Friday Full-Length: The Groundhogs, Split

Posted in Bootleg Theater on September 30th, 2016 by JJ Koczan

The Groundhogs, Split (1971)

They didn’t, by the way, split. At least not immediately. Having formed in the early ’60s and cut their teeth as the UK backing band for none other than John Lee Hooker himself — because if you’re going to learn how to do boogie blues right, you go to the source — The Groundhogs went on to construct a history as varied, complicated and hyper-populated as the best heavy rock acts of their generation. Their fourth album, 1971’s Split, was released on Liberty Records and is probably their most known work. Put together by the lineup of guitarist/vocalist Tony McPhee, bassist Peter Cruickshank and drummer Ken Pustelnik during a pivotal run as a power trio between 1969 and 1972, it’s marked out by its four-part opening title-track, a rare chronicle of mental illness that neither romanticizes nor stigmatizes, but represents in a series of ups and downs and a move into and through chaotic noise the tumult that people still consider taboo to discuss openly some 45 years later. It’s not necessarily doing this in a showy way — primarily, “Split” and the album that bears its name are geared toward the simple mission of rocking out — but it’s doing it all the same, and coming from a more sincere place than many at the time building off the idea that “crazy” was something cool to be.

And while the titular cut consumed all of side A, it was by no means all Split had to offer. “Cherry Red” began a thrust of four more straightforward tracks, giving a raucous, falsetto-topped start to that progression in which one can hear the roots of any number of ’70s-inspired acts from Graveyard to The Golden Grass, McPhee‘s dream-toned lead work a highlight backed by Pustelnik‘s manic snare and Cruickshank‘s warm runs on bass. For aficionados of the era, there’s a lot about this period of The Groundhogs that will ring familiar, but no question they were hitting harder than most at this point, and in the time when rock first really began to get heavy, Split makes a convincing argument for inclusion among the most vibrant outings of the period. They may not have amassed the same kind of influence as Jethro Tull on prog, or Black Sabbath on metal, or Hawkwind on space rock, but the languid roll of “A Year in the Life,” the scorch of “Junkman”‘s noisy and experimental second half, and the unabashed Hooker-ism of “Groundhog” — a take on the man’s own “Ground Hog Blues” — define something that draws on all of those elements without aping any of them. Those years were infinitely crowded, and one could make a life’s work of exploring all the rock and roll that surfaced between 1968 and 1974, but The Groundhogs are a standout all the way through. Front to back. The way it should be.

As one might expect, different lineups and different offshoots of the band have surfaced over the decades. The Groundhogs‘ last two studio albums were cover records of Howlin’ Wolf and Muddy Waters that surfaced in 1998 and 1999, respectively, but they’ve continued to play shows with McPhee, who also suffered a stroke in 2009, as the remaining original member, and their legacy is obviously one already cast in stone.

Hope you enjoy.

This week, more than most, finds the actual output on the site not at all commensurate to the amount of work done on my part in the back end. What does that mean? Well, it means that hopefully by the time this post goes live the images, links, players, etc. for the Quarterly Review will be completely laid out (as I write this I still need to put together next Friday’s metadata) and ready to roll for this weekend, and I’ll also have at least started to put together an additional full-album stream and review for the new Fatso Jetson record, which since I suck at timing and planning alike also needs to be up on Monday.

My plan is to wake up early tomorrow and Sunday — two more 5AM days, to go with the 5AM days all this week, last week, and so on — and just start banging through as many reviews as I can get done. They’re shorter, obviously, but it’s never not been a challenge anyway, both conceptually and in the sheer amount of work there is, hours in the day and that sort of thing. It’ll get done though. I haven’t flubbed a Quarterly Review yet and don’t intend to start now.

Also next week, look out for the announcement of the next The Obelisk Presents show — it’s a good one; they all are — and an announcement for a new album that Magnetic Eye Records will have out that’s pretty awesome. I don’t have days slated yet, but Mammoth Mammoth and Devil to Pay video premieres are in the works, and there’s a new Narcosatanicos, new La Chinga video and so much more besides that I’m already stressed out just thinking about it, but it’s okay, because apparently this is how I enjoy myself these days. Adulthood is strange. And bald. Bald and strange. Why am I cold all the time?

