Friday, December 20, 2013

Goat - Head Medicine's 2013 Band of the Year

Goat's Electric Ballroom poster by Adam Pobiak

Potential.  A lot of artists and bands have it, but few ever dig deep down in and reach it to the fullest.  Over the past year, the electrifying Swedish afro-psych collective Goat has been the rare exception.  Not only have they continuously met my ridiculous expectations, but they have time and again exceeded them.  Goat first came to my attention in the summer of 2012 after the release of their first 7" single and i was instantly mesmerized by their dense, trance-inducing afro krautrock sound.  My expectations were deliriously high for their debut album World Music that August by Rocket Recordings.   It was an instant classic and, in my opinion, light years above everything else released that year.  To make things even more mysterious, the band had never performed live outside of their Arctic Circle commune until that fall with a few exploratory live rituals around Northern Europe.  These shows revealed a band hitting the ground at full speed with a blistering live show and stunning stage presence.  By the end of 2012, i was fully on board with Goat, hook line and sinker, drinking every drop of Kool Aid set in front of me, excited for what 2013 would hold.  No band started off the year with more potential than Goat, but what would they do with it?  Would they reach up and grab it or would they remain in obscurity and let things fizzle out?

Goat started off in the spring with the release of the "Stonegoat/Dreambuilding" single, two new compositions that deepened and widened their sound even further, before unleashing their first US tour.  The group's destination was the Austin Psych Fest, with a handful of East Coast and Midwest dates leading up to and following their great American unveiling.  The shows took on an instantly mythic quality, with the realization to all in attendance that something special was being witnessed.  The music was stretched into expansive Zeppelin-esque mind altering jams that dove deeper and harder into outer and innerspace than their recorded material, and by the time the group returned to Europe to hit the major summer festival circuit, Goat's live performances were air fucking tight.  With complete self confidence, the band shared stages with some of the very best bands in the entire world, and were consistently hailed as standout performers.  GlastonburyRoskilde.  Primavera.   How amazing that must have been, being out in the crowd and  obliviously stumbling on Goat at a show like Roskilde, and getting your mind turned inside out?  The thousands of new fans and instant converts that followed in Goat's wake after every performance is proof of the group's power.  Goat  wrapped up 2013 with an honored appearance at the final All Tomorrow's Parties festival, and with one last intimate club show at Koko's in London in December.  This was a  release party for their  live album, Live Ballroom Ritual, a recording of their London club gig at the Electric Ballroom in June which acts as a document that captures and preserves their monumental year.

It was refreshing to see a band confidently step up, right out of the gate,  and slay at every given opportunity without any wavering.  Goat's year long steamrolling of music fans around the world was truly remarkable to watch as it unfolded, making them HEAD MEDICINE's easy choice for Band of the Year.  And if there is another album and touring involved next year, they will be frontrunners for the 2014 title as well.

HEAD MEDICINE recently checked in with Goat, who have retreated to the recording studio, to see what lies ahead for the band in 2014.

HEAD MEDICINE:  Rocket Recordings recently released  Live Ballroom Ritual, a live album capturing Goat's  performance at the Camden Electric Ballroom in London  this summer.  What are your thoughts on this recording and it's release?  In your opinion, what were the top Goat performances from 2013?

GOAT:  We are very happy with the release. It captures the set we have been playing most of the year and it has a good sound where you can feel the energy as well as the Beauty spots. And we like that it captures a whole show. It becomes some sort of album where we can look back and relive 2013 shows. We discussed which shows that we remember the most and everyone feels differently of course but I think most of us could agree on the Glastonbury experience, Roskilde festival, Austin psych fest and now at Koko in London. Chicago and New York was special to. But it is hard to point out anything since we are happy with all of the shows really.

HEAD MEDICINE:  The mostly-instrumental track "Goat Jam" appears on the  "Crystallized - Celebrating 15 Years of Rocket Recordings" compilation.  its laid back vibe sounds like nothing else you have released so far and adds a new flavor to your catalog.  What can you tell us about this track?  is this a new recording or is it from an older session? 

GOAT:  it's an old session. Don't know from when but I think in the mid nineties. No one in the current live lineup are playing on the song. Not sure who does at all actually. I think it is a jam with some overdubs on it.

