Heavy Psych Sounds Announces Reissues for Solarius, B.U.S. the Unknown Secretary and Stonewall Noise Orchestra

Posted in Whathaveyou on July 21st, 2021 by JJ Koczan

A never-released 2006 EP from Solarius, who featured Graveyard’s Jonatan Ramm on guitar and vocals, a reissue of B.U.S. The Unknown Secretary‘s 2016 debut (review here), and another reissue, of Stonewall Noise Orchestra‘s 2005 debut album, Vol. 1. Heavy Psych Sounds is sending multiple signals here. First, that its reissue program, which has already fostered revisits to outings from Dozer, Nebula, Kylesa, Josiah, Sgt. Sunshine, and others, will continue to dig into the pre-social-media era of underground heavy and find treasure waiting to be unearthed. Stonewall Noise Orchestra alone proves that, and Solarius feels like a flex there too.

It may be that B.U.S. have been picked up by Heavy Psych Sounds for their next outing — they released an album in 2019 (review here) on RidingEasy that was killer and showed them as underrated — but either way, five years later, their first one is worth another look, and it demonstrates the ever-increasing reach of HPS to do what it wants and when. The Italian label is the go-to for heavy rock and roll and psych in Europe. Their reissues are a victory lap in that regard.

Do Norrsken‘s complete works next.

Info and preorder links follow, courtesy the PR wire:

HPS183 *** SOLARIUS – Universal Trial ***
– first press of the 2006’s unreleased EP feat. members of Graveyard –

We are extremly proud to start the presale of the SOLARIUS 2006’s unreleased EP UNIVERSAL TRIAL !!

ALBUM PRESALE: https://www.heavypsychsounds.com/shop.htm#HPS183

USA PRESALE: https://www.heavypsychsounds.com/shop-usa.htm#HPS183

Recorded back in 2006 and hidden up until now. Swedish retro rockers Solarius masterpiece “Universal Trial” is now brought to daylight with this release. 70’s groovy hard blues rock with a psychedelic twist and featuring Jonatan Ramm of Graveyard fame (before joining that band). Hard, groovy, soft and fuzzy sound that brings you back to the early 70’s.

The songs were recorded in Don Pierre Studios in Gothenburg produced by the legendary Don Alsterberg (Graveyard etc). The master tapes were forgotten but are now found and released on Heavy Psych Sounds Records. The recording is 100% analogue and recorded and mixed on tape. The songs gets its magic from a beautiful mix of groove, melodies, fuzzy hard rock and dreamful psych prog rock influences.

RELEASED IN
15 TEST PRESS VINYL
100 ULTRA LTD 3 COLOR STRIPED GOLD/TRANSPARENT/BLUE VINYL
300 LTD NEON YELLOW VINYL
BLACK VINYL
DIGIPAK
RELEASE DATE: SEPTEMBER 24th

TRACKLIST
SIDE A
Universal Trial – 4.58
Sky Of Mine – 4.14
SIDE B
Into The Sun – 6.26
Mother Nature Mind – 5.25

SOLARIUS is:
Jonatan Ramm – Guitar and vocals
Mattias Ohde – Bass and vocals
Fredrik Aghem – Drums
Johan Grettve – Keys

B.U.S. The Unknown Secretary

HPS184 *** B.U.S. – The Unknown Secretary ***
– repress of the 2016’s debut album –

We are extremly proud to start the presale of the B.U.S. 2016’s debut album THE UNKNOWN SECRETARY repress !!

ALBUM PRESALE: https://www.heavypsychsounds.com/shop.htm#HPS184

USA PRESALE: https://www.heavypsychsounds.com/shop-usa.htm#HPS184

In the beginning, there was chaos…

A while later in the Heavens, where angels reigned, there was once held a great symposium, a glorious feast. Everyone was happy and having a great time, until Lucifer, fairest and mightiest of all the angels, brought in suspicious and strange substances, offering them freely with both hands for everyone to take. All were fooled by the Ancient Serpent, starting to misbehave and act in contradiction to the Heavenly Laws. The Almighty God, enraged upon learning about the mutiny, threw everyone down on earth to suffer eternally in hunger, ugliness and desperation. Vulnerable now to each and every temptation, they are ready to perpetuate Good and Evil, while building their new earthly Kingdom in any way they can.

Angelic chants, Demon’s screams, witches dancing and woeful mortal suffering are recounted in this album’s songs, embellished with mesmerising hymns and sharp riffs. Chaos is always close and all that remains is the human revolution against the forces of evil.

“The Unknown Secretary” comes to further unsettle the turbulent waves of music and burn its own mark in history.

Today, five years after its original release, Heavy Psych Sounds reissues this retro gem, serving it once again straight into your record case.

RELEASED IN
15 TEST PRESS VINYL
100 ULTRA LTD QUAD BLACK/RED VINYL
300 LTD BLUE VINYL
BLACK VINYL
DIGIPAK

RELEASE DATE: OCTOBER 8th

TRACKLIST
A1 Fallen – 3:33
A2 Masteroid – 4:45
A3 New Black Volume – 4:53
A4 Forever Grey – 3:28
A5 Don’t Fear Your Demon – 5:04
SIDE B
B1 Rockerbus – 7:38
B2 Withered Thorn – 4:49
B3 Over The Hills – 4:56
B4 Jimi – 5:20

B.U.S. is:
Bill Politis – Vocals & Guitars
Dimitris Papavasileiou – Bass Guitar
Aris Fasoulis – Drums
Fotis Kolokithas – Guitars

stonewall noise orchestra vol. 1

HPS190 *** STONEWALL NOISE ORCHESTRA – Vol. 1 ***
– repress of the legendary album in new coloured versions –

We are also stoked to start the presale of the STONEWALL NOISE ORCHESTRA legendary debut album VOL. 1 repress !!

