Monolith on the Mesa: Yawning Man, Fatso Jetson, Wo Fat, Earthride, Magic Castles & Great Electric Quest Added

Posted in Whathaveyou on October 30th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

Monolith on the Mesa, which kind of came out of the gate in full-fledged upstart fashion this year and put Taos, New Mexico, on the map as a destination for heavyheads from all over, continues to announce acts for its follow-up edition in 2020. The fest is set for May 28-30 at Taos Mesa Brewing, same spot it was held this Spring, and is $99 for the weekend, which doesn’t sound cheap, but uh, is, considering what you get. Not exactly slumming it as regards the whole experience of the thing. To wit, the photo below looks like something I would most definitely shell out a hundred bucks to stand in front of for three days and have my ass handed to me by awesome bands. If you disagree, I suggest you take the next few months to reassess your priorities.

But speaking of awesome bands, a bunch more have just joined the lineup, including Maryland’s favorite sons Earthride. They’ll make the trip west and give a bit of East Coast representation out in the desert that I can only imagine will go over like groove-rolling gangbusters. That alone would be worth the $99 in my book, let alone the likes of Yawning Man (always great) and Fatso Jetson (always great) and Wo Fat (always great), who, for those of you who don’t read parentheticals (why not?) are always great, as well as Magic Castles and Great Electric Quest, whom I’ve not yet seen, but whose sounds are most certainly readily diggable.

Cool fest, man. These guys got something going out there in the desert.

From the PR wire:

monolith on the mesa 2019 (Photo by Mike Goodwin)

Monolith On The Mesa prepares for second year bands include Yawning Man, Fatso Jetson, Earthride, Sons of Otis, Ruby the Hatchet, Mondo Generator, Year of the Cobra and more

MONOLITH ON THE MESA OFFERS A “HIGH” DESERT EXPERIENCE THAT DRAWS ROCK FANS FROM ACROSS THE NATION

THE MUSIC FESTIVAL PREPARES FOR ITS SECOND YEAR AND ANNOUNCES SIX MORE BANDS IN THE LINE-UP: Yawning Man, Fatso Jetson, Earthride, Wo Fat, Magic Castles, Great Electric Quest

300 early bird tickets on sale now through Black Friday

May 28-30, 2020 at Taos Mesa Brewing

Monolith on the Mesa, a “High” Desert Experience, is an independent three-day festival entering its second year in 2020. The festival takes place at the Taos Mesa Brewing Mothership, and on the grounds of Hotel Luna Mystica, just outside of Taos, New Mexico. The festival is focused on heavy riff-rock acts from across multiple sub-genres including stoner rock, heavy psych, doom metal, sludge, drone, and retro rock. The festival includes interactive art installations and visual projections throughout the grounds to compliment the mind bending sounds of the bands. Festival capacity is limited to 1,500 to provide an intimate experience. Bands perform on the club-style indoor stage, and the scenic “earthship” outdoor amphitheater stage.

A total of 35 bands will play over three days from May 28-30, 2020. Festival promoters Dano Sanchez and Roman Barham are excited to reveal the names of five more bands today including Yawning Man; Fatso Jetson; Earthride; Wo Fat; Magic Castles; Great Electric Quest. The thirteen bands already made public online include: Sons of Otis; Ruby the Hatchet; Mondo Generator; Duel; Mark Deutrom; Year of the Cobra; Mountain of Smoke; Destroyer of Light; Love Gang; Black Maria; Prism Bitch and Sun Dog. Tickets cost $150 for three-day passes. A limited release of 300 early bird tickets for $99.99 are on sale now through Black Friday (midnight on November 29, 2019).

Dano Sanchez says “We are inspired to continue on our path with Monolith II. We want fans to come to Taos and let go of technology and constraints of urban living for three days. Let your soul breathe! What we offer is unique but still linked musically to festivals like Psycho Las Vegas, Levitation and Stoned and Dusted. We think festival goers will appreciate what we are doing here.”

