R.I.P. Reed Mullin of Corrosion of Conformity, 1966-2020

Posted in Features on January 28th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

reed mullin (Photo by JJ Koczan)

As Corrosion of Conformity make ready to embark on their first tour of Australia and New Zealand in six years, the North Carolina-based progenitors of Southern-style heavy rock announce the death of erstwhile drummer Reed Mullin. Mullin, 53, had been in and out of C.O.C. over the half-decade since their reunion with guitarist/vocalist Pepper Keenan, but his work proved as essential as ever to the band with 2018’s studio return, No Cross No Crown. A founding member of Corrosion of Conformity alongside bassist/vocalist Mike Dean and guitarist/backing vocalist Woodroe Weatherman in 1982, Mullin played on pivotal records like 1985’s Animosity and 1987’s Technocracy, driving the early sound of the then-trio through its hardcore punk furies, but proved no less adaptable to what became their evolving, signature sound and greatest commercial and critical successes.

With those albums, particularly 1994’s Deliverance and its Grammy-nominated 1996 follow-up, Wiseblood, Mullin anchored the powerful groove on which C.O.C.’s legacy and influence would be built, and even as Keenan emerged as a frontman, the drums behind him built the foundation on which the band resided and fleshed out their memorable songs. Years of reported health problems, etc., have kept him out of the band as they have become a working four-piece unit again, but on 2012’s self-titled LP and 2014’s follow-up, IX, a three-piece incarnation of Corrosion of Conformity with Mullin on drums/vocals, Dean and Weatherman reignited an exploration of their punk roots that still held to a riff-led charge. His work there, as ever, was crucial.

Mullin took part in every Corrosion of Conformity recording aside from 2005’s In the Arms of God, a then-swansong of sorts for the band as a four-piece, and was a creative force behind making C.O.C. who they were, are and will continue to be. The last time I saw him on stage was in 2015, and in presence, voice and style, he was a singular, special figure. He will be much, much missed.

Condolences on behalf of myself and the site to Mullin’s friends, family and associates, as well of course as the band itself, which will never be the same.

Their announcement follows:

corrosion of conformity older pic

Reed, It’s with heavy hearts that we say goodbye to a friend, a brother and pioneer.

Love and condolences to the family, friends and fans who will miss you and thanks for the music.

Reed Mullin vocal recording for IX, 2014

Corrosion of Conformity on Facebook

Corrosion of Conformity website

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The Heavy Eyes Announce March 27 Release for Love Like Machines

Posted in Whathaveyou on January 28th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

the heavy eyes

Note that there would be a big, big difference if Memphis heavy rockers The Heavy Eyes had titled their impending LP — which is called Love Like Machines and out March 27 on Kozmik Artifactz — with the first and second words reversed. It’s a more than fine line between “love like machines” and “like love machines.” Kudos to the four-piece for coming down on the correct side of that line.

It raised an eyebrow when The Heavy Eyes were among the first announcements for Keep it Low 2020 that there were clearly stirrings from the band and more in the works. First of all, that’s a Sound of Liberation fest, which means it’s probably not the only one they’ll play — Up in Smoke and Desertfest Belgium are both possibilities, and of course surrounding tour dates the amount of which depends on how long they’ll be over there. Second, if they’re going to make the trip, well, their last release was the 2018 live album, Live in Memphis (review here), and that was cool, but it’s not really an occasion two years later for a European tour. Their last studio outing was 2015’s He Dreams of Lions (review here), so between those factors, yeah, a new studio LP didn’t seem like an unreasonable expectation either.

If you wonder why I post every fest announcement that comes my way, it’s because CONTEXT.

So here we are, with Love Like Machines coming out in March. The PR wire has album details and there’s a song streaming at the bottom of this post:

the heavy eyes love machines

THE HEAVY EYES: Memphis Psychedelic Blues Rock Unit To Release Love Like Machines Full-Length March 27th Via Kozmik Artifactz; New Track Streaming + Preorders Available

Memphis-based psychedelic blues rock veterans, THE HEAVY EYES, will release their long-awaited new full-length, Love Like Machines, March 27th via Kozmik Artifactz.

