Brant Bjork Premieres “Jungle in the Sound” from Self-Titled Album out April 10

Posted in Whathaveyou on January 21st, 2020 by JJ Koczan

Desert rock ambassador to the universe and stylistic figurehead Brant Bjork will release his new, self-titled, album April 10 on Heavy Psych Sounds. Preorders start today, and at the bottom of this post you’ll find the premiere of the opening track, “Jungle in the Sound.” Before that is a bio I wrote for the outing. Truth be told, I’m trying to do less of that kind of thing on the whole, in order to better prioritize this site above pretty much everything in terms of how I spend my limited mental capacity on any given day, but when it’s Brant Bjork, you don’t say no. Especially if you get to hear the record, which I did.

You’ll note that it’s self-titled. That’s significant. Bjork plays everything and of course sings on the album and thereby captures the intimate but still-rocking vibe of some of his most landmark outings, and especially considering the full-band sound he’s honed over the past seven years, going so far as to collaborate with guitarist Bubba DuPree on 2018’s Mankind Woman (review here), it’s something of a departure even though he’s still ultimately on familiar terrain. A readjustment of properties perhaps. I hear there’s some of that going around.

The album will be out on Heavy Psych Sounds, who sent along the following, including the bio I wrote:

brant bjork brant bjork

Brant Bjork – Self-Titled Album

Preorder link: https://www.heavypsychsounds.com/shop.htm#HPS129

BIO:

Even before you know it’s self-titled, and even before you read the LP liner notes, you know it’s all Brant Bjork.

The man who has become the ambassador of Californian desert rock indeed plays every instrument across his 13th studio full-length, Brant Bjork. This in itself is something of a departure from recent offerings, as on 2018’s Mankind Woman, Bjork worked closely with guitarist Bubba DuPree (Void), and both 2016’s Tao of the Devil and 2014’s Black Power Flower were constructed around the Bjork-led Low Desert Punk Band.

Maybe revisiting his 1999 debut, Jalamanta, for a Heavy Psych Sounds 20th anniversary reissue last year had some effect on Bjork’s mindset in terms of working solo, but he’s come too far in the ensuing decades to repeat himself, and the songs on Brant Bjork – recorded and mixed by Yosef Sanborn in Joshua Tree and mastered by John McBain (ex-Monster Magnet) – show that, whether it’s the mellow roll of “Duke of Dynamite” or the signature take on classic heavy rock in “Jesus Was a Bluesman” and percussion-backed funk of opener “Jungle in the Sound.” There’s no mistaking Brant Bjork, and on Brant Bjork, he strips his songwriting style to its core and brings out the organic vibe that’s made him desert rock’s most crucial practitioner.

His legacy and pedigree are unmatched, with tenures in Kyuss/Vista Chino and Fu Manchu as well as the sadly-shortlived Ché, Ten East and others, but it is Brant Bjork’s solo work that has had his greatest impact and shown him to be of inimitable character in craft and style. His unrelenting creativity and one-of-a-kind voice are writ large over the Brant Bjork LP, which is precisely how it should be, and after more than two decades of exploring out in the sands, Bjork continues to find new ways to manifest not just the landscape of the desert, but the spirit of his relationship to it.

In short, he is a master, and this is the record that bears his name. You miss it at your own peril.

Tracklisting:
JUNGLE IN THE SOUND
MARY (YOU’RE SUCH A LADY)
JESUS WAS A BLUESMAN
CLEANING OUT THE ASHTRAY
DUKE OF DYNAMITE
SHITKICKIN’ NOW
STARDUST & DIAMOND EYES
BEEN SO LONG

Today we also start the presale of 2 remastered BRANT BJORK masterpieces, both with brand new artwork:

*** PUNK ROCK GUILT – release date April 17th***
and
*** GODS & GODDESSES – release date April 24th***

The new self-titled Brant Bjork album will be RELEASED IN:

– 40 ultra ltd test press vinyl
– DELUXE EDITION: 100 ULTRA LTD COLOUR IN COLOUR TRANSPARENT RED / BLACK 12″ VINYL + DIGIPAK + T-SHIRT + PATCH + BAG + POSTER + STICKER
– 250 LTD half – half / white red vinyl
– 700 LTD (500 for german market-200 from HPS stoner online) side a – side b / white background + mix red vinyl
– LTD splatter / transparent backgroud – red splatter vinyl
– black vinyl
– digipak
– digital

Sound of Liberation & Metal Hammer proudly present:
BRANT BJORK + special guest MAIDAVALE