HEAD MEDICINE:  San Francisco psych dj Al Lover has been releasing some pretty incredible  projects lately and has a highly anticipated Goat remix 12" coming out in 2014 on PNKSLM.  Have you heard anything that he has been cooking up for that project? what are your thoughts on Goat remixes?

GOAT:  we have absolutely nothing against that anyone makes remixes of our songs, just go ahead. And about this Al lover, we have heard what he has done and I seriously consider this man a genius.

HEAD MEDICINE:  Goat recently played at the final All Tomorrow's Parties Festival in Sussex, England,  and later a sold out headlining show at Koko's in London to close out a phenomenal year.  how was that experience?  it must have been quite an honor to be invited to perform at the Loop-curated festival for its final run, and by all accounts the Koko show was an electrifying success.

GOAT:  yeah! This weekend was amazing! So nice to hang out at the ATP area where we all stayed in flats having a great time. Met Michael Rother from Neu! And those people from Beefhearts magic band. Wonderful people! And the Koko was a stunning club. It was magic to play there and to end this year there, it really was.

HEAD MEDICINE:  Has there been any progress on writing or recording any new Goat material?  What can you tell us about the sessions?

GOAT:  we are working on it. But we take it in parts as we did with the last one and we don't wanna stress it. That is not good for creativity. But we got about 7 tracks more or less finished, and we are gonna do 4-5 more. It will be fine. We feel no pressure and just play what feels right. Don't wanna tell you to much of how it sounds yet but some tracks have a little bit of a desert feeling to them.

HEAD MEDICINE:  Is the lineup for these new recordings essentially the same as World Music and/or the touring group, or are there new contributors?

GOAT:  it always depends on who has time and who is present at the session. It is a relaxed atmosphere and people come and go.

HEAD MEDICINE:  How has the past year influenced, inspired, or helped evolve the new material? 

GOAT:  can't say that what we have been doing this year really affect our way to work in the studio but we have discovered some new music, at least new to us, and those kind of discoveries always works themselves into the music unconsciously you know.

HEAD MEDICINE:  are any of the members of Goat involved in any other bands or musical projects that we should know about?

GOAT:  No. There is no member of the Goat band that are involved in anything else at the moment. Maybe after we  quit doing this rockband thing people will do other kinds of music in other formations but we will see.

HEAD MEDICINE:  any tentative plans for 2014?
GOAT:  no, not really. We are gonna finish the new album, do some touring and some festivals but mostly we are gonna try and stay true to ourselves and the collective and be at home with our families most of the year. Goat will never be a hard touring band.


thanks again to Goat for taking the time to speak with HEAD MEDICINE! 

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Friday, December 6, 2013

Greetings from Krampus!

from Wikipedia:

Krampus is a beast-like creature from the folklore of Alpine countries thought to punish children during the Yule season who had misbehaved, in contrast with Saint Nicholas, who rewards well-behaved ones with gifts. Krampus is said to capture particularly naughty children in his sack and carry them away to his lair.  Krampus is represented as a beast-like creature, generally demonic in appearance. The creature has roots in Germanic folklore; however, its influence has spread far beyond German borders. Traditionally, young men dress up as the Krampus in Austria, southern Bavaria, South Tyrol, northern Friuli, Hungary, Slovenia, the Czech Republic, the Slovak Republic, and Croatia during the first week of December, particularly on the evening of 5 December (the eve of Saint Nicholas day on many church calendars), and roam the streets frightening children with rusty chains and bells. Krampus is featured on holiday greeting cards called Krampuskarten. There are many names for Krampus, as well as many regional variations in portrayal and celebration.

The history of the Krampus figure stretches back to pre-Christian Germanic traditions.  He is sometimes said to be the son of Hel, from Norse mythology. He also shares characteristics, including goat-like ears, legs, feet, with the satyrs and fauns of Greek mythology.  The early Catholic Church discouraged celebrations based around the wild goat-like creatures, and during the Inquisition efforts were made to stamp them out.  But Krampus figures persisted, and by the 17th century Krampus had been incorporated into Christian winter celebrations by pairing them with St. Nicholas.
Countries of the former Habsburg empire have largely borrowed the tradition of Krampus accompanying St. Nicholas on 5 December from Austria. However, in the Czech Republic and Slovakia the mythological figure (called čert) evolved from the Slavic demon chort and although nearly the same in appearance, it comes from a tradition distinct from that of Alpine nations.

