18.11. BRANT BJORK ft. SEAN WHEELER / THE SONIC DAWN



Brant Bjork has spent over a quarter-century at the epicenter of Californian desert rock. From cutting his teeth alongside Fatso Jetson’s Mario Lalli in hardcore punkers De-Con to drumming and composing on Kyuss’ landmark early albums, to propelling the seminal fuzz of Fu Manchu from 1994-2001 while producing other bands, putting together offshoot projects like Ché, embarking on his solo career as a singer, guitarist and bandleader, founding his own record label and more, his history is a winding narrative of relentless, unflinching creativity.

For someone so outwardly laid back, he’s never really taken a break. And while Bjork has shown different sides of himself on albums like his funk-laden 1999 solo debut, Jalamanta, the mellow Local Angel (2004), 2007’s mostly-acoustic Tres Dias, and heavier rockers Somera Sól (2007), Gods & Goddesses (2010) and the two most recent outings with The Low Desert Punk Band, he’s maintained a natural representation of himself in his material, whether that’s coming across in the Thin Lizzy-isms of the faux-full-band 2002 release Brant Bjork and the Operators (actually just Bjork playing mostly by himself) or the weedy, in-the-jam-room spirit of “Dave’s War” from Tao of the Devil. When you’re listening to Brant Bjork, you know it, because there’s no one else who sounds quite like him.


That fact and years of hard touring have positioned Brant Bjork as an ambassador for the Southern California desert and the musical movement birthed there in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s. As underground interest has surged in recent years, Bjork has been a pivotal figurehead, realigning with his former Kyuss bandmate John Garcia to drum and write in Kyuss Lives!/Vista Chino, celebrating and building on that legacy while giving a new generation of fans the chance to see it happen in real-time.


Having told his story in films like Kate McCabe’s Sabbia (2006) and the documentaries Such Hawks Such Hounds (2008) and Lo Sound Desert (2015), he’s represented desert rock at home and abroad with no less honesty than that which he poured into the music helping to create it. The same impulse led to the founding of his Desert Generator in 2016, an annual festival held in Pioneertown, CA, with an international reach capturing the intimacy and timeless aura of the desert culture, including music, a van show, the Stoned & Dusted pre-show in a secret desert location, and an evolution that looks to continue into the foreseeable future.

Bjork’s work, with any project, has always had a rebellious sensibility. He’s always walked his own path. But more, his career through Kyuss, Fu Manchu, Ché, Vista Chino, and his crucial solo work has been about freedom through rock and roll, attained by the truest representation of the person and the place as art. This, along with a whole lot of groove, is what has helped Brant Bjork define desert rock as a worldwide phenomenon, and whatever comes next, it is what will continue to make him its most indispensable practitioner.
– JJ.Koczan


His latest full length LP “Mankind Woman” was released in September 2018 on Heavy Psych Sounds Records.

www.brantbjork.net

The Sonic Dawn is a trip – a psychedelic mixture of styles, from jazzy sitar pop to heavy acid rock. Expect melodic songs with a 60s flavor, laced with dreamy vocals and delivered with an explosive stage presence.

Since their acclaimed album debut in 2015, The Sonic Dawn has been on several European tours. A highlight of 2016 was opening the notorious Freak Valley Festival, sharing the stage with Graveyard and White Hills. This year they can be experienced all over Europe again, confirmed for some of the best venues and festivals, such as Liverpool Psych Fest.

Into the Long Night is the trio’s most ambitious album yet. Written by day and recorded at night during a month of complete isolation by The North Sea, it is as light and gracious as it is dark and mysterious. The journey has just begun.

thesonicdawn.com

Arena Vienna / Big Hall / adv 22 € / doors 27 € / 19.00h

Advertisements

6.11. YOB / WIEGEDOOD

Epic, crushing, and heavy beyond words, YOB has achieved legendary status in recent years due to their unmatched aesthetic and incredible body of work. Formed in 1996 in Eugene, Oregon under the leadership of doom metal mastermind Mike Scheidt on guitars and vocals, the group initially released a three song demo tape in 2000 that garnered them international attention. Drawing comparisons to groups like Neurosis, Sleep and Electric Wizard, YOB succeeded in developing modern sounding doom metal that hearkened back to the classics.