23.04.20 Aschaffenburg, Colos-Saal Aschaffenburg(DE)
24.04.20 Munich, Feierwerk (DE)
25.04.20 Wien, ARENA WIEN (AT)
26.04.20 Graz, p.p.c. (AT)
27.04.20 Budapest, Akvárium Klub Official (HU)
28.04.20 Linz, Stwst Stadtwerkstatt (AT)
29.04.20 Stuttgart, Universum (DE)
30.04.20 Brussels, Magasin 4 (BE)
01.05.20 London, Desertfest London (UK)
02.05.20 Nijmegen, Sonic Whip (NL)
03.05.20 Berlin, DesertFest Berlin (DE)
04.05.20 Hamburg, Knust Hamburg (DE)
05.05.20 Dortmund, Musiktheater Piano (DE)
06.05.20 Paris, Petit Bain (FR)
07.05.20 Toulouse, Le Rex de Toulouse (FR)
08.05.20 Vitoria, Hell Dorado :: El Club Sónico :: (SP)
09.05.20 Madrid, Kristonfest (SP)

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Brant Bjork, “Jungle in the Sound” official track premiere

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Brant Bjork Announces European Tour; Re-Signs to Heavy Psych Sounds for New Album

Posted in Whathaveyou on January 16th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

brant bjork

I’m going to go ahead, put two and two together, and guess that the proper announcement of Brant Bjork‘s next album is coming Jan. 21. That’s a mere five days from now. Next Tuesday. It’s not the only spot I have saved for news that day, but rest assured, I’ve got one saved for it.

Supporting my supposition? Well, when Brant Bjork was announced as having re-signed to Heavy Psych Sounds for his next record, they said there was a big announcement coming on Jan. 21. And as you can see below, the European tour is already being announced ahead of time. It’s with MaidaVale, so bonus. He toured pretty extensively last year, including in the US, but doesn’t do that nearly as often as he hits Europe, so I wouldn’t necessarily think that’d be a big part of what’s coming, though there’s always “select dates” and so on.

It’s a basic matter of what’s left being the full announcement of the album. So that’s what I’m thinking is coming, and you know what else? With the European tour starting April 23, I wouldn’t be surprised if said album showed up somewhere around there too. Crazy, right? Yeah, it is, and it’s a maybe/maybe-not given Heavy Psych Sounds‘ busy schedule, but you never know. Some things take priority. I’d think a new Brant Bjork would qualify for sure.

Sound of Liberation put out word of the tour thusly:

brant bjork europe 2020

BRANT BJORK TO RETURN TO EUROPE

We’re stoked to announce that the king of the desert himself, the master of laid back weedy jams and smooth riffing, the one and only Brant Bjork will return to Europe in April 2020!

And he will not come alone but in great company by one of the most prominent acts in the new generation of psych music: Swedish four piece MaidaVale will join the party from the first day on! ??

This will be one hell of a party, friends. We’re super excited and so should you! But for the moment let’s all keep our cool and check out the tourdates below:

Sound of Liberation & Metal Hammer proudly present:
BRANT BJORK + special guest MAIDAVALE

23.04.20 Aschaffenburg, Colos-Saal Aschaffenburg(DE)
24.04.20 Munich, Feierwerk (DE)
25.04.20 Wien, ARENA WIEN (AT)
26.04.20 Graz, p.p.c. (AT)
27.04.20 Budapest, Akvárium Klub Official (HU)
28.04.20 Linz, Stwst Stadtwerkstatt (AT)
29.04.20 Stuttgart, Universum (DE)
30.04.20 Brussels, Magasin 4 (BE)
01.05.20 London, Desertfest London (UK)
02.05.20 Nijmegen, Sonic Whip (NL)
03.05.20 Berlin, DesertFest Berlin (DE)
04.05.20 Hamburg, Knust Hamburg (DE)
05.05.20 Dortmund, Musiktheater Piano (DE)
06.05.20 Paris, Petit Bain (FR)
07.05.20 Toulouse, Le Rex de Toulouse (FR)
08.05.20 Vitoria, Hell Dorado :: El Club Sónico :: (SP)
09.05.20 Madrid, Kristonfest (SP)

PS: We’ve heard some rumors… you should keep your ears and eyes open for a big announcement, happening on January 21st…

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Brant Bjork, Live at Freak Valley 2019

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Brant Bjork, Jalamanta & Keep Your Cool: Desert Documents

