Villagers of Ionnina City Join Sound of Liberation Booking Roster; New Album out Now

Posted in Whathaveyou on November 8th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

Progressive, heavy and psychedelic in a fluid balance that also incorporates elements out of Greek folk, the new album from four-piece Villagers of Ionnina City, dubbed and themed around a mythical Age of Aquarius, is really good. Like, really, really good. Greek bands have been killing it in general the last few years — 1000mods of course, but also acts like Planet of ZeusNaxatras certainly, Puta Volcano, BusSadhus and many others others are stepping from behind the veil of their influences to make statements of their own, and that’s exactly what Villagers of Ionnina City seem to be doing on their second long-player. The album came out in a rush in late September, but I admit I’m still getting to know it as I’ve only had it for a couple days, but it’s got an apparent depth of approach and a conceptual and linear form of songwriting that’s engrossing in a way that bodes well for how it will unfold over longer-term listening.

I’ll be digging in, I guess is what I’m saying.

They’ve just hooked up with Sound of Liberation — one might recall they played Up in Smoke in 2018, which is an affiliated fest — so expect copious European tour dates to come soon. They would seem to be one of many bands from their home country ready to break out. I say go. Go go go. The more the merrier. Greece has a scene at this point that stands up to Germany, Sweden, or even the UK, and it’s as diverse as it is populated. The more people who find out about it the better.

From Sound of Liberation on thee social medias:

villagers of ionnina city sound of liberation

VILLAGERS OF IOANNINA CITY JOIN THE SOUND OF LIBERATION FAMILY

Meet Villagers of Ioannina City ! One of the leading Greek heavy rock bands, with a strong footing in the wealthy folk musical tradition of Epirus, furnished with consistent alt-metal and post rock sonic landscapes.

The inspired mixture of classic rock grooves dwelling between Black Sabbath, Tool and Pearl Jam with the traditional instruments and scales from the Greek rich musical past, created a blend meant to strike an impression both locally and internationally.

Their new album, “Age Of Aquarius”, is exactly what the title implies. A whole new era of creation and experimentation, keeping on board the traditional scent that lies in their roots and at the same time, a modern soundwave of heaviness and atmosphere.

In the meantime feel free to join them on instagram: https://www.instagram.com/villagersofioanninacity

Listen to “Age of Aquarius” on Spotify and all digital platforms here: https://orcd.co/vic_ageofaquarius

https://www.facebook.com/villagersofioanninacity/
https://www.instagram.com/villagersofioanninacity
https://vicband.bandcamp.com/
https://www.facebook.com/mantrarec/
https://www.instagram.com/mantrarecords.gr/
https://www.mantrarecords.gr/
https://www.facebook.com/Soundofliberation/
https://www.instagram.com/soundofliberation/
https://www.soundofliberation.com/

Villagers of Ionnina City, Age of Aquarius (2019)

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Up in Smoke 2018: Kadavar, Elder, Whores., Villagers of Ionnina City and Six Months of Sun Added

Posted in Whathaveyou on July 10th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

up in smoke 2018 banner

As noted yesterday, John Garcia has postponed his Fall tour of Europe, and that included a stop at Up in Smoke 2018. No doubt Mr. Garcia is a significant presence as a part of an lineup in which he features, and accordingly, Up in Smoke has gone ahead and added five bands in the wake of his cancellation, including Berlin three-piece Kadavar, who will take over his headlining spot. Needless to say, you could do much worse, and with Elder, Whores., Villagers of Ionnina City and Six Months of Sun also joining the lineup, there will definitely be plenty to see in Garcia‘s absence. Plus, there’s always Keep it Low 2019 to think about. Well, not “always,” but at least for the next year or so. Ha.

The following confirmations came down the PR wire:

up in smoke 2018 kadavar

UP IN SMOKE 2018 – KADAVAR & 4 MORE BANDS CONFIRMED!

Smokers,

You may have seen that JOHN GARCIA cancelled his October/November tour yesterday. It’s with great sadness that we have to say it consequently includes his appearance at Up In Smoke 2018… But no worry! We found another amazing act to headline our Friday night, one of the biggest names in the scene whose sound can be recognized by a single guitar strum: the berlin-based power trio KADAVAR! We’re pretty thrilled about that, aren’t you?!

