Quarterly Review: Elizabeth Colour Wheel, Black Lung, Giant Dwarf, Land Mammal, Skunk, Silver Devil, Sky Burial, Wizzerd, Ian Blurton, Cosmic Fall

Posted in Reviews on July 5th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

quarterly-review

Got my laptop back. Turned out the guy had to give me a new hard drive entirely, clone all my data on it, and scrap the other drive. I’m sure if I took it to another technician they’d have said something completely different, either for better or worse, but it was $165 and I got my computer back, working, in a day, so I can’t really complain. Worth the money, obviously, even though it was $40 more than the estimate. I assume that was a mix of “new hard drive” and “this is the last thing I’m doing before a four-day weekend.” Either way, totally legit. Bit of stress on my part, but what’s a Quarterly Review without it?

This ends the week, but there’s still one more batch of 10 reviews to go on Monday, so I won’t delay further, except to say more to come.

Quarterly Review #41-50:

Elizabeth Colour Wheel, Nocebo

elizabeth colour wheel nocebo

A rare level of triumph for a first album, Elizabeth Colour Wheel‘s aesthetic scope and patience of craft on Nocebo result in a genre-spanning post-noise rock that maintains an atmospheric heft whether loud or quiet at any given moment, and a sense of unpredictability that feels born out of a genuinely forward-thinking songwriting process. It is dark, emotionally resonant, beautiful and crushing across its eight songs and 47 minutes, as the Philadelphia five-piece ebb and flow instrumentally behind a standout vocal performance that reminds of Julie Christmas circa Battle of Mice on “Life of a Flower” but is ultimately more controlled and all the more lethal for that. Bouts of extremity pop up at unexpected times and the songs flow into each other so as to make all of Nocebo feel like a single, multi-hued work, which it just might be as it moves into ambience between “Hide Behind (Emmett’s Song)” and “Bedrest” before exploding to life again in “34th” and transitioning directly into the cacophonous apex that comes with closer “Head Home.” One of the best debuts of 2019, if not the best.

Elizabeth Colour Wheel on Thee Facebooks

The Flenser on Bandcamp

 

Black Lung, Ancients

black lung ancients

Ancients is the third full-length from Baltimore’s Black Lung, whose heavy blues rock takes a moodier approach from the outset of “Mother of the Sun” onward, following an organ-led roll in that opener that calls to mind All Them Witches circa Lightning at the Door and following 2016’s See the Enemy (review here) with an even firmer grasp on their overarching intent. The title-track is shorter at 3:10 and offers some post-rock flourish in the guitar amid its otherwise straight-ahead push, but there’s a tonal depth to add atmosphere to whatever moves they’re making at the time, “The Seeker” and “Voices” rounding out side A with relatively grounded swing and traditionalist shuffle but still catching attention through pace and presentation alike. That holds true as “Gone” drifts into psychedelic jamming at the start of side B, and the chunkier “Badlands,” the dramatic “Vultures” and the controlled wash of “Dead Man Blues” take the listener into some unnamed desert without a map or exit strategy. It’s a pleasure to get lost as Ancients plays through, and Black Lung remain a well-kept secret of the East Coast underground.

Black Lung on Thee Facebooks

Ripple Music website

Noisolution website

 

Giant Dwarf, Giant Dwarf

Giant Dwarf Giant Dwarf

This just fucking rules, and I feel no need to couch my critique in any more flowery language than that. Driving, fuzzy heavy rock topped with post-Homme melodies that doesn’t sacrifice impact for attitude, the self-released, self-titled debut from Perth, Australia’s Giant Dwarf is a sans-pretense 35 minutes of groove done right. They may be playing to genre, fine, but from the cover art on down, they’re doing so with a sense of personality and a readiness to bring an individual sensibility to their sound. I dig it. Summery tones, rampant vocal melodies in layers, solid rhythmic foundation beneath. The fact that it’s the five-piece’s first album makes me look less for some kind of stylistic nuance, but it’s there to be heard anyway in “Disco Void” and the bouncing end of “High Tide Blues,” and in surrounding cuts like “Repeat After Defeat” and “Strange Wool,” Giant Dwarf set to the task before them with due vitality, imagining Songs for the Deaf with Fu Manchu tonality in “Kepler.” No big surprise, but yeah, it definitely works. Someone should be beating down the door to sign this band.

Giant Dwarf on Thee Facebooks

Giant Dwarf on Bandcamp

 

Land Mammal, Land Mammal

land mammal land mammal

Land Mammal‘s debut outing is a 14-minute, proof-of-concept four-songer EP with clarity of presentation and telegraphed intent. Marked out by the Robert Plant-style vocal heroics of Kinsley August, the band makes the most of a bluesy atmosphere behind him, with Will Weise on wah-ready guitar, Phillip PJ Soapsmith on bass, Stephen Smith on drums and True Turner on keys. On opener “Dark with Rain” and closer “Better Days,” they find a pastoral vibe that draws from ’90s alternative, thinking Blind Melon particularly in the finale, but “Earth Made Free” takes a bluesier angle and “Drippin’ Slow” is not shy about nor ashamed of its danceability, as its lyrics demonstrate. For all the crispness of the production, Land Mammal still manage to sound relatively natural, which is all the more encouraging in terms of moving forward, but it’ll be interesting to hear how they flesh out their sound over the course of a full-length, since even as an EP, this self-titled is short. They have songwriting, performance and production on their side, however, so something tells me they’ll be just fine.

Land Mammal on Thee Facebooks

Land Mammal on Bandcamp

 

Skunk, Strange Vibration

skunk strange vibration

Even before they get to the ultra-“N.I.B.” patterning of second track “Stand in the Sun,” Skunk‘s Sabbathian loyalties are well established, and they continue on that line, through the “War Pigs”-ness of “Goblin Orgy” (though I’ll give them bonus points for that title), and the slower “A National Acrobat” roll of “The Black Crown,” and while that’s not the only influence under which Skunk are working — clearly — it’s arguably the most forward. They’ve been on a traditional path since 2015’s mission-statement EP, Heavy Rock from Elder Times (review here), and as Strange Vibration is their second album behind 2017’s Doubleblind (review here), they’ve only come more into focus in terms of what they’re doing overall. They throw a bit of swagger into “Evil Eye Gone Blind” and “Star Power” toward the end of the record — more Blackmore or Leslie West than Iommi — but keep the hooks center through it all, and cap with a welcome bit of layered melody on “The Cobra’s Kiss.” Based in Oakland, they don’t quite fit in with the Californian boogie scene to the south, but standing out only seems to suit Strange Vibration all the more.

Skunk on Thee Facebooks

Skunk on Bandcamp

 

Silver Devil, Paralyzed

Silver Devil Paralyzed

Like countrymen outfits in Vokonis or to a somewhat lesser degree Cities of Mars, Gävle-based riffers Silver Devil tap into Sleep as a core influence and work outward from there. In the case of their second album, Paralyzed (on Ozium Records), they work far out indeed, bringing a sonic largesse to bear through plus-sized tonality and distorted vocals casting echoes across a wide chasm of the mix. “Rivers” or the later, slower-rolling “Octopus” rightfully present this as an individual take, and it ends up being that one way or the other, with the atmosphere becoming essential to the character of the material. There are some driving moments that call to mind later Dozer — or newer Greenleaf, if you prefer — such as the centerpiece “No Man Traveller,” but the periodic bouts of post-rock bring complexity to that assessment as well, though in the face of the galloping crescendo of “The Grand Trick,” complexity is a secondary concern to the outright righteousness with which Silver Devil take familiar elements and reshape them into something that sounds fresh and engaging. That’s basically the story of the whole record, come to think of it.

