Roadburn 2015: Streaming Sets from The Heads, Botanist, Bardspec, Eyehategod, Kandodo, Darkher, White Hills, Zoltan and Brimstone

Posted in audiObelisk on August 18th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster

The Heads at Roadburn 2015 (Photo by JJ Koczan)

The Heads were so goddamn good at Roadburn. As any edition will, Roadburn 2015 had some truly spectacular performances, both that I saw and that I heard about later and regretted not seeing, but one I consider myself very, very fortunate to have caught was that of The Heads on the Main Stage at the 013. Pure, raw and complete psychedelic mastery, it was probably in the top three heavy psych sets I’ve ever seen, and I’ve seen a few in my time. Bands sound molten on studio recordings all the time, but for them to bring that vibe to the stage was, well, it was The Heads, and they absolutely killed it.

But as I say, Roadburn 2015 had more than several spectacular gigs. Anytime Eyehategod go anywhere, they leave an impact, and I also managed to see that Kandodo set, which had Robert Hampson of Loop sitting in on guitar — speaking of molten psychedelics — as well as White Hills and Bardspec, the latter which was just Ivar Bjørnson and Arve “Ice Dale” Isdal of Enslaved experimenting with different chords and manipulations on a laptop. Very cool vibe there too.

The latest batch of Roadburn 2015 audio streams has all those, plus BotanistBrimstoneDarkher and Zoltan, which makes it quite a batch indeed. Enjoy:

(Ivar Bjørnson’s) Bardspec – Live at Roadburn 2015

Botanist – Live at Roadburn 2015

Brimstone- Live at Roadburn 2015

Darkher – Live at Roadburn 2015

Eyehategod – Live at Roadburn 2015

The Heads – Live at Roadburn 2015 (Main Stage)

Kandodo ft. Robert Hampson – Live at Roadburn 2015

White Hills – Live at Roadburn 2015

Zoltan – Live at Roadburn 2015

Special thanks to Walter as always for letting me host the streams. To read all of this year’s Roadburn coverage, click here. For the first, second and third batches of streams, click here and then click here and then click here and then click here.

Roadburn’s website

Marcel Van De Vondervoort on Thee Facebooks

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San Francisco Trip, Pt. 3: The Calling

Posted in Buried Treasure, Features on July 16th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster

aquarius records

07.15.15 — 10:10PM Pacific — Wed. night — Hotel California (yes, really)

It occurred to me this evening that I’ve had about two and a half hours of “free time” on this trip and I’ve spent it all record shopping. That’s not a complaint, but I’ve had people offer to meet up and stuff and I haven’t quite had the time I anticipated for such things between work obligations and writing at night. Again, I’m not complaining. I’ve worked for a company for less than two months that’s willing to fly my ass quite literally across a continent and trust me to represent them to the best of my admittedly limited ability at a meeting of potential clients and professional cohorts. I’m remarkably fortunate to be here. I’m also very, very tired.

Still, when it came to it, and I had that little bit of time to spare today, I jumped in the first cab that I saw with its light on and told the dude to make for Aquarius Records. It was payday and I had an itch that only another round of record shopping was going to scratch. I probably could have gone back to Amoeba Music and found more stuff in that giant space, but the smaller, curated vibe of Aquarius was just my speed this evening.

I took my time, thumbed through the CD racks of the San Francisco section, the rock/pop, the metal sections both new and used, eyed up some stuff in the boxes under the used section — two albums by Mammoth Volume there, but I have them already — and reminded myself that between yesterday and today, this has kind of become my celebration of returning to the working world, so yeah, I splurged a bit. I picked up a thing or two that on some other days I might have let go, decided to let it ride and be what it is. The fact that it was also payday might have been a factor. That’s a question for hindsight and I don’t have the proper distance to evaluate.

