Quarterly Review: Nebula, Mountain of Misery, Page Williams Turner, Almost Honest, Buzzard, Mt. Echo, Friends of Hell, Red Sun, Wolff & Borgaard, Semuta

Posted in Reviews on May 13th, 2024 by JJ Koczan


Legend has it that a long time ago, thousands of years ago, before even the founding of the Kingdom of New Jersey itself, there was a man who attempted a two-week, 100-album Quarterly Review. He truly believed and was known to say to his goodlady wife, “Sure, I can do 100 releases in 10 days. That should be fine,” but lo, the gods did smite him for his hubris.

His punishment? That very same Quarterly Review.

Like the best of mythology, the lesson here is don’t be a dumbass and do things like 100-record Quarterly Reviews. Clearly this is a lesson I haven’t learned. Welcome to the next two weeks. Sorry for the typos. Let’s roll.

Quarterly Review #1-10:

Nebula, Livewired in Europe

Nebula Livewired in Europe

A busy 2023 continued on from a busy 2022 for SoCal heavy rockers Nebula as they supported their seventh album, Transmission From Mothership Earth (review here), and as filthy as was founding guitarist Eddie Glass‘ fuzz on that record, the nine-track (12 on the CD) Livewired in Europe pushes even further into the rawer stoner punk that’s always been at root in their sound. They hit Europe twice in 2023, in Spring and Fall, and in the lumbering sway of “Giant,” the drawl of “Messiah,” the Luciferian wink of that song and “Man’s Best Friend” earlier in the set, and the righteous urgency of what’s listed in the promo as “Down the Mother Fuckin’ Highway” or the shred-charged roll of “Warzone Speedwolf” in the bonus cuts, with bassist Ranch Sironi backing Glass on vocals and Mike Amster wailing away on drums — he’s the glue that never sounds stuck — they document the mania of post-rebirth Nebula as chaotic and forceful in kind, which is precisely what one would most hope for at the start of the gig. It’s not their first live outing, and hopefully it’s not the last either.

Nebula on Facebook

Heavy Psych Sounds website

Mountain of Misery, The Land

mountain of misery the land

The self-recording/self-releasing Kamil Ziółkowski offers his second solo LP with The Land, following in short order from last Fall’s In Roundness (review here) and the two-songer issued a month after. At six songs and 35 minutes, The Land further distinguishes Mountain of Misery stylistically from Ziółkowski‘s main outfit, Spaceslug. Yes, the two bands share a penchant for textured tones and depth of mix (Haldor Grunberg at Satanic Audio mixed and mastered), and the slow-delivered melodic ‘gaze-style vocals are recognizable, but “The ’90s” puts Nirvana through this somewhat murky, hypnotic filter, and before its shimmering drone caps the album, on closer “Back Again,” the multi-instrumentalist/vocalist reminds a bit of Eddie Vedder. Seekers of nod will find plenty in “Awesome Burn” and the slightly harder-hitting “High Above the Mount” — desert rock in its second half, but on another planet’s desert — while the succession of “Path of Sound” and “Come on Down” feel specifically set to more post-rocking objectives; the plot and riffs likewise thickened. Most of all, it sounds like Mountain of Misery is digging in for a longer-term songwriting exploration, and quickly, and The Land only makes me more excited to find out where it’s headed.

Mountain of Misery on Facebook

Electric Witch Mountain Recordings on Facebook

Page Williams Turner, Page Williams Turner

page williams turner self titled

The named-for-their-names trio Page Williams Turner is comprised of electronicist/mixer Michael Page (Sky Burial, many others), drummer/percussionist Robert Williams (of the harshly brilliant Nightstick) and saxophonist Nik Turner (formerly Hawkwind, et al), and the single piece broken into two sides on their Opposite Records self-titled debut is a duly experimentalist, mic-up-and-go extreme take on free psychedelic jazz, drone, industrial noisemaking, and time-what-is-time-signature manipulation. “Rorrim I” is drawn cinematically into an unstable wormhole circa its 14th minute, and teases serenity before the listener is eaten by a giant spider in some kind of unknowable ritual, and while “Rorrim II” feels less manic on average, its cycles, ebbs and flows remain wildly unpredictable. That’s the point, of course. If the combination of personnel and/or elements seems really, really weird on paper, you’re on the right track. This kind of thing will never be for everybody, but those who can get on its level will find it transportive. If that’s you, safe travels.

Page Williams Turner at Opposite Records Bandcamp

Opposite Records website

Almost Honest, The Hex of Penn’s Woods

almost honest the hex of penn's woods

The spoken intro welcoming the listener to “the greatest and last show of your lives” at the head of the chugging “Mortician Magician” is a little over the top considering the straightforward vibe of much of what follows on the 10 tracks of 2023’s The Hex of Penn’s Woods from Pennsylvania-based heavy rockers Almost Honest, but whether it’s the banjo early or the cowbell later in “Haunted Hunter,” the post-Fu Manchu riffing and gang shouts of “Alien Spiders,” “Ballad of a Mayfly”‘s whistling, the organ in “Amish Hex” (video premiere here), the harmonies of “Colony of Fire,” a bit of sax on “Where the Quakers Dwell,” that quirk in the opener, the funk wrought throughout by Garrett Spangler‘s bass and Quinten Spangler‘s drumming, the metal-rooted intertwining of Shayne Reed and David Kopp‘s guitars or the structural solidity beneath all of it, the band give aural character to coincide with the regionalist themes based on their Pennsylvania Dutch, foothill-Appalachian surroundings, and they dare to make their third album’s 44 minutes fun in addition to thoughtful in its craft.