Silver Devil on Thee Facebooks

Ozium Records website

 

Sky Burial, Sokushinbutsu

sky burial Sokushinbutsu

Comprised of guitarist/vocalist/engineer Vessel 2 and drummer/vocalist Vessel 1 (also ex-Mühr), Sky Burial release their debut EP, Sokushinbutsu, through Break Free Records, and with it issue two songs of densely-weighted riff and crash, captured raw and live-sounding with an edge of visceral sludge thanks to the harsh vocals laid overtop. The prevailing spirit is as much doom as it is crust throughout “Return to Sender” (8:53) and the 10:38 title-track — the word translating from Japanese to “instant Buddha” — and as “Sokushinbutsu” kicks the tempo of the leadoff into higher gear, the release becomes a wash of blown-out tone with shouts cutting through that’s very obviously meant to be as brutal as it absolutely is. They slow down eventually, then slow down more, then slow down more — you see where this is going — until eventually the feedback seems to consume them and everything else, and the low rumble of guitar gives way to noise and biting vocalizations. As beginnings go, Sokushinbutsu is willfully wretched and animalistic, a manifested sonic nihilism that immediately stinks of death.

Sky Burial on Thee Facebooks

Break Free Records on Bandcamp

 

Wizzerd, Wizzerd

wizzerd st

One finds Montana’s Wizzerd born of a similar Upper Midwestern next-gen take on classic heavy as that of acts like Bison Machine and Midas. Their Cursed Tongue Records-delivered self-titled debut album gives a strong showing of this foundation, less boogie-based than some, with just an edge of heavy metal to the riffing and vocals that seems to derive not directly from doom, but definitely from some ’80s metal stylizations. Coupled with ’70s and ’90s heavy rocks, it’s a readily accessible blend throughout the nine-song/51-minute LP, but a will toward the epic comes through in theme as well as the general mood of the riffs, and even in the drift of “Wizard” that’s apparent. Taken in kind with the fuzzblaster “Wraith,” the winding motion of the eponymous closer and with the lumbering crash of “Warrior” earlier, the five-piece’s sound shows potential to distinguish itself further in the future through taking on fantasy subject matter lyrically as well as playing to wall-sized grooves across the board, even in the speedy first half of “Phoenix,” with its surprising crash into the wall of its own momentum.

Wizzerd on Thee Facebooks

Cursed Tongue Records webstore

 

Ian Blurton, Signals Through the Flames

Ian Blurton Signals Through the Flames

The core of Ian Blurton‘s Signals Through the Flames is in tight, sharply-executed heavy rockers like “Seven Bells” and “Days Will Remain,” classic in their root but not overly derivative, smartly and efficiently composed and performed. The Toronto-based Blurton has been making and producing music for over three decades in various guises and incarnations, and with these nine songs, he brings into focus a songcraft that is more than enough to carry song like “Nothing Left to Lose” and opener “Eye of the Needle,” which bookends with the 6:55 “Into Dust,” the closer arriving after a final salvo with the Scorpionic strut of “Kick out the Lights” and the forward-thrust-into-ether of “Night of the Black Goat.” If this was what Ghost had ended up sounding like, I’d have been cool with that. Blurton‘s years of experience surely come into play in this work, a kind of debut under his own name and/or that of Ian Blurton’s Future Now, but the songs come through as fresh regardless and “The March of Mars” grabs attention not with pedigree, but simply by virtue of its own riff, which is exactly how it should be. It’s subtle in its variety, but those willing to give it a repeat listen or two will find even more reward for doing so.

Ian Blurton on Thee Facebooks

Ian Blurton on Bandcamp

 

Cosmic Fall, Lackland

Cosmic Fall Lackland

“Lackland” is the first new material Berlin three-piece Cosmic Fall have produced since last year’s In Search of Space (review here) album, which is only surprising given the frequency with which they once jammed out a record every couple of months. The lone 8:32 track is a fitting reminder of the potency in the lineup of guitarist Marcin Morawski, bassist Klaus Friedrich and drummer Daniel Sax, and listening to the Earthless-style shred in Morawski‘s guitar, one hopes it won’t be another year before they come around again. As it stands, they make the eight minutes speed by with volcanic fervor and an improvised sensibility that feels natural despite the song’s ultimately linear trajectory. Could be a one-off, could be a precursor to a new album. I’d prefer the latter, obviously, but I’ll take what I can get, and if that’s “Lackland,” then so be it.

Cosmic Fall on Thee Facebooks

Cosmic Fall on Bandcamp

 

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Quarterly Review: Torche, Spillage, Pharlee, Dali’s Llama, Speedealer, Mt. Echo, Monocluster, Picaporters, Beaten by Hippies, Luna Sol

Posted in Reviews on July 3rd, 2019 by JJ Koczan

quarterly-review

We meet again. The Summer 2019 Quarterly Review. It’s four in the morning and I’m getting ready to start the day. I haven’t even managed to pour myself coffee yet, which even as I type it out feels like a crime against humanity, such as it is. I’ll get there though.

Wednesday in the Quarterly Review marks the halfway point of the week, and as we’ll hit 30 reviews at the end, it’s half of the total 60 as well, so yeah. Feeling alright so far. As always, good music helps. I’ve added a couple things for consideration to my ongoing best-of-the-year list for December, so that’s something. And I think I’ll probably be doing so again today, so let’s get to it.

Quarterly Review #21-30:

Torche, Admission

torche admission

15 years later and Torche‘s sound is still expanding. To that point, it’s never sounded quite as expansive as it does on Admission, their fifth album and second for Relapse behind 2015’s Restarter (review here). There are still plenty of straight-ahead heavy riffs on cuts like “Reminder” or “Slide” or the bomb-tone-laden “Infierno,” but in the title-track, in “Times Missing,” the closer “Changes Come,” “Slide” and even the 1:30-long “What Was,” there’s a sense of spaciousness and float to the guitars to contrast all that crunch, and it effectively takes the place of some of the manic feel of their earlier work. It’s consistent with the brightness of their melodies in songs like “Extremes of Consciousness” and the early pusher “Submission,” and it adds to their style rather than takes away, building on the mid-paced feel of the last album in such a way as to demonstrate the band’s continued growth long after they’d be well within their rights to rest on their laurels. Sharp, consistent in its level of songwriting, mature and engaging across its 36-minute entirety, Admission is everything one might ask of Torche‘s fifth album.

Torche on Thee Facebooks

Relapse Records website

 

Spillage, Blood of Angels

spillage blood of angels

If you, like me, believe doom to be the guardian style of classic heavy metal — you could also argue power metal there, but that’s why it’s an argument — Chicago’s Spillage might be the band to help make your case. With their own Ronnie James Dio in Elvin Rodriguez (not a comparison I make lightly) and a connection to the Trouble family tree via founding guitarist Tony Spillman, who also played in Earthen Grave, the band unfurl trad-metal poise throughout their 53-minute second album, Blood of Angels, hitting touchstones like Sabbath, Priest, and indeed Trouble on a chugger like “Free Man,” a liberal dose of organ on “Rough Grooved Surface” adding to the classic feel — Rainbow, maybe? — and even the grandiose ballad “Voice of Reason” that appears before the closing Sabbath cover “Dirty Women” staying loyal to the cause. I can’t and won’t fault them for that, as in both their originals and in the cover, their hearts are obviously in it all the way and the sound is right on, the sleek swing in the second half of “Evil Doers” punctuated by squealing guitar just as it should be. Mark it a win for the forces of metal, maybe less so for the angels.

