The first-ever The Obelisk All-Dayer is set for Aug. 20, 2016, at Saint Vitus Bar in Brooklyn, NY. So far the announced lineup includes Mars Red Sky for their first East Coast appearance, Snail for their first East Coast appearance, Ohio’s EYE supporting their new album, Funeral Horse for their first East Coast appearance and King Buffalo, who’ll be playing the last night of their release tour.
I’m proud and thrilled today to add Kings Destroy and Heavy Temple to the bill.
I can’t say enough about what each of these bands brings to the show, and I couldn’t be more stoked to have them involved. One thing I’ve been trying to do all along is build a genuine flow to the day that I think will make sense as one set leads to the next. It’ll make sense once the full running order is posted, but for the time being, let me just say that both these bands hold a special place in the lineup.
Here’s more on each:
There isn’t a band today I feel closer to than Brooklyn’s Kings Destroy. If you read this site at all, you probably already know that. I’ve been a nerd for these cats since their first 7″ and I’m fortunate today to consider them as friends and the bottom line is there’s just no way in hell I’d put on this show and not have them involved. They were out on tour earlier this year with Black Cobra, Lo-Pan and Bongzilla supporting their 2015 self-titled third album, for which they’ve already started writing the follow-up. They have a new 15-minute song that last I heard was about half done and they don’t know it yet, but I’m calling them out to play it at this show. The gauntlet is thrown down, gentlemen.
Oh my god, the new Heavy Temple is so good. Don’t get me wrong, I knew before I heard it that I wanted them on this bill — I’ve known it since Vultures of Volume last year, but the Philly trio have a new EP in the can and it’s absolutely stellar. They’ll open the show hopefully playing tracks from it and I expect by the time August comes around, there will be some official announcement as to the release, but even if you don’t know it yet, you’re in for a treat as they kick things off at The Obelisk All-Dayer. I shouldn’t have to tell you to get there early — looking like a 2:30PM start — but I will anyway, just to reinforce the importance of the issue. Get there early.
The Obelisk All-Dayer is Aug. 20, 2016, at Saint Vitus Bar in Brooklyn, New York, and will feature full sets, after-show DJs, food truck on-hand, live recordings, limited edition merch and much more. One more band to be announced in June, along with DJs and the running order.
Posted in Whathaveyou on May 31st, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster
Italian boogie-blues rockers There Will be Blood may have named themselves after an exceedingly dark, grim, at-times brutal movie, but the material on their third album, Horns, seems to be much more upbeat and much less prone to take itself seriously. To wit, the band’s video for “Undertow” below, which looks like a Wes Anderson-filmed workout parody. The new record from which that song comes will be released on June 10 — egad, that’s next week! — via Blues for the Red Sun Records, and reportedly wraps a trilogy about redemption and weirdos which the PR wire describes below.
THERE WILL BE BLOOD – HORNS (LP/CD/Digital) BFTRS 007
Album out June 10th 2016 on Blues For The Red Sun.
The story of There Will Be Blood started back in 2009, and in the seven years passed they have made 3 albums and 2 EPs, playing live around Italy in festivals and rock clubs, gaining excellent reviews from press and audience. Their third album “Horns” is the end of a trilogy of concept albums that tell the story of a lone wandering man looking for a way to redeem his soul and finally find his vengeance, crossing his path with all kinds of freaks and prodigies, miracles and disasters.
Compared with the previous albums, “Horns” is a more articulated work; the band has put a lot of effort into these 12 tracks, challenging themselves with new styles and new influences. Through their collaboration with professional musicians, “Horns” has become their biggest project so far: choir, harps, trum- pets, saxophones, trombones, pianos and keyboards add layers and volume to There Will Be Blood’s fantastic blues-rock sound.
With elements from classic blues, rock and roll, soul, gospel, stoner and country the band stretches their signature sound to new frontiers, without losing their focus on strong riffs, powerful drums and the catchy lyrics that we love.