Complete side note, but I’m also thinking of shaving my beard. All the way down. Starting over. If you have any thoughts in this regard, I’m all ears. Yes, I know it’s the wrong decision. The Patient Mrs. told me that as well. She’s right, too. I feel like it might be the right time for the wrong decision.

Okay, I have work that needs to get done — including for that, you know, job I have and whatnot — so I’m going to sign off on that non-sequitur. I hope you have a great and safe weekend and I hope you check out the forum and the radio stream, which I know you do anyway, because you’re awesome. All the best.

The Obelisk Forum

The Obelisk Radio

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Enhailer Release Debut Album Grisaille

Posted in Whathaveyou on September 30th, 2016 by JJ Koczan


Over the last couple nights, Ohio’s Enhailer have journeyed east for shows in Brooklyn and Philadelphia alongside the likes of Caustic Casanova, Fashion Week and Clamfight. They’ll wrap that mini-tour tonight in Aliquippa, Pennsylvania, and pick up in October with a couple more dates as the Akron-based outfit set out to support the Blackseed Records CD issue of their debut album, Grisaille. Released digitally earlier this year and already sold through an initial pressing of discs, it finds the instrumentalists chugging out in the way of neo-progressive metal, but keeping a keen sense of groove as they go. If I called it heavy, you’d probably be like, “well yeah,” but it’s heavy. You can hear it for yourself in the stream below.

Blackseed sent over the following word on the release:


ENHAILER – GRISAILLE: Debut CD on Blackseed Records

Enhailer is a “mid-paced, sludge, experimental, stoner, doom metal, progressive, misanthropic dirt rock” outfit based in Akron, Ohio. They’ve been together since 2014 and produced their first record, Grisaille (gri-sigh) in the summer of 2016. Filled with instrumental arrangements that simultaneously destroy and restore your faith in sonic healing, the band sold out of their self-produced debut CD in short order while playing out in a number cities with bands such as Goatwhore, Eyehategod, Black Breath, Lo-Pan, Childbite, Ringworm, Weedeater, and became a crowd favorite packing spots like Ralph’s (MA), The Grog Shop (OH), and the 31st Street Pub(PA).

Enhailer quickly found a collaborating enthusiast in Grisaille and decided to join forces with a mainly noise/experimental label Blackseed Records (Vomir, Macronympha, Zaimph, o Heidrun, Last Rape, Agathocles).

This September 26th, 2016 that collaboration is born in an official release of Grisaille, in which Blackseed believes will be a great first edition in the label’s realm of projects focused in the dark and the heavy, the doomed and the tuned down, the tranquilizing and the raw.

The current line-up is drummer Chadd Beverlin and bassist Michael Gilpatrick (both of Rue, Cultist, Mockingbird) and with guitarist Mike Lorenz (Iron Jawed Guru).

You can pick your copy up at a show listed below, on the Enhailer Bandcamp, or at Blackseed Records.

9/30 Aliquippa @ Fallout Shelter w/ Only Flesh, Dismoprphia, Murder For Girls, Disobey
10/20 Columbus @ Space Bar w/Drones
10/28 Pittsburgh @ Gooskis w/Horehound, Horseburner

Enhailer are planning to tour with Come to Grief throughout the Midwest in months to come.

Enhailer, Grisaille (2016)

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Fuzz Evil, Fuzz Evil: The Good Medicine (Plus Full Album Stream)

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on September 30th, 2016 by JJ Koczan


[Click play above to stream Fuzz Evil’s self-titled debut in its entirety. Album is out today, Sept. 30, on Battleground Records.]

If Arizona trio Fuzz Evil‘s debut album feels like it’s been a long time coming, it hasn’t. The band based in Sierra Vista — near Mexico, but I don’t know if it qualifies as a “border town” — only formed in 2014, and it’s much to the credit of the impression they’ve made thus far that their first full-length hits with such a measure of anticipation.