ALBUM PRESALE: https://www.heavypsychsounds.com/shop.htm#HPS190

USA PRESALE: https://www.heavypsychsounds.com/shop-usa.htm#HPS190

VOL. 1 is the legendary debut album of the swedish stonerockers Stonewall Noise Orchestra, released via Daredevil Records in 2005 featuring ex members from Demon Cleaner and Greenleaf!! This is a Stoner Rock masterpiece picked with some Black Sabbath and Hawkwind fragments! If you like it slow, heavy and straight in your face you can’t miss this one.

After more then 15 years Heavy Psych Sounds decided to give a new life to this masterpiece and repress it in completely new coloured vinyl versions.

RELEASED IN
15 TEST PRESS VINYL
100 ULTRA LTD 3 COLOR STRIPED RED/TRANSPARENT/BLACK VINYL
300 LTD LIGHT BLUE VINYL
BLACK VINYL
DIGIPAK
DIGITAL

RELEASE DATE: NOVEMBER 5th

TRACKLIST
Superfortress – 5:05
An Epic Curse – 7:41 (CD BONUS TRACK)
Two Sides Of A Sin – 4:51
As My Sun Turns Black – 3_51
Freedoms Prize (Demon Cleaner cover) – 5:21
Going To Clarksdale – 4:33
Evolution? – 5:28
High Octane Fever – 5:14
Hill Street Madman – 3:49
Sweet Queen – 4:49

STONEWALL NOISE ORCHESTRA (2005 lineup):
Lars-Inge – vocals
Snicken – guitar
Jansson – guitar
Jonas – bass
Mr. Pillow – drums

heavypsychsoundsrecords.bandcamp.com
www.heavypsychsounds.com
https://www.facebook.com/HEAVYPSYCHSOUNDS/
www.youtube.com/user/MonoStereo79

Solarius, “Universal Trial”

Stonewall Noise Orchestra, “Sweet Queen”

B.U.S., The Unknown Secretary (2016)

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Quarterly Review: Geezer, Spaceslug, Expo Seventy, Boss Keloid, Bong-Ra, Zebu, Los Disidentes del Sucio Motel, LáGoon, Maha Sohona, The Bad Sugar Rush

Posted in Reviews on July 13th, 2021 by JJ Koczan

the-obelisk-fall-2016-quarterly-review

Oh my breaking heart as we move into day seven of the Summer 2021 Quarterly Review and I am reminded that the wages of hubris are feeling like a dumbass later. I was loading up my laptop on Saturday — so pleased with how ahead-of-the-game I was able to stay all last week — when the thing decided it was gonna give itself some time off one way or the other.

I dropped it for repair about 20 minutes before the guy I’ve come to trust was closing shop. He said he’d be in touch on Monday. Needless to say, I’m on my backup cheapie Chromebook, reviewing off Bandcamp streams, eagerly awaiting that call which I can only hope has come in by the time this is posted. I’ll keep you in the loop, of course, but putting together the reviews for yesterday? That was not pretty.

I expressly thank The Patient Mrs., through whom all things are possible.

Onward.

Quarterly Review #61-70:

Geezer, Solstice

Geezer Solstice

Geezer‘s ambition could hardly be clearer in their 17-minute “Solstice” jam. It was the Solstice — Winter 2020, to be specific — and the Kingston, New York, trio jammed. Guitarist/vocalist Pat Harrington (who doesn’t sing on the track) added some dreamy synth after the fact, and the affect is all the more hypnotic for it. Harrington, bassist Richie Touseull and drummer Steve Markota are no strangers to exploratory fare, as they showed on 2020’s righteous Groovy (review here), and as a Bandcamp Friday-era stopgap offering, “Solstice” brings a sampling of who they are in the rehearsal space, willing to be heavy, willing to not, ready to go where the music leads them. If Geezer wanted to do a whole full-length like this, I wouldn’t fight them, so you most definitely will not find me arguing against a digital single either. With jams this tasty, you take what you can get.

Geezer on Facebook

Heavy Psych Sounds website

 

Spaceslug, The Event Horizon

spaceslug the event horizon

Issued less as a stopgap, which a digital-only single might normally be, than as a response to the band having lost gear in a practice space flood, the 8:52 single-song outing The Event Horizon was recorded at the same time as Spaceslug‘s late 2020 EP The Leftovers (review here) and in a way acts to bridge the melancholy beyond-genre push of that release with the more weighted, spacious roll that has typified the Polish outfit’s work to-date — their latest full-length was 2019’s Reign of the Orion (review here), and they recently finished a new one. So perhaps “The Event Horizon,” with its hypnotically languid rhythm and concluding drift, is a stopgap after all, but between helping the band recoup their losses and thinking of what might be coming next, it’s an exciting if not-unalloyed listening experience, and the three-piece move deeper into a signature sound even as they continue to bring the definition of what that means to new places.

