We’ve partnered with some of our favorite websites to bring you each scene’s best upcoming bands, diving beneath the surface to give you a glimpse of tomorrow. In this monthly check-in with our friend at The Obelisk, we get the scoop on Toundra, Slomatics, Temple Fang, and more underground stoner rock discoveries from the 2022 Freak Valley Festival. Oh, and read last month’s column here.

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I’m in a valley. Specifically, I’m in a valley adjacent to the town of Netphen, Germany, standing on grounds that belong to the humanitarian organization AWO International. Surrounded by picturesque green hillsides, tucked-away from the bustle of Cologne an hour west, I’m at the 3,000-person Freak Valley Festival. Back after a two year break, the four day heavy-psych/stoner/blues open-air fest returned in June—I had never been before this moment. And I've never gone to some place for the first time and been made to feel more at home.

The setting was part of it. You could (existentially and literally) breathe (allergies permitting) in this gorgeous place, and when the German nightfall hit at 9 p.m., it was fully dark in time for the headliners. The trees around the fields, the stage, and the crowd were lit up; hippies, lone weirdos, hesher backpatch-types, and more than a handful of families congregated in reverence for the serenity of Spanish instrumentalists Toundra and the propulsive rampage of riffs delivered by High on Fire.

Elder performs on stage at the 2022 Freak Valley Festival.
Anyone see my conditioner?


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CREEM #01 featuring a cover with original artwork by Raymond Pettibon

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