Here is the Music Player. You need to installl flash player to show this cool thing!
I didn’t realize, but it’s been over a year now since I started putting together podcasts regularly again. Almost 14 months, actually. Goes quick. I’m still having a good time doing them though. It’s become kind of a late-night ritual for me, assembling the audio and putting the tracklisting together and uploading everything the night before it goes live. It’s heading toward one in the morning as I type this. Long since asleep, The Patient Mrs.calls it “JJ time.” Fair enough.
A few twists and turns in this one, so watch out. I was all getting on some rocking vibes with Brant Bjork and that He Whose Ox is Gored, but after The Golden Grass things took a pretty wild turn. You may not have heard Atomikylä yet, but it’s players from Dark Buddha Rising and Oranssi Pazuzu, so it gets pretty bleak pretty quick. From there, it’s just further into doom with Moss, Apostle of Solitude and The Sabbathian before Godflesh – as only they can — provide a slap back to reality. The second hour, as habit dictates, is a full-on freakout. That Olson/Shively/Barry track is members of Across Tundras and the album was just released, so if you get the chance to check it out, I’d say go for it. In the meantime, enjoy:
Brant Bjork and the Low Desert Punk, “Stokely up Now” from Black Power Flower (2014)
He Whose Ox is Gored, “Buried Twice” from Rumors 7” (2014)
Weed is Weed, “Eat Cookies” from Blunt Force Trauma (2014)
The Golden Grass, “The Robin Song” from Realisations (2014)
Atomikylä, “Ihmiskallo” from Erkale (2014)
Moss, “Carmilla (Marcilla)” from Carmilla (2014)
Apostle of Solitude, “Luna” from Of Woe and Wounds (2014)
The Sabbathian, “Nightshade Eternal” from Ritual Rites (2014)
Godflesh, “Life Giver Life Taker” from A World Lit Only by Fire (2014)
Lords of Beacon House, “Cool Water Blues” from Lords of Beacon House (2014)
Geezer, “Tales of Murder and Unkindness” from Gage (2014)
Olson/Shively/Barry, “Jagged Cliffs” from Tierra del Fuego Blues (2014)
Dead Sea Apes, “Threads” from High Evolutionary (2014)
Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs, “Psychopomp” from Psychopomp (2014)
Posted in Features on October 23rd, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
10.23.14 — 4:47PM Central Time — Thursday afternoon — Reggie’s upstairs balcony, Chicago, Illinois
“You guys are dorks.” — Jim Pitts, in response to copious whistling of Peter Frampton’s “Show Me the Way”
Rolled into Reggie’s a couple minutes ago, a lot of handshaking, smiles and how-ya-doins. A lot of these guys kept in touch after the spring tour, so there’s already a familiarity to the proceedings, at least between the Pentagram camp and the Kings Destroy guys — Radio Moscow isn’t here yet but I’m sure they’ll be along — though I also met Bang and they seem like friendly cats. There’s a kind of happy-anxiousness in the room, but Reggie’s is a cool space, and there’s a balcony, so I’ve more or less already planted here while Pentagram does a soundcheck.
Got into (Walt) Clyde, Ohio, in time last night to watch the end of the second game of the World Series. Guys had beers and whatnot, and as there are some tough drives ahead, it was good to crash out relatively early and get up this morning, hit the road leisurely and finish the drive to Chicago. A couple bathroom breaks, a lot of gags in the van, gas station coffee — and, in Rob’s case, gas station hard-boiled eggs — and we still got into town early. I’ve never actually been in Chicago before, just driven through on the highway, which cuts into the city but above the streets. It’s the kind of place you’d have to spend years in to feel like you’d know it, like any city, but at least I can say I’ve been here at this point and not feel like I’m exaggerating.
Because it’s a band traveling, a trip to Chicago’s famous heavy metal burger joint, Kuma’s Corner, was in order for lunch. I had the Kuma Burger, which I guess is the house standard — essentially a bacon cheeseburger with a fried egg on top — and a salad on the side. There were a bunch of burgers named after bands, which is kind of their thing. Aaron had the High on Fire. Had peppers on it and I don’t know what else. Jim Pitts bought a sweatshirt. The place played Pentagram and Weedeater over the P.A. after a bunch of grindcore and black metal. Cool vibe with some vinyl on a rack, Chicago represented by Minsk, Indian and so on. I dug it, and if you’re ever going to be in a burger coma, Weedeater’s God Luck and Good Speed isn’t a bad way to go.
It was countered in the van by Tony Orlando and Dawn, Cheap Trick power ballads, Frampton, and “Dream Weaver.” Take that, heavy metal. We found Sean and Greg from Pentagram playing basketball in the alley behind the venue when we pulled in, but they and Victor Griffin have started soundchecking now. Bobby Liebling is around here somewhere, he’s been back and forth. I think everybody’s ready to get the tour started, or maybe that’s just me projecting. Either way, I’m glad to be here.
Posted in audiObelisk on October 23rd, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
London heavy rockers Stubb will release their second album, Cry of the Ocean, on Nov. 14. Their first for Ripple Music, it was recorded in Skyhammer Studios, mastered by Tony Reed, and pushes further into the classic-rock-inspired vibes of their 2012 self-titled debut (review here), which came across as a fuzzer’s delight with the memorable songwriting of guitarist/vocalist Jack Dickinson at the fore. Dickinson, who’s joined once again by bassist/backing vocalist Peter Holland (Trippy Wicked, Elephant Tree) and new drummer Tom Fyfe, continues to refine his approach on the new album, branching ambitiously into bolder elements of soul and heavy psychedelia.