Spaceslug on Thee Facebooks

Spaceslug on Bandcamp

 

Expo Seventy, Evolution

Expo Seventy Evolution

Creating sometimes-scorching, droning psychedelic soundtracks to all your favorite classic sci-fi films that never existed, Kansas City’s Expo Seventy offer a call to worship for freaks and converted heads on their new album, Evolution. Still headed by guitarist James Wright as on late-2016’s America Here and Now Sessions (review here), the band offer new glories celestial and terrestrial instrumental chemistry throughout the six tracks (seven on the CD) of Evolution, lumbering away on “Echoes of Ether” only after floating in brass-section antigrav conditions on “The Slow Death of Tomorrow.” Can you hang? You’ll know one way or the other as the culminating duo “Second Vision, First Sight” and “First Vision, Second Sight” are done with you, having altered dimensions so thoroughly that the ethereal will either come to feel like home or you will simply have melted. In any case, lash yourself to it. Own that shit.

Expo Seventy on Facebook

Essence Music on Bandcamp

 

Boss Keloid, Family the Smiling Thrush

boss kelod family the smiling thrush

Peak-era Faith No More reborn in progressive heavy fuzz? What stoner rock might’ve been if it went to college instead of spending all that time hanging around talking about old cars? I don’t know where UK four-piece Boss Keloid ultimately stand on their admirable fifth LP, Family the Smiling Thrush — the follow-up to 2018’s also-well-received Melted on the Inch (review here) — but they most certainly stand on their own. Across seven tracks, the band careen, crash, lumber, rush and ponder — lyrics no less worth a close read than any other component — and from opener/longest track (immediate points) “Orang of Noyn” on, they make it abundantly clear that their style’s unpredictability is an asset, and that just because you might not know where they’re going next doesn’t mean they don’t. Melodic, complex and cerebral, there’s still a human presence here, a sense of a plan unfolding, that makes the album seem all the more masterful.

Boss Keloid on Facebook

Ripple Music on Bandcamp

 

Bong-Ra, Antediluvian

BONG-RA Antediluvian

Though it’s ultimately less electric-kool-aid than endless-churning-abyss-with-psychdelic-saxophone-screaming-up-at-you-like-free-jazz-trapped-in-the-downward-tonal-spiral, Bong-Ra‘s four-tracker Antediluvian is duly experimentalist in being born out of the mind of Jason Köhnen, whose work on this project not only extends more than 20 years, but who has been a part of landmark Dutch outfits like Celestial Season, The Kilmanjaro Darkjazz Ensemble and The Mount Fuji Doomjazz Corporation, among scores of others. The procession on this full-length, originally released in 2018 through Svart Lava, is wild times indeed, but immersive despite feeling at times like a litmus for how much you can take, with Köhnen‘s bass/keys/etc. and Balazs Pandi‘s drums meeting with Colin Webster‘s saxophone and Chloe Herrington‘s bassoon, willfully plodding through long-ish form improv-seeming movements of atmospheric heft creation.

Jason Köhnen website

Tartarus Records store

 

Zebu, Reek of the Parvenu

zebu reek of the parvenu

A coherent and forceful debut full-length, Reek of the Parvenu quickly shows the metallic undercurrent from Athens-based four-piece Zebu on opener “The Setting Dust,” and pushes from there in groove metal fashion, taking some impulses from heavy rock but holding largely to a central aggressive stance and tension in the rhythm that is a backdrop even as the later “Nature of Failure” breaks from its chugging shove for a quieter stretch. That is to say, the next punch is always coming, and Zebu‘s blows are effectively delivered — looking at you, “Burden” — though some of the slower, sludgier cuts like “Our Shame” or the doomier finale “The City” bring a welcome atmosphere to go with the coinciding burl. I’m not sure if “People Under the Stairs” wants to kick my ass or crack a beer, but the songwriting is air tight and the thrashy threat only contributes to the immediacy of the release on the whole. They’re not screwing around.

Zebu on Facebook

Zebu on Bandcamp

 

Los Disidentes del Sucio Motel, Polaris

Los Disidentes Del Sucio Motel Polaris

It’s been 11 years since France’s Los Disidentes del Sucio Motel debuted with Soundtrack From the Motion Picture (review here), an engaging, kind of silly play on stoner rock and B-movie tropes. Beneath that, however, it was also a concept album, and the band — who now seem to prefer LDDSM for a moniker — still work from that foundation on their fourth full-length, Polaris. The difference scope and sonic maturity. Rife with vocal harmonies and progressive flourish, the 10-track answer to 2016’s Human Collapse (review here) smoothly shifts between the patient and the urgent, the intimate and the grand — and that’s in the first two minutes of “Blue Giant” alone — finding their way into a proggy post-heavy rock that’s too clearheaded to be psychedelic, but that balances the crunch of “Horizon” with a sense of the otherworldly just the same.

Los Disidentes del Sucio Motel on Facebook

Klonosphere Records website

 

LáGoon, Skullactic Visions

LáGoon skullactic visions

With their fourth long-player, guitarist/vocalist Anthony Gaglia and drummer Brady Maurer of Portland, Oregon’s LáGoon welcome bassist Kenny Combs to the fold and dive as a trio — their first three-piece outing was last year’s Father of Death EP — headfirst into murky riffing and heady heavy rock, made all the more spacious through cavern echo and the garage doom vocals Gaglia brings on the title-track, as well as the synth that surfaces on the subsequent interlude “Buried” and elsewhere throughout. The earlier “Beyond the Trees” is particularly bleak and otherworldly, but I won’t take away from the further-down procession of “Hill Bomb” and “The Slow Down” into “Final Ride,” the last of which closes out with scummer doom that’s familiar but distinct enough to be their own. There are moments on Skullactic Visions where, for as much as they could sound like Electric Wizard given the ingredients, I’m all the gladder they don’t.

