Notes from Freak Valley 2024: Day 1

Posted in Features, Reviews on May 31st, 2024 by JJ Koczan

Freak Valley 2024 stage

Before the Show

So, hey. I’m at Freak Valley Festival. Not by much, admittedly. My general position is that until I’m standing (or preferably, casually reclining) in a place, I’m not convinced a thing that is maybe supposed to happen is going to pan out, but this trip was tenuous even by that standard. It’s Thursday. I flew out of NYC yesterday afternoon. I didn’t know for sure I’d be making the trip until Tuesday, and if I’d been able to cancel the flight and get a refund — which I couldn’t, because capitalism — I’d more likely have stayed home to be with my family as my mother recovers from having her knee replaced, also yesterday afternoon, which I was getting text updates about sitting on the plane waiting to take off. I’d have gotten them during the whole flight as well, but you had to pay for internet even just for basic phone signal — again, capitalism; the airline also randomly played commercials at one point during the flight, whether you were watching a movie or not; gross — but was able to find out after the flight landed how her evening went. I went from the hospital to the airport, stopping at home to get the dog for the car ride. My mother is fine and recovering, in case you’re curious.

The flight got in at 6AM and led to a train trip from Frankfurt to Siegen, where I’m staying, that took the better part of the next four hours. No sleep worth mentioning overnight on the plane; I was thankful to the very nice man at the information counter who printed out my route with the wheres and whens for changes — it even had the tracks; not gross — though the timing ended up being incorrect and there was an extra hour of waiting at Geißen. I was glad to have brought chargers. After taking a cab from the train station and not having cash for the driver, who of course didn’t take cards, I checked in, crashed for about two and a half hours, showered and headed out to the outdoor fest grounds in Netphen, which is the next town over. Did I mention it was raining?

All of which is to say that it has been quite a 24-hour stretch, but I know that once the music starts it will be okay. I’ll leave it there for now in advance of that.

Full Earth

Full Earth (Photo by JJ Koczan)

Not to say it’s a surprise that Full Earth’s songs are so recognizable from their earlier-this-year debut, Cloud Sculptors (review here), but I am willing to say that I don’t always think of an 85-minute synth-led instrumental heavy prog 2LP as a context for earworms. Nonetheless, here we are, with the Oslo-based five-piece offshoot of Kanaan (who play shortly) cementing the immediate you-are-here vibe of Freak Valley 2024, and living up to my “it’ll be okay when…” above — there’s a tattoo artist here in back; it is tempting to have that put somewhere on my person as a reminder for those days where it seems like “never” is when it’s okay — with their material, poised and purposeful live as on the record(s). I got to the grounds in time to grab coffee and almost buy two tie-dye shirts for my daughter — they’re awesome and the right size — but the line for the chipkarte (a bracelet with an RFID you put money on) was massive, so I opted to stay put for a few minutes, breathe and let some of the residual adrenaline go into the twisting movement coming from the stage. Light rain falling, mud in the photo pit, but I brought a poncho and am ready to dig in. Full Earth, to that end, were a perfect start.


Köln’s Daevar released their second album, Amber Eyes, in March through The Lasting Dose Records, and for the life of me, I thought I reviewed it but can’t find the link. Maybe I just enjoyed listening to it instead and thought sentences about it without typing them? New realities every minute in whatever you call this universe. Either way, that Daevar record is murky-rolly-melodoom, and the trio’s ethereal thickness of tone worked well with the concurrent uptick in rainfall, pushing the line between drizzling and raining and making me glad I brought a poncho should it continue. You could argue that, despite the differences in sound between Full Earth and Daevar, the common factor is still immersion, and certainly in both there’s room for everybody, and Daevar’s nod was also enough to draw a crowd around the Rockpalast video-feed monitor backstage, centered in on riffs and density but broad in the guitar leads and bigger moments of crash. They’re an easy band to dig among the converted, it seems, though I have to imagine most humans not in this valley on the AWO grounds in Netphen would have any idea where they’re coming from. And maybe that’s part of what resonates too. Subculture speaking to itself about itself. I think that’s how you build community, right? With riffs influenced by other riffs influenced by Black Sabbath? Governments should be giving out grants for this shit. Somebody has their baby here in a carrier (with proper ear protection). The smell of mud and cigarettes and weed. Me and coffee. Plus riffs.