Monolith on the Mesa is produced as a “destination” festival offering attendees music as well as the unique and mystical Taos experience which includes crisp, clean air on the high desert mesa, surrounded by unobstructed views of the Sangre de Christo Mountains. The festival is located adjacent to the Rio Grande del Norte National Monument. This enables festival goers to enjoy activities such as hiking, river rafting, bike trails, natural and resort hot springs — all making for an immersive experience unlike any other music festival.

DATES AND TIMES:
Box office opens at 9 a.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday.
May 28th doors at 4 pm til 1:30 am
May 29th doors at 12 noon; outside stage til midnight; indoor stage til 1:30 am
May 30th doors at 12 noon; outdoor stage til midnight; indoor stage til 1:30 am

VENUE INFORMATION:
Taos Mesa Brewing: The Mothership
20 ABC Mesa Rd.
El Prado, New Mexico 89529
https://www.taosmesabrewing.com/

TICKET INFORMATION:
Rain or shine event! No refunds!
https://tickets.holdmyticket.com/tickets/344140

https://www.monolithonthemesa.com
https://www.facebook.com/monolithonthemesa
https://www.instagram.com/monolithonthemesa

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Texas Jam Revival Announces Lineup with Black Tusk, Wo Fat, Forming the Void and More

Posted in Whathaveyou on August 6th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

texas jam revival 2019 banner

Austin, Texas, is of course no stranger to hosting festival-type atmospherics. It’s the home to SXSW and Levitation Fest, among others. The first-ever Texas Jam Revival isn’t shooting for operating on the same scale — at least not in its first year — but its all-dayer bill for Sept. 6 is righteous nonetheless, with the likes of TemptressElectric AgeHexxusCloak and Mountain of Smoke supporting Forming the VoidWo Fat and Black Tusk as a kind of triple-shot of headliner-worthy acts. I’m not sure if this is still the case, but as I recall, Forming the Void were going to hit the studio in September to record their fourth long-player, so this may well be one of the last shows they play before they do that. Go see them. Go early and see everybody. This is the kind of fest that’s done out of pure love, so if you’re in Austin, make it happen. I haven’t been down that way in a long time, but it was always worth the trip when I went.

Poster and show info follow, courtesy of Thee Facebooks:

texas jam revival 2019 poster

I am so excited to introduce the first annual TEXAS JAM REVIVAL!

This year’s show is at Barracuda Austin and features:

Black Tusk
Wo Fat
Forming the Void
Mountain of Smoke (featuring Kyle Shutt of The Sword)
CLOAK
Hexxus
Electric Age
Temptress

T-shirts and silk-screen posters (featuring Daniel Augustus Marschner art) will be on sale at the show for $20 and $15 respectively, but you can get a sweetheart deal if you buy the ticket/merch combo when you buy your tickets at the Ticket Fairy link in this event.

$22 pre-sale ticket only
(fees included on all pre-sales)

$33 pre-sale ticket + shirt (ex.$45 day of show) SAVE $12 on this combo

$44 pre-sale ticket + shirt+ silkscreen poster
(ex. $60 day of show)
SAVE $16 on this combo

(Take your ticket to the TJR merchandise table for your t-shirt and/or poster)

$25 day of show

https://www.facebook.com/GRAVITOYDpresents/
https://www.facebook.com/events/472239823539755

Wo Fat, Midnight Cometh (2016)

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Review & Track Premiere: Mountain of Smoke, Gods of Biomechanics

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on June 21st, 2018 by JJ Koczan

mountain of smoke gods of biomechanics

[Click play above to stream ‘Tyrell’ from Mountain of Smoke’s Gods of Biomechanics. Album is out July 7.]