Although Krampus appears in many variations, most share some common physical characteristics. He is hairy, usually brown or black, and has the cloven hooves and horns of a goat. His long pointed tongue lolls out.  Krampus carries chains, thought to symbolize the binding of the Devil by the Christian Church. He thrashes the chains for dramatic effect. The chains are sometimes accompanied with bells of various sizes.  Of more pagan origins are the ruten, bundles of birch branches that Krampus carries and occasionally swats children with.  The ruten have significance in pre-Christian pagan initiation rites.  The birch branches are replaced with a whip in some representations. Sometimes Krampus appears with a sack or a washtub strapped to his back; this is to cart off evil children for drowning, eating, or transport to Hell.

The Feast of St. Nicholas is celebrated in parts of Europe on 6 December. In Alpine countries, Saint Nicholas's devilish companion is Krampus. On the preceding evening, Krampus Night or Krampusnacht, the hairy devil appears on the streets. Sometimes accompanying St. Nicholas and sometimes on his own, Krampus visits homes and businesses.  The Saint usually appears in the Eastern Rite vestments of a bishop, and he carries a ceremonial staff. Unlike North American versions of Santa Claus, in these celebrations Saint Nicholas concerns himself only with the good children, while Krampus is responsible for the bad. Nicholas dispenses gifts, while Krampus supplies coal and the ruten bundles.

 A Krampuslauf is a run of celebrants dressed as the beast, often fueled by alcohol.  It is customary to offer a Krampus schnapps, a strong distilled fruit brandy.  These runs may include perchten, similarly wild pagan spirits of Germanic folklore and sometimes female in representation, although the perchten are properly associated with the period between Winter Solstice and 6 January.

Europeans have been exchanging greeting cards featuring Krampus since the 1800's. Sometimes introduced with Gruß vom Krampus (Greetings from the Krampus), the cards usually have humorous rhymes and poems. Krampus is often featured looming menacingly over children. He is also shown as having one human foot and one cloven hoof. In some, Krampus has sexual overtones; he is pictured pursuing buxom women.  Over time, the representation of Krampus in the cards has changed; older versions have a more frightening Krampus, while modern versions have a cuter, more Cupid-like creature. Krampus has also adorned postcards and candy containers.

Krampus appears in various forms, and as part of differing celebrations, throughout central Europe. In Styria, the ruten bundles are presented by Krampus to families. The twigs are painted gold and displayed year-round in the house – a reminder to any child who has temporarily forgotten Krampus. In smaller, more isolated villages, the character has other beastly companions, such as the antlered "wild man" figures, and St. Nicholas is nowhere to be seen. These Styrian companions of Krampus are called Schabmänner or Rauhen.  A toned-down version is part of the popular Christmas markets in Austrian urban centres like Salzburg.  In these, more tourist-friendly interpretations, Krampus is more humorous than fearsome.  In the 1600's, the Lutheran Church presented a "christchild" figure in the place of the Catholic Saint Nicholas. Representing the baby Jesus but often appearing as a young maiden, this figure was also paired with Krampus in some areas. In France's Alsace region, Krampus is known as Hans Trapp and accompanies a "christchild" character during the holiday season.
North American Krampus celebrations, though rare, are a growing phenomenon. Some traditional Germanic communities in the northeast of the United States have preserved a Krampus tradition; in these he goes by Bellsnichol and combines aspects of both the wild man and Saint Nicholas.