Their fourth full-length and first new offering since 2015’s critically lauded He Dreams Of Lions, THE HEAVY EYES continues to deliver their fuzzed out, bluesy, hypnotic riffs, this time with the addition of long-time recording engineer, Matthew Qualls, as second guitarist. Adding a new layer of depth to their groove, Qualls — who’s worked side-by-side with THE HEAVY EYES for many years and has performed with them live in the past — enabled the band to collaborate in a different way exploring new song structures, tones, and attaining a bigger sound overall without stripping any of the grittiness and love of ’60s and ’70s rock that has shaped their sound since inception.

Despite the rabid reception of their first three albums however, Love Like Machines almost never existed. In 2017, the band was put on pause, with each member living in a different state. Spread across the Southwest and Midwest, there were new jobs, new cities, a marriage, and even a kidney disease diagnosis. In short, there was every indication that the pause might become permanent. But by 2019, THE HEAVY EYES had found a second wind and was actively working on new material, exchanging beats, licks, and lyrics long-distance. After two bouts of recording, the record is here, five years in the making.

The ten-track Love Like Machines was produced by Qualls in New Mexico and Memphis and comes shrouded in the kaleidoscopic cover art of Emil Orth.

Love Like Machines will by released digitally by the band with Kozmik Artifactz handling the vinyl edition this spring. In advance of its release, the band is pleased to unveil first album teaser “The Profession.” From the opening roll of the drums to the rip-roaring fuzz of the chorus, THE HEAVY EYES delivers a walloping testament to their take-no-prisoners ethos.

Find Love Like Machines digital preorders at THIS LOCATION where “The Profession” can be streamed.

Love Like Machines Track Listing:
1. Anabasis
2. Made For The Age
3. Hand Of Bear
4. Late Night
5. God Damn Wolf Man
6. Bright Light
7. A Cat Named Haku
8. The Profession
9. Vera Cruz
10. Idle Hands

THE HEAVY EYES is currently booking a European tour for early October 2020 and will appear at Keep It Low Festival in München, Germany with more dates to be announced in the weeks to come.

THE HEAVY EYES Live:
10/09-10/2020 Keep It Low Festival – München, DE

THE HEAVY EYES:
Tripp Shumake – lead vocals, acoustic/electric guitar
Matthew Qualls – electric guitar, percussion, backing vocals
Wally Anderson – bass guitar
Eric Garcia – drums/percussion

Guests:
Justin Toland – guitar tracking, solo (“God Damn Wolf Man”)
Justin Tracy – guitar solo (“The Profession”)
Carmen Fowlkes – piano (“Vera Cruz”)

http://www.facebook.com/TheHeavyEyes
http://www.instagram.com/theheavyeyes
http://theheavyeyesmemphis.bandcamp.com
http://kozmik-artifactz.com/
https://www.facebook.com/kozmikartifactz

The Heavy Eyes, Love Like Machines (2020)

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Helen Money Announces New Album Atomic out March 20; Song Streaming & European Tour Dates

Posted in Whathaveyou on January 28th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

helen money

Chicago-based cellist Alison Chesley will release her new album under the moniker of Helen Money on March 20 through Thrill Jockey Records. It’s the first new Helen Money album in four years since Become Zero (review here) in 2016 — though Chesley has hardly been idle in that time — and a glimpse at its atmospheric reach is being given in the streaming leadoff track “Midnight,” which will open the 11-song LP in duly cinematic fashion. Always experimental but on sure aesthetic ground, Chesley weaves layers of cello on each other to create a tense build and cascade that, as it should, only makes me want to dive into the rest of the album to follow. It would seem her work continues to defy genre and yet remain heavy in atmosphere and emotionalist intent.

Badass, in other words.

A European tour has been announced. Dates and album info, as the PR wire has it:

helen money atomic

Helen Money announces powerfully emotional new album Atomic, out Mar. 20th

Helen Money touring Europe this spring

Helen Money has announced new album Atomic, out March 20th, as well as shared the album’s intimate, expansive single “Midnight”. Composer Alison Chesley stands as one of the most unique and versatile cellists working today. Under the Helen Money moniker, Chesley uses the instrument to access and channel the extremities of human emotion, employing extensive sonic manipulation and an array of plucking and bowing techniques to summon an astonishing breadth and depth of sound. A prolific collaborator, Chesley recently transcribed and performed on Bob Mould’s Sunshine Rock has worked with the likes of Jason Roeder (Sleep/Neurosis) and Rachel Grimes (Rachel’s), and she has toured extensively with Mould, Russian Circles, Earth, Shellac, Sleep and MONO. On her new album Atomic, Chesley pushes even further out towards the extremes of her output with a daring leap forward in her songwriting through minimalist arrangements that stand as her most intimate, direct, and emotionally bare work to date.