Released on Battleground Records, Fuzz Evil‘s Fuzz Evil follows behind two prior short outings: a late-2014 split with Chiefs (review here) that marked their first release, and a single, “Born of Iron” (streamed here), that hit in the middle of last year. Both of those showed considerable promise on the part of the band in pushing forth unpretentious desert-minded heavy rock, straightforward in construction and based around an easy flowing songwriting process putting the brotherly pair of guitarist/vocalist Wayne Rudell and bassist Joey Rudell — also both of Powered Wig Machine and organizers of the Borderland Fuzz Fiesta — at the fore in tone and presentation.

Fuzz Evil, the album, marks the farewell of drummer Marlin Tuttle, who has since been replaced by Daniel Graves (also Powered Wig Machine), and the band’s original lineup goes out much the way it came in: on a foundation of quality songs incorporating influences without being overly indebted to them.

I don’t think they’re the kind of band looking to set the world on fire, but the spirit behind the material across the manageable six-track/29-minute span here is genuine, and for as little as Fuzz Evil ask in indulgences of the listener — maybe a couple jammy minutes at the end of closer “Black Dread”; still not much in the grander scheme of existence — what they deliver far outweighs. Six-string wizard Arthur Seay of House of Broken Promises and Unida puts in a guest spot on lead guitar for opener “Good Medicine,” but even his blazing fret work becomes another part of the total impression the band makes, as does the later organ work of Brian Gold, who also recorded, mixed and mastered the collection at Primrose Studio.

One might say the same of the production itself, since from the sound of the crash-in cymbals of “Good Medicine,” Fuzz Evil have a rawness of sound that persists even as they expand outward from the album’s first four tracks into the longer and jammier final two. By the time “Good Medicine” has seen fit to give way to the subsequent “My Fuzz” — some charming self-awareness paired with a strutting riff — it’s even harder to ignore in light of the band’s name how much Rudell‘s guitar tone actually has in common with old Celtic Frost or even circa-1984 Saint Vitus in its bite, playing to both the “fuzz” and the “evil.”


Whether that’s on purpose or not, I wouldn’t speculate, but as “My Fuzz” proffers one of the record’s best hooks, it adds depth to the proceedings overall, and speaks at very least to the band’s ability to evoke a varied response. I could be way off any actual influences, in other words, but “Killing the Sun,” which is more post-Queens of the Stone Age in its construction, has some of that underlying darkness too, bolstered by the fact that the vocals are pushed down in the mix under the guitar and bass.

Remembering this is Fuzz Evil‘s first album, and that it’s short, the momentum the Rudells and Tuttle build across the first four tracks is all the more impressive for its flow from one to the next, “My Fuzz” collapsing into the start of “Killing the Sun,” or “Bring Them Through” picking up on the beat from there with a more forward melody in its hook and a mid-paced tempo that does well in setting up the expansion that begins with “Odin Has Fallen” and continues into closer “Black Dread,” the latter also the longest song on Fuzz Evil at just over seven minutes.

Not that Fuzz Evil are going completely off the rails or anything — they keep a consistent sense of craftsmanship — but they space out some wah on “Odin Has Fallen” and in the second half of the track, Wayne drawls out his vocals in a way that reminds of Electric Wizard‘s Jus Oborn, albeit in a much different context. That track finishes with a crash and organ at the beginning of “Black Dread” immediately provides a signal that the palette has expanded.

The aforementioned prior single “Born of Iron” demonstrated a jammier side of Fuzz Evil‘s style, and with its fluid lead work, effects flourish, keys, and languid rhythmic motion, “Black Dread” seems to be building on similar impulses. By its midsection, it’s conjuring howling psychedelia and is locked into the instrumental jam that will carry through its remaining three minutes, each member of the trio playing their part in a final exhibition of the chemistry they’ve established to this point.

Like most of the record before it, “Black Dread” is smooth and will be accessible for the already converted, but the manner in which it adds to the earlier and more straight-ahead material isn’t to be understated. Especially for a debut, it’s a pivotal turn, and one well made. With a few surprises in its overall sound, roughness, songwriting and front-to-back push, Fuzz Evil‘s first expands on the work they have done in setting it up through their singles and sets in motion a creative progression that could continue in any number of directions. It’s reassuring to hear a relatively new band with such a clear idea of who and what they want to be.