Striking how different Kanaan are in their intention than Full Earth, in which all three members of the band take part. For Kanaan, it’s the heavy jams, and where Full Earth felt plotted front to back, Kanaan are certainly tight as musicians — they’d have to be or neither band would work, let alone be good — but you can hear improvisation at root in their sound as opposed to composition. And they’re still playing songs from records — they dipped back to their first album, 2018’s Windborne, for “A. Hausenbecken” — so there’s a plot being followed, but the structure is different and the atmosphere follows on from that in a way that it might not for many acts whose players are pulling double-duty in a given festival day. I didn’t get many pictures before being unceremoniously kicked out of the photo pit for reasons that, if they were stated at all, were not in a language I speak — and that’s my problem, not the dude from security’s — but I’ve chosen to not stress about that shit. I started taking pictures at shows like 13 years ago because I felt like photos were missing from live reviews and I didn’t want to ask anyone else to do it, but I harbor no delusions of talent in that regard and I feel like all this time later doing the thing, it’s still tertiary in my mind to the experience of watching Kanaan take a bow at the end of their set. If it was something I was better at, I’d probably be more interested in it, and vice versa. I got a couple shots anyhow, and having now seen Kanaan three times and twice in the last year, I’m having a hard time coming up with anything to say about their on-stage chemistry that isn’t hyperbole. They should probably tour the States, in theory, but between visa fees and the crowd getting it, I have to wonder if it would be worth their time to do so in the first place.


They win the day easily in terms of distance traveled to be here. And it’s a good thing their singer was busy also playing drums, since with all the barking behind the mic it kind of felt like somebody was going to get bit. I had listened to C.O.F.F.I.N. — whose moniker stands for Children of Norway Fighting in Finland; they’re from Sydney, Australia — on the ol’ internettobox, and they were plenty punky in person as well, but perhaps tailored their set a bit to the crowd to lean into groove rather than shove, though I’ll emphasize, no lack of either. Before they went on, The Mad Hatter did a secret-ish quick set during the changeover, giving a kind of local color to the bluesy proceedings. As for C.O.F.F.I.N. themselves, they wereI neither retro nor bullshit in their interpretation of old-school rock volatility, and even the barking had charm, let alone the dry ice bubbles that were launching from out of the stage. I’ll admit to being distracted and exhausted enough to feel like I earned the headache I was fighting against, but even in such a state the brash energy wrought from the stage was palpable, whatever else might’ve been going on at the time as it started to get dark a bit after 9PM. C.O.F.F.I.N. weren’t all the way my thing, much as I have one, but I got to take pictures for a couple songs and that was a relief, and then I hung back and watched the crowd go from drunk to drunk-dancing, which I took to mean that a hell of an evening was under way. And so it was, mud-mosh and everything.


“Cabin Fever” and “Rice” into the much mellower verses of “Psykonaut” at the start of the set was a bold play, but Norway’s Slomosa seem to be used to that by now, and it suits them on stage. A clearly developed and worked-on stage presence and vitality, songs that don’t sacrifice hooks at the altar of their own fuzz, and professionalism beyond the fact that to-date they only have one record out — there’s a lot about Slomosa to like, even beyond the earliest-QOTSA tone of “In My Mind’s Desert” and the stonery bounce of the drums in “Battling Guns,” which is a highlight of their out-at-some-point sophomore LP, which they followed with another new song, but not before saying they planned to release the set as a live album — an advantage of having Rockpalast on hand. Another new one, “Red Thundra,” followed, and an invitation to sing along to “There is Nothing New Under the Sun” followed, which was accepted by some even in back where I was standing. Bottom line, they were locked in. A band with this much going for them, even in a largely-ignored, underground style, all they really need to do is keep going the way they are. They’re not a stylistic revolution, but over the next couple years there are going to be a lot of bands coming out of Europe working under their influence — there already are a few — and on stage they absolutely lived up to what I hoped they would be. More, they seemed like they enjoyed it, and were at home holding their energy for the duration. If they can keep this lineup together, they’re on their way to being something very special. They finished with “Horses,” which opened their 2020 self-titled debut (review here), and it was easy to think they might do so for years to come, then did an encore of “Scavengers” that felt like it had been earned.


Masters of nod. Even if you could deny Monolord at this stage in the game, for the life of me I have no idea why you would. A decade removed from their debut LP, Empress Rising (discussed here), the Swedish trio of Thomas V. Jäger, Mika Häkki and Esben Willems are easily among the most essential heavy bands of that same decade, and the way they’ve been able to take generic notions like heavy riffs and rolling grooves with melodic vocals and own them to a point of casting a subset of modern stoner-doom in their image is all well and good, but they also still kill it live. In a move that would only ever aid in that cause, they had the esteemed Per Wiberg — who was here in 2023 with the bluesy Kamchatka as well, and has done time with the likes of Spiritual Beggars, Opeth and Candlemass; his latest solo album, The Serpent’s Here (review here), came out earlier this year — sitting in on guitar before moving to keys for the 2023 standalone single “It’s All the Same,” which was duly flattening. It’s just about never what you hear talked about when it comes to their recordings or live shows — and they’re so heavy that it’s kind of understandable — but I’ll argue there’s emotional resonance at play especially in their later work, and it’d be miraculous if calling it that didn’t undercut the work they’ve put in growing as songwriters and performers let them march and convey slog without actually being a drag to hear. All this and Per Wiberg doubling the riff of “Empress Rising,” too? It was a good night to be alive at Freak Valley Festival, and I ended it up front while the band handed out setlists and tossed drumsticks to the crowd, and zero regrets for that.

