West Kensington Ministry is an old church in Philadelphia that is a beautiful place to see a show. On May 4th Sunburned Hand of the Man, Bardo Pond, and Imarhan performed. The place has awesome lighting and no matter where you sat there was a good view. Not to mention behind the stage is a massive organ and pipes.
Sunburned Hand of the Man is a collective group of musicians from MA and they started off the night. They played space rock type jams. There were really cool distorted vocals which I thought really upped the intensity of the songs. Along with guitar and bass, there were 2 drummers and a synthesizer, also a violin. Very cool group and I enjoyed how at some points the music got pretty noisy but you could still hear the different instrumental elements.
Bardo Pond played next. They started off the night with a song from “Peri” called ‘Karwan’. Listening to it live was intense.. It’s pretty heavy and awesome the way it flows. It was wonderful to watch Isobel on stage groovin, but she really shone during the rest of the set. That’s because of her beautiful vocals. Bardo Pond played material from some of their more recent releases, including ‘Kali Yuga Blues’ off “Peace on Venus” and ‘Cried My Eyes Out’ off “Under the Pines”. One of the highlights of the set was Moment to Moment, which tonight had different lyrics interspersed throughout and was extended in length quite a bit. I felt like it was an intimate experience being in the church and watching Bardo Pond perform, they have such good chemistry and cohesion.
Imarhan from Algeria rounded out the night. They are a large musical group and performed their unique set of deserty blues rock. The rhythm section was sensational. It really added an upbeat sound to the songs. The guitar had a nice warm tone. I liked how confident they were as musicians, it was really inspiring and a positive experience listening to a young group of people carry on an old music tradition.
PHOTOGRAPHY: Dan Cohoon
Familia de Lobos release a self titled album on Riot Season Records this winter. It has 7 tracks and clocks in at 40 min. Familia de Lobos as described on their bandcamp page:
“Familia De Lobos (translates to Family Of Wolves) are a psychedelic rock band formed in 2016 in Buenos Aires, Argentina.” From the moment you put on the album you can feel the shamanistic vibe, this is a tribal album with soothing psychedelic notes that speak to the soul. I felt the music in my heart. The album is chock full of traditional aboriginal instruments as well as standard percussion, synth, guitar, and vocals. The vocals are in Spanish, and even if you don’t speak Spanish, i mean I don’t besides what i remember from high school, it translates well on the ears, music being the universal language. There is a sense of noir in the tracks, of old westerns and nights at the bar or under the sky. It’s a subtle dark vibe, a hint that there are secrets in the world. But you are soon pulled back into the light with the next chorus and it’s soulful melody. My favorite track is “El Viento y La Luz”. If you are a fan of psychedelic music and are looking for something different check out Familia de Lobos!
Drunk in Hell from the UK, have released a full length self titled album on Burning World Records. Drunk in Hell has 8 tracks and clocks in at 38min. This is the most non boring music I have heard in awhile, so listen up. It starts off with “I’m an Arsehole”, there’s some strained feedback noise and then it jumps right into crunchy wall of noise, heavy drums, almost sludge. The vocals are pretty simple and audible on the album which always pleases me. It’s sardonic and in your face, “I’m a fucking arsehole, do you like what you see?” “Sick Sick Sex” is up next and is my favorite track, there’s great rhythm and motion. “Bitch Boy” has a great breakdown you just want to bang your head to. “I’m Not Laughing” is a quick dizzying ripper. “Born Sick” has a doom and gloom feel. “Chick Flick” has a ton of noise but it’s not too abrasive. “Gag” takes it’s time. “Walking Abortion” ends the album and is quite long. There’s a full minute of noodling noise before the ‘song’ kicks in.
The guys in Drunk in Hell don’t play around-they create an awesome, unique sound. It’s a pretty heavy and fast paced album that flows together well. You won’t be disappointed if you’re a fan of noise trash punk sludge. Even if you’re not a seasoned noise rock fan try it out. Check out their facebook. Find other releases bandcamp. Get Drunk in Hell self titled at bandcamp.
On 10/24/17 Spark Contemporary Art Gallery in Syracuse NY was overtaken by some heavy and awesome music. At the gallery there were two medium sized rooms the crowd moved back and forth between.
Body Without Organs, a local band, started off the night. Body Without Organs is a 4 piece instrument based metal band on the more doom side, but with the unique feature of having horns and a bassoon! They were very loud but there were quieter moments during the buildup of the tracks. Songs were long but entertaining and quite a few people were banging their heads. They created some cool walls of noise.
Street Sects were up next, they are from Austin, TX, and this was more of a performance art piece with many surprising layers of sound. It was a total assault on the senses. The room was filled with fog and as the music started their were strobe like lights that went on, and stayed on, the whole time. The music was harsh electronics, with rhythmic features and a frontman doing screamo type vocals. Can’t really find a similar reference but trust me it was loud, noisy, eccentric, and an incredible experience. A chainsaw was also involved.
