the likes of earthlings?, Nick Oliveriand Gutter Twins, among many, many others, has made him a crucial presence behind the board in that scene.

As they should, Fatso Jetson lead off the proceedings with “Semi Lost,” which even if it weren’t the only track to include vocals would probably still be the catchiest song here. Aside from their “desert legends” status, which is basically irrefutable more than 20 years into their career, Fatso JetsonMario Lalli on guitar/vocals, Dino von Lalli on guitar, Larry Lalli on bass and Tony Tornay (now also of All Souls) on drums — have retained the experimentalist sensibility of their songwriting. As their last album, 2016’s Idle Hands (review here) reminded, their songwriting process is deeply varied, and as they open side A with “Semi Lost,” it’s a more laid back feel than some of their more forward punk-blasting groovers. Just so happens — total coincidence, I’m sure — that in addition to providing that landmark hook, it suits the vibe of the split really well.

Last I heard, Mario Lalli and Tony Tornay were both in WaterWays as well, featuring as the rhythm section alongside Gary Arce‘s inimitable guitar tone, derived from surf and goth rock but unmistakably of the desert itself. Though the two groups are very different, Arce serves as the uniting force between WaterWays closing out side A with the four-minute just-too-active-to-really-be-drift-but-kind-of-drifting-anyway “Three Rivers,” his guitar tone echoing out spacious as ever and evocative of the desert in a manner that groups from around the world have done their best to emulate and generally fallen flat in the effort. “Three Rivers” is resoundingly hypnotic, despite being just four minutes long, and though it’s twice the length and has a much fuller arrangement owing to the complete lineup of UK progressive instrumentalists Sons of Alpha Centauri, Yawning Sons‘ “Down in the Street” might dip lower in low end tone, but ultimately winds up in a similarly broad sphere, the ambience stretching out comfortably and patiently for the song’s duration, no less trance-inducing leading off side B than “Three Rivers” was in capping side A, though I will readily admit to being a sucker for Yawning Sons as I still consider their lone full-length, 2009’s Ceremony to the Sunset (review here, vinyl review here), among the finest releases Californian desert rock has ever produced. Anything new from them is welcome as far as I’m concerned.

Legends of the Desert ends with a particular note of intrigue in Mario Lalli und Matthias Schneeberger‘s “Spector,” which at 4:17 brings together the clear collaborative elements of the former’s guitar and the latter’s keys, but there are also drums and bass involved and I’m not sure who handled them. If it’s a studio project, it could’ve certainly been either party or someone like Tornay stopping through for the afternoon, but the real question is why “Spector” isn’t a Fatso Jetson song. Sure it’s instrumental, but Fatso Jetson have done plenty of instrumentals over the years, and Schneeberger, aside from producing, has been a regular guest contributor to their work. One can easily imagine, then, it was a conscious decision to adopt the Lalli/Schneeberger banner, and extrapolate from that the curiosity as to whether the two will collaborate directly on some future release apart from Lalli‘s work in Fatso Jetson, and what that might sound like. “Spector,” for what it’s worth, continues in the open-feeling spirit of Yawning Sons and WaterWays before it — a bit darker in tone — and whether or not it’s a harbinger of things to come, it makes a satisfying closing argument to Legends of the Desert, each side of which tells the tale of arid-climate-born fluidity and resonates with a creative force unlike anything from anywhere else. These Legends are still being told, still being shaped, but there’s no question that the impact they’ve had on the worldwide underground is massive, and if that’s what’s being celebrated here, you’ll get no argument from me.

I have the pleasure today of streaming the complete Legends of the Desert 12″, which officially releases May 4. You’ll find it below courtesy of H42 Records and Desertfest, and it is presented with my gratitude to both of them as well as to you for reading and listening.

Please enjoy:

DESERTFEST is just around the corner in May. 2018. For the past three years we contributed in collaboration with the DesertFest team the vinyl for the FEST. We decided to change the format into the 12″ vinyl format this year.

And what fits better to the DesertFest, as an album with bands with a very big relation to the ‘desert’? So we called the album LEGENDS OF THE DESERT (RELEASE MAY 4th 2018). For this fantastic vinyl we could won great bands and musicians, each of them with a previously unreleased song:

FATSO JETSON, YAWNING SONS, WATERWAYS and a solo project under the direction of MARIO LALLI & MATHIAS SCHNEEBERGER. As always ALEXANDER VON WIEDING was responsible for artwork and layout: a slightly variation of the original 7″ art.

Desertfest London website

H42 Records on Thee Facebooks

H42 Records on Bandcamp

H42 Records website

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Glory or Death Records Announces Bow to Your Masters Vol. 2: Deep Purple

Posted in Whathaveyou on March 13th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

Seems to me that if you want to get a shit-ton of bands to contact you, this is probably a good way to go about it. Glory or Death Records, the California-based imprint that’s just weeks out from having digitally released the much-awaited Bow to Your Masters Vol. 1: Thin Lizzy tribute compilation with contributions from the likes of Mos Generator, Goya, Mothership, Slow Season, the sadly defunct Egypt and many others — and vinyl is forthcoming with an entire other platter’s worth of homage-paying — has announced the second installment in the series. And yes they’re looking for bands to take part.

The big mystery, of course, was in whose honor Bow to Your Masters Vol. 2. Few bands are as inarguable in terms of overall quality as Thin Lizzy — and I say that as one who considers himself a dilettante at best when it comes to actually being a fan — but in classic-era Deep Purple, it would seem the label has found another good match ripe for interpretation. Have to wonder if anyone would be bold enough to take on something from the first three albums, if there isn’t a San Diego psych band out there willing to give “Hush” a go or something like that. Or maybe The Golden Grass could pull it off. Anyway, Deep Purple‘s catalog has enough depth and range that there should be plenty to choose from, and yeah, if you’re in a band and you want to be involved in the project, the email address is below.