In 2002, YOB released their debut album Elaborations of Carbon followed by Catharsis in 2003, a three song record that clocked in at a colossal 50 minutes. The buzz about YOB was beginning to grow and the trio began to tour more extensively. Remaining quite prolific during this period, YOB continued to release an album each year with The Illusion of Motion coming in 2004 followed by The Unreal Never Lived in 2005. Despite all the momentum, YOB disbanded in 2006.

In 2008 the band returned from hiatus and has remained strong ever since with Travis Foster on drums and Aaron Rieseberg on bass. Reinvigorated and reinspired, YOB released The Great Cessation in 2009. It was doom with a psychedelic twist, a sound that Pitchfork referred to as “cosmic doom.” At this point in their career, the band found increased exposure in the media, with The New York Times going so far as to call them “one of the best bands in North America” after a performance at Scion Rock Festival.

For 2011’s Atma, YOB took a more organic to recording. In Scheidt’s own words, he wanted the record to sound “grizzly, with hair on it.” Three years later, the group released Clearing the Path to Ascend, a record that upheld their legacy as a top notch doom metal act and was hailed by Rolling Stone as the #1 metal album of the year.

Fast forward to 2017 where YOB signed with Relapse Records for their incredible 8th full-length recording Our Raw Heart. The album was conceived amidst dire circumstances that nearly left frontman Mike Scheidt dead after suffering from an extremely painful and potentially fatal intestinal disease. Scheidt miraculously recovered and rallied the band together with a new sense of purpose for Our Raw Heart, an album informed by the will to survive. More exposed than ever both physically and emotionally, YOB bleed out seven riveting tracks of enormous volume and pensive, transcendental beauty across 75 minutes of ultimate doom.

A brilliant musical progression in the YOB continuum, Our Raw Heart is the band at their most aggressive, impassioned and eclectic. The riffs are massive, the vocals captivating and the songwriting sublime. Existing in its own organic universe, Our Raw Heart is truly the band’s finest work to date and the apex achievement of what heavy music can accomplish. Our Raw Heart was co-produced by the band and longtime collaborator Billy Barnett at Gung Ho Studio in Eugene, Ore., with mastering handled by Heba Kadry (The Mars Volta, Diamanda Galas, Slowdive).

www.yobislove.com



“I, II and III all focus on the subject of loss,” say WIEGEDOOD in a collective statement. “It’s inherently in our nature to desperately hold on to the people and the things we love. All three records are dedicated to Florent Pevée [from Kabul Golf Club], a close friend of Wim [Coppers] and a great musician who lost his life at 21. This is our way of honoring his life.”


As the final part of the De Doden Hebben Het Goed trilogy—which translates to English as The Dead Have It Good—WIEGEDOOD’s newest album, De Doden Hebben Het Goed III, is a natural extension of its predecessors. What the three albums share sonically—a violent yet epic brand of black metal—they also share thematically and physically. III blends the atmospherics of I and the aggression of II. The band says they’ve “found the perfect crossover.” WIEGEDOOD have also found a four-song formula that affords the trio latitude to explore without the wearisome effects of interminable concept album lengths. And finally, the albums also benefit from similar covers—photographed by Stefaan Temmerman—where nature and the WIEGEDOOD sigil play important parts of the whole.


wiegedood.bandcamp.com


Arena Vienna / Small Hall / adv 20 € / 19.00h

21.10. ELDER / SASQUATCH / ANCESTORS


Beginning in a small town in coastal Massachusetts by three long time friends, Elder started making rumblings in the stoner rock and doom scene with their first releases Elder and Dead Roots Stirring in 2008 and 2010.

Relentless touring and increasing disillusion with the gimmicks and lack of creativity plaguing the heavy rock underground spurned the trio on to expand their sound, bringing in more psychedelic and progressive elements to their music. 2015’s Lore was a pivotal moment in the band’s orbit, receiving praise from the stoner/doom audience as well as reaching listeners outside an often insular scene, thanks to an unwillingness to adhere to genre limitations or cliches.