Fuzz Evil on Thee Facebooks

Fuzz Evil on Bandcamp

LP order page at Battleground Records

Battleground Records on Thee Facebooks

Battleground Records on Bandcamp

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Iron Witch and The Bendal Interlude Touring this Week

Posted in Whathaveyou on September 30th, 2016 by JJ Koczan

Liverpool heavy outfits Iron Witch and The Bendal Interlude will head out on a tour of the UK this weekend and most of the week, starting in Scotland and making their way down to Camden Town to The Unicorn before looping back north to hit Coventry on their way home. It’s a relatively quick run — a long weekender happening during the week, like a bender that gets completely out of hand — but both acts go supporting new releases, so all the better. The Bendal Interlude released their Reign of the Unblinking Eye album earlier this year on Black Bow Records, and Iron Witch go just a month after issuing their A Harrowed Dawn debut full-length. Timing is everything.

Should you happen to be in that part of the world this week, the PR wire had this on it:



Here we have two of Liverpool’s metal heavyweights engaging on an aural onslaught across the UK’s finest underground venues. With both bands sporting highly anticipated new albums this is one you won’t want to miss out on.

This will be the second outing of the year for The Bendal Interlude after a 2 week jaunt with sonic titans Conan in support of their album ‘Reign Of The Unblinking Eye’, an album that has been turning plenty of heads this year. For Iron Witch this will be their first real run of shows since the line-up change and with ‘A Harrowed Dawn’ being released on September 2nd both bands will be keen on showing the UK what Merseyside has to offer other than ket-wigs and Stevie G, lad…

Iron Witch x The Bendal Interlude tour:
Sunday 2nd – Bannerman’s, Edinburgh.
Monday 3rd – Trillian’s, Newcastle.
Tuesday 4th – Mulberry Tavern, Sheffield.
Wednesday 5th – The Unicorn, Camden (FREE SHOW).
Thursday 6th – The Phoenix Club, Coventry.

Iron Witch, The First Four Beers (2015)

The Bendal Interlude, Reign of the Unblinking Eye (2016)

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Desertfest Belgium 2016: Colour Haze Replaces Graveyard

Posted in Whathaveyou on September 30th, 2016 by JJ Koczan


Turning into a pretty busy fall for Colour Haze. Though the German heavy psych godfathers didn’t wind up making it over for Psycho Las Vegas, they did release a new live album, Live Vol. 1 – Europa Tournee 2015 (review here), and they’ll continue into autumn with appearances at Desertfest Athens 2016, Keep it Low, and now, a headlining slot at Desertfest Belgium 2016 as well.

They come to the Antwerp-based festival as a replacement for Graveyard, who recently announced their disbanding and canceled all future appearances. Of course, one could hardly find a better fill-in, and I doubt if there are many if any rock-fest stages in Europe that Colour Haze couldn’t take and find welcome, so yeah, to say it makes sense seems like understatement enough to roll with. Kudos to Desertfest Belgium 2016 for making the most of a bummer situation via-a-vis Graveyard, and to Colour Haze for stepping up to fill that spot.

Timetable and announcement from the fest follow:

We’ve hunted high and low for a suitable replacement for Graveyard after their unfortunate and most unexpected split last week, which caused them to cancel their show at our festival. With only a few weeks to go, you can imagine it wasn’t an easy task to find a band that was available, in the neighbourhood, and willing to adapt their schedule in order to fit in a last-minute gig.

The good news is: we’ve found them, and their name is Colour Haze!
The German powerhouse will appear at the festival on Saturday, so there will only be a minor shift in the schedule.

Following this news, we will grant our fans some more time to reclaim their Saturday day ticket. Send us a mail at with your payment details and ticket number, and we’ll take care of it.
We extend this offer until after the weekend, so it expires on Monday Oct 3 at 12pm.

After that, we put this regrettable episode behind us for good, and we set our phasers on full-on ROCK! See y’all at the festival!

And then there’s this little thing called the time schedule.

You’ve been asking for it, and then you’ve been begging for it, and soon you’d be cutting throats for it… but no more!

