Review & Full Album Premiere: Bottenhavet, Ljud i Tysta Rum

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on April 10th, 2024 by JJ Koczan

Bottenhavet Ljud i tysta rum

Stockholm’s Bottenhavet make their full-length debut this week with Ljud i Tysta Rum on Fuzzorama Records. And yes, it’s in Swedish; titles and lyrics. I’ll spare you Anglicizing the songs or words — part out of respect to what feels like an aesthetic choice on the part of the four-piece, part just because there’s only so much room to go around and I’d rather talk about the music — and the truth of the matter is that while I don’t doubt the band have something to say, there’s plenty that gets posted around here in English that’s even less decipherable. If you find yourself wanting to sing along, swept up perhaps by opening cut “Våg” as it moves into its soaring chorus driven by a duly-fuzzed surge from Andreas Bohman‘s guitar, David Lecander‘s bass and Marcus Wigren‘s drums with the vocals of Kim Minkkinen, especially to my fellow Americans reading this sentence, I’ll just remind you that nobody’s gonna yell at you if you get the accent wrong in following the melody. We’re all friends here.

Its eight songs split in half such that the cyclical hum of interlude “Frågor Utan Svar” feeds into the start of “Jord” on side B — obviously in CD/DL, that’s a direct shift — Ljud i Tysta Rum (‘sound in quiet rooms’) plays out its 36 minutes with hook-minded accessibility, hitting hard at the outset with the aforementioned “Våg” to make sure all who are getting on board have good reason, before letting a more spacious verse hint at some of the progressive aspects that underscore “Bränn Broar” or the piano-inclusive “I Skuggan” in the shimmering, patient solo that matches the soulful vocal atop its post-Soundgarden nodding fluidity, and the twisting stylizations of guitar leading through vibrant closer “Hennes Liv.” To complement this emergent nuance, the big-riff ideology of “Talar Miljon,” the space cast in “Motorväg” to follow that of “Våg,” and even the drop to strum and vocals at the culmination of “Jord” — just talking about the last 20 seconds of the song, never mind what’s before that — offer character and craft alike, resulting in anBottenhavet across-album flow that is neither hurried nor content to dwell in one place in terms of sound.

These elements seem to have been there at the band’s beginnings in 2021’s Ett Hav av Tå​rar EP, which was answered over the next year by a trio of standalone singles, but Ljud i Tysta Rum is clear in its intention to continue to move forward along its varied course. What draws the individual pieces that comprise the record together are the tones, the vocals and the commitment to traditional heavy rock verse/chorus structures — “Frågor Utan Svar” notwithstanding — that make “Våg,” “Talar Miljon” and “Bränn Broar” with its furiously-drummed intro such an effective opening salvo. And while the dynamic at root in Bottenhavet‘s sound lets them explore the reaches and breadth in the payoff of the latter there before side A ends with its guitar almost solely focused on atmosphere is surely bolstered through the production of Robert Pehrsson, the immediacy of those initial moments never dissipates, even as the melancholic blues of “I Skugget” set out on their linear building course soon followed by . That is to say, in the foundations of the songs, Bottenhavet capture and maintain a live energy and momentum front-to-back, and the audience’s listening experience feels like a consideration in that balance.

And balance is a big part of by Ljud i Tysta Rum works so well and holds such promise. Regardless of the language barrier, it is thoroughly Swedish in style, and whether it’s a flash of Skraeckoedlan‘s melodiousness or Truckfighters‘ shove, Graveyard‘s soul or a Dozerian charge — and don’t make me namedrop November for classic prog; I’m just crazy enough to do it — a rich history and tapestry of Bottenhavet‘s native underground influences can be felt throughout, even as the band begin to distill them into the persona that they will hopefully carry ahead on subsequent offerings. To present thrills and optimistic futures, then. Skål.

Ljud i Tysta Rum streams in its entirety below. Bottenhavet have dates coming up in Sweden, Poland and Finland, and you’ll find those along with more PR wire background and the video for “Våg” after the YouTube embed.

Happy trails:

Bottenhavet, Ljud i Tysta Rum album premiere

Preorder link:

Bottenhavet (translates to ’The Bothnian Sea’) was originally formed in 2020 by Marcus Wigren, Kim Minkkinen and Charlie Karlsson (2020-2023), and later joined by Andreas Bohman (2021). All being musicians with various musical backgrounds adding their skills and preferences to the mix that together creates the ”Bothnian sound”. To add another layer of uniqueness to the music, the songs are sung in their native language, Swedish. After gaining a steadily increasing following with their initial four track EP release “Ett hav av tårar” (released March 19th 2021) as well as follow up singles “När tiden dör”, “Faller” (released summer and autumn of 2021) and “Allt på svart” (released spring of 2022), the band knew it was about time to start working on their debut album.

