Review & Full Album Premiere: Yawning Man, Macedonian Lines

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on June 11th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

Yawning Man Macedonian Lines

[Click play above to stream Yawning Man’s Macedonian Lines in full. It’s out June 14 through Heavy Psych Sounds.]

Between 1986 and 2005, Yawning Man released no albums. Between 2016 and 2019, with the advent of Macedonian Lines on Heavy Psych Sounds, they’ve now released three. That debut outing was 2005’s Rock Formations (discussed here), and it helped lead the band toward not just the subsequent Pot Head EP, but also to the 2007 release of their demo tracks,  The Birth of Sol (discussed here), and 2010’s sophomore studio album Nomadic Pursuits (review here), which launched what has unquestionably been the band’s most productive decade to-date. Solidified as the trio of guitarist Gary Arce (also Big Scenic Nowhere, Ten East, Zun, etc.), bassist Mario Lalli (also Fatso JetsonBig Scenic Nowhere, etc.) and drummer Bill Stinson (Chuck Dukowski, etc.), Yawning Man has at last begun to capitalize on the incredible reputation that precedes them as one of the founding architects of Californian desert rock.

For the last several years, they’ve toured in Europe and — more surprisingly — the US, releasing a split with Fatso Jetson in 2013, Historical Graffiti (review here) in 2016 and last year’s The Revolt Against Tired Noises (review here), the latter beginning the alliance with Heavy Psych Sounds, to which Lalli‘s outfit Fatso Jetson are also signed. Arce, whose drifting guitar tone is as much a signature for Yawning Man as any band could have, has always been involved in a number of projects and continues to be, but a successive-year turnaround for Yawning Man full-lengths is simply unprecedented in the band’s 33-year history. Yet Macedonian Lines, with six tracks and an almost humble 31-minute runtime, offers not just a batch of new jams from a trio of nigh-unmatched sonic fluidity — somewhat ironic since, you know, the desert and all — but also a showcase of the potential that’s been in their dynamic all along, waiting, essentially, to be honed by the players involved. Stinson is not an original member, but he plays like one, and Lalli and Arce are, and the chemistry between the three of them, especially as it’s been honed on tour over the last few years, is at a new level in these songs.

And it’s appropriate, then, that the material throughout Macedonian Lines would find its root in live performances, coming together around jams from the last tour. Bookended by its two longest cuts in leadoff “Virtual Funeral” (6:49) and closer “I Make Weird Choices” (7:25), flows like a short live set, the three-piece building momentum as they move through the title-track and into “Melancholy Sadie” — presumably that’s as opposed to “Sexy Sadie” — as well as “Bowie’s Last Breath” and “I’m Not a Real Indian (But I Play One on TV),” all of which check in at under five minutes long. Being born of jams, it speaks to the band’s songwriting process that the finished products would end up on the shorter side, as Yawning Man seem to be moving toward an efficiency of delivery — five of the eight cuts on The Revolt Against Tired Noises were over five minutes — that, somewhat incredibly, doesn’t take away from the laid back spirit of the LP itself.

yawning man heavy psych sounds

Especially with the memorable melody the guitar brings forth on “Virtual Funeral” accompanied by piano and Lalli‘s rumbling bass beneath, as well as Stinson‘s drums tying it all together, Macedonian Lines works quickly to immerse the listener in its atmospheric warmth, easing into “Macedonian Lines” with a speedier, winding guitar line that’s still very much in their wheelhouse before opening up to a broader progression, building and releasing tension in a way that even just a few years ago the band likely wouldn’t have done. It’s a different kind of awareness and engagement with the audience happening on Macedonian Lines, and the feel throughout is very much like a second album — which it is, of their tenure on Heavy Psych Sounds — in terms of how it builds on what The Revolt Against Tired Noises introduced idea-wise about who and what Yawning Man are as a group. Here, they offer gracefully expansive arrangements of guitar, bass and drums, setting their sights on open spaces and conveying not just the soul of the desert or some idea of what they’re expected to be, but of how they’ve grown and are still progressing as players. Matured and maturing still.