LaGoon on Facebook

Interstellar Smoke Records webstore

Forbidden Place Records on Bandcamp

 

Maha Sohona, Endless Searcher

Maha Sohona endless searcher

Maha Sohona‘s second album comes some seven years after their self-titled debut, but who cares about time when you’ve got your headphones on and you’re surrounded by the richness of tone on offer throughout Endless Searcher‘s five rolling tracks? Heavy and laid back, the trio of guitarist/vocalist Johan Bernhardtson, bassist Thomas Hedlund and drummer David Lundsten finding some kinship with Polish three-piece Spaceslug in their post-Sungrazer blend of weight and flow, a jam like “Luftslot” nodding and conjuring depth even as it soars. Can’t argue with the quicker push of “A Black Star” or the purposefully straightforward “Scavengers” (where the title-line is delivered) but some of the mellow moments in opener “Leaves” and especially the building instrumental finisher “Orbit X” are even more satisfying for how effectively they move you place to place almost without your realizing it. I’ve got nothing for you if you can’t dig this vibe.

Maha Sohona on Facebook

Made of Stone Recordings on Bandcamp

 

The Bad Sugar Rush, Liar/Push Me

The Bad Sugar Rush Liar Push Me

Keen observers will recognize The Bad Sugar Rush vocalist René Hofmann from his work with Wight, but the work here alongside guitarist Josko Joke-Tovic, bassist Minyeong Fischer and drummer Peter Zettl is distinct from that other unit here, even as the Humble Pie-esque “Push Me” and semi-sleeze “Liar” both have some shade of funk to their procession. Both cuts circa four minutes makes for a suitable debut 7″ with respected purveyor H42 Records doing the honors, and the results are an encouragingly catchy display of what a first full-length might accomplish when and however such a thing emerges. There’s classic heavy rock as the foundation, but more than outright ’70s worship — though some of that too — it’s the organic feel of the songs that leaves an impression on the listener, though the background singers on “Push Me” don’t hurt in that regard, certainly. An auspicious and intriguind first showing.

The Bad Sugar Rush on Facebook

H42 Records website

 

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The Obelisk Questionnaire: Takis Chaloulakos of ADAM

Posted in Questionnaire on June 3rd, 2021 by JJ Koczan

takis-from-adam

The Obelisk Questionnaire is a series of open questions intended to give the answerer an opportunity to explore these ideas and stories from their life as deeply as they choose. Answers can be short or long, and that reveals something in itself, but the most important factor is honesty.

Based on the Proust Questionnaire, the goal over time is to show a diverse range of perspectives as those who take part bring their own points of view to answering the same questions. To see all The Obelisk Questionnaire posts, click here.

Thank you for reading and thanks to all who participate.

The Obelisk Questionnaire: Takis Chaloulakos of ADAM

How do you define what you do and how did you come to do it?

I make gloomy rock music. I write songs about the human psyche, the occult, toxic relationships and whatever random Wikipedia article I come across. I guess I started doing that because I had to find a way to express myself.

Describe your first musical memory.

My father playing records by the Doors and Elvis Presley for me when I was two years old or something. I guess this must be when I really fell in love with music.

Describe your best musical memory to date.

August 21, 2012. Genesis. The jam session that started it all. I hadn’t seen the guys in a while, so we got together for a couple of beers at the Dungeon (aka our practice space / hang out spot). One thing led to another and we ended up jamming for two hours straight. Might sound corny but this thing was transcendental. After it was over, we sat down and looked at each other and said that we should start a band. That’s how ADAM was born. That particular jam ended up as track #1 on SUN.

When was a time when a firmly held belief was tested?

I guess it was more of a slow process. Growing up and realizing that the world around you is far more weirder and darker than you thought it really was.

Where do you feel artistic progression leads?

You can lead it wherever you feel like or just lay back on the passenger seat and let it grab the wheel. You can discover more about you or art in general, perhaps find interesting stuff you’d never known you had in you. All you need is honesty and an open mind.

How do you define success?

For me, success is going to bed every night, being happy knowing the fact that you get to do what you love, just the way you want it. Fame, money and recognition are major bonus factors but not as important as knowing that your art moved and helped others.

What is something you have seen that you wish you hadn’t?

I watched a guy dive from the third floor and crash headfirst into the pavement about five feet away from me when I was 16 years old. I’d still take that over the Star Wars sequels, easy.

Describe something you haven’t created yet that you’d like to create.

I’d like to experiment more, use weirder noises and song structures. I’d love to go heavier, maybe tune down even lower. And I’d really love to make a movie soundtrack. Or multiple soundtracks.

What do you believe is the most essential function of art?

Art is your friend in the darkness. It’s there to animate the most important moments in your life. Art is meant to touch you, guide you, make you a better person. Art helps you get in touch with your true self and the deepest parts of your psyche. It helps you get to know and understand the world around you.

Something non-musical that you’re looking forward to?

Looking forward to gyms finally opening up around here. Getting to lift again after almost seven months of all around debauchery.

https://www.facebook.com/adamwolfpackcult
https://www.instagram.com/adam_wolfpack/
https://adamwolfpack.bandcamp.com/

ADAM, “Super Silver Haze” official video

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The Obelisk Questionnaire: John Vagenas of Naxatras & Ni Moya

Posted in Questionnaire on March 16th, 2021 by JJ Koczan

naxatras john vagenas

The Obelisk Questionnaire is a series of open questions intended to give the answerer an opportunity to explore these ideas and stories from their life as deeply as they choose. Answers can be short or long, and that reveals something in itself, but the most important factor is honesty.