Crush wins the day quickly on Mountain of Smoke‘s second album, Gods of Biomechanics. The Dallas-area duo of bassist/vocalist Brooks and drummer PJ bludgeon efficiently on the 10-track/33-minute outing, and expand their lineup through working with pedal steel guitarist Alex, filling out the bass/drum sound with an atmospheric breadth that can be heard on songs like “Caesium Beams,” making the material all the more memorable as well as being brutal and extreme. As with their 2014 self-titled debut, which was issued through Do for It Records, the theme that ties all the songs together is drawn from Ridley Scott’s 1982 sci-noir classic Blade Runner. Songs are based around the story of Ray Batty (Rutger Hauer) and named after characters from the film — “Leon,” “Tyrell,” “Zhora” — and as the band already seem to have covered the main characters in their debut with “Decker,” “Rachel,” “Pris,” and so on, and they also begin to dig into ideas expressed in the movie, places or other elements.

Accordingly, we get “Tannhauser Gate” which is mentioned in a sample of Rutger Hauer at the end of the subsequent and pummeling “Orion’s Shoulder,” “Incept” referring to the concept of when a replicant is ‘born,’ and “Retirement” for when they’re killed. Samples from the film — which I’m just going to assume everyone reading this watched at least once when they were in their 20s — are sprinkled throughout, providing transitions and making sure that Mountain of Smoke stick with the plot, as it were. In addition to giving the audience something to latch onto for a record that, put to tape by Michael Briggs at Civil Audio in Denton, TX, both bludgeoning in its execution and largely indecipherable on first listen when it comes to the blown-out growls that serve for most of the vocals, the theme also lends aesthetic nuance to Mountain of Smoke‘s sound, which if the point hasn’t gotten across yet, is anything but subtle.

Rather, it is a style built for volume. The litmus test for duo-violence used to be Black Cobra and I suppose now it’s probably Germany’s Mantar. For what it’s worth, Mountain of Smoke have more in common with the latter than the former in terms of their overall approach, though of course it varies. Less outwardly thrash, they’re nonetheless given to driving moments throughout Gods of Biomechanics, whether it’s the closing title-track, the rush of “Tannhauser Gate” or the stabbing verse of “Retirement.” Amid the thrust come massive rolling grooves. Massive, as in, of mass. From the moment “Incept” picks up from its leadoff sample at the album’s open, its huge low end plod becomes as much of a running theme as the film itself. That instrumental opener leads way via another sample — just of the score — into “Tannhauser Gate,” which revels in its thrust and brashness. Who could argue? Like much of the record, it’s a speaker-blower, and the pedal steel shows itself pivotal as well when it comes to adding a sense of space to the proceedings.

mountain of smoke

That too will become more and more apparent as the rest of Gods of Biomechancis plays out, through “Orion’s Shoulder” and “Caesium Beams” and the High on Fire-worthy bombast of “Zhora,” and into side B on “Retirement,” “Leon,” “Tyrell” and the title-track. So really just everywhere save perhaps “Incept” and its counterpart “Morphology” which gives the second half of the album its own instrumental launch. I don’t know how full-time a member of the band Alex will be, if the two-piece has become a trio, but his work winds up being crucial here just the same. As mentioned, the pedal steel adds breadth and a sense of space to the songs, but it also works in concert with the Blade Runner theme, since with the echo behind it and often played in sustained notes, it cuts a direct line to the kinds of otherworldly melodies Vangelis brought to the original film’s soundtrack. That was largely synthesized, but if one thinks of it on an interpretive level, the comparison holds up.

And the effect that has on making Gods of Biomechanics seem all the more complete in terms of concept and delivery isn’t to be understated. Mountain of Smoke‘s first offering was rawer and hit with plenty of force, but was more abrasive and not nearly so methodical. Gods of Biomechanics mounts its attack with some feeling of calculation behind it. The band aren’t simply crashing through the wall, they’re sneaking around it — though one hesitates to use a work like “sneaking” when it comes to something so obviously meant to be played as loudly as possible. Either way, not to be lost in all the holy-crap-this-is-heavy hyperbole that’s sure to be tossed the album’s way is the fact that Mountain of Smoke‘s sound isn’t just about bearing an inhuman amount of heft, or about describing scenes from a movie, but about entering a creative conversation with that work, and the pedal steel, siren-like at the start of “Retirement” or riding the fury of Brooks‘ riff on “Leon,” is a major part of what allows it to do so.

