Most posts are in german, yet sometimes I switch to english. The title of this blog changes from time to time.
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2019-05-30

KING GIZZARD & THE LIZARD WIZARD - Fishing For Fishies

Fuck, die hyperaktiven Bekloppten aus Down Under sind wieder unterwegs. Nicht erst mit dem Fünf-Alben-Marathon von 2017 haben King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard etabliert, dass man bei Stu Mackenzies Psychedelikzirkus grundsätzlich immer mit allem rechnen muss.




KING GIZZARD & THE LIZARD WIZARD - Fishing For Fishies ("Landfill Edition" on swamp green vinyl) (2019)


Das Album mit dem vielleicht dämlichsten Titel aller bisherigen King Gizzard-Veröffentlichungen befasst sich thematisch überwiegend mit Umweltverschmutzung und der Zerstörung unseres Planeten. Das musikalische Vehikel dafür ist - wie die Songtitel "Boogieman Sam", "Plastic Boogie" und "Cyboogie" bereits dezent andeuten - der Free Jazz. Nein, Quatsch. Natürlich ist es yes Sir der Boogie.

Diesen nutzen die Australier in allen erdenklichen Härtegraden, von Country und Beatles-Pop, über shuffelnden ZZ Top-Hardrock bis zu dröhnendem Stonerrock.
Und selbst Stücke wie der Titelsong, welche nicht so sehr von dem typischen Groove geprägt sind, werden durch die Mundharmonika im Rahmen des Albumkonzepts gehalten. Die Mundharmonika ist hier, ähnlich wie die Zurna auf "Flying Microtonal Banana", der Teppich in der Wohnung des Dude, das alles verbindende, und dadurch manchmal auch schon fast nervensägende Element.

An welchem Stil sich die Band auch orientiert, natürlich gibt es immer eine Prise gizzardscher Craziness und seltsamer Ideen obendrauf, welche die Stücke bei aller Unterschiedlichkeit unverkennbar macht. Ein paar Stücke sind - ich muss schon wieder den Titeltrack nennen - alleine für sich vielleicht grenzwertig und bedürfen etwas Gewöhnung. Im Fluss des gesamten Albums funktonieren sie jedoch alle vorzüglich. King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard zeigen hier ein gutes Gespür für das Gesamtbild und wie man es kurz bevor man glaubt, es nun aber komplett zu kennen, doch wieder mit neuen Impulsen interessant und kurzweilig hält. 

Dazu passt auch, dass sie sich die größte Überraschung bis zum Schluss aufsparen. Der vorletzte Song "Acarine" klingt zunächst nach einer etwas spacigeren Zusammenfassung des bisher Geschehenen, bis er nach der Hälfte komplett in ein atmosphärisches Instrumental kippt, welches stark nach einem tanzbaren Elektro-Jam von Ulver klingt. Da fehlen nur noch die Laser.

Im Grunde ist dies dann auch schon das Intro für den Abschluss mit dem komplett synthie-dominierten Ohrwurm "Cyboogie".


Vom Dreh des herrlich schrägen Retro-Videos zu diesem Stück stammt auch das große Bandposter, welches der auf dem europäischen Markt vertriebenen "Landfill Edition" des Albums beiliegt.
Einen Download vermisse ich zwar, doch das transparant grüne Vinyl ist dafür von guter Tonqualität. Die Platteninnenhülle enthält alle schrägen Texte.




"Fishing For Fishies" ist auf jeden Fall ein deutlich besseres Album, als ich zunächst gedacht hatte. Gerade Fans des durchschnittlich höheren Härtegrades lecken sich zwar schon die Finger nach dem bereits mit zwei Videos schmackhaft gemachten Nachfolgewerk, welches ebenfalls noch dieses Jahr erscheinen wird und sich u.a. dem Thrash Metal widmet, doch ich rate dringend davon ab, "Fishing For Fishies" auszulassen!

Denn im Grunde kann dieses Werk fast alles, was King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard können. Und das ist eine verdammte Menge.

And also: It can boogie.






2019-05-29

MOLASSES - Mourning Haze / Drops Of Sunlight

Weeks and weeks go by and still I feel at least a touch of Roadburn blues almost every day. Maybe I should remove those personal timetables, which are still lurking in the chaos of my table between my keyboard and the computer screen. But then I only need to look to the wall to my left, where a calendar with my own concert photos recently shows me Big|Brave live in Het Patronaat at Roadburn 2018. Oh, all the feels...

