Desertfest London 2024 Makes Second Lineup Announcement

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

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

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

The latest word follows from the PR wire:

desertfest london 2024 second announce

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Full line-up


Suicidal Tendencies, “How Will I Laugh Tomorrow”

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Quarterly Review: Dorthia Cottrell, Fvzz Popvli, Formula 400, Abanamat, Vvon Dogma I, Orme, Artifacts & Uranium, Rainbows Are Free, Slowenya, Elkhorn

Posted in Reviews on May 11th, 2023 by JJ Koczan


Here we go day four of the Quarterly Review. I would love to tell you it’s been easy-breezy this week. That is not the case. My kid is sick, my wife is tired of my bullshit, and neither of them is as fed up with me as I am. Nonetheless, we persist. Some day, maybe, we’ll sit down and talk about why. Today let’s keep it light, hmm?

And of course by “light” I mean very, very heavy. There’s some of that in the batch of 10 releases for today, and a lot of rock to go along, so yes, another day in the QR. I hope you find something you dig. I snuck in a surprise or two.

Quarterly Review #31-40:

Dorthia Cottrell, Death Folk Country

Dorthia Cottrell Death Folk Country

Crafted for texture, Death Folk Country finds Windhand vocalist Dorthia Cottrell exploring sounds that would be minimal if not for the lushness of the melodies placed over them. Her first solo offering since 2015 runs 11 tracks and feels substantial at a manageable 42 minutes as delivered through Relapse Records. The death comes slow and soft, the folk is brooding and almost resistant in its Americana traditionalism, and the country is vast and atmospheric, and all three are present in a release that’s probably going to be called ethereal because of layering or vocal reverb but in fact is terrestrial like dry dirt. The seven-minute “Family Annihilator” is nigh on choral, and e-bow or some such droner element fills out the reaches of “Hell in My Water,” expanding on the expectation of arrangement depth set up by the chimes and swells that back “Harvester” after the album’s intro. That impulse makes Death Folk Country kin to some of earlier Wovenhand — thinking Blush Music or Consider the Birds; yes, I acknowledge the moniker similarity between Windhand and Wovenhand and stand by the point as regards ambience — and a more immersive listen than it would otherwise be, imagining future breadth to be captured as part of the claims made in the now. Do I need to say that I hope it’s not 2031 before she does a third record?

Dorthia Cottrell on Bandcamp

Relapse Records website

Fvzz Popvli, III


It’s been a quick — read: not quick — five years since Italian heavy rockers Fvzz Popvli released their second album, Magna Fvzz (review here), through Heavy Psych Sounds. Aptly titled, III is the third installment, and it’s got all the burner soloing, garage looseness and, yes, the fvzz one would hope, digging into a bit of pop-grunge on “The Last Piece of Shame,” setting a jammy expectation in the “Intro” mirrored in “Outro” with percussion, and cool-kid grooving on “Monnoratzo,” laced with hand-percussion and a bassline so thick it got made fun of in school and never lived down the trauma (a tragedy, but it rules just the same). “Post Shit” throws elbows of noise all through your favorite glassware, “20 Cent Blues” slogs out its march true to the name and “Tied” is brash even compared to what’s around it. Only hiccup so far as I can tell is “Kvng Fvzz,” which starts with a Charlie Chan-kind of guitar line and sees the vocals adopt a faux Chinese accent that’s well beyond the bounds of what one might consider ‘ill-advised.’ Cool record otherwise, but that is a significant misstep to make on a third LP.

Fvzz Popvli on Facebook

Retro Vox Records on Bandcamp


Formula 400, Divination

Formula 400 Divination

San Diegan riffslingers Formula 400 come roaring back with their sophomore long-player, Divination, following three (long) years behind 2020’s Heathens (review here), bringing in new drummer Lou Voutiritsas for a first appearance alongside guitarist/vocalists Dan Frick and Ian Holloway and bassist Kip Page. With a clearer, fuller recording, the solos shine through, the gruff vocals are well-positioned in the mix (not buried, not overbearing), and even as they make plays for the anthemic in “Kickstands Up,” “Rise From the Fallen” and closer “In Memoriam,” the lack of pretense is one of the elements most fortunately carried over from the debut. “Rise From the Fallen” is the only cut among the nine to top five minutes, and it fills its time with largesse-minded riffing and a hook born out of ’90s burl that’s a good distance from the shenanigans of opener “Whiskey Bent” or the righteous shove of the title-track. They’re among the best of the Ripple Music bands not yet actually signed to the label, with an underscored C.O.C. influence in “Divination” and the calmer “Bottomfeeder,” while “In Memoriam” filters ’80s metal epics through ’70s heavy and ’20s tonal weight and makes the math add up. Pretty dudely, but so it goes with dudes, and dudes are gonna be pretty excited about it, dude.