Based on the Proust Questionnaire, the goal over time is to show a diverse range of perspectives as those who take part bring their own points of view to answering the same questions. To see all The Obelisk Questionnaire posts, click here.

Thank you for reading and thanks to all who participate.

The Obelisk Questionnaire: John Vagenas of Naxatras & Ni Moya

How do you define what you do and how did you come to do it?

I am an artist, musician mainly but I have also worked in films, which was what I studied. Since an early age I deeply loved music and as a teenager I started playing music as well. My first serious contact was a school band formed by our biology teacher (who was a metalhead), in which I ended up playing bass, because there already were too many guitar players! Soon I started playing in bands, where we wrote our own stuff along with covers. During my first year at Film School I met our guitarist John Delias and we decided to jam and later form the band that became Naxatras, along our drummer Kostas Harizanis. From the first moment we knew this was something special, nine years later and we are still going. In my free time I am making electronic music as Ni Moya, under which I released my debut album in 2020.

Describe your first musical memory.

I have musical memories even from the time I was an infant, my sister was playing the piano and she was listening to bands like Nirvana too. I think this influenced me, I wanted to be like the long-haired cool friends of my sister. But my first major musical memory was the first time I watched Iron Maiden live with my father, it was a mind blowing experience that shaped me at the time.

Describe your best musical memory to date.

This is hard! Obviously there are many… Gig-wise I think it was when I watched Roger Water’s The Wall live in Athens, it was very emotional. I had a very beautiful experience at Ozora festival too, during an Ott set, I felt love for my friends, my family, myself, the world. There are many occasions of intense connection with people at concerts with the band, these moments are really hard to describe, but it’s very real and transcendental.

When was a time when a firmly held belief was tested?

I think it was when I experienced loss, once with my grandma’s passing and once when during a break-up, it’s in times like these where even if you are a positive, optimistic person, you feel that your previously solid ideas for the world and its meaning are not as strong and that life might indeed be devoid of meaning, negativity gets hold. But after you go through this, you are somehow fuller and you have a deeper understanding.

Where do you feel artistic progression leads?

Well, it depends. On a personal level, the more you master your art, the easier you’ll be able to create beautiful, unique things. You play with form until you hit some “sweet spots” that have a structure, a function and a meaning. If you mean the world, then I guess art is becoming more interactive, hopefully we will see new forms of art, that combine virtual reality, music, storytelling and who knows what else.

How do you define success?

Success is fulfilling what you set out to fulfil. For me it is creating things that I enjoy and that other people might enjoy as well. Even if just one person digs what I do, it’s success because it’s better than nothing!

What is something you have seen that you wish you hadn’t?

Gross stuff mostly!

Describe something you haven’t created yet that you’d like to create.

I would like to create an experience, where people would be able to enter a space specially designed to generate a unique feeling. Imagine an installation involving lights, projectors and props that combined with music from surround speakers, live or pre-recorded, will transfer people to a special place.

What do you believe is the most essential function of art?

Art is here make us feel love, to make us remember things we seem to forget in our everyday life and then get back in life with more honesty, happiness and energy.

Something non-musical that you’re looking forward to?

I’m really looking forward to the summer, just travelling around (hopefully, after all this time), sleeping on the beach and generally feel freedom again. And, of course, I’m looking forward to this whole pandemic thing ending, so we can have our concerts, our bars and our lives back!

https://www.facebook.com/naxatras/
https://www.instagram.com/naxatras/
https://naxatras.bandcamp.com/

Ni Moya, Ni Moya (2020)

Naxatras, Live Rituals at Gagarin 205 (2018)

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Supermoon to Release Self-Titled LP in June

Posted in Whathaveyou on March 9th, 2021 by JJ Koczan

Warm vibe, melody, space — there’s very little for heavy psych heads not to dig in Supermoon‘s Supermoon, the 2020-released debut album from the Athens-based unit. They call it “forest rock.” Like many in the broad pantheon of Greek heavy, they find an avenue through which to work Mediterranean folk aspects into their sound, and in a perfect world, they’d be on a package tour already through Sound of Liberation with some awesome poster and a title based on ancient literature — in an even more perfect world than that, I’d present said tour — but on Planet Here, they’ll release Supermoon through Made of Stone Recordings on vinyl, and all things considered, that’s nothing to hack up a lung at.

If you missed Supermoon the first time around, as I did, first of all you get a pass in the ‘2020 Required You to Be Looking at Other Things’ accord, you’ll find it streaming in its entirety at the bottom of this post and it’s worth digging into. If my say-so isn’t enough for you to take it on, well, okay, that’s alright. I was recently accused of “erring on the side of hype,” which I’m not sure I’m ashamed of. The possibility that hearing something new might enrich someone else’s day as well as my own is a big part of why I’m typing right now.

If that’s not you this time, maybe next time. If it is, all the better. When it comes to it though, what do you really have to lose?

To the PR wire:

supermoon supermoon

Supermoon, the brand new sensation in psychedelic rock out of Athens, Greece release their stoner/doom debut album in limited analogue LP editions

Pre-order “Supermoon” here: https://madeofstonerecordings.bandcamp.com/album/supermoon-supermoon

Supermoon are a forest rock band from Athens, Greece, established in 2019 by Vasilis Tsigkris. Starting as a solo project, during the creation of the debut album, Supermoon are now a full power trio: Vasilis Tsigkris – Bass / Vocals, Dimitris Foukarakis – Guitar and Dimitris Tsarnos – Drums.

Their forest rock combines heavy psychedelic music, with lyrics inspired by spirituality, nature, folk tales and mythology.

