Doom City Fest 2024 Announces Lineup

Posted in Whathaveyou on June 11th, 2024 by JJ Koczan

Just in case you don’t have the energy to read insta-handles, the lineup for Doom City Fest 2024 this September in Mexico City is as follows: Weedeater, Eyehategod, Belzebong, Weedsnake, Mizmor, Reverence to Paroxysm, Deep Sea, Age of the Wolf and Desollado. And 1,200 pesos is about $68 USD, so don’t be put off by the price. This is the second edition of the festival behind one that took place in Feb. 2020 with Amenra16 and others, and well, if you had to live through the entire world shutting down a month later, that probably would’ve been a better precursor to that experience than most around the world had.

Weedeater are of course regulars on the US circuit, and ditto that Eyehategod, but I don’t know how often they hit Mexico City, let alone Belzebong coming over from Poland or Mizmor from Portland, Oregon, or Age of the Wolf from Costa Rica. With four of the total nine acts being Mexican, there’s respectable representation of the country’s native underground, and you can hear Weedsnake‘s 2023 album, Grimorium Cannabinarum, below. I missed it when it came out in the Fall — but as I like to remind others, it’s never actually too late — but they fit right in with the crusty weedianism at the top of that bill. Gonna make friends with Belzebong for sure.

I know September is packed in various parts of the world between the US and Europe, and here’s one more to add to that list:

doom city fest 2024 poster

Doom City Fest 2024 – Sept. 21

4 years had to pass, but we came back stronger. We hope you can join us on this new adventure.

Our lineup:
· @weedeaterband (NC,USA)
· @eyehategodnola (NO,USA)
· @belzebong420 (POL)
· @weedsnakeband (MX)
· @whollydoomedblackmetal (PDX,USA)
· @reverence_to_paroxysm (MX)
· @deepseadoom (MX)
· @ageofthewolf (CR)
· @desolladoband (MX)

Presale Tickets $1,200

· Saturday, September 21, 2024
· Bloody (CDMX) @sangrientomx

Art: Diego Bureau @anti_art666

Thank you @alonsopanke @k_popper @fuerza_booking

Weedsnake, Grimorium Cannabinarum (2023)

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Dispatch from SonicBlast 2023: Day Three

Posted in Features, Reviews on August 13th, 2023 by JJ Koczan

SonicBlast Fest 2023 day 3 sq

08.12.23 – Sat. – Fest site

Before show

Found a shady spot and got here in time to catch some of Earthless’ soundcheck. The haze of yesterday and mist/rain of last night have been replaced by a bit of wind and blue skies clear enough to see neighborhoods on Mars. It is a little cooler than yesterday, about which I will not complain. If it holds till tonight, I’ll be glad I have my wizard flannel.

To get here today I took the beach route, rather than going by the river as Church of the Cosmic Skull once advised, and the waves looked like something off a wall calendar. They sell shirts here that say “beach and riffs,” and I’ll tip myThe beach in Portugal goofy wide-brimmed hat to whoever decided to roll that out. Marketing making the world go around.

I’ve done a fair amount of writing the last couple days, which has felt good, seen wonderful people and heard great music at consuming volumes, which as far as I’m concerned is the stuff of life. Traveling alone can feel weird sometimes — like anything — but the truth is that once I get where I’m going, I’m never alone except when I want to be, to work or sleep, and so on. It’s been busy, and I think it’ll be a few days home before I really process any of it beyond the initial impressions conveyed in the notes I’ve been taking as it’s taken place — check in Friday — but I feel good about the work and the experience, and I’m glad I came.

This is the last day, and I expect by six or The main stages at SonicBlast 2023seven this evening my head will start to move back into travel-mode thinking about getting on the plane tomorrow — the airport in Porto is beautiful, as it would invariably be — and I don’t know if I’ll get to write again before I’m back in the US. Accordingly, thank you again to Ricardo, Thelma and all here at SonicBlast. I have been treated better than I probably needed to be, and am on awe of the passion and drive that has built this festival up to what it is over the last 11 years. As I listen to Kanaan line-checking before they open the day on the third stage — that’s four-for-four on kickoffs, if you’re keeping score — and look over the now-empty-but-soon-to-be-slammed main stage(s) area, it’s a little surreal, but as realities go, I’m happy to dwell in it while I can. Thank you for reading. Thanks to the bands and everyone I’ve spoken to or hung out with. Thanks to my family and obviously, thanks to Wendy, through whom all things are possible.