All music and lyrics written and performed by There Will Be Blood. Recorded and mixed by Andrea Cajelli at the Sauna Recording studio/ Varese. Studio assistant: Andrea Ravasio. Mastered by Andrea “Berni” De Bernardi at Eleven Mastering/ Busto Arsizo Album cover “Drive-in” by Jesse Treece www.collageartbyjesse.tumblr.com. Album artwork by Riccardo Giacomin www.riccardogiacomin.com
Burn Your Halo
Turn Your Back
Til Death Do Us Apart
Posted in Whathaveyou on May 30th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster
Ohio heavy rockers Lo-Pan have announced the departure of guitarist Adrian Zambrano from their lineup. Zambrano joined the Columbus-based four-piece late in 2014 to fill the role initially occupied by Brian Fristoe, and accompanied the band on their inaugural European tour last year as well as US dates earlier in 2016 with Black Cobra, Bongzilla and Kings Destroy (review here).
His leaving is a genuine surprise. Lo-Pan have most if not all of a new album recorded as a follow-up to their fourth outing, 2014’s Colossus (review here), and Zambrano‘s departure, which the band notes is amicable, leaves it to question what’s to become of those songs and those recordings of them in particular. Of course, the bigger and more immediate issue is who’s going to take over that spot in the band — riffs aren’t exactly a small part of what they do — but the future is yet uncertain or at least unannounced for what would have been and may still be his studio debut with Lo-Pan, now also a swansong for this incarnation of their lineup.
Zambrano, who also plays in Brujas del Sol, excelled in the guitarist position while he had it. I was fortunate enough to see Lo-Pan with him twice and both times he added a presence and energy alongside drummer Jesse Bartz, bassist Scott Thompson and vocalist Jeff Martin that only added to the force of their stage delivery. Should probably go without saying, but good luck to him and good luck to the band in finding somebody to handle guitar. When and if I hear more about their next release, I’ll let you know.
Lo-Pan are currently slated to play Psycho Las Vegas in August. Here’s the statement from the band:
Our guitarist Adrian Zambrano has decided he needs to walk away from Lo-Pan at this time to focus on some other important parts of life. We would like to emphasize that this is an amicable split and we wish him all the best. We are currently on the hunt for a new guitarist and we hope to see you all again as soon as possible. Stay tuned for announcements and new music.
Posted in Reviews on May 30th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster
I don’t imagine I need to run down the history of Argentina’s heavy rock scene for you — from Pappo’s Blues through Los Natas and into modern fuzz and sludge like Demonauta, At Devil Dirt and Humo del Cairo — but suffice it to say the country’s contributions to the international sphere of underground rock and roll have been manifold, varied and forward-looking. They have been a part of the conversation for as long as the conversation has been happening. All this is as a preface to note that with their second album, El Manto de la Especie, Cordoba-based trio Hijo de la Tormenta are stepping forward to claim their piece of this storied real estate. They do so with six tracks and just under 38 minutes of laid back, tonally resonant, subtly jazzy heavy, earthy psychedelia, confident in its execution, organic in its presentation and warm in its effect on the listener.
When so inclined, as on “Manifiesto al Sol” or “El Abuelo,” the lyrics for which are based on a Walt Whitman poem, the trio of guitarist/vocalist Juan Cruz Ledesma, bassist Guido Di Carlo and drummer Santiago Ludueña — plus Fabricio Morás on keys for “Rock Para Huir de una Ciudad,” “53 Cosechas” and “Manifiesto al Sol” — are able to enact a formidable heavy roll, and they do so bringing Di Carlo‘s bass forward on “El Abuelo” to enact El Manto de la Especie‘s most engaging nods. The context in which it arrives is no less pivotal to the overall impression of the album, however, and spacious, airy keyboards and swinging cymbal work in the aforementioned “Rock Para Huir de una Ciudad,” which opens, help set an exploratory tone guided by sure hands.