Spillage on Thee Facebooks

Qumran Records on Thee Facebooks

 

Pharlee, Pharlee

pharlee pharlee

San Diego strikes again with Pharlee‘s self-titled debut on Tee Pee Records, a 29-minute boogie rock shove that’s marked out by the significant pipes of Macarena Rivera up front, the shuffling snare work of Zach Oakley (also guitar in JOY and Volcano) and the organ work of Garret Lekas throughout, winding around and accentuating the riffs of Justin “Figgy” Figueroa and the air-push bass of Dylan Donovan. It’s a proven formula by now, but Pharlee‘s Pharlee is like the band who comes on stage in the middle of the festival and surprises everyone and reminds them why they’re there in the first place. The energy of “Darkest Hour” is infectious, and the bluesier take on Freddie King‘s “Going Down” highlights a stoner shred in Figueroa‘s guitar that fits superbly ahead of the fuzz freakout, all-go closer “Sunward,” and whatever stylistic elements (and personnel, for that matter) might be consistent with their hometown’s well-populated underground, Pharlee take that radness and make it their own.

Pharlee on Thee Facebooks

Tee Pee Records website

 

Dali’s Llama, Mercury Sea

dalis llama mercury sea

Long-running desert rockers Dali’s Llama return with Mercury Sea, their first release since 2017’s The Blossom EP (review here) and their first full-length since 2016’s Dying in the Sun (review here), sounding reinvigorated in rockers like opener “Weary” and the subsequent grunge-vibing “Choking on the Same,” “When Ember Laughs” and the garage-style “She’s Not Here.” Persistently underappreciated, their albums always have a distinct feel, and Mercury Sea is no different, finding a place for itself between the laid-back desert blues and punkier fare on a cut like “Someday, Someday,” even delving into psychedelic folk for a while in the 6:54 longest track “Goblin Fruit,” and a bit of lead guitar scorch bringing it all together on closer “All My Fault,” highlighting the theme of love that’s been playing out all the while. The sincerity behind that and everything Dali’s Llama does is palpable as ever in these 11 tracks, an more than 25 years on from their inception, they continue to deliver memorable songs in wholly unpretentious fashion. That’s just what they do.

Dali’s Llama on Thee Facebooks

Dali’s Llama on Bandcamp

 

Speedealer, Blue Days Black Nights

speedealer blue days black nights

Speedealer ride again! And just about at top speed, too. The Dallas, Texas, outfit were last heard from circa 2003, and their turnabout is marked with the self-release of Blue Days Black Nights, a fury-driven 10-tracker that takes the best of their heavy-rock-via-punk delivery and beefs up tones to suit another decade and a half’s worth of hard living and accumulated disaffection. The Dallas four-piece blaze through songs like “Never Knew,” the hardcore-punk “Losing My Shit,” the more metallic “Nothing Left to Say,” and the careening aggro-swagger of “Rheumatism,” but there’s still some variety to be had throughout, as highlight “Sold Out,” “War Nicht Genung” and “Shut Up” find the band no less effective working at a somewhat scaled-back pace. However fast they’re going, though the attitude remains much the same, and it’s “fuck you fuck this” fuckall all the way. Those familiar with their past work would expect no less, and time has clearly not repaired the chip on Speedealer‘s shoulder. Their anger is our gain.

Speedealer on Thee Facebooks

Speedealer webstore

 

Mt. Echo, Cirrus

mt echo cirrus

Based in Nijmegen, the Netherlands, the instrumentalist four-piece Mt. Echo present a somewhat noisier take on Russian Circles-style heavy post-rock with their nine-song/46-minute debut, Cirrus. Not at all shy about incorporating a noise rock riff or a more weighted groove, the dual-guitar outfit nonetheless spend significant time patiently engaged in the work of atmosphere-building, so that their material develops a genuine ebb and flow as songs tie one into the next to give the entire affair a whole-album feel. It is their first outing, but all the more striking for that in terms of how much of a grip they seem to have on their approach and what they want to be doing in a song like “Lighthouse at the End of Time” with airy lead and chugging rhythm guitars intertwining and meeting head-on for post-YOB crashes and an eventual turn into a harder-pushing progression. Ambience comes (mostly) to the fore in the seven-minute “Monsters and the Men Who Made Them,” but wherever they go on Cirrus, Mt. Echo bring that atmospheric density along with them. The proverbial ‘band to watch.’

Mt. Echo on Thee Facebooks

Mt. Echo on Bandcamp

 

Monocluster, Ocean

Monocluster Ocean

Over the course of five longform tracks on Ocean, Germany’s Monocluster build fluidly on the accomplishments of their 2015 self-titled debut (review here), greatly expanding on the heft and general reach of their sound while, as opener “Ocean in Our Bones” demonstrates, still holding onto the ability to affect a killer hook when they need one. Ocean is not a minor undertaking at 56 minutes, but it dedicates its time to constructing a world in cuts like “Leviathan” and “A Place Beyond,” the giant wall of fuzzed low end becoming the backdrop for the three-part story being told that ends with the 11:43 “Home” standing alone, as graceful and progressive as it is brash and noisy — a mirror in that regard to the nine-minute centerpiece “Guns and Greed” and a fitting summation of Ocean‘s course. They keep this up for very long and people are going to start to notice. The album is a marked step forward from where Monocluster were a few years ago, and sets up the expectation of continued growth their next time out while keeping a focus on the essential elements of songwriting as well. If we’re looking for highlights, I’d pick “Leviathan,” but honestly, it’s anyone’s game.

Monocluster on Thee Facebooks

Monocluster on Bandcamp

 

Picaporters, XXIII

picaporters xxiii

The third full-length from Argentine trio Picaporters marks another level of achievement for them as a band. XXIII arrives three years after El Horror Oculto (review here) and is unquestionably their broadest-cast spectrum to-date. The album comes bookended by eight-minute opener “La Soga de los Muertos” and “M.I.,” an 18-minute finale jam that would give a Deep Purple live record reason to blush. Soulful guitar stretches out over a vast rhythmic landscape, and all this after “Jinetes del Universo” motorpunks out and “Vencida” pulls together Floydian melo-prog, “Numero 5” precedes the closer with acoustic interplay and the early “Despertar” offers a little bit of everything and a lot of what-the-hell-just-happened. These guys started out on solid footing with their 2013 debut, Elefantes (review here), but neither that nor El Horror Oculto really hinted at the scope they’d make sound so natural throughout XXIII, which is the kind of record that leaves you no choice but to call it progressive.

Picaporters on Thee Facebooks

Picaporters on Bandcamp

 

Beaten by Hippies, Beaten by Hippies

beaten by hippies beaten by hippies

As their moniker hints, there’s some edge of danger to Belgium’s Beaten by Hippies‘ self-titled debut (on Polderrecords), but the album ultimately resolves itself more toward songwriting and hooks in the spirit of a meaner-sounding Queens of the Stone Age in songs like “Space Tail” and “More is More,” finding common ground with the energy of Truckfighters though never quite delving so far into fuzzy tones. That’s not at all to the band’s detriment — rather, it helps the four-piece begin to cast their identity as they do in this material, whether that’s happening in the volatile sudden volume trades in “Dust” or the mission statement “Rock ‘n’ Roll,” which feels geared a bit to the anthemic but would probably work just as well in whatever pub they happen to be terrorizing on a given evening. Their delivery skirts the line between heavy and hard rock as only that vaguely commercially viable European-style can, but the songs are right there waiting to take the stage at whatever festival is this weekend and blow the roof — or the sky, I guess, if it’s outdoors — off the place.