More tomorrow, and more the day after that. Hi from Freak Valley. Pics after the jump.

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Full Earth Premiere “Echo Tears”; Cloud Sculptors Out March 15

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on February 7th, 2024 by JJ Koczan

FULL EARTH Cloud Sculptors

Norwegian progressive instrumentalists Full Earth will make their full-length debut with the 2LP Cloud Scuptors on March 15. The Oslo-based outfit release through respected purveyor Stickman Records, which makes them labelmates to Elder, Iron Jinn and King Buffalo — Stickman is also the ancestral home of Norwegian prog dispensers Motorpsycho, which will be relevant shortly — and like each of those outfits, Full Earth have their own take on a progressive heavy ideology. To call it expansive is to say the least of it.

There’s been a palpable buzz around Full Earth, and reasonably so. With the three members of Kanaan all involved — guitarist Ask Vatn Strøm, bassist Eskild Myrvoll, and drummer/project spearhead Ingvald André Vassbø — alongside bassist Simen Wie and organist/synthesist Øystein Aadland, the five-piece seemed to be immediately embraced as part of that band’s ongoing momentum. Before a song was released, let alone word of Cloud Sculptors or more details about the project’s prog-honoring, sometimes-longform, deeply methodical approach, the band were popping up on festival bills for Spring 2024, and indeed, they’ll be at Desertfest in Oslo and Berlin as well as Roadburn, with Freak Valley in Germany this June and Down the Hill in Belgium in August and probably tours hither and yon as well.

The actual arrival of the album, then, is anticipated. Full Earth meet that electric undercurrent with a massive glut of headspinning prog and other atmospheric and purposeful explorations. The bulk of Cloud Sculptors‘ feature-length 85 minute runtime resides in its most extended pieces: opener “Full Earth Pt. I – Emanation” and the title-track for a 40-minute one-two pairing at the start of the record. This initial impression, the runs of keyboard notes alongside sustained distortion and feedback around 14 minutes into the leadoff, or the bounce of organ that sweetly starts “Cloud Sculptors” hinting at some of the vintage-synthery both of the largely-melancholy-in-the-Lake-era-King-Crimson-tradition “The Collective Unconscious” (18:37) and the exploratory “Echo Tears,” which premieres below.

You would be hard-pressed to find someone less qualified than I to discuss the work of Daniel Lopatin or probably any number of the other krautrock and classic prog influences under which Full Earth are operating, but what you really need to know in listening to the album is everything’s under control. Yeah, Full Earth are kind of doing for krautrock and the headier end of kosmiche what Earthless did for classic heavy in cherrypicking stylistic aspects and blowing them out to epic proportion while staying conscious enough to actually guide the listener. But it’s that last part that’s the most important, because what most affects the listening experience is the skill with which Full Earth execute these pieces.full earth echo tears

I won’t pretend that “Full Earth Pt. I – Emanation” or its closing counterpart “Full Earth PT. II – Disintegration,” “The Collective Unconscious” or “Cloud Sculptors” itself aren’t overwhelming. They absolutely are and I think that’s the point; operating under the “put it out now and let them spend the next six years picking it apart” ethic, and indeed Cloud Sculptors might be densely packed enough at its most intense to provide fodder for a long-term deep-dive (if they do more records, I expect the phrase “long term deep dive” to come up again as a summation of their career arc), while remaining dynamic in the starts-peaceful “Full Earth Pt. II – Disintegration” and “Weltgeist,” which makes me want to put on a lounge jacket and make a documentary about space with all the latest science 1976 has to offer, speaking in clear, Saganian tones about the mysteries of the universe while Full Earth remind that at its heart all of the cosmos is math.

It is rare that a debut album comes with such a sense of mastery, and Cloud Sculptors has purpose to match. Each song, each change, a little swap in the drums or on keys in that all-in immersive rollout at the start, is in its place and keyed to bring as much to the proceedings as possible. They’re willing to reside in parts, as a band with 20-minute songs had better be, but cognizant of the listener’s place in and interaction with the material. Songs unfold in movements, ideas fluidly melding with graceful performances, a marked heft in reserve for when it’s needed, and guide the listener through Cloud Sculptors‘ otherwise staggeringly complex path. They might be pairing the half-time drums and what sounds like double-time guitar on “The Collective Unconscious” or making aural references that at very least I’ll probably never get, but you can also put on the album and Full Earth, through the music itself, act as a guide to get you safely from one end to the other. So while it’s a lot to take on, you can also roll with it as Full Earth quickly earn a trust that can’t be faked.