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

brant bjork jalamanta reissue

It’s hard to speak about Brant Bjork‘s Jalamanta (also discussed here) in anything other than hyperbole. 20 years on from its original release through Man’s Ruin Records, it has become a defining document not just for Bjork‘s own solo work, but for desert rock as a whole, and the laid back vision of heavy it helped establish has had an impact second to none even when set against Brant Bjork‘s own massively influential releases as a member of Kyuss and Fu Manchu. The alliance between Bjork and Italian imprint Heavy Psych Sounds that produced digital reissues of all his albums continues to bear fruit in the physical realm as well, as in addition to last year’s new studio offering, Mankind Woman (review here), and earlier-2019’s archival-jam collection, Jacoozzi (review here), Jalamanta and 2003’s Keep Your Cool are next in line to receive a proper reissue treatment on vinyl and CD. Both have new artwork in strikingly different styles by Branca Studio and have been remastered, and Jalamanta is a new mix as well from Bjork and original engineer Tony Mason, and also includes the Blue Öyster Cult cover “Take Me Away” as a bonus track, bringing the total runtime to a gatefold 2LP-worthy 66 minutes.

Keep Your Cool doesn’t go nearly so far in terms of needing a second platter to contain it, but by the time Bjork got around to his third solo full-length in the span of four years, he had clearly figured some things out. Listening to the two records back-to-back — with the acknowledgment that 2002’s Brant Bjork & the Operators was originally released between them — the feel of Jalamanta is more mellow funk and more experimental, whether it’s bringing Fatso Jetson‘s Mario Lalli in to play guitar and sing on “Toot” or riding the clarion riff of “Automatic Fantastic” as a bed for spoken verses, running the into “Lazy Bones” backwards later as “Bones Lazy” and lacing tracks like “Sun Brother,” “Cobra Jab” and closer “Indio” with percussion while “Waiting for a Coconut to Drop” offers standalone guitar and the subsequent “Her Blown Blood” bases itself around a riff as driving as Kyuss ever were at their most forceful. The most memorable impressions Jalamanta made/makes might be in the dug-in grooves found in songs like “Automatic Fantastic,” “Too Many Chiefs… Not Enough Indians” and “Defender of the Oleander,” which set just the right balance between tonal presence, rhythmic swing, memorable craft and drifting melody to become essentially the groundwork for Bjork‘s solo career, of which Mankind Woman was the 12th offering.

Around these, Bjork is able to work to one side or the other, whether that’s the subdued meanderings of “Sun Brother” and “Indio” or the shove in “Low Desert Punk” and “Her Brown Blood.” Between those two sides, one finds a jam like “‘Let’s Get Chinese Eyes'” with its winding and uptempo instrumental progression and newly-refined interplay of guitar layers, while the bonus track cover “Take Me Away” fits right in among the hookier and more rolling material. There remains a natural feel to Jalamanta that has been no less course-setting for Bjork than any other aspect of the record, but with Keep Your Cool, the narrative shifts to a more solidified approach to songwriting and a willful-seeming blend of hard funk and heavy rock that became the embodiment of “low desert punk” as Bjork‘s own term for his style as he embarked in the early aughts on releasing albums through his own Duna Records imprint, Keep Your Cool being the second such outing behind Brant Bjork & the Operators, as well as an early reissue of Jalamanta.

brant bjork keep your cool

The question isn’t really of accessibility, since it’s not like Brant Bjork‘s solo work has ever veered from engaging its audience, but even with the kind-of-sad intro “Hey, Monkey Boy” at the outset, there’s no question Keep Your Cool puts its hooks in forward position, with “Johnny Called,” “Rock-n-Rolé” and “I Miss My Chick” following in succession ahead of the title-track’s two-minute departure into guitar-led desert wandering. But even that seems pared down in comparison to Jalamanta; a more straightforward sonic persona emerging, less trying-it-out and more executing a plan. Consider Keep Your Cool as a two-sided album, with “Hey, Monkey Boy” and the title-track as intros for sides A and B, respectively. The track breakdown is even with four and four, and the salvo that “Johnny Called” begins earns the reissue all on its own, with stage-ready memorable songwriting and a sure-headed conviction of method that Jalamanta — despite its many splendors — simply doesn’t have. There’s a tradeoff, because Keep Your Cool is inherently less experimental, but certainly there’s room in Bjork‘s solo catalog for both sides to find expression as they have for the last two decades.

Side B of Keep Your Cool continues the thread where “I Miss My Chick” left it, wah and handclaps filling out a core riff that is no less quintessential Brant Bjork than that of “Automatic Fantastic,” while “Searchin'” delves deeper into funky vibes with more upfront drums and a spacey guitar line later in the proceedings. The chorus may not be as forward, but the palette is expanding efficiently. One could argue that that started on “I Miss My Chick,” but the second half of the album lives up to the tradition of answering the hooks of the first with a broader reach. That remains true as closer “My Soul” finds its ultra-fluid chill and rolls out across nearly seven minutes that go from a straight-ahead verse/chorus to a finale guitar exploration that, indeed, lives up to the name of the track itself.