Because here it is – the final, unmoveable (fingers crossed) and inimitable timetable for Desertfest Antwerp 2016!

Colour Haze, “Circles”

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Wendigo Release Initiation EP

Posted in Whathaveyou on September 30th, 2016 by JJ Koczan


You gotta call your debut EP something, I guess. Rock heads will probably find it pretty easy to get initiated into Wendigo‘s Initiation. Despite the militaristic cover art, they’re not hammering nails into anybody’s chest — sonically speaking or otherwise — and instead proffer a straightforward type of heavy rock with some more classic metal-style vocals. The entire three-song offering can be streamed now below, as well as a couple cover tracks from MountainThe Cult, AC/DC, that give a pretty decent sense of where the German five-piece are coming from. Some growing to do, but they’re young yet for the most part.

Background and audio:


WENDIGO – Initiation (EP)


Frisia is a region in northwestern Germany where endless pastures meet cow dung and where sheep’s legs grow askew due to them standing on the levee all the time. Frisia is a region both idyllic and calm… but there’s been not much to say about rock music from Frisia so far. So far. Or better: until 2012. Because 2012 has been the year in which four Frisians, back then still underage, came together to found WENDIGO and to teach some classic Rock to their flat homeland.

At first, WENDIGO, completed by changing singers on stage, enthused the people of Frisia with cover versions from AC/DC to ZZ TOP. Charity concerts for kids with cancer, fairs, underground concerts in youth clubs… the Frisian quartet plus guest vocalists took any chance to give people a taste of Rock and Metal classics. And they do that with success: Their concerts kept (and keep) getting bigger and bigger, and soon they found a constant singer and fifth regular band member in Jörg “Schorsch” Theilen.

Their success on stage also is what put enough wind under WENDIGO’s wings to write and record their own compositions. Years of experience as cover band taught the young band what works fine and what doesn’t, and thus their debut EP “Initiation” is full of their influences without bringing one of the influences so much into the foreground that one might speak of a “rip-off”. “Initiation”, that is quick Hard Rock in connection with cool Blues Rock attitude and hot, dry Stoner Rock atmosphere… music that makes you think about smoky pubs and sweaty clubs, but also works outside in the open air. Music, that makes you loose your temper and invites you to bang your head, but is also perfect if you just want to bop along with a cold beer in your hand.

1. Play It
2. Sail On
3. Holy Hypocrite

Band members:
Vocals: Jörg Theilen
Lead Guitar: Eric Post
Rhythm Guitar & Vocals: Jan Ole Möller
Bass & Vocals: Lennard Viertel
Drums: Steffen Freesemann

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Horisont to Tour US with Electric Citizen in November

Posted in Whathaveyou on September 29th, 2016 by JJ Koczan



That didn’t take long. After signing to Century Media this summer after the 2015 release of their fourth album, Odyssey (review here), on Rise Above, Swedish ’70s aficionados Horisont have newly announced their first-ever round of North American tour dates. On the run, they’ll join like-minded outfit Electric Citizen, for whom this is very much not their first-ever US tour, as the Cincinnati band continue to support their earlier-2016 sophomore full-length, Higher Time (review here), following their European stint with RidingEasy Records labelmates Salem’s Pot. That tour kicks off tomorrow and includes stops at Keep it Low, Desertfest Belgium, and so on.

Electric Citizen and Horisont kick off their shows on Halloween in Boston. Info and dates:



America! Hide your beer and lock up your parents because for the first time in human history, Horisont (from Sweden) is crossing the Atlantic to tour!

10/31 – Boston, MA – Brighton Music Hall
11/1 – New York, NY – Studio at Webster Hall
11/2 – Cleveland, OH – Grog Shop
11/5 – Chicago, IL – Reggie’s Rock Club
11/6 – Rock Island, IL – Rock Island Brewing Company
11/7 – Denver, CO – Marquis Theater
11/10 – Oakland, CA – Starline Social Club
11/13 – San Diego, CA – Soda Bar
11/14 – Mesa, AZ – Club Red
11/16 – Dallas, TX – The Curtain Club Dallas
11/17 – Houston, TX – White Oak Music Hall
11/20 – Atlanta, GA – Masquerade
11/22 – Philadelphia, PA – Voltage Lounge
More dates will follow.