Almost Honest on Facebook

Argonauta Records website

Buzzard, Doom Folk

buzzard doom folk

Based in Western Massachusetts, Buzzard is the solo-project of Christopher Thomas Elliott, and the title of his debut album, Doom Folk, describes his particular intention. As the 12-song/44-minute outing unfolds from the eponymous “Buzzard” at its outset (even that feels like a Sabbathian dogwhistle), the blend of acoustic and electric guitar forms the heart of the arrangements, but more than that, it’s doom and folk, stylistically, that are coming together. What makes it work is that Elliott avoids the trap of 2010s-ish neo-folk posturing as a songwriter, and while there’s a ready supply of apocalyptic mood in the lyrical storytelling and abundant amplified distortion put to dynamic use, the folk he’s speaking to is more traditional. Not lacking intricacy in their percussion, arrangements or melodies, you could nonetheless learn these songs and sing them. “Death Metal in America” alone makes it worth the price of admission, let alone the stellar “Lucifer Rise,” but the sweet foreboding and build of the subsequent “Harvester of Souls” gets even closer to Buzzard‘s intention in bringing together the two sides to manifest a kind of heavy that is immediately and impressively its own. Doom Folk on.

Buzzard on Facebook

Buzzard on Bandcamp

Mt. Echo, Cometh

mt echo cometh

Mt. Echo begin their third full-length primed for resonance with the expansive, patiently wrought “Veil of Unhunger,” leading with their longest track (immediate points) as a way of bringing the listener into the record’s mostly instrumental course with a shimmer of post-rock and later-emerging density of tone. The Nijmegen trio’s follow-up to 2022’s Electric Empire (review here) plays out across a breadth that extends beyond the 44-minute runtime and does more in its pieces than flow smoothly between its loud/quiet tradeoffs. “Round and Round Goes the Crown” brings a guest appearance from Oh Hazar guitarist/vocalist Stefan Kollee that pushes the band into a kind of darker, thoroughly Dutch heavy prog, but even that shift is made smoother by the spoken part on “Brutiful Your Heart” just before, and not necessarily out of line with how “Set at Rest” answers the opener, or the rumble, nod and wash that cap with “If I May.” The overarching sense of growth is palpable, but the songs express more atmospherically than just the band pushing themselves.

Mt. Echo on Facebook

Mt. Echo on Bandcamp

Friends of Hell, God Damned You to Hell

friends of hell god damned you to hell

They’re probably to raw and dug into Satanic cultistry to agree, but with Per “Hellbutcher” Gustavsson (Nifelheim) on vocals, guitarists Beelzeebubth (Mystifier, etc.) and Nikolas “Sprits” Moutafis (Mirror, etc.), bassist Taneli Jarva (Impaled Nazarene, etc.) and drummer Tasos Danazoglou (Mirror, ex-Electric Wizard, etc.) in the lineup for second LP God Damned You to Hell, it’s probably safe to call Friends of Hell a supergroup. Such considerations ultimately have little to do with how the rolling proto-NWOBHM triumphs of “Bringer of Evil” and “Arcane Macabre” play out, but it explains the current of extremity in their purposes that comes through at the start with the title-track and the severity that surrounds in the layering of “Ave Satanatas” as they journey into the underworld to finish with the eight-minute “All the Colors of the Dark.” You’re either going to buy the backpatch or shrug and not get it, and that seems like it’s probably fine with them.

Friends of Hell on Instagram

Rise Above Records website

Red Sun, From Sunset to Dawn

Red Sun From Sunset to Dawn

Not to be confused with France’s Red Sun Atacama, Italian prog-heavy psych instrumentalists Red Sun mark their 10th anniversary with the release of their third album, From Sunset to Dawn, and run a thread of doom through the keyboardy “The Sunset Turns Purple” and “The Shape of Night” on side A to manifest ‘sunset’ while side B unfolds with airier guitar in “The Coldness of the New Moon” and “Towards the End of Darkness” en route to the raga-leaning “The New Sun,” but as much as there is to be said for the power of suggestion and narrative titling, it’s the music itself that realizes the progression described in the name of the album. With a clear influence from My Sleeping Karma in “The Coldness of the New Moon” and the blend of organic hand-percussion and digitized melody in “The New Sun,” Red Sun immerse the listener in the procession from the intro “Where Once Was Light” (mirrored by “Intempesto” at the start of side B) onward, with each song serving as a chapter in the linear concept and story.

Red Sun on Facebook

Subsound Records website

Wolff & Borgaard, Destroyer

wolff and borgaard destroyer

Cinematic enough in sheer sound and the corresponding intensity of mood to warrant the visual collaboration with Kai Lietzke that accompanies the audio release, the collaboration between Hamburg electronic experimentalist Peter Wolff (Downfall of Gaia) and vocalist Jens Borgaard (Knifefight!, solo) moves between minimalist soundscaping and more consuming, weighted purposes. Moments like the beginning of “Transmit” might leave one waiting for when the Katatonia song is going to kick in, but Wolff & Borgaard engage on their own level as each of the nine pieces follows its own poetic course, able to be caustic like the culmination of “Observe” or to bring the penultimate “Extol” to silence gradually before “Reaper” bursts to life with clearly intentional contrast. I heard this or that streaming service is making a Blade Runner 2099 tv series. Sounds like a terrible idea, but it might just be watchable if Wolff & Borgaard get to do the score with a similar evocations of software and soul.

Peter Wolff on Facebook

My Proud Mountain website

Semuta, Glacial Erratic

Semuta Glacial Erratic

The Portland, Oregon, two-piece of guitarist/bassist/vocalist Benjamin Caragol (ex-Burials) and drummer Ben Stoller (currently also Simple Forms, Dark Numbers, ex-Vanishing Kids) do much to ingratiate themselves both to the crowded underground of which their hometown is an epicenter, and to the broader sphere of heavy-progressivism in modern doom and sludge. Across the five tracks of their self-released for now debut full-length, Glacial Erratic, the pair offer a panacea of heavy sounds, angular in the urgency of “Toeing the Line,” which opens, or the later thud of “Selective Memory” (the latter of which also appeared on their 2020 self-titled EP), which seem more kin to Baroness or Elder crashes and twists of “A Distant Light” or the interplay of ambience, roll, and sharpness of execution that’s been held in reserve for the nine-minute “Wounds at the Stem” as they leave off. Melody, particularly in Caragol‘s vocals, is crucial in tying the material together, and part of what gives Semuta such apparent potential, but they seem already to have figured out a lot about who they want to be musically. All of which is to say don’t be surprised when this one shows up on the list of 2024’s best debut albums come December.