In talking about “Echo Tears” under the player below, Vassbø talks about using instruments “to their full extent.” That’s a classic prog phrase and mentality. He’s pushing himself and the instrument(s) as part of the same drive, trying to “get as much out” of the drums, organ, whatever it might be. Keep that in mind as you listen to “Echo Tears,” which is drumless and comparatively minimal next to “The Collective Unconscious” before or “Full Earth Pt. II – Disintegration” after. Because it doesn’t just have to mean playing fast, or making a part as busy as it can be, but utilizing a given instrument as a tool of emotive expression or sonic exploration, as seems to be the case with this track. And no, “Echo Tears” doesn’t represent the whole crux of Cloud Sculptors‘ 85 minutes — how could it? — in terms of basic sound, but as you listen to the track, know that Full Earth‘s ability to carry the listener through its atmospheric contemplations absolutely does.

The potential here is vast, and it’s difficult not to think of what Full Earth might accomplish in the future based on their achievements here, but worth staying in the moment as you listen.

As always, I hope you enjoy:

Full Earth, “Echo Tears’ track premiere

Full Earth (Photo by Thea Grant)

Echo Tears is the second single from the up and coming experimental rock band Full Earth’s debut album, Cloud Sculptors. Album preorders launch Feb. 9 via

The tune is one out of two shorter organ-compositions from the album that are more inspired by electronic and modernist classical music. The song is an echo-jam for Full Earth’s combo-organs in the style of Oneohtrix Point Never’s early releases, and an attempt to adapt this cosmic style for fluttery organs. The French band Heldon and Laurie Spiegels Expanding Universe are two other important references. The organ-arpeggios, recorded by Øystein Aadland and Ingvald Vassbø in their rehearsal space, feels like they are levitating and circling freely in the air. One goes into a trance and the insisting and repetitive music grows continuously. In a mechanical but analog way, always towards an ecstatic vision. Echo Tears is exploring another edge of the Full Earth-universe than the band’s first single Cloud Sculptors did, and shows how wide and multicoloured the bands’ pallet at times can be.

Says Ingvald Vassbø: «A few years ago, I was totally in love with the early and cosmic synth-works of Daniel Lopatin, and listened to it almost every night before going to sleep. It was a really fun process to let myself be inspired by that music, make some kind of echo-jam in that vein and record it together with Øystein in our rehearsal space. We got really inspired, and I really feel that we managed to utilize our instruments, my Terry Riley-organ, Øystein’s Farfisa and our tape-echo to their full extent.»

Cloud Sculptors tracklisting:
1. Full Earth Pt. I – Emanation (21:06)
2. Cloud Sculptors (20:05)
3. Weltgeist (6:08)
4. The Collective Unconscious (18:37)
5. Echo Tears (5:36)
6. Full Earth Pt. II – Disintegration (13:46)

The fantastic “Echo Tears” artwork is made by Sunniva Hårstad
Pre save:

Full Earth live:
18.04 – @rare_guitar Münster 🇩🇪
19.04 – Magazine 4 Brüssel 🇧🇪
20.04 – @roadburnfest , Tilburg 🇳🇱
22.04 – @le3pieces , Rouen 🇫🇷
23.04 – @linternational_paris Paris 🇫🇷
24.04 – Venue tbc, Köln 🇩🇪
25.04 – @trauma_marburg Marburg 🇩🇪
26.04 – Freaques de la Musique, Bremen 🇩🇪
27.04 – @husetkbh , København 🇩🇰
10.05 – @sonic_whip , Nijmegen 🇳🇱
11.05 – @desertfest_oslo 🇳🇴
23.05 – @gjovikkinoogscene 🇳🇴
24.05 – @lokal.trhm , Trondheim 🇳🇴
26.05 – @desertfest_berlin 🇩🇪
29.05 – Blauer Salon/Hausbar, Tübingen 🇩🇪
30.05 – @freakvalleyfestival Netphen 🇩🇪
30.05 – Posten, Odense 🇩🇰
31.05 – @esbjerg_fuzztival l 🇩🇰
31.08 – @downthehillfestival Rilaar 🇧🇪

Full Earth are:
Øystein Aadland – farfisa organ, yamaha yc30 organ, mellotron, synthesizer
Ask Vatn Strøm – guitars
Simen Wie – electric bass, additional guitar
Eskild Myrvoll – additional guitar, korg MS-20 synthesizer, noise
Ingvald Vassbø – drums, yamaha yc30 organ

Full Earth, Cloud Sculptors (2024)

Full Earth on Facebook

Full Earth on Instagram

Full Earth on Bandcamp

Stickman Records website

Stickman Records on Facebook

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Down the Hill 2024 Announces Rotor, Briqueville, Full Earth & More

Posted in Whathaveyou on December 27th, 2023 by JJ Koczan

down the hill 2024

Belgian festival Down the Hill has begun to unveil its lineup for Aug. 30-31, 2024, with Rotor at the top of a bill that, as the fill-in-the-blank-style poster (which I dig) underscores the point there’s more to come. Not that Rotor couldn’t headline, but yeah. They’re joined in this announcement by Full Earth, the Kanaan offshoot who don’t have a record yet but are popping up on bills up, down, here and there, Fuzzy GrassBriquevilleVandal XKozmotron and Cuberdon, which is less than half of the total number of acts who will play. There are 17 TBAs on the poster below. Yes, I counted before I saw the number in the festival’s post.