Filled with heavy basslines and melodic guitars, psychedelic atmosphere, stoner/doom hypnotic tempo and space vocal elements, Supermoon manage to succeed effortless crossovers in music genres, creating a brand new yet intimate musical universe, which stands on the brink of darkness, bathed in light.

Made of Stone Recordings is proud to present the LP editions of “Supermoon” in limited black and teal/turquoise 180 gr vinyl out on 15.06.2021

https://www.facebook.com/supermoongr
https://www.instagram.com/supermoongr/
https://supermoongr.bandcamp.com/
https://www.facebook.com/madeofstonerecordings
https://madeofstonerecordings.bandcamp.com/

Supermoon, Supermoon (2020)

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Review & Full Album Premiere: Acid Mammoth, Caravan

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on March 3rd, 2021 by JJ Koczan

acid mammoth caravan

[Click play above to stream Acid Mammoth’s Caravan in full. Album is out this Friday, March 5, on Heavy Psych Sounds.]

It is difficult to separate Acid Mammoth‘s third full-length, Caravan, from the context in which it arrives — and no, I’m not talking about covid-19, though obviously that too. It is the band’s second offering through Heavy Psych Sounds behind 2019’s Under Acid Hoof (review here), and the label has gotten behind a recent reissue of their 2017 self-titled debut as well, and the Athenian four-piece appeared last year on a split with 1782 (review here) as part of the label’s ongoing Doom Sessions series. With the boom in underground heavy that Greece has seen in the past decade, Acid Mammoth find themselves in a somewhat vaunted position, representing Athens on Europe’s preeminent heavy label. True, Nightstalker and Planet of Zeus — both of whom have been around longer — released albums on Heavy Psych Sounds in 2019, but as much as Acid Mammoth‘s lineup crosses generations in its string section with Chris Babalis, Jr. on vocals on guitar and his father, Chris Babalis, Sr., also on guitar, their sound and presentation represent that which is thoroughly modern in doom, a sonic devotion to riff that’s made its way through the lumber of Black SabbathElectric Wizard and Monolord to get where it is today.

In Acid Mammoth‘s hands, with Marios Louvaris slamming away on the floor tom as though stomping out the beating heart of societal collapse itself in “Psychedelic Wasteland” — a song for our times if ever there was one — and Dimosthenis Varikos bringing a murk to the low end that dooms the doom all the more, it is primitive on its face but deceptively intricate and ably constructed, with a consistency of craft that unites the material across this five song/40-minute release and finds Acid Mammoth living up to the challenge and responsibility before them. No single band could possibly embody the entirety of ‘Greek heavy’ as a form simply because it isn’t a singular form, but in culling influences from the worldwide heavy sphere and reshaping them into something of their own, Acid Mammoth nonetheless bring to life a key ethic in what’s made Greece flourish these last years, and so, are a fitting and vital representation after all.

Also, they riff. Oh my how they do riff. Caravan begins its course with “Berserker,” a five-minute clinic in how to make plod catchy that starts with an evil laugh as if Acid Mammoth, in knowing what’s coming, stand before the open door of a house of horrors. Sorry to disappoint, but what follows is far from horrific. It is stoner-doom for stoner-doomers, to be sure, and perhaps its argument for conversion might win a few new heads along the way — anything’s possible — but what’s clear from the outset is Acid Mammoth know what they’re doing and where they want their Caravan to go. Shades of psychedelia affect the solo in “Berserker” momentarily, but the lead work is almost oddly classy throughout the release, and it’s the forward push that ultimately wins the day, driven in no small part by Louvaris‘ insistent snare. A final chorus, a momentary ride on the groove, some slow-fade rumble and “Psychedelic Wasteland” takes hold with due feedback and thud.

Acid-Mammoth

Slower, longer at 8:53, and less immediate, it’s a suitable follow-up to the leadoff, luring the listener deeper into the world of Acid Mammoth‘s making, for which perhaps their own description is best. “Psychedelic Wasteland” isn’t as catchy as “Berserker” before it, but it doesn’t need to be for the job it’s doing, and its patience in delivery acts as a foreshadow for what will soon enough follow on side B’s two cuts, “Caravan” and “Black Dust.” After rolling out its grim procession, it culminates with a bookend of noise and fading tom hits, giving way fluidly to the opening riff of “Ivory Towers,” which reminds of Acid King‘s “Electric Machine” in its central progression but, again, is given a roll and a role of its own in capping the first half of Caravan. Thus far, the key throughout the release has indeed been the sense of forward motion, and another manner in which the collection isn’t as straightforward as it might at first seem is in how successfully it pushes its audience along the path its sets out. Even when they’re at their most mired — those moments are still to come in side B, granted — Acid Mammoth aren’t by any means still, and in “Ivory Towers,” they make a worthy centerpiece out of the structure that underlies their superficial rumbling chaos.

The “Caravan” departs about 15 seconds into the song of the same name after a beginning rumble. Acid Mammoth work quickly to align themselves with the storied stoner epics of yore — need I namedrop “Dopesmoker?” — with a general uptick in largesse of sound, and the nodding groove that accompanies is of the sort that one might want to title an album after. They’re just about four minutes into the total 11 before the first vocals arrive, which is plenty of time for them to establish the hypnotic roll they’re shooting for, and amid fuzzy solo lines peppered throughout in homage to those who’ve journeyed before them, they set out. Guitars drop circa 8:30 and the bass leads the way into the final push, and father and son solo lines (or at least one of them layered; but who doesn’t like a story of familial togetherness?) take the forefront on the way out.