Semuta on Facebook

Semuta on Bandcamp

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Space Queen West Coast Tour Starts May 11

Posted in Whathaveyou on May 6th, 2024 by JJ Koczan

I know we’re on the internet, so I’m supposed to be pissed off that this tour and all other tours don’t stop at my house like they were Amazon deliveries for volume, but really, I’m just glad I took a couple minutes out of the day to refresh my acquaintance with Space Queen‘s 2023 nine-track sophomore EP, Nebula (review here), on which the harmony-prone Vancouver trio at first veer between heavy crunch (seriously, “Battle Cry” feels like Facelift-era Alice in Chains in tone, never mind the corresponding vocal pattern) and soothing come-by-honestly folk melodies in shorter complementary tracks like “Deluge” and “Veil” before the pairing of “Darkest Part” and “When it Gets Light” bring the different sides together and “Transmission/Lost Cosmonaut” pushes deeper into fuzzy dream-nod and “End Transmission” cuts out on a sample from Ground Control. It’s rad, and of all the hype that went out last year about whoever, whatever, whenever, here’s one I didn’t hear close to enough rampant hyperbole about.

And I guess that’s why I’m posting about the tour even though I don’t exist in any of these towns. The songs. Go figure.

If you also want to revisit, Nebula is at the bottom of this post. Info/dates from the PR wire:

space queen may tour

Space Queen announce West Coast tour dates supporting new album Nebula

Vancouver, BC trio Space Queen announce May 2024 tour dates supporting their new album Nebula today. Please see all tour dates below.

Hear & share their new album Nebula on all DSPs HERE: https://songwhip.com/spacequeen/nebula

Space Queen is the stoner rock evolution of power trio Jenna Earle (guitar/vocals), Seah Maister (bass/keys/vocals) and Karli MacIntosh (drums/vocals).

Space Queen takes the signature haunting vocal harmonies of the trio’s former folk project (Sound of the Sun) and sends them soaring over a cosmic canvas of neo-psychedelic rock. Driving beats from MacIntosh provide an anchor for Earle’s heavy distortion and fuzzy 70s-style riffs, while Maister keeps everything grounded on bass, or shoots beyond the stratosphere with spacey synths and intergalactic organ.

The band released their debut EP in 2020 which garnered a ton of favorable press and college radio play, including landing on the Earshot charts. Space Queen was featured on Nardwuar The Human Serviette’s radio show for a month leading up to their EP release. The band has thrived in 2021-2022, opening for bands such as King Buffalo, Blackwater Holylight, The Well, RIP, Spirit Mother, Black Mastiff and The Pack A.D. The band also hit multiple festival stages including Massif Music fest, a headlining slot at Tune it down, Turn it up Festival, Electric Highway, as well as playing virtual editions of Massif (and a compilation vinyl release featuring Space Queen’s single “Battle Cry” in lieu of 2021’s Massif Festival) and Rock ‘n’ Roll Pride, and Fallen Fest.

Space Queen’s sophomore EP was released in the Spring of 2023, followed by a cross Canada tour with festival stops at NXNE and Vantopia. Coming in 2024 is a single mixed by Desert Rock legend, Dave Catching. Plenty of additional plans are in the works to be announced for 2024. These next few years are shaping up to be busy ones for the rising band.

05/11 Olympia, WA – The Crypt
05/12 Seattle, WA – Substation
05/15 Portland, OR – High Water Mark
05/17 Oakland, CA – Eli’s Milie High Club
05/18 Goleta, CA – Old Town Coffee
05/22 Ventura, CA – The Sewer
05/24 Santa Barbara, CA – Whisky Richard’s (QOTSA afterparty)
05/25 Los Angeles, CA – The Redwood


Space Queen, Nebula (2023)

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Nebula and Black Rainbows Announce In Search of the Cosmic Tale: Crossing the Galactic Portal Split LP Out June 28; Premiere Nebula’s “Acid Drop”

Posted in audiObelisk, Whathaveyou on April 10th, 2024 by JJ Koczan

nebula black rainbows In Search of the Cosmic Tale Crossing the Galactic Portal

Not that you need one in the first place, but if you would look for an excuse as to what might bring SoCal heavy psychedelic rock forebears Nebula and Italian cosmosblasters Black Rainbows together, both will be on tour in Europe in the coming months, Nebula are well documented heroes of founding Black Rainbows guitarist/vocalist Gabriele Fiori, and the split is listed as #300 in the catalog of Fiori‘s label, Heavy Psych Sounds, which has also stood behind Nebula‘s two post-resurgence LPs, 2022’s Transmission From Mothership Earth (review here) and 2019’s Holy Shit (review here).

Each act contributes three songs for a short but full-length-enough runtime of 32 minutes. Black Rainbows‘ tracks, as noted below, come from the sessions for their latest album, 2023’s Superskull (review here), while Nebula‘s side is newly recorded. Led off by Nebula‘s “Acid Drop” as the first single — it premieres below — the outing has been given the cumbersome title In Search of the Cosmic Tale: Crossing the Galactic Portal, which I have no doubt it has absolutely earned.

And if you’ve already stopped reading at the mention of the premiere below, or you skipped outright to the player, you won’t hear me argue. It’s a pretty straightforward proposition to bring these two together, however winding and/or spaced the course of the actual music may turn out to be, and something of a no-brainer to keep on your radar as summer starts to heat up. Nebula were in Europe last Fall as well, so I don’t know whether they’ll make the return trip to meet up with Black Rainbows at the Heavy Psych Sounds Fests in Germany, but it’s a universe of infinite possibility.

The raw crunch-punk fuckery of “Acid Drop,” with its blown-out vocals and swirling jam into the fade, follows on the player below. Beyond that, the PR wire takes over.

