Ripplefest Texas 2024 Completes Lineup

Posted in Whathaveyou on April 8th, 2024 by JJ Koczan

This is one of the best lineups I’ve seen for a US-based heavy fest in the 15-plus years I’ve been running this site. I don’t know what else to say about it, honestly. For the fact that Ripplefest Texas is bringing Dozer over alone, let alone any of the other Euro acts involved who have, say, been to North America in the last 20-plus years, it’s astonishing. And not just bigger bands like Dozer and Truckfighters or Mars Red Sky and Belzebong, but Domkraft and Kal-El, bands you know if you’re into this thing but that haven’t been around as long and aren’t as ‘huge’ in the whatever sense that applies in underground music.

And it’s not like they’re skimping on within-US geography either. Of course the desert is well represented, and Texas has a significant presence as it invariably would, but with Gozu and Leather Lung headed out from Boston, Borracho traveling from D.C., Temple of the Fuzz Witch from Michigan, Robots of the Ancient World from Portland, Oregon, and so on, they’ve got all the corners and between pretty well covered. La Chinga coming from Canada. Demons My Friends giving Mexico a nod. It is extensive.

And quality. I don’t know that I’ll be there to see it, but I’d imagine that for most who get to be, it’ll be the stuff of legend. Congrats to Ryan Garney and Lick of My Spoon for bringing it into the world, and safe travels to all involved:

Ripplefest Texas 2024 poster sq

Here it is! The lineup for RippleFest Texas and the amazing art by Simon Berndt @1horsetown 🤘🔥❤️

We still have a few surprises left but this roster is stacked! Don’t miss your chance to see the world’s best heavy music at the largest family reunion of the year. Plus this is the ONLY premier festival that has absolutely ZERO OVERLAPPING so you can see every second of every band! Get your tickets now and we will see you in September!

Tier 2 tickets are almost sold out and the price increases on Monday so get your tickets now:



Plus the best light show in the business by @themadalchemistliquidliteshow

Mars Red Sky, Live at Rock in Bourlon 2023

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Desertfest London 2024 Makes Second Lineup Announcement

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

The names here are really the thing. Suicidal Tendencies, Cancer Bats, Nightstalker, Ozric Tentacles, Mondo Generator, Sunnata, Kal-El, Psychlona, Kadabra, Saint Karloff, Ashenspire, WAKE, Bongripper, Gozer, Orme, Borehead, Sagan, Acid Throne — did I miss anybody? Hell, probably. Every year, Desertfest has a couple announcements like this where they add basically an entire festival to their festival and it’s always kind of staggering to consider the scope, never mind what Desertfest has become, particularly with London as an epicenter. One of these years I’ll get back over. It’s been too long.

Also, told you Psychlona had more news. They’ve still got more to come.

The latest word follows from the PR wire:

desertfest london 2024 second announce

Desertfest London welcomes Roundhouse headliners Suicidal Tendencies plus Ozric Tentacles, Cancer Bats, Bongripper and 15 more artists for 2024

Friday 17th May – Sunday 19th May 2024 | Weekend Tickets now on sale

Desertfest London proudly welcomes the legendary Suicidal Tendencies to their 2024 event as Roundhouse headliners. Celebrating 40 years since their genre-defying first album, prepare to have your mind Institutionalized! Whilst Desertfest remains synonymous with showcasing the best of stoner, doom and psych for over twelve years, Suicidal Tendencies’ headlining performance will add a new dimension to the festival, bridging the gap between the punk and metal scenes that have inspired countless bands worldwide.

Hailing from the sun-soaked streets of Venice, California, Suicidal Tendencies frontman Mike Muir helped shape a cultural landscape, whilst simultaneously pioneering a new genre. Taking the essence of skating, surfing and the Dogtown scene & infusing it with a unique style of hardcore punk. Their seamless un-apologetic musical blend, breaking of conventions and fearless take on challenging socials issues changed the landscape of heavy music forever. Suicidal Tendencies’ performance at Desertfest not only welcomes the band back to London for the first time in seven years, but marks a new point in the festival’s evolution as a celebration of underground counter-culture.

The icons keep rolling in as Ozric Tentacles join the bill, also celebrating a monumental 40 years, Ozrics’ unique lysergic soundscapes helped merge the worlds of psychedelia, progressive rock and dance music. Formed during a solstice at Stonehenge in 1983, Ozric Tentacles are true trailblazers – laying the tripped-out road which so many acts in the Desertfest-sphere now follow.