During a period of incessant touring following Lore and full of inspiration from their travels, the band holed up for periods of intense songwriting over breaks to produce their most inspired and adventurous music of their now ten year career.

Reflections of a Floating World is Elder’s fourth full length album and second LP released via Stickman Records (EU) and Armageddon Label (US). Long, undulating and dense tracks float between psychedelic passages and progressive rock without missing a beat; adventurous and unpredictable songs are punctuated by hypnotic jams, all colored by the tendency toward melody and dynamism that has become the band’s hallmark. In keeping with their motto of expanding and expanding upon their repertoire, guest musicians Mike Risberg and Michael Samos joined the core three in the studio to add extra guitar, keys and pedal steel, adding vibrancy and lushness to the album. In all regards, Reflections shows a band with a clear vision honing their skills with every year.

beholdtheelder.com



Sasquatch is a rock band from Los Angeles, CA. They tend to sip on influences from 70’s metal, rock, and psychedelia. Their songwriting approach is clear-cut; keep the focus on the hook.

The band’s music has been featured on a variety of movies, television shows, and video games including the reissue of Clerks, FX’s original hit series Sons of Anarchy, A&E’s Dog The Bounty Hunter, Jersey Girl, CW’s The Supernatural, and MTV’s Viva La Bam, Bam’s Unholy Union, and Rob and Big, NHL 2005, American Chopper, and Monster Garage.



The band’s latest album, Maneuvers, was released on June 20th, 2017 and features the work of new basher, Craig Riggs, behind the kit. This is the band’s most concise work to-date. Extended jams were stripped down to the meat and potatoes. Short and sweet is the path looking forward. Andrew Schneider (NYC) returns behind the boards this round. You may recognize the name as he also provided the mixes on “II”. What fans hear is arguably the gents most mature and inspired song-set released, chunked with both heartwarmingly familiar moments – but all of it heavy on the heavy, as they say…always. Unprecedented attention was also devoted to spinning new yarns out of those evergreen rock and roll stories about love lost, hate found, relationships built and lives trashed, homes wrecked, etc.

www.sasquatchrock.us

Ancestors formed in 2006 and instead of “choosing between prog rock or heavy rock,” merged the styles to create music rife with atmosphere, tension and raw human emotion.


Ancestors create mighty, modern music that dovetails innovative arrangement, crushing primordial riff interplay and melodic instrumental passages with textural atmospherics. With both thunderous roar and expansive communiqué, Ancestors are proving to be a quickly-emerging force of musical power and creativity.



ancestorsla.bandcamp.com

Arena Vienna / Big Hall / adv 20 € / 19.00h

29.9. BRIAN JONESTOWN MASSACRE / LeVENT


The ever-evolving musical vehicle for notorious psych-rock brain trust Anton Newcombe, the Brian Jonestown Massacre has endured numerous phases and iterations since arriving in the mid-’90s, becoming something of an independent institution in the process. Early highlights like 1996’s Their Satanic Majesties’ Second Request showed Newcombe’s propensity for melding late-’60s psychedelia with textured shoegaze, while later standouts like 2015’s imaginary soundtrack Musique de Film Imaginé took a more cerebral and experimental approach. 

Undoubtedly, their most visible period followed the release of the 2004 documentary film DIG!, which focused on the contentious relationship between Newcombe and Dandy Warhols frontman Courtney Taylor-Taylor. With the film criticized by members from both bands for what they considered to be an unfair portrayal, the Brian Jonestown Massacre nonetheless survived the media attention and moved into a particularly fertile period of creativity that continued well into the 2010s.

Named in tribute to the legendary Rolling Stones guitarist and his influence in introducing Eastern culture and music into the world of Western rock & roll, the Brian Jonestown Massacre formed in San Francisco, California in 1990. Some 40 different members passed through the group’s ranks over the next half-decade, but the focal point always remained singer/guitarist Anton Newcombe, who, along with bassist Matt Hollywood, guitarist Dean Taylor, organist Mara Regal, accordionist Dawn Thomas, drummer Brian Glaze, and percussionist Joel Gion, recorded the band’s 1995 shoegaze-influenced debut LP, Methodrone. 