Beaten by Hippies on Thee Facebooks

Polderrecords website

 

Luna Sol, Below the Deep

luna sol below the deep

Guitarist/vocalist Dave Angstrom may be best known in heavy rock circles for his work alongside John Garcia in Hermano, but in leading the four-piece Luna Sol through their 12-song/50-minute sophomore outing, Below the Deep (on Slush Fund Recordings), he proves a capable frontman as well as songwriter. Sharing vocal duties with bassist Shannon Fahnestock while David Burke handles guitar and Justin Baier drums, Angstrom is a steady presence at the fore through the well-constructed ’90s-flavored heavy rock of “Below the Deep” and “Along the Road” early, the later “Garden of the Gods” playing toward a more complex arrangement after the strutting “The Dying Conglomerate” paints a suitably grim State of the Union and ahead of the fuzz-rich ending in “Home,” which keeps its melodic purpose even as it crashes out to its languid finish. Whether it’s the charged “Man’s Worth Killin'” or the winding fuzz of “Mammoth Cave,” one can definitely hear some Hermano at work, but Luna Sol distinguish themselves just the same.

Luna Sol on Thee Facebooks

Slush Fund Recordings webstore

 

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Monomyth to Release Orbis Quadrantis Sept. 13; Playing Desertfest Belgium and More

Posted in Whathaveyou on June 19th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

monomyth (photo by Michael Mees)

By the time Monomyth‘s new album, Orbis Quadrantis, is released on Sept. 13, it’ll be nearly a year after the track at the bottom of this post was first made public. 11 months, anyhow. That’s a pretty long wait, but fortunately, the depths offered up in “Aquilo” are plentiful enough to sustain, and double-fortunately, the album, which was originally slated to be out in February, will now be timed to the swath of autumnal live dates the Netherlands-based outfit have booked. So maybe the release is old news and maybe the track is old news, but the confirmed release date is new and while I wonder what pushed the thing back seven months — which, whatever it was, must have been frustrating for band and label alike, as well as anyone who heard “Aquilo” and wanted to dig into more — I’m at least glad there’s more to come now.

If you haven’t heard the track yet, and hey, maybe you have, maybe you haven’t, it might be the quickest 12 minutes you spend today.

Have fun:

monomyth orbis quadrantis

Monomyth – Orbis Quadrantis

RELEASE DATE: September 13, 2019

Monomyth: Five Flying Dutchmen who make the most thrilling instrumental soundscapes. Formed in The Hague in 2011, Monomyth are not afraid to push the boundaries of space / stoner rock. After playing festivals like Roadburn and Desertfest, 2019 sees the band starting a new chapter with their fourth album.

On Orbis Quadrantis the band delves into unexplored waters, yet their meticulous open-ended psychedelics remain in-between Ariel Pink and Pink Floyd.

The first vinyl editions in both 180g ‘black‘ and limited 180g ‘clear transparent blue and black mixed‘ vinyl comes in a 6-panel fold-out cover with double-sided artwork, black polybag inner cover and transparent plastic outer cover with Monomyth logo! The first 100 orders will also receive a hand-signed A5 photo card!

Tracklist:
01. Aquilo
02. Eurus
03. Auster
04. Favonius

TOUR
10-08-2019 – Yellowstock, Geel (B)
04-10-2019 – EKKO, Utrecht
18-10-2019 – Desertfest, Antwerpen (B)
19-10-2019 – Burgerweeshuis, Deventer
01-11-2019 – Merleyn, Nijmegen
02-11-2019 – Gebr. de Nobel, Leiden
15-11-2019 – Melkweg, Amsterdam
29-11-2019 – t Beest, Goes
30-11-2019 – De Gelderlandfabriek, Culemborg
06-12-2019 – VERA, Groningen
12-12-2019 – PAARD, Den Haag
13-12-2019 – Hall of Fame, Tilburg

https://www.facebook.com/monomyththeband
https://monomyththeband.bandcamp.com/
http://www.monomyththeband.com/
https://www.facebook.com/suburbanrecords
https://www.instagram.com/suburbanrecords/
https://suburban.nl/

Monomyth, “Aquilo”

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Le Guess Who? Festival Announces Initial Lineup with 87 Artists

Posted in Whathaveyou on May 22nd, 2019 by JJ Koczan

LE GUESS WHO 2019 BANNER

Granted, not everything here really applies, but between the extensive curated programs and the general lineup of 87 frickin’ artists, if you can’t find something to dig, I dare say that’s on you and not Le Guess Who? Festival, the 2019 edition of which will take place Nov. 7-10 in Utrecht, the Netherlands. The lines of genre very clearly mean nothing here, and I respect the hell out of that, but I can’t help it if my eyes are immediately drawn to the lines of Träden, Godflesh, Prana Crafter, Mythic Sunship, Earth and other familiar entities. Still, this is the kind of thing where, if you go, you obviously go ready to be surprised and willing to be wowed by the experience.

And if you’re fortunate enough to go, you should know that this is the initial lineup of 87 artists, which means that, yes, there’s more to come. Sounds overwhelming in the best sense of the word.

Dig in:

le guess who question mark

Le Guess Who? reveals initial line-up for 2019 edition

First 87 acts announced, including very rare performances by Asha Puthli, Ustad Saami, and Ayalew Mesfin & Debo Band, as well as first names for curated programs

Le Guess Who? is a festival that is dedicated to boundary-crossing music from all over the world. In 2019, the festival takes place from 7-10 November in Utrecht, The Netherlands, and celebrates curated programs by Jenny Hval; The Bug; Patrick Higgins; Moon Duo; Fatoumata Diawara; and Iris van Herpen & Salvador Breed. Now, Le Guess Who? presents the first of these curated programs as well as several special performances, and the initial artists for the general line-up of the festival.

Special performances

Pakistan’s Ustad Saami is the last living khayál master, a precursor of the ancient, Islamic devotional music of qawwali. Even under threat of Islamic fundamentalists, the 75-year old master has spent his life as a dedicated practitioner of a vanishing art–one that has been passed on from generation to generation since the 13th century. Saami will give a very rare live performance at Le Guess Who? 2019.

From award-winning avant-garde jazz vocalist to international pop star to space disco icon, Asha Puthli is one of the first recording artists to successfully merge traditional Indian influences with Western pop. Puthli’s sultry voice adorned Ornette Coleman’s avant-jazz masterpiece Science Fiction, her songs have been sampled by a.o. Notorious B.I.G. and Jay-Z, and her early admirers include Andy Warhol, Diana Vreeland and Salvador Dali.

Ayalew Mesfin is a quintessential Ethio-groove performer, but like many of his contemporaries, he struggled against obscurity amidst political turmoil in his home country. Distributing 4000 cassettes for free in the 1970s–later becoming collector’s items– led to several months in jail for Mesfin. Last year, the compilation album Hasabe (My Worries) was released, leading to renewed recognition of the artist. Le Guess Who? celebrates this legendary artist with an exclusive European performance featuring the Debo Band, who formed in 2006 to keep the spirit and craft of Ethiopia’s golden age of pop alive.

Curated programs
Each of the curators of Le Guess Who? 2019 will present their own program, featuring a range of inspirations and like-minded artists, including both established performers and new, up and coming acts.

Psychedelic/kraut mystics Moon Duo invite a.o. Nivhek, the new project of Grouper’s Liz Harris; Swedish prog/psych/counterculture trailblazers Träd, Gräs och Stenar (Träden); the dreamlike, cinematic nocturnes of sound artist Michele Mercure; and cosmic jazz travelers Idris Ackamoor & The Pyramids.