“Melancholy Sadie” is anchored by a bassline that lives up to the title, and the weight Lalli adds to “Bowie’s Last Breath” is likewise crucial, as he and Arce set up in a you-go-high-I’ll-go-low attack as regards frequency range with Stinson cutting through the tonal wash with a punctuating snare even as his crash adds to the methodical, patient patterning of the bass and guitar. Stinson is more than timekeeper, but he’s not an overly flashy player, and part of the reason he has come to fit so well in Yawning Man since joining in 2011 is he allows the string section room to breathe. The longer cuts emphasize this more, unsurprisingly, but even the march he brings to “I’m Not a Real Indian (But I Play One on TV)” resounds with purpose and continues the momentum into the serene beginning of “I Make Weird Choices,” a culmination with far-back keyboard flourish — though I’ll allow that could be guitar effects — that echoes the trance-inducing aspects of the opener even as it calls to mind more of a heavy post-rock feel in its quiet-loud tradeoffs, taking what might otherwise be verses and choruses and setting them up not in opposition to each other, but as complementary elements toward the same purpose.

The same essentially applies to the work of Arce and Lalli throughout Macedonian Lines, as they are two players with different mindsets who come together for the common end of defining Yawning Man‘s ultra-influential sound. Macedonian Lines, though ultimately brief, is a triumph of the cohesion between their two strong personalities, and a showcase of what has not only let the band survive their long tenure, but to do so in such a way as to be more vital now than they’ve ever been. I don’t know if Yawning Man will have another album out in 2020, or what their future will bring, but as they ascend to their rightful place in the forefront of desert rock consciousness, their ongoing progression seems bound to inspire yet another generation of players. As a fan, I hope they keep the momentum going.

Yawning Man, “Macedonian Lines” official video

Yawning Man on Thee Facebooks

Yawning Man on Bandcamp

Yawning Man website

Heavy Psych Sounds on Thee Facebooks

Heavy Psych Sounds website

Heavy Psych Sounds on Bandcamp

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Yawning Man Set June 14 Release for Macedonian Lines; Preorder Up & Video Streaming

Posted in Whathaveyou on April 18th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

yawning man heavy psych sounds

Yawning Man are working on a quick turnaround from 2018’s The Revolt Against Tired Noises (review here) to release their new LP, Macedonian Lines, in June on Heavy Psych Sounds, but listening to the album only confirms the experimentalist approach that’s let them do so. Exploring some moodier atmospheres with keys and their inimitable tones, the pivotal desert rock three-piece will use the long-player’s release as the launch point for a European tour in June, so the timing works on multiple levels. They’ve got a video posted for the title-track that shows some of where they’re coming from in terms of sound this time around, and it’s a twist on the established Yawning Man approach that’s made them so widely influential. Take a second and check it out.

Cover art and PR wire whatnot follow, as well as the preorder link, should you want to get in on that.

And you probably should:

Yawning Man Macedonian Lines

YAWNING MAN share details + stunning video off new “Macedonian Lines” album on Heavy Psych Sounds; preorder available now!

YAWNING MAN continue to establish their exceptionally unique approach to rock music on the bands latest album “Macedonian Lines” (Heavy Psych Sounds Records). The follow up to the critically acclaimed “Revolt Against Tired Noises” shows a further maturing of melody, dynamics and emotion in the bands songwriting. Yawning Man’s roots lay at the foundation of the desert rock and stoner rock sub-genres, however the music the band creates is truly organic and visceral, conjuring a flowing imagery and a emotional response. On this release, the band has a darker and massively heavier sound than past recordings as most of these tracks were developed in live performance and then fully realized in the studio. YAWNING MAN returned to Gatos Trail Studio in the Joshua Tree CA desert to record this album and the space and beauty of the surroundings is ever present in every track. Heavy, beautiful, and delicate. Gary Arce, Mario Lalli and Bill Stinson continue to expand and dig deep with every track.

Mario Lalli (bass) says about the new record: “Macedonian Lines represents the spirit of this band beyond the sound and composition. All the elements of this song were created in live improvisations during Yawning Man’s last European tour. The band refined the ideas night after night in front of live audiences. By tour’s end, the composition is what your hear on the new LP…. truly organic. The title comes from the band’s experiences crossing the Eastern European borders during this turbulent time of refugee migrations and political discord, while the music tends to add beauty to these observations.