Dig if you dig:

Nebula, “Acid Drop” track premiere

HPS300 – NEBULA / BLACK RAINBOWS – In Search Of The Cosmic Tale: Crossing The Galactic Portal

There’s not much to add, two of the greatest Heavy Psych bands of the scene join the forces to give birth to an incredible Split Album.

Packed with 32 minutes of the highest quality heavy rock you can find out there; a joint venture which can happen only once every 100 years!!

Heavy Psych king-pioneers Nebula bring to life three brand new songs, recorded expressly for this incredible project. Three new gems which follow their latest “Holy Shit” and “Transmission….”

Black Rainbows add in three songs of their own, handpicked from the recording session of their latest success “Superskull”, released back in 2023. Delivering two Stoner in-your-face Heavy Fuzz pieces and one Heavy Space tune to celebrate this awesome collaboration!!

The cover art pairs perfectly with the vision and vibe of the album and is credited to the mighty Simon Berndt.

1. Acid Drop
2. Eye of the Storm
3. Ceasar XXXIV

Recorded at “High Desert Sound Studios “ Spring Equinox 2024.
Produced and Mixed by Nebula
Mastered by Claudio Pisi Gruer at Pisi Studio 

Eddie Glass : Guitars, Vocals, Drums
Ranch Sironi : Bass, Vocals, Mix Down
Warzone Speedwolf : Drums 

1. The Secret
2. Thunder Lights on the Greatest Sky
3. Dogs of War

Recorded 11-12-13 May 2022 at Forward Studio, Rome, Italy by Fabio Sforza and Andrea Secchi
Vocals, Synths, Overdubs Recorded in November and December 2022
At Forward Studios and Channel 5 Studio by Andrea Secchi and Gabriele Fiori
Mixed and Engineered by Fabio Sforza
Mastered by Claudio Pisi Gruer at Pisi Studio
All Songs, Music and Lyrics written by Gabriele Fiori

Gabriele Fiori — Guitars & Vocals
Edoardo “Mancio” Mancini — Bass
Filippo Ragazzoni — Drums

BLACK RAINBOWS European shows 2024
03.05 – Barcelona (SP) 62 Club
04.05 – Vidiago (SP) Vidiago Rock Fest
07.06 – Winterthur (CH) Gaswerk – Heavy Psych Sounds Fest
14.06 – Genova (ITA) TBA
28.06 – Clisson (FR) Hellfest
29.06 Passau (DE) Blackdoor Fest
13.07 – Trieste (IT) TBA
10.08 – Bagnes (CH) Palp Fest
12/13.10 – Berlin (DE) Heavy Psych Sounds Fest
27/28.10 – Dresden (DE) Heavy Psych Sounds Fest

NEBULA European Tour 2024
SU. 09.06.24 IT ***OPEN SLOT***
FR. 14.06.24 DE ***OPEN SLOT***
SA. 22.06.24 FR ***OPEN SLOT***
WE. 03.07.24 UK ***OPEN SLOT***




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R.I.P. Tom Davies of Nebula, 1975-2023

Posted in Features on September 6th, 2023 by JJ Koczan

Tom Davies of Nebula (Photo by JJ Koczan)

Stepping back from his duties as longtime bassist for heavy psych rock pioneers Nebula this past Spring, Tom Davies let it be known that he was battling leukemia. Today word has come from Davies’ family that he has unfortunately passed away. The following was posted tonight, Sept. 6, on Davies’ social media:

Dear Friends,

We want to let you know that it’s with great sadness Tom died peacefully last night surrounded by his Mum, Sister and Partner Camille. The past 9 months living with high risk Leukemia were the most challenging of his life and he faced every hurdle with great strength, courage, determination and of course humor.

We want to thank everyone for their love and support during this time, he felt the love which bolstered him in his darkest moments.

Our world will never be the same again but we feel blessed to have had him in our lives.

Grethe, Camille, Sarah and Will x

Tom Davies 1975 – 2023

Tom Davies joined Nebula in Sept. 2004 and went on to serve nearly 20 sometimes-tumultuous years in the band as the trio founded by guitarist/vocalist Eddie Glass released two albums — 2006’s Apollo and 2009’s wildly undervalued Heavy Psych — before a hiatus that lasted the better part of a decade. But when Nebula came back, Davies came back with them, and the trio of Davies, Glass and drummer Mike Amster took to stages around the world successfully, reissued the band’s entire catalog as well as a collection of demos and off-album whatnots through Heavy Psych Sounds — a label whose founder readily acknowledges Nebula’s influence on his own band Black Rainbows — took part as a flagship act in the ‘Live in the Mojave Desert’ stream and live album series, and, most crucially, put out two studio LPs in 2019’s so-correctly-named Holy Shit and last year’s Transmission From Mothership Earth.

As runs go, even accounting for a global pandemic, that’s nothing short of incredible. I won’t at all claim to know the details of Davies’ life, but even just to look at the outpouring of support after his diagnosis came out in April. The fundraiser that pulled in $16,000-plus to go toward medical expenses. The compilation Ripple Music put together this Spring. Countless notes of support from bands, friends, fans, tour mates, labelmates, whoever. By all accounts, the world seems to have lost a decent human being as well as an obviously talented and charismatic player.

I was fortunate enough to interview Davies on a couple of occasions, and he was always a nice guy. A combination of West Coast ultra-caszh with a British politeness underneath. He thought before he spoke, at least in all my dealings with him. On behalf of myself and this site, I’d like to express sincere condolences to Davies’ family, his friends, his bandmates past and present and all who knew him. That he will be missed is no doubt an understatement.

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Nebula to Release New Live Album & To the Center Reissue

Posted in Whathaveyou on August 16th, 2023 by JJ Koczan

[Nebula bassist Tom Davies continues his fight against cancer. You can contribute here to a GoFundMe to help with medical expenses.]