Brant Bjork would follow Keep Your Cool with Local Angel (discussed here; reissue review here) in 2004 and seem to pick up precisely where “My Soul” leaves off, but the narrative arc of his solo and solo-ish discography isn’t necessarily so linear, with work in and out of bandleader situations — Brant Bjork and the Bros.Brant Bjork and the Low Desert Punk Band — as well as his time with groups like the sadly-shortlived Ché and Vista Chino, despite a consistent growth and refinement of his craft that continues unabated. Quite simply, Jalamanta is a top-three all-time desert rock record, minimum. For even the most cursory exploration of the style, it is essential. Keep Your Cool doesn’t have the same kind of legacy behind it, but its songs show the direction Bjork was taking at the time and more than stand up to the 16 years since their original release. Neither accomplishment is insignificant, and if these reissues expose them to a new audience or give established fans another version of the record to chase down, there’s really no way to lose by having them back in print and fresh in mind.

Brant Bjork, Keep Your Cool (2003/2019)

Brant Bjork, Jalamanta (1999/2019)

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Brant Bjork Announces East Coast Tour with Ecstatic Vision

Posted in Whathaveyou on July 23rd, 2019 by JJ Koczan

brant bjork

I’ve been biding my time waiting to unleash a golly-BrantBjork-is-awesome-type review of the reissues of his first two solo albums that Heavy Psych Sounds has put and is putting out, and mark my words, I’ll get there by the time the Man Himself comes to play my beloved Garden State on Sept. 20. Brant Bjork, in New Jersey? I feel like I have a moral imperative to be there — and so do you, frankly. It’s not the kind of thing that happens every day, month, year, etc., so yeah, mark the calendar for it. All the better that the tour is with Heavy Psych Sounds labelmates Ecstatic Vision, whose new record For the Masses will also be out by then. Sometimes it just works. All of it. And it’s amazing how many of those times seem to involve Brant Bjork one way or the other.

Of course, Bjork and his band were just in Europe playing fests and supporting their earlier-2019 release, Jacoozzi (review here), of archived instrumental jams that followed 2018’s Mankind Woman (review here), his debut on Heavy Psych Sounds after completing a three-album deal with Napalm Records. Not a bummer in the bunch.

Here are the dates as posted by the label:

BRANT BJORK tour

*** BRANT BJORK – US TOUR 2019 ***

+Ecstatic Vision

Our desert rock legend Brant Bjork will tour US in September, supported by Ecstatic Vision !!! Don’t miss them..

BRANT BJORK US TOUR 2019

9/12 – St Louis, MO @ The Firebird
9/13 – Indianapolis, IN @ The Citadel Music Hall
9/14 – Youngstown, OH @ Westside Bowl
9/15 – Baltimore, MD @ Ottobar
9/16 – Columbus, OH @ Woodlands Tavern
9/17 – Buffalo, NY @ Iron Works
9/18 – Boston, MA @ The Middle East Upstairs
9/19 – Brooklyn, NY @ The Kingsland
9/20 – Teaneck, NJ @ Debonair Music Hall
9/21 – Philadelphia, PA @ Kung Fu Necktie
9/22 – Providence, RI @ Dusk
9/23 – New Haven, CT @ The State House
9/24 – Brattleboro, VT @ The Stone Church
9/25 – Toronto, ON @ Lee’s Palace
9/26 – Detroit, MI @ The Magic Bag
9/27 – Chicago, IL @ Reggies
9/28 – Milwaukee, WI @ Walker’s Point Music Hall

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Brant Bjork, Jalamanta (1999)

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Brant Bjork to Reissue Jalamanta Sept. 13 on Heavy Psych Sounds

Posted in Whathaveyou on May 21st, 2019 by JJ Koczan

What, you thought Heavy Psych Sounds was going to embark on a series of Brant Bjork reissues and not do the one that started it all? Of course not. Originally released in 1999 through Man’s Ruin Records, Jalamanta (discussed here) is top-five all-time pivotal desert rock releases, if not top three, and its enduring relevance not only to Bjork‘s work but for the slew of others he’s influenced speaks for itself. Presented with a new mix by Bjork and Tony Mason and a fresh master from John McBain, as well as new cover art, it’s just one of the best records ever to come out of the Californian desert. That’s all. No big deal.

Except it is a big deal. Preorders start later this week, as the PR wire tells it:

brant bjork jalamanta reissue

*** BRANT BJORK – JALAMANTA *** Reissue for the 20th Anniversary – remastered/remixed version

RELEASE DATE: SEPTEMBER 13th
PRESALE STARTS: MAY 23rd

It’s been 20 glory years when desert rock icon, BRANT BJORK, released his first solo album Jalamanta.

