Desertfest London 2020 Canceled

Posted in Whathaveyou on March 30th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

desertfest logo

Like I said with the Berlin post, we all knew this was coming, and I respect and admire the crew from Desertfest London for their ongoing efforts, frankly, to make the world a better place. Over the nine years, you’d be hard-pressed to find individuals who’ve done as much to bring heavy rock and roll to public consciousness on an underground level or otherwise, and as someone who’s sweated each year’s lineup from afar since last making the trip to London in 2013, I am sorry to see 2020’s festival go. Again, it’s awesome that they’re letting people roll over their tickets to 2021 — that is deeply, deeply, deeply excellent — and all we can do is wait and rejoice all the more when the lineup announcements start for what I have no doubt will be the Desertfest blowout to end, or better, to not at all end, all Desertfest blowouts for their 10th anniversary.

If you’re thinking about going next year, I encourage you to buy a voucher now. Worst thing that happens is you support the people putting this together. And they are people. I’ve met them. They’re super-nice.

Here’s what they have to say:

desertfest london 2020 off

Hello to our amazing Desertfest family,

Thank you for your patience and kind words over the last few days, it has kept us grounded through all this uncertainty. With the utmost sadness we must announce the cancellation of this year’s Desertfest London. We know this will not come as a surprise to many of you, as so many of our peers have made, and will continue to make, the same difficult choices due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

This was not an easy decision and there has been much to work through behind the scenes which required ironing out before we could make this announcement. We want to let you know that we tried our best to bring you an event in some capacity, but sadly no scenario would bring the outcome we all want; the incredible atmosphere of Desertfest. With so many different venues, plus a lot of shared acts with our Berlin team, rescheduling to a later date in 2020 has also shown to be impossible. We feel the safest and most logical option is to take this year out and re-build for our 10-year anniversary next May.

Desertfest is a completely independent venture, there are no backers, investors or corporate sponsors keeping us afloat, making this cancellation more than just emotionally devastating. We have reached this level purely because of our amazing community of heavy music loving fans, you are the reason Desertfest is the festival it is. Now, we must look forward to making our 10-year anniversary the most incredible comeback ever, with your continued support allowing us to firmly keep our feet in the metaphorical sands of Camden.

Below you will find several different options for refunds and DF support packages:

? Keep hold of your ticket: Roll your 2020 ticket over to the ‘Decade in the Desert’ 10-year anniversary taking place May 2021. This is a HUGE help to us, allowing us to see the lay of land well in advance of the event. All those who roll their ticket over will receive a free patch sent in the coming months, plus an exclusive merch item at the 2021 event. You do not need to do anything to roll it over, DICE will take care of it.

? 10 Year Anniversary Voucher: Purchase a 2021 ’10 Year Anniversary Voucher’ these are effectively a super early-bird and again a huge support for us in the immediate few months. All those who purchase the 2021 voucher will receive a free patch sent in the coming months.

? Refund your ticket in full: We completely understand these are unprecedented and difficult times where some of you may need to claim a refund. You can do so by contacting DICE (your point of purchase) who can assist.

For those who want to show their support, but cannot commit to a 10-year anniversary voucher at this time, we have also set up several donation options via www.desertscene.co.uk/support, many with free merch as our way of showing our thanks.

This cancellation affects not only the three of us, but our amazing line-up of artists, please support them by buying music and merch directly from their sites. We also want to extend our love to our huge and incredible crew of stage managers, merch sellers, photographers, videographers, writers, drivers and so many more – all of which we can’t wait to hug and drink a pint with next May.

Thank you so much for your understanding, support and kindness at this time. We are nothing but a small team of people wanting to bring joy to other music lovers.

Please stay home, safe and healthy. We can’t wait to see you in May 2021.

Much love,
Desertfest London – Reece, Jake & Sarika

https://www.facebook.com/events/464163361105416/
http://www.desertfest.co.uk/
https://www.facebook.com/DesertfestLondon
https://www.instagram.com/desertfest_london/

Fu Manchu, Live at Desertfest London 2019

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Quarterly Review: Total Fucking Destruction, Humulus, The River, Phantom Hound, Chang, The Dhaze, Lost Psychonaut, Liquido di Morte, Black Burned Blimp, Crimson Oak

Posted in Reviews on March 23rd, 2020 by JJ Koczan

quarterly review

I’ve got a fresh cup of coffee and 50 records that need to be reviewed, so it must be time for… constant distractions! Oh, no, wait, sorry. It must be time for the Quarterly Review. Yeah, there it is. I know there’s a global-pandemic-sized elephant in the room as a backdrop for the Spring 2020 Quarterly Review, but it seems to me that’s all the more reason to proceed as much as possible. Not to feign normality like people aren’t suffering physically, emotionally, and/or financially, but to give those for whom music is a comfort an opportunity to find more of that comfort and, frankly, to do the same for myself. I’ve said many times I need this more than you do, and I do.

So, you know the drill. 10 records a day, Monday to Friday through this week, 50 when we’re done. As Christopher Pike says, let’s hit it.

Quarterly Review #1-10:

Total Fucking Destruction, …To Be Alive at the End of the World

Total Fucking Destruction To Be Alive at the End of the World

The long-running experimentalist grind trio Total Fucking Destruction remain a sonic presence unto themselves. Their strikingly apropos fifth LP, …To Be Alive at the End of the World, begins with the five-minute psychedelic wash of its unrepentantly pretty, somewhat mournful title-track and ends with a performance-art take on “The Star Spangled Banner” that shifts into eight or so minutes of drone and minimalist noise before reemerging in manipulated form, vocalist/drummer Richard Hoak (also the odd bit of flute and ocarina), bassist/vocalist Ryan Moll and guitarist Pingdum filling the between space with the blasts and jangles of “A Demonstration of Power,” the maddening twists of “Attack of the Supervirus 1138” and other mini-bursts of unbridled aggression like “Stone Bomb,” “Doctor Butcher” and the outright conceptual genius of “Yelling at Velcro,” which, indeed, is just 20 or so seconds of yelling ahead of the arrival of the closer. In an alternate future, Total Fucking Destruction‘s work will be added to the Library of Congress. In this future, we’re boned.