Heavy music’s hardest-working, and hardest-partying, road dogs Cancer Bats will up the ante with their rock’n’roll shenanigans as they bring the energy. Satan Worshipping Doom, three words that need no explanation to Desertfesters’ as Bongripper make their first appearance at the event since 2013. Plus, the prodigal son returns as Nick Oliveri’s Mondo Generator showcase their immense catalogue of desert-drenched tones.

Elsewhere the festival announces Greek stoner-Gods Nightstalker, avant-garde-jazz meets black-metal mania from Ashenspire, a spellbinding ritual from Sunnata and further melting-pot madness from crushing Canadian’s WAKE.

Additionally, Psychlona, Kal-El, Kadabra, Saint Karloff and Lord Elephant bring the grooves, whilst heaviness reigns with homegrown talent Gozer, Acid Throne & Orme. And finally rounding things off Desertfest warmly welcomes, Borehead & Sagan.

Weekend Tickets for the event are on sale now via with more artists, day splits & day tickets released in January.

Full line-up


Suicidal Tendencies, “How Will I Laugh Tomorrow”

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Kal-El Premiere “Universe” Video From Moon People

Posted in Bootleg Theater on September 20th, 2023 by JJ Koczan


This week marks the release of Kal-El‘s new two-songer EP, Moon People, on Majestic Mountain Records, and for those who would chase a trail of fuzzy riffs across this or that infinite expanse, the track “Universe” offers due opportunity. There is simply no arguing with this band. Based in Stavanger, Norway, the double-guitar five-piece fronted by Ståle “The Captain” Rodvelt are now five albums deep into a tenure that spans a decade-plus, and they have remained loyal to the riffs, the fuzz, the sliding nod and push that defines heavy rock, but have brought an expansive breadth that is their own. “Universe” accompanies the title-track of Moon People. Both are seven-minute groovers based around that core blend of heft and float, and unlike some very grand number of other acts, Kal-El do not feel the need to separate the two. They can make the heft float, and they do in each of these two pieces in a different way.

Hooky A-side “Moon People” (video near the bottom of the post) wakes itself up as a fuzzy underlying progression seems to be encouraging the rest of the band to get on board. kal-el moon peopleSoon enough they do, and Kal-El unfurl the hairy tonality that typifies the lead cut. It is the stuff of blown speakers at proper volumes, much as Kal-El‘s style lends itself to grandiose superlatives. The guitars make room for vocals in the verse, open and melodic, and “Universe” will do the same shortly with a denser buzz behind, and as they work their way through the hook and back around, then head outbound on an extended solo jam, the B-side is allowed its opportunity for contrast. Because while united in tone and aesthetic, “Moon People” and “Universe” want to and do accomplish different ends.

In “Universe,” it’s the structure that shifts. The shove is more immediate with the toms circling around making their way toward a ’90s-style space-grunge verse, and they complement that intensity with a chorus boogie riff that’s so heartfelt in its Sabbathian blues that it reminds of Church of Misery. Of course, they end in a big wash of fuzz and the hook and psychedelic flourish around hard-landing nod delivered with expert pacing and the sense of craft one has come to expect from Kal-El, but it’s the path they take getting there that makes that culmination so satisfying, the fact that they were willing to change it up from one track to the next reminds of the attention to detail that made their 2021 fifth LP, Dark Majesty (review here) so easy to follow on its solar trajectory.

The thing’s out Friday, so there’s no time to waste. “Universe” premieres below and “Moon People” is down near the links. 14 and a half minutes of the biggest riffs you’ll hear today. No arguing.


Kal-El, “Universe” video premiere

This big unknown, cold, black vacuum, surrounding us with mysteries, danger, and marvels, has intrigued the earthlings since the dawn of man. Trapped on this one rock out of billions upon billions, we look for answers. Who is out there, what is out there, who are we? But we are not alone, and ultimately we are all, we are one, we are life, we are family – we are the Universe.

Enjoy, and may the fuzz be with you!

The second track and video from the Moon People EP.

Written and performed by Kal-El
Recorded at Lydplaneten
Engineered by Tory Raugstad
Produced by Kal-El
Mixed and mastered by Ruben Willem
Copyright to Darkspace Music

The stellar video by @prettynoose888 !