Shape-shifting electronic producer The Bug brings us King Midas Sound’s gloom-ridden dub, spoken word and ambient; juggernaut industrial/metal outfit Godflesh; the world premiere of a collaboration between Kevin Richard Martin and Japanese artist Hatis Noit; Jah Shaka, an essential figure within the British dancehall and dub scenes of the 70s; and the transformative experience of ZONAL featuring Moor Mother.

Norwegian multi-disciplinary artist Jenny Hval hosts Lolina, the project of Alina Astrova (Inga Copeland, Hype Williams); Sarah Davachi performing live with church organ and electronics; French sound sculptor Félicia Atkinson; and Oslo-based collective DNA? AND?, where children with special needs play improvised music with professional musicians, creating some of the most original, carefree and unfiltered music ever produced. Jenny Hval herself will present the new performance ‘The Practice of Love’ together with a multi-national ensemble including experimental musicians, vocalists, dancers and video artists.

New York avant-garde composer Patrick Higgins curates composer and electronic innovator Tyondai Braxton (formerly of Battles); pianist Conrad Tao, hailed by New York Magazine as “the kind of musician who is shaping the future of classical music”; Miranda Cuckson, with her dexterous mastery of the violin and the viola; and piano virtuoso Vicky Chow, who has reinvigorated pieces by Steve Reich, John Cage, and Bryce Dessner.

The curated programs of Fatoumata Diawara and Iris van Herpen & Salvador Breed will be announced at a later date.

General line-up

Le Guess Who? also announces the first performing artists within the general line-up of the festival: Atlanta art-punks Deerhunter; Makaya McCraven, regarded as one of Chicago’s most versatile and in-demand drummers, moving between genres like jazz, hip-hop and funk at lightning speed; The Raincoats, one of the most inventive bands spawned by the late 70’s punk explosion; nurse-turned-musician Doug Hream Blunt whose lo-fi brand of soul, funk and R&B was rediscovered by David Byrne’s Luaka Bop label; Dur-Dur Band with vibrant Somali funk music; fabled Japanese collective Acid Mothers Temple and their deep devotion to improvised music; from the outskirts of the small Mexican town of Texcoco, the fantastical and healing music of La Bruja de Texcoco; the playful lyricism and inventive pop melodies of Welsh avant-pop songwriter Cate Le Bon; the 10-piece big band Minyo Crusaders, who infectiously rework traditional Japanese folk with Latin, African and Caribbean rhythms; and the oracle that is Angel Bat Dawid, with her futuristic and spiritual jazz vision.

The full outline of confirmed artists can be found below.

Tickets

Day tickets for Le Guess Who? are on sale now. Tickets for the Thursday program are €43; tickets for Friday, Saturday and Sunday are €48. 4-Day Festival Passes are available for €148. All prices include service costs.

Le Guess Who? cooperates with The Dutch Council for Refugees for the ‘Grant an Entry’ initiative, which gives visitors the option to buy an additional day ticket for a refugee residing in The Netherlands who would like to visit Le Guess Who? but does not have the financial means to do so.

More info via www.leguesswho.com.

________________________________________________________________________________________

Initial line-up for Le Guess Who? 2019:

curated by Moon Duo
Bbymutha
Bridget Hayden
Idris Ackamoor & The Pyramids
Mary Lattimore
Michele Mercure
Moon Duo
Nivhek
Prana Crafter
Sonic Boom
TENGGER
Träd, Gräs och Stenar (Träden)

curated by The Bug
Caspar Brötzmann Massaker
Drew McDowall’s Time Machines
Earth
Godflesh
Jah Shaka Sound System
JK Flesh & Goth-Trad
Kevin Richard Martin & Hatis Noit
King Midas Sound
LOTTO
Mala
Mark Ernestus’ Ndagga Rhythm Force
Rabih Beaini
Robert Aiki Aubrey Lowe
Slikback
ZONAL feat. Moor Mother

curated by Jenny Hval
DNA? AND?
Felicia Atkinson
Haco
Jenny Hval’s The Practice Of Love
Lasse Marhaug
Lolina
Lone Taxidermist presents BodyVice
Moon Relay
Oorutaichi
Richard Youngs
Sarah Davachi
Sofia Jernberg
Vilde Tuv
Vivian Wang
Zia Anger’s My First Film

curated by Patrick Higgins
Conrad Tao
Leila Bordreuil
LEYA
Mariel Roberts
Miranda Cuckson
Stine Janvin
Tyondai Braxton
Vicky Chow

General line-up
Acid Mothers Temple
Angel Bat Dawid
Arp Frique presents IMPROVISED SUITES FOR ANALOG MACHINES
Asha Puthli
Ayalew Mesfin & Debo Band
Cate Le Bon
Deerhunter
DJINN
Doug Hream Blunt
Dur-Dur Band
Eiko Ishibashi
Faten Kanaan
Föllakzoid
Gruff Rhys
Gyedu-Blay Ambolley & His Sekondi Band
Joseph Shabason
Khana Bierbood
La Bruja de Texcoco
Lakha Khan
Lalalar
Los Pirañas
Makaya McCraven
Melissa Laveaux
Minyo Crusaders
Mohamed Lamouri
Mythic Sunship
Negativland
Nídia
Oiseaux-Tempête & Friends
Petbrick
Prison Religion
Surfbort
The Raincoats
Ustad Saami
Visible Cloaks, Yoshio Ojima & Satsuki Shibano
Y?N Y?N
Yves Jarvis

More artists to be announced.

https://www.facebook.com/events/2338322109573864/
https://www.leguesswho.nl/
https://www.facebook.com/leguesswho/
https://www.instagram.com/le_guess_who/

A Taste of Le Guess Who? 2018

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The Machine to Tour this October with Samavayo

Posted in Whathaveyou on May 15th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

THE MACHINE

Just this past weekend, Rotterdam, the Netherlands-based trio The Machine headlined the Esbjerg Fuzztival in Denmark. The three-piece are out supporting their self-released 2018 album, Faceshift (review here), which brought their blend of jam-based heavy and noise rock influences to its to-date peak of execution. They are by now veterans of the European heavy underground, and seem to be moving more and more toward a headliner position as a result of that. Previously announced for Keep it Low 2019 in Munich and Up in Smoke 2019 in Pratteln, Switzerland, they’ll also play the Setalight Festival in Berlin on Oct. 12 as the final date of an efficient 10-day run with Samavayo, who were also recently on the road with Stoned Jesus.

The two bands are a good fit. Both have a harder edge beneath their tonally weighted exterior, and whether it’s Samavayo‘s turn toward progressive metal or The Machine‘s periodic coffee-fueled binge on noise tendencies, I’d imagine their sets will offer something complementary to those in attendance starting Oct. 3 at the 013 in Tilburg. If nothing else, with three out of the 10 shows being festivals, it should make for a good time for the bands. The Fall season is increasingly busy and as those fest lineups continue to take shape, I wouldn’t be surprised to find more tours like this happening. I’ll keep an eye out.

As presented by Sound of Liberation:

the machine tour

The legendary The Machine are going to hit the European roads in October together with the fabulous Samavayo, who just returned from their one-week tour with Stoned Jesus! Just one word: U.L.T.R.A.H.I.G.H.E.N.E.R.G.Y.

Do not miss this!