Total Fucking Destruction on Thee Facebooks

Translation Loss Records store

 

Humulus, The Deep

humulus the deep

For the six-song/51-minute The Deep, Italian three-piece Humulus somewhat depart the beer-rocking ways of 2017’s second LP, Reverently Heading into Nowhere (review here). Sure, the riff of “Gone Again” is pure Kyuss idolatry (not a complaint), and “Devil’s Peak (We Eventually Eluded Death)” brims with drunkard’s swagger, but factor in the wonderfully executed linear build that takes place across the eight-minute “Hajra,” the mellow emotionalism of the penultimate acoustic track “Lunar Queen,” and the two extended psychedelic bookends in opener “Into the Heart of the Volcano Sun” (14:48) and closer “Sanctuary III – The Deep” (14:59), and the narrative becomes decidedly more complex than just “they drink and play riffs.” These elements have been in Humulus‘ sound all along, but it’s plain to hear the band have actively worked to push themselves forward in scope, and the range suits them, the closer particularly filled with a theatricality that would seem to speak to further storytelling to come on subsequent releases. So be it. They called the album The Deep and have dived in accordingly.

Humulus on Thee Facebooks

Kozmik Artifactz website

 

The River, Vessels into White Tides

The River Vessels into White Tides

An atmosphere of melancholy is quickly established on The River‘s third LP, Vessels into White Tides (on Nine Records), and for being the London four-piece’s first album 10 years, it takes place in a sense of unrushed melody, the band rolling out a morose feel born of but not directly aping the likes of My Dying Bride and Paradise Lost as the vocals of guitarist Jenny Newton (also strings, percussion) — joined in the band by guitarist Christian Leitch, bassist Stephen Morrissey and drummer Jason Ludwig — make their presence felt soon in opener “Vessels,” which unfolds gracefully with a crash and rumble fading into the beginning of the subsequent “Into White” (15:01) with the four-minute string-laced “Open” and the 9:44 shifting-into-intensity “Passing” preceding closer “Tides,” which is duly rolling in its progression and offers a sweet bit of release, if wistful, from some of the more grueling moments before it, capping not with a distorted blowout, but with layers of strings reinforcing the folkish underpinning that’s been there all along, in even the most tonally or emotionally weighted stretches.

The River on Thee Facebooks

Nine Records store

 

Phantom Hound, Mountain Pass

Phantom Hound Mountain Pass

Mountain Pass, which begins with “The Northern Face,” ends with “The Southern Face” and along the way treks through its on-theme title-track and the speedier “You Don’t Know Death,” catchy “Thunder I Am” and fairly-enough bluesy “Devil Blues,” has its foundations in oldschool metal and punk, but is a decidedly rock-based offering. It’s the debut from Oakland’s Phantom Hound, and its eight component tracks make no attempt to mask their origins or coat their material in unnecessary pretense — they are what they are; the album is what it is. The three-piece dip into acoustics on the instrumental “Grace of an Angel,” which shifts with a cymbal wash into the lead guitar at the outset of the eight-minute title-track — the stomp of which is perhaps more evocative of the mountain than the passing, but still works — but even this isn’t so far removed from the straightforward purposes of “Irons in the Fire,” which stakes its claim to dead-ahead metal and rock, barely stopping along the way to ask what else you could possibly need.

Phantom Hound on Thee Facebooks

Phantom Hound on Bandcamp

 

Chang, Superlocomotodrive

chang superlocomotodrive

Munich-based trio Chang, with clear, modern production behind them, present their debut EP release with the 29-minute Superlocomotodrive, and though it’s short, one is left wondering what else they might need to consider it an album. What’s missing? You’ve got the let’s-jam-outta-here in the six-minute opener and longest track (immediate points) “Mescalin,” and plenty of gruff riffing to back that up in “Old Rusty Car” and the later title-track, with a bit of Oliveri-era Queens of the Stone Age edge in the latter to boot, plus some psychedelic lead work in “Sterne,” some particularly German quirk in “Bottle Beach” and a massive buildup in tension in the finale “Bombs Whisper” that seems to arrive at its moment of payoff only to instead cut to silence and purposefully leave the listener hanging — an especially bold move for a first release. Yeah, it’s under half an hour long, but so what? The heavy rock terrain Chang are working in is familiar enough — right down to the less-than-P.C. lyrics of “Old Rusty Car” — but there’s no sense that Superlocomotodrive wants to be something it isn’t. It’s heavy rock celebrating heavy rock.

Chang on Thee Facebooks

Chang on Bandcamp

 

The Dhaze, Deaf Dumb Blind

the dhaze deaf dumb blind

Though the grunge influence in the vocals of guitarist Simone Pennucci speak to more of a hard-rocking kind of sound, the basis of The Dhaze‘s sprawl across their ambitious 53-minute Sound Effect Records debut album, Deaf Dumb Blind, is more in line with progressive metal and heavy psychedelia. Bassist Vincenzo La Tegola backs Pennucci on vocals and locks in fluid mid-tempo grooves with drummer Lorenzo Manna, and makes a highlight of the low end in “Death Walks with Me” ahead of the titular trilogy, presented in the order of “Deaf,” “Blind” and “Dumb,” which flow together as one piece thanks in no small part to the synth work added by La Tegola and Pennucci together. Obviously comfortable in longer-form stretches like “Death Walks with Me” or the earlier “Neurosis,” both of which top nine minutes, the Napoli trio bring a fervent sense of variety to their work while leaving themselves open to future growth in terms of sound and playing with the balance between elements they establish here.