I’ve been writing about Down the Hill for a few years now, and I’ve never been or anything like that, but all accounts I’ve seen and heard tell me that it’s a laid back, vibe-centered time, and in theory and practice I think that’s a thing worth supporting. August is a while off, so I don’t know when the next reveal will be made, but tickets are on sale as of Dec. 27, which might be today by the time this gets posted — it’s 4AM Xmas Eve as I write; I have no answer for why I’m awake but at least I’m getting shit done — and if you’d like to keep up also, the fest’s Facebook and site are linked below.

To wit:

down the hill 2024 first poster

Down the Hill 2024

Here they are, the first small load of bands for Down The Hill 2024

– Rotor (De)
– Fuzzy Grass (Fr)
– Vandal X (Be)
– Kozmotron (Be)
– Cuberdon (Be)

17 more to be announced very soon.

But first our Early Bird Tickets…

They will go on sale on December 27, 10 A.M…. Be ready!

Regular tickets will follow as soon as the Early Birds are sold out.

Keep an eye on our socials. Event page:

Spread the word and rock on!

Down the Hill 2024 lineup add video

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Roadburn 2024 Adds Over 30 Acts in New Lineup Announcement

Posted in Whathaveyou on December 7th, 2023 by JJ Koczan

Insert your preferred cliché about Xmas coming early, as Roadburn Festival has just loosed a massive lineup announcement that will bring more than 30 bands and solo artists to the 2024 edition set for next April in the fest’s customary home of Tilburg, the Netherlands. They’ve brought on The Bevis Frond for the first time since 2006, and Health, Torpor, Full Earth, Darsombra, Alber Jupiter, Royal Thunder, Birds in Row, Deaf Club, Blood Incantation, on and on and on for a totally overwhelming multi-day experience that’s still just a fraction of what Roadburn will have on offer by the time the next few months have passed.

While I’m here and perhaps have the relevant attention, I owe Roadburn an apology for what was a misunderstanding on my part as regards Khanate. I said when Khanate announced additional shows that I could’ve sworn they were Roadburn-exclusive. In fact, that was never the case and my “could’ve sworn” was incorrect. I’m sorry for any inconvenience this may have caused. Not making excuses or anything, but I was definitely stoned when I put that post together. While I’m being honest, sometimes I forget that anyone might read this or that the words I say might have any consequence whatsoever. I’m doing my best, kids. The mind wanders.

Often to thoughts of Tilburg, but I guess having a dog named Tilly will do that too. In any case, permanent, unflinching, deep-in-the-muscle-tissue love to all at Roadburn out front and behind the scenes. It goes without saying there’s some stunning stuff here, and should you be attending, I hope whatever Roadburn choose-your-own-adventure you undertake is a personal landmark.

From the PR wire this morning:

Roadburn-2024 new add

Roadburn adds over thirty new names to the 2024 lineup including Health, Kavus Torabi, UBOA and a second clipping. set.

Roadburn has today added over thirty new names to the 2024 lineup. Amongst the artists announced is Health who will make a triumphant return to the festival, Kavus Torabi who will perform a specially commissioned project, and a second set for experimental hip hop group, Clipping.

These artists – and more – join Blood Incantation who were announced for the festival last week. The Denver-based four piece will perform their ambient album, Timewave Zero, in full, as well as a second set that will encompass tracks from their metal catalogue.

Roadburn’s artistic director, Walter Hoeijmakers comments: “It’s a huge pleasure to finally bring you this extensive announcement. We have been working intensely for such a long time. As we add these artists to the lineup, we can see it beginning to reflect the broad scope and feel of Roadburn 2024, truly showcasing the underground as it is today – varied, innovative and incredibly exciting.

“We are flying in a lot of these bands from all over for the festival, and we know how daunting it can be for an artist to travel halfway across the world for just one gig. With that in mind, we have asked several of them to play multiple sets. This will help make the most of their time at Roadburn, amplifying their voices as much as possible and giving them a rare chance to fully express themselves through all of their different artistic and musical facets.”

Roadburn 2024 will take place between April 18-21 in Tilburg, The Netherlands. Tickets are on sale now.