Kal-El, “Moon People” official video

Kal-El on Facebook

Kal-El on Instagram

Kal-El on Bandcamp

Kal-El website

Majestic Mountain Records store

Majestic Mountain Records on Instagram

Majestic Mountain Records on Facebook

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The Obelisk Questionnaire: Ståle “The Captain” Rodvelt of Kal-El

Posted in Questionnaire on January 30th, 2023 by JJ Koczan

Ståle "The Captain" Rodvelt of Kal-El

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: Ståle “The Captain” Rodvelt of Kal-El

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

Creating music start with riffs I enjoy and putting them together with the guys to become songs, and as it start to shape, I’m already having the theme for the lyrics in mind. When it’s good and ready to be presented to the world, I’m of course hoping people will enjoy the art. The phrase, “I make music for myself” is true to an extent – of course you hope people will like it and get something out of it. Anything else is utter bullshit, if you picked up an instrument with getting on stage in mind, of course you want attention. Only thing you can hope for, is the fact that its good enough, and that people catch on and like it. That was the idea when I picked up a tennis racket, and played Elvis songs in front of the mirror. You give it a good go as you’ve seen the real stars do on TV and picturing yourself in front of a crowd going wild, and if you say otherwise, you lie :P

Then the mirror gigs became friends playing together, and as the skills grew, we started making attempts on originals. So, after several years (literally several with capital S) with different bands and different musical styles, I ended up putting together KAL-EL to try out some riffs I had. Riffs that got rejected as campfire-Danzig riffs (no lie :D) by the bands I played in. As faith would have it, the drummer of KAL-EL, Bjudas, had the same damn experience with his riffs getting rejected in his band. But he gave me a few, reluctantly I might add, and I was blown away by his writing skills. I guess seeing my reaction encouraged him to get busy, and now he farts out cool riffs faster then people can digest the one he just came up with. We are now proud to say with the help of the other guys in KAL-EL, together with their riffs and their influences, these riffs have given us a Spellemanns nomination, so I guess they wasn’t too shitty after all. :D

Describe your first musical memory.

That must be my mother tuning in to Radio Luxembourg, listening to whatever was the hot shit of the week in the 70s or playing her Elvis’ 7” s – She was (and still is) a huge Elvis fan, so that has kind of rubbed off on me. Elvis is still the King to me, but of course I drifted along to harder stuff as the ’80s came along and I got into my teens. Getting the WASP debut album in my teenage hands changed everything.

Describe your best musical memory to date.

That would have to be when I was lucky enough to see Metallica at the Fillmore in San Francisco in April 2003. I had two tickets to the Wednesday show, and with a pregnant wife, we set off to the USA for the first time to witness Robert Trujillo’s first live performance with the band. Together with 300(!) other fans. They played all the hits from the first 3 records, and it was pretty surreal. They performed so close to the crowd that we could touch them, and they fist bumped everyone there, had people up on stage, and really had a good time. Never had an experience like that since.

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

Every kid is born pure, without knowledge of hate or religious mumbo jumbo in their heads, so it should be doable to get along. Why isn’t it so? I really don’t have a good answer to that, but the state of the world now a days truly tests my belief in happiness, every day. Why can’t humans just get the fuck along? If it was a time for aliens to reveal themselves, now is as good as any. Perhaps we could find some common ground then. :P

Where do you feel artistic progression leads?

If you learn your craft to play or sing that tone you couldn’t last time, then you have a good progression which leads to, I guess happiness and a sense of accomplishment. And if what you do is getting better, more refined, and the response to it is thumbs up, you’re on the right track.

How do you define success?
To wake up every day, alive and able to feed my wonderful kids and family.

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

I think I’ll keep that to myself.

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

A cool festival to give people in my hometown a taste of the music, and all the great bands I’ve met on the road. I had one starting back in 2019, Darkspace Stoner Fest, but as the pandemic came along, and its been pretty busy with KAL-EL lately, and I haven’t found the time to look into it for real. It’s been that one time, but I really want to create something to be held once a year.

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

To provoke and make people think. Some art is eye or ear candy and sooths the brain, and some art is plain ugly or totally out of whack and make the brain go; what?? But all forms of art have the right to exist, and all art has both haters and lovers. Either way, it gets me engaged, so I guess the artist got the reaction he/she wanted.