The Dhaze on Thee Facebooks

Sound Effect Records store

 

Lost Psychonaut, Lost Psychonaut

Lost Psychonaut Lost Psychonaut

Hailing — because metal bands hail, to be sure — from the Pittsburgh area, newcomers Lost Psychonaut boast in their ranks two former members of sludgers Vulture in guitarist/vocalist Justin Erb and bassist
Garrett Twardesky, who, together with drummer Tristan Triggs, run through a debut LP made up of five tracks that skirt the line between groove metal and heavy rock, tapping-like-flowing-kegs influences from the likes of ’90s-era C.O.C. and others such burl-laced groovers. Tales of day-to-day struggles make a fitting enough backdrop to the riff-led proceedings, which commence with the prior-issued single “My Time” and roll-groove their way into a duo of longer cuts at the end in “Restitution Day” (8:46) and “On a Down” (7:44). Frankly, any mention of the word “Down” at all in a song that feels so outwardly “buried in smoke” can hardly be coincidental, but that nod is well earned. With a couple years behind them, they know what they’re going for in this initial batch of songs, and the clearheaded nature of their approach only gives their songwriting more of a sense of command. There’s growth to be undertaken, but nothing to say they can’t get there.

Lost Psychonaut on Thee Facebooks

Lost Psychonaut on Bandcamp

 

Liquido di Morte, IIII

liquido di morte iiii

I suppose you could, if so inclined, live up to Liquido di Morte‘s slogan, “We play music to take drugs to,” but you’d be shorting yourself on the experience of a lucid listen to their third long-player IIII. Issued in limited handmade packaging by the band, the Milan instrumentalists offer a stylistic take across the late-2019 five-tracker that stands somewhere between heavy post-rock and post-metal, but in that incorporates no shortage of thoughtful psychedelic meditations and even some kraut and space rock vibes. The primary impact is atmospheric, but there’s diversity in their approach such that the centerpiece “Tramonto Nucleare” begins cosmic, or maybe cataclysmic, and ends with an almost serene roll into the floating guitar at the outset of the subsequent “Rebus (6,5),” which is the longest inclusion at 13:40 and an encompassing, hypnotic srpawl that, whether you take drugs or not, seems destined to commune with expanded or expanding minds. The front-to-back journey ends with “The Fattening,” a cinematic run of synth after which a slaughter feels almost inevitable, even if it arrives as silence.

Liquido di Morte on Thee Facebooks

Liquido di Morte on Bandcamp

 

Black Burned Blimp, Crash Overdrive

Black Burned Blimp Crash Overdrive

Bonus points to Netherlands four-piece Black Burned Blimp for including song titles like “What Doesn’t Kill You, Makes You Weirder” and “The Good, the Bad and the Fucking Horrific” and, at the start of “Desert Wizard,” the sample from Trailer Park Boys wherein Mr. Lahey declares, “I am the liquor” on their debut LP, Crash Overdrive. Native to a heavy rock legacy that includes acts like 13eaver, 35007, Astrosoniq and Celestial Season, among many others, the band hint toward melodic complexity while remaining focused on raw energy in their songwriting, such that even the drumless, harmonized and minute-long “Flock” seems to seethe with unstated tension for “Robo Erectus,” which follows, to pay off. It does, though perhaps with less of a tempo kick than one might expect — certainly less than the careening “The Good, the Bad and the Fucking Horrific” a few tracks later — but somehow, no matter what speed they’re actually playing, Black Burned Blimp seem to make it sound fast. Vitality will do that.

Black Burned Blimp on Thee Facebooks

Black Burned Blimp on Bandcamp

 

Crimson Oak, Crimson Oak

crimson oak crimson oak

Though their arrival comes amid a German heavy rock underground that’s nothing if not well populated, Fulda-based five-piece Crimson Oak present with their self-titled debut long-player a stylistic take that’s both modern and genuine sounding, finding solid ground in well-crafted songs drawing more from ’90s-era heavy and punk in “Danger Time,” which follows the contemplative “Of My Youth,” the bulk of what surrounds expressing a similar level of self-awareness, up to and including the nine-minute side B opener “Brother of Sleep,” which sets psychedelic guitar against some of the album’s biggest riffs (and melodies). There’s middle ground to be had in cuts like “Displace” and “Sunset Embrace” still to come and “Fulda Gap” earlier, but Crimson Oak seem to touch that middle ground mostly en route to whichever end of the spectrum next piques their interest. At seven songs and 42 minutes, it’s not an insubstantial LP, but they hold their own with confidence and a poise that speaks to the fact that some of this material showed up on prior EPs. That experience with it shows but does not hold the band or songs back.

Crimson Oak on Thee Facebooks

Crimson Oak on Bandcamp

 

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Beggar Post “Blood Moon” from Compelled to Repeat; Live Shows Announced

Posted in Whathaveyou on March 11th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

Should it come as any surprise that Beggar‘s new track is very, very, very heavy? Probably not if you heard the other one they posted from Compelled to Repeat, their impending debut album due out April 3 through the UK’s go-to imprint for such particular madness, APF Records. Indeed, “Blood Moon” follows behind “Nine Atmospheres” and teases a bit of breadth in the guitar before slaughtering the proceedings outright with some final blasting. I haven’t seen the actual lyrics, but the PR wire’s description thereof would seem to be nothing if not fitting.

And likewise, I haven’t heard the entire record yet, but the London four-piece have certainly made an impression thus far.