The writing process started late 2022. And in mid April 2023 Bottenhavet entered Studio Humbucker, owned and run by the legendary Robert Pehrsson (known from Robert Pehrsson Humbucker, Death breath, Dundertåget, Imperial state electric etc), to record drums. Vocals and guitars were recorded by the band themselves before Pehrsson later mixed and mastered the album. In the summer of 2023 Bottenhavet signed a record deal with Fuzzorama Records, run by none less than the masterminds behind fuzz rock giants Truckfighters, Oskar Cedermalm and Niklas Källgren. The album ‘Ljud i tysta rum’ is to be released on Fuzzorama Records in early 2024.

In 2023 the band played the 4th edition of Fuzz Festival in Stockholm and David Lecander joined the band.

‘Ljud i tysta rum’ album tracklisting:
1. Våg
2. Talar miljon
3. Bränn Broar
4. Frågor Utan Svar
5. Jord
6. Motorväg
7. I Skuggan
8. Hennes Liv

Touring coming up as well, don’t miss out:

APR 13 – LATITUDE 59 – Uppsala, SWE
APR 18 – UTOPIA – Turku, FIN
MAY 4 – TBA – Stockholm, SWE
MAY 16 – 2PROGI – Poznan, PL
MAY 17 – PROXIMA – Warzawa, PL

Get tickets HERE:

Kim Minkkinen – Vocals
Marcus Wigren – Drums
Andreas Bohman – Guitar
David Lecander – Bass

Bottenhavet, “Våg” official video

Bottenhavet on Facebook

Bottenhavet on Instagram

Bottenhavet on YouTube

Bottenhavet on Bandcamp

Bottenhavet website

Fuzzorama Records website

Fuzzorama Records on Facebook

Fuzzorama Records on Instagram

Fuzzorama Records on Bandcamp

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Skraeckoedlan Premiere Vermillion Sky LP in Full; Out Wednesday

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on March 25th, 2024 by JJ Koczan

Skraeckoedlan Vermillion Sky

This Wednesday, March 27, Swedish heavy and progressive rockers Skraeckoedlan return with their fourth full-length, Vermillion Sky. It is their second LP through Fuzzorama Records behind the sprawling realization of 2019’s Eorþe (review here), with the years between finding the Borlänge/Norrköping four-piece reissuing their 2011 debut, Äppelträdet (review here) and its 2015 follow-up, Sagor (review here), through The Sign Records, and its arrival has been anticipated since the band unveiled “The Vermillion Sky” as a standalone single over half a year ago.

Vermillion Sky is a multifaceted project even before one gets to the rhythmic twists and melodic reaches, the grandiosities and quiet moments offered in its component eight tracks and 47 minutes, and if part of either that span of months or the not-accounted-for-by-plague portion of the five years it’s been since Eorþe comes from lining up logistics on either the video game or English-language novel intended to be released to complement the music, fair enough, though it was four between Sagor and that record as well, so it’s not an outlandish dearth of activity by any means. The novelization of Vermillion Sky, reportedly broken into chapters around each song, will perhaps be of particular interest to that non-Swedish-speaking contingent of their listenership who’ve maybe not been curious enough to run their lyrics through a translation matrix to get a semblance of the themes out of science-fiction, daikaiju, and so on.

To wit, “The Vermillion Sky,” caps an expansive A-side that begins with the drone-backed staticky dialogue in the two-minute intro “Cosmic Dawn” from whence a Devin Townsendy prog flow emerges with the anchoring fuzz on Erik Berggren‘s bass and fluid drumming of Martin Larsson‘s drums complemented by shimmer of synth and the guitars of Robert Lamu and Henrik Grüttner in a showcase of maturity and (condensed) patience that serves as preface to the stately composition of the title-track and others here. That obscured speech, mixed low enough that you genuinely might not hear it the first time through, ties into the escape-from-earth — and no, it’s not lost on me that their last record was ‘earth’ in translation — narrative of “The Vermillion Sky,” and while they seem to work in as well as around this thematic and it might at first be unclear how the hooky repetitions of the in-English title lyric to second single “Night Satan” fit in, the concept remains present for the lines, “Så lägg din hand i min och visa mig bland stjärnorna/Jag la min hand i din och du visa mig oändlighet” (“So put your hand in mine and show me the stars/I put my hand in yours and you show me infinity,” according to the internet), so those connections are there if not always obvious. One assumes the same applies for the likes of “Starsquatch,” “Metagalactic Void Honcho,” who sounds as burly as one might expect given the title, “Meteorb” or “Astronautilus” as well.