Awesome poster by Jon at Cryptogram

“We will leave you heartbroken and crying for more but rest assured, it will be worth it. With the help of the mighty Electric Citizen, we will make sure that a couple of very lucky cities will never again, be the same. See you fuckers in November! BAM!” comments Horisont on the upcoming tour.

Founded in 2006, HORISONT spent nearly a decade riffing their way to the front lines of the Scandinavian retro-rock revival movement. Infusing nostaligcally delicious retro with prog complexities and a touch of NWOBHM swagger; HORISONT stood out alongside peers such as Witchcraft and Graveyard. This quickly caught the attention of Century Media Records, who inked their brand new deal just as the band released their fourth full length album, Odyssey and corresponding 6 week tour across Europe with Kadavar and now label-mates, The Shrine. In addition to gearing up for their United States tour, HORISONT are already working on unleashing a brand new album! Stay tuned for more tour dates and recording details.

After bursting to the American heavy rock forefront with their 2014 debut album, Sateen, Cincinnati four-piece Electric Citizen are ready for a Higher Time. Their second album for RidingEasy, it is a breakout moment for the band as a whole and for vocalist Laura Dolan, who stands tall in the spotlight throughout “Evil”, “Misery Keepe”r and the rest of Higher Time, rising to the occasion of a fuller, bigger sound and meeting the memorable riffing of husband/guitarist Ross Dolan head on with already-stuck- in-your-head hooks and a fiery, passionate delivery.

Electric Citizen, Higher Time (2016)

Horisont, “Odyssey”

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Doomstress Announce “Southern Bounty” Tour Dates

Posted in Whathaveyou on September 29th, 2016 by JJ Koczan

A scant couple months after rounding out the summer with a run through the Midwest, Houston-based dark heavy rockers Doomstress will head out on their next tour, this time hitting the Southeast on a run dubbed “Southern Bounty.” Sure enough it’s harvest season, and by the time they go, Doomstress will have released their new single, Wicked Woman, on limited vinyl through DHU Records, so all the more appropriate in terms of their timing. In October, they’ll also make a hometown appearance at the End Hip End It fest, alongside Radio MoscowMondo DragCrypt Trip and a vast assortment of others.

Worth noting that bassist/vocalist “Doomstress” Alexis Hollada and lead guitarist/backing vocalist Brandon Johnson will be joined this time around by a different drummer and second guitarist, rounding out the latest lineup of the four-piece. I’ll be curious to see how their lineup ultimately shakes out past this second single and headed into whatever might be next, be it an EP, full-length debut or what. Till then, tour starts Nov. 4:


DOOMSTRESS – Southern Bounty Tour

Doomstress “Wicked Woman” 7″ vinyl from DHU Records officially released on Halloween adn we are hitting the road again! DOOMSTRESS – Southern Bounty Tour to cover 6 states across southeastern US beginning with our hometown debut in Houston, TX at End Hip End It psych fest and spreading across the gulf coast into Florida and Georgia

On this tour, the DOOMSTRESS lineup will consist of:
Doomstress Alexis – bass & vocals
Brandon Johnson – lead guitar & backing vocals
Andy Kaos Vehnekamp – drums (Texas Massacre/H.R.A./The Guillotines) and
Davis Jumper – 2nd guitar (PuraPharm/Saxon King)

10/22-Houston/Old Town Spring, TX @ End Hip End It psych fest (
11/4-Lake Charles, LA @ Luna Live
11/5-Hattiesburg, MS @ The Tavern
11/6-Lafayette, LA @ Steam Press Cafe
11/7-Birmingham, AL The Nick
11/8-Atlanta/Macon, GA @ tba
11/9-Jacksonville, FL @ Shantytown Pub
11/10-Tampa, FL @ Lucky You Tattoo
11/11-Ft. Lauderdale @ Kreepy Tiki Bar
11/12-Gainseville, FL @ Hardback Cafe


Doomstress, Supernatural Kvlt Sounds (2016)

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