Following a mind-blowing performance at Roadburn 2022, HEALTH will return to Tilburg to bring their distinctive sound and unparalleled energy back to the festival – this time on the main stage. With the release of their brand new album Rat Wars propelling them forward, the sky’s the limit for Health.

clipping. have added a second set – the experimental hip hop trio will now play both Thursday, 18 April and Friday, 19 April, promising that “one will be more of a “party” (more upbeat, dance-floor-ready tracks) and the other will be something darker (more of our harsher, less beat-driven tracks).”

Kavus Torabi – renowned for his work with the likes of Gong, The Utopia Strong, Knifeworld and The Holy Family – will present a commissioned project titled Lion of The Lord’s Elect. This performance will comprise original material, performed for the very first time, commissioned by Roadburn.

Uboa will be an artist in residence at Roadburn – performing three distinctive sets over the course of the festival, including the live debut of The Origin of My Depression in its entirety. The Australian noise artist will showcase different facets of her creativity across the trio of performances.

Labelmates Ragana and Drowse will perform a brand new collaborative piece of music titled The Ash from Mount Saint Helens. These two artists both release music under The Flenser label, and are uniting to create a new composition that will premiere at Roadburn.

Also announced:

  • Alber Jupiter will release a new album in 2024 and promise interstellar kosmische missives galore.
  • The experimental folk and drone of Annelies Monseré is set to leave an impression on Roadburn audiences.
  • After biding their time, Benefits will make their presence felt this coming April..
  • Birds In Row will perform their 2022 album, Gris Klein, in its entirety.
  • Body Void will return to Roadburn to perform their new release, Atrocity Machine, in full.
  • After much unavoidable delay, Cult Leader will finally performA Patient Man at Roadburn this Spring.
  • Krautrock and misty soundscapes collide as Darsombra prepare to take to the stage.
  • The effervescent Deaf Club will make their Roadburn debut.
  • Melancholic, ambient solo artist Kyle Bates aka Drowse will perform his own show as well as the collaboration with Ragana.
  • Eye Flys bring their distinctively caustic sound to Roadburn.
  • Drawing influence from the bleak tones of a post-industrial Northern England, Forest Swords will bring his spectral soundscapes to life.
  • Making their first foray into Europe, Frail Body will stop by Tilburg to perform tracks from their hotly anticipated new album.
  • Fuck Money are an incomparable band from Austin, TX – bringing their chaotic maelstrom of transgressive audio aggression to our doorstep.
  • The brand new psychedelic, organ-driven sound of Full Earth is heading to Roadburn.
  • Having dominated Europe already this year, Home Front will return with Roadburn in their sights; expect synth-driven post-punk.
  • The acerbic sound of macabre grindcore will make an appearance thanks to Knoll.
  • Industrial beats, apocalyptic noise, and gothic flourishes will all make an appearance during Lana Del Rabies’ Roadburn set
  • Laster will perform their incredible new album, Andermans Mijne, in full.
  • Titillation and transformation are high on the agenda for Patriarchy.
  • Having made a huge impact with their latest album, Desolation’s Flower, Ragana will at last make their Roadburn debut.
  • Richard Dawson’s distinctive take on British folk is long overdue an appearance at Roadburn.
  • Royal Thunder will perform two sets at Roadburn; one career-spanning set titled TIME + SPACE + REVIVAL and the other being a run through of their latest magnificent opus, Rebuilding The Mountain.
  • Sunrise Patriot Motion offer up an alluring take on gothic post-punk
  • New Jersey’s Sunrot will be making their first trip to Europe, starting at Roadburn.
  • Shadowy three piece, Thantifaxath, will bring their angular take on black metal to the festival.
  • After many years, The Bevis Frond will return to Roadburn – having last appeared with their take on psychedelic sonic explorations at the festival back in 2006.
  • Oppressive doom trio Torpor will perform their latest album Abscission in full.
  • Belgian-based trio Use Knife will present their radiant energy to Roadburn.

The Bevis Frond, “Lead” live at Roadburn 2006

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Desertfest Berlin 2024 Makes First Lineup Announcement

Posted in Whathaveyou on November 3rd, 2023 by JJ Koczan

Behold as Desertfest Berlin launches its 2024 season with 15 bands like hey getting 15 bands in a place is no big deal. Of course, maybe it isn’t for the now-long-running German event with close ties to the Sound of Liberation booking concern, but for the rest of the planet. You’ll note Belgian post-metallers Amenra and always-hip weirdos Osees at the top of the thus-far bill followed immediately by Acid King and The Brant Bjork Trio, both of whom will also take part in Desertfest Oslo 2024 as announced yesterday. Norway’s Full Earth, an offshoot of Kanaan with a debut album coming next year on Stickman, will also be at both events, and they’re likely not the last.