To wit:

beggar

Nihilistic Sludge Metallers BEGGAR Release New Single ‘Blood Moon’ Ahead of Album Release

On tour throughout March

Debut album Compelled to Repeat to be released via APF Records 3rd April 2020

As the COVID-19 virus sweeps fear across the globe, BEGGAR are preparing to emerge from the anarchic underground of London, lobbing their brooding new single ‘Blood Moon’ in frustration into the faces of a panicked populace.

And the narrative of the single couldn’t be more timely, focusing on hyper-charged consumption and a rampant, morbid thirst for the new. It considers the human with its augmented online identity as something like a virus that subsumes host after host in an unstoppable and unaccountable spree of osmosis and cannibalism.

Propounding a kind of sludge-meets-extreme-metal pandemic of tar-thick riffs and groove, blasts, emotional vocal discharge and genre-bending brutality, the four-piece are set to release their debut album Compelled To Repeat on 3rd April via APF Records.

Pre-order Compelled To Repeat here: https://apfrecords.co.uk/albums/compelled-to-repeat

Comments vocalist Charlie Davis: “‘Blood Moon’ is a cryptic horror story about the erosion of the boundaries of the self in a sea of technology, information and media.

“Musically this song kicks off the album as we mean to go on – dissonant, angular, ugly, and then rolling, groovy, almost psychedelic. It charges out of the gate, rabid, then it turns into swagger and stomp.”

Recorded with Wayne Adams (responsible for recent works by Green Lung, 11Paranoias and Terminal Cheesecake) at Bear Bites Horse, London and mastered by the master of noise himself, James Plotkin (Sunn O))), ISIS, Pelican and Earth), Compelled To Repeat is a fuming tornado of aggression and frustration, offering a glimpse into a new sphere of savagery.

FORTHCOMING GIGS/TOUR DATES:
26 March – London launch at the Dev, UK (with Road Mutant, Wallowing)
27 March – Bristol launch at Old England, UK (with TBA)
28 March – Record Junkie, Sheffield, UK (with Dopelord)
29 March – The Bread Shed, Manchester, UK (Riffolution Festival)
30 May – APF Records Third Birthday, Alma Inn, Bolton, UK
6 June – Boom, Leeds, UK (Stonebaked Festival)
15-19 July – Obscene Extreme Festival, CZ
5 Nov – Star & Garter, Manchester, UK (with Desert Storm)
6 Nov – Ivory Blacks, Glasgow, UK (with Desert Storm)
7 Nov – Tap ‘n’ Tumbler, Nottingham, UK (with Desert Storm)

Beggar are:
Charlie Davis (vocals/bass)
Abraham Whitworth (guitars)
Jake Leyland (guitars/vocals)
Bertrand Sautier (drums)

http://www.facebook.com/beggarband
https://www.instagram.com/beggar_uk
http://thusspokethebeggar.bandcamp.com/
https://www.facebook.com/apfrecords
https://www.instagram.com/apfrecords/
https://apfrecords.bigcartel.com/
https://apfrecords.bandcamp.com/
http://www.apfrecords.co.uk/

Beggar, “Blood Moon”

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The Bloody Mallard Post “Ceremonious Synapses (ii)” Video

Posted in Bootleg Theater on March 5th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

the bloody mallard

The Bloody Mallard have been trickling out singles taken from their debut LP, Realm, since January 2019, so it’s safe to say that by now the album has a decent amount of lead-in. I’ve yet to find a release date, but that hardly means one doesn’t exist. Tomorrow, though, is March 6, and that marks the release of their third single from the impending long-player, “Ceremonious Synapses (ii),” which follows “Noble Rot” that was released in December and “Subject to Entropy” from, indeed, last January, in giving a taste of what Realm is all about. A video by Kevin Dawson brings visual accompaniment to the instrumental track from the London trio led by guitarist Tom Walding (Monsters in the AtticMidwich Cuckoos), and like its two predecessors, the track takes a progressive approach to heavy post-rock fluidity, touching on notions of psychedelia but ultimately remaining clearheaded about what it is working to accomplish in terms of atmosphere.

That, incidentally, is plenty. The mood and atmosphere of “Ceremonious Synapses (ii),” even apart from its I-read-interesting-books wordless dogwhistle, set up an immersive flow for the listener to engage, and unlike “Noble Rot” and “Subject to Entropy,” they take their time about it. There are differences of arrangement as well, but the new single is about two minutes longer than either of its predecessors, so even if it’s your first exposure to the band, it’s not an insubstantial one. And should the clip — which finds them playing to a stark white light, heads down in concentration but bobbing along to the central groove — put you in mind of Russian Circles, that would hardly seem to be a coincidence, though it would seem Walding is a big King Crimson fan as well, which is something one would hardly hold against him and certainly isn’t about to hurt in terms of ambitious songcraft.

Video is streaming below, followed by more info from the PR wire.

Enjoy:

The Bloody Mallard, “Ceremonious Synapses (ii)” official video

Directed and filmed by Kevin Dawson.

‘Ceremonious Synapses (ii)’ brings us to the 3rd single form prog, heavy-psych instrumental band, The Bloody Mallard, and it signals the most climatic point of the album ‘Realm’.

It is the 2nd of two songs under Ceremonious Synapses which both thematically explore the subject of neural pathways and behaviours within the human brain. Human consciousness and behaviours can be linked to the structure of these neural networks and based upon certain events in a person’s life (environmentally, traumatically, meditatively) these pathways can alter. The Ceremonious Synapses songs are thematically narrative of the conscious effort to change these pathways; part (i) focused one the frictioned physical and disciplined, whilst part (ii) focuses on the deeper and sub conscious/ spiritual level of change.