2019 will see the Kyuss and Fu Manchu- legend celebrate his 20th anniversary in style, when he will re-release his pathbreaking, cult album Jalamanta on September 13rd with Heavy Psych Sounds Records!

Recorded by Tony Mason at Rancho De La Luna, Joshua Tree, California, in February 1999 and produced by BRANT BJORK, Jalamanta still belongs to the most distinctive desert rock records of all time.

“Jalamanta was a life changing record for me. It’s the record that launched my journey as Brant Bjork.“ he comments. “Listening to the tapes 20 years later was amazing. Tony Mason and myself were transported back to that moment in time. Jalamanta was a first for both Tony and myself. My first record as a solo artist and his first record as an engineer. We didn’t think twice about re-mixing it. With our combined experience over the years, we knew we could take Jalamanta to the place we always wanted it to go. And we did. Dig it.“

Jalamanta has been re-mixed by Tony Mason, with a freshly baked re-master by John McBain at JPM Mastering, San Francisco. New cover art by Branca Studio. Heavy Psych Sounds is proud to start the pre-order of this timeless classic on May 23rd, in the following available album formats:

RELEASED IN DOUBLE GATEFOLD VINYL IN :
45 ULTRA LTD TEST PRESS VINYL
250 LTD WHITE SPLATTER RAINBOW VINYL
250 LTD WHITE MARBLED PURPLE VINYL
600 SOLID YELLOW VINYL
BLACK VINYL
DIGIPAK
DIGITAL

TRACKLIST
1. Lazy Bones
2. Automatic Fantastic
3. Cobra Jab
4. Too Many Chiefs… Not Enough Indians
5. Sun Brother
6. “Let’s Get Chinese Eyes”
7. Toot
8. Defender Of The Oleander
9. Bones Lazy
10. Low Desert Punk
11. Waiting For A Coconut To Drop
12. Her Brown Blood
13. Indio
14. Take Me Away ( Blue Oyster Cult cover )

Brant Bjork live:
19.06.19 – Nuremberg | Hirsch (DE)
20.06.19 – Netphen | Freak Valley Festival (DE)
21.06.19 – Nijmegen | Doornrosje (NL)
22.06.19 – Tunbridge Wells | Black Deer Festival (UK)
23.06.19 – Izel | La Fete De La Musique (BE)
24.06.19 – Aachen | Musikbunker (DE)
25.06.19 – Darmstadt | Centralstation (DE)
26.06.19 – Hannover | Musikzentrum (DE)
27.06.19 – Saarbrücken | Garage (DE)
28.06.19 – Düdingen | Bad Bonn (CH)
29.06.19 – Salzburg | Rockhouse (AT)
30.06.19 – Korinthos | Under The Sun Festival (GR)
02.07.19 – Thessaloniki | Eightball Club (GR)
04.07.19 – Viveiro | Resurrection Festival (ES)

Brant is still promoting his 13th solo album, “Mankind Woman”, which will was released via Heavy Psych Sounds in September.

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Brant Bjork, Jalamanta (1999)

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House of Broken Promises Premiere “Toranado” Video

Posted in Bootleg Theater on July 25th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

house of broken promises Toranado

A new House of Broken Promises release doesn’t come along every day, and it doesn’t come along without good reason. The Californian desert trio aren’t one of those bands who just throw records out into the ether to see what happens. There’s planning involved, reason. Their debut full-length, Using the Useless (review here), came out on Small Stone in 2009, and last year they at last offered a follow-up release in the Twisted EP. The occasion was an extensive European tour undertaken around fest appearances, and in addition to a take on Billy Squire‘s maddeningly catchy “The Stroke” and a frankly awesome take on Black Sabbath‘s “Lady Evil,” two demos and a live version of “The Hurt (Paid My Dues),” it also brought forth the first look at new studio material from the band in more than half a decade. Like I said, not a minor happening.

It’s just two tracks — “Twisted” and “Toranado” — but the new songs that otherwise might’ve been a 7″ hit hard like a glimpse of what we’ve all been missing: Head-slamming, straight-ahead riffing, big choruses, and a willful “hell yes”-inducing songwriting mentality. House of Broken Promises isn’t a band looking to be this month’s artistes grands. They want audience interaction. You can hear it in the gang shouts on “Twisted” and the surge of “Toranado.” They want the songs to make you move, get your ass to the bar and play catchup with whatever they’re having. What they’re having, incidentally, is a party.