MORE INFO:
https://www.soundofliberation.com/machine-the

DATES:
03.10.19 Tilburg | 013 (NL)
04.10.19 Pratteln | Up In Smoke Festival (CH)
05.10.19 Siegen | Vortex (DE)
06.10.19 Deventer | Burgerweeshuis (NL)
07.10.19 Hamburg | Hafenklang (DE)
08.10.19 Copenhagen | Stengade (DK)
09.10.19 Dortmund | Junkyard (DE)
10.10.19 Chemnitz | AJZ (DE)
11.10.19 Munich | Keep It Low Festival (DE)
12.10.19 Berlin | Setalight Festival 2019 (DE)

https://www.facebook.com/themachine.nl/
https://twitter.com/themachine_nl
https://instagram.com/themachine_nl/
http://www.themachineweb.com/
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https://awe-records.com/

The Machine, “Crack You” official video

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Leaving Roadburn 2019

Posted in Whathaveyou on April 15th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

roadburn 2019 donders posters

04.15.19 – 12.21 CET – Monday afternoon – Gate D60, Schiphol Airport

Rumor has it we board in about an hour, but the plane isn’t here yet. There’s no rush apart from the usual going-to-a-place-so-I-gotta-get-to-the-place-I’m-going mania. Flying is always a lot of hurry up and hurry up and wait. That and recycled air.

This weekend was incredible. Over the course of a given year, especially as I’ve been trying to go to more shows, every April is always a reminder of how truly special Roadburn is. Not even just the bands playing — I think I knew fewer bands on this lineup than any of the previous 10 Roadburns I’d been to — but the setting, atmosphere, the intangible vibe of creativity that’s everywhere and so joyful. No matter how dark the music gets, or how grueling the emotions involved, if it’s to be a catharsis, then there is joy in that release.

When Treedeon were on stage, their bassist was on mic between songs talking about how fucked up the world is and so on, and that playing loud is their therapy. She then thanked the crowd for coming to their therapy session. Succinctly put and likely true. I’ve had days where the only thing that seems to keep my head on straight is writing. And I’ve had days as well where even that hasn’t worked. That’s the thing about getting old. You keep accumulating days.

I call that “sports wisdom.” It’s the act of declaring something obvious with an intent toward profundity. I’m sure the Germans have a better word for it. Think how many times you’ve heard professional athletes say things like, “They can’t catch it if you don’t throw the ball,” and be treated among the great thinkers of their generation. Sports wisdom.

Before I get on this plane and go home over the course of the next I don’t even know how many hours — 12-ish? 14? whatever — I want to say thank you to Walter Hoeijmakers, Becky Laverty and the entire team at Roadburn for having me back this year. It was an honor to work on what I think was the best Weirdo Canyon Dispatch we’ve ever done, and it couldn’t have happened without Walter advocating for us, the generosity of the 013 venue’s crew and resources, and the work of Lee Edwards, Paul Verhagen, Niels Vinck, Vince Trommel, and the entire staff of writers who’ve been so fantastic to work with these last six years. Editing that ‘zine has reminded me of what all the best parts were of working professionally in print media, and in that context, without any of the drag factor that came along with them back in the real world — as opposed, of course, to Planet Roadburn — it’s hard not to miss that. The WCD is an outlet I’m humbled and so fortunate to be a part of.

I got out of the van the other day at the 013 coming in from the airport, and though I was dead tired from the flight and ready to crash immediately over at the hotel (I didn’t, but I was ready to), I still took a moment to breathe in and feel like I was, in a very special, very specific way, home. I am so lucky to feel that in this place and with these people.

Thanks to The Patient Mrs., to The Pecan, to my mother, my sister, and to everyone who has followed along on this brief but wonderful bit of adventure. I’ve scaled way, way back on travelogue stuff because I figure people care most about the music and time’s short anyway and I’d rather focus on that, but it means a tremendous amount to me that you would check in, or give a like or a share, or comment on Instagram, or whatever it might be. Thank you for your support. It is the reason any of this can happen, and I will spend the rest of my life being grateful for that.

Okay, plane’s here. Boarding in a little bit, then off to Reykjavik, change in Reykjavik, then off to Boston. Then home.

Thanks for reading. Roadburn 2020 is April 16-19 in Tilburg, the Netherlands. I hope you go, and I’ll hope to get to see you there.

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Live Review: ROADBURN 2019 Day Four, 04.14.19

Posted in Features, Reviews on April 14th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

roadburn 2019 banner day four

04.14.19 – 01.17 CET – Sunday night – Hotel

Just now, before I sat down to write this post, I went to the tap in the bathroom to refill my water bottle. You can drink the tap water here — it’s really something. Anyhow, I stick the bottle under the cold water and look down about two seconds later to see I’ve left the cap on. Water running down the side of bottle. That’s about where one’s head is at on this last day of Roadburn 2019. You ever been nostalgic about something while it’s still going on? Yeah, emotions are running high in Tilburg. Many hugs, many slaps on the back, many see-you-next-years from one denizen of this temporary planet to another. Lucy in Blue (Photo by JJ Koczan)Indeed, even strung out on caffeine and obliterated by volume, it’s difficult to say goodbye to Roadburn, always.

Still somewhat reminiscent of when it was the Afterburner, Roadburn‘s Day Four has fewer stages, but I mean, it’s still four. Five if you count the Ladybird Skatepark, which I was at twice today. So yeah, not a laid back affair. And while the shows ended earlier — Imperial Triumphant and Cave both ended at 00.30, in Patronaat and the Green Room, respectively — the day also started early, with Lucy in Blue going on in the Green Room at 14.00 presenting their new album, In Flight, in its entirety. Based in Iceland, their sound is a classically progressive kind of rock with notable use of keys and vocal harmonies to go with the kraut-ish riffing and repetitive progressions.

They were young, but had both a firm grip on their aesthetic intentions and many aspects of their performance. Maybe some kinks to work out in terms of songwriting efficiency and their onstage persona, but the elements were there in a way that you couldn’t call anything other than encouraging. They were a mellow start to the day for those not watching Have a Nice Life on the Main Stage next door, and as far as I’m concerned, that was welcome. I did pop over to check out some of the Connecticut-based unit, Supersonic Blues (Photo by JJ Koczan)but only after Lucy in Blue were well in flight and had left the ground behind. It was a palpable contrast.

Didn’t watch Daughters. I know. But, well, Supersonic Blues were added last-minute to play at the skatepark, and well, they ruled last year, so it seemed like an easy-enough pick to head up and see them again. There were more skaters than yesterday, but they cleared out so the Dutch three-piece could play. Like Lucy in Blue, Supersonic Blues are probably under 30 — unless I’m just old enough now that 30 year olds look like kids; possible — but they command a warmth of tone and a sense of appreciation for classic boogie rock that comes complemented by an easy-rolling sense of craft and a sans-pretense approach to what they’re doing. I’ll take that any, any, any day of the week. I heard they got added yesterday and was only stoked that I’d get to see them again. They’ve had two singles out but sound like they’re about ready for a first LP, or at very least an EP.

A little bit of continuity to the start of the day between Lucy in Blue and Supersonic Blues, and though that coolest of colors wouldn’t factor into the moniker of Stuck in Motion, there was plenty of blues in their sound, and a fervent ’70s stylization as well. They fit with what I was looking for, is the short version of theStuck in Motion (Photo by JJ Koczan) story, and I stood and watched from the Green Room balcony as they classic-heavied their way into the hearts and heads of the assembled, easing out sleek grooves and keyboards/organ that only added to the depth of the melody. Cool band, and I felt justified in not fighting my way to the front to take photos by how chill their sound was. As if to say, “It’s cool man, you go ahead and take this one easy. We will too.” It was a winning decision all the way around, I think.