The Bloody Mallard is a London-based rock project headed by guitarist Tom Walding. After experimenting with melodies, rhythms and tones that were reminiscent of many mushroom trips in rural Kent, the sonic segments finally formed into songs which turned into the album, ‘Realm’.

The album was produced recorded and mixed by Jarred Hearman (Katy B, Wretch 32, Mammal, John Butler Trio, The Prodigy, Slipknot) at Konk and City Sounds Studios and The Gin Factory. Photo above by Daniel Rouse.

The Bloody Mallard on Thee Facebooks

The Bloody Mallard on Instagram

The Bloody Mallard on Bandcamp

Onslaught Music on Bandcamp

Onslaught Music website

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Green Lung Sign to Svart Records for Next Album; Announce Headlining Tour & Reissues

Posted in Whathaveyou on February 4th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

green lung

Well I’ll be damned. Don’t get me wrong, Green Lung have been putting the pieces together business-wise — management, booking, etc. — while at the same time releasing what was the best debut of 2019 in the form of Woodland Rites (review here) on Kozmik Artifactz, also one of the best records of last year overall, but to get snagged by Svart so early in their career seems like all the more an endorsement for what they’ve done to this point. The Finnish imprint will stand behind reissues of Woodland Rites, as well as the preceding 2018 Free the Witch EP (review here), and maybe even the 2017 single, Green Man Rising (review here), I’m not sure.

Either way, kudos to the band. I don’t know where they’re at in terms of the trajectory for their next long-player, i.e., whether it’ll be this year, next year or what, but they made this happen through the quality of their work on every level and there’s no taking that away from them. Potential meets momentum. Their next album could be something really special.

Their social media post follows. Tour dates and all. They start at Desertfest London and include Esbjerg Fuzztival. Worth noting they’ve also been booked for Høstsabbat in Oslo this Fall, so they may well be back out then. Maybe with a new record?

Dig it:

green lung tour

GREEN LUNG – LABEL/TOUR ANNOUNCEMENT

We’re so excited to finally announce that we’ve signed with Svart Records for our next album, and also to reissue our discography so far. They’re the undisputed masters of releasing doom and occult rock, from Pentagram (official) and Reverend Bizarre to Hexvessel and Jess and the Ancient Ones, and it’s been especially great working with Mat McNerney, who really understands everything from an artist’s perspective.

We can’t wait to get WOODLAND RITES back on wax (preorder up soon!), and introduce these songs to new audiences on our first ever headline tour in May – especially alongside our favourite ghouls in Juniper Grave. Thanks so much for all the support so far, none of this would have happened without you. See you at the May Queen’s Parade!

Full tour dates are as follows:
02.05 London – Desertfest
07.05 Hamburg – Bambi Galore
08.05 Esbjerg – Fuzztival
09.05 Nijmegen – De Onderbroek
22.05 TBC *
23.05 Milton Keynes – Craufurd Arms *
24.05 Nottingham – Chameleon *
25.05 Bradford – Al’s Juke Bar *
26.05 TBC *
27.05 Newcastle – Trillians *
28.05 Sheffield – Corporation *
29.05 Bristol – Exchange *
30.05 Cardiff – Clwb Ifor Bach *
07.06 Leeds – Stonebaked Festival
* with Juniper Grave

Already announced:
22 February – The Bread Shed, Manchester, UK w/Church of the Cosmic Skull
19-22 March – Hammerfest XII, Great Yarmouth, UK
28 March – Riffolution Festival, Manchester, UK
6 August – Bloodstock Festival, Derbyshire, UK

GREEN LUNG is:
Tom Templar – Vocals
Scott Masson – Guitar
Andrew Cave – Bass
Matt Wiseman – Drums
John Wright – Organ

https://www.facebook.com/greenlungband
https://www.instagram.com/greenlungband/
http://www.greenlung.co.uk/
https://greenlung.bandcamp.com/
www.svartrecords.com
www.facebook.com/svartrecords

Green Lung, Woodland Rites (2019)

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Elephant Tree to Release Habits April 24; New Video Posted

Posted in Whathaveyou on January 22nd, 2020 by JJ Koczan

Elephant Tree at Saint Vitus Bar (Photo by JJ Koczan)

If I can be honest for a second here, I don’t even want to start talking about Elephant Tree‘s new album, Habits, yet because I know that if I do I won’t be able to stop. Let me say this, I know we’re early in the year, but they’ve made their candidacy for the best album of 2020 known, and in following up their 2016 self-titled debut (review here), they’ve blown the doors down in terms of sonic expansion. The new record is more psychedelic, heavier in places, and more progressive on the whole in terms of its sense of craft and clarity of intention. If you are madly anticipating its arrival, you are correct.

I’ll stop there and of course there will be more to come as we get closer to the release, but as the London four-piece unveil the first album details, cover art, tracklisting and video — as well as the preorder link; just go ahead and get it done — I felt it necessary to chime in. All that potential they showed on their first record is starting to come to fruition. I’m your friend out here and I’m telling you: don’t miss out.

Fresh off the PR wire:

elephant tree habits

Prog-psych-doom rockers ELEPHANT TREE announce new album and stream new single

Habits released April 24th via Holy Roar Records

‘Sails’ streaming now

London-based prog-psych-doom artisans ELEPHANT TREE have announced their highly-anticipated third album Habits, after four years of honing their sound on the international live circuit.

Released April 24th via Holy Roar Records, you can pre-order Habits here: http://smarturl.it/elephanttree

The champions of the underground have delivered perhaps their most cohesive record yet, a scintillating blur of prog, stoner, psych, and melodic heavy rock. Opening on a hazy note of foreboding dread on ‘Wake.Repeat (Intro)’, the band explode into life soon after and rarely let up.