But even if you as the listener don’t take Vermillion Sky on for its storyline at all or if scrolling shooter games aren’t your thing, the songs are enough to carry you through. “Starsquatch” enters with a burst, resets in an open expanse of keyboard and sweeps in the first of a vast collection of massive grooves, characteristic in its adherence to fuzzier tonality and arrangement depth evident even just in the space between the guitar and drums, never mind the e-bow or whatever effect it is or the arrangement of lead and backing vocals in the rolling chorus. Hitting a stop at 4:40 into its 7:58, they break to echoing vocals and standalone guitar before surging forward again in a pointed wash of distortion that turns out to be a misdirect as they cut to clearer-sounding dual-guitar leads and a faster tempo verse ahead of the actual solo. Of course the riff comes back, bigger and more consuming, and the pattern of side A is set when “Mysteria” takes its turn riff-punching through the wall with dense low end and purposeful shove — the first half of the album trading shorter-to-longer pieces starting with “Cosmic Dawn” and the second half switching that to its own two longer tracks bookending the relative brevity of “Night Satan” and “Meteorb.”


So Skraeckoedlan are playing with time as well as space on Vermillion Sky, and the level of composition and nuance with which they do so shouldn’t be understated. Lamu‘s vocal melodies — and I’m sorry, I don’t know every detail on who’s doing what vocally here, but there are voice-swaps enough to make me think it’s multiple singers — go beyond following the riffs, which are occasionally busy enough that that would be a challenge anyway, and feel like part of the atmosphere along with the Mellotron and Rhodes (or some such) that further distinguish “Mysteria” after the push through its first half has already brought intense strikes of piano as part of its culminating build just before the two-and-a-half-minute mark.

That holds true in rougher-delivered or shoutier stretches like the end of “Mysteria,” or the gutted-out verses of “Metagalactic Void Honcho” surrounded by what sounds like duly gravitational destruction that dares some hope in its lead-topped final nod before it cuts to far-back guitar echoes and thud to end, or the galloping midsection of “Meteorb,” wherein even the air-tight structure and quick 3:38 runtime are enough for the band to use vocals as an instrument corresponding to the mood of a given part. The scorch of keyboard in that song’s charge, the way the drums open up the groove in the last hook, the details and nuance of the keys, synth, guitar, effects, whatever, in the mix — it all comes together as a complete representation of craft from Skraeckoedlan that feels deeper and more dug into its own processes than they’ve been before, but at the same time is more engaging and outward-reaching for that. If that’s a mature Skraeckoedlan self-producing and wielding their own sound, cognizant of their dynamic and the physicality of the material they’re writing, I’ll take it happily. They always feel like they’re ready to break out and run. That catch-up-to-this energy is always there, pulling the audience forward.

At the same time, their sense of control is palpable, whether it’s the look-what-we-can-do-with-a-stoner-riff mid-tempo chug in the verses of “Night Satan” — lest we forget their tonal and recording tutelage under Truckfighters (who also run Fuzzorama Records) — or the furies manifest in dramatic style on “Metagalactic Void Honcho” just before, but detracts neither from the energy in their delivery or their willingness to go all-in on an arrangement like “Astronautilus,” mellowing after its verse for a moment of proggy, key-topped exploration as it circles around and builds tension for its flowing, deceptively graceful emergence, leading into a solo and chorus that reinforce notions of structure even as they adrenaline-boost Vermillion Sky out of the atmosphere and into the resonant float of its comedown, some staticky layer there calling back to the opening of “Cosmic Dawn” as that structural cohesion finds its own meta level on which to operate.

Each album Skraeckoedlan have released has been an incremental step forward creatively from the one before it, and that applies to Vermillion Sky even as the band further define and distinguish an idea of their individual sound. That they recorded and mixed it themselves (Magnus Lindberg mastered) is also a crucial consideration — not because of any kind of down-scaling in production value; there isn’t one — but as another way to continue to grow as a unit and a means of more directly bringing their music to life. And whatever else is happening around them in various media, whatever apocalypses they’re conveying in the world they’ve conjured, these songs feel utterly alive.

The album streams in full below. Please enjoy:

Skraeckoedlan, Vermillion Sky album premiere

Order link:

In short, this is a sci-fi themed concept piece that screams DIY, having been entirely written, recorded, produced and mixed by the band themselves. A huge undertaking, especially considering one of the first steps in the process was basically to google: “how to properly mic a snare drum”. Mastering however has been beautifully done by Magnus Lindberg (Cult of Luna), which as always has yielded fantastic results.