Comprised of bassist/vocalist Joe Mora, drummer Mike Cancino and guitarist Arthur Seay — the latter two of whom got their start playing alongside John Garcia in Unida — House of Broken Promises have long since established their own branch on desert rock’s tallest family tree, especially in the live arena, but to hear that energy brought to a newer studio recording than their still-lone long-player is a boon to anyone looking to groove their way to good times. The video for “Toranado,” which I’m happy to premiere below, is directed by Seay and features the band packing an hour’s worth of asskicking into a two-and-a-half-minute song while set up in the pool of Nude Bowl, surrounded by skating at the park that traces its roots back to the 1970s, when it was taken over by skateboarders after being abandoned by — wait for it — a nudist colony. California, man.

Enjoy the “Toranado” video below, then go back and start it over and enjoy it again, because it’s short and you can do that:

House of Broken Promises, “Toranado” official video premiere

New Music house of Broken Promises off the EP “Twisted” shot in the desert of the Coachella Valley. Video shot at the world famous Nude Bowl in Desert Hot Springs, CA.

Directed by Arthur Seay.

*COMPOSER(S): ARTHUR SEAY, MIKE CANCINO, JOE MORA

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Friday Full-Length: Unida, Coping with the Urban Coyote

Posted in Bootleg Theater on October 13th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

Unida, Coping with the Urban Coyote (1999)

Among the many branches of the Kyuss family tree, Unida continue to hold a special place. Their story will perhaps forever be one of oh-what-could’ve-been, and though their legacy is marked by the abruptness with which their momentum was cut short, the quality of their debut and only officially released album to-date, Coping with the Urban Coyote resonates perhaps even more now, 18 years after its original release, than it might’ve at the time it came out on Frank Kozik‘s Man’s Ruin Records. Certainly to listen to the eight tracks and 41-minutes, there’s little to make it sound anything less than vital. With so much time passed and so much that’s happened since, that would only seem to emphasize how special a release it actually is and has been all along.

Unida formed in 1998 and made their debut the next year by including their The Best of Wayne-Gro EP as part of a split with Sweden’s Dozer released by MeteorCity. Later in ’99, Coping with the Urban Coyote would surface on Man’s Ruin as their proper first album. With frontman John Garcia fresh off his time in Slo Burn, whose Amusing the Amazing LP was issued in 1997, the ex-Kyuss singer seemed poised to once again make an impact in the heavy rock underground. And so he did. Joined in Unida‘s Coping with the Urban Coyote lineup by guitarist Arthur Seay, drummer Mike Cancino and bassist Dave Dinsmore — who’d later be replaced by Scott Reeder (ex-KyussThe Obsessed, etc.) — Garcia presented a new outfit that tightened the desert rock approach of Kyuss on songs like “Plastic” and the blasting “If Only Two,” delving into his trademark patterning of repeating lines in his lyrics, pushing out vocals with from-the-gut soulfulness, and capturing the spirit of place that few other vocalists from that region or elsewhere have been able to match since, while also presenting trippier fare on the nine-minute finale “You Wish” and finding a sound that was distinct enough from Kyuss to not simply be recapturing what was lost in a way that Slo Burn seemed at times to be trying to do. Unida may have been working in a similar sphere, but they were their own band already on their first record, even with Garcia‘s strong ties to his own sonic past.

The Unida story has been told many times, both here and elsewhere, and so I don’t necessarily think I need to delve into the details of the fate of their follow-up to Coping with the Urban Coyote, but just as a refresher: what was originally titled For the Working Man and later became known as The Great Divide was tracked by mega-producer Rick Rubin and set to be issued through Rubin‘s American Recordings imprint through Island Def Jam in 2002. The record company shelved it, owned it, and that was basically the end. It’s been bootlegged many times since and accordingly is readily available online, but it’s never been officially released, and the commercial potential it represented in terms of bringing Unida — and really desert rock as a whole, since although they had two records out, Queens of the Stone Age were still about a year away from “happening” on a more widespread level and claiming that forerunner mantle as their own — to a broader audience went unfulfilled. A much, much worse fate than the album deserved, and it was effectively the end of the group. Unida played sporadic shows throughout the years, and notably they got back together to headline Desertfest London in 2013 (review here), and would head to Berlin to play there and tour Australia with Beastwars, also reissuing Coping with the Urban Coyote via Cobraside Distribution in 2014 with a bonus disc of live tracks from their Desertfest performance.

Of course, in the intervening years, Seay and Cancino went on to form House of Broken Promises and would issue the debut long-player, Using the Useless (review here), via Small Stone in 2009. It wasn’t until this fall that release got a follow-up — the Twisted EP came out last week on Heavy Psych Sounds and the band is on tour in Europe to promote it — but with Unida seemingly once more at rest, presumably there’s time for Seay to focus on the other outfit.