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

I do write some novels (mostly for myself) from time to time to give me inspiration to write lyrics for KAL-EL. Looking forward to the day I get the guts to put it together to something readable and show people. I guess it would have been sci fi stories for kids about this badass bounty hunter girl named Mica. My lack of writing skills is overshadowed by coming up with never ending stories about this girl’s adventures, and I’m always spinning on some new story. I just suck at getting it down in a readable shape.

Kal-El, Dark Majesty (2021)

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Notes From Truckfighters Fuzz Festival #3 in Stockholm, Sweden, Dec. 10, 2022 (Night Two)

Posted in Features, Reviews on December 13th, 2022 by JJ Koczan

Truckfighters (Photo by JJ Koczan)

4:05PM – Before the show

It’s kind of a shame that when this trip is over and I go home, I probably won’t keep the image in my head of sitting here at this table and watching the December wind pushing along the top of the water of the Liljeholmsviken out the window of Bar Brooklyn. In the big room next door, Debaser, Truckfighters are soundchecking, then Firestone, Enigma Experience getting set here. I’m here earlier than yesterday, and I was plenty early yesterday too, anxious to get everything sorted see what the evening held in store for photos and whatnot, but today I mostly just got tired of sitting around, being headachy and jetlagged without the distraction of anything else on which to focus. Here I’ve got bass coming through the wall. Probably won’t cure the headache, but going nuclear with xanax, Advil and coffee should help things balance out, stop me from grinding my teeth, etc.

At some point last night, it occurred to me that as of today, it’s been a decade since the last time I took a drink of alcohol, and no, getting beer spilled on you doesn’t count — I packed a spare pair of pants for tonight, since it seems reasonable to expect that will again. Swedes going hard this weekend. But yeah, 10 years. I still don’t really call myself ‘sober,’ though it’s handy shorthand for ‘no I don’t drink because I used to drink too much,’ plus my relatively recent (re-)dive into various THC consumables doesn’t exactly speak to a drive for lucidity, but as far as being something, it’s not nothing. Given the shape my body is in more generally and the trajectory of deeper middle age to come, not downing a case of beer and/or a bottle of wine every night is probably the right call. I’m rarely tempted to drink, so that’s fortunate.

Coat check debaser StockholmI’m also wearing a warmer hoodie tonight, since among Debaser’s amenities is a massive coat-check — it could basically be a third stage; has to account for both rooms — of which I plan to avail myself when it opens. Until then, things are pretty quiet here. I met last night an entire American contingent, including members of Texas’ Mr. Plow and long-tenured folks from shows more local to me. Hell, Ron (you know Ron) was in Richmond last weekend too, so no lack of continuity there.

The days are shorter here than at home. I don’t know what time the sun came up, as much as it did, with yesterday’s grim and grey weather carrying over, but it’s been full nighttime for over an hour now. Stockholm was out partying last night though, dance clubs going off near here, and one here after the show was done, welp-dressed people waiting in line to get in as the rock crowd made its way out. Would expect more of that tonight as well.

But it’s a cool city and I’m looking forward to seeing more of it tomorrow before flying out Monday morning, and I’m incredibly grateful to be here, thank you to Steve and the guys from Kings Destroy for having me along, intruding on their band-time, and to Truckfighters for putting this whole thing together and allowing me to access and cover it. And thank you as always for reading, Firestone soundcheckbecause if you didn’t, none of this shit would ever happen. This trip wraps the busiest stretch of travel in my life; since June, I’ve been to Germany, flew to Las Vegas in August, did Oslo in October, Mexico (not music-related but still travel) in November, drove to Virginia last weekend and now I’m here. Please don’t think I don’t understand how lucky I am.

Okay, enough sappy stuff, time for rock and roll. Thanks again and here we go.

Truckfighters Fuzz Festival #3 – Night Two


Firestone (Photo by JJ Koczan)

Was not sure what to expect from a Firestone reunion. Among Swedish heavy rock bands, they came about right as other stuff was kind of tailing off, but their Stonebeliever EP and their Fuzzsplit of the Century with Truckfighters — for whom Firestone guitarist Oskar Cedermalm already doubled on bass and vocals — remain choice these two decades later, and sure enough, they got on stage and delivered that sound, that fuzz for Fuzz Festival. I’ll admit I’m curious as to their plans, if they’re going to keep going, make another go of it now that there’s a different generational fanbase that’s proven ready and willing to dig back into older bands and material so long as it doesn’t suck and is available, and after seeing them play, it doesn’t seem over the top to think they might keep it going, but of course you never know watching a band on stage what else they might have going on in their lives. All the more with reunions. Still, they were vital in energy and classic in form, easy to dig for sure, and with the infrastructure of Fuzzorama Records behind them, it at least doesn’t feel crazy to think they could make something of it, even if that’s just more fest appearances every now and then.

