Who are Test-Site Covering?

Posted in Whathaveyou on February 28th, 2010 by JJ Koczan

I seem to recall lamenting at one point or another how Milwaukee-based stoner metallers Test-Site put out one awesome album and then — poof — nothing. Well, nothing except for the Fallout DVD, anyway, which is pretty good. Turns out they’ve been working on new material for a while now and although they’re about to take a break because drummer Tim Wick is going to have a kid (damn procreating percussionists), the trio has posted a mysterious new cover tune, which sounds familiar but I just can’t put my finger on. If you recognize it, leave a comment and let me know. Here’s an update from the band:

There is an unmastered NEW track (although it’s a cover) from the last recording session for everyone to hear. Check out the MySpace to listen. See if you recognize it. It’s the song labeled “coveRed.”

It’s been a while since we’ve posted any updates. So… First off, we are currently working on new songs that are by far 10 steps above everything we’ve done. We are finished recording for CD number two (name TBD) mixing will begin again once Tim returns from break. He has a baby boy on the way in the next few weeks which will mean Test-Site will be on a break for an undetermined amount of time, however, keep your ears and eyes open as we might be still found playing live.

We will be posting one of the new unmastered tracks in the next couple days…

We have recently discovered our self-titled CD is running low. We have only about 50 left and will be selling them here in the next week or so at reduced prices as gratitude to our fans. Thank you all soooo much for your constant support! We are working on some new and interesting ways to help bring Test-Site‘s music to you. Stay tuned in!

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Frydee Bongzilla

Posted in Bootleg Theater on February 26th, 2010 by JJ Koczan

Neither Bongzilla, nor the foot of snow that fell on the valley last night (with more allegedly on the way) is subtle. Both are sloppy, and if you’re subject to prolonged exposure to either, it can have a serious effect on your mental state. Hence, “Keefmaster” from the 2003 Relapse Contamination Festival. Dig.

February, in everything but the weather, is winding down, but this was still a pretty busy week, with the Apostle of Solitude interview that went up today and the Cathedral and Ufomammut reviews yesterday, The Brought Low on Tuesday, etc. Lots of great stuff, and thanks for reading and commenting. I know there’s the banner on the side of the page, but it’s worth repeating that if you haven’t checked out the March podcast yet, you should do so immediately because it rules.

Enjoy your weekend and stay tuned. More good times to follow.

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JPT Scare Band: The Unbittered Spoils of Obscurity

Posted in Reviews on February 26th, 2010 by JJ Koczan

It’s easy to sit behind a keyboard — or, for that matter, in front of an amplifier — and lament what could have been. “Oh man, if only the world had taken notice of this or that band, everything would be different.” Well no shit. So wait a second, what you mean to say is if things weren’t the same, they’d be unlike they are now? Guess that tautology major finally paid off!

If this the only reality we have to choose from (and so far it is), I think maybe it’s fortunate an act like Kansas City, Missouri’s JPT Scare Band remained obscure for the decades they’ve been playing together. Think of the still-performing heavy rock acts you know: Deep Purple, Black Sabbath, The Who, Kiss, and so forth. How many still have their original lineup? JPT Scare Band does. How many still have the passion that started them playing in the first place? JPT Scare Band does.

Not only that, but rather than some half-hearted attempt at updating their approach to appeal to a younger demographic at the behest of whatever label they happen to be signed with, JPT Scare Band also sound more truly authentic to their ‘70s beginnings and, on their latest album, RumDum Daddy (released through their own Kung Bomar Records), they capture a classic spirit of improvisation across several jams the likes of which even the most freewheeling of guitar gods from those mythical days of acid rock wouldn’t dare attempt in this century. Next time you see Ritchie Blackmore bust out something that stands up to guitarist/vocalist Terry Swope’s solo on “I’ve Been Waiting,” you let me know. And no, it doesn’t count if it’s on a mandolin.