‘Macedonian Lines’ will be available June 14th in the following formats; preorder at this location: https://www.heavypsychsounds.com/shop.htm#HPS105

– 30 Test Press vinyl
– 250 LTD Orange vinyl
– 650 Yellow splatter/Purple/Red vinyl
– Black vinyl
– CD and digital

YAWNING MAN New album “Macedonian Lines”
Out June 14th on Heavy Psych Sounds

TRACK LISTING:
1. Virtual Funeral
2. Macedonian Lines
3. Melancholy Sadie
4. Bowie’s Last Breath
5. I’m Not A Real Indian (But I Play One On TV)
6. I Make Weird Choices

YAWNING MAN LIVE:
13.06.19 Amsterdam | Melkweg
14.06.19 Achterhoek | Manana Festival
15.06.19 Liège | La Zone
16.06.19 Bristol | The Lane
18.06.19 Manchester | Rebellion
19.06.19 Glasgow | Audio
20.06.19 Coventry | The Phoenix
22.06.19 Tunbridge Wells | Black Deer Festival
25.06.19 Hamburg | Markthalle
26.06.19 Köln | Sonic Ballroom
27.06.19 Karlsruhe | Alte Hackerei
29.06.19 Vitoria | Hell Dorado
02.07.19 Barcelona | Rocksound
03.07.19 Bilbao | Satelite T
04.07.19 Bordeaux | Astroshøw Open Air
06.07.19 Leuven | Sojo
10.07.19 Cottbus | Zum Faulen August
11.07.19 Wien | Arena
12.07.19 Salzburg | Rockhouse
13.07.19 Erfurt | Stoned From The Underground
14.07.19 Pleszew | Red Smoke Festival
23.07.19 Munich | Free & Easy Festival
25.07.19 Breitenbach | Burg Herzberg Festival

YAWNING MAN IS:
Gary Arce – Guitar
Mario Lalli – Bass
Bill Stinson – Drums

https://www.facebook.com/yawningmanofficial/
https://yawningman.bandcamp.com
http://www.yawningman.com/
https://www.facebook.com/HEAVYPSYCHSOUNDS
http://www.heavypsychsounds.com
https://heavypsychsoundsrecords.bandcamp.com

Yawning Man, “Macedonian Lines” official video

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Yawning Man Announce New Album Due in June on Heavy Psych Sounds

Posted in Whathaveyou on April 10th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

Yawning Man will release a new album in June through Heavy Psych Sounds to coincide with their previously announced European tour. Info on the record is pretty sparse at this point, as regards title and songs and so on, but preorders start next week and there’s reportedly audio to come then as well, so I assume this preliminary announcement will be followed up with more news next week. Suits me just fine. I don’t know if you heard it, but 2018’s The Revolt Against Tired Noises (review here) was an absolute gem, and it’s awesome that the band are following it up so quickly. Don’t forget they also toured in the US earlier this year, so it’s quite a bit of productivity for the band who count their origins as well over 30 years ago and who still have never quite gotten their due. A sense of urgency suits them. Can’t wait to hear the record.

Fresh off the PR wire:

yawning man heavy psych sounds

HEAVY PSYCH SOUNDS RECORDS is stoked to announce that our desert rock godfathers YAWNING MAN are coming back with a brand new album in June !!!

PRESALE STARTS: APRIL 16th

Formed in the late 1980’s, the lineup of Gary Arce, Mario Lalli, and Bill Stinson rounds out their yearlong active recording and touring schedule. Arce and Lalli’s background together date back to the start of Yawning Man with Stinson’s background steeped in the SST Records world through performing and recording with Greg Ginn and Chuck Dukowski of Black Flag for several years. Yawning Man is acknowledged and recognized throughout the underground heavy music community as a key piece in the developments of the desert/stoner rock subgenres. While their contemporaries gravitated toward the heavy riffs of grunge, and post punk, Yawning Man leaned in another direction with their unique and organic, cinematic compositions and psychedelic improvisations…the perfect soundtrack to encompass the spacious moonscape atmosphere of the well documented “generator parties” of their area in the late 1980’s.