Getting close now. I can feel it. Here’s the day:


Kanaan (Photo by JJ Koczan)

Noting from the stage that it was their first time in Portugal, Norwegian instrumentalist trio Kanaan did not look back after a 15-or-so-minute delayed start owing to a fence blowing over outside as doors were supposed to open. So yes, the wind is a factor. Or at least it was until they put the fence back up and Kanaan came out to lock into the hypnojazz of “Downpour” from the 2022 album of the same name (review here), bass, guitar and drums coming together, seeming to each split its own direction, meeting up later on as one might with friends, only with riffs instead. This was my second time seeing them. The first was Høstsabbat last Fall in Oslo, which is about as different a setting as you can get from SonicBlast, and it’s to the band’s credit that their sound holds up to either context. Maybe it was the sun, or the wind, or the last-day blues, but the spacey, patient unfolding of “Pink Riff” felt extra resonant, as did the synth-laced fuzz that followed to underscore the upward launch in progress. Working against gravity, they rode that groove for a while and did a few orbital laps in circles and twists of rhythm, and resolved in a noisy freakout before coalescing again around the guitar, but the message was clear and the controls were set to ‘far out.’ If they were bummed at cutting their set short, they didn’t show it as they finished with “Return to the Tundrasphere,” having saved the thickest nod for last. Right on. I’ll take seeing them at any opportunity. Wound up chatting with them later on and let it spill that I thought they were onto something really special and they talked about some of their plans for future records. This is a band with the potential to be very good for a long time. A band that can grow with its players. Fingers crossed.

Black Rainbows

Black Rainbows (Photo by JJ Koczan)

Space hippies of the world, unite! You have nothing to lose but your dayjobs! I’d been looking forward to Black Rainbows, as they always seem to find a line between more straightforward heavy rock, classic cosmodelia, and hooks, hooks, hooks, and wouldn’t you know, that’s precisely what they delivered to open the main stage. They covered MC5’s “Black to Comm” and gave it due urgency, and with their new album, Superskull (review here), relatively fresh in mind, I dug the crap out of it. I think they get overshadowed in a weird way by the work founding guitarist/vocalist Gabriele Fiori does in running the Heavy Psych Sounds label/booking company, but god damn, if you actually listen to their records, they’re spot on heavy psych rock, taking some of the energy and enthusiasm that I forever associate with the Italian underground and making it theirs through performance and a strong stylistic foundation. I dig this band, is what I’m saying. If you haven’t been introduced, hit up the latest album and work your way back to the desert idolatry of their earliest stuff and I sincerely doubt you’ll regret it. They’re like a one-stop shop for everything you could ask modern stoner rock to be, while also being able to occasionally blow it out or loose a riff like “Grindstone,” and hold another level of thrust in reserve for a multi-tiered finish. First band on the big stage and people were already dancing. This place is amazing, this band way undervalued.

Spirit Mother

Spirit Mother (Photo by JJ Koczan)

The only reason I wasn’t absolutely blindsided by how heavy Sprit Mother’s thud landed in-person was because of being fortunate enough to premiere their “Dead Cells/Locust” two-songer last month. Both those songs were aired, and it was likewise a pleasure to hear their rawer, more all-in sensibility extended to tracks from their 2020 debut, Cadets (review here). They played as a double-guitar, double-violin five-piece. One violin? Well that’s interesting. Outside the heavy norm. Respect to that, especially since the songs are good. Two? That’s downright individual. Maybe by their fourth record they’ll be doling out fuzz accompanied by a string quartet — and I’m not trying to be a smartass; I think that’d rule — but the takeaway is that the Los Angeles band are growing. Growing heavier, growing in depth and texture, and looking for ways to distinguish themselves. They’re on their way. This tour and the upcoming US run with Hippie Death Cult will help, but there’s nothing they should be doing that they’re not already doing. I’ll look forward to remembering seeing them here for the first time, including that laugh shared by the band and the front row when guitarist/vocalist Armand Lance attempted to throw his bandana out to the crowd but it hit a wall of wind and didn’t travel more than a meter before landing unceremoniously in the photo pit. Sometimes it’s the little things.


Earthless (Photo by JJ Koczan)

It’s safe by now to call Earthless legends, right? A fully-earned reputation two decades running that precedes them by miles, the quintessential heavy trio released Night Parade of 100 Demons (review here) in January, and even though I knew what was coming, it was hard not to feel physically overwhelmed as they built up the characteristically extended, vinyl-side-consuming title-track to its full breadth. And I saw them like a month and a half ago. Shit, I heard their soundcheck today! Nonetheless, when guitarist/sometimes-vocalist Isaiah Mitchell, bassist Mike Eginton and drummer Mario Rubalcaba dug in, you had no real choice but to bodily sense it. Sure, it’s been loud all weekend, but with Earthless it’s never quite just about any one thing — even Mitchell’s guitar, which feels like sacrilege to say somehow — but about the full combination of all of it working at a scale that belongs solely to the band. Maybe that’s how you get to be legendary to start with. There’s just something intangible there, and as much as it feels like they’re plunging headfirst into the unknown, you always know that they’re in control, hand-on-the-wheel, and so forth. As spacey as they got at SonicBlast, that was still true, and while I’m not so far removed from my last exposure, it’s a testament to the power of what they do that they could be so affecting. Rest assured, I went back after refilling my water bottle and taking a minute to write this, in more than enough time to catch the burner ending, the next outbound excursion, and the staple cover of The Groundhogs’ “Cherry Red” that capped the set.