Speaking of DIY and huge undertakings, Vermillion Sky will also be available as a novel (date to come), where each chapter corresponds to a track on the album. The story has been written by the band and is for those that want to take a real deep dive into the concept and join the crew of the Vermillion Sky as they unravel a mystery with galactic consequences. Contrary to the signature Swedish lyrics of the songs, the novel is in English.

An even more active way to interact with the release is to play the Vermillion Sky computer game the band has helped create. It’s an 8-bit style point chaser, where you travel through the Void as the ship, collecting upgrades to survive the multitude of enemies trying to put an end to your journey. If you want the absolute best experience of the game, make sure to come to one of the release tour shows, where Skraeckoedlan’s very own Vermillion Sky-arcade machine will be featured.

Live long and prosper!

Vermillion Sky tracklist
1. Cosmic Dawn (2:42)
2. Starsquatch (7:58)
3. Mysteria (5:21)
4. The Vermillion Sky (7:10)
5. Metagalactic Void Honcho (8:07)
6. Night Satan (4:53)
7. Meteorb (3:38)
8. Astronautilus (7:50)

Robert Lamu – Vocals, Guitar
Henrik Grüttner – Guitar, Vocals
Erik Berggren – Bass, Vocals
Martin Larsson – Drums, Vocals

Skraeckoedlan, Vermillion Sky game preview

Skraeckoedlan’s website

Skraeckoedlan on Instagram

Skraeckoedlan on Facebook

Fuzzorama Records website

Fuzzorama Records on Facebook

Fuzzorama Records on Instagram

Fuzzorama Records on Bandcamp

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Wizzerd Announce Spring West Coast Tour

Posted in Whathaveyou on February 21st, 2024 by JJ Koczan

In addition to a slot at Treefort Music Fest in Boise, Idaho, on March 22 and a three-pack of dates in the company of Matt Pike‘s Pike vs. the Automaton, the upcoming West Coast tour from Montana heavy rockers Wizzerd will lead to their return appearance at Rocky Mountain Riff Fest (info here), to be held April 20 in the band’s native Kalispell.

The four-piece toured this past Fall in support of 2022’s Space‽: Issue No. 001 (review here), hitting the Midwest and touching on the Eastern Seaboard, so a Spring complement along the Pacific (and inland) seems about right. They had talked at that point about moving on toward their next release, whatever shape that might ultimately take, and while this tour is substantial, I don’t see it precluding a focus on new material at all. What, if they play a couple new songs live it’s gonna hurt the next record? The opposite seems much likelier.

Either way — and mind you I don’t know that they’ll be playing new songs at all on the run — they continue to put their work in. The shows were posted on socials thusly:

Wizzerd tour

We’re pleased to announce the Equinox Tour! We can’t wait to get back out on the west coast, and there are some real doozies on this one. More news coming very soon, but for now we’ll see you at one of the dates below…
Details at the link in our bio!

3/16 – Kalispell, MT – Eagles
3/22 – Boise, ID – @treefortfest
3/23 – Salt Lake City, UT – @aceshighsaloon_slc
3/24 – Las Vegas, NV – Dive Bar
3/26 – Tempe, AZ – @yuccataproom
3/27 – Los Angeles, CA – @theredwoodbarandgrill
3/29 – Oceanside, CA – @pourhouseoceanside
3/30 – Yucca Valley, CA – @giantrockmeetingroom
4/1 – Santa Cruz, CA – @bluelagoonsc
4/2 – San Francisco, CA – @theknockoutsf
4/3 – Eureka, CA – @solarsiren
4/5 – Portland, OR – @dantesportland *
4/6 – Bremerton, WA – @tracytonmoviehouse *
4/7 – Seattle, WA – @elcorazonseattle *
4/20 – Kalispell, MT – @rockymtnrifffest
*=with Pike vs the Automaton

Poster by @isaacpasswaterillustration

Wizzerd is:
Guitar/Vocals – Jhalen Salazar
Guitar – Jamie Yeats
Drums – Sam Moore
Bass – Layne Matkovich

Wizzerd, Space: Issue No. 001 (2022)

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Skraeckoedlan: New Album Vermillion Sky Out March 27

Posted in Whathaveyou on January 15th, 2024 by JJ Koczan

Time for new Skraeckoedlan. Indeed, perhaps the Swedish progressive heavy rockers/metallers were feeling some of the weight of the long stretch since they put out 2019’s Eorþe (review here) when they released “The Vermillion Sky” — which it turns out is the title-track of the new record, Vermillion Sky — as a standalone single last year. The four-piece’s impending fourth long-player will see release March 27 in continued collab with Fuzzorama Records, and I’ll tell you right now it’s a burner. If you didn’t hear that track, it and “Night Satan” are both streaming below.