It was at these gatherings where they developed this distinctive style and sound by enchanting spectators with their seemingly endless free form instrumental sessions, which echoed through the beautiful deserts, mesas, and landscapes of the Coachella Valley. As time passed, their legend grew with notable names of the Palm Desert music scene paying homage to the group through mention and praise, notably with legendary desert band Kyuss (Joshua Homme, Brant Bjork, John Garcia, Scott Reeder) doing their own rendition of the Yawning Man track “Catamaran” on the 1995 Elektra release ..And The Circus Leaves Town. Festival appearances include Hellfest (FR), Azkena Fest (ES), Reverence Fest (ES) Desertfest London, Desertfest Berlin, Up in Smoke (CH), Psycho Las Vegas (US), Stoned & Dusted I & II (US), and various others. The recent documentaries on the Deserts unique music scene Lo Sound Desert and Desert Age give light on Yawning Man’s influential impact on underground rock music.

13.06.19 Amsterdam | Melkweg
14.06.19 Achterhoek | Manana Festival
15.06.19 Liège | La Zone
16.06.19 Bristol | The Lane
18.06.19 Manchester | Rebellion
19.06.19 Glasgow | Audio
20.06.19 Coventry | The Phoenix
22.06.19 Tunbridge Wells | Black Deer Festival
25.06.19 Hamburg | Markthalle
26.06.19 Köln | Sonic Ballroom
27.06.19 Karlsruhe | Alte Hackerei
29.06.19 Vitoria | Hell Dorado
02.07.19 Barcelona | Rocksound
03.07.19 Bilbao | Satelite T
04.07.19 Bordeaux | Astroshøw Open Air
06.07.19 Leuven | Sojo
10.07.19 Cottbus | Zum Faulen August
11.07.19 Wien | Arena
12.07.19 Salzburg | Rockhouse
13.07.19 Erfurt | Stoned From The Underground
14.07.19 Pleszew | Red Smoke Festival
23.07.19 Munich | Free & Easy Festival
25.07.19 Breitenbach | Burg Herzberg Festival

YAWNING MAN IS
Gary Arce – Guitar
Mario Lalli – Bass
Bill Stinson – Drums

https://www.facebook.com/yawningmanofficial/
https://yawningman.bandcamp.com
http://www.yawningman.com/
https://www.facebook.com/HEAVYPSYCHSOUNDS
http://www.heavypsychsounds.com
https://heavypsychsoundsrecords.bandcamp.com

Yawning Man, Live at Bovine Sex Club, Jan. 20, 2019

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Yawning Man Announce European Tour Dates

Posted in Whathaveyou on March 1st, 2019 by JJ Koczan

yawning man

Yawning Man recently finished a plenty-extensive North American tour — I saw them in Brooklyn; they ruled — and were in Europe as recently as last September, so it’s safe to say they’re in high gear at the moment, though one might not know it from the ultra-serene sounds that actually emanate from the stage when they play. The Californian desert rock forebears will return to Europe this summer in genuine working-band-making-a-go-of-it fashion as they continue to support 2018’s The Revolt Against Tired Noises (review here), and we already know that after this run, which features stops at Black Deer Fest in the UK, as well as Stoned from the Underground in Germany, Red Smoke in Poland and Burg Herzberg in Germany, among others, and before they even go, they’ll be in CA this May to appear at their label’s first-ever US edition of its Heavy Psych Sounds Fest. To say they’re keeping busy would be understating it.

But they are. Keeping busy.

I’ll be interested to see what their Fall plans are, if they’ll do another US run or maybe put themselves in full album-cycle mode and start writing again ahead of more touring in 2020. I guess we’ve got some time before we get there. But right now, it seems like Yawning Man are the most active they’ve ever been, and for a band with more than 30 years’ history, that’s saying something.

Sound of Liberation posted the Euro dates thusly:

yawning man euro tour

Yawning Man will be back in Europe next summer! Here are the first dates! More will be added soon.

13.06.19 Amsterdam | Melkweg
14.06.19 Achterhoek | Manana Festival
15.06.19 Liège | La Zone
16.06.19 Bristol | The Lane
18.06.19 Manchester | Rebellion
19.06.19 Glasgow | Audio
20.06.19 Coventry | The Phoenix
22.06.19 Tunbridge Wells | Black Deer Festival
25.06.19 Hamburg | Markthalle
26.06.19 Köln | Sonic Ballroom
27.06.19 Karlsruhe | Alte Hackerei
29.06.19 Vitoria | Hell Dorado
02.07.19 Barcelona | Rocksound
03.07.19 Bilbao | Satelite T
04.07.19 Bordeaux | Astroshøw Open Air
06.07.19 Leuven | Sojo
10.07.19 Cottbus | Zum Faulen August
11.07.19 Wien | Arena
12.07.19 Salzburg | Rockhouse
13.07.19 Erfurt | Stoned From The Underground
14.07.19 Pleszew | Red Smoke Festival
23.07.19 Munich | Free & Easy Festival
25.07.19 Breitenbach | Burg Herzberg Festival