A Place to Bury Strangers

A Place to Bury Strangers (Photo by JJ Koczan)

Today I learned that the dude from A Place to Bury Strangers — multi-instrumentalist/live guitarist and vocalist Oliver Ackermann — really hates his guitar. Before the first song was done, he’d launched it in the air multiple times and let it hit the stage, swung it over his shoulder like he was trying to split wood, and run the strings along the front edge of the stage. Then he tuned up, which I think might’ve been my favorite part. I haven’t seen them before, but by all accounts that’s kind of how it goes. Not arguing. True to their New York roots, their sound is a kind of no-wave indie noise punk, but without atmosphere, but trying to crawl out of its own skin anyhow. Restless movement in the bass of John Fedowitz and drummer Sandra Fedowitz was fitting company for all that fucked up amp-noise wash, and I don’t know if Thurston Moore is still hanging around today — let’s figure probably not, but you never know — but it’s easy to imagine him smiling, wherever he may be. Intermittently caustic, light on accessibility and thick on fuckall, they sounded the way my brain feels when I think about the climate crisis, and soon enough, Ackermann left the stage to bring the shenanigans directly to the people out front, but he and maybe Sandra (?) got back up eventually and hit it on the next song, leaving half the crowd slackjawed and a whole other portion smiling knowingly. I guess they’re not really my thing sound-wise, otherwise I might have driven into NYC from Jersey to see them at some point in the last 20 years, but you have to appreciate the expression and the sheer physical effort in it. And the fact that they played after Earthless. I’m glad nobody got hurt, with the exception of that guitar, which, admirably, somehow made it through the whole set, Ackermann handing it behind the drum kit to free his hands so he could swing one of the stage strobes around by the cable — you know, like you do — before taking it back to finish the song, getting a couple more high-arc tosses in in the meantime. There was more as Fedowitz came out from the kit to the front of the stage for vocal duties, bringing the floor tom and snare along and playing while standing up. I have to think you get the point. A spectacle.


Eyehategod (Photo by JJ Koczan)

I don’t know how long it’s been since I saw Eyehategod, and in the spirit of the band, I don’t really give a shit. The New Orleans sludge originators — they didn’t do it on their own, but there’s sludgers the world over who should be calling them Uncle — came out and jammed for a couple minutes before the set actually started, and from there it was feedback abrasion, raw-throated gnash from vocalist Mike IX Williams, the somehow-bouncing riffs of Jimmy Bower and bassist Gary Mader’s tonal density like the dirt from which their mud is made, while drummer Aaron Hill — who’s been in the band a decade now — managed to make it go. I was off them for a few years, but they’ve stood up to the years with middle fingers ever raised, and I can’t think of another band who can come across as both completely professional and unhinged at the same time, as when Williams started the faux-prayer “dear god, please forgive us,” before seeming to think better of the whole idea and end with a quick “fuck you” as the next song slammed in. In a crowd with this many people, it was most likely somebody’s first Eyehategod show, and while I’m no expert on the subject, when I think of Eyehategod, I think of precisely the kind of omnidirectional aggro disaffection they tore into. “How many people have to go to work tomorrow?” Some hands. I have to think more would be up if tomorrow was Monday. Right into “Every Thing, Every Day.” They’re a band who’ve been underestimated for over 30 years, and much more than most, they make it believable that they don’t care. And probably by now they don’t, if they ever did. That, plus riffs.


Imarhan (Photo by JJ Koczan)

Today’s Tuareg contingent, Imarhan come from Algeria and followed suit in rhythmic style and resultant danceability from Bombino and Etran de L’Aïr, both of whom also had the crowd moving yesterday and the day before, which is starting to feel like a very, very long time ago. Whatever focus might be on the guitar, Imarhan kept the theme running of bass I could happily spend an evening listening to, as well as clearing the slate after the aural violence of Eyehategod and the actual violence of A Place to Bury Strangers to transition into the evening ahead. I know little about Tuareg culture or the plight of the people who are part of it, but the music as an outlet for that reinforces the communicative nature of art, and the more Imarhan jammed, the more they got their point across. Their latest album is called Aboogi, and the connection between desert rock and, well, desert rock, should be plain to anyone who encounters it. Mellow, warm boogie gave over to sweet psych instrumental melody, spirals of engaging guitar noodling, vocals and hand-percussion going right along, as if they wouldn’t, and the flow held. In America, everything is political and everything is race, and I’d be more than happy to go on about the long history of white producers “discovering” and recording music from around the world, from Lead Belly to Bombino — aesthetic colonialism — and I noted in reading up that Aboogi was recorded by Gruff Rhys of Super Furry Animals, but this isn’t the time or place for that rant. I’m not looking to be misunderstood, and frankly, the music felt more about erasing lines than drawing them. Probably that makes me chickenshit. A privilege afforded by my own culture. As the sundown act for the final day of SonicBlast 2023, Imarhan invited all to dance, and many took them up on it.