Hijo de la Tormenta made their self-titled debut (review here) in 2014 and tagged it as “mountain psychedelia.” Their second album offers some similar vibe — you’ll note I called it “earthy” above — but feels less limited in its landscape, which is a sign of the growth in chemistry the trio have undertaken in the last two years. The scope of El Manto de la Especie is broader, in other words, but the flow is no less consuming, as “Rock Para Huir de una Ciudad” opens quietly and shifts into heavier push to make way for the start-stop fuzz of “53 Cosechas” and the jam-into-low-end-bliss of “El Abuelo,” which hypnotizes in its first half of its six minutes only to offer a knockout blow of bass in its second, all in quick succession.
Part of that the first three tracks are legitimately shorter than what follows — apart from closer “Recibimiento,” which is two minutes long — as both “Manifiesto al Sol” (8:37) and “Un Mañana Aún Más Glorioso Nos Espera” (12:31) range farther, but the feeling of continuity between the first three songs is essential to how the album overall leads the listener through its course, and the fluidity of groove that persists isn’t to be understated. Hijo de la Tormenta are in no rush, and their songwriting is patient, encompassing and varied in structure, but they’re not simply wandering for the sake of wandering either. That motion that pushes through one song into the next gives a linear feel, and the sense of design in the record’s structure, drawing the listener in early and establishing such a rich atmosphere of natural tonality, only speaks to the level of conscious intent at play on the part of the band. They make it sound effortless, and maybe it is since nothing here sounds forced in the slightest, but it’s an admirable outcome either way and it makes El Manto de la Especie a joy front to back.
And when they do make their way to “Manifiesto al Sol” and “Un Mañana Aún Más Glorioso Nos Espera,” the signal is pretty clear that they’ve arrived at the heart of the album. Aside from the fact that, together, the two tracks account for more than half the total runtime, the feeling as the lightly progressive beginning of “Manifiesto al Sol” gets underway is that the trio have been working toward this build. The rhythm calms somewhat before Ledesma‘s vocals come in with a melody that reminds of Been Obscene, and by then they’re more than halfway through. Keyboards again play a large role as they push into more weighted low end and a fuzzed-out guitar solo, bringing a chorus back late to finish, and quiet guitar noodling opens “Un Mañana Aún Más Glorioso Nos Espera,” going past two minutes before the first cymbal crash accompanies.
There are some trades between quiet and loud parts, but the core of El Manto de la Especie‘s longest track remains the instrumental chemistry between Ledesma, Di Carlo and Ludueña, vocals arriving after the band has shifted seamlessly through heavier thrust and atmospheric desert jazz, which quiets down at the midpoint only to pick up again, led by fuzz guitar, backed by fuzz bass, propelled by the drums as they hit the peak that serves as the payoff for the album as a whole. They end “Un Mañana Aún Más Glorioso Nos Espera” quiet and offer a pastoral epilogue in the acoustic-meets-e-bow “Recibimiento,” some late “oohs” providing the closer’s only vocals for a harmonized, folkish feel. Hopefully that’s something Hijo de la Tormenta are teasing perhaps as a signal of future progression, i.e., where they might be headed, but it also adds another element to El Manto de la Especie while retaining the ambience of the material preceding.
The clear maturity Hijo de la Tormenta showcase on what’s still just their second full-length is likewise encouraging as regards future prospects for staking their stylistic claim, but that shouldn’t undercut the value of what they’ve accomplished here either. With these songs, they both signal what they have to offer going forward and begin making that offering.