Every aspect of ELEPHANT TREE’s previously established sound has been amplified to 11 and fine-tuned to perfection. Their heavy, driving, grooves hold a more calculated rhythmic swing counterbalanced with leads that hold a soberingly clear gentleness. This is all tied together with vocals that possess a charming hedonism to their timbre, sure to win over legions more fans.

Elements of a heavy Pink Floyd, Melvins, and Deftones all combine with exhilarating effect, cementing the status of this group who have already sold tens of thousands of records and streams into the millions.

The union of sonic density and yearning is captured wonderfully, thanks in no small part to the band’s production choice of The Church Studios, famed for the sounds of U2, Nick Cave, The Jesus and Mary Chain and Adele amongst others.

If the sound of Kyuss and Smashing Pumpkins partying with Hunter S. Thompson and Cult Of Luna in an arena sounds like a good time, then this is the album for you. If there’s any justice, 2020 will be the year ELEPHANT TREE bloom out of best kept underground secret into a household name.

Tracklisting:
1. Wake.Repeat (Intro)
2. Sails
3. Faceless
4. Exit The Soul
5. The Fall Chorus
6. Bird
7. Wasted
8. Broken Nails

https://www.facebook.com/elephanttreeband
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https://elephanttree.band
http://www.holyroarrecords.com/
https://www.facebook.com/holyroarrecords/

Elephant Tree, “Sails” official video

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Desertfest London 2020: I Mean, Seriously. God Damn.

Posted in Whathaveyou on January 20th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

desertfest london 2020 header

Even apart from how it relates to the other festivals under the Desertfest banner — Berlin, Belgium, New York — Desertfest London set an extremely high standard for itself last year, and it was obvious coming into Desertfest London 2020 that they’d have their work cut out for them in reaching those same heights. Their lineup isn’t finished yet, and of course we’ll see how it all looks when the day-schedule is fully unveiled, but bringing Lowrider on board to support their first release in 20 years, Refractions, is nothing if not significant — they played there in 2013 and were fantastic — but they’ll also be the the UK debut for Khemmis from the US and at least the first time at Desertfest for MaidaVale from Sweden. They’ve pretty much lost their minds and added 20 bands in a single shot here, so there’s plenty to dig into, but you’ll note King Witch, who are frickin’ awesome, as well as The Hazytones, Alunah and the slew of others taking part. They’re building a desert empire in Camden Town.

Has it been nine years already? I may have to start planning my return for year 10 if they’ll have me.

From thee social medias:

desertfest london 2020 poster

DESERTFEST ADDS 20 NAMES TO LONDON LINE-UP, INCLUDING GRAVEYARD AS NEXT HEADLINER

Tickets – https://dice.fm/festival/desertfest20

Desertfest is thrilled to be kicking off the new year in style with the apt number of 20 names added for our 9th edition this May. Sweden’s most beloved export of hard rock, the impeccable Graveyard will bring their unique bluesy tones to London as headliners of Desertfest London 2020. The Swedish family reunion continues as we welcome back one of the most synonymous desert rock (and Desertfest) bands, the iconic Lowrider return with not only a rare live performance, but their first record in almost two decades. A masterclass in the melting pot of genre fluidity comes from two-man powerhouse Big Business, whilst psychedelic stoner rock trio Somali Yacht Club will make the trip from Ukraine to play Desertfest for the first time.

Speaking of debuts we’ll play host to the first UK show for Denver melancholic doom outfit Khemmis and Sweden delivers once again with rock’n’roll four-piece MaidaVale. Elsewhere on the bill we are thrilled to welcome Your Highness, Hexis, FIREBREATHER, The Hazytones, Opium Lord, King Witch, GURT, Alunah, 1782, Tides Of Sulfur, Doomicidal, Under, A Gazillion Angry Mexicans and Dunes.

As you may have noticed, The Picturebooks have unfortunately had to cancel their performance at Desertfest due to a schedule conflict out of our control. However with more acts still to be unveiled, plus day tickets on sale soon there’s much more to come for our 9th edition.

Weekend tickets are on sale now via this link – https://link.dice.fm/desertfest20

Artwork by Piotr w. Osburne

https://www.facebook.com/events/464163361105416/
http://www.desertfest.co.uk/
https://www.facebook.com/DesertfestLondon
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Lowrider, Ode to Io Deluxe Edition (2017)

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Quarterly Review: Mos Generator, Psychic Lemon, Planet of Zeus, Brass Hearse, Mother Turtle, The Legendary Flower Punk, Slow, OKO, Vug, Ultracombo

Posted in Reviews on January 6th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

quarterly review

I’d like to hope y’all know the drill by now. It’s the Quarterly Review. We do it (roughly) every quarter. The idea is 10 reviews per day for a Monday to Friday span, running 50 total. I sometimes do more. Sometimes not. Kind of depends on the barrage and how poorly I’ve been doing in general with keeping up on stuff. This time is ‘just’ 50, so there you go. You’ll see some bigger names this week and some stuff that’s come my way of late that I’ve been digging and wanting to check out. It’s a lot of rock, which I like, and a few things I’m writing about basically as a favor to myself because, you know, self-care and all that.

But staring down the barrel of 50 reviews over the next few days has me as apprehensive and how-the-hell-is-this-gonna-happen as ever, so I think I’ll just get to it and jump in. No time to waste.