The Black Angels

The Black Angels (Photo by JJ Koczan)

I’ve dabbled in the work of Austin psych rockers The Black Angels, but not much more than that. Most of what I know is people like them and they’re well regarded critically. Big mags that go to SXSW write about them, though that’s hardly their fault. There were times when it seemed like the kick drum was the only thing keeping the whole set from turning into a puddle of goo, but obviously that’s on purpose, and with the keys and the two guitars, bass, more keys, multiple vocalists, one drummer — more two-drummer psych bands now! — all seeming to go at once, they were full in sound and heavier live than I would have expected them to be, which I guess is a compliment since they also had that languid sway speaking to some notion of coolness that is timeless if you believe the Baby Boomers invented time or that anyone in mainstream culture knows psych rock still exists, or cares, for that matter. You could call it indie crossover if you want — it’s the internet; the stakes couldn’t be lower — but they were plenty lysergic, and parts felt like a grown-up version of what Spirit Mother were up to this afternoon, rockin’ out in Reverb City. But the crowd knew them more than I did and they put out a record last year called Wilderness of Mirrors that was probably genius and if I bothered to listen would change my life, so there you go. I guess they left me a little cold, but I’ll take that on myself since I’m both waiting for Dozer and half thinking about packing and flying out tomorrow. Did I say “last day blues” yet? Fair enough. Throbbing, they were.

Church of Misery

Church of Misery (Photo by JJ Koczan)

It would be fun to put together a list of the best riff writers of all time — I’m not going to; no fun — but any such endeavor would be bullshit without the inclusion of Tatsu Mikami from Church of Misery. The low-slung founding bassist of Japan’s leading doom rock export has been through entire lineups of singers, guitarists and drummers, but the guitar of Yukito Okazaki, the drums of Toshiaki Umemura and returning vocalist Kazuhiro Asaeda marked themselves out as a version of Church of Misery to see, making the case strongly on this year’s Born Under a Mad Sign (review here) for showing up. Certainly Church of Misery fucking did. And oh, when that bass tone hit, I could feel it like a rumbly in my tumbly and all of a sudden I didn’t care if the lyrics were about the dude feeding his cat, it was that groove that had me. They were on fire. Kazuhiro waving his hands around swimming through the fog of the riffs — also the actual fog — absolutely nailing “Born to Raise Hell,” and Yukito might be a generation younger but he also might be the best guitarist I’ve seen with this band, and by this time in my life I’ve seen a few. For a new incarnation of the band, everybody owned the material, Toshiaki with the oh-so-essential swing to make that doom boogie, and Tatsu on the far side of the stage, an absolute master at this thing he does. As the photographers were getting kicked out of the pit — not complaining; that time/song limit is useful every now and again to keep you in check and handling your shit — I put my body in front of the P.A., just for a second, so I could feel it in my bones. Incredible how a band so obsessed with mass murder can be so life-affirming. I’m glad they’re back, and I’m lucky to have seen this version of the band. They finished with “Beltway Sniper” and “Freeway Madness Boogie,” both from the new record, and the place went off like the songs were 20 years old. It was a celebration.


Dozer (Photo by JJ Koczan)

Life affords you very few — none to date, in my case — to get on stage and watch while Dozer are playing. Did I dare? It was now or never. And as experience-making as that was, I’m glad I went out front again in time to see Arvid from Greenleaf come out for a guest spot on “Rings of Saturn.” I’d heard before they went on that was going to happen, and it was quick but great, no less because they followed it with “Supersoul” and man, I just went nuts. It was so great. So great. Chills the entire time, not even exaggerating. Well maybe a little bit fucking hell give me a break Dozer were so god damned amazing I was headbanging in the photo pit. Maybe the pics will suck. Who cares? Arvid back out: “this is Monster Truck. That big thing that pushes stuff.” A bit of standup “Always eat spinach.” My friend, I have been trying for three days to find some to no avail. If you got the hookup don’t hold out. Yes, I saw Dozer last December. Again, who cares? If I saw them yesterday this would’ve still been incredible. Shit, I DID see Greenleaf yesterday. Unreal. Culmination of the weekend. “Born a Legend.” Existential high point I feel like I’ve been chasing for the last two and a half years. The payoff for my pandemic. Sebastian Olsson on drums. Holy shit. Fredrik Nordin’s vocals coming through those giant speakers. That shout. Those riffs. Johan Rockner’s bass not only keeping up with Tommi Holappa’s twists and punches and shred but doing so with a singular immediacy. Dozer is the band who taught me heavy rock could be explosive, propulsive, volcanic, and still beautiful. They went to their first album in 15 years, Drifting in the Endless Void (review here), to close out with “Missing 13,” Olsson knocking over a cymbal and Arvid picking it up en route to Dozer riding that riff and Holappa soloing away. There was some mic feedback toward the end, but it didn’t matter. I stopped writing. I stopped worrying. I put my phone down and banged my fucking head and threw my fist in the air, and for a few gorgeous minutes I hope I never forget that’s what life was.