Hijo de la Tormenta, El Manto de la Especie (2016)
Posted in Whathaveyou on May 30th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster
There are two tracks on South African doomers Demons from the Dungeon Dimension‘s new EP, There was Ogres. One is the titular cut, at a slow-unfolding 21 minutes, and the other is a shorter acoustic take on the same track. The EP follows just weeks behind what seems to have been the band’s full-length debut, As the Crow Flies, though information is pretty sparse on the self-recording and releasing Durban unit’s origins and makeup. Nonetheless, the atmosphere on the track is suitably creeper and the trad-doom inflection of the grammatically-suspect “There was Ogres” comes with an edge of the aesthetically bizarre that, particularly as a free download, easily justifies the investment of time, vocals seeming to nod at Alice Cooper without actually taking too much from him, or anyone else, for that matter.
A purveyor of what I have dubbed “Hillbilly Doom”, There Was Ogres consists of a 21 minute long title track, and a seven minute long acoustic version. Incredible artwork by the immensely talented Geoffrey Smuts which truly captures the overall atmosphere and lyrical content of the music.
The sound is quite different from the debut, “As the Crow Flies”, with much tighter and clearer drums, fuller bass, and a completely different, jangly guitar tone. It does however still stick to a lo-fi, DIY aesthetic.
The guitars are very much so inspired by the playing of Mark Ribot, especially his performance on the Tom Waits album “Real Gone” (check out the song “Hoist That Rag” for an example), while the guitar tone is akin to that used by Queens of the Stone Age on their album “Era Vulgaris.”
Posted in audiObelisk on May 30th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster
This invariably happens every year. I’ll grant that the audio streams from Roadburn 2016 seem especially quick in arriving — the last batch was only 10 days ago — but at some point every year there’s a round during which the majority of the bands are ones that I didn’t see. The catchphrase here is “Roadburn means hard choices.” You can’t be everywhere at once, and usually my agenda involves trying to focus on things I’ve never seen before and might not again. Fortunately there’s always plenty of that to go around.
Out of the seven bands included in this third batch of Roadburn 2016 streaming full sets, I only caught one band, and that was CHRCH. Frankly, if it was only going to be one, I’m glad it was them. The West Coast extreme doom powerhouse made their debut through Battleground Records in 2015 with Unanswered Hymns (review here) and received due praise for their efforts, and they were among my most gotta-see bands for this year’s fest, playing in the smallest venue, Extase, around the corner from the 013 proper. They packed that room out through the hallway and just about out the door and closed out my first night of Roadburn 2016 with resonant, swirling darkness that I’m glad to have the chance to revisit.
And of course, getting to hear some of what I missed elsewhere is always part of the fun of hosting these streams, so if you need me, I’ll be digging in. I hope you’ll enjoy doing the same.
Much audio follows:
Bliksem – Live at Roadburn 2016
Chaos Echoes – Live at Roadburn 2016 (Transient in its entirety)
CHRCH – Live at Roadburn 2016
Hell – Live at Roadburn 2016
Naðra – Live at Roadburn 2016
Daniel Payne – Live at Roadburn 2016
Yodok III – Live at Roadburn 2016
Gratitude as always to Walter for letting me host the streams. To hear the first batch of Roadburn 2016 audio streams, click here, to hear the second one, click here, and for all of this site’s coverage of Roadburn 2016, click here.
Posted in Whathaveyou on May 30th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster
Sweet Times Vol. 5 continues Who Can You Trust? Records‘ admirable penchant for packing as much rock as possible onto a relatively tiny platter. This edition features Ragged Barracudas, Queen Crescent, Plant Tribe and Banquet and furthers the thread of upstart boogie rock that prior editions have established, each act offering a quick sampling of their wares, getting in and getting out in quick succession. The longest of them is Queen Crescent‘s “Zodiacal Woman,” at 3:21, if that gives you some idea.
The garaged-out tone of Ragged Barracudas sets a proto-punk course, and that Queen Crescent track follows with a fuller, classically-styled fuzz, while on side B, Plant Tribe‘s churning, building boogie leads smoothly into the similarly-minded but still distinct vibe Banquet bring to the table. Like all the Sweet Times offerings to-date, there’s little to argue with here in concept or execution, and each band basically has enough time to introduce themselves and rush on their way, but as ever, that proves to be long enough to leave an overarching impression.