Quarterly Review #1-10:

Mos Generator, Exiles

mos generator exiles

Worth it just for the Sabbath cover? Most definitely. As Mos Generator take on “Air Dance” from Never Say Die as part of the Glory or Death Records LP compilation release, Exiles, they blend the proggy swagger of later-’70s Iommi leads with the baseline acoustic guitar fluidity that makes those final Ozzy-era records so appealing in hindsight. It’s just one of the six reasons to take on Exiles however. The A side comprises three outtakes from 2018’s Shadowlands (review here), and guitarist/vocalist Tony Reed‘s Big Scenic Nowhere bandmate Bob Balch sits in on “Battah,” while a duly manic reworking of Van Halen‘s “Light up the Sky,” the Black Sabbath track and a live version of Rush‘s “Anthem” from 2016 make up side B. It’s a quick listen and it’s Mos Generator. It may be a stopgap on the way to whatever they’re doing next, but if you think about it, so is everything, and that’s no reason not to jump in either for the covers or the originals, both of which are up to the band’s own high standard of output.

Mos Generator on Thee Facebooks

Glory or Death Records on Bandcamp

 

Psychic Lemon, Freak Mammal

psychic lemon freak mammal

The distorted wails of Andy Briston‘s guitar echo out of Freak Mammal — the five-track/46-minute third LP from London’s Psychic Lemon — like a clarion to the lysergic converted. A call to prayer for those worshiping the nebulous void, not so much kept to earth by Andy Hibberd‘s bass and Martin Law‘s drums as given a solidified course toward the infinite far out. Of course centerpiece “Afrotropic Bomb” digs into some Ethiopian groove — that particular shuffling mania — and I won’t take away from the lower buzz of “Free Electron Collective” or the tense hi-hat cutting through all that tonal wash or the ultra-spaced blowout that caps six-minute finale “White Light,” but give me the self-aware mellower jaunt that is the 13-minute second track “Seeds of Tranquility” any day, following opener “Dark Matter” as it does with what would be a blissful drift but for the exciting rhythmic work taking place beneath the peaceful guitar, and the later synthesized voices providing a choral melody that seems all the more playfully grandiose, befitting the notion of Freak Mammal as a ceremony or at very least some kind of lost ritual. Someday they’ll dig up the right pyramid and call the aliens back. Until then, Psychic Lemon let us imagine what might happen after they return.

Psychic Lemon on Thee Facebooks

Drone Rock Records website

 

Planet of Zeus, Faith in Physics

PLANET OF ZEUS FAITH IN PHYSICS

There’s a context of social commentary to Planet of ZeusFaith in Physics that makes one wonder if perhaps the title doesn’t refer to gravity in terms of what-goes-up-must-come-down as it might apply to class hierarchy. The mighty, ready to fall, and so on. Songs like the post-Clutch fuzz roller “Man vs. God” and “Revolution Cookbook” (video premiere here) would seem to support that idea, but one way or the other, as the later “Let Them Burn” digs into a hook that reminds of Killing Joke and the dense bass of eight-minute closer “King of the Circus” provides due atmospheric madness for our times, there’s a sense of grander statement happening across the album. The Athens-based outfit make a centerpiece of the starts and stops in “All These Happy People” and remind that whatever the message, the medium remains top quality heavy rock and roll songcraft, which is something they’ve become all the more reliable to deliver. The more pointed perspective than they showed on 2016’s Loyal to the Pack suits them, but it’s the nuance of electronics and arrangements of vocals and guitar on cuts like “The Great Liar” that carry them through here. If you believe in gravity, Planet of Zeus have plenty on offer.

Planet of Zeus on Thee Facebooks

Heavy Psych Sounds website

 

Brass Hearse, Oneiric Afterlife

brass hearse oneiric afterlife

Experimentalist keyboard-laced psychedelic goth your thing? Well, of course it is. You’re in luck then as Brass Hearse — an offshoot of once madly prolific Boston outfit Ice Dragon — unveil three new songs (plus an intro) with the Oneiric Afterlife and in 10 minutes work to unravel about 30 years of genre convention while still tying their material to memorable hooks. “Bleed Neon,” “Indigo Dust” and “Only Forever” seem simple on the surface, and none of them touch four minutes long, let alone “A Gesture to Make a Stop,” the 26-second introduction, but their refusal of stylistic constraint is as palpable as it is admirable, with a blend of folk guitar and dark-dance-party keys and percussive insistence on “Bleed Neon” and a ’60s Halloweeny rock organ line in “Only Forever” that’s complemented by low-end fuzz and a chorus that would rightly embarrass Ghost if they heard it. In comparison, “Indigo Dust” is serene in its presentation, but even there is a depth of arrangement of keys, guitar, bass and drums, and the skill tying it all together as a cohesive sound is not to be understated. A quick listen with a lot to unpack, it’s not going to be everyone’s thing, but those who get it will be hit hard and rightly so.

Brass Hearse on Thee Facebooks

Brass Hearse on Bandcamp

 

Mother Turtle, Three Sides to Every Story

mother turtle three sides to every story

The first of three tracks on Greek progwinders Mother Turtle‘s fourth LP, Three Sides to Every Story, “Zigu Zigu,” would seem to cap with a message of congratulations: “You’ve listened to three musicians indulging themselves with some kind of weird instrumental music.” It then goes on to question its own instrumentalism, because it has the words presently being spoken, continuing in this manner until a long fadeout of guitar leads to the funky start of the 15-minute-long “Notwatch.” Good fun, in other words. Mother Turtle maybe aren’t so weird as they think they are, but they are duly adventurous and obviously joyful in their undertaking, bringing chants in over drifting guitar and synth swirl in “Notwatch” before building to a crescendo of rock guitar and organ, ultimately dominated by a solo as it would almost have to be, before intertwining piano lines in 16:46 closer “A Christmas Postcard from Kim” lead to further shenanigans, vocal experimentation, plays on metal, holiday shimmer, and a fade into the close. At 38 minutes, Three Sides to Every Story doesn’t at all overstay its welcome, but neither is it an exercise looking for audience engagement in the traditional sense. Rather, it resonates its glee through its offbeat sensibility and thus works on its own level to craft a hook. One can’t help but smile while listening to the fun being had.