The word Krampus (sometimes spelled "Grampus") is a derivation of the old German word for claw, but the creature has many names. Klaubauf is used throughout Austria, while Bartl or Bartel, Niglobartl, and Wubartl are used in the southern part of the country.  Outside Austria, Krampus and related creatures go by Pelzebock or Pelznickel in southern Germany, and Gumphinckel.  In Hungary, he is Krampusz (often used to refer to the entire race of these creatures), and in Switzerland, Schmutzli.

an Krampus isn't just all about the kids.

even more images HERE

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Zombi - St. Louis 12-3-13 (in support of Goblin) FULL SET and interview with A.E. Paterra

Zombi, the mighty synth/bass/drums overlords from Pittsburgh PA, have been pretty quiet recently, especially as a live touring act.  Drummer A.E. Paterra and synths/bassist Steve Moore have given only a small handful of live performances since 2007.  But with their recent two week-long gig supporting legendary Italian prog maestros Goblin on the second leg of their first ever North American tour, Zombi have emerged dramatically from the shadows.  Being paired up with Goblin was an inspired choice since Zombi obviously shares much of the same DNA as their 1970's forerunner, making this probably the most powerful, can't-miss tour of the year.

Head Medicine is honored to have had the chance to witness this epic match up on their recent stop in St. Louis, Missouri.  there will be a full concert review in the coming weeks, but for now, here is Zombi's performance in its entirety, and a brief interview with A.E. Paterra on what lies ahead for the band. (click HERE for Head Medicine's previous interview with Paterra, our 2012 Solo Artist of the Year, for his prolific work on his spaced out Kubrickian solo project Majeure)

part one

part two

HEAD MEDICINE'S interview with A.E. Paterra

Head Medicine:  How did this tour come about and what's it like playing with @#$%ing Goblin right now?

A.E. Paterra:  Their booking agent got in touch with us and asked us to do the tour a few months ago.  well, he said it was possible that it might happen, and then it all worked out.  It's... kind of surreal.  When we started this band, the one thing that we both talked about the first time we met was Goblin.  That was a very common link, and that was the starting point.  Then we realized we liked a whole bunch of other things, but that was the first thing we latched onto.

Head Medicine:  There was a song you guys played tonight that i had never heard.  Was that a new Zombi tune?

A.E. Paterra:  None of that material was new.  Most of it was from the Surface to Air album.  There was  the song "Infinity" that was originally on a split with the band Mazerati and is on the current Relapse reissue of Spirit Animal, and the song "Orion" which was on Cosmos.

Head Medicine:  Is there any new Zombi material on the way? 

A.E. Paterra:  We've been sending some things back and forth, but nothing is really picking up steam.  I think we both agree on the fact that if we do another album, we want to write it together.  We don't want it to be fileshared.  We have a few things floating around, but i think we will actually want to get together in the same room and sit down and play some bass and drums and see what happens from there. 

Head Medicine:  Are there at least any Zombi musical ideas brewing in the back of your head?

A.E. Paterra:  Not really.  I think we both have an idea of what we would like to do, but nothing has really been written at all.  But i think we both kind of see where we want to go.  It's something we will talk about, but i hope that maybe by spring or summer we could maybe start something, but we will see.  Ideally what would be great is to write another album and to do a small tour for the album.  that would be great, but who knows.  At our pace...

Head Medicine:  You guys have so many other projects, is there more of that coming up?  Is there more Majeure in the near future?

A.E. Paterra:  When i get back in January, i'm going to try to write for Majeure.  Maybe in the spring i would like to get out to the West Coast, i haven't been out there in...  i don't think i've ever played out there with Majeure. Steve is working on a couple of soundtracks right now for a couple of films, and i think when he's done with that and when i get through my writing process, i would love to put another Zombi album out. 

Head Medicine:  Any other plans for 2014? 
A.E. Paterra:  Not really.  i would be great to have another Majeure album out in the fall.  That's kind of my plan. 

Fri 11/29 Chicago, IL/ The Empty Bottle w/Taiga, Alex Barnett (no Goblin)
Sat 11/30 Minneapolis, MN/ The Varsity Theater
Sun 12/01 Milwaukee, WI/ Turner Hall
Tues 12/03 St. Louis, MO/ 2720 Cherokee
Wed 12/04 Cincinnati, OH/ Taft Theatre
Thur 12/05 Cleveland, OH/ Beachland Ballroom
Fri 12/06 Pittsburgh, PA/ Carnegie Music Hall
Sat 12/07 Sayreville, NJ/ Starland
Sun 12/08 NYC, NY/ Le Poisson Rouge
Tues 12/10 Boston, MA/ Sinclair
Wed 12/11 New Haven, CT/ Center Church on the Green
Thur 12/12 Philadelphia, PA/ Trocadero
Fri 12/13 Washington, DC/ 9:30 Club
Sat 12/14 Carrboro, NC/ Cats Cradle

thanks to A.E. Paterra for taking the time to speak with HEAD MEDICINE!