YAWNING MAN IS
Gary Arce – Guitar
Mario Lalli – Bass
Bill Stinson – Drums

https://www.facebook.com/yawningmanofficial/
https://yawningman.bandcamp.com
http://www.yawningman.com/
https://www.facebook.com/HEAVYPSYCHSOUNDS
http://www.heavypsychsounds.com
https://heavypsychsoundsrecords.bandcamp.com

Yawning Man, Live at Bovine Sex Club, Jan. 20, 2019

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Heavy Psych Sounds Fest USA Tour Announced with Red Fang, Yawning Man, Mothership, Fatso Jetson, Wo Fat, Duel and More

Posted in Whathaveyou on February 26th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

heavy psych sounds logo

I should’ve seen this one coming when Heavy Psych Sounds announced multiple venues for its Heavy Psych Sounds Fest this month in Europe — was it this weekend? — playing in three different cities with a changing lineup. Should’ve guessed this was going to be the direction it took. Even if I did though, I don’t think I’d have called a lineup badass enough to bring together Duel, Fatso JetsonNebulaGreenbeardHeavy TempleMothership and The Freeks. Among others. Heavy Psych Sounds has become a powerhouse in Europe, promoting bands through the label, booking tours, hosting its fest, whatever it might be. A US package tour under the banner of Heavy Psych Sounds Fest isn’t a small step, but it’s a natural one for an imprint that’s doing such crucial work.

I hope it all goes off without a hitch and they do it on the regular.

From the PR wire:

heavy psych sounds fest usa tour

Red Fang, Yawning Man, Mothership and more team up for inaugural HEAVY PSYCH SOUNDS FEST tour in the United States!

Influential heavy rock label HEAVY PSYCH SOUNDS expands its sphere into North America, with live shows in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Dallas and Austin.

Respected underground rock record label Heavy Psych Sounds is proud to announce the inaugural U.S. iteration of its ‘Heavy Psych Sounds Fest’ series. Set to kick off this May in Los Angeles (May 3), San Francisco (May 4-5), Dallas (May 10) and Austin, TX (May 11), the label tour will feature four separate mini-festivals in the four cities, each spotlighting an exclusive selection of Heavy Psych Sounds’ blue-chip roster, including live sets from trailblazing acts Fatso Jetson, Nebula and Yawning Man, as well as special guests Red Fang and more.

Headquartered in Rome, Italy, Heavy Psych Sounds specializes in presenting the best artists in the global heavy psych, doom, fuzz blues and space rock realms, and the Heavy Psych Sounds Fest series will be no exception, spotlighting the ever-growing label’s dedication to its craft. While the first HPS fests were held in Italy, the label has since extended its live reach into the UK, Belgium and the Netherlands with festivals in those territories. Now, Heavy Psych Sounds is set to bring the ROCK to the U.S. with the just-announced special shows. Each stop of the traveling festival tour will feature diverse lineups including both genre leaders and fast-rising acts, all ready to prove their place among the world’s best.

“Being able to finally launch the U.S. version of Heavy Psych Sounds Fest is a dream true,”says label owner Gabriele Fiori. “We’ve been working for a long time to properly break into the U.S. market and this is a clear sign that the hard work is paying off. We have so many great U.S. based bands on our roster that we needed this to happen for all of us. This tour run is a celebration of our growing U.S. presence, which we hope will keep continue to grow. We’re also very happy to have Red Fang as guests, headlining in two of the cities. We hope music fans will come out, support and enjoy these very special shows!”