I value your time and wouldn’t try to waste it by recommending crap, so if you don’t know Skraeckoedlan yet, please take that endorsement for what it’s worth. I do feel like the greater likelihood at this point is that people do know the band. The last album got a great response, they’ve been at it for well over 10 years now, and they’ve toured consistently if not constantly during that time. But if you didn’t hear that single, now’s a good time, what with album preorders up and t-shirt bundles and all that sort of whatnot.

The announcement came through in Fuzzorama‘s newsletter and I combined it with info from the preorder page. Have at it:

Skraeckoedlan Vermillion Sky

Skraeckoedlan announce new album ‘VERMILLION SKY’ out March 27th


Introducing the ultimate auditory experience for all rock enthusiasts – SKRAECKOEDLAN’s “Vermillion Sky”

Four bearded Swedes who’s forged their unique sound of progressive stoner rock in the cold northern forests. Previous album Earth was a massive domestic success as it hit the hard rock charts in Sweden.

Dive headfirst into the surreal world of Swedish stoner rock with this mind-bending album.

“Vermillion Sky” is a sonic journey that transcends boundaries, with SKRAECKOEDLAN’s signature blend of heavy riffs, mesmerizing melodies, and haunting vocals. Let the adrenaline-infused tracks transport you to a parallel universe, where the vermillion sky reigns supreme!

Crafted by masterful musicians, this album offers an immersive experience. Discover Vermilion Sky, out after five years of silence.

Five years. Is that a long time to wait? Generally speaking, yes. Probably. Well, maybe. Time is after all relative, so there surely isn’t a fail-safe answer.

Available on:
Limited Edition 300 copies Gatefold Yellow vinyl with Red splatter
Limited Edition 500 copies Gatefold blue vinyl with red splatter
Limited Edition 400 copies Black vinyl
CD digipack

Robert Lamu – Vocals/Guitar
Henrik Grüttner – Guitar
Erik Berggren – Bass
Martin Larsson – Drums

Skraeckoedlan, The Vermillion Sky (2024)

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Truckfighters Announce Early 2024 European Touring

Posted in Whathaveyou on December 14th, 2023 by JJ Koczan

This past January, when posting a round of late-Winter/early-Spring touring to be undertaken by Sweden’s Truckfighters, I noted they’re due for a new album. The last 11 months haven’t made them any less so, to be sure. But if Truckfighters, who spent the earlier portion of their career establishing themselves as a barnburning live act, want to keep their focus on that part of what they do now, who the hell can blame them? That’s where the fun is, where the audience is, and where the merch sales happen most. The studio will still be there (hopefully anyhow) when they get back to it.

There are fests here and club shows around them. You’ll note Into the Void in the Netherlands, Desert Hel in Finland and Belgium’s Alcatraz Fest as one of probably more to come this summer, in addition to Interstellar Solar Festival and These Go to Eleven as part of this run. It’s probably not the only run they’ll do in 2024, and they’ve announced the dates for their next Fuzz Festival in Stockholm as well, which will be held Nov. 22-23. No bands confirmed yet, but there’s a pretty gosh darn solid chance Truckfighters will play as they do every year, in addition to hosting the event at Debaser Strand and Bar Brooklyn.

They say there’s more to come and I take them at their word. For now, this was the latest from the newsletter of the band-helmed label, Fuzzorama Records:

truckfighters spring 2024

TRUCKFIGHTERS announce Euro shows

Germany, Netherlands, UK, Finland, Belgium and more to come.

Truckfighters Tickets here:

21.2 BIELEFELD, D – Forum
22.2 DRESDEN, D – Chemiefabrik
23.2 ERFURT, D – Bandhaus
24.2 EINDHOVEN, NL- Into the void festival
25.2 FRANKFURT, D – Zoom
10.3 LONDON, UK – Garage
30.3 LEIDEN, NL – Interstellar solar festival
31.3 ZWOLLE, NL – These go to eleven festival
18.4 TURKU, F – Utopia
19.4 TAMPERE, F – Tullikamari Klubi
20.4 HELSINKI, F – Desert Hel festival
Aug 9-11 Alcatraz Festival, Belgium

Truckfighters, Live at Vera Groningen, March 25, 2023

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Bottenhavet Sign to Fuzzorama Records; Debut Album Coming Soon

Posted in Whathaveyou on October 23rd, 2023 by JJ Koczan

bottenhavet fuzzorama records

Once upon a however many years ago, respected Swedish fuzz purveyors Truckfighters signed Skraeckoedlan to their label, Fuzzorama Records, and their picking up Bottenhavet now reminds me of that perhaps because like Skraeckoedlan, Bottenhavet — from Stockholm — also have some aspects of sound in common with Truckfighters to begin with. But the style overall hits with its own impact, and while Bottenhavet aren’t necessarily as proggy as either Truckfighters or Skraeckoedlan at this point, they’re just putting out their debut album now. Give these things some time, hmm?