Enigma Experience

Enigma Experience (Photo by JJ Koczan)

They were actually one of the bands I was most looking forward to seeing, and I know that sounds funny given some of the acts on this bill over the two nights, but Enigma Experience released their debut album, Question Mark (review here), in 2020, and I feel like I’ve been trying ever since I heard it to get a handle on where exactly their sound is coming from. Seeing them live, as one would hope, gave more of a sense. Because it’s Niklas Källgren on guitar, at least some portion of the tone is going to be recognizable from his work in Truckfighters — yes, he and Oskar are both pulling double duty, triple if you count running the fest — but the context is legitimately different, and yeah, you might liken it to, well, he’s still jumping around on stage, but he’s doing so performing more vocals, switching from acoustic to electric, and complementing the stage presence of Maurice Adams while donning ladies’ eveningwear. The songs, still definitely rock and straight ahead, are also atmospheric in a way that makes me think they’ll continue to grow along those lines, and what’s nascent in their sound now will play an increasing role going forward as they grow together as a unit and gain the inherent confidence from that. They, very clearly, are on their way.


Astroqueen (Photo by JJ Koczan)

Not that I speak the language or anything, because I most definitely don’t, tack så mycket, but I’m pretty sure I heard Astroqueen announce from the stage they’ve got a new record coming. That would be their first in over 20 years — working on the Lowrider promotional model; funny that it works — and it would only be welcome if it’s got a fraction of the force I heard come off the stage. Playing more or less in the dark, they were no less vibrant for it, and where one might expect that two decades down the line the crowd might not be as immediately on board, but indeed, they had the room held rapturous. Again, it’s that same scene that produced Dozer, Firestone, Truckfighters, Demon Cleaner, The Awesome Machine, Astroqueen, all those bands who used to haunt the message boards and word of whom now spreads through social media. They are just not a band I ever expected to see, though I’ve had Into Submission since it was current, but it only really underlines for me how lucky I am to be here, to do this. The sound was bass-heavy and that’s just fine. They’ve been doing very select shows up to this point, but I can’t help but wonder how much they’ll get out with a new album to support. I look forward to potentially finding out, provided my inner translation matrix wasn’t way off and I’m excited about what was actually banter about doughnuts backstage or something. I guess you never really know until the press release, but here’s hoping.

Kings Destroy

Look at me, punching me ‘seen ’em in multiple countries’ card with Kings Destroy. They’ve toured Europe before, not to mention Australia and New Zealand, and I saw them in August, but to be honest, they used to play all the time, they don’t anymore, and I’m glad to catch a set whenever the opportunity might present itself. They were packed onto the Bar Brooklyn stage, the second five-piece there on the fest behind Gaupa last night, and they owned the room. The lights, the sound, the crowd were all in their favor, and that made being there for it that much better, but they’re the reason I got to come here in the first place, so watching them play is automatically a positive association in my mind, even when they complain about the set afterwards, which I have a hard time thinking they will tonight. You never know when it’s going to be the last time, so make the most of it. That was what I was trying to do in the front of the stage. My back’s sore, my head’s sore, and I don’t care. I know that most people don’t really get where this band is coming from — I’ll readily admit their second record was a head-scratcher for me for years until I got the vinyl — but I don’t care about that either. Call it sentimental if you want, it doesn’t matter. I feel fortunate every time I watch Kings Destroy play, and tonight they lived up to the occasion as well as their spot on the bill.


Greenleaf (Photo by JJ Koczan)

Words like “powerhouse” were invented for Greenleaf. I’ve seen the band that was once a classic rock side-project of Dozer’s Tommi Holappa before, but not since Arvid Hällagård joined on vocals, and he, Holappa, bassist Hans Frölich and drummer Sebastian Olsson just absolutely laid waste. I mean it. With Hällagård tapping full-on blues vocally with melody and confidence that reminds in the rawer live setting of some of what Dirty Streets touch on, from the opening notes, they took command of that room and made it move. Sound as physical presence. I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to write about them objectively again, as much as I ever could, because there was such a sense of revelry, still drawn from that classic style that was the core of their beginning, but made into something compellingly their own over time. And in the year since Echoes From a Mass (review here) came out, my affection for it has only deepened. I don’t know if it’s timeless, their sound, but it’s dug through time to become something that is in and out of it simultaneously, and watching them play live, it was like watching dances being invented. What. A. Fucking. Band. The kind of band who make you wonder how it building still has doors. I’ll say this now, any opportunity I get to see Greenleaf, I’m going to take it for as long as I am able. They were superlative.