A collection of early recordings, Spacegirl and Other Favorites, followed on the band’s own Tangible label in early 1996, and was the first of four Brian Jonestown Massacre LPs to appear that year; next up was the brilliant Their Satanic Majesties’ Second Request, a full-blown homage to the Stones’ glorious psychedelic-era excesses. Recorded live in the studio, the grittier Take It from the Man! found the band exploring even broader territory. Finally, the year ended with the release of Thank God for Mental Illness, a showcase for their strong country and blues leanings.

In 1997, the BJM — now consisting of Newcombe, Hollywood, Gion, Taylor, guitarists Jeff Davies and Peter Hayes, and drummer Brad Artley — resurfaced with Give It Back! After signing to TVT, they released Strung Out in Heaven the following year, but the band and Newcombe’s own eccentricities kept them from staying on the label. After a few scattered EPs, they resurfaced in 2001 with Bravery Repetition and Noise, distributed by Bomp. And This Is Our Music followed in 2003. Despite a continued lack of major distribution, the Brian Jonestown Massacre earned the largest profile of their career in 2004, when the band became the unlikely focus of an award-winning documentary, DIG!, which charted the trials of Newcombe and those of his former friend and perceived rival, Courtney Taylor-Taylor, leader of the Dandy Warhols. The We Are the Radio EP followed in August 2005. Three years later, the band reinvented itself with My Bloody Underground, featuring yet another lineup and a hint of shoegaze and noise pop, and marking the first release for Newcombe’s own A Records label. The noisy experimentalism continued on 2010’s Who Killed Sgt Pepper?, which Newcombe recorded partly in Iceland and Berlin.

In 2012, Newcombe and Matt Hollywood teamed up again to record what he considered his most cinematic record, Aufheben. In 2014, the project’s 14th full-length album, Revelation, materialized, featuring tracks toiled over in Newcombe’s Berlin studio between 2012 and 2014. In 2015, Newcombe returned to the themes of Aufheben with Musique de Film Imaginé, a collection of soundtrack cues for a nonexistent movie, inspired by his love of classic French cinema.


A seven-song collection of new, more rock-based material arrived later that year under the amusing title of Mini Album Thingy Wingy. Ever prolific, Newcombe and his collaborators returned first in October 2016 with the lush psych-shogaze LP Third World Pyramid, followed four months later by Don’t Get Lost, their 16th album overall. Something Else, the first of two albums released in 2018, found the BJM eschewing some of the experimentalism of their later period in favor of a more straightforward rock approach akin to their early releases.

www.brianjonestownmassacre.com

Berlin based trio LeVent got stoned, forgot to replace their guitarist, and then kept his name anyway.

2017 saw the release of their self titled debut album on A Recordings.

levent.bandcamp.com

Arena Vienna / Big Hall / adv 26 € / doors 34 € / 19.00h

25.9. GRAVEYARD / BOMBUS

„When we started the band we did so without a plan ever to come this far – but with that said we started Graveyard with the ambition and intention to take it as far as we could. Graveyard as a band wasn’t gonna be about mocking around in the rehearsal room, cos we knew what we wanted to do and that we also had the musical skills and the dedication to write and record great songs that could and would take us places.“


In the past 5-6 years Graveyard recorded 3 full length albums, toured the world extensively, made fans wherever they happened to play and were met by the music press with overflowing joy and superlatives.
2015 Graveyard called it quits and disbanded.

2018 marked their surprising comeback and release of their 5th full length album, and definite return to form, „Peace“.
Needless to say fans all over the world were delighted, if not in pure ecstasy.


Unsurprisingly Graveyard picked up right where they left. Incorporating all of their refined musical influences (folk, prog, heavy metal, stoner) into an artfully crafted, timeless rock album.

www.facebook.com/graveyardofficial


Bombus were formed in Gothenburg in around 2008 as a two piece and in 2009 they expanded to a four piece. Shortly afterwards they released their eponymous debut album. Bombus toured extensively through Scandinavia and Europe and in 2013 released their second album, “The Poet And The Parrot”. An appearance at this year’s [2015] Download festival has introduced Bombus to a wider UK audience and if there’s any logic and reason in the world this will kick them on to another level.

Bombus are a superb band and a fantastic live act. They are certainly deserving of your attention.

Singer and guitarist Feffe would like to add:

“Some people believe in hard work and artistic suffering. Others believe that if you know you got it you can just kick back and let the good things come to you. We believe in both. We worked hard (really hard), suffered artistically (don´t really know what that means), but also kicked back and just let this monster of an album take a form of its own. We went into the studio and came out with a bunch of the strongest tracks we’ve ever made. We have shamelessly stolen the best of the best from the best and then made it better. We have polished turds, dug too deep and climbed too high. Call it Metal, call it Rock, call it whatever, but don´t call us – we´ll call you! This album is our third and is by far the best we’ve ever made. Its name is REPEAT UNTIL DEATH. And that´s a fact.”

www.bombusmusic.com

Arena Vienna / Big Hall / 29 € / 19.00h

 

19.9. STONED JESUS / MOTHERSHIP / ELEPHANT TREE


Melting faces since 2009 – Stoned Jesus wouldn`t dare to show up at your party without a solid slab of stoner rock! 

But make no mistake with this Ukrainian trio: this ain`t your average desert session! Fourth album „Pilgrims“ is a rather multi-faceted affair mixing groove with noise rock elements and lots of proggy infusions.

If Stoned Jesus keep releasing music and expanding their fanbase like they did over the past few years, they will slowly but surely be among the top of the crop of contemporary, forward thinking metal giants such as Mastodon or Deftones.

stonedjesus.bandcamp.com


Supersonic intergalactic heavy rock trio Mothership based out of Dallas, Texas give a real sense of hope that all is well in the universe, and that pure honest rock and roll has once again returned to this planet on a mission to unite true believers. Consisting of brothers Kyle Juett on bass/lead vocals, Kelley Juett on guitar/vocals, and Judge Smith on drums, these guys have created a unique sound that satisfies like a steaming hot stew of UFO and Iron Maiden, blended with the southern swagger of Molly Hatchet and ZZ Top, paired with a deadly chalice of Black Sabbath.

2017 saw the release of “High Strangeness”, their most accomplished work up until now.

Mothership’s goal from the beginning has been to carry on the tradition of the classic rock style of the ’70′s, updated and amped up for the modern day. The band has been non-stop road warriors since the release of their debut album in February 2013 on Ripple Music successfully invading the United States, Canada, United Kingdom and Europe playing either on festival stages, night clubs, or outdoors under the sun at motorcycle parties.


mothershipusa.com


Rock/Blues/Doom/Stoner band Elephant Tree was founded in London, GB, in January 2014.

Elephant Tree are a relatively new band who, after cutting their teeth in the London metal scene, have established a place within the current growing Stoner Metal genre. While the style is difficult to class under any one particular sub-genre of Metal it has been most likened to Doom Metal and Stoner Rock however many people have their own classifications ranging from Blues to Prog.

elephanttreeband.bandcamp.com

Arena Vienna / Big Hall / adv 20 € / doors 24 € / 19.00h

10.9. MARS RED SKY / MAIDAVALE


Mars Red Sky establish themselves as a cornerstone band of the heavy psych scene, garnering praise from major international critics. Hypnotic, massive, charismatic, psychedelic, are some of the tags used to define the prolific trio’s brand of sound, floating atop the stoner rock constellation and 70’s psych-pop nebula.

www.marsredsky.net

MaidaVale is a rock band that met and formed in Fårösund on Gotland, Sweden, in 2012. With influences ranging over decades, they have created a sound based in the late 60’s/early 70’s music scene. With a modern take on blues rock the band have captured many audiences with their heavy and psychedelic vibes, and developed into a highly acclaimed live act with the ability to spellbind and enthrall audiences.


2018 saw the release of their second full length “Madness Is Too Pure”.

maidavaleofficial.bandcamp.com

Arena Vienna / Dreiraum /  adv 16 € / doors 20 € / 20.00h