Cry of the Ocean is a more complex offering, as the sweet acoustics of “Heartbreaker” and the handclap-inclusive apex of the two-part opening title-track demonstrate, but ultimately no less satisfying. Dickinson, Holland and Fyfe have been able to expand the palette of the first record while still maintaining the basic focus on craftsmanship that made so many of that outing’s cuts resonate. So “Heavy Blue Sky” might unfurl with a more melancholy roll, and “Devil’s Brew” might get down to boogie business in quick fashion ahead of the organ-ified “Snake Eyes,” but what ties the material together is the quality of its execution, and in branching out, Stubb seem to in no way have bit off more than they can chew. “Snake Eyes” and the subsequent “You’ll Never Know,” at seven minutes each, make up a substantial closing duo that brings out some of Cry of the Ocean‘s best moments. And in case you’re worried, there’s no shortage of fuzz either.
As proof, today I have the pleasure of hosting “Sail Forever” for streaming. In it, one can get a sense of the wider emotional net that Cry of the Ocean casts and the warm tones that have remained very much an essential part of their approach. Stubb push the balance to one side or the other several times over the course of the eight tracks, but “Sail Forever” makes an excellent summary, pulling its vibe from elements on all sides and putting it to use with one of the LP’s strongest hooks.
Hope you dig it:
Here is the Music Player. You need to installl flash player to show this cool thing!
Stubb‘s Cry of the Ocean is due Nov. 14 in North America, Nov. 17 in Europe. More info at the links below.
Posted in Features on October 22nd, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
10.22.14 — 8:34PM — Wednesday evening — The van, somewhere in PA
“Keep your feet on the ground and keep reaching for the angel dust.” — Rob Sefcik
Pennsylvania is deep. Pennsylvania is so deep that Hawkwind should’ve been writing songs about it. As predicted, most of the day has been spent on Route 80, headed westbound to a town called Clyde, Ohio, plucked at just-a-little-less-than-random for its placement between New York and Ohio. It was an early start but we still wound up running late, not that it really matters when we get there. Pretty sure the Red Roof Inn in Clyde will stay open until we get there.
Steve and I got out pretty early this morning and headed to Lyndhurst, NJ, to pick up the van from the rental company. Right off Rt. 3 — familiar terrain. After that, we went in Manhattan to pick something up from his apartment and I snuck in a bacon, egg and cheese on a bagel and a cup of coffee, felt like I was getting away with something. It was glorious. Bagels like that don’t exist in Massachusetts. I had no idea so many of my tastes were regional until I moved. Whatever. Another great sandwich duly chronicled. Aaron met up with us there and we headed into Brooklyn to pick up the rest of the band at Kings Destroy’s practice space and get the gear packed up. It was a little before one when we hit the road, crossed over the George Washington Bridge and headed west on Rt. 80 like the warriors on the edge of time that we might as well be.
Few stops today. It’s mostly been about putting hours in. One piss break at a rest stop where some dude with “Don’t Tread on Me” and a $40,000 SUV gave me sideways looks as I stood outside the van. I’d like to know who he thinks is treading on him but I know the answer he’d give and I’d rather not hear it. We stopped in a town called Clarion not too long ago for dinner at a place called Captain Loomis — much pirate-voice ensued — that has apparently been open since before the Civil War. Stoner Girl who was our waitress wound up telling us about the pretty serious charges she copped in the last month or so and how she might face felony jail time. For pot. I kept thinking about Mr. Tread Upon and the general fucking cluelessness that surrounds us every day. Accordingly was quiet at dinner, not that I had much to add to the discussion of how much old hardcore singles bring in on eBay. Jim Pitts was on that shit. Admirably so.
Carl is driving now, and he’s got a solid playlist going: Sleep, Kyuss, Queens of the Stone Age, old Helmet, Prong’s “Prove You Wrong,” some Nick Cave or something that sounds close enough to it to fool me. I’ll take it. It’s dark now but earlier in the day I got a decent look at some of what’s apparently a gorgeous autumn in Pennsylvania, leaves all different yellows and reds like bubbles on hillsides. I’ve seen it before, but nice to look without running off the road, which is usually the case driving way out here. It was pretty gray all day, and even now there’s cloud cover, but no major weather troubles or any other kind to report. Just putting in time to get to Chicago tomorrow so these guys can play the first show and start the tour, and I can do whatever it is I do out here.
Eager to see this thing start, but feeling good. Looking forward to getting to Clyde, Ohio, which isn’t something I ever really imagined myself saying.
Posted in Whathaveyou on October 22nd, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
Washington rock purveyors Mos Generator and Italian four-piece Isaak have set a Jan. 12, 2015, release date for a new split 12″. Heavy Psych Sounds will be handling the release. Earlier this year, the label got together Naam, White Hills, Black Rainbows and The Flying Eyes for a split that was promised as the first in a series, but I’m not sure if this is a continuation of that same idea — it’s half as many bands, for one thing — or a whole new deal. Either way, new Mos Generator and Isaak is nothing to complain about, however it might be positioned in the label’s catalog.
Mos Generator already have a couple recent releases under their collective belt, between their 2014 Listenable Records label debut, Electric Mountain Majesty (review here) and the self-released demo compilation Electric Nomads covering material from their last two full-lengths (review here). For Isaak, they’ve spent much of the year supporting their 2013 Small Stone release, The Longer the Beard the Harder the Sound, and they’ll hit the road in December once again, this time with copies of the new split in tow.
Some preliminaries on the pressing from Heavy Psych Sounds:
Mos Generator/Isaak Split Album is the new Heavy Psych Sounds Records release printed in Black Vinyl and 150 copies
LTD Red Splatter Black Vinyl Awesome Album Artwork by SoloMacello
release date 12/01/2015
We are proud and honored to announce our upcoming new split album with the amazing Mos Generator!
It will be released on a very limited edition 12″ vinyl by the great HEAVY PSYCH SOUNDS Records on January 12, 2015 but you can grab a copy during our European Tour in December. Here you can find a sneakpeek of the stunning artwork made by our brother SoloMacello.