Lunavieja (Photo by JJ Koczan)

An occult epilogue to my evening and my SonicBlast, Lunavieja had skulls, reeds, incense and centuries of Iberian heathenism to draw from, and with a sound that was vibrant and a theatricality unlike anything else I’ve seen this weekend, they built an atmosphere of malevolent, writhing doom, psychedelic post-metal, some rock, and meditative, dark folk. I said a few goodbyes and made my way out during their set, stopped up on the boardwalk to sit on a little bench there in the mostly dark — the town is right there, so there is ambient light — and look at the stars and listen to the music and the waves together. “Beach and riffs,” right? It wasn’t planned, and it was only a few minutes, maybe five, but just stopping, sitting for a breath, it was like taking a huge drink of water. I was already on my way out mentally and physicality — got my ride to the airport tomorrow confirmed and everything — so this was just about being there, putting myself in that moment, to be, just to be, in that place one more time. Lunavieja’s grim mass behind, the anticipation of returning to my family ahead, I allowed for the appreciation of being in the middle, not existing in either world yet. Not thinking about the travel, the writing, the to-do list that awaits. I doubt Lunavieja will ever know they were a part of that, that they helped make it happen in a weird kind of way — ‘weird’ suiting them quite well, generally — but they were. It meant something to me. I learned a lot here. They were a part of that, too.

Thank you. If your eyes are on these words, thank you. The list of names is so long. Everybody I spoke to, everyone who came up and said hi, the fucking Sasquatch guys shouting me out, being onstage while Dozer are playing. Meeting Berto, seeing Claire after a decade, hanging out with Dr. Space, chatting music with Daniel and Bruno in the photo pit, taking pictures of bands, pictures with people, trying to cram as many memories into my head as I possibly could because I’m just so god damned lucky to be here. The flight, the nerves. It was all worth it, easily. For Dozer alone, never mind Acid King, Ruff Majik, Greenleaf, Kanaan, Church of Misery, Spirit Mother, Temple Fang, Naxatras (now I get to say I’ve seen Naxatras forever!), Weedpecker, Kadavar, all the way back to Plastic Woods, the first band at the pre-show, absolutely schooling me on where I was and what it meant to be here. Thank you. Thank you for reading. Thank you Ricardo and Telma. Thank you for inviting me, for welcoming me, for the music and the place. The reality of what you’ve built is so much more than just the beach and riffs. Thank you.

I fly out tomorrow evening, 6PM-ish. I don’t know that I will or won’t write again before then, so one more time, thank you for reading, thanks to Wendy, The Pecan, my mother, my sister. I don’t know that I’ll be invited back to SonicBlast again, and that’s not what matters. What matters is how fortunate I was to be here at all. Thank you. Thank you.

More photos after the ‘read more’ jump.

Read more »

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Desertfest Belgium 2023: Antwerp Lineup Updated

Posted in Whathaveyou on June 15th, 2023 by JJ Koczan

Quickie lineup update from Desertfest Belgium 2023 for Antwerp. Having previously confirmed the likes of Yawning Man, Shellac, The Ocean, Monkey3 — whose 39 Laps is about to be reissued on Sound of Liberation RecordsDopelord and King Buffalo, Ruff Majik, Siena Root, on and on, the venerable Belgian installation of the Desertfest brand has put forth word that North Carolinian original-era sludge chaosbringers Sourvein won’t be making the trip after all, but that New Orleans mainstays Eyehategod will, alongside The Obsessed, The Great Machine, ultra-crushers LLNN, as well as Moonstone and Apex Ten, the latter of whom are Belgian natives. Their Aashray (review here) album was released last month.

A little context here offers potentially crucial information. What the below announcement doesn’t say is how on-fire The Obsessed are right now or that they’re headed into a new album release this Fall — release date still forthcoming, but I’m pretty sure Wino said on stage at Freak Valley that the album is called It’s Not Okay — or the extent to which Israeli trio The Great Machine tear it up on (or potentially off) stage, which is something else I was lucky enough to find out for myself in Netphen. Knowing that, they become more than just another name on a bill or another act who put out a cool record this year, and if you haven’t seen them and are headed to Desertfest, they are indeed a sight to see. All the more because the tones and sings are so right on.

Here’s what the fest had to say:

Desertfest Belgium 2023 poster eyehategod etc

We’re thrilled to add a couple of new names to our Desertfest congregation. Joining our bill for the best fest of the year are:

EYEHATEGOD – The Obsessed – The Great Machine – LLNN – Moonstone – Apex Ten

Unfortunately SOURVEIN won’t make it to the fest this year due to a contingency.

Get your pass to Desert Heaven with a Reduced Three Days Combi Ticket or a Day Ticket at our Ticket Page!

Event page:

And keep an eye on this very spot for the last couple of band names that still need to be dropped…

Rock out as you rock on! (#129304#)

The Great Machine, Live at Freak Valley Festival 2023

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Up in Smoke 2023 Makes First Lineup Announcement

Posted in Whathaveyou on March 31st, 2023 by JJ Koczan

Some pretty good inferences one might make looking at the first lineup announcement for Up in Smoke 2023, the annual Sound of Liberation festival held each year in Pratteln, Switzerland. It says The Obsessed will be on tour in Europe this Fall, which I’m pretty sure they’ve said anyway, but it might also be a clue as to the release of their next album. On the other hand, they might just be fucking touring because they’re The Obsessed and that’s what they do. Also it’s further expansion of Alabama Thunderpussy‘s reunion and since this festival is Sep. 29 to Oct. 1 and their prior confirmation was Keep it Low from Oct. 6 to 7, they’ll likely be on the road in Europe for the better part of at least two weeks. That’s not nothing.