That’s nothing to complain about, though, because as much as Unida‘s circumstances and narrative define the band, and as much as Garica‘s presence as frontman leaves an indelible mark on their output, I’d argue gladly that it’s Seay‘s underlying songwriting ability that is the most distinguishing factor, and I think revisiting Coping with the Urban Coyote plainly demonstrates that. To listen to the clear-headed riff that drives “Nervous,” the flourish leads peppered throughout that track or the start-stop swing in opener “Thorn,” the forward thrust of “Black Woman” and the penultimate “Dwarf It” or the mid-paced ease with which “Human Tornado” is brought to bear, and the rolling spaciousness of “You Wish,” even in light of everything that’s happened since (and hasn’t happened since) with this band and its players, the vision of Seay‘s craft is so purposeful in hitting all its marks and yet still comes across as natural and born of the chemistry between himself, Garcia, Cancino and Dinsmore.

I’d also say that’s the key factor that’s allowed Coping with the Urban Coyote to hold up so well over time. Something to keep in mind as you dive in and think about either chasing down The Great Divide via some interwebular chicanery or finding yourself a copy of that Cobraside reissue (which is about where I’m at, honestly), and of course either way, I very much hope you enjoy.

Thanks as always for reading.

I decided to let myself sleep late today, by which I mean the alarm was set for 6AM. I woke up at 5:23AM and decided quickly that I was too conscious to bother with the remaining 35 pre-alarm minutes. Been a stressful few days as The Patient Mrs. and I continue to await the arrival of The Pecan. Her due date is Sunday, but really it feels like it could be any minute now. Today would work. Tomorrow. Whenever. He’ll come when he comes. The catchphrase we’ve been using is “babies are born on their birthday.” I’m sure everyone says the same shit when waiting like this. Few things in life turn out not to be cliches one way or another.

Our families are excited. We had kind of a final pre-baby get-together last weekend in Connecticut and that was really good if also kind of tiring. The Patient Mrs., as one might expect, has been especially beat the last few days, as we’ve gotten invariably closer to the beginning stages of labor, and I can see the change. She went to a couple meetings at work yesterday and was alright when she first got home, but once she had some dinner and keyed down a bit had very clearly hit a wall. We went to bed at about 8PM to lay down and I read for a while to The Pecan from the Star Trek novel I’m currently making my way through. I don’t know how into the adventures of Will Riker among the Romulans this kid will ultimately be, but it seems the least I can do to start him off right, especially while words are just sounds to help bonding. It’s not like he really needs to know what a subspace warp field is at this point.

That’ll come later.

But while we’re already not really sleeping and we’re doing stuff like making sure there’s gas in the car (there isn’t currently) to get to the hospital when the time comes to go, and our bags are packed and we’ve got our for-labor positions and massages all practiced with the doula and the midwife and as much as the stage can be set, the stage is set, the bottom line is we’re really excited to have this baby. Yeah, it’s a huge difference and everything in my life is about to get turned upside down and all the rest of that stuff — diapers and priorities will likewise be changed — but the anticipation of what’s coming is huge at this point. We can’t wait to meet him. Say hi and whatnot. It’ll be cool. I hope he’s not a dick. Ha.

Before I head out, here’s a schedule for next week that’s obviously more tentative and subject to change without notice than ever:

Mon.: The Spacelords review/stream; The Road Miles video premiere.
Tue.: The Age of Truth review/stream; new I Klatus video.
Wed.: Year of the Cobra review/stream; new Bushfire video.
Thu.: Cities of Mars review.
Fri.: Special surprise review/stream that I can’t talk about yet but that is going to rule. I don’t want to give it away, but stay tuned.

I’ve tried to mitigate stuff in light of the impending Pecan, and that’s about as well as I could do to be minimal. If it comes to it and I need to kill news posts to make room, I will, but we’ll see when we get there. Hell, the kid could not come for another week and a half. Who knows?

It’s going to be fun finding out.

Of course I’ll keep you posted when I have news, but in the interim, I hope you have a great and safe weekend. Please do something fun, enjoy yourself and your time and your loved ones if you can, and please check out the forum and the radio stream.