Its inclusion feels organic — as opposed to it feeling android, I guess — as an extension of the band’s overarching purpose, and as they slam into “Tyrell” and “Gods of Biomechanics” at the record’s back end, the statement they seem to be making not only engages with its subject matter, but brings it to life in a new, fascinating and oddly appropriate way. The risk with bands working on a single-theme as Mountain of Smoke are is that, at a certain point, they might run out of things to talk about once all the characters and ideas from the movie are covered. Would they write a song about the 2017 sequel? The sans-monologue directors cut version of the original? I don’t know, but they wouldn’t be the first group to come up against that issue, say screw it, and successfully move on to other thematic ground, so maybe I’m worrying about nothing. More important for the moment is the success throughout Gods of Biomechanics in putting their listeners in that always-dark, always-raining world where the threat always seems to be present and the danger always seems to be right there waiting. So too is the case here as Mountain of Smoke dream of electric sheep and awaken to be unbridled in their aural instensity.

Mountain of Smoke on Thee Facebooks

Mountain of Smoke on Twitter

Mountain of Smoke on Bandcamp

Do for It Records website

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The Obelisk Presents: Heavy Mash 2018, Oct. 13 in Arlington, TX

Posted in The Obelisk Presents on June 20th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

heavy mash 2018 poster

After being fortunate enough to have been asked last year, there was no way I wasn’t going to be up for having The Obelisk on board to present Heavy Mash 2018. The second edition of the Arlington, Texas-based festival will take place on Oct. 13 and feature a full day and a full lineup of all-killer heavy rock, doom, psych and whatnot, with Austin-dwellers Duel as the headliners on the heels of their 2017 sophomore album, Witchbanger (review here). In fact, when fest organizer Mark Kitchens — also of Stone Machine Electric — brought up the issue recently, my only question was whether the awesome frog from last year’s poster would make a return. To the benefit of all humanity, you can see clearly above that it has.

Duel sit atop the lineup with Californian imports Great Electric Quest and Dallas’ Mountain of Smoke, whose second album, Gods of Biomechanics, will be out July 7 and is an absolute crusher. As it turns out, Great Electric Quest are the only non-Texas band on the bill, as amid the roster of DoomstressStone Machine ElectricSwitchblade JesusOrthodox FuzzGypsy Sun RevivalWitchcryer and Dead Hawke, there isn’t one group that doesn’t call the Lone Star State home. I guess that’s what happens when the place you’re from is awash in creativity and, uh, huge. Just ask California.

The geographic theme at play only makes Heavy Mash 2018 more special, since Texas’ heavy underground is nothing if not worth highlighting, and no doubt at least some of the acts will have shared stages in the past, making it all the more of a party at Division Brewing, which once again will host the event and seems to just be asking for trouble in so doing. So much riffs. So much beer. I hope they have a good mop for afterward.

Get your ass to Texas:

The Obelisk Presents: Heavy Mash 2018

Oct 13 at 1 PM

Division Brewing
506 E Main St, Arlington, Texas 76010

After last year’s successful event, we are pleased to announce this year’s Heavy Mash! Once again, our great friend Wade hosts this event at Division Brewing in Arlington, TX on October 13th, 2018.

Nothing but heavy music and great beer! Here is this year’s line-up:

DUEL – 11pm
Great Electric Quest – 10pm
Mountain of Smoke – 9pm
Doomstress – 8pm
Stone Machine Electric – 7pm
Switchblade Jesus – 6pm
Orthodox Fuzz – 5pm
Witchcryer – 4pm
Gypsy Sun Revival – 3pm
DEAD HAWKE – 2pm

Duel, Witchbanger (2017)

Heavy Mash 2018 event page

Heavy Mash on Thee Facebooks

Division Brewing website

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