I had gotten turned onto their 2018 self-titled debut (review here) by Walter on Facebook posting about them, so checking them out in the flesh only seemed fair. They were cool, but I felt like I owed it to myself to watch Thou close out their residency on the Main Stage. Given the set they played last night at the skatepark doing Misfits covers, somehow a straight-ahead performance seemed anticlimactic, but hell’s bells were they heavy. I mean, really. Spread out across the stage, they brought full-on volume to the kind of atmospheres they had in their almost-acoustic set the other night, something disquieting in the mood and challenging of themselves and their audience. They are a band people really like. A lot. I can’t say that I’m a Thou (Photo by JJ Koczan)huge Thou fan like the people I saw chasing down the vinyl over in the merch area, but they’re undeniably powerful on stage, whether screaming or melodic, loud or quiet, or, you know, playing Misfits tunes, as one apparently will. I know they played like 50 sets in the last four days, but how could they not be back at some point in the years to come?

That question gave me something to ponder as I plotzed up to the Ladybird Skatepark for the last time to see Bismuth, who played earlier in the fest but were given another chance to volume-pummel everything in their path. Loud? Shit. There were parts of that building vibrating that were not meant to vibrate. Bassist/vocalist Tanya Byrne won Roadburn 2019 as regards t-shirts with the selection of Khanate, and she and drummer Joe Rawlings doled out grueling nod and brutal tone with unmitigated intensity. Their 2018 album, The Slow Dying of the Great Barrier Reef (discussed here), was some manner of preparation for seeing them live in terms of the basic air-from-lungs push of low-end — also tree-trunk drumsticks — but the volume factor made it all the more of a steamroller running atop the assembled masses Bismuth (Photo by JJ Koczan)in the skatepark, that big, high-ceilinged space seeming to fill up with sound no matter where you stood. Audio as a physical presence. It was righteous.

And then, of course, Sleep played. As far as culminations go, one could hardly ask for more than Sleep returning after so dutifully handing the 013 its ass last night to play their 2018 album, The Sciences (review here), front-to-back. But here’s the thing: Sleep played last night doing Sleep’s Holy Mountain in full. It was incredible. But The Sciences was better. The material sounded fresher, the band sounded more comfortable, and I’m not sure there’s hyperbole dramatic enough for how fucking loud they were. It was incredible. I’ve been lucky enough to see Sleep a few times. My go-to for the best I ever saw them was Roadburn 2012 (review here). After tonight, I might have to change my opinion. There was a technical glitch or two along the way — Matt Pike blew out one of his several guitar heads — but he, Al Cisneros and Jason Roeder Sleep (Photo by JJ Koczan)were utterly incredible. It was the kind of set that could make you believe in the magic of Christmas. A true Santa Claus of a set. They threw in “Holy Mountain” and “Dragonaut” as well, I guess just in case anyone in the room wasn’t there the night before. I heard no complaints for the repeaters, and registered none myself. Those songs too were better the second time around.

No clue how many times I’ve made this observation, but I think Jason Roeder might be the best drummer I’ve ever watched play. Yeah, Matt Pike just won a Grammy with High on Fire, and Al Cisneros deserves a Nobel for his work in Om, but between those two titans, Roeder — who, just to mention it so you don’t think I’m undercutting his own pedigree, was well established in fucking Neurosis before he joined Sleep in place of original drummer Chris Hakius — is crucial to the band Sleep have become. It was all the more emphasized in the The Sciences material, songs like “Sonic Titan” and “Giza Butler,” which unto itself was a highlight of the entire festival. If last night was a celebration of Sleep‘s earlier glories, then tonight was confirmation of the reason they’re the most influential riffers since Black Sabbath themselves. They were a joy to behold, and the perfect ending to my own personal Roadburn 2019.

There was a line outside Het Patronaat as I was leaving after aSleep (Photo by JJ Koczan) few quick goodbyes. Imperial Triumphant would be on shortly as the last Roadburn band ever to play the venue — there’s a bit of festival trivia for you — and I heard they were doing a whole thing with masks, but honestly, how could I ever hope to improve on the night I’d just had or what I’d just seen? Sad as it was to realize, it was time to go.

So I went. Roadburn 2019 ended on a higher note than I could’ve wished for, and I walked out of the 013 and down Weirdo Canyon to get back to the hotel sweaty, smelling like smoke, tired, hungry, thirsty and sore, but still feeling 100 percent refreshed. The only tragedy is it’s another year till the next one.

Thanks for reading. I’ll close out the Roadburn coverage tomorrow assuming I have time, but first and foremost thank you for reading. You’re pretty great.

More pics after the jump.

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Live Review: ROADBURN 2019 Day Three, 04.13.19

Posted in Features, Reviews on April 13th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

Roadburn 2019 banner (Photo by JJ Koczan)

04.14.19 – 02.15 CET – Saturday night – Hotel

It snowed today. That was a first. Hail too. I wasn’t outside for it, but unless European snow bounces, it was hail, followed by snow. 11 Roadburns later, Tilburg still holds a few surprises. And no, I don’t just mean the secret Thou set where they did the Misfits covers and Emma Ruth Rundle got in on the action, though that too.

ROADBURN 2019 WEATHERThe weather wasn’t a hardship or anything — the joke was that Sumac were so heavy they made it hail, and fair enough — since apart from a short walk here or there I spent very nearly the entire day inside. I was bumming hard after finding out about a brutal fuckup on my part with today’s issue of the daily ‘zine, the Weirdo Canyon Dispatch. Basically I left out an important piece and we’ll run it tomorrow anyway, but I still felt very, very much like shit about it. Like, “I don’t deserve to be here” beating myself up. I went and found the writer in question and damn near broke out into tears apologizing.

I know it’s a festival fanzine and all, but that shit is important to me, and it was squarely my mistake that dropped the article. It won’t be as timely tomorrow when it goes in the issue. I know it’s not the end of the world, ultimately, but this fest puts its faith in me not to screw up doing this one thing, and I screwed it up. I’d already seen Temple Fang and Wolvennest and a couple seconds of Confusion Master by then, and I thought long and hard about just coming back to the hotel and going to bed, but eventually got it together. It sucks being bad at, like, everything you do.

Like I said, I saw Temple Fang again. They opened up the pre-show on Wednesday (review here), and they opened up today in a kind of super-early showcase slot at 1:30PM in an especially foggy Hall of Fame, up by the Koepelhal and the Ladybird Skatepark, which is very quickly becoming another Roadburn venue. Launching with “Gemini,” Temple Fang were this time around a little less Temple Fang (Photo by JJ Koczan)tense — maybe just waking up — and a little more locked into an overarching groove that still highlighted their progressive take on space rock and psychedelia, but seemed to give the songs a little more space to breathe. I’m not sure I can speak to exactly what the difference was. It might’ve been just as simple as playing a little more relaxed. But both sets showed the serious potential on the part of the band and my only problem with seeing them play a second time was that it meant they did not immediately on Thursday morning enter the studio to record their debut album, which had been my hope after their first show. Oh well. Always tomorrow, guys.

Wolvennest opened the Main Stage, with theremin, incense and a few skulls here and there amid their darkened cult rock atmospherics. The Brussels-based outfit are celebrating the release this month of their new EP, Vortex, which came out last week through the ever-tasteful Ván Records, and I have no doubt they persuaded a few heads with their murky vibe and swirling, obscure but still progressive heaviness. Fronted by Sharon Shazzula, who’s done work over the years with Aqua Nebula Oscillator, Kadavar, Farflung and a host of others — in addition to having founded Swamp Booking — and she and the full band alongside her brought a consuming wash of noise to the big room at the 013, and once I got back from my Wolvennest (Photo by JJ Koczan)Beto-esque apology tour (except I meant it), I found I was even more into it near the finish. It was somewhere between black metal, psychedelia and lurch, and wherever that was, that seemed definitely like the place to be. I’m sure someone cleverer than me has already invented a genre tag for it. To me it just sounded awesome.