We really can’t wait to let you ear it, we’re sure you’re gonna dig it. SEE YOU SOON ON TOUR, STAY HEAVY! \M/
Posted in audiObelisk on October 22nd, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
One-man psych outfit Sleepy Cheese will make its debut on Halloween via Forged Artifacts with an EP called Thank God it Hurts. Four tracks tied together through a series of voicemails, the bedroom-recorded sound is minimal in places and intimate, but still carries some blown-out threat, vocals coming on in rasps throughout “Be Good,” “Credit Card,” “Roach” and “The Glory.” There’s a raw and exploratory feel that remains fervent just about the whole way, but going along with that is a very personal root that serves as the foundation from which the material emanates. There’s a human core under the inhuman sounds, in other words.
The fervent buzz in Sky Traceable’s guitar and the rasp that accompanies the molten, slow-progressing groove of “Be Good” brings to mind some stoner take on black metal, but that’s hardly scratching the surface of what’s at play stylistically throughout Thank God it Hurts. At the end of the opener, we’re also treated to the first in a series of recorded voicemails that string a thread through the four songs and create a narrative of a breakup in progress. Since a lot of what Traceable has to say lyrically is indecipherable, the voicemails go a long way in amplifying the mood, the fuzz that starts “Credit Card” sounding that much more mournful even before the organ and drum march starts in for the severance that came just before.
All told, it’s a short release, and things only get crazier as “Roach” launches with a creepy voice talking about a “stupid, stupid phone” before moving into shoegaze-gone-mad screaming and sleepy rollout, and by the end it can be kind of hard to take, but resolution comes with “The Glory,” on which Traceable is first scolded for drunk-dialing before the EP’s most satisfyingly classic-styled riff gives a glimpse at what retro rock might’ve become if it had spent the money on pills instead of vintage equipment. By the time he gets there, Traceable has more or less wrapped the narrative, but there’s an effects-drenched sample included in the song itself, which ties everything together before “The Glory”’s last push and the sudden, clean-break ending.
Sleepy Cheese’s Thank God it Hurts will be out on Halloween via Forged Artifacts, but you can check it out on the player below. Please enjoy:
Posted in Features on October 21st, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
10.21.14 — 3:21PM — Tuesday afternoon — East Bridgewater, MA
“Guess you ain’t driving!!!!” — Steve Murphy
Pesto dribbled down my beard from the hot soppressata, salami and fresh mozz sandwich I made myself for lunch. I drank today-fresh homemade iced tea out of the fridge and had pistachio-laden unsalted mixed nuts on the side while listening to the new Stubb album for the first time. The little dog Dio curled up on the doormat in a rare spot of New England autumn sunshine. I don’t think of the next two weeks as a hardship, but if you’re about to leave the place you live for any stretch of time, you might as well enjoy yourself before you go.
The tour starts on Thursday in Chicago. For the most part, it’s the same lineup as this past Spring — I’ll be traveling with Kings Destroy while they tour with Pentagram and Radio Moscow — only this time it’s reunited proto-metallers Bang as well. Blood Ceremony will play the Halloween show in Burlington and the NYC show on Nov. 1, and there’s an off-day on Sunday for which KD has a gig booked in Lansing, Michigan, with Beast in the Field and Hordes and Cruthu. It will be a good time and still a doable drive to Cleveland the next day. There’s a lot I’m looking forward to seeing, never having been to Chicago or Minneapolis, Grand Rapids or Pittsburgh, and a lot of familiar terrain for me as well. That will be a big change from earlier this year, and I’ve spent some time the last few days wondering if the rounded tops of the Appalachians will hold the same visual appeal as the pointed Rockies did in February, considering I grew up between them.
I’ll find out and let you know when I know. I leave here in three hours or so to head to New York. I’ll be crashing with KD vocalist Steve Murphy tonight, then tomorrow we pick up Jim Pitts, who’s driving once again — it was thought I’d do some road-time as well and may yet, but there’s something stupid with the rental company and my insurance that needs ironing out because they want to charge extra or some shit; I fucking hate paperwork — and the rest of the band and start the drive west. I expect a lot of Route 80 in the next 36 hours, but consider myself fortunate to have been asked along again by the band and am looking forward to watching them play each night on this run.
No, I haven’t packed yet. I haven’t even showered yet, if you want to know the truth, and I still need to charge the camera battery so I have it ready to go, but what the hell. If it happened on time, it wouldn’t be rock and roll.
Here is the full routing for the tour. If you’re planning to hit one of these shows, please say hi. I’ll hope to see you out there.
10/23 Chicago, Il Reggies*
10/24 Minneapolis, MN Mill City Nights*
10/25 Grand Rapids, MI Pyramid Scheme*
10/26 Lansing, MI, Ave Cafe^
10/27 Cleveland, OH , House of Blues*
10/28 Pittsburgh, PA, Mr Smalls*
10/29 Baltimore, MD, Soundstage Baltimore*
10/30 Phildelphia, PA, Johnnie Brendas*
10/31 Burlington, VT, Arts Riot#
11/1 NYC, Gramercy Theater#
11/2 Providence, RI, The Met*
* w Pentagram, Radio Moscow, Bang
^ w Beast in the Field, Cruthu, Hordes
# w Pentagram, Blood Ceremony, Bang
Posted in audiObelisk on October 21st, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
Pressed in a grey/white splatter edition of 300 copies from Battleground Records, the new split 7″ between Arizona’s Fuzz Evil and fellow Southwesterners Chiefs is available as of today. With just over five minutes of music from each band — Fuzz Evil presenting “Glitterbones” and Chiefs “Stone Bull” — it’s a platter rife with easily-dug vibes and riff-heavy groove broken into sides F and G for a bit of alphabetical fun to coincide with the laid back, steady roll throughout. Chiefs have some demos under their belt, but for Fuzz Evil, which features guitarist/vocalist Wayne Rudell and bassist/vocalist Joey Rudell of Powered Wig Machine along with drummer Marlin Tuttle, it’s their recorded debut, and they’re off to a solid start.