Atomic was written during a period of transition for Chesley and her family. She explains: “After my parents passed away, we had to find new ways to be – with ourselves and each other. The whole process brought us closer together, strengthening the bonds between the three of us; between us and our friends; between us and my extended family. My sister and brother and I would often get together at my brother’s house in the Redwoods of Northern California. Being there with them, looking up at these giant trees that were there long before we were, looking up at the Milky Way, looking out at the Pacific Ocean – it just gave me a sense of perspective and how connected we all are to everything.” The experience of recalibrating herself in the world came to subconsciously inform Atomic’s searching tone, Chesley pushing her music to surprising new places, both intimate and powerfully emotional.

Helen Money – Atomic tracklist:
1. Midnight
2. Understory
3. Nemesis
4. Coil
5. Coppe
6. Something Holy
7. Brave One
8. One Year One Ring
9. Marrow
10. Redshift
11. Many Arms

Helen Money EU tour dates
May 2 – Copenhagen, DK – Vega
May 3 – Goteborg, SE – Koloni
May 5 – Prague, CZ – Klub 007
May 7 – Gdansk, PL – Drizzly Grizzly
May 8 – Poznan, PL – Pawillon
May 9 – Hranice na Morav?, CZ – Karnola
May 10 – Kosice, SK – Taba?ka Kulturfabrik
May 12 – Vienna, AT – Fluc
May 13 – Zurich, CH – Schallbeton
May 14 – Torino, IT – Blah Blah
May 15 – Lyon, FR – Le Sonic
May 17 – Lille, FR – La Malterie
May 20 – Glasgow, UK – Broadcast
May 21 – Newcastle, UK – Cluny
May 23 – London, UK – Raw Power Festival w/ Pye Corner Audio, Enablers + more
May 24 – London, UK – Raw Power Festival w/ Pye Corner Audio, Enablers + more

Pre-order Helen Money’s Atomic:
http://thrilljockey.com/products/atomic

https://www.facebook.com/helenmoneyband/
https://www.instagram.com/helenmoney/
https://helenmoney.bandcamp.com/
https://www.facebook.com/ThrillJockey/
https://instagram.com/thrilljockey
http://thrilljockey.com/

Helen Money, “Midnight”

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Devil to Pay Premiere “Tap Dancing on Your Grave” Video

Posted in Bootleg Theater on January 28th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

devil to pay

They say good literature teaches you how to read it. It’s true of music as well, and really just about well-made anything. Think of an opening track setting the mood for an album. “Tap Dancing on Your Grave” doesn’t lead off Devil to Pay‘s 2019 Ripple Music album Forever, Never or Whenever (review here), but it does set a mood just the same, and if you look at the first 20 seconds or so, you can get a picture to some degree of what to expect. The shots of ritual masks and low, brown-tones give a laid back vibe amid the chugging guitar, and as the central riff is laid out, the camera cuts from guitarist/vocalist Steve Janiak to bassist Matt Stokes to guitarist Rob Hough to drummer Chad Profigle, all of whom are nodding in time to that initial chug. Frankly, if you’re not doing the same — i.e. nodding in rhythm to the riff — by the time Profigle kicks in at the end of those 20 seconds, you’ve already missed the point.

The song teaches you its vibe early. The video puts you where it wants you right at the outset. This is well made heavy rock and roll, and that has always been Devil to Pay‘s wheelhouse. It’s just what they do.

By my count, this is the eighth video premiere The Obelisk has hosted for the Indianapolis-based heavy rockers dating back to 2012. Eight premieres across eight years (and it’s early yet in 2020) might seem like a lot — consider that I’m not sure “video premieres” were really a thing much before 2012 and the tally puts them far in the lead among others recurring on the site — but I’ve never been anything but happy to get on board for another, because I’m a fan of the band exactly for the reason above, which, when you get to the heart of it, is really about impeccable songwriting. That’s what “Tap Dancing on Your Grave” has to teach you about Forever, Never or Whenever as a whole, and it’s a lesson well learned as the band rock out the track’s melodic hook amid the collection of masks, totems, and so on. It’s a lesson and a song worth internalizing, and as always, I hope you enjoy.