HEAVY PSYCH SOUNDS FEST U.S. tour dates:

May 3 – Los Angeles, CA at The House of Machines
Red Fang (special guest) + Nebula + Yawning Man + Duel + Fatso Jetson + House Of Broken Promises

May 4 – San Francisco, CA @ Bottom of the Hill
Red Fang (special guest) + Yawning Man + Duel + The Freeks + Glitter Wizard

May 5 – San Francisco, CA @ Bottom of the Hill
Nebula + Hot Lunch + Fatso Jetson + Banquet + Turn Me On Dead Man

May 10 – Dallas, TX at Lola’s
Mothership + Duel + Ecstatic Vision + Crypt Trip + Wo Fat + Heavy Temple

May 11 – Austin, TX at The Lost Well
Duel + Ecstatic Vision + Mothership + Crypt Trip + Greenbeard + Wo Fat + Heavy Temple

Tickets for the Heavy Psych Sounds Fest shows in Los Angeles, Dallas and Austin are on sale now.
Tickets for the San Francisco HPS event will go on sale February 28.

https://www.facebook.com/HEAVYPSYCHSOUNDS
http://www.heavypsychsounds.com
https://heavypsychsoundsrecords.bandcamp.com

Nebula, “Giant” live at SonicBlast Moledo 2018

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Stoned and Dusted Announces Full Lineup; Party in the Desert

Posted in Whathaveyou on February 19th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

stoned and dusted banner

There wasn’t really any doubt, but it’s nice to have confirmation that the lineup for Stoned and Dusted is awesome. So there you have Melvins, Fu Manchu, Brant Bjork, King Buffalo, Yawning Man, Acid King, Black Mountain, Lo-Pan, REZN, BigPig, Del-Toros, Sgt. Papers and, oh yeah, Radio Moscow for a bit of the ultra-boogie. I was having a conversation not so long ago with an artist who played last year and was talking about how the sound guy was indeed spaced way the hell out, so when you look at the poster and see “Sound Guy on Acid” listed above the Mad Alchemy Liquid Light Show, you should know they may be speaking literally. No doubt that will only add to the one-of-a-kind experience of the desert’s own heavy party.

The lineup speaks for itself, so I’ll spare you the get-there-if-you-can-get-there rant and just drop the ticket link here for your purchasing and travel planning. There’s also a Spotify playlist below that, while I imagine you’re well familiar with the bulk of these acts, is no less welcome for that, as far as I’m concerned.

Dig:

Stoned and Dusted 2019

The California Desert Wizards Association will hold its second annual members’ gathering on May 25 & 26th, 2019 in the Southern California Mojave Desert, USA.

Total radness on Memorial Day weekend!

On Saturday May 25th we are doing it up at Pappy & Harriet’s, our favorite desert roadhouse and one of the world’s coolest music venues. Get ready for an outside show under the desert skies with Melvins, Fu Manchu, Brant Bjork, REZN, (Big) Pig, and lights by the Mad Alchemy Liquid Light Show.

Our desert party is back and it’s going down on May 26th at a secret location near Joshua Tree, CA with Black Mountain, Acid King, Radio Moscow, Yawning Man (Official), King Buffalo, Lo-Pan, Sgt. Papers, Del-Toros, and the Mad Alchemy Liquid Light Show.
Limited tickets available, get yours now!

https://cdwa.ticketleap.com/2019-stoned-and-dusted

Poster by Branca Studio
photo by Sam Grant.

Big thanks to Pizza Del Perro Negro and TIMEWARP MUSIC!!

https://cdwa.ticketleap.com/2019-stoned-and-dusted/
https://www.facebook.com/StonedandDusted/
https://www.facebook.com/events/1053849404806774
https://www.instagram.com/stonedanddusted/
https://www.stonedanddusted.com/

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Brant Bjork, Groundhogs, Child, Yawning Man and More Playing Black Deer Festival in London

Posted in Whathaveyou on February 19th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

black deer desertscene banner

Desertscene in London — the same good people who put together Desertfest there and have worked to bring it to New York as well — have paired up with the country/Americana/blues Black Deer Festival to present a stage called The Roadhouse that’ll have custom motorcycles hanging around, camping and a lineup that’s pretty kickass front to back. It’s not exactly like they’re sneaking into the bill, but you’ve got Yawning ManAsteroidBrant Bjork and Groundhogs and King Buffalo and Radio Moscow and Duel and Steak and Child and so on bringing their wares to Edridge Park in Kent and it seems to me you could do a hell of a lot worse than kind of having a mini-Desertfest built into another festival. That’s how you reach a broader audience, by playing for people who maybe haven’t already heard you. Seems likely a few heads will be turned across the three-day event.