Of course, for the Rudells, who with Powered Wig Machine released the Supa-Collider full-length (review here) earlier this year, it’s not really a start at all, but as Fuzz Evil and with Tuttle, they do explore different ground within the overarching sphere of heavy rock. “Glitterbones” as a swagger and hook reminiscent of early Queens of the Stone Age, played up with some falsetto vocals, and true to their name, some vicious fuzz. Less bluesy overall than Powered Wig Machine, they still find room as Fuzz Evil to reference Clutch in the lyrics — asking what the dollar’s for — and enact a stonerly nod in the track as they march toward the solo-topped apex given further breadth and classic feel from some deeply mixed organ following the central bruiser of a riff.
For Chiefs‘ part, the Phoenix, Los Angeles and San Diego-based trio start out “Stone Bull” with slower riffery but open up to a chugging verse and well-placed clean vocals buried Goatsnake-style under the mountainous tones of guitarist Paul Valle and bassist Jeff Podeszwik, both of whom sing while Kevin Michel holds down the drums. Big riffs get bigger as “Stone Bull” plays out, and though an overblown solo is teased in peppered lead lines, one never materializes, and Chiefs continue their forward push with a turn past the four-minute mark that marks the beginning of the song’s final movement, ending with a riffout that, were it not for the physical limitation of the medium on which it’s pressed, could probably keep going for considerably longer. Perhaps live it does.
Speaking of live shows, Fuzz Evil have a couple release gigs planned for the 7″, the first of which is tonight. That info is included under the player below, on which you can stream the split with Chiefs in its entirety.
The Battleground Records roster continues to rapidly expand, with another new release on the horizon for October, in the form of a split 7? from FUZZ EVIL and CHIEFS.
Battleground will release the FUZZ EVIL / CHIEFS split 7? on October 21st. Limited to 300 copies, the heavy grey vinyl with white splatters is cut at 45 RPM and features artwork by David Paul Seymour. For a limited time, every preorder via Battleground receives an entry to win a test pressing of the 7? – place ordersHERE.
With new live shows expected to be confirmed from both FUZZ EVIL and CHIEFS over the coming weeks, FUZZ EVIL has already confirmed several new Fall gigs including release shows for the 7? in both their hometown of Sierra Vista as well as Tucson.
FUZZ EVIL shows: 10/21/2014 JR’s – Sierra Vista, AZ – 7? release show 11/07/2014 Flycatcher – Tucson, AZ – 7? release show 11/08/2014 Superbrawler – Benson, AZ
Posted in Whathaveyou on October 21st, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
The ink barely dry on earlier-this-year’s Into the Absolute EP, German death-doom outfit Owl have announced a follow-up short release, The Last Walk, to be issued next month on Zeitgeister Music. The Bonn-based project of Christian Kolf, Owl switches off between blurring and demolishing genre lines, as Into the Absolute showed, songs like “Unearthly Arcana” pushing into progressive death and black metals while the opening title-track recalled slow-motion Meshuggah chugging and post-metal atmospheric churn and the brief, ambient “Apparition” added ghostly malevolence to the surrounding tonal crush. What Kolf, who may or may not still be joined by drummer Patrick Schroeder in the band, might come up with over the course of a single 25-minute stretch is something to look forward to finding out.
Ever reliable in this regard, the PR wire brings details of the new release. I’ve also included the Bandcamp stream of Into the Absolute should you feel compelled to dig in:
OWL: German Death/Doom Obscurists Return With 25 Minute Opus “The Last Walk”
Epic Track to be Released as Digital Download via Zeitgeister on November 19th
Less than 6 months after the crushing release of their Into The Absolute EP, OWL are preparing to return with a 25-minute opus entitled The Last Walk.
On this release OWL continue their ever-evolving and unpredictable path by combining their ambient style with sorrowful doom metal, influenced by bands such as My Dying Bride, early Anathema, Nadja, Dead Can Dance, alongside ambient music as well as band leader Christian Kolf’s experimental project Gruenewald.
The Last Walk was written, recorded, and produced by Kolf in his own DH Studios from March – September 2014. Mastering was done by Simon Hawemann at Sludge Studios.
The song will be available as a digital download via Zeitgesiter on November 19th.
Posted in Reviews on October 21st, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
Long Island heavy rockers John Wilkes Booth will mark their first decade together next year. 10 years. The band — who, if you’re wondering, took on what I think even they’d tell you (perhaps while smirking) is a lousy name in order to capture something universally hated — made their full-length debut in 2008 with Sic Semper Tyrannis (review here) following a split with 12 Eyes and my former band, Maegashira, and a 2006 self-titled EP, and five years later, they answer their long-player with the eight-track/34-minute sophomore outing, Useless Lucy, which both beefs up the production overall and delves into darker noise rock terrain on cuts like “From the North” and “Masturbation Song” while tapping various veins of ’90s alt rock in “Six One” and the later “Ladder and Vacuum,” at least before the latter switches to its crunching hook, Tool-style bleaker prog riffing from guitarist Jason Beickert winding out a resonant chorus that consumes much of the three-minute song’s second half, vocalist Kerry Merkle recounting an everyman tale of woe overtop, somewhat ironically (and again, perhaps smirkingly) following the parental love-letter “Soaking the Perimeter.” The Booth have always had something of a progressive drive, musically and vocally, and Merkle does well in changing his approach here from gutting out the start-stop chorus in “Masturbation Song” and the verses in “13 Years” to more cleanly riding the funk-rock push of “Ladder and Vacuum,” bassist Harry Vrooman and drummer Christian Horstmann stepping up the bounce there where in the midsection of closer “Family Crest” they smoothly hold together a post-bridge jam as Beickert embellishes an exploratory-sounding lead.
