Black Label Debutante Ball Reloaded: Elektrohasch Schallplatten

A few months back (I’m too lazy to look up the actual issue), I did a Black Label Debutante Ball on Elektrohasch Schallplatten, a German psych/Stoner label. Since then, they’ve been sending me awesome stuff via priority mail from Europe, and since they’re putting all that money into postage, I figured I’d return the favor by talking about some of their latest releases. As it turns out, the way to my heart is through free CDs! Who’d have guessed?

Colour Haze – She Said

This is label founder Stefan Koglek’s group, and he really took his time with this effort to make sure that their epic psych jams were appropriately epic and psychedelic. Not, like, Axl Rose or Kevin Shields lengths of time, but it’s been four years since their last transmission from the outer reaches. She Said was recorded over the course of two of those years. The care shows, because despite the outwardly jammy nature of the eight songs here, closer inspection reveals tightly choreographed interplay designed to take you on a very specific trip. It isn’t all just gallivanting through space and time, of course. Kyuss make up a critical part of their DNA, so they also indulge in some desert sun burners for variety. More importantly, though, it’s a double album that earns its length. Being the retro fetishists that they are, Colour Haze have made sure that the whole thing will fit on two LPs, so either half can be enjoyed by itself or as part of one long listening session that it’s very easy to get lost in. There’s a reason this thing topped a lot of the 2012 stoner rock lists – it’s ambitious, well executed, and heavy in every sense of the word.

All Them Witches – Our Mother Electricity

Another throwback to a much fuzzier time, All Them Witches play heavy blues the way God intended. This is a reissue, but considering that nobody heard it when it was first released last year, it may as well be new. These guys know how to really lock into a groove, whether it’s the slow burn Sabbath build of “Heavy/Like a Witch” or the Dixie destruction unleashed on “The Urn.” They frontload all the really heavy stuff, getting progressively less metal and more southern rock as the record goes, but that sequencing is clearly deliberate. It’s all part of the effect that they’re trying to build – it ends not with a whimper, but with a satisfying, gentle release.