Here’s looking forward to premiere number nine:

Devil to Pay, “Tap Dancing on Your Grave” official video premiere

Devil to Pay’s music video for “Tap Dancing On Your Grave”.

from the album “Forever, Never or Whenever” on the Ripple Music label http://www.ripple-music.com

Filmed by J Rich Media October 2019 at The Inferno Room, Indianapolis, IN.

Edited by S Janiak.

Recorded & Mixed by Mike Bridavsky at Russian Recording, Bloomington IN 2019.
Mastered by T. Dallas Reed at HeavyHead Recording Co.

every action is a choice
louder than words they are your true voice
consider first how you’d behave
knowing they’ll be dancing on your grave

woah who doesn’t pay a toll?
not a soul, not a soul

Devil to Pay is:
Steve Janiak – guitars/vocals
Matt Stokes – bass
Chad Prifogle – drums
Rob Hough – guitars

Devil to Pay, Forever, Never or Whenever (2019)

Devil to Pay on Thee Facebooks

Devil to Pay BigCartel store

Devil to Pay website

Ripple Music on Bandcamp

Ripple Music on Thee Facebooks

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DOOL Announce Summerland out April 10; New Song Posted

Posted in Whathaveyou on January 28th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

dool

It was a little sad to discover that the second track on DOOL‘s sophomore full-length, Summerland — out April 10 on Prophecy Productions in both standard and well-earned deluxe editions; gotta get me a 2CD artbook, thank you very much — which is titled “Wolf Moon” isn’t a Type O Negative cover. That would’ve been awesome, but while we’re on the subject of things that are awesome, holy crap this record is good. Dark, ultra-cohesive heavy rock with a strong sense of presence from vocalyst (yup, with a ‘y’) Ryanne van Dorst, it brings in no less than Farida Lemouchi (Molasses, ex-The Devil’s Blood) for a backing vocal spot and Per Wiberg (Spiritual Beggars, so many others) for Hammond organ, and presents a 54-minute sprawl that earns every second of its run with progressive attention to craft and detail, ending each of its 2LPs with an eight-minute sweep in the title-track and album finale “Dust and Shadow,” neither to be missed.

Hoping to have more to come, but the record’s already on my quickly-growing best-of-2020 list, so one way or another, you’ll be hearing about it again from me.

Preorders are up from Prophecy, as the PR wire tells it:

Dool Summerland

DOOL release anticipated second album “Summerland” on April 10th!

pre-sale link: prophecy.lnk.to/dool-summerland

Founded in 2015 in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, with a name derived from the Dutch word for “wandering,” dark rockers Dool embarked on an ongoing spiritual and musical journey that took them far within a short amount of time on the strength of just one album. However, hearing the sophomore Summerland, you can’t help but think its successful predecessor was just a warm-up.

“Our debut Here Now, There Then was a big experiment because we could not foresee at all how the band would sound,” reveals singer, guitarist and overall powerhouse Ryanne van Dorst. “I took the skeletons of songs I had written to the other members, and we just started to jam, seeing what would happen. That was what we recorded, but we only found our own style while playing gigs during the last few years. The material kept growing on stage, so on the Love Like Blood EP, you could already hear that we had become more confident.”

Summerland encapsulates the meaning behind the quintet’s monicker. Expansive and more varied on all fronts, it represents the constant evolution that goes along with the soul’s quest for ascension, resulting in a bedazzling mix of classic and post rock, Middle Eastern flourishes, psychedelia and metal. Each track displays its own identity within a loose thematic frame as summarized in the climactic title track: the struggle to find a place in this world, reaching some ultimate state mind, ecstatic pleasure and reincarnation, also inspired by Richard Matheson’s novel What Dreams May Come as a modern take on Dante’s cycles of hell.

“The term ‘summerland’ comes from paganism and refers to heaven, nirvana or whatever else you’d like to call it,” the lyricist explains. “Since I usually write from experience and about what keeps me awake at night, I was asking myself what makes me happy on this existential plane and how the ideal afterlife would look like. This became a recurring motif throughout the lyrics in the shapes of sex, magic, psychedelics and many other means to invoke this ‘summerland’ in the here and now.”

The group recorded Summerland at DAFT Studios in Malmédy, Belgium, and Studio Cobra in Stockholm, Sweden, with Martin Ehrencrona (Tribulation, In Solitude). Mix and mastering were handled by Cult Of Luna’s drummer Magnus Lindberg in Redmount Studio Stockholm. As guests, Dool invited Per Wiberg (Opeth, Spiritual Beggars, Candlemass) on Hammond organ, backing vocalist Farida Lemouchi (The Devil’s Blood) and Okoi Jones (Bölzer), who contributed spoken words to ‘The Well’s Run Dry’.