New Nebula live record? That’s cool. No, it hasn’t been forever since they did the 2021 Live in the Mojave Desert (review here), but they have done another studio LP since then in last year’s Transmission From Mothership Earth (review here), and a good portion of these tracks come from that, and particularly in light of the above, I’m down for whatever is going to keep the band going, so yeah, Livewired in Europe it is. I’m not sure who’d argue against the idea anyway.

And would you ever actually say there were enough versions of To the Center (featured here, discussed here)? The band’s Jack Endino-produced 1999 debut is one of the best heavy rock records of the last, oh, ever, and as such should never not be in print. In both these cases, the law of ‘the more the merrier’ would seem to imply, not the least because it’s more stuff on the merch table on their upcoming European tour, which launches on my anniversary, goes a full month, and wraps at Heavy Psych Sounds Fest in Germany. This is Nebula‘s umpteenth tour since founding guitarist/vocalist Eddie Glass rebooted the band in 2018, and there too, the more the merrier.

While Davies remains sidelined, Ranch Sironi is handling bass on the run, joining drummer Mike Amster (also Mondo Generator) in the rhythm section complementing Glass‘ signature, classic shred.

The PR wire tells all:

Nebula Livewired in Europe

NEBULA to release “Livewired in Europe” live album this October 27th on Heavy Psych Sounds

Legendary Californian heavy psych rockers NEBULA announce the release of their “Livewired in Europe” live album as well as the vinyl repress of their cult album “To The Center” this October 27th, with preorders available now from Heavy Psych Sounds Records!

As they are gearing up to embark on their second European tour this year, the pillars of modern heavy psychedelia NEBULA will release their new live album “Livewired in Europe”, a collection of nine tracks (plus three CD bonus tracks) recorded in Sweden and the Netherlands in the spring of 2023. The trio formed by legendary guitarist Eddie Glass and rounded out by Ranch Sironi on bass and Mike Amster on drums deliver their desert-baked feel-good jams with fire and flair for an exhilarating aural experience.

NEBULA “Livewired in Europe”
Out October 27th on Heavy Psych Sounds

European preorder – https://www.heavypsychsounds.com/shop.htm#HPS287

US preorder – https://www.heavypsychsounds.com/shop-usa.htm

1. Man’s Best Friend
2. Down The Highway
3. Out Of Your Head
4. Highwired
5. Giant/Clearlight
6. Full Throttle
7. Aphrodite
8. Messiah
9. Let It Burn
10. Transmission From Mothership Earth (CD bonus track)
11. Let’s Get Lost (CD bonus track)
12. Warzone Speedwulf (CD bonus track)

NEBULA “To The Center” vinyl reissue
Out October 27th on Heavy Psych Sounds

European preorder – https://www.heavypsychsounds.com/shop.htm#HPS066v3https://www.heavypsychsounds.com/shop-usa.htm

US preorder – https://www.heavypsychsounds.com/shop-usa.htm

28/09 Bologna (IT) Freakout
29/09 Savona (IT) Raindogs
30/09 Pratteln (CH) Up In Smoke Festival
03/10 Leon (SP) Babylon
04/10 Porto (PT) Woodstock 69
05/10 Lisbon (PT) Rca Club
06/10 Jerez De La Frontiera (SP) La Guarida Del Angel
07/10 Tabernas (SP) Desert Rock Fest
08/10 Madrid (SP) Wurlitzer Ballroom
09/10 Bilbao (SP) Kafe Antzokia
10/10 Capbreton (FR) Le Circus
11/10 Nantes (FR) Cold Crash
12/10 London (UK) Oslo
13/10 Bournemouth (UK) Bear Cave
14/10 Sheffield (UK) Record Junkie
15/10 Glasgow (UK) Ivory Blacks
16/10 Bradford (UK) The Underground
17/10 UK TBA
18/10 ***Open Slot***
19/10 ***Open Slot***
20/10 Antwerp (BE) Desertfest Belgium
21/10 Frankfurt (DE) Tba
22/10 Münster (DE) Rare Guitar
23/10 Den Haag (NL) Paard
24/10 ***Open Slot***
25/10 Apeldoorn (NL) Gigant
26/10 ***Open Slot***
27/10 Dresden (DE) Heavy Psych Sounds Fest
28/10 Berlin (DE) Heavy Psych Sounds Fest

Eddie Glass – guitar & vocals
Ranch Sironi – bass
Mike Amster – drums



Nebula, Transmission From Mothership Earth (2022)

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Nebula Announce Fall European Tour

Posted in Whathaveyou on July 31st, 2023 by JJ Koczan


Cali heavy psych rockers Nebula were announced for Desertfest Belgium in April, so the prospect of their heading to Europe this Fall was right there almost from the start of 2023, but it’s worth noting that as this tour is revealed in its totality, this is the third month out of this year that the long-running trio founded by guitarist/vocalist Eddie Glass will spend on the road. They did Europe in Spring only after traipsing across the US in the company of New Jersey’s The Atomic Bitchwax, and as they continue to support 2022’s Transmission From Mothership Earth (review here) and ply their wares in unhinged trippy punker scuzz fuzz, they show no signs of stopping. They did similar runs for most of 2022. Off you go.

As with the earlier 2023 tours, bassist Tom Davies will sit out the upcoming run as he battles a rare form of leukemia. More info and the fundraising page are here: https://www.gofundme.com/f/tom-davies-vs-leukemia-teamtom

Goes without saying that you should help if you can. The dates follow here, as seen on the PR wire:

nebula tour poster

Heavy psychedelic rock legends NEBULA announce extensive European fall tour; more festival appearances confirmed!

Legendary Californian heavy psych rockers NEBULA return to Europe this fall with an extensive tour including appearances at Desertfest Belgium, Up In Smoke Festival and Heavy Psych Sounds Fest.