We are also psyched to announce the 4 following bands:

ELDER (USA) – Elder is the definition of a work in progress, as the group continues to meld the familiar sounds of Sleep‘s colossal riffage with their ever-evolving vision of soaring melodies and sonic soundscapes. Listeners will find themselves locked into the trio’s lengthy epics, which toe the line between the chasms of classic stoner metal and mindblowing psychedelia.

WHORES (USA) – Founded in 2010 in Atlanta, Georgia, Whores has established themselves as one of the most successful and motivated bands in the genre today. Through intense, cathartic live performances and the perfected aggressive tenacity present on their recordings, the band has gained a fervent following sure to do nothing but grow in the years to come. October 2016 saw the band’s first full-length album “GOLD”, and Whores is currently recording the next one.

VILLAGERS OF IOANNINA CITY (GR) – The experimental heavy rock band Villagers of Ioannina City (VIC) comes from the mountains of Epirus – Greece. Their unique sound fuses traditional music into heavy psychedelic rock. The band uses a wide range of instruments, such as low tuned guitars and bass, hammond and rhodes, along with traditional instruments such as clarino, bagpipe, kaval, didjeridoo and others. Currently they are recording their long awaited new album “Age of Aquarius” which will be released in September.

SIX MONTHS OF SUN (CH) – Six Months Of Sun are based in Geneva, Switzerland and released their debut album called “And Water Flows” in 2013. The band served on Stoner Rock sound and offers us instrumental compositions with strong influences from bands such as Karma To Burn, Black Sabbath, Goatsnake, Orange Goblin, Graveyard and Clutch. They released their excellent second album “ Below the Eternal Sky” barely 2 months ago!

www.upinsmoke.de
https://www.facebook.com/UpInSmokeIndoorFestivalInZ7/
https://www.sol-tickets.com/produkte
https://soundofliberation.com

Kadavar, “Die Baby Die” official video

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Various Artists, The Sun, the Moon, the Mountain: Of Ancients and Futures

Posted in Reviews on September 13th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

va-the-sun-the-moon-the-mountain

One should note immediately that the subtitle of The Sun, the Moon, the Mountain is ‘A Passage Through Greek Psychedelia.’ A passage. Not the passage. Because while the six-track debut offering from Archaeopia Records covers plenty of ground across its intricate, varied and obviously-curated 35 minutes — perfect for a limited LP made even earthier and more naturalistic via woodcut-screened cover art and hand-designed calligraphy — there’s just about no way it could be comprehensive at this point in drawing together all sides of Greece’s underground. The scope has simply gotten too big. Certainly to fit on one LP. You might get a sampling across three 12″ platters, but by then the cost is prohibitive and you too easily run the risk of losing listeners’ attentions somewhere along the “journey.”

No. Archaeopia head Theo Prasidis plays it smart with his assemblage here, bringing together seven acts diverse in sound to represent multiple sides of a Greek scene that’s undergone a massive boom in the last five to 10 years with acts like Planet of Zeus and 1000mods spearheading a presence becoming even more known across the wider sphere of Europe. As a movement, it’s still a nascent scene when one compares it to the decades-since established heavy rock output of countries like Sweden or Germany, but in taking influence from these places and bands, the acts represented in The Sun, the Moon, the Mountain bring something of their own — something definitively Greek — to the mix as well, and as that continues to be refined and defined in the years to come, it will no doubt be the foundation of an influence spreading within and without the country’s borders alike. As a document of that process’ beginnings, this passage through Greek psychedelia couldn’t be more welcome.