The haul? Here it is, once more alphabetically:

Aarni, Bathos
Across Tundras, Old World Wanderer
Bedemon, Child of Darkness
Carlton Melton, Out to Sea
Children of Doom, Ride over the Green Valley
Elder, Spires Burn/Release
Elder, Lore
Evil Acidhead, In the Name of all that is Unholy
Holy Serpent, Holy Serpent
Pyramido, Sand
Pyramido, Saga
Slough Feg, Made in Poland
The Warlocks, The Warlocks
White Hills, So You Are… so You’ll Be

aqurius records haulOnce again, all CDs. I know it’s not as cool as vinyl, but fuck it. If any of you vinyl hounds want to sell me your CD collection, let me know. I’ll buy that shit. I’ll be the last dude on earth buying CDs for all I care. Whatever. They’re still making them for the most part, so yeah, I’ll still buy them.

The find of the bunch is probably that self-titled EP by The Warlocks, which came out in 2000 on Bomp! Records and was their debut. It was used and cheap, so that was cool. Two of the bunch I already own, but the Across Tundras was also about $5 and the Bedemon is the newer Relapse Records version, so I figured what the hell. True, I was here last year and stopped by the shop when I was out on tour with the Kings Destroy guys — SF resident Jim Pitts included, while I’m thinking of good people I haven’t had the chance to see — but it’s not something I do every day. I pick up things here and there, mostly online at this point, so to actually be in a store and have the chance to browse and enjoy the process, I wanted to do precisely that.

I know Carlton Melton are local to NorCal, so I grabbed that seeing it on the counter by the register, and Evil Acidhead was one of the staff recommendations — if you ever go to Aquarius Records, pay attention; these people know what they’re talking about — and since I knew it’s a reissue of old recordings by John McBain (Monster Magnet, Wellwater Conspiracy) it seemed like one to grab. Both of those Elder discs I have on vinyl, but I wanted the CDs, and while it would make the most sense to go to Armageddon Shop one of the apparently multiple times of a week I drive past Providence on I-95 and pick them up there, I haven’t actually managed to make that happen. Seeing an opportunity, I took it.

Slough Feg‘s 2011 live record, Made in Poland, was used, so that was a no-brainer, and I ran into both Pyramido albums — their first, Sand, used and a buck, their third, 2013’s Saga, new — on opposite sides of the store and picked them up almost independently of each other, hesitating but ultimately nabbing the recently-reviewed self-titled from Holy Serpent because, fuck it, it’s a RidingEasy release and I don’t see that every day in a store. The White Hills was used and I grabbed it thinking of their set at Roadburn this year and how underappreciated they are generally — not that my buying a disc makes up for that, but you know what I mean.

Two purchases I went into completely blind: the Aarni and Children of Doom. Aarni is a one-man Finnish outfit for whom Bathos served as a debut full-length in 2004, and knowing nothing about it, I saw the cover was all mushrooms and that it was on the Firedoom Music label — actually it’s the first release on the label; catalog number FDOOM001 — so I assumed I would be getting something Finnish, strange and doomed, and sure enough that’s how it’s played out so far. French trio Children of Doom‘s self-released 2009 debut EP, Ride over the Green Valley, won me over both for its cover art and for the written-out description of the album, which rightly compared its tones to namesake act Saint Vitus. I hear a bit of Ice Dragon‘s swaggering fuckall in there as well. No complaints. The band’s debut LP, Doom, Be Doomed, ör Fuck Off, came out in 2011, but if Aquarius had it, it wasn’t in my line of sight.

Back to the hotel after to start writing and get my head around the day. I ate the same thing I had for dinner last night — flautas from the taqueria across the street — while checking email to try and keep up on that. As one might expect, it didn’t really work. Still, at least if I have to be behind on absolutely everything, at least I managed to pick up some good records in the process.

I fly out tomorrow night late on a redeye to Boston that gets in Friday morning. The only way to travel. Maybe it’ll also be five hours delayed and turn into a morning flight. Haven’t slept at an airport in a while anyway.

Children of Doom, “Hangover”

Aquarius Records website

Aquarius Records on Thee Facebooks

Aquarius Records on Twitter

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The Obelisk Presents: The Top 20 Singles, EPs, Splits and Demos of 2014

Posted in Features on December 23rd, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster


Please note: These are not the results of the Readers Poll. That’s still going on. Please feel free to submit your list.

I did this last year mostly as a result of not having somewhere to put Elder‘s Spires Burn/Release EP in 2012, but it went pretty well, so I thought we’d do another round for 2014. The 2013 list covered demos, singles, EPs and splits — basically everything that’s not a full-length album — and the same rules apply here. It’s a pretty basic idea, but it makes sense to me to consider short releases apart from full-lengths because very often they’re trying to accomplish different things.

For example, if an album is trying to tell a story or describe a central theme, either blatantly in its lyrics or atmospherically through the music itself, a demo might just be the work of a band trying to feel their way into their sound. It doesn’t strike me as fair to judge the two on the same standard. Likewise, if a band releases a single, should that really be judged alongside an hour-long release? Granted, some bands’ singles actually are an hour long, but that’s another category entirely. “The ‘Dopesmoker’ Awards” will be handed out at another date.

No, not really. At least not this year.

If you didn’t see the full-albums Top 30 of 2014, please feel free to check it out and think of this and the year-end podcast as companion pieces, albeit both a little more casual. Let’s get to it:


The Top 20 Short Releases of 2014

1. Sleep, The Clarity
2. Fatso Jetson/Herba Mate, Early Shapes
3. All Them Witches, Effervescent
4. Cortez/Borracho, Split 7″
5. Naam/White Hills/Black Rainbows/The Flying Eyes, 4-Way Split
6. Heavy Temple, Heavy Temple
7. Death Alley, Over Under/Dead Man’s Bones 7”
8. Geezer, Live! Full Tilt Boogie
9. The Sun, the Moon and the Witch’s Blues, The Sun, the Moon and the Witch’s Blues
10. Demon Head, Demo 2014
11. Gold & Silver, Azurite and Malachite
12. The Proselyte, Our Vessel’s in Need
13. Hull, Legend of the Swamp Goat
14. Lamp of the Universe/Krautzone, Split
15. The Ultra Electric Mega Galactic, Through the Dark Matter
16. The Heavy Co., Uno Dose
17. Wren, Wren
18. He Whose Ox is Gored, Rumors 7”
19. Lewis and the Strange Magics, Demo
20. Godhunter/Secrets of the Sky, Gh/0st:s
21. Lord, Alive in Golgotha

Some honorable mentions to the Young Hunter/Ohioan split tape (the Young Hunter portion of which was included last year, otherwise it would probably be number two on this list), Inter Arma‘s The Cavern 40-minute single-song EP/LP, Harvest Bell‘s debut EP, Goya and Wounded Giant‘s split, Fuzz Evil and Chiefs‘ split, Cruthu‘s demo, Disenchanter‘s second EP, the White Dynomite/Hey Zeus split 7″, Humo del Cairo‘s EP, The Golden Grass‘ Realisations EP, Dune‘s ProgenitorGodflesh‘s comeback EP, and Blackwitch Pudding‘s reinterpretations/covers EP, Covered in Pudding.

A couple notes: The Sleep single was a given. I don’t think anything could’ve topped it one way or another, even if I hadn’t listened to it 100 times since its release in July as part of the Adult Swim Singles Series. In any case, there was no debate about where to place it. You might notice on the other end the list goes to 21. I thought that being the element of chaos suited Lord well, and since I’m not entirely sure their Alive in Golgotha EP has been officially released, they warranted inclusion just in case.

One thing that struck me in putting this list together was the amount of splits included. You’ll notice Fatso Jetson and Herba Mate‘s Early Shapes right in behind Sleep. That one was an utter joy, as far as I’m concerned, and made me wish both of them would get on putting out full-lengths as soon as possible. Not far behind is Cortez and Borracho‘s split single, which had killer tracks from both bands, and the Naam/White Hills/Black Rainbows/The Flying Eyes split from Heavy Psych Sounds that, even with four bands involved, managed to keep a flowing atmosphere front to back, which was impressive enough in and of itself, never mind the individual contributions of those four acts, which were also top quality. The Krautzone/Lamp of the Universe split also provided a considerable psych blissout, and Godhunter‘s split/collaboration with Secrets of the Sky earned extra points for its adventurous spirit and the payoff its risk-taking brought to bear.

Like their Lightning at the Door LP, All Them Witches‘ Effervescent 25-minute jam figured heavily in my 2014 listening habits, as did Heavy Temple‘s self-titled debut EP. Dutch garage/heavy punkers Death Alley earned spins with their debut 7″, a lack of pretense in melding proto-thrash and heavy rock impulses allowing them to quickly find a niche that one hopes they continue to develop. Their debut single, along with Demon Head‘s Demo 2014 (and, indeed, that band’s follow-up single) and the Lewis and the Strange Magics demo were an allay to concerns retro-minded rock might be stagnating.