To make a prior allusion explicit, I’ve known the John Wilkes Booth guys for years, played shows with them, collaborated on releases, and so on, so I’m not about to claim a measure of impartiality when it comes to appreciating what they do. They are one of those bands. Nestled into their geography out on Long Island, separate from the entirety of the country with the morass of New York traffic between, they rarely get out, have never toured for any length of time, but have continued to hone their craft at familiar local spots, have kept a consistent lineup because they must genuinely enjoy each other’s company, and have put together a solid album of new material written not with the rush of an impending touring cycle, but with time taken to fully embrace the process of hammering out parts and making the songs sound the way they want them too. Would they be a bigger, more solidified unit if they’d hit the road six years ago and never looked back? Probably. Or they might’ve broken up. Who the hell knows? The point is that when it comes to Useless Lucy and the Booth in general, what you see is what you get. They might cop an experimental vibe here and there — with its slower progression and foreboding vibe, opener “From the North” is probably the farthest they veer from their more straightforward norm — but by and large they traffic in unpretentious heavy rock and roll, vibed out with various echoes in the guitar and vocals and made stronger by the chemistry of the rhythm section. They’re not looking to be a huge band or to “get a buzz going” in any other than the beery sense of the phrase. As I’ve always seen them, their motives are pure. They create because they feel joy in the expression. That’s kept them going for a decade so far.
And somewhat more astoundingly, they do so without really ever pushing into self-indulgence. Even the penultimate “Intro 2 (Lick My Spacesuit),” which is essentially 90 seconds of an effects buildup leading the way into “Family Crest,” serves a purpose in adding to the atmosphere of the album overall and giving the listener a breather after “Ladder and Vacuum” and before the finale. Earlier, “Six One” showcases an airier sensibility than either of the opening duo in front of it, but neither that nor the rolling fuzz of “13 Years” which follows, fail to convey a well-developed songwriting process, and everywhere John Wilkes Booth go on Useless Lucy, that’s what remains most consistent. They’ll never be a big band — even the phrase “I like John Wilkes Booth” pushes the boundaries of taste; they prefer “F the Booth” as a slogan — and they’ll probably never quit their jobs and go on perma-tour, get big press and whatever else, but frankly, the fact that they’re going to do what they do regardless makes them all the more admirable in my eyes. There’s nothing insincere about Useless Lucy, or that feels cynical or like it’s just there because it’s what’s popular. It’s not what’s popular. If it was they’d sound like Graveyard or Uncle Acid. Instead, they sound like the Booth. It won’t turn heads, and the album’s not perfect by any stretch — Merkle‘s voice comes across high in the mix in places, and the recording is clean more à la modern rock than heavy rock — but it’s honest, and going into a band’s new record with the expectation of honesty is a rare and not-to-be-understated delight.
Posted in Whathaveyou on October 21st, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
Hot on the heels of their new EP, Realisations, which was released a few weeks back to help raise funds for their impending European tour, Brooklyn classic rocking trio The Golden Grass have shored up the run of that tour and have revealed the details of a new 7″ that they’ll have along with them containing the tracks “A Curious Case” and “The Pilgrim.” Like their earlier-2014 self-titled debut (review here), the single will be under the banner of Svart Records, and though the official street date isn’t until later in November, the band will have copies to sell on the road, their tour including a stop at YellowstockWinter Fest in Belgium on Nov. 29. Surely they’ll be bringing the warm vibes with them wherever they go.
The PR wire has details and the friggin’ awesome cover art for the single by Flatbush Brown:
THE GOLDEN GRASS to tour Europe next month, to release special 7″ single
Swamp Booking, in conjunction with Svart Records, is proud to announce the debut European tour by one of the most exciting new groups of the global underground heavy rock scene, The Golden Grass. Formed in early 2013 by Adam Kriney (La Otracina) and Michael Rafalowich (Strange Haze/Whooping Crane/Tav Falco’s Panther Burns), the band came together to write uplifting and feel-good heavy boogie rock music, complete with soaring soulful harmony-laden vocals, epic psychedelic/prog passages, Southern/country vibrations, and top-notch musicality.
Before The Golden Grass had even played a single show, their infectious classic sound caught the ear of Beastmilk’s Mat McNerney, who heard some early demos, and within weeks, the group was signed with Svart Records. The band has toured the Eastern USA extensively, playing with a slew of bands across the underground heavy/rock/psychedelic/metal scenes, resonating with headbanger and hippie alike, establishing an instant cult following wherever they performed.
The Golden Grass will bring their incredible live concert experience to Europe this November. Confirmed dates/venues are as follows:
November 13 – Liege, Belgium @ Inside Out November 14 – Charleroi, Belgium @ Le Vecteur November 15 – Drachten, Holland @ Iduna November 16 – TBA November 17 – Bruxelles, Belgium @ Spione Bar November 18 – Haag, Holland @ Dystopia Den November 19 – Hamburg,Germany @ Rock Cafe November 20 – Copenhagen, Denmark @ Stengade November 21 – Aalborg, Denmark @ 1000fryd November 22 – Lund, Sweden @ Rocknroll Klubben November 24 – Helsinki, Finland @ On the Rocks November 25 – Tampere, Finland @ Klubi November 27 – Malmo, Sweden @ Grand November 28 – Siegen, Germany @ Vortex November 29 – Geel, Belgium @ Yellowstock Winter Fest
Hot off the heels of this maiden European tour, The Golden Grass will release a special two-song 7″ vinyl single via Svart Records. Featuring two dazzling new tunes,”A Curious Case”/”The Pilgrim” showcases the band’s abilities to bring those feel-good times with soulful hard-rockin’ grooves. But as you CAN and SHOULD expect with each new release from The Golden Grass, you’ll meet unexpected new musical ideas from this power trio. The group’s artwork and graphic design is always a priority, and with this release, it is no exception, as it features absolutely hilarious illustrations by Brooklyn artist Flatbush Brown that truly complete that feel-good vibe of the band. Set for release on November 28th but available for sale during the tour, cover and tracklisting are as follows:
Tracklisting for “A Curious Case”/”The Pilgrim” Side A: A Curious Case Side B: The Pilgrim
Posted in Whathaveyou on October 20th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
The track “Oxygen” from Swans‘ 2014 album, To be Kind (review here), is a fitting example of the way that record just kind of whams you in the face with sound. Edited by Mute Records founder Daniel Miller, it’s an even-more-pointed thrust and a quicker summary of the rhythmic insistence on hand throughout. I doubt that’s why it was chosen for release as a digital EP on Nov. 25 through Michael Gira‘s Young God Records anymore than the edit was done so they’d have a three-minute version to send to radio — the likely motivation is the usual; Swans put out a short or limited release in order to fund whatever they want to do next — but it winds up that way anyhow. That edit will be one of four versions of the track on Oxygen when it arrives at the end of next month.