Formula 400 on Facebook

Animated Insanity Records website

No Dust Records website


Abanamat, Abanamat

Abanamat Abanamat

Each of the two intended sides of Abanamat‘s self-titled debut saves its longest song for its respective ending, with “Voidgazer” (8:25) capping side A and “Night Walk” (9:07) working a linear build from silence all the way up to round out side B and the album as a whole. Mostly instrumental save for those two longer pieces, the German four-piece recorded live with Richard Behrens at Big Snuff and in addition to diving back into the beginnings of the band in opener “Djinn,” they offer coherent but exploratory, almost-UncleAcidic-in-its-languidity fuzz on “Thunderbolt of Flaming Wisdom,” growing near-prog in their urgency with it on the penultimate “Amdest” but never losing the abiding mellow spirit that manifests out of the ether as “Night Walk” rounds out the album with synth and keys and guitar in a jazzy for-a-walk meander as the band make their way into a fuller realization of classic prog elements, enhanced by a return of the vocals after five minutes in. They’re there just about through the end, and fit well, but it demonstrates that Abanamat even on their debut have multiple avenues in which they might work and makes their potential that much greater, since it’s a conscious choice to include singing on a song or not rather than just a matter of no one being able to sing. The way they set it up here would get stale after a couple more records, but one hopes they continue to develop both aspects of their sonic persona, as any need to choose between them is imaginary.

Abanamat on Instagram

Interstellar Smoke Records store


Vvon Dogma I, The Kvlt of Glitch

Vvon Dogma I The Kvlt of Glitch

Led by nine-string bassist Frédérick “ChaotH” Filiatrault (ex-Unexpect), Montreal four-piece Vvon Dogma I are a progressive metal whirlwind, melodic in the spirit of post-return Cynic but no less informed by death metal, djent, rock, electronic music and beyond, the 10-song/45-minute self-released debut, The Kvlt of Glitch confidently establishes its methodology in “The Void” at the outset and proceeds through a succession marked by hairpin turns, stretches of heavy groove like the chorus of “Triangles and Crosses” contrasted by furious runs, dance techno on “One Eye,” melody not at all forgotten in the face of all the changes in rhythm, meter, the intermittently massive tones, and so on. Yes, the bass features as it inevitably would, but with the precision drumming of Kevin Alexander, Yoan MP‘s backflipping guitar and the synth and strings (at the end) of Blaise Borboën (also credited with production), a sound takes shape that feels like it could have been years in the making. Mind you I don’t know that it was or wasn’t, but Vvon Dogma I lead the listener through the lumbering mathematics of “Lithium Blue,” a cover of Radiohead‘s “2+2=5” and the grand finale “The Great Maze” with a sense of mastery that’s almost unheard of on what’s a first record even from experienced players. I don’t know where it fits and I like that about it, and in those moments where I’m so overwhelmed that I feel like my brain is on fire, this seems to answer that.

Vvon Dogma I on Facebook

Vvon Dogma I on Bandcamp


Orme, Orme

orme orme

Two sprawling slow-burners populate the self-titled debut from UK three-piece Orme. Delivered through Trepanation Recordings as a two-song 2LP, Orme deep-dives into ambient psych, doom, drone and more besides in “Nazarene” (41:58) and “Onward to Sarnath” (53:47), and obviously each one is an album unto itself. Guitarist/vocalist Tom Clements, bassist Jimmy Long (also didgeridoo) and drummer Luke Thelin — who’s also listed as contributing ‘silence,’ which is probably a joke, but open space actually plays a pretty large role in the impression Orme make — make their way into a distortion-drone-backed roller jam on “Nazarene,” some spoken vocals from Clements along the way that come earlier and more proclamatory in “Onward to Sarnath” to preface the instrumental already-gone out-there-ness as well as throat singing and other vocalizations that mark the rest of the first half-hour-plus, a heavy psych jam taking hold to close out around 46 minutes with a return of distortion and narrative after, like an old-style hidden track. It’s fairly raw, but the gravitational singularity of Orme‘s two forays into the dark are ritualistic without being cartoonishly cult, and feel as much about their experience playing as the listener’s hearing. In that way, it is a thing to be shared.

Orme on Facebook

Trepanation Recordings on Bandcamp


Artifacts & Uranium, The Gateless Gate

Artifacts & Uranium Gateless Gate

The UK-based experimentalist psych collaboration between Fred Laird (Earthling Society) and Mike Vest (Bong, et al) yields a third long-player as The Gateless Gate finds the duo branching out in the spirit of their 2021 self-titled and last year’s Pancosmology (review here) with instrumentalist flow and a three-dimensional sound bolstered by the various delays, organ, synth, and so on. Atop an emergent backbeat from Laird, “Twilight Chorus” (16:13) runs a linear trajectory bound toward the interstellar in an organic jam that comes apart before 12 minutes in and gives over to church organ and sampled chants soon to be countermanded by howls of guitar and distortion. Takest thou that. The B-side, “Sound of Desolation” (19:55), sets forth with a synthy wash that gives over to viol drone courtesy of Martin Ash, a gong hit marking the shift into a longform psych jam with a highlight bassline and an extended journey into hypnotics with choral keys (maybe?) arriving in the second half as the guitar begins to space out, fuzz soloing floating over a drone layer, the harder-hit drums having departed save for some residual backward/forward cymbal hits in the slow comedown. The world’s never going to be on their level, but Laird and Vest are warriors of the cosmos, and as their work to-date has shown, they have bigger fish to fry than are found on planet earth.