Geezer featured on the Short Releases list last year as well. I wasn’t sure what to do with their Gage 12″, since it was released in 2013 as an EP and 2014 as an LP, but either way, their Live! Full Tilt Boogie tape effortlessly recalled classic blues rock performances and demonstrated the fluid chemistry at work in the New York trio, I hope it’s not the last live release they do. Along similar bluesy lines, The Heavy Co.‘s Uno Dose found the Hoosier three-piece dipping into heavy jams more than their last full-length, and if that’s the direction they’re headed, you won’t hear me argue. Hailing from Sweden and arriving as an offshoot of Asteroid, the single-song EP from The Sun, the Moon and the Witch’s Blues had more than a touch of heavy blues to it too, and made me look forward to that project’s development from here on out.

There’s little I’m going to complain about less than hearing Ed Mundell bust out Miles Davis-inspired solos, so yeah, The Ultra Electric Mega Galactic‘s Through the Dark Matter EP gets a nod. Impressive guitar work ran a current through Boston duo Gold & Silver‘s debut EP, Azurite and Malachite, but the proggy feel was what ultimately sold me on the two extended instrumentals included there, whereas with fellow Beantowners The Proselyte, it was the catchy songwriting and variety they showed in just four tracks. The He Whose Ox is Gored 7″ was likewise modern and satisfyingly weighted, though obviously shorter, and last but not at all least, the progressive sludge of Wren‘s self-titled EP seemed to fly under a lot of people’s radar but was a markedly individual take on a well established form that portended of good things to come.

As with everything, I’m sure there’s something in this mix that I forgot. If you’ve got a call you want to make on something, please let loose in the comments. Thanks for reading.

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Naam and White Hills to Headline Brooklyn’s Sludgefeast Next Month

Posted in Whathaveyou on October 6th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster


A local fest, with local headliners, but because it’s in Brooklyn, that also means those headliners are world class acts who’ve been around the globe and then some. Naam and While Hills will take the stage at The Paper Box on Nov. 15 to cap a fest that’s been dubbed Sludgefeast. It’s not all Brooklyn bands — the geographical radius seems to have been about two hours north or south with acts from New Paltz, New Haven and Philly — but it’s a strong showing of what Brooklyn heavy has to offer anyway, even apart from the headliners, with BlackoutEidetic Seeing and Mountain God featured, among others. I don’t know the venue, or at least I don’t think I do (I saw Wolves in the Throne Room one year on my birthday in Brooklyn in a place I might describe as a paper box, but to be honest with you, I don’t remember much else about it), but a good time is a good time and Sludgefeast for sure looks like one of those.

The PR wire has lineup and other info for the calendar marking:

sludgefeast poster

The Bent Unit and Some Pig Present: SLUDGEFEAST

A day of heavy music in Brooklyn, NY
Saturday, November 15
The Paper Box: 17 Meadow St, Brooklyn NY 11206

Brooklyn-based music review blog The Bent Unit and booking agency Some Pig Presents are proud to announce the first annual one-day heavy music festival SLUDGEFEAST. SLUDGEFEAST was conceived as a way to celebrate the best in metal, sludge, doom, psych rock and more from Brooklyn and beyond. In a city where indie, electronic, and revivalist genres dominate the airwaves, SLUDGEFEAST looks to give heavy music its rightful claim, especially as metal and its subgenres see a renaissance of sorts in other parts of the country.

Headlining the inaugural SLUDGEFEAST are Brooklyn’s own NAAM and White Hills. Both are torch-bearers of New York’s heavy scene, and no strangers to the international touring circuit. Since 2009 NAAM has been putting their unique brand of pummeling psychedelia to wax courtesy of Tee Pee records, and are currently awaiting release of their third full length. SLUDGEFEAST will see them newly returned from a 6-week European tour, including appearances at the Berlin Swamp Fest and Valada Reverence Festival. White Hills, described by NPR as a “relentlessly heavy psych-rock band with scorching wah-wah and fantastic outfits,” will hold the festival’s penultimate time slot, and is internationally reputed as a forerunner of modern, heavy space-rock.