Fired up by their two-month spring tour, the godfathers of modern heavy psychedelia NEBULA are set to take over Europe again this September and October, with no less than 30 shows across the old continent! The trio fronted by guitar legend Eddie Glass will keep supporting their 2022 album “Transmission From Mothership Earth” (Heavy Psych Sounds Records). Prepare to embark on a groove-drenched cruise…

28/09 It Bologna – Freakout
29/09 It Savona – Raindogs
30/09 Ch Pratteln – Up In Smoke Festival
03/10 Es Leon – Babylon
04/10 Pt Porto – Woodstock 69
05/10 Pt Lisbon – Rca Club
06/10 Es Jerez De La Frontiera – La Guarida Del Angel
07/10 Es Tabernas – Desert Rock Fest
08/10 Es Madrid – Wurlitzer Ballroom
09/10 Es – Bilbao – Kafe Antzokia
10/10 Fr Capbreton – Le Circus
11/10 Fr Nantes – Cold Crash
12/10 UK London – Oslo
13/10 UK Bournemouth – Bear Cave
14/10 UK Sheffield – Record Junkie
15/10 UK Glasgow – Ivory Blacks
16/10 UK Bradford – The Underground
17/10 UK Tba
18/10 ***Open Slot***
19/10 ***Open Slot***
20/10 Be Antwerp – Desertfest Belgium
21/10 De Frankfurt – Tba
22/10 De Münster – Rare Guitar
23/10 Nl Den Haag – Paard
24/10 ***Open Slot***
25/10 NL Apeldoorn – Gigant
26/10 ***Open Slot***
27/10 De Dresden – Heavy Psych Sounds Fest
28/10 De Berlin – Heavy Psych Sounds Fest



Nebula, Transmission From Mothership Earth (2022)

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Quarterly Review: Khanate, Space Queen, King Potenaz, Treedeon, Orsak:Oslo, Nuclear Dudes, Mycena, Bog Monkey, The Man Motels, Pyre Fyre

Posted in Reviews on July 19th, 2023 by JJ Koczan


Ah, a Quarterly Review Wednesday. Always a special occasion. Monday starts out with a daunting look at the task ahead. Tuesday is all digging in and just not trying to repeat myself too much. Wednesday, traditionally, is where we hit the halfway point. The top of the hill.

Not the case this time since I’ll have 10 records each written up next Monday and Tuesday, but crossing the midpoint of this week alone feels like an accomplishment and you’ll pardon me if I mark it as such. If you’re wondering how the rest of the week will go, tomorrow is all-business and Friday’s usually a party one way or the other. My head gets so in it by the middle of next week I’ll be surprised not to be doing this anymore. So it goes.

Quarterly Review #21-30:

Khanate, To Be Cruel

Khanate To Be Cruel

Who among mortals could hope to capture the horrors of Khanate in simple words? The once-New York-based avant sludge ultragroup end a 14-year hiatus with To Be Cruel, a fourth album, comprising three songs running between 19-21 minutes each that breed superlative hatefulness. At once overwhelming and minimalist, with opener “Like a Poisoned Dog” placing the listener in a homemade basement dungeon with the sharp, disaffection-incarnate bark of Alan Dubin (also Gnaw) cutting through the weighted slog in the guitar of Stephen O’Malley (also SunnO))), et al), the bass of James Plotkin (more than one can count, and he probably also mastered your band’s record) and the noise free-jazz drumming of Tim Wyskida (Blind Idiot God, etc.), they retain the disturbing brilliance last heard from in 2009’s Clean Hands Go Foul (discussed here) and are no less caustic for the intervening years. “It Wants to Fly” is expansive and wretched death poetry set to drone doom, a ritual made of its own misery, and the concluding title-track goes quiet in its midsection as though to let every wrenching anguish have its own space in the song. There is no one like them, though many have tried to convey some of what apparently only Khanate can. As our plague-infested, world-burning, war-making, fear-driven species plunges further into this terrible century, Khanate is the soundtrack we earn. We are all complicit. All guilty.

Khanate on Facebook

Sacred Bones Records store


Space Queen, Nebula

Space Queen Nebula EP

Though plenty atmospheric besides, Vancouver heavy fuzz rockers Space Queen add atmosphere to their nine-song/26-minute Nebula EP through a series of four interludes: the a capella three-part harmonies of “Deluge,” the acoustic-strummed “Veil” and “Sun Interlude,” and the finishing manipulated space-command sample in “End Transmission” after the richly melodic doom rock of “Transmission/Lost Causemonaut.” That penultimate inclusion is the longest at 6:14 and tells a story in a way that feels informed by the three-piece of drummer/vocalist Karli MacIntosh, guitarist/vocalist Jenna Earle and bassist/keyboardist/vocalist Seah Maister‘s past in the folk outfit Sound of the Sun, but transposes its melodic sensibility into a heavier context. It and the prior garage-psych highlight “When it Gets Light” — a lighter initial electric strum that arrives in willful-seeming contrast to “Darkest Part” immediately preceding — depart from the more straight-ahead push of opener “Battle Cry” and the guitar-screamer “Demon Queen” separated from it by the first interlude. Where those two come across as working with Alice in Chains as a defining influence — something the folk elements don’t necessarily argue against — the Nebula EP grows broader as it moves through its brief course, and flows throughout with its veering into and out of songs and short pieces. This is Space Queen‘s second EP, and if they’re interested in making a full-length next, they sound ready.

Space Queen on Facebook

Space Queen on Bandcamp


King Potenaz, Goat Rider

king potenaz goat rider

Fasano, Italy’s King Potenaz debut on Argonauta Records with Goat Rider, which conjures raw fuzz, garage-doom atmospherics, and vocals that edge toward aggression and classic cave metal, early Venom or Celtic Frost having a role to play even alongside the transposition of Kyuss riffing taking place in the title-track, which follows “Among Ruins” and “Pyramids Planet,” both of which featured on the trio’s 2022 Demo 6:66, and which set a tone of riff-led revelry here with a sound that reminds of turn-of-the-century era stoner explorations, but grows richer as it moves into “Pazuzu (3:33)” — it’s actually 5:18 — with guest vocals from Sabilla and the quiet three-minute instrumental “Cosmic Voyager” planet-caravanning into the 51-minute album’s second half, where “Moriendoom (La Ballata di Ippolita Oderisi)” and the even doomier “Monolithic” dig into cultish vibes and set up the bleak shuffle of nine-minute closer “Dancing Plague,” departing from its central ’90s-heavy riff into a mellow-psych movement and then returning from that outward stretch to end. Even at its most familiar, Goat Rider finds some way to harness an individual edge, cleverly using the mix itself as an instrument to create the space in which the songs dwell. It may take a few listens to sink in, but there’s real potential in what they’re doing.