Consider also Yawning Man heading abroad in Fall for their new album, announced yesterday. And did you hear that Dirty Sound Magnet record? I didn’t until now but it’s a ripper. New school oldschool blues heavy. Rad. And Eyehategod getting back at it too. It’s a cool bill, mix of newer acts and recognizable with Zeal & Ardor on top nothing to complain about.

Of course, there’s more to come here, but hell, I’d go to this. You? Festival in Switzerland in October? Why on earth would you say no to that?

Also note there’s a new Facebook page for the fest. From the PR wire:

Up in smoke 2023 first announcement second version


Hey Smokers, the long awaited day has come. We’re stoked to finally reveal the first names for our 2023 edition. We hope you like it as much as we do!

Get ready for three days of finest heavy rock music… this is just the beginning.

Artwork: Brookesia Estudio

Festival info:
Up In Smoke Festival
29. Sep – 01. Oct 2023
@ Konzertfabrik Z7 // Pratteln (CH)


Facebook Event:

Dirty Sound Magnet, DSM-III (2022)

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Keep it Low 2023: King Buffalo, The Obsessed, Mantar, Eyehategod & More Announced

Posted in Whathaveyou on March 20th, 2023 by JJ Koczan

And so the Fall tourscape continues to unfold. King Buffalo heading abroad again is news, I think. They’re playing RippleFest Texas at the end of September, and between Keep it Low 2023 on Oct. 6-7 and the also-SoundofLiberation-affiliated Lazy Bones Festival in Hamburg, for which they were confirmed last week, it looks like they’ll once more spend at least the better part of a month on the road. Good to know these things.

Joining them in this whopper of an announcement is the e’er aggro Mantar, reinvigorated doom legends The Obsessed — who seem to be hitting the touring circuit that much harder with their revamped lineup — the reliably-unhinged Eyehategod, upstart rockers Slomosa, and Humulus, Dirty Sound Magnet, The Moth (who rule and hopefully have a new record coming), Eremit, Lucid Void and masked marauders Iron Walrus. It’s a busy one, but check out the generational blend between the likes of Colour HazeThe ObsessedEyehategod and Alabama Thunderpussy and the likes of SlomosaKing Buffalo, and Lucid Void.

Seems to me like we’re in a pretty killer moment of established acts still getting out and releasing quality material (The Obsessed have a new album that hopefully will be out concurrent to this tour) and newer bands on the rise. As the 2020s play out post-pandemic, this may be the shape of the next few years. Let’s learn from the past and support the shit out of the next generation of bands, hmm?

Here’s the latest:

Keep it Low 2023 second poster


Hey Keepers,

we’re super stoked to present you the latest additions to our Keep It Low line up!

Please welcome to the bill:

The Obsessed
King Buffalo
Dirty Sound Magnet
Lucid Void

FB event:

Complete line-up:


Weekend tickets are available in our shop.

Keep It Low Festival
6. & 7. October 2023
Backstage Munich

King Buffalo, “Firmament” live in St. Louis, MO, Jan. 15, 2023

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SonicBlast Fest 2023 Makes First Lineup Announcement

Posted in Whathaveyou on December 16th, 2022 by JJ Koczan

Portugal’s SonicBlast Fest will mark its 11th go in 2023 with a massive, still-more-to-be-announced lineup that spans styles and geographies, from Norway to Greece to Japan and New Orleans to San Diego, Poland and Los Angeles and New York and sludge to psych-jazz and on from there into however many ethers of prog and rock. It’s easy to admire even from across an ocean what SonicBlast has built over its years, and the photos that emerge from each edition — just a bunch of awesome bands playing in paradise, no big deal — are enviable to say the least, and while I don’t want to be engaging too deeply in promo speak or trying to tap anyone’s FOMO, if you’re thinking of making the trip, however far it may or may not be, it’ll probably sell out.

Check out OFF! hitting the heavy fests, huh? Not quite what I’d expect there, but cool to see Acid King getting out, and good to know Naxatras will be back on the road as well next summer along with a host of others. Over the last couple weeks, a lot of the Spring and Summer 2023 festival season in Europe has taken shape, and with the promise of so much more to come, it looks like it’s gonna be a good one. Call it revelry well earned, and let’s all appreciate it whether or not we can actually be there.

To wit:

sonicblast fest 2023 cassette poster

We’re so psyched to announce the first bands to join us at SonicBlast Fest’s 11th edition: OFF!, Acid King, A Place To Bury Strangers, Earthless, KADAVAR, Elder, EYEHATEGOD, Death Valley Girls, Church of Misery, Frankie and the Witch Fingers, Weedpecker, Mondo Generator, Naxatras, Kanaan, BLACK RAINBOWS, Acid Mammoth, Monarch, Spirit Mother and El Altar Del Holocausto!