Info from the PR wire:
VA “SWEET TIMES – Volume 5” 7-Inch OUT NOW !!!
SWEET TIMES for the 5th time… what could I say?
If you’ve made it here, you’re either just walking by, or… you ran through all the previous volumes and know what you’re in for! The formula hasn’t changed as Who Can You trust? is still the same old label you used to love (or not)! …you decide!
On the fifth volume you have to expect a new jam by the Ragged Barracudas from Germany, as well as exclusive recordings by San Francisco’s Banquet, Queen Crescent and Long Beach’s Plant Tribe!”
One might look at In the Tail of a Comet, the pivotal first LP from Sweden’s Dozer, as the closing chapter in a larger movement within heavy rock. Released by Frank Kozik‘s Man’s Ruin Records in 2000 following the band’s initial series of splits with Demon Cleaner and Unida, the album followed landmark debuts like Acid King‘s Busse Woods and Natas‘ Delmar, both issued by the same label in 1999, as well as the first Queens of the Stone Age and Alabama Thunderpussy (both 1998). Granted debuts from Orange Goblin (1997), Colour Haze (1995) and Electric Wizard (1995) also preceded, but in the post-Kyuss surge of heavy rock, by the time 2001 came around, this league of bands would be past first records and onto the work of developing what became a golden age of riffs. Dozer were a huge part of that process in Europe, and In the Tail of a Comet was the beginning point of a stylistic progression that got more charged over the years that followed.
The roots of that are audible in a song like “Cupola” and elsewhere, but the overarching vibe of In the Tail of a Comet is pure desert-style fuzz, very much in the vein of later Kyuss and the style that Man’s Ruin helped foster through releasing works from Suplecs, the Desert Sessions and some of the aforementioned. What really distinguished Dozer from the outset — and what would continue to distinguish them as guitarist/vocalist Fredrik Nordin, guitarist Tommi Holappa (also principal songwriter in Greenleaf), bassist Johan Rockner and then-drummer Erik Bäckwall moved forward — was the songwriting. From opener “Supersoul” through “Lightyears Ahead,” “Speeder,” “Riding the Machine,” “Captain Spaceheart” and so on, Dozer‘s debut stood them out whether they were galloping through “Cupola” or swinging through the crashes of “Grand Dragon,” and where many at this point seemed to be getting their bearings, Dozer burst out of the gate with a collection of songs that helped shape European heavy rock and still ripples out its influence today.
I’ve had arguments back and forth about the merits of In the Tail of a Comet vs. Dozer‘s second album, 2001’s Madre de Dios or their 2003 third LP, Call it Conspiracy (discussed here), but the truth as I see it is they never stopped pushing forward in any of their releases, whether it was those or 2005’s Through the Eyes of Heathens and 2008’s Beyond Colossal (both on Small Stone), the latter of which stands as their most recent outing. Picking favorites is fun, but as their sound became more complex, Dozer never lost the core of craftsmanship that one can hear writ large over In the Tail of a Comet, and that would seem to make the entire body of work all the more admirable.
They’ve played shows sporadically for the last few years and hit the 20-year mark this year, and I keep my fingers crossed they’ll get a new LP out at some point. With Holappa concentrating on Greenleaf as a full-time band — they recently secured a US booking agent — that seems less likely in the near-term, but one can hope at some point they follow-up Beyond Colossal, because as anyone who heard that album can tell you, they still sounded like a band with more to say.
I did an interview this morning with Tom Geddes in the UK for The Desertfest Podcast that will be posted sooner or later from them. It was a Skype kind of deal, just Tom and I doing a lot of back and forth on how we got into music, some bits about writing, the book, the All-Dayer and so on. Mostly I think we talked about bands, but I love talking about bands, and especially with someone as knowledgeable as Tom, that’s all the more a pleasure. I’ll let you know when the podcast with the interview goes live. Not that you need to hear me run my mouth, but you know.