There’s no audio from the LP as yet and details are minimal — I’ll be interested to find out when the time comes if Bottenhavet recorded with Niklas Källgren, as Fuzzorama bands often do, especially for their first releases on the label — but a new single will be out right after Halloween called “Våg,” and one assumes more info will be forthcoming at that point. Fine. If you’re up for a little minimal-effort digging, while Bandcamp lasts you can check out a couple of tracks from their page that I’ve embedded below, as well as a quick announcement/teaser/promo for the record to come and the single that will arrive ahead of it next week.

Also noteworthy is that Bottenhavet play Truckfighters Fuzz Festival #4 at Debaser/Bar Brooklyn in Stockholm, which is held Nov. 10-11. More info here. I wish I was going.

Everything seems to be in order, then. I’ll let you off with a warning this time. Next time there might actually be new music to check out. Heads up from the Fuzzorama newsletter:

bottenhavet vag

Bottenhavet, latest addition to the Fuzzorama family!

”This is absolutely an instant match between Fuzzorama and Bottenhavet. Superb songs and in addition to that excellent musicians. Pre-save this new song and follow them for more tasty music in a near future”

First single of the forthcoming debut album out Nov 1st!


Bottenhavet, Fuzzorama Signing Announce

Bottenhavet, “Faller”

Bottenhavet, “N​ä​r tiden d​ö​r”

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Friday Full-Length: Asteroid & Blowback, Split LP

Posted in Bootleg Theater on September 8th, 2023 by JJ Koczan

asteroid and blowback split

Oh, the fuzz! What a time to be alive! Released in 2006 through a then-comparatively-nascent Fuzzorama Records — the catalog number is FuzzCD005; they’re past 40 by now — the Asteroid and Blowback split LP from the Örebro-based outfits arrived in fairly unassuming style. Its cover has the names of the bands, a pinwheel design, greenish tint. Not minimal necessarily, but you wouldn’t call it grandiose. It wasn’t the first release from either band, as Asteroid had a demo in 2004 and a self-titled EP in 2005 — man, I’d love to hear those; I bet there’s a CD-R somewhere — and Blowback had a five-song demo/EP also in 2005, also self-titled. But it was early days for both, and the progression that these two acts would undertake afterward across Asteroid‘s three full-lengths and Blowback‘s two can be traced to these corresponding six-song sets issued on CD some 17 years ago.

And yeah, 17 years both is and isn’t a long time. In rock and roll, it’s a bygone age. Legacies have been set, bands have come and gone and come again — including Asteroid — and the evolution of style and trend has continued mostly unabated since. But there’s more than intellectual value in this material, and more to Asteroid and Blowback than some hackneyed moral about the early potential of what would turn out to be good bands showing itself in raw form. In the organic tones of both acts as recorded by Truckfighters bassist/vocalist Oskar Cedermalm — whose band had just put out their own debut, the landmark Gravity X, in 2005 — and in the classic elements showcased within their styles, whether it’s the semi-retro vibes of Blowback pieces like “Holy Skies” and the swinging “Cosmic Dust” or the hand-percussion of Asteroid‘s “Supernova” and the melodic flourish of “Hexagon,” you can hear the roots of what they’d become.

The songs are songs — verses, choruses, bridges, solos, ends, etc. — but in Asteroid‘s jammier heavy-mellow languidity offset by the speedier stop-start swing of “Sim-Sala-Bim,” which makes it a party, and in the jazzy cymbal taps of the quiet noodly stretch in Blowback‘s “The Arquitect,” the mood is exploratory, exciting. Fresh. Each group offers six songs across a CD-era 62-minute runtime, and that’s plenty enough for each ‘side’ to have a flow of its own, Asteroid first and Blowback second as the cover and de facto title indicate. “Supernova” leads off which chunky-style fuzz riffing and some calmer wah, but moves into its middle with the aforementioned percussion as if to say, “Yeah, but we also do this,” and fleshing out the funkier aspects of their sound. “Anagram” and “Walk Alone” both demonstrate the dual-vocals of bassist/vocalist Johannes Nilsson and guitarist/vocalist/organist Robin HirseMartin Ström was reportedly the drummer at the time, but I’m not 100 percent on that — that would become such a part of Asteroid‘s sound on their three albums to-date, as they play around arrangements through psych-blues, fuzzy push and laid back stonerism, the heavy-hippie spirit palpable right up to the fadeout of the jam in “The Big Trip Beyond,” which caps what I almost can’t help but think of as their ‘side’ of the release.