Swans – who also put on one of the best shows I’ve seen all year — will also be reissuing their first album, 1983’s Filth, on vinyl Oct. 28. The PR wire invites us all to get schooled:
SWANS RELEASE “OXYGEN” – DIGITAL EP, NOVEMBER 25
SWANS release a new EP, “Oxygen,” out digitally on November 25 2014. Featuring an edit of “Oxygen” by Mute founder Daniel Miller, a live version from Primavera, an early version recorded at Gira’s home and an acoustic version recorded at StudioMute, the title track of the four-track EP is taken from their latest album, ‘To Be Kind’, out now on Young God (Mute outside of North America).
Swans recently confirmed their biggest UK headline show yet, at London’s historic Roundhouse, on May 21 2015 plus an appearance at Drill : Brighton festival on Sunday December 7. Drill festival, curated by Wire, will include a one-off collaboration between Wire and Swans – full details over at www.drillfestival.com, this appearance follows the Michael Gira / Swans curated Mouth To Mouth festival in Utrecht on November 22 which Wire are also appearing at, full details over at http://leguesswho.nl/
In addition, Swans round off an incredible year which has seen the release of their critically acclaimed album, ‘To Be Kind’, with a remastered vinyl edition of their debut studio album, ‘Filth’, out on October 28 2014.
Swans, led by Michael Gira, formed in 1982 and, after disbanding in 1997, returned with the critically acclaimed albums ‘My Father Will Guide Me Up A Rope To The Sky’ (2010), ‘The Seer’ (2012) and this year’s ‘To Be Kind.’
Swans are Michael Gira, Norman Westberg, Christoph Hahn, Phil Puleo, Thor Harris and Christopher Pravdica.
OXGYEN EP TRACKLISTING Oxygen (Edit) Oxygen (Live at Primavera) Oxygen (Early Version) Oxygen (Acoustic Version)
Posted in Reviews on October 20th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
It was madness, I tell you. Utter madness. Madness from which there was no escape, unless you went outside, which if you were me you didn’t want to do. A five-band Saturday night bill at Ralph’s Rock Diner in Worcester with Faces of Bayon — who as I understand it don’t literally run the place, but show up there often enough that one might get that impression — Clamfight and Wizard Eye up from Philly and Conclave, who as they put it were a “new band with the same old guys” opening, it was an evening to settle in and just let the steamroller run you down because, quite frankly, it was going to whether you wanted or not. Gwar, Life of Agony and a bunch of other bands were playing at The Palladium down the way, and that probably had some impact on the overall draw, but people came upstairs and milled about the venue throughout the night, a birthday party downstairs and balloons with “Over The Hill” on them getting a chuckle out of me on my way by.
Ralph’s at this point I consider to be a pretty well kept secret. I’ve yet to see a band there and not have the sound hold up. The room is open, the ceiling high enough to let amps breathe, the stage is the right height for it. There are stools at the bar if you want to take a load off for a minute, and the lighting — though it can change from band to band — is better than every room I’ve been to in Boston save perhaps for the Middle East Downstairs, which is also a venue that holds at least three times as many people. Were Worcester a more major urban center, Ralph’s is probably the kind of place people from elsewhere would’ve heard of, a spot that could be in league with Brooklyn’s The Acheron if not the Vitus bar, or someplace like Johnny Brenda‘s in Philly, minus the balcony. I dig it, in other words, and enjoy seeing bands there. For being maybe 75 minutes from me where Boston is about an hour and Providence about 45 minutes, I’ve so far found it’s worth the trip.
The flyer said five bucks for five bands. I paid seven as the door and it should’ve cost more than twice that. Here’s how this one went down:
As I understand it, it was Conclave‘s second show, but true to their “same old guys” declaration, the members of the band have been around. Bassist/vocalist Jerry Orne counts the due-for-a-reunion Warhorse in his pedigree, and guitarist Jeremy Kibort is his bandmate in once-and-again death metallers Desolate. Completed by drummer Dan Blomquist, Conclave played doom like death metallers often do. Even before you get to harsh vocals or anything like that, you can hear it in the precision of the changes, in some of the angularity of their approach. Blomquist‘s kit and Kibort‘s guitar were a dead giveaway, but for being a new band, they clearly knew their way around a doom riff, and it was easy to get a sense of the balance of harshness and groove they were shooting for, the lack of pretense at the heart of their presentation, and their penchant for periodically working in faster tempo shifts, as on “Walk the Earth (No Longer)” or the set closer “Black Lines,” which seems likely to also feature on their forthcoming debut EP, Breaking Ground. And so they were.