Filling out the bill will be Brooklyn-based bands including noise/sludge outfit No Way, self-proclaimed “cave” rockers Blackout, psych-drone shamans Eidetic Seeing, doom titans Mountain God, sludge punkers Wonderbreed, and hardcore/metal masters Blackest. Joining us from the vast outside are Chimpgrinder (Philadelphia, blues/doom), It’s Not Night: It’s Space (New Paltz, space/drone), Grizzlor (New Haven, sludge/noise).

SLUDGEFEAST 2014 is more than a concert: it’s an unholy celebration of the dark, the heavy, the infernal. It’s the dawn of a new reign of heavy music in Brooklyn…

Naam, Live in Brooklyn, June 1, 2014

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Roadburn 2015: Enslaved and Wardruna’s Skuggsjá Collaboration, Floor, Virus, Sólstafir, Bongripper and More Join Lineup

Posted in Whathaveyou on September 17th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

roadburn 2015 banner

Unbelievable. I’m not even sure where to start with the latest round of additions to Roadburn 2015.

The Enslaved and Wardruna collaboration Skuggsjá, or the not-gonna-miss-’em-again Virus, or Floor or Bongripper doing two sets. It’s overwhelming, to be perfectly honest with you. I’m exhausted right now. Well, I was exhausted anyway, but still. You get my point.

I’ve heard from a couple other acts who can’t announce yet but definitely have “April European tour plans,” and there are one or two other names I’m dying to see if they get added to the fest, but gadzooks, that’s a lotta Roadburn. All I can say is dig in, there’s a lot to catch up on:

skuggsja at roadburn 2015

Enslaved and Wardruna To Perform Skuggsjá, The Sound of Norway’s Norse History at Roadburn Festival 2015

Roadburn Festival 2015 Ticket Pre-Sales Start Thursday, Oct 16th 2014 at 21:00 CET; Pre-Sales Party at The 013 Venue (NL)

Bongripper, Floor, Sólstafir, Virus, White Hills, Messenger, Junius, Skeletonwitch, Svartidaudi, Mortals, The Osiris Club and Zoltan also confirmed for the 20th edition of Roadburn Festival.

We’re elated to announce that Enslaved and Wardruna will perform Skuggsjá, the sound of Norway’s Norse History at Houses of the Holistic, Ivar Bjørnson’s and Einar “Kvitrafn” Selvik’s curated Roadburn event on Friday, April 10 at the 013 venue in Tilburg, The Netherlands.

Written by Bjørnson and Selvik for the 200th anniversary of the Norwegian Constitution and premiered this past weekend at the Eidsivablot festival, this will be Skuggsjá’s first performance outside of Norway, and will certainly be one of the highlights of the 20th edition of Roadburn Festival.

Skuggsjá translates into ‘mirror’ or ‘reflection’ in the Norse language, and the commissioned piece not only contextualizes harder music’s role in the democracy in Norway in 2014, but also joins threads from the country’s ancient musical history and solidifies harder music’s position as Norway`s most important cultural export.

By highlighting ideas, traditions and instruments of their Norse past, Skuggsjá will tell the history of Norway and reflect relevant aspects from the past into the present day. In light of this they will reflect on themselves as a people and nation. In a magnificent tapestry of metal instrumentation, a wide variety of Norway and Scandinavia’s oldest instruments, and poetry in Proto-Scandinavian, Norse and Norwegian, Skuggsjá will be a fusion between past and present, both lyrically and musically.

We simply can’t wait to experience it ourselves, to hear how how Norwegian metal has developed from its rebellious roots into the highly acclaimed artistic expression of a complex music genre, under Norway’s constitutional right to freedom of speech.

In related news, Virus, Junius, Skeletonwitch, Svartidaudi and Icelandic heathens Sólstafir, who are currently making huge waves with their latest release, Ótta, are also confirmed for Houses of the Holistic, Ivar Bjørnson’s and Einar “Kvitrafn” Selvik’s curated Roadburn event on Friday, April 10 at the 013 venue.