The PR wire has info:

black deer fest poster

BLACK DEER FESTIVAL REVEAL MORE NAMES FOR 2019

Another round of carefully curated names have been added to the Black Deer Festival lineup today, making for an impressive second year for the award-winning new event. The three-day celebration of Americana and Country, set in the beautiful Eridge Park in Kent, presents a unique experience combining music, food and Americana culture that can’t be found anywhere else in the UK.

Brant Bjork, the member of two of the most influential 90’s stoner rock bands Kyuss and Fu Manchu, whose desert rock and roots style will resonate from The Roadhouse stage in June. Brant Bjork joins the all American heavy blues contingent of previously announced Left Lane Cruiser, Radio Moscow and The Roadhouse ‘house band’ Steak – all curated by Desertscene for Black Deer.

Completing today’s line up is British blues rock band Groundhogs, who are best known for their 70’s single Cherry Red – a name adopted by one of Britain’s longest standing independent record labels – as well as heavy psych-blues trio King Buffalo, Australian blues-rockers Child, 60’s psychedelic songwriter Roxanne De Bastion, California’s experimental rockers Yawning Man, Country preacher Paul Cauthen, larger than life boatman and bluesman Sonic Gypsy and Hertfordshire’s rock band Redwood.

ARTISTS ANNOUNCED TO DATE (A-Z)
Asteroid, Band of Horses, Brant Bjork, Chance McCoy, Child, Daniel Antopolsky, Duel, Fantastic Negrito, Ferris & Sylvester, Gordie MacKeeman and His Rhythm Boys, Groundhogs, Hayseed Dixie, Irish Mythen, Jerron Blind Boy Paxton, John Butler Trio, John Smith, Justin Townes Earle, King Buffalo, Kris Kristofferson & The Strangers, Larkin Poe, Left Lane Cruiser, Lucero, Martin Harley, Morganway, Mountains, Neko Case, Paul Cauthen, Radio Moscow, Redwood, Roxanne De Bastion, Ryan Bingham, Sonic Gypsy, Steak, Stubb, The Black Wizards, The Dead South, The Marcus King Band, The Mavericks, The Sheepdogs, The Staves, The Vintage Caravan, The Wandering Hearts, The Trials of Cato, William Crighton, Worry Dolls, Yawning Man.

TICKET INFORMATION
Tier 1 tickets on sale now and are available from https://blackdeerfestival.com/tickets/
Ticket prices from £105 – subject to booking fees.

Tier 2 tickets will be on sale from 26th February.

https://www.facebook.com/events/342379713221524/
https://facebook.com/blackdeerfest
https://www.instagram.com/blackdeerfest/
https://blackdeerfestival.com/tickets/

King Buffalo, “Longing to be the Mountain” live in Philadelphia, Nov. 3, 2018

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Live Review: Yawning Man and Freedom Hawk in Brooklyn, NY, 01.17.19

Posted in Reviews on January 21st, 2019 by JJ Koczan

yawning man (Photo by JJ Koczan)

It’s not the most intuitive pairing, but it worked. By the time they hit Saint Vitus Bar in Brooklyn on Jan. 17, Yawning Man had already been on the road for more than two weeks. They’d started on Jan. 2 in Arizona and made their way gradually east and north, playing Philadelphia and Boston the two nights prior and accordingly probably well familiar by then with the stretches of I-95. That’s not a fun ride. Freedom Hawk had joined the party a few nights before that, in Asheville, North Carolina, taking over the support slot from Nick Oliveri‘s Mondo Generator, and the bi-coastal complement suited both bands well — Yawning Man with their deeply atmospheric approach and Freedom Hawk more given to a straightforward classic heavy rock songwriting modus. Perhaps an odd fit on paper, but it made way more sense on stage. Kudos to Tone Deaf Touring for the vision.

Both groups released albums last year. Yawning Man had The Revolt Against Tired Noises (review here) on Heavy Psych Sounds over the summer and Freedom Hawk plowed through their fifth LP, Beast Remains (review here), before that. It had been years and years since the last time I saw the Virginia Beach outfit, as bassist Mark Cave politely reminded me — he said the last time was Small Stone‘s 2011 showcase in Philly (review here), but actually it was Small Stone‘s 2012 showcase in Boston (review here), though to be honest, that night was fuzzy in more ways than one — and it’s been a tumultuous few years for them, losing guitarist Matt Cave and deciding to continue as a three-piece, only to see Mark, guitarist/vocalist T.R. Morton and drummer Lenny Hines bring in guitarist Brendan O’Neill in 2016, moving as well from Small Stone to Ripple following 2015’s Into Your Mind (review here).