Bedroom Rehab Corporation
I wondered if it had been a month since the last time I saw Connecticut’s Bedroom Rehab Corporation while bassist/vocalist Adam Wujtewicz and drummer Meghan Killimade set up their gear. Yes, it had — just over a month, in fact. Still close enough that they were fresh on the brain, though. Their set had a couple new songs to go with “Basilosaurus” from their Red over Red debut long-player (review here). They’ll record in January, and I’ll look forward to what comes out of that for 2015, but the primary impression in watching them at Ralph’s, which is also where I first saw them over the summer, was much the same, in how completely their live show outclasses their studio material. They’ve got their work cut out for them in translating the energy they bring to the stage — the consuming, noisy sensibility in both of their approaches, the variety of tone and gruff vocals of Wujtewicz — but Justin Pizzoferrato, who also helmed the debut, should be able to capture it with the right balance of rawness and clarity. At Ralph’s, they were playing the second night of an NY/MA weekender with Clamfight and Wizard Eye, and it was clear the company they were keeping was pushing them to give it their all on stage.
Sometimes there’s a band — and I’m talking about Wizard Eye here — and they’re the right band for their time and place. They fit right in there. That was Wizard Eye as the centerpiece act in the lineup of five in Worcester. Their grooves smoother than Bedroom Rehab Corporation, more stoned out than even the newer Clamfight material — give me a minute, I’ll get there — the Philly trio rolled out fuzz and heavy with the assured vibe of seasoned veterans. They’re not a new band, formed in 2007, but with one record out it would be easy to walk into a Wizard Eye set and be surprised at how much they have their shit together on stage. I knew what was coming, but new songs “Flying/Falling,” “Phase Return” and “Drowning Day” set in well with the promise of a follow-up to 2010’s Orbital Rites, from which “C.O.C.,” “Psychonaut” and “Gravebreath” were aired, guitarist/vocalist Erik Caplan trading out guitar solos for theremin, which added noisy edge to the Iommic groove and stoner-because-stoner vibe the three-piece got across. That second album may yet be a little ways off, but from what I’ve heard it’ll be worth the wait.
There are few things I’ll argue with less than watching Clamfight play. Up from Philly and sharing what I’m sure was a mightily dudely van with the Wizard Eye cats, Clamfight were primed to destroy as always, but opening and closing with new songs, they pulled away from the riffy thrash with which I tend to associate them, driving toward a more classic-rocking — and, pivotally, more dynamic — take. I knew they were growing, but they brought into relief just how far their progression was pushing them, or vice versa, and as satisfying as it was to see them tear into the title-track from their second record, I vs. the Glacier, with drummer Andy Martin roaring while lead guitarist Sean McKee tried to shake his cranium loose by headbanging it off while alternately facing and not facing the crowd, guitarist Joel Harris locked into a swaggering kind of waltz and bassist Louis Koble nestled into foundational grooves behind, it was even better to watch them come out from behind all that assault and volume and still have both the performance and songwriting hold up as they branched out. I anxiously await the chance to hear their new stuff properly recorded.
Faces of Bayon
It did not seem to me that Faces of Bayon had a particularly easy task in following Clamfight, but ultimately the Fitchburg trio were on such a different wavelength that by the time they were about 30 seconds into their set, it was apples and oranges. It’s been over two years since the last (and first) time I saw guitarist/vocalist Matt Smith, bassist Ron Miles and drummer Mike Lenihan. Smith threatened a second album that night to follow-up 2011’s debut, Heart of the Fire (review here), but one has yet to surface. It wasn’t mentioned at Ralph’s that I heard, but Faces of Bayon‘s blend of stoner and death-doom impulses was a stirring reminder of why I’d been looking forward to such a thing. Riffs came slow and patient, Miles subdued on the right side of the stage while Lenihan throttled his skull-covered drums and Smith – also a former member of Warhorse – gurgled out tales of woe. Some clean singing added Euro-style drama to the proceedings, and they finished with a deathly cover of Pentagram‘s “All Your Sins,” which was shouted out to photographer Hillarie Jason, who had rolled in presumably after the Gwar show ended. By then, it was well past 1AM, but some riffs get better the later they come.
The highways were basically clear on the way home, a couple cops pulling over a couple out-of-state-plate types as I streamed past with “Oh yeah I’ve been there” empathy. Got in a little before 3AM and called it a night on the quick, once again reveling in how overjustified the trip had been.
Posted in Whathaveyou on October 20th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
Causa Sui drummer and experimental solo artist Jakob Skøtt will issue his third full-length, Taurus Rising, in December through El Paraiso Records. The Copenhagen-based Skøtt issued his previous album, Amor Fati, earlier this year, and El Paraiso has unveiled the song “Pleiades” on the occasion of Taurus Rising being available to preorder as if to ensure listeners that the Krautrock-style progressivism of the last outing will indeed push even further this time out. Causa Sui reportedly have some new stuff in the works as well as they continue their ascent to the fore of European heavy psychedelia, but in the meantime, Skøtt demonstrates that even one-fourth of the band can still provide a rich and engaging listen.
Go anywhere progressive psychedelia; the motorik lives:
Jakob Skøtt: Taurus Rising LP PREORDER
3rd album from Causa Sui drummer Jakob Skøtt expands his one-man-band experiments into vast new territories.
Taurus Rising is built from motoric synthesizer arpeggios and heavy duty live drumming. But rather than simply worshipping endless repetition, Skøtt reaches an impressive array of expressions on each of these five mini epics – each song is ALIVE – frequently whirling off track like the wind direction in a sand storm, leading to some mind-altering melodies and rhythms that’ll keep you on your toes. Washed currents of pulsating analogue synthesizer scores, pre-fusion jazz-sensibility and fuzz’ed out electronics all tied together by fevered rhythms.
Jakob Skøtt is the drummer in revered danish experimental psych act Causa Sui and has previously collaborated with artists from Tortoise and Sunburned Hand of the Man. In a number of different outfits he has also released thru esteemed labels such as Morr Music, Ghostly International, Darla Records. Furthermore Jakob has done exclusive live visuals and artworks for Amon Düül II, Earthless, Manual, cult actress Asia Argento as well as The Roadburn Festival.
Also available as a 2xCD package also containing Jakob’s previous album Amor Fati.