“Caravan” would seem to be the apex of Caravan, but “Black Dust” is more than epilogue at a near-nine-minute stretch. Its Wizardly riff reaffirms Acid Mammoth‘s place among the chosen few, and if this it’s the band’s image of a pandemic-era dystopian aftermath, one is not the least inclined to argue. Further, “Black Dust” subtly unites sides B and A by leaning a little more into a hook than did “Caravan,” recalling “Berserker” and “Ivory Towers” earlier on, thereby summarizing the proceedings as a whole. There’s no corresponding sample at the end to answer the laugh at the beginning, but Acid Mammoth leave little unsaid just the same. In sound and style, Caravan isn’t revolutionary by any means, but the band acquits themselves as able to stand tall among their forebears, and their delivery is enough to make those footsteps of giants feel freshly trod.

Acid Mammoth, “Caravan” official video

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Acid Mammoth on Bandcamp

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Puta Volcano Post Full-Set Livestream Video From An Club in Athens

Posted in Bootleg Theater on February 16th, 2021 by JJ Koczan

Puta Volcano (Photo by Pinelopi Gerasimou)

I know everybody’s sad there are no live shows. Believe me, I know it. I know it every day, over and over again. I miss concerts like I miss the members of my family whose house I haven’t been in for a year. But can we pause all that misery for a second and appreciate the absolute age of wonders in which we live?

I’ve never been to An Club in the anarcho-refuge of Exarchia. I’ve never seen Puta Volcano live. And but for financial constraints, neither is an impossibility in a (more) perfect world, but I watch the Athenian four-piece’s recorded live set to support last year’s AMMA (discussed here), and with the pro-shop sound and video, I wish I could go back and deliver an “it gets better” message to my teenage bootleg-loving self. I imagine going back in time and saying that there will come a day when all these bands will basically start issuing their own soundboard recordings and not only will videos and audio like this exist, but it’ll be free to stream. Of course, there’s a cost when one considers what’s been given up in order to usher this age of alt-experience live music, but I’m just trying to look on the bright side here. I know lives have been lost. I get it. I check the numbers every day.

You want the truth? I’m tired. I’m tired of the whole thing. I’m tired of masks. I’m tired of social distancing, restricted travel. I’m even tired of Anthony “The Fauch” Fauci. I’m tired of pretending each loss of life is a tragedy or like I can imagine the scale of loss. I’m so tired. Tired of the secret thanatos in all of us rooting for the virus. I was tired of 2020 and I’m already tired of 2021. I want real life back.

The corresponding truth? None of that matters. Me being sick of the plague has no bearing on the increase or decline in new cases, new mutations, any of it. Could not be less consequential.

Take what you can get. That’s the moral of the story. I wish like hell I had some pseudo-zen social media bullshit wisdom to share with you about living through this time, like it’s some learning experience from which to draw strength. It isn’t, and that toxic-ass selfishness is part of why we’re in such a fucking mess. I wish I could believe any of that, like I look at the bear in Grizzly Man and see a friend when Werner Herzog sees boredom and a vague interest in food. I don’t. That guy got eaten by the fucking bear and it’s not supposed to make sense. Carl Sagan said that the universe does not owe us conformity to our expectations of it. It ain’t about you and it ain’t about me. Don’t look for answers.

So take what you can get. Eat what you can eat, drink what you can drink, fuck when you can fuck. None of it means anything anyway and sooner or later whether it’s the plague or you’re hit by a bus you’re gonna be fucking dead and it won’t matter anymore. You might as well enjoy good music while you can. In four billion years the sun will swallow the planet and everything that was ever done by our pitiful species in its probably-embarrasingly-short run will be burned away. Blow off work — shit, quit your job — watch Puta Volcano for an hour, and if you can escape the volume of your own thoughts by giving it some competition through the volume of your headphones, do it. That’s paradise, that hour.

That’s all I’ve got. AMMA ruled. This is a good band playing a cool room and putting on a killer show to an imaginary crowd (what seems to have been a substantial crew notwithstanding). Enjoy it while you can.

Puta Volcano, Live at An Club, Athens

Puta Volcano on ‘Live at An Club’:

Transforming a legendary venue, one that has nurtured the musical underground scene of downtown Athens, into a starship sailing towards an event horizon. Instead of focusing on the undeniable bleakness of our present, we’d like to think that initiatives like this hint at an evolved meta-gig. One where in the future, we can connect people moshing in the venue with people all over the world streaming it at home.

PUTA VOLCANO at AN CLUB | STAGES A/LIVE

STAGES A/LIVE, a series of concerts in support of the independent Greek music scene, presents Puta Volcano on the stage of AN Club, the legendary basement club of Athens, with an explosive digital live show.

The essence of Puta Volcano, a band with a powerful stage presence and crystalline sound, lies not in appearances but in the very being of their sound, created collaboratively by four fanatical bandmates: Steve S. on drums, Alex Pi on guitar, Bookies on bass, and Anna on vocals.

Turn the volume up and tune in Sunday, February 14, at 9 pm (EET) at the Onassis Foundation YouTube Channel. Until we can all be together again at a live concert, music will be bringing us closer, even if we’re far apart.