Today was Maalstroom — a massive celebration of Dutch black metal held at Het Patronaat and given the added poignancy of also serving as an ad hoc tribute to former Dodecahedron frontman Michiel Eikenaar, who passed away yesterday after a long illness. Malstroom itself is the third of Roadburn 2019’s commissioned projects, and like last year’s Vánagandr formed of Icelandic black metallers, Maalstroom drew/draws from various projects working together on a new piece as a new entity. The whole day at the church was dedicated to it, and though my own adventure would take me on a different path, it would be hard not to admire the vision in putting that kind of thing together with Witte Wieven, Turia, Laster, Terzij de Horde, the aforementioned Dodecahedron and then Maalstroom itself to close out. One way or the other, it was going to be a special day.

Sumac (Photo by JJ Koczan)There were also more acts today from Tomas Lindberg‘s curation, including UranThe Exorcist GBG, and Orchestra of Constant Distress, and it was the Exile on Mainstream Records 20th anniversary celebration. Oh, and Sleep played Sleep’s Holy Mountain (2009 reissue review here) in its entirety. You know, because why not. I wound up flitting back and forth between 013 and the Koepelhal complex for the day, as I think a lot of people did who didn’t otherwise camp out at the Patronaat. Sumac absolutely floored me playing the Main Stage. What’s been my hesitation with those guys? I have no idea. I’ve dug both their records — last year’s Love in Shadow (review here) and 2016’s What One Becomes (review here) — but I still never really considered myself a fan. It’s Aaron Turner (ex-Isis, etc.), Bryan Cook (Russian Circles) and Nick Yacyshyn (Baptists), and their tone was probably the heaviest I’d heard this weekend up to that point. I don’t know what my hangup was with that band, but yeah, I’ll go ahead and credit the universe with being right on that one. More records to buy: just what I need.

Mythic Sunship had added another set at the Skatepark — they wound up playing three times, so I’m extra glad I caught them at least once — so I made my way up there and stopped in Koepelhal first to see Boston’s Morne, who were casting death across that packed and massive space. Couldn’t help but notice guitarist/vocalist Milosz Gassan wearingMorne (Photo by JJ Koczan) a t-shirt for Armageddon Shop (or Armageddon Boston, to be more specific) on the stage. Today was apparently Record Store Day, so fair enough. Roadburn never seems to lack for commerce, as the merch area just outside the Koepelhal proper shows, but I’m sure plenty of people also made it over to Sounds, which is the local shop down the road a little ways. I went once. It was cool. This year, however, my feet were glued in place for Morne, who issued their To the Night Unknown LP through that same Armageddon Shop label last year. No regrets. Their sound has the classic emotional crux of death-doom but toys with that balance effectively and still holds a pervasive sense of atmosphere.

It was almost time for that Mythic Sunship show, and I was looking forward to it, but Treedeon in the Hall of Fame for the Exile on Mainstream 20th anniversary was too good to pass up. The German trio’s bizarre noise rock is so emblematic of that label, and while I don’t think my tastes and those of Andreas Kohl, who runs imprint, always line up — though we’re both big Wino fans — it’s a fair bet that something on Exile on Mainstream is going to at very least be interesting. In the case of Treedeon, it was interestingTreedeon (Photo by JJ Koczan) like a fucking boot to the throat. Even their recorded work — the latest LP was 2018’s Under the Manchineel (review here) — doesn’t quite capture the density of their approach to noise rock, and golly it was loud in the Hall of Fame. It’s a low ceiling, so the sound just feels like it’s collapsing on you, and that suited Treedeon well in portraying another vision of extremity after Morne.

Among other things, it was about the polar opposite of seeing Mythic Sunship in a skate park, so that was fun. Indeed, dudes were skating on the ramps and rails and whatnot and looking annoyed as people started filing in for the show. Sorry. The Copenhagen four-piece have been on tour since April 4 supporting their excellent 2018 offering, Another Shape of Psychedelic Music (review here), and though they didn’t have the sax with them today as they apparently did yesterday, they still tore it up ferociously, by which I mean they played a smoothly progressive jam-based kraut-psych-rock and their chemistry was out in full force. Their drummer ate a banana right before they went on, which I’m sure helped keep his energy up, and the Ladybird filled up well for them. They’re the kind of band I’d probably never get to see if I wasn’t here, let alone see in such a context, so I was stoked on the opportunity and the outcome of it. I don’t think they will, but if they played another set tomorrow, I doubt anyone would complain, Mythic Sunship (Photo by JJ Koczan)except maybe those skateboarders.

Dinner was chicken in peanut sauce. I had a few quick bites and then went back to the Main Stage to watch the end of Cave In‘s set. I gotta say, I haven’t listened to Cave In actively in a long time, and I still knew just about every word to everything they were playing. That band can write a song. They had Nate Newton (Converge) on bass in the place of Caleb Scofield, who passed away and was memorialized with an acoustic set last year by his bandmates Steve Brodsky and Adam McGrath that’s since been released by Roadburn Records, and while I didn’t see the full set, what I caught was dead on. They’ve always occupied a space between punk, metal and rock, but they’ve also always made that space their own, and to see them do that in front of a crowd so into it as that at Roadburn was affirming even if I only caught a couple songs.

It was time for Sleep. There was the requisite changeover after Cave In, and fair enough for the mighty stacks of amps and cabinets brought out, as well as Jason Roeder‘s drum riser. I mean, Sleep playing Sleep’s Holy Mountain. In full. Sleep (Photo by JJ Koczan)Front-to-back. As the first of two nights of sets. What the hell more could you want? If your answer was, “maybe a shortened version of ‘Dopesmoker’ and ‘The Clarity,'” they did those too, but obviously the highlight was seeing Al CisnerosMatt Pike and Roeder run through those Holy Mountain tracks. Pike even switched to an acoustic guitar for an extended take on “Some Grass” ahead of “Aquarian.” The Main Stage hall was packed to the point that the upstairs balcony looked like it was about to spill over, and the whole room just became a sea of nodding heads to each riff. Everyone kept up with the changes. Everyone knew where they were going. It was yet another of those Roadburn things that make you feel so stupid lucky to be here to see. Funny how those keep popping up all weekend. Every year. All weekend. They’re back tomorrow doing The Sciences in full. Again, Roadburn.

There was still plenty of Roadburn day three to go, but I was (un)fairly beat. Still, there was one more thing I had to, had to, had to see, and it was Bellrope. They were closing out the Exile on Mainstream celebration at Hall of Fame, and though the hike up there felt daunting to my riffed-out legs, I did it anyway and got up there before the two-bass-one-guitar-all-smash German foursome got started. Their debut album, You Must Relax (review here), is on my list of 2019’s best despite (because of?) its initial feedback assault to weed out the Bellrope (Photo by JJ Koczan)weak-hearted among its listenership. They did similar on stage, by the way, but shorter, and with a mammoth and punishing low end push to fill out that feedback, it was brutal in the best way possible. They brought up two members of Treedeon for a guest vocal spot and the sort of sludge ensued that you should need a prescription to get, which should explain the line that went out the door.

Despite the day’s rough start with my stupid, stupid, stupid, unprofessional bullshit error in the ‘zine, it was still a day that was as fantastic as it was busy. Tomorrow is the end of Roadburn 2019, and it’s always bittersweet, so while I’m plenty exhausted, like At the Gates before me, I’m going to try to drink from the night itself and let adrenaline carry me through as, hopefully, it will.

Thanks for reading. More pics after the jump.

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