The material on RumDum Daddy was recorded in 2004, and though relatively straightforward numbers like “You Don’t Wanna Know” and “Rat Poison for the Soul” (as opposed to chicken soup, one imagines) do an excellent job of leading into the album, it’s the jams, man. The jams. And I’m not talking about, “Hey, let’s all head out to The ‘Roo and catch Disco Biscuits” jams. Fuck those jams. JPT Scare Band traffic in epic guitar-led passages that would scare off trust-fund hippies faster than you can say, “There’s ham in the vegan pad thai.”

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Mighty High Needs a Bassist

Posted in Whathaveyou on February 26th, 2010 by JJ Koczan

As a force for all that is right and not-taking-itself-too-seriously in Brooklyn — where such forces are sorely needed — the band Mighty High should not be allowed even the faintest hiccup of inactivity. Accordingly, let the following announcement from the band ring out so that some good soul can step in and fill their now-vacant bassist position. Tommy Blow, we hardly knew ye.

And by that I mean we never met. But anyway, all the best. Here’s the note from the band:

After seven and a half years of service Tommy Blow has decided to retire from Mighty High. So that means we need a new bassist pronto. Tommy will be retiring after our show on April 10 with Cortez, Federale and Kevin Omen at Hank’s Saloon in Brooklyn.

If you or anyone you know wants to work the thud stuff on our Black Flag Railroad attack, get in touch and let’s rock. We got nine songs in the can for our next record and a bunch more we’re about to start working on to finish it off. There are shows to play, beers to drink and ears to bleed. Life is short, so play loud!

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On the Radar: Roareth

Posted in On the Radar on February 26th, 2010 by JJ Koczan

The tip-off on Roareth came via our friends at StonerRock.com, and it’s notable not only because it’s a new band and, from the track posted on their MySpace, they sound pretty huge and doomed out, but also because the project involves biking/coffee enthusiast and sometimes Obelisk attendee Aaron D.C. Edge, known for his work in a plethora of bands, including Grievous, Iamthethorn, and most recently, Tad Doyle‘s Brothers of the Sonic Cloth.

Aaron‘s playing guitar in Roareth, having vacated his drummer position in the aforementioned Brothers of the Sonic Cloth for reasons I don’t know and so won’t speculate on — Tad recorded the Roareth demo, so I’ll venture to assume there’s little or no animosity there — but ever the journeyman, Edge is right at home in the newborn four-piece. “Act I,” the only track they’ve so far posted, is modern sludge heavy, featuring far off screamed vocals from drummer Ben McIsaac that manage to cut through the distorted molasses riffs, and it’s hard to tell from the still photos if either Pam Sternin or Rachel Lynch is playing a bass, but if not, their three-guitar attack is by no means short on low end.

I think I hear bass on there though. Maybe that’s just me.

In any case, Roareth are definitely worth keeping an eye on, for their sounds as much as their personnel, and I’m looking forward to seeing where the next act takes them. One can only hope that, like “Act I,” it’s to the land of feedback, cracked ride cymbals and sore throats. Right on.

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Apostle of Solitude Interview with Chuck Brown: Looking Forward to Go Back

Posted in Features on February 26th, 2010 by JJ Koczan

The above headline, “Looking Forward to Go Back,” is modified and taken out of context from the last line of my recent telephone interview with Apostle of Solitude guitarist/vocalist Chuck Brown. Brown was talking about touring Europe, which is something he did as a member of The Gates of Slumber. But I think the phrase can be applied to Apostle of Solitude as a whole, what the band does, their sound and their execution. They look forward to go back.

The music on their sophomore offering, Last Sunrise — the follow-up to 2008’s stellar Sincerest Misery — is undeniably modern in structure, sound, feel and production, but there’s also no question that it is traditional doom, and linked to a lineage of bands that spans decades. But, with eyes geared toward the future, they’re not just rehashing old Sabbath or Trouble riffs and calling it a record. They’re bringing that sound, and us as listeners, forward with them.