I also still got a bunch of roadburn-related reviews on my to-do-list, but honestly I'm not sure if that will ever stop again. However that stuff is beginning to amass, so I want to increase my writing tempo a bit by resetting my blog to the default language of German for a while again. Starting right now. Tschuldigung, liebe internationale Leser!




MOLASSES - Mourning Haze / Drops Of Sunlight (opaque blue 12" EP) (2019)


Molasses sind benannt nach dem letzten Song des "Earth Air Spirit Water Fire"-Albums von Selim Lemouchi & His Enemies, und das kommt nicht von ungefähr. Zusammengebracht um das erste von drei speziell für Roadburn 2019 komponierten Sets mit kommissionierter Musik zu spielen, sind in der sechsköpfigen Band Molasses nicht ein, nicht zwei, sondern gleich vier Musiker mit The Devil's Blood-Vergangenheit am Start. Vor allem auf die Rückkehr des gleichsam enigmatischen wie kraftvollen Organs Farida Lemouchis haben viele Fans lange gehofft.

Stilistisch sind sowohl The Devil's Blood, als auch die Enemies natürlich klar wiederzuerkennen. Die unermüdlich reitenden Beats der dichten Rhythmussektion, die psychedelischen bis protometallischen Doppelleads, Hard Rock-Powerakkorde, aber auch die postpunkigen cleanen Gitarren, welche auch die befreundeten Devil's Blood-Erben Dool und Gold so gerne zelebrieren - alles da und wunderbar.

Molasses live at Roadburn 2019
Wer alle genannten Bands liebt, der kann hier kaum enttäuscht werden, da der Sound - obwohl nicht kopiert oder ganz auf Nummer sicher wiederbelebt - selbstverständlich immer wohlig vertraut bleibt.

Dass Molasses mit diesem Debüt den Thron der legitimsten The Devil's Blood-Nachfolger besteigen, ist ohne Diskussion in Marmor gemeißelt. Es wäre der Gruppe zu wünschen, dass sie weitere Taten folgen lässt und sich zumindest ein wenig aus dem übergroßen Schatten lösen kann.


Das Coverartwork von "Morning Haze / Drops Of Sunlight", welches Farida live übrigens als Kleidmuster trug, ist schön abstrakt und edel gedruckt, das opakblaue Vinyl sieht großartig aus.
Ván Record hat sich hier auf jeden Fall mal wieder einen anerkennenden Klaps auf die Schulter verdient.



Zu bemängeln sind an der EP eigentlich nur zwei Dinge:

Der Sound ist mir stellenweise ein wenig zu dumpf für das Gebotene.

Und es ist halt nach einer Viertelstunde schon alles vorbei.









2019-05-27

TWIN TEMPLE - Twin Temple

Let's start at the beginning:

Lilith was the first woman. She was not made from Adam's spare rib like Eve, but... No, not THAT beginning!

Oh, the other one. Ok.

In 1969 a debut album was released, which dealt with occult themes and is said to have introduced the inverted cross, the sign of the horns and the neat phrase "Hail Satan!" into the canon of rock music. As famously as coincidently Coven's "Witchcraft Destroys Minds & Reaps Souls" started with a song called "Black Sabbath". And the band also had a bass player named Michael "Ozzy" Osborne.

Fifty years later, after decades of hiatus, in which generations of band were inspired by them, and led by original singer Jinx DawsonCoven are still around (see my Roadburn 2017 review), sparking interest in new listeners, who now encounter the shrouded in myth "Witchcraft" for the first time.

Many of those listeners might be surprised, that the sound doesn't fully match their expectation based on the satanic image. While there are rock structures and a couple guitar parts which hint to the future of what would later be known as metal, most of the music is basically lyrically dark, but catchy folk.

Which shouldn`t be a huge surprise given the time.


Now what if not Coven, but another band had introduced all that satanic stuff into popular music? Let's say ten to fifteen years earlier during the late 1950s.

Enter Twin Temple!




TWIN TEMPLE - Twin Temple (violet sparkle vinyl LP) (2019)


Twin Temple present themselves as the duo of the high priests Alexandra (vocals) and Zachary James (guitar), yet they are a backed up by a full band including organ and saxophone (or occasionally trumpet). Their satanic message is tongue-in-cheek in its deliverance, yet adamant in its focus on the right of self-determination and feminism.