After taking Europe by storm, Dool keep following their path to world domination with seven-mile boots, doing what they do best – devastating venues with their energetic performance, which, as Ryanne promises, “will look a bit bigger in every respect …”

“Summerland” is available as Digipak CD, 2CD artbook (hardcover with golden hotfoil embossment, 30x30cm, with expanded artwork and two bonus tracks; 1.000 copies available), gatefold 2LP (180g, black and ltd. transparent-black marble vinyl) and complete box set (incl. 2CD artbook, gatefold 2LP on exclusive violet-black marble vinyl, bonus 12″, music box and two posters; 1.000 copies available).

1. Sulphur & Starlight
2. Wolf Moon
3. God Particle
4. Summerland
5. A Glass Forest
6. The Well’s Run Dry
7. Ode To The Future
8. Be Your Sins
9. Dust & Shadow
10. Khione
11. The Ascent To Summerland

https://www.facebook.com/allthosewhowanderaredool/
https://www.instagram.com/allthosewhowanderaredool/
https://dool-nl.bandcamp.com/
http://allthosewhowanderaredool.com/
http://www.allthosewhowanderaredool.bigcartel.com/
http://en.prophecy.de/artists/dool/

DOOL, Summerland (2020)

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The Hypnagogics Release Endless Nights March 20; Streaming “Darkest Night”

Posted in Whathaveyou on January 28th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

the hypnagogics

Cool vibe in the lead single from The Hypnagogics‘ upcoming debut album, Endless Nights, that will see release March 20 through a new alliance with Majestic Mountain Records for vinyl. The long-player follows behind two getting-their-feet-under-them EPs from 2016 and 2017, and “Darkest Night” keeps easy-to-dig tone at the center amid an unpretentious groove and blend of traditional and modern rock impulses. You know, somewhere between 50 years ago and today and tomorrow. Ha.

There’s some nuance to it, but it’s the chorus that got a hold on me, and you’ll find it streaming below in case you’d like to let it do the same. I’m not saying it’s a revolution — though this is the second band in a week’s time I’m posting about from Kristianstad, Sweden (the other was Sleepwulf); so maybe that’s something to keep an eye on — but it rolls out a combination of brashness and laid back mood that makes a welcome introduction.

The PR wire brings release details and, of course, the song:

the hypnagogics endless nights

The Hypnagogics – Endless Nights

The new album ‘Endless Nights’ is out March 20th 2020.
Vinyl release by Majestic Mountain Records

Majestic Mountain Records welcomes The Hypnagoics to the ever growing rooster of killer bands. MMR-007 will be the debut album ‘Endless Nights’. A contemporary heavy rock album that will blow your mind! Not many bands can come up with a debut album this impressive. ‘Endless Nights’ is an album full of riffs, emotions and with a fantastic vocal performance by Lina Paasijoki. 2020 will belong to The Hypnagogics!
??
‘Endless Nights’ drops on March the 20th and expect a vinyl pre-order in the beginning of March!

The Hypnagogics formed in 2015 in southern Sweden. They have since then released an EP and a single. They found their sound during the recording of the single “Death Trip” (2017) and decided to keep up with that in their next recording. In 2019 it was time to make their debut album, “Endless Nights”, and they started to record earlier that year. Most of the songs were already written, but some of the songs came along during the recording process.

The result was a dynamic album with a dark vibe to it, with hypnotic and heavy riffs and lyrics about paranoia, dysfunctional relationships and inner demons.

The Band:
Lina Paasijoki – Vocals
Henrik Edqvist – Guitar
Frida Johannesson – Guitar
Oskar Jönsson – Bass
Victor Granqvist – Drums

https://www.facebook.com/TheHypnagogics/
https://www.instagram.com/thehypnagogics/
https://thehypnagogics.bandcamp.com/
https://www.facebook.com/majesticmountainrecords
https://www.instagram.com/majesticmountainrecords/
https://majesticmountainrecords.bigcartel.com/

The Hypnagogigs, “Darkest Night”

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Sacri Monti Announce UK & European Tour Dates with More to Come

Posted in Whathaveyou on January 27th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

sacri monti

So I guess Sacri Monti just kind of live in Europe now? Don’t get me wrong, I get the appeal. But the ostensibly San Diego-based band have kept their focus when it comes to touring decidedly on the other side of the Atlantic, and they’ll be there for more than a month solid this Spring as they continue to support last year’s right-on Waiting Room for the Magic Hour (review here), so yeah, at some point don’t you legally establish residency? Have to wonder where taxes are cheaper.