Kal-El (Photo by JJ Koczan)

Rippers. I had a feeling the Stavenger, Norway-based five-piece would be bringing it hard to Fuzz Fest, and yes, they delivered on that expectation. Nothing to argue with when a band comes out of the gate width that much of a sense of who they are and what they do. Last year, they released Dark Majesty (review here) and only built on the momentum they’d amassed over the few years prior, and if the crowd response they got at Bar Brooklyn is the result of that work they’ve put in, then yeah, they earned it. “Witches of Mars,” “Dark Majesty” itself, and their closing cover of Kyuss’ quintessential “Green Machine” found them well in charge of that space, and for not the first time here I felt like this festival could have had two rooms of equal size. As was, Kal-El brought volume and depth in kind, and handed it out with due aplomb. They’re a newer band, having put out their first release in 2015, but they’re zeroed right in on that Scandinavian ideal, having taken the lessons of California desert rock and turned influence into new creation. Kal-El made their case — “I plead the riff,” to make probably a too-American reference — and brought down Brooklyn Bar as only a headliner could and invariably must.


Truckfighters (Photo by JJ Koczan)

They weren’t the first Swedish fuzz band, which is something they’ve plainly acknowledged in booking this fest, but I don’t think you can really have a conversation about fuzz from here or otherwise without respecting what Truckfighters have brought to the style. With an inimitable stage presence and nigh-on aerobic delivery, they’ve become one of the most influential heavy rock bands of their generation, at home and abroad, and their years of steady touring and the expansion of their own sound over the course of their studio material isn’t to be understated. I’m telling you this to emphasize the point that this is a group — Niklas Källgren and Oskar Cedermalm, both founding members, with a succession of drummers rounding out the trio — whose efforts have directly contributed to the way one thinks of heavy rock today. Following Greenleaf is no easy task, I don’t care who you are, and Truckfighters earn extra kudos by not making it easy on themselves in terms of where they are on the bill — don’t forget, they’re running the show and they’ve both played sets with other bands already today — but did they deliver? I wonder, could there be any doubt? Nah. They came out — on time, mind you — and tore the place a new one, that bassy sound that had given Astroqueen so much wub pushing Truckfighters heavier even as they operated true to form. It was an occasion because they made it one, literally and figuratively, and up front I could feel the full press of the crowd behind me, swaying, shoving, moving to the music. These guys tried to do the indefinite hiatus thing a few years ago, already not owing anyone anything, and that only seemed to bring into relief how crucial they are. Yeah, they go nuts on stage — mostly Källgren at this point, but he’s enough for everybody, and Cedermalm is by no means standing any more still than he has to in order to sing, but they’ve become a more dynamic band with time. Their legacy will invariably be tied to “Desert Cruiser, the Gravity X album, which was their first, but their reach is broader than they generally get credit for, and they continue to uphold a standard that most bands daydream about. All-in, every second. That’s who they are.

When it’s over, you try to drink in as many little details as possible to preserve it. The pulsing bass of the drag-friendly dance party after the show. The spiced-berry taste of that sip of (non-alcoholic) glögg from Peder sitting with his family in a cozy, low-ceiling bakery. The smell of candied nuts in the winter market so exactly the same as New York. A crane lit in green neon in Old Town, who knows why. A spiral staircase outside a three-story house seen out the window of the train on the way to the airport. I am lucky to have been here.

More pics after the jump. Thanks again for reading, and special thanks to Justin Waggoner for letting me step in front to take pictures of Greenleaf and Mat Hause for doing the same before Truckfighters on the Debaser stage. Thank you to Steve Murphy, The Patient Mrs., my mother and Peder Bergstrand. I am fortunate to have such love in my life. Thanks to everyone who came up and said hi at the show. It was humbling.