Yet above all - not only proven on this record, but also on stage, like I had the pleasure to witness at Roadburn last month -, the concept comes with a shitload of danceable party tunes and sheer fun.

The reason for that lies in the perfect execution of the very specific 1950's rock'n'roll variety, Twin Temple have chosen as the carrier of their gospel: doo-wop.
Doesn't ring a bell? Just imagine "doo-wop" repeatedly being sung by background vocalists and you know what style this is.

Besides the heavy usage of nonsense syllables (which Twin Temple don't rely that much on though) this kind of rock still is very much rooted not only in blues, but also in swinging jazz.

Twin Temple live at Roadburn 2019
And of course it's one of the least satanic things on this Earth you could imagine. This band however makes it a perfect fit. This music sounds completely genuine, while in truth being so joyfully absurd.

Especially in the opener "The Devil Didn't Make Me Do It" Alexandra makes it obvious that not only with her bouffant hair-dos she has a ball emulating the late Amy Winehouse. While she dials that influence back over the rest of the album, Twin Temple still very well might be one of the closest thing you can find to Amy today, which also includes a bit of her rebellious attitude.

"Twin Temple (Bring You Their Signature Sound.... Satanic Doo-Wop)", as the full album title goes, is stuffed with hits. "Lucifer, My Love", "Sex Magick", the ayayayay Mexican "Santa Muerte"... try to get those out of your head! Once they are in there it's nearly impossible.


Two tracks make the Coven homage very obvious: "I'm Wicked", which also includes the chorus verse "I'm a woman" is of course a blatant reference to "Wicked Woman".
Even more so is the untitled bonus track, which in shortened form is also part of their live performance: a satanic iniation ritual, which of course mirrors the "Satanic Mass", which takes most of the B side on"Witchcraft Destroys Minds & Reaps Souls".


Along with the brilliant concept and music Twin Temple also satisfy on the visual side. The cover and backcover design (including a long cited press text) is very in line with the style of old jazz records.

The violet sparkle vinyl is probably the best hideout for fluff I've ever seen. Looks great though. But on the downside it also carries a lot of surface noises.

That alongside the absence of a download code really is the only bad thing I can say about this album.




Twin Temple are clever and hilarious, but also just plain good.

Did I already mention that this stuff is fun?

Hail Lilith!
Hail Lucifer!
Hail Satan!















2019-05-19

DOOL - Love Like Blood

Dool are still working on their eagerly awaited second album. To shorten the time until then the Dutch dark rockers just put out a little EP.


DOOL - Love Like Blood (download) (2019)

Prophecy Records also released this on vinyl and CD, but since this is just one cover and two live songs, I'm content with the digital format this time.

Which doesn't mean that this stuff isn't good.

Dool are a fantastic live band, so the Rock Hard Festival recordings of "She Goat" and "In Her Darkest Hour" are almost an automatic win. And I'm saying this even though the TV stream of that show left me with the impression that it wasn't even their strongest performance. I would put at least two of the four times I saw them above that show. I'm pretty sure that if there were fufficient recording from Hell Over Hammaburg or Prophecy Fest, they would have used those. But hey, this is great, don't let me tell you otherwise!

Dool live at Sankt Hell 2017
Dool's version of the Killing Joke classic "Love Like Blood" stays very true to the original, while successfully transfering it into their own style without feeling forced. It's a bit slower, of course it's heavier and without question Ryanne van Dorst's unique voice gives it a new spin and makes it totally sound like a Dool composition.

The main critique here is obvious: the 16+ minutes of this EP rush by way too fast. And of course we want to here more new material. So yeah, bring the new album!





LUCY IN BLUE - In Flight

While the festival already lies more than one month in the past, my string of roadburn-related reviews still carries on.

This one feels a little bit redundant, because I've kind of done it before in my account of Roadburn Sunday, when the band released the album and played it in full. So in case you're feeling a glimpse of déjà vu - it's not you.



LUCY IN BLUE - In Flight (CD) (2019)


A young band from Iceland indulging in rock styles from fifty years ago. Smells like The Vintage Caravan, but Lucy In Blue take their inspriration from a set of different bands.