Dälek rounded out the night with their great set. They released Endangered Philosophies on Ipecac Records this year, and I’ve really been diggin it. Dälek have such a genre blending sound. Mainly underground hip hop but with a hint of industrial grit, noise, and occasionally dark ambience. It was badass watching them perform with so much energy, you can tell these guys love what they are doing, very strong and confident. They went from one song to another with the turntable scratching and the beats going and the words flowing. My favorite song they did was Shattered from Asphalt for Eden. Syracuse sure got some Spiritual Healing from Dälek.
Earthling Society have recently released a 4 track album. It’s called “Ascent to Godhead,” and was released on Riot Season Records. It clocks in at 40 min and is a unique retro-psychedelic ride. ‘Can You Levitate?’ starts it off, and it’s upbeat and poppy, you’ll be tapping your foot. Wait though, walls of sound and guitar come at you, lots of noise too. This is heavy psych which means lots of layers, maybe some experimentation with instruments, whatever. ‘Ascent to Godhead Part 1 (Godhead/Going For Refuge/The Celestial Mind)’slows things down and there’s a spoken word jazzy element to the music. Then it turns very meditative and soothing. The third part of the song is a whirling dervish. ‘Electric Blue Saada’ has a great intro, and a totally great instrumental freakout. Its ending calms things down for a sec right before the jazz assault on ‘Ascent to Godhead Pt 2’. Strained vocals cry out for freedom. “Ascent to Godhead” is compact, it brings a lot of powerful noise together in a short period of time. It flows together really well between tracks, almost like it’s one long really positive and awesome song or message. Oh and by the way turn it way th fuck up and tune out.
White Hills have come out with another full length 8 track album called “Stop Mute Defeat”. It starts out with ‘Overlord’, and I can immediately tell that “Stop Mute Defeat” is a totally different album than previous White Hills. The vocals are dark, so is the general atomosphere. The beat is dubby and industrial on this track, with noise elements and samples. It is slower paced and there is no insane riffage or guitar work. It’s easier to understand the vocals with a steady beat “defy the law”, a protest. ‘A Trick of the Mind’ is repetitive and hypnotic, a feature with the tracks on this album. I like Ego Sensation’s vocals. White Hills have the ability to transform your mind with their music and get you in the zone. ‘Importance 101’ is fantastic, like nothing I’ve heard before. Great calming noisy sounds, and a cool delivery of vocals by Dave W. ‘Attack Mode’ has an explosive beginning and nice funky industrial sound, not too hard hitting though, with guitar riffs and more samples. A tribal sound almost. Vocal-“all the answers can be found”. ‘If…1…2’ is another darker themed song, distorted vocals, kinda longer track, punk rock in a way. ‘Sugar Hill’ is mysterious and enticing. Soft spoken vocals, and a slower beat. Makes me want to visit Sugar Hill. ‘Entertainer’ is melodic, and begs the listener to “entertain me”. ‘Stop Mute Defeat’ wraps up the album and is upbeat and robotic, one of my favorites on the album. “Stop Mute Defeat” is a great mix of musical styles; gritty and edgy overall, politically charged, a great new release!
“Stop Mute Defeat” is still psychedelic though, not that deviated from the White Hills I know and love. They continue to push boundaries with their unique brand of psychedelic sounds. White Hills are an amazing live band, total rock stars, so see them if you get a chance.
Photo Credit Dan Cohoon- Amplitude Photography
Petyr, a four piece group from San Diego, just released a self titled album on Outer Battery Records. They described themselves as “heavy skate/psych rock.” The album is 8 tracks long and clocks in at around 45 min. Starts off with ‘Texas Igloo’ which has a relentless guitar shredding and riffing my mind away. Right off I like this. Heavy percussion, and a sound like the wind blowing in the background. Vocals are crazy, reminds me of the Butthole Surfers in sound, and kinda indecipherable. Definitely heavy psychedelia. Standout track. The next track is a sort of acoustic interlude. ‘Stairway to Attic’ is a quick upbeat ripper. ‘Satori III’ is slower paced at first, and a longer instrumental track that climbs and soars. ‘Old and Creepy’ has more snotty/hard rock style vocals, which i really like, and has some serious speed and noisy elements. Prob my favorite track on the album. ‘Kraft’ has a cool breakdown in the song and so does ‘Three to Five’ which mixes things up. ‘Three to Five’ is less fuzzy and more vocal based at first, then it rocks out for a few minutes. ‘Vambo/Buffalo Stampede’ has a total bluesy vibe and is a great finisher to “Petyr”. I highly recommend this release if you want to scramble your head with some music that’s metal, punk, and psych (and awesome).