There are dates to fill in and a new tour poster reportedly in the works, but with the tour freshly announced and no shortage of dates anyhow, this one seemed worth highlighting as it is. If the worst that happens is I follow-up with another post when a proper press release goes out, at least they earned it.

Here’s their post:

sacri monti euro uk tour 2020

Sacri Monti – Europe 2020

Tour dates for May and June still a few more dates TBA. Once all squared we will announce with new artwork.

EUROPE/UK 2020
30.04.20 NL Tilburg Cul De Sac
1.05.20 NL Nijmegen Sonic Whip Fest
3.05.20 UK London Desertfest
4.05.20 FRA Le Havre Mc Daid
5.05.20 FRA Paris l’International
6.05.20 BE Ghent Kinky Star
7.05.20 NL Utrecht Db’s
8.05.20 DE Gronigen Vera
9.05.20 DK Odense Fuzztival
13.05.20 DE Berlin Zukunft am Ostkreuz (Garage)
14.05.20 CZ Bílina Kafá?
15.05.20 DE Lohr am Main Umson und Dressen Festival
16.05.20 DE Siegen Vortex
17.05.20 DE Karlsruhe P8
19.05.20 ITA Zero Branco Treviso Altroquando
20.05.20 ITA Bolzano Sudwerk
22.05.20 DE Dresden GockelScream #3
23.05.20 DE Aschaffenburg Hannebambel
24.05.20 CH Martigny Caves Du Manoir
25.05.20 FRA Clermont Ferrand Chorus
26.05.20 FRA Montpellier The Black Sheep
27.05.20 ES Barcelona Upload Club
28.05.20 ES Madrid Sala Rockville
29.05.20 PT Porto Woodstock 69
1.06.20 ES San Sebastián Dabadaba
2.06.20 FRA Tolouse L’Usine à Musique
3.06.20 FRA Bordeaux astrodøme QG
4.06.20 FRA Nantes La Scene Michelet
5.06.20 UK Bristol The Crofters Rights
8.06.20 UK London Secret place
7.06.20 UK Liverpool kazimier stockroom

Sacri Monti is:
Brenden Dellar -Guitar
Dylan Donovan- Guitar
Anthony Meier- Bass
Evan Wenskay- Organ, Synth
Thomas Dibenedetto- Drums

https://www.facebook.com/sacrimontiband/
https://www.instagram.com/sacri_monti_band/
https://sacrimonti.bigcartel.com/
https://soundcloud.com/sacri-monti
teepeerecords.com
https://www.facebook.com/teepeerecords/
https://teepeerecords.bandcamp.com/

Sacri Monti, Waiting Room for the Magic Hour (2019)

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Freak Valley 2020: Stoned Jesus, Pontiak, Elephant Tree, Daily Thompson, Psychlona and Supersonic Blues Added

Posted in Whathaveyou on January 27th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

freak valley 2020 third announcement header

This is a good one, and I’m not just saying that because I wrote the announcement you can read below. If you find a typo, let me know. In any case, Freak Valley 2020 keeps the thread moving with its next batch of lineup adds, getting bigger and better is the way of such things. If all goes according my plans between now and then — sorry, but until I’m there, nothing’s a sure bet; plans change, fests decide I suck, customs agents decide my passport photo looks too much like someone else to let me through (has happened), planes crash, I accidentally get on a train to Switzerland, etc. — this will be my first year at Freak Valley Festival in Siegen, Germany, and the prospect of seeing Stoned Jesus for the first time ever is a big part of that. You think they’ll let me take pics from the stage? What about Elephant Tree? I’ve spend years staring at photos and videos from this fest. I’m only growing more excited at even the potential I’ll experience it for myself.

As I said, I wrote this announcement, and even apart from the two names above, it’s awesome. Pontiak rule and I’ll be more than thrilled to see Supersonic Blues again as they continue to work toward their inevitable debut album. New stuff coming from Daily Thompson too and Psychlona to boot, and yeah, it’s a winner. I can’t wait to get over there.