So, context tells us to expect at least two weeks of touring in Europe from those three outfits. Monkey3 are on the road now, Siena RootDÿse and Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs — new live LP out — were recently confirmed for Bear Stone Festival 2024 in July, and it’s not unthinkable they’d be doing shows from one to the other. They’re confirmed here alongside Tuareg rockers Tamikrest, Earth Tongue from New Zealand, Thronehammer, Dirty Sound Magnet, Praise the Plague and Neànder. Sounds like a festival to me. I’m ashamed at this point to say I’ve never been.

Info came down the PR wire, courtesy of Sound of Liberation:

DESERTFEST BERLIN 2024 first announce square

DESERTFEST BERLIN Announces First Bands For 2024! Tickets On Sale Now!

Desertfest Berlin friends (#129304#)

We’re delighted to finally share with you the first names of the bands that are going to play on our stage in 2024❤️‍(#128293#) AMENRA from Belgium are going to be one of our headliners along with the LA’s psych-punk warrior OSEES ⚡️ We’re happy to see again the great ACID KING and BRANT BJORK TRIO and welcome TAMIKREST for the first time with their mix of traditional African music and Western rock (#128165#) The Newcastle’s doom rockers PIGS x7 will play for us their new album ‘Land of Sleeper’ while MONKEY3 and SIENA ROOT will bring their instrumental psychedelic rock and bluesy hard rock to our stage. Get ready for the emotional as well as decal-laden music of DŸSE and the psychedelic rock by the trio Dirty Sound Magnet (#127786#)️ You’re going to experience the heavy psychedelic / fuzz music of EARTH TONGUE directly from New Zealand, and the epic doom of THRONEHAMMER (#128588#) The experimental Oslo based rock-quintet Full Earth will play along the black metallers PRAISE THE PLAGUE and NEÀNDER both from Berlin ⚡️

Get ready for more names very soon. We’re stoked!!



Desertfest Berlin
May 24th – 26th 2024
Columbia Venues


Acid King, Beyond Vision (2023)

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Desertfest Oslo 2024 Announces Initial Lineup

Posted in Whathaveyou on November 2nd, 2023 by JJ Koczan

Desertfest Oslo banner

Set across two days from May 10-11, the inaugural Desertfest Oslo has made its first lineup announcement, with German heavy rock magnates and now-four-piece Kadavar at the top of the thus-far bill with Monolord as the Swedish riff-huffers apparently will look to return to the road next year. Not a ton of names, but you’ll note those and a few other Desertfest veterans in Acid King and The Brant Bjork Trio (who obviously haven’t played Oslo but have appeared elsewhere under the Desertfest banner), as well as Norway’s own Full Earth, Bismarck (new LP in 2024?) and Agabas rounding out the initial salvo in representing Oslo and the surround country’s vibrant and varied native underground.

A bit of behind-the-scenes fun here as well. This past weekend in Oslo was the annual Høstsabbat Festival, and part of the team behind that event held each year at the Kulturkirken Jacob is also involved in putting together Desertfest Oslo 2024. So after no doubt working on the two at the same time, they’ve now finished one event and almost immediately begun announcements for the next. This is the cycle of festival seasons in Europe now, and that team is not the only crew in the heavy underground with more than one multi-day lineup in progress at the same time.

There are more names to come — certainly Norway has a ton of bands; I’d be surprised if Norna didn’t get added, and Slomosa seem like an absolute must — but there’s time for such things and tickets are on sale in the meantime if you’re either up for making early travel plans (I am) or just looking to spend a bit of cash. It will be interesting to see how this complements Desertfest London and Desertfest Berlin as those two begin their announcements as well for next Spring. Going to be a busy season, I think, but most are.

From social media:

desertfest oslo 2024 first poster

Finally! (#127797#)

It´s time to reveal the first band announcement for the first Scandinavian Desertfest edition ever.

And man, what a start!

We are more than thrilled to present this first batch of bands, including massive Desert-legends such as Acid King and Brant Bjork Trio, the ultra riff-worship from Monolord, German groove-excellence from the lords in KADAVAR, and steaming local talent from Agabas and Bismarck, and to top it off, the new outlet spawning out from wünder-group Kanaan, Full Earth!

This weekend in May will treat you with the best of the best, leaving no amps unturned(#128293#)

Ordinary tickets out now!

More to follow soon..