One in particular which noone can miss hearing is of course Pink Floyd, mostly "Meddle" era. Especially when it's slow and the organ takes a lead role. And even more when the harmonious vocals set in. "In Flight" doesn't feature a ton of singing, but the parts which are there feel as close to early Floyd as it seems possible.

But all this Floydishness, it's all a little bit of a trick. It feels like authentic Gilmour, Waters and co., but if you'd go through the album song by song and part by part, probably not even half of it would be something Pink Floyd would have actually ever played. There is early prog, some almost jazzy tendencies and also smoothly integrated more modern influences.

The same applies for the production of the album. It is very much of our time, but it feels like somethinge genuinely classic.

Lucy In Blue live at Roadburn 2019
It's not like a historic look back on something ancient though, not even like a mere homage to the early days of psych, prog and art rock. No, it feels like you are back there - which is years before I was born for me, and even one or two years more for the band members - and experiencing this sound for the first time.

Ok, did I just contradict myself?

Well, you may have noticed that I'm using the word "feel" a lot. And yeah, that's just the thing with Lucy In Blue. They just have the gift of making it feel so right, that it leaves you without any urge to question or over-analyze them. Call it the Agusa effect.

They are one of those "retro" bands, who have just completely figured out the right balance of the familiar and the original, making both merge perfectly, so it feels fresh and makes me unconditionally happy.

Let's hope that they won't lose this gift anytime soon. Because if they can manage to raise the bar they've set here themselves, Lucy In Blue might have a breath-taking discography ahead of them.

No pressure, haha. Great stuff, seriously.






2019-05-18

MOTORPSYCHO and ELDER live at the Markthalle, Hamburg (May 16th 2019)

Motorpsycho


Fuck, it's Saturday night, and that Motorpsycho concert was already two nights ago. So let's do this.


Thursday was a special occasion, as Stickman Records celebrated its twenty-fifth anniversary, which meant that there was a second label band as support.


Elder


Elder are a stoner rock band with classic doom influences, which has gradually shifted more towards psychedelic rock and prog. Seeing them live pretty much underlined my previous impression, which is: yeah, this is good - but good enough to buy an album? Nah. (Ok, I have that one live album on CD, but that was a Roadburn Records sale.)

I loved the heavy bass sound, which was also the rhythmic foundation - strongly suspect an influence from the headliner there -, and I liked the parts which tended to the jammier psych side most. On the other side I found the general tempo and especially the vocal parts to be a bit too samey.

All in all Elder were good, but not mind-blowing or essential.


However it's of course not the most thankful slot in the world to open for an elemental force like Motorpsycho.



Motorpsycho


The Norwegians performed as a quartet, the guest musician on keys and additional guitar again being long-time collaborator Reine Fiskes, just like the last time I saw them (Roadburn 2018).

The approximately two hours long show started smoothly with "Pills, Powders And Passion Plays", before they surprised me by already playing my absolute favorite from last time, "Ship Of Fools". How many bands are out there, who can play such an epic tune at the beginning and keep up that level afterwards?

Being a Motorpsycho fan since "Heavy Metal Fruit" with some insular knowledge of their previous work, their setlists are always a mixture of Yeah I've heard that live before, not sure if I know this but it's cool and fuck yeah, I know THAT to me. This time it almost didn't matter matter to which category each of the mostly long and jammy songs belonged - I was never bored even in the slightest.

I said "almost", because I have to admit that my favorite part of the show was when they played the whole "The Crucible" album in reverse order. The mammoth title track was played with two doubleneck guitars, which was the pinnacle of Motorpsycho's prog extravaganza this night. And "Lux Aeterna"... man, this song is just so incredible beautiful. Until it gets fucking sick that is, of course. Loved it.
Also "The Other Fool", "In Every Dream Home", "You Lied", the encore "The Tower"... damn, that whole thing was just brilliant.

The sound was great, the placing of softer breathers inbetween the mostly monstrously heavy steamrollers perfect.

The only small downside was that they obviously had to cut it short at the very end, so they didn't play at least that second encore track which I saw on the setlist afterwards. But can you really complain about that after such a full motorpsychotic treatment?

No.


I'd rather complain about that deer which almost hit my car just a couple of minutes before I arrived home. I was shaky for so long, I could have listened to at least one more Motorpsycho live long track during that time.



Elder:





Motorpsycho: