Category: Heavy Metal

Throwback: Happy 52nd Birthday, Zack de la Rocha!

As it turns out, the first couple of weeks of this month are rather auspicious in music history: John Paul Jones’ birthday was on the third, Michael Stipe‘s birthday was on the fourth David Bowie‘s […]

Live Footage: King Gizzard and The Lizard Wizard Perform “Robot Stop” and “Hot Water” at Levitation

Levitation Festival (initially founded as Austin Psych Fest) can trace its beginnings to a simple idea devised by the members of JOVM mainstay act The Black Angels in the back of a tour van back in 2007: “Let’s invite all of our favorite bands and all of our friends for our version of a music festival.” 

The inaugural Austin Psych Fest was in March 2008 — and by popular demand, the festival expanded to a three-day event the following year. Within a relatively short period of time, Austin Psych Fest became an international destination for psych fans across the globe, with the festival featuring lineups that included up-and-comers, cult favorites, legendary and influential acts and a headlining set from the festival’s founders, The Black Angels. A few years ago, the festival was renamed Levitation in honor of Austin psych rock pioneers The 13th Floor Elevators, but in in its almost 15 year run, the festival has helped spark a new, international psych rock movement while inspiring the creation of similar events across the globe, including Levitation Festival events in ChicagoVancouver, France and a SXSW showcase, as well as other special events in Europe and Latin America.

Late last year, Levitation Festival’s record label, The Reverberation Appreciation Society announced the launch of a new live album series, Live at LEVITATION. Comprised of material played and recorded throughout the festival’s history, the live album series specifically captures and documents key artists in the contemporary psych rock scene. Of course, many of these moments were also important moments of Austin’s live music scene. 

  • The live series’ first album Kikagaku Moyo — Live at LEVITATION featured two different Kikagaku Moyo sets — their 2014 Levitation Festival set, which was one of the Japanese psych rock act’s first Stateside shows and their return to Levitation back in 2019, during a sold-out Stateside tour, which included a stop at Warsaw that year with Japanese krautrockers Minami Deutsch.
  • The series’ second album The Black Angels — Live at LEVITATION featured the festival’s founders The Black Angels. The Black Angels live album is comprised of material recorded at Austin Psych Fest 2010, 2011 and 2012, and captures a rare glimpse of the festival’s earlier, more humble days. And of course, for Black Angels fans, like myself, the album features live version of six songs from their first two albums — Passover and Directions to See a Ghost
  • The series third album Primal ScreamLive at LEVITATION features the legendary and influential British psych rockers — currently, Bobby Gillespie (vocals), Andrew Innes (guitar), Martin Duffy (keys), Simone Butler (bass) and Darrin Mooney (drums) — during their career spanning 2015 LEVITATION set. The set featured hits from landmark albums like  ScreamadelicaGive Out But Don’t Give UpXTRMNTR and others

The Reverberation Appreciation Society surprised psych rock fans with the surprise release of the fourth installment of their Live at LEVITATION series — King Gizzard and The Lizard WizardLive at LEVITATION. The double LP features the acclaimed JOVM mainstays’ 2014 and 2016 Levitation Festival appearances.

The Aussie JOVM mainstays’ 2014 appearance is presented in full on the first LP. That set is historic because it’s their first North American show, ever — and it includes a live performance of their then-unreleased “I’m in Your Mind Fuzz” suite. The rest of the set includes early versions of material loved by fans today while offering a look into the creative process of a band that was just about to explode into the global scene. After their 2014 North American tour, the band spent the summer in Brooklyn recording I’m Not Your Mind Fuzz and Quarters.

The second LP consists of King Gizzard and The Lizard Wizard’s 2016 Levitation Festival appearance: The band returned to celebrate the release of that year’s critically applauded, mind-bending effort Nonagon Infinity. Unfortunately, that year’s festival was canceled because of severe weather; but the recording on the second LP is one of two shows Gizz played at Barracuda thats weekend. Sadly, Barracuda is no longer.

Both shows were recorded by Craig Lawrence and mixed by the band’s mastermind Stu Mackenzie at their Melbourne-based studio — and specifically mastered for vinyl. To celebrate the live album’s release, The Reverberation Appreciation Society and the band released some blistering live footage of the band playing Nonagon infinity rippers “Robot Stop” and “Hot Water.” Play loud and then rock out.

The vinyl release will feature four unique colorways, each limited to 2000 in a matte gatefold featuring unique gold foil embossed numbered jackets numbered 1-8000. The first run will be the only one with those features — and a special record for anyone who collects records.

The album is also bundled with a super limited edition of tees, tie dyes and screen printed foil prints featuring artwork by Alan Forbes from the 2016 show and the long lost 2014 poster by C.M Ruiz.

Formed over six years ago, Antananarivo, Madagascar-based trio LohArano — Mahalia Ravoajanahary (vocals, guitar), Michael Raveloson (bass, vocals) and Natiana Randrianasoloson (drums, vocals) — have developed an incredibly unique, boundary pushing sound that meshes elements of popular and beloved Malagasy musical styles — in particular, Tsapiky  and Salegy — with metal. The Madagascan trio’s sound and approach represents a bold generation of young people that are inspired by music from West, yet honors and respects the traditions of their elders, all while roaring with the fierce urgency of our moment.

Earlier this year, LohArano released their self-titled EP, which featured “Tandrroka,” a mosh pit friendly ripper, featuring rumbling, down-tuned bass lines, thunderous drumming, scorching guitar riffs and Ravoajanahary’s Karen O-like vocals, which alternate between feral howls, screeching and shouting.

The band released their full-length debut LohAmboto this past Friday through Libertalia Music. The album’s first single, album title track “LohAmboto” continues an incredible run of expansive forward-thinking, post rock/metal inspired material centered around scorching riffs, heavy bass lines, thunderous Malagasy polyrhythms and Ravoajanahary’s howls and shouts. It’s a face melting ripper, reminiscent of System of a Down and others.

The band will be playing Europe for the first time on December 3, 2021 — with an appearance at Trans Musicales in Rennes, France. They’ll embark on their first European tour during the Summer of 2022.

New Audio: Permanent Records and RidingEasy Records Release a Scorching Ripper off Forthcoming “Scrap Metal” Compilation

Permanent Records and RidingEasy Records, the curators of the popular and critically applauded Brown Acid compilation series of long-lost vintage, 60s-70s proto-metal and proto-stoner rock have teamed up yet again on a new compilation Scrap Metal, which chronologically continues where Brown Acid leaves off. In the case of Scrap Metal with RidingEasy Records founder Daniel Hall and Permanent Records co-owner Lance Barresi scouring the world for long-lost, rare and unreleased heavy metal from the late 70s through the late 80s. 

As Hall and Barresi explain in press notes, in their endless pursuit of material for Brown Acid, “. . . we often uncover equally brilliant rarities from the late-70s and to late-80s. Golden Age of Heavy Metal that also just must be heard, but they don’t fit the series’ aesthetic. Scrap Metal: Volume 1 collects some of the greatest unknown and lost Heavy Metal tracks, long buried beneath the avalanche of the era’s classic output.”

“We all know the old age that history is told by the winners,” Barresi and Hall continue. “But sometimes the losers tell the best stories. And while none of these bands found fame and fortune, this artifact and the volumes to come are testament to the enduring power of heavy music. You can hear the blood, sweat and beers that went into each of these singles. The recordings may be low budget, but the inspiration and talent is immutable. Not only are the amps turned up to 11, the boyish sexual innuendo is cranked to 69. You can hear the convergence of influences — NWOBHM, thrash, glam metal, doom, etc — colliding at once as the era birthed a wellspring of subgenres.”

“Many of these singles are self-released and were thus limited to a small run of copies. Those that remain are hoarded by collectors and sold for exorbitant amounts. We’ve collected the best of the best for you here. As with Brown Acid, all of these tracks are licensed legitimately and the artists all get paid. Because it’s the right thing to do.”

Earlier this month, I wrote about the Kill ‘Em All Metallica-like ripper “Enemy Ace,” by The Beast, an act that featured Scott Ruth, who later played with Dim Mak and Ripping Corpse, and was released in 1983. Boston-based metal outfit Hazardous Waste contributes their 1986 ripper “Danger Zone.” Featuring some scorching riffs, “Danger Zone” is one-part Kill ‘Em All Metallica, one-part Van Halen and one-part Motorhead, delivered with a snarling aggression.

New Audio: Permanent Records And RidingEasy Records Release a Scuzzy Ripper from Their New Late 70’s to Late 80’s Heavy Metal Compilation “Scrap Metal”

Permanent Records and RidingEasy Records, the curators of the popular and critically applauded Brown Acid compilation series of long-lost vintage, 60s-70s proto-metal and proto-stoner rock have teamed up yet again on a new compilation Scrap Metal, which chronologically continues where Brown Acid leaves off. In the case of Scrap Metal with RidingEasy Records founder Daniel Hall and Permanent Records co-owner Lance Barresi scouring the world for long-lost, rare and unreleased heavy metal from the late 70s through the late 80s.