Tickets for the 20th edition of Roadburn Festival, set for April 9 – 12 at the 013 venue in Tilburg, The Netherlands, will go on sale on Thursday, October 16, 2014. Set your alarm and get ready to score your tickets at 21:00 CET!

The majority of Roadburners live outside The Netherlands, which is why ticket pre-sales will start at 21:00 CET. This should be convenient for most time zones. Apologies to our friends in Oceania who will have to wake up early (or just stay up late)!

We are pleased to report that there will be NO price increase this year.Three-day tickets will be available for 165 Euros (excl. servicefees); four-day tickets will cost 185 Euros (excl. service fees). Afterburner-only tickets will cost 32.50 Euros (excl. service fees). Please note that one-day tickets are not available for the Thursday, Friday or Saturday Roadburn dates. Online buyers can order a maximum of four tickets.

For everyone in the Netherlands and Belgium: we are aware that your local ticket outlets will not be open when pre-sales start, which is why we are throwing another pre-sales party at the 013 venue in Tilburg (NL). From 19:00 CET – 20:30 CET you will be able to purchase a maximum of four paper tickets for Roadburn Festival 2015. Guaranteed!

In addition to making it easy to get tickets, the pre-sales party is going to be a blast! This year, we have invited The Machine and Radar Men From The Moon to provide the soundtrack.

The live music part of the evening starts at 20:30 CET. Roadburn’s artistic director/promoter Walter Hoeijmakers will be on hand to share the latest festival updates, too.

Chicago instrumental band Bongripper will make a welcome return to the 20th edition of Roadburn Festival with two sets that feature their unique brand of devastating doom. The first will see them play their latest album, Miserable, in its entirety at the main stage on Thursday, April 9. The second will be later that weekend (more info about the date to be determined).

If you are a fan of stellar riffs and molasses-thick distorted guitar tone, Floor has everything you want in music. These Floridian sludge/pop pioneers get a lot of comparisons to lead singer/guitarist Steve Brooks other band, Torche — and rightfully so — with his instantly recognizable singing style and guitar tone. Floor, however, is the essence of pure heaviness, with just a nod to the pop melodies that have spurred Torche on to crossover success. Come feel the downtuned thunder of Floor’s bassless power trio attack when Floor plays the main stage of the 013 venue at the 2015 Roadburn Festival on Thursday, April 9.

Combining many of the essential themes of Roadburn music in their volatile sonic elixir — psych, space rock, stoner rock, kraut rock and noise — have made White Hills one of Roadburn’s favorite bands. Their bespangled and energetic live shows have a life and chaotic energy of their own that reshapes their music and creates powerful sonic programming driven by pure energy, exactly the kind of thing that Roadburn celebrates, and fans seek. White Hills will make a very welcome return to Roadburn for a main stage performance on Sunday, April 12.

After winning the limelight category for the brightest young rising stars in the progressive sky today at this year’s Progressive Music Awards this past weekend, Messenger will bring their acid folk/prog and psychedelica to the 20th edition of Roadburn on Saturday, April 11.

Mortals, The Osiris Club and Zoltan have also been confirmed for the 20th edition of Roadburn Festival.

Curated by Ivar Bjørnson (Enslaved) and Wardruna‘s Einar “Kvitrafn” Selvik, Roadburn Festival 2015 (including Skuggsjá, Enslaved, Wardruna, Fields of the Nephilim, Claudio Simonetti’s Goblin performing Dawn of The Dead and Susperia in its entirety, Zombi, Sólstafir, White Hills, Bongipper, Floor and The Heads as Artist In Residence among others) will run for four days from Thursday, April 9 to Sunday, April 12 at the 013 venue in Tilburg, The Netherlands.