Here’s the digs for digging, straight from my own Word doc:

freak valley 2020 third announcement poster

Greetings Freaks!

We hope your 2020 is off to an incredible start. While the rest of the universe was on holiday, we’ve continued to diligently plug away at bringing you the biggest and best Freak Valley yet this June, and to that end that we’re thrilled to present the next round of lineup adds with six more bands!

Please welcome Stoned Jesus, Pontiak, Elephant Tree, Daily Thompson, Psychlona, and Supersonic Blues!

STONED JESUS

Fourteen and a half million (and counting!) YouTube views can’t be wrong when it comes to Ukrainian heavy rockers Stoned Jesus, but what we really love about the Kyiv trio is their refusal to compromise their sound or ever stop moving forward. Every record they do is a progressive step in the direction they’re defining for themselves, and while 2012’s Seven Thunders Roar might be a landmark for so many, we loved 2018’s Pilgrims with its spirit of thoughtful protest and song-construction. Last year they gathered up old demos for release through Napalm Records as From the Outer Space, but it’s what’s coming next from Stoned Jesus that has us most excited. We can’t wait to find out what that is when they join us at Freak Valley 2020!

PONTIAK

If the sheer thought of seeing Pontiak live on the Freak Valley stage doesn’t send chills up your spine, go back and listen again to 2017’s Dialectic of Ignorance. Really, do it. The Virginian three-piece of brothers Jennings, Van and Lain Carney bring washes of psychedelic classicism and inimitable presence of harmonies to their aural conversation, and amid welcoming tones and visions of rolling Appalachian foothills, they lace an underlying urgency of expression and tone to cuts like “Ignorance Makes Me High” and “We’ve Fucked This Up” that is unquestionably of this chaotic moment. Freakouts to come, and all the better.

ELEPHANT TREE

As we bring London now-four-piece Elephant Tree to Freak Valley, they stand ready to make their debut on Holy Roar Records with their Habits LP on April 24. They recently unveiled the lead single from their new album — their second overall — in the form of a video for “Sails,” and proved once more that there’s nothing like making a great first impression. The whole record brings progressive and psychedelic edge to the warm tones and welcoming grooves one found on their 2016 self-titled debut, upping the complexity of songwriting, instrumental and vocal melody/harmony, while sacrificing neither song nor impact to do so. We can’t wait to hear them play this stuff in-person.

DAILY THOMPSON

Dortmund fuzzbringers are set to finish recording their fourth long-player in early March and they’ve already announced a slew of tour dates to begin almost immediately thereafter. The three-piece harness the unhinged spirit of classic heavy rock without giving in to vintage-style aesthetics, and the result is a now-and-then blend that they’re able to mess with how they see fit, tapping inspiration from past and present to craft a future vision of heavy rock that, frankly, still has us locked into 2018’s third full-length, Thirsty, even as we look forward to hearing how they’ve continued to progress with the new one. Keep your eyes and ears peeled for new-album news. Hey guys (and gal), got any demos you feel like sharing?

PSYCHLONA

There are a few things everyone can agree on, and we here at Freak Valley like to think riffs and kebabs are right up there with the best life has to offer. Tucked away north of Leeds in Bradford, UK, Psychlona unleashed their debut album, Mojo Rising, through Ripple Music and Cursed Tongue Records in 2018 and had us hooked from the opening roll of “Stone” onward. With tone and groove likewise meaty, the four-piece’s up-from-the-depths-of-the-mix vocals added spaciousness to already plenty plus-sized feeling bangers like “Down in the Valley” and though they’re far out from the crowded London scene, they’re also just plain old far out, and that’s just fine by us. We’re happy to introduce our beloved rock freaks to Psychlona at Freak Valley.

SUPERSONIC BLUES

With their sound rooted in the classic style of the heavy ‘70s, Den Haag three-piece Supersonic Blues bring an unpretentious warmth and electricity to their sound that is infectious. You watch them on stage and know they’re having a good time too, and so their set becomes more like a party and everyone’s invited to come in, hang out, enjoy, get crazy or don’t, but find their thing and do that thing. Last we heard the trio were mixing their debut full-length follow two ultra-righteous Guy Tavares-recorded two-songer singles/EPs, and if they’ve got new songs, you bet we’ll be right there in front as they hit stage at Freak Valley for the first time. Don’t sleep on this band.

More to come!

FREAK VALLEY 2020
No Fillers – Just Killers

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Elephant Tree, “Sails” official video

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