Sunday, December 1, 2013

Head Medicine's Museum of International Comic Art - "The Outer Space Spirit" by Eisner, Wood, and Feiffer (1952)

an important new addition to Head Medicine's Museum of International Comic Art... the 1952 masterpiece "The Outer Space Spirit" by three of the most celebrated cartoonists and sequential storytellers of the 20th century;  Will Eisner, Wally Wood, and Jules Feiffer.

learn more about "The Outer Space Spirit" and see it in its entirety HERE

here are a few mouthwatering samples of Wally Wood's legendary artwork...

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Pink Floyd - Live at Pompeii (1971)

 for decades, Pink Floyd live has been an eye-popping spectacle... huge arenas packed to the gills with thousands of people, inflatable pigs flying around, and one of the largest laser/light shows ever put together.  but in 1971, prior to the release of Dark Side of the Moon, Floyd had not yet taken off to those kinds of heights.  Bassist Roger Waters, guitarist David Gilmour, drummer Nick Mason, and keyboardist Richard Wright had only a few years earlier reinvented themselves after their beloved leader, Syd Barrett, went AWOL and became one of rock music's most notorious acid casualties.  Pink Floyd had just written and recorded Meddle, an album that marked a turning point for the band with their first true epic masterpiece, the nearly 24 minute "Echoes," a song which pointed the band in the direction of their most famous work that would follow.   in the fall of that year, director Adrian Maben brought the band to an ancient Roman amphitheater in the ruins of Pompeii, the Italian city destroyed by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD, and with an audience consisting of only the film and sound crew,  void of any stage set up or extraneous lighting or props, Pink Floyd turned in a mesmerizing and haunting set.  when compared to the large scale, big budget tours that would follow, this stripped-to-the-core performance has an eerie, almost ghostly feel.  some live footage was later performed and filmed in a studio in Paris and edited together with the Pompeii footage for a theatrical release in 1972.  additional behind the scenes footage of the band in the studio recording Dark Side of the Moon was added for an extended release in '74.  In 2003 Maben released a director's cut which unnecessarily included computer generated effects and NASA footage to fluff it's length even more.  this "director's cut" is available everywhere on dvd, and if you pick it up, which i highly recommend, be sure to go straight to the original film which is hidden away in the special features section and bypass the extended cut. 

Pink Floyd: Live at Pompeii  is one of the great classic rock performances of all time, capturing the band within that brief and pivotal post-Barrett, pre-Dark Side moment.

NOTE:  the Beastie Boys famously paid tribute to Pink Floyd: Live At Pompeii with their video for "Gratitude" from their Check Your Head album in 1992.  check it out HERE

NOTE:  it looks like the original version has been scrubbed clean from the interwebz at the moment, the only version i can find is the directors cut.  i refuse to link that one.  hopefully a new upload will come soon.

Pink Floyd - LIVE AT POMPEII - 432Hz from Rebb on Vimeo.

the Dark Side behind the scenes and interview footage from the '74 edition is not included in the original cut, so check that out here.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Head Medicine's Museum of International Comic Art

Head Medicine's Museum of International Comic Art is a continuing online resource highlighting the finest artwork from the world's premier comic book illustrators.  much of this work is long out of print or never before available in the United States.

here is a sample of the collection so far with links to the complete stories.


"Wolff" by Esteban Maroto (1971)

"Werewolf!" by Frank Frazetta, written by Archie Goodwin (1964)

"Purple Pictography" by Vaughn Bode and Berni Wrightson (1971)

"The Fix" by Pepe Moreno (1980)

"Heads" by Arthur Suydam (1980)

"The Fall of the Towers" by Caza (1976)


"Creeps" by Jim Severin and Wally Wood, written by Archie Goodwin (1968)


"The Time Zuck Company" by Zeljko Pahek (1990)


"Miedo" by Albreto Brechia (1978)