Artifacts & Uranium on Facebook

Riot Season Records website

Echodelick Records website


Rainbows Are Free, Heavy Petal Music

Rainbows Are Free Heavy Petal Music

What a show to preserve. Heavy Petal Music, while frustrating in that it’s new Rainbows Are Free and not a follow-up to 2019’s Head Pains, but as the Norman, Oklahoma, six-piece’s first outing through Ripple Music, the eight-song/43-minute live LP captures their first public performance in the post-pandemic era, and the catharsis is palpable in “Come” and “Electricity on Wax” early on and holds even as they delve into the proggier “Shapeshifter” later on, the force of their delivery consistent as they draw on material from across their three studio LPs unremitting even as their dynamic ranges between a piano-peppered bluesy swing and push-boogie like “Cadillac” and the weighted nod of “Sonic Demon” later on. The performance was at the 2021 Summer Breeze Music Festival in their hometown (not to be confused with the metal fest in Germany) and by the time they get down to the kickdrum surge backing the fuzzy twists of “Crystal Ball” — which doesn’t appear on any of their regular albums — the allegiance to Monster Magnet is unavoidable despite the fact that Rainbows Are Free have their own modus in terms of arrangements and the balance between space, psych, garage and heavy rock in their sound. Given Ripple‘s distribution, Heavy Petal Music will probably be some listeners’ first excursion with Rainbows Are Free. Somehow I have to imagine the band would be cool with that.

Rainbows Are Free on Facebook

Ripple Music website


Slowenya, Angel Raised Wolves b/w Horizontal Loops

slowenya angel raised wolves horizontal loops

It’s the marriage of complexity and heft, of melody and nod, that make Slowenya‘s “Angel Raised Wolves” so effective. Moving at a comfortable tempo on the drums of Timo Niskala, the song marks out a presence with tonal depth as well as a sense of space in the vocals of guitarist/synthesist Jan Trygg. They break near the midpoint of the 6:39 piece and reemerge with a harder run through the chorus, bassist Tapani Levanto stepping in with backing vocals before a roar at 4:55 precedes the turn back to the original hook, reinforcing the notion that there’s been a plan at work the whole time. An early glimpse at the Finnish psych-doom trio’s next long-player, “Angel Raised Wolves” comes paired with the shorter “Horizontal Loops,” which drops its chugging riff at the start as though well aware of the resultant thud. A tense verse opens to a chorus pretty and reverbed enough to remind of Fear Factory‘s earlier work before diving into shouts and somehow-heavier density. Growls, or some other kind of noise — I’m honestly not sure — surfaces and departs as the nod builds to an an aggressive head, but again, they turn back to where they came from, ending with the initial riff the crater from which you can still see right over there. The message is plain: keep an ear out for that record. So yes, do that.

Slowenya on Facebook

Karhuvaltio Records on Facebook


Elkhorn, On the Whole Universe in All Directions

Elkhorn On the Whole Universe in All Directions

Let’s start with what’s obvious and say that Elkhorn‘s four-song On the Whole Universe in All Directions, which is executed entirely on vibraphone, acoustic 12-string guitar, and drums and other percussion, is not going to be for everybody. The New York duo of Drew Gardner (said vibraphone and drums) and Jesse Sheppard (said 12-string) bring a particularly jazzy flavor to “North,” “South,” “East” and “West,” but there are shades of exploratory Americana in “South” that follow the bouncing notes of the opener, and “East” dares to hint at sitar with cymbal wash behind and rhythmic contrast in the vibraphone, a meditative feel resulting that “West” continues over its 12 minutes, somewhat ironically more of a raga than “East” despite being where the sun sets. Cymbal taps and rhythmic strums and that strike of the vibraphone — Elkhorn seem to give each note a chance to stand before following it with the next, but the 39-minute offering is never actually still or unipolar, instead proving evocative as it trades between shorter and longer songs to a duly gentle finish. Gardner formerly handled guitar, and I don’t know if this is a one-off, but as an experiment, it succeeds in bridging stylistic divides in a way that almost feels like showing off. Admirably so.

Elkhorn on Facebook

Centripetal Force Records website

Cardinal Fuzz Records BigCartel store


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