*** many more to be announced soon ***

Full festival tickets are already on sale at BOL ( and at

Artwork by Branca Studio

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Monolith on the Mesa 2022 Announces Full Lineup

Posted in Whathaveyou on June 23rd, 2022 by JJ Koczan

monolith on the mesa header pic

Monolith on the Mesa isn’t screwing around. The 2022 edition of the Taos, New Mexico, festival features a welcome-back-to-this-thing lineup that’s as desert as the sands on which it’ll take place and more besides. Ever wonder what Eyehategod and Yawning Man might sound like going back-to-back? Here’s where you’ll find out.

Those two, as well as import acts like Mars Red Sky (from France) and Belzebong (from Poland) will feature, alongside The ObsessedNebulaThe FreeksRed Mesa, StönerRuby the HatchetEcstatic Vision and others. This being the first Monolith on the Mesa since the untimely passing of festival co-founder Dano Sanchez, it’s a bittersweet occasion, but there’s no question looking at the lineup that it’s being executed in a spirit of celebration, both of that life and of the music itself. If you’d dare ask more than that, well, Eagle Twin are playing. Fucking bonus.

Info came down the PR wire, as well as the nifty poster art by Nick Filth:



Artists include Mars Red Sky, The Obsessed, Nebula, Eyehategod, Ruby The Hatchet, Stöner, The Freeks, Mondo Generator, Yawning Man and others

Monolith on the Mesa reveals final poster artwork by Nick Filth and full festival line-up in conjunction with summer solstice. The festival returns to Taos Mesa Brewing The Mothership on September 16th, 17th, 18th, 2022 for three days filled with music, art, and community. Tickets are on sale now HERE. Artists include internationally acclaimed acts such as Mars Red Sky, The Obsessed, Nebula, Eyehategod, Ruby The Hatchet, Stöner, The Freeks, Mondo Generator, Yawning Man and Red Mesa. In the words of belated festival visionary Dano Sanchez fans should get ready for a “weekend of live music heaviness blasting onto the high desert mesa in full view of the Sangre de Christo mountains.”

Roman Barham, festival co-founder and talent buyer says: “I am really excited to have Monolith on the Mesa back! This year’s line-up is a roll over from both 2020 and 2021. We had bands confirmed and then COVID happened. It was cool that so many bands were still down to be a part of Monolith once we got back. What’s really intense about the line-up is how it fits the surrounding high desert environment. With bands like Yawning Man, Stöner, Nebula, Mondo Generator — so many legends of the desert will be jamming. I know Dano would be really proud of the line-up for 2022. Summer solstice connects us deeply with Dano and how he saw the cosmos and life and how they coincide. Out here, we follow the astrological interpretations of the seasons and change.”

“The Mothership will have the same intent,” Jayson Wylie, Taos Mesa Brewing President/Director of Brewing Operations says, “but with a little different feel post reconstruction after the devastating fire we had. We still have two stages, both of them outside. We have transitioned our indoor space to accommodate more beverage production. Customers will notice an enhanced amphitheater with state of the art house PA and lighting. Out here on the mesa, summer solstice signifies a transition to shorter days and hopefully more rain.”

Festival producer Ashley Sanchez says “The summer solstice is the time of year when you start to see the fruits of your labor – financially, agriculturally, in relationships, or otherwise. The solstice reveals if we’re still living in alignment with the goals we set at the beginning of the year. Dano and I worked to live in sync with nature and it’s still very much something I hold in my own center. In honor of this cornerstone of our relationship together and how our family shows up in the world, we chose the summer solstice to announce the complete lineup for the 2022 Monolith on the Mesa festival.”

Monolith on the Mesa is an open air festival focused around the “earthship” amphitheatre which holds 1,500 people. The festival sits at the base of the Sangre de Cristo mountains and at the edge of the Rio Grande gorge minutes from Taos Pueblo and the Gorge Bridge. Activities in the vicinity include rafting, hiking in the desert or in the mountains, mountain biking, soaking in the natural hot springs, as well as strolling the beautiful and historic streets and plazas of Taos. In founder Dano Sanchez’s words: “It is truly a magical place and combined with awesome music and art it’s like no other music festival.”

September 16th, 17th, 18th, 2022
Doors at 12 noon daily.

Taos Mesa Brewing The Mothership
20 ABC Mesa Rd, El Prado, NM, 87529

Monolith on the Mesa will honor tickets and other arrangements purchased in 2020 and 2021. Tickets will be rolled over to this year’s Will Call list.

Single Day Pass $60 ticket HERE:

Two Day Pass $100 ticket HERE:

Three Day Pass $150 ticket HERE:

Rain or shine event!