Kadavar, Live in Bremen, Germany, April 16, 2023

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Freak Valley Festival 2024 Makes First Lineup Announcement

Posted in Whathaveyou on September 28th, 2023 by JJ Koczan

I have every intention of being at Freak Valley Festival 2024 when it takes place next May into June, and given the first 11 acts to be announced for its lineup, I’m already glad for that. Yes, no doubt Monolord will crush and I just saw 1000mods like a week ago so I know they’re killing it, but the chance to see the likes of Daevar or Fuzzy GrassSpeckMouthFull Earth (begat by Kanaan) and Slomosa, the young Norwegian outfit at the potential spearhead of a new generation of Euro heavy rock — the kind of band who’ll be headlining in a few years if they keep putting the work in like they are and the songs hold up. Already there’s stuff I never thought I’d see, stuff I’ve seen and know will be awesome, and stuff I haven’t seen that I want to see. Call that a win for a first announcement.

I wrote a decent portion of the below, but some was added, so I’m not gonna take full credit or anything like that. Nonetheless, as posted on socials:

freak valley 2024 first announcement

Freak Valley Festival 2024 Lineup Announcement!

Ladies and gentlemen, freaks of all ages, get ready to rock your world at Freak Valley Festival 2024! We’re thrilled to unveil the first part of an incredible lineup featuring some of the most electrifying bands from around the globe.
Freak Valley 2024 is set for May 30 – June 1.

You’ve already seen that Early Freak Tickets are on sale for Sept. 30 at Vortex Surfer in Siegen, and Regular Tickets again Oct. 2. Online sales start Oct. 3 and tickets hit local shops on Oct. 4.
But enough about that!!

You’ve been waiting, we’ve been waiting, and the first band we’re ready to unveil for Freak Valley Festival 2024 is MONOLORD.

The Swedish kingpins of plus-sized riffs were last with us in 2019. Will they be back with a new album next summer? It’s cool to hope so, but either way, you can’t go wrong when Monolord come to crush, which they always do.

They’ll be joined by Greek heavy rock kingpins 1000MODS, Norwegian upstarts SLOMOSA — whose second record will be out by June — and ALEX HENRY FOSTER who you might remember was supposed to play in 2023, as well as DŸSE, SPECK, DAEVAR and FUZZY GRASS from France.

Newcomer Kanaan-offshoot FULL EARTH will join us from from Norway and long-running Chilean sludge outfit DEMONAUTA will grace our stage for the first time.

Rounding out this first announcement closer to home, we’ll bring Köln heavy prog stalwarts MOUTH on board, heralding this year’s ‘Getaway’ LP, which is must-hear if you haven’t!

(#128266#) Here’s the star-studded lineup:

Monolord – 1000mods – Dÿse – Slomosa – Alex Henry Foster – Mouth – Speck – Demonauta- Full Earth- Fuzzy Grass – Daevar

All killers, no fillers. That’s how we do it, freaks. Get your tickets now because they’ll be gone before you know it.

Prepare for an unforgettable weekend filled with mind-blowing performances, heavy riffs, and an atmosphere that’ll keep you rocking all night long. Freak Valley Festival 2024 is set to be an absolute musical extravaganza!

Monolord, It’s All the Same (2023)

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Full Earth Sign to Stickman Records; Debut Album in 2024

Posted in Whathaveyou on June 1st, 2023 by JJ Koczan

You might recognize the members of Oslo instrumentalists Kanaan in the lineup of Full Earth. That band released their Downpour (review here) full-length on May 5 and have been out playing shows for it, with more to come this summer, but in the meantime, Full Earth have been announced as the latest addition to the roster of Germany’s Stickman Records, and confirmed they’ll release their debut album as a 2LP sometime early in 2024. I don’t have a lot of names on my list keeping track of next year yet, but I just added this one.

The video below, with Full Earth performing “Weltgeist” as the on-keys duo of Ingvald Vassbø and Øystein Aadland, is why. Meditative and exploratory, the sound conjured there is hypnotic, and while I don’t expect it to fully account for what their first release will offer when the time comes — there are three other players involved, remember — as a teaser it shows them reaching out in terms of style and I dig that. Also didn’t realize Vassbø had joined Motorpsycho, but as regards Norwegian prog-anything, that’s a pretty significant feather in the cap.

From Stickman‘s newsletter:

full earth


We are elated to announce our partnership with an exciting new band from Oslo, Full Earth!

Headed by and centered around composer and drummer Ingvald Vassbø (best known for his stellar drumming in Kanaan, now also playing with Motorpsycho), the group is rounded out by the other two members of Kanaan as well as two new associates. Full Earth creates entrancing organ and synth-laden soundscapes anchored by tight rhythmic grooves. As arpeggiated keys pass and interlock with one another, a compelling and hypnotic picture reveals itself to the listener gradually. Full Earth is truly a unique band and we were hooked from the first listen, which is why we’re so much more excited to be releasing their first record.

Says the band: “Grand announcement! Full Earth has now officially signed a record deal with the legendary Stickman Records and our double-debut album will be out early next year! We´re so happy about this and are looking forward to this partnership. More updates are around the corner!”

Stay tuned for more details in the coming months!

Full Earth, “Weltgeist”

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