For convenience’s sake, the roster of bands and tracklisting:

SIDE A THE SUN, THE MOON
1. Tau & Villagers of Ioannina City, Wakey Wakey
2. The Road Miles, 600 Miles
3. Cyanna Mercury, The Flood
4. Sleepin’ Pillow, Amplifier in My Heart

SIDE B THE MOUNTAIN
5. Green Yeti, Monkey Riders
6. Craang, When in Ruins

Part of the challenge The Sun, the Moon, the Mountain puts to its audience is in helping figure out just what that “something definitively Greek” actually is. This may be a question never answered. Why is grunge grunge? What makes Southern heavy Southern? Where does one style end and another begin? Ultimately this kind of question is academic in its nature — it’s entirely possible to make your way through the songs here, not care at all and still have a perfectly good time — but as the leadoff cut “Wakey Wakey” by a collaboration between Tau (who are actually based in Berlin) and Villagers of Ioannina City delves into a ritualized Americana lyrical thematic and sets its foundation in strummed post-Monster Magnet laid back fuzz jangle, the message is clear: buckle up. “Wakey Wakey,” with mantra-esque vocals and an overriding moodiness marked by flourish of slide guitar deeper in the headphone-worthy mix, sets a distinctive tone, but it’s one of only multiple directions in which the release will decide to go.

the sun the moon the mountain woodcut

The Road Miles make a more classic impression with spacey organ and a fervent heavy push on their “600 Miles,” and Cyanna Mercury‘s “The Flood” seems to Europeanize All Them Witches-style heavy rock blues, their own keys a predominant factor but not overwhelming the strength of their chorus, which retains a link to Greek folk in its scale work and later jabbing starts and stops, reminding the listener that right across the border lies Turkey and the gateway to the Middle East. As side A rounds out with the sleek, electronic-beat-inclusive “Amplifier in My Heart” by Sleepin’ Pillow, an already expansive breadth pushes even further outward. A quiet and hypnotic verse rises to a volume swell of guitar for the chorus and rolls out an immersive groove thereafter, tying together with the somewhat darker ambience of “Wakey Wakey” earlier, but in a much different sonic context. And while the aural surroundings could hardly be more modern, somehow it feels appropriate that Sleepin’ Pillow should cap the first half of The Sun, the Moon, the Mountain with talk of an “ancient fire,” since that seems in part to be what’s driving the offering as a whole.

And that spirit — of offering, of passage — is one that only continues as side B pushes into the longer-form work of Green Yeti and Craang. Both acts are upstarts in the Greek scene, but both have already made a mark as well, and their respective inclusions, “Monkey Riders” and “When in Ruins,” are the two longest tracks at 8:21 and 7:56. Sure enough, the flow that results between them is all the more complementary for that, hitting a level of immersion even beyond side A between Green Yeti‘s rolling, feedbacking central riff on “Monkey Riders” and the galloping payoff that ends and Craang‘s patient but still deeply weighted heavy psych execution that caps with a prog-rock dreamscape of keys and fading, drifting guitar. There’s no mystery in the intention on the part of Archaeopia to take the audience to the edge of space and then give that last little shove, but as that scenario plays out, it seems even more crucial for the listener to realize the cultural interplay at work as well and the various traditions being engaged and built upon, by Craang and indeed by all their counterparts included here.

One might rightly accuse Archaeopia of aiming high with its first release. Indeed, little says scope like The Sun, the Moon, the Mountain — short of “the ocean,” you might as well have called the compilation “Light, Dark and Everything” — but what’s happening in these six pieces is not only a showcase of some of the sonic persona of Greece’s underground, but a representation of the forces modern and otherwise that have taken root and helped shape that persona in the first place. For many who engage it, that will of course be a secondary concern to just checking out a new track from Cyanna Mercury, or from Craang, or hearing what Tau & Villagers of Ioannina City bring to light in working together, and that’s fine too, but there’s an underlying message being conveyed, and in the end, it’s less about saying “these are the Greek bands you need to know” than “this is why you should know Greek bands.”

That works out to be a huge difference in the listening experience. I don’t know whether The Sun, the Moon, the Mountain is the beginning of a series or not from Archaeopia — that’s an awful lot to ask of a new label, and no doubt Prasidis wants to get down to the business of releasing proper albums, etc. — but it could be, and even if it’s only a fleeting, one-time passage, it serves notice of the arrival of yet another player of note in the Greek heavy underground in its conceptual purpose and the sheer class of taste behind its selections. “Wakey Wakey” indeed. Nicely done.