King Potenaz on Facebook

Argonauta Records store


Treedeon, New World Hoarder

Treedeon New World Hoarder

With the release of their third album, New World Hoarder, German art-sludgers Treedeon celebrate their first decade as a band. The combined vinyl-with-CD follows 2018’s Under the Manchineel (review here) and proffers raw cosmic doom in “Omega Time Bomb,” crossing the 10-minute line for the first time after the particularly-agonized opener “Nutcrème Superspreader” and before the title-track’s nodding riff brings bassist Yvonne Ducksworth to the fore vocally, trading off with guitarist Arne Heesch as drummer Andy Schünemann crashes cyclically behind. “New World Hoarder” gives over to side B opener “Viking Meditation Song,” which rolls like an evil-er version of Goatsnake, and “RHV1,” on which Heesch and Ducksworth share vocal duties, as they also do in 12-minute closer “Läderlappen” — a shouting duet in the first half feels long in arriving, but that’s how you know the album works — as the band cap with more massive chug following an interplay of melody and throatier fare. They’re right to ride that groove, as they’re right about so much else on the record. Like much of what Exile on Mainstream puts out, Treedeon are stylistically intricate and underrated in kind.

Treedeon on Facebook

Exile on Mainstream site


Orsak:Oslo, In Irons

Orsak Oslo In Irons

There are a couple different angles of approach one might take in hearing Orsak:Oslo‘s In Irons full-length. The Norway/Sweden-based instrumental troupe have been heretofore lumped in with heavy post-rock and ambient soundscaping, which is fair enough, but what they actually unveil in “068 The Swell” (premiered here), is a calming interpretation of space rock. With experimentalism on display in its late atmospheric drone comedown, “068 The Swell” moves directly into the more physical “079 Dutchman’s Wake (Part I),” the languid boogie feeling modern in presentation and classic in construction and the chemistry between the members of the band. The drums sit out much of the first half of “069 In What Way Are You Different,” giving a sense of stillness to the drone there, but the song embraces a bigger feel toward its finish, and that sets up the feedback intro to “078 The Mute (Part II),” which veers dreamily between amplifier drone and complementary melodic guitar flourish. Taking 17 minutes to do it, they close with “074 Hadal Blue,” which more broadly applies the space-chill of “068 The Swell” and emphasizes flow and organic changes from one part to the next. Immersive, it would be one to get lost in if it weren’t so satisfying to pay attention.

Orsak:Oslo on Facebook

Vinter Records website


Nuclear Dudes, Boss Blades

Nuclear Dudes Boss Blades

Fuck. Yes. As much grind as sludge as electronics-infused hardcore as it is furious, unadulterated noise, the 12-song/50-minute onslaught that is Boss Blades arrives via Modern Grievance at the behest of Jon Weisnewski, also of Sandrider, formerly of Akimbo. If Weisnewski‘s name alone and the fact that Matt Bayles mixed the self-recorded debut LP aren’t enough to pull you into the tornado of violence and maddening brood that opener “Boss Blades” uses to open — extra force provided by one of two guest vocal spots from Dave Verellen of Botch; the other is on “Lasers in the Jungle” later on — then perhaps the seven-minute semi-industrial march of “Obsolete Food” or the bruising intensity of “Poorly Made Pots” or the minute and a half of sample-topped drone psych in “Guitart,” the extreme prog metal of “Eat Meth” or “Manifest Piss Tape” will do the trick, or the nine-minute near-centerpiece “Many Knives” (which, if there’s a Genghis Tron influence here generally — and there might be — is more the last record than the older stuff) with its slow keyboard unfolding as a backdrop for Dust Moth‘s Irene Barber to make her own guest appearance, plenty of post-everything cacophony mounting by the end, grandiose and consuming. I could go on — every track is a new way to die — but suffice it to say that this is what my brain sounds like when my kid and my wife are talking to me about different things at the same time and it feels like my skull is on fire and I have an aneurysm and keel over. Good wins.

Nuclear Dudes on Instagram

Modern Grievance Records website


Mycena, Chapter 4

mycena chapter 4

Sometimes harsh but always free, 2022’s Chapter 4 from Croatian instrumentalist double-guitar five-piece Mycena — guitarists Marin Mitić and Pavle Bojanić, bassist Karlo Cmrk, drummer Igor Vidaković and synthesist/noisemaker Aleksandar Vrhovec — brings three tracks that are distinct unto themselves but listed as part of the same entirety, dubbed “Dissolution” and divided into “Dissolution Part 1” (17:49), “Dissolution Part 2” (3:03), and “Dissolution Part 3” (18:11), and it may well be that what’s being dissolved is the notion that rock and roll must be confined to verse/chorus structuring. Invariably, Earthless are a comparison point for longform instrumental heavy anything, and given the shred in “Dissolution Part 1” around five minutes deep and the torrent rockblast in the first half of “Dissolution Part 3” before it melts to near-silence and quietly noodles its way through its somehow-dub-informed last 11 or so minutes, building in presence but not actually blowing up to full volume as it caps. While totaling a manageable 39 minutes, Chapter 4 is a journey nonetheless, with a scope that comes through even in “Dissolution Part 2,” which may just be an interlude but still carries a steady rhythm that seems to reorient the band ahead of their diving into the extended final part, the band sounding natural in making changes that would undo acts with less chemistry.