As they almost invariably would, Blowback introduce themselves with a wah riff at the outset of “Holy Skies” and go on after 15 seconds or so to unfold a rich fuzz tied to Asteroid‘s own by methodology and production alike, with the first-name-only four-piece of guitarist Seb, bassist Crille, drummer Henke and vocalist Stefan taking some influence from the likes of Dozer in their hook there, answering the good-times vibes of the first six cuts on the split with some cowbell, and circling back to the chorus in a way that feels reliable and satisfying in kind. That is to say they groove plenty and the structures come across as somewhat tighter, though that assessment is certainly relative. But if you can’t nod to the nod under that solo in “Holy Skies,” go back and try again, because it’s there, right before the backmasked vocals end the track and “Autumn Leaf” begins its thick-bottom-end march with deceptive swing and movement, a slow shuffle that breaks in the middle to dreamier janga-janga before the riff returns, the vocals go watery and they delightfully fuzz-bounce to a fadeout ahead of “Fairys Dance.”

Here’s the Sabbath, if you’ve been waiting for it. There’s some shimmer layered in the fuzz of the second chorus on the quicker Blowback song, but the riff is duly Iommic and gives over to a sample under the solo and some peppered-in background vocals, tambourine and three or four fake endings before the bass exits as the last element to go into the subdued post-Witchcraft/pre-Graveyard slow, vintage-feeling proto-doom blues of “Cosmic Dust.” A highlight of the release for its sense of creep as well as the boogie that emerges therefrom and the layered chorus that accompanies, “Cosmic Dust” twists in the guitar and bass later on and doesn’t want for a payoff before its on-the-jam fade, but like “Fairys Dance” it doesn’t get anymore lost than it wants to. “The Arquitect” loosens the reigns more, has some push in the hook of its first half, before the handclaps and before when at four minutes in they give a clear break into the jam they’ll build back up and use as the crescendo of their outbound trajectory, fading out once more to let “Invisible Touch” serve as epilogue, which is fair enough as a four-and-a-half-minute comedown from the entrenched fuzz threaded through the 11 cuts prior.

After this, as noted, Asteroid put out three LPs — 2007’s self-titled (discussed here), 2010’s II (discussed here, review here) and 2016’s III (review here) — and other odds and ends before announcing a hiatus in 2017 that would end the next year. There have been rumors of new stuff in the works for a while, and if it happens that they do something else, great. Between Asteroid‘s III and Blowback‘s 2008 debut, Morning Wood — after which they signed to Transubstans for 2010’s 800 Miles (review here) — I had a hard time picking what would cap the week, but it was the nebulous character of Asteroid and Blowback that spoke to me, and I guess sometimes you can have both and get away with it.

As always, thanks for reading. I hope you enjoy.

Well, kindergarten started this week. That’s been a labor. And exhausting. And hot. It’s been so god damned hot here. The Patient Mrs.’ car — which exaggerates, but still — had it at 107 the other day. What is this, Psycho Las Vegas? No way it should be that hot in New Jersey, basically ever. And even if it was really 102, or 98, or whatever, the same applies. Instant sweat. Change your clothes three times a day, not the least after walking part-way to kindergarten dropoff.

First day was chaos, but she made it through. I asked her teacher how she did and got the usual, “We had some trouble listening. She kind of wants to do her own thing. We’ll work on it,” as a not-so-encouraging answer. Yeah, guess what? My kid doesn’t fucking listen. She’s not going to. I told this story to The Patient Mrs. this week, but I remember The Pecan being a baby strapped in a high chair not much more than a year old, making the clear decision for the first time that she wasn’t going to do what she was told. And what had I told her to do? Take a bite of the cut-up string cheese I’d given her for lunch. She looked right at me like she was Neo in the fucking Matrix, put the cheese down and — without saying it — was a clear “no” on the request. That’s how it’s been ever since.

So you’re not going to get her to listen, and if you try, she’s going to work against you. And you know what? She’s going to win. She’s got more energy, she’s intelligent and knows how to manipulate a situation her way, and I guarantee that whatever bullshit she’s arguing about that she wants to do, she cares much, much more about it than you do. You can’t work against her. You have to work with her. You have to redirect her energy in such a way as to make it productive. Tell her to read a book. Ask her about black holes. Ask her a math problem. Ask her to write a story about a dragon driving some monster trucks on the moon or something. It was the first day, and I’m not blaming the teacher — my mother taught for 35 years in a town near here called Butler; I have great enough sympathy for the plight of teachers that I didn’t become one when I probably should have — but it wasn’t the start we’d hoped for, of course.