Dig:

glory or death records bow to your masters deep purple

And now that Bow to Your Masters Volume 1: Thin Lizzy (LP1) is posted on Bandcamp…it’s time to talk about Bow to Your Masters Volume 2. We already have a wicked set of bands to start with, but we want to hear from bands who are interested in going on the volume 2 journey with us.

Bands-interested in being involved please email gloryordeathrecords@gmail.com.

And now…we Burn. Another master who needs no introduction. Who will be on the record? What will they play? Can’t wait to share.

Bow to Your Masters Volume 2: Deep Purple…

https://www.facebook.com/Gloryordeathrecords/
gloryordeathrecords.bigcartel.com/
https://gloryordeathrecords.bandcamp.com/

Various Artists, Bow to Your Masters Vol. 1: Thin Lizzy (2018)

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No Legacy Vol. 1 Compilation Brings Together Northern and Southern California

Posted in Whathaveyou on March 8th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

Hard not to dig the mission here. Anyone who’s had the pleasure of being in one and the other can probably tell you that Northern and Southern California are fairly different worlds. Forest vs. beach, off-grid pot farmer hippies vs. those hitting the dispensary on their way to whatever charmed adventure next awaits them. Weather vs. no weather. I don’t know, man. I’m from the Northeast. All I know is that driving southward down the Pacific Coastline, there’s a marked shift in ecosystem. To put it another way: things in one place be different from things in another place. Boom. Language economy. You’re welcome.

Anyhoozle, No Legacy Records is a new imprint helmed by L.A.-based Erik Kluiber of the bands Ironaut and Void Vator, and the label’s first release, No Legacy Vol. 1: Socal/Norcal features not only his own groups but a slew of others whose geographical disparities serve here to unite them in one underground. Always cool to see bands like Disastroid and Astral Cult show up, but along with Aboleth, Hazzaard’s Cure and others, the company they’re keeping is both good and plentiful. Like I said at the outset, hard not to dig the mission.

Info follows, courtesy of the PR wire:

no legacy socal norcal vol 1

NO LEGACY RECORDS DEBUTS WITH A FULL-LENGTH COMPILATION VINYL RELEASE ‘VOL. 1: SOCAL/NORCAL’, IN CELEBRATION OF TODAY’S CALIFORNIA HEAVY METAL UNDERGROUND.

Los Angeles, CA’s No Legacy Records formally announces their debut full-length ‘No Legacy Vol. 1: Socal/Norcal’ is available strictly on vinyl pressing. Featuring nine of California’s modern heavy music acts that span the full genre spectrum of ‘heavy’, including Ironaut, Disastroid, Madrost, Astral Cult, Void Vator, and others. There are ‘no legacy’ acts on the compilation, as the label was created to specifically highlight professional up & coming bands not already in popular awareness.

California is long-known for its contributions to the heavy metal music world. Be it bands, venues, and for many eras – record labels. With the digital stream eruptions, physical music sales plummeted and many major labels focused only on their ‘legacy’ artists, or outright folded. This gave smaller, independent labels room to grow and their underground artists found that same sunlight. Recent years sprouted a resurgence of physical format music on CD, Vinyl, and even cassettes. Yet, major labels still tote primarily ‘legacy’ artists, with reissue after reissue of legendary artist releases in every color vinyl in the rainbow.

However, music lovers still attend live music shows, searching for new heavy music that doesn’t carry that hefty legacy price tag. No Legacy Records was launched for this specific purpose. Erik Kluiber, label founder and executive producer of the compilation, knows his way around the California heavy metal scene. Erik is a long time heavy music artist, currently a member of both Void Vater (guitar) and Ironaut (bass and vocals), as well as former guitarist for Gypsyhawk and White Wizzard.

According to Kluiber,
“The title is called No Legacy, because this album features exclusively contemporary up-and-coming bands in the underground California heavy music scene. From my perspective, the heavy metal movement has shifted over to an unhealthy focus predominantly fixated on established legacy acts. Metal has become all about the brands, instead of the bands.”

“I met all of the bands included on ‘No Legacy’ by sharing the stage with them at club shows across California. I hear and see hundreds of bands every year and the good ones stand out. In 2017, I had this idea of the compilation album in my head. I approached bands that made an impression the night I played with them and asked them if this idea of a compilation album was something they would be interested in participating in. I was surprised on the immediate positive feedback. They reminisced about albums like ‘Metal Massacre’ from decades ago and understood the fan crossover potential.”

The “No Legacy Volume 1: Socal/Norcal” compilation is available in a limited edition, first press run of 500 on 180 gram black vinyl, with printed sleeve insert. Executive produced by Erik Kluiber, with assembly and additional mastering by Michael Hateley at Lotus Mastering. Cover artwork, design, and layout by Ryan Bartlett. The album compilation features nine California heavy underground bands, including Ironaut, Disastroid, Madrost, Astral Cult, Void Vator, Aboleth, Grand Lord High Master, Hazzard’s Cure, Tzimani.

“No Legacy Volume 1: Socal/Norcal” Track List:

Side 1
A1. Ironaut – ‘Sick Stupid Lies’
A2. Disastroid – ‘New Day’
A3. Madrost – ‘Scorned’
A4. Astral Cult – ‘Drowning’

Side 2
B1. Void Vator – ‘No Return’
B2. Aboleth – ‘No Good’
B3. Grand Lord High Master – ‘Sludge’
B4. Hazzard’s Cure – ‘Starvation’
B5. Tzimani – ‘Final Hour’

https://www.facebook.com/Nolegacy/
http://www.nolegacyrecords.bigcartel.com/product/no-legacy-volume-1-socal-norcal

Void Vator, “No Return” official video

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