Mycena on Facebook

Mycena on Bandcamp


Bog Monkey, Hollow

bog monkey hollow

Filthy tone. Just absolutely nasty. Atlanta’s Bog Monkey tracked Hollow, their self-released debut LP, with Jay Matheson at The Jam Room in South Carolina, and if they ever go anywhere else to try to capture their sound I’d have to ask why. With seven cuts totaling 33 minutes play-time and fuzz-sludge blowouts a-plenty in “Facemint,” the blastbeaten “Blister” and the heads-down largesse-minded shove-off-the-cliff that is “Slither” at a whopping 2:48, Hollow transposes Conan-style shouted vocals on brash, thickened heavy, the bass in “Tunnel” and forward-charging leadoff “Crow” with its thrash-riffing hook is the source of the heft, but it’s not alone. Spacious thanks to echoes on the vocals, Hollow crushes just the same, and as the trio plunder toward the eight-minute “Soma” at the end, growing intense quickly out of a calmer intro jam and slamming their message home circa 3:40 with crashes that break to bass and guitar noise to establish the nod around which the ending will be based, all you can really do is look forward to the bludgeoning to come and be glad when it arrives. Don’t be fooled by their generic name, or the silly stoner rock art (which I’m not knocking; it being silly is part of the point). Bog Monkey bring together different styles in a way that’s thoughtful and make songs that sound like they just rose out of the water to fucking obliterate you. So go on. Be obliterated.

Bog Monkey on Facebook

Bog Monkey on Bandcamp


The Man Motels, Dead Nature

The Man Motels Dead Nature EP

Punkish in its choruses like the title-track or opener “Sports,” the four-song Dead Nature EP from South Africa’s The Man Motels is the latest in a string of short releases and singles going back to their 2018 full-length, Quit Looking at Me!, and they temper the urgency of their speediest parts with grunge-style melody and instrumental twists. Bass and drums at the base of “Young Father” set up the sub-three-minute closer as purely punk, but sure enough the guitar kicks in coming out of the verse and one can hear the Nirvana effect before it drops out again. Whether it’s a common older-school hardcore influence, I don’t know, but “Sports” and “Young Father” remind of a rawer Fu Manchu with their focus on structure, but “The Fever” is heavier indie rock and culminates in a tonally satisfying apex before cutting back to the main riff that’s led the way for… oh, about three minutes or so. All told, The Man Motels are done in 15 minutes, but they pack a fair amount into that time and they named the release after its catchiest installment, so there. Maybe not the kind of thing I’d always reach for in my own listening habits, but I’m not about to rag on a band for being good at what they do or showcasing their material with the kind of energy The Man Motels put into Dead Nature.

The Man Motels on Facebook

Mongrel Records website


Pyre Fyre, Pyre Fyre

pyre fyre pyre fyre

With a couple short(er) outings to their credit, Bayonne, New Jersey, three-piece Pyre Fyre present seven songs in the 18 minutes of their self-titled, which just might be enough to make it a full-length. Hear me out. They start raw with “Hypnotize,” more of a song than an intro, punkish and the shortest piece at 1:22. From there, the Melvins meet Earthride on “Flood Zone” and the range of shenanigans is unveiled. Produced by drummer/noisemaker Mike Montemarano, with Dylan Wheeler on guitar, Dan Kirwan on bass and vocals from all three in its hithers and yons, it is a barebones sound across the board, but Pyre Fyre give a sense of digging in despite that, with the echo-laced “Wyld Ryde” doled out like garage thrash, while “Dungeon Duster/Ice Storm” sounds like it was recorded in two different sessions and maybe it was and screw you if that matters, “Don’t Drink the Water” hits the brakes and dooms out with stoner-drawl vocals later, “Arachnophobia” dips into a darker, somehow more metal, mood, and the fuzzy “Cordyceps” ends with swagger and noise alike in just under two and a half minutes. All of this is done without pretense, without the band pausing to celebrate themselves or what they just accomplished. They get in, kick ass, get out again. You don’t want to call it an album? Fine. I respectfully disagree, but we can still be friends. What, you thought because it was the internet I was going to tell you to screw off? Come on now.

Pyre Fyre on Instagram

Pyre Fyre on Bandcamp


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Up in Smoke 2023 Adds Nebula, Sons of Morpheus, Heavy Temple & Howling Giant

Posted in Whathaveyou on May 17th, 2023 by JJ Koczan

Admittedly, I’m a few days behind on this. I don’t know how many — I didn’t want to look — but it’s times like this I like to remind mostly myself that I’m doing the best I can here with the time and energy I have on any particular day. Up in Smoke 2023 is set for Sept. 29-Oct. 1 in Pratteln, Switzerland, the location same as ever, and seems to be the kickoff point for the Fall heavy touring and festival season in Europe. As much as there even are seasons anymore and tours and fests aren’t just happening all the time — by which I mean they are, the dead of winter kinda notwithstanding, for now — but still, moving out of summer brings a new round of beginnings and offerings coming out.

Seeing Nebula and Heavy Temple and Howling Giant together here after also being added to Desertfest Belgium in Antwerp, which takes place nearly a month later means that’s going to be some significant touring for the three American acts. I’m hoping they’re going together — love a package tour — but I have no info or confirmation that that’s what’s happening. At very least, they’ll be meeting up along the way.

Basel’s own Sons of Morpheus round out the new announcement, and as their last release was 2019’s The Wooden House Session (review here), the inevitable curiosity is piqued as to whether they might have a new release in the works for Fall. We’ll see, I guess, and in the meantime, they strengthen an already strong lineup of acts oldschool and new that still has more to come. Good fun.

From social media:

up in smoke 2023 second poster


Hey friends,

We’re more than happy to present you today the new bands for our beloved Up In Smoke Festival!

Please give a very warm welcome to:

This is just a small update – there are many more bands to come!

Stay tuned!

29. Sep – 01. Oct 2023

Konzertfabrik Z7
Pratteln (Basel, CH)

Get ready for three full days of finest heavy rock music!

Tickets (3 Day Passes and Sleepover Tickets) are on sale -> https://www.sol-tickets.com/produkte

Poster by Brookesia Estudio



Nebula, “To the Center/Come Down” live in North Carolina, March 2023

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