The Obelisk Forum

The Obelisk Radio

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House of Broken Promises Announce European Tour; Twisted EP out Oct. 6

Posted in Whathaveyou on August 31st, 2017 by JJ Koczan

house of broken promises

Well, with previous announcements that House of Broken Promises would take part in Desertfest Belgium 2017 in Antwerp (info here) and Keep it Low 2017 in Munich (info here), it seemed only fair to expect a fuller European tour was in the cards, but the news that the Indio, California, three-piece have hooked up with Heavy Psych Sounds for booking a month-long run and the corresponding Oct. 6 release of a new EP, Twisted, is admittedly more than was anticipated.

For one thing, any kind of new studio offering from House of Broken Promises? Yeah, hard to see that coming. It’s been nearly whole eight years since they released their debut full-length, Using the Useless (review here), on Small Stone, and though they’ve spoken for years about a follow-up, just about nothing has surfaced — though did you know they released their set from Desertfest London 2013 as a CD-R through CDBaby? It’s here. Man, nobody told me about that shit. I was at that show. They killed it. Wish I had known that was out.

Anyway, sidetracked. Point is the new EP has some older outtakes and covers and this-and-thats, but it’s still something new from House of Broken Promises and all the more commendable that they’re both putting it out and hitting the road so fervently to support it. Could it mean more new stuff to come in 2018? Hard not to immediately get greedy when it comes to Arthur Seay riffage.

From the PR wire:

house of broken promises tour

Desert metallers HOUSE OF BROKEN PROMISES to tour Europe this fall; new EP coming on Heavy Psych Sounds!

Indio, CA’s stoner metal veterans HOUSE OF BROKEN PROMISES have announced their return to the Old Continent, with a full European tour and a new EP coming this fall.
Heavy/stoner rock trio from Indio, California HOPB is back with their new “Twisted” EP, which features two unreleased covers (Black Sabbath and Billy Squire) plus a bunch of outtakes and live songs for a total of 30 minutes of heavy music.

The former Unida musicians reiterate their successful formula with Mike Cancino’s powerful drumming, guitarist and producer Arthur Seay’s wall of riffs, and Joe More wonderful John Garcia-esque vocals. “Twisted” was recorded at Arthur Seay’s studio in Indio, near the Joshua Tree area who inspired so many stoner/desert rock bands. Artwork was designed by Italian artist and HPS favorite Solo Macello.

HOUSE OF BROKEN PROMISES new EP “Twisted” is out October 6th on Heavy Psych Sounds Records. Presale start September 1st at this location.

HOUSE OF BROKEN PROMISES EUROPEAN TOUR
29.09.2017 IT Pescara – Scumm
30.09.2017 IT Savona – Raindogs
01.10.2017 IT Parma
02.10.2017 IT Zerobranco – Altroquando
03.10.2017 IT Milan
04.10.2017 FR Chambery – Le Brin Du Zinc
05.10.2017 FR Montpellier – The Black Sheep
06.10.2017 SP Barcelona – Monasterio
07.10.2017 SP Madrid
08.10.2017 SP Santiago De Compostela – Sala Moon
10.10.2017 SP Gijon – Sala Acapulco
11.10.2017 SP Bilbao – Wombat
12.10.2017 SP Saragoza or San Sebastian
13.10.2017 FR Nantes – La Scene Michelet
14.10.2017 BE Antwerp – Desertfest
16.10.2017 DE Koln – Lime*
17.10.2017 DE Munster – Rare Shop Guitar*
18.10.2017 DE Bielefeld – Potemkin*
19.10.2017 CH Basel – Hirschneck*
20.10.2017DE Frankfurt – Yachtklub*
21.10.2017 DE Munich – Keep It Low*
22.10.2017 AT Salzburg – Rockhouse*
24.10.2017 DE Wien – Viper Room*
25.10.2017 DE Dresden – Chemofabrik*
26.10.2017 DE Erfurt – Tiko*
27.10.2017 CH Olten – Coq D’Or*
28.10.2017 DE Siegen – Vortex*
* dates with Black Bone

HOUSE OF BROKEN PROMISES is guitarist Arthur Seay (Unida, ApeSh!t), bassist/vocalist Joe Mora (HDR, Street Drugs DTLA, The Addicts) and drummer Mike Cancino (Unida, Lynch Mob). Formed on the ashes of Unida (which also featured Kyuss legend John Garcia), their Small Stone Records debut “Using the Useless”, led the charge in a more refined stoner metal approach than the standard stoner rock sound of similar scene bands.

https://www.facebook.com/HOBPMUSIC/
https://twitter.com/HOBPofficial
http://instagram.com/houseofbrokenpromises
https://www.facebook.com/HEAVYPSYCHSOUNDS
https://twitter.com/HEAVYPSYCHSOUND
https://instagram.com/heavypsychsounds_records/
http://www.heavypsychsounds.com/shop.htm

House of Broken Promises, Using the Useless (2009)

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