Posted in audiObelisk on October 20th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
November 4 marks the release date for For Those Which are Asleep, the debut full-length from Chicago doom five-piece The Skull. Tee Pee Records, known more these days for psychedelic rock (Naam, Weird Owl, Earthless) than the sort of traditional Sabbathry in which The Skull traffic, will be handling the CD/LP, and if The Skull are something of an odd fit, one can certainly say extenuating circumstances apply.
With three-fifths of the band’s lineup — bassist Ron Holzner, drummer Jeff “Oly” Olson and vocalist Eric Wagner – culled directly from US doom legends Trouble, no doubt many of those who approach The Skull‘s first long-player will do so with a firm expectation of what’s in store. In some ways, those expectations will be right, but with guitarists Lothar Keller and Matt Goldsborough (ex-Pentagram) each playing a significant tonal role, For Those Which are Asleep sets its own course through doomly traditions.Wagner‘s inimitable vocal style, semi-spoken and subdued on “Send Judas Down” and “The Touch of Reality” and pushing into higher-register theatrics on the title-track and “Sometime Yesterday Mourning” — which, coupled with a cover of Trouble‘s “The Last Judgment,” was released earlier this year as a single (streamed here) to herald the album’s coming — to further the band’s utterly classic sound, modern and crisp in its production in a way that coincides with some of the album’s more forward-thinking moments, The Skull not just interested in paying homage to Trouble‘s legacy, which is how they started, but in moving ahead and building on it as well.
Today I have the extreme pleasure of debuting the track “The Touch of Reality.” It’s the second cut on For Those Which are Asleep behind “Trapped Inside My Mind” and it slips easily into one of the record’s most satisfying grooves, Olson smoothly riding the rhythm in Keller and Goldsborough‘s riffing, given heft by the breadth and ever-dynamic bass-work of Holzner while Wagner holds court over top. With The Skull, one of doom’s most enduring legacies breathes new life, and For Those Which are Asleep is as resounding a wake up call as one could ask. Heads and headbangers alike will be pleased.
Please find “The Touch of Reality” on the player below, followed by some info off the PR wire, and enjoy:
Here is the Music Player. You need to installl flash player to show this cool thing!
THE SKULL — the new band featuring original members Eric Wagner (vocals) and Jeff “Oly” Olson (drums) of American doom metal legends TROUBLE alongside longtime TROUBLE bassist Ron Holzner, guitarist Lothar Keller (SACRED DAWN) and former PENTAGRAM guitarist Matt Goldsborough will release their debut album For Those Which Are Asleep on November 4 via Tee Pee Records, the NYC independent record label known for releasing landmark albums from acts such as High on Fire, Graveyard, Earthless and Sleep.
Written and recorded this past spring, For Those Which Are Asleep features ten tracks of elemental Heavy Metal and is the first full length album to feature Wagner, Holzner and Olson since the 1995 release of TROUBLE’s critically acclaimed LP Plastic Green Head. The new record’s greatest strength is how well it captures the apocalyptic trudge that Trouble delivered from the first downbeat of their 1984 debut, but now unequivocally propelled by the hallmarks of a hungry new band fueled by new blood. The mighty voice of Wagner is on full display; the vocalist proving on For Those Which Are Asleep that he still wields an eerie power at the mic. Titanic riffs abound as Keller and Goldsborough weave ominous atmospheres over the molten, crushing core of Holzner and Olson’s sinister strut. Make no mistake, THE SKULL are in complete command of their craft and have capably created a modern classic; a recording where atmosphere is established as drums crash, guitars blare and stories are told.
Posted in Whathaveyou on October 20th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster
San Diego three-piece Heavy Glow have been on tour for the better part of a week now, supporting their new album, Pearls and Swine and Everything Fine. That is, of course, unless you count their previous tour, which ended just three days before this one began. How that even splits up tours, I have no idea. Pretty much, when it’s all over, Heavy Glow will have been on the road for a stretch running from September into mid-November. The current run ends Nov. 14. I wouldn’t be surprised if at some point they announced a tour starting Nov. 17 and going into December.
Here are the remaining dates and some whathaveyou off the PR wire:
HEAVY GLOW Announces North American Headlining Tour
San Diego Rock Trio Heading Out to the Highway in Support of Celebrated New LP
Electric San Diego rock band HEAVY GLOW has announced a North American headlining tour in support of its new LP Pearls & Swine and Everything Fine. Set to kick off on September 18 in Fort Worth, Texas, the 18 city jaunt will showcase the trio’s unhinged explosiveness, which blends post-millennial blues-rock and haunting, Mowtown-esque hard soul, calling for comparison to The Dead Weather, The Black Keys, Afghan Whigs and Cream.
Led by guitarist / vocalist Jared Mullins, HEAVY GLOW has been called “a bluesy slice of Free-meets-Grand Funk” and “an impressive Hendrix / ZZ Top hybrid that pays homage to other blues masters (Clapton, Cray) and modern-day fuzz tone titans.” Recorded with producers Michael Patterson (Nine Inch Nails, Puscifer) and Nic Jodoin (Spindrift, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club), Pearls & Swine and Everything Fine has been hailed as “blistering” and has yielded the crunching cuts “Headhunter” and “Look What You’re Doing to Me”; the latter track’s music video starring actress Mayra Leal of the Robert Rodriguez film “Machete.”
HEAVY GLOW on tour: Oct. 20 Underbelly Jacksonville, FL Oct. 24 Pegasus Lounge Tampa FL Oct. 30 The Hi-Tone Memphis, TN Oct. 31 Daisy Duke’s Nashville, TN Nov. 1 Hangar Bar, Greenville, TX Nov. 6 Tiki Bar Shreveport, LA Nov. 7 Dan Electro’s Houston, TX Nov. 10 Plush, St. Louis, MO Nov. 13 Silver Dollar, Texarkana, AR Nov. 14 Vino’s Brewpub Little Rock, AR