As Hall and Barresi explain in press notes, in their endless pursuit of material for Brown Acid, “. . . we often uncover equally brilliant rarities from the late-70s and to late-80s. Golden Age of Heavy Metal that also just must be heard, but they don’t fit the series’ aesthetic. Scrap Metal: Volume 1 collects some of the greatest unknown and lost Heavy Metal tracks, long buried beneath the avalanche of the era’s classic output.”

“We all know the old age that history is told by the winners,” Barresi and Hall continue. “But sometimes the losers tell the best stories. And while none of these bands found fame and fortune, this artifact and the volumes to come are testament to the enduring power of heavy music. You can hear the blood, sweat and beers that went into each of these singles. The recordings may be low budget, but the inspiration and talent is immutable. Not only are the amps turned up to 11, the boyish sexual innuendo is cranked to 69. You can hear the convergence of influences — NWOBHM, thrash, glam metal, doom, etc — colliding at once as the era birthed a wellspring of subgenres.”

“Many of these singles are self-released and were thus limited to a small run of copies. Those that remain are hoarded by collectors and sold for exorbitant amounts. We’ve collected the best of the best for you here. As with Brown Acid, all of these tracks are licensed legitimately and the artists all get paid. Because it’s the right thing to do.”

Scarp Meat’s second and latest single “Enemy Ace” is by The Beast, an act that featured Scott Ruth, who later played with Dim Mak and Ripping Corpse. Released in 1983, “Enemy Ace” is scuzzy and rousingly anthemic ripper that sonically meshes thrash punk and heavy metal in a way that recalls Kill ‘Em All Metallica — but played through a shitty Bluetooth speaker.

New Audio: Permanent Records and RidingEasy Records Release a Bluesy Ripper off Forthcoming “Brown Acid: The Thirteenth Trip” Compilation

Throughout the course of this site’s 11-plus year history,  Permanent Records’ and RidingEasy Records‘ ongoing collaborative proto-metal and pre-stoner rock compilation series from the 1960s and 1970s, Brown Acid have been regularly featured. Now, as you may recall, each individual edition of the ongoing series is centered around RidingEasy Records founder Daniel Hal’s and Permanent Records co-owner Lance Barresi’s extensive, painstaking research and curation with Hall and Barresi spending a great deal of time attempting to track down the artists behind these great yet sadly under-appreciated tunes. 

Frequently those bands haven’t written, played or recorded together in 30 or 40 years — but Barresi and Hall encourage the bands to take part in the compilation process. “All of (these songs) could’ve been hits given the right circumstances. But for one reason or another most of these songs fell flat and were forgotten,” Lance Barresi explains in press notes. “However, time has been kind in my opinion and I think these songs are as good now or better than they ever were.”

Having the original artists participate as much as humanly possible in the compilation process can give the artists and their songs a real second chance at the attention they had the misfortune of missing all of those years ago. And of course, for critics, audiophiles and fans alike, the material on the Brown Acid series will do three very important things: 

  • introduce listeners to some great, sadly under-appreciated tunes that fucking rip or will melt your face right off 
  • fill in the gaps of what was going on in and around regional, national and even international underground scenes during the 60s and 70s
  • push the boundaries of proto-metal, proto-stoner rock, metal and stoner rock in new directions. 

The 13th edition of the Brown Acid series, Brown Acid: The Thirteenth Trip is fittingly slated for an October 31, 2021 release. Continuing in the path of its 12 predecessors, The Thirteenth Trip sees Barresi and Hall somehow digging even deeper into a very deep well of material recorded throughout the 60s and 70s — and discovering tunes still rip and rip hard.

In the lead up to the album’s release later this month, I’ve written about two of its released singles:

  • Run Run,” a groovy arena rock friendly ripper, by Montreal-based outfit Max.
  • Buzzin,” a party starting-anthem centered around a funky blues riff, rollicking rhythmic changes and a chugging bass line that was technically credited as being by Gary Del Vecchio with Max — not the Montreal band.

Ralph Williams and the Wright Brothers’ “Never Again” appeared on the tenth edition of Brown Acid. The group returns to the series with “Dark Street,” the A-side of their 1972 Hour Glass Records 45. Centered around a chugging riff and thunderous drumming, the song hints at Van Halen‘s famous cover of Roy Orbison’s “Pretty Woman” about a decade before they actually did the cover. Sadly, the band soon disappeared after.