Also some interesting job news that I’ll talk more about next week, but that’s eaten up a lot of my consciousness for the last day or so. We’ll see how things shake out over this coming holiday weekend. Sorry to be vague, there are just some ducks to get in a row.
Thanks again to everybody who has ordered a copy of the book so far. The post office lost an entire box of signed copies — there were like 60 in it, minimum — so I’ll have more going out this weekend and will be following up on the lost ones to either find them or have more printed with the insurance money from the shipping. I was pissed either way. Still am, for all the good it does me.
Next week: I’ll be posting on Monday, even though it’s a holiday in the US. Plenty of international stuff to write about. Look for a review of Hijo de la Tormenta, followed by one Tuesday for the Earthless/Harsh Toke split, which is out now. Valley of the Sun and Stars that Move are the next two reviews on the list after that, but the plan for this week completely changed as we got into Wednesday and Thursday, so who the hell knows what might actually happen. Not gonna worry about it today. Point is, there will be rock and roll.
Speaking of, The Obelisk Radio broke a new record for listeners-at-one-time today. Thank you if you were a part of that or if you’ve ever checked it out. The Dozer record is done so I’m listening right now and it just went from Beast in the Field to Witch. Seriously some of the best money I’ve ever spent, putting this together. Tell your friends.
I hope you have a great and safe weekend. If you’re celebrating Memorial Day, I hope that celebration doesn’t involve unthinking jingoism — that is, not just remembering why we send our children to die in war, but to whose benefit — and I hope at very least after thinking about that, you’re still able to enjoy the day off. Me? I’m splitting out of the office early and headed to the beach, because you’re god damned right I am.
Posted in Whathaveyou on May 27th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster
Have to chuckle a bit at The Skull calling a tour ‘November of Doom,’ when they’re from Chicago and that same city is host to Novembers Doom, but hey, sometimes coincidences happen. On their latest run of Europe, which follows two earlier this Spring, including one that stopped for a total of three sets at Roadburn 2016, they’ll be joined by Portland, Oregon’s Witch Mountain. As coordination would have it, the two bands share a guitarist in Rob Wrong at this point, so though he’ll be pulling double-duty, the pairing makes an awful lot of sense. The Skull, who are continuing to support their 2014 debut, For Those Which are Asleep (review here), as well as a self-titled follow-up EP (review here), features vocalist Eric Wagner, bassist Ron Holzner, guitarist Lothar Keller and drummer Sean Saley, in addition to Rob Wrong.
To my recollection, this is the first time Witch Mountain will be headed to Europe since acquiring vocalist Kayla Dixon. They toured North America last Spring alongside Enslaved and YOB and are about due for a follow-up to 2014’s Mobile of Angels (review here), their gorgeous and fraught fourth full-length.
Both bands also play Erosion Festival 2016 (info here) in Missoula, Montana, this October.
From the PR wire:
THE SKULL featuring former Trouble members including vocalist Eric Wagner and bassist Ron Holzner are returning to Europe in November 2016!
The Skull & Witch Mountain: 11/04 Bristol, UK Exchange 11/05 Milton Keynes, UK Crauford Arms 11/06 London, UK Underworld 11/07 Tilburg, NL Little Devil 11/08 Utrecht, NL DBS 11/09 Karlsruhe, DE Jubez 11/10 Vienna, AT Doom Over Vienna 11/11 Arnstadt, DE Rockjunfer 11/12 TBA 11/13 Drachten, NL Iduna 11/14 Wiesbaden, DE Schlachthof 11/15 Kassel, DE Schlachthof 11/16 Hamburg, DE Hafenklang 11/17 Dortmund, DE Piano 11/18 Würzburg, DE Hammer Of Doom 11/19 Winterthur, CH Gaswerk