Friday, September 16th, 2022
Doors at 12:00 pm
Mesa Stage-1:00-1:45/ Greenbeard
Mesa Stage-2:00-2:45/ Blue Heron
Mesa Stage-3:00-3:45/ Caustic Casanova
Mesa Stage-4:00-4:45/ Red Mesa
Mothership Stage-5:00-5:45/ Owl
Mesa Stage-6:00-6:45/ The Atomic Bitchwax
Mothership Stage-7:00-7:45/ Daikajiu
Mesa Stage-8:00-9:00/ Eagle Twin
Mothership Stage-9:00-10:00/ Belzebong
Mesa Stage-10:00-11:00/ The Obsessed
Mothership Stage-11:00-12:00/ Mars Red Sky

Saturday, September 17th, 2022
Doors at 12:00 pm
Mesa Stage-12:15-12:45/ Via Vengeance
Mesa Stage-1:00-1:45/ Terra Damnata
Mesa Stage-2:00-2:45/ Heretical Sect
Mesa Stage-3:00-3:45/ Love Gang
Mesa Stage-4:00-4:45/ Heavy Temple
Mothership Stage-5:00-5:45/ Year of The Cobra
Mesa Stage-6:00-6:45/ The Otolith
Mothership Stage-7:00-7:45/ Nebula
Mesa Stage-8:00-9:00/ Warhorse
Mothership Stage-9:00-10:00/ REZN
Mesa Stage-10:00-11:00/ Ruby The Hatchet
Mothership Stage-11:00-12:00/ Stöner

Sunday, September 18th, 2022
Doors at 12:00 pm
Mesa Stage-12:15-12:45/ Fever Dog
Mesa Stage-1:00-1:45/ Heave
Mesa Stage-2:00-2:45/ Lilith
Mesa Stage-3:00-3:45/ Communion
Mesa Stage-4:00-4:45/ The Freeks
Mothership Stage-5:00-5:45/ Duel
Mesa Stage-6:00-6:45/ Tabernacle
Mothership Stage-7:00-7:45/ El Perro
Mesa Stage-8:00-9:00/ Mondo Generator
Mothership Stage-9:00-10:00/ Ecstatic Vision
Mesa Stage-10:00-11:00/ Eyehategod
Mothership Stage-11:00-12:00/ Yawning Man

After sundown every evening visual magicians, Mad Alchemy Liquid Light Show, illuminate the night sky.

Mars Red Sky, Live at Sidéral Festival, May 5, 2022

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Psycho Las Vegas Announces Psycho Waxx Label; Recruits High on Fire & More for Motörhead Tribute

Posted in Whathaveyou on August 19th, 2021 by JJ Koczan

But wait, there’s more! On the very day it begins hosting its 2021 festival, Psycho Las Vegas has announced a new label imprint, Psycho Waxx. Sadly I don’t think they’re hiring A&R, otherwise I’d surely apply for the job and clog there roster with Swedish bands who won’t sell. Shame though.

Instead, they throw their hats into the tribute compilation game — who doesn’t like a gritty reboot? — with Löve Me Förever, a suitably umlauted homage to Motörhead that will boast new recordings from High on Fire, Blackwater Holylight, Mothership, Nick Oliveri and a slew of others. One expects that by the time it’s out it will be completely over the top, because Psycho is nothing if not on-brand in how they do.

One would remiss not to note that Löve Me Förever isn’t the first of recent heavy underground Motörhead tributes. Midwestern label The Company exceeded a Kickstarter goal to produce Ferociously Stöned: The Company Tribute to Motörhead, which it released in April and has out on physical as well as digital formats, with Keef Mountain, Hyborian and others in the label’s sphere taking part. While we’re on the subject, Psycho Waxx‘s Motörhead tribute probably won’t be the last either. These kinds of thing are going to be happening for a long time. At least as long as they sell, if not longer.

What follows came from social media:

love me forever motorhead tribute vinyl

PREORDERS are now open for LÖVE ME FÖREVER, a @psychowaxx tribute to one of the greatest rock ‘n roll bands of all time.

Motörhead is embedded deep in Psycho’s DNA, which is why we’ve got a slew of this year’s bombers hitting our Downtown Vegas studio during the fest to lay down their love in epic homage to the undeniable legends.

Löve Me Förever arrives on lavish double vinyl in 2022, with insane Motörhead cuts from the likes of HIGH ON FIRE, MIDNIGHT, EXHORDER, BLACKWATER HOLYLIGHT, EYEHATEGOD, CEPHALIC CARNAGE, MOTHERSHIP, FOIE GRAS, HOWLING GIANT, CREEPING DEATH and more, plus an all-star collaborative take on “Ace of Spades” featuring Phil Anselmo, Gary Holt, Chuck Garric, Nick Oliveri and Dwid Hellion, among others. It’s everything you’d expect from Psycho as we throw down the gauntlet on our first official release.

2021 Psycho Las Vegas attendees pre-ordering on site at the fest will take home a limited edition cover art print, and receive a deluxe Psycho Waxx slipmat with record shipment. Art prints can be picked up at the Psycho showroom on Sunday, August 22 at 3 PM, held under the name on your pre-order.

Motörhead, “Love Me Forever”

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