Read more »

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Majestic Mountain Records Festival Oslo to Be Held Dec. 1-3; Lineup Re-Confirmed

Posted in Whathaveyou on November 15th, 2022 by JJ Koczan

Usually for a fest lineup, I post one band’s player at the bottom of the post. Usually it’s a headliner, sometimes it’s a newer band on purpose, sometimes it’s just someone I check out who I haven’t heard before, etc. There are three players at the bottom of this post, and that’s probably too few. Take it as a sign of the uncommonly packed bill of Majestic Mountain Fest Oslo and the quality both of the work the imprint has been doing and its taste in general. Over the last two years, Majestic Mountain has emerged as a significant contributor to the underground sphere in Europe, especially Northern Europe, with a roster of talent varied in much but united in their ability to connect with their audience. One imagines it will be no different when so many of the label’s acts take the stage at the upcoming three-day festival next month.

This was originally supposed to happen in June, which, hey, sometimes a thing gets pushed back. Cool it’s coming together at all, given the scope of the lineup and the sheer logistics of getting so many schedules to align for three days (plus a pre-show) without the infrastructure of having already done so in the past. That is to say, I expect that if they do another fest like this, it’ll be easier the second time around.

Oh, and if you haven’t actually heard any of those records at the bottom of this post, you’re gonna want to do that.

From social media:

Mmr fest Oslo lineup

MMR FEST OSLO – OH YES.  It’s ON, folks!

Event page:

The time has come, Majestic Crew- After what seems like an eternity of delays and silence, we are finally able to announce the rescheduled details and final lineup for Majestic Mountain Fest // Oslo 2022.

The festival will take place on December 1-3rd at the (in)famous Blitz Hus.

We will have a killer kick-off party on Wednesday 30th of November at our favourite chill spot Brewgata with a live gig and a rad tap takeover from the mighty Nøgne Ø

We will also have a beautiful appearance from a very special guest, Mika Häkki. More details on that to come!

Visit the event page for ticket links!
There has been a bit of shifting to the lineup due to the new logistics so any previously scheduled bands you do not see on this year’s roster will appear in the next edition.

Thank you so much, from the bottom of our hearts for your continued support and excitement for this event.

Despite the challenges presented to us, we keep charging forward. This festival is truly a labour of love and will be one for the books.

We are absolutely psyched to see you all in Oslo next month and can’t wait to celebrate our incredible roster and you, our fantastic fans!

Majestic Mountain Records is psyched to invite you to the first edition of Majestic Fest Oslo 2022!

When & Where:

Pre-Party Gig & Nøgne-Ø Tap Takeover at Brewgata Oslo
30 November

Festival at Blitz, Oslo
1-3 Decmber

After a challenging year of what seemed like endless delays, we are finally able to let loose and run full steam ahead on a three-day riff fest of gargantuan proportions to commence the 1-3 December at Blitz.

PLUS a killer pre-party gig and tap takeover with the mighty Nøgne-Ø on Wednesday the 30th of November at Brewgata!

This is going to be a very special event with the best community vibes and killer performances by Majestic Mountain Records Roster bands.

We’re also proud to welcome a very special guest, Mika Häkki.

Join us in on the last day of November and the first weekend of December for heavy riffs, mega fuzz and all of the good times!

The MMR crew cannot wait to bang our heads and hang with you in Oslo!

Full day schedule coming next week!

Lineup is as follows:

Kal-El (NO)
Grand Cadaver (SE)
Saint Karloff (NO)
Jointhugger (NO)
Wolves in Haze (SE)
Häxmästaren (SE)
Bogwife (DK)
Void Commander (SE)
Laser Dracul (SE)
Tornet (SE)
Slódder (SE)
Signo Rojo (SE)
Masheena (NO)
Goatriders (SE)
Bismarck (NO)
CB3 (SE)
Satanic Overdrive (SE)
Draken (NO)
Domkraft (SE)

Kal-El, Dark Majesty (2021)

CB3, Exploration (2022)

Domkraft, Seeds (2021)

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Kal-El Announce UK Tour Dates

Posted in Whathaveyou on August 3rd, 2022 by JJ Koczan


It’s not the longest stretch of dates you’ll probably see posted this week, but considering all these shows are in the UK, you can only say Kal-El are making the trip count. This is also the second tour the Norwegian heavy rockers have undertaken to support their Spellmann Prize-nominated 2021 album, Dark Majesty (review here), out through Majestic Mountain Records, following behind a stint alongside Bogwife this past Spring that found them in various European locales following a slot at the Sonic Whip Festival in the Netherlands.