Mother Turtle on Thee Facebooks

Sound Effect Records website

 

The Legendary Flower Punk, Wabi Wu

The Legendary Flower Punk Wabi Wu

It is something to consider, perhaps as you dive into the nine-minute “Prince Mojito” on The Legendary Flower Punk‘s Wabi Wu, that the band started as a psych-folk solo-project. Currently working as a core trio plus a range of guests, the Russian troupe make their debut on Tonzonen with the brazenly prog seven-tracker, totaling just a 44-minute run but with a range that would seem to be much broader. Alternately jazzy and synth-laden, technically intricate but never overly showy, pieces like the bass-led “Azulejo” and the penultimate “Trance Fusion På Ryska” present a meeting of the minds with founding guitarist Kamille Sharapodinov at the center of most compositions, he and bassist Mike Lopakov and drummer Nick Kunavin digging into nothing’s-off-limits textures from fusion onward through New Wave and dub. The abiding rule followed seems to be whatever moves the band about a given track is what they roll with, and though The Legendary Flower Punk has evolved well beyond its origins, there’s still a bit of flower and still a bit of punk amid all the legends being made. Good luck keeping up with it.

The Legendary Flower Punk on Bandcamp

Tonzonen Records website

 

Slow, VI – Dantalion

Slow VI Dantalion

With the follow-up to 2018’s V – Oceans (review here), Belgian duo Slow rattle off another 78 minutes of utterly consuming, crushing, atmospheric and melancholic funeral doom like it’s absolutely nothing. Well, not like it’s nothing — more like it’s a weight on their very soul — but even so. Issued through Aural Music, VI – Dantlion brings the two-piece of guitarist/vocalist/drummer Déhà and bassist/lyricist Lore B. once again into the grueling, megalithic churn of self-inflicted riff-punishment that’s so encompassing, so dark, so deep and so dramatic it almost can’t help but also be beautiful. To wit, second track “Lueur” is a 17-minute downward journey into ambient brutalism, yet as it moves toward the midsection one can still hear melodic elements of keyboard and orchestral sounds peaking through. There is letup in the lush finale “Elégie,” but to get there, you have to make your way through “Incendiaire,” which is possibly the most extreme movement of the seven inclusions. Though frankly, after a while, you’re buried so far down by Slow‘s glorious miseries that it’s hard to tell. The world needs this band. They are what humanity would sound like if it was ever honest with itself.

Slow on Thee Facebooks

Aural Music on Bandcamp

 

OKO, Haze

oko haze

Adelaide, Australia, newcomers OKO present their debut EP in the form of Haze, a 14:44 single-song outing that sees the instrumental three-piece of guitarist Nick Nancarrow, bassist Tyson Ruch and drummer Ash Matthews tap into organic heavy psych vibes while working cross-planet with Justin Pizzoferrato (known for his work with Elder, among others) on the mix and master. The resulting one-tracker has a clarity in its drum sound and clean feel that one suspects might speak of more progressive intentions on the part of OKO in the longer term, but as they are here they have a sense of tonal warmth that serves them well across the unpretentious span of “Haze” itself, the winding riff inevitably bringing to mind some of Colour Haze‘s jammier work but still managing to find its own direction. I hear no reason OKO can’t do the same, regardless of the influences they’re working under in terms of sound. Further, the longform modus suits them, and while future work will inherently develop some variety in general approach, the natural exploration they undertake on this first outing easily holds attention for its span and is fluid enough that, had they wanted, they could have pushed it further.

OKO on Thee Facebooks

OKO website

 

Vug, Onyx

vug onyx

Vug are not the first European heavy rock band to blend vintage methods with modern production. They’re not the first band to take classic swagger and drum urgency and meld it with a pervasive sense of vocal soul. I’m not sure I’d tell them that though, because frankly, they’re doing pretty well with it. At its strongest, their Tonzonen-released sophomore outing, Onyx, recalls Thin Lizzy via, yes, Graveyard, but there’s enough clarity of intention behind the work to make it plain they know where they’re coming from. Such was the case as well with their 2018 self-titled debut (review here), and though they’ve had some lineup turnover since that first offering, the self-produced four-piece bring a character to their material on songs like “Tired Of” and the penultimate boogier “Inferno” before closing with the acoustic “Todbringer” — a mirror of side A’s “On My Own” — that they carry the classic-style 39-minute long-player off without a hitch, seeming to prep the heavy ’10s for a journey into a new decade.

Vug on Thee Facebooks

Noisolution webstore

 

Ultracombo, Season 1

Ultracombo Season 1

As the title hints, the Season 1 EP is the debut from Italy’s Ultracombo, and with it, the five-piece of vocalist Alessio Guarda, guitarists Alberto Biasin and Giordano Tasson, bassist Giordano Pajarin and drummer Flavio Gola work quickly to build the forward momentum that brings them front-to-back through the 23-minute five-track release. “Flusso” and opener “The King” feel particularly drawn from an earlier Truckfighters influence, but Guarda‘s vocals are a distinguishing factor amidst all that ensuing fuzz and straight-ahead drive, and in “Sparatutto” and the closer “Il Momento in Cui Non Penso,” they seem to strip their approach to its most basic aspects and bring together the tonal thickness and melodicism that’s been at root in their sound overall. The subtlety, such as it is, is to be found in their songwriting, which results in tracks that transcend language barriers through sheer catchiness. That bodes better for them on subsequent outings better than a wall o’ fuzz ever could, though of course that doesn’t hurt them either, especially their first time out.

Ultracombo on Thee Facebooks

Ultracombo on Bandcamp

 

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