Brown, who is joined in Apostle of Solitude by Justin Avery (guitar), Brent McClellan (bass) and Corey Webb (drums), recently took some time out for an in-depth telephone interview to discuss the careful processes behind making Last Sunrise, and the consideration that went into the details of the album. Q&A is after the jump. Please enjoy.

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Karma to Burn Reissues and Euro Tour Dates

Posted in Whathaveyou on February 25th, 2010 by JJ Koczan

Fabled West Virginian instrumental stoner metallers Karma to Burn are reissuing two out of their three albums. Bet you can’t guess which ones?

Hint: It’s the two that Roadrunner didn’t make them hire a vocalist on. Zing!

Tee Pee Records via the PR wire gives the lowdown on the vinyls, plus some Euro dates. Nifty:

Tee Pee Records is very proud to announce the vinyl reissues of Wild Wonderful Purgatory and Almost Heathen from legendary stoner rock pioneers Karma to Burn. Both albums will be released on April 6th 2010 and will coincide with Karma to Burn‘s April 2010 UK/European tour.

Wild Wonderful Purgatory and Almost Heathen will each come with a 10″ vinyl of bonus material including demos from the first album, newly recorded versions of “20” and “30” and all new artwork by Alex Von Wielding.

Karma to Burn UK/European tour:
04.01.10 DEKarlsruhe / Substage
04.02.10 FRParis / Nouveau Casino
04.03.10 NLSchijndel / Paaspop Festival
04.04.10 DEWeil der Stadt / JH Kloster
04.05.10 DEHamburg / Molotow
04.06.10 DEBerlin / Magnet
04.07.10 DEMarburg / KFZ
04.08.10 DEKöln / Underground
04.09.10 DEOsnabrück / Westwerk
04.10.10 BELeuven / Het Depot
04.12.10 CHBasel / Hirscheneck
04.13.10 CHZürich / Rote Fabrik
04.14.10 ITMilano / Circolo A.R.C.I. Magnolia
04.15.10 CHBern / ISC
04.16.10 NLTilburg / Roadburn Festival
04.19.10 UKNewcastle / Academy 2
04.20.10 UKGlasgow / Cathouse
04.21.10 UKManchester / Academy 3
04.22.10 UKSheffield / Corporation
04.23.10 UKDublin / Academy 2
04.24.10 UKBirmingham / Academy 2
04.25.10 UKBristol / Academy 2
04.26.10 UKLondon / Garage
04.27.10 UKSouthampton / Talking Heads
04.30.10 GRThessaloniki / 8 Ball club
05.01.10 GRAthens /AN Club

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Ufomammut and the Dawning of a New Eve

Posted in Reviews on February 25th, 2010 by JJ Koczan

With 2008’s Idolum, Italian psychedelic drone metallers Ufomammut confirmed their superiority over their individual sound, their genre of residence and, most importantly, our ears. Now unleashing the one-song opus Eve (split into five tracks) through their own Supernatural Cat imprint, Ufomammut surpasses any and all of their past work. I usually try not to let myself get taken up by this kind of excitement in a review, but I’ll be plain: this is the best album Ufomammut have ever done, and there’s a good chance doom might not be the same again.

The trio — Poia on guitars/synth, Urlo on bass/synth/vocals and Vita on drums — are earth-shatteringly heavy, and with Eve, they take the experimental bent that made their earlier offerings like Godlike Snake and Snailking so exciting and blend it with the self-made tonal crush that typified their last release. There’s no way to listen to Eve without understanding you are taking part in an event. The album feels as though it’s standing on an altar of its own making, proclaiming itself immortal and challenging the gods themselves to come and bear witness.

The gods, incidentally, don’t show up. Not that they’re too busy screwing and stabbing each other or just don’t feel like making the trip, but Ufomammut is actually just so fucking heavy they’re too intimidated to leave the house. And who could blame them?

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