So far as I know, none of these dates are a fest, unless Buried in Smoke have an eight-band all-dayer bill locked in somewhere on this list and are keeping it a secret — which happens sometimes in various places around the world despite counterintuitivity to the idea of ‘promoting’ — but who ever needed an excuse for a UK tour? I’m not sure who will be joining the Stavenger riff-scavengers on the shows, but it’s not like England is lacking bands to round out the nine-show stint.

The point is Kal-El are heading out, and they’re doing right by themselves and by Dark Majesty by carrying the momentum from the album’s release — to say nothing of its reception, which was resounding even before the Spellmann nod — as far as they can and supporting it as much as they can. Insert something here about the-way-it’s-supposed-to-be-done or some such, but it’s reassuring to see them back up their social media presence with a will to hand-deliver their music to waiting ears. I’ve never seen them, but I get the sense that their shows are a thing to behold, and I certainly wouldn’t argue with finding out.

From socials:

kal-el uk tour

UK dates are here!

Fri 28th Oct – Oxford – The Jericho Tavern
Sat 29th Oct – Boscombe – The Cellar Bar
Sun 30th Oct – London – The Black Heart
Mon 31st Oct – Milton Keynes – Craufurd Arms
Tues 1st Nov – Leicester – The Monocle
Wed 2nd Nov – Newcastle – Trillians
Thurs 3rd Nov – Bradford – Al’s Juke Bar
Fri 4th Nov – Stafford – The Dog House 
Sat 5th Nov – Banbury – The Wheatsheaf 

Thanks to Buried In Smoke Promotions for putting it together and Shane Horror for the poster artwork

Backline provided by Orange Amplifiers

Kal-El, Dark Majesty (2021)

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Truckfighters Fuzz Festival #3: Astroqueen, Kal-El, High Desert Queen and Death Ray Boot Added

Posted in Whathaveyou on May 31st, 2022 by JJ Koczan

Certainly Astroqueen playing one of their select few announced reunion shows is an event worth a nod, but amid the would-be-significant-even-if-it-was-just-Truckfighters-and-Greenleaf bill of the Truckfighters Fuzz Festival #3, it’s even more noteworthy.

There’s allegedly a non-zero chance I might travel to Stockholm for the two-day dig in the lovely company of Kings Destroy, who were slated to play this past year and did not owing to the complications of international travel, and gosh that would be just wonderful, but one way or the other, it’s cool to see the likes of High Desert Queen traveling abroad for what will be the second time in 2022. They’re currently on a UK tour and have summer plans besides. Band with a mission hitting it. So it goes.

Tickets are on sale now and I’m pretty sure the link is below here somewhere. Take a look:

Truckfighters fuzz festival 3




Their first live show in 15+ years!

Astroqueen was a stoner metal band from Stenungsund, Sweden. Active between 1998 and 2005 in their main run the band composed a thick, heavy stoner sound in a similar vein to Fu Manchu and Nebula though the band draws from other bands such as Black Sabbath, Iron Maiden, Metallica, Kyuss and Soundgarden. The group would sign to Pavement Music in December 1999 but it wouldn’t be until 2001 that the band release their only studio album Into Submission in 2001, produced by King Diamond guitarist Andy Larocque. Some recording sessions from 2003 and a split with Buffalo would come over the next few years.


Kal-El is a Tony Iommi approved Norwegian stoner rock band. These heavy rockers have released three full lengths alongside a pair of EP’s and toured both Europe and the States since their formation in 2012. The band is a product of diverse influences, and though they draw from the classics like Black Sabbath, Sleep and Motorpsycho, if one listens closely they can hear hints of thrash metal and Skandirock fleshing out the sound. It makes for a unique group who are determined to head out and take on the world.


After releasing their debut album “Secrets of the Black Moon” on Ripple Music in October of 2021, High Desert Queen has been doing more than turning heads, they are making them move. Their album finished in many top 10 lists for album of the year while receiving rave reviews.


With 10 years in existence, Death Ray Boot is keeping their own pace. Even though gigs have been few and far apart they have gained a trusting fan base. Their music exits somewhere between stoner and punk, right in the middle of The Stooges and Masters Of Reality. Or just something entirely different. Find out for yourself.

There is 19 early bird tickets (ONLY 595Sek) left from THIS LINK (, when they are gone the regular price is the deal.

Regular tickets:



Two full evenings of euphony.

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