And after the first day, when it was like, “Okay, let’s get ready to go back tomorrow,” the kid was all, “You mean I have to do this again?,” which I get. It was nerve-racking and overwhelming and even the dopamine drip of holding the puppy wasn’t necessarily a salve. We did dropoff just her and me yesterday. And the dog, I guess. Dog kind of comes everywhere and is small enough at 12 weeks old to do that. There’s a part of me that’s bummed thinking romantically about The Pecan’s untamed heart, her wild, has-an-idea-and-is-so-excited-she-does-laps-around-the-living-room self, being told to sit in a chair and color blocks in a way that requires counting to three, something she’s been able to do since she was two, being trained to, what, get a job someday? Maybe live in one of the many shitbox condos that somehow cost half a million dollars around here? I’d be bummed going to kindergarten too. Ain’t nobody in kindergarten talking about The Pecan’s light-cycle, which is a motorcycle she invented that goes faster than the speed of light and runs on light energy.

But as someone who apparently didn’t, I can appreciate the fact that you have to learn how to be and live among other people, and school is where that happens.

Anyhoozle, next week is Desertfest NYC, so I’ll have a couple days — thanks entirely to The Patient Mrs. — to take that in and shuft focus from nervous stress to covering the fest, which is different nervous stress. I’ve been missing the Vitus Bar. It’ll be incredible to see Colour Haze there, and there isn’t a bummer day to be found in the lineup. I’m looking forward to it, ad I have been for a while now.

So have a great and safe weekend. Rest up, watch your head, hydrate, maybe go somewhere and have fun if that’s your thing. In any case, thanks again for reading and I’ll of course have posts up before the Desertfest pre-show on Thursday, and post coverage probably Friday, Saturday and Sunday rather than close out next week as normal, so have two great and safe weekends, I guess.


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Wizzerd Announce September Tour Dates

Posted in Whathaveyou on August 16th, 2023 by JJ Koczan


Montana-based heavy rockers Wizzerd released their first album for Fuzzorama, titled Space‽: Issue No. 001 (review here), last September, and as they announced this tour that will bring them to the East Coast for the first time since it arrived, I couldn’t help but notice the word “final” included. Is the implication that the band are done after this? A last hurrah and that’s it? Would be unfortunate timing, most especially since the record was cool, but I reached out to guitarist Jamie Yeats for clarification and was assured that no, they’re not saying they’re breaking up, it’s just probably the last time they’ll be out supporting the latest album. Fair. It will have been a year, after all.

And glad as I am they’re not dissolving the project, it’s also rad to see them doing shows with Greek heavy forerunners 1000mods on their US tour and Fuzzorama labelmates Valley of the Sun, from Ohio, who are also doing some of their best work right now, at this very moment. Seems like the kind of show one might consider hitting up, should they be rolling through your neighborhood. Go to a show. Buy a shirt.

Here are the dates:

Wizzerd Tour


Wizzerd is excited to reveal the Afterburner Tour! We will journey east in a final‽ voyage through space…

We will travel alone in the first half and return to home alongside 1000mods and Valley of the Sun.

Join us in the fight against moon spiders.

Artwork by Isaac Passwater

9/6 – Billings, MT – Kirk’s Grocery
9/7 – Spearfish, SD – Crow Peak Brewing
9/8 – Denver, CO – Skylark
9/9 – Lawrence, KS – Replay Lounge
9/10 – St. Louis, MO – Platypus
9/12 – Morgantown, WV – 123 Pleasant St
9/14 – Cambridge, MA – Middle East#
9/15 – Buffalo, NY – Soup of Dissent
9/16 – Youngstown, OH – Westside Bowl#
9/18 – Columbus, OH – Rumba Cafe#
9/20 – Fort Wayne, IN – Stan’s Room#
9/21 – Des Moines, IA – Lefty’s#
9/22 – Omaha, NE – Reverb Lounge#
9/23 – St. Paul, MN – Turf Club#
9/24 – Chicago, IL – Reggies#
#=with 1000mods and Valley of the Sun

Wizzerd is:
Guitar/Vocals – Jhalen Salazar
Guitar – Jamie Yeats
Drums – Sam Moore
Bass – Layne Matkovich

Wizzerd, Space: Issue No. 001 (2022)

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