Concept & Curation: Christos Sarris
Production Coordinators: Smaragda Dogani, Elena Choremi
Production: Onassis Stegi

PUTA VOLCANO
Anna Papathanasiou: vocals
Alex Pi: guitar
Steve Stefanidis: drums
Bookies: bass
Management: Mihalis Kaloudis
Anna Papathanasiou’s styling: Philippe G.Missas

AN CLUB
Location Manager: Panagiotis Kaparidis
Art Direction: Eva Kolomvou
F.O.H Sound Engineer: Tasos Malliouras (aka. Anastasios Tsompanis)
Electrician: Charalampos Tsimpanis
PRODUCTION EXECUTION
Production: Marina Danezi
Production Manager: Steven Elpiziotis

FILMING
Director – Camera: Christos Sarris
Director of Photography: Evan Maragkoudakis
Cameras: Dimitris Zivopoulos, Orfeas Kalafatis, Filippos Zamidis, Koralia Dogani
Lighting Technician: Menelaos Orfanos
Recording Engineer – Mixing Engineer: Jacopo Focas
Editor: Tryfon Karatzinas
Colorist: Manthos Sardis
Photography: Pinelopi Gerasimou

ONASSIS STEGI
Technical Manager: Lefteris Karabilas
Technical Director & Project Support: Phil Hills
Lighting Technicians: Pavlos Pappas, Giorgos Tsitsigos
Stage Technicians: Panos Koutsoumanos, Platonas Tsamados
Production Manager – Production Management Consultant: Dimitra Dernikou
Production Coordinators: Smaragda Dogani, Elena Choremi
Line Production: Irilena Tsami, Ioulia Stamouli

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Holy Monitor Premiere “Naked in the Rain” From Southern Lights out Feb. 26

Posted in audiObelisk, Whathaveyou on January 27th, 2021 by JJ Koczan

holy monitor

Feb. 26 is the release date for Holy Monitor‘s third album, Southern Lights, through Blackspin Records/Primitive Music, and the offering brings eight songs of engaging, calmer-than-you-are heavy psychedelic warmth as the Athenian five-piece engage touches of proggy keys and rhythms amid a bed of languid fuzz. They hypnotize immediately with “River” and though “Naked in the Rain,” which follows, is a little more uptempo, the spacious vibe is prevalent and resonant in kind, and that continues throughout the rest of Southern Lights that follows; tonal presence and rhythmic motion seeking not to crush or overwhelm, but more to accompany the listener on an outward-directed journey.

Patient and fluid, each half of the manageable 39-minute LP opens with its longest track — side B’s rousing “The Sky is Falling Down” is the longest song at 7:37 — and as much as Southern Lights feels like it’s moving toward space, it’s hard to ignore the watery themes set by “River,” “Naked in the Rain,” “Blue Whale,” and the closing pair “Ocean Trail” and “Under the Sea.” For a band who issued This Desert Land as an EP last year, they would seem to be changing it up in terms of setting. So be it. Accompanied by the cosmic “Hourglass” and the title-track, Holy Monitor offer a richness malleable to any number of elements.

You can dive into the track at the bottom of this post. I didn’t mean for this to turn into an album review, but I guess that happens sometimes. In any case, “Naked in the Rain” represents it well, so hopefully you dig it too.

Info follows:

Holy Monitor Southern Lights

Holy Monitor – Southern Lights

‘Naked in the Rain’ is inspired by the traditional music of Epirus and the Bacchanalian frenzied rites. Holy Monitor’s wild, intoxicating psychedelic groove vibes triggered by elaborately carved soundscapes take listeners into hedonistic, mad dance to exorcise the rain and revolt against reality. This Bacchic ritual to the sun symbolizes the human need to rebirth, the ecstatic loss of self, a provocative critique of conformity.

Athens’ quintet, Holy Monitor will release their eagerly awaited third album ‘Southern Lights’ on 26 February 2021 on Blackspin/Primitive Music, an astonishing and affecting follow up to their 2020 critically acclaimed EP release, ‘This Desert Land’.

Holy Monitor is a music collective blending space rock with repeatable psyched riffs & beats and ambient sensibility. The band originates from Athens, Greece and founded in the summer of 2015 by guitarist Stefanos Mitsis and singer/guitarist George Nikas, as a studio project. After recording and releasing “Golden Light” and “Aeolus” EP’s, the band was joined by Alex Bolpasis (bass), Vangelis Mitsis (keyboards) and Dimitris Doumouliakas (drums) and started performing live as a five-piece. Their self-titled album was released in 2017 by Blackspin Records/Primitive Music.

Blending motorik kraut rhythms, hypnotic vocals and sticky guitar riffs, the band creates an environment of cosmic-space feelings, leading the audience into a bright sonic swirl of psychedelic oscillations. Their sophomore album “II” was released in 2018 by Blackspin Records/Primitive Music. Applying new elements of frenzy psychedelia and classy motorik riffs succeed to build a symmetric kraut pattern surrounded from unstoppable groovy vibes.

Tracklist:
1. River
2. Naked In The Rain
3. Blue Whale
4. Southern Lights
5. The Sky Is Falling Down
6. Hourglass
7. Ocean Trail
8. Under The Sea

Holy Monitor is:
George Nikas: Vocals, Guitars
Stefanos Mitsis: Guitars
Alex Bolpasis: Bass
Vangelis Mitsis: Keys
Dimitris Doumouliakas: Drums

https://www.facebook.com/holymonitor/
https://www.instagram.com/holymonitor/
https://open.spotify.com/artist/40sQBIpuOUdXrZ8EZNbiif
https://holymonitor.bandcamp.com/
https://www.facebook.com/blackspin.gr
https://www.blackspin.gr/
https://www.facebook.com/PrimitiveMusicGr/
https://primitivemusic.gr/

Holy Monitor, “Naked in the Rain” official track premiere

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