Nonetheless, what’s remained true is the following: Freedom Hawk believe in the power of heavy rock and roll, and if you’re fortunate enough to spend a little time in their company, they might make you a believer too. As one would expect and hope, much of what they played came off of Beast Remains and Into Your Mind — songs like “Blood Red Sky,” “Darkness and the Light,” “Solid Gold,” “Waterfall,” “Radar,” “Lost in Space,” and “Danger,” which Morton introduced with the choice line, “I don’t know if you guys can handle this next song. It’s a little dangerous. It’s called ‘Danger.'” Charm always goes a long way in my book, but the band wanted nothing for delivery either. That shouldn’t be surprising, as they’ve toured consistently over the course of this decade, here and there in the US as well as abroad in Europe, where just last year they played Desertfest London and Berlin and more besides. They’re veterans as well of Roadburn, Morton wore a shirt he likely picked up when they played Freak Valley in Germany, and on the most basic level, they’ve been together for 14 years, so yeah, Freedom Hawk coming across like they know what they’re doing is well enough earned.

They dipped back to 2011’s Holding On (review here) late in the set for the ultra-catchy “Indian Summer” and gave representation to their 2009 self-titled (review here) and 2008 debut, Sunlight, which Ripple reissued in 2017, but new or old, their material’s central purpose has remained true in conveying the strength of their songwriting. O’Neill, who also fronts thrashers The Pestilence Choir, is way more metal than MortonCave or Hines, at least in outward appearance, but that adds a bit of edge to the otherwise smooth corners of Freedom Hawk‘s stage presence, and they were a blast to watch. It had been too long, clearly.

A good general rule for life is any time you can see Yawning Man, do it. When I last caught them, headlining at Borderland Fuzz Fiesta (review here) in Arizona in early 2016, they were practically a family band, with keys and additional guitar and so on. For this tour, the traveling three-piece was what’s become the modern core of the group: guitarist Gary Arce, bassist Mario Lalli and drummer Bill Stinson. And they’re masters of what they do. One could go on and on about Yawning Man‘s legacy as one of the principal architects of Californian desert rock — and I have, on multiple occasions — but what gets discussed far less is just how much they stand out even from so many of the groups they helped inspire. With Arce‘s signature tone ever at the center of their instrumental, wide-open approach, their atmosphere is immediately identifiable, and the character with which they bring their material to life is as vibrant as that material is subtle. Over the course of more than three decades, they’ve carved a niche for themselves that is theirs alone.

And I’m not saying Mario Lalli was there when they invented cool or anything, but he’s definitely the guy they had in mind for it. Switching between picking and fingering his bass in such a way as to add nuance to Arce‘s echoing lines or emphasize a sonic weight with a strummed chord, Lalli — who also fronts Fatso Jetson — was locked in immediately and incredible to watch as he held down the low end. Looking kind of gaunt in a lined hoodie and with a cap pulled down over his face, he was all-business save for jumping on mic quickly to thank the crowd for showing up, etc., but just unreal to watch him play, and as Stinson held together the molten vibes encompassing the room, Lalli and Arce showed off the inimitable chemistry that’s served as the root cause for the spread of their influence. Yeah, it was cold out, and yeah, it was a weeknight, and yeah, real life loomed outside the door like some kind of invisible babadook, but as they peppered The Revolt Against Tired Noises material with “Perpetual Oyster,” it was hard to think of them as anything other than a classic band living up to their reputation.

It was an early show and they were done by 11PM, which I don’t know if that’s a capitulation to how the neighborhood around the Vitus has gentrified over the last three-to-four years or what — there didn’t seem to be a dance party starting, which sometimes happens after rock gigs elsewhere — but with more than an hour’s ride back to Jersey afterward, I took anyway. I don’t get out as often as I used to, and it’s mostly anxiety-based. I get worried about seeing people, meeting people, not remembering names of people I’ve met once or twice, taking pictures, on and on, but this was a good show and it felt good to be there. I didn’t seem to be the only one who thought so.

More pics after the jump. Thanks for reading.

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