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Archaeopia Records Announces The Sun, The Moon, The Mountain Compilation; Cyanna Mercury Track Premieres

Posted in audiObelisk, Whathaveyou on September 4th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

Click play at the bottom of this post to stream the premiere of a new Cyanna Mercury track featured on the upcoming compilation The Sun, the Moon, the Mountain from Archaeopia Records. The song is titled ‘The Flood’ and it’s one of five to be featured on the vinyl release, which is appropriately subtitled as ‘A Passage Through Greek Psychedelia,’ and which also features works by Tau in collaboration with Villagers of Ionnina City, The Road Miles, Craang, Green Yeti and Sleepin Pillow. Six bands on five tracks for a 36-minute deluxe LP that’s rich in vibe throughout and brimming with homage to Greece’s history in heavy, in mythology, and more.

At the same time, if you needed further evidence of the heavy psych and heavy rock explosion happening in Greece right now, at this very moment, look no further. Archaeopia isn’t just highlighting random bands — these acts have been selected and curated for an offering that flows from front to back across its two sides — and not only are they relevant to the past, but to the future of the Greek scene as well. As the label’s slogan goes: “Where Cosmic Beats Vibrate the Deathless Soil.” Clearly we’re looking to cross a span of time here.

That admirable mission bears some righteous fruit on the LP, about which you can read more below ahead of preorders going live in the coming weeks for the Fall release. I’ll have a review up as well soon, so keep an eye out, and the meantime, enjoy the track premiere:

va-the-sun-the-moon-the-mountain

The Sun. The Moon. The Mountain. Three fundamental elements of the Greek psyche. From the Homeric hymns of the fiery-stallion-riding sun-god Helios and his ethereal sister Selene, goddess of the moon, to the myriad myths and legends surrounding the highlands and the consecration of Mount Olympus as the dwelling of the gods, these inextricable components of the Greek landscape, brimming with rich symbolism and religious gravitas, have dominated indigenous lore, mythology, literature, poetry and music for millennia.

In modern-day Greece, one of the music genres that largely incorporated with such symbols and concepts of old -either lyrically or musically- is undoubtedly psychedelic rock. The pioneering work of Socrates Drank The Conium and Aphrodite’s Child in the seventies, established the connection between Greek psychedelic music and religious/folkloric themes. Vangelis’ epically toned solo career focused on mythical ideas, while psych bards Purple Overdose delved deeper into the magical mysticism of antiquity.

Today we’re amidst a full-on psychedelic rock revival. New bands emerge consecutively, recalling old motifs on one hand, contributing essentially to the genre with new ideas on the other, whereas occult and spiritual notions are commonplace. With this release we want to honour the ever-growing Greek psychedelic rock scene that stands strong in the current global renaissance of the genre.

Juxtaposing our title to the collection of songs featured on this vinyl, the following concept might arise: The sun represents psychedelic rock in its most lurid expression, a euphoric desert plain walkabout towards a bacchic celebration of light. The moon takes us on a slow-burning trip into the night, with the melancholic exaltation of glazed psychedelia. The mountain is manifested by a massive wall of sound, evoking visions of dark rites and primordial cults. Each featured band mirrors a singular element,
steering into a substantial whole.

The Sun. The Moon. The Mountain. As influential and imposing and radiant as ever. Enjoy!

Tracklisting:
SIDE A THE SUN, THE MOON
TAU & VILLAGERS OF IOANNINA CITY, WAKEY WAKEY
THE ROAD MILES, 600 MILES
CYANNA MERCURY, THE FLOOD
SLEEPIN PILLOW, AMPLIFIER IN MY HEART

SIDE B THE MOUNTAIN
GREEN YETI, MONKEY RIDERS
CRAANG, WHEN IN RUINS

All tracks are original recordings, except “600 Miles” by The Road Miles, featured in the album “Ballads for the Wasteland” and “Amplifier In My Heart” by Sleepin Pillow, featured in the album “Apples On An Orange Tree”, both newly remastered and presented in vinyl format for the first time.

Artwork by Fotis Varthis. Woodcut engraved, inked and printed by hand on Rosaspina Fabriano 180gr paper by the artist. Watch the entire procedure here: youtu.be/w5QI9L36ICE

www.behance.net/FotisVarthis
cargocollective.com/FotisVarthis

Assembled by Theo Prasidis
Post-mastered by George Nikoglou

https://www.facebook.com/archaeopia/
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https://twitter.com/archaeopia
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http://www.archaeopia.com/

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