Skuggsjá teaser video

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Naam, White Hills, Black Rainbows and The Flying Eyes Split: So Much Space, So Little Time

Posted in Reviews on June 11th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

The four bands included, tripped out as they are, can hardly account for the amount of space traversed. Italy’s Black Rainbows, led by guitarist/vocalist Gabriele Fiori — whose own contributions to European psychedelia include running the label issuing this release, Heavy Psych Sounds and assembling this year’s inaugural Totem Psych Fest, taking place this summer outside of Rome (more info here) — unite with Brooklyn heavy space rockers and past tourmates Naam, well-kept New York secret outfit White Hills and bluesy Baltimore explorers The Flying Eyes for a 2LP gatefold four-way split featuring a side from each. All four groups work regularly in pretty extended forms, so you basically get a song or two from each, but still, the fact that they all got together and combined their efforts for this release makes it something special, the limited numbers of the vinyl and various colors (as well as a CD version) having been pressed in time for this year’s Desertfest, at which Black Rainbows also appeared. Everyone involved shares an obvious affinity for heavy psychedelic rock, but as one would hope for a release of this nature, there are also four distinct takes presented across the split — the official title of which is Heavy Psych Sounds 4-Way Split Vol. I — and each band takes advantage of an opportunity to bliss out in their own way, beginning with Naam — who’ve spent significant time on tour in Europe both before and after issuing their latest album, 2013’s Vow (review here) — on their two tracks, “Skyscraper (Ambient Mix)” and “Thickening Web,” which are included as side 1A leading off the 51-minute double-LP.

Its title is a dead giveaway, but “Skyscraper (Ambient Mix)” is a reworking of Vow highlight “Skyscraper,” and what was a landmark on the ultra-spacey sophomore full-length from the Brooklyn four-piece arises on the Heavy Psych Sounds split as a stripped-down wash of effects, elements dropping in and out over the course of its seven-plus minutes, guitarist/vocalist Ryan Lee Lugar‘s voice barely distinct for the reverb it carries, a slow, mellow progression playing out behind given further depth between the high and low end thanks to a swirl of effects. “Skyscraper” proper was not short on ambience, between the guitar, John Weingarten‘s keys, John Preston Bundy‘s bass and Eli Pizzuto‘s percussive roll, but “Skyscraper (Ambient Mix)” — on which engineer/mixer Jeff Berner has added some instrumentation as well — feels thoroughly reworked and comes across experimental enough to make the original seem straightforward in comparison. With a fuller-sounding instrumental stretch to over eight minutes, “Thickening Web” furthers the atmosphere of the opener while building on it, Weingarten coming to the fore in a dreamy midsection as the bass, guitar and drums fade out and back in around his keys. There’s a build at work and constant movement, but Naam still evoke a laid back feel, which is all the more fitting leading into White Hills‘ experimental 11-minute “They’ve Got Blood… Like You’ve Got Blood,” presented here as an alternate version to what appeared as the title-track of the 2005 self-released full-length, They’ve Got Blood Like We’ve Got Blood. As much as they’re clearly separate entities with their own sonic aims, a linear flow is present as well, and White Hills further Naam‘s sprawling ambience and percussive undertones with engrossing space-drones and an ending movement with lo-fi techno beats and organ leadout. You’ve got four psych bands all contributing to the release. It was bound to get weird at some point.

Read more »

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Four-Way Split Between Naam, White Hills, Black Rainbows and The Flying Eyes Due in May on Heavy Psych Sounds

Posted in Whathaveyou on March 13th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

On May 5, with presentation earlier at the London and Berlin Desertfests, Italian imprint Heavy Psych Sounds will release a four-way split featuring some of heavy psych’s finest purveyors. Teaming up Naam and White Hills from Brooklyn and New York, Rome’s Black Rainbows and Baltimore’s The Flying Eyes, the double-LP is set to arrive in three separate vinyl editions as well as on CD, with preorders coming at the beginning of next month.

What’s truly terrifying isn’t this culling of impressive names establishing a wide variety within an aesthetic sphere — though certainly that’s something noteworthy as well — but as the video teaser below hints, this is the Heavy Psych Sounds 4-Way Split Vol. 1, as in, the first of more to come. Gabriele Fiori, who runs the label and serves as guitarist/vocalist in Black Rainbows, is no stranger to supporting underground heavy and obviously has his ear to the ground in both the European and American psych scenes, but to think this might become a series puts it in a different category altogether. I’d be eager to find out what the plan ultimately is.

I’ll hope to have more to come on this one closer to the release, but as a notice to keep your eyes peeled for the preorder link, which can’t be far off, and to give a first taste with the promo clip, I humbly offer the below preliminaries courtesy of the PR wire:

Heavy Psych Sounds records
hps016 //::// Naam / White Hills / Black Rainbows / The Flying Eyes – Split album

released in double gatefold 12″
– 70 Ultra LTD edition in golden
– 350 LTd edition in white splatter purple
– solid red
and digipack

the release will be presented at Desert Fest (Berlin and London) – April 25/26/27 2014

pre-sale starts end of march

available from 05/05/2014
in the best record shops and mailorders

Heavy Psych Sounds 4-Way Split Vol. 1 Teaser

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VIDEO PREMIERE: Scion A/V Interviews Roadburn Records Crew; Earthless & White Hills Split EP Now Available

Posted in Bootleg Theater on April 3rd, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster

Stay with me, friends, because there’s a lot going on here. Last November, Scion A/V and Roadburn Records got together in Hollywood to put on a label showcase at the Roxy. By all accounts, it was a ritzy affair. Red carpet, Orange amps, Blue Velvet, green horseshoes, the whole nine. Okay, I don’t know any of that, but whatever. On the bill were Enslaved, Astra, White Hills and Earthless. You don’t need me to tell you that’s a hell of a show.

Okay. At this gig of gigs, Earthless and White Hills had some material recorded, and that’s being presented today as a FREE DOWNLOAD LIVE EP at the Scion A/V website. I’ve also included the widget below for your convenience. Needless to say, both bands are in top form, because when the dudes from Roadburn come to town, you don’t want to let anything slide.

In addition to the aforementioned EP, which features the wah-drenched 12-minute “Red” from Earthless and 7:38 antigrav excursion “Under Skin or by Name” by White Hills, the Scion A/V team also sat down with the Roadburn Records crew — Jurgen van den Brand (note his 35007 shirt; awesome) and Jean-Paul van Steen — to talk about the formation of the label and how you sell music in the post-download age.

The clips provide an intensely fascinating look behind the scenes, and of course the EP is choice, so I’m thrilled to present the premiere of both below.

Please enjoy:

Scion A/V Roadburn Records Label Visit – The Festival Label

Scion A/V Roadburn Records Label Visit – Strategy

Scion A/V Releases Split EP Featuring EARTHLESS and WHITE HILLS

Celebrated Space Rock Bands Team Up, Deliver Herculean Cosmic Sound

Scion A/V, the creative enterprise of Scion devoted to the discovery, nurture, funding and distribution of compelling music and arts programming today releases a special two track, 20 minute EP featuring the heavy sounds of San Diego cosmonauts EARTHLESS and Brooklyn astral rockers WHITE HILLS. Recorded in November, 2012 at the world famous Roxy in Hollywood as part of the Scion-presented Roadburn Records label showcase, the free EP features EARTHLESS performing the stargazing track “Red” and WHITE HILLS delivering the boundless cut “Under Skin or by Name.” The EP is available as a free download now at


“Roadburn is an influential rock festival that is well respected internationally,” ?comments Jeri Yoshizu, manager of sales promotion for Scion. “We love what they do and wanted to be the first to bring Roadburn to the U.S.”?

EARTHLESS was formed in 2001 by Mario Rubalcaba, Isaiah Mitchell and Mike Eginton with the desire to create music incorporating a wide array of influences ranging from diverse bands (from Flower Travelin’ Band, Jimi Hendrix and Hawkwind to The Birthday Party, Can and Rory Gallagher, to name a few) re-imagined and born to stand on its own. Described by Rubalcaba as a “heavy, loud, sonic mind melt,” the music of EARTHLESS features epic instrumental passages that have solidified the California trio as one of the must-see heavy psych rock bands on the planet today.

WHITE HILLS is guitarist Dave W., bassist Ego Sensation and drummer Nick Name. The New York group twists beauteous, brain-tenderizing riffs into tight spirals of sound that succeed through sheer momentum. Paying just as close attention to the quiet moments as the raging ones, WHITE HILLS’ songs are a push-pull between churning and floating, abandon and control. The end result is invigorating deep space rock that’s built to be performed (and experienced) live.

Track listing:
1.) EARTHLESS “Red” (12:31)
2.) WHITE HILLS “Under Skin or by Name” (7:38)

Roadburn Records Showcase at

Roadburn Records

Earthless on